Can Ginny convince Harry to take take her with him to fight the war? Can she deal with the tragedy from the war and find a way to live happily ever after in spite of it? (a one-shot)
"Hold still, Ron." Ginny was waving her wand over her brother for another diagnostic. They had been fighting a running battle all day. Ron was trying to quickly eat a sandwich to sustain him while Ginny healed his latest wound. She would eat in a few moments. Looking over, she saw Harry and Hermione each with partially eaten sandwich as they looked over a map and a Muggle device that Hermione had said would help them track Voldemort. That was how Ron had gotten hurt: he had been helping Harry fight Voldemort while Hermione had magically placed the tracking device on their enemy.
It was nearing four in the afternoon as Ginny took her sandwich and sat to rest. It was hard to believe they were having the Final Battle and that she was caught up in it. It had been a very long sixteen months -- much had happened. She thought back to how it had started last year.
Thanks to a very detailed conversation with Ron, at wand point, Ginny had learned Harry's plans just after they had arrived home for the summer after her fifth year. She had only had to use one Summoning charm on Ron's wand and one Stinging hex very high on his upper thigh to convince her brother that she did mean business, and that he was to keep silent about their conversation. Once she had those plans, she convinced her mum to let her work at the twins' shop for a few weeks, and with a little blackmail material, she had convinced the twins to teach her to Apparate. A visit in disguise to a wand shop in Knockturn Alley one afternoon had procured her an untrackable wand for use outside of a wizarding house.
A month later, Ginny had her sixteenth birthday and Bill had gotten married a few days after that. Harry had tried to stay away from her during the wedding, but she hadn't let him. She made sure she stayed near him and turned down everyone but her father who asked to dance with her, always saying, "I'm waiting for someone else to ask me first." She also made sure Harry could hear that answer. It had only taken three refusals before Harry realized what she was doing and gave in. She had made sure it was a dance he would never forget. For the rest of the evening, Ginny either kept him dancing or held his hand, no matter how hard he tried to run away.
It all came to a head that evening after all the guests had left, the only non-family members being Harry and Hermione. The four teens were the last outside when Ginny had turned to Harry and drew him into a loose embrace. "You know I'm coming with you tomorrow."
Harry looked a bit startled that she knew that, but did not ask how she knew. "Ginny, we've been through all this already. You know I have to leave you behind so you don't get hurt; I couldn't take it if you were," her ex-boyfriend told her.
"Does that include how much you've hurt me in the last few weeks, Harry?"
"Ginny, I, uh..."
"You've hurt me and you know, you prat. Fortunately for you, I'm going to give you a chance to redeem yourself. Take me along so I can take care of you and help you through this. You can't do this without me."
"I have them," he protested and roughly gestured towards Ron and Hermione. He saw Ginny ignore their friends.
"Do you really think they can help you in all the ways I can?" She stared at him to make him think it all through.
Ron started to agree with Harry, when Hermione all but slapped her hand over his mouth to keep him quiet. "Let them be, Ron," he heard whispered in his ear. "She needs to go with us."
"I do not want her to go," Ron hissed back. "She'll get hurt. Harry is right to leave her behind."
"Ron, would you do anything to save me from harm?"
He looked at his new girlfriend -- they had finally come to an understanding last week. "Of course! How could I not? I care for you."
Hermione looked at her two friends stare each other down as she whispered, "Would you say I'm your motivation for helping Harry rid the world of evil so we can have a good life together one day?"
"Yes," Ron answered, not totally aware of what he had agreed to, nor did he understand why Hermione was smiling as he had answered her.
"Then take a good look at your sister, Ron. She is Harry's motivation to fight this fight, and when he wins, he won't just protect her, he'll protect the world."
"But that doesn't mean she has to go. She can motivate him from here at home, or from school," Ron continued his protest, though not with quite as much energy.
"If we were to be gone for a few weeks, I'd agree with you; but we don't know how long we'll be gone. And what do you expect Harry to do when we're all relaxing and you and I want some private time? Do you expect him sit in the same room and be happy?"
"He better not!" Ron said in a normal voice, which did not faze the black and red haired couple still in their stare down.
"That's another reason she has to go, not only to keep him company, but to physically give him the encouragement and motivation we really can't," Hermione explained. "She can do things we're not capable of."
Ron took a short moment to think that through before he started to explode as her meaning became clearer. Recognizing the impending explosion, Hermione put her hand back over his mouth to quiet him. "I'll kill him if he does that to her," he said through her fingers in a muffled voice.
"And what are your plans for me while we're all alone, Ronald Weasley?" Hermione whispered intensely. "Should I mention to your mother where your hands were last June before we came home?" Ron went silent and red. "I'm not saying they should do anything, mind you, but I am saying that he needs her to be there for him, in whatever form of comfort is required. He is the one who has to save the world, and if some private time with the woman he loves is the price, I'm willing to overlook something that small for the greater good." That was not something she would have said a year ago, or even three months ago, but the death of Albus Dumbledore had caused her to reexamine her world in a new light.
The youngest Weasley boy thought that through and could not find a hole in the logic of his ever-practical girlfriend. As he was about to reply, he saw Harry lose the staring contest and grab Ginny's head and start snogging her, heedless of them or anyone else who might come out of the house. Ron heard a giggle from beside him and turned to see a big grin on his girlfriend's face before he sighed. "It was inevitable; she can outstare everyone when she has the mind to, even Mum."
Ginny finally let his lips go, but she could tell Harry wanted more. Six weeks without her had really gotten to him; she could tell, and she loved it. "Later tonight you can have another short one, but there's plenty more kisses for when you need to relax while we're on our mission. Let's go inside and be normal for now. I'll tell my parents tomorrow when we leave. Until then, just act normal."
It was not until several days later that Hermione told Ginny about the conversation with Ron while she was convincing Harry to go. She had laughed at her brother while she appreciated her friend's helping hand.
The morning after the wedding had been interesting; it had been almost nothing like what Ginny had imagined. First, she had missed her father, he had been called unexpectedly into work for an emergency. Second, when they were all telling her mother good-bye, she was the last to go and it did not go well, though she had expected some resistance.
"Bye, Mum. I'll write or stop by when we can," Ron told his mother, before she gave him a crushing hug. She was already starting to cry.
"Bye, Mrs. Weasley. Don't worry too much, I'll take good care of Ron for you," Hermione told the woman as she also got a tight hug.
"Good-bye, Mrs. Weasley. We'll be back as soon as we can. We may even stop by from time to time," Harry told her in an effort to comfort the woman. Harry had also been hugged tightly.
Then Molly Weasley realized Ginny had a backpack slung over her shoulder too. "Wait a minute, young lady, you are not going. You're not seventeen and you belong in school."
"I'm sorry, Mum, but I have to go to help Harry. Someone has to make sure he eats enough and otherwise takes care of himself, not to mention watch his back."
"You are not going, Ginny," the matriarch said firmly.
Ginny saw her mother's arm start to move towards her apron, so she whipped out her wand and cast "Petrificus Totalus" before her mother's wand cleared her apron, causing the stick to clatter to floor. Harry jumped forward and caught the woman before she fell over; he gently laid her on the floor.
"I'm very sorry to have to do that, Mum, but I have to go," Ginny started explaining as she knelt down by her mother. "I knew you'd tell me I'm too young, but please look at it from my perspective. Just as you'd do anything you could to support Dad, I need to support Harry. I know we're not married as you two are, but that does not change the fact that Harry needs the support and I'm the best person to help him at this time. Please tell Dad good-bye for us and we're sorry we missed him. I love you both." Ginny stood up, her mother's wand in her hand.
"Put it over on the mantle, Ginny," Hermione told her. "I'll be the last to go and I'll end the spell. We can't leave her here defenseless."
"Right. Everyone go in the other room, put on your glamours, and let's go," Harry said and led the way. Ginny had smiled at him just before she popped out. Harry had been surprised when she'd told him last night that she had learned to Apparate over the summer, just so she could go with them.
Hermione stuck an arm through the doorway and sent a Finite Incantatum at Mrs. Weasley just as she left. The brunette girl just missed some very unladylike language.
The four teens went to the Shrieking Shack, then walked a ways into the nearby woods. "Well, where is it?" Ginny asked.
Harry smirked at her and whispered a secret very softly in her ear.
A moment later, the fruit of some of Harry's money and several days of work over the summer appeared as she thought about the secret. In front of her was a small tent. Walking in, she found a three bedroom tent with a living room, kitchen, and one bathroom. Two of the bedrooms had two twin beds each, while the third and largest bedroom was lined with bookshelves and had several tables along with four chairs.
"Welcome to your new home, Ginny," Harry told her. "Now that you know the secret, you can Apparate or Disapparate out of the study here. None of the other rooms will let you do that. Oh, and the Fidelius Charm is on the tent itself, so if we need to, we can move the tent and still be hidden when we pitch it again. You can share the bedroom over there with Hermione and we can all take turns cooking."
"Does that include Ron too?"
"Hey! I resent that," her brother objected.
"Ron, when was the last time you made a complete meal that was edible?" his sister asked.
"Uh, well, I've never made a complete meal, but I've made parts of them before. I just need to put all the parts together. No big deal." He tried to look confident, but the other three grinned at him.
"We'll all tutor Ron in the kitchen until he gets the hang of it," Harry said. "Let's sit down and discuss what we need to do, what we know, and what to try next." Harry was amazed that someone who ate as much food as Ron did not know how to cook. It really was time his friend learned, he thought.
Harry was the de-facto leader. When there were arguments, they all turned to him for a decision. It was his war, they were the support staff.
One by one, they had researched and chased after the Horcruxes. The locket had been the easiest, once they realized R.A.B. had been Sirius' brother. It was in a box in the attic of Sirius' house. The other three had been between medium and very difficult to find. The last had been almost missed.
The last Horcrux should have been something of Gryffindor's, but they had been unable to find anything of his other than the Sorting Hat and the sword, which Harry had talked Headmistress McGonagall into letting him take on his hunt for Voldemort. He carried it in a scabbard every time they went out for anything more trivial than a trip for food. As they were about to be forced to try to track down Voldemort to find Nagini, which Dumbledore had guessed was one, Hermione found a picture of their favorite founder in a suit of armor. It was almost amusing in that they all, including Dumbledore, had seen the armor many times, as it stood in the foyer of Hogwarts. The Horcrux had been hidden in plain sight! Hermione wondered if that Horcrux explained the sudden disappearance of Filch's predecessor.
Fortunately, it was summer, nearly a year after they had started their hunt, so there were no students there. Deciding that a Horcrux hidden in plain sight must be unusual, coupled with the fact that Professor Flitwick was there, they enlisted the aid of the little man to help. In the end, it was a good thing, as some of the defensive charms on the armor had been very advanced and dangerous. It had taken most of a day to overcome the guarding charms before they could destroy the Horcrux.
From there, it had been a matter of trying to find Tom, as well as go after Death Eaters to thin his forces.
Harry's voice broke her out of her thoughts. "He seems to have stopped moving. I need to move to get another reading on him so we can triangulate. I'm going to Grimmauld Place for a moment."
"I'll go with you, mate. You shouldn't be alone," Ron told him.
Surprisingly, Harry did not argue, he just Disapparated out of the study in the tent. Ron was a half second behind him. Hermione picked up the rest of her sandwich and continued eating.
"Are we almost ready to continue on?" Ginny asked.
"Almost. My guess is Tom is back at Little Haggleton, but we'll know soon," Hermione said.
Harry came back with another reading and returned to his sandwich while Hermione plotted the new position and direction. Ginny returned to her reminiscing.
They had learned a lot over the last sixteen months. Ginny bet that with a little work to round out some of the practical portions of their missed education, all four of them could take their NEWTs next June and pass. One of the more interesting things they had learned had been on the very edge of Dark Magic, but had also been very useful -- both practically and for their consciences.
Hermione had found a healing spell that allowed a person to give or take another person's magic. That did a couple of things for them. First, it allowed them to replenish their magical reserves quickly after a fight by taking magic from the conquered Death Eaters. Second, it helped to prevent the Death Eater they had overcome to continue to be a problem. If the "taking version" of the spell was not held very long, the "victim" could recover, but if held long enough, the "victim" would turn into a Squib -- permanently. That allowed them to make sure any Death Eater they captured would never be a Death Eater again, yet they did not have to kill the now powerless Death Eater. Normally, they just tied the person up after stunning them, drained the Death Eater's magic, then sent a Patronus message to Tonks stating where to find the former Death Eater.
There were over forty Death Eaters who were now Squibs. It has been particularly gratifying to Ginny to do that to Lucius Malfoy, for the harm he had caused her with the Diary when she had been eleven. Harry had taken particular pleasure in doing the spell to Draco Malfoy, not only for all the things he had done to Harry over the years, but for being one of the main reasons Dumbledore had been killed. Harry had also enjoyed writing a letter to Neville after Bellatrix Lestrange had also been turned into a Squib.
"All right! We got it; it appears he's back at his father's house in Little Haggleton," Harry announced. "With luck, there are no reinforcements, so all we have to face are Snape and Pettigrew in addition to Tom. Ron, Hermione, you two take Snape. Be careful to avoid eye contact and to keep your Occlumency shields up at tight as you can while you're going after him. Ginny, you take Pettigrew; be careful about him turning into a Rat to get away. Also, he's tougher than he first appears. I'll take Tom. This should be it."
"Finish your sandwich, Harry," Ginny commanded him. "We'll go as soon as you're done. I don't want you falling over from hunger when we've come this far," she teased him.
Somehow, Harry managed to smile at her while he took has last four bites. He was glad he had brought Ginny along. It had not taken but two weeks before he realized how good a decision that had been. She had been there for him when he had killed his first Death Eater by beheading him with Gryffindor's sword, and she had helped him to deal with his emotions and how it was all a part of war. As he prepared to battle the monster that had terrorized the world for so long, he felt confident of victory because he had the woman he thought of as his mate with him. They were not legally married, but he knew that would come soon. For now, they were married in their hearts, and they both knew it.
Harry set his plate down and drained his water. "All right, let's go."
"We need to put the dishes up first," Hermione said and started to grab them.
Harry stopped her by gently grabbing her shoulders before pulling her into a hug. "Leave them. Either we'll have time to do them later, or they'll never be done. Good luck, Hermione, and thanks for coming with me. I couldn't have done it without you."
She hugged him back fiercely. "Be careful, Harry, though you better kick his bloody arse. I'm ready to get married."
Harry laughed at one way his intellectual friend had mellowed. He let her go and turned to Ron, who had finally worked up the nerve to ask Hermione to marry him. Harry hugged his best mate and told him, "Good luck, Ron. Be careful and thanks for coming with me. I couldn't have done all this without you either."
A much more confident and stronger Ron hugged his friend. "I agree with Hermione, mate, though you be careful too. I want you for a brother-in-law."
Harry smiled as he let Ron go and went to Ginny, giving her the tightest and longest hug of all. "I love you, Gin. Thanks for making me see reason and coming. You be damn careful as I have a very important question for you when we're done with this." Ginny laughed and Harry loved that sound.
"You've been telling me that since my seventeenth birthday, Harry, so you better win so I can hear the question." Grabbing his head with both of her hands, she gave him a kiss to remember before she let go and pulled her wand out. "I'm ready, Potter; let's get this over with so we can really live our lives." She always called him by his last name when he was in his leadership role; otherwise, he was her Harry.
"Everyone remember the cemetery I took you to last year on our tour?" Harry got three nods as the rest of their wands came out. "Very well, everyone remember your assignment. If you have to bail, come back here. If two of us get hurt, the other two need to abort and get the wounded back here. On three, one -- two -- three!"
They came out in the cemetery together, each facing a different direction. A quick look showed no one there. Harry pulled out his tracking device and scanned. With a chuckle, he said, "Tom's hiding in the little caretaker's house not the big house. Disillusion yourself and let's go." It was standard procedure for them and had worked well in helping them surprise their enemy. Even with the wavering when they walked, that would often be missed if the enemy was not looking right at them.
Creeping up to the house, Harry started looking in the windows. The second window he looked through opened to the kitchen where Riddle, Snape, and Pettigrew were trying to get something to eat, though by the look and sound of it, Pettigrew was not moving fast enough for Tom's liking.
Squatting down so he would not be seen, Harry made his left hand be visible. He put up two fingers, then three, and pointed at the current window. He then held up one finger, before he crooked it in a follow me motion. Ron and Hermione stayed while Ginny followed the hand around the corner. On the other side, the hand made a come here motion and then found its way to her head.
Ginny heard a whisper in her ear. "When I tap you three times, blast that window and some of the wall around it, then go after Peter." She heard a very light crunch as he moved slightly away from her, his hand disappeared again, then she felt his wand on her arm. Building her magic up in almost an overcharged way, she let her best Reductor curse go on the third touch. Debris from a hole three times the size of the window blew into the room where the three men were. Ginny got lucky in that the stove was hit and hot grease splashed all over Pettigrew.
Before the dust had settled, Harry sent a locking ward to the only door in the room. That had barely been done when the other window and parts of the wall blew inward, courtesy of Ron. The fight was on.
It was a chaotic couple of minutes, but Ginny managed to stun and then drain Peter's magic to replenish what she had lost in the initial explosion, and then some more. She was about to fire on Snape, who was still battling Ron and Hermione when a magical dome appeared and the beautiful sound of a phoenix came and lifted her spirits. With a quick side-step, she managed to get inside the dome before it went all the way to the ground. Harry was now partially visible; she assumed all the spells and magic hitting him had removed part of the Disillusionment charm.
Ginny looked up over Harry's shoulder, since she was behind him, to see Harry and Voldemort in a struggle to push a ball of magical energy that was on a beam of magical light that had connected between their two wands. Even though she knew what was happening, since Harry had told them all about the graveyard fight in his fourth year of school, she still stood mesmerized watching it all.
Suddenly, a ghost seemed to come out of Voldemort's wand. With shock, she recognized it to be Percy. As another was trying to come out, her brother's shade came over to her. "What are you doing? Don't look at me or mourn for me, help Harry! Attack Tom!"
That broke Ginny out of her stupor and pulling her wand up, she stepped out slightly from out behind her boyfriend so she had a clear shot, and sent her best severing curse right at Tom. Apparently, he never saw it because his wand stopped working as he was distracted by being practically disemboweled by the severity of the cut. The now huge ball of energy that was on the connecting beam between Harry and Voldemort now race towards Tom Riddle. When it hit him, there was an explosion that flung Harry backwards over twenty feet. Ginny went flying too, but mostly because Harry spun her around from a glancing blow as he went flying. The magical explosion was so fierce, it completely removed the Disillusionment spell off the two teens and flattened over half of the cottage.
Ginny came to as something was wrapping itself around her right arm. She very groggily tried to get up, but it was so hard and painful she never even got her head off the ground. "Stay still, sis. I'm going to have to take you to St. Mungo's."
"Harry?" she weakly asked a dirty faced Ron, who also had a cut lip and a forehead which was starting to bruise.
"Hermione says he still alive. She's already taken him to St. Mungo's. Lay still while I active one of our Portkeys," Ron told his sister in as normal voice as he could manage. They all had an emergency Portkey to St. Mungo's. It was part of their normal equipment.
As he activated the Portkey, Ginny screamed in pain and blacked out before she landed in hospital's emergency room.
Ginny felt herself swimming back into consciousness. The first thing she saw was a very white ceiling in a dimly lit room. As her last memory slammed its way back into her brain, she realized she must be in a hospital room. Tilting her head slightly to the left, she saw a window. Going back to the right, she saw several pieces of medical equipment and another bed. The face was blocked by the equipment, but based on the hand that was sticking out from under the covers, a hand she knew very well, she knew who was with her. "Harry?" she softly and hoarsely called to him.
"Ginny?" a female voice asked before there was a noise of things falling to the floor and a few quick steps. Her mother was suddenly in her field of vision. "Oh, Ginny, you're awake. How are you dear? Where do you hurt? Tell me and I'll get the healers to come help you."
"Doesn't matter... How's Harry?"
"He's recovering, but that's not important right now. I'll go get the healers to check you out," her mother told her.
"No..." Ginny gasped slightly. "Make them take care of Harry. I'll live and he better too, or it doesn't matter what happens to me."
Molly was not sure how to respond to that. She expected them to have an attachment, though she did not know what kind of relationship there was between them. She had been afraid to find out, but she had finally worked up the courage to ask her son and Hermione. Neither would say anything more than, "They're very close." It had been a long week for the mother waiting in the hospital room.
"I'll be back shortly, Ginny. You lie there and don't move." She left and returned with a healer in less than a minute.
"Miss Weasley, I'm Healer Turner. How are you feeling?"
"Tired. Body hurts. How's Harry?"
"Hmm, that's to be expected considering what happened to you," he said as he waved his wand over her. "Do you have any specific pains that stand out to you? Or do you generally hurt all over?"
"All over. How's Harry?"
"I think that's good then. You just lie there and go back to sleep. That's best for you to heal. I'll give you some more potions in a few hours to help speed that up, since we gave you some just before you woke." He started to turn to go, but found he could not walk away as his feet were stuck to the floor. He noticed the young woman's arm was pointing at him. His eyebrows shot to the top of his forehead as he realized she had just done wandless magic. He had read that less than three percent of the Wizarding population could do even a single spell wandlessly, and this sort of thing put her in the top half of one percent of the most powerful wizards and witches.
In a strained and hoarse whisper, she asked, "I said, how's Harry? And don't lie to me, tell me how he's really doing."
Deciding that honestly was the best policy for someone like this, he did his best to find a calm voice to tell her, "He's been hurt pretty badly. Fortunately, he should live, though I don't know how long it will take him to heal, or how long it will take him to wake up. Frankly, I'm semi-surprised you've woken up this quickly."
"How long have I been out?"
"You arrived here a week ago. Now, please take all of your potions and sleep as much as you can. If you do, I think you'll be able to sit up in a couple of days, and maybe even get up and sit in chair to look at your boyfriend a week from now. Your body took a big hit from something and bruised almost every organ you have, not to mention your low magical reserves. So please take it easy, and no more magic for the next week. Understand?" Ginny nodded. The healer now pulled out his wand and ended the spell that had stuck his feet in place. "Good, I'll be back later. And please don't worry yourself over Mr. Potter. He will pull through." The healer was not totally sure how completely the boy would recover, but that was best not said for now, as his fears might be for naught.
Ginny smiled and closed her eyes. She was asleep before either the healer left the room or her mother returned to stand by her again.
By the time Ginny was allowed to sit up two days later, she had convinced the healer to move her bed so she could look at Harry as he lay there; his chest very slowly moving. There was also a bottle with a tube that was attached to his arm. She had one too. It wasn't until then that she had some freedom from her mother not being there. Her father had finally forced his wife to come home for the night, leaving Ron and Hermione to stand guard in the room. They told her there were also two Aurors outside their room at all times, and the Aurors would continue their guard duties until she and Harry left.
Her brother and friend came as dinner did. After Ginny finished off her light and bland food, which had matched the conversation so far, she felt she was ready for more serious talk. "Ron, what happened at the end?" She saw him look at Hermione. "Ron, just tell me what happened and don't hold anything back."
"Well, after you and Harry started the fight with the blast, I took out the window on our side and Hermione started attacking Snape. Even two on one, he put up a good fight; I will have to give the greasy git that. Fortunately, when the magical dome appeared and we all heard the sound of the phoenix, that distracted Snape just slightly and Hermione was able to stun him. After we bound him so he couldn't escape, we were about to come around the house to see what was going on when the big explosion happened. The house blocked most of it so it didn't hurt us." Ron seemed to fidget and took a deep breath to go on. "Then we found you and Harry, I wanted to go to you first, but..." His voice caught and his head fell.
Ginny looked at him in silence, then she looked to Hermione. The girl took up the story from there.
"We could tell you both were injured, but it was obvious Harry had taken the brunt of the explosion. I assume he shielded you at least somewhat. I made Ron come help me with Harry, he was bleeding all over. After we conjured enough bandages to stop the worst, I transfigured part of the ground into a board, bandaged Harry to it, then Portkeyed with him here. That left Ron to bring you in, which he did."
The red-headed girl looked at them. Ron's head was still down and she would have sworn she heard a sniffle from her brother. "Why do I have the feeling you're leaving something out?"
Hermione sighed. "I'm sorry Ginny, but while Harry will live, we don't know what he'll be like. He suffered so much trauma. Practically every bone in his body was broken, and that was the easiest thing to fix. Like you, he suffered a lot of internal damage, but that will heal with time."
"Then what?" Ginny wondered. "He looks fine, I don't even see any scars on his face, which I could live with."
"Ginny, he suffered a lot of head damage. We don't know what he's going to be like when he wakes up. Maybe he'll know us, but he may not remember anything -- even you. The healers just don't know." Tears were starting to leak out of the brunette's eyes too.
Ginny was stunned. A world without Harry just wasn't right. Then she wanted to slap herself for that negative thought, she would not write Harry off. The healers did not know and she was not going to give up on him even if he did not remember her. She would be there for him no matter what. "Thank you for telling me that, Hermione. How long was my mum going to wait to tell me?"
"I, uh, I think they were going to wait until Harry woke up. After all, it might not be a problem. Please don't worry, Ginny. It won't help anything. We just need to wait and see."
"You're right," Ginny agreed.
"Ginny?" her brother looked at her. "How did Harry win? What was the power Tom knew not?"
His sister smiled at him. "I was the power that tipped the scales. I distracted Tom so Harry could kill him." Both Ron and Hermione looked confused. "I was Harry's mate because of our love. Tom has never had a true mate, nor has he ever desired one." She saw comprehension on Hermione's face, thought Ron was still thinking it through. "So, ignoring our battle, what else is going on?"
"There's lots of celebrating in the streets, as you can imagine. That's why the guards are outside. Oh, Snape and Pettigrew didn't survive the blast, but there was enough of Pettigrew left over that Sirius has been exonerated. Life is starting to get back to normal." Then Hermione giggled. "You also had a surprise visitor the other day."
"Who?" Ginny asked.
"Rita Skeeter. But don't worry, she won't be back as she'll be spending the next five years in Azkaban. I put a ward up over the door to block transformed Animagi, so when she tried to fly through the doorway in her bug form, it transformed her back to her human form. Needless to say, the Auror guards were not amused."
Ginny started to laugh before her eyes went wide and she seemed to double over.
"Ginny!" her brother was alarmed.
Gasping for breath, Ginny managed to tell him, "No, it's OK. It's just that it's not nice to make me laugh right now; that hurt." Then she started to chuckle at the image of a bug flying along and then Rita dropping from the air and landing flat on her back. She had to pant for moment to work past her laugh and pain. "So, what else has been happening? No, wait, what special things happened since we left, besides losing Percy?"
"You know?!" Ron stared at her. "How did you?"
A sigh escaped Ginny. She was not sure if she had come to terms with his death or not yet. "During the fight, Harry again forced ghosts or 'shades' to come out of Tom's wand. Percy's was the first out and he was the one that urged me to help Harry instead of just standing there like a stupid little girl. What happened to him?"
"Dad says it was only a few weeks ago," Ron started off morosely. "Riddle attacked the Ministry building and Percy got unlucky and was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Fortunately, Dad was out on assignment, so by the time he got back it was all over. Gringotts was attacked the next day and Bill was injured, but he's OK now. I suppose that with nine of us, we were really lucky to only lose one."
Ginny thought he had a point, and yet, if you had to choose people to die, it was really impossible to do. Every life was precious, even a brother who was a total arse. As tears started to leak from her eyes, she looked over to her boyfriend. There was no change. After one sob painfully wracked her body, she quickly got her emotions together. That did not stop her from softly crying herself to sleep though.
Her friends understood and watched over her and Harry, holding each other's hand in silence.
It had been five days since Ginny had regained consciousness. She was feeling semi-normal, at least if she did not count how weak she felt. Still, when her brother Bill had left in the early morning hours, and before her mother was to come, she carefully swung her legs out of bed and tentatively put them on the floor for the first time. Careful to slowly put her weight on them, while still sitting on the edge of the bed, she determined that she probably could walk as long as she did not have to go too far. Measuring the distance with her eye, she thought she could make it in four steps, maybe five if she had to take small ones.
Forcing herself to go before she lost her nerve, Ginny pushed on the bed behind her and fully stood for the first time in over nine days. Though she stumbled and almost fell, she managed to stay up until she reached Harry's bed, where she all but fell. Careful not hurt him, she pulled herself up and into his bed, where she made herself comfortable under the blanket and with her head on his shoulder. This is where she belonged, she thought as she started to fall back to sleep.
A soft noise awakened her. Looking up, she saw a nurse with a big smile on her face. "This really is not allowed, Miss Weasley. It would not be good for you to hurt another patient."
"And if I stay very still and don't disturb the tube in his other arm?" She had nestled herself between his body and his free arm. She had lost her potions tube several days ago.
"Some say patients can hear when they're unconscious like this. If you were to talk to him, I suppose it might be considered therapy," the nurse said with a grin as she continued checking Harry. "I think his body is mostly healed, but do be careful." With that, she winked at Ginny and left.
Ginny smiled and put her hand up to caress Harry's face. "Come back to me, Love; I miss you." Making herself comfortable on his shoulder again, she went back to sleep.
The next noise that awakened Ginny was not so subtle. "What are you doing there?" a shriek pierced Ginny's fuzzy thoughts. Turning her head slightly, she saw her mother standing just inside the closed door.
After a big yawn, Ginny casually said, "Therapy. I was told it's helpful to talk to people who are unconscious, and it's helpful for my recovery too." She laid her head back down.
"Get out of that bed right now, young lady. Here, I'll help you." Her mother came over in large forceful strides.
"Don't even think about it, Mum. I'm staying right here; it's where I belong. And besides, you don't want to hurt me or Harry by trying to drag me out." She put her arm over Harry to hold onto him.
Molly seemed to grow even redder. "Do you know what this makes you look like?"
"Yes, a woman who knows who she loves and knows she doesn't want to be separated from the man she's going to marry. Have a seat, Mum; we'll both be more comfortable."
"But, but... It makes you look like a..."
"Don't say it!" Ginny interrupted her mother. "That is an image in your mind that does not apply here. I'm an adult now, as is Harry. We would already be engaged if it wasn't for the war."
"I don't care, Ginny. You shouldn't be there even if you were already married. This is a public place."
Ginny looked the other direction for a second while she rolled her eyes. "Mum, this is a private hospital room. Only family can get in here, besides the medical staff -- one of whom gave me permission to be here. Oh, do you know if breakfast is ready? I'm hungry."
Her mother looked at her, then proceeded to walk forward to pull her arm off of Harry.
Ginny pointed her hand out toward her mother and murmured, "Sendan". Her mother was pushed back several steps. "Don't make me hex you, Mum."
"You wouldn't?" her mother asked in a scandalized voice, totally ignoring the fact that her daughter had just used wandless magic.
Ginny did not glare or raise her voice. "I wouldn't like doing it, but if I thought it necessary, yes, I would do it. Or I could put up a privacy ward around the bed so you can't even approach us. I'm serious about staying here."
Molly slowly moved backward, almost stumbling into the chair behind her, where she sat down hard before she buried her face in her hands. "Where have I gone wrong?"
Ginny rolled her eyes as the door opened. The same nurse as before came in with her breakfast tray. "Here you are, Miss Weasley. If you'll slowly turn around so your feet are hanging off the bed, you can sit there and eat. I'll roll this table over for you." Ginny saw her mother looking horrified that the nurse had caught her in bed with her boyfriend. She only mentally laughed, as it was not good to push her mother too far.
"There, how's that?" the nurse asked. Ginny smiled at her as she sat on the edge of Harry's bed ready to start eating her porridge. "Here, let me make this a little more comfortable for you. Pulling out her wand, she made the bed widen, from a twin to a full sized bed. "There now, that should make it all better. When you finish with breakfast, I'd like you to go into the bathroom and take a shower, or maybe a bath so you won't have to stand up for so long. I'll pull out some clean pyjamas for you. I believe your family also brought your favorite soap and shampoo. When you've finished that, you can come back to bed. Don't forget, use nice soothing tones when talking to Mr. Potter."
Ginny watched the nurse take care of the few things she needed to before she left. Ginny noticed her mother still had the horrified look on her face. Ginny just blew on her hot porridge and slowly ate it while her mother tried to come to grips with the present circumstances. By the time Ginny finished eating, her mother was only glaring at her, though she had not said a new word. Ginny pushed the table with her tray back and with confidence she did not really have, she walked to the bathroom, grabbing her clean pyjamas on the way.
Once in the bathroom, she all but collapsed onto the toilet. She was not nearly as strong as she had thought. As she started the hot water in the small bathtub there, she noticed that all of her personal things were available. Stripping down, she got into the tub and promised herself she would stay there until the water got cool.
Feeling much better after her bath and washing her hair, Ginny got dressed. Poking her head out of the room, she saw that her mother was gone. While that was surprising, it was not hard to guess why. Still, with her being alone, she did not have to look so brave, so she took the walk back to Harry's bed slowly, helping herself by leaning on the chairs and the other bed.
Crawling back in, she made herself comfortable on one elbow and began to softly talk to Harry. She talked about the dreams they had made and shared with each other. She also talked about the good times they had had over the last seven years. All the bad memories were left out, she did not want to remind him of those. She wanted him to hear what he had to look forward to, a reason to wake up.
Ginny had a very enjoyable morning talking to Harry, when Ron and Hermione came in with her lunch tray. Fortunately, Hermione was carrying it, as Ron looked like he would have dropped it. "So that's why Mum was in such a tizzy."
Hermione sat the tray on the rolling table and brought it over as the red-haired girl sat up on the edge of the bed. "Here you go, Ginny. Tuck in."
"Yeah, Mum was none to pleased, especially when I told her I'd hex her when she came over to drag me back to my own bed." She played with the soup checking it out. At least they finally added some chunks of meat, she thought. "I suppose she went home to call Dad?"
"Oh yeah," Ron said. "I was starting to make breakfast for myself when she came storming in. I'm not sure I remember when was the last time I saw her that mad, but I'm sure it involved Fred and George. She started off the call about you being a brazen scarlet woman, though she wasn't making too much sense. Finally, she just stepped through the Floo to talk to Dad. I never saw her come back, so I guess she hasn't calmed down yet."
Ginny giggled as she dipped her bread in to the soup broth to get the last few spoonfuls. "Is anything else fun happening?"
"I talked to the Headmistress this morning," Hermione said. "She said we can come back for the second term in about three weeks to prepare for our NEWTs. She said she would help arrange for tutoring with the professors. We'd basically be in independent study though, no real classes."
Nodding her head as she thought about it, Ginny finally said, "Yeah, I think I'd like that. As soon as Harry is ready, we can go back."
"But Ginny, what if Harry can't go back for several months?" Hermione asked worriedly.
"Then I'll wait until he can. I'm already married to him in my heart; it's for better or for worse. I'll take care of him," she said stoically. Her friends understood and they talked for the afternoon, including how to handle Christmas which was coming up in about a week and a half.
Shortly after Ginny finished dinner, her mother and father came in. Her mother had a determined look on her face, while her father merely looked resigned. Ron and Hermione decided they needed to go finish their Christmas shopping and left.
Her parents pulled up chairs and sat down on the other side of Harry, so it was easy for Ginny to see them, and they her. "How is he?" her father asked.
"The same," she replied. "I'm doing slightly better today."
"That's good to hear." He paused for a moment and looked at Harry carefully, before looking back to her. "Ginny, your mother is very concerned about your actions, specifically your sleeping in Harry's bed."
"It's not like we can really do anything here, seeing how he's unconscious. But do you feel it's a problem too, Dad?" She watched her mother glare at her then at her father, who seemed to picking his words very carefully.
"I think it would be best to say that she has valid point," he finally said.
Ginny hid her grin at the unspoken thoughts. "I understand and I'll think about it, but for now, I plan to stay here where I can talk to him and perhaps help him wake up, while also allowing me to rest and heal too." She watched her mother stand up and leave without saying a word.
As the door closed behind her mother, her father softly said, "You know she's never liked being ignored on things she feels strongly about."
"I know, Dad; but like Hermione, she's not always right either. I'm seventeen and this is my life. As I told my friends, Harry and I may not be married yet, but I feel like I am in my heart. I will take care of him, for better or for worse until death do us part."
Her father stood and grabbed her hand to give it a gentle squeeze. "I'll tell her that. It may make her feel better. Have a good night. I'll be by for a few hours tomorrow."
After her father was gone, Ginny turned to Harry and caressed his face. "I'm here for you Harry and I love you. As soon as you wake up and get better, we can get married and go home to the life we talked about." Laying her head back down on him, she contemplated what else she could do to help him as she fell asleep.
Ginny wasn't sure what woke her this time. There was no one in the dimly lit room but the two of them, and then she felt Harry move slightly. "Harry?" He moved a little more. "Harry? Open your eyes sweetie." His eyes fluttered open and she was looking at his wonderful green orbs again. "Oh, Harry!" He looked at her briefly then closed his eyes and fell back asleep. She couldn't decide whether to be happy he had awakened, if but briefly, or to be concerned that she had seen no recognition in his expression.
The entire next day was like the night. Harry would wake up for a few seconds to at most a minute every few hours. He would glance around, and then fall back to sleep. He never said or acknowledged anything. A talk with a healer that had come in was not helpful. The long-winded answer amounted to, "We need to wait and see."
Ginny's mother was back, and while she did not give her daughter a hard time about being in Harry's bed, she did not say anything positive either. Molly basically was there as a presence, as if Harry needed a chaperone. Molly was happy that Harry was starting to come around.
It wasn't until the end of Ginny's second week awake, and four days after Harry had regained consciousness for the first time that he spoke his first word. "Gin?"
Ginny had been combing his hair. It had actually started growing and needed some help. She almost dropped the comb. "Harry?" He had started to stay awake a little longer each time he woke. Yesterday, it was for nearly an hour at a time. "How do you feel?"
Harry did not answer her, he just looked at her as if he wanted to say something, but could not figure out what it was. Ginny wished for more progress, but she smiled at him and to herself. He had started talking again.
Christmas Eve, Healer Tolly came into the room. Ginny was dressed, as she had been for almost the last two weeks; Harry was sitting up in bed looking at Quidditch Through the Ages. Near as Ginny could tell, Harry was not reading it, he was just looking through the pictures for the hundredth time. He never seemed to tire of the book.
"Miss Weasley, may I have a word with you in my office?"
She looked at him and nodded before she got up and walked over to Harry. "I'll be back in a few minutes, all right?" Harry nodded to her. While he could talk, he usually did not. Smiling at him, she turned and followed the healer out the door, past the Aurors, and down the hall to a small office. She had been here once before not long ago.
In the privacy of the office, the healer looked at the young woman. "Miss Weasley, you've been able to leave for the last week, and yet you have not. Why?"
"Am I causing a problem?"
"No, but we don't normally have well people here, except those who are on staff," Tolly said with a slight smile.
"I'm taking care of Harry. He needs a face he knows; he needs me."
The healer looked at her carefully before he spoke again. "Mr. Potter is now well physically, but he needs to have more specialized care. We have a place he can get that, and I think we need to move him there."
Ginny knew where that was, it was the same place Neville's parents were. She did not want that for Harry. "For the sake of argument, if he were moved there, could he be helped?"
Tolly sighed. "Honestly, I don't know. I am glad to see he can talk and can hold a basic, if very simplistic, conversation; that will make it all a lot easier. The fact that he can remember almost nothing of his life is a problem, and we don't know if he can retain any new information. What he really needs is specialized one-on-one care for an extended period of time."
She had been expecting him to say that. "Very well, since he has no family and I am his fiancée, please release him to my custody and I'll make sure it happens."
"Miss Weasley?! Do you realize what you'd be getting yourself into? The amount of work and effort involved?"
"Yes; I've been doing it for most of this last week. Besides, I will have my mother to help me. We were to be married as soon as the war was over. I believe the vows go 'for better or for worse'. Considering where we are now, it can only get better and I look forward to that."
The healer thought that was overly brave of the girl considering how little hope he held for Potter recovering. He had once heard a person say that love was the strongest power in the world, even stronger than magic. He wondered if this was an example of that. "While against my professional judgment, in this case, my personal opinion says to let you do this." She smiled. "I'll get some forms you'll need to fill out. I will warn you though, that a copy of the forms will go to the Ministry. That means eventually it will come out that Mr. Potter is not in full control of himself and that you are his medical guardian. Considering the security issues we've had here with reporters, I can't predict what will happen when this fact becomes known."
"I understand, Healer Tolly. Thank you for your help." She rose to leave, then stopped when a thought occurred to her. "Healer Tolly? If I should need the name of a specialist or a reference letter as I pursue his treatment, can I come to you for that?"
"Of course, Miss Weasley. I'd be happy to help. In fact, I'll give you the name of the best mind healer I know along with a letter of reference right now. You should contact him as soon as you can."
Ginny thanked him and left. Two hours later, Harry was back at The Burrow, after having been snuck out of the hospital past multiple reporters who were still waiting for a glimpse of him. Ignoring her mother's glares, Ginny moved him into her room, expanding her bed slightly.
Once she got him settled in, she went downstairs to see about dinner for them. As she was helping her mother make dinner, Harry came into the room and took a seat at the table. That surprised everyone, as he had barely walked at the hospital. Everyone welcomed him. Harry just smiled and looked around, taking it all in in silence.
After dinner, he also followed Ginny around. Whenever she would leave the room to go some place new, he would show up a few minutes later. Molly was worried about that, but Ginny just smiled and guided him to the seat nearest to her.
That night, Molly checked on Ginny and Harry as their door was opened slightly. Peeking in the crack of the door, she saw Ginny laying on her back and Harry nestled against her; it was mostly innocent. Then along with a soft snore, she heard a soft sob and a whisper. "Oh Harry, what do I need to do for you to make you better. This is all so unfair to you." She finally noticed a little movement and realized it was her daughter's hand gently stroking his head. "Oh, Harry, my precious Harry," she heard repeated over and over. Carefully to be quiet, Molly step away from the door and went to her and Arthur's room. She went to bed and cried herself to sleep over the poor boy's plight on Arthur's shoulder.
Arthur understood his wife's feelings and held her; he had a soft spot for Harry too. Perhaps their parenting days were not quite over with, Arthur considered, though he would be very different from their other seven children.
Christmas morning was the same. Ron was still exuberant and up early. At the same time, it was different in The Burrow. The family now had an eighteen year-old who seemed to act like a shy four year-old. Arthur and Molly were both impressed at Ginny's patience and loving kindness. She never lost her patience once during the long day.
They found Harry was strangely self-sufficient. He could get dressed if you gave him clothes, though he could not pick any out. He could also feed himself and go to the bathroom by himself. But other than that, he seemed to be content to follow Ginny around and just watch her.
On Boxing Day, Ginny sent Hedwig to the post office in Diagon Alley with a letter for international post. She did not have the heart to send Harry's feathered friend on that long of a journey, especially in the winter weather that was starting to move in. Ginny did not expect an answer until the New Year, but she wanted to get the process started.
Life settled into a routine at the house over the next week. During the day, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione (when she could make it) talked to Harry telling him stories about himself and all of them. It was the only thing Ginny could think to do to help him at the moment. The three teens found it fascinating that Harry sat in rapt attention for hours listening to them. He never made any comments, but obviously enjoyed their presence and listening to them.
New Year's Eve morning, Ginny got a letter from Healer Victor Verstand. She had an appointment for the 5th of January. Leaving Harry with her peers and mother, she quickly Flooed to the Ministry to arrange for an International Portkey to Berlin and for a visa for an extended stay.
"Miss Weasley, it's nice to meet you; and on a personal note, thank you for your efforts in the defeating You-Know-Who." An older man with bushy white hair greeted the young woman and her companion who was silently standing there and looking around the richly decorated office, totally ignoring the old man.
"Thank you, Healer Verstand, and you're welcome. Actually, that battle is the reason we're here. This is Harry Potter, and he's the friend I need you to talk to."
"Oh? I hadn't heard there had been any post-battle problems." He turned to the young man, "Mr. Potter, it is an honor meet you." He held out his hand to the young man, who looked at him because he had addressed him, but otherwise did not take the proffered hand. "Interesting. Do you have his medical records?" he asked Ginny. She pulled out a folder and handed it over. "Yes, well, why don't you take him over there," he pointed to what looked like a play area for little children. "I'll look these over for a few minutes."
Ginny lead Harry to the other side of the room and he found some books with moving pictures and started looking at them. She returned to the healer at his desk, though she kept an eye on Harry.
After nearly ten minutes of reading, the healer looked up at her. "I'll need to perform some tests. If you'd like to stay and watch, you'll need to go into the next room. You'll be able to see and hear through that large portrait over there. Or you can arrange for lodging. I don't know how long you'll be here, but hopefully I can answer that by the end of the day."
"I'll stay and watch. We have a hotel room for now," Ginny told him.
"Very well. Please tell me about the battle, especially all the details of any spells that were cast and their results."
Ginny took about ten minutes to explain it all in detail. The healer took a number of notes from her description.
Satisfied he knew how the damage had happened, Verstand showed her into a small room where she could observe, and then he proceeded to do a number of tests on Harry, some of which made no sense to Ginny while she watched.
At the end of the day, the healer brought her back in, while Harry returned to the picture books. "Miss Weasley, you must understand that the mind is the most complex thing on earth, as such, there is much guessing as well as uncertainty about it. To spare your patience, I'll tell you up front that I believe I can help Mr. Potter."
"Thank you, Healer Verstand!" Ginny wanted to cry with happiness, until the healer held up his hand to stop her.
"I can help him, but I don't know what the outcome will be. I don't know how far I can bring him back, or who he will think he is when I'm done."
Ginny looked questioningly. "What do you mean by that?"
"Let me explain," the healer told her. "Many people like to use the analogy of a library for the mind; I prefer to speak of it in terms of a house. In 'your house', you have rooms, each correspond to a part of your life and how you see yourself. The rooms are filled with things, those things are memories. That is all vastly simplified, but will do for our discussion."
"And how does Harry's house look?"
"When I used Legilimency on him, I did not see a normal house per se, but a warehouse. An open building with no walls for rooms, and there were very few things in it. If I didn't know better, I'd say he was an infant who had no experiences in life. The odd thing was the foundation of the building. From the foundation came a very high motivation, not only to survive, and why he can do simple things to take care of himself, but also motivation in terms of you. Do not ask me how, but you are part of his basic being. One might even say his reason for living and sanity."
Ginny did not know what to say, but she did her best to remember it all so she could think about it later. "So what can you do for him?"
"There are some memory therapies I'd like to try. Some are harmless in that nothing bad happens if they don't work, so I'll start with them first. The more promising therapies are quite dangerous and have the possibility to make him insane, if they don't cure him. We'll try those only as a last resort, and then very slowly so we can pull back if we detect any problems. I think you'll be here for at least two months and possibly three. You should consider finding a place to rent. A private and consistent residence will be very helpful to him."
"I see. Is there anything else that needs to be done?" Ginny asked.
"First, I need you both to come here every day at one. You might want to bring a book or other materials to occupy yourself, though I will need your help from time to time. Second, I will give you some other books to use for his mornings. You'll be like an elementary teacher and teach him a basic education again. While I might be able to help him recover those skills, there is no need to waste time on something that is easily relearned."
"Thank you, Healer Verstand. We'll go have dinner and see you tomorrow." Ginny felt hope for the first time since leaving St. Mungo's. She would go looking for a house during Harry's session tomorrow afternoon; hopefully, it would be nearby.
Two weeks later, Ginny was sending a letter back to England. She had sent a status letter a week ago too, but this letter was more than how they were doing. This letter asked for something.
Harry was making progress. He was starting to talk more and could read simple books like a five year-old could. In some ways Ginny was very amazed at how fast he was picking the material up. Perhaps he was reaching back to previously learn learned skills. That progress contrasted with Healer Verstand's lack of success in the simple therapies. They had tried one of the more advanced ideas and had had some success. Given that, Ginny had written her letter.
Her letter did not contain an answer to Minister Scrimgeour's request for their presence at a Ministry Ball in three weeks. The invitation had come last week. It was apparent they did not know about Harry's condition, or didn't care if they did know. She assumed they had seen the form for her being Harry's medical guardian, so she took it as as a slap in the face. There was the option for only her to go, but that would have raised more questions than she cared to answer, so the easy action was just to ignore it altogether and let Scrimgeour hang in the wind. Besides, she knew Harry would not have wanted to go anyway.
Hermione and Ron were sitting at the Gryffindor table having breakfast. None of their normal friends were there, since they had completed their classes last year. They knew a number of their housemates, especially the seventh-years like Colin Creevey, but the close friendships just weren't there, so they normally ate by themselves.
Ron was having to work really hard to get his assignments done. He had known it was going to be hard, but he had Hermione to help him; plus he really wanted to see this through. The sixteen months of intense war had taught him something: Do whatever it takes for something that's important to you. Therefore, he was applying himself to his schoolwork in ways that would have been absolutely foreign to him in his first six years at Hogwarts.
Hermione was having an easier time, but only because she was used to lots of independent research. Still, it was taxing on her too because she had two more classes than Ron. As she thought about what she had to accomplish today, a brown speckled owl swooped in with the rest of the morning owls and dropped a letter in front of her. Her Daily Prophet came next and fell on top of the letter.
"Who's that from?" Ron asked after he washed his breakfast down with some juice, a lesson he had finally learned.
"Looks like Ginny's writing," she said excitedly as she tore the letter open. "It is!" She held it out so Ron could read it at the same time.
Dear Ron and Hermione, I hope things are going well for
you. We're having some small successes. I treasure each one and use
them to give me courage against the failures. The latest success is
centered around an unusual therapy. Unfortunately, I can not do it
alone; I need your help here in Berlin. Please pack and bring enough
schoolwork with you for a month. We think you can return in a couple
of weeks, but there is some uncertainty. I'll see you soon. Love,
I hope things are going well for you. We're having some small successes. I treasure each one and use them to give me courage against the failures. The latest success is centered around an unusual therapy. Unfortunately, I can not do it alone; I need your help here in Berlin. Please pack and bring enough schoolwork with you for a month. We think you can return in a couple of weeks, but there is some uncertainty. I'll see you soon.
"She didn't even ask; she just assumed we'd come after we'd just gotten settled here," huffed Ron.
Hermione glared at him. "Honestly Ron, did she really have to ask? I know I'd do anything to help Harry, wouldn't you?"
"Of course, but it is common courtesy to ask," he retorted.
She rolled her eyes at her fiancé. "I'll go speak to the Headmistress about getting an International Portkey. Finish your breakfast quickly."
Three days later, Hermione and Ron were in front of a small house in Berlin. Ron moved the two trunks they had up to the front porch, capable of doing so only because of the Featherweight charms on them. They were so full of books, he would not have been able to move them normally. Ginny answered the door.
"Hermione!" she squealed and welcomed her friend with a big hug. Letting go she gave her brother a hug too. "I'm so glad you're here," she told them as she guided them inside. "I've rented this place for the next few months. There's a bedroom back there you two can have. I assume you're still sleeping together?"
Her brunette friend blushed, but her brother said, "Whenever we can. It's a hard habit to break after we got used to each other. I'm still impressed you got Mum to let you sleep with Harry at the house. By the way, where is Harry?" When Ron had moved the trunks in, Ginny closed the door behind him.
"He's in the back room working on homework." Ginny's upbeat nature now flattened somewhat. "Have a seat, we need to talk for a minute before I take you back there to see him. He is slowly getting better, but the healer says he thinks there's no hope to get the real Harry back without doing something drastic, which is why you two are here."
"What?" Hermione asked.
"I gave Harry a copy of one of my memories; it was the day I first met him when he was going to Hogwarts for the first time. It was a short memory, but after that, he seemed slightly better. So we need to give him a copy of our memories of him. Healer Verstand says Harry will never be one hundred percent himself, because he'll be missing everything he did when he was by himself, or that he did with people other than the three of us, but we three were with him the vast majority of his life from when he was eleven until now."
Ron looked at Hermione as he tried to think it through. Hermione understood, except for one thing. "You said this was drastic, and that makes it sound dangerous. Why? What else could happen?"
Ginny bit her lower lip for a moment before she finally said, "If it doesn't work properly, it could drive him insane and beyond help forever. Viewing a memory in a Pensieve is not a big deal, as you have your normal self to anchor you; to have another's memory injected into you can cause you to lose your point of view. He could lose himself and become all of us at different times."
"You mean he could become schizophrenic?" Hermione asked.
"Yes, that was the word the healer used. He could lose himself in his multiple personalities." Ginny's face started to show her strain. "I don't know what else to do, but if there's hope, I must try it. The problem is we won't really know until we try it some more."
Hermione got up and walked over to her friend and gave her a hug. "We'll take it slowly then. We brought enough work for a month, but we can send back for more if we need to. We're here for both you and Harry."
Ginny clung to her friend drawing comfort. "Thanks," she whispered. She looked up when she felt another hand on her shoulder and saw her brother there with great concern on his face. Taking a deep breath, she put a few loose hairs back in place and stood. "Come on, I'll take you back to Harry."
"Hey Ron, don't be prat and hog it all, pass the milk, will you?" Harry asked as he poured syrup over his pancakes.
Ginny was pleased as she watched her boyfriend that morning. They had been very slowly dumping memories into Harry from the three of them in time order. Presently, they were starting his fifth year, and appropriately, Harry was acting like a fourteen or fifteen year-old. She hoped he continued to mature, but this was so much better than he had been.
Sleeping had become more interesting too. Like most fifteen year-old boys he was becoming fascinated with girls, and her body in particular. They still slept together as he seemed to need her comfort like a Teddy Bear, but he was starting to get more adventurous, much like he had been the first month they had slept together during their sixteen-month war. He had purposely touched one of her breasts for the first time last night. She had merely smiled in the dark and let him. His tentative touches hadn't lasted long. She was amused to consider that she was seventeen, had been sleeping with her boyfriend for the last year and a half, and yet she was still a virgin, contrary to what her mother thought. That magic moment just had not happened yet.
Another interesting thing was Harry's magic. After Harry had absorbed his first year, they had let him try some magic for the first time since the Final Battle. It was like first year for him all over again. Ginny and Hermione worked diligently with him on his spells, while Ron played fireman and repair person, fixing all the problems Harry's mistakes caused.
Yet another strange coincidence presented itself during this time. The three friends realized that except for the Final Battle, Harry had been by himself for each of his confrontations with Voldemort while in school, so they were unable to share those battles with him. In the end, they considered that to be a good thing.
Ginny was embarrassed beyond belief. They were reliving the sixteen-month war, and they were about six months into it. This was when the four teens had decided to alter their sleeping arrangements. They had just finished a particularly difficult battle with a dragon to get Hufflepuff's cup, and everyone needed all the comfort they could get. Amazingly, Ron had not said a word when Harry had pulled Ginny into the girl's room and closed the door. Harry and Ginny had just clung together that night, each seeking the safety and comfort of the other. The next day, Harry and Hermione had moved their trunks and there had been no discussion or dissension.
Harry seemed to be only slightly embarrassed when he had received that memory, but mostly he just looked at Ginny as if trying to figure out a puzzle. Hopefully, by the time he finished with ten more months of memories of intimate talks between them, he would understand.
She held his hand as she extracted the copy of another memory for him, though she made him acknowledge he had fully absorbed and orgainized the last memory into his mind before he started on this new one. That was the standard procedure to avoid problems. They also never did more than ten memories a day. Ginny had no idea why the healer had picked that number, but that was the limit. Most days, they did ten. Some days, particularly ones with several very emotional times, they did less. Healer Verstand was very insistent that with something a delicate as the mind, hurrying was never an option.
It was nearly three months after they had arrived in Berlin. Ron and Hermione had left six weeks ago, a month after they had come. Harry and Ginny stood talking to Healer Verstand.
"Thank you very much!" Harry told the healer as he shook his hand heartily.
"You're very welcome my boy. I learned a lot with you, perhaps enough to help some other people, though you're case has been unique. Nevertheless, the majority of your thanks should go to your young lady here. It was her determination and efforts that won the day."
Harry turned to Ginny and gently kissed her temple. "I'll do my best to thank her every day." He looked down and saw the engagement ring on her hand, the one he had given her last night.
"I thank you too, Healer Verstand," Ginny told the man. "Downplay your part all you want, but I know that without you, Harry would not be who he is today."
"I'm happy I could help. It's nice to have a patient who can pay for it too," he teased them. Harry laughed. He and Ginny had received enough rewards for killing Voldemort and capturing so many Death Eaters that they had not even had to dip into the Potter fortune. "Have a good trip and feel free to drop by some evening to tell an old man hello."
Harry and Ginny Portkeyed back home to The Burrow. Every one of the Weasleys, spouses, and spouses-to-be were present. Harry was warmly welcomed back. After many hugs and a few kisses on the cheek, Harry was pulled to the side by the brothers to talk and joke. Mr. Weasley also joined and asked what the Muggle world was like in Germany.
Molly put an arm around Ginny's shoulder and drew her away from the rest of the crowd. "How is he really, Ginny dear?"
The young woman sighed. "He's the new Harry. He'll never be like he was -- there are just too many parts of him missing. And yet, in some ways, he's better than before. He has no memory of all the awful things the Dursleys did to him, most of the battles are also gone, as are all fights with Voldemort except for the Final Battle. I almost didn't share that with him, but he insisted on knowing what he had done that people thought he was famous for. I don't think he'll ever be able to pass his NEWTs or hold a job that requires difficult or tedious work, but with his family inheritance, that's not a problem. Perhaps we can be the sales force for Fred and George and run a second store for them. He can't do wandless magic any more, and some of the harder spells like the Patronus give him problems, but underneath, he's still the same boy I fell in love with. And he still loves me. I think he'll make a wonderful father someday too."
After a moment, Molly told her daughter, "I'm glad for you dear. You've done a great thing in helping him. Life has been very unfair to him. It's taken so much from him."
Ginny saw Harry turn around looking for her, then his green eyes locked onto her brown ones and she could see his love for her. If it was possible for them to live happily ever after, Ginny was determined to make it happen. "I know, Mum, it's not fair that all the bad things happened to him so he can't fully be like he should be, but it's part of why I love him. He takes it all in stride and keeps on living. I can't do or be any less for him."
(A/N: Most stories end with a happily ever after ending, which I like. I've seen a few with Harry dying, and if done correctly, can be interesting. But I can't remember any where Harry ends up in an in-between state. I'm sure reviewers will tell me "you just haven't read enough because I've read several like that". Oh well; I only have so much time. :-) Anyway, I hope you liked the story, or at least the writing. It's something different for me, in that there is so little action, but I wanted to do something like this. It's also somewhat "darker" than my normal stories (though not what I consider "dark fiction"), but that is also something different to try. -- kb)