- Story Summary:
- The first things he sees are the scars.
Scars were the first things Harry noticed when he walked into the raucous room. The moment he did so, quiet settled upon the population like a heavy quilt. It muffled their voices and quickly smothered them, forcing them to be silent. Harry tried to smile. His face moved in awkward motions, instead turning into a grimace. Faces were missing. And any face which was present here was drawn in and gaunt. Their eyes were still scared and tired; they hadn't recovered from any ordeals yet. Still, Harry knew that it had been even worse the month before- something hard to imagine when one surveyed the state now. He knew the wounds from the Final Battle were still being nursed, but they were slowly closing.
All this pain had started in September. At that particular point sides had secretly been chosen. It was obvious with some- Minerva McGonagall would never betray Albus, even in memory- but it was a subtle trial. The Wizarding community had obviously been in great turmoil. Diagon Alley was suddenly deserted, but Knockturn Alley's population had abruptly doubled. Harry closed his eyes at these thoughts. The Ministry Aurors had been cruel. They'd blast open doors with powerful spells and capture the innocent futilely. Harry willed this memory to fade away, rather like the flowers that had once grown proudly at number 4 Privet Drive.
Harry looked around the still room, trying to appear proud of his side, his friends. Oddly though, this look was greatly marred by the thoughts of the Dursleys. It was painful for some reason, a reason which he could obtain from his mind. The moment of death had been quick. Draco Malfoy had used the curse, Avada Kerdava, upon the two males- Dudley and Vernon. Harry had made the rapid decision to Apparate instead of try and save them all; something he had figured would not be the best choice. He had begun to do this when he heard a cold and sneering voice, much like Lucius'.
"Where is he, Dursley? Where're you hiding him?" Harry had heard the hard weeping, the racking sobs, and so he imagined the scene clearly within his mind. Lucius- no, Draco- would hold his wand against Petunia's throat. Harry began to Apparate again. If he did not move now, he would be lost. Petunia's next words would be: "Upstairs, in the smallest bedroom." She would die anyway, for Death Eaters did not spare Muggles. Now there was no point staying. But the expected words had never come. Instead he had heard,
The annoyance in Draco's voice had been clear, "Who would you think you filthy woman? Potter, of course! Harry Potter." Harry's name had been said in a growl from behind clenched teeth.
"Why would I know where that wretched boy is? He's probably left for your precious Ministry by now!" Petunia whispered fiercely. Now Harry could not help but walk soundlessly to the door of his room- his escape route- and peer out. Petunia's entire body was pressed against the bare white wall. Draco, even taller now, was directly in front of her, close enough to kill in a second. Though behind him, Petunia's eyes were searching above his shoulder. Harry had seen her eyes swimming with tears as she glanced at her son and husband. Suddenly she had snapped her neck up towards Harry. Their eyes met for one of the first times in years. Her eyes had hardened then, courage filling them. Harry had seen her lips move as she had silently told him,
"Go on, Harry. Leave, now..."
He had left, something that would haunt him forever- another scar upon his heart-, but the words had circled him and warmed him. It was as if for once in his life he had been told that she loved him. And the scar on his heart for his beloved mother burned hotter and stronger, for his aunt had just performed the same action that Lily Potter had so many years ago.
Harry shook his head, prompting the memory to slowly let its grip slip from his mind and heart. He looked up again at them all, they were standing there, waiting for him to say something. Anything would be fine, as long as it was something. After all, they had won the war, and as their leader they looked to him. He cleared his throat,
"First of all...well, I want to say thank you. I want to say thank you because I know, I know that you've done so much to fight with me. I know that you've lost people. No, not people. Your loved ones- your friends and your family."
Harry heard a sniffle come from the front row of people. He looked up and saw Molly Weasley. Harry bit his lip slightly. He was not being insensitive. Actually, on all accounts he was doing his best to touch subjects lightly. But Molly had lost so much.
Harry saw Ron standing next to Arthur and Molly. Ginny was on their other side, older and more tired. The four moved slightly closer and Harry saw Hermione look slightly saddened also. Her parents had been killed almost immediately, around the same time as the Dursleys. Harry's heart began to clench and he almost came forward to hug her. Then he saw Fred striding forward, twin-less. His gait was different now, as if not having his brother had lessened him in some way. Of course, it had.
Fred took Hermione's hand it a brotherly manner and pulled her into the slew of red hair. She was a sharp contrast against them all, so different she was. Ron stepped away from his mother and grasped Hermione's hand tightly. Hermione kissed Ron's cheek and Molly turned and smiled her. Harry nodded at them, approving their choices to be a family then. They all needed each other. They had to fill the voids of Percy and George if they could. Those voids would create the deepest scars upon their hearts.
"And now," Harry continued, "I'd like to congratulate you. You've all done the best job you could. And we...we won. We made it through this. We sacrificed parts of ourselves for our friends and this side. We've been doing so for a long time. But we made it through that, and we survived." Slowly, Harry brought his hands together into a slow clap. A few followed the beginning and then a thunderous applause filled the room.
Harry looked at them all as his hands continued moving. Other people were doing the same as him, talking or watching while their hands moved to the steady rhythm. Many were whispering together. Harry's green orbs hit a large moving man: Hagrid. He was slowly weaving in and out of people. Harry tried to catch his eye as he had done so many times in the Great Hall, but this time Hagrid's eyes were locked onto another pair. They were Minerva McGonagall's.
Harry turned slightly to watch her. Minerva's face was turned slightly to the ground, and Harry saw that amazingly, she was blushing. Harry stared at her, knowing that she held many, many scars too. His gaze traveled to her chest, knowing that pain had been present there once. He guessed that there were many long and angry marks there, symbolizing four stunners. She had done it for Hagrid. And he was coming to thank her. This was obvious.
Harry knew he shouldn't watch private moments like this, but he did. Hagrid had come to stand right in front of Minerva. She looked up at him and smiled slightly. Hagrid bent down to her ear. Harry did not strain to see his lips. He knew that it would just be a thank you and anything else would be private, not for him to know. After all, no one had pried about the defeat of Voldemort. Why should he not present them the same courtesy?
He turned away for a moment and then turned back. He could see from the side of his eye that Hagrid had not left his position. They were hugging and she was crying. It was a friendly hug, but her crying was open and real. Harry frowned staring harder. Hagrid suddenly looked up, rather like the way that Petunia had in September. He seemed to understand Harry's confusion. Hagrid touched his hand to his heart and Harry abruptly understood.
After Albus' death, Minerva had stood strong and been one of the leaders of the Order of the Phoenix. She had never broken loose. But it had been a shatter to her, to her heart once again. Albus and Minerva had had a closeness that perhaps others had not. Her shock had been slow coming. But when it had reached its peak, she had had to lick the wounds like a dog.
Harry turned away now; he knew that this was enough spying. He saw in another corner Bill. Surprised that he was not with the entire Weasley family, he watched. There in the shadows he spotted the Fleur. They were huddled together, their bodies touching together in a non-sensual way. It was more for comfort than anything, Harry realized.
Fleur was softly touching his face now, tracing the long scars upon his face. Her lips moved and this time Harry tried to understand.
"Bill. Oh, Bill..." Harry saw her expression as she said this and he knew that she was grieving over him. He knew that it was not anguish over his handsomeness, but just the fact that he had lost so much. Bill grasped her hand.
"Fleur. I did this for us, you know. For everyone. And it worked. We're here and together. The pain and everything...that's easy to deal with."
Harry turned away. Everything which he had seen, all the scars which he had noticed were so excruciating. Suddenly he wasn't the only one with the scar and he didn't know what to say, what to do.
He spoke, "That's all I can say to you. Thank you and congratulations..." He felt overwhelmed, he couldn't speak anymore. All he wanted was to sleep. Sleep for a thousand years. He wanted to forget this, forget all of it. He didn't want this anymore. Harry couldn't be the doctor, the doctor of pain. He had his own scars to deal with.