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Story [Harry Potter] Dulce et Decorum Est--H/R/H short story--Immediately following DH

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by DarthIshtar, Sep 4, 2012.

  1. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Jedi Grand Master star 9

    Mar 26, 2001
    Author's Note: I'm in the process of writing the story in which Hermione goes to find her parents and bring their memories back. In that story (If You're Hoping I'll Return), I made a passing reference to the idea that McGonagall made H/R/H spend a few days getting checked out at St. Mungo's once the war was over. This is that story. There are four chapters currently written and Kateydidnt is in charge of when it will be updated after that. Thanks for reading!

    There were no signs posted, no decrees made, but by some unspoken agreement, the rest of the wizarding world found enough compassion in their hearts to leave the Boy-Who-Lived alone for a few hours. Kreacher and a handful of the uninjured house elves of Hogwarts had turned up sometime in the morning with mounds of scrambled eggs, platters of chipolatas and goblets of pumpkin juice, but after the first few bites to show their gratitude, none of them felt much like eating. There was too much to say and too much that couldn't be put into words for them to stuff their faces just yet.

    The food was still there, balanced on top of a school trunk, when Harry finally awoke. The steam still rising from the eggs suggested that someone—probably Hermione or perhaps Kreacher—had put a warming charm on the feast, but no matter how loudly his stomach rumbled, none of it appealed to him. He knew that at some point, he would keenly feel the need to eat, but it was not a priority just yet.

    After a few moments of enjoying the warmth of his blankets and the sounds of a few birds who had braved the possibility of a concussion to perch on crumbling towers, he turned his head towards Ron's bed.

    Not surprisingly, really, Ron's appetite had already kicked in. He wasn't eating his usual shovelful, but he was steadily working his way through a stack of pancakes while Hermione looked on.

    "What time is it?" he asked with a cottony mouth.

    "What day is it?" Ron corrected. "You've been out all night."

    So the pigeons weren't as brave as he'd originally thought. They'd waited for the dust to settle and then moved back in.

    "Kreacher left a stack of food for you and it's still not gone?" Harry asked, "Are you feeling all right?"

    Ron grinned at him and leaned across to offer a piece of toast. Harry accepted, but did not eat it.

    "No," Hermione answered calmly, "this is the second round." She took a piece of toast from Ron, but like Harry, left it alone. "How are you"

    He considered this for a long moment. His bruises still throbbed dully and he'd discovered a few new aches, but there was nothing that gave him real concern.

    "I'll survive," he said honestly.

    Ron chuckled. "That's about all we can expect, is it?"

    "I hope I don't break the habit," Harry agreed. "Any word from the others?"

    "Dad stopped in last night," Ron answered. "He said they're not going without us, but we should take our time."

    "Going?" Harry echoed. "Going where?"

    "The Burrow for now," Hermione responded. "They want the whole family home."

    At one point, he had felt it odd that the Weasleys treated him as one of their own. After all that they had suffered, after everyone they had lost together, there was no denying it.

    "Have you seen..."

    "He was the only one who came looking for us," Ron interrupted. "I think there are strict orders from Kingsley, but I'd be surprised if someone hadn't tried."

    "I wonder where Rita Skeeter is in all of his," Hermione added.

    "Maybe she snuck onto the grounds and got squashed by a giant," he said hopefully.

    "No," Harry said after a moment of consideration. "She's in her flat in London, already making up her version of what happened."

    It was the first time that all three of them had laughed at something since before they got to Hogsmeade and, while his ribs ached, it felt right. Without waiting for an invitation, he stood up and climbed onto the bed next to Hermione. Rather than edge away, she leaned comfortably against his shoulder.

    "So," he said after another minute of companionable silence, "where do we go from here?"

    "The Great Hall," Hermione suggested. "There will be someone there who can point us in the right direction."

    "All right."

    Harry found his trainers under the bed and stowed his wand in his pocket before following Ron from the dormitory. The house towers were among the few places not affected by the battle, since no one had been reported trying to lure Death Eaters into the Hufflepuff common room or anything of the sort. The cheerful light of the lamps on the side tables and the neatly-arranged armchairs that sat next to stacks of books forgotten in the evacuation seemed out of place.

    Even more out of place was Nearly-Headless Nick. He was a common sight in Gryffindor Tower, but Harry had never seen him standing at attention as if he'd been commanded to let no man pass.

    As they left the staircase, his head turned slightly to look at them, though the rest of him did not. "My lords!" he greeted cheerfully. "My lady."

    "Hello, Sir Nicholas," they answered immediately.

    "All right, Nick?" Harry asked.

    "I am quite well," Nick answered. "I bring tidings from Professor McGonagall."

    Ron groaned and Hermione immediately straightened her shoulders as if the Deputy Headmistress were already with them. Harry nodded to Nick, inviting further explanation.

    "Lady Minerva hopes you slept well and expresses the wish that you join her in her office as soon as convenience allows."

    Ron immediately turned with a hopeful look. "You've still got the Invisibility Cloak, haven't you?"

    "You faced Death Eaters and destroyed a Horcrux" Hermione chided, "and you're avoiding the Transfiguration teacher?"

    "It's McGonagall," Ron answered. "Dolohov wanted to kill me, not give me detention."

    "Don't be ridiculous," she answered. "Sir Nicholas, please let Professor McGonagall know that we—all three of us-will be there shortly."

    "We're right behind you," Harry added in agreement.

    Ron waited until they were alone in the common room once more, and then turned a hopeful look on him. "Well done," he said. "With Nick out of the way, we can..."

    "What are we going to tell her?" Harry asked.

    "The bare minimum," Hermione suggested. "That is to say..."

    "The truth," he concluded. "But we won't give her any information unless she asks for it."

    "So, nothing about the Deathly Hallows," Ron suggested.

    "We'll have to take it in stride if she asks about the Horcruxes," Hermione agreed. "They picked a fight with Voldemort so we could find Ravenclaw's diadem, so I think we can entrust the basics of our quest to Professor McGonagall."

    Without waiting for Ron to add another rule, he strode towards the portrait hole. Nick met them halfway down the corridor and served as a kind of honor guard as they picked their way through the less intact parts of the castle. The bloodstains on the cobblestones had been cleaned, but they had left most of the battlegrounds as they had been at the end of the battle.

    Nick stopped outside of a familiar door and Harry knocked. "Come," Professor McGonagall called.
    She looked no less harried than she had at the end of the battle, but Harry supposed that she had been one of the main reasons he'd been left alone for so long. She had taken care of Hogwarts when there were students to evacuate, injured to care for and dead to bury.

    "Professor," Harry said respectfully, "you wanted to see us?"

    "Yes," she replied. "If you'll have a seat, our guests will be arriving in a few minutes."

    He resisted the urge to give Hermione an alarmed look, but at the mention of guests, he slipped his hand into his front pocket and touched the Invisibility Cloak for reassurance. If things got out of hand, they could still run for it.

    "Who are we waiting for?" Ron asked bluntly.

    "No one you need fear," McGonagall answered. "I think you've all had enough of a lie-in and you have other duties."

    "With all due respect, I'd rather decide on my own when I can take on more duties," Harry stated.

    She peered over her spectacles at him and then glanced towards the fire, perhaps hoping that someone would arrive by Floo and explain things for her.

    "I am not speaking of your duties to the wizarding world," she corrected. "I think you have gone above and beyond what we should have ever asked of you, Potter. You must look after yourselves now. And each other."

    "Who are we waiting for?" Harry echoed Ron's question. "You're not sending us on holiday, are you?"

    She smiled tightly. "Madam Pomfrey should have seen you after the battle," she answered, "but we will not trouble her further. I took the liberty of contacting St. Mungo's to ask that you be seen by their finest Healers."

    He wanted to protest that he hadn't suffered anything worse than a few knocks around the head and a split lip, but that was so far from the truth that he couldn't bring himself to say it. If nothing else, he had been struck with the Killing Curse for a second time. Even if the healers sent him home with nothing more than a bandage and a restorative draught, it would please McGonagall.

    "All right," he said. "Is that all?"

    "For now." She glanced towards the others as if asking permission to take things a step further. "Do you have any unfinished business here?"

    He had no proper answer for such a loaded question, but since they had agreed to only give her as much information as she needed, he shook his head. "Do you know when Neville and the others will be released from the hospital wing?"

    "Neville was released last night," she answered. "Miss Brown is in St. Mungo's as well until they are able to determine the extent of her injuries. Most of your friends have already been taken home, but they will be glad to know that you asked after them."

    The accounting of the casualties reminded him of others who were worried for his welfare. "The Weasleys..."

    "Have been informed of my requst," McGonagall responded.

    "If we let Mum in, we'll never make it to St. Mungo's," Ron pointed out. "Should we take that chance?"

    Before they could even consider that alternative, the fireplace filled with green flames and a stern-looking woman stepped out.

    "Mr. Potter, Ms. Granger, Mr. Weasley," she greeted them. "Healer Eccleston."

    The fireplace came to life once more and a younger man arrived on McGonagall's hearth rug. "Apprentice Healer DeWitt," he added. "Are we ready to go?"

    "What do we need?" Hermione interjected, sounding somewhat put out that no one had yet consulted her on this entire arrangement. "How long shall we be your guests?"

    "We'll know more once you've been evaluated," Eccleston responded. "As for what you require, we will provide for all of your basic needs."

    "And no chance of staying here?" Ron asked hopefully. "We don't really need someone fussing over us. Mum can do that."

    "You will go with Healer Eccleston or I will have the Ministry mandate it," McGonagall threatened. "Our new Minister of Magic is quite concerned about your well-being."

    McGonagall, for all her sternness, was not one to pull rank. She would assign detentions or take points at the first sign of trouble, but this was the first time that Harry had really heard her issue a threat.

    "St. Mungo's it is," he agreed.
  2. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 20, 2002
    Great start! I love after-the-battle stories. Post more soon!
  3. SiouxFan

    SiouxFan Jedi Master star 3

    Mar 6, 2012
    Interesting. In all honesty, St. Mungo's always creeped me out, but the three of them probably need some professional help.
  4. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Jedi Grand Master star 9

    Mar 26, 2001
    It was no surprise that Ron was ushered into the fireplace first; Harry was probably their primary reason for being there, but Ron had made enough off-handed comments about escape plans for them to consider him a flight risk. Hermione and DeWitt went next and Eccleston had just stepped purposefully onto McGonagall's hearth rug when Harry backed away from the fireplace. He immediately felt both pairs of eyes on him as they prepared for whatever he was about to ask next.

    "I do have some unfinished business," he admitted.

    He was again treated to McGonagall's scrutiny, but after a moment, she declared, "If you require a favor, name it, Potter. We shall see to it."

    "It has to be me," he insisted. Before they could ask further questions, he blurted out, "I need to see to something."

    McGonagall squinted so hard at her spectacles that he half-expected them to slide off of her nose. Her eyebrows drew together until they nearly met in the middle. Eccleston dipped her chin so she could look Harry in the eye. "And this can't wait?"

    His stomach turned over at the thought of what they might find when he returned from St. Mungo's. "It can't wait," Harry confirmed. "And it has to be done in utmost secret."

    In other words, they couldn't just stump up the path to Hogsmeade and break the Shrieking Shack's door down while half the village watched in fascination. He was glad of the mid-morning light, since they wouldn't need to light any lamps or wands to find their way.

    "I could use some help," he said pointedly.

    He had seen McGonagall's current expression before, usually a few days before the Gryffindors sat their yearly exams. More than once, Hermione had been so eager to do something right that she had begged for a few extra hours in the Transfiguration classroom. Usually, the Gryffindor Head of House was accommodating, but when she wore this expression, it meant that she wanted the person in front of her to accept the need for a rest. If the battle wasn't won in the next few moments, he would have to rebel and go off on his own.

    "I cannot accompany you," McGonagall replied after a few moments. "But we can trust one of the others."

    She crossed to the hearth and tossed a handful of Floo powder into the fire before calling out, "Filius! Might I have a word?"

    There was no need to scarper off and cause another panic. McGonagall had yielded and the only person looking disgruntled about it was Eccleston. She obviously felt that whatever Harry was up to could certainly wait until he'd had a few restorative draughts and maybe a few diagnostic spells.

    A few moments later, Professor Flitwick emerged from the fireplace, dusting himself off. "Potter," he greeted squeakily,. "You look well."

    It was a lie—a polite one—that he expected he would hear a lot in the days to come. But Harry supposed that still having a scab where he'd cut his lip was a small matter next to the fact that he had come back from the nearly-dead.

    "Thanks, Professor," he said.

    Flitwick turned to McGonagall and she immediately answered his unspoken question. "Mr. Potter needs an escort," she explained. "Will you assist him?"

    "I would be glad to," the tiny professor responded with his usual lack of guile. He turned and bowed shortly to Eccleston. "Madam, are you coming with us?"

    "That's not necessary," Harry interjected.

    He didn't know Eccleston at all. He had no reason to distrust her, but he had no reason to share this duty with her. His 'unfinished business' would just have to be something she understood once she'd learned to ask the right questions. If she never understood him that well, he wouldn't be upset. He could count on one hand the number of people who needed to hear this story and there was no room for a complete stranger, no matter how well-meaning they were.

    "I'll see that the others are safely checked in," Eccleston offered graciously.

    Harry had to shorten his steps in order to keep pace with the Charms professor, but they walked the deserted corridors in silence. They passed the Grey Lady and Professor Vector, but none of them apparently felt like a conversation. The Grey Lady gave him a solemn bow of her head and glided away and Professor Vector strode past them without a second glance.

    Harry's first view of the grounds affected him in a way that the thought of Snape's corpse had not. There had been more important things to attend to than debris. While the bodies had been retrieved and the worst of the messes had been cleared away, a good portion of the Forest was burned away and parts of the castle were scattered across the lawn like a bizarre set of giants' building blocks. He recognized a part of the Astronomy Tower by the carvings on the stonework.

    He hadn't seen the grounds since the night of the battle and even then, he had seen flashes of light near the Quidditch pitch, had vaguely marked the path the giants took past Hagrid's cabin.

    And yet he knew exactly how many steps lay between him and the Forest. He had spent seven years trudging through all sorts of weather to reach the greenhouses or the Gryffindor locker rooms, but had never bothered to count how far it was to each one. He could remember, though, that it had taken just over one hundred paces to reach the spot where he'd last seen Ginny. He didn't have to look for a landmark to know that it had taken six hundred more steps for him to reach the edge of the forest. If he continued on this path, he would stand in the place where he had finally used the Resurrection Stone.

    But that was not his intended destination. While the forest crumbled and the towers toppled, the Whomping Willow remained upright and untouched. He approached it carefully, perfectly aware of how easily provoked the thing could be.

    "Wingardium Leviosa," Flitwick called.

    A severed branch darted underneath the lazily waving branches and prodded at the knot on the trunk. The tree went still. Without a word, Harry led the way down the tunnel.

    For the first time, there was no sense of real urgency in traveling to the Shrieking Shack. It was not what he might call a pleasant morning stroll, but there was no mass murderer upstairs and no Dark Lord awaiting him at the end of this journey. Only the man he had never thought of as a friend or even an ally.

    He knew even before they reached the end of the tunnel that they had waited too long. It was not just the stench of beginning decomposition, but they should not have forgotten a fallen hero at all, much less for more than a day. The Hogwarts survivors had attended to Tom Riddle's body after a fashion, but somehow, Professor Snape had not been afforded the same courtesy.

    Flitwick covered his mouth and nose with his robe, but Harry trudged dully up the stairs until he found the crumpled remains of Severus Snape.

    The first order of business was Scourgify. He dropped to one knee, prepared to do more good, but his hands shook as he reached out to the Potions Master. He balled his hands into fists to stop the tremors, and then breathed in carefully through his mouth.

    There was not much he could do for Snape, but he could give him some of the same care that he had shown for another hero. Harry reached out and folded the limp arms over Snape's chest, unfurled the legs from their awkward position and finally palmed his eyes shut. Snape did not look at rest, but at least now he could have been sleeping.

    "Is there anything else we can do for him?" he asked quietly.

    "There is a Conservation Charm," Professor Flitwick answered immediately. "I will consult with Professor Slughorn, as he will know best how to prepare our friend for burial."

    Harry felt no shock at the term, but he was grateful that Flitwick was willing to take that for granted. "Thanks, Professor," he murmured.

    He left a hand on Professor Snape's shoulder for a moment, not sure what he was waiting for. It didn't feel like his duty was complete, but there was nothing more to be done. If it were up to those left behind, Severus Snape's remains would be shoved into a hastily-dug grave before the memorials of the deserving took place. Harry couldn't let that happen, but he doubted if McGonagall would let him stall long enough to make a convincing argument. It would seem strange for the Boy-Who-Lived to plead the case of a deceased Death Eater, but he had to make them understand that, like Fred Weasley and Remus Lupin, Severus Snape was a martyred member of the Order of the Phoenix.

    That thought and the resolve that came with it finally made him feel as though he had come far enough to leave things behind for a time. "I think we're done here."
    Flitwick spoke after another moment of silence. "Where do you want him kept?"

    "Away from the others," Harry said immediately.

    It was not a very helpful answer, but it was all he had. After a long moment of consideration, the tiny professor offered a suggestion: "We can keep him in the headmaster's study. Whatever his role in all of this, that office is still his."

    "Can you keep it..." He thought of the crumbling gargoyles. "He can't be found until I return."

    "Of course," Flitwick agreed.

    "And the gargoyles are in no condition to stand guard."

    "There are other ways," the other replied. "I will take charge to see that no one enters. There are even certain charms and potions that could mask..." He waved a hand expressively in front of his face to indicate the beginning decay. "I will see to it personally, Mr. Potter."

    Professor Flitwick was not the most formal of the Hogwarts professors, but it was good to know that he could be trusted.

    "As to how..."

    "I have my Invisibility Cloak," Harry suggested. "I shouldn't bring it to St. Mungo's."

    It wasn't that he wanted to leave it behind, but it was too much of a temptation otherwise. Without any hope of breaking out, he might be able to focus on less pressing matters.
    "It will wait for you at Hogwarts," Flitwick promised.

    With that decided, Harry stood and raised his wand. "Mobilicorpus."

    Four years ago, he had left the Shrieking Shack with Snape's body floating haphazardly under Sirius' direction. There had been so much to take in that night that Harry hadn't cared when the Potions Master's head scraped the ceiling. This time, he and Flitwick formed a kind of somber honor guard, making sure that no further harm would come to the fallen hero.

    Harry had expected the Floo Network to turf them out of the fireplace in St. Mungo's, but when they emerged, they were in a small living room not unlike the Dursleys'. There were overstuffed armchairs and potted plants, but no pictures to explain whose house they had just invaded.

    "Did we miss our grate?" Harry asked.

    "No," Healer Eccleston assured him. "Not all St. Mungo's entrances are through department store windows. This is one of our more private wards."

    That was an understatement. If this was a medical ward, it wasn't like any Harry had ever imagined. There were no Healers, no cauldrons of Potions simmering on a side table. The lilies-of-the-valley on the coffee table weren't yawning, but sitting motionless in their water as ordinary Muggle flowers did.

    "Right through here, if you please, Mr. Potter," Eccleston said politely, moving towards a door next to the china cabinet.

    A doorbell sounded behind them and a harried-looking wizard bustled through the door on his way to greet the visitor. A clamor of voices followed him through the swinging door, but they were cut off as soon as the latch caught. Eccleston rested a hand on Harry's shoulder to restrain him as the wizard returned with an unconscious young girl and two sobbing people who Harry assumed to be her parents.

    "Heard a bang…" the father hiccupped loudly. "And when we went upstairs, she wasn't moving. Not sure what she was trying, but we can't get her to wake…"

    The door closed behind the four of them and Harry looked inquisitively at Eccleston. "This is also the entrance we use for emergencies relating to Muggle-borns," she said quietly. "It is our experience that the witch or wizard's family might be more traumatized by the usual crowd at St. Mungo's than they are by whatever emergency brought them here."

    Harry thought of the wizard complaining of cursed shoes and a young witch with feathery wings and couldn't disagree. It was something of a relief to be back in a world of minor catastrophes, where underage magic could mean a botched potion or bushy eyebrows instead of poisoning or death.

    "Right through here," Eccleston echoed.

    The door swung open and he was greeted by cries of relief from Ron and Hermione. Hermione was the first to reach him, seizing his hand and pulling him towards a bank of chairs against one wall. This room looked much more like an ordinary doctor's office, the sort that Aunt Petunia had brought him to when she was worried that his more serious illnesses might be contagious. There were uncomfortable chairs and a wireless radio playing the Weird Sisters and a table full of old Witch Weekly issues and even a spare copy of the Quibbler where Harry had given an interview. Apparently, they'd never binned that one after the Daily Prophet bought the exclusive interview.

    "Where have you been?" she asked in a hushed voice. "We knew that someone would send word if there was trouble, but that could take ages."

    "McGonagall wasn't giving you a hard time, was she?" Ron demanded. "This was supposed to be her idea."

    "Snape," Harry hissed. Then, raising his voice to a normal level, "Sorry to keep you waiting. We just got held up at Hogwarts."

    Hermione frowned. "But he's not…"

    "I took care of him," Harry clarified.

    It would be easier to cast a Muffliato charm than to try and come up with small talk for the Healers' sake, but he didn't want to think about what the Healers might do if they thought that Harry, Ron and Hermione were keeping secrets.

    "You're all right," Ron diagnosed. "Have a seat. We've just got to get through some unpleasant stuff before they let us in."

    There were few things that truly crossed over from Muggle society to wizard. Even things as ordinary as chess or tea shops had the ability to be magical, but there was something utterly mundane about hospital forms, no matter how much magical powers you possessed.

    "Medical history," Ron read off. "No, I don't remember when I had dragon pox. Mum keeps track of that sort of thing. Is that important?"

    "No, I have never experienced wand-related muscular atrophy," Harry answered. It wasn't something he'd even considered and now he flexed his arm nervously as if expecting the symptom to manifest itself now that it had been brought up. He didn't know what wand-related muscular atrophy was supposed to mean, but maybe it would feel like the time that Professor Lockhart's bungled spell had left his arm boneless and useless. "I do sometimes have a tingle."

    "Hermione, here's one for you," Ron said. "They want to know if my dentist has ever used the now-discontinued Cavity-corking Concoction. Do they have anything like that…"

    Hermione was the only one who apparently hadn't amused herself with the medical forms. Ron's comment trailed off at the expression on her face. She wasn't focusing; she looked both depressed and perplexed.

    "All right?" Harry asked.

    "They want an emergency contact," she said quietly.

    "Next of kin will do," Healer DeWitt commented as he entered. "Do you have any questions?"

    "I'm not sure what this means," Harry admitted, pointing out several unfamiliar terms.

    "If you'd had it, you would have known it," DeWitt said with a wink. "Do you need the Muggle-born version?"

    "Yes, please."

    He tapped the form with his wand and a kind of translation appeared in its place. It was much easier to understand questions about a family history of diabetes or heart disease.

    "Back in a mo'," the Healer said cheerily.

    The door shut behind him and Harry turned back to find Hermione tapping her quill restlessly on the parchment. A moment later, his mind caught up to what she had said before DeWitt's entrance.

    "Emergency contact," she said to refresh his memory. "Tonks was my alternative."

    Frankly, he'd never been asked about an emergency contact. There was never enough time between the disaster and the hospital wing to work out who needed to know. Professor McGonagall had always been enough.

    "I don't think this is the best way to remind Monica and Wendell that they have an extended family," Hermione commented.

    "Don't be a git," Ron interrupted. "You're as much a Weasley as Percy. And Mum would kill you if you didn't think of us as your backup family."

    Without another comment, they both scribbled in Molly Weasley as their emergency contact.

    The door opened and it was Eccleston who came in this time. "We're ready for you," he announced.

    "We're not done," Harry pointed out.

    "We can go over the rest later," Eccleston said, making it sound like both a threat and a promise. "Through here, please."

    Harry and Ron glanced at each other and took a deep breath, but Hermione grimly nodded and rose to her feet without argument. They scrambled to follow her and followed Eccleston into what looked like a laundry room.

    "Pajamas, two pairs each," she instructed. "Two pairs of socks, one pair of slippers."

    "If it's all the same to you, I"d rather stay in my own clothes," Ron said gruffly.

    Hermione rolled her eyes, but Eccleston seemed to have heard this objection many times before and pulled a pair of pajamas off the top of the stack before handing them to Ron.
    "Your clothes will be tested for any materials that might be doing you harm," she said. "And we want you to be as comfortable as possible. This is not up for debate."

    Soon, they were laden down with pajamas, slippers and socks and being directed to patient changing rooms. Ron hadn't grumbled about anything else, but he looked as though he was doing it under protest.

    "Look on the bright side," Harry encouraged Ron. "They're not maroon."