Harry sighed. He knew he was depressed but frankly, he didn't care anymore. He glanced back to Hogwarts, there was no sense in returning there. He touched his arm. This year was a rough year, worse than his 2nd year, worse than his 4th year, even worse than his 5th year. He was tired of everyone believing they knew him, because of some stupid books, some lame prophecy, and even because he was in Gryffindor. He made it to the clearing in the Forbidden Forest, one he had found when he needed to escape from everyone.
He was expected to head back to the Dursley family in two days. He had tried to refuse but was again denied. Most of his so-called friends had been ignoring him since this was the year their soul-mate tattoos appeared and they found their soul mate. Harry knew who his soul mate was. He didn't want to think about that moment. He could hear the cold, cruel, laugh in his ears, every night for the past four months he had heard it. He wondered what Dumbledore was thinking of when he decided to have Valentine's Days revealing ceremony.
"Isn't it exciting?" Hermione gushed, as she snagged Ron's arm.
"Yes, just the word I would use." Harry muttered. Many of his year mates already were aware of who their soul mates were, some were like him, fearful of finding out who it was. Harry figured with his luck, it would be Malfoy, or worse, Voldemort.
He spent the next month listening to the matched couples make plans, while others like him, dreaded what was coming. When the night in question arrived, he slowly dressed in his new dress robes and made his way down to the common room.
Professor McGonagall was there and arranged the couples to lead out her Lions, Harry hid in the back. He was the last to enter the Great Hall. He began to feel sick. The Head Table had been pushed back against the wall, the house tables were also against the walls, decorated with white table clothes, red dinnerware, and pink flowers in heart-shaped vases. He was now officially sick, he shoved his hands into his robe pockets.
He didn't dance with anyone and managed to avoid being seen by most as he stayed in the shadows. He had tried to leave a few times, but Dumbledore had sealed the doors, until after the revealing ceremony. Harry watched his friends laughing. He was happy they were having a great time, they had never been the same after his fourth year, he couldn't call them his best friends any longer. He never went to the Burrow, and usually avoided the Order members as much as he could. He still resented being sent back to the Dursley family, but he wasn't old enough to be on his own.
"Yes, yes, all it's time. Now, we will have all those you have already found their soulmate come forward and be officially introduced, once that is over we will work down the list of those who have the mark."
Harry wasn't sure if anyone knew he had the mark, he certainly hadn't spoken to anyone about it, but judging from the look he was receiving from Dumbledore, the man knew he did. He wanted to curse the man to the moon and leave him there. He clapped politely as each couple was presented. He was actually surprised at how many were soul mates. The books made it appear rare, and that it was an honor to have one.
He let out a huff as Dumbledore now moved on to those who didn't know. He watched Malfoy get matched up with Astoria Greengrass, much to the annoyance of Pansy Parkinson and Daphne Greengrass. Harry had been watching the two girls trying to get Malfoy's attention. He snorted when Goyle and Crabbe were matched. He wasn't really surprised. He watched Neville and Luna become a couple, which he was happy about. Neville needed someone gentle like Luna. Luna needed someone supportive and caring like Neville. He knew he was going to be last, as he figured Dumbledore wanted to make a show out of his match. Most likely hoping it would be to Ginny Weasley. He couldn't stand the way the girl was always trying to hit on him.
"Harry Potter." Dumbledore announced.
Harry pushed off of the wall he had been leaning against and made his way up to where the Head Table normally was. Dumbledore had his wand out. "Harry, my boy, your sleeve."
Harry glared, but undid his cufflink on his left sleeve and rolled it up his left forearm. Soon the tattoo of a silver snake, wrapped around the bottom of a golden lightning bolt appeared. The snake was laying passive, while the lightning bolt seemed to be caressing the snake.
"Interesting. Who is your match?" Dumbledore waved his wand over the tattoo, projecting the image on the wall behind them, allowing everyone to see.
Harry watched the crowd, no one moved towards him, but from the side of the room. They heard laughter, which soon turned into a voice stating loudly, snarl and spitting the words of rejection. "No, I reject the bond." Harry and everyone knew that deep voice, everyone recognized the snarl that spit out the words that ended the ceremony.
Everyone gasped, Harry, however, wasn't surprised. He nodded his acceptance, rolled down his sleeve and began to walk back towards where he was standing earlier. He knew he was being talked about and he selected to ignore it. As soon as the doors opened, he left the Great Hall.
For the next few weeks, Harry had to endure Snape putting him down, laughing at him. Harry, however, just ignored him as well as everyone else. Time didn't make it better. He knew Snape had been called into Dumbledore's office because Snape attacked Harry the next day.
"Potter, how dare you?"
Harry looked surprised. He had no idea what the man was talking about. "Professor, perhaps if you can enlighten me as to what you are speaking about, I might be able to answer your accusation." Harry found that Snape had been right all along, words were important.
"You know exactly what I am referencing. I will not be forced to bond with someone like you. I don't know why I should be surprised, after all, you are just like your father. Arrogant, spoiled, and thinks that the world revolves around you."
"Believe what you will, I can't and won't change your mind. However, I have no idea what you mean. Have a pleasant day, Professor." Harry didn't even bother to wait for a response before he entered Flitwick's class. He knew if he had remained he would have ended up in detention.
Harry looked at the serene spot. He was tired, so tired, of everyone expecting him to do everything and anything they demanded of him. Tired of them bad mouthing him one day, hero-worshipping the next. Ever since that awful ceremony, people have been pitying him if they classified Harry as a friend, if they didn't, like Malfoy and his crew, making sure to remained Harry almost hourly how unlovable he was. He knew that he didn't need to have it tossed in his face every hour. He had known it for years.
He pulled out the flask he had been hiding for a few weeks. He had been carrying it around, trying to get the nerve up to actually do something with it. He had found the potion last year when he was trying to escape and have some alone time down in the Chamber. The potion was designed to give the drinker the courage to be true to himself and not worry about what everyone thought all the time. Harry wasn't naive enough to believe that he fell into that area. He worried too much about what people would think, would say, would believe about him. He had been working so hard to hide it this year, but he ended up more often than not, crying himself to sleep since that ceremony.
The potion was permanent. No cleansing ritual, purge, or even a potion cleanse would remove it. That is the part he was wary of. Did he want something so permanent? While it would solve a lot of his problems, it wouldn't solve the biggest ones. It wouldn't solve returning to the Dursley. It wouldn't solve Dumbledore always interfering in his life, well, some of it would be solved. It would solve dealing with the mess his life has become since the stupid ceremony that Dumbledore just had to arrange.
Maybe it would be better just to skip the potion and end it all here. No one would find him, so he wasn't worried about being saved. He thought for a few more minutes, trying to decide. He knew Dumbledore did that ceremony for a reason since they never had in the last few years he had been attending. He had to know Snape was his soul mate. He had been thinking about that question for a long time, it usually leads to more questions. He stopped that train of thought, as he usually went around and around.
He glanced again at the flask resting next to him. Maybe it was time to get some answers and change things to what he wanted. His soul mate already thought he was arrogant and the world revolved around him. Dumbledore, he knew, saw him a tool to get rid of Voldemort. The rest of the magical world did too. The Dursley thought of him as a slave, he would need to change that attitude. Yes, time to change things. Time to take control of his own life.
He picked up the flask and drank the potion. He screamed in pain and passed out.