Summer of Recovery by PotterSloth



Summary: What comes after Voldemort’s defeat? A very, very difficult summer. The world moves on, and it’s much different than it was when Harry and Ginny first got together. The summer will be one of grief, but they’re ready to recover together after so long apart. The only question is: will the world finally let them?
Rating: R starstarstarstarstar
Categories: Post-DH/AB
Characters: None
Genres: None
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: Happier Every Day
Published: 2024.03.22
Updated: 2024.05.17


Summer of Recovery by PotterSloth
Chapter 1: Promise Kept
Author's Notes:

Harry looked toward the forest and felt his mouth go dry as he saw her standing fifty feet in front of him, exactly where she’d been last night, when he thought he’d seen her for the last time.

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He turned away from the painted portraits, thinking now only of the four-poster bed lying waiting for him in Gryffindor Tower and wondering whether Kreacher might bring him a sandwich there, “I’ve had enough trouble for a lifetime.”


Harry walked out the door to the Headmaster’s Office and began down the winding staircase. He turned to Ron and Hermione as they passed the gargoyle statue, unsurprised to see them holding hands. Harry raised an eyebrow at them, causing Hermione to blush while Ron refused to look embarrassed, unconsciously puffing his chest out as if he’d done something nobody had thought possible.

“I’m heading up to the dorm. I guess people will be looking for me at some point if they aren’t already. I’ll be down later to deal with all that, but I- I just can’t right now. Besides, I think you two could use some alone time,” Harry suggested as his eyebrow raised again.

At this, even Ron blushed, and Hermione could only look down at the floor, although Harry could see a small smile playing on her lips. He turned to make his way to Gryffindor Tower before glancing back over his shoulder.

“Oh, and for the record? It’s about damn time.”

He walked away before he saw their reactions, but he heard an unusually girlish giggle coming from Hermione as he turned a corner and smiled to himself. The timing had been awful, but that fit with the rest of Ron and Hermione’s relationship. It took them years to see what everyone around them had known at least since they were third years. Even Harry had finally picked up on it a year or two ago, and he was as obtuse about feelings and relationships as a troll.

Of course, Harry did have a few weeks of experience with relationships, or rather, a relationship, but it felt like so much more than a few weeks. His mind wandered, as it often did when he was alone, to her. The time they’d shared a year ago had felt like someone else’s life, but that was when he still had a death sentence hanging over him. Could his life- his actual life- be like that? Those weeks of happiness had been the best of his life, but he’d never been foolish enough to imagine he could actually have that forever.

He found himself looking out a window over the Hogwarts grounds. Harry smiled slightly as he reminisced about all those walks and talks and snogs on the grounds. He was brought back to reality by the wounds in the usually pristine green grass. Sunlight sparkled on the Black Lake, but the dark stains and still smoking patches of grass scattered across the Hogwarts lawn seemed impervious to the sunlight. He grimaced, as some of the reality of the previous night settled on him again.

In a far less buoyant mood than he’d been in moments before, he began turning to finish the trek to his waiting bed and the nightmares he was likely to encounter, but something caught his eye. Drawn back to the window, he raised his eyes beyond the lawn to the dark, looming forest that swallowed up sunlight. For years, Harry had been warned not to go into the Forbidden Forest, but he seemed to find himself there fairly often. The forest usually unsettled him, and he’d encountered some terrifying things in there, but he’d never been as scared of the forest as he was only hours earlier.

With a start, Harry realised that he couldn’t go to his dorm. Not yet. He shook his head with disappointment at himself. He’d been so caught up in the relief of everything being over that he’d already forgotten what he’d learned about life as he made that walk. Every second was something to be treasured, and love was to be treasured above all else. Love- that indescribable thing that Harry’s mum had saved him with all those years ago. Love- the power the Dark Lord knew not, that had allowed Harry a second lease on life.

Harry began walking back in the direction he’d come from with a renewed sense of urgency. He pulled the Invisibility Cloak over himself, not wanting to be stopped by anyone, but it seemed that nobody had wanted to leave the Great Hall and wander the castle that had become a battlefield yet. Not that Harry could blame them. He focused on his destination, trying to ignore the rubble and red stains that littered the walls and floors of several corridors. He knew that he’d have to deal with those realities eventually, but for now, he had a promise to keep.

Still wearing the cloak, he stepped into the Great Hall. He looked around for the familiar mane of red hair and was almost trampled by Hagrid, who had clearly been indulging in his favourite mead since the battle ended.

“I jus’ knew it! There weren’ any way Harry Potter was gonna let that snake get ‘im!” Hagrid bellowed to nobody in particular. Harry winced, hearing this praise from Hagrid. He couldn’t imagine how difficult it had been for Hagrid to carry his body back to the castle. He resolved to talk to Hagrid once things had settled down and Harry had taken care of his other business.

Reminded of that business, Harry looked again for the Weasleys. He saw what must have been two hundred people scattered around the Hall- teachers, students, members of the Order of the Phoenix, and a surprising number of people Harry didn’t recognize- and then he finally spotted them in a far corner. But before he started walking towards them, he realised that she wasn’t there. Frowning, Harry started thinking about where she could have gone. Before he could stop himself, his eyes found both Dean Thomas and Michael Corner, neither of whom were accompanied by someone with red hair. Harry breathed a brief sigh of relief before rolling his eyes at himself. She wouldn’t have run off with either of them or any other bloke, not while her family was here and hurting. But that begged the question- if she wouldn’t have left her family for a boyfriend, what could have pulled her away?

Confused, Harry left the Great Hall before anybody accidentally bumped into him. There would be no escaping the crowd of people if he was revealed now. His mind was still on her, and he hadn’t noticed until he stepped on grass rather than stone that his feet had carried him outside, to the path that he’d taken to the forest last night. Blinking to adjust to the sunlight, Harry looked toward the forest and felt his mouth go dry as he saw her standing fifty feet in front of him, exactly where she’d been last night, when he thought he’d seen her for the last time.

Her back was to him, and he still had the cloak on. Somewhere deep inside his mind, he felt the temptation to run to his dormitory, pull the hangings around his four-poster bed, and sleep for a week. Yet again, Harry found himself rolling his eyes at himself. This terrified him, but he couldn’t run and hide from it. He couldn’t pretend that he didn’t understand just how close he’d come to never getting this chance. He’d dreamed about this moment for nine months, and he owed it to himself to see this through. More importantly, he owed it to her.

Steeling himself, he started walking up to her. Her hair glowed with specks of gold as the sun glinted off of it, making it look like she had a red halo around her. He was so close that he thought he could smell her flowery scent, even though it was probably his imagination.

As he started to remove the cloak, he was dumbfounded to hear her softly say, “I felt you, you know. Last night.”

Harry grimaced as he finished pulling the cloak off; he’d been afraid of that. He didn’t know how it was possible- the cloak was supposed to be impenetrable. But he’d known last night when he passed her that she knew. This was all the confirmation he’d needed. He hadn’t spared her anything, hadn’t saved her from any of the pain of knowing. Head down, he moved to stand beside her, not touching, but closer than he’d been in almost a year.

She turned to look at him, and suddenly, Harry felt like he couldn’t breathe. After everything that had happened, after the world falling apart and coming closer to death than ever before, the only thing that mattered was that she was alive and here, in front of him. He’d thought about her constantly for months, had even seen her last night, but he was still rendered speechless as he looked at her.

It took everything in him to breathe out, “Ginny.”

Her eyes blazed briefly at that, and Harry felt his knees tremble. That blazing look had had that effect on him for a long time. Slowly, the fire lessened. It was still there, but so was her hurt and sadness. Harry didn’t know how it was possible for eyes to carry so much emotion, but he felt like he could see exactly what she was feeling through the brown eyes he’d tried so hard to memorise before he left. She turned to look back at the forest, and Harry remembered with a jolt where they were and why she was here.

“I should be mad at you,” Ginny said matter-of-factly. She wasn’t going to get an argument from Harry there. He waited for her to say more but realised after a few seconds that she was waiting on him to say something.

Before he thought about the fact that now probably wasn’t the best time, he blurted out, “I’ve been worried you would be. Honestly, that scares me more than Voldemort.” He clapped his hand over his mouth because he knew then that it definitely wasn’t the time to say that, even though there was probably some truth in it.

To be honest, he liked seeing Ginny angry. He doubted many guys felt that way about girls, but she had this fire when she was mad that never failed to melt Harry. He wasn’t scared of her being angry; rather, he was scared that there would be nothing he could do to fix what he had done. Before he could think further on that, he saw her look at him out of the corner of her eye. He did his best, but Harry couldn’t fully suppress the sheepish grin that was now forcing its way onto his lips as he flushed with embarrassment at admitting that out loud.

Ginny snorted and shook her head in disbelief. Harry thought that was the most beautiful sound he’d ever heard. Maybe she wasn’t completely mad at him then. Ginny took a breath and turned to look at Harry once again, and once again, Harry felt his heart rate start to accelerate.

“There’s a lot I need to know, that I deserve to know,” Ginny said, emphasising that last part. Harry nodded his head, and he started trying to think of where even to begin. He’d wanted to confide in her about everything last year, more than he wanted to tell even Ron and Hermione. He couldn’t then, but he wasn’t going to miss the chance a second time. He opened his mouth to start his story when he was pleasantly surprised to feel Ginny’s fingers on his lips.

“I know you’ll tell me everything, but we don’t have to do that right now. I only have two questions for now. First, are there any more evil wizards that you have to run away to fight?” Ginny asked sternly, crossing her arms over her chest as she spoke.

Harry felt himself start to smile again, but he thought he’d better take this seriously, so he responded, “No. I don’t plan on running away to fight anyone for a very long time.”

“Good, because you’re not allowed to leave me again. If you ever have to fight someone like him again, I’m coming with you. I refuse to be left behind.” Ginny said forcefully, as if she’d been waiting for a long time to tell him this. Then again, Harry realised ruefully, she probably had been.

“I’ll never ask you to stay behind again. I don’t ever want to face another day without you, let alone another dark wizard. I can’t do it without you again,” Harry confessed, speaking what he’d felt since Dumbledore’s funeral. He started to wrap his arms around her, aching to feel her again, but she put her hand on his chest, stiffening her arm so he couldn’t get closer. Harry barely held back the whimper that wanted to escape, but he couldn’t hide his disappointment. He looked down at Ginny and saw her eyes sparkling as the corners of her mouth twitched.

“That’s very nice of you to say, Harry,” Ginny replied pleasantly as her eyes continued to sparkle. Harry started trying to form a protest in his mind at that. Nice? He’d told her that he couldn’t live another day without her and that was just nice? He must not have been keeping his feelings hidden very well because Ginny could no longer hold the smile back.

Harry blinked in a dazed stupor as he saw her smile for the first time since Bill and Fleur’s wedding. He almost missed her continued questioning when she asked, “Now for my second question. Did you meet any Veela while you were running around Britain?”

Now it was Harry’s turn to hold back a smile as he remembered the conversation they’d had on his birthday. He tapped his chin as if he was thinking before saying, “No, I didn’t run into any Veela. There were some very friendly witches in the Midlands that would probably love to see me again though.” Ginny couldn’t restrain herself, and she laughed, punching him on the shoulder harder than Harry was expecting. He didn’t mind though; he was still hearing her laughter in his mind, and even though it was close, her laughter sounded even more beautiful than her snorting.

Calm again but still smiling gently, Ginny put her hand over Harry’s heart and she looked back up into his eyes. “No Veela though?” she asked softly.

Harry shook his head. “No Veela. Never anyone else but you.”

Ginny smiled even more brightly and whispered, “There’s the silver lining I’ve been looking for.”

She grabbed the front of his jacket, yanking him down towards her, and his arms wrapped around her waist as their lips met. Harry’s world exploded. One of his hands was in the hair that he’d missed so much while the other pulled on her waist, trying to bring her as close as possible to him. Ginny’s hands ran over the sides of his face and through his hair frantically. Before today, the kiss they’d shared on his birthday had been the best of his life, but it didn’t hold a candle to this. Their last kiss had been a kiss of promise; this kiss was the roaring declaration that the promise had been kept.

Minutes or hours may have passed before they finally pulled apart, gasping for air and staring intensely at each other. Harry couldn’t take his eyes off of Ginny’s face. He gazed adoringly at all the freckles that he loved to count with kisses, the perfect lips, slightly puffy from that earth-shattering kiss, and her brown eyes that he lost himself in every time, blazing as furiously as they had the first time they’d kissed.

“I missed you,” Ginny mumbled, still staring at him, holding him as if she was afraid he was going to disappear.

Harry hugged her tighter, promising, “You’ll never have to miss me again. I’m not going anywhere.”

Ginny moaned slightly as Harry pressed a soft kiss to her lips before he pulled back again. She held tightly to him still, but Harry smiled at her and said, “I was thinking about taking a kip upstairs.” Ginny nodded as her eyes began to darken, looking like the exhaustion of the previous day had just hit her like it was hitting Harry.

He pulled the Invisibility Cloak over both of them, bent his head to her ear, and whispered, “Let’s go,” before planting a couple kisses on her ear and cheek. Ginny unwrapped her arms from around him, but he caught her hand as she pulled away, lacing his fingers through hers. He saw her smile softly again before she turned, and they started walking in silence back through the castle, just revelling in the feeling of touching each other again.

Taking every possible shortcut to make it to bed faster, they quickly reached the portrait of the Fat Lady. She appeared to be trying to single-handedly support a vineyard as she drank straight from a bottle of wine while several empty ones littered the floor around her. Harry realised he didn’t know the password, if she was even coherent enough to understand it. As if reading his mind, Ginny stepped out from under the cloak, causing the Fat Lady’s eyes to widen in shock.

“Lightning?” Ginny asked hesitantly, glancing at where she knew Harry was.

The Fat Lady giggled, “That’s an old password dear, but I’ll let it slide today!” The portrait swung open, and Ginny started to join Harry back under the cloak when the Fat Lady said, slurring her words slightly, “I’m sure if you’re here, Mister Potter isn’t far behind. When you see him, tell him he has the grat- gratit- gratititude of all the portraits of Hogwarts.”

Harry warmed a little as Ginny smiled back at the portrait. “I’ll make sure to let him know.” With that, she joined Harry back under the cloak, and they climbed through the portrait hole.

Harry stepped through first, turning to look back at Ginny. “Lightning?” Harry asked. Ginny chuckled quietly, but Harry didn’t miss her holding her hand out for help stepping into the common room, something she hadn’t done when they were together last year. He suspected it was more her just wanting to touch him and less about wanting help, but still, he mentally made a note of it. That was definitely something to think about later.

“Well, we couldn’t very well have our password be Harry Potter,” Ginny said pointedly, smirking at him as she talked.

“Oh,” Harry said, nodding his head as he realised. “That… wow, I’m a Gryffindor Tower password. That’s pretty cool.”

Ginny rolled her eyes even as she smirked again and remarked, “You don’t even know the half of it. I’ll tell you all about it soon. But don’t let this go to your head- it’s your scar that was the password, not you.”

Harry tried to look offended, but that only made Ginny laugh at him. Harry gave her a light shove before pulling her into a hug. “Whatever it took for you to remember me, I’ll take it.”

“I never stopped thinking about you,” Ginny whispered, looking up at him, and he could see the honesty in her eyes.

“Me neither,” he responded softly, pressing a kiss to her head and breathing in her scent once again. He’d never get tired of that. Pulling one hand free, he guided them up the stairs to his dorm room. Even though he hadn’t been there all year, when Harry opened the door, he felt at home.

They stumbled toward his bed and fell on top of the covers, not caring that they were both covered in all manner of blood, dirt, sweat, and tears. Harry pulled Ginny close, and she snuggled into him, pressing her head to his chest as her eyes closed and her breathing slowed to a regular, calm pace.

Fighting off sleep, Harry looked down at her once more, so grateful that he had the chance to come back to this. He hugged her tighter to his chest, and he knew as he fell asleep with a smile on his face that Ginny would feel his heart, which now only beat for her.

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A/N: Does anybody actually read Author’s Notes? I really have no idea, but I’m going to at least pretend because I’ve been excited to share all of this, including my thoughts on writing it, for a long time now. So indulge me, or feel free to skip ahead to the next chapter: A New Morning!

Either way, I want to thank you for taking the time to read through the first chapter of Summer of Recovery. I wrote this chapter nearly eight months ago to the day, and it’s probably been my least edited chapter. When I decided I wanted to write a canon-compliant, post war, Harry/Ginny fanfic, there were about eight moments that stood out in my head as the guiding points for it, and Harry seeing Ginny at the same place he saw her on his walk to the forest was the first one and probably the easiest one to write.

You’ll find out exactly what Harry’s promise was in a couple of chapters, but I don’t really want to give anything else away on that yet, but you’ll know it when you see it.

Honestly, I’m terrified to be posting this. I started writing this at the end of July 2023, and it’s been a total secret and place of refuge for me to throw all my creativity and love for the Wizarding World into. I’ve been looking forward to posting for a very long time, but even though it’s pretty anonymous, it’s still feels like I’m being really open and vulnerable, which isn’t always the easiest for me.

So I hope you enjoyed, thanks again for reading the first chapter, and I hope you continue to read on! And please please please leave comments and feedback! I’ve written literally hundreds of thousands of words that I could post all at once, but I wanted to release them separately to have a chance to interact with people who read it. So whatever feedback you have, I’m all ears!

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.

This story archived at http://www.siye.co.uk/siye/viewstory.php?sid=130723