Summary: Harry Potter, AU. Summer after OotP; Harry is mourning over the death of Sirius.
Fierce perseverance was the only thing that prevented the tears from sliding down Harry’s cheeks. Images of the one night when he lost it all flashed through his mind. Unceasingly. If someone were to look deeply into his emerald-green eyes at that moment, the ones he had inherited from his mother who he had never gotten to know, they would have seen a savage and unfocused gaze.
Simply put, Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, for the first time in his life, felt completely and utterly lost. The man who had meant the most to him was gone. It seemed to Harry as though he had been abandoned at his utmost time of need.
It was no condolence to Harry that the Ministry had imprisoned all the Death Eaters that were responsible. The Aurors would not be able to keep Voldemort’s top servants locked up behind bars for long, Harry knew. Dementors were no longer an option; it was evident whose side they had taken.
Cornelius Fudge was in a mess. A year of feeding the wizarding community lies had left him in a position which no man would willingly place himself. Harry felt a feeling of grim satisfaction whenever he picked up the Daily Prophet to see another headline about the Minister’s blunders. In his mind, Fudge was to blame for the death of his godfather. However, his seemingly impenitent demeanor only served to fix Harry’s determination to get him sacked for all he had done. That Sirius had been exonerated of all charges was only a small comfort.
It had been a month since that horrendous night. Once Harry had arrived at Number 4, Privet Drive, he had confined himself to the walls of his bedroom on the second floor. Alastor Moody’s warning had served Harry well; Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia had chosen to leave Harry alone. His O.W.L. results had arrived, but he hadn’t even bothered to open the envelope addressed in green ink.
Harry felt a pang of guilt as he thought about Ron and Hermione. The two friends he had who were always on his side, no matter what happened. Yet he had not written them even once. Too preoccupied, he had isolated himself from the rest of the world. The only exception was the occasional letter to Remus Lupin to let him know he was okay. It was a lie, but Harry needed some time alone.
Sadly, he glanced at the floor. Similar to the previous summer, Harry had not bothered to clean up after himself. Clothes were strewn across the floor and the bed he was sitting on was unmade. An object underneath the shirt he had worn yesterday caught his eye.
Slowly, he got out of bed and picked up the mirror that Sirius had given him. How could he have been so stupid as to not have opened the package when he had needed to find where Sirius was just the month beforehand? He chided himself for his forgetfulness.
Harry forced away the tears that he refused to shed, like he had every day since he had returned to the place Dumbledore had labeled as his ‘home’.
Hedwig flew in through the window and landed in front of him. The expression on her face looked doleful, but Harry smiled tiredly at his owl. Hedwig held out a leg, and Harry removed a letter from it. ‘Harry Potter’, it said, in Remus Lupin’s handwriting. Harry opened the letter and began reading it.
Don’t blame yourself for what happened. It was not your fault; it was the cause of many faults. Professor Dumbledore’s, for not telling you what Voldemort may attempt. Professor Snape, for not finding you in time before you flew off to the Department of Mysteries. Sirius himself, for putting down his defenses at a crucial moment. Yes, I know you flew there. Professor Dumbledore told me. It was dangerous, Harry. Thestrals can be seen by more people than you would think; and Voldemort would have been able to see you, I am sure.
I know that you will reply to this letter with the usual—a polite letter stating that you are fine. But I sense from the way you are writing these letters that you are not, indeed, fine. Just promise me that you will do nothing dangerous and that you will clear your mind every night.
I miss Sirius too, Harry. All of the Mauraders are now gone, except me. I knew Sirius better than you did; I have known him since I was a young child. I assure you, Harry, that he wouldn’t have wanted you to mope about his death. He would have wanted you to go on with your life and use his memory to give you courage.
When he finished reading, Harry knew that his ex-Professor Remus Lupin was not being fooled by his subterfuge to shut himself away from the world. He couldn’t bring himself to flare up in anger at his former teacher the way he might have in earlier years…they were always saying that they knew how he felt. About everything. Suddenly feeling much older and very languid, Harry shuffled around the room, searching for his quill, ink, and some parchment. He started writing, but his handwriting was shaky and unsteady.
Dear Professor Lupin,
On the contrary to what you said in your letter, I am doing fine. The Dursleys are treating me as though I am not there, but they send in meals for me to eat. I know that you are skeptical that I am handling Sirius’s situation well, but I assure you that it is not tearing me apart.
His death has affected me greatly, and I am sure that you have suffered from it as well. Do not deny it, Professor Lupin, or Remus as you ask me to call you. However, I do not find the need for anyone to help me get through this. Trust me on this, Remus. I can get through this alone.
I’ll clear my mind every night; you have no need to worry about that. I have already faced the consequences, as you know very well.
Thank you for your concern, but I beg you to please stop worrying about me. I will try to fulfill what Sirius would have wanted me to do, but it will take some time.
Harry sighed and re-read the letter. Remus was right, it didn’t sound like himself and seemed almost overly glib and polite, but it was the best he could do at the moment. He didn’t want to write the letter according to how he was feeling at the moment—if he felt the need to take out his anger on someone, he knew exactly who and how. All he would need to do was walk down one flight of stairs.
Did that give him the right to lie, though? He knew he had been lied to many times over the past year, but he still felt uneasy when he lied to others. Truth was that he hadn’t been clearing his mind—but the dreams had stopped. Whether it was the wards, or that Voldemort was keeping a low profile, Harry didn’t know. He wouldn’t trust any of those dreams anymore, anyhow.
Harry signed his letter half-heartedly, and motioned for Hedwig. “Bring this to Professor Lupin,” he said softly. Hedwig hooted in answer, and Harry watched mournfully as she soared out the window, just below the dark gray clouds covering the sky.
Once she was gone, the images came back. Once again, he saw Sirius falling through the veil. Bellatrix’s haunting laughter as she watched her cousin die. Harry stumbled blindly to his bed and threw himself down, burying his head in his pillow.
It was no use. The scene of his godfather’s death played incessantly in his head. He contended to wring the thoughts out of his head, but his efforts were unproductive. Harry told himself endlessly to make himself appear calm on the exterior, but in truth he was struggling; fighting a losing battle to comport himself.
Harry could no longer combat the hurricane of emotions that he had kept inside. His refusal to involve anyone in his problems had finally come back to break him apart, inside then out. He took a deep breath to calm himself, but a shudder through his body was enough to let him know that he had failed to do so.
He let the tears fall.