By Sunbow Pendragon
Word Count: 3086
Summary: Harry Potter rebuilds his world.
Harry Potter sat under the Whomping Willow, silently considering the events of the last few weeks. Surprisingly in the light of their past relationship, the usually taciturn and sometimes violent tree was calm and peaceful. It was also surprising to Harry that the tree’s tendrils were now massaging his shoulders gently, as if to help him think. It was odd to him that the tree would be so welcoming, but in his thoughts he could hear a gentle voice expressing thanks for everything he had done to save the school and grounds. The tree’s gentle actions made it easier for him to just sit and ponder, and of course Harry now understood the reason why the tree was usually so violent. It had been guarding something very secret, a hidden path to the Shrieking Shack, discovered by Harry and his friends many years earlier.
His contemplations continued to recall how Voldemort had been destroyed, his followers now scattered and pursued. Due to the battle between the two factions, Hogwarts now stood in need of significant repairs. He sighed heavily as he recalled that he could have done it all with the Elder Wand, but the young man had destroyed the most powerful wand in the world so it could never be used by an ambitious wizard again. As he continued to relax, his thoughts turned to Severus Snape, the unlikely hero of the entire event. Harry wondered how he could have been so very wrong about the man, now that he knew everything. All of his life at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he had seen Snape as an enemy, someone who did not like him very much and was never pleased with anything he did. Harry also remembered that Snape and his own father James had never gotten along, either, but he knew now that was due to their rivalry over his mother. The young man could hardly help but wonder how his life would have been as Severus’ son, instead of Potter’s, and the thought brought a wry grin to his face.
The willow stirred, the tendrils retracted, and the grouchy tree returned to its usual pattern of wary vigilance at the sound of feet approaching. Harry patted the tree reassuringly, and murmured his appreciation for the massage.
“Harry, Harry!” he heard, and turned to regard Hermione, his lifelong friend, as she ran towards him, stopping just short of the huge willow’s branches. “Harry, I had to come and find you! The council is meeting in a week and they want you to come! They want to hear how you defeated Voldemort! O my, what is wrong with the Whomping Willow?” she asked all in a rush.
“I think the tree is happy the war is finally over. As for me, I should be happy to tell the real story, finally,” he answered. “I am not even sure I know all of it yet, myself.”
“You have more of the story than most of us do,” Hermione said as she came closer. “Are you terribly tired? Some of the teachers are going to try to start repairs in the dining hall. I am going to try and help, and so is Ron; you should be there so he doesn’t get nervous and make it start raining. The poor boy is just gutted over losing Fred.”
“I’m coming, but help me up, would you? It’s been a long day,” Harry answered.
She came and offered a willing hand, as she usually did, and soon they were walking slowly over the bridge back into the broken building. Once inside, he saw Professor McGonagall, Professor Slughorn, Professor Flitwick, and of course Rubeus Hagred, who was now much more than Gamekeeper, and Guardian of Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts. Several of the other students were joining in the effort; his friend Ron Weasley and the rest of the living Weasley clan, Luna Lovegood, and Neville Longbottom had apparently recovered enough to assist.
“Come Harry, help us if you can,” McGonagall called. “We must repair at least the kitchen and dining hall; people are hungry and food must be prepared!”
“Yes, Professor McGonagall. I’m coming,” Harry called back. “But I’ve no wand.”
“Ah, but you do!” Professor Flitwick laughed, producing a wand that looked very similar to the one Harry had been given all those years ago as a first year. “I went to Ollivander’s old shop and gathered a few wands for those who have lost theirs. I think you will find this one to your liking! It is Yew wood, with Dragonheart string, and it is slightly flexible.”
Harry carefully picked up the wand and went back outside to test whether it would work with him or not. Making a few flourishes, he found that it behaved well enough, and walked back inside, smiling. It was good to hold a wand again, he thought, noting how comfortable it felt in his hand. Yes, this wand suited him nearly as well as his first, which was now broken and useless. He put it in his pocket and returned to the dining hall just in time to join the repair party.
“Come, come, and let us get started!” Professor McGonagall called out. “The day is passing quickly!”
They gathered together in the relatively undamaged center of the room and held their wands at the ready, meaning to combine their powers for a faster effect. As one, the word “Reparo!” issued forth, and pieces of the castle began to return to their places. As soon as one surface touched another, it melded and became as if it had never been broken. It took several hours, but when they finally finished, the kitchen and dining hall had been returned to their former state. The cooks retired to the kitchen, and soon the smell of food began to tantalize their senses. While they were so occupied, Harry and some companions entered the student quarters, helping to make them habitable as well. They used their magic now to make things right, putting everything back in order, when only a few hours before they had been using that same magic to defend their lives. Each time they came upon a bed belonging to a departed schoolmate, they would stop for a moment and remember the person before assuring that his or her cubicle appeared to be awaiting the owner’s return as a gesture of respect and love.
Harry’s mind remained focused completely on removing every trace of the battle. He loved Hogwarts and considered it his home, and he willingly joined the groups of students now attending to the repairs. It took several hours, but finally the four Houses were each returned to a modicum of order. In the common rooms, the hearths were set alight, and in the student quarters the stoves were lit to heat them. As the warmth spread, so did the feeling of normality, and the students began to relax and laugh a bit as they anticipated bathing and donning clean clothing.
With a smile Harry went on, continuing through the castle alone, looking for a special place, The Room of Requirement. He hoped he would find the advice he was looking for there, and wondered if that was where all of the castle ghosts had gone to hide from the battle. When he did find it, the door opened for him without needing the spell, as if it was welcoming him.
He entered cautiously. With dismay, he found it was still smoldering from the effects of the fire caused earlier in their search for the last of the horcruxes. He summoned up his magic again, and it took a few gestures and commands to finish dowsing the last of the sparks and vent out the smell of burnt wood and textiles.
“Oh, this will not do at all!” Harry thought with a sigh. “Hogwarts cannot be without its Room of Requirement!”
A ghostly touch crossed his shoulder, and he looked about to see one of the famous spirits that haunted Hogwarts in a friendly way.
“So, you have done what you said you were going to do,” he heard her voice say, and he knew that this was the Grey Lady, Rowena Ravenclaw. “You have destroyed my Mother’s diadem at last. Thank you,” she smiled gently.
“I was happy to do it,” Harry smiled back at the enigmatic spirit. “The Elder Wand is destroyed too, along with Voldemort.”
“You have done well, Harry,” she said. “Perhaps now, I shall not be so sad anymore.”
“I hope you will not be sad anymore, either,” Harry replied. “Are the others here?” he asked, meaning the rest of the spirits he had become so familiar with during his time at Hogwarts.
“Yes, poor Sir Nicholas is quite distraught, and the Bloody Baron is hiding over there in that corner after seeing Voldemort up close,” Rowena told him with a silvery sigh. “My word, just look at the Room of Requirement! It is ruined, and all the beautiful things within are destroyed too.”
“Not while a wizard has a wand, Rowena,” Harry replied, smiling a bit. “Let me see what I can do. Perhaps you would all like to help me?”
“I would like to see the room the way it was before the attack,” Rowena said. “I shall help do what I can.”
“I should like to help! Even being nearly headless, I still have my magic!” declared Sir Nicholas as he appeared from his place of concealment. Some of the others appeared as well, including one that Harry was not expecting.
“Hello Harry,” he heard a deep and resonant voice say. “I hope you will let me help, too?”
“Of course Professor Snape,” Harry replied, and a smile crossed his face. It seemed so right to him, that Snape would choose to remain and be of service. “I would like to talk to you in private at some point in the future. You and I have much to discuss.”
“So we do, Potter!” Snape answered with faint smile of his own. “I am very proud of you, you know.”
“Oh yes! You conquered your fear of death. You stood there and let it happen to you so that you could finally be free of Voldemort’s influence. That took courage, and conviction. You are a fine wizard, and I am very proud and honored to have been a part of your education. You were very good at potions, almost as good as me.”
“Oh, Hermione is the one who is the potion master, Professor.” Harry laughed a bit. “If not for the book belonging to the Half-Blood Prince, my potion-making skills would barely have gotten me through the class.”
“Come, let us return the room to its former glory,” Snape urged. “Mind you, do not re-create the horcrux as you mend everything else. That would cause a terrible problem.”
“I have had enough of dealing with terrible problems, Professor,” Harry laughed. “Thank you for the warning.”
All of the magic workers, living and dead, gathered together and gently flicked their wands, softly uttering the command, “Reparo.”
It took a moment, but a slight breeze began, and Harry beheld the beginning of the process as charred wood was mended and returned to its formerly satin finish. Tapestries reassembled, books reappeared out of the ashes, statues and other occasional pieces also soon appeared, and within the hour, the Room of Requirement had been restored. It now looked as it had been, before the search for the horcrux concealed within the diadem of Ravenna Ravenclaw, which had brought Harry, Hermione and Ronald here earlier. During their search, they had encountered the deluded Draco Malfoy and his bully boys. The young Malfoy heir had been intent on recovering his wand from Harry, having lost it in a duel with Potter, but a fire had been started inadvertently by the trollish Crabbe, who had paid with his life for his trouble.
Harry put away his wand and grinned as he looked about. Everything was as he recalled it before Crabbe’s attempt to throw fire had gone terribly wrong. As he passed the place where he had located the diadem, he stopped and looked just to make sure it wasn’t there, sighing with relief and laughing at himself for it.
“Thank you, everyone, for your help. It has been a long day today, but I feel better knowing this room is the way it should be.”
“We will be seeing you, Harry. You will be taking a teaching position now, won’t you?” Snape asked.
“No sir, I am going to ask Ginny Weasley to marry me, and then I am going to take a long, long rest.”
“The Weasley girl?” Snape asked, somewhat aghast for a moment. Then his face relaxed a bit and he smiled. “Well she is very bright, for a Weasley, and she is very pretty, too. I wish you well, Harry.”
“Thank you, Professor Snape!” Harry answered, slightly surprised. “I should be going now. Good night.”
“Good night Harry!” he heard them all reply as he turned to leave the room.
Harry walked out, and pausing, turned back to watch the door be absorbed by the wall. Within moments, there was nothing to indicate there had ever been a door, and he smiled broadly, feeling a sense of satisfaction. His body reminded him—with a loud grumble from his midsection—that he had not eaten for several days, and he began the long walk back to the dining hall. As he approached it, the smell of hot food reached his nose, and his pace quickened a bit in anticipation of finally satisfying his appetite. Everyone was already there, and as soon as he walked into the room, all of the noise ceased. From the head master’s chair, McGonagall stood and began to applaud without a word. The students all rose, as did the teachers. The sound of clapping filled the huge vaulted room completely as Harry stood there, humbled by their accolade.
“Thank you, everyone,” he finally said after waving for quiet. “But I did not do this all by myself. I could not have figured out the riddle of the horcruxes without Hermione and Ron to help me, and so many others helped, too,” he told them modestly.
Another round of applause erupted for his two best friends, who also stood to accept it with gracious smiles and shy waves. He sat beside them, as he had so many times before, and watched as his plate filled with all of his favorite foods, including a small treacle tart. Picking up his fork, he dug in hungrily and quickly consumed that plateful, plus two more before he felt satisfied. Afterwards, he listened to the talk around the table until he leaned heavily on Hermione, and the young woman laughed a bit, waking him.
“You had better get to bed, Harry. You are all done in,” she said kindly. “Come on, Ron and I will help you.”
“I think I need help,” Harry remarked comically as each of his friends took an arm over their shoulders and walked him through the moving staircases until they were in front of the Gryffindor House guardian, the famous Fat Lady.
“Thank you, Harry,” the woman in the painting said simply, and opened the door without requiring the password, something unheard of at Hogwarts.
Harry sighed, and a wave of weariness passed over him as they slowly walked him into Gryffindor’s common room. “I’ll be alright now, Ron and Hermione,” he said quietly to his escorts. “I just want to go to bed now.”
“Are you sure?” Hermione asked as Harry lifted his arm free of her.
“Oh yes, I am quite sure, my friend.” He smiled at her as Ron was relieved of the weight of his other arm. “Thank you both so much, it would have taken me much longer to walk here by myself.
He saw so many familiar faces, and they all came to hug him and shake his hand. Passing through them and returning their handshakes and hugs with warm affection, Harry found himself somewhat blocked in his pursuit of his quarters, and his bed. Having not seen it for many months, it seemed to him a fine place to be at the moment.
“Let him through, for pity’s sake!” he heard Ginny’s voice shout out in a commanding tone. “And shut it! He’s had a long day!”
“Ginny, please?” he said quietly. “I just want to get a few hours of sleep before dawn.”
“Come on, I’ll help you,” she smiled, holding out her hand to him.
“Shouldn’t you be with your family, attending to your brother Fred?” he asked quietly.
“I said my goodbyes already,” Ginny told him with a crooked smile. Harry’s heart ached for his friend’s family, but he was so tired. “Don’t worry over Fred; Mum and some of the other women are seeing to him. Mum wants to build a pyre, and send him off in the old way,” Ginny continued as they walked slowly to where his bed stood ready. She helped him off with his shoes as their conversation continued.
“I think Fred would like that,” Harry chuckled. “He always was the dramatic one.”
“Yes, he was,” Ginny agreed. “Here’s your room, I’ll see you at breakfast. Do you want me to come and get you?”
“Yes, please send someone to fetch me,” Harry told her. “You should probably not make a habit of visiting the boy’s side of the hall.”
“I wouldn’t see anything I haven’t seen before, having four brothers!” Ginny laughed. “But keep your modesty for a little while longer, anyway.”
Blowing him a kiss, she left the room, closing the oaken door behind her, and he was finally alone. Letting his eyes wander around the familiar space, he happened to glance at the place where his owl Hedwig had liked to roost, and a wave of separation and sadness washed over him. The memory of watching her try to defend him from Death Eaters returned, and a tear trickled down his face as he recalled her bravery. Perhaps someday he would take another owl as a friend to honor Hedwig’s memory, he thought with a heavy sigh. Sitting on the edge of his bed, he took off his shirt and lay down on the mattress he remembered so well. It still felt as good as always. Closing his eyes, he fell asleep.