Disclaimer: I own nothing. All Harry Potter characters belong to their proper owner, and unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last decade, you know very well who she is. A further disclaimer is given at the end of this story to avoid spoilers.
Author’s Note: I was just peacefully reading a Harry Potter fanfiction story, until I came across the phrase that’s the title of this tale, and my brain promptly produced this specific piece of weirdness.
I’ve been assured my new medications will alleviate this in the future. We’ll see.
Timeline: Six months or so after the next-to-last epilogue of Deathly Hallows. Maybe a little AU (I can’t remember if Harry graduated or not, or even finished his education at Hogwarts, or other such specifics in his life, such as exactly how his vault looked like, and I’m not going to re-read the entire series just to find out). If you spot changes, my laziness is probably the reason for these. Just my take on what happened before Harry married Ginny.
Harry Potter was in the grip of an unique mood for him.
Sitting in an armchair in the front room of Number 12 Grimmauld Place on an extremely dreary day, the young man looked out the window to the square beyond and watched the heavy rain fall outside, all while contemplating the rarely-experienced emotion he was feeling.
It was true that at various points in his life he’d previously felt tired and impatient, usually in Professor Binns’ classroom when that teacher’s ghost had been droning over something particularly pointless that had occurred during historical times. Still, eventually the classes had ended, and he had gone on with his life at Hogwarts back then that had filled up his days -- being with Ron and Hermione, matching wits with Professor Snape and Draco Malfoy, wondering what the Headmaster was up to, and worrying over Tom Riddle’s latest plot to kill his young enemy and Take Over The World.
Harry quietly snorted. It was now almost half a year after the self-designated Dark Lord’s final death at the Battle of Hogwarts, and the wizarding world was still celebrating, albeit a bit lower-key than the uproarious delight the populace had shown the first few weeks of hearing about the defeat of their worst fear.
Unfortunately, for the Boy-Who-Lived, this societal composure didn’t apply to him. It had been bearable at Hogwarts during his final year, where there had been others who’d acted just as heroically -- Neville, for one -- and the younger students’ attention had been diverted mostly away from him in their awe of all of the defenders of the castle against Voldefarts and his Death Nibblers. Almost all of the firsties and higher grades had basically left him alone, except for an occasional timid request for an autograph, of which Harry had resignedly signed, receiving the childrens’ stuttering thanks.
This deference didn’t apply to the students’ parents, and the rest of the adult wizards and witches in Britain.
Harry winced, remembering how he’d been inundated with owl posts the first few weeks after the battle, with the entire Great Hall sometimes nearly filled to the brim with messenger birds interrupting his meals by dropping their mail, letters, and parcels onto him in such numbers that he’d occasionally had to fight his way out of the middle of a growing pile of correspondence.
It might had been different, if he’d particularly cared about anything he’d received. A few thank-you notes and offerings of best wishes would have been bearable and Harry would have conscientiously sent back his own replies, but on the first day several thousands of these messages came, and the same thing happened the next day, and the next, and the next….
Well, the son of James and Lily Potter had finally thrown up his hands and turned to Hermione for advice. The brainy girl had explained to him the Muggle concept of a generic postal reply, and after a few hours of thought and scratched-out attempts by the young man, a cautious answer in a copy of a polite message had gone back with every unopened letter thanking the sender for their interest and gently informing them that the recipient was unable to devote his full attention to their correspondence due to the press of his schoolwork.
There was also in the reply an added note about the bravery of all of those who’d fought against Voldemort, with the young wizard urging that the sacrifice of those who’d not survived should always be remembered, that satisfied Harry’s concern that those who had gone on to the undiscovered country wouldn’t be forgotten. Hermione had approved, as she had her own people to grieve over. Plus, deep in her mind, the girl was hopeful that this would divert attention away from Harry, and give him a chance to heal his own mental wounds.
Hermione Granger was unquestionably the most intelligent witch to attend Hogwarts in centuries. Regrettably, she had her own blind spots. Among them, not realizing that the wizarding world had no experience with non-magical standard communications, and that each and every one of these men and women would mistakenly think they’d received a PERSONAL letter from Harry Potter himself!
The next day, Hogwarts received three times the already staggering amount of mail that had come yesterday for Harry.
Newly-appointed Headmistress Minerva McGonagall had been quite acerbic about the whole thing, which strangely reassured Harry, and he had promptly turned over the whole problem over to her. Giving a proper Scottish sniff over the entire business, the Headmistress invoked Hogwarts rules over mail, directing Harry to give her a list of those specific people he wanted to receive letters from, and using magic that banned anyone else from sending mail to the castle for Harry. This magic also closed other loopholes, such as others in the castle receiving mail that was intended for the Boy-Who-Lived.
A deeply relieved Harry Potter soon found himself back to having only a few letters a day by owl post that he was willing to answer, and a casual comment from the Headmistress a week later was made by the woman that now only a few hundred unwanted letters a day managed to get through to Hogwarts. Harry didn’t ask or care what happened to those letters. Maybe McGonagall was making the house elves eat them.