Progress Notes: July 09: I'm waiting for a trusted beta of the site to upload the story since I have no idea when submissions are open. My beta ditched me for some reason, so I'm kinda stuck. I'm really sorry and I'll find a beta really soon, promise!
“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” ~ Marcus Aurelius
It’s funny how sometimes, in the darkest moments, one can draw strength from despair, love from hate and lucidity from pain. It’s not simple, of course; it takes years of practice, months of pain, days of anger, minutes of insanity, and one single second where it all begins.
Harry Potter had had all of it. The practice, the pain, the anger, even the insanity, all coming down to one single second, one single green flash. One single life taken.
It wasn’t easy, dealing with it all, but Harry Potter was no longer a child. He didn’t refuse his food, didn’t lock himself up in his room, and didn’t cry himself to sleep. Harry Potter did what many believed he would never do. Or at least die trying to.
As he rolled onto his stomach, breathing deeply and cracking his eyes only the slightest, Harry Potter forgot, for just a few seconds, about it all.
There he was again, at Hogwarts, in his four-poster bed with the red and gold curtains, with Ron snoring right beside him. Everything was normal.
After these few seconds of complete and utter sense of normalcy, Harry shut his eyes again and allowed a tiny, barely noticeable smile crack his lips. He had done it. Voldemort is dead.
He sighed deeply and listened to Ron’s snores. It was a brand new day in a brand new world.
Carefully taking his time, he swung the blankets off himself and slowly got up. He stretched, hearing small pops in his arms and back and took his glasses from the nightstand.
He dressed unhurriedly, making as little noise as possible, and then went down the stairs to the common room. It was blissfully empty. A small, yet noticeable pounding in his head told him people were the last thing he needed right now.
He sat in front of the fire and allowed that tiny smile to appear again. I am alive. Voldemort is dead.
Almost immediately, his stomach growled and he realized he was hungry... very hungry. He had not eaten once since before the battle and hunger was hitting him in full force now.
Harry swung the Fat Lady’s portrait open. Thankfully, she was still asleep, and did not notice him leaving. The last thing he wanted right now was to start a conversation with the portly portrait.
As he strolled down the corridors he had walked in for the last six years, he saw nothing but destruction and dust. The crooked portraits and black burn marks on the walls were a testimony to the battle that transpired here. All of this would have to be reconstructed, along with Ministry, the faith between people, and his life. But for now, all he really wanted to do was eat.
He reached the corridor leading to the kitchens and tickled the pear in the still life that guarded the door. He stepped inside and stared; at least sixty house-elves were snoozing - on chairs, near the stoves, on the tables and even lying on the floor. The few house-elves that were awake noticed him immediately.
“Harry Potter!” “Such an honor!” “Saved the world!” squeaked and shrilled at least half a dozen excited house-elves, waking up the rest of the house-elves.
Embarrassedly, Harry smiled. Not knowing what to say, he mumbled awkwardly “Err…can I have some sandwiches?”
The elves bowed and made room for him at one of the tables. He had just sat down when four elves delivered an enormous tray loaded with sandwiches and a pitcher of pumpkin juice to him. He thanked the elves and began to eat. His hunger was considerable and he didn’t stop eating until he had consumed eight sandwiches. The house-elves just stared at him when he finally reached for his goblet of pumpkin juice, then urged him to continue eating.
After six more sandwiches and a huge slice of treacle tart, Harry discovered he was finally full. He smiled in satisfaction and thanked the elves for a wonderful meal, then left the kitchens.
As he walked the halls, he felt much better. Maybe it was the food, maybe it was the realization that hit him earlier, but Harry could now tell, that for the first time in his life, he felt total and utter relief.
He knew that there was a lot to fix, a lot to repair, but he felt like the weight of the world was just lifted off his shoulders.
As he pondered over his relief and freedom, he did not notice where he was going, and as he lifted his head, he found himself in front of the Headmaster’s office once again.
The gargoyle that had been knocked aside the previous evening, was standing on its feet once again and looked very much asleep.
Harry cleared his throat, making the gargoyle grunt and open one eye. “Yeah, yeah, come in,” he said as soon as he saw Harry.
Harry rode up the spiral stairs to the Headmaster’s office. He did not know why he was there. After all, no one was awake right now to open the door, and he didn’t particularly want to discuss the battle with the headmasters.
Nevertheless, he knocked on the door and was surprised to hear the moving of a chair from inside the room, followed by the clicking of heels and the opening of the door by Professor McGonagall.
She looked tired. Dark circles encircled her eyes and her robes were torn and dirty. She obviously had not rested or changed her clothes since the previous day. She looked older than Harry could ever remember seeing her.
“Come in, Harry,” she said in a tired voice.
“How are you, Professor?” Harry asked concernedly.
A thin smile appeared on her lips. “I’m good, actually, just had a lot of things to organize in here. How did you sleep?”
“Fine,” said Harry.
An awkward silence followed, as neither of them quite knew what to say to the other. Harry turned to look at the snoozing portraits.
“Albus is quite proud of you,” said McGonagall quietly.
Harry turned to look at her and smiled.
“I don’t know what you two worked on before, what was so important that you couldn’t tell me, but obviously it worked,” she said.
“Now that he’s gone, I promise I’ll get around to telling you soon,” said Harry. He really didn’t see the point in not telling her. She had a right to know; after all, she had consented to helping him look for the Ravenclaw Horcrux.
McGonagall nodded and inclined her head towards the door. “I look forward to it, Harry. Now, I’m sure you’re tired, so please go back to Gryffindor Tower and get some more sleep.”
“I think I will,” said Harry. “Thanks, Professor.”
As Harry walked leisurely back to his dormitory, he pondered on Hogwarts’ future. What will become of the houses now? Would the animosity between the houses remain, or fade?
Still thinking about Hogwarts, he climbed into his bed, breathing deeply. Like Hagrid had once said, “What's coming will come, and we'll just have to meet it when it does.”