They find each other over a pile of rubble: hand on hand over shattered stone like a crevasse between their fingers.

I missed you, he says.

That's good, she answers, and the pressure of his hand helps to ward off the memory of the injured and dying, and of Fred's blank eyes.

It'll do to patch the year of pain and anxiety and What's he doing? and Does he think of me? and Is he alive? She's spent a lot of time telling herself the sensible answers to these questions.

It'll do. But it isn't enough.


The train is black for the occasion and steam swirls from the elderly engine, wreathing the station in mist like the Sunday afternoon films that Harry used to watch when the Dursleys left him alone. Along the platform, coffins loom amid the steam in a bitter, toy-sized approximation of the real train.

When Kingsley nods, those in charge of the dead step up one by one to levitate them into the carriages that have been set aside. Professor McGonagall takes Colin; Mr and Mrs Weasley's hands touch as they cast the Levitation Charm on Fred's coffin, and on it goes in an unbroken straggle of death. Harry watches, aware that others are watching him. Listing every name, picturing every face, he thinks that he could do this every day for as long as he lived and still not atone for them all. He will not look away: he owes these people all the attention he can give them.

Finally, Andromeda Tonks levitates her daughter onto the train, with Teddy curled in the crook of her other arm, and Harry steps forward to do the same for Remus.

With the job done, he is lost until a hand takes his own. He follows Ginny past the dead to the compartments for the living, conscious of the spots of warmth, better than sunlight, where her fingers touch his.

The Burrow

I remember, Ginny says, the day I first saw you.

Yeah? He reaches for her hand.

Yeah, she says, flicking a glance at him. They've barely spoken over the past few days, although they've spent so much time together. She isn't certain how to bridge the gap that the past year has ploughed between them.

The Burrow is a true sanctuary after the ceremonies at the Ministry of Magic. The magic that once kept out Death Eaters now holds the rest of the world at bay, leaving the Weasleys to mourn in peace.

It's time to talk, she thinks, and this may be their only chance before the funeral. Fred and George promised me a toilet seat, she says, and tries to smile. But something is pulling the corners of her mouth down, and to her horror she finds that is crying.

Hey. Harry's hand tightens on hers, and she can't help but compare them: his tanned and calloused; hers pale and soft. It's easy to see who had the harder year, so what right does she have to complain? But when she meets his gaze, she is overcome by a fresh round of tears.

He shifts so that he is curled around her on the grass, and it's good, feeling his warmth around her.

Soon, she'll tell him all the things she misses about Fred, and about how much it hurts to lose a brother. She'll tell him about her year, and about how awful it was to be constantly wondering if he was still alive. She might even tell him that she loves him. For now, all she can do is hold on and let the tears spill.

Number four, Privet Drive

Aunt Petunia opens the door and freezes.

"Hullo," Harry says, and realises only then how desperately he was hoping that his uncle wouldn't answer the doorbell.

"H-hello." The word barely escapes her mouth, as if her throat is choked up.

"Is everything OK?"

"Yes," she says quickly, and seems to relax a little. "Vernon's found a job. Not with the company - consulting. Telling other people what to do."

Despite himself, the corners of Harry's lips quirk up. "Sounds like he'd enjoy that."

"Yes." There is a silence before she adds, "Do - do you want to come in?" The door opens a fraction wider, and he glimpses the hall and a familiar cupboard door.

"No, thanks, I won't. I just..." Why is he here, really? "I just wanted to make sure you were OK," he finishes.

She nods. "Things are perfectly fine."

"Good." He has run out of conversation. "Well-"

"They said you did well," she interrupts, her voice much higher than usual. "That you hid from those people all this time, and then destroyed - him. The man who killed Lily."

"Yeah." He shrugs. "Well, he destroyed himself, really. I just fought back."

"I never realised how difficult things were for you," she almost whispers. For a wild moment, he thinks she's alluding to her treatment of him. "All those people fighting you, trying to kill you."

"It wasn't a lot of fun," he says with a shrug. "Still, Voldemort's gone now, so things should be better."

She nods again. "Well, good luck."

"Thanks. Um. Bye."

He's halfway down the path when she calls, "I'm sure Dudley would like to hear from you."

"Maybe I'll write," he says over his shoulder. He's already smiling when the door clicks shut, because Ginny is waiting opposite Mrs Figg's house, her hair gleaming in the sunshine. Never mind number four, Privet Drive; when he kisses her, that feels like home.

Number twelve, Grimmauld Place

They pick their way through the devastated building, ignoring the furniture strewn everywhere. The Death Eaters took out their wrath on the house when Harry, Ron and Hermione eluded them, and putting it right is going to be a bigger job than it was the first time around.

I hope Kreacher didn't see too much of this, Harry mutters. All he's got out of the elf so far is that he moved to Hogwarts soon after they broke into the Ministry of Magic.

As they pass the drawing room, Ginny thinks of Sirius and Remus, sitting on either side of the fire during that Christmas when her dad was in hospital, sipping from mugs of hot chocolate laced with Firewhisky. It's funny how she remembers the cheerful bits. For Sirius, trapped there most of the time and dependent on the Order of the Phoenix for company, it must have been a lonely year.

At least Remus had Teddy in the end, she thinks, and glances at Harry's impassive face. What did Sirius have?

Harry halts in a doorway and when he turns, the uncertainty in his expression makes her ache. She smiles encouragingly and he ploughs into the chaos of Sirius's bedroom. The mattress is half off the bed, and the posters lining the walls have been defaced with graffiti that a child would be embarrassed to produce. He plucks a photograph from underneath a pile of old essays, staring at it so hungrily that she moves forward to look over his shoulder.

James Potter is instantly recognisable, and so it's easy to work out who the others are, grinning jauntily from the lost days. All gone: all dead.

Suddenly, Harry folds onto his knees, the photo crumpled in his hand, his breathing laboured. She doesn't think he even notices when she crouches beside him, wishing she could help. She knows loss - horrible, heartrending loss - but she's always had a loving family, and she never realised until now how lucky that made her. Harry's fathers have been torn away one after the other, and all he has to remember them by are scraps of photos and a few letters.

Reaching out gently, hoping she's doing the right thing, she prises his fingers open and smoothes out the photo.

We can give Sirius a proper memorial now, she says when he looks up.

The house of Andromeda Tonks

Looking after Teddy is a novelty; Harry has never seen a baby up close before, and Teddy, with his constantly evolving features, is more interesting than he imagined.

It's hard not to think of Sirius as he cradles Teddy: to wonder if he also held him like this, and muttered vows of protection. But he's learning how to acknowledge the horror of others' suffering without taking it on himself, so this doesn't hurt as it would once have done. He even smiles as he bounces Teddy on his knee to make him giggle; it's good to think that someone did this for him, long ago.

On the other side of the pond, Ginny and Andromeda are discussing Quidditch. Andromeda turns out to have been an aspiring player herself, and is a great admirer of the Harpies.

"They broke barriers people didn't even realise existed," she is saying in her rich, carefully modulated voice.

Ginny nods enthusiastically. "I'm going to try out for them as soon as I finish school."

Harry watches them, content to be doing something as simple as cuddling a baby. Ginny has changed recently: her face has a softer, more serious set to it that he knows comes from Fred's death, and from her experiences at Hogwarts. They still haven't talked much about their missing year. But they will.

When he looks back, Teddy has turned his hair the exact dark red shade of Ginny's.

Harry grins.

Azkaban prison

Azkaban is colder than Ginny had imagined, despite the August heat and the horde of Ministry officials and Patronuses holding the Dementors at bay. Harry shivers at her side and she takes his hand firmly.

You didn't have to come, the superintendent says. He is an elderly man with wisps of grey hair swept over a shiny pate. What does running this place do to you? she wonders.

Yeah, I did, Harry says simply.

The man nods and leads them through dank corridors, quiet because most of the prisoners have been evacuated and the new ones are being held at the Ministry of Magic. Finally, they reach a cell exactly like the others, with the same dark bars blocking out what little light there is. The superintendent unlocks the heavy door with a shrug.

Ginny watches, ready to offer support as Harry gazes around the nondescript, filthy cell. But he just sighs and shakes his head. There's nothing of Sirius here, and perhaps that's a relief.

As soon as she pushes off on her broomstick, she feels the weight of the Dementors lifting. Looking up, she sees it in Harry, too, in the way his shoulders relax and his legs kick in the breeze. Sharing a relieved grin, they point their brooms north. They have better places to be.


The Quidditch match is Hermione's idea, typically. Equally typically, she doesn't take part except to go up once, laughing nervously and clinging to Ron's waist, after which she squeezes between her parents and explains the rules to them.

She's organised it well, though. There are the old faithful: Katie and Alicia, Angelina and Oliver, George and the team Ginny managed to pull together last year, as well as any Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw players with whom they've ever been friendly. They swap in and out cheerfully, Ron submitting with good grace to Oliver's orders every time he moves between the goalposts.

At the other end of the field are the rookies; as Harry watches, Neville swipes the Quaffle from under Ernie's nose and whacks it to Parvati before continuing his wobbly but determined trajectory towards the goal.

Harry hears a whine just in time and dodges Terry Boot's Bludger to laughter from the others.

Pay attention, calls Ginny from where she's hovering, and then he sees the Snitch, its wings sparkling in the sunlight just beyond her ponytail.

He plunges towards her, keeping the Snitch in the corner of his vision, but mainly watching Ginny.

She flicks her eyes back and stays still; she's seen him playing Quidditch often enough that she catches on quickly. When he reaches her, he grabs the Snitch in one hand and goes for her with the other; but at the last minute she swings her broom parallel to his and they soar higher, into the wind, into the sun, while the others shrink to stick figures far below.

The kiss they share is like sunlight at dawn, and it tastes of hope.

King's Cross

King's Cross is full of shadows, and people fall silent as Ginny and Harry cross the barrier onto platform nine and three quarters. They've purposely left it late, but that doesn't mean that they won't be watched every step of the way.

I'll miss you, he murmurs into her hair.

She grins. Yeah, sure. You'll be having fun with your training while I'm slaving at NEWTs. I know you.

You do, he says, and she blushes at the look in his eyes.

She backs away reluctantly when the whistle blows, and lugs her trunk up the steps. There's just time for one more lingering kiss, one final Bye, one last wan smile, and then she is on the train and he is on the platform and it feels as if part of her has been ripped away.

As the train moves off, Harry moves with it, jogging and then running, his face lit by a goofy smile. The platform extends well beyond the station roof, and so her last glimpse through the open window is of him teetering at the end of the walkway, his glasses mirroring the sunlight as he waves energetically. She waves back as she watches him shrink into the distance, laughing despite herself.

That, she thinks as she turns away, smiling and blinking back tears, will have to be enough.