Chapter 1 : Farewell
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And, obviously, I'm neither JKR or Billy Boyd/Howard Shore, so I can't claim anything you recognize.
Also, if I've done this right, you might need some tissues.
Hogwarts castle was quiet.
It stood cold, almost menacingly over the little group that was huddled in one of its gardens.
The trees were bare, the ground frozen, and all signs of life were gone. Yet, looking around, one could tell that, come summer, the little garden would be bursting with life.
The sun was setting quickly, casting long shadows across the grounds from the newly reconstructed towers and replanted trees that had been painstakingly put together in the last eight months.
The ground was frozen, with a nip in the air that chilled to the bones.
Harry stood still, staring at the scene in front of him. His breath was visible in the frosty December air, and he dug his hands further into his pockets in order to keep warm.
He spotted a snowflake as it gently floated down and landed on the gravestone in front of him. Another fell, this time landing on his glove. Upon landing it disappeared, melting into the fabric, only to quickly be replaced by another. Soon, the entire memorial was being coated in a fine layer of snow.
Harry had come to say goodbye. Once and for all.
He looked at the darkening sky, knowing that his time was coming to a close. He’d come for closure, for some way to rid himself of the pain, the sorrow, the loss, and the guilt. He wanted to move on, to continue on with his life. He wanted to put this story behind him.
The world needed him to put this behind him.
He glanced around at the place he once called home. Harry’s eyes traced the outlines of the familiar portions of the ancient building, remembering its majesty when he’d first arrived, sailing across the Black Lake in those tiny boats. At once he’d known that he’d finally found a home. He’d finally found somewhere he belonged.
Harry desperately wanted to still cherish the one place that he’d ever felt safe and secure and whole, but now… now he only felt empty. He’d left, in search of the unthinkable, the unbelievable.
He’d hunted for Horcruxes, mastered the Hallows. He’d dragged his two best friends through hell and back on a seemingly endless journey through the never-ending countrysides. They had been on the run, constantly in fear, and never quite sure whether they would live another day or be slaughtered by an unspeakable evil.
Finally, he’d returned home, close to success, close to safety, and sure of victory, only to find more war and destruction.
What home did he have now? Where could he feel safe again?
The Burrow was a home, but he’d never felt the same level of safety and security that the castle provided during his first introductions into the world of magic.
Harry didn’t have answers. He didn’t know what was next, he only knew what had passed. Peace had been achieved, but at such a cost. A cost that Harry wasn’t yet ready to accept. A cost he hadn’t been willing to pay.
The cost being people he wasn’t ready to say goodbye to.
Many places I have been,
Many sorrows I have seen
Harry knew he couldn’t have finished this war without those he lost, and he knew that wishing it differently wouldn’t change anything or do himself any good.
So he decided that he’d remember them. All of them. His eyes scanned the list of names of the deceased, and he thought of each one he knew.
Albus Dumbledore, and his twinkling blue eyes that made Harry feel like he could see right through him. Dumbledore seemed to know everything, never short of some piece of wisdom that Harry most desperately needed next.
Colin Creevey, a boy, desperate to prove himself a man, so he could fight alongside those he knew were fighting for a just cause. A boy with courage beyond many others.
Dobby, a house elf whose loyalties were stronger than any others’ had been before. A creature who freely chose to dedicate his entire existence to aiding Harry in any way possible, only to die for that cause he so desperately believed in.
Fred Weasley. This name struck a harder blow than any of the previous ones. Fred, his brother, though not by blood but by loyalties. Once a boy, then a man, who never ceased to look for laughter and joy, even in the darkest of times. Fred, whose cheeky grin belonged next to his twin’s, not in a cold grave, with his name carved into stone.
Hedwig, his introduction into the wizarding world. She had been his comfort and fragile connection to the world he belonged in during those torturous summers with his aunt and uncle.
Remus and Nymphadora Lupin. Remus had been Harry’s first real connection to his father, and a mentor to guide him through the difficulties of one of his earliest years at Hogwarts. Tonks, the lighthearted and youthful auror who taught Harry that being an Auror didn’t have to be dreadfully serious all of the time. A woman who didn’t care where love came from or who it was for, and a woman who fought for herself and for those she loved because she knew what mattered most. Most importantly, a couple who trusted Harry with the care of their son, an honor Harry feared he’d never live up to.
Sirius Black, the man that Harry knew for only two years before being ripped away in battle. The man that Harry looked up to beyond all others, who was the closest thing to a father Harry would ever know.
Severus Snape. Harry’s enemy from his first day at Hogwarts, until the truth was uncovered. He was a man who had sacrificed everything, his entire life, to the protection of the only thing that remained of the woman he loved. Harry. A form of bravery Harry still could not understand.
James and Lily Potter.
A tear finally ran down Harry’s cheek when he reached their names. His parents, who gave their lives in order to protect the most precious thing they had ever known. His parents, who he didn’t remember, but knew for sure that they had loved him more than he could fathom.
How desperately he wished he could have them all back! How could he move on, how could he ever let himself forget them? Even for just a moment?
Guilt dragged him down to his knees, his forehead pressed against the cold stone as he struggled to breathe despite the growing storm.
To these memories I will hold,
With your blessing I will go
“I’m so sorry.” He whispered, the words lost in the wind as soon as they escaped his lips. “I wish, I wish you were all here. I wish that you didn’t have to die for me. I wish that I didn’t have to live, knowing that you could all be here with me if things were different. I wish I could change it all.”
Harry took shuddering breaths, gripping onto the statue tightly, eyes closed as he whispered desperately, as if he wished hard enough it would all change.
“I know that you all would want me to move on, to live my life, to get a happily ever after. But that’s not going to happen, because my happily ever after would have all of you in it.” Harry sighed, finally opening his eyes and standing up.
“I came here to say goodbye, to try and let you all go at once. To leave you all behind and move on down the next road I’m supposed to take. But I can’t do that. I can’t say goodbye. Not now, and probably not ever, and I’m so sorry for that. I’m not ready to forgive myself.” Harry said sadly, running his fingers along the grooves carefully carved into the Phoenix statue.
With one last deep breath, he turned around and walked back to Ginny, Ron and Hermione, who all stood on the opposite side of the garden to give him some privacy.
He slipped his hand into Ginny’s when he reached them, allowing her comforting presence to ground him again, and bring him back to the real world. She was here, and they weren’t.
“So,” She whispered, covering his hand with both of hers, attempting to warm him. “Did you say goodbye?”
Harry smiled sadly. “No. I couldn’t. I don’t think I ever will be able to. I don’t think I want to either.” He didn’t want to forgive himself, not now, not ever.
I'm not particularly good at writing angsty stuff, so hopefully this did the job! And an extra thanks goes to 1917farmgirl who did me the honor of editing this! Thank you!
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