Harry goes to college but is depressed...
NOTE: The college that Harry goes to is based on my own.
"What's the point of living if you can't feel alive?" -Elektra King, The/ World Is Not Enough/
Chapter 5: The Silent Student
The rest of Harry's summer passed with looking for colleges. Not really knowing what he wanted to do for a living, he just looked into the liberal arts colleges. It also didn't matter to Harry where in the country (or in the entire world, for that matter) he would go to college; really never having had a home, he couldn't be homesick.
As Harry was thinking about his future, another revelation came to him: The reason he didn't want to be one of those wealthy people constantly lounging around in a nice home with really nothing to do was because then he'd spend too much, if not all, of his time constantly dwelling on what had happened to him.
Harry found some solace in his new lifestyle, with teaching, training, and taking care of himself.
And yet all the while, he felt so very empty.
Months passed and seasons changed as Harry holed himself away in his apartment to study. Despite how happy he felt he should have been, now that he was out on his own, he couldn't help but feel strangely sad and empty the whole time.
He was free, on his own, and capable of doing (if not actually doing) whatever he wanted. So why couldn't he be happy?
In retrospect, he miserably thought, at least when he was being manipulated and controlled, by both his superiors and his destinies, at least he had some sense of direction. Now he was just lost at sea, adrift.
There would be nights where Harry would just lay in bed, facing his window, and gazing out the window at the stars, non-stop about his parents and godfather...
However, there was one exception to Harry's life of monotony, which struck him on one frigid mid-January morning without any warning whatsoever.
He was walking down the street when a sharp pain suddenly seared through his chest. He was so used to pain in his forehead from his scar that this seemed to hurt him even more. His heart felt as though it were on fire... he gasped and groaned in pain as he clutched at his chest, staggering to the ground.
Harry tried to breathe, but it felt like a spreading brushfire in his chest... all the pain was clouding his vision...he heard scared voices all around him, but he couldn't make them out... he tried to regain control of himself...
And finally, he blacked out completely, landed face-first in the shallow snow on the sidewalk, and knew no more.
A few days later, Harry finally left the hospital, after finally being discharged by some rather confused doctors. They couldn't seem to find the source of whatever caused his mysterious "heart attack," and he looked healthy enough to satisfy them, so when all was said and done, they finally allowed him to leave. At least they weren't the Madam Pomfrey-type, thank God for that.
As the months continued to pass, Harry felt himself sinking into depression more and more. He was doing the honorable thing by living, he knew that (it was basically fulfilling his parents' last wishes), but he felt like he was living just for the sake of living. Was there even any point to it? Practically all he did these days was eat, sleep, study and exercise.
Harry also sometimes wondered what he did in a past life to even deserve all of this.
As spring passed, Harry finally settled on a college to go to. It was a small liberal arts private university on the coastline, where one could get a major in business, marine biology, law, art, or arts & sciences. Harry easily paid for his education out of his inheritance, which he definitely considered something worth spending it on.
As he still had no idea what to do with his life, Harry just left his major as "Undeclared."
Meanwhile, on his eighteenth birthday, Harry had a small celebration for himself by spending a few days in New York City and seeing all the sites. He topped it all off with getting his driver's license and looking at cars.
He went through the summer Orientation, but kept out of all the "getting-to-know-each-other" exercises unless called upon. Some people tried to talk to him and have him open up, but he just tried to shrug it off as best as he could without appearing to be too stubborn or arrogant.
The rest of the summer was spent choosing courses for college and getting the supplies he needed for his new room at college (he managed to get himself a single).
Harry also cheated on the magic a little by expanding the interior of his trunk to hold enough things, but not make people too suspicious as to how he could suddenly carry all his possessions in a single normal-sized trunk.
As for the transportation, the freshman weren't allowed to have cars on campus. But then again, they couldn't transform into /griffins/, either...
In order to continue with his guise of being a normal college student, Harry planned sojourn to the university by hiring a taxi, then going from there. Maybe some nights he would fly back and forth between his apartment and the college as a griffin, but he would have to see what happened with that.
In the days before classes started, he went over reviewing the topics for the courses he would take: Math in the real world, Literature & Philosophy, Speech, Expository Writing, and Latin.
For some reason, Latin just appealed to Harry, and not just with how he seemed to have a knack for it because of how he used it for magic. His trip to Rome also seemed to spark his interest with this language which was classified as dead, but was most definitely alive in art, music, literature, religion, science, philosophy and law. He didn't know he had the language skills for this kind of thing, but he was a little glad to have found something non-magical which he was good at nonetheless.
Classes began, and for the first week or so, Harry went through a gamut of different emotions: He was a college student now, in the learning institution that acted as a buffer between childhood and adulthood; he still felt so insecure on the inside; he was happy he was away from those he once considered friends; he was still too upset and hurt over that to try and make new friends; and at other times, he just still felt so lost even while going in the right direction.
Harry hardly ever talked unless he had to ('class participation,' he thought somewhat miserably), but he acted the part of the studious young man which was the kind of student lots of professors wanted. He never caused any problems and seemed to get through his classes fine, but outside of classes was the biggest and strangest problem he had.
The only mail he got from the mail room were just invitations to events and such. Harry would merely peruse through them before disposing of them and leaving.
Like at Hogwarts, he was pointed at and whispered about by some people, the strangest irony of all was that here, we was being talked about people didn't know who he was, whereas at Hogwarts, he was constantly recognized as the bloody Boy Who Lived.
Of course, Harry knew this had something to do with the image he was creating for himself. He was a teenager who moved over from Great Britain relatively recently (which was obvious in his accent); he had those black glasses, untidy black hair and dazzling green eyes; he hardly ever talked, and never about himself; and he was always polite and never caused any problems.
Naturally, a lot of girls seemed attracted to him.
Harry ignored it all, though; he wouldn't allow himself to be betrayed like he was at Hogwarts.
He showed quite some proficiency at Latin, and slowly began to contribute more. However, one day, one student after classed referred to him as discipulum tacitum - the silent student.
For some strange reason, that just appealed to Harry. To be silent, unrecognized, left alone...
Yes, normality and anonymity suited him just /perfectly/.
A few months passed, and the weather got colder, and everyone went home for Thanksgiving.
Having really nowhere to go, Harry simply returned to his apartment and just lounged around, reading books he rented from the college library, intentionally immersing and losing himself in their pages...
As snow began to fall from gray cloudy skies, final exams loomed ahead with the promises of Christmas break afterwards. People began to chat eagerly to each other about what they would like to do, what they were going to get and receive from their families, where they would be going...
It just made Harry want to wish the earth would swallow him whole sometimes.
The night before he left the college for vacation, Harry just couldn't take it anymore. He put Silencing Charms on his entire room, flopped onto his bed, and just sobbed his guts out, hating everything and anything that was wrong in his life.
He knew he couldn't hide from the truth any longer.
No matter how much one pretends, no matter how much one wishfully thinks, and no matter how much one desires for what he or she can never have, it doesn't change a single thing in one's current reality.
(End of Chapter 5.)
A/N: This chapter was a compressed overview of what would have been his seventh year, had he gone back to Hogwarts, plus starting at college.
Also, I sincerely hope I'm not letting anyone down with this stuff so far. I'm getting to the point of the story, but I needed to write these first chapters to set the stage for that.
Next chapter is where Harry's life takes a much-needed upturn... And we finally get on to the meat of the story... -Quillian