Thank you to my BETA: Malombra.

Disclaimer: Harry Potter and Co. belong to JKR. I am not JKR. Therefore, Harry Potter and Co. are just here for me to play with. And I do so love to play…

Pairing: Harry/Draco so this is SLASH. No MPREG in this story.

Summary: Harry Potter, the Care of Magical Creatures Professor at Hogwarts', was in love with Draco Malfoy. But he would never tell the man that. What happens when that option was taken away from him?

MY STORY IS AU.

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Care of Magical Creatures

Chapter Four

After a night of tossing and turning I woke in a depressive mood. I knew it was time to leave. I couldn't stay here, not with him here. I would be the one to leave. It wasn't fair to him.

Sitting at my desk I wrote my resignation to the Headmaster and sent a house-elf to deliver it directly to his hands. Another house-elf was tasked with packing and transporting my belongings to the cottage at the edge of the Forbidden Forrest. Another letter was sent to the Goblins at Gringotts with instructions for rent, food delivery, and other small things. They were the ones who took care of all of my finances and they made excellent Secret Keepers. I made sure the letter stated how they could get in touch with me incase of emergencies.

The last letter was to Hermione and Ron. I hadn't thought that one would be so hard to write but I was wrong, it was ten times harder than anything I had ever done, and I had done so much already. How do you apologize for running away? What do you say that could make it all better? I settled for the truth.

To my best friends,

You both know what you mean to me and this is not goodbye. It will never be goodbye between us. But I have to go. I can't stay here anymore and be able to function. It is not your fault and it is not his either. Do not blame him. It is the way it has to be for now. I will be back. You know how to get in touch with me if needed. I will miss you both.

Be well and be safe. I love you.

Harry

I thought leaving would make my burden lighter but it seemed the weight of the Universe was on my shoulders again. I was able to survive and have a productive life before because I had thought I would never see him again and I could handle that. But seeing him just brought back all the longing and loneliness I had felt then and brought it back ten fold. I was folding under the pressure and I knew I would soon break. This was the only way to save my mind. My heart was long gone. Dead.

I didn't want to turn bitter and cold. I didn't want to be like Snape at the end of his life. Bitter and alone. Hating everything and everyone. I refused to be like that. Maybe I would be alone for the rest of my life but I knew that if I didn't leave I would not have a long life.

After sending the letter off I shrunk the trunk down with the last of my belongings and with a last look at the place I had called home for so long I walked out of my room. A swish of my wand had the door locked and warded. I had a feeling I would be back at a later time. How long it took I did not know but I would be back.

I stopped at the edge of the Forbidden Forrest and took a last glance at the lights of Hogwarts, I had always loved that sight. And I was now leaving, voluntarily, sort of I guess.

Did I mention how pathetic I was?

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I got the owl from the Goblins the third day at the cottage. I had been waiting for it as I knew Draco would cure Ron. I had that much faith in a man I only knew in my dreams. A man I had never really talked too and who I had associated thoughts and feelings to that I knew were not his own. The first day at my cottage had been a soul searching experience. I had cried as all my dreams had faded away in the face of reality.

I had thought I knew better than to live in dreams. The Mirror of Erised had taught me that, or so I had thought. I was obviously fooling myself. I had placed so much in the Draco Malfoy I had made up in my head that once I met the real Draco Malfoy, all my walls and dreams had crumbled quickly and painfully.

I truly was pathetic. Who does that? And who lets themselves have a life like that? All those stupid lectures from Hermione that I had only half listened too have come back to bite me in the arse. How stupid could I have been?

One thing that had come out of the last few days was a determination to seek out someone who I could have a life with. Who knows, maybe I could find someone to love as much as I had loved the Draco my mind had made up. The fact that I had thought 'loved' told me that I was well on the way to some form of healing.

Waking on the second week of my time at the cottage I was surprised by how…light I felt. It was time to go see my friends. I knew I would come back here but it was time. I finally felt strong enough in myself to be able to be around other people. I hadn't realized how living alone had made me think that I should be alone. That being alone was the only thing left for me. I planned to spend a few days with my best friends and then a few weeks or months just traveling. I had already contracted with a company, through the Goblins, and I was going to be a Seeker of a different kind.

I was going to seek out animals that were endangered and bring them to a reserve. I got up and said a spell to pack everything I would need on the way to my shower. I couldn't wait to see my friends. For the first time in weeks I had a smile on my face when I looked in a mirror. It was going to be a good day.

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I do hope you all like this chapter. I had a significant plot bunny that I hope works out well with the story line I had already worked out.

Please check out my bio for important information on upcoming updates.

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LMG