The Business of Recovery

Quippery

I do not own Harry Potter or Ouran High School Host Club.

Summary: After ending the war and inheriting the titles of the Potter and Black families, Harry decides to create a future of his own by pursuing his education at Ouran Academy to run the family businesses. Warning: Slash

Author's Note: This chapter might end up being a little dark, just a head's up. Also, in case you didn't catch it on my profile page, I will be updating Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. As always, I appreciate any response I receive, so a big "thank you" to all of you who reviewed.


Chapter 5

Harry woke slowly, grimacing as his eyelids stuck together with the crusty remnants of sleep. It took him a moment to remember why, exactly, he had fallen asleep slumped against the wall in the entryway of his apartment, but soon the events of the day before came rushing back to him. He groaned and buried his head in his hands as he comprehended the repercussions of the day before.

The Host Club had seen his scars, had seen into his past. Well, really only Honey-senpai had seen him, but he was sure to have informed the others about it after Harry had rushed out. It wasn't just the fact that they now knew about things Harry would have rather remained hidden, no, it was the horrified look on Honey-senpai's face. That expression was burned into his memory so deeply; Harry could easily imagine the thoughts of fear and revulsion going through his senpai's head.

Bemoaning his situation, Harry eventually dragged himself upright. It was a slow, painful task considering his now stiff and cramping muscles from running, then falling asleep in such an uncomfortable position. A quick glance at the clock in the kitchen told him that it was only just past five in the morning. Knowing that he would be getting no more sleep tonight, he heaved a great sigh and dragged himself to the bathroom to get cleaned up. Hopefully a hot shower would ease the remaining muscle aches.

Harry took his time in the shower, simply standing and letting the hot water wash away his tension until I began to grow cool. Taking that as his cue that it was time to get out, he shut off the water and wrapped a towel around his waste. Running a hand through his hair, Harry found that it was a good deal shorter than it had been. In all the chaos of yesterday, he hadn't had a chance to see what the hairdresser had done with his hair.

Now immensely curious, Harry wiped away some of the fog clouding up his mirror and leaned forward, anxious to see what had been done. Half of him expected it to have grown back to its former length like it did when Aunt Petunia had cut his hair so terribly as a child, but that turned out not to be the case.

'She definitely knew what she was doing,' Harry mused as he combed through his hair with his fingertips. His hair was still messy, sure, but now it looked like it was supposed to be like that, instead of an accident. Besides being shorter all over, his hair now lay in carefully composed layers of various lengths that lay upon each other artfully. The only thing Harry found that he didn't like about the haircut was that the lightening bolt-shaped scar on his forehead was more visible than he would have chosen.

At least here it wouldn't be recognized as an icon, just an unfortunately placed scar. Still, habits are habits, and Harry was a bit disgruntled to find that he couldn't brush his fringe down to cover his scar.

He frowned as his eyes were drawn to another scar, the large one that had startled Honey-senpai badly. It was quite large, nearly an inch wide at some parts, and reached from the back of his right shoulder all the way around to under his left ribs. His left hand involuntarily reached over his shoulder to touch it. As deep as his physical scars were, his mental ones were even deeper.

Voldemort's return during the Triwizard Tournament at the end of Harry's fourth year at Hogwarts marked the end of his meager childhood and the beginning of his training. Self-defense, both magical and muggle, strategy, and battle spells were some of the major topics that were taught to him by various members of The Order of the Phoenix, a vigilante group created to fight Voldemort.

He stayed at his godfather Sirius Black's house that doubled as the headquarters for the Order that summer. The multitudes of wards and protection charms placed upon the house allowed for him to practice his magic without being expelled.

Even though it was hard work, Harry relished the time he got to spend getting to know his godfather as well as another of his father's friends: Remus Lupin. They even developed a small ritual where, when most everyone else had gone home, they would gather in the sitting room and Harry would listen to Sirius and Remus' stories about his mother and father during their school days.

Though Voldemort's followers, the Death Eaters, staged a few attacks, they were few and far between. According to the Order's spy, Severus Snape (Who didn't like Harry very much and, frankly, Harry didn't really like him), the ritual used to return Voldemort to his body, though effective, left the user weak for a good while after it was used.

Harry thought that they should attack now, while Voldemort was weak, rather than wait for him to get stronger, but Dumbledore had refused, saying that they did not yet have the resources and that Harry, himself, was not yet trained enough to fight.

Things continued in this way for the rest of the summer, and, when fifth year started, Harry knew many more spells than he had before. His training even continued during the school year, though at a much slower pace due to scheduling around classes. Though he had to drop playing quidditch, Dumbledore assured him that it was for the greater good.

Things were mostly quiet until the fiasco in the Department of Mysteries happened. Harry had been receiving strange visions about it for weeks and, when he was convinced that Sirius had been captured and was being tortured for his sake, he gathered his few remaining friends to stage a rescue.

He was too blindly by the thought that Sirius was getting hurt for his sake that he failed to see the trap for what it was. Though the Order had arrived in time to stop Harry and his friends from being seriously injured, Sirius had been shoved through the mysterious Veil of Death while in a deadly duel with his cousin Bellatrix Lestrange.

At this point, Harry lost it, running haphazardly after Bellatrix when she escaped the room and even going so far a to attempt the unforgivable cruciatus curse on her; a torture curse that causes inconceivable amounts of pain to the victim. Harry felt himself a failure as a godson when he could not muster enough ill intent to cause harm to his godfather's murderer, and the insane cackling of the witch only made things worse.

Dumbledore was about to come to his rescue yet again when things took a terrible turn for the worse. A splitting pain in the cursed scar on his forehead let Harry know without a doubt that Voldemort had arrived. Dumbledore immediately began to duel him, a display that showed Harry just how much he had yet to learn. It would take years to even achieve a portion of their mastery, who was he to think he could take Voldemort and his followers down with just a ragtag group of friends?

Fortunately, Dumbledore seemed to be handling himself quite well, at least until Voldemort switched to plan "b". Harry still wakes up some nights retching as he remembers the feeling of Voldemort in his head, possessing him, and of asking Dumbledore to kill him.

Somehow Harry had managed to force Voldemort from him, but he soon after collapsed, waking to find himself in the familiar white surroundings of the Hogwarts Hospital Wing.

Beating himself up over the death of Sirius, a man he looked towards as a father figure, Harry threw himself into his training. While his friendships suffered from it, only Hermione, Ron, Fred, and George remaining close to him, his magical strength and knowledge grew immensely.

When told of the seven pieces of Voldemort's soul that were lying around to keep him alive, Harry nearly went looking for them himself. Remembering how his rash actions had played a large part in getting his godfather killed, however, he decided to rely on the members of the Order of the Phoenix for assistance.

With everyone in on the secret of the pieces of soul, called horcruxes, finding them became a much quicker, if not simpler, task.

The first of the horcruxes, of which there were seven, had already been destroyed in Harry's second year when he had stabbed it through with a basilisk fang.

Mundungus Fletcher, a rather foul, dirty man, was the first to come across one of the missing horcruxes, though he was put off that he wasn't going to make a profit off of the silver locket it was encased in.

Hermione Granger found the next one, a diadem belonging to one of the founders of Hogwarts, by thinking to ask the house elves for their assistance.

A secret deal with the goblins at the bank allowed the order to grab the next horcrux, a chalice belonging to another of Hogwarts' founders, from the vaults of Bellatrix Lestrange.

It was with Severus' help that the Order confirmed that Voldemort's snake, Nagini, was the fifth horcrux. Harry used the life-debt that his parents' traitor, Peter Pettigrew, owed him to poison her.

Dumbledore himself retrieved the sixth horcrux, a deadly looking ring, though he made the mistake of putting it on his finger, releasing a deadly curse into his body. Severus Snape, the spy and potions master, did his best to stop the curse from killing Albus, but he was fighting a losing battle. On his deathbed, Dumbledore confided to Harry that his scar contained the seventh and final horcrux.

Though he did not wish to believe it, Harry knew that he would have to die if Voldemort was to be removed forever. Hermione, however, refused to believe that to be the truth and spent many sleepless days and nights searching for some way to remove the horcrux without killing Harry. Their usual way of killing the horcruxes by stabbing them with the basilisk venom-induced blade of Godric Griffindor wouldn't work as it would mean stabbing Harry in the forehead, and, now that Dumbledore was gone, their main source of knowledge was lost.

Finally Hermione believed she had found a way. She created a ritual of her own, drawing chalk diagrams on the floor of an empty classroom for days before deeming it perfect. In the middle of Hermione performing the ritual on him (with a few of the Order members standing against the wall in case something went wrong), Harry suddenly felt that something was not right.

He tried calling out for Hermione to stop, but the ritual kept him paralyzed and unable to utter a sound as he sat in the middle of her diagrams. Harry hoped beyond all hope that he was wrong, and that everything was going to plan, but his instinct told him otherwise.

As the ritual began to fully take hold, Harry felt the dark presence leave the refuge of his scar. Though painful, he smiled at the feel of the darkness lifting, leaving him lighter than he had ever remembered being. The horcrux hovered in front of him as an amorphous, shadowy blob, leaving Harry worried about it not dispersing.

The shadow seemed to fight against the ritual for a moment, straining to get back inside Harry's head, before it directed its attacks at its attacker. Eyes wide, but still mostly paralyzed, Harry watched in helpless horror as the horcrux struck unerringly into Hermione chest.

Her screams still haunt him to this day. The way her body jerked, deformed in agony, before the strain became too much and she died, taking the horcrux with her, still relentlessly fueled his nightmares.

The horcrux was defeated, sure, but at a very high cost.

Remus had called what he had "survivor's guilt" before he and his fiancé, Tonks, were killed defending a young muggleborn family in a raid.

Harry found that putting a name to it didn't make the guilt lessen.

Though it came at the painful cost of some of their members, the destruction of six out of the seven horcruxes left behind the faint stirrings of hope in the hearts of the Order of the Phoenix that maybe they could still win. Harry though, having seen the deadly power with which Voldemort fought, was less optimistic.

Optimistic or not, the Order had no choice but to respond when Voldemort launched a terrible attack on Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The Weasley twins, Fred and George, had been on lookout at the time, and therefore the first defense. Countless enemies fell before their traps and tricks. They had adapted their creativity from prank items to items of destruction, and their genius showed. Instant swamps swallowed entire squads of enemy Death Eaters.

Though they held more than their own, the sheer multitude of enemies soon overran them, marking them as the first victims of what would soon become known as the Final Battle.

Everything quickly became chaotic as Hogwarts' ground turned into a battlefield. The shrieking and clicking of the acromantula gorging on the flesh of any stupid enough to enter their domain served as terrible background noise for all of the shouting of spells and screaming of victims.

Harry and Ron Weasley, his first real friend, found themselves fighting back to back and doing quite well. Until Voldemort entered the picture, that is.

Harry stood facing Voldemort, trying to make himself move, to make himself attack. His mind, however, was filled with that fearful display of power the Voldemort had shown at the Department of Mysteries just a few moths previous. 'It figures,' he thought distractedly to himself, 'I'll never even get to see my sixteenth birthday.'

Frozen as he was, he forgot that a large battle was still taking place around him and that no one else was going to stop so that he and Voldemort could have time to stare at each other.

"Harry!" Ron suddenly cried from his right, running towards him, "Look out!"

He didn't have time to think, to react. Ron grabbed his shoulder and swung around him so that they were back-to-back, then Harry felt a pain great enough to send him to his knees. He was informed later that it was a steel-cutting curse, used in demolitions, and that he was lucky to get away with just a scar (large though it was) to show for it.

It wasn't luck that had saved him though. It was the body of his best friend who had run to save him as he stood frozen in fear.

The moment he realized what had happened, that Ron had given his life in Harry's defense, something snapped within him. The fear within him was replaced with a righteous fury, burning so brightly that his memories of the event are blurred and fuzzy. For what is there to fear when one has nothing left to lose?

He didn't use an incantation to finish Voldemort off, no, nothing so sophisticated. He merely pointed his wand in Voldemort's face and screamed his loss, his despair, and his fury. His magic reacted in a brilliant streak of white, positively slamming into Voldemort's body and straight into his wicked soul, ripping it apart.

The months afterward were spent mourning those they lost and rounding up the remaining Death Eaters, most of which Harry missed, unconscious from draining his magic reserves. It was many days before Harry spoke, many more before he was able to leave the hospital wing. It's hard to pick up the pieces of your broken life when some of pieces are missing.

Harry shifted, realizing that he had lost himself in his memories yet again. Splashing some cold water from the sink in his face, he shook his head as if to clear an etch-a-sketch. A quick glance at the clock had him throwing on one of his school uniforms.

Though he was tempted to simply skip school because of the events of the day before, Harry had vowed to never be a coward again. Never.


Author's Note: This is the longest chapter yet (mostly because I couldn't find a good place to end it). It's a little dark, I'll admit, but Harry gets to look forward to making up with the Host Club soon (probably next chapter).

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