I stared out the window, head cradled in my hand, without really seeing anything outside. My eyes must have been glazed over a bit – Hermione had already thrown me a few concerned looks. But she hadn't said anything, for which I was grateful. I…didn't want to talk. I wanted to just sit and be silent, so I could get my thoughts sorted out.
What was I spacing out over, you may wonder. Well…I was thinking about fairy tales, and the stereotypes they tended to hold. Stories, told over and over in different fashions, that all held a few identical, core elements. Family…love…friendship…betrayal.
In fairy tales, sometimes families are strange – such as in Snow White. The only human in a family of dwarves was her. And they all got along well. Sometimes things go wrong, but end up alright. Like in Beauty and the Beast. At first, it seemed things would never work out. But in the end – look! A happy ending for most everyone. And sometimes, families are perfect – a mother and father who love each other very much, at least two kids who get along great, and a few pets to lighten the atmosphere. They go through hard times. But in the end…they're just as perfect, and loving, as in the beginning – no matter if they've lost someone, or the kids got married.
But the thing about fairy tales was...they were just stories.
How often had I sat, looking at the cover of a book that had nothing but smiling faces on it, and wishing that that could have been me? How often had I wished someone from a faraway land would come and take me away from the Dursley's home? How many times had I laid in my cupboard, just a child, broken and bleeding, and wondered if I was going to die?
Very few families are perfect. Mine thinks they are, but they aren't. Not really. Not if you see past the normalcy, see past the masks they put on when company is there, and understand that they had abused me for almost my entire life.
Maybe once I'd had a perfect family. Maybe once I'd known a mother's love, the devotion of a father. But that had been when I was very small. I hadn't even had two years with my parents. I was fifteen months when they were ripped cruelly from my life by a madman. I've seen pictures, I've been told how much I look like my dad, I've heard how I had my mother's eyes. But their faces – the faces of Lily and James Potter – don't want to stick with me. I don't even know what my mother's voice sounded like…
And so I turn to love. Yeah…every fairy tale has a beautiful princess, a handsome prince. Sometimes the love goes wrong – sometimes the lovers are torn apart. But someway, somehow, they find each other in the end. And it's as if they never doubted each other or were never apart. Well…they do say love is blind. I guess that if two people in life who loved each other very much were torn apart, and were reunited, it'd be pretty much the same.
I have never known love. Well, not the sort one would give and receive unconditionally. I know Hermione loves me…but as a sibling would, not as a lover. I've never known what it is to have that one person you would whisper sweet nothings to in the night. I thought I did – on a few separate occasions…but both times, the relationship fell apart.
Dumbledore says that love is the "power the Dark Lord knows not". Well, to that I say "maybe". It may be the thing I need to defeat Voldemort. Yes, I can love and he cannot – but that provokes the question…did he have a chance to know love? To which the answer is…no. His mother died in childbirth. His father abandoned them both, when Voldemort was still in the womb. Perhaps Voldemort could have loved, if he'd had the chance…and if he hadn't been placed in the orphanage where he'd grown up. Maybe if his faith in humanity hadn't been destroyed…none of this would have happened.
Which makes me think again, did I have a chance to know love? No...not really. Not in the way Dumbledore explains. My parents were killed before I had a chance to know them - Sirius was my godfather, and the closest thing to a parent I had, but did I really know him? No. Not really. Remus is my honorary godfather...but I don't see him often enough to get to know him. I know he knew my parents. I know he's a werewolf. But I don't know him. Maybe...the sibling love between Hermione and I, is not enough. Maybe I can't defeat Voldemort. Maybe...
Maybe, maybe, maybe…so many "maybe"s. And yet, no way to know what would happen if even one tiny detail had been changed to fit one of those "maybe"s or "what if"s. But I'm getting off-track…I space out even in my own head.
Next comes friendship, then. Everyone and everything in fairy tales, be it trees, animals that would normally fight rather than stand around smiling, fictional (to Muggles) creatures, or humans, are friends. Race, speech, nationality, religion…the things humans mock and injure each other for in real life, are never a problem in fairy tales.
Really, fairy tale characters have it easy. I'd say I was jealous…but that would be pointless, to be jealous of something that is paper and ink.
The telltale twinge in my scar that signals Voldemort has slid into my mind distracts me for a second. I must have winced, because Hermione is suddenly at my side, asking if I'm alright. She gasps and says my scar is bleeding. I wipe the sticky crimson liquid from my forehead and tell her it is nothing. She says I should go to Dumbledore. Voldemort snorts in my mind as I say again I am fine.
I ignore her as I go back to my original train of thought. I know Voldemort is listening as I think, but I really couldn't care less. Let him – I'm past the point of freaking out when he whispers things to me. I'm past the point of caring when my scar flares with pain.
I look back out the window as Hermione goes back to her studies, with a worried glance at me every so often. Where was I…oh, yes.
I do have a friend. Hermione. I know she is the only true friend I have. I used to have Ron, too. But our friendship is much more complicated than it used to be. We fight, more and more often, and lately I have found myself questioning whether or not he cares for Harry, instead of the Boy-Who-Lived. It's a puzzle I still haven't been able to solve.
Voldemort snorts again but does not comment. I know – he thinks I am pathetic. He thinks I am weak. He thinks my emotions get in my way of figuring out my friend. (Former friend? I don't know.)
But I think I am closer to an answer now than I was yesterday. Most people only care for their savior – they don't really see me. I have given much for them. I have fought for them – I have saved a few lives, taking a few in the process. I have given them almost everything…and what have they given me? Nothing. A pat on the back – a lemon drop for saving the school year after year. They sat back, took what I offered, and demanded more. Not a word of thanks – just a "well done" here and there, awe for yet another spectacular feat performed by the Boy-Who-Lived.
And the hostility. The hard looks, the anger, the fear of my ability to speak Parseltongue or my supposed "insanity." It's sort of a pattern of mine – I go from revered, to feared, to hated, and back to being everyone's favorite hero.
Which brings me to betrayal. Perhaps the only real essence of fairy tales – a friend, a family member, an observer who betrays the main character for their own purposes…be it fame, fortune, or just plain old spite.
Hey – that kind of sounds like the entire story of my life!
Pettigrew betrayed my parents to the Dark Lord…I will never understand why. He allowed his best friend – his best friend – to be murdered…and for what? And then Pettigrew framed Sirius…another of his friends…and allowed my godfather to take the fall for what he had done.
Ron has resented my fame from day one – I know that from the way he reacted to my name coming out of the Goblet of Fire. He wants to be famous – I'm pretty sure it's why he befriended me in the first place. But he has been there when I needed him most in the past. He is...was...a good friend…and he is entirely too jealous. I'd give everything I had to have a family like his. He cannot understand why.
Dumbledore…my faith in him has been fading. He kept things from me my whole life. The Prophecy that started it all…if I'd known about it…Sirius would probably still be alive. Hell, a lot of people may still be alive. There are quite a few ways to interpret a prophecy…for example, 'neither can live while the other survives'. If I were able to break away from the Dursleys, I would no longer be surviving. I would be living. And since Voldemort is no longer a spirit, he isn't surviving either.
Voldemort jerks in my mind – apparently he hadn't thought of that. Yeah, it's true…we'd never have to see each other again if I started to live it up. The Prophecy between us would be void. It would no longer apply.
So many things could've been avoided if I'd known the prophecy…if I'd been able to realize it sooner…so many deaths would have been avoided. Hell…the war may even have been avoided.
Voldemort is withdrawing, thoughtful. Good. Maybe now…things will change.
Maybe now, I'll be able to break free of my invisible cage.
Maybe…I'll finally be able to live.