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Look at the Fire and Think of Me

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It was a stifling hot night. 

An uncomfortable sticky sort of heat, thick and heavy on her skin as the moon shone brightly in the night sky.

She threw herself on the bed, snuggling face first into the fluffy perfection of her pillows, not bothering to wrap herself in silk sheets.

The night was calm and somewhere deep in Grimmauld Place a clock softly chimed the hour.

Harry sighed, truly content for the first time since the war and just let herself drift off into an easy relaxed state, just on the cusp of sleep. When her bed suddenly dipped, an unknown weight settling in beside her, failing to elicit any type of response from her other than a sleepy huff. Her usual sharp senses felt nothing threatening from the strange presence. So, Harry ignored it, believing it to be nothing but a dream, and let herself burrow further into the soft feather mattress.

Inhaling deeply, she breathed in a refreshing cool and sharp scent—comforting and familiar. It reminded her of the cold air that enveloped her when she flew through clouds.

And then she was being gently rolled over onto her other side, a large hand reaching out and carefully gripping her waist, pulling her easily into a pleasant embrace.

Warm puffs of air fanned against her crimson curls and the light perspiration on her scarred brow tickled from the soft exhales. One of his hands came up to tuck a lock of crimson hair behind her ear, brushing her cheek gently. So tenderly and sweet, that it brought tears to Harry’s eyes.

“Sleep, Моя любов,” a soft and gentle, slightly accented voice breathed.

She didn’t recognize the voice. It was a man’s voice, of that Harry was certain, and she sighed contentedly, burying her nose into a hard chest, right in the spot where his heart was. The reassuring rhythm lulling her into a deeper sleep, the tension in her body fully melting away.

~0~

Harry groaned when an insistent knocking began at her door. She lifted her head, wincing against the pounding knocks, and smothered her face into her wet pillow.

“Harry! Harry!” The shrill voice of Lavender Brown called from outside her door. “Get out of bed, Harriet Hyacinth Potter!” Lavender demanded. “We have been waiting for you all morning!”

“Lavender, no!” Harry cried from underneath her pillow, her voice muffled by the duvet and pillow around her.

Harry!”

Harry screamed into her mattress before hurling herself out of bed. She quickly smoothed her hands through her wild hair and headed for the door.

She opened the door and Lavender marched right into her room, a determined stride in her steps as she headed straight toward her closet. The blonde menace pulled out a nice dress for Harry to wear and tossed it to her. The fellow Gryffindor even pulled out matching heels and nice costume jewelry.

“Lavender, I’m not go—"

“Hush, Harriet. We are going to have afternoon tea at the Fairy Circle whether you like it or not!” Lavender stomped, “You cannot be withering away in this place! Now put that on—” Lavender stopped suddenly, the pink scars that ran across her nose puckering a bit as her eyes crinkled in concern. “Oh, Harry, love…Were you crying last night, dear? Wait right here.” She said before spinning to the door and screeching, “Hermione! Ginny! Harry needs you!”

“Lav!”

 “Harry!” Hermione came in with her wand drawn, followed by Luna, Ginny, and the Patil twins. “What is it? What’s wrong?”

“Nothing is wrong, Hermione, I—”

“Well?” Hermione tuned to Lavender with an expectant look on her face, crossing her arms to her chest. Usually not having much patience for the fair-haired witch.

“She was crying…look at her eyes.”

“Oh, Harry.” Hermione breathed, rushing over to her childhood friend. The twins walked further into the room with Luna, and Ginny shut the door watching from a far as Hermione fussed over Harry.

“Have you not been sleeping well, Harry? Have you been taking your potions? Do you need—”

“I’m fine!” More than fine, actually. She hadn’t slept that well in a long time, Harry distantly thought.

“Then why haven’t you been coming out for our ladies’ night?” Ginny asked. “You don’t come out anymore and just stay inside…just reading…all by yourself.”

“That’s not very healthy.” Padma quietly murmured.

“Padma’s right, Harry. You have to go out and get some air.” Parvati said.

Harry said nothing, keeping her attention on a stack of books on the floor. She knew all the girls were exchanging nervous and concerned glances with one another.

It was true. It had been roughly a month since she had last stepped out from Grimmauld Place. Harry had practically become a hermit. Politely declining all dinner parties, social gatherings, and brushing off most her friends’ attempts to get her outside her little flat.

She loved them dearly, but she needed time…needed the space, to come to terms with all the consequences the war had brought her.

The war had changed Harry, and she meant that in very single way possible.

Her sleep was usually riddled with nightmares, and she spent most days wondering her flat almost melancholic. Her appearance was different and there was a strange pulsating warmth that itched beneath her skin. And a deathly cold chill that had settled into the Core of her magic.

Harry’s disposition darkened as she suddenly glanced at the Hallows stacked on dresser. Blaming the artifacts entirely for the changes. 

She had attempted to get rid of the Hallows, but they all came back to her in perfect pristine condition.

Unwilling to be separated from her.

A week after the war, Harry had gone to Ollivanders for a new wand. She had attempted to repair her original and most beloved holly and phoenix wand, but it simply would not mend back together. So, she went to the recently reopened Ollivanders and tried at least a dozen wands. None of them had smoked or sparked or felt right to her, and she had just begun to panic when Mr. Ollivander ceased her search.

“Ms. Potter,” he said, sounding tired and a bit sad, and Harry’s heart jolted as she looked up at silvery eyes that were so different from when she first met him. “I’m afraid to say that you cannot deny it.”

 “What?” Harry breathed, her voice catching in her throat as she felt the Elder Wand hum against her wand holster. “I’m not sure you what you mean, Mr. Ollivander?” Harry said, her lip quivering, the Elder Wand humming louder, as if indignant.

“You cannot deny your wand.” Mr. Ollivander said quietly, a knowing look in his eyes. “The wand chooses the witch, Ms. Potter.”

“It’s not mine though! I don’t want—”

The Elder Wand buzzed angrily, the shop lights dimming all of a sudden, making the shadows grow darker.

“I don’t think it quite agrees with you, Ms. Potter.” Mr. Ollivander said, then snorted and added with a wry grin, “And by that little display I’m positive that it’s not willing to share you. There isn’t wand here that would dare match with you, I think.”

Harry left Ollivanders shaken and positively scared. All the while, the wand in her holster sang triumphantly the farther she got from the wand shop.

So, she spent her days reading and researching the Hallows, choosing to recluse herself in Grimmauld Place.

Although, it had made no difference. Every time she got rid of the Hallows they came back. Until she simply gave up. The Elder Wand smug--the most sentient of the artifacts.

But what frightened her the most was her magic. It had changed and was horrifyingly stronger than it had originally been. A simple cast of lumos with the Elder Wand would lit  Grimmauld Place entirely. But that wasn’t all, if she wasn’t careful with her temper, powerful orange Flames would burst from her hands in an odd fit of accidental magic.

It wasn’t just her magic that was changing though, but her body too.

Harry was used to being able to see the lines of her ribs, the sharp cut of her hipbones, and light sunken look of her cheeks. She had always been thin, having suffered from malnutrition in her early childhood, but now, she looked—healthier. Her pale sometimes sickly-looking skin (that got significantly worse after a year of Horcrux hunting) was now a tan peach. Mangled dull red hair were a riot of silky-smooth curls of carmine. Her figure full and curvy.

She had never looked better, to be honest. And this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, not really, but after the war Harry just wanted a simple life.

She was tired of fighting. Tired of being the heroine, the scapegoat, the martyr.

Harry just wanted a peaceful and ordinarily boring life…and she needed time…space to figure out what was happening to her, and she couldn’t do that with everyone’s eyes on her.

“Harry,” Hermione anxiously said, interrupting her thoughts. “Are you sure you’re alight?”

 Harry closed her eyes, summoning a smile from somewhere as she looked up at her friends. “Of course, I’m alight. Let’s go to the Fairy Circle.”

~0~

“Thank you,” said Harry as the hostess finished serving tea. After the young hostess had curtsied and left their table, Harry picked up her tea, took a sip, and then set the charming red and white porcelain cup and saucer on the table.

The Fairy Circle was an exclusive Tea Room and Croquet Lawn, located in a forest outside of Dublin under the shimmering mists of a large waterfall. Harry’s table was partly underneath a thousand-year-old tree near the glistening pool of the waterfall.

It was just Luna and her at the table. The other girls having gone, after Ginny dragged them off to play a game of Wizard Croquet.

“Harry,” Luna’s large, silvery blue eyes were on her, the pale blonde’s gaze quickly unnerving the red haired witch. “You’re leaving soon, aren’t you?”

“What?” Harry spluttered on her tea, “I’m not going anywhere, Luna. Where did you get that idea from?”

“Of course, you’re leaving, Harry.” Luna replied, a small dreamy smile on her lips. “How else are you going to find him?”

“Find who?” Harry asked, feeling the faint thrum of the Hallows in her Core, and something else deep within her suddenly perk up in interest.

“Your Soulmate, silly!” Her silvery eyes dancing with mirth as Harry coughed from the tea she had been sipping.

Harry laughed, “Soulmates don’t exist, Luna!”

Luna continued undeterred, “Nonsense, he was with you last night, wasn’t he?” The blonde witch said thoughtfully, turning her head to the side.

Harry stilled, Luna’s eyes seeing more than she was letting on. Harry had known since Fifth year never to ignore anything Luna said, and at that moment those eyes, smoke-silver blue eyes were staring at her with a knowing glint.

“Lu—”

“What did we miss?” Parvati asked, returning to the table with the other girls.

Luna smiled, and picked up her tea, sipping it daintily. “Wrackspurts. Harry seems infested with them.”

Luna’s response made most of the girls roll their eyes and laugh, while Harry raised a dark delicate brow at the Ravenclaw.

“I have an announcement to make,” Lavender said suddenly, her voice brimming with an excitement that seeped from every word she spoke. “I simply can’t hold it in anymore.” She pointed to Ginny. “Drum roll, please.” And the Weasley drummed her fingers on the edge of a chair.

“Girls, I’m getting married!”

The table erupted in cheers.

“Who’s the lucky groom?” Padma asked, looking at Hermione who appeared slightly relieved by the statement.

Lavender sighed happily, sinking into her seat, her cheeks flushing pink, a small bashful smile on her lips. “Blaise Zabini. My Zabini-boo.”

“Zabini-boo.” Hermione snorted.

“Morgana’s tits!” Ginny exclaimed, her shout luckily drowning out Hermione’s snort, “Blaise Zabini! Slytherin playboy Zabini? That Zabini?”

Lavender’s eyebrows scrunched, the scar on her nose wrinkling. “Yes, that Zabini. Who else would I be speaking of?”

Parvati whistled and Padma grinned. “Merlin, Lav. How did you manage that?”

 “What do you mean?” The blonde witch in question narrowed her eyes at Padma, but before she could say anything else Parvati interrupted her. “What she meant is, how did you two meet?”

The blonde witch brightened and animatedly began retelling the tale of how Blaise and she met.

And what a tale it was.

There was a pub, a dare, and a favor. A fake relationship that turned into a real one. A grand declaration of love in the rain. A proposal at the Zabini’s garden party. Outrage from both the Brown and Zabini families.

Duels had occurred.

Threats of disownment had been said.

And ultimately, there had been weary acceptance by both of the families.

Harry was genuinely happy for the blonde witch. She deserved a happy ending. Lavender had lost so much from war. Barely surviving Greyback’s torture that left too many scars from the encounter. Her bright and silly personality having dimmed after she awoke to scarred skin. She had heard that the blonde had tried all sorts of charms to glamour it. But now, Lavender seemed happy, and completely un-bothered by the fact that it was un-glamoured. As if she was finally comfortable in her own skin.

“Well, I better get going.” Lavender said, scraping her chair back, and standing. “ I promised Blaise I would be back in time for dinner. We have a date tonight.” She finished with a squeal. 

“Alright, Lady Zabini.” Ginny laughed with a curtsy. “Let’s get you home before your Zabini-boo comes looking for you.”

The women left the Tea Room and began to walk to the apparition point. One by one they left, saying their goodbyes and making promises to meet one another soon, until it was just Luna and Harry once more.

“Death needs Life as much as Life needs Death. There cannot be a balance without the other.” Luna said, a hand on Harry’s shoulder. The Ravenclaw’s eyes staring into Harry’s as though trying to pass on a message. “The union between Life and Death has been foretold and most awaited by Above and Below.” Luna continued, ignoring Harry’s paling features, and shaking form. “Forged in Flames in a lovely Harmony of two Elements it makes up the song of the Universe.” The Ravenclaw smiled and apparated without another word, leaving Harry standing there with her heart in her throat, and an uneasy feeling in her stomach.

~0~

It was night…no, not night, it was day, but the sky was so dark and blackened with clouds that it appeared to be night. It was a deep haunting color…what should have been a light blue sky was now darkened by billowing clouds of smoke rising into the murky sky. Everything was burning around them, the acrid smell of death and magic mingling together. The air was filled with colorful gusts of hexes and curses as witches and wizards fought and shouted and screamed.

It was absolute chaos.

Harry shrieked, diving to the side as an Avada Kedavra shot past her, gasping at how close the curse had come to striking her. She thrusted the stolen wand in hand and turned, firing back at the Death Eater that had tried to kill her. Harry’s jaw clenched, and she bared her teeth in a savage sneer when she saw the Death Eater flying backwards from the explosion she had caused.

Harry was about to turn on her heel when she was sent flying forward from a nearby explosion. She fell onto the ground with an agonized shout, rubble and rocks piercing through flesh and fabric. The air shrieked around her, and she felt the sensation of something warm running down her face into her eyes. Harry gagged, swallowing a desperate and wild shout burning to get out of her throat as her vision filled with red.

Something hooked under her shoulder and she cried a warbled gasp when was flipped onto her back. Her closed eyes opening wide when she saw red poisonous eyes staring at her. His wand rose, waving it in the air, a green light rushing toward her before bright fiery orange Flames overtook her vision.

Harry jerked, her breaths coming in panicked huffs, her chest hurting with every breath. She couldn’t stop her chest heaving. She couldn’t stop the blinding salty tears and the images of death and war from her mind.

“Shhhhhh.” A deep voice rumbled in her ear and she stilled abruptly. “It was just a dream. It’s alright. You’re safe.”

Harry sniffled.

She recognized the voice. It was the same one from the night before. Harry shook, and she felt his arms tightened around her.

“It’s alright,” he soothed her, kissing her hair and tenderly dragging fingertips down her arm. “You’re safe, I promise…it a was just a dream, Моя любов.

She cried ugly little hiccupping sobs, her tears soaking the soft light material of the man’s shirt. He rocked her gently, “I’m here…It’s alright.” He whispered, and she felt a kiss on her bare shoulder. Harry’s trembling finger gripped his shirt and he held murmuring gently into her hair. “Моя любов,” he murmured softly, fingernails caressing her hair.

Slowly blinking away the tears, she tilted her head up until she met lovely lilac eyes. He was a handsome man. From a quick glance, Harry could tell that the man was tall and fit with tousled violet hair. But it was not his tall figure that had Harry fascinated. No. Instead, it was his beautifully defined lips and the soft wisteria hue that colored his eyes that called to her.

The man grinned, and she gasped, breathless at the sight. Harry couldn’t help but reach out and stroke her thumb down his cheek. A dizzying cool sensation pulsating between them. Her thumb brushed his lips and they are as soft under the pad of Harry’s thumb. He kissed her thumb, delicate and sweet, his lips curling into a lazily grin as he caused her to blush from the alluring image. And he was so close that her chest was flushed against his, their breaths mingling together.

“Who—who are you?”

He laughed, a warm, deep chuckle that set butterflies off in her stomach. The man leaned over her, his dark purple hair brushing against her face and neck, before planting a hot kiss at the base of her throat.

Harry’s heart stopped, inhaling sharply as her body started to burn. She shivered and felt his nose trace up the side of her neck before he placed his lips near her ear.

“Come find me when you wake up, Harry.”