Summary: DH SPOILERS!!! DH (except for the epilogue) ended with Harry planning to return to Gryffindor tower to get some sleep. Takes place when he gets there. He gets a chance to talk to Ron and Ginny, and we see Ron and Hermione's first real conversation after the battle. H/G and R/Hr romance; Friendship Ron and Harry. R&R!
A/N: So, if you remember, DH (except for the epilogue) ended with Harry planning to return to Gryffindor tower to get some sleep. Well, this is my take on what happens when he, Ron, and Hermione get there.
Now, on with the story.
"And that look means…"
The three of them entered the Gryffindor common room and Harry immediately set out for the boys' dorm, hoping to get some rest from the chaos in the bed in which he had spent so many nights before. Ron watched him disappear, and then glanced back at Hermione, looking torn. She knew what he was thinking – he wasn't sure if he should go talk to Harry, or stay with her, especially after what had happened back in the Room of Requirement…
"Go," Hermione murmured, "This is your first chance to really talk to your best friend in months. I'll wait here for you." Ron smiled and kissed her cheek before hurrying up the stairs after Harry.
He opened the door to find Harry lying back on his four-poster with his hands behind his head, staring at the ceiling. Ron sat down on the next bed, running his hands over the all-too-familiar hangings. For six years they had been the first things he had seen when he woke from a dream about Hermione, the destruction of Voldemort, or an end to his friend's constant suffering. Tonight, two of those dreams had come true, but as he looked at Harry, he knew the third would take a while. Finally he broke the silence.
"I feel like I should say something…I don't know…deep or profound or something, but what do you say in a situation like this? We've been working toward this for nearly seven years, and it's over, just like that. What now?"
"I don't know," Harry answered. "My life with the Dursleys was miserable, and my whole life as a wizard has been about fighting Voldemort. It just seems unreal that I'm finally free, that I can possibly have a normal life." He paused, "So where is everyone? I was a little out of it downstairs "
"Well," said Ron, thinking, "Neville, Luna, and Dean are still celebrating, not sure about Ginny. Last I saw, Seamus was with Lavender – she's in bad shape – and Mum and Dad are still in the Great Hall with Bill, Percy, and the tw – uh George." Ron's face visibly fell as the reality of his brother's death hit him again. Harry sat up.
"Ron, I'm so sorry. He was fighting because of me and- "
"No, Harry. No" Ron cut across him, "Obviously there's not a good chance of anyone…completely over this, but there's even less chance of us blaming you. It wasn't your fault – not Fred or anyone else. Please don't blame yourself."
Harry took a deep breath. "Easier said than done, but I'll try. Thanks Ron," he said, pulling his friend into a hug. "Anyway, how's Hermione?"
"She's downstairs. Worried about you too, " Ron replied. The two sat in silence for a moment as Ron stared out into space, wondering about what to say to Hermione, if he said anything at all. He couldn't believe what had happened. Things had been going great all summer, and he was just trying to find the guts and the moment to tell her. Then when he left (he still felt unbearably ashamed when he thought about his actions that night), she had been so angry that even when they made up, he had still never expected her to react the way she did. A small smile crossed his face as he replayed the memory in his head.
"And that look means its time for you to go back downstairs," Harry said.
"Oh, yeah, I – I guess so," he stammered, embarrassed that he had become so absorbed in his flashback. "You ok then?"
"I will be," Harry answered as he returned to his earlier position of staring at the ceiling, "but if you find out where Ginny is…"
Ron nodded, "I'll send her up."
That proved unnecessary, however, for when Ron came into view of the common room, Ginny sprang out of a chair and approached him. She paused on the bottom step and stood on her toes to reach his neck and hug him tightly before continuing up the staircase without a word.
Hermione was sitting on a couch in front of the fireplace. "She came in a minute ago and I told her that she might want to wait for you to come down before she went up there," she explained. As Ron dropped down beside her she asked, "How is he?"
Ron sighed, "Well, naturally, he's blaming himself for a lot, and he's still in shock that it's over, just like everyone else. It'll take some time, but I think he'll be fine in the end."
"And are you alright?" she asked quietly and cautiously. He looked at her and saw the concern on her face. He gave her a small, half-hearted smile.
"It's a lot to take in, but I'll be ok, really," he assured her.
"Good," she said, moving a little closer to him. He draped and arm across the back of the couch behind her, now hesitant to put it around her shoulders, despite the hundreds of times he had in recent months. "And you're right," she continued. "It is a lot to take in. Voldemort's dead. He's really gone. Forever," she paused, looking at him uncertainly. "Ron?"
"About what happened, I know it's probably not the best time, but…"
"No, it's ok," Ron interjected, sitting up a little straighter, "I was actually wanting to talk about that."
"Ron," she said, "I'm sorry I jumped on you like that, it's just that we'd been making so much progress lately, and when you said that, it was like that last walls between us fell or something."
"Hermione, relax," he laughed. "My only regret is that I didn't do it myself a year ago." She smiled and looked down, blushing.
"Me too," she mumbled. Ron chuckled quietly and finally dropped his arm to her shoulders. He kissed her for the second time and rested his chin on her head. She leaned against him and he held her close as they continued to sit in silence, many different and contradicting emotions flooding through them, and the same worry on both of their minds: Harry.
Ginny took a deep breath and turned the doorknob. She found Harry just as Ron had, lying on his bed; he didn't even hear the door open.
"Harry?" she asked in a small, hesitant voice.
His eyes flicked over to her and he sat up quickly. "Gin…" he breathed. She made her way across the room and sat beside him, letting her head fall to his shoulder as he wrapped his arms around her.
One tear slid down her cheek, but she did not collapse into sobs as he might have expected. After a moment she wiped it away and lifted her head to look at him. "We're here for you," she whispered.
Harry looked at her. She had been through hell tonight, along with so many others. She had fought for her life while fearing for her family and friends. Not only that, but she had done all of it for him.
She lost her brother and several other loved ones, but yet she looked Harry in the eyes, and in them he saw the same strength and determination that had always been a part of her. Covered in cuts, bruises, and dirt, Ginny was still beautiful, and Harry loved her. He knew that no matter how long it took, as long as Ginny, Ron, and Hermione were safe, everything would be alright in the end.
A/N: Ok, so I started this story in August, put it on hiatus due to schoolwork, lack of inspiration, and a desire to write a new story. However, I gave it to my friend Katherine-the-Crowned temporarily, but she hated her ending and I had trouble accepting it simply because I didn't write it. She offered to give it back to me and I finished it, using her ideas as inspiration for the Harry/Ginny bit. I couldn't have finished it without her! Thanks Kat!
Please let me know what you think
(edit: as poitned out by anonymous reviewer "250505" I realized that some of the interaction between Harry and Ron isn't perfect, butI have trouble writing emotional but non-romantic stuff. My other pieces are either lighter, entirely romantic, or both, so that shouldn't be an issue.)
(Edit2: Thanks to the brilliant editing abilities of Katherine-the-Crowned, the Harry and Ron section has been fixed to hopefully be more natural. She's been so amazingly helpful with this story!)