Author's Note: Updates will be a little slower this time around. But before you freak out, keep in mind that for Bewitched and Bewildered I posted every two - four days or so, and you people were spoiled. SPOILED! I am currently working two to three more hours a day, and it turns out those three hours are the entire difference between a comfortable existence and utter exhaustion. Also, both of my betas went out and acquired busier lives. Traitors! (Hee.) If I run up against July 16th (the Day of Great Joy), I plan on taking a break for two weeks to give everyone (including myself) time to read the book. I will then post the remaining chapters over the next couple weeks to give you something to do while other authors figure out what they want to write about the newest installment.

Extreme thanks to Loony Phoenix for his patient and talented editing. He doesn't even yell at me when I keep making the same mistake over and over again! And to Kjirstyn for all her fine touches at Checkmated.

A recent quote from young Mister Radcliffe in regards to Harry: "He's pathetic at the whole romance thing. He's a character for anyone who's ever been awkward with a girl." Now, I don't agree with all of Daniel's opinions, like that whole CNN interview where he went on about how Harry is probably going to die, but in this case, I simply have to say, "Sing it, Dan!"

Welcome Back, Potter

It was the middle of August - and eighteen-year-old Harry Potter was once again recovering from his latest adventure, in a hospital bed. Though this time, rather than being under the care of Madam Pomfrey at Hogwarts, he was in a private room at St. Mungo's. And he had been unconscious for more than two weeks.

All of his cuts and bruises had healed. The three cracked ribs he had suffered were mended the very first night. For all intents and purposes, his body appeared in perfect health, it merely refused to wake. The experts all agreed his coma was magical in nature, though it did not appear nefarious by any means. Whatever the last spell he had cast was, it had terribly overwhelmed him, draining everything he had to offer. Now he simply needed to rest.

Though he didn't know it, Harry was never alone. His second family took turns sitting with him during the day and a veritable team of Healers checked on his progress hourly. A Private Healer even watched over him through the night, after visiting hours. Everyone wanted to make sure Harry Potter had the absolute best in care - he was once again the hero of the Wizarding World.

A few days shy of his birthday, Harry had finally defeated the Dark Lord Voldemort. Literally reduced him to a pile of bones and ash.

16 Days Earlier

Harry was walking around the grounds of Hogwarts in a serious grump. There were so many things eating at him, he didn't even know where to start.

He shouldn't even be there, for one. He had graduated over a month ago. He should be starting his life, but this wonderful place, that had been his home for seven years, had become his prison. And he had no idea how long it was going to last.

Dumbledore had finally fallen last autumn. He went down in a blaze of glory - protecting St. Mungo's Hospital from attack. Voldemort and his minions had actually sunk so low as to attempt to purify the weakest members of the Wizarding community. Dumbledore prevailed, just as he always had, but this time the size and scope of the effort took everything the old man had to give, including his life.

Voldemort's followers had seized upon their Master's apparent victory. The world outside had become dangerous for Muggle-borns and their supporters.

Hogwarts remained the one bastion of peace, and all the students were invited to stay as long as the terror raged outside. Well, the others were invited. Harry rather felt his living there had been insisted upon. Demanded by those who loved him, and the Ministry. He was really starting to loath all things to do with government.

And Harry wasn't convinced that Hogwarts really was the great fortress of security it claimed to be anyway. Everyone always said Hogwarts was the safest place in the Wizarding World, but if that were true, Harry thought, all it really meant was that nowhere was safe. Hadn't Voldemort essentially lived there all of Harry's first year? Ginny had been possessed as an eleven-year-old child. Had her innocence stolen as she nearly killed her own friends. Harry had been kidnapped, under the watchful eyes of hundreds of people during the Triwizard Tournament. Even Sirius had managed to break into the boys' dorm.

No, Hogwarts wasn't safe. That was a fiction.

One of the reasons Harry had agreed to stay was because at least this way, Voldemort would know exactly where to find him. All he had to do was wait. But the wait was starting to drive him a little mad. Especially since there was nothing left for him to do. Dumbledore had taught him the spell he would use, assuring Harry that his heart was strong enough to succeed. And he practised the incantation and meditated regularly to master focussing his mind and energy. But aside from that, there was no real way to rehearse. This was a one-time-deal type of situation. And Harry felt he was as prepared as he was ever going to be.

Even so, the most troubling of all - his scar was acting up again.

Harry was strong enough at Occlumency to keep Voldemort out, for the most part. But tiny little whispers of pain would still occasionally eek through. Since his head had been so quiet all sixth year, Harry knew Voldemort was sending him these messages on purpose, and the meaning was plain: Voldemort was telling Harry that he was coming for him. And the advance knowledge of the inevitable meeting was designed to be torture.

Harry was standing at the precipice of his destiny. He had been waylaid, right at the edge, for weeks.

He didn't want to die. He had so much to live for. He could still see that vision of his future: beautiful red-headed wife, small house, children, freedom. He clung to it whenever the fear would get to him. But now, when he thought about it, his body ached and his blood pounded. He could tell he was drawing closer and closer to the moment when the verdict would be pronounced. And he felt as though his soul were stretched taut.

Needless to say, the stress was getting to him.

He hadn't felt this horrible since his fifth year. And he knew he had become a right bastard to deal with. He was grouchy, short-tempered and was lashing out at his friends again. And he hated himself for it.

He was lashing out the most at Ginny.

He couldn't help it. Every time he saw her, his emotions raged out of control. She represented everything he wanted and everything he could lose in one tiny, beautiful, infuriating package. Sometimes he would cling to her. Other times he would scream at her. Usually she could take it, finding the right words, whether they be whispered against his ear or hollered at him from across the room, to bring him back down. But every once in a while, he knew he had hurt her.

Tonight had been one of those times.

The twins had invited Ginny and Ron out for lunch in Hogsmeade, even suggesting they use the old tunnel through the witch, so that no one would spot them leaving the castle. Harry's answer had come almost immediately: no way in hell.

"But, Harry," Ginny had said, sportingly, "you keep saying yourself that you don't think Hogwarts is safe."

"Hogwarts has its weaknesses. But going out in the middle of the day, with your brothers, who always draw attention to themselves, is downright asinine."

Apparently being called asinine didn't sit well with Ginny, and she had shouted at him, "I miss my family, you big prat. Don't you understand that?"

And Harry had gone off. His voice had dripped icy sarcasm. "No, I guess I don't know what it must be like to miss your family. Seeing as poor pathetic Harry never had one."

The shock on her face and the hurt look in her eyes had immediately told Harry of his mistake. She had meant the comment plainly - this was the longest she and Ron had ever been isolated from the rest of the Weasley clan and she missed them. Especially since Percy had been killed the previous summer - Harry knew Ginny had tried to keep in closer contact with her other brothers. She hadn't intended it to be a biting remark as Harry had interpreted it. And he should have known better. They fought, sometimes heatedly, but she had never once thrown his past in his face. And she had certainly never insulted him over his status as an orphan.

Knowing he had about a minute before Ginny's shock and hurt coalesced into rage, he had decided to get out. He'd turned, muttering something about seeing her later, and marched through the portrait hole.

Trudging around the grounds, kicking the occasional stone when he found one, Harry wasn't sure leaving had been the right move. Maybe he should have stayed so they could fight it out. But maybe it was better that they both have a chance to cool off, before they said anything further.

He was kind of hoping she might come out to find him. She could make herself feel better by glaring at him and telling him he was a berk. And he would nod and accept it, because her presence would make him feel better, by silently acknowledging that even though he might be a berk, she understood why he was acting that way and that it wasn't really who he was.

Then they could snog a bit. Or find a private corner and do a bit more. And that always made them both feel outstanding.

He stole a quick glance down at his watch. It was a gift from Ginny the year before, and it kept him appraised of her general location at all times. Apparently she was still somewhere inside the castle. Harry muttered, "Bollocks," and kicked another stone.

That's when he saw her - Ginny - standing a little ways ahead of him. She was smiling and waving at him, beckoning him to follow. Even if he hadn't checked his watch a moment before, he still would have known instantly that it wasn't her, that it was a trap. There was no way she would look that happy to see him; even if she did come out to make amends. It simply wasn't how they did things.

And so the decision was put before him, and it turned out it was remarkably easy. Harry took a deep breath, steeling himself for what was surely about to come, and followed the faux Ginny across the grounds.

He was walking into a trap, but for the first time he was doing it with his eyes wide open. He was so sodding tired of this whole thing. He wanted it over. Now.

Harry hardly even paid attention to where they were going. It seemed they had a ways to walk, deep into the forest, but that was fine with him. He was already focussing his energy, repeating the chant he had memorized, over and over again inside his head.

When it became clear they were nearing their destination, Harry gave up the pretense and pulled out his wand. While in the end their wands would refuse to do battle, if Harry merely stood idly by, Voldemort would have the chance to strike him down.

Harry was already accessing the natural magic within him, that which was fuelled by his emotions, just as he used to as a child. That same power, which used to protect him from bullies and regrow his hair, would be the key to saving himself the end. It briefly crossed his mind that since Voldemort had organized this meeting, he must also have an alternate plan, but he didn't have the time to think about that.

Harry would never remember very much of the actual confrontation. He was dimly aware of the faux Ginny turning into Belatrix, taking an order from her Master and then laughing dementedly as she danced away. He could also vaguely hear Voldemort speaking to him, possibly telling him of his impending demise, but Harry was already too far gone inside his own head to be affected by the idle banter.

He closed his eyes and started to speak the chant aloud.

Just as he and Dumbledore had discussed the year before, Harry concentrated on all the people who had ever loved him. He didn't just focus on faces, but also on memories and the powerful emotions they brought. He was creating a nexus, asking them all to join him, and he would act as the conduit for all their power.

Almost immediately he felt the spirits of the dead rallying with him: his mother and father, Sirius and Dumbledore. Harry couldn't see them as he had during the Priori Incantatem, but he could feel them all around, and inside his head as well. They were speaking to him: "We're here, Harry." And the voices made him strong.

The connection expanded to those still living: Ginny, Ron and Hermione, the Weasleys and Remus. Harry couldn't hear them as distinctly, but their presence was undeniable. Their spirits were tied with his just as intimately as those coming from beyond.

The combined magic of almost a dozen wizards flowed through him. He could feel it gathering in his chest and surging out through his body. There was so much power swelling within him he wasn't sure how much longer he could contain it. Even as he thought this, a little started to escape from his fingers in wisps of light.

As the light expanded around him, his skin prickled with the electricity. Suddenly the air blazed with fire. Sparks flared against his skin, but didn't burn.

Harry struggled to maintain control; he needed to harness the power just a little bit longer. Just a few more seconds.




The pure positive energy erupted from Harry in a wave of wind and flame, hurtling towards its mark with ferocious velocity, seeking out the few drops of innocent blood that still lurked in the madman's veins. The magic latched onto that blood and used it as the fuel to annihilate evil from within.

Voldemort's scream was deafening and the explosive force of his combustion ripped through the air, knocking Harry backwards and cracking his ribs.

Then, as though time were in a vacuum, all was silent. The destiny, which Harry had spent his entire life waiting to meet, was over in a matter of minutes.

No one ever realized that Harry's heart had stopped beating for a time. Not long enough to do any permanent harm, but for about half a minute his body completely shut down. Then, as if by magic, his heart burst to life and his lungs gasped for air.

But even after he was found, and desperately shaken, and slapped, and screamed at - he would not wake.

Until now.

The return to consciousness was slow and hard. It started with dreams. Dreams of being awake, when he really wasn't. Dreams that he was late for something. Ones of people being in the room with him, but he couldn't manage to speak. That his friends were calling to him, they were annoyed with him for oversleeping, but he still couldn't muster the will to crawl out of bed. So when he actually managed to open his eyes and find himself in a softly lit haze, he wasn't entirely sure it was real.

Then he started to notice things that were different: the dryness in his mouth and throat, the way his muscles ached, the heaviness of the blanket. And a strange click-clacking that instantly reminded him of Hermione knitting an endless stream of hats, way back in fourth year.

"Is someone there?" he managed to croak.

A woman's voice gasped, practically right beside his ear. "Mr. Potter! Welcome back. Your family is going to be so relieved to hear you're awake."

Harry's glasses were instantly pressed into his hand. As he put them on, an eager-looking middle-aged witch loomed over him. She had curly blonde hair and a round face, and Harry had never seen her before in his entire life. He blinked at the unfamiliar woman, confused. "My family?"

She smiled broadly and started bustling about, readjusting his blanket. "The Weasleys. Only family members are allowed to visit here in the Magical Comas Ward, I'm afraid. Headmistress McGonagall insisted that the Weasleys should be considered yours. Though I daresay, I don't think the Admitting Witch had any idea what she was getting into when she struck the bargain. It has been quite the parade of people visiting you every day. I can barely manage to get them to go home at night."

That was an insane amount of information to take in all at once. The one thing that Harry was able to digest was that it seemed he was in the hospital and had been for some time. That was troubling to say the least. "How long have I been here?"

The witch sighed and shook her head. "Sixteen days. I was starting to get a little worried about you," she said as she started fussing with what looked like ingredients on the table next to his bed.

Harry stared at her. Finally he couldn't stand it any more. "Who ARE you?"

She turned to him and smiled, holding out a beaker of potion. "I'm your Personal Healer, Amanda Gobshank. Here, take this, it should help you to feel more like yourself."

Harry took the cup and sniffed. It smelled like mint. "Why do I need a Personal Healer if I have been in a coma?"

Madam Gobshank sat back down in her chair and returned to her knitting. As she did, she answered conversationally, "Normally I would agree with you, but the Ministry didn't want you left alone for a second, so they hired me to sit with you during the night. There is also a Security Wizard outside the door. Quite the foreboding chap, if you ask me. He makes sure no reporters or other onlookers can sneak in to get a look at you." She looked back up and gestured to the medicine still in his hand. "Drink up, I can't let you eat until that's been in your system for a couple hours."

Harry obliged and took a sip. "Why am I not at Hogwarts?" Really, it didn't make any sense - he was at Hogwarts when he was hurt, wasn't he?

"Oh, the Ministry insisted. They wanted to make sure you had the absolute best care available."

Wanted to maintain some control over his life, more like, Harry thought. He had no doubt that Dumbledore had hired the very best in Madam Pomfrey. He wouldn't have settled for anything less for the well-being of his students. Realizing the tone of his thoughts meant he actually was starting to feel like himself, Harry downed the rest of his drink. Madam Gobshank smiled.

A few hours later, Harry was showered and back in bed with a new pair of hospital robes. He was finally, blessedly, alone. He'd nearly thrown a fit when his brand new Personal Healer had insisted on standing right outside his stall with towels and then, to his utter mortification, helped him get dressed. Currently she was off fetching his breakfast and, now that it was a "decent hour," notifying his family of his recovery.

Despite being happy to have a moment to himself, if only just to breathe in peace, Harry couldn't wait for Madam Gobshank to return with his breakfast. He was starving. He wanted eggs, sausage, a few rashers of bacon and maybe a couple pancakes on the side. And he was going to drown the whole thing in loads of syrup.

Perhaps he could even have a knickerbocker glory for dessert. He'd had one once, when he was ten, and the massive treat would really hit the spot. Harry realized such extravagance for breakfast might seem a bit strange, but he hoped he could talk his Healer into the idea. Her exuberantly friendly nature gave him hope she would be willing to make the exception. Besides, there was the rather remarkable circumstance of his still being alive - and if nothing else, that deserved some ice cream. If she turned out to be a real stickler, he supposed he could hold off until lunch.

When his tray was finally placed in front of him, the disappointment was enormous. Harry stared down at the plain toast, apple sauce and tea in abject misery.

"Well, what did you expect? Waffles and whipped cream?" Actually, he hadn't thought of waffles, but now that she had mentioned it... "You haven't had solid food in your system for over two weeks, let's start slow." The pat on his shoulder, despite its kind intention, did nothing to make him feel any better.

Harry ate his toast as slowly as possible in an effort to pass the time. He knew it wouldn't be long before his friends arrived, but all the same, he was filled with nervous energy waiting for them.

And Madam Gobshank wasn't helping. Her level of familiarity with him was making Harry feel terribly uncomfortable. He supposed he could understand - she had sat with him through the night for half a month. Perhaps she felt as though she knew him. But from his perspective they had just met, and suddenly she was acting like his mother, complete with having seen him naked.

Suddenly, the door to his room burst open and Harry barely had time to put down his teacup before a squealing bushy-haired best friend landed on top of him. For the first time that Harry remembered, rather than feeling a bit awkward, he wrapped his arms around Hermione and really enjoyed the hug. When he managed to get her hair out his face, he noticed Madam Gobshank quietly excusing herself, and Ron coming to stand beside his bed.

After a few moments, Hermione pushed herself up to sit beside him. Tears were already welling in her eyes as she said, "You were amazing, Harry."

Harry smiled at her and laughed. "How would you know?"

"Well, he's dead, isn't he?" Ron joked.

Hermione turned to glare at her boyfriend, but quickly returned her serious gaze to Harry. "Because we could feel you. We didn't know exactly what was happening, but we felt connected to you, and everyone else. And we could tell we were sharing our magic with you, giving it over to you, and sense all that power surging."

Harry was a little stunned. He hadn't understood exactly how the spell would work from everyone else's perspective. "You could really tell all that?"

"Yeah," Ron answered. "It was pretty wicked that spell you did. The end was weird though. It was like I was empty inside. I couldn't feel anything at all for a minute there."

Hermione looked a bit clinical. "It was so intense, like an explosion, and then it just went blank." Her mood shifted back as she took his hand and seemed about to cry again. "And Harry, you saved us all."

Harry snorted. He was a little self-conscious with how earnest she seemed. "Well, you know, destiny and all that."

"But Harry, you really did," Hermione insisted. "Voldemort wasn't just there for you. It was meant to be a slaughter."

Ron scratched the back of his neck. "The whole school was lousy with Death Eaters."

"Whatever you did to Voldemort," Hermione continued, "anyone who had a Dark Mark, it hurt them too. They were all writhing around on the ground in absolute agony for an hour at least. It was almost ugly to watch."

Ron snorted and crossed his arms over his chest. "Yeah, if they weren't all such nasty buggers. Made it right easy rounding them all up though."

Harry suddenly found he didn't really want to talk about the battle and searched for a way to change the subject. He frowned at Hermione, "Hold on a second. How did you get in?" He had been a little worried she might not be allowed, since she wasn't a member of the Weasley family.

Hermione immediately flushed scarlet and ducked her head. "Well," she looked back up at him and rolled her eyes nervously, "Ron sort of told them we were engaged. Not that we are or anything. It was just a story so we could visit you together."

Ron coughed. His ears were turning a dangerous shade of red. "So, Harry, mate, how are you feeling?"

Harry grinned at his embarrassed friends. "Pretty great, actually. Where's Ginny?"

Hermione looked a little guilty. "She's just outside. We're only allowed to visit you two at a time, and she said we could go first."

"She's acting all nervous and weird actually," Ron added. "And she was completely barmy the entire time you were out. If you could do us all a favour and not go unconscious for weeks at a time again, that would be swell."

Hermione rounded on Ron. "Oh that's nice. I know how I would feel if you were in a coma for two weeks, but maybe I can't expect the same from you."

Ron held out a hand in an attempt to squelch the tirade. "Hermione, it's different and you know it. All the Healers told us Harry was going to be okay, that he just needed to rest. I don't know why Ginny couldn't take some comfort from them."

Hermione scoffed. "Because maybe Ginny's actually perceptive enough to know that sometimes people tell you what you want to hear."

Ron looked shocked at the very idea. "You mean you think the Healers were lying to us?"

"Not exactly lying. But they had never dealt with a situation exactly like Harry's before, and we all understood that. The best they could tell us was that it was likely he would make a full recovery, but there was no real way for them to know for sure." Suddenly, as though just remembering he was still in the room, Hermione turned back to him to add, "No offense, Harry."

Ron put a hand protectively on Harry's shoulder. "Well, they could have asked me. I could have told all of you that he was going to be just fine."

"Thanks, Ron," Harry muttered.

Despite being happy to see his friends, even content to hear them bicker as if everything were perfectly normal, Harry found he was aching to see Ginny. He was sure she would be laughing at him. And he was looking forward to the barrage of "I told you so's," that she was certain to hurl in his direction. Besides, when she had first offered to make him a wager regarding his survival, she had promised losing the bet would be worth his while. And, Harry decided gleefully, it was about time that his relentless teasing about that particular vow officially began.

The problem was he wasn't sure how to essentially dismiss his oldest friends so that he could get in some snuggling action with his girlfriend. Not without sounding rude, anyway.

"Harry, are you listening? I asked you a question." Hermione was staring at him, in a way that clearly indicated he had drifted off.

Harry coughed. "Sorry. What?"

"I asked if you would consider allowing one of the Healers to write a paper on your condition."

And suddenly it was easy. "Guys, I love you and all, but seriously, get out."

"Harry?" They were both looking equally confused by his shift in mood.

Harry worried he might be turning a bit red after his outburst. "I'm sorry. It's just I really want to see Ginny. If that's okay, I mean."

"Of course, Harry," Hermione quickly apologised as she got off the bed.

After another hug and assurances that they would be back later to visit him, Hermione moved towards the exit.

Ron shot Harry a wink and a grin as he nagged his girlfriend on the way out the door. "Brilliant, Hermione. Only you would find a way to bring up homework the morning a bloke finally wakes up from a coma."

A few moments later, Ginny entered the room slowly. And quietly. Almost as though she were unsure of herself somehow. It definitely wasn't the entrance Harry had been expecting. As she hovered by the foot of his bed, he decided to proceed with an encouraging, "Hey."

"Hey," she said back, as she moved towards him and took his hand. She immediately intertwined her fingers with his. "Can I get up there with you?"

"Definitely." Harry immediately made room for Ginny to climb up on the bed. As she rested her head on his shoulder, he tried for a joke. "Sorry I missed your birthday."

Ginny gave a slight smile. "That's alright. We missed yours too. And we haven't exactly managed to make a tradition of it."

It was true - three weeks before Harry's birthday the year before, Percy Weasley had been killed. Despite it being the first birthday Harry had ever spent in the company of friends, the day passed almost unrecognized. It had seemed as though no one remembered, and there was absolutely no way Harry was going to bring it up. It wasn't until two days later, when a notice came from the Ministry about an appointment for his Apparation test, that Ron and Hermione had realized their mistake and apologized.

On the evening of the 31st however, after supper, Ginny had quietly taken him to one of their favourite rooms upstairs and presented him with his gift. It was a watch, only with an extra hand that moved like the needle of a compass. It hadn't taken Harry long to realize that it was pointing to Ginny, rather than north. "So you'll always know where to find me," she'd told him in a quiet voice.

Harry had realized it must have been an expensive gift and he really hadn't been expecting anything at all considering what Ginny was going through. The best he could do to express this delicately had been to shake his head a little and say, "Gin, you really didn't have to."

Ginny had squeezed his arm and curled up next to him on the floor. "I bought it our last day in Hogsmeade. Percy loaned me the money, actually. He said he knew what it was like to want to buy something nice for the person you're seeing. I think it was his way of trying to apologize, to both of us."

Harry had remained speechless, and continued staring down at the watch, tracing the little arrow with his finger. Finally Ginny had spoken again. "It's probably a little self-centred. But I just thought, this year, if you ever need me, you'll know right where I am."

The lump that had formed in Harry's throat had been terribly painful. "It's perfect."

Eleven days later, Harry gave Ginny the same gift.

Now, with her curled up next to him again, Harry was acutely aware of just how much she had given him over the last two years. "Thank you, Ginevra."

"For what?"

Harry wrapped his arms around Ginny and rested his cheek on her soft hair. "You always believed that I was going to make it, no matter what. And I hung on to that the last couple of years. I think it made me strong enough to handle what I had to do. I'm not sure it would have turned out the same if it hadn't been for you."

Her fingers curled into his shirt. "Ron and Hermione always believed in you too."

Harry nodded a bit. "Ron was steadfast, absolutely. Hermione, well, I think she really wanted to believe, but she couldn't help but see all the possibilities."

Ginny snorted quietly. "Sometimes I think it can't be very fun having to live inside her head."

Harry grinned. "That's for sure. But you were different somehow. It was like you thought my living to a ripe old age was an absolute certainty. And every time you told me I was going to be okay, it felt like it must be true."

"Probably helped that I was sitting in your lap most of the time."

Despite the fact Ginny was trying to make a joke, Harry knew that was at least partly true. Having the safe feeling of her warm body all around him, had somehow made her words seem more powerful. As though he could feel their honesty vibrate inside him.

Harry chuckled a little. He could tell that he was beaming. And he didn't think he had ever beamed before.

Ginny looked up, her eyes narrowed in suspicion. "What?"

Harry wriggled a little on the bed, pulling her body up closer to his. "I was just thinking, here I've got you in bed with me. What would your mother think?"

Ginny pushed herself up on an elbow to fully glare at him. "She would think you were a right cheeky bugger. I don't believe you, trying to act the cad and it has been what? SIX hours since you woke up from a coma."

"I can't help it. I feel brilliant." It was true - Harry didn't think he had ever felt better. Here he was, his whole life stretching out before him - and it was going to be a long life. He was finally free. He could already taste the happiness - and it was intoxicating. Everything was perfect.

Absolutely perfect.