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Summary:  After the war, the survivors try to find a way to cope with the losses they have incurred and move into a future they have yet to create. As they try to find ways to save themselves, they realize that perhaps the best way is to save each other. 
 
This story will eventually be Harry Draco Slash. It will probably take a while to get there from here.  This chapter is rated for general audiences.

Notes:

First: my profound apologies for taking so long to write this chapter.  It is a shift in views from Draco to Harry, and Harry was being ... non-compliant.  The particular combination of grieving and relief that Harry and the Weasleys are experiencing has been very hard to write.  I think I rewrote this chapter at least 5 times.  There will be probably 2 more chapters from Harry POV before we return to Draco.  I already have some of the Draco chapter written... it is just getting there! 

And for those who are worried:  no, this will not be Harry/Percy.


Again and still:  thanks to [livejournal.com profile] ivyingarden for all the help making this a better fic!  She patiently helps me brainstorm (with some great ideas to throw into the cauldron), is fabulous with canon, has a knack for language, and keeps at me to "write write write!"

Chapter 6  -- The Day After

Aftermath - The Trio


Harry, Hermione and Ron descended the stairs from Dumbledore’s office. Harry could not imagine it being anyone else’s office, even though he knew Snape had used it all last year, and someone else would be using it next year. Harry found himself reaching to touch the gargoyle as they passed, as if for luck. The gargoyle permitted it.
 
The sounds of the battle had given way to sounds of celebration. They came in distant bursts, from the great hall, from some of the towers. Echoes of freedom. Occasionally, Harry heard a cry that did not sound like celebration, but he did not have the energy to consider the cause of those.
 
Peeves swooped by, still singing, but this time it was something along the lines of “really most sincerely dead…” Harry wondered where he had heard that before. Peeves must have run out of his own invention. That alone made the day one for the history books, if there had not been that other matter.
 
“He’s really dead.” Harry said quietly.
 
“Yeah.” Ron said, satisfaction evident in his voice.
 
“You did it, Harry.”
 
Harry put his arms around his two best friends. “We really did it. We three, and Neville. And everyone.”
 
“I bet there’s a party in Gryffindor tower.” Ron commented, wistfully. “It’d be nice to see everyone.”
 
Harry knew what Ron meant. After months on the road, with only each other for company, the noise and colours of the Gryffindor common room would be… welcoming. Besides, Ron was due for some recognition. He had destroyed a Horcrux. As had Harry, and Hermione, and Dumbledore, and Neville. Without any of them, they might not have won the war.
 
“Lets go,” he said.
 
The fat lady let them in without even a password. The noise level doubled as they passed through the hole behind the portrait. Neville was there, with something that looked to Harry like crepe paper draped around his head, patches of his skin the fresh pink of newly healed burns. Harry winced at the memory of the sorting hat, and Neville, burning. He was glad Neville was none the worse for wear, and had the odd fond hope that the sorting hat likewise survived.
 
Past and present students filled the common room: he recognized Lee Jordan, Oliver Wood, and Seamus Finnegan. Ron was the only Weasley. There were fewer girls, but Harry saw Angelina and some girls from other houses: Hannah Abbott and Luna, among others. A lot of DA members were crowded into the room. 
 
The noise redoubled as people saw the three of them, and they were half-deafened by the cheers and whoops.
 
For all that it was early morning, there were bottles and barrels of Butterbeer, and random bits of food that had either been summoned, or brought by house elves, or squirreled away from care packages. 
 
It felt good. The noise, the people, most of whom he knew, he had worked with. He and Ron grabbed some food, Hermione grabbed a sofa, and the three collapsed into it and ate, letting the noise wash over them. They were home.
 
Half an hour later, the noise was unabated, the party was in full swing, with food, and drink, and Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, but the three heroes lay asleep, heads lolling on each other’s shoulders.
 
Aftermath - Weasleys
 
Molly Weasley found the three of them later that day and woke them up just enough to bundle them through the floo back to the Burrow, overriding Harry’s indistinct protests that he did not want to intrude. Harry blearily wondered if the Burrow had been connected to the Floo Network the whole time, even with all the restrictions, or if Arthur had somehow managed to reconnect it after the battle. 
 
He woke the next morning to the clatter and aroma of Molly cooking, and the rumble of Ron’s snoring. He did not quite remember climbing the stairs to Ron’s room, but he was back in the familiar camp bed, and was wearing a pair of pyjamas. It seemed to be morning, but he felt rested. Was it still the same day?
 
Harry put on the robe that was usually left on the hook near the cot for him, taking comfort in the idea of a robe left just for him. He shambled down to use the loo, and a quick cleansing charm on his teeth made him feel slightly more human. He wondered briefly where his rucksack was. Somehow, it was always more satisfying using a toothbrush than the charm. He speculated on whether the charm could be modified to leave his mouth tingly and minty, like toothpaste. 
 
By the time he got downstairs, Mr Weasley, Ginny, and Charlie were sitting at the breakfast table, and there was enough food set out to feed the entire order, and their relatives. There were bangers and eggs, oatmeal, toast, grilled tomatoes and onions, kippers and pumpkin juice. Mr Weasley looked up from the Prophet and gave Harry a warm, welcoming smile. 
 
“Look who’s finally awake! Good morning, sleepyhead!” Mrs Weasley commented as she levitated something that smelled sweet out of the oven. Harry sat at one edge of one of the identical wooden benches on either side of the table, next to Ginny. She glanced at him, as if she wanted to say something, then looked back down to her breakfast, as Mrs Weasley, with several flicks of her wand, put some of everything onto a plate for him.
 
“There you go, Harry dear, eat up.”
 
The smell and clatter of breakfast brought down more people than Harry had ever seen in the Burrow, with the exception of Bill and Fleur’s wedding.
 
“How long did we sleep?” Harry asked, a bit sheepishly. 
 
“Well, you slept almost twenty-four hours, I think, Harry. You must have been worn out. Ron and Hermione both woke up for a bit last night, just long enough for dinner, but we couldn’t wake you. We decided you needed the sleep.” 
 
Harry nodded. He had not felt this rested since – well, since he could remember. This last year was particularly gruelling, but he had never had the chance to truly rest. Whether it was chores at the Dursleys, or nightmares, or his scar burning with pain whenever Voldemort got angry, fear of returning to the Dursleys, or grief at way too many deaths… The grief was still there. But… Voldemort would not cause any more deaths. Harry no longer needed to dread the future. He only needed to grieve the past. That was enough. Harry did not know how he felt. The grief was heavy. But there were no more expectations on him. That was a particularly light feeling. The conflicting senses left him empty. Waiting.
 
They ate in silence, to the sound of cooking and the crinkle of the Prophet. Hermione came down and sat near Mr Weasley with a murmured “morning” as she ate absently and she scribbled notes on a parchment near to hand thoroughly preoccupied. The feather of the quill occasionally tickled across her face and she scrunched her nose at it.   Harry briefly smiled to himself. Hermione never changed. They had just returned from months on the road, survived torture and imprisonment, then ‘vanquished the Dark Lord’ in a pitched battle; they had not been in school all year and thus had no homework, but Hermione found something to take notes about. Somehow, that was comforting.
 
Percy appeared a bit later, and perched tentatively at one end of the bench, away from Harry.   His movements were tight and careful. He kept his face lowered as he served himself small portions from the dishes near him. It looked to Harry as if Percy were trying to make himself as small and unobtrusive as possible. It was quite a change from the Percy that had tried to foist his views on everyone, so certain he was right.
 
Everyone fell silent as George entered. He sat unseeing as Molly put a full plate in front of him. Harry wished with all his being that Fred were there, and that the two would pull a prank, even on Percy. The silence was unbearable.
 
Fortunately, Ron lumbered down the stairs not too long after that. “Breakfast!”
 
Hermione looked up at that point. “Mrs Weasley, I can guarantee you that Ron thought of your cooking quite fondly—“
 
“And frequently!” Harry added.
 
“—While we were on our search.” Hermione finished. 
 
Ron flushed a deep red, but still heaped his plate full with some of everything within reach. “Mum’s a good cook!” He said defensively.
 
“You three never had a chance to tell us what you did all these months.” Molly Weasley started.
 
So they told her, and the rest of the Weasleys, of their trip. Of the café and how they were almost caught. Of breaking into the ministry, and running into Mr Weasley while under Polyjuice. Of almost getting caught again, at Grimmauld place. Of moving camp each night. Of Hermione researching. Of her clever bottomless beaded bag. Of Bathilda Bagshot, and how she was really Nagini. Of how joyful it was to hear Potterwatch on the wizarding wireless. Of being captured and held at the Malfoys, and how Dobby set them free, and the price he paid.
 
By unspoken agreement, they did not speak directly of the Horcruxes. There was a reason that such magic was hidden, not even written about except in the rarest of rare dark books. They did not talk about the time Ron wasn’t with them. It had hurt them deeply, but he had come back when it really mattered. Harry had known that Ron was a hothead from early on, and more than any of them Ron spoke and acted without thinking. But there had been too many hurts and losses to hold onto one more.
 
“I think I am glad Molly and I didn’t know all of this at the time.” Arthur commented. We were very concerned about you, but I think we’d have been terrified if we knew the full extent of the danger you were in. Thank you for telling us.” He gave the three a significant glance. “Later, perhaps you would share more than the bare bones. When Miss Granger and I return from the Ministry, I will very much like to hear details.”
 
Harry looked up from his plate. Hermione was going to the Ministry today? He was going to ask when Mr Weasley stood up, glancing at the Weasley clock, where his hand pointed to “Almost Late” “Miss Granger and I should be off.”
 
“Arthur…” Mrs Weasley started, her eyes fixed on her husband as he cast a worried glance at George, still sitting at the table, staring unseeing at his barely touched breakfast.
 
“Molly, now more than ever, I have to go in. There is so much to do to recover from what You-know-who did. If we ignore it, even for a few days, those who believe like him, and those who simply wish to take advantage, will ensconce themselves back into places where they can do the most harm. I don’t want to leave you alone…”
 
Mrs Weasley stood straighter, wiping her hands down to smooth the fabric of her robes, the call of duty giving her strength. “No, you’re right. We’ll be fine. There are heroes of the battle here to keep us safe.” She rested her hands on Ron and Hermione, as if by that touch they could strengthen each other. She deliberately spoke as if it were physical enemies that haunted them, enemies they could fight off, instead of the inner demons that Harry saw flicker intermittently in each of their eyes. “You and Hermione will be fine. We’ll see you both this evening.” She smiled with a false brightness. The battle was over, but none of them were ready to mourn, not even George, who was clearly too numb to grieve.
 
Harry was familiar with this. When you were not ready to grieve, you just went about your daily tasks. You filled the day with what needed to be done.
 
Mr Weasley stepped over to squeeze George’s shoulder. “Yes. We can talk more then. Do you need anything before then?” His words could have been in response to Mrs Weasley, but Harry thought perhaps he was talking to George instead. A slight shake of George’s head, so small he might have missed it if he had not been looking, was all the response that Mr Weasley got. It occurred to Harry that maybe Mr Weasley was really talking to himself, in an attempt to reassure himself that his family would still be there when he got back. That it was ok to go and do the job he needed to do, even if he and his family needed to grieve.   Harry hoped that Mr Weasley could get George to talk. It would help both of them.
 
Harry suddenly understood all those people who tried to get him to talk about Sirius’ death. Pushing wouldn’t work until George was ready, but it hurt to see him staring at nothing like that. Harry tried to pretend that it was different, because the Weasleys could all share their grief and how much they missed Fred, but Harry knew that no matter what it felt like at the time, no matter how alone he had felt in his grief, other people mourned Sirius. At the very least, Remus did. Harry could not think about Remus right now, without wanting to go outside and howl for all that he had lost. His parents. Sirius. Now Remus. Nothing left of family. But the Weasleys had survived. All except Fred, whose very existence had brought mirth and light. And he did not want to think about that either. It’s over, he reminded himself. These were the last deaths that Voldemort could cause. Voldemort had taken the last of Harry’s family, but not the last of his friends. Almost a family. And it would have to be enough.
 
He hoped none of the Weasley’s felt the tearing anguish he had felt for Sirius. Somehow, while Fred’s death hurt, and was just wrong, it was not the same for Harry as when Sirius died. Perhaps because it was not his own stupidity that caused the final battle. Or the fact that Sirius had been a tie to his parents that made Sirius’ death hurt so much. Or perhaps now Harry was just numb, after all that had happened. Perhaps it would hit him later.
 
As they flooed out, Mrs Weasley banished the food scraps from the dishes and started flicking the dishes over to a basin where a brush scrubbed industriously across each one in a flurry of bubbles. Ron reached over to pick up the Prophet that his father had left behind, scanning the stories. Harry began to gather the serving dishes with food on them, but Mrs Weasley waved him to sit down again. “You just sit and relax, Harry, dear.” She cast a stasis charm on the food still on the table (“I expect you’ll be hungry later”), and cast something like Aguamenti on the dishes in the basin, only it rinsed them in steaming hot water. After a quick drying charm, she flicked them back into the cupboards.
 
After the dishes were done, Mrs Weasley shooed them upstairs to shower and dress for the day.
 
Harry did not know what had happened to his clothing, or, in fact, anything of his except what he was wearing and his wand, so while Ron took his turn in the shower, Molly had Charlie find some of the twins’ old clothes for Harry. Ron had been too large by the time they were ready to be handed down, so Fred and George’s old clothes had been stored away, in wait for just such a need. Despite the fact that some of the clothes had previously belonged to Percy (he could see the carefully sewn-in name tags in some of them, the stitches so neat Harry thought they must have been done magically) and some even to Charlie before that, the clothes were in better shape than what he usually got handed down from Dudley. Harry imagined the hand-me-down paths based on size: from Charlie, who, according to the pictures on the walls, had had a seekers build before he went to work with dragons, to Percy to Fred and George, and from the more sturdily built Bill to Ron. Somehow imagining it gave off waves of family that made Harry homesick for something he had never experienced. Why hand-me-downs in the Weasley family were redolent of love, and in the Dursley family reeked of hate and disdain, he could not figure. That’s just how it was.
 
None of the clothes were not in the latest style, but wizarding culture moved slower than Muggle culture, so clothes from ten years ago were not unusual. There were even a few tie-dye shirts that had been imported from Muggle culture, and a pair of tie-dye trousers that he could imagine Fred wearing, but would never consider himself.
 
Harry took his turn in the shower and donned some of the new hand-me-downs, which fit better than anything he had ever worn except his school robes.
 
*     *     *
 
 
Molly obviously thought they needed a day or several off, for she did not have a list of chores for Ron as she usually did. 
 
It was good to spend time with Ron, with nothing more important to do than get to lunch on time. Ron’s orange room made Harry feel nostalgic. It felt like a lifetime had passed, since they had last been here. But now they were back, as if they were still children. They talked Quidditch, they played chess (Ron won), they avoided anything serious. It cropped up anyways. 
 
“Do you think the Cannons will make the finals this year?” Harry asked, because he knew Ron could talk for hours about the Cannons. He put down a card. 
 
They were sitting on the floor in Ron’s room, in the narrow space between the beds. After the last time playing exploding snap, when the quilt on Ron’s bed caught fire, they had been forbidden from playing on the bed, the sofa, or any other flammable surfaces. It occurred to Harry that the wooden floor might be considered flammable, but Ron told him it had been sealed and charmed against any number of things, from insects to fire to warping. Harry wondered why the quilt had not likewise been charmed, and Ron did not have an answer.
 
Ron looked at the card as if trying to decide if it contained some secret mystery, then picked one from the pile. “Is there going to be a season this year? In the Prophet this morning it said the Department of Magical Games and Sports would probably have to be put on hold for the time being. Most of them that worked there supported You-Know-Who.” With all the stories in the Prophet about the end of the war, trust Ron to read the one involving Quidditch.
 
“What are they doing with them?” Harry had avoided thinking about this. He warily picked up the card Ron had discarded, noticing the edges were looking a little crispy.
 
“I dunno. You think they’ll lock them up until something can be decided? I bet the Ministry cells are packed. There hasn’t been time for trials, and they can’t just ship them all to Azkaban… there’d be too many. Besides, no one can tell yet who was an out and out supporter, and who was just trying to keep their jobs. After all, dad still worked there.”
 
Harry remembered the awkward encounter with Mr Weasley while they were trying to get the Horcrux from Umbridge. “Umbridge is in a cell, right?” 
 
“She’d better be.” Ron agreed. 
 
The card he picked up exploded, setting off his hand. Harry grinned and counted his points.
 
*   *   *
 
It was wonderful to have a day off. A day with no Horcrux hunt, no battle. A day here! Harry thought back to all the years yearning to be at the Burrow instead of locked in his room at the Dursleys or trying to work through a chore list three pages too long. A day with no Death Eaters out for his blood, no Voldemort torturing people in his head, no searing pain in his scar. A day. Just a day, like a normal person.
 
Harry felt like his life had taken a day off. With Voldemort dead (and he still could not quite encompass that it was over), he did not have anything he had to do. Nothing hanging over him. It was a curious feeling, partway between exhilarating freedom and numb shock.
 
He and Ron played a game of one on one Quidditch. They flew broom races. They switched off being Chaser and Keeper as each tried to get the Quaffle past the other and through the old Quidditch hoops that, according to Ron, Mr Weasley and Bill had assembled (and in places transfigured) years ago from bits of Muggle flotsam from Mr Weasley’s shed. 
 
Harry pushed the old Cleansweep he had picked out from the Weasley broom shed as fast as he could, feeling the wind in his hair, then dove down toward the ground and pulled up at the last minute. He did not dare push it as far as he did his Firebolt, but he it felt so very good anyway. He wondered where the Firebolt was, if it had survived the long fall in the escape from the Dursleys, and was resting somewhere in Little Whinging. That thought brought the image of Hedwig, in her last moments. His stomach clenching in sorrow, Harry flew faster still, as if to escape the sorrow, to escape the past. 
 
Later, exhausted, they lay on the grass and gazed into the blue sky. White clouds lazed across the sky. It was too early for insects.   The ground was still damp from Spring, but Ron charmed the damp away from a small area for them. Harry felt like he was gathering a childhood full of experience in this one day.
 
When Mrs Weasley called them in for lunch, they stumbled into the Burrow full of the day and the fresh air and the energy of flying.
 
“You really should try out for one of the teams, Harry. You could turn the Canon’s streak around!”
 
Harry grinned. Ron could be so single-minded, but it was Ron. When they emerged through the boot room into the main room, Ron stopped, and Harry bumped into him. There, at the table, sat George. And then reality crashed down. 
 
George sat in the same position as he had for breakfast.  Harry wondered if he had moved at all since then. He stared at the table. Mrs Weasley had a look to her face, a kind of forced cheer. The table was laden with food. Harry imagined her cooking, and setting out food, stepping around George each time she went by, and George just sitting there, staring. No wonder her face looked like that.
 
Suddenly, Harry felt adrift. How could he have forgotten, even for a minute, those they had lost? Fred. Remus. Tonks. He did not know all the names. He had not checked. But he knew those three, added to his parents and Sirius and all the others Voldemort had taken from him and so many others, Wizard and Muggle, over the years.
 
They sat down to lunch, joined by Ginny and Percy. Somehow, George’s silence took over the room. Harry did nothing to fight it. The sound of silverware and glasses and chewing became louder in Harry’s ears, filling the space, as they each sat in their own grief. Mrs Weasley took out a handkerchief and wiped her eyes, then blew into it. Ginny patted George on the back, George showed no sign that he felt it. Percy made an aborted movement toward his mother, but subsided, sitting back down. He shrunk into himself, as if trying to make as little a footprint in his family as possible, as if unsure of his welcome. Yet Mrs Weasley needed something.
 
“Umm, are Mr Weasley and Hermione staying at the Ministry for lunch, then?” It seemed to Harry that with the ease of floo travel, they might come home for lunch. Especially with – everything. Harry’s mind shied away from the thought. If he started thinking about Fred, about all of the deaths, Harry was afraid he would be in the same state as – as George. 
 
Mrs Weasley roused herself, dabbed her eyes, and gave Harry a grateful look. “I expect they’re eating at their desks. Arthur often does that when things at the Ministry gets busy.”
 
The room fell to silence again. This time Ginny broke it, looking directly at Harry for the first time since he got back to the Burrow. Harry wondered at that, but did not want to think about why at the moment. “So Harry, what are you doing next?”
 
The question took Harry by surprise. He did not know why it should; it was the question he should have been asking himself all along. But in all the time leading to the final battle, he had not thought of his life beyond Voldemort’s death. Even his plans for becoming an Auror were based on the idea that he would need ongoing training to succeed against the Dark Lord. 
 
He did not know if all the Death Eaters had been captured, but the danger to him had dramatically diminished. And he was not sure he wanted to spend his life painting one target on himself after another. He had done what the prophecy demanded. Now he was free.
 
But free to do what?
 
“I don’t know,” Harry replied. “I don’t think I am going to decide for a bit.” Mrs Weasley looked like she wanted to say something, but Harry spoke first. “All my life, it’s been about Voldemort. I need to find out who I am besides Voldemort’s number one enemy.”  Harry remembered the posters at the Ministry. “I wonder if Mr Weasley could get me one of the Undesirable number 1 posters.” Harry gave a wan grin. “Now that I don’t have to hide from Voldemort’s government, I rather like the idea of being first at something!”
 
Ginny snorted. “You mean besides Quidditch, and DADA, and –“
 
“Stop.” Harry glared at her, but she grinned impudently back, and Harry thought that perhaps everything would be all right.
 
Nobody noticed the grin that flickered briefly on George’s face.
 
They ate on in silence, but it did not feel so awkward. Harry spent the time thinking. What would he do? He had not come to any conclusions by the time lunch was over.
 
  *     *     *
 
After lunch, Harry helped clear the table, over Mrs Weasley’s objections, to clear the table. 
 
“Ron,” Mrs Weasley started, after the dishes were put away and the leftover food stored, I know you’d like to spend the afternoon with Harry, but Charlie needs someone to help with the charms for—” She broke off.
 
“For Fred.” Ron said, saying the name perhaps for the first time since the battle.
 
“It has to be a family member,” Mrs Weasley said, perhaps to Harry, as if to excuse taking Ron away for the afternoon. “I don’t want to leave you alone.” Harry looked at Ginny. “I need Ginny to help with the owls, to let everyone know.” Mrs Weasley said apologetically. She did not glance at Percy, perhaps knowing that the two had never quite gotten on, or at George, who would not be providing anyone company any time soon. George got up and went upstairs, not looking at anyone. A few minutes later, they heard a door close.
 
“It’s fine. I need some time anyway— I’ll just be in the garden.” Harry got up, climbed over the wooden bench by the dining table, and went outside. He felt the need to be doing something. 
 
He thought about de-gnoming the garden, but that was more fun with other people. He remembered when Ron had taught him how, with Mrs Weasley reading out of that stupid Lockhart book. Somehow, that first time at the Burrow stuck in his mind, the memory as vivid as when he first lived it. He remembered them shouting at each other, and having contests about how far they could throw the gnomes. Fred always won those contests. He turned away from that thought.
 
The garden had been ignored… truthfully, it had never been a neat garden. But it gave Harry something to do. He crouched by a hedge to the north side of the burrow, and began to pull weeds. Even at the Dursleys, when that had been one of his many chores, he had enjoyed weeding, assuming Dudley was not around and it was not too hot or too cold. It something to do that he could do without thinking. He could think, or he could not think. He pulled another weed.
 
After awhile, Percy came out, and began to pull weeds with Harry.
 
Their progress was slow but as time passed, Harry could see a small weed-free section. Neither spoke for some time. Harry did not know why Percy had come out, but he did not want to disturb the pattern he had started, of reach, pull, pile, reach, pull, pile, by starting a conversation.
 
“I’m sorry.” Percy’s words were quiet.
 
Harry stopped weeding and turned to look at the only Weasley he had not liked. Percy’s face was flushed from the sun, despite the charm to prevent burning. Percy kept weeding, not looking at Harry. “I was wrong about you.” Percy continued. “You were fighting him all along, and I – I made it harder for you.”
 
Harry couldn’t think of anything to say to that. He was not sure he forgave Percy. On the other hand, he could not muster the energy to dislike him either. He turned back to weeding. “Okay.”
 
They weeded in silence some more. By the time he left, it would be as neat as the Dursley’s. He shivered at the thought. No, he would not do that to the Burrow. 
 
“Why aren’t you at the Ministry?” Harry asked.
 
“I resigned my old job, you may remember.” Percy’s tone was dry, and Harry remembered that Percy could, in fact, make jokes. “Although no one currently at the Ministry knows I quit, what with the old Minister in a cell, I’m not sure they’d welcome someone who was Thicknesse’s assistant.” He paused. “I’m not sure I like who I’ve been, and working at the Ministry… may not have been the best place for me. It may have made me a bit of a prat.”
 
“Percy, I hate to be the one to tell you. You were a bit of a prat before you worked at the Ministry.”
 
Percy was silent for a moment. “Perhaps.”
 
“Who are you and what have you done with Percy Weasley?” Harry asked.
 
“That is the question, isn’t it?” Percy commented, tufting his nose in the air and affecting a didactic tone. 
 
If nothing else, his experience in Voldemort’s Ministry had succeeded in transforming Percy into a human being. Harry grinned, and pulled a particularly long-rooted dandelion.
 
“Keep that. Mum can use it.” Percy commented. Harry vaguely remembered a few potions with dandelion parts, and set it aside. Right as he was reaching back for the next weed, there was a sharp pain in his arm. 
 
Harry jerked his arm back to see a small, ugly face glaring at him, its teeth buried in his forearm. It hurt!
 

Percy grabbed a rock and aimed it at the top of the gnome’s head, hitting it hard. The creature released Harry’s arm and went temporarily limp, and Percy, with a grin at Harry, grabbed it by its feet and swung it in a circle several times, before loosing it over the garden hedge. It flew in a long arc, coming to ground some distance out. The thump when the creature came down was satisfying.
 
“We have to do something about those gnomes. They’re getting bolder. Come in, let’s get that seen to.” Percy gestured to Harry’s arm, which had an incipient bruise developing.
 
Harry finally understood how Percy got to be a Prefect. It was not his slavish adherence to rules. Harry had never seen Percy being calmly competent before… he suspected his ego had always gotten in the way. Perhaps Dumbledore had seen this potential in the man beside him. Harry thought he might actually like this quiet, thoughtful, new Percy.
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Date: 2008-09-01 05:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thrnbrooke.livejournal.com
Very nice chapter!!!

Date: 2008-09-01 03:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] madsy73.livejournal.com
hi
I just read this fic for the first time( where have i been..smacks self on head :).The POVs of the characters are intresting...eager to see what u do with snape's.Keep up the good work!

Date: 2008-09-09 11:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] imuptonogood.livejournal.com
Thanks for reading!

Date: 2008-09-09 05:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bottlebrushtail.livejournal.com
Oh I like this! I've been looking for a fic like this for a while. One that picks up (overlaps) directly from DH (the proper ending that is!!).

Love your characterisations - very well formed, the whole atmosphere of this fic feels just right. Go you!

I particularly love how we're seeing Draco piece things together. How he's drawing his own conclusions about Voldemort and his parents. Really liked that the fic didn't start immediately with Draco already of a mind that 'my parents were totally wrong and Voldemort and everything he stood for was rubbish etc' - it's nice to see his journey, so to speak. Am interested to see how things develop with Snape as well, especially when Draco realises that he was against Voldie all along.

*friends you for updates* hope that's ok!

Date: 2008-09-09 06:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] imuptonogood.livejournal.com

It is most absolutely ok. I'm glad you are liking the fic so far.

Yes, I always like to read the journey. Changes in characterization are only believable if we see how they got there.

K

Date: 2009-03-02 06:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rosskpr.livejournal.com
What a beautiful chapter! I'm touched by the many small moments that show Harry reconnecting with normal life. These are some of my favorites:

- Harry found himself reaching to touch the gargoyle as they passed, as if for luck. The gargoyle permitted it.

- He was glad Neville was none the worse for wear, and had the odd fond hope that the sorting hat likewise survived.

- Harry put on the robe that was usually left on the hook near the cot for him, taking comfort in the idea of a robe left just for him.

- They weeded in silence some more. By the time he left, it would be as neat as the Dursley’s. He shivered at the thought. No, he would not do that to the Burrow.

You've done a nice job capturing the tone of the war's aftermath, especially with the family going about daily life after losing Fred. It rings true that they are still too numb to show their grief, except for George, of course. Percy's tentativeness makes sense in this context, too. Good job sorting all that out.

Date: 2009-03-02 08:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] imuptonogood.livejournal.com
I am so glad this chapter worked for you. Those were some of my favorite images too. The small moments are exactly what I was going for, so I am glad that they caught you.

K

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