It's over. It's all over. The words were repeating like a broken record in Harry's head as he climbed the stairs to the boy's dormitories in Gryffindor Tower. Too tired to bathe, he cast a cleansing charm over himself as he undressed. Finally, he lay on the old bed that he'd spent so many nights in throughout his years at Hogwarts, closed the hangings, and sat in the darkness.

Despite how tired he was, sleep felt out of his reach. His body was exhausted, but his mind was whirring sickeningly. Images of the horror of the night were flashing past. He saw the bodies of the people he loved, saw their loved ones prostrated over them, sobbing. The relief of the death of Voldemort was there, too- he was no longer stressed, and felt lighter than he had in years. Rationally, he knew he had a future now. But where would he go? Everything seemed out of reach. He hadn't planned his future, because for years all he could see ahead of him was Voldemort. Now, he wondered where he would go.

He comforted himself knowing that he didn't have to decide today. There would be plenty of time to figure it out. Rolling over in the soft bed, he closed his eyes, blocking the images and sounds of the evening from his mind. He let the pain and exhaustion of the year rest on his shoulders, and the weight of it helped him lose his grip on reality and fall asleep.


He slept for a long time. When he awoke, he got out of bed. It was nighttime now, so he knew he'd slept through the whole day. Reluctantly, he dressed and knew it was time to face his fears. He'd have to look in the faces of those who'd lost their families.

On his way down the stairs of the dormitory, he found that he was not quite ready. Sitting together in the common room were the Weasleys and Hermione. Both the last people he wanted to see, and the people who he longed for the most. But he had no idea what to expect, and he was not ready for a trial as important as this one. What if they turned him away?

They heard him coming, and all of them turned. No one said anything- Hermione just gave him a small smile through her tears, Bill looked at him with a serious expression, and Mrs. Weasley simply looked heartbroken. Harry didn't even have the strength to look at George. He thought about going back upstairs, but decided it would be too cowardly. It would seem as though he did not care, when in fact he cared more than anything. But what gave him the right to barge in on their greiving like this, when so much of it was his fault? What if he'd acted sooner, or had insisted that less people fight? It had been Harry's battle to win, and so it was unfair that Fred had to fall.

He did not move from the foot of the stairs. He wanted to join them, and also wanted to escape. He was torn.

Then, Ginny rose from the couch and walked towards him. Her eyes were red, but no tears were falling from them. Without a word, she walked until she was standing right in front of him and looked right into his eyes until he wasn't breathing anymore. Then, she placed a hand on his shoulder and kissed him, her lips soft against his. Then, everything seemed to melt away- all the horror seemed to be pointless. This was what he had lived for, this girl. The grief was ebbing, and he would heal.

When she pulled away, she took his hand, squeezed it, and led him back to the couch where they sat down.

No one said anything else, and Harry was still feeling doubtful about his presence- did they hate him? Maybe Ginny didn't, but what about everyone else? He knew Mrs. Weasley and George were on his other side, but he could not turn his head that way. He sat nervously, until Mr. Weasley put a hand on his shoulder. Turning, Harry met his eyes- they were filled with grief, but they also held some relief. Mr. Weasley nodded at him and gave a weak smile.

"Thank you," he said. His words broke the barrier- Mrs. Weasley let out a cry, and drew Harry into an embrace, holding him tightly to her as she shook with sobs. Harry closed his eyes to prevent the tears from falling, but it didn't work. He just tried to hide them from the group.

For the remainder of the day, they all stayed together. The memories were there, but Harry knew he could get through it. He had his family.