Alone at Christmas

Author's Note: This is going to be short, three chapters, none of them particularly long. I just wanted to say now that this is quite possibly the last story I will be posting on I'm (hopefully) moving to provided they accept my application. As it is devoted to certain relationships, should I write a story which is not necessarily devoted to a relationship, as I am wont to do, it will most likely be posted here. More info next week, in my next post.

Harry turned up the collar of his cloak as the biting wind brushed past him, giving him a nice slap in the face as it passed. There were few people in Diagon Alley, especially it being so close to Christmas, but it was late, and there was a blizzard on its way. The snow had already begun, and Harry knew that Hermione would probably yell at him for having gone out in this weather with just his cloak, but he couldn't bear the idea of going home. No, he couldn't bear the idea of going back to his flat. Home seemed like an alien concept to him now. His flat certainly wasn't home. Not anymore.

He considered it home for a time, but Cassandra had long since left him. He had thought she was happy. He certainly had been. But apparently there was something missing, because she seemed to be much happier with…what was his name? Jonathan or John or something like that.

He had been absolutely crushed when she left him. He didn't get out of bed for days, and didn't leave his flat for weeks. Ron and Hermione had been there for him every day, and it helped a bit. Hermione had a talk with their boss, the head Auror, and got him to let Harry off on leave for awhile, and even managed to get a bit of leave for herself as well so she could be there for him. Ron was unable to get time off, but in the end it was just as well. He had had some relationship problems, but he hadn't been so unceremoniously dumped by a girlfriend of three years. He didn't understand, and what's more, he knew it. He was there to offer his support, and he knew that Harry was hurting, but he hadn't had the pain. What's more, he knew it. Harry was grateful for his presence, but he didn't quite know what to say, and conversations with him (such as they were, for Harry didn't feel much like talking) always ended in awkward silences. Harry would say something about Cassandra, and Ron wouldn't know what to say. Hermione, on the other hand, knew exactly what he was going through. Four years before, she had caught her boyfriend with another woman in the apartment they shared. Unable to live in that apartment anymore, she had moved in with Harry for a few months until she could cope with living on her own again. She understood Harry's pain, and knew when he needed to talk, and when he needed to be alone, and when silent support was needed. He would be forever grateful to Hermione, and would never forget what she did for him, just by being there for him.

Now, however, all he could think of was his still-empty heart and the pain that he still couldn't shake. Through a window, Harry saw a couple in Flourish and Blotts. They were laughing about something, but as the laughter subsided, there was no awkward silence. There was only a shared smile, one that only came of true happiness. He remembered it well. He had once possessed one. Not today though.

He pushed on through the snow towards his flat. It still held memories of Cassandra, of happiness, and of pain. A deep and pain-weary sigh pushed its way from Harry's chest as he thought back to what awaited him back at his flat. Another Christmas alone.