Chapter 1 : Broken Dreams
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Harry Potter was alone.
It had been a year since the war ended, and a year since the Wizarding World began to heal itself, as families leaned on each other for support, as people mourned over the loss of their loved ones. Harry had tried to grieve with them - even though they had defeated Voldemort, they had lost so much in the process. He didn’t feel much of anything at all.
His losses consumed him. His parents, Sirius, Remus, Tonks, Cedric, Dobby, Hedwig, Fred, Dumbledore. The ones that had hit him the hardest stayed with him like a boulder stuck in his heart, unable to break free from where it sat. Sirius had once said that those who love you never really left, but it was hard to believe him when he felt completely and utterly alone.
Harry had to get out of the Weasley house. Once a warm, welcoming place that felt like home, the Burrow had become a shelter of grief. There were so many people to lean on there, and Mrs. Weasley continued to cook and bake and care for them all, acting as if she hadn’t lost her son in the battle because of him. Miraculously, she still considered him a war hero.
They all did. That was his new nickname from The Daily Prophet, but he didn’t feel like a hero at all. He felt like a failure.
Through all of this heartache, it had been worse to be around Ginny. He knew it had been his own damn fault that he’d lost her - he’d pushed her away at Dumbledore’s funeral, thinking it would keep her safe. They may have kissed during the Battle of Hogwarts, but relationships weren’t fixed by a simple kiss at the right time.
Harry wanted to reach out and talk to her, but he was reminded of how he saw her with Seamus in the Room of Requirement when he came back with Ron and Hermione - huddled close together, foreheads pressed against each other, hands linked as though they were each other’s only lifelines. When Neville filled them in a bit on what had happened to his other home while they were away, Harry was glad she’d found someone to lean on.
A year later and she was still with Seamus. Harry hadn’t expected it to be so permanent. It left a bitter taste on his tongue, the need for her to be happy warring with the jealousy that she found the happiness with someone else.
Harry walked down the cobblestone streets of Godric’s Hollow, his grief the only thing to keep him company. If he could feel it, then at least he would know he was still alive. Some days he felt like he was living in a nightmare - the only relief he found was in that his scar didn’t burn. That reminded him that defeating Voldemort hadn’t been a dream. That, at least, had been a reality.
But then, if that was his reality, so was everything else.
The village was sound asleep at this hour. Windows were cloaked in darkness, shop doors closed for the evening, not a soul wandering the streets except for the poor, broken war hero that was the great Harry Potter. If only Rita Skeeter could see the him now. She would have a field day.
Harry had started his journey aimlessly, but it seemed as though his feet knew where to take him, where he needed to go and be able to process everything. The last time he had been here it was his first time, with Hermione by his side - it was amazing how much things had changed in a year. It was amazing to think that she and Ron were already engaged. Now he stood at the foot of his parents’ grave alone, his emptiness crashing to the forefront.
“Hey Mum, Dad,” Harry greeted. His voice sounded strange to him - foreign and hollow. “I’m sorry I didn’t think to bring flowers or anything… I wasn’t exactly planning on being here today. I suppose I just needed a place to clear my head. So much has changed since the war ended, and now I feel like I don’t have a purpose. What’s a Savior to do when there’s no one left to save? Except himself, maybe.”
He laughed bitterly, crouching down and resting his hands on his knees. His voice caught in his throat, and suddenly, the words came spilling out of him, the ones that’d he’d been too afraid or too selfish to speak before.
“Sometimes I wish that I had stayed dead. I’m sure Neville would have been able to figure out a way to kill Voldemort - he killed the bloody snake, after all! I just feel like it would have been easier for everyone. Mrs. Weasley wouldn’t have an extra head to fuss over, and Ron and Hermione wouldn’t have to feel guilty about their engagement while I’m still struggling to accept Ginny’s apparently not new relationship with Seamus.
“All I’ve ever wanted was for her to be happy. And after he woke up from the hospital, and they fought, I thought I really had a chance there. I thought I could save us. But as it turns out, only I could save the world and still not get the girl.”
He wished that this was a time where his parents would appear to him as ghosts. His mother could give him a much needed hug while his father would give him advice on women and life after the war. He had been so focused on winning the battle that he’d never even thought about what was to come after it. Victory had seemed like such a false hope.
Harry stood up, taking in his parents’ grave and trying not to remember the names of all of those who had died for him. He raked a hand through his unruly black hair and hated that he caused all of this devastation. His dreams weren’t the only ones that were broken. But did they have to stay that way?
“I know you wouldn’t want me to give up. So I have to try one more time - even if it’s stupid, if she laughs in my face,” Harry continued after a few moments of silence. He was relieved that his eyes were dry, but the stress was slowly working its way into the back of his neck. A small inch of hope ignited in the bottom of his stomach at the mere thought of seeing her again. “And I’ll come to see you more often. I promise.” He took a deep breath, feeling the weight lessen slightly that was crushing in on his heart. “I love you.”
He took one final look at the grave, then turned on his heel and Apparated on the spot, a single destination in mind.
It was time for him to go home - and win back the girl he loved.
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