Written for the Twin Exchange's May Challenge
Harry/Your Choice (Hermione)
"Look out below!"
Harry groaned. Whenever this time of year came around, he made an effort to avoid people. This day became one of Harry's least favorite times of year. Only Halloween, the day his parents died, was considered worse than the holiday that was upcoming. May 2nd. It seemed like the most random day in the world. And, to Muggles, it was. But, for everyone in the Wizarding World, it was the day darkness fell; the day peace was restored.
Over the years, May 2nd, became a day of celebration. Each year, the Minister did something different to celebrate Voldemort's destruction. And, each year, Harry was forced to participate. He was, after all, the reason that Voldemort was no more. This year's celebration was different. Someone in the Ministry suggested that this year be more of a day of remembrance for the souls who were lost thanks to Voldemort's tyranny. And, as thankful as he was to whoever suggested such a thing, Harry was not all that willing to participate. He just wanted to be alone in his grief, maybe go see Teddy for awhile.
"Harry, why aren't you making a square?"
Upon hearing that voice, Harry jumped. He looked up to find that Molly Weasley was standing at the door, holding up a blank square. The man-who-conquered sighed. This was eventually going to come up, as much as he didn't want it to. "Mrs. Weasley, I'm just not in the mood to do anything. I've spent my whole life grieving for the people who were lost in the war. This year is no different. I'd just like to be alone this year, grieve on my own."
Mrs. Weasley nodded. "I see, dear." She laid the square down on the table. "You should still make a square. The quilt would not be the same if you did not help." With that, the Weasley matriarch disappeared.
Emerald eyes zeroed in on the blank square that Mrs. Weasley left him. As much as she was trying to help, the woman didn't understand how much this was affecting him. He lost so many good people to the war, all because Voldemort and his hypocritical views on Pureblood supremacy. Harry continued sitting in his room and overheard several voices talking downstairs. "I'm afraid he's still not willing to help make the quilt," Mrs. Weasley said.
"I was hoping that this idea would work." That was his girlfriend.
"It seems not, dear. He always gets this way around the beginning of May," Mrs. Weasley said. "It takes forever just to convince him to go to these celebrations. He just can't sit through them."
"I know. That's why I tried this."
"Well dear, it looks like you might need to recruit a few more people to help you with this. It might be the only way that we can ever convince Harry to participate in this year's event."
"Thank you for the advice."
Harry scowled as the conversation ended. If they – everyone who cared about him at all – really thought that he was going to help with whatever they were planning, they were sadly mistaken. He wasn't going to do it. There was no way that Harry could bring himself to do anything for this year's celebration. Not this year. This year he just wanted to be alone. Alone with his grief. Alone with his feelings. That was all he wanted. Just one day.
The morning of May 2nd came and Harry did everything he could in order to avoid all human contact. He even went so far as to avoiding Andromeda and Teddy, merely in order for him to be alone. No one would understand. Not really. Yes, there were others who lost people they cared about, but it was not to the degree Harry did. And, for that, he just wanted to be alone.
Harry was sitting in the kitchen of Grimmauld Place when he heard a familiar voice call out. "Harry!" the voice called out. Harry recognized the voice immediately. How could he not after hearing day in and day out since he was eleven. Damn it! Why didn't I block the floo?
Ron called out again. "Harry!"
Another voice was heard. "Why even bother calling out to him? He's obviously not going to answer. Didn't you hear Mum? He doesn't want anything to do with the plans for day. Hasn't been back to the Burrow since Mum tried asking him to help with the quilt."
"Oh shut up, George!" Ron exclaimed.
"Do you want your best friend to be at the celebration or whatever it is?" he heard George ask. "That's what I thought. Well, if you want him coming, you'll have to do this. I doubt anyone else could convince Harry to come. You'll been his best friend for eleven years. Surely that must mean something."
"I've never been able to convince him to come though," Ron objected.
Damn straight, Harry thought. No one had been able to convince Harry to attend the celebration over the years. It was usually Kingsley who forced him to attend as the man-who-conquered. But, this year was different. He wasn't going to let that happen today.
"Just do it," George muttered.
Harry wasn't sure where the two Weasleys were, but their voices were getting louder. He needed to get out of here. He needed to get out of here before the two brothers found him. "Found him!" Ron called. Too late, Harry thought darkly. Now he would probably be forced to attend the stupid celebration.
"Well, what are you standing there for?" George asked. "Get him!"
Ron lunged for his friend and Harry slipped away, only just. "Come on, Harry. You'll want to see what the Ministry has planned this year!" Ron called. "You especially need to see it."
"Doubt it!" Harry called.
"Just come see it!" Ron pleaded.
Harry scowled. They just couldn't let it go. No matter what, they weren't willing to leave him alone. He sighed and went to where he was sure Ron and George were looking. Five minutes. He would give them five minutes of his time before he disappeared again, to wallow in his grief. So many people died. So many people that Harry wanted to mourn. And he wanted to do that on his own. "And what is this oh-so-special thing the Ministry is doing this year that you want me to see?" Harry asked the Weasley boys. "Why is it so important that I find out what they've been working on for the last month?"
"You just need to see it," Ron answered vaguely.
"Five minutes," he warned his friend. "I'll give you five minutes to show me what the Ministry has been doing for this year's celebration before I disappear. I'm not doing this again. I'm just not." The trio of men apparated out to Ministry and Harry felt a sense of dread wash over him. What was it this time? What would they do in recognition of all the people lost in the war?
As he, Ron, and George entered the main lobby of the Ministry building, Harry could see several people carrying a large piece of fabric. He wasn't sure what it was, but he had a feeling he was about to find out. "Uh, Harry?"
"What is it, Ron?" Harry asked.
A blank square was held out to him, the same one Mrs. Weasley tried to give him only a few days ago. "You need to design a square for the quilt," Ron said. "It's not done until you do."
Harry grunted and tapped his wand to the square. "There!" he exclaimed as a stag and a lily, symbols for his parents, appeared on the square. "Happy? Now, can I please be left alone?"
Ron left him alone, but George did not. "Don't push us away," he said.
"You did," Harry reminded the one-eared wizard.
George nodded. "I did. And look where that got me. I nearly drank myself into a stupor if not for the help you, Hermione, and the rest of my family provided. I spent close to a year trying to dull the pain I felt in losing Fred. You know what that did to me. It nearly destroyed me. And here we find you doing the same thing I did, trying to run away from the people who care about you. Why not just accept that we're trying to help you, Harry?"
"Oh, I do appreciate your support," Harry assured the wizard. "It's just that I want to be alone on this day. There are two days I've ever wanted to be alone. One, Halloween; you guys have always respected my wishes and let me be alone on that day. But, the anniversary of Voldemort's death; I'm always forced to participate in something that has only ever reminded me of the losses incurred, mine of which were always greater. Is it too much to ask for me to get just one year where I get that peace and quiet?"
His question went unanswered as Minister Shacklebolt stepped forward, calling everyone to attention. "Thank you, everyone. Now, as you all know; five years ago, the Ministry was taken over by Tom Marvolo Riddle and his Death Eaters. On this day four years, the dark plague he carried with him dissipated. This day has been celebrated over the years. But, we seem to be forgetting about the victims of the war. That is what this year is about and that is why I have commissioned the creation of a quilt, made in honor of those who died too soon."
"Is that true?" Harry asked.
"Is what true?" George repeated.
"That Kingsley commissioned a quilt to be made in honor of the people who died in the war," Harry said. While it would make up for the fact that Harry was the only one who ever really grieved over the loss of everyone who perished in the war – not just loved ones – he had to wonder how long this would last, or if this was some publicity stunt. It all depended on who was the one to suggest this, a fact that Harry still wasn't aware of. For all he knew, it could have been Rita Skeeter who suggested creating the quilt.
"And now," Kingsley was saying, "let us reveal the quilt."
"Look out below!" a voice called.
And, with that, the quilt unraveled for all to see.
Harry stared at the quilt in shock. Well, he was not expecting that. In fact, this was the last thing he ever expected to see. Out of the corner of his eye – through the tears that threatened to fall – Harry saw his girlfriend come towards him. "You did this, didn't you?" he asked.
"Of course," she replied.
"Thank you, Mione," he whispered.
"You needed it," Hermione pointed out to him. "It was hard seeing you sink that much. I had to do something. That's when I went to Kingsley, talked to him about using today's festivities as a way to honor those who were lost in the war. After everything you did to bring them peace, it was only fair that the Ministry pay homage to that. This —" she pointed towards the quilt"— is for you."
Though Harry never intended on coming to the Ministry for this year's celebration, he and Hermione were among the last to leave. They simply sat there staring at the quilt, the quilt that would forever be a testament to just how much Harry lost over the years; the number of souls who were lost simply because of a monster's twisted views of the world. He stared at the quilt for a long time before Hermione appeared at his side. "Thank you for this," he said, emerald eyes still trained on the quilt. "This is the best thing that anyone has ever done for me."
She nodded, kissing him lightly on the cheek. "I thought you'd like it." With that, the couple disapparated from the Ministry, leaving behind a large quilt depicting a picture of a messy-haired man with glasses and a red-head woman with emerald green eyes holding a messy-haired baby with emerald eyes like his mother. And, at the corner of the quilt was a white square with the pictures of a stag and lily on it. A message was scrawled across it. For all those who were lost.