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Harry Potter felt like two different people on even the best of days.

There was Lord Potter-Black, who was The-Boy-Who-Lived (twice), the hero of the Wizarding World, the Head of the Aurors, divorcee of the seeker for the Holyhead Harpies, Ginny Weasley, and the co-owner of Weasley Wizard Wheezes. Lord Potter-Black was praised for (most) all these things, seen walking around and smooth talking the masses at social parties with Lord Longbottom (and his wife Luna Longbottom nee. Lovegood), always having an answer for every question asked.

There was Harry- Harry, who had come back from the war with the sole intent of fixing his world the best he could. Who made the Potter Manor into a shelter for the people left in the aftermath of the war, who helped design products with George Weasley for the survivors who had PTSD, who had gotten married in his Auror uniform because he had come directly from breaking up a sex-trafficking ring.

Then there was Potter.

Just Potter, as that was all Draco Malfoy had ever called him and there was no need to ever change that. Potter, who sat with Narcissa, Draco, Andromeda, and Teddy once a week for dinner and enjoyed the little family they had left- as they were the last surviving people with Black blood.

Life was a series of duties, of appointments to fill, of masks to put on.

There were four different masks he wore, and personally he thought it worse than when he had been at war.

The fourth side of Harry was one that only Luna, Hermione, Neville, Draco, Narcissa, Andromeda knew about. They had been the ones who had stuck by his side when the fame of his Lordships had driven away Ron and corrupted Ginny. So in turn, they were the ones that knew about the Hallows. The Elder Wand that wouldn’t stay broken, the Resurrection Stone that would stay lost, and the Invisibility Cloak that wouldn’t stay destroyed.

The fourth side of Harry was that he was the Master of Death.

Unable to die.

It came in handy occasionally. A killing curse would clip him during a firefight and he’d feel dizzy but be able to keep fighting (though building up the tolerance for that curse was not a fun time), but as time went on he realized it was a curse within a boon.

If he died for good, like blood-drained out, body destroyed death- something irreversible- he’d find himself in that same white Kings Cross Station, but when he came back… his body would be that of the malnutritioned seventeen-year-old that had come back to life in the Forbidden Forest.

Eventually, tired of putting on glamors, Harry retired from the public eye and took up residence in Grimmauld Place.

He only held court with the people that knew his secret, and only went out into the public when he either was trying to get support for the orphanage he’d started or he was with his Godson.

 

Harry was sat in the sunroom of the Malfoy Manor, head on the knees that were pulled up to his chest. “What am I doing here?”

It wasn’t as much a question as a dejected mutter, but Hermione took it as one anyway.

Shifting her sleeping three year old son on her hip, she pointed at him angrily as if it would help get her point across more. “You tried to kill yourself Harry!” Her voice was a hissed whisper, mothering instincts kicking in even if her eyes were blazing with rage.

Neville had at least had the decency to have Luna watch their two twins at home while he sat on a nearby couch looking too tired for his own good. Though, as this had been Hermione’s house since she married Draco four years ago, he guessed he had no right to bring it up.

“I didn’t try ‘Mione.”

His heart had stopped beating, too much blood lost, hence his stick-like seventeen-year-old limbs.

There was a sigh from the second youngest (looking) person in the room, Teddy sporting only half his usual piercings and black hair, showing just how rattled by this whole situation he was. “Harry stop being a smart-aleck. The fact you even had a premeditated plan, much less carried it out is what’s worrying. You may not be able to die, but who's to say you won’t try again or get worse when nothing happens?”

Damn himself for helping the kid study to be a mind healer.

He sighed, rubbing his face and moving to cross his legs. “I know you guys are worried, I just…”

His best friend was handing off her son to Draco smoothly and he knew he was about to get a lecture. As soon as the door close she was raising her voice, hands waving as she started to turn a light shade of red and tear up. “What, Harry?” Hermione hissed. “You just wanted to see if you could worry us? You wanted to see how far you could go, how bad you could get? What stupid reason do you have for this ?!”

“I JUST WANTED TO SEE MY FAMILY!” It was out of his lips before he could stop it, frustration leading to shame when a stale silence fell over the room. “...I- I wanted to see my parents or Sirius or even Snape. To talk to Remus and Tonks, tell them how much I miss them, how we’ve all been. I just- I wanted to feel as if I did something right for once...”

Narcissa, who had been sitting in the back of the room with her silvery hair in a simple but elegant bun and a frown on her lips, stood and moved to sit next to him on the couch. “Harry, darling… you cannot dwell on the dead forever. Especially with who you are. You have to learn to live as you are or life itself will become your death.”

It was then that Harry Potter had broken down crying for the first time since the war, on the shoulder of the woman he saw as a grandmother, because he realized he wasn’t really living.

He hadn't been for a long, long while.