Chapter one: Waking up

The castle was quiet. More quiet then he ever remembered it being. Harry Potter was making his way up to Gryffindor Tower for a long nap, maybe a sandwich if Kreacher would bring him one, he thought. It had been a very long night, long year in fact. He had just defeated Lord Voldemort hours before, although he still couldn't believe it. No more looking over his shoulder, no more hiding. He could finally live the life he never imagined he would be able to live. His mind drifted to Ginny, sitting with her parents in the Great Hall. Fred. Somehow, he felt that he was responsible. All the people he loved seemed to die because of him and now Ginny had lost her brother and Teddy would grow up without ever knowing his parents. If he could have only defeated Voldemort years ago. But that would have been impossible, Voldemort had made sure of that. Horcruxes. He hoped to never hear the word again. And then there were the Deathly Hallows. He had decided that he would only be keeping one of the Hallows, the one that is rightfully his. That particular Hallow was concealing him now as he made his way to the Gryffindor common room. Upon reaching the portrait of the Fat Lady he stopped and pulled off his invisibility cloak. He did not know the password.

"Can I go in?" he asked.

"Yes, yes, please. Be my guest. Anything for you," the Fat Lady responded.

"Er . . . thanks."

If possible, the common room seemed quieter then the rest of the castle. Gryffindor Tower seemed to be one of the only parts of the castle that had not sustained heavy damages. He stood in the entry way taking in the familiar surrounding and felt as if he was home at last. After making his way up the familiar path to the boy's dormitories he found his old four poster bed waiting for him as invitingly as ever. Not even bothering to undress, he fell on the bed and was soon engulfed in a very deep sleep.

After what seemed like only minutes, sunlight fell across his face waking him. He groggily opened his eyes and tried to bring the room into focus. For a moment he almost forgot where he was but soon the events that had occurred came back to him. It was then that he realized he was not alone. Curled up in an armchair next to his bed was Ginny. She opened her eyes and sat up. "Finally," she said playfully. "We didn't think you would ever wake up."

"What do you mean? I've only been asleep for a few hours," said Harry, sitting up and rubbing his eyes.

"Actually, you've been asleep for twenty-seven hours," said Ginny. "But don't worry," she added quickly. "No one blames you. You needed the sleep. No offense, but you looked like hell."

Harry laughed and the sound of his own laughter seemed foreign to him. When was the last time I really laughed? he asked himself.It seemed like forever.

"Why don't you go get a shower? Mum brought you some fresh clothes," said Ginny, standing up. "I'll go down and let everyone know you're awake."

"Ok," said Harry. "So what happens now?" he asked before she left.

"We were all planning on going back to the Burrow when you woke up. I'll explain all the details later. Now go get a shower," said Ginny.

"Yes Mam," said Harry, grinning.

Once Ginny left, Harry sat on the bed for a few moments looking around. Nothing seemed to have changed. Everything was exactly as he remembered it. He might have just woken to start any normal day at school and be preparing for classes. That's when he realized just how sore he was. Every muscle in his body seemed to be aching and he felt like his chest had been trampled on by a herd of Hippogriffs. He stood to go into the bathroom and peeled his shirt off. Looking down at his chest he saw that it was heavily bruised. That must have been where the killing curse hit me in the forest, he thought. He peeled the rest of his clothing off and stepped into the shower. When was the last time he had a real shower? The hot water kneaded his sore muscles and he felt as if he could stay there all day, but he knew he couldn't. He would have to go down and face the mass of people waiting to talk to the famous Harry Potter. He knew he would soon have to speak with Kingsley to explain what he, Ron and Hermione were doing for the past year, but that could wait. Right now he needed to be with the ones he most loved.

Once he was showered and dressed he made his way back down from Gryffindor Tower toward the Great Hall. He stopped once at the entrance and scanned the tables. Finding the Weasley's sitting together at the Gryffindor table he quickly made his way to them and sat down. He could feel the eyes of everyone in the hall boring into him.

"Harry!" exclaimed Hermione. "We were wondering when you were going to wake up."

"Yeah mate. I mean. . . I slept for a while too, but twenty-seven hours?" piped up Ron.

"Yeah, I know. But I guess I was making up for all those nights up until now when I couldn't sleep because of him, if you know what I mean," said Harry.

"Oh, Harry dear. After breakfast we were going to all head back to the burrow. You'll be coming along of course," said Molly.

"Oh . . . er . . . of course," stammered Harry. "Where's Ginny?" he asked, looking around the table. He had not seen his favorite redhead since he woke up.

"She's over with Luna," said Hermione.

Harry turned to look over at the Ravenclaw table. There he saw Ginny sitting with Luna and Neville, who seemed to be holding hands. Ginny looked up and smiled at him, said good-bye to Luna and Neville, and made her way back over with the rest of her family.

"What's going on with those two?" asked Harry, gesturing to Luna and Neville as Ginny sat down next to him.

"Carrying on Dumbledore's wishes," she answered simply. When Harry gave her a questioning look, she added, "Just adding a little bit more love to the world. From what Neville told me, they're going to South America over the summer with Luna's father to look for the Crumpled-headed Snorkack."

Harry could only smile. This is exactly what Dumbledore would have wanted and he could think of no two other people who deserved it more.

"Everyone ready to go?" asked Arthur, standing up from the table. "Ok then. We're all going to be taking the Floo from here back to the Burrow."

When everyone was getting up to leave, Harry pulled George to the side. "What's up Harry?" asked George. Harry noticed that his eyes were red and didn't seem to carry the same humor in them.

"I just wanted to say that I'm really sorry about Fred. I never wanted this to happen. If only . . . ," Harry began, but George cut across him.

"Don't apologize, Harry. Ginny said you would try to do this. No one blames you for what happened. Fred knew what coming here would mean. We all did. If dying meant that the world could be a safer place to live for everyone else, we were ready to make that sacrifice."

"Thanks mate. I guess I needed to hear that," said Harry.

"Well come on then. We don't want Mum to worry," said George. Together they made their way up to Professor McGonagall's office to Floo to the Burrow.

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A/N: Please let me know what you think!