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Chapter 1 : Prologue
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Harry woke up to a persistent banging noise. He looked around, rubbing sleep from his eyes struggling to remember where he was. Bang, bang, bang – there it was again more urgent this time and he realised it was coming from the door across the room. With one hand, he reached out, searching for his glasses. Shoving them on, Harry realised he was in Ron’s room as a familiar Chudley Cannons poster came in to view.
‘‘Harry, open the door. We need to talk’’
Hermione and her anxious voice, it wasn’t the first time this had happened in the last week. Everyone had been trying to get him to talk to them, to open up, but he wouldn’t. He couldn’t. How could he look them in the eye after everything that had happened, everything he was responsible for?
Rolling over, Harry buried his face in his pillow and willed for her to go away and leave him alone. It was what he deserved. Memories of the last week flooded back to him; him defeating Voldemort, Fred lying dead, surrounded by the Weasleys. Lupin and Tonks dead, leaving Teddy behind, his godson, who he was meant to protect now. Colin Creevey dead, his camera resting on his chest. Harry couldn’t stop thinking of all the bodies in the Great Hall, all the bodies he could have saved if he had given himself up earlier, and finished it once and for all.
‘’Please, Harry open the door. I know how hard it is for you at the moment. Let me help you - we’re all going through it together’’
Harry heard Hermione again and wished he could tell her to come in; wished that he could talk to her. But he knew he couldn’t. He knew once he started, he wouldn’t be able to stop. Hermione had her own problems to deal with: her parents were still in Australia, and nobody had been able to trace them yet.
Clenching the pillow in his hands, Harry buried his face in the soft fabric, wishing it all away. He was scared—for the first time in his life, it was all too much for him.
‘’Everyone is really worried about you, Harry - especially Ginny. Just let me in!’’ begged Hermione, her voice cracking.
A wave of immediate guilt washed over Harry, taking him by surprise. Breathing became a struggle as he remembered all the things he had said to Ginny that night, straight after the battle. Hot tears filled the corners of his eyes before he could stop them.
‘’Leave me alone Ginny!’’ he shouted, walking away from her and towards the bottom of the Astronomy tower. He furiously brushed a tear from his eye, almost knocking his glasses off his face in the process.
Once he reached the stairs, he took two at a time, pushing himself to go even faster when he felt the familiar pain of a stitch in his side. Reaching the top, he dropped to his knees, covering his face with his hands and focusing on controlling his breathing, which was coming in short, quick gasps. All he could see were the dead bodies in the Great Hall. Bodies he knew. Bodies he didn’t know, but died fighting against Voldemort when he could have saved them all.
He could sense Ginny behind him. She was breathing heavily, as if she had run all the way up the stairs after him. He ignored her, attempting to focus on controlling his emotions. Everyone expected so much from him. He was the one who always had to stay strong and be a leader. Everyone would expect him to act no different now that Voldemort was gone – they probably even expected him to be happy. They would all want interviews from him, and to invite him to join them for dinner…
He couldn’t take it anymore.
A sob shook his ribcage and he banged a fist on the floor in frustration. He couldn’t be with Ginny with him being like this. He didn’t deserve her after everything that he had done. Fred was dead because of him.
‘’No, I want t-’’
‘’Go! I don’t deserve you, Ginny. Just go…Please,’’ he begged, shaking uncontrollably, tears streaming down his face.
‘’I’m staying here and I don’t care if you like it or not,’’ Ginny snapped, voice rising.
‘’NO, YOU ARE NOT!’’ he shouted. He stood, whipping around and shoving her towards the stairs ‘I don’t want you here right now, just leave me. Please.’’
He turned back around, and gave in to the tears. He had lost control; each breath was an agonising struggle. And when he eventually managed to calm himself, he turned to see Ginny gone.
The memory of that night filled him with such intense shame. He didn’t know what to do with himself. He was meant to be strong for everyone else, and the truth was, he couldn’t be anymore. It scared him.
Harry rolled over on to his back, and opened his eyes. He stared blankly at a crack in the ceiling, while listening to Hermione’s calm breathing on the landing outside. She, more than anyone, had tried to help him over the last week, and there was nothing more he wanted to do then get of the bed, walk over to the door, open it and give her a hug to say thanks. Not just for the past week, but for everything. He would probably be dead if it wasn’t for her. With a smirk he failed to hold back, he realised that there was no probably about it. Hermione really was the most intelligent witch of the age, and if he ever got around to speaking in public about what happened to them, he would leave nobody in doubt who really saved the wizarding world.
The rest of the Weasleys had tried for the first few days, but after the constant rejections their visits had stopped. They hoped that he would calm down with some time. Harry loved the Weasleys, and he truly felt like they were his family. To be causing them so much pain - on top of everything else they were going through - made him hate himself even more. But there was something else holding him back that he couldn’t explain.
‘’Harry, I’ll be back with some dinner in a couple of hours. Shout if you need anything, ok?’’
Harry ignored her and rolled back on to his front, putting a pillow over his head, to try and drown out the rest of the world.
Hermione walked down the crooked staircase of the Burrow, trying not to lose heart. She knew Harry wasn’t being like this on purpose. She had to stay strong and be there for him.
She stopped in the middle of the staircase, and looked out of the window at the land surrounding the Burrow. She could see the small pond in the distance where Ron and her had frequently hung out at in the past week. Ron had helped her a lot, especially the day after the battle. She had Ron, maybe not it the way she would like, but he was there and that’s why it was so important to her that Harry knew that he had people helping him as well.
She watched absently as some garden gnomes snuck under the fence, one urging the other on whilst holding a piece of fence up to make it easier for them to get through quicker. A vague smile appeared on Hermione’s face, the first in a few days. That’s why she loved being at the Burrow - there was always something to surprise you.
Leaning forward slightly, she let the cold glass pane of the window press against her hot forehead. Hermione sighed, causing condensation on the window. She thought the end of the war would bring happiness and normality back to their lives, but now she just felt stupid for ever believing in such an idealistic thing. Things were, if possible, worse now that the war was over.
With another sigh, and one last look over the chaotic yard, Hermione made her way back down the stairs. She was going to do her best to make sure the Weasley’s and Harry didn’t fall apart.
Hey guys, this takes place about a week after the battle at Hogwarts, it is only a introduction to the story which is why it is so short. This is my first attempt at writing a novel so I would really love any feedback. A huge thanks to Mahlia for beta-ing this and for being so helpful. I wouldn't have been able to even thing about starting this without her help. Also thanks to Lady Asphodel @TDA for the amazing CI.
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