The Boy Who Lived?

On my way to SoDak Con a few weeks ago, I pulled out my laptop and giggled like an idiot while I wrote this little fucked up gem. It’ll be read on EmEfferson’s show, Freddy’s Fan Fiction, tonight. To watch the hurt on people’s faces, you can follow @swami on Twitter for the link, head over to my +Govneh Sullivan G+ page and find “Matthew Frederickson” in my friends, or watch the YouTube page at http://YouTube.com/swamifred. Enjoy!

Harry stared at the dingy table before him, eyes unfocused. He didn’t see the roach basking in the flickering candle light, awed by the buffet before it. Dishes were stacked precariously about the table, containing food in various states of decay. The creature started with the freshest and figured he’d work his way down the line until the mold became almost too much for even his system, steering clear entirely of the oldest dishes on the far corner. The roach had watched a tentacle flick out of the bottom bowl moments before to nab a fly, and if whatever it was didn’t get him, the tarantula next to it was sure to.
But the wizard saw none of this. Even if he was aware of his forearms sticking to the grime coating the wooden table, he seemed not to care. Other than the heavy rise and fall of his chest, he didn’t move. His robe was stretched tight over a belly cultivated through years of butter beer and pub food, and it rasped as it pulled tight on Harry’s bulk with each breath. But other than the scurrying of pests around the tiny home, no other sounds permeated the stillness.
The lack of movement from Harry was contrasted by the turmoil in mind. For hours while he sat, he thought of the years since Hogwarts. Faces paraded before him, at first his friends but they all changed, oh yes. Everybody changed.
It was hard to pinpoint when they started hating him. Everything was grand while he was still on top but the moment it all started to crumble, did his “friends” stick by his side? Where they there when the Ministry handed him his resignation letter to sign? Did they offer any help when he was hauled in front of the Muggle courts, and later, their own courts? No, they didn’t even show up. He’d been acquitted, thank you very much, but they couldn’t get past what the papers said he’d done. Not that Harry himself remembered; the last thing he could recall before waking up in a jail cell was taking shots with some of the old Slytherin crew. At least they didn’t snub him.
It wasn’t his fault he drank so much anyway. Nobody else understood the pressure that came with the scar he bore. Between that and the abuses of his aunt and uncle in his childhood, it was only natural he’d look for a little liquid comfort now and again. If they’d been his friends to begin with they would have understood. As soon as the going got tough, however, they split and never looked back.
Ron had tried a few times after Ginny left and filed for divorce. He’d show up with some casserole and excuses from Hermoine: the baby was colicky, their oldest had given the cat wings again, their daughter’s owl had died. But every visit made Harry feel like Ron was just doing charity work. We’ll help you, he’d say, you just have to admit that you have a problem. We’re here for you, Harry. If we can beat Voldemort together, we can beat this.
Ron stopped visiting after Harry reminded him that he’d been the one to defeat Voldemort, actually, and Ron and Hermoine had just been tagalongs for all their school days. It wasn’t his fault Ron was fame-hungry.
They all seemed to mock him from their picture frames. Through the broken glass they smiled and waved on the mantle, all lies and forgotten oaths of friendship. He looked to them now, taking time to gaze at each picture in turn. The trio in front of Hogwarts their first year. He and Ginny on their first vacation together. Ron, Hermoine, and their son, smiling from the hospital bed and holding the infant’s arm up in a mock wave. There was one from his wedding day, Ginny wearing a flaming red dress while he and Ron stood waiting for her on the altar, dress robes painstakingly prepped and ironed by Mrs. Weasley. Harry with the Minister, shaking hands. The empty bottles of whiskey stuck in the space between each picture.
The cockroach scurried off when Harry suddenly stood up and screamed in anger. Grabbing bowls at random he hurled them at the mantle, at the pictures, trying to smash them into oblivion. When he to the last bowl, he cried out as the arm of whatever was in there reached out and stung him. Spent from his outburst, filled with impotent rage and sorrow, he dropped back down to his chair and sobbed. With one hand pressed to his scar, he begged the gods to make him important again. For fuck’s sake, he died to save everyone and here he sat, rotting in a hovel and drinking himself to death. That’s gratitude for you, he thought. What a fine thank-you, please to go fuck yourself.
That’s when he saw it – his wand, discarded and dusty, sticking out from under a stack of unread newspapers. His hands shook as he reached for it. It felt warm and welcoming as his fingers wrapped around its hilt, as if it forgave him for the years of neglect. The tears had stopped and he sat, snuffling through his runny nose, gazing at the chunk of wood. Loose hairs had started to poke from the tip and in the dimming candle light, they seemed to almost glow silver, seemingly unaffected by the same tarnish that marred the wood surrounding them. He nodded once, jaw set in a hard line, and wondered if they’d tickle the roof of his mouth.
Harry sat his wand down long enough to find a piece of paper and a quill. With surprisingly steady hands he wrote, “Harry Potter: The Boy Who You Forgot.” He sat it in the very center of the table and sat back to admire it.
For the first time since he’d died at Hogwarts, he felt at peace. When he wondered if he was making the right decision, he just glanced around his house. From the piles of dishes and empty bottles to the divorce papers waiting for his signature to the copy of Ginny’s sonogram Ron had brought him, he knew the world was better off without him.
This would show them. They’d be sorry they’d all abandoned and forgotten him. He could see tomorrow’s headline already: The Boy Who Lived No More.
For the first time in years, his mind was quiet. Harry Potter was troubled no more as he rested the tip of the wand against the roof of his mouth. As one final tear trailed from the corner of his eye, he whispered into the darkness, “Avada Kadavra.”

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