Harry Potter and Grief's Wisdom
A/N: I have no idea where this is going and I am working on it in between other things so new chapters will be every few weeks or so… you have been warned. This struck me as an odd idea and I haven't seen something of this exact nature play out in this manner before. If there has been then I haven't seen it and thus am not copying it. As for shipping, not a clue at this point. For all I know it could be Harmony, Lunar Harmony, Hinny, something else… not sure. When I know, you'll know.
This is a work of fiction using the characters created by J.K. Rowling. They are not used with her permission. All actions follow the events of book five of the series. Any similarity between any person living or dead is purely coincidental and unintentional. If you happen to find your life reflected in this piece I'll be impressed and perhaps a little scared.
Harry Potter was feeling a number of things at the moment and none of them were pleasant or good. He was royally pissed off at himself and a few others, rather depressed, frustrated, mourning the loss of the only father figure he had ever known, and it all cycled round and round in his head getting no resolution. How could he have been so bloody stupid?! Hermione had told him it was a trap, had made her point clear, but oh no… he knew better than she did. They had flown down to London on Thestrals, something that took hours and he had somehow expected the situation to be exactly like his vision? God how could he have been so stupid? She was always bloody right, every single time and yet he always argued with her. It was all his fault that Sirius had died. He was the one that had failed. He was the one that had dragged him to the Department of Mysteries. He had even gotten his friends hurt over this whole mess and hurt bad. His injuries were inconsequential compared to that. Hermione was the one hurt worst of all and it was all because he had been too stubborn to listen to the one person who had never failed him, not in all his years at Hogwarts. He was a complete fuck up and he knew it.
All he could do was run the images and experiences at the Department of Mysteries over and over in almost painful detail, rubbing his failure in his face, rubbing his friend's injuries in his face, rubbing Sirius's death in his face. How was he supposed to fight Voldemort when he had no bloody clue what the hell he was doing? Sure they had been lucky but was that really good enough? In five years at Hogwarts he'd only had two decent teachers of Defense and one had been a Death Eater who had placed them under the Imperious curse as a teaching experience. The whole mess was ridiculous. How the hell was he supposed to do this? If he was the bloody Chosen One from what Dumbledore had told him, then how in Merlin's Name was he supposed to kill Voldemort if he had this sad excuse for training? From the way it was going so far it seemed like his best bet would be to simply walk up to Voldemort and let himself be killed. That at least might be something he was competent with.
His lack of understanding about what to do in combat basically condemned everyone around him. Sure he knew some of the spells and stuff but how to fight, how to really fight, and more to the point, how to fight a war… he wasn't stupid or arrogant enough to think that he did. At this point he had to admit that he had rather impressive personal defense skills but that was about it. God, if he kept this up he was going to get everybody killed. Dying might be the best he could do for the others.
The room felt tight, like it was closing in on him. He felt constrained, trapped in a shrinking cage. He paced back and forth, hands twitching, wanting something to do but there was nothing. Air. He needed air. Heading downstairs, he ignored the Dursleys. He would no doubt be asked to cook dinner for them but for right now he really couldn't stand being in there, in that house, around those people. Once out the door he broke into a run, losing himself in the feel of his body moving, letting his feet carry him where they will. This wasn't the first time he had run through the neighborhood nor the hundredth. With Dudley and his friends chasing him all the time he had really crossed a lot Little Whinging time and again and he knew this neighborhood better than he knew Hogwarts. His lungs started burning and his legs ached and as he slowed and nearly stumbled to a stop he paid attention to where he was, standing hunched over, gulping air in front of one of his few refuges, the library.
Panting, he ran a hand through his hair, feeling the slick wetness of sweat hold his hair back some. Might as well go in, he thought. It wasn't like he had any better ideas. Besides, having some water sounded good right now. He wasn't as big a reader as Hermione was but he had read a great deal growing up, both fiction and nonfiction. Walking through the door he breathed in that smell which only collections of books had and sighed. The quiet was nice, giving him a slight sense of peace, as was the fact that here wasn't at number 4. That was a good thing. He began moving aimlessly through the stacks, his eyes trailing over the titles on both sides, not really reading them but mostly taking them in. It was peaceful and helped calm him some. This library did that so much more than the one at school. He just let his gaze drift over the titles until his eyes caught on something that made him stop, SAS.
Harry turned and faced the bookcase, looking at the shelf, eyes narrowing a little in focus. There was a whole section of books on the military here, specifically the Special Air Services, the American Special Forces, SEALS and the like. He remembered browsing through this section when he was younger with dreams of leaving the Dursley's and joining the Army. He just stood there and stared at the titles wondering why they had caught his attention, his mind running over things over and over, taking in the newer titles he didn't remember from before. Thinking back to his earlier thoughts back in his room, he realized that this might actually be a good idea. Here was information on the subject of war, mostly focused on small units of highly trained people fighting smarter not harder. He grabbed several of them, especially a few of the newer titles and headed towards one of the reading tables. He might as well see if it gave him any ideas that could help him get better and maybe, just maybe fail less. Sure spells were vastly different than guns but skill in warfare and the tactics of warfare might just translate. He might know enough about the wizarding world to see if it would.
Reading the motto of the SAS made him chuckle, "Qui audet adipiscitur" or "Who dares wins". That was practically the unofficial motto of Gryffindor house and given his approach to dealing with issues, it surely was his own approach to life. That was certainly a motto and a point of view that he could get behind. The motto for the US special forces was "De oppresso liber" or "To liberate the oppressed" or at least that was what they said it meant. Certainly the SAS one fit and the SF one made sense as well with how he saw things. In a way that made him sad as he realized that his life really wasn't like most kids' lives.
The reading was interesting, covering the training, tactics, and tools of the SAS. Some of the things he saw in there gave him a few ideas he could use to make his DADA training more effective, especially based on the real experiences of actual combat he had. The fight in the graveyard and in the Department of Mysteries ad certainly made an indelible impression on him and taught him a great deal. This gave him ideas that he could hive off of in order to get even better and more effective. There actually might be some value in this. He started when he heard someone go, "Hem hem."
Turning, wishing his heart would slow down; there was no way the evil toad could be here. He spotted the librarian looking at him. "Yes?"
"We're closing up." The woman was polite about it which was another clue that this wasn't Umbridge.
"Uh… yeah right… can I get these?" asked Harry, gesturing to the pile of books he had been looking through.
The librarian just gave him this look that he had seen numerous times on Hermione's face, a look that spoke of annoyance, before she rolled her eyes and headed back towards her desk, waving him on.
Harry felt like a bit of an idiot. He was in a library, of course he could check out books. More than anything that showed how poorly he was thinking. While his library card was old and hadn't been used since he had started Hogwarts, it was still good. At least he thought it was still good. He smiled at the woman and hefted his stack of books onto the counter. Maybe, just maybe this would get him somewhere. What he needed to do was fight a whole lot smarter than he had been and maybe these books could help him figure out how exactly how to do that. It was certainly more than he was getting from anywhere else.
When he walked into the house, clutching the stack of books in his arms, Vernon started right in, growling out, "Boy, where have you been?!"
Harry frowned and felt his anger rise. It was right at the surface these days and he seemed ready to explode over the least little thing. He really did not need this right now. He swallowed his first retort and exhaled, trying to calm some before answering, "I was at the library."
Vernon was clearly grappling for something freakish there to chide him about but failed miserably. There was clearly nothing abnormal about going to the library to get books. It was a perfectly normal thing that perfectly normal people did. He had to content himself with, "Well, dinner is late. Get to work."
Groaning in annoyance, Harry set his stack of books down on the stairs and headed into the kitchen. If he got to work right then maybe he might be able to head up to his room and ignore the Dursley's for the rest of the night. That was more common now that he was older. He got out the ingredients and got to work, dicing vegetables and bits of meat for the dish Aunt Petunia had told him to make earlier quite swiftly thanks to his years of practice. He paused, his knife partway through a cut of beef when a thought occurred to him… why didn't he have a knife? He was good with them and they were handy so why didn't he have one? Was there some reason that he didn't have this most obvious of tools?
He continued with his cooking as he thought. Knives could be thrown, could be used up close, could be used for a number of different things, so why didn't he have one, or more than one? Maybe he should get some. If he picked up some throwing knives he could practice in the Room of Requirement since he was sure that it would give him the targets he would need. That might be a nice surprise the next time he had to face a Death Eater. It would certainly not be something they would be expecting from him. This made him feel a little better. He was trying to do better, plan ahead.
Once the food was served and he got his portion he headed upstairs. Amazingly the Dursley's didn't complain one bit, which made him feel better about the evening. There would be dishes afterwards, but that could be done after they had finished eating as he had all the pans he had used already cleaned. He balanced his plate on his books and went to his room. Hedwig opened an eye and looked at him curiously as he walked in. With a smile at her he said, "Evening girl."
She gave him a soft hoot and closed her eyes again.
He ate quietly, handing Hedwig little bites of the meat. His thoughts drifted back to the Department of Mysteries and his stomach churned a little. His breathing caught some and he set his plate aside. With some deep breaths he tried to get his emotions under control as they had surged back up. He just kept having images of Sirius, of Hermione; of Neville… he sighed and bowed his head. Losing Sirius because he had been a fool was not easy to deal with. But then again his godfather had been joking around, almost playing with Bellatrix when they were fighting. But then again Sirius wouldn't have been there without him, he would have been safe at Grimmauld Place. Reaching for his glass of water he swallowed down his guilt and promised himself he would do better, for Sirius, for his friends, for himself.
So what should he do to get better? What were the odds that they would have a decent DADA teacher this year, one who might actually know something about the subject and how to teach it? Maybe it would be safer if he tried to figure out what he could do on his own and see what happened from there. Well he had these books so he should read and see if there were any ideas in them? One that came to mind right away was exercising. That running battle in the Ministry had been exhausting and being tired had made them all make mistakes in spell choice and what they did. If he had been in better shape, if they had all been in better shape they just might have done better. Of course, a better understanding of tactics would have helped as well. They had a few things in mind but by and large they had gone in blind and flown by the seat of Harry's pants. The only one who made it out with minimal damage had been Luna and he had no idea how that had happened. It had to have been pure luck. No, training would certainly be high on his list of things to fix.
This of course meant he had to eat, because quite fundamentally, without food he would never build any muscle or anything. He choked down the rest of his meal with some effort even though it held no appeal. His stomach flopped a few times but he managed to keep his food down with some effort. It was a start. Once he set his plate aside again he lay back on his bed and started to read, interested in what the knowledge of the best soldiers could do for him. Honestly, what was the worst that could happen with this? That he got a bit of a clue and became less of a danger for his friends to be around?