"What happens now?"
He threw the question into the wind, not expecting an answer.
"What do you want to happen?"
He spun on the spot, wand in hand. Stupid, really – he would have recognized her voice anywhere. He wondered if he'd ever stop reacting like that as he turned his good-as-new holly and phoenix feather once between his fingers and put it back in his pocket.
"I – I don't know." He answered, truthfully.
He had never really been able to picture the end, after all. Strange – he had spent the most formative years of his life working towards this, but he had never really thought of what he would do when it was over.
"Well, we could go back to the Great Hall. Or we could stay out here."
We, she had said. Twice. He liked that.
"Well, I'm done out here." He said, glancing at the white tomb he was standing in front of. He had returned the wand and repaired the tomb's cover. He supposed it was time to go back.
"Then let's go."
She held out her hand. He took it.
They headed towards the castle.
"I'm sorry." He found himself saying to her, not really sure what in particular he was referring to.
"I know." She said.
"Is everyone still in there?" He asked. He had lost track of time, between his visit to Dumbledore's old office with Ron and Hermione and his solo trip to the headmaster's final resting place.
"Mostly. Neville and his Gran seem to be running the clean up. Dad's trying to get all of us to go home, but we've all refused. There's still so much to be done and – " Her breath hitched for a moment, but she continued on. "And I don't think Fred would have liked us to quit on his behalf."
"I'm so sorry." He said, again.
"You shouldn't be. We all made our choices a long time ago, and we knew how it could end."
That didn't make him feel any less guilty, but she knew that so he didn't say so.
"I want to stay too. I want to help fix everything. I want to see your mum." He blurted, all three requests jumbled together.
He wondered if it were possible to feel like a very small child and tired old man all at once. If it was, he decided, that was indeed how he'd describe himself at that very moment.
"She'd like that." She replied, knowing his first two statements needed no response.
She was smiling.
He smiled back.
The action felt strange and uncomfortable, as if he hadn't used those particular muscles in a very long time. He supposed that was because he hadn't. He supposed that was because she hadn't been around to show him how.
"How did you find me?" He asked, not quite sure whether he meant how or why.
"I asked Ron where you were."
"Oh. Why?" The second question left his mouth before he could stop it.
"I figured you could use some company. And I wanted to give him and Hermione a minute. They seemed like they were on the verge of something."
"She kissed him, before." He found himself telling her. He seemed to be incapable of thinking before he spoke.
"Did she really?"
"Yeah. Threw herself at him in the Room of Requirement. While we were ..." looking for the last horcrux died on his lips. There was so much she didn't know about his past year, and as his classmates had proved to him earlier, there was so much about hers he was unaware of.
He stopped walking and turned towards her.
"Soon, I'm going to tell you everything." He said to her, looking her directly in the eye for the first time since she had come to find him. "I will explain, I promise, I just couldn't before."
She nodded in response. They would catch up. Soon.
"I've missed you." Again, he felt as if words were tumbling out of his mouth before his mind had a chance to process them.
"I've missed you too." She tried to brush his way-too-long fringe out of his eyes with her free hand. When it didn't cooperate, her brow crinkled.
"Your hair looks ridiculous."
He stared at her for a moment, speechless. She too seemed surprised at her own observation. He watched as the corners of her mouth turned up and felt his own do the same.
And then, they were laughing.
She dropped his hand to place both her own over her mouth. He clutched his stomach, unsure if the pain in his abdomen was some from sort of injury or just his body's recognition of another unfamiliar action.
He looked over at her shaking form and laughed harder.
He felt a bit like he had this time last year at Dumbledore's funeral, only this time the guilt he felt for laughing was overshadowed by the relief he felt for still being able to do so.
As soon as he could catch his breath, he spoke.
"You're amazing." He said, resigned to the fact that he was now incapable of filtering his thoughts.
"I know." She answered, smirking.
And they were laughing again.
This time, she threw her arms around his neck and he spun her around before placing her back on her feet.
"I really did miss you." He said, breathless, arms still around her.
"I believed you the first time." She was still smiling at him.
For a brief moment he wondered if their nervous mirth was as inappropriate as it seemed, in the wake of all that had happened.
He decided he had more important things to worry about.
"Can we go see your family now?" He asked. He had come out to the grounds to be alone, but he suddenly felt the need to be surrounded by the people he cared for the most.
"They're your family too, you know." She said. "So you really don't have to ask."
"Then let's go."
He held out his hand. She took it.
They headed towards the castle.