Wise old men in half-moon glasses, telling them it wasn't time yet.
A man with messy dark hair, and a woman with green eyes, bright with tears, smiling but pointing them somewhere else.
A mother and father who had loved him, once-upon-a-time.
A dark man, thin and worn, but grinning recklessly.
Severus. Hermione. Ron.
Finally they dreamt of each other.
They woke up quietly, without any alarm. Harry turned his head to his left, and smiled tiredly. 'Hi.'
'Hi,' Draco replied.
'I didn't do anything.'
'You held on.'
Their voices, although hardly raised, had attracted the attention of the room. 'Harry!'
He managed to focus on the room around him. It appeared as if most of the school had squeezed into the hospital bay. He saw Ron, Snape... he was counting off DA members. 'Where's Hermione?'
'Over here,' came a weak voice to his right.
He looked around. She was pale and ill looking, but obviously still there, and that was good enough. 'Are you okay?'
'I'm fine. Just got caught by a stray hex.'
'Hermione, you lost about forty pints of blood!' Ron protested.
Harry smiled. Then: 'How did we do?'
'We won,' Ron answered.
'I remember that bit. What about the people?'
'Lots of injuries. Hermione was the worst though.'
Hermione understood. She smiled more brightly that her injuries would make her seem capable of. 'No deaths.'
Harry looked at Draco, who blinked back in surprise. The blond composed himself, and smiled at Harry. 'I did promise after all. No more deaths.'
Harry still didn't understand. 'How did we...?'
'Good teachers,' she answered, looking at both Harry and the man hovering over him.
'Indeed,' Professor Snape drawled. 'Not that they are always heeded. How many times, Mr Potter, have I warned you not to run off on fools-errands?'
A new voice entered the conversation. 'Professor Snape, I do hope you aren't berating our young hero.'
'Minister,' Harry said in surprise.
She leant towards him, sweeping the hair out of his eyes affectionately. 'Harry. I'm so glad to see you awake. It seems we owe you a great debt.'
'I didn't do anything,' he said quickly. 'It was Ron, and Draco, and Hermione, and all the rest of the DA, and the Professors...'
'Oddly enough, the Wizarding world doesn't quite see it that way. It looks like you'll be receiving the Order of Merlin. First Class of course. And every trade in wizard Britain has agreed to take one of your DA members without NEWTs. The exams, therefore, are unnecessary.'
Harry heard a quiet moan and knew it was Hermione. 'I'm very grateful, Minister,' Harry said diplomatically. 'But it really wasn't me.'
'It appears that your friends disagree as well. Not one of them will take credit for the killing blow. You may just have to accept, Harry, that you are now the boy who killed Voldemort twice. If nothing else, it may help persuade the Wizengamot to accept the testimony of one Peter Pettigrew, corroborated by Harry Potter, and change the verdict on your Godfather.' She looked kindly at Harry, who was blinking back tears. 'And now, I must go, your friends have been very patient, and I'm sure they're desperate to see you. I'll come and see you again when you're feeling a bit better.'
Harry nodded politely at the Minister, but was a little relieved when she was gone. As it turned out, however, she was right about his friends. None of them would take any credit for what had happened.
Harry spent the better part of that day being alternately hugged for being alive, and argued at for trying to distribute the acclaim.
'Harry,' Remus explained affectionately. 'The battle can be a joint victory, but Voldemort was you, you're just going to have to accept it.' He hugged Harry tightly. 'I have to go to the Ministry again, but I'll be back soon.'
'We're going as well, dear,' Mrs Weasley said. She too hugged Harry, and led her children (all but Ron), out of the room. Ginny dashed back in and hugged him fiercely, then all but bounced out of the room.
'Is she...?' Harry asked.
'She's very happy you're okay,' Blaise explained. Standing, he waved his arms about. 'Okay, everyone out. Our hero needs rest.'
'Blaise!' Harry explained.
'Would you prefer saviour? Champion? Liberator?'
'None of them, please.'
'I know just the thing.' He hovered at the door. 'Get well soon, boss.'
'He's never going to stop that, is he?' Harry asked despairingly when Blaise had gone.
'No,' Severus answered unapologetically. 'I'm sure it will do you good. The entire wizarding world has just proclaimed you a saint after all.'
'And I need someone to remind me that I'm just an arrogant brat?' Harry finished.
'You need someone to remind you that you're seventeen. Not the next Minister of Magic, or British diplomat, or Quidditch captain. A seventeen year-old boy who still needs to work on his potion-making, whether or not he has an exam.'
Harry smiled at that. In Snape terms, that was affectionate mocking. 'I don't know, Professor, when the exciting world of international diplomacy awaits...'
Snape glared. 'I need to run a quick check on the school grounds. By the time I return, I expect you to have returned to the real world. He left
'You really should be fighting for some of the credit, you know,' Harry said. 'I hardly did anything. You all could have died! You really shouldn't have done that by the way.'
'We promised,' Ron answered.
'Our lives,' Hermione added.
'That seems to be the answer of the day,' Harry said.
'So, Harry,' Hermione said, changing the subject. 'What are you really going to do?'
'What do you mean?'
'Do you still want to be an Auror? Or, I know Snape didn't mean it, but you could be in politics.'
'What?' Ron demanded.
Harry looked over at Draco and mouthed: I made promises too. 'I have a few ideas.'
Thank you to everyone who read or reviewed this story. It was a lot of fun, and I'm kind of sorry to be finished. But HBP comes out tomorrow! So I'm sure none of you will miss me that much. Special thanks to Michelle, who betaed a lot for me. To HecateDeMort, Cithara, angel of chaos, crystal, Love Alchemist, Serpent of Light and everyone else who reviewed so often and made my day. I love you all. hugs So I hope that you enjoyed the end of the story. (I hope my last minute editting didn't leave too many typos) and see you after we're all done with HBP! (yay to new plot-bunnies)