Everything Has Its Time And Everything Dies
He stood atop the Astronomy Tower. It was July now, and the summer air was warm. This is where Dumbledore had stood, and where he'd fallen when he was struck down. Maybe it was fitting that it happen here.
The war was over, and all was done, and all was quiet, and it had been for a long time. For years. And he didn't know why he filled his days with nothing, and why nothingness and numbness had come so easy. Things didn't effect him now, not like they used to; the sky had gone bleak, and joy was fleeting and faint, and energy too. He'd begun to float adrift in a sea of something he couldn't bring himself to conquer; he floated along, and he didn't know how to feel about so floating, even whether to feel at all.
How had things gotten to this point? Why? It was over. Everything. He'd defeated Voldemort, the Death Eaters had been rounded up. He'd purged the Ministry – they had purged the Ministry of all followers, of all devotees, of all reluctant or willing supporters of the Dark Lord. He and Ron and Hermione, and Neville and Kingsley and Luna, and McGonagall and Flitwick and with the information of Draco Malfoy. They'd done it, all of them, together, in the days and weeks and months and years – had it been years now – since the Fall.
The world was safe again. And he'd been every part of saving it. So why did he feel so nothing? Why did he feel empty? Where was the satisfaction, and the sense of peace? Where was the joy and thrill of freedom and of a life free of fear? When had everything he'd ever promised himself slipped into nothingness? When had it begun to feel like he'd fallen off a cliff?
He hadn't been able to explain – not to any of them. Not to Ron and Hermione or Ginny or Neville or Luna or anyone. Any time he'd try, his mind rebounded into the same nothingness in which it now found most comfort. It was like bouncing a ball against a wall; the ball could only travel as far as the wall, and upon hitting the wall, the ball bounced away as quickly as it had arrived. And that was his mind now, and his soul, and what remained of his energies; it was in arriving at that point, and being repelled from that point, and finding it anything from impossible to undesirable to return.
What was he was now? What use was he? What was the point of him?
Kingsley had offered to support him if he'd decided to run for Minister of Magic. McGonagall had offered him the Defense position at Hogwarts, with the implication that he might one day replace her when she chose to step down – "Follow in Dumbledore's footsteps," she'd put it. Ginny had offered him a place to live; with her, anywhere he wanted, Burrow or London or France. Anywhere at all. She'd offered him her whole life, like he had always dreamt, like had occupied his happiest moments for the last two years.
But he'd rejected them all. He had nothing to give, nothing to offer any of them. The Daily Prophet had sent an owl requesting an interview; the wealthy backer of Flourish and Blotts in Diagon Alley had offered him one million galleons to write a book telling his story, from start to finish. That's what the letter had said 'from start to finish.' He hadn't realized he was already done.
It seemed so obvious now. He had served his purpose. And no one was being cruel in having assigned him that purpose, and it wasn't anything like planned obsolescence; it was merely that all his life he had been destined for something. And having accomplished that something, he was left without direction, without a driving, undercurrent of reason for his every day actions.
A decade ago, it had made sense; he got out of his cupboard because he had school, or because he had to prepare a meal or a clean a dish or vacuum a carpet or water a lawn or wash a car.
When he turned eleven, he had to go to breakfast, and then to classes on threat of detention, and after class to dinner if he didn't want to starve, and then to sleep to do it all again the next day.
And on weekends and during holidays he'd had Ron and Hermione, and he couldn't just do nothing because they saw him and they noticed and they knew.
And then he was with Dumbledore, and he was learning about Horcruxes, and about Tom Riddle and his secret past, and about Voldemort and that one thing which might undo him.
And then Dumbledore was dead, and he and Ron and Hermione had had to carry on where he and Dumbledore had left off, and they had to hunt for the Horcruxes and survive the elements and escape Snatchers and Malfoys, and they had to wage a war against Voldemort and his Death Eaters, and they had to defend the students of Hogwarts and the citizens of the Wizarding world at large. He'd had to; it was what he was – the champion of the light, the defender of the good and the just and the defiant in the face of the tyrant.
But tyrannicide had been achieved. He was the giant killer now, the boy who won, the conqueror of evil, and he was the triumph of the good over the bad, and everything was done. And he could go back now, and he could be with Ginny, or he could work further to improve his world, or the school he'd loved, or just participate in the lives of the ones he loved.
But for all that possibility he couldn't bring himself to it. What was the point? Everyone would be fine without him. No one needed him anymore; and it wasn't anger he felt, or even sadness. But there was a distinct lack of purpose, of reason to be around and to keep being around and to persist in any activity in the pursuit of a goal. There were no goals now. He was no politician, and he was no teacher, and he was no lover, and he was no friend.
He was a giant killer, and the last giant had been killed. The monster was dead, and he had won, but in winning he had lost his drive and his purpose and his reason and his motivation. He'd saved the world and lost his soul.
And he couldn't reconcile himself with it. He couldn't fight it, he couldn't overcome it, he couldn't even struggle against it, silently or in the face of friends. It was too much, too large, too great; it was reality, and man could not win against reality, however large the man or small the reality.
He was a writer who'd written every word; a singer who'd sung every song; a liar who'd lied every lie; a fighter who'd fought every fight. What was left? Was it time to turn away? Time to go away? Time to give up and give in – but to what? What was there? What was left?
Everything has its time and everything dies.