Harry Potter was in Gryffindor Tower, sleeping restlessly in his old dorm bed, his mind filled with a sickening high-pitched laugh, and a blinding flash of green light. Harry awoke instantly as the light in his dream filled his mind, startled to find himself in a warm and comfortable for the first time in almost a year. Harry's eyes roamed around the old dorm for a while, not remembering when and how he ended up there. He figured he must of fell asleep at the table in the Great Hall after speaking to Dumbledore's portrait, and that either Ron or Hermione carried him back up into his dorm bed.
Harry reached for his glasses on the nightstand next to him, and the room came into focus. He looked around some more, noticing more details of his surroundings than before. A empty chair stood at the end of his feet, and Harry looked at it curiously. He found Ron's book of 'Flying with the Cannon's' and figured he kept watch and Harry slept.A loud snore erupted Harry's thoughts as his head spun around to the source, he was surprised to find Hermione laying in Ron's bed, facing his way.
Harry couldn't help but notice how bruised and cut her face was, and felt slightly guilty that it was his fault that she had received them. What else is my fault? Harry thought suddenly. Images of Remus, Tonks, Colin, and Fred entered his mind, overwhelming him with guilt and sadness. Tears prickled in his eyes, knowing more people where dead. Blinking away his tears, Harry's thoughts pulled back to Ron, who must be taking Fred's death hard.
Harry swung his feet off his bed and stood up, noticing a burning pain in his chest. Harry gasped slightly as the pain overwhelmed him for a moment, threatening to overtake him. As the pain faded, Harry lifted his shirt to reveal a large, black bruise right over his heart, right where Voldemort had hit him with the second Killing Curse. His eyes widened, wondering how he had not noticed it before. Harry pulled his shirt down again and took a breath to calm himself, then started to head down to the Great Hall, trying his hardest to forget about the bruise. Little did he know that the bruise would be more trouble than he thought possible.
Hermione watched silently as Harry left the room, scared slightly. How did he get that ugly bruise on his chest? She thought wildly. Hermione noticed that Harry didn't have that injury when they were all fighting in the Battle of Hogwarts, but only after his encounter with Voldemort. But she knew Harry didn't get hit by any spell by Voldemort in the Great Hall, the spells hit each other and backfired on Voldemort. The forest, thought Hermione suddenly.
She knew Harry went into the forest after the battle ceased for a hour, but Harry didn't go into full details yesterday of what happened there, and know to think of it, he didn't mention the forest at all. Hermione knew that she needed to talk to Ron about this, but he left her earlier so he could be with his family, and told her she could use a earned rest. Hermione got up silently from the bed, and went down to the Great Hall, looking for Ron.
As Harry entered the Great Hall, he couldn't help but notice all the bodies that were lined up on the floor, and overwhelmed him. His breath caught in his throat when he saw his friends, and tried his hardest to clam his heart. Harry flinched violently as a soft arm wrapped around his shoulder. Harry looked up and saw the kind face of Mrs. Weasley looking at him.
"Hello, Harry dear." She said weakly, pulling him into a tight embrace.
Harry hung on to her, letting a tear or two fall out of his eye and on her shoulder, allowing himself a moment to weaken. Over Mrs. Weasley's shoulder, Harry could see the rest of the Weasley's crouched around Fred. Mrs. Weasley let go of Harry and followed his gaze, then looked at his battered face and read his thoughts.
"Harry, you mustn't blame yourself for his death, or anyone else's. You couldn't of saved everyone, and goodness knows you tried to. You-Know-Who is the reason for their deaths." Mrs. Weasley told him.
Harry nodded vaguely, not trusting his voice. Harry looked around again and found Ginny sitting next to her father, staring at him with her fierce glare. Harry knew that glare, and knew he was trouble, deeply. Ginny made a motion with her head, telling him to meet her in the corridor. Harry nodded in agreement and followed her.
Ginny arrived there first, speeding ahead of Harry. As Harry came closer to her, she saw how battered and bruised he was, and notice the light that was always in his eyes was dull. Harry look at her and too noticed her cuts, not as bad as the ones he had, but still felt guilty. As Harry stopped in front of Ginny, the pain in his chest flared for a moment, causing a tiny gasp to escape his lip and his hand reached for it instantly. Ginny ignored it, her anger at Harry overruling her concern.
"Ginny," Harry started weakly, not exactly knowing what to say.
"Why did you let us all think you were dead? You broke my heart when I saw you in Hagrid's arms. How come Voldemort thought you were dead as well?" She asked, her anger obvious in the voice.
Harry looked at her, not knowing how to answer her question. He hated the fact that he was a Horcrux, and didn't want anyone else to know that he had been protecting Voldemort for the past 17 years. The thought was unbearable. Harry could think of only one thing to tell her.
"The forest." Harry said lifelessly.
"The forest? Harry, what happened?" Ginny asked, wondering where this was going.
The memories of the forest overtook Harry at that moment, and he crumpled to the ground, sobbing softly with his arms wrapped around his knees. Gasping loudly, the pain in Harry's chest returned to him. Ginny's anger disappeared instantly as she watched Harry on the ground, sobbing out his emotions. Ginny kneeled down towards him and wrapped her arms around his shoulders and held him close to her.
Harry dropped his head on her shoulder, and continued to sob. When Harry finally could control himself, he lifted his head and stared into Ginny's eyes. Ginny was alarmed by the fear and pain that she found in his eyes. She could feel the tears escaping her eyes as she looked at Harry, wanting more than anything to take his pain away.
"Ginny, I can't tell you what happened right now. I'm so sorry." Harry responded finally.
Ginny wiped away her tears and placed her hand on Harry's cheek, and was relieved to feel his face fall into it.
"Its okay, Harry. I understand. Maybe a different time." Ginny told him.
Harry was relieved by her words, and took comfort in them. Harry gazed into the brown eyes he so loved, and found himself wanting to hold Ginny, and hug her, to kiss her. Ginny gazed back into his emerald eyes, falling hopelessly in love with him all over again. Ginny leaned closer to him and found herself kissing him. Harry was shocked at first, but responded to her kiss, feeling the love and passion Ginny was putting into it. When they finally broke apart, they both were slightly out of breath and both had a small smile on their face. Ginny finally stood up and reached out a hand for Harry, who grabbed it and pulled himself up. Ginny pulled Harry into a hug and tried to give him the strength that he would need today.
"Come on," Ginny told him, " Lets go back into the hall before people notice our absence."
Harry's jaw tightened and his eyes showed fear, but nodded and took her hand and walked back into the Great Hall, bracing himself for what was yet to come.
Ron Weasley watched silently as Harry and Ginny talked in the corridor, listening as they exchanged words. Ron was shocked when Ginny asked Harry what happened and his answer. The forest? Ron was disappointed when Harry didn't answer and was shocked to see him collapse on the ground and sob. Ron was glad when Ginny went to comfort him and exchanged more words.
At first anger entered Ron when Ginny and Harry kissed, but turned into happiness, knowing they both deserved it, he wasn't going to stand in there way. Then Ron watched as they walked back into the Great Hall, hand in hand. Ron couldn't help but think back to when Harry gasped loudly as he sobbed, and held onto his chest. Ron made his way back into the Great Hall where he saw Hermione waiting for him. He knew something was wrong, he just didn't know what it was.
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