Disclaimer: Harry Potter and associated characters belong to J.K. Rowling. I clearly worship her work, and no copy-right infringement is intended. Self-Conclusion is property of The Spill Canvas, and again, no copy-right infringement is intended.
We all flirt with the tiniest notion
of self-conclusion in one simplified motion,
you see, the trick is that you're never supposed to act on it,
no matter how unbearable this misery gets.
/ / Self-Conclusion by The Spill Canvas
Rain hit the window gently, catching the firelight and breaking the night with small, glittering trails of water. Harry Potter stared out the window with dark eyes, past his reflection, and eyed the grounds of Hogwarts with little interest. His heart was heavy with each breath—he was much too aware of it in his chest, much too aware of its frantic but steady beats. Guilt weighed heavily on his shoulders. He swallowed hard, the corner of his mouth twitching as lightning flashed in the distance.
He had managed to do the impossible.
He had managed to live.
He should be on top of the world right then, careless and happy and alive—but instead, he was overcome with an unexplainable sadness, an emptiness even the lightning could not illuminate. How dare he feel like this? How dare he feel so pathetic and ungrateful when there were hundreds, thousands of people who were no longer able to feel anything? He exhaled sharply, his eyes burning, and turned away from the window. He had no right. He had no right to be depressed, wallowing in unexplained self-pity. Voldemort was gone and he was there and he should be happy, dammit. He practically collapsed onto the couch, a pile of tangled limbs and aching muscles. Shifting a bit where he sat, Harry flinched as a piece of firewood cracked. He was so pathetic. So bloody pathetic.
Ever since the start of the semester, Harry had wandered the halls of Hogwarts a shadow of himself. He had heard Hermione and Ron discussing it, one night, when they thought he was asleep up stairs. Hermione had said, in hushed tones, that it was almost as if a part of Harry had died when he had conquered Voldemort. Where had his light gone, his thirst for life? It was a question not meant for his ears and yet it was one of the few things that had broken through his emptiness. He had been completely unable to put his feelings into words before then but what Hermione had said made perfect since. That was what he felt like—like a piece of him had been lost, like some important, needed part had died. Hermione had assured both Ron and herself that he simply needed time, that this was an adjustment—any change was an adjustment, no matter how good it was. Harry's entire existence had revolved around Voldemort, whether he had been aware of it or not, and now he was simply off balanced. It would take time, but soon, Harry would be whole again, light and alive.
He knew there had been a time he was happy, especially here, at Hogwarts—but, for the life of him, he couldn't remember that feeling. It was as if his emptiness had swallowed those memories and trying desperately to remember felt very much like cupping water in his hands—short lived and pointless, nearly impossible.
Harry shifted where he sat again, pulling his legs up, onto the couch and near his chest, his back against its arm. He wrapped his arms loosely around his abdomen, fingering the hems of his shirt, looking very much like he felt—like he was trying to hold himself together at the seams, like he was fighting hard not to fall, spin into oblivion and never resurface. He thought of Sirius, of Fred, Lupin, Tonks, Dobby—the list was endless. More than fifty students had fallen that day, along with hundreds of Aurors and Ministry workers, and thousands of pedestrians, people who had done nothing but been at the wrong place at the wrong time. His heart hurt and Harry squeezed his eyes shut, taking a slow, shuddering breath.
Their faces flashed across his mind and he felt as if he were going to be sick.
This sadness—it was unconquerable, unquenchable, devouring every part of Harry that tried resisting. It was a lake during a storm, its waves crashing against him, swallowing him whole and beating him senseless. He felt weak, powerless—mad. Harry felt as if his sanity was slipping, falling somewhere dark and he could do nothing but grasp at it, desperately, claw at it and try covering himself with what little he could manage to hold. His eyes were burning again and there was something hard in his throat—unable to push it down, hot tears slipped past his eyelashes and he let out a hard breath, a strangled grasp, and clawed at his sides, his fingers twisting, gripping, pulling what ever they could get a hold of.