Disclaimer: I am only borrowing from the world of J.K. Rowling.
Chapter One: A Long Way Coming
Harry, Ron, and Hermione walked down the stairs of the Headmaster’s office in silence. They let everything they had just heard seep into them.
As they reached the bottom, Harry was the first to speak, “I’m going to the Gryffindor dormitory.” He said, “I can’t handle it right now.”
Ron and Hermione nodded and they watched as he turned a corner. “Follow him.” Hermione hissed at Ron, “There’s still a lot of danger, especially for him.”
“Where are you going?” Ron asked. But Hermione had already turned away and was heading in the opposite direction. Figuring that following Harry was the best way to keep Hermione on his good side, he did as he was told.
Harry sat on his old four poster bed staring out the mangled window. Ron kept just outside the door making sure that he was safe. Just as Ron was about to sit down, some hands pushed him into a dormitory just below Harry’s.
“Wha-” The hands covered Ron’s mouth and he looked up to see Hermione. When he made a gesture that he was going to whisper, she released him.
“Why are we in here?” he whispered.
“Operation Ginny and Harry isn’t going to work if they know that we are spying.” Hermione whispered back.
“Operation Ginny and Harry?” Ron asked incredulous.
“To get them back together.” Hermione whispered back as they heard footsteps and then a door creak open.
Ron looked as though he was about to protest when Hermione pulled him out of the room when the door to Harry just closed.
“Harry James Potter.” Ginny’s voice was so cold that Ron felt as if he was getting the shivers. “You, you, y-”
“Ginny I can explain.” Harry said and the way that he walked made it sound like he was hobbling.
“NO YOU CAN’T!” Ginny yelled and Hermione audibly winced. “YOU CAN’T JUST GO OUT AND LEAVE ME AND THEN COME BACK AND EXPECT ME TO WELCOME YOU IN OPEN ARMS!”
“Ginny!” Harry was trying to make her calm down.
“Harry.” The creaking of a bed lead Ron to believe that she was sitting down. “It’s not fair.”
“Life isn’t fair.” Harry said. “You know that.”
“If it was fair than my mum would have at least two daughters, though Ron is practically a girl.” Ginny said and there was some audible laughter. Ron turned to Hermione but she was doing her best not to laugh at him. He was sure that ears had gone red.
“You couldn’t have gone with us.” Harry said. “You still had the trace on you.”
“Yeah but when the battle was happening you wanted to protect me. You didn’t want me to get hurt, but I can damn well handle myself. I’m not a baby.” Ginny’s voice was rising again.
“Gin-” Ginny caught across Harry.
“Harry do you know what I went through? Hogwarts was hell. It was hell. There was nothing that we could do to make it anything other than utter hell. We tried to make it better, but no matter what we did, they just punished us more. You saw Neville. He’s been in hiding for weeks.” Ginny was getting more and more flustered. Ron was sure that if he was in the room she was starting to turn red. “And then we had to stay at Aunt Muriel’s.” The light footsteps indicated that she was pacing. “I don’t want to see her ever again.” She said. “And what were you and Ron and Hermione doing. Riding dragons?” She said forcefully and then there was an audible wince.
Ron turned to Hermione, the dull hit before it sounded like she had hit him, but Ron was sure it wasn’t with enough force to actually hurt him.
“Harry, take off your shirt.” Ginny’s anger was now replaced by fear.
“What?” Harry said. “No I’m fine.”
“No your not, take off your shirt.”
“No.” Harry said a bit more forcefully.
“Do you want me to take it off of you for you?” Ginny asked.
Ron turned at Hermione again but Hermione held him. Now would not be a good time to go barging in.
There was a rumpling of clothes and then a gasp. “You need to go to Madam Pomfrey’s.” Ginny said weakly.
“No.” Harry said adamantly. “She has other people to worry about. People who are hurt more than me.”
“Harry.” Ginny said. “You need to go.”
There was several steps, but this time coming from behind them and Ron whipped around as Charlie trudged up the steps.
“Do you know where Ginny is?” He asked. There was soot that covered his face, and several scratches, as well as a sleeve ripped.
“She’s in there.” Hermione said. “With Harry.”
Charlie nodded and knocked on the door. “Come in.” Ginny said.
As he opened the door, Harry was trying to put on his shirt but Ron could see that it was terrible. He had several scratches all over him, some that were still bleeding. He had burns, and cuts, and he was covered in dirt. As Ron stared Harry slid over his shirt, but the harm was done. He was going to have to tell someone.
“You should come down. Mum’s worrying. We are going to the Burrow tonight.” Charlie said. Ginny started to walk with Charlie but Harry stayed. “You too Harry.”
“No.” Harry said not making eye contact. “I’ve caused your family enough pain. You don’t need me around as a reminder.”
“Harry.” Charlie approached him, and took a hand. “I don’t know if we would still be around without you. Ginny would be dead, as would Ron, and Dad. You didn’t hurt anyone. It’s not your fault.”
“But, I-” Charlie cut him off.
“Now come down or mum will absolutely blast you.”
Harry weakly stood up, his eyes still on the floor.
“Did you see what she did to Lestrange?” Charlie asked when Harry still hadn’t made a step. Harry smiled feebly and followed after them. Ginny kept staring back at him, but didn’t walk next to him, and Ron was sure that something was going on. Maybe she was trying to send him messages? Or was he receiving the messages? In the middle of his conspiracy theory they entered the Great Hall and there were many shouts of “Harry!” “Ron!” “Hermione!” Ron did his best to take it in stride but he realized that Harry had been right about fame. If he sort of stumbled he knew that people were watching and couldn’t just hope that they were staring at Harry. And really they shouldn’t be celebrating. Fred was dead. As were countless others. Ron felt tears forming but quickly wiped them away before anyone could see and put on a brave face.
“Oh Harry!” Mrs. Weasley came over and embraced Harry in one of her bone-crushing hugs as she wiped tears away from her face. “You can never do that again!” She added as she released him.
She went on to hug everyone else, but all of the brothers could only offer meek smiles. Even his father could only rub Ginny on the back as she leaned into him.
As George traced the grain of the wood in front of him, his head down so that no one could see the tears sliding down his face, Mrs. Weasley announced. “We are leaving for the Burrow. I’ve had it from Kingsley that it’s been searched but no curses have been placed.”
“Thank god.” George said, “I can’t spend another second with that batty, barmy, ol-”
“That’s enough.” Mrs. Weasley said and Ron couldn’t help but even if she was grieving, maybe not in the same way as everyone else, she was still mum. Even if the tone she used was slightly kinder than if George had said that six hours before. “Harry, Hermione, I expect that you’ll be joining us.”
“I don’t want to intrude.” Harry said cleaning off a little of the grime on his glasses the muggle way.
“No Harry, you aren’t intruding, you never were. You’re family Harry.” Mrs. Weasley said.
“No buts.” Mr. Weasley said and Harry fell silent. Ron couldn’t help but say that even if he had defeated Voldemort, which seemed doomed to start with, this was a war that was already lost.
Ron was about to laugh at the thought, but then remembered what had happened. Fred was gone. He was never going to crack a joke again. He wasn’t going to be George’s partner. Ron sat down and put his face into his hands. Voldemort, that bastard. Did he just hate people?
“Everyone up.” Mr. Weasley said and the Weasley’s stood. “Let’s all apparate to the Burrow. The wards are down so we can.”
The Weasleys nodded and one by one they started to disappear. Ron spun on the spot and landed just outside. Once they were all there, they crossed over the threshold. Ron didn’t even notice that he was holding his breath and when they entered they gasped. All of the drawers and books were pulled out. Lots of things had been looted, but since the Weasleys didn’t have many valuables, most was still there. It was a mess, and as they started to regain their composure, Mrs. Weasley stepped forward.
“It’s nothing that a little magic can’t fix.” She took out her wand and started waving it around and muttering things and everything gradually went back to it’s place. Others followed into the sitting room to fix it, and Ron walked up to his mother. “Mum, can you do some quick healing on Harry? Just to stop the bleeding?”
His mother blinked as if she had just been punched, and then nodded, and called Harry over. “Harry, dear, can I heal you up a bit. It will only take a second.” Several of the Weasleys looked on and Ron was sure that he got Harry into a bind. Harry consented and took his shirt off, which on a longer look, was even worse than Ron had realized. There was a sun, that had the same feel as his lightning bolt, on his chest. Burn marks surrounded his body, and as he moved scabs broke open and began to bleed. Mum regained her composure first and quickly waved her wand around. All of the bleeding stopped, and skin looked less irritated. “Tomorrow, right after breakfast, you are going to a professional healer.” He looked like he was about to protest, but Mum cut across him. “Everyone can do their own rooms, and then I expect you to go to bed. That was a very long day.” Everyone nodded and as everyone went to their rooms, Harry stayed behind. Ron turned and saw Harry standing there and he knew that Harry was thinking about slipping off to Grimmauld Place.
Ron turned around and approached him, and Harry tried to stop him, “It’s all my fault. Did you see their faces?”
“Harry!” Ron said trying to settle him down.
“Did you see their faces Ron?” Harry asked. “Did you see them? It’s all my fault.”
“Harry!” Ron said and when Harry opened his mouth Ron continued. “What would happen if you didn’t defeat Voldemort? How many other Weasley’s would be dead. Sure, maybe we lost one, but how many Potters are gone? How many Prewetts? There deaths were never your fault, heck you weren’t even alive when it happened. The prophecy had never been heard of. Their deaths weren’t your fault just like Fred wasn’t your fault. Without you a whole lot more people would be dead.”
“Get it in your mind! You saved a lot more than you can imagine.”
Harry opened his mouth but at Ron’s angry look he closed it again. Harry then followed Ron up the stairs and into the camp bed that was already there.
Ron saw the look of surprise but Harry didn’t saw anything and just fell into a restful sleep. Ron stared at the ceiling listening to Harry’s gentle breathing. He was going over and over that kiss that Hermione had given him. How when he held out his hand she grabbed it. How over the hunt she turned to him, and he wondered why she was giving him a second chance. After all that he had done, leaving her included, and wondered what made him so special. He sure as hell he didn’t deserve her. With the thoughts drifting through his mind he finally went to sleep.
AN: Thanks for clicking on this story, it means a lot to me. This is my first story and feedback is needed so if you find anything that is an error, including anything that messes up with canon then please tell me. Constructive critism is welcome!