Change of Heart

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Lover of the Light

Chapter Thirteen: Change of Heart

Being a boy was never easy. No, scratch that. Being Harry Potter was never easy. That title always came with the expectation to do something for the greater good, to always have the intention of fighting evils so others could be at peace and in harmony. Sure, that was great and all, not to mention he was a dire advocate for it, fought a damn war for it, but sometimes Harry Potter just wanted to be a complete shameless, destructive, selfish bastard.

The problem was he didn't know how to fully act on those self-centered desires.

It was all because of the Weasleys, really.

Harry had been in the Burrow two weeks after the war came to a concluding end. He had been staying at Grimmauld Place, no one but Kreacher as company for almost fourteen days as they both lived in the dark and silence. The windows had not been allowed to be opened so no owl could bring any word from the outside world. One day, however, the patriarch of the Weasley family had come into the ancient and dusty Noble House of Black in his usual quiet, soft demeanor, but with determination in his kind eyes. He didn't bother with small talk, not even when Harry had clung to it; Mister Weasley just demanded to know when he was going to pack his belongings and head to the Burrow.

'I can't,' he had said to the man in a blank tone. He remembered feeling tired, not physically anymore, just mentally. He couldn't do it, couldn't face them all. That's why he hid. He told Mister Weasley exactly that. 'You need space to grieve. I'd just be intruding even more.'

'Nonsense,' Mister Weasley had retorted with a scolding look. He never wore one; Harry never remembered the man taking on the role of hard parent. But then again, nothing was the same since the end of war. People were different. 'Molly prepared Percy's old room for you. She's expecting you tonight by dinner, Harry. Your belongings and all. There will be no further discussion about this.'

He wanted to stay in Grimmuald Place until the world outside wasn't destroyed or until it didn't hurt to be alive anymore. He wanted to stay there, locked in Sirius' old bedroom, looking through old photographs of those he'd lost. He wanted to stay in Grimmauld Place alone, secluded, with no one as company but an old house-elf and the always alluring bottle of Firewhiskey. He wanted to stay there and never interact with the people he tore apart.

Seven minutes to eight—that's the time he remembers seeing on the clock the night he entered through the backdoor of the Weasley home. The first person he saw had been George; it had nearly made him want to turn on his heels and walk away with the intention of staying gone forever. Looking at George had been excruciating. The redhead had stared back, first a little surprised and then neutral as he nodded.

'We've been waiting for you,' he had said in a voice that was not amused, not teasing, not George at all. 'Good thing you're here, Mum was about to go looking for you.'

He had wanted to turn, look away from George, run far away. He had wanted to go back and hide in Grimmuald Place, hide underneath a rock, disappear forever, but George had marched over and taken his trunk from his grasp. Harry hadn't missed the half-dead glint to his brown eyes as he led him to the living room. It had intensified his guilt by a hundred.

That night he returned to the Burrow he politely declined Percy's room and asked to bunk with Ron instead. His best friend had not minded, 'just like the good ol' days' he had said in a natural manner, and Harry had been a fool to believe that being around Ron might make everything feel better. Ron thrashed about his sheets that night, crying and screaming and calling for help, calling for Fred.

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