Summary: Post DH. After the war Harry plans to live a normal life. But when Ginny betrays him for Dean, Harry loses his will to live. Only a certain silver wolf can save him. HP/FG

Warnings: This story contains dark themes and slash (male/male).

Disclaimer: JK Rowling owns it all. I'm just playing with the plot.

A/N: This story is based on the song My Last Breath by Evanescence. The link can be found in my profile. Also, there will be two parts.

Hiding in a Hollow Tree

The battle was over. The war was won. My entire existence had been dedicated to the effort. For I was Harry Potter: child of prophecy and boy who lived. But now, I've done my duty. And my freedom was finally here.

We were at Fred's funeral. A couple more burials to go and I'd walk away from my past, never to return. For there was so much to look forward to! For the first time in my life, I could live a normal life. That was all I had ever wanted.

I'd propose to Ginny and we'd buy a small house by the sea. Like Bill and Fleur. And when our children go off to Hogwarts, I'll be there to bid them farewell. Yes, life was going to be perfect from now on. I could tell.

Smiling softly to myself, I looked around for the one I loved. But when my eyes found her flaming red hair and beautiful, pale face, my smile turned into a frown. For she was crying on Dean Thomas' shoulder. She was even holding his hand!

I turned away quickly, trying to mask my face as a wave of nausea struck me. I knew there had to be a reason for this. She was probably just upset about her brother's death. And Dean was the closest one to her, willing to comfort her in a time of need.

But somewhere deep inside of me, I knew this wasn't true. I'd have to speak to her about this sometime, when we were alone. For now though, I'd let her grieve.

With a sigh, I left the dead to their peace and felt my dreams slip away with them.

- HiaHT -

"Gin?" I questioned hesitantly, opening the door to her room. She looked up startled, tensing when she saw that it was me.

"Oh, hello Harry. I'm just… I was just –" she stuttered, trying to hide a letter under the palm of her hand.

"I don't want to take up too much of your time, but I wanted to ask you something." It was hard for me to speak. For a certain heaviness had settled over my chest, making it difficult to breathe.

"At the funeral, I saw you with Dean," I said and stopped. For Ginny's reaction told me everything I needed to know.

"Oh god," I whispered, sliding to the floor.

"Harry, Harry! Listen to me. It's not what you think." Ginny rushed to kneel before me, reaching out a slender hand to brush the hair off my face. "I love you Harry Potter. I have always loved you."

I looked up through tear-filled eyes, knowing she had more to say, but I was terrified to hear it.

"I love you as a best friend. Or a brother! Not as a lover. I'm so sorry Harry. Our time together was wonderful, but it made me realize that I want something else in a relationship. You have to heal from the war. You're mind is too… mature for me, with all that you went through. I would never be able to understand.

"Dean came to me after you left Shell Cottage," Ginny continued explaining, though I didn't want to hear it. "Said he thought over a few things while he was captured. Said that he thought about me! He wants to spend the rest of his life with me. Do you believe it? He proposed!" Ginny laughed through her tears, flashing a ring in my direction that had previously gone unnoticed.

My breathing started coming out as silent gasps and I threw my head back against the door, trying to get more air. It felt like I was dying.

"Gin, how could you do this to me?" I gasped before passing out. The last thing I heard was Ginny's scream.

- HiaHT -

"Remus, I don't know what to do," I said softly. But Remus didn't answer me, for he had departed from this world long ago. His funeral was last to be held. And that meant that no one showed up to say goodbye, save me.

Anger flared in my belly as I thought about the funeral services. Everyone who had died should be remembered equally. They all had a part to play. But I noticed that, as the services went on, less and less wizards showed up to pay their respect. It was as if no one cared anymore about the sacrifices that were made. They were too busy moving on with their lives. The very thought made me ill.

After I had woken up from my fainting spell, a healer had been by my side. He ran several tests and scans and they had all pointed to same thing: I was fading from this world. Physically, there was nothing wrong with me. But the truth of the matter was - I was dying.

But I knew why. I had realized this long ago. When I had died and come back to life, a part of me had stayed beyond the veil. I was now walking on a very dangerous edge. And only my willpower kept me in the land of the living. For now.

With Ginny gone, there was nothing to live for anymore. That's why I've begun to feel ill. I wanted to die. It would be an easy transition. After all, I had already done it once.

As I looked at Remus' peaceful face, I couldn't help but long for death. I wanted to see my parents again; wanted Sirius and Remus; wanted a home. Death would provide that all for me. And no one on Earth would care if I left it.

"Remus," I spoke again, feeling the warmth of tears trail down my face. "I miss you. I know you died to give me a chance at life, but I'm not happy here. You want me to be happy, right?

"I want to be somewhere to belong. I want someone to love me for whom I am. I want a home! And I can't find that here. Please, Remus, you have to understand. Because no one else does."

Reaching out to touch his face with the tips of my fingers, I marveled at the cold. Soon, very soon I would join him in death. Forever.

- HiaHT -

The Weasleys decided to throw a party celebrating the defeat of Voldemort. I had thought that had been for me. After all, I was the one who defeated him. I was their Savior. But in the end, I had been ignored throughout the entire thing.

Even now, as I stood on the threshold of the living room, no one looked up. No one cared. Ron and Hermione were now a couple. Chatting in the corner, they didn't need me to intrude. Bill and Fleur were talking to Molly and Arthur. And Ginny. Ginny was seated in Dean's lap, laughing at a joke he just told.

I was just the outcast; the one no one needed anymore. But I was fine with that. For none of them knew my secret.

I shivered despite the baggy clothing I always wore now. During these last few weeks, my health had declined rapidly. But no one seemed to notice. And if they did, there was nothing more than a curious glance thrown my way.

Coughing spells were becoming more and more frequent with each passing day. What had started out as a tickle in my throat had now become a bloody mess. My ribs had begun to show through my far-too-pale skin and my legs could barely hold my weight. But that was fine with me, for I hid my symptoms well. After all, I was a master of deceit from living all those years with the Dursleys.

Ginny looked up suddenly and met my eyes. Sadness and guilt flickered across her face, but she looked away quickly, giving Dean a peck on the cheek. My heart nearly stopped from the effect she still had on me.

In that moment, living became too unbearable. I needed out. Now. I needed to go for a walk.

- HiaHT -

The moon was already up when I apparated into Hogsmeade. Scotland was a dangerous distance to travel from England, but it was also a chance I was willing to take. For the tiny village and view of the grand castle always had a calming effect on me.

Hogwarts was the first place I considered a home, but I knew I couldn't live there forever. It was time for me to move on. Away from her sheer splendor, even in her broken form. It was time to be with my family.

"Potter?" a voice called from behind, interrupting my morbid thoughts. I turned and found myself staring into Draco Malfoy's silvery gaze. My eyes lingered for a moment before I turned back to my beloved castle.

"Okay, Potter. Spill it," he said without malice. "What's wrong?" I twisted around to face him again, but remained silent. For I was shocked to see worry in his eyes. Why would my arch-enemy worry about me? Why would he care? And most importantly, how could he see when no one else did?

"I'm dying Malfoy. And I don't want to stop it," I blurted out, surprised at myself for trusting him to keep my secret. I watched as his already-pale face drained of more color.

"Wha' –" he said weakly, as if not believing my words. "But you're the boy who lived! Surely Weaselbee and Granger won't let you die."

"Quite the contrary, Malfoy. They don't know. Nor would they care. For you see, a lot of things have changed.

"Time is a very strange thing…" I continued, my voice dropping down to a whisper. Starting toward the distant trees, I nearly forgot about Malfoy's presence altogether. I walked on as if in a trance, hearing more than seeing his feeble attempt to keep up with me.

"What was once important in a person's life is no longer the case in the future. I no longer care about the Wizarding World. As I no longer care about life."

Malfoy fell back into the darkness of the night, lost with my words. But despite our distance, I heard his response clearly. His words rang through my mind, forming doubts and anger. I closed my eyes, trying to ignore the pang I felt inside.

For his words had been: "Just be careful, Harry. Because I care."

- HiaHT -

The forest surrounding Hogwarts was peaceful tonight. Mist swirled around the trunks of the trees, casting the forest in an ethereal glow underneath the light of the full moon. It was heavenly.

As I walked upon the enchanted grounds, I felt the little life I had left drain out of me. Flickering images started to appear and I could have sworn they were my parents, waiting for me to come home.

Home. Such a beautiful word. I've never truly experienced what a home was like, but soon, very soon I would have one for eternity. Within the next few hours, minutes even, I'd get my first taste of love. And finally, I'd be somewhere I belong.

A calm settled over me as I thought about dying here: under the stars on Hogwart's grounds. The night couldn't have been more perfect. And I felt a calling, a calling towards peace. For my life had been so tiring. It was time for me to rest.

As I knelt upon the ground and waited for my breath to still, my eyes caught sight of a rarity in Scotland. For a rosebush grew in the darkness of the night. There was but one rose in bloom, but it was beautiful. It was also the color of blood.

Emotions rose inside of me suddenly, driving out the calm. I felt my temper flare at the thought that some people could move on from their grief so easily while others were left in the shadows. How could anyone let go of all that pain? The Weasley's acted as if the war hadn't even happened and I hated them all for that.

No matter how hard I tried, I would always be connected to my past. That very fact separated me from the rest of the Wizarding World. It felt as it the veil had already seized my last breath and was now dragging me down, further away from the life I had once known. And I gave no resistance, for I wanted it to end.

Somewhere deep within the forest there was a sharp crack and a yelp. The sound broke the quiet of the night and I straightened, squinting into the darkness. Glimpsing the light of the full moon, I felt myself panic. I was such a fool to come here this night!

Listening closely, I fingered my wand. The woods were quiet for some time, but I knew I wasn't safe. Werewolves could smell their prey from any distance.

Within moments of thinking it, dozens of eyes appeared before me, all gleaming in the darkness. I stood wearily, preparing for a fight. As they slowly neared, I could see their teeth and hear their growls. They had formed a circle around me, trapping me inside.

Distraught laughter broke from me then, startling the wolves. But I couldn't help it, for I had come out here to die, hadn't I? Of course Harry Potter could never have a peaceful end. That would be asking too much. But the sheer brutality of what these wolves were capable of made me shiver.

Steadying my breath, I tried to find strength left inside of me. Because I knew: this would be my last fight.

"Reducto!" I shouted at one side of the sphere. The wolves scattered when the dirt exploded from beneath their paws. With a flash of light and a bang from my wand, I ran through the pain-filled howls and into the night.

On into the woods I went, with no direction or purpose but to get away. My body shook from the effort and I found myself tiring. But I knew I couldn't give in or I would meet a most bloody end.

With a gasp, I broke through the trees and spotted Hogwarts ahead. The beauty and magic flying around her made me pause in my flight. I could actually see her magic! That had never happened before. And it was breathtaking. But unfortunately, I was still locked outside of her gates.

Turning back toward the trees, it was here that I would make my final stand. Let the werewolves come, I thought to myself. Let them come! I was ready.

They appeared like ghosts in the night, their howls echoing across the land. They sprung at me with no warning, trying to rip my neck. But I dove away, firing spells left and right.

Pain pierced my body as claws ripped my skin. Crimson blood soaked the ground, though I barely notice, so intent was I on escaping. But there were so many of them! Too many for one person to fight.

A wolf leapt at me when my back was turned, its teeth sinking into my shoulder. I screamed from the pain, my vision going blurry. Falling to the ground, I knew it was over. It was time to give myself over to the fates of the world. For I was defeated.

People of who I had lost flickered once more before my eyes and I smiled. They had come to collect me. The grieving was over now, as was the pain. Now it was time for me to live in the land of the dead. And I would make the most of it.

But as the wolves jumped, intending to kill, a lone wolf jumped in front of the pack. His large size and silvery fur gleamed in the moonlight. Despite my muddled thoughts, I couldn't help but admire his beauty.

He leapt into the fray, growling and tearing at his kind. It was an awful sight to behold, but try as I might, I couldn't tear my eyes away. Visions of violence and peace engulfed me at once and I heard a calling… It was time for me to choose.

Before I released myself from my past, I let my eyes linger on my savior. Silently, I thanked him for his help. For now - now I could die in peace.

To be continued...