A brief, inspired one-shot.
Desire Spelled Backwards
Because somewhere along the way, Harry forgot how to dream.
When Harry was small, he would imagine that his parents didn't die.
He would imagine that one of them would come through the door and tell the Dursleys off, and take him away from there. He imagined that somebody would save him, even if they weren't his parents. A long lost relative or friend of the family would replace his parents in his fantasies as the years passed by, but it was always that same.
As a child, all he dreamed of was somebody wanting him.
He grew past childish fantasies of being taken away from his relatives, and his dreams became more realistic. He dreamed that the Dursleys would accept him. He dreamed of Vernon being proud of his high marks on test and Petunia of his cooking skills, but all he ever got was criticism and punishment for showing his little Dudley up and botching up her chicken soup.
So Harry stopped trying.
At school, Harry dreamed of people standing up to Dudley and sticking to his side. He dreamed of acceptance from his classmates and friends to play with. He would hope with all his heart that the new student would want to befriend him.
And after years of being alone, Harry told himself that he didn't even care anymore.
He dreamed of magic, the one thing the Dursley's hated, simply to spite them. He dreamed of flying broomsticks, magic wands, and potions and spells. He dreamed that there was a world out there where the impossible was possible.
Because it was impossible for anybody to want him.
By the time he was eleven and his first ever wish came true in the form of an odd giant named Hagrid, Harry had given up on anybody ever liking him.
And from there on, almost all his childhood dreams came true. He had friends, magic, and he was taken away from the Dursley's by somebody who knew his parents.
In first year, he dreamed of learning magic with his friends and having innocent adventures, but Harry faced a mountain troll, three-headed dog, and a handful of obstacles to reach the Philosopher's Stone and Voldemort.
Then, it wasn't a big deal. He was happy.
Second year began with dreams of a more peaceful year than first— maybe a less innocent adventure. He dreamed of winning the House Cup again and the Quidditch Cup to make up for last year. He ended up dealing with another mystery, this time of the Chamber of Secrets— which was fine by him— and then facing off with a basilisk and nearly dying.
It was his and Ginny's near death experience that made him think. He didn't want to be a big hero. He dreamed of being a normal wizard, like Seamus or Dean or Neville, or even Ron over being famous Harry Potter.
Third year. He had to admit, Sirius Black, Dementors, and an angry werewolf was his most innocent adventure yet. He dreamed of moving out of the Dursleys and in with Sirius. A small house— out in the country where they could see the sky.
Sirius would like that.
Fourth year crushed all his dreams. He had brief fantasies of winning the Triwizard Tournament and dating Cho Chang, but Cedric died and Voldemort returned.
Harry didn't know what to dream about anymore.
He walked into fifth year thinking that things couldn't get worse. He dreamed that he would convince the wizarding world that Voldemort was back and knock some sense into the minister. Bythe end of the year, the Ministry knew, for sure. But… Sirius… not to mention the prophecy. His future was lay out for him in front of his eyes. Either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives.
And for the first time he could remember, Harry cried for himself.
Going into sixth year he had no expectations. He had no plans, no wants besides surviving. His taste for adventure that year was dependant completely on his will to live.
Dumbledore falling… falling…
What should have been his seventh year was filled with what Harry thought were dreams. Dreams of destroying horcruxes, killing Voldemort…
Every "dream" of that year was fulfilled, but they were no longer what anybody else would have called dreams. Voldemort was a goal— a responsibility— thrust onto him by others.
Harry dreamed of marrying Ginny in a very average way. He dreamed of having a white house with a white picket-fence and a garden full of flowers. He dreamed of two-point-five children and a family-sized dog.
But Harry didn't really dream of anything. He wanted it, yes, but it was expected of him.
He was going to do what he was expected because he didn't know what else to do anymore.
He forgot that dreams weren't just what you wanted, or what others wanted for you. He forgot that dreams were big. Dreams were unexpected and satisfying. He forgot that dreams were more than just goals— dreams were nothing more or less than the deepest desires of our hearts.
Somewhere along the line, Harry forgot how to dream— how to really dream.