Hi! I know it's been very long, but I've been travelling and need to prepare for some re-examinations. I've been so busy, but I couldn't let you guys wait any longer.
So, this is the new story I've been working on. It's a hard one to write, a lot more complicated than the ones I've done before. I'm not quite certain about it, so I figured I'd post it to see what you guys think. The first chapter's like a large background sketch, the story doesn't really start until chapter 2.
I'm still looking for a beta for this story as well. Volunteers can send me a PM.
I hope you enjoy.
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.
Harry woke up feeling as dreadful as he did every day. He was lying alone in a double bed, the pillow next to him had been slept on, but the person was nowhere to be seen. Harry pushed back the covers, revealing his half-naked body, goosebumps appearing on his skin by the sudden chilliness. However, he didn't cover himself up. He just made his way to the bathroom, doing his morning routine before going downstairs to eat some breakfast.
Ginny was in the kitchen, preparing eggs and bacon and smiled warmly as he entered and took a seat at the hard wooden kitchen table. Somehow, the smile didn't lessen his morning mood. He'd never been a morning person. Well, especially not since he'd been promoted at the Ministry.
When he was seventeen, Harry had been jumping to start his training to become an Auror at the Ministry. After the training, he'd had been offered an internship, but he wasn't treated that way. All his colleagues looked up to him. Just as his fellow student had done back in Hogwarts.
At first, Harry had liked it, but soon enough it annoyed him. Lucky for him, he had Ron to complain to. He shared a desk with Ron, and was always partnered up with the man. After his promotion to Headauror, he had gotten an office for himself. Loneliness was something Harry couldn't deal with very well. Not having anyone in the office really got to him sometimes. As he tried to get through the enormous piles of work waiting for him every single morning, he wondered why he'd ever become an Auror. Harry snapped out of his thoughts when Ginny turned away from the counter.
"Good morning, Harry," she greeted, placing the saucepan onto the table.
"Morning, Gin," Harry mumbled, giving his wife a quick peck on the cheek. He grabbed the pan, filling his plate with the freshly scrambled eggs.
"Did you sleep well?" Ginny asked, putting the toast next to the eggs, and taking a seat herself. Her soft blue eyes tried to peer into Harry's green ones, but he avoided her gaze. He tried to suppress a sigh, not wanting to start a fight but finding it hard not to be a pain in the ass to his wife.
"Guess so," Harry replied before stuffing his mouth with eggs. Harry prepared for what had been going on for some months.
"You're so distant lately, Harry. I can sense that something's wrong. Is everything fine at the Ministry?" Ginny looked really worried, and Harry couldn't help but feel sorry for her, guilt rising in his stomach. He had practically ignored her the past few weeks. Or better, past few months. Ginny had noticed it. She brought it up every once in a while, but lately it was all she could talk about. It was not as if she had tried her hardest to communicate with him. Frankly, Harry just cold shouldered her. Not on purpose, but he did.
"Hmm," Harry nodded briefly, not wanting to compose an answer. He wouldn't be able to come up with an excuse this early in the morning, when he couldn't even compose one when he was fully awake.
"I'm convinced it's the Ministry, Harry. You're always working late and they don't value you enough for what you're doing. I'll talk to Ron about it. He'll put in a good word for you. Maybe you'll get early holidays. That would be wonderful, wouldn't it?" Ginny smiled genuinely. If that would really be the case, Harry could very well ask for that himself, now couldn't he? Besides, Ron wouldn't put in a good word for him since he was Headauror, and he wouldn't get early holidays either, due to that very same reason. However, Harry didn't want to point all of that out. He was too worn out. And it wasn't even 8 am.
"Yes, Gin. That would be lovely. But I'll have to go now. I start at eight sharp." Harry got up, leaned over to give Ginny a peck on the lips and entered the living room in a bundle of robes. He left through the fireplace, which was directly connected to the Ministry of Magic. He couldn't believe Ginny thought his work was the cause of his despondency. He stepped into the large hall of the Ministry, blending with the other wizards.
After the war, the Ministry had been rebuilt. The entire atmosphere in the underground building had changed. They'd kept the large fountain in the Atrium, but instead of House elves and Centaurs supporting the mighty Wizards, all magical creatures were united in a bond. Merging Magic. Harry made his way to the elevators, continuing to ponder over his life.
Even though work was a contributing factor to what felt like a depression, coming home to a loving wife should do the trick. But it didn't. Harry didn't feel attracted to the red-haired woman anymore. It was even stronger than that. Harry made his way to his office, greeting his colleagues along the way. Lately, the fire between Ginny and him had died out. Harry appreciated the woman he shared his bed with, but he couldn't say he loved her. He had once been in love with her, at Hogwarts. But he had been a young adult then, and the fact that she was the sister of his best friend had contributed to his feelings of love. Ron was one of the main reasons he hadn't filed for divorce yet.
He had broken up with Ginny before the War, saying they couldn't be together because otherwise Voldemort would kill her. Deep down, Harry knew he shouldn't have gotten together with her afterwards. However, when the War ended, the Wizard world was euphoric, including Harry. Eventually, they decided to live together and start a family.
The first year they had lived together had been amazing. Harry was finally finding some peace. The novelty of his job had kept him occupied for a while. Ginny had been gone a lot, having to attend the matches of the Holyhead Harpies. She was a seeker, and a good one. Consequently, being an international sportswoman resulted in lots of lonely nights. At that time, Harry didn't like that – he didn't like it now either, although he preferred her being gone instead of pumping him all evening.
Harry entered the Auror department and headed straight to his office. Upon entering, he could see the documents stacked all over the large corner desk. Harry's job was very simple. Distribute the different cases to the appropriate Aurors, authorize certain procedures, following up cases and making sure the Aurors did what they had to do. Honestly, he loathed it. It wasn't challenging. It wasn't fulfilling. It was nothing Harry had expected. Ron entered his office at nine o'clock, entering with a short knock. He greeted Harry in his usual friendly way.
"Oi, mate. You have a minute?" He walked forward without being invited, leaning down on Harry's desk.
"Hi, Ron," Harry smiled briefly, focusing on his paperwork. He had a hunch for what this would be about.
"You keep getting out of the wrong side of your bed, Harry. Lighten up a little," Ron said, smacking Harry on the back jovially as he spoke. Harry tried not to roll his eyes. He knew Ron was trying to cheer him up, but he wasn't in for a talk with his brother-in law.
"I'm fine, Ron. Really." He looked up from one of the files he was proofreading briefly, before fixing his eyes on the inked letters again.
"That's not what I heard from Ginny," Ron continued. Harry knew that was coming. Ginny was the reason why he was barging in like that. On a normal day, Aurors rarely came in. Being Headauror was nothing to be proud of, except for the wages. The salary wasn't a motivation for him, though. Harry wasn't temped by money.
"She already talked to you? Wonderful. I told her I was alright, Ron. And I am," Harry retorted, angriness his voice. He couldn't believe this was the very same man he had befriended fifteen years ago. Harry could hardly recognize him. They hardly saw or spoke one another, both occupied with their own lives. Harry had a presumption that his friend was jealous because of his promotion. It had been almost eight months now and ever since, Ronald had been talking a lot more to Ginny than to Harry. Harry missed him.
"Whatever you say, mate," Ron replied. He observed the raven-haired Survivor for a little while longer, until Harry looked up, clearly annoyed and bit: "Don't you have to be at your desk, Weasley?" Instantly, Ron's ears turned red, but his eyes went ice cold blue. He probably didn't like Harry bossing him around. He knew the comment was out of line. He knew it. But the grumbling animal in Harry's stomach paid no attention to what someone else wanted to hear.
Harry was convinced Ron was being silly and childish. However, he couldn't go to Hermione to complain about her husband, now could he? That was a weird thing to do. She would probably just defend him. Ron and Hermione had gotten married soon after the war. They hadn't been infected by the post-war euphoria. Both his friends had matured a lot, and admitted their feelings of love to one another. Their wedding was overpowered by romance. Harry had been proud to be Ron's best man. Four years later, Ron and Hermione had gotten a baby, a girl named Rose. Hermione had taken some time off from her job at St. Mungo's and had gone back part time. Ever since Rose had arrived, Harry's two best friends didn't have much time for Harry.
At that time, Harry fully understood they were having a family, and friends would be put on hold. He had started a family with Ginny himself, and the three friends mostly kept to themselves.
Rose was five now and was accompanied by a younger brother, Hugo. Both children had inherited Ron's ginger hair and they were lovely children. However, all the kids' stuff had caused Ginny to start about having a baby on their own. Harry was very reluctant on that subject. For some reason, the idea of having children only scared Harry, and he refused to talk about it. He knew it was not in his nature to avoid certain matters, but he really felt dreadful about this. He wasn't ready.
At the end of it all, Harry felt like he wasn't in the right place. The way he and his friends lead their life wasn't the life he had imagined himself living. He was settling for less. Perhaps it was just Harry who had expected more. More from being an Auror. More from being Ginny's husband. More from life.
It was past eight when Harry flooed back home. Ginny had left dinner on the table, a heat retaining spell keeping it warm until Harry would arrive. His red-haired wife was sitting on the couch as he entered, smiling brightly.
Harry couldn't muster the strength to return the smile and just nodded. He bent down to give her a peck on her cheek and headed for the kitchen.
"Had a rough day?" she called after him. Harry suppressed the urge to grunt.
"Yeah, you could say that," he replied calmly, sitting down in his favorite chair at the hard wooden table. That was as far as their conversations went nowadays. Ginny stood up as well, walking up behind him. She placed her hands on his shoulders, massaging the tense muscles as she whispered in his ear: "Being a Headauror is hard work, love. You want me to massage you?" The warm breath in Harry's ear would normally turn him on straight away. Right now, it just annoyed him terribly. He felt cold shivers run down his spine, and softly pushed her away.
"No, Gin. I'm worn out. I've spent all day sitting in a chair and I'm just exhausted. I hate filing."
"I know, Harry," Ginny replied trying to be understanding. She sat down next to him. "Did Ron speak to you?"
"Yes. And I told him I was fine. There's no need to put this weight on his shoulders, Ginny. He already has two kids to look after."
"What's wrong with you, Harry? You don't like anything I do anymore. Am I a terrible wife?" Ginny questioned, tears forming in her soft blue eyes. Harry suppressed the urge to roll his eyes – he felt that impulse quite a lot lately – and just shook his head. "What's the problem then? It's your job, isn't it? You're always complaining about all the filing. Why don't you do something else?" Harry just wished it was that simple.
"That's easily said, now isn't it Ginny? Not everyone can have dream job like you do! I can't just quit. People would talk. They always talk. They never stop. And it annoys me rigid, you know?" Harry nearly exploded, but kept his boiling rage locked in his body. The vain in his temple was pulsing painfully. The headache from all the brainwork started to cloud his vision, and he needed to rest as soon as possible. He had thought a lot about changing jobs. He would muse about all the different professions that were possible, one in particular, but somehow he never put his thoughts to action. Perhaps he was afraid of starting something new.
"I understand Harry. But don' t you see our marriage is suffering because of you?" As if he was the only one ruining their marriage. Sometimes his wife stayed away for weeks, because she was occupied with her job. And now she would complain about him being distant?
"My head is killing me, Gin. Can we do this another time? Can I at least finish my dinner in peace?"
"It's always another time, Harry." Ginny stood up, elegantly sweeping her hair back as she left for the living room again. "I really think you died in the war," she added, just loud enough for Harry to hear.
Harry grumbled. This was not the first time she said that. There were moments when Harry felt very down, and actually believed he lost his lust for life in the war. The irony of it all was that he actually died during the war. Harry knew he had lost a part of himself back there. He blocked his thoughts, not wanting to think about that right now. The waves of pain submerged him at a quick rate, and he needed his rest desperately.
Harry left the food for what it was and headed upstairs. It was an easy thing for Ginny to say. "Just do something else." Harry didn't know how he could give up everything he had done so far. All he had ever known was he wanted to be an Auror, like Mad Eye. Well, that ship was sailed now. He hated being an Auror. Brainwork wasn't his thing. He had just expected the job to be more challenging. Harry had always loved working with his hands, using magic and muscles to do a job. But even the practical parts of being an Auror didn't fulfill him anymore. On top of that, his headaches drove him crazy and all his stored energy could only get out when he and Ginny had a fight.
They were serious fights. Once, Harry had nearly cursed Ginny in a burst of anger. If the girl hadn't been sublime in countering spells, she would have had to visit St. Mungo's for a couple of weeks. Harry had of course been very sorry, but he couldn't help it. Every time the woman approached him, he felt the need to push her away.
The only problem right now was that Harry didn't have the guts to say it. He didn't want to hurt the woman he had vowed to love for the rest of his life. He didn't want to lose his best friend and brother-in-law. Nor did he want to be alone. He despised being alone.
Maybe he just needed a break from it all.
That evening, Harry was already half asleep when Ginny joined him in their four-poster-bed. She nudged his arm softly: "Harry? Are you asleep yet?" Harry didn't move and tried to breathe deep, as if he was still asleep. However, he couldn't fool her.
"Don't pretend to be asleep. I know you're not." Ginny positioned her in the bed, pulling some of the cover away from her husband.
"I'm trying. Leave me alone," Harry replied, pulling the covers closer, so that the part Ginny had slid off her again.
"I've been thinking. We're not really – doing a great job as regards our marriage, are we?" Ginny's voice was filled with fear and sorrow, but the woman's feelings couldn't soften Harry's indifference. His heart was transformed in a stone, unable to be loving or kind. To anyone.
"No. You're right, we're not. Do we have to do this now?" Harry asked, annoyed because she was bringing up the marriage thing again. He was fully awake now, and he knew it would take him hours to get back to sleep. He stared at the digital night alarm on his bed side table. It was a Muggle device Harry was quite fond of, and he wouldn't sleep without it. He liked knowing what time it was when he opened his eyes.
"When will it ever be a good time, Harry?" Ginny shifted uncomfortably next to him, while Harry remained immobile.
"I don't know. I'm tired from working. All you have to do is fly a broom every once in a while. I'm exhausted." Harry's voice was filled with reproach, unable to force his body to pretend like everything was all right. It hadn't been alright for quite some time. Maybe that was the main reason Harry didn't want any kids. Ginny managed to ignore his hurtful blame and swallowed.
"You don't love me anymore, do you?" Harry could hear the lump forming in Ginny's throat. She was going to cry. Harry's face scrunched up, his blood starting to boil. It wasn't entirely his fault, now was it? She was hardly there for him either, and when she was, she was constantly begging for attention.
"Are you trying to say that I want to divorce you?" Harry tensed speaking the words, hearing how cold and distant his voice sounded. He didn't dare to look at his wife. He just kept facing the wall, his back turned to the redhead.
"No, I'm not. We just have issues, Harry. You can't deny that. I talked to Hermione about it, and she thinks we should see a relation therapist."Ginny spoke slowly, cautiously placing every word. However, her prudence wasn't necessary, because Harry got angry anyway.
"What? You talked to HERMIONE about this, without me? Why are you doing everything behind my back, Ginny?" His temper rose as quick as a flash. In a blink of an eye he was facing the ginger-haired woman, green eyes as murderous as Avada Kedavra.
"You're never home. It's hard to do something together with you. We don't even bathe together anymore." Ginny was unaffected by Harry's fit, and that made Harry's heart blow up with rage. She just ignored his embittered feelings.
"I don't bathe. I take showers. They're quicker." Harry knew he was beating around the bush. This whole conversation was getting on his nerves, and he didn't want to talk about it. He just didn't. His life sucked. Nor Ginny or Hermione could change that, let alone a therapist.
"That's not the point, Harry!" Ginny snapped. "You never make time for me. You're always too tired. I know your work is hard, but please try to be there for me." Her voice softened at the end of her sentence. Like he was the only one never making time.
"I will," Harry grunted, "But let me sleep first 'kay?" Harry's voice was calmed down too. He turned around again, ready to nuzzle into his cushion to fall back asleep.
"I made an appointment for tomorrow morning. At ten o'clock." Harry turned around swift as an arrow.
"So now you already made an appointment as well?! Thanks for sharing, Gin! Really. Do I have any say in this?" Harry sat up pulling the covers off both of them, eyeing his wife furiously. "Fine. I'll go to the stupid therapist. You'll see it won't make any difference." With that, Harry buried his head in his pillow again, pulled the covers up to his neck and turned off the light with a swing of his wand.
The next day, Harry was sitting next to Ginny in the waiting room. On the coffee table, a few magazines were scattered, showing images of couples with trouble in their relationship. On the cover of 'Wizard marriage scrutinized' you could see a man and a woman yelling at each other before both leaving the frame.
Harry rolled his eyes. He didn't even know what he was doing here. He wondered what Ginny must be thinking. They didn't have any actual issues in their relationship. They had just run out of love. But Harry couldn't tell her that. He was unable to hurt the feelings of his best friend's sister. The fact that they had run out of love scared Harry. Sometimes his mind would wander around, thinking about which people he loved. All the people he cared about were slowly slipping out of his reach. He then would start to wonder, fear filling his heart, that Voldemort had not only killed the Horcrux inside him. He might have killed his love as well.
"It's a really good therapist, Harry," Ginny said, her voice not louder than a whisper. She was clearly happy that she had gotten the Survivor to come along with her.
"In the Muggle world they call it a shrink," Harry grumbled in protest. "I don't know what we're doing here. We're fine." Harry knew they weren't fine. He just didn't want to be there. He didn't want to know whether their relationship could be solved, because honestly he had no wish for it. He had his fill of their relationship. He just didn't have the guts to say so.
"Don't be like this, Harry. Don't you want to save what we had so far? You admitted it yesterday. We're falling apart." Honestly, what had they had? They both hadn't made time for their partners and this was what it had resulted in.
"That still doesn't mean we have to go and pour our heart out to some kind of stranger," Harry groaned, his mood becoming all the more dark. Why had he agreed to this idiotism? It was beyond all doubt that a therapist could convert the ruins of what used to be their life.
"I'm telling you, Hermione recommended him. He's the best there is in the Wizard world. She said lots of people meet him. A colleague of hers at St. Mungo's went to him and she and her husband are doing fine again. Isn't that wonderful?"
"Very wonderful, Gin. I'm going to pay Hermione back for recommending a lunatic to save our marriage." What would the professional discover? That they had irreversibly grown apart? They had eight hard years of marriage behind them. Harry would never want to relive them again. Ever. They had known moments of happiness, but they had only been brief. Too brief.
"Stop being a prat, you sound just like Ron," Ginny reprimanded. Harry just shrugged and continued observing the moving pictures on the magazines. They sat silent for a little while, until the door swung open.
"Mr. and Mrs. Potter, you can come in," a familiar voice called out. Upon recognizing the voice an uneasy feeling settled in Harry's stomach. He looked up alarmed, only to see his former arch enemy standing in the opening.
Draco Lucius Malfoy was a relation therapist?!
To be continued…
Please tell me what you think. I promise the next chapter will be a lot better. I had to start the story somewhere. Harry'll be a lot less depressed soon, so don't judge just yet.