Disclaimer: I own zilch. Zero. Zippety-do-dah.

Summary: I hate writing long summaries, so you're being warned here- mentions of self-harm, depressive themes. Also might get a little violent in later chapters.

Archive: Sure, knock yourself out. Give me lots of credit, though.


It was when Harry realised life became a grind he began to smile.

At lease he'd isolated the cause of his problem. The problem of his eyes no longer sparkling with interest. The problem of his taking insults far too literally. The problem of his lack of enthusiasm for anything. Quidditch didn't count there; he now regarded the sport as ferocious competition, designed only to prove to himself that what he strived for whilst playing was not that important at all, when compared to the general scope of things. What did a single Quidditch victory, or even many Quidditch victories, mean to Voldemort (Never. Never. Never was Harry going to call him ('Lord'.)? How did the capture of a small, winged ball matter in the great dance of life?

Still, he played. He practised every night. He found that, if he was tired, the nightmares weren't as long lasting; Sirius didn't have to die every night, and neither did Cedric. Quidditch was a repreive from everyday thought, where he didn't have to concentrate on anything other than the Chasers, the Bludgers and the Golden Snitch. He would play for a dreamless sleep, void of thought or even consciousness. That was the reprieve he hoped for.

He had, long ago, considered cutting himself, but hadn't even started, for several reasons: first of all, the evidence was not well hidden; second, he had no energy. The thought of causing him more energy loss was not appealing. And thirdly, because he thought he owed more than that to his parents. His friends. His godfa-

That was when he began to tread the dangerous road to depression, and swiftly busied himself with some form of homework or study.

It was when Harry realised life became a grind he began to smile.

Everyday, the timetable never varied; lessons, homework and Snape. Lessons he could cope with; it was his sixth year, after all, and he was finding it easier to absorb facts. Homework wasn't too bad as he no longer relied upon Hermione for every answer, and it was only in these times when his outer shell would crack, and a ray of his personality slipped through. He would crack a joke, laugh uproariously at a gag from Ron or groan in sympathy when Hermione was beaten by Ron in chess. For her brains, that happened a surprising amount.

Snape. Ah, there was a challenge, something that demanded his defences be up constantly and his skin thicker than a rhino's. It also required his wit, brain and intellect to be at a speed that would have given lightning a nasty shock, and sharper that Buckbeak's would-be executioner's axe. Snape; ah, yes. His hatred for Harry had, if possible, intensified over the summer. He had taken points from Harry for deliberately breathing too loudly and disturbing the class (Harry was just recovering from a nasty bout of 'flu), for his thickening concoction to be red as opposed to maroon (whereas Goyle's was spitting sparks, Neville's had the consistency of air and Malfoy's was on the point of explosion) and one time when Harry walked in and sat down, Snape promptly took ten points. Without explanation.

Snape seemed determined to give Harry as hard a time as possible. Harry suspected it was because of last year's fiasco with the pensieve but to be frank, Harry couldn't give a shit any more.

It was when Harry realised life became a grind he began to smile.

There was no variation to his life, and he supposed that was the root of his... boredom of existence. People expected him to have strong opinions against Death Eaters, whereas Harry regarded them as people who'd chosen a different walk of life - except perhaps Bellatrix. They expected him to hate Snape, but he didn't have the strength to despise Snape for hating him anymore. Although sometimes... when the rage became too much to bear... he felt as though he could scream at Snape, demand answers, demand a reason to why he tomented him so much.

Idealism became his cue to exist. They expected so much of him; people approaching him for autographs which he refused to give, wanting painful accounts of the graveyard or the Department of Mysteries. Fame was something many desired, and something Harry shied away from. More than once he considered suicide, but the prophesy always floated to mind and he knew that he couldn't leave the wizarding and/or muggle world unguarded. He could have coped more if it wasn't Snape trying (and succeeding, to a point) to slam him to the ground. How was he supposed to fly with his wings broken?

Harry felt so isolated, so insular. His consciousness was something no-one could get into. The only exception was sometimes, in the evening, when his mind drifted from his homework and he found himself laughing at something one of his two best friends said. That was when he could forget he was meant to save the world, that was when he could be an ordinary teenager again, when he could talk about romances, teachers, lessons and other people. These were the times when he drew from his shell and temporarily left Cedric Diggory, Sirius Black, Bellatrix Lestrange and Tom Riddle behind.

He was sure Ron and Hermione had noticed by now. Surely they recognised the empty glint in his eyes? Surely they couldn't fail to recognise the times he came out from his inner shell, and compared the to the rest of the days?

He was grateful they did nothing about it. He supposed he was using the time he had to let his mind adjust to a world with too few people he liked (a depleting score) and too many he didn't. Unfortunately, this was taking a long time, but Harry just wanted to exist for the time being. He could live later, he could let his emotions and hormones run rampant at some other point in the future. For now, he just wanted to clear his life of obstacles.

It was when Harry realised life became a grind he began to smile.

He smiled, and that was the eerie thing; he smiled because he had taken what life had thrown at him and survived, at least physically. Sure, his mind was in tatters, but he was still here. He smiled because the worst had already happened. He smiled because it infuriated people who tried to put him down. He smiled because he knew there was a horizon out there he had yet to spy. He smiled because he knew that his life wasn't over. And he smiled because he had nothing else to do. If he didn't smile he would probably collapse instead. And he knew he had to white and brave, strong and smiling, until he smote Voldemort a mighty blow and his arch-nemesis crumbled into dust, or vice versa. Then he knew he would gratefully sink onto the ground and quietly go to sleep, either way. Death or rest he waited patiently for the day, but he did look forward to it.

The day when he could rest, and let others take the brunt of the fear that had swamped the nations.

The day he could rest.

It was when Harry realised life became a grind he began to smile.