Ginny did not know how long it was between when she found herself sitting next to her mother in the Great Hall and when she was far too exhausted to stay. She hugged her mother tightly, and, on reflex, headed toward Gryffindor tower. The portrait hole was open as Ginny entered to find a few reunited families resting or talking around the once again roaring fire. She turned at first toward the girl's dormitories, but switched direction at the last minute, and went instead up the winding stairs to the seventh year boy's dormitory. Nobody seemed to notice. She knocked lightly upon reaching the correct floor, and, receiving no answer, eased the door open and slipped quietly inside. There were only three other people in the room. Harry was lying on top of his sheets, fully dressed, shoes still on, sleeping deeply. Behind him, Ron and Hermione lay together, also sleeping, also seemingly too tired to bother with their shoes. She grinned when she saw them, and lingered by the door, feeling a sense of peace that the horrible year had passed.

Staring at the foot of Harry's bed, she bent down and began carefully untying and removing both shoes. She whispered a spell to clean his glasses, the fact that they were not resting on his face the only evidence of his preparation for bed. She then walked to the corner of the room and gathered several hand towels, thankful that storage was apparently similar to the girl's dormitories. The large gash over one of Harry's eyes made her wince as she gingerly began to clean various cuts along his face and neck. That accomplished, she brushed the hair out of his eyes, gathered an extra blanket from the foot of the bed for herself, and fell into a soft chair next to Harry's bed.


She took her time, opening her eyes. It wasn't that she didn't have things to do, nor was it a sleepy belief that the war was still going on. Hermione was simply too comfortable, too safe, to risk opening her eyes and dispelling the feeling. Gnawing uncertainty and worry and fear and even paranoia were finally, for the first time since the three of them had left, absent. Grief remained, but there was an underlying feeling of peace, of knowing how everything turned out, that made it all more manageable.

Her arm brushed against the hand that Ron had slipped around her waist as they slept.

She smiled, clasped the hand in her own, and pressed a kiss to his temple.

"'Mione?" he mumbled, his eyes fluttering open, his other hand now reaching to brush her hair behind her ear.

"Yes, Ron," she answered, though it hadn't really been a question. His eyes flickered back shut, though he did not sleep, and he tightened his arm around her. They fell into a comfortable silence. She lowered her head onto his chest, allowing her head to rise and fall with his breathing as he ran a hand absent-mindedly through her hair.

They stayed like this for several minutes, enjoying the peace of being together, until Ron's stomach grumbled.

Hermione giggled softly, and lifted herself back up to see his face.

"Hermione?"

"Hmm?" she replied with a grin.

"Do you think that we, uh…"

"Yes, Ronald?"

"Could we go get something to eat?"

She laughed quietly, propelled herself off of the bed, and offered him her hand.

Ron was in front of her as they walked to the door, until he froze halfway there. Hermione didn't understand why, until she saw what he was staring at—a much cleaner Harry still sleeping, and the apparent cause of this, Ginny, resting in a chair next to his bed.

"Leave 'em" she whispered from behind him, before pulling a still dazed Ron toward the door.


Ginny's eyes flew open. She flexed her shoulders to relieve the stiffness and looked around the room to orient herself. Ron and Hermione, it seemed, had left, but Harry was still there, still sleeping.

She set her blanket carefully on the arm of her chair, blinking to remove the sleepiness from her eyes, and stood.

Her eyes flashed to Harry as he stirred in his sleep. She knelt down, thinking he had woken, only to find him settled once again in sleep. Ginny stayed, however, running her fingers gently through his hair. He looked exhausted, she thought, worn out. He had definitely lost weight in the past year, for his face looked more angular than she remembered. Her hand traced his jaw, his cheekbone, his temple. She absently wondered what, exactly, he had been through this past year, though that thought was mixed in with a thousand others.

Minutes passed, until Harry's eyes began to flicker, open and shut. Ginny's hand froze, her brow furrowed slightly as she waited, her eyes fixed on his face. His eyes finally settled on open. A peaceful, slight smile appeared on her face.

Ginny turned her face to rest against his, eyes falling closed, a single tear escaping onto her cheek, a tear for the pain and sorrow and loss of the day, before moving her arms to pull him into a fierce hug, which he returned.

He shifted so that he was upright and facing her.

Before she could react, before she even registered what he was doing, he was leaning toward her face to place a tentative kiss on her lips. And then they were kissing more recklessly, her hands once again tangled in his hair and her back stretched to reach him, his hands wrapped around her waist, and though she was sure nothing could ever make up for the year they had been apart, she was also sure that this wasn't far off. Happiness, she thought, the first real happiness of her day.

When they were both breathless, their foreheads stayed together, eyes still shut.

"Missed you," he whispered hoarsely.

She nodded. They were silent.

"Who on earth gave you this haircut?" she finally asked, fingering his ever-unruly hair.

Harry laughed, the wild emotions dissipating. "Don't ask."

"I suspect," Ginny said, nodding to the empty bed, "that they went to find my brother some food."

Harry followed her gaze and smiled. "Yes, that would explain it."

"Should we join them?"

"By all means," he replied.

They stood together, and, hand-in-hand, left.