Chapter 1 : Tomorrow
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Harry tossed around in his bed, the enormity of what had happened slowly sinking in. He had defeated Voldemort. The war was over. Fred, Tonks, Remus and so many others had died fighting on his side. Now it was done. After almost seven years of being afraid of Voldemort, of chasing and being chased, it was over.
In the darkness, the canopy loomed above him, a black square in the sky. He stared at it with open eyes and listened to the silence. Complete and utter silence, not even Ron's snoring could be heard.
"I can’t sleep," Harry whispered, knowing that Ron would hear him. How anyone in their dorm could sleep tonight, Harry didn’t know.
He climbed out of his bed, hearing the rustle of bedcovers next to him, followed by soft footsteps. Together and without speaking a word, Harry and Ron walked downstairs into the common room.
His plan had been to go outside and sit by Dumbledore’s grave where they had left the Elder Wand earlier that day, in the hopes that being as close to the former headmaster as he could would help banishing the images that flashed through his brain.
Fred, his eyes staring at the ceiling, devoid of life. Snape, the memories and the Forbidden Forest. The realisation that he was going to die – the realisation that he had died. Maybe they could find some peace out there.
But when Harry and Ron got to the common room, they weren’t the only ones still up.
Hermione was sitting on the floor by the fireplace, staring into the glowing embers. She had her knees pulled up to her chest and only a small nod of her head acknowledged the two boys as they sat down next to her.
Harry placed his chin on his knees. For a moment, they sat in silence.
"What are we going to do now?" he finally asked.
A couple of minutes passed in which neither of them spoke.
"Take our NEWTs," Hermione answered with a sigh. "Get a job. Work and live happily ever after."
It sounded so strange, so wrong. Like a fairytale ending, one that only existed in books. So normal.
"Seven years," Harry whispered, his voice growing louder as he spoke. "Seven years of fighting Voldemort. And now… I can’t even remember the last time I didn’t think about him.”
Of course, there had been moments, Harry knew. But all the time, Voldemort had been a threat looming over him. He couldn’t even remember when he had decided to fight against the Dark Lord, the desire of beating him was so large that it seemed as if he had been born with it.
And maybe he had, maybe he had taken that decision seventeen years ago when his parents had died.
“Life will go on,” Hermione said but her words sounded empty as if she didn’t really believe what she was saying.
Ron rocked forward and backward and in the shine of the fire, Harry thought he saw tears glistening in his eyes. "Not for everybody." His voice was so quiet that Harry was not sure if he hadn't imagined it.
Hermione slid closer to the red-haired boy and put an arm around his shoulder. In a half-hug, she pulled him towards her and Harry felt something tug at his insides.
“I died today.” The words felt strange on his tongue, so foreign, as if he wasn’t talking about himself but about someone else, one of the many casualties. The moment he had pronounced them, he felt stupid. At least, he had come back – unlike the others.
Yet, he continued to speak. “It was a beautiful place, King’s Cross. If I had gone on, gotten on that train, I… I think I would have been happy.”
It wasn’t much solace, he knew, but it was all he had to offer for the moment, all he could keep telling himself when the images started suffocating him.
Ages seemed to pass while the friends sat in silence. It was Hermione who suddenly removed her arm from around Ron’s shoulder and stood up. Only now did Harry see that she was carrying her bag.
Ron looked up at her with red-rimmed eyes. “I know that place in Wales…”
Harry nodded. No more words needed to be said as they left the castle hand in hand.
Tomorrow morning they'd wake up and Voldemort would be gone. Tomorrow, they'd start rebuilding the castle. Tomorrow, they'd sleep in their beds at Hogwarts.
But today, they needed to get out of here. One last night in their tent, in the forest, just the three of them, like it had been for what felt forever to Harry.
One night, before tomorrow would start.
Author's Note: This was a spontaneous idea that popped into my head one evening. How must Harry have felt directly after the battle was over? He had lived with the only goal in life of defeating Lord Voldemort - and now it was all done.
What do you think about it? Is it realistic? Was everybody in character? What about the descriptions? That's one of my weakest points when I write. Was there too little, too much or was it just right? I'd love to hear what you think. Thank you for reading!