Strange, he thought, to look into the mirror year after year and think the same thing. Misfit. The thought never matured even as his thin, childish body morphed into the pubescent, oily, dreary shell that sprouted hair and hard-ons in the most inopportune places. Misfit. The word trailed after him like a bad smell throughout his years at Hogwarts, giving birth to nicknames like Snivellus, freak and ghoul. There was the ever-present feeling that life was probably never going to give him a break.
He matured, grew taller, broader, angrier, sadder, yet he didn’t change. He was still a misfit.
The night he finally changed was the last night of his life. Lying in a pool of his own blood and filth, thinking he could finally shed the old skin of misadventure and strangeness, he was just an ordinary man, walking through the veil. There, he’d re-invent himself as the man he had always wanted to be.
But fate isn’t pretty; destiny isn’t convenient. Neither was she. With her powerful magic and gritty, snub-nosed determination, she wouldn’t let him go. While he lay in a pool of his own blood and filth, she gave him no choice but to live.
At first, he wandered like a lost soul, a ghost, trying to find the key; how to step back into his old clothes and don the mantle of misfit once again. He’d been this close to changing, and it angered him to be denied the perfect chance to unmake his bed, to start over from scratch and begin anew as a normal man, owing no more to the future than the cost of his funeral.
So she weathered his stormy rage, puzzled that he didn’t want to live. How could he explain that she’d robbed him of a new death?
It started with nothing special; a quiet woman sitting by his bed. When he wept, she held his hand. When he ranted, she listened. When he was strong enough to walk, his gait less steady than his first baby steps, she cried tears of pride. She did not absolve him of his sins. He learned absolve himself. She stole his impatience and his anger and made them her own to use as a shield to protect him from harm.
When he was misunderstood, she set the record straight, until he was able to care enough to do it for himself.
He learned to be unselfish enough to give her back her life, then realised he wanted to live – but not without her. To become worthy of her, he accepted his second chance at life. He stopped feeling sorry for himself and became a man, a husband, a father. He stopped fearing love.
He grew up, and left his misfit world behind, and somehow tempered his grasping, greedy clinging hands into an embrace. He had died for honour. He would live for love, and her, which amounted to the same thing. She had a way of making everything seem right.