AN: Don’t own, never have never will. You know the deal. Please don’t sue. This is a little angsty romance, and it’s not all sunshine and daisies. Please R&R
Hollow Storms in Shattered Teacups
The entrance hall of number twelve Grimmauld place was completely deserted when Harry apparated there, with a small pop. He looked around at the semi repaired hall, an arrested look on his nineteen year old features. He had grown remarkably quickly over the past four years, reaching a final height of six foot, and his features now turned girls’ heads just as much as his scar did. Everyone said he looked even more extraordinarily like James every day, except for his eyes. These eyes were the only feature of his which were exactly like his mother’s, almond shaped and emerald green. They were also his only feature to betray the experiences he had been through in his short life. Those eyes had seen things no nineteen year old should have to endure, and one who looked into them would see a person far older than nineteen.
Harry glanced more closely at the empty hall. He had cleaned this place up well and truly over the year he had spent here, working for the order. Sirius had left the manor, as well as a small fortune, all to Harry, and Harry had set to erasing all traces and reminders that dark magic had ever lurked there.
It hurt him to be in this house. But he did not show that pain. He was past letting others see how he felt. Occlumency had allowed him to hide his feelings at will, and had come in extremely useful, especially when he heard of a new death.
But now the war was over. Voldemort had been defeated a little over an hour ago. Harry had gone alone, snuck out while everyone was still recovering from the latest assault, the attack on Hogwarts. He had found Voldemort. The two had dueled, bringing the prophecy to life, and Harry had triumphed, disapparating seconds after the deed was done, to escape the raging death eaters. Where he had disapparated to he didn’t know or care, but he had promptly passed out as the scar on his forehead throbbed and pained, blinding him and causing him to faint.
He had woken in that strange place, next to the ruins of an old house that looked like it had not been disturbed in around two decades. He glimpsed a sign saying ‘Godric’s Hollow’, moments before he disapparated and appeared in the silent hall of Grimmauld Place, where he stood now.
So where was everyone? An hour and a half ago they had been sitting around the kitchen table, down the stairs across the hall, nursing various wounds or trying to revive those who were incapacitated. Now the room was dark and silent. That chatter of voice Harry had left behind no longer drifted up to him.
He crept toward the stairs leading to the upper levels of the house, kicking off his shoes as he went, going carefully, forgetting that he had already removed the rude shouting paintings of Sirius’ family. WHEN HE REACHED THE BOTTOM OF THE STAIRS, he saw a light on the first landing.
“Hello?” A squeak echoed from where the lamp now stood, and Harry heard running feet heading upstairs. Dimly he heard Ginny’s voice calling out.
“Everybody! Wake up! Wake up! He’s back! Wake Hermione! Ron, get up! Go find Mum and Dad and Bill! He’s back! Somebody go tell Draco. He’ll be so relieved, even if he doesn’t tell us.” Harry ran up the stairs after her, as Ginny continued shouting.
“Phineas, go to Hogwarts! Make sure everyone there gets the message that he’s back. Then come straight back here and I’ll tell you the result!”
People were running now, pelting down the stairs, and Harry, who was still at the first flight, turned and headed back down to the hall. A crowd of people flooded after him, all of them chattering. Ron was first in line.
“Well?” He said. “What happened? We all know where you went! What happened?” He was grinning broadly; he already knew what Harry was going to tell him. They all did. It didn’t take a genius to figure it out.
“He’s finished.” Harry said. And a cheer went through the house. Most of the Order was still there, all of them nursing injuries, but Harry still noticed how much their numbers had been depleted over the four years.
Everyone was yelling and chattering. There were several loud bangs as Fred and George let off some of their Whiz bangs, and sparklers and fireworks went zooming throughout the house. People were all smiling at each other, and Harry was surprised when Hermione appeared. She had been out cold the last time he had seen her, and didn’t look like she would come round for days, but the moment she saw at him, she flew at him, hugged him briefly, and then danced round the room with Ron.
Tonks apparated into the centre of the crowd, almost falling right on top of Harry.
“Oops! Sorry Harry!” She said, grinning all over her heart shaped face as she eagerly joined the joyous chatter. Mrs Weasley had arrived, kissing each of her children and pulling them all into a hug, but having to withdraw to the side and be comforted by Mr Weasley as she was reminded the Percy was no longer with them.
Harry felt oddly detached from all of these laughing, happy people. Yes, he supposed he was happy. The war was over. It was all finished. Everything was done. But it had cost him so much. It had cost him his childhood, his innocence, his family, everything he had ever loved. And now what would he do? He had fulfilled the prophecy. His task was done. His purpose in life had been completed. Now he would just fade into the background, and people would forget him, the way they seemed to have forgotten the dead.
Harry watched Hermione and Ron dancing, more slowly now, and more and more people were joining them, turning the entrance hall into a regular party. They wanted to celebrate. Mrs Weasley brought out food, setting the Christmas turkey out early, serving up mince pies by the crate load, and everybody ate their fill, except Harry.
Ginny obligingly put on some music for Ron and Hermione to dance to, and Harry listened to the muggle song, and felt like he was going to cry, though whether it was because he was happy or sad, he did not know.
“A very merry Christmas, and a happy new year. Let’s hope it’s a good one, without any fear.”
Harry found himself singing along softly, the familiar muggle Christmas carol filled his head as the clock struck one am. It was Christmas day. He hadn’t even noticed. The last lines of the carol faded from his mind.
“The war is over. If you want it. The war is over now.” And he suddenly felt so tired, so weary of the world, and the party and the people in general, that he sidled over to the stairs, and made his way up to the bedroom he had shared with Ron every summer for four years, except now it was his alone. Ron would go back to the burrow, and he, Harry, would be left in this huge manor with nothing but Kreacher, and memories of Sirius.
He walked over to the bay window, something he had added while renovating the house, and sat staring at the stars. There was Sirius, the dog star, glaring down at him, and the flashes of all who had died flew through his mind in quick succession; Sirius, Remus, Moody, McGonagall, Percy, Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon, Dudley, Snape, Luna, Mundungus, Hestia Jones, Bertha Jorkins Cedric, Neville, Dumbledore. . .
A lone tear slid down Harry’s cheek, and he brushed it away angrily, loneliness welling up inside him. How would he live without these people? Everyone he had loved or respected, anyone who had ever truly cared for him, or respected him, had been torn away from him by Lord Voldemort. And while vengeance was sweet, it did not fill the aching hole left in his heart. Nor did it give him a reason to go on living.
Ron and Hermione came into the room, standing very close together, hand in hand. Harry glanced around at them. They looked like they were wearing rosy glasses, and were glowing at each other. Envy overrode any happiness Harry found in their joy. They had each other. He was left alone.
“Are you ok, mate?” Ron asked tentatively. Harry nodded. Ron and Hermione exchanged a glance.
“Are you sure, Harry? Because if you’re not alright, I’m sure –” Harry cut her off.
“I’m fine.” He lied forcefully, gritting his teeth as he said it. “I just wanted to be by myself for a little while.” If that didn’t give them the message, he didn’t know what would. Hermione nodded, and pulled Ron from the room. Harry heard them go, and then left the room himself.
He climbed to the very top of the house, up the little staircase that led to the attic. It had almost been transformed into something of a barn loft. Harry had cleaned the place up and made a nice little home for Buckbeak. There was even a skylight which could be opened to let the Hippogriff out, although this was hardly ever used because Buckbeak would have to be disillusioned before he was allowed to fly around London. Still Harry often came up here when he had wanted to get away from the Order and the general hubbub of Head Quarters.
He lay down on the floor beside the resting Hippogriff, staring up through the sky light, and stroking the beautiful creature’s neck. Buckbeak made a noise that sounded almost sympathetic, as it blinked its amber eyes slowly at Harry. Hedwig spent much of her time up here as well, and Harry didn’t mind having to come up here to send letters.
There was a small knock on the trapdoor that led up to the attic, and before Harry could reply, it opened.
“There you are.” It was Ginny. She gave a small smile, and climbed into the room, bowing to Buckbeak, who inclined his head regally, before she sat down next to Harry. Harry sat up, brushing straw out of his hair and staring at her.
“What?” He said. She was looking at him impassively, many expression passing quickly through her blue eyes. Then she looked away.
“Ron and Hermione said you were a little bit down. I didn’t think you should be alone, especially seeing as it’s Christmas, but Ron’s always been tactless, and Hermione’s a bit too absorbed with him at the moment to notice much.” She was fidgeting as she said it, looking at her hands.
“How’d you know I was here?” Harry asked, still staring at the stars.
“Woman’s intuition?” Ginny suggested half jokingly. “Ron and Hermione said you were in your room, but Phineas said you left almost as soon as they did. And then I remembered Sirius always used to come up here when he wanted to get away from Mum, that summer before. . .” She trailed off, and looked up suddenly at Harry.
“I’m sorry. I’m just as tactless as Ron is!” She looked horribly embarrassed. “Um, maybe I’ll go.” She started heading for the trap door. “Oh, and Draco’s here, in case you wanted to see him” She was gone then, and Harry was glad. He didn’t need reminding of what he had not been able to forget.
He had had to watch every one of them die. He had seen every single one of them fall, one by one, at the hands of Voldemort or his death eaters. And now he was left behind to mourn them all, while everyone else forgot and celebrated with those they loved. It wasn’t fare, but that was that. The Daily Prophet would probably report Voldemort’s downfall that morning, and then there would be no more heard about Harry Potter. No one would want to think about the dead, and Harry may as well have died with them.
He got up, his depression and frustration peaking at once, causing him to be restless. He stalked down the stairs, through the house. The party had now moved to one of the drawing rooms off the entrance hall, and Harry crept to the hall unobserved, or so he thought.
“Where are you going?” The cool voice spoke softly from the drawing room opposite.
“Outside.” Harry answered without turning.
“Mind if I join you?” Harry turned then, and looked into the soft grey eyes of Draco Malfoy. He looked calm, slightly sympathetic. Harry remembered his parents had been taken by Voldemort too, but shoved that out of his mind.
“Actually I’d rather be alone.” Harry answered.
“Suit yourself.” Draco answered, and turned back into the dancing crowd. Harry opened the front door, stepped out into the freezing snow, shut it behind him, and sat on the frost covered front steps.
The sky was beginning to lighten before the door opened. The party was still alive inside, but someone seemed to have grown sick of it. Ginny came out and sat beside Harry. She, unlike him, had dressed for the cold, prepared to stay out a long time.
“Draco said you went out here all by yourself without a coat.” She said softly.
“Trust him to point out my stupidity.” Harry muttered bitterly. While he and Draco had formed a truce, he could never trust the blonde entirely.
“He’s not like that any more.” Ginny said softly. “He’s really quite nice.” Harry didn’t answer. He needed to be angry at someone, or something He needed to feel, because at the moment the only emotion he found inside himself was loneliness.
His anger at Draco having abated, Harry cast round for something else to say.
“What are you doing out here anyway?” He said, more sharply than he meant to. “Why aren’t you in where it’s warm, celebrating with the others?” Ginny looked a little hurt at that, but sad too, and pitying. That only annoyed Harry. He didn’t need pity.
“I could ask you the same thing.” She answered. “I’m here because I don’t think anyone should be alone at Christmas, particularly you, and particularly now. Why aren’t you in with the others?”
“I have nothing to celebrate.” Harry said bluntly. “I look around and all I see is loss. So many have died. Everything I ever cared for has been torn away from me and I’m left alone to endure it by myself.” He couldn’t look at her.
“Don’t talk like that!” Harry was surprised at the fierceness of her voice, the harsh way it rasped in her throat. “If you have nothing to celebrate than that means nothing has been achieved. And if nothing has been achieved, all those people, Sirius, Remus, Dumbledore, Cedric, Percy, they all died for nothing!” She shouted the last bit, and Harry saw she was crying. He expected her to run. It was what he felt like doing, but he couldn’t move. He was riveted to the spot by the sight of her tears.
Ginny was the strongest woman he new. He had never seen her cry, not once, since second year, even when times were hardest, but now there was anger as well as grief in her blue eyes, and it was directed at him. And he was crying too. He could feel the tears, and he hated them. His ability to control his emotions completely failed and more tears coursed down him cheeks.
“I’m sorry.” He whispered. “I didn’t mean. . .” He trailed off. She was still glaring at him.
“I know you feel like you’ve lost everything, Harry Potter, but you seem to have forgotten that everyone in there has lost just as much as you. And if you’d only look beyond your nose you’d see that they are more than willing to share your burden. You don’t have to be alone. If everyone you have ever loved has been stolen from you, than I’m sorry. I personally have no idea how that must feel, but the only way it’s going to get any better is if you find someone else to love. You won’t help yourself by sitting alone and wallowing in self pity.” And with that she got up and stormed back inside the house, slamming the door behind her.
Harry sat dumbstruck, tears still falling down his face, dropping to the frosty steps and freezing there, is the weak winter light grew. He was hurt, angry and cold, but what Ginny had said kept coursing through his mind. He could not forget it.
“What’s the use?” He finally muttered. “Even if I did find anything worth loving ever again, it’d only be ripped away from me as well.” But even as he said it, he moved his cold numbed body, and walked back inside his house.
AN: Tell me what you think. This is my first post here.
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