Disclaimer: The brilliant characters belong solely to J.K. Rowling. The plot and typos are my own. No profit is being made.

~ The Unexpected Side Effect of Draught No. 9 ~

Chapter 1: In The Beginning

The war was over and Voldemort was dead. While the celebrations and cautious optimism had spread to all corners of England – and beyond, no doubt – there was one young man left standing at the center of it all: The Chosen One.

And where once he had held a zest for life, a fearless sense of adventure, there now remained only confusion, exhaustion and loneliness. At times he felt a transient flood of happiness, of connection, as a friend or colleague shook his hand, pulled him into a hug or touched his arm reassuringly, but often that faded as quickly as it came.

Understandably, those around him were preoccupied with their families – possibly more protective now than ever, grateful that they were still alive themselves, not wanting to waste another minute with those they loved most. But being party to many and family to none, he felt like an outsider now, an echo of someone else's life.

His eyes seemed to grow more glazed as the days passed, his life aimlessly charting itself with little to no input of his own. He had realized long ago, somewhat resentfully, that his existence had been towards one end, and one end only: to defeat the Dark Lord. But now that that was done, who was he? To what purpose should he serve? He knew nothing else.

When the post for the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor had opened up at Hogwarts, he was offered carte blanche to take over and do with it as he pleased. After all, many saw him as the foremost expert on such things, if his recent triumph was anything to show for it. Although the appointment seemed a logical fit for him, and offered with the best of intentions, he couldn't shake the nagging feeling that people really didn't get it at all. That they didn't get him. After nearly eight years on the trail of Voldemort, he – Harry Potter – wanted to see what lay beyond the verdant green hills of his homeland. Away from Hogwarts, away from everything.

At least for a while.