this fanfic is based off the movies not the books.
It had been about an hour since Harry sent Hermione into the tent to warm up. He had spent that hour not doing much more than wandering around their camp double and triple checking the protection charms that he knew, since it was Hermione that set them, didn't need to be checked. But that was fine. Harry just wanted something he could do without really thinking about anything. It felt good, the not thinking. Every day for the past few months he had felt as if his head would explode with all the thinking he'd been doing. Where to find the horcruxes, how to avoid the deatheaters, how to find the Sword of Gryffendor. They just rolled through his mind over and over.
But above all that was another thought. Harry had started thinking it about a month back but hadn't really noticed it until recently. It had started small, just a quiet little whisper flitting through his mind while he thought so hard about all the other things. A stray thought: half a second here, half a second there- important enough to have thought it but not all consuming like the other things. But second by second, hour by hour, day by day, little by little the thought became more and more important. And now it was as all-consuming as the other thoughts he struggled with. It was a simple thought but attached to it were so many, many important things. Things Harry didn't want to deal with. Things he shouldn't want to deal with. At least, if only for an hour, he had managed to push it all aside and just… BE.
But now that thought, that simple little thought had crept back into his head. Silent as a whisper and loud as a foghorn it rang in his mind. Hermione… He couldn't push it away. He wasn't even sure he wanted to anymore. Hermione… she'd looked so forlorn when she showed him his broken wand, so frustrated and sad that she couldn't fix it. It wasn't her fault and he wasn't upset but he could almost feel her inside fretting about it. Harry sighed. It was a big one that involved his whole chest and shoulders. Hermione… he would have to go in and talk to her, reassure her that it was all right.
There was only one problem. It was getting harder and harder to face her, to be near her. Hermione… he loved her, he was sure of it now. In fact harry knew the exact moment when it became clear to him what his feelings were for her. They were standing in front of his mother and father's grave. The Christmas Eve air was chill and dark. All was quiet but for the hiss of falling snow and the gentle lullaby whisper of singing coming from inside the chapel. He'd wanted so badly to do something for his parents' grave. To leave some sign that he'd been there, that he cared, and that he loved and missed them.
Hermione… without a word or a glance in his direction she'd made that wreath. It was small, beautiful, and perfect. How had she known? His heart felt like it was filling to overflowing with… something… Harry felt his heart swelling almost to the point of bursting with the pressure of it. Hermione… "Merry Christmas Harry." she whispered and laid her head on his shoulder. That was when the pressure burst… and he knew. But he would never let on, please god help him to not let on. Hermione… she was with Ron and he with Ginny. They were his best friends, his family and he would sooner rip out his own heart than to hurt them.
And so he would. He would pretend nothing within himself had changed and that his entire universe hadn't shifted to revolve completely around her. Hermione… that impossible, infuriating, know it all, beautiful, intelligent, wonderful person. Yes, he would smother that part of him, walk into that tent and reassure her that she did nothing to feel bad about. That she had, in fact, done everything right! As she usually does. He could do it. He would. He had to.
Harry pushed his way through the tent flap and there Hermione was, exactly as expected, sitting at the table and staring intently at his broken wand as if willing it to mend with just the power of her formidable mind. Harry gave another sigh, a little one, and walked over to sit beside her.
"I'm sorry Harry," she said in a small voice, "it's my fault. That curse…"
"Look at me." Harry said firmly. Hermione turned to him almost involuntarily and he continued, "You did nothing wrong Hermione." He picked up the wand pieces. "Certainly nothing to be sorry for, I mean you saved my life!"
"But…!" Hermione jumped from her seat "You've already lost so much Harry! The wand… it's so much a part of you…!" she had begun to pace in the middle of the tent in her frustration.
"The only thing," Harry began in a load voice, cutting her off as he too rose from the table. Once he had her attention again he continued in a softer voice, "I've lost here is a wand. It's a thing, Hermione. It was special, yes, but in the end it's just a thing. Serius Black, Mad Eye, my parents… their deaths are a loss. Losing them hurts." His voice cracked slightly on that last word but his voice firmed, his back straitened, and he continued on as he walked over to where she stood, having stopped her pacing to listen to him.
"Ron, his family, our friends, and… you. Those are the only things that matter to me. This," he said holding up his broken wand, "is just a stick." Harry tossed the broken pieces out the tent flap without a second glance and took another step forward, "Losing you… A-any of you would destroy me." Harry blushed. God, he'd almost slipped. He hoped she hadn't noticed. Just like he hadn't noticed how close he'd come to her. They were almost sharing breath they were so close. Somewhere in that speech Hermione had captured his eyes with her own, and god help him he couldn't look away.
She had noticed, he could see it in her eyes as they widened in understanding. Even as the silence stretched on, still neither one could look away, and everything became… heavier… as the moment suddenly pulled them under. It was as if the earth itself was moving them closer and closer together as each fell under the other's spell. At some point after he'd taken that last step she had placed her hands on his chest. It only just registered with him then.
Even captured in the heavy undertow of the moment, Hermione found herself thinking, her mind racing in fact. Was this really happening? What about Ginny? What about Ron? Hermione hesitated. Harry noticed and paused, the moment slowly loosening its hold on him. He was going to pull away, she could feel it. Feel it… and suddenly she found that where her hands rested on his chest like corded steel under warm velvet. God he was strong, when had Harry grown so strong?
For Hermione, taking notice of that one thing about Harry was like a key turning in a lock. A flood gate opened and Hermione's raced ever faster as that flood brought a wash of clarity to it. She finally saw in a new light all the things about him she had taken for granted through all their years of friendship.
Harry was strong. And kind, and loyal, and… tender. Yes, that was the right word. Tender. He had always been there with a soft hand for her whenever she was in pain. And patience. Harry was not a patient person and had not been even when he was a boy. But for her he always seemed to manage it, if not all the time at least when she really needed it. The last few months were clear evidence of that. Ron had broken her heart when he left the way he did and it had been the single most painful experience of her life to date. She'd been a shell for a while, a walking automaton.
Without a word or a glance and without any expectations, Harry had picked up those pieces of her shattered heart. Then with quiet kindness and with a sense of patience Hermione had never thought him to possess he carefully reassembled those pieces and gently held them together until she was standing on her own again.
The moment was nearly gone and Harry began to pull away… he was pulling away! Suddenly all the things she'd noticed, all the things she'd missed, none of it mattered anymore. This was it. She didn't know what it was but she knew that if she tried to think it through she would miss it. So Hermione stopped. She stopped thinking, she stopped analyzing, and she stopped letting her mind run away with her heart. It was time to let her heart lead for once. And so Hermione lead with her heart.
Her heart demanded action. Her body shivered: trembling all the way out from her spine to her fingertips and back again. It was like a rope being cut or a chain unlocked. Hermione practically leapt forward and captured Harry's lips. All her inhibitions were gone, blown away by the tempest of one simple fact: He was pulling away! She knew, as deep as instinct, beyond conscious thought, that if she let this moment slip away it would never come again.
Hermione poured everything into that kiss. All the hurt and pain that Ron's leaving inflicted on her as well as her frustration and anger at having to continue moving forward despite that pain. However, that was just a part of what she poured into her kiss. There was also wonder. Wonder, trust, and a quiet, warm sense of joy. And something else. A feeling- a kind of emotion she hadn't yet been able to put a name to, but she could feel it growing, gently spreading through her like the soft, sun warmed petals of a flower.
Hermione… Though her sudden, passionate kiss surprised Harry, it froze him for only a moment. He hadn't meant to put them both in this situation. He'd only meant to reassure her. But he had gotten too close and hadn't realized it until it was too late. They were so close and they were getting even closer. But then Hermione hesitated, and Harry was sure that she had managed to shake off whatever had ahold of them. So he gathered what frayed scraps of will power he could and started to pull away from her.
Pulling away from her was the right thing to do, he was sure of it, though it was difficult… so very difficult. Hermione… her kiss had taken that painfully self-sacrificing act and tossed it right out the tent flap after his broken wand. Harry's moment of shock passed, and he unfroze, his noble intentions evaporated and forgotten in a blink as if they'd never existed. Hermione circled her arms around his neck as his arms circled her waist, each clasping one to the other as their kiss deepened.
Harry stopped thinking. Hermione stopped thinking. Their bodies, however, were not without direction. Their clothes were discarded and they were across the room next to the cot so quickly it was almost as if they had apparated there. There were no more thoughts, no more realizations, no more epiphanies. There was just heavy breathing, a soft moan from Hermione, and a deep groan from Harry.
Hermione clung to Harry, wrapping her body around his like a warm silk blanket. She had to lean down slightly to continue kissing him. The backs of Harry's knees bumped into the edge of the cot and he collapsed into it carrying Hermione down with him. She almost drove him into the mattress with her body, her need for him was so great. Harry almost bruised her he held onto her so tightly. Hermione didn't stop him. She didn't want him to stop. The almost pain didn't bother her because it was proof that Harry's need matched her own.
There were no sweet words between them, no wandering caresses, no tender lovemaking with slow explorations of each other's bodies. Just each one's immediate, devouring need to belong to and be one with the other. He took her or she took him, Harry wasn't sure which. It didn't really matter though. All he knew was that for the first time in a very long time, he felt complete. They carried on like this until they both collapsed, totally spent, into a sweaty tangle of arms and legs.
They lay there for a while, Harry on his back with Hermione curled on top of him, catching their breath and listening as their racing hearts began to take on a more normal rhythm. Hermione listened to Harry's heart as she idly brushed just her fingertips gently across his chest, back and forth. She seemed fascinated by it, staring closely at where her fingertips met his flesh. Harry, likewise, watched his own hand intently as it stroked her hair, following that dark auburn tangle from the crown of her head, down the back of her neck and shoulders to the soft warm skin of her back.
Love… Harry thought to himself, neither one could remember who had said it first or when, but as the saying went: the cat was, well and truly, out of the bag. Dear God, I told her I love her! I said it out loud. His mind whirled about frantically, like a hummingbird trapped in glass, lots of activity that served no purpose. We shouldn't have done this, it was wrong. What kind of mate am I, to have done this to Ron? What kind of MAN am I, to have done this to Ginny? Ginny… whatever happened at the end of all this, he knew that whatever future the two of them hoped to have together was now and forever null and void.
And the worst part, Harry thought morosely, his hand stilling mid-stroke on Hermione's back, is that I have to end it not because of what I've done, though that was more than enough reason, but because of what I feel. He let his mind wander like that for a few minutes until he felt Hermione heave a sigh which, another part of Harry's brain noted, did very interesting things to her body where it met his.
"Stop it." Hermione said, breaking the silence in a voice so soft it was almost a whisper, but still firm and clearly heard at the same time. "Harry James Potter," she continued before he could respond, raising her head from his chest to look him in the eye. "I know what you're thinking and I demand you stop this instant."
Harry didn't question how she knew what he was thinking. She always knew. "Hermione, you know I can't. What we did… It shouldn't have happened." He said looking her in the eyes as well. He saw them grow sad and anxious at his words.
"S-so you… regret what we…" Hermione stuttered apprehensively but Harry cut her off before she could finish voicing her thought.
"No! No I do not regret what we did… What we shared." He said, wrapping his arms around her and squeezing gently to reassure her. "I will never regret that. What I do regret is the pain this will cause all the people we care about." Harry moved an arm from around her so that he could caress her cheek, "I love you 'Mione. I know I do. But what we shared, what you gave to me, it wasn't mine to take or accept."
Hermione had wrapped her arms around him by then. Tightly, as if afraid he would throw her off. At that moment she was both overjoyed and terrified. He said he loved her. He wasn't having a laugh, and he wasn't in the throes of passion. Harry had looked her right in the eye and said he loved her! But the way he was talking made her anxious. He made it sound like he was going to leave her and disappear. Her arms tightened around him at that thought.
"Maybe," She said softly, "but it was mine to give to whomever I choose… And I chose you." Her voice cracked a little at the end. "Harry I lo…"
"Shhh," Harry said, stopping her before she could finish, "don't say it again. Not yet." He felt Hermione's body tense up and started stroking her hair again. Gently, reassuringly and continued, "This whole situation, this… this war we seem to be caught up in, it's changing everything. We've been lucky, 'Mione. Despite all our losses and pain we've just barely managed to stay one step ahead." His eyes had been closed as he spoke, like he'd been searching for the right words. Then he opened them and looked directly into Hermione's and said, "Some changes, however, are too fast for us to keep up with, let alone stay ahead of. And I believe today was one of them.
"You know how I feel. I can't hide that from you anymore, and of my feelings for you I have no doubt." Hermione opened her mouth to say something but harry placed a gentle finger on her lips. She gave Harry a pout but remained silent. "Thank you." He said, acknowledging her pout with a smile, "But Hermione, you're different. You've been hurt and left alone on top of everything else you've been forced to deal with. With all of that it's natural to want to cling to somebody, I know sometimes I do."
Harry saw her face clouding in indignation at his presuming to know her feelings. He knew he'd better get to the point fast. "Please don't misunderstand me; I want to hear you tell me you love me! Nothing would give me greater joy, but I want… No, I'm begging you, please wait. We will defeat Voldemort!" He said, conviction burning through in his voice. Hermione heard no doubt, and she believed him, her ire fading just a little in the face of it. "And after," he continued in the same voice, "if your feelings are still the same, I would be overjoyed to have you tell me you love me. Over and over again if you wish and I will never tire of hearing it."
"Harry… Hermione sighed. There was so much she wanted to say. She wanted to tell him what an idiot he was, as if she would have allowed anything to have happened between them if she weren't already absolutely sure of her own feelings for him. She wanted to rail at him for thinking he knew her own mind and heart better than she did. But I won't, she thought to herself and felt her body relax against his. Harry's been through so much more. He's lost so much more. And yet he still gave so much of himself so selflessly, We've still so far to go, and if he needs this time to keep a level head then I want to give it to him.
"fine, if that's what you want I'll wait." As Harry drew breath to speak, Hermione interrupted him, "But!" gently placing a finger over his lips. "Putting all that aside, at the moment I'm a little sore, very tired, and extremely comfortable." This last she said while snuggling more fully against his body.
All it took was one look from Hermione and Harry knew that moving from the cot at any time in the near future would be a very bad idea. Not that he had any plans to move himself, at least, not for a while. Once she was sure he had gotten the message, Hermione gave him a little smile of satisfaction and laid her head back down on his chest, her cheek resting above his heart. She closed her eyes and almost immediately her breathing slowed and deepened. Within seconds she was asleep. Not long after, Harry himself followed her under.
It was early evening when Harry woke again, though Hermione still slept soundly. He managed, moving slowly, to extricate himself from beneath her. Once he was out of bed, he saw to it that she was covered and warm, then dressed and headed back outside to keep watch again…
And so the movie goes on…
Harry stood transfixed, watching as the last vestiges of what had once been Voldemort flaked off and drifted away on the wind. When the last ashy flake finally disappeared into the distance, his body seemed to deflate slowly lowering itself to the ground until Harry found himself sitting without actually remembering having done so. He just sat there for a few minutes, slumped forward, arms propped on knees, eyes closed, just breathing.
Breath in, breath out. Tired… God he was tired. Breath in, breath out. But he couldn't sleep, not yet. He had to see it. He had to see it all. Breath in, breath out. With a deep, weary breath, Harry opened his eyes and pushed himself up off the ground and started to walk. He walked slowly as he looked out at the destruction he had wrought. Hogwarts lay in ruins, so much of it reduced to rubble around his feet. If only Hogwarts was the only casualty, he thought bitterly to himself, but it's not just rubble I'm walking through, is it? No, he could see the dead scattered all around him.
Deatheaters, students, teachers, and friends. All those ideals they fought and died for. So much dust and smoke now. So many differences separated them all in life, but now they're all equal. All equally dead. Because of him. Because of bloody HARRY POTTER! Ron had told him once that no one had died for him, that everyone had their own reasons to fight, to put their lives on the line. Ron had been right, nobody died for him. They'd died because of him.
Harry was the warm little glow of light they'd all gathered 'round. His were the words they heeded, the orders they accepted. He'd tried to tell them; all he'd had was an edge, and a small one at that. He hadn't known what he was doing for the most part. Every decision he'd made was through conjecture, every action he took was improvised. No plan he'd ever made actually worked. And still they had flocked to him, making him their center, the banner they rallied around.
And look what my so-called leadership has brought them! Harry wept silently as he walked and took in the destruction around him. He wept openly, his tears making little runnels down cheeks encrusted with blood and filth. His aimless wandering eventually carried him inside the ruin that was once Hogwarts. There too, death and destruction bore silent testimony to his utter failure to keep anyone safe. How many owls will travel to mothers and fathers only to tell them their children are dead? What warmth will this victory give them as they lower their children into the ground?
Victory. The word was like acid in the back of his throat. The war may have ended in our favor, but this is no victory. "Pity the living," Dumbledore was right. It's the living that must carry on through the aftermath. With these bitter truths tearing through his heart, Harry stumbled on. Eventually he found himself at the back entrance of the Great Hall. He stopped in a shadowed nook just before the entrance and just… watched, drinking in the sight of the living like a man dying of thirst.
Some wept, some laughed, some shared a quiet moment of companionship with others, like Luna and Neville, he saw. Some sat listlessly, staring at nothing as they grappled with the reality and the aftermath of what they had all endured. And still others, like Ginny, shared their grief for their lost loved ones with friends and family with tight embraces and murmured words of love. It was like knives of molten fire and searing ice tearing through his soul.
Ginny. Another person I've failed. Harry had failed her in so many ways, and now he'd betrayed her trust in and love for him by falling in love with someone else. I should talk to her, tell her the truth. She deserves to know the truth. And then, the sword through Harry's heart; Just then Ron appeared at the main entrance to the Great Hall. He was holding Hermione's hand, and they were standing so very close together.
Suddenly, it was just all too much. He'd been brave for so long, fought so hard, he'd stood against evil and death itself and come out the other side. But this was more than Harry had in himself to handle. He had stretched himself too thin, torn himself open and bled out all the strength that was in him to win against Voldemort. He could never be with Ginny, and he could never tell her why. Telling her the truth would hurt… everyone. Ron, Ginny, and all the Weasleys. But most of all it would hurt Hermione.
Hermione… Harry closed his eyes and took a deep breath, then turned his back on the Great Hall and silently left the way he'd come. It took him longer to leave Hogwarts than it had to enter. Stealth was essential now, as it had not been before. He couldn't afford to be stopped or seen so he kept to the shadows and side corridors as best he could. Along the way he found a black cloak, most likely abandoned by a death eater during their retreat. Harry slipped it on and pulled up the hood. It was a little big but it would help him blend more fully into the shadow and keep anyone from recognizing him right away.
It was easier to reach the bridge than he'd expected, though he supposed he shouldn't have been surprised. Most, if not all, of the survivors had congregated in or around the Great Hall. Once he'd reached the midpoint of the bridge, he stopped. He walked over the edge, where a large span of stone railing had been destroyed, and stood there a moment while staring into the vast chasm beneath him. Harry took the Elder Wand, nearly forgotten until now, from his pocket. Such a little thing, he thought as he contemplated the wand in his hand, so many possibilities. With this I could… So many possibilities…
But no, it's too much power for any wizard to command. Any living wizard at any rate. Dumbledore was… special. Without any further hesitation, Harry Grasped the Elder Wand firmly in both hands and snapped it in half. The broken wand gave a little sigh and a little puff of light and that was all. He let the pieces go and watched as they disappeared into the chasm, then he turned and continued on his way.
Harry judged himself far enough away from Hogwarts's grounds to apparate when he reached the outskirts of Hogsmead. His plan now was as simple as a plan could be. He would take nothing with him but his purloined Deatheater cloak, the clothes on his back, and the wand he had taken from Drako Malfoy, whose allegiance, according to Mr. Olivander, now belonged to him. And my memories of course, both good and bad. His heart, however, he would be leaving behind. Hermione… It belonged to her now, as it had for months, as it would forever.
Before he could leave, there was one last task he had to perform. Touching the tip of his wand to his temple, Harry concentrated and whispered, "Ispur zikru- sina." Those were the words to cast a mind to mind communication spell. The last word indicated that there were two he wished to communicate with. Two tiny, blue glowing spheres, no bigger than fireflies, circled around each other and the tip of his wand as he pulled it away from his temple. He flung his arm out in the direction of Hogwarts and the two glowing spheres shot away.
When they had disappeared into the distance, Harry lowered his arm, closed his eyes, and apparated away.
Ron and Hermione walked hand in hand into the Great Hall. Hermione immediately searched the hall for Harry but could find no sign of him. He's off by himself somewhere hurting, I know it. She wanted desperately to find him, to go to him. When he'd left before to go to the Dark Forrest to face Voldemort, they'd both known Harry was walking to his death and it had felt like acid was eating away at her heart. She needed to touch him, to hold him and reassure herself that he was there and whole. And she needed to do it NOW.
But she couldn't. Not yet. First she needed to talk to Ron. Dear, sweet, noble Ron. This was very much going to hurt. And it was going to hurt everyone. "Ron," she said, pulling him back and turning him to face her, "Ron, we need to talk." She let go of his hand and took a half step back. "There's something important I need to tell you."
"W-What is it Hermione?" Ron could feel his expression falling. He knew that something was off. He could feel it when she let go of his hand and stepped back from him. Hermione was putting distance between them but he didn't know why. He had a feeling, however, and every second she hesitated to continue that feeling became more and more certain, that he wasn't going to like it. More seconds ticked by and the tension got higher. "Hermione? What is it?"
"I was… not the same after you left, Ron." Hermione said hesitantly, "I was nearly useless. I couldn't sleep, I barely ate. I stopped speaking, Ron. For days." She was looking him in the eyes now, "You broke my heart," Hermione's voice hitched as she said 'heart', "It was all on Harry, there was no one else. He did the research, he packed and unpacked our camp, he set the protection charms and kept us safe." Ron felt a prickly chill run up and down his spine. He was beginning to have an idea of where this conversation was going and he didn't think he was going to like it. Not one bit.
Hermione drew in a deep breath and continued, "But even with everything he had to think about, everything he had to do, Harry still found time… No, he made time to help me. He saw to it that I rested even if I couldn't sleep, he made sure I ate at least a little…" her eyes took on a look as if she were looking off into the distance and her lips quirked into a sad half-smile. "Heh… Harry once stood next to me for two hours holding a plate of food, without saying a word the entire time mind you, until I took it from him. 'Shamed me into cleaning my plate as well.
"He would talk to me about anything and everything: quidditch, spells, politics. He would talk about silly things also like the color of the grass outside our tent. Anything that popped into his mind he would say until he finally got me to respond. Four days of silence and my first words were to promise him I would start talking again if he would stop."
Ron's face had completely drained of color while Hermione spoke. "You're in love with him, aren't you?" His voice was hollow and as devoid of emotion as his face. That void of emotion didn't last long. "So… I was right after all. You two…" anger crept into Ron's voice.
"NO!" The deep anger that lashed out in her voice stopped Ron mid-accusation more effectively than her speaking over him had. "You were wrong! You were my whole world and you tore my heart out and disappeared for months." Hermione's voice never rose but Ron felt as if she were screaming at him. "Harry picked me up, held me together until I could continue on my own. The moment, the second I was able to stand on my own, he stepped back and let me."
"Picked you up, did he?" Ron's face was red now and rage could be heard in his low voice, "Yes, I'll bet Potter hopped right to it, the back stabbing little git!" Deep inside Ron knew that none of this was true of Harry. They'd been through too much together for too long for him not to know that Harry was a proper friend. But he couldn't stop himself as the image of what the horcrux had showed him looped through his brain over and over. He was ashamed, he was hurt, and he couldn't stop. "He…!"
It came out of nowhere; a hand grabbed his shoulder and spun Ron around and another slapped him across the face. The slap was open handed and with so much force that it nearly knocked him off his feet. The 'crack' it made was so loud that it reverberated through the Great Hall. For a moment, Ron saw stars. When the stars had cleared away he straightened up and with a growl turned to face his attacker.
Ginny?! Ron's growl died in his throat along with his rage, anger, and pain. All that remained was surprise and confusion. "G-Ginny! Wh-what… Why…?" Tears ran down her face. Ginny looked washed out, sad, and abandoned. Her eyes, however, blazed with accusation.
"Is it true?" Ginny's voice was low and ragged. It fairly bled hurt and pain. "What she said, did you abandon them?" Ron tried to stammer an answer but couldn't get anything coherent out. Not that it mattered as his stammering said it all. Ginny's eyes now blazed with a rage and loathing Ron had never seen in them before, at least not directed at him. She opened her mouth to vent that rage and loathing upon him but before she could utter the first syllable two little blue pixy lights shot through one of the shattered windows of the Great Hall, twisting and dancing around each other.
The twin lights made several loops above both Ginny and Hermione's heads before coming to a dead stop between them. They hung in the air like that for a moment before splitting off from each other and drifted down, one to each girl, like flower petals. There was no sound. Ron's fight with Hermione and Ginny's accusation had spread silence over the Great Hall like a heavy blanket. The petals of light fluttered down silently until they touched the crown of the girls' heads. When they touched, the petals melted and both girls gasped, eyes going wide.
"Ginny…" Harry's voice whispered through her head, echoing her name along with feelings and images. His feelings: feelings of joy that she was alive, that she had survived Voldemort's war. Feelings of sorrow for the loss of her brother. But most prevalent were his feelings of guilt and sadness. There were no images attached to the guilt and sadness, those feelings were just… there. Then came a feeling of determination attached to an image of him disappearing. Ginny knew immediately what it meant: He was leaving and he didn't plan to come back. Finally, as the last image faded, three words echoed through her mind softly, again in Harry's voice, "I'm sorry. Goodbye…"