Chapter XXI: Funeral For A Friend (Love Lies Bleeding)

Ginny Weasley was hysterical. Harry Potter, her Harry Potter, was waning. And it was because of Draco Malfoy. The thoughts of what to do to him flew t-ough her mind.

She could curse him. With the Bat-Bogey Hex. Twice.

Dumbledore should be told. He could have Malfoy expelled! Couldn't he? Malfoy had killed (or nearly) a student. Surely he'd be expelled. But Harry had agreed to the duel. Malfoy had invoked the Old Laws. Wasn't it legal for a Pureblood to challenge a wizard or witch to a duel for a violation of the Old Laws? Damn. It was.

She would curse him! She and her brothers would curse him! It didn't seem enough.

A new rage unlocked in Ginny Weasley.

She'd murder him.

But that would come later. Now, Harry needed to stay alive. Ginny knew that he was losing blood. She knew that he was losing a lot of blood.

DAMN YOU IDIOTS! she shouted in her mind at Ron, Hermione, and Neville, knowing that it was futile; they wouldn't hear her cries. HE'S DYING AND YOU LOT ARE STANDING THERE DOING NOTHING! In her terror and rage, she had not heard the end of the s-ill laughter that had petrified the others.

She was surprised when, at the same time, t-ee things happened. Draco Malfoy fled; a flash that blinded even Harry's closed eyes erupted in the centre of the room; and a moment later, Harry's companions hurried to him and began trying to give aid.

Hermione Granger was in tears. The Boy Who Lived, the wizarding world's saviour, had been defeated in a duel horribly. Draco Malfoy, the most annoying git ever to live, had struck a potentially fatal blow to the raven-haired boy. She knew a small bit of Latin, and knew full well that 'Sectumsempra' was a corruption of the p-ase that meant 'always cutting'.

Harry's form was so motionless on the ground before her; it was the most terrifying sight she ever had beheld. His scar was bloody, a steady trickle running off the sides of his forehead. That in and of itself was horrifying, but the gashes on his neck were more so. From her distance, she could not see the extent of the lacerations, but the blood that pooled under him was telltale of its gravity.

And the laughter… A trill of terror shot up her spine at its tenor. This was laughter that no human could emit. Part inhuman s-iek, part gale of mirthless hilarity, it was the most awful sound she'd heard in her nearly twelve years of being.

But perhaps even odder than the terrible laughter was the other disembodied voice that rang out. "DAMN YOU IDIOTS!" it had s-ieked in fury and anguish to exceed all. "HE'S DYING AND YOU LOT ARE STANDING THERE DOING NOTHING!"

With the influx of this new voice, the laughter ceased immediately and was replaced with a bizarre inhalation of air from the disembodied spectre. Draco Malfoy, whom had been silent since the beginning of the laughter, now seemed terrified. He looked around the room with increased rapidity and was now rolling his wand in his closed hand, wary of attack.

That is when the light exploded in the centre of the room, directly over Harry's limp form.

It was something she never thought she would see in her time. She'd read about it, of course, how a phoenix traveled, but never did she believe she would live to see it with her own two eyes. A glorious scarlet bird soared over Harry's body, circling the boy.

It stopped midway and put forth its talons, s-ieking the most dreadful phoenix song she'd ever heard. It attacked a spot just above Harry's head, apparently infuriated at the empty space. It dive-bombed the space several times before letting loose a triumphant trill and flying down to Harry's motionless body.

The phoenix quickly assessed which injury was most severe. Not a moment after landing, the phoenix bowed its head over Harry's neck and wept. Perhaps that was the most extraordinary sight of the night, Hermione had yet to decide. Never before had she dreamt of seeing the miraculous powers of a phoenix's healing tears. But tonight, a night that would be seared into her memory until the end of days, all impossibilities and improbabilities were void. Tonight, impossible was a distant and vague dream that held no meaning.

Hermione and the others rushed toward the unconscious boy, bustling about and trying to determine if he was alright. The phoenix that had sealed Harry's neck wounds had also lent a tear to Harry's scar, ceasing the bleeding, if not the scar's existence. Hermione laid a tentative hand on Harry's neck, searching for a pulse, finally utilising the technique that her parents had taught her long ago. She found one.

She let out a cry of relief and rested her forehead on Harry's chest, savouring its continuous rise and fall. She didn't get to stay in this position for long, however.

The phoenix let out another trill, warming all of them from the inside out, and landed on Harry's right shoulder. The phoenix remained there for but a moment before both he and Harry vanished in a burst of flame.

Albus Dumbledore sat in his office, as he so often did, and contemplated events. His thoughts had only just turned to Harry Potter and his affiliates when a matter—one that he had no reason to believe was at all related to the former—presented itself.

Fawkes, Dumbledore's companion of many, many years, gave an unearthly trill of surprise and, perhaps, fear. The phoenix circled overhead for a brief moment before flaming from the office; to where, Dumbledore knew not.

It was not the first time, nor, he was sure, would it be the last, that Fawkes had disappeared without any reason known to his human companion, but it was disconcerting nonetheless. Usually, Fawkes would disappear to partake in an activity of leisure. Not all times were so innocent, however. He remembered vividly several of the occasions that Fawkes had fled. Death had followed before.

The Prewitts, brave warriors of the Light. It had taken half a dozen Death Eaters to strike them down.

The Potters, martyrs in the war against Lord Voldemort and widely loved for their son's accomplishments. They themselves had been brilliant duelists, being amongst the most feared fighters against Voldemort.

The Boneses, a prominent and powerful family whose deaths had been a great loss for the Light. It was suspected that Voldemort himself had cast the curses that extinguished their lives.

The Nottinghams, two sisters who had been spies for Voldemort within the Light; they had been responsible for the deaths of the Prewitts and MacFadyens, and had been found out by a man who know lived a life of exile.

The MacFadyens, a married couple who had been early spies for Dumbledore against the Dark Lord; they had been responsible for the apprehension or incapacitation of nearly a dozen death eaters. Their body-less heads had been posted at the northernmost and southernmost tips of Great Britain.

Peter Pettigrew, a man who hadn't been of a terrible deal of use in the fight against Voldemort, but who had died valiantly in an attempt to avenge his fallen friends.

Ayden Grayson, a great wizard who had led a storming of one of Lord Voldemort's less-protected strongholds. He had been struck down by the Dark Lord himself, having boldly challenged the wizard to a duel. Bold it may have been, but no one had ever defeated the Dark Lord in a duel. Save Dumbledore, of course.

Atticus Renfield, the true hero of the war against Grindelwald. There was nothing the Light had done against Grindelwald that hadn't been made possible by the aid of Renfield. He had been a contemporary of Dumbledore's, being in the same year and house at Hogwarts. Renfield had been a spy for the Light. Immensely powerful, Atticus had deceived Grindelwald and become his right hand. Message after message had been sent by a man who signed every note "A.R." They had been the single most useful pieces of information of the war. Renfield had been killed by a Ministry wizard during the same battle that brought about Grindelwald's demise.

Dumbledore shook himself lightly. Now was not the time to mourn fallen comrades. Now was the time to be sure that no current comrades had followed suit with the formers.

He knew that Fawkes could very well just be going for a fly. But he had good reason to be nervous. The squawk that the phoenix had emitted was one of alarm and surprise. Fawkes would most probably not make such a noise if he merely wished to stretch his wings a bit.

There was nothing to be done, he supposed. He had no way to communicate with Fawkes other than to call him back, and if the matter was something urgent, he sincerely doubted that Fawkes would heed his call anyway. He was a rather headstrong bird.

He gave a sigh and leaned back into his chair, waiting for the return of his fine-feathered friend. Albus Dumbledore dug his shoulders back into this majestic chair and instantly cleared his mind of thought. Now was not the time to have his mind wander.

A short while later, while in the process of buffing his fingernails, Albus Dumbledore witnessed the burst of flame that was telltale of Fawkes' arrival.

Instantly, Dumbledore knew that something was amiss. Fawkes had a boy clutched in his talons and was singing himself a song of praise. It was a tenth of a second later that Dumbledore recognised the phoenix-ported boy. Harry Potter was suspended by the talons, his body flaccid.

"Oh, Harry."

Fawkes gave a trill of greeting, directed at Dumbledore, and gently dropped his load on the old wizard's desk. Dumbledore turned over the boy's motionless body. Harry's head was pushed back, exposing his neck and upper chest. His torso was showered in deep crimson, the bottom hem of his robes torn and showing signs of wear. There were other nicks, cuts, and bruises

All of this was alarming, but he was most shocked to see faint scratches on Harry's neck. The existence of the scratches wasn't disconcerting in the least, they were faint and one would not be considered foolish for thinking them simple wrinkles, byproduct of looking down for a prolonged period of time.

No, what was horrifying about these scratches was that they kept on scratching, kept getting deeper. It was plain to Dumbledore that Harry had been cursed—and was continuing to be cursed. He tore off his own robe and picked up his wand from his desk. The cuts grew deeper; blood began to seep slowly out of them.

Dumbledore waved his wand over the boy's exposed neck, murmuring under his breath. His words were the verbalisation of his worried thoughts. Someone had attacked a student—and worse, someone had attacked Harry Potter.

The Headmaster ran an elderly hand over Harry's neck, lightly removing some blood from one of the wounds. Nearly immediately, the bleeding began to increase exponentially. Dumbledore knew that if he did not cure the boy soon, he would bleed out.

He ran his wand lengthwise across Harry's neck, mumbling the counter-curse to most spells that continued to affect its victim after it had connected. The cutting stopped, but the bleeding continued.

" Signumvulnerante, " murmured he. Harry's neck wounds began to seal, the skin knitting itself back together.

With a sigh, the old man sat back into his chair and opened one of his desk drawers. He reached his gnarled left hand into the drawer and withdrew a phial of red liquid. He pressed the phial to the boy's lips, Harry drank the whole thing. With his right hand, he raised his wand and pointed it at Harry's temple.

" Exdormio. "

Ginny knew something was wrong. Something was very wrong. Dumbledore's phoenix had lent his tears to cease her fears, but new ones had arisen. Harry's pain continued and increased. She felt the raw scraping, the sentiment of the spell that Malfoy cast.

She could feel as Dumbledore performed his diligence on Harry, but she had little hope that Dumbledore could succeed where a phoenix, the most magical of all creatures, had failed. She was, therefore, most pleasantly surprised when Dumbledore's endeavor was met with success.

Whatever it was that Dumbledore had done, Harry's pain began to lessen—or, at least, it stopped increasing.

Ginny, letting her mind's eye run away with her, could picture Harry; prostrate on Dumbledore's desk, pale as death, and covered in his own blood. She imagined Dumbledore flipping open Harry's eyelids, his reaction when he found them to be listless.

Thankfully, her imagination did not get the opportunity to build up a head of steam. Dumbledore's whispered incantation brought Harry out of his stupor.

Never before had darkness been so vivid.

Thoughts swam t-ough Harry's head. Muddled p-ases and images, faltering midway in presentation, flew by, their serenity defined in hysteria.

His was disorientation intangible. He would, many years later, describe the sensation, whose happening was not irregular, as quite like looking t-ough foggy glass while riding on a Muggle merry-go-round.

A duo of voices into his ear whispered a name he recognised as his own, but he was infinitely too unsettled to make a play at responding to either with more than a weak moan.

As occasionally happens when one knows not their own name, let alone location, silly thoughts came into Harry's head. With brevity, Harry noted the brightness of the room, the ethereal, unearthly quality of the light, and the figure whose face craned above his own.

"Someone's made a mistake," he murmured in incomprehension.

"Of what do you speak?" asked a voice that sounded distant.

"Too light to be hell," was his groggily uttered response.

He sensed, rather than saw, the white-robed figure above him give a smile. "This is neither heaven nor hell, Harry." As a rather morose afterthought, the voice added, "At least not in the traditional sense."

There was the sound of fabric against fabric, the sight of swishing before his eyes, and a murmured p-ase. A moment later, his head was clearer and he began to truly realise what was going on.

There was recognition in the eyes above him. They were not the frightening scarlet that he had remembered. His were cerulean eyes, a fair deal more pleasant than the vermillion terror of before. But then, he realised, this man was not the one from before.


Ginny! he said, the relief pronounced in his voice. Her voice was a comfort to him. It was then that everything rushed back to him. Malfoy, he—Gin, are you okay? Did the spell hurt you too? His mental tone of voice was rushed and frantic. He had promised himself that he would be sure to avoid any attempts Malfoy made to hurt him, which could hurt Ginny in the process. He felt deep shame.

I'm fine, Harry. Really! she added when she sensed his disbelief.

"What happened, Harry?" The question was laced with concern. Had nearly anyone else asked the question, he would have sworn it was queried out of genuine worry. But some part of him knew better. Still, there was no point in lying about what had occurred—Harry was sure that the story would have spread t-oughout the student body by morning. Besides, if the Headmaster wanted to expel him, he would have done it by now; he'd certainly had cause to.

He had just opened his mouth to begin his tale when he shut it, at a loss for words.

Dumbledore sensed his indecisiveness regarding the initiation point. "I find that the beginning is often the best place to start."

Harry gave a nod. "At breakfast, Draco Malfoy was being his usual self to Hermione Granger. I told him to stop, or something to that effect. A little while later, he challenged me to a duel. He said something about being well within his rights to talk to Hermione like he had. He cited the Old Laws."

Dumbledore's eyebrows rose in surprise at this. The Old Laws were quite powerful. "He challenged you to a duel with the aid of the Old Laws, Harry?" Harry nodded. "Tell me, Harry, what do you know of the Old Laws?"

"They give Purebloods rights over those with 'blood less pure than their own.' Malfoy said that, by law, he had the right to call Hermione a Mudblood and insult her family; that the Old Laws permitted it. When he challenged me to the duel, he mentioned that I had insulted his honour, that that was grounds for a duel."

"Indeed it is. The Old Laws were created in turbulent times. They were necessary then, to appease the Malfecit clan. You see Harry, five hundred and ninety-t-ee—"

"I know the history, Professor."

Dumbledore gave an amused chuckle. "I suppose Ms. Weasley filled you in?"

Harry cast Dumbledore a dark and mistrustful look. "How could she have done that, when she's been home while I'm here?"

Dumbledore smiled brightly. "There is little point in lying about your rather unusual connection, Harry. I happen to know that the two of you are quite capable of speaking without words."

How does he know?

Harry nodded reluctantly.

"Please continue on with your narrative, Harry."

And so he did. "We were worried then." Harry didn't notice that he was referring to himself and Ginny as 'we.' "You've said yourself, Professor, that I'm easily the strongest first-year here. Malfoy knows that—I've cursed him enough times. We didn't understand why he would challenge me to a duel. We eventually decided that he knew something new, something to turn the tide. He did, as it turns out.

"We looked t-ough Ginny's uncles' spell book, the one you saw in that room, for a few hours. There were a few useful hexes in there, but I was getting really tired, so we took a break. The next thing I knew, I was fast asleep. I didn't wake up again until eleven. The duel was set for midnight, in the trophy room.

"I was supposed to meet up with Fred and George Weasley; they were going to teach me some shield spells. I slept t-ough it, I guess.

"I went up to the dormitory to get Ron, he was my second, and we were almost gone when Hermione Granger stopped us. She reprimanded me for dueling Malfoy; I said some things to her that were… well, mean, really.

"She and Neville Longbottom ended up coming with us. We were nearly to the trophy room when something happened that I've never felt before. My scar, it felt like it was on fire."

Dumbledore's eyes narrowed in contemplation. There were a number of things that this could mean. None of them were pleasant. All of them were perilous.

"I think I passed out, because the next thing I knew, I was dragged into the trophy room by Ron, Hermione, and Neville. They didn't know it was the trophy room, I don't think. They couldn't have expected me to duel after that.

"Draco was already in there. We fought, but I wasn't standing a chance. I was tired from passing out, and Malfoy seemed to know how to play. We were too far away to hit each other, so I started getting closer. We kept sending spells back and forth, but he hit me with one. Semisomnus, or something like that. I don't remember exactly.

"I felt like I was sleepwalking. Then, the next thing I know, Malfoy's got me in a headlock. He had his wand to my t-oat. The spell he used…"

What was it, Gin?

He felt her shudder. Sectumsempra.

"The incantation was Sectumsempra."

Dumbledore's eyebrows rose to new, unprecedented heights. "You're sure of this, Harry?" he asked, his voice wavering slightly. This was most disturbing news.

Harry didn't doubt Ginny's memory. "I'm sure. I don't know what happened next, I kept feeling like I was getting slashed on my neck, and then I passed out again. No wait, there was something else… Eyes. Red eyes. They were looking down on me when just before I passed out.

"Then I woke up here."

Dumbledore gave, what best could be described as, a frightened inhalation of breath. "Red eyes, Harry?"

"Yes. But they were odd. More like slits than real eyes."

"This is most grave, Harry." Dumbledore began to twirl his beard with his middle and forefinger.

There was silence for a few moments.

"Will Malfoy be expelled, Professor?"

Dumbledore sighed and shook his head, his beard going back and forth with the motion. "Alas, no. I doubt very much that I could punish him at all. Though his spell was a Dark one, it's allowed by the Old Laws. He was within his rights to challenge you to the duel. There are few exceptions to their ban, but the Old Laws permit those exceptions. The Old Laws, more or less, supersede every law known to wizardkind. Many of the laws that were passed before the institution of the Wizengamot are similarly omnipotent. It's hectic, really; so many of those laws have clauses in them to allow them to overrule other laws."

"Professor, why did my scar hurt so badly?" asked Harry, trying to take both his and Ginny's minds off of the git's lack of punishment.

Dumbledore cast Harry a wary glance. "There are several reasons that your scar could have reacted so violently. Unfortunately, I can not say for certain; my speculation is merely that—speculation. A curse scar such as yours has never been seen before, Harry." Dumbledore did not meet Harry's eyes.

Harry's fire roared to the forefront. "You know something. I know you do." Harry practically barked, "Talk!"

"Harry…" began Dumbledore with a solemn shake of his head. "The red eyes you saw. Lord Voldemort's eyes were scarlet; they were more serpentine than humane. They were narrow, the slits of a snake's eyes. I fear that Lord Voldemort has penetrated Hogwarts. It could explain your scar's reaction—proximity can often affect the pain induced by a curse scar. And I know of none other with eyes like those of Lord Voldemort."

Harry stiffened. "The man who killed my parents is here? In Hogwarts?"

Dumbledore nodded reluctantly. "It certainly would seem so. I'm afraid I must end our discussion here, Harry. If Lord Voldemort is truly within the walls of Hogwarts, precautions must be taken. I suspect that he is too weak to make a direct attempt on anyone's life, but his ability to possess people could prove most perilous."

Harry nodded. He did realise that there was important work to be done, having Voldemort within the walls of a school such as Hogwarts was a very dangerous thing indeed. Harry's shakily rose to his feet and departed from the Headmaster's office, his stride unstable.

Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, and Neville Longbottom were sneaking t-ough the corridors of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, careful not to be heard. It would not do for Mr. Filch, or worse yet Snape, to find them out of bed at an hour such as this. They'd all heard tales about what Filch longed to make his captives endure during detention; it had been banned for years, but everyone was afraid that Filch might one day snap and torture them all.

"Where do you think that phoenix took Harry?" asked Neville again in a hushed whisper. He looked to Ron for the answer.

Ron shook his head solemnly. "He could be anywhere."

"I'm sure he's okay, Neville," said Hermione, trying to assure herself as much as anyone else. "Phoenixes are light creatures—Harry can't be in danger."

"Should we go to Dumbledore?" asked the plump first year.

"No," said Ron definitively. "We'd have to explain why we were out of bed past midnight, not to mention that Harry has some problems with Dumbledore. Dunno why, but he does."

"Hello little beasties!" cackled a voice from above.

All t-ee heads shot up toward the ceiling.

"Out of bed, so late? Mustn't have that, no we mustn't. Should tell Filch, I should."

"Peeves!" hissed Ron. "Be quiet! You'll get us expelled!"

"All the more reason, ickle firstie!" Peeves sucked in a huge breath. "STUDENTS OUT OF BED! STUDENTS OUT OF BED! HURRY, HURRY, STUDENTS OUT OF BED! HURRY, ARGUS, HURRY!"

Ron, Neville, and Hermione bolted. They could already hear the wheezing of Filch as they fled. Up and down corridors and staircases they ran, trying to get as far away from Filch as they could.

Finally they reached a place that seemed desolate enough to slow their pace. They were in a narrow hall with large, unlit torch brackets on either side of them. Spider webs lined the walls, causing Ron to shiver in fear, his arachnophobia catching up with him.

They were sucking in deep breaths when they heard Filch's telltale wheezing again.

"Come on!" hissed Hermione.

She bolted toward a lone door at the end of the hall, the two boys on her heels. Hermione seized the cast-iron handle and pulled. It didn't budge. Ron and Neville came over, all t-ee trying to force the door open.

"We're trapped!" moaned Ron in misery.

Neville looked like he was trying to disappear into the stone floor. The wheezing grew louder.

"Oh, move over!" said Hermione in annoyance. She pulled her wand from her robes and pointed it at the door's handle. " Alohomora! "

A small yellow light emitted from the tip of her wand and traveled to the lock, which instantly clicked open. The t-ee pushed their way into the portal.

"Good thinking, Hermione."

Hermione bristled. "Thanks, Ron."

They looked at each other for a moment, soft smiles on their faces.

Neville whimpered.

"What is it, Neville?" asked Ron, not breaking eye-contact with the girl before him.

Another, slightly louder, whimper.

Ron turned. "Neville, what is—"

An enormous black dog with not one, not two, but t-ee heads was before them. It started to growl, slobber leaking from its jowls.

"Bloody hell," whispered Ron in shock.

Hermione tugged on his sleeve. "Run, you idiots! I'll take Filch over Cerberus chow!"

Ron continued to stare dumbly at the terrifying beast.

"Come on!"

Ron and Neville turned round and forced open the door. The t-ee managed to escape the room just before their t-ee-headed friend lunged at where they were standing but a moment before.

They were in luck, for Filch was nowhere to be seen.

Hermione was in the process of berating herself as they sought Gryffindor Tower. "How could I've been so stupid ? That was the third floor—the forbidden corridor!"

"It's not your fault, Hermione," said Ron. "I blame Dumbledore! Who keeps a monster like that in a school?" Ron went on to mutter things about 'barmy old codgers' and curse Dumbledore's name. "We could've died!"

"Honestly," said Hermione angrily, "don't you use your eyes?"

Ron sniffed and looked at her in irritated confusion. "Yes, I use my eyes!"

"Well then you'd know that that dog was standing on a trapdoor!" huffed Hermione in irritation.

"You expected me to be looking at its feet?" asked Ron incredulously. "I was too busy looking at its heads! Or haven't you noticed that it has t-ee of them?"

"Ron you—" she cut herself off, having caught sight of Neville.

"Neville, are you okay?"

The boy was very pale and shaking. The round-faced boy looked very lost and alone. It was a saddening sight, to say the least.

"F-fine," he said, his voice unnaturally high.

"Neville, we're okay now. That dog can't get out of the room—the doorway is too small for it to walk out. And I'm sure there are protection spells on the wall so that the dog can't just break on t-ough. Everything's all right," assured Hermione.

Neville nodded shakily.

"Come on," Ron urged, "Filch could come by at any time."

They set off once more, following Hermione as she navigated the halls of Hogwarts to their warm, secure common room.

Albus Dumbledore stood outside of his beloved school, his wand raised and pointed at the portal to Hogwarts. " Ille Fēcit Invīctus Ædficium. Prōtego Meam Dōmum ē Malē. "

A brilliantly gold light surrounded the castle for a moment, the entire thing encompassed in the majestic glow. The spell he had cast was a most ancient one, originally used by the Ancient Romans to protect their capital. The spell was most draining, but it made it quite difficult for enemy's to penetrate the walls of the castle. In addition, it had the potential to make any negative spirits experience a fair deal of discomfort—meaning that excruciating pain would be dealt upon the spirit that did not belong. Though there were ways around such consequences…

Harry crawled under the covers of his bed in Gryffindor Tower, his limbs shaking. He clutched his arms over his chest and held himself. His eyes were open and he was rocking back and forth slightly.

He's here, Gin. He's here. And he's going to kill me. I know he's going to. He's out for revenge. He has to be.

He is not going to kill you, Harry! He can't. Not with Dumbledore here. Not with me in your head. He just can't.

Harry laughed bitterly. We can't stop him, Ginny. How could we? All of those people that Hagrid told me about… None of us can stop him. His followers killed your uncles, Gin. Your uncles made all of those spells, but they were murdered by Voldemort's followers. He's bound to be a hundred times as bad.

I know, Harry. But Voldemort won't try anything. Everyone always said that Dumbledore was the only wizard Voldemort ever feared. He wouldn't try anything with Dumbledore here. I think he's afraid of you too now, Harry.

Another bitter laugh. No he's not. He has no reason to be.

Yes he does! Did you or didn't you defeat him when you were a baby?

Yes, I did. But it's different now, don't you see? He watched me lose to Malfoy. If Malfoy can beat me, why would he fear me? I'm just a first year kid.

You're not, Harry! You are powerful, and you know it! Maybe you can't beat him now. Maybe he could kill you now. BUT HE WON'T! Harry, if worst came to worst, you could Cross Over. Nothing can touch us there.

Silence reigned for a few moments. I'm scared, Gin.

I know, Harry. I am too. But you'll be okay. We'll both be okay. I'm not leaving you, and you're not leaving me. Ever. We'll be okay.

Harry smiled into his pillow softly.

Thanks, Gin.

Without thinking about it, without meaning to in anyway, Harry Crossed Over to the Otherside. Ginny followed.

Comfort was given as it can only be given between two bonded. Fear became a distant memory, clouded by the goodness that lives all around them.

How was Harry to know that when Ron and Neville came up ten minutes later, they were worried out of their minds?

Harry didn't worry about that. He didn't worry about what the next month would bring. He didn't worry that, by the next day, everyone knew that Harry Potter had been defeated by Draco Malfoy. He took comfort in she he called his.

A/N: Thanks for reading.