One-shot. Character study. "Harry hated himself sometimes. But he pushed them away anyway. What choice did he have? They were friends with a dead man."
Author: Shadow Rebirth
Word Count: 1,050
First Written: January 19, 2009
Last Edited: January 27, 2009
Posted: January 19, 2009
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. This work has not been endorsed by J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury Publishing, Scholastic Publishing, Warner Bros., or any of the others holding copyright or license to the Harry Potter books, movies, and products. No connection is implied or should be inferred. Other names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The author receives no financial gain from its production or distribution.
Summary: One-shot. Character study. "Harry hated himself sometimes. But he pushed them away anyway. What choice did he have? They were friends with a dead man."
A/N: I have to admit that I'm not entirely satisfied with this. It's a little to angsty for my tastes, but it's supposed to portray some of Harry's thoughts during his sixth year. Meh, I might go back and change a few parts later on.
...I know that I should be working on SoG. And I am, trust me. But the plot bunnies just won't leave me alone.
Forever is Just a Word
Water always felt like ice to Harry, even when it was scalding hot. It always seemed to freeze his inside, to cause goosebumps to break out of his skin. He dreaded taking showers just for that reason.
(Because sometimes the cold loneliness hurt.)
His friends worried about him, he knew. He was aware of every glance thrown his way. Of every softly whispered conversation behind his back. Of every time Hermione's lips thinned with concern or Ron scowled with helpless annoyance.
But somehow he just couldn't bring himself to care. Their concern seemed muted to him, like background static. Everything seemed that way these days. All the colors seemed dull, all the sounds seemed muffled. He felt as though he'd been cut off from the world.
Sometimes he wondered what was wrong with him.
(And sometimes he tried to pretend that he didn't already know.)
Once or twice Harry tried to act normal, or at least as normal as he'd once been. It didn't work out very well though, so he stopped trying. There didn't seem to be a point to it anymore.
At other times he felt as though the walls were closing in on him even when he was in the Great Hall. He felt so trapped, like he was just a rat in a maze. Maybe at any moment someone would pop out and tell him that it was all a joke, that he wasn't actually fated to die.
But he'd never been normal, so why should things change now?
Fate hated him anyway, he thought, with the way it blocked him at every turn. Sometimes Harry felt like he was bashing his head into a brick wall just trying to get through life. But when others would stop in order to avoid brain damage, Harry just kept on going. His friends told him that such stubbornness was good.
(He wasn't so sure anymore. But then, he wasn't sure of anything these days.)
"Stop pushing us away, Harry."
He wanted to, really he did.
"You're only hurting yourself."
He knew that; Merlin, he felt it—
"What're you so depressed about, mate?"
He wished he could tell them. Sometimes it was right on the tip of his tongue, but just when he was about blurt it out, something always distracted them. And then when Hermione would turn back to him and ask what he wanted, he would only shake his head mutely and turn away.
(And he wondered when something so simple had become so complicated.)
Sometimes Harry would wake up the middle of the night, covered in sweat and gasping for breath. Terror unlike anything he'd ever felt before would grip his heart and he'd find himself unable to stop shaking.
Feat was at it really came down to, he thought.
(Sometimes he felt like an animal, trapped by his own instincts.)
Harry wondered if this was what Sirius had felt like when he'd been in Azkaban: So terrified that death would come sweeping down on him at any moment. But then he decided that it wasn't the same. Sirius had always had that chance of freedom, that glimmer of hope to hang onto.
Harry was chained to death and the key was in Voldemort's hands.
Every now and then Harry wished his nightmares would come back. If nothing else, they distracted him.
(It shamed him to know that he was running from the truth.)
Harry always felt guilty pleasure when ever he allowed his helpless, terrified rage to overtake him.
How could he treat his friends this way—?
Finally, an outlet for his stress—
It was their fault anyway for trying to get him to open up—
He hated himself sometimes. But he pushed them away anyway. What choice did he have?
(They were friends with a dead man.)
He knew that everyone was afraid of death. He knew that death came for everyone. He knew that his fear was justified. He knew that everything had to end somehow, be it now or later.
But that didn't make him fear death any less.
Harry sometimes saw a glimmer of what had tempted Tom Riddle to chase immortality. To live forever, to no longer have to fear death...He couldn't even begin to imagine how much of a weight off his shoulder that would be.
To have forever in his pocket...
But then that very thought terrified him. It terrified him to know that he could understand, perhaps even sympathize with Voldemort.
("We're alike, you and I," the ghost had said. Harry had wanted to fervently deny it, but his mouth wouldn't move.)
If anyone ever asked what his favorite color was, Harry would have to say blue. It was the color of the sky and thus, in his mind, the color of freedom. The sky stretched on forever; it had always been there and always would. It was...
(And just like the sky, peace was always just out of reach.)
Harry loved to fly because of the brief feelings of freedom that he granted him. For those moments he hung between heaven and earth and he was entirely in control of his own fate. His life was in his own hands, his to do with as he wished.
It was addicting, like tasting a forbidden fruit. Then he would laugh at the very thought that he was addicted to freedom; addicted to life.
Harry didn't tell his friends, but sometimes, when things got to be too much, he'd slip outside for a nighttime broom ride. He'd never been happier than when he felt the cool air brushing through his hair like a lover's hand.
(Because it was the closest to forever that he'd ever get.)
Harry did know when he finally accepted the fact that the prophecy was going to kill him. It hadn't been a sudden epiphany or a gradual realization. It just...was.
The acceptance granted Harry a strange sort of peace. His friends had always told him that he had a hero-complex, so why not live up to that label by saving the world? What they did with themselves after that wasn't his problem.
Harry still feared death, but the circumstances no longer bothered him. He didn't know why and he didn't particularly care.
(Because in the end, forever is just a word.)