A Sixth year (pre-HBP) story: Harry decides the best way to fight back is to take the DA to the next level. He succeeds better than he thought he would. In this chapter, the aftermath of the battl...
At first, Harry thought he must be dead. After a moment's reflection, he decided he wasn't. While Harry had no expectations about what death would be like, he decided that once he was dead, every cell in his body shouldn't hurt.
'Oh, good,' Harry thought, 'at least Winky isn't dead.'
"No one is allowed to visit the family of Master Harry!"
'Dobby made it, too,' Harry thought. 'I'm glad some one else did besides me.'
"The house elves shall take care of Master Harry and his family," Dobby stated firmly, in answer to some distant-sounding voices. "They shall recover best under house elf care."
A chorus of elfin voices joined in. "We protect the Champion. We protect the Champion's family."
'Oh, great, another fan club.' Harry sighed to himself. Then, a thought hit him. Who else was here? Who was Harry's family?
Harry managed to open his right eye. He realized the elves had partially opened the walls between the lounge and the bedroom on the landing of his and Luna's hide-away, and he was in a bed in the former bedroom. Harry sighed, wishing the pain would go away, and that there didn't seem to be a weight on his chest.
Harry then realized that someone was actually curled up next to him, and the weight was that someone's head. He tried to open his left eye, and a wave of dizziness hit him. Harry closed both eyes until the feeling went away, and then tried just opening his left eye.
That worked much better, and Harry saw Luna was sleeping with him, under the sheet. Despite a black eye, she looked beautiful. He smiled and fell back asleep.
When Harry woke up again, he felt a little better. Even if the pain hadn't receded slightly, he still would have felt himself better off, knowing that at least Luna had survived.
Feeling her presence, Harry managed to move enough to kiss the top of her head, although she was partially laying on her arm, and so he couldn't hug her.
"A little late to be kissing me, Potter!" a familiar voice said.
"Ginny!" Harry managed to murmur, while attempted to move his arm to hug her. "I was afraid you were . . . dead!"
"I was hit by two stunners," Ginny admitted. "I was out almost a whole day."
"What day is it?"
"Late Wednesday morning," she told him. "Dobby and Winky moved us all from the battle field, but they brought you, Hermione, Luna, and me here, and the rest later. It caused quite a stir, since they forgot to tell anyone."
"Is Hermione alright?"
"A little better off than me; a little worse off than Luna." She paused. "Have you talked with Luna?"
"No, but she was where you are when I woke up for a few minutes."
"Oh, good. She should be back soon."
"Why are you in bed with me?" Harry asked. He managed to open his eyes, and saw she was dressed in her dressing gown and was atop the sheet.
"The elves said you temporarily drained yourself of magic, and that you need to be in close proximity with your loved ones. Ron and Neville weren't thrilled by the idea of being this close, so Hermione, Luna, Georgia, and I have been taking turns." She smiled. "Probably there would have been other volunteers, but none of the other students were brought in here, and none are allowed in now. The elves are pretty protective."
Harry gave a large sigh of relief.
"Was that a sigh of relief because they're alright, or one of regret because they aren't here in bed with you?" Ginny teased.
"Both!" Ginny moved, and Harry was finally able to move his arm. He hugged Ginny close. "How bad is it?" he asked.
"I don't know," Ginny admitted as she snuggled close. "None of us have really been outside of this area. I didn't even know where we were until Hermione filled me in. Professors Dumbledore, Zoric, Lupin, and McGonagall have stopped by, and Mum and Mrs. Zoric were here Monday afternoon when I woke up. And of course Madam Pomfrey's been here a few times. So I can say Fred and George are fine. Percy never got into the battle, but he has impressed Minister Bones by how hard he's worked to help them clean up the mess. Ron is a major hero, although I'm not exactly certain why. Neville ended up with a broken arm and his face was pretty smashed up. He was sent to a Muggle hospital this morning for something called reconstructive surgery -- we don't want him to end up looking like Moody! I think everyone had bruised ribs and such. Gin was hurt pretty badly -- internal damage -- but she'll come around in a day or two. Anyway, the girls and I have been helping the elves take care of you and Gin since Monday evening. Winky said you should wake up sometime today, and that Georgia and I could leave tonight if we wanted to, which we don't and aren't."
"Could I have some water?"
"Of course you can!" Hermione said, walking up to the bed. She was also wearing her dressing gown and fuzzy slippers.
"Hi," Harry managed to say.
"Hi, yourself," she told him, as she and Ginny helped prop him up in bed.
"Merlin, I'm weak!"
"You apparently put a lot your power into frying Riddle, and then what you had left creating the gigantic version of yourself," Ginny said bluntly. "It takes a while to come back from that."
"Winky, Madam Pomfrey, and Professor Dumbledore have all said you will be almost back to normal by tomorrow morning," Hermione told him.
Harry finished drinking the small glass of water, glad he hadn't dropped it. "That's good to know."
"I'll tell Luna you're awake, and then tell Dobby and the others," Hermione said. "Dobby will let the professors know, and then maybe they'll tell us who all . . . was hurt."
Hermione started to turn, but then stooped and kissed Harry's nose. "Thank you, Harry," she said simply, and left.
"Thanks for what?" Harry asked Ginny.
"For saving the wizarding world? For trusting us enough to let us help you? For admitting that we have the right to love you, and that you deserve that love? For loving us?" Ginny sat up and then kissed Harry lightly on the lips. "Thank you for all of that, Harry. And thank you for saving my life four years ago, thank you for sharing your life with me, and thank you for helping to bring me and Neville together. You're the best brother a girl could have."
"It hasn't escaped me that you, Hermione, and Luna have been my most enthusiastic and steadfast supporters," Harry told her. "I couldn't have done it without your feelings for me, and the help you three, and the DA officers, especially Ron, gave me. To tell you the truth, it was my love for the three of you that really allowed me to destroy that monster."
"Well then, we have a lot to be thankful for," Ginny said with a smile.
"Where is Ron?" Harry asked.
Ginny twisted around. "You can't see, but our beds, except for Luna's, were in the other part of the room. Gin's is the furthest from here." She waved her arm, and a few seconds later Ron appeared.
"Oi, you look like shite," Ron said.
"Thanks," Harry said. "How are you doing?"
Ron shrugged, and glanced to where Hermione had disappeared. "Well, I'm doing alright, but I guess my personal problems haven't been solved. How about yours?"
"I have a life ahead of me, instead of a possible death sentence," Harry answered.
"The Minister said that you, and anyone you recommend, have automatic acceptance into the aurors' program," Ron said.
"That's not fair," Harry said sincerely. "Everyone else in the auror potion class, plus Hermione, Ginny, and Luna, deserve that offer if I do. Especially you and Hermione."
"Will you tell her that?" Ron asked.
"Of course," Harry said sleepily. "Remind me . . . when I wake up."
"Did you really think he would forget he had help?" Ginny demanded.
Ron shrugged. Ginny wanted to reprimand him, but held her tongue. She curled up next to Harry while Ron stalked away. Luna, fresh from a bath, sat down on the other side of Harry a few moments later.
"He was awake?" Luna asked.
Ginny nodded. "He said he woke up once before, and you were beside him.
"That's good," Luna said, taking her dressing gown off and slipping under the sheet and holding onto Ginny and Harry. "Hopefully tomorrow we'll learn everything we need to know."
Thursday, April 3, 1997
Harry woke up feel warm and secure. He realized why when he saw that Luna was again cuddled up with him.
"Master Harry is awake!" Dobby said quietly but happily.
"Master Harry has to pee," Harry grumbled.
"Sit up slowly, Master Harry," Dobby encouraged.
Harry did so, and after Dobby helped him with the dressing gown Harry managed to stagged to the lavatory. "Little buggers must have enlarged my bladder," he muttered.
When Harry came out, the others were already stirring, except for Gin, who was still deep in a healing sleep. The elves had put the full walls back, making it a two room suite once again, and had a breakfast table conjured in the old bedroom.
The six students ate quietly, Dobby having told them that the Headmaster knew of their awaking and that he or some other faculty member would arrive soon to talk with them.
Tomas Zoric and Remus Lupin arrived just as they were finishing their breakfast (except for Ron, who was on his third helping of everything).
"Feeling better, Harry?" Remus asked.
"Compared to the first two times I woke up, I feel great," Harry answered. "On the other hand, I still feel pretty weak."
"Harry, there aren't more than a handful of wizards who could expend in a day as much power as you did in about ten minutes," Tomas said. "It will be another day or two before you're back to your usual physical strength and about another week before you're back to full magical strength."
"Most people would still be asleep after expending that much of their power," Remus agreed.
After a moment of silence, Harry said, "Just come out and tell us what we managed to do, and how much it cost us."
Tomas and Remus exchanged glances, and Tomas started. "Voldemort had a hundred and thirty-two people (including himself), three hundred and three dementors, fifty-four giants, ninety-three trolls, and nine goblins."
The students exchanged glances at that. "Dumbledore kept the time spell going until about Seven forty-five. That allowed the international aurors to take out a hundred and twenty-six of the dementors. The others escaped, and are currently trying to negotiate a return to Azkaban."
Ron snorted at that. The others ignored him.
"The two forest groups killed the twenty-one Death Eaters, three trolls, and nine goblins who were left to guard the forest. The Order and townspeople captured the twenty-one Death Eaters between the village and school. So far as we know, our side on the outside suffered minor injuries, except for three of the spiders getting killed."
Ron and Georgia both shuddered.
"Of the ninety trolls that attacked, thirty-nine were killed, all the rest captured. Nine giants were killed, the others captured. Thirty-two of the Death Eaters and Voldemort were killed, the other fifty-seven have been captured. Macnair, Pettigrew, Bellatrix Lestrange, and Lucius Malfoy were among those killed."
"Our side suffered fewer fatalities," Remus took up the story, "in large part because Ron managed to set us up right after the firefight started so that twelve of the Death Eaters actually killed their fellows and because of the opening volley you set up. We lost twenty-four people. I don't think you know any of the Order or Ministry people. The only faculty member killed was Trelawney, when a giant collapsed on top of her. For the students, Jacqui Spenser, Terry Boot, Kevin Entwhistle, Mitchell Connerly, and Mark Pebbles were killed. Abdul Hasan, Susan Bones, Lavender Brown, Anthony Goldstein, and of course Neville and Gin were the most seriously injured of the students. We saved the vision in Neville's eye and the Muggles should be able to mend the appearances of Neville, Lavender, and Susan. Abdul lost his left hand. Just about everyone was beaten up pretty badly."
"You'll be able to tell the twins apart now," Tomas said. "Fred lost half of the little finger on his left hand."
"And we're sure the bastard is dead this time, right?" Ron demanded.
"We promise," Tomas said in his most dead-pan voice, "Voldemort is not only merely dead. . . ."
"He's really most sincerely dead," Harry, Hermione, Luna, and Ginny finished with him.
Georgia rolled her eyes. "It's a Muggle thing," she told the confused Ron. "We'll show you the video this summer, if you visit us."
"Video?" Ron asked, puzzled.
"We'll explain that, too," Tomas assured him. He gave Ron a hard look. "Maybe we can discuss it sometime . . . soon. Along with some other topics of mutual interest. In private." Ron turned very pale.
"When will I be able to see the Headmaster?" Harry asked to divert attention.
"He and the Minister will be down before dinner," Tomas said. "We need to debrief you now, unless you prefer to be grilled by the Ministry people for the next week."
"Great," Harry groused.
"Mister Potter!" Minister Bones greeted Harry with a handshake and a hearty backslap.
"Careful!" Dumbledore warned, as she nearly knocked Harry to the floor.
"Sorry," the Minister said, catching Harry and propping him up. She helped him to sit in one of the three chairs set out on the landing. "Now, I need to talk with you, because we need to set out appropriate awards, and everyone jumped down my gullet when I thought about doing so without talking to you first."
Harry eyed the hearty Minister, and she didn't look either thrilled about being there, or angry. "Like saying I could be passed into auror's training, but other students would need my recommendation?"
"It was just a suggestion," Bones said.
"Has it been released?"
"No," Bones told him. "I agreed to talk to you first."
"Could the announcement just list us in alphabetical order?" Harry asked. "The DA officers and the aurors' potions class members, plus anyone else who was outside that the Faculty recommend?"
"Since Susan would likely be near the top of such a list, that might not be best idea."
"I guess you may list my name first, followed by Ron Weasley and then the rest in alphabetical order."
"Alright. We'd like to give you the Order of Merlin, First Class, as well."
Harry thought a moment. "First Class for Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, and at least Second for the other DA members. I would hope all the students who were outside would get at least a Third."
Bones nodded her agreement. "Anything else? If so, now is the time to ask, Potter."
"Hermione has an idea about a monument," Harry told them. "And since all the students who were here volunteered to fight, even if we all didn't actually have to, we should all receive similar amounts of House points," he told Dumbledore, who nodded.
"Will you talk with the press?" the Minister asked.
Harry handed her two sheets of parchment. "This can be released either by you or Professor Dumbledore, or even by my Master Teacher. Mister Lovegood will have something similar in next week's Quibbler. I presume Master Tomas gave your people the results of his and Professor Lupin's interview this morning?"
"We did, and it was very thorough," Madam Bones admitted.
"I'm sure Harry will answer any reasonable number of questions submitted in writing," Dumbledore told him.
"I see." The Minister looked at Harry. "Do you intend on taking us up on the offer of auror training?"
"Absolutely," Harry said firmly. "Master Tomas has offered me a position with his agency afterwards, if I don't want to join after the training."
"Really? And is that what you think you'll do?"
"That depends, at least in part, on how the Ministry acts over the next four or five years," Harry pointed out. "We made a small start here this week in bringing the old families and the Muggle-born together. That's the real challenge, assuming all the Death Eaters are under arrest, for the next few years."
"I understand," the Minister said, catching some of the underlying currents. She had been impressed at how loyal all the students seemed to be towards Harry. He could become a major political force in a decade or so, if he felt the necessity.
It would be best for her career, and the magical community, if Harry Potter was satisfied with the way the community in Britain was being managed.
Bones looked at Harry. "We did catch all the surviving Death Eaters who accompanied the Dark Lord here. My understanding is there may have been as many as thirty Death Eaters on other missions, who were unable to make it here on short notice. We will do our best to catch them, and ask our sister Ministries to assist us."
"And what about the Malfoys and Goyle?"
"Best evidence suggests that it was young Crabbe who murdered that student," Minister Bones told him. "Goyle has confessed to two assault charges. The information he gave us on the . . . attacks on the Muggle women will likely buy him some immunity. The Joint North American Ministries have agreed to hold the Malfoys under house arrest, at their expense, for a term of thirty years."
"I don't think that last was . . . the punishment they deserved, but I won't raise a fuss, unless they buy themselves total luxury," Harry told her.
"Any other problem areas, Mister Potter?"
"Can anything be done about the anti-werewolf legislation, Sirius Black's conviction, and house elf rights?"
"Yes, yes, and I understand Miss Granger has some ideas, which I will assure you will receive a fair hearing." She smiled at Harry's frown. "Really; it's time to end the actual enslavement. It ended in some places over a hundred years ago. It will take some time to enact, but we will."
"If you move Percy Weasley out of his father's office, I hope you'll make certain there's a good replacement."
The Minister laughed. "Mister Potter, I promise you, Arthur will never be left short-handed again. I intend to integrate the Muggle-born and Mixed-bloods of all types into our society. So, no Muggle-baiting, and I hope we shall prevent at least some of this hatred that has grown up over the last two centuries."
"I hope so; that's the type of culture to be proud of," Harry told her.
The two shook hands, and Dumbledore led the Minister away.
Harry stayed seated until Luna came to help him go back to bed to rest.
Harry needed to sort out where his life might be going, now that he could foresee a real future. With a little luck, he might have a century and a half of life or more ahead of him. He had a love, he had a family (Remus, Hermione, the Zorics, the Weasleys). While they weren't related by blood, Harry had in a sense fulfilled the desires the Mirror of Erised had shown him, just as Ron's desires to be Quidditch Captain and Prefect, if not yet Head Boy, had been fulfilled.
Harry laid down, and smiled. Luna laid down next to him, and again felt his contentment, now mirrored by her own.