A sniffling sound woke him.
George Weasley wondered if it was Ginny, then he remembered. It was not that Ginny hardly cried nowadays, and Ron was hardly a crybaby, it was the fact that he was sharing a room with Harry Potter. He wondered why... Fred! Fred was dead. Tears sprang to George's eyes at the sudden memory. Fred was buried the day before, beside Remus and Tonks in a cemetery called, Rest O' Second-War Heroes. Wiping the tears in his eyes, George looked over to Harry, who was sleeping none to well.
"No... no... no!" Harry mumbled. George frowned. "Harry?" he murmured. "Remus..." Harry mumbled, "Tonks... Fred... no... Collin... I'm so sorry... please! Don't!" George acted on a brotherly instinct and crept over to Harry's bed. He lifted Harry's lean body and rested the boy's head on his chest the way he and Fred had done to Ron and Ginny when they had nightmares and neither of their parents were close by. Seventeen or not, Harry was still a kid.
"Harry," George soothed, "Harry, wake up," Harry opened his teary bright green eyes. George's heart nearly broke at the sight of them. It was not the fact that they were red and puffy from tears, they were... shattered. The bright green eyes George was used to seeing were lively, serious, happy and strong, now they were shattered and dull.
"Was it that dream again?" George asked carefully. Harry nodded, avoiding George's eyes.
"You must hate me..." Harry mumbled. "What reason would I have to hate you?" George asked. "You know fully well what reason!" Harry muttered angrily, more to himself than George. "Oh? Enlighten me," said George lightly. "I'm the reason Fred got killed..." said Harry quietly. "Really?" said George, "And does beating yourself up help bring him back?"
"You know what I'm talking about, Harry," George interrupted, "Fred died, true. But he did not die protecting you. Satisfied?"
Harry was speechless. He bowed his head, "It's still my fault."
"That Voldermort wanted your head on a plate?" said George sarcastically, "Harry, if there's anyone I blame for killing Fred, it's Voldermort and Bellatrix Lestrange, not you."
"I know you too well, Harry James Potter," said George firmly, "Voldermort only killed people to trap you and say all those things to make you dash in front of him to protect us, to prove to him you're not a coward. You are not a coward, Harry, you are one of the bravest persons on earth."
When he saw Harry unconvinced. George gave an exasperated sigh. "Harry," he said, "people died for you because it's their choice. They chose to fight, and died for it. And Harry, that's the truth of life. Everyone fights for something they believe in and many die for it. Fred believed in you and a better future and died for it."
He tightened his hold on Harry, "It's natural that we struggle for what we fight for and it's natural we fall. You know that, don't you?"
"You just need someone to tell you this, don't you?"
Again, Harry nodded. He wanted to cry again, but... he was afraid of pity.
"If you want to cry, go ahead," said George, gently ruffling Harry's hair, "You needn't worry about pity, I'll just hold you." Assured by George's words, Harry painfully debated with himself whether to cry or not. He let out a choked sob, afraid everyone in the Weasley household could hear, Harry buried his face in George's chest and cried.
"I couldn't do this in front of Ron and Hermione," he sobbed.
"I understand," said George softly, as he held Harry who began to shake convulsively. Harry cried harder. "God, I'm so sorry!" he yelled into George's chest. "Shh..." soothed George, "Let it all out, Harry, let it all out."
Harry cried harder than ever. He let out the years of neglect, the loss of a good friend, the loss of a godfather, all up to the final battle, which weighed upon him. It all drained away as he cried and cried. George held him like any older brother would. All the years George had known Harry, he had never truly looked into Harry's eyes. They say the eyes are windows to the soul. George thought he saw Harry's soul, but they were pictures. Harry had painted those windows for fear of pity.
He had never seen Harry as shattered as his eyes were at that very moment.
Harry stopped crying after awhile. "You done?" George asked softly, looking down. Harry was asleep. For the first time in days, George smiled. He knew then how much he loved Harry. He had always known that Harry was the younger brother Ron could never have, and now Harry was a brother to him as well. In a way, while George lost a brother, he had gained one as well.
The door opened. George looked up to find his father, peeping in with a worried look. He saw Harry in George's arms, and gave his son a questioning look. "Nightmare, dad," said George, "He hasn't been sleeping very well lately and... he's in a lot of pain." Arthur Weasley nodded, understanding what had occurred by the redness in Harry's eyes. "We would've adopted him if we could, right?" asked George, smiling sadly, "He's practically part of the family..."
Arthur smiled. "Yes, George," he answered, "If things were different, we would if we could." George was not certain if his father's smile was one of happiness or sadness, possibly a little of each.
"I just hope... things will change for the better for him after this," George said at last, tightening his grip around Harry. "I'm sure it will, George," Arthur replied, "I'm sure it will."
A few months later... around Christmas
"Teddy, I'm home!" Harry called into the living room of his house, Hedwig's Nest, which he had named in honour of his dead owl, Hedwig.
"Ayie! Ayie!" a blue grey haired baby cheered, crawling to meet him.
Laughing, Harry picked up his godson and tossed the baby into the air the way Remus would have done. Upon hearing his laughter and Teddy's squeals, everyone, including Andromeda Tonks, came out to see what the matter was. George was stunned at the sight before him: Harry was laughing again!
It was the perfect Christmas gift for everyone.
The last few months have worked wonders for Harry, even if he did not notice it. While Harry did not smile or speak very much, he spent as much time as he could with Teddy. At work, Harry's smile was rarely seen – only saved for Teddy, and Ginny. A month after Teddy came into his life, he not only smiled occasionally, every now and then he would chuckle. But that Christmas holiday, it was the first time in months he laughed out loud.
Looking into the green orbs of the family friend, and soon to be in-law, George decided that things have changed for the better. He looked towards his father, who gave a slight nod as a silent agreement passed between them. Harry's inner light had returned to his green eyes, seeing he smiled more often now. Teddy Lupin was amongst the sources of Harry's happiness. Tears of happiness welled Molly Weasley's and Andromeda's eyes as they watched Harry play with Teddy, being the father the boy would never have again.
That evening, Harry and Ginny, George noticed, disappeared to the back of the house while everyone was busy. He had a pretty good idea what was happening between the two and did not say anything. He knew Ron was already in trouble with them.
About ten o'clock that evening, George found that Harry was nowhere insight. And neither was Teddy. Andromeda last saw them in the living room where Harry was reading a storybook to Teddy. George went to check on them.
George felt his insides warm when he found Harry and Teddy. Teddy's head was on Harry's chest. Harry had one arm around the baby and a book in the other. His head was lolling at the head of the recliner, his glasses askew. His eyes were closed. A warm smile played in his thin lips.
George shook his head and put a warm blanket on them. "Lil' brother..." he muttered softly. He gently took Harry's glasses and put them on the lamp table. He then turned off the light, lightly ruffled Harry's jet black hair, and went to inform Andromeda of their finding before bed.