Once upon a sleepless night
The crystallized grass made an unnaturally loud sound as it shattered beneath his feet. For every step he took, it seemed like he slowly killed the ground he trod upon.
He tried to stop, tried just to stand still, to stop the killing, but he was no longer in control of his own body. He had no choice but to continue his aimless wandering; listening to the sound of death in every step he took.
How does it feel, Harry Potter? How does it feel to have no control, how does it feel to be completely helpless?
The eerie sound of Lord Voldemort's voice echoed through his mind as his speed increased. He shuddered, but otherwise his body showed no reaction to the questions ringing through his mind.
A thick unnatural mist made the air hard to breathe, as if it froze on its way down his throat. It covered the land and made it seem like he was at the end of the world, like he was so far away that nothing existed anymore.
His legs moved faster, and he found himself running through the flat landscape. The shattering sound became so loud that it felt as though it cut right through his mind and body. The earth itself had gotten a voice. A voice that screamed; screamed with heart-breaking agony.
How does it feel, Harry Potter, to know that every time you close your eyes, I am going to take over your body? How does it feel to know that I am going to haunt your dreams until I break you, Harry Potter? To know that you will not rest peacefully until I have completely broke you down, until your sanity is nothing but a fading memory?
The cold air made his throat hurt, made it feel like he was breaking from the inside, just like Voldemort had promised. His legs were already numb from the running, but he wasn't able to stop. He had no other choice but to keep going.
Tears were running down his cheeks, but they froze before they reached his chin.
Suddenly the ground fell away from underneath him, and he fell into complete darkness as Voldemort's voice rang in his ears…
"How does it feel, Harry Potter…"
Ron's blue eyes were the first sight that met him as he woke, but his panicked mind was barely able to register that.
"Harry, mate, you need to stop screaming!" Ron said loudly and shook him.
Not even aware that he'd used it, he quickly shut his hoarse voice off. He panted heavily as he desperately tried to rouse himself to wake up, to stay in control. Lord Voldemort's heavy presence slowly faded away.
It had been this way ever since he'd killed the Dark Lord.
He'd been well aware that he was one of the man's seven Horcruxes, and had entered the battle with the intention to kill himself as soon as it was completed. It had been a depressing awareness, to know whatever the outcome he was still going to die. Yet somehow he had managed. Afterward, though, when the monster was dead and the battle over, his friends had already figured out his plan and stopped him from going through with it. They had convinced him that they needed him, that they could find a way to literally get Voldemort out of his head without him dying.
They had tried to fulfil their promise, but Harry's life had slowly turned into a living hell. Every night as he fell asleep, Voldemort took over his mind, controlling it and turning it against him. The horrible nightmares were constant, worse than anything he could possibly imagined had left him more exhausted that he'd thought possible. He had only slept for a few hours during the almost two months that had passed since Voldemort's death. Maybe it was more correct to call it near death.
His life was now close to unbearable, and he had – more than once – thought about ending it. Not just for his own sake, but for the whole world.
The constant dreams were an excellent reminder of what his selfishness could cause. If Voldemort returned just because he was too scared to take his own life, he would never forgive himself. If he were to survive.
"Harry, wake up!"
He hadn't realized he'd stared blankly off into space until Ron waved his hand in front of his eyes.
"Sorry mate, I'm awake," he mumbled and rubbed his bloodshot eyes with the heel of his hands.
As he looked up he saw Ron staring worriedly down at him.
"Hermione seriously needs to find out something about all this crap soon," Ron said and sat down beside him.
"If you'd just let me end it all, I could-"
"No. No way in hell," Ron said sharply, interrupting him.
"I am in hell!" Harry burst. Ron looked hurt. Harry sighed again and turned away.
He knew he hurt Ron and Hermione when he said that he didn't want to live, he knew it made them feel like they weren't good enough. Not good enough to live for. What they didn't understand was that they were good enough to die for; and he would, if they'd just let him.
Ron suddenly surprised him by pulling him into a bone-crushing hug, the kind that Hagrid usually gave whenever he felt overly emotional.
But Ron was very rarely physical, especially towards other guys.
"Look, Harry, I know that you think the world would be a safer place without you and the part of that weirdo's soul in your mind, and maybe it would. But the truth is that my life would be worse. It would be a lot worse, like unbearable-worse. And so would Hermione's. So don't even think about jumping of one of the towers or whatever."
He saw the eyes of the others over Ron's shoulder. They, too, were awake after his screaming. Dean, Seamus and Neville all gave a slight nod, as if to confirm Ron's words. He closed his eyes and leaned in a bit into Ron's hug.
"Promise that you won't try to leave?" Ron said. It was the same desperation in his voice that had been present in his pleading during their second year, when he had asked if his sister was still alive.
Harry swallowed down a big lump in his throat, "I promise."
He couldn't risk Voldemort taking him over through his dreams, but if he was lucky, maybe he'd die from the constant attempts before that happened. That way, he wouldn't break his promise.
I know this is a real shortie, but I'm afraid that this is the standard length of my chapters. To make up for that, I'll henceforth post one chapter a day, with little or no exceptions.
Hope you all will enjoy!
Something that is way more likely that you'll do now than before. 'Before' being before my beta, Winterstorrm, took a glance at this. And then took more than a glance. I swear, she has probably done more on this than I have!
Thank you so much for doing this for me! If words can express my gratitude, it's probably you who possess them, not me.
Happy Valentine's Day, to everyone!