another chance

Harry stared around dully, not blinking as tears slowly slid down his cheeks, creating tracks in the dirt and dried blood on his cheeks. Unmoving bodies littered the ground, various injuries and spells having taken their life. The stone floor was smeared with blood, and the scent was so strong that Harry could smell it.

He shakily looked at his surroundings, sobs making his breaths hitch as his eyes landed on familiar person after familiar person. Ron and Hermione weren't too far from him. The way that they were laying almost looked peaceful and sadly romantic, with they way that their hands were intertwined. Ginny was laying, slumped over near her mother, both having been hit in the crossfire of a spell after Harry killed Voldemort. He swallowed thickly and turned. He spotted Dean Thomas and Seamus Finnegan together, and Luna near Colin and Neville, and Professor McGonagall and Professor Slughorn and Hagrid. He even spotted Draco, hunched over in the corner with his parents. It reminded him that he still had the boy's wand, that maybe Draco would have survived if Harry hadn't taken it from him. But he had needed a wand, and he was so angry and desperate, so he took it.

Stumbling to his feet, Harry headed over to Draco on impulse. He took the boy's wand and put it in his wand hand where it belonged. He nodded to himself and looked around, eyes sliding over the bodies of Death Eaters and friends alike. He headed back to where he woke up, stepping over Voldemort's body in the process. He sneered at it before plopping down on the ground and resting his head in his hands.

Then, he finally allowed the sobs to overtake him. He trembled and sobbed and gasped as the rising sun slowly filled the Great Hall with light. His mind flew over his life. From getting his first letter, to meeting Hagrid, and then Draco, then the Weasleys, Hermione, Neville, his professors, Snape, and Sirius, and Remus, and Tonks and the rest of the Order, and even Kreacher.

He shook as he thought of Sirius's death, and how it was all his fault, no matter who had told him it wasn't. If only he had built up his Occlumency walls, if only he had spent more time with Sirius. He should have run from the Dursleys and taken refuge in Grimmauld Place. His thoughts then turned to Remus. Remus, who had been so kind to him and had taught him to cast a Patronus, who had told him about his father. Why didn't he seek the man out more after Sirius fell through the veil? The man had been his only family left. Why didn't he talk more with the man?

He wished that he could go back, that he could change everything. That now that he knew things, that he could change what happened, starting from when he first encountered the magical world. He thought about all those witches and wizards who had tipped their hats at him, who had stared at him in awe and excitement. He could have told them that his Muggle family were cruel to him. That they hurt him, that he was often starved or beaten or whipped in punishment for "freaky" things happening that were completely beyond his control.

Perhaps they could have done something, alerted the Ministry or Dumbledore. Harry grumbled at the last bit. Dumbledore probably would have left him with the Dursleys, to be honest. Harry knew that the man meant well, that he meant to protect him, but Harry wasn't sure. The man kept secrets, kept things that he should have known. That he should have been told. He shook his head. No, Dumbledore did what he believed to be best.

"I wish that I can start over," he murmured to himself.

Harry's head jerked up as a melodious cry filled the still and desolate air. His eyes, perfectly trained from spotting Snitch after Snitch, caught the flash of red and gold shimmering in the light. Fawkes soared through the air and Harry's jaw dropped at the sight of the phoenix. Fawkes hadn't been spotted since the day of Dumbledore's funeral when he flew away.

Unconsciously, Harry held an arm out for the bird to perch on. The bird's sharp claws were surprisingly gentle when he landed on his arm, barely pressing against his skin. Harry stared at the bird.

"Fawkes," he rasped. "What are you doing here?"

"When a wish is to be made, I shall grant it."

Harry jerked at the foreign lyrical voice in his mind. His jaw worked but no words came out. Until, finally, "You-You can speak?" Harry asked, voice gravely and breaking from his crying.

"Of course, child. A phoenix may only speak when the time is right." Harry blinked at the vague words. The way Fawkes spoke reminded him too much of the way Firenze had spoken in his first year. And Dumbledore, for that matter. Very cryptic.

"Why are you speaking to me, then?" Harry asked, wiping at his eyes and cheeks as he sniffed.

"You have a wish that I can grant," was all the bird said.

Harry thought for a moment before his eyes widened. "Y-You mean," he started, his voice shaking, "that you can bring me back? Th-That I can start over?" The phoenix trilled an affirmative.

"All you have to do is think of your wish and I shall do the rest," the bird said.

Harry clenched his eyes shut and thought. I wish that I can go to the beginning. That I can start over.

There was a strong pull in his stomach suddenly, feeling much like a Portkey. His senses began to dull and the lights behind his eyes dimmed. "As you wish, Harry Potter," he heard Fawkes say before the darkness overtook him.