Dream Journal of Harry J Potter
This bunny ambushed me seven hours ago. Not betaed.
As I told you in the intro, not all of the dreams will be fun. This is not a happy, light dream.
I think this was at the end of my seventh year, but I'm not sure.
I was sitting at a table along the side of the Great Hall, chin propped in one hand, idly watching the party as my other hand toyed with the butterbeer bottle in front of me.
I should be celebrating. I should be happy. Why aren't I?
"Hey, mate, what's wrong with you? This is your victory party, Harry!"
I sighed. "Yeah."
Hermione and Ron exchanged a glance and sat down across from me.
"What's wrong, Harry?" Hermione asked quietly. Well, as quietly as possible considering the boisterous party going on around the large room.
"What now?" I asked them.
"What now what?" Ron asked with a confused look.
"What should I do now?" I asked. "I killed Voldemort. Fine. Hooray for me. Now what?"
Hermione and Ron exchanged a longer look.
Before they could come up with an answer, though, we were approached by Kingsley Shacklebolt. "Ish the man of the hour! Come on, Harry. Shtand up and give us a shpeech." Damn, Shacklebolt really knows how to tie one on!
I was about to politely decline when some of the other aurors in the room started calling for a speech. The chant was quickly taken up by the students.
Sighing, I bowed to the inevitable by standing and climbing onto the table. The chanting stopped as everyone turned to look at me. Here goes. "I've been volunteered to make a speech, it seems," I said in an ironic tone. A wave of chuckles (and giggles from the more inebriated witches) came back at me. "Let's do the obvious one first: Tom Riddle is finally dead!" A deafening roar came from everyone before the applause started. I smiled at them for as long as I could stand it before waving them all back down again. It eventually quieted so I could continue.
"I may have cast the last spell, but I certainly didn't fight alone." I smiled down at the two who had followed me from the beginning. "First I want to thank Ron and Hermione for their help over the years." Applause.
"The Order for the training, help, and comradeship." More applause.
I nodded toward the Minister. "The Ministry and its aurors." Louder applause.
"And last but certainly not least, Hogwarts staff and students for introducing me to this world and helping me get started here." The loudest applause yet. Of course with more Hogwarts students in the room than the others, that only made sense.
When it all calmed down again, someone towards the back shouted, "So what're you going to do next?"
How ironic. The same question I just asked Ron and Hermione. "I don't know, actually. Anyone have any suggestions?"
Ron spoke first. "Play seeker for the Cannons!" I was not the only one to laugh. "What? It's a good suggestion," Ron objected.
"Go to Disney World!" Dean suggested. A double handful of people in the room laughed. All the pureblood magicians simply looked confused. Dean just waved them off. "Sorry, muggle joke."
Percy Weasley was standing near the knot of Ministry officials. "You could come to work for the Ministry of Magic."
I managed not to scowl at him. "I'll think about it, Percy, thank you."
"Bag every bird that you see," Seamus suggested with a heavier Irish accent than usual. He raised a shot glass to me in toast and gave an exaggerated wink. Most of the younger males in the room laughed.
"Come teach Defense." Headmistress McGonagall, composed as ever but with a glass of something clenched in one hand.
"Become an auror." Tonks, leaning heavily on Remus Lupin.
"Become a reporter," Luna Lovegood said. She shrugged at Ron's incredulous look. "What? It's a good job."
"Thanks for the suggestions," I said to the audience with a smile. "I'll think about them. Meanwhile, why am I up here talking to you while there's a party we could be having instead?" This generated another roar of approval from the crowd just before a set of W.W.W. fireworks ignited overhead.
I was just climbing down from the table when Parvati appeared from the crowd. Moving close to my ear so that she could be heard, she said, "Owl me when things calm down. I'll take you out for dinner." She snuck a quick kiss below my ear that raised goose bumps. "Chirp, chirp," she breathed into my ear.
Before I could react, she'd moved off, melting back into the crowd.
It took me several stunned seconds to connect what she'd said to Seamus's earlier comment.
Hermione was giving me a wry smile. "Subtle, she isn't," was her only comment on her roommate. "Harry, you could do anything you want. Run for Minister, professional quidditch, lobby to free the house-elves, whatever."
Mad-Eye thumped up to us. "Lass, nobody else has had the balls to tell you this, but your cause is futile." He went on, ignoring her darkening expression. "The problem has at least two parts. First, getting the witches and wizards to accept the possibility is hard enough, but I'll grant you would be worth the effort. The harder part, the impossible part, is the elves themselves. Have you ever even bothered to ask what they want?" Hermione opened her mouth to retort, but closed it again without saying anything. Moody nodded. "Didn't think so. Take the lesson to heart, lassie. Make sure someone wants the help before you try."
She huffed at him and stomped off, dragging a protesting Ron behind her.
Moody dropped onto the bench beside me. "Mind if I sit?"
I grinned at the gruff old auror. "Not at all, Mad-Eye."
"Came over here for a reason. Got sidetracked by Granger, but that's neither here nor there." He raised his hip flask in toast. "Thanks, Potter." I retrieved my butterbeer and tapped his flask.
We sat in comfortable silence for a moment, just watching the party going on around us. I absently made a mental note to stay away from the refreshments. George was sulking around that corner of the room.
"How're you doing, lad?" Moody asked me not unkindly.
I opened my mouth to answer, but he waved a hand. "Not physically. I can see you're fine, so don't bother sayin' it. I mean up here." He tapped his temple.
I sat quietly, searching myself for a moment. "Not too bad," I finally said.
"Guilt hasn't hit?"
"Why would I feel guilty for killing him of all people?" I asked.
"Because you're a human being."
I nodded, understanding what he said as well as what he didn't. "I've known this was coming for years. I'll be okay."
He accepted that answer at face value. "Those twin terrors of Molly's will be the death of me," Moody grumbled instead.
I just laughed.
He grunted, apparently seeing the humor of the situation himself. "Anyway, I heard what you said a minute ago. I don't know if anyone's asked you this question, but what would you like to do?"
Now there's a novel idea. How about asking Harry what he wants to do. I sighed. "In the long run? No idea."
He nodded. "Not surprising. Happens to a lot of soldiers just after the war is over. Give it some time and you'll find something to do with yourself. Take Minerva's suggestion, maybe. Heard you were good at teaching the D.A. a couple years back. You can teach these young innocents how to survive. Don't have to decide that right now, though. My question actually was what you wanted to do right now."
"I'm at a party that they're throwing for me, and you're asking what I want to do for the next hour?" The words should have been sarcastic, but somehow they came out neutral instead.
He snorted derisively. "You're no more happy to be here than I am, Potter. Being here is for their benefit," he waved at the partygoers.
I was not surprised that he knew and understood. "You heard me ask for suggestions. Do you have any?"
He shrugged. "Many. Depends on what you're after. You could go over to that Finnegan lad and you two could go bar crawling. Find that Patil girl and take her up on her offer. All sorts of things you could do, Potter. The question is: What do you want?"
"I don't know." I sat back and thought about it. If I could do absolutely anything right now, what would it be? The answer came after a minute of thought. It was surprising what it was, but maybe it shouldn't have been. "I want to see Sirius again. I want to see my parents."
He pulled his wand out and cast a Privacy Sphere around us before settling back comfortably and giving a nod. "Now we're getting somewhere. There is a way to do that, lad. If you are serious about it, I won't stop you, and in fact I'll help."
"You have to die. I'll help you make it as quick and painless as possible if you want to do it.."
One eyebrow tried to crawl off my face. In truth, the thought had occurred to me, though not in quite these terms or for this reason. "I'm surprised you're even talking with me about something like this. You'd actually let me?"
"Aye. Suicide is legal in the wizarding world. After everything you've been through, I for one wouldn't blame you if you wanted to take that way out."
"I'm surprised you aren't trying to talk me out of even thinking about it."
He shrugged. "I've thought it often enough, myself. It'd be hypocritical of me to yell at you for the same thing, wouldn't it? One thing to think about, though. If you're gone, who protects them?"
He waved an arm to indicate the people on the other side of the Privacy Sphere. "Them. Everyone. In one sense, we're the same, Potter. We sacrifice ourselves for them. If you want some advice from an old war-horse: Don't do it anymore. It isn't worth it in the long run."
I frowned at him. "But -"
"Oh, it needs to be done. No doubt about that. But . . . the price I've paid is too high. I'm not talking about the eye or the leg, though those are the obvious ones. No, it's deeper than that. My heart and maybe my soul have been damaged by this. Maybe even destroyed." He gave a careless shrug before taking a hit off of his flask. "I'm too old to change, Potter. I just hope I go out fighting before being put out to pasture. You, though, you're different. You could easily become the next Mad-Eye, so to speak, if you let yourself. You'll keep fighting so long as there's someone to fight. Don't do it, though. You're too good a man to get caught in the trap I'm in. Yes, fight for them when you must, but don't let it consume you." He paused, his good eye staring off into space. When he continued, his voice was softer than I'd ever heard it. "Find someone. Settle down. Become an auror if you must, but don't follow the path I'm on." He took another drink and his eye focused again. When he spoke, his voice came back to the gruff tone I was used to hearing from him. "You got me sidetracked. Must be losing my focus. Bad habit, that. Anyway, yes, if you want to see your parents again I can help. Let me know." Without another word, he waved his wand to bring down the Privacy Sphere and then stomped off toward the doors.
I was still staring after him when Remus sat down in the place Moody had just vacated. "You okay, Harry?"
"Hmm? Oh, yeah. I'm good."
Remus subjected me to a long scrutiny, apparently looking for something.
I rolled my eyes at him. He was too damn protective of me. It was touching but funny considering the circumstances. "Where's Tonks?"
He waved vaguely toward where the aurors where more-or-less congregated. "An auror friend of hers found us. The two of them were well on their way to getting giggly-drunk together. I came looking for you instead of staying for that." He searched my eyes again. "What'd you and Moody talk about?"
"He just gave me some advice."
Moony nodded acceptance. "So, have you decided what you want to do?"
I took a moment to answer, but it hadn't changed much from what I'd told Moody. "I want to talk to Mum, Dad, and Sirius."
Remus stood up. "Let's go, then."
I blinked up at him in surprise. "Where're we going?"
"I think it's past time you found out where James and Lily were buried."
I seriously considered not posting this thing at all. It's not the kind of thing I usually read (or write), but the muse hijacked me.