|SIYE Time:5:25 on 17th June 2021|
A Sovereign Summer
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Characters:Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Other, Ron Weasley
Genres: General, Romance
Summary: Before Harry could treat Ginny like a queen, he had to change.
Hitcount: Story Total: 9647; Chapter Total: 1621
Awards: View Trophy Room
Part of the Like a Queen and A Princely Sum story arc. Betaed, as always, by the beautiful and talented sassyfrass and rosiekatriona, who've had more patience with me than should be required of anyone.
sov-er-eign: adjective, Self-governing; independent: a sovereign state
It's a curious thing, starvation. After the first couple of days, the hunger pains subside into the background of your consciousness. When that happens, the mind is rather more free to think of things beyond this plane of existence. The body, left to its own devices, starts to consume itself, trying to stay alive. This yields a rather curious smell, rather like the yeasty smell of bread baking. Of course, if the starvation diet also includes lack of water, then death occurs pretty soon. Unless you're a magical person.
Harry Potter had been home from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for 6 days now. In that time, he had eaten three pieces of dry toast, drunk exactly four glasses of water, and slept a total of 13 hours. The rest of the time, he lay in his bed, and contemplated things. It should be stated explicitly that he hadn't any real desire to die from starvation--in all his life he had never really become suicidal, and those who knew what he had grown up with were rather astounded at this. But he just couldn't find any motivation to do anything. Homework, which normally he didn’t mind doing, didn't hold any interest for him, neither did cleaning his room. To be fair, though, cleaning that room never really had. This summer, his apathy extended even to such things as brushing his teeth, combing his hair, or taking a shower.
His Aunt Petunia, after being ignored completely every time she tried to talk to her nephew, had given up, and taken to sliding a plate of food into his room for mealtimes. The plate usually contained the aforementioned dry toast, with a bowl of cold soup, or a cold hot dog, or something similar, which didn't cost too much, and wasn't too much of a hassle to prepare. Hedwig, who was growing rather concerned about her master, was grateful for this regular gift, as Harry hadn't even had the presence of mind to open the window before sinking into his state of despair. The beautiful white owl had tried her best to rouse Harry, but all he had done was raise a hand, stroke her beautiful chest feathers, and apologize for his actions. Hedwig didn't know what to do about this--she had tried once to sneak out through the cat flap that Petunia used for the food, but she was just a smidgeon too big to fit, and her trying to do so had come perilously close to causing rather severe damage to the flight feathers of her left wing. So Hedwig was left to eat Harry's leftover food, hoot piteously, and nestle next to her human, who had, in the past couple of days, become so weak that he couldn't even raise a hand to touch his familiar.
In fact, about the only mortal who intruded upon Harry's thoughts was Hedwig, who currently was grooming Harry's unruly hair, as if trying to get it to lie flat. Harry was saddened by the idea that he'd have to leave Hedwig behind when he finally expired, and distantly displeased with himself for not having thought to send her to Ginny, or Hermione, or Ron. He hoped that eventually someone would come and let her out, so that she could find a new owner.
Hedwig herself was becoming more and more frantic as the days went on. She was sure Harry wasn't aware of the complete details of the bond between a familiar and her human; that Harry didn't know that the owl would choose to follow Harry into that next great adventure rather than remain behind without him. She had tried her best to keep Harry fed and watered, but he was so much bigger than one of her own children would have been that the task had proven to be impossible. She had hoped to be able to open the window, but had no luck in such a massive undertaking. She had even deigned to try to communicate with the hated horse-woman, but she seemed to not be able to understand anything the owl tried to tell her, so Hedwig had finally given up hooting at her.
Harry knew, in a kind of vague, general way, what was happening to himself. He knew that he was becoming weaker and weaker, but he couldn't quite bring himself to care. His mind was entirely caught up in his problems, and he didn't seem able to drag himself out of the despondency that so enveloped him. He was slightly curious as to what death would feel like, as it seemed highly likely that death was what was coming for him. From his entirely Muggle upbringing he had gained a mish-mash of ideas about the afterlife. He had a fuzzy notion of an all-powerful God, who would smite him if he didn't do exactly what He asked him to do. But in all his listening-ins, he hadn't really been able to understand exactly what God wanted him to do. As a result, he was not entirely sure of what would happen, since he couldn't be sure that he was doing whatever it was that he was supposed to be doing. His Uncle Vernon's opinion, which he never passed up an opportunity to express, was that Harry was going directly to Hell, where he would spend the rest of forever burning in a pit of sulfur. Harry discounted this, as he'd realized quite a long time ago that, while his Uncle Vernon had very many, very strong, and very offensive ideas about life, most of them were wrong. What Harry really did want to have happen was to be reunited with the loved ones that he had lost. Sirius most recently, of course, having been lost to the Veil in the Department of Mysteries. But he also had a overwhelming longing to see his parents, whom he didn't really remember.
In Harry's heightened state of detached apathy, he had convinced himself that the only people that really loved him were dead. He didn't remember, or maybe he couldn't remember, the other people in his life who surrounded him, and loved him, and wanted him to be happy. He didn't think of Remus Lupin, who had tried his best to step into the role of godfather. He didn't consider Hermione Granger, who loved him not only as a sister, but also best friend, and confidant. He didn't consider Headmaster Dumbledore, who, while rather misguided at times, still cared for Harry with all his heart. And most especially, he didn't think of the entire Weasley family, who, with the possible exception of Percy because of his prat-itude, loved him as one of their own.
Harry increasingly found his thoughts wandering into more fanciful realms, where he was living happily with his family, maybe some younger siblings, in a picturesque and comfortable home in Godric's Hollow, which he had never seen before but imagined to be a wonderful place.
None of these thoughts, though, served to explain why he was seeing the ghost of Cedric Diggory in his room.
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