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I Don't Belong Here

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Summary: Going back is never easy, especially when you've been gone for four years. Harry returns to the UK after a long absence, looking for help.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > Buffy-CenteredTheEmpressOfJohohoFR15513,14632713,73730 Oct 1015 Aug 12No

Chapter One

Disclaimer: I do not own anything but the plot. Harry Potter belongs to J.K Rowling, and Buffy belongs to Joss Whedon.

AN: I hope you like it, and please leave a review :)



With a silent “pop” he appeared in a place he hadn’t set foot in for four years. The rain was pouring down, making him shiver. For once his hair laid flat against his head. The darkness kept him hidden. But not for long.

Harry Potter hadn’t been in the UK since The Second Wizarding War. He couldn’t stand to be in the place where so many he loved had died. It had been too much. But he had tried to stay. Several months of autographs and interviews and people stopping him on the street, wanting to know every detail of the fall of Voldemort. Everyone wanted to know, when he just wanted to forget. After his 18th birthday he left. He disappeared into the night and left behind a note.

But he suspected that wasn’t enough.

He had been reluctant to return, especially if it meant facing the Wrath of Molly Weasley. She had become something of a mother to him over the years. But when push came to shove not even the motherly love could keep him in one place. He also feared Ginny. He had said goodbye, but she was the most stubborn woman he knew.

He looked up at the Burrow, something inside of him kept him from going to it. He felt like he didn’t belong there anymore. He was dirty, his soul was dirty.

He knew someone had to have noticed him. He had stood there for several minutes now. If no one had, he was very disappointed. Even four years after Voldemort people shouldn’t let their guard down.

“Drop you wand, and put your hands where I can see them!” A voice behind him growled.

“Hey, mate.” Harry swiveled around and faced the person he once had trusted. A big grin plastered on his face.
But Ron Weasley didn’t lower his wand. Although his hand faltered a bit.

“Hey Harry, how have you been? Oh I’ve been good, travelling you know.” Harry asked and answered in a mocking voice.

“You’re trespassing.” Ron put away his wand and walked away. Harry acted fast and reached out for him. He grabbed his shoulder and Ron turned around. But not with a welcoming hug, but with a fist. He missed Harry’s face but hit his shoulder.

“Don’t you touch me! How dare you come back here after so many years, and act as if nothing happened? How could you leave Ginny, mom, dad, Hermione…Me?!” Tears were forming in Ron’s eyes now. Apparently he wasn’t as calm as Harry had thought.

“I had to get away… I-it was too much.”

“We get that! We would have understood that, but not when you’re gone for four years without as much as a word!” Ron couldn’t stop himself. Angry words spewed from his mouth. “Do you know what you did to us? Mom cried herself to sleep for days after you left. And dad couldn’t do anything about it. Ginny wouldn’t talk. It took us so long time to move on.”

For the first time since he met Ron, Harry didn’t have a smart remark to throw back. The words hurt him more than he wanted to admit. He hadn’t had it easy either.

“I’m sorry. I really am.” Ron scoffed at that. “Believe me, I would have come back sooner. But it hurt to be reminded about Lupin, Dumbledore, Sirus, Tonks, Fred, all of them. I meant to send a letter, but everything I wrote sounded false.”

The heavy rain turned to a drizzle and Harry had started to shake a bit. Ron’s expression softened a bit at last. He turned towards the Burrow. This time Harry didn’t stop him. He looked down at his drenched sneakers.

“Well are you coming or not?” Ron’s voice forced his head up. He looked at Ron and saw a hint of a smile. Harry grinned and ran up to him, much like the child he never got to be. Together they walked into the warmth of the Burrow.

The entire house was quiet, even the ghoul in the attic was somewhat asleep. With a wave of his wand Ron made a pot appear. The smell of tea wafted through the kitchen. Two cups were plucked from thin air and put down on the table. The clear liquid was poured and milk appeared. Harry had missed proper English tea.

Harry hadn’t expected Ron to be here. He figured he and Hermione had moved to their own flat. Were they even still together?

“How is everyone?” The question floated around in the air for a few moments.

“They’re good. We’re all finally recovering.” A fond smile appeared on Ron’s face. “Mom and dad are good, George still run their erm his joke shop. The shop is going real well actually. Percy’s still at the ministry, he’s Kingsley’s secretary. Charlie started a “dragon farm” a few years ago. Ginny’s dating this bloke… Don’t really like him. Uhm, let’s see. Bill and Fleur are expecting their second child. Hermione and I are still trying though.” A faint trace of a blush spread across his cheeks.

“Good for you, mate.” Harry laughed. It felt better by the minute to be back. “You’ll be great parents.” A comfortable silent fell over them. Ginny was dating someone? It hurt less than he expected it to.

“Where have you been, boy wonder?”

“You know, around. Travelled the world and all that.” It was vague, he realized that. But he couldn’t tell Ron yet.

“You have to give me more than that, Harry.” Ron pleaded with him.

“I’ve been healing. The War really took its toll on me. I, uhm I spent a lot of time in the states. Did you know Ol’ Voldy had a lot of followers there as well?” Ron shook his head.

“Well, I took care of them. I got some help though.”

“Yeah? Anyone I might have heard of?”

“Nah, it’s a pretty small group. Just defending the earth.” Harry stood up. “Maybe I should go.”

“Now? You just got back.” Ron said as he stood up.

“I woke you up. I’ll be back in the morning. I mean, if you want to.” They were as awkward as two schoolchildren.

“Yeah, sure. The others’ probably want to meet you.” Harry drank the last of the now cold tea. He nodded to Ron and stepped through the door.

“It was nice seeing you.” Ron’s comment made him pause. He turned towards the lit up door.

“I missed you, Ron.” And with another “pop” he disappeared.

Ron sat down wearily by the table. So Harry Potter was back. God, just wait till the newspapers finds out. The stairs creaked and a newly woken Hermione stumbled down.

“Ron? Who were you talking to?” She never looked more beautiful to Ron with her hair tussled and sleepy voice.

“You’ll never guess.”

***

The breakfast table the next day was a mess. People were shouting at each other. Around the table sat the extended Weasley family; Molly, Arthur, Percy, Charlie, Bill and Fleur (and their daughter Angelique), Ginny, Ron and Hermione, George and Amelia.

Some of the words that could be extinguished were; Harry? Back?!
They had all been summoned on the request of Ron. He told them about the unexpected visit last night. They all believed him, because no one joked about Harry Potter in the Burrow.

“Is he coming back again?” Molly asked with a trembling voice. Her husband put his arm around her shoulders.

“Yeah, he told me he would.”

“But can we trust him?” Said Hermione, always the voice of reason.

“I don’t expect you to.” Harry said, and the hurt could clearly be heard in his voice. All eleven heads turned towards the door. Only Angelique didn’t bother, she was playing with her cereals; Bertie Bott’s Every Flavored Cereals. She made a face when she tried a muddy brown one. She then happily popped another one in her mouth, the last one already forgotten.

“Oh Harry!” Molly’s short arms embraced him. Over his head he looked at Hermione’s stunned face before returning the hug. He closed his eyes, and it was as if the last years never happened. “You’re so thin. Sit! Eat!”

He took of his cloak and hung it over a chair. It was true, Harry looked awful. Bags under his eyes and his clothes clung to his skinny frame. In a way he looked like they all had looked during the War. It seemed to them that he never stepped out of the role as a hero with the world on his shoulders. Hermione regretted her words a bit. But what did he really expect?

George just grinned and slapped Harry on the back.
“Welcome back, mate. This is Amy, my girlfriend.” Amelia smiled at him and shook his hand. Arthur hurried forward and hugged him as well. The rest of the Weasley clan stood back. They looked somewhat unsure what to do.

Harry gathered courage and stepped up to Ginny. His arms were around her before he had time to regret it. She smelled exactly like she used to. Like home. Her hair was shorter, it suited her. It made her look grown up.
He felt her relax for a few moments before stepping out of reach. Yet she didn’t meet his eyes.

Hermione put out her hand, and he took it. Hers was soft in his rough hand. Percy, Charlie and Bill just nodded at him. Fleur surged forward and hugged him, already forgiving him.

“Oh ‘Arry. I’m so glad you are alright!” Fleur exclaimed.

“Fleur, your English has improved a lot!”

“Oh zank you. I work with Bill at ze Gringotts and I learned a few things.” Fleur said humbly. ”But zere is someone I want you to meet. This is Angelique, our daughter.” Harry knelt next to the child.

“Are you Harry Potter?” Her sweet voice was the only thing that could be heard in the silent kitchen.

“Yep. That’s me.”

“Oh.” She went back to her Berties, totally uninterested in anything but her food, much like her uncle Ron. Harry smiled and stood up. Molly had prepared a plate for him and she forced him into a chair. He still felt uncomfortable, especially when everyone else watched him eat.

“Aren’t you eating?” He managed to get out with his mouth full of scrambled eggs. No one moved, not until Molly gave them her “mother look”. Still the breakfast was awkward. Arthur was ignorant of the silence.

“Harry, m’boy. How have you been?”

“Well, I’ve been good.” His smile didn’t quite reach his eyes. “Spent a few months in Africa and Asia. My most recent home is America.”

“Wow, really? Are staying in the magical community or with muggles? Are American muggles much different to English ones?” Now Arthur was real excited.

“Oh, I’ve been with a little bit of both actually. They’re a lot alike. Not much to tell really.”

“Yes, yes. Of course.” He smiled and sank deep into thoughts.

Ginny was more interested than she wanted to admit. She’d been depressed for a while after Harry left. But she finally thought she was at a good place in her life now. She has a great job, and a boyfriend who she likes. Then The Boy Who Lived had to come stomping in and destroying everything she built up. She sometimes imagined that he lived in some far away country all happylike. She felt a bit of bittersweet joy when she noticed how defeated he looked.

Hermione’s thoughts looked a lot like Ginny’s. Harry had once been her best friend. But now? He was someone she didn’t quite trust, but desperately wanted to. Ron’s hand squeezed hers reassuringly under the table. She smiled at that. If someone told her 8 years ago that she would end up with Ron Weasley, and Harry Potter would end up the way he did she would have called them crazy.

This really wasn’t a good idea, Harry thought. Half of the people in the room didn’t even look at him. Half of those who did more like glared at him. Only a few accepted him back after all this time. Ron seemed to have come around at least and he was someone Harry needed.

“Percy? Can I have a word with you?” Percy’s head snapped up. Both suspicious and curious looks watched them.

“O-of course.” The two left the kitchen in silence. They stepped out into the yard.
“I heard you work closely with the minister, with Kingsley?” Harry asked once they were out of earshot.

“Y-yes. I do.” He puffed out his chest slightly; he had worked hard for his position.

“Could you arrange a meeting between him and me? I need to talk to him.” Harry was a man of pride. He hated asking for favors and help. That was one of his major flaws.

“I think that could be arranged. I’ll see what I can do, Mr. Potter.” Percy adopted an official tone as he spoke. Harry smiled and mentally shook his head.

“You’ve done good, Percy. Give my best to the others, I have to go. I’ll…I’ll be back if anyone even wants that. I can be reached by owl.” They nodded to each others, and Percy went back inside. And Harry popped back to his rented room in Diagon Alley.

“Where’s Harry?” Molly asked when she noticed Percy was alone.

“He had to go, I was told to give you his best. If anyone wants to talk to him, he is available by owl.”

“What did he want with you?” Curious George asked.

“That’s Official Business. I’m sorry but I can’t discuss that.”

“Percy!!”

***

The bed creaked as Harry sat down on it. His head in his open hands and his tired eyes closed. In some ways it went better than he had thought. The looks and words had hurt. But he deserved it. His weary frame didn’t fit in the bed, but the uncomfortable position reminded him that he was alive.

God, Hermione’s eyes. The betrayal and hurt in them.
He couldn’t take it. Suddenly he couldn’t breathe; the room seemed to get smaller. He had to get out of here. The same feeling he had after the War returned.

He grabbed his cloak and apparated across the pond, to the states. His legs absorbed the impact when he landed. It was still dark outside in Los Angeles. He’d never get used to the time differences. The mansion before him was huge. He’d never get used to that either. A force field around the house prevented him from apparating straight into his room.

They had adopted the idea when he told them about Hogwarts. With heavy steps he walked up to the house. As quiet as he could he slid in through the door and walked up the stairs. He walked down a corridor with five doors on each side. On one door a sign stated that “Olivia lives here”.

Down the corridor, right turn, down another one, up a flight of stairs and there his room was. You might get lost in this house, but at least it didn’t seem small. Harry could finally breathe now.

He pulled out a key from inside of his robes, one couldn’t be too careful about his privacy here. Once inside he threw his clothes in a bundle on the floor, not bothering to hang then up. He slid into bed and sighed. An arm reached across his chest and pulled him against the arm’s owner. A soft voice spoke into his ear.

“How did it go?” The breath tickled him, he smiled and turned around. The tiny blonde next to him looked like she hadn’t gone to sleep since he left. She could barely keep her eyes open. His heart skipped a beat. He was constantly reminded why he loved her so. She didn’t have the easiest day, and despite being deadly tired she stayed up and waited for him. Harry kissed her forehead and she nuzzled into him.

“It was…awful and wonderful.” Harry said thoughtfully.

“Are you okay?” Her concern was evident.

“Not yet, but I think I will be. Go to sleep now.”

She smiled and whispered “I love you.”

“I love you too, Buffy.”

The two champions fell asleep within minutes. She looked as tattered as he did. They were both fighting a war together. Her war, that never ends. Harry went from one war to another. But at least this time, he’s happy.


***

That morning set the mood for the rest of Ginny’s day. She couldn’t get her mind of all things Harry-related. Since it was Saturday she didn’t have to work that day, but she had plans with her boyfriend, Sam. After the breakfast she apparated over to his apartment. He lived in muggle London. His parents had been muggles, but they had been killed by death eaters.

The big brass 6 on his door rattled as she knocked, it came loose a bit and suddenly the 6 was a 9. Ginny just shook her head in mock despair. But the smile was genuine when Sam opened the door.

“You’re early.” Sam stated, but not without giving her a quick kiss first.

“Yeah, sorry about that. I just had to get out of the house.” Ginny threw her jacket over the large armchair that stood in the living room.

“Why? What happened?”

“Oh a lot of things happened. For one, Harry came back.” Sam followed her into the kitchen where she proceeded to make a pot of tea. She knew his kitchen inside and out.

“Harry? Harry Potter? He’s back?” Sam asked bewildered.

“Yeah, that’s pretty much how we all reacted.”

“What, eh, what did he want? Where have he been?” His questions had to wait because at that moment the tea was done. After getting them cups they sat down by the table.

“I’m not sure what he wanted. He spoke to Percy about some business but other than that I have no idea. As to where he’s been, well apparently all over the world.”

“But didn’t he say-“ Ginny interrupted him.

“Please can’t we just talk about something else, Sam?”

“Of course. I’m just a bit shocked that’s all.”

“Yeah, aren’t we all?” Ginny muttered into her cup of tea. She mentally shook her head and smiled at Sam.

“How’s work?” She knew he could go on and on about work, so it was a safe topic.

“Oh, something very exciting happened today. This man came in and wanted to get access to a vault, but he didn’t have a key. And you know the goblins…”
Ginny’s thought wandered and she nodded in the right places, Sam didn’t notice and continued talking about his job at Gringotts. They had met through Bill who worked with Sam.

After Harry had killed Voldemort she had thought that finally they could have a normal relationship. That maybe he could at last give himself fully to her, body, soul and mind. But it only got worse. He pulled away from the world. Ginny tried to talk to him, everyone did. But Harry practically alienated all those who cared. And the nightmares, god the nightmares.

Harry stayed at the Burrow and every night they woke up to Harry screaming. He said his scar hurt, and they got scared at first. Was Voldemort in some way still alive? But they quickly discarded that theory. Harry’s scar hurt, because he remembered. He remembered all those who died, he remembered all the pain he had to endure.

When Ginny woke up one morning, she realized that she had gotten a full night’s sleep. Harry hadn’t had a nightmare, maybe he was getting better. But when she got down to the kitchen and found the note she knew she was wrong. At first the Weasley’s let Harry be. They were worried, of course, but they didn’t look for him. When days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months they really started to get scared. The whole wizarding community searched for him, but Harry was too good at staying hidden.


Sometimes Ginny still woke up in the middle of the night to the imaginary screams of Harry Potter.
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