Penname: GHL [Contact - ]
Member Since: 2014.01.08
Last Login: 2020.07.11
Well, yes and no. Self-reliance had gotten Harry through plenty of danger and hardship before. He'd felt stretched, stricken and sometimes even afraid, but he'd kept his will and wits, and somehow always steered himself clear... until this summer.
Harry was just now learning that self-reliance is only as good as self-awareness... both of which had recently let him down.
The entire stretch since the Tri-Wizard Tournament had been a ghastly ordeal. Yet, through most of it, he'd been largely unaware just how truly awful things were; unaware he was fighting (and mostly losing to) his most insidious foe ever. The foe clouded his mind, strangled his will, and very nearly quenched any chance he had for surviving and prevailing in the battle with darkness.
His foe was despair.
Thinking back, it had been like endlessly circling Dementors, harrying him long before he'd stepped into that underpass, and persisting long after. His desperate gasp of defiance had expelled the real Dementors, but he'd been too weary and weak to beat back the despair. Its wreaking stench had soaked his very soul, following him even here.
By the time he'd arrived at Grimmauld Place, he'd been too fogged to sense the chasm spreading beneath him. He'd reached the very brink.
Then Ginny had 'happened'.
Life had resumed that night he'd lifted her from her bedroom floor. Every moment since then – every chat and laugh; every incidental touch of her hand, had brought healing...
Harry stroked his chin.
Was he still healing? Was that why he instinctively still leaned on her? Like a trauma patient taking those first uncertain steps up from a hospital bed?
Was that okay?
Harry sighed. Coming to grips with a valid reason for missing her, he admitted that he did sincerely wish she was seated in that chair right now. Chatting and smiling. Drinking her tea. Glancing over in concern at the breakfast that was-
“Burning!” Harry yanked the pan from the stove. Grumbling, he scraped the charred mess onto an old plate, scowled angrily, and resolved to get his ruddy head together.
With fresh rashers and newly cracked eggs, Harry's breakfast efforts began anew... the same way Ginny had given his near-scorched life another run. Hopefully there'd still be time to still set it right.
Of course, resolving to not burn another pan of food was nothing compared to the greater matters he needed to 'set right'.
How should he prepare for the final showdown?
Harry knew none of that, but at least he had just processed a crucial first lesson – the lesson of 'never again'.
Never again anguish endlessly over the past, or there will be no future. Never again forsake the joys of the present, or there would be nothing to fight for.
Harry nodded, pleased with the wise-sounding thought. Pleased enough that he wanted to share it with someone – the one person he felt comfortable telling such things to. Now, if only she-
“Good morning, Harry.”
Harry's heart leapt... and fell. Trying to conceal his disappointment, he manufactured a smile. “G'morning Hermione.”
Hermione examined him carefully. “How are you this morning?”
Her tone had nothing to do with small talk. Harry looked away for a moment, weighing the relative merits of lying.
Lacking the energy to hold a smokescreen over a friend with x-ray vision, he opted for bluntness. “I'm actually feeling rather crappy, thank you. No, I do not feel like talking about it. And, to blatantly change the subject, how would you like your sodding eggs?”
Hermione shot him a look, then softened. Then she burst out laughing.
“What?!” Harry's left eyebrow shot up past his fringe.
“Harry Potter is back.” She wore a distinctly un-Hermione-like smirk. “You should have seen the odd duck we've been stuck with the last few days!”
Ya. So, the problem is that the longer I spend away from my old stories, the better I see how they can be properly edited (witness the above segment from Splinters), but unfortunately SIYE database glitches have locked up the original stories so I can't edit chapter text. Yes, I know I'm an administrator, but even Tom Beach wasn't able to figure out the problem, so....
Anyway, a surprising number of people recently started reading the old stories (I blame the pandemic, but am still flattered), so I do think I'll push through on a judicious rewrite of Splinters, and will likely post it elsewhere. Once I figure out where, I'll add a link here.
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