SECRETS

After the defeat of Lord Voldemort, fame was a constant for Harry James Potter, the boy-who-lived and the man-who-conquered. Wizards and witches swarmed him wherever he went in the wizarding world, worshiping the very ground Harry walked upon.

Every person he met was only interested in currying up his favor. Witches threw themselves at him in order to woo him without even knowing who he was as a person. The media followed him everywhere, demanding for him to give an interview about the happenings during the war.

But they didn't see the broken man underneath. They didn't feel his guilt.

They didn't see who all had sacrificed themselves for Harry to become the Man-who-conquered. They didn't honor the ones whose names were lost amongst thousands of whom lost their lives to Voldemort's reign of terror.

Albus Dumbledore, Dobby, Hedwig, his parents, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, Nymphadora Tonks, Alastor Moody, Cedric Diggory, Fred Weasley, Colin Creevy, Severus Snape... all dead so that Harry could ensure the final victory. But they were never honored. The world just saw the victorious hero. The rest were just amongst the countless names lost in the pages of history

Hermione had said that he had survivor's guilt and suggested that he should go for therapy. It didn't help. Each spot in the wizarding world was a reminder of the bad memories of the war. Including Hogwarts. The place Harry called his first home was now just a reminder of the countless friends he had lost in the final battle... the reminder that he had failed to save them all.

Harry couldn't bear it. The fame. The memories. The crushing weight of guilt.

Fed up with all this, he decided to get out of the wizarding world forever and return to the world he had spent ten years of his life in. The muggle world.

So, he told his decision to the people he most trusted, Hermione and Ron. It took a long time to convince them, but at last, they agreed to let him go, relenting only when he vowed to keep in touch with them once he left the wizarding world.

Together, they, even if it was Hermione doing the most work, came up with a permanent glamor charm that Harry would cast upon himself. A glamor, which would never fade or be removed by anyone other than Harry himself.

Hermione helped him fake documents and take muggle examinations that would be required for him to attend a University in the muggle world and settle there. Most of the content to be prepared for the exam was laughably easy to remember with the aid of a memory enhancement potion. What he couldn't, well, magic was a fool-proof way to cheat in muggle exams. (Harry realized only later that there was a reason why the hat wanted to put him in Slytherin.)

They also made up a detailed backstory of what he did for the first 18 years of his life, avoiding any mentions of magic.

Finally, Harry was ready to leave the wizarding world behind three months later. He had his documents and backstory ready. Now, for the spell.

"You can do it, Harry. If it goes wrong, we will just reverse it before trying again. Remember the incantation and wand movements."

"Chill, 'mione," Ron said. "Let him do the work."

Harry willed the elder wand to appear in his hands. The death stick was the best way to go about casting the permanent glamor charm which would define his life ahead.

With a deep breath, he pointed the wand at himself. The wand thrummed with power as he incanted the spell.

The magic washed over him and a second later, Hermione and Ron grinned, giving him thumbs up.

Harry conjured a mirror and looked at his appearance. A complete stranger looked back at him.

He grinned.

With a final hug to Hermione and Ron, Harry took his trunk before disapparating from Grimmauld Place.

Harry James Potter had left the wizarding world forever and entered the muggle world as Henry James Evans, a name he had chosen as a tribute to his parents.

He joined the University of Cambridge as an aspiring Medical Student. His first year there was spent working hard on his studies and catching up on everything he needed to. He worked harder that year than any of the Hogwarts years combined.

He finished the first semester in the top ten percent of his class. A position he had never achieved at Hogwarts unless only DADA was considered. He had made new friends and kept in touch with Ron and Hermione regularly.

But there was a problem. He had a crush. He had never envisioned dating after Ginny and he had broken up at Dumbledore's funeral. Ginny herself was settling in her life well, already being picked up as a reserve chaser for Holyhead Harpies, and was dating Dean Thomas.

He was crushing on Eva Rose, who was perhaps the most beautiful girl in college, with honey blonde hair and brilliant blue eyes. Top of the class. And a reputation to put boys in their place.

Harry felt that he should know her, there was something familiar about her, but of course, he'd never seen her before they met at University.

Another year passed. Harry improved further, getting into the top ten of their class at the end of their third semester. Eva had gained the top position. He sometimes watched her meticulously taking notes during the class and how she spun her ballpoint pen elegantly between her fingers while listening to the professors. She was as beautiful as she was intelligent.

They had spoken quite a few times by now, considering that being in the same class did make you communicate with your classmates for some reason or the other. She was polite as far as he could tell, but she had a temper.

Finally, in his third year, halfway through the fifth semester, Harry plucked up the courage to ask her out.

He walked up to the desk she was sitting on, doing her assignment.

"Hey, you look tired," Harry said.

Eva looked up at him before sighing. "You know how tough this is, Henry."

"My, my. What will happen to us poor peasants if the topper thinks this is tough?"

"You are in the top five, Evans," Eva said, rolling her eyes as she massaged her neck.

"Yeah, yeah. What are you doing… ah, Professor Stephan's paper."

"He has told us to write sixty pages. Sixty! And it is due in three days!"

"How much have you written?"

"Huh? Twenty-two pages so far… no, twenty-three. Just finished this one." She pointed at the said page.

"How long have you been at this?"

She checked her watch. "A little more than three hours. I started this shit yesterday. And I want to get it out of the way by tomorrow. What 'bout you?"

"Finished about two-thirds of it just now. Decided to take a break."

"Damn… even I think I should take one," Eva said.

"Wanna come and grab a coffee?"

Eva looked at him, analyzing him with her brilliant blue eyes before nodding.

"Sounds good. Lemme pack this up," she replied, gesturing to her desk.

"Let me help you," Harry said before lending her a hand to pack up.

Soon they were walking through the campus towards the cafe while chatting amiably.

"So, tell me more about yourself, Henry."

"Well, my life is plain boring so far," Harry lied. Calling seven years of Hogwarts boring was a downright lie. "I grew up in Surrey with my aunt and uncle. My parents were killed in a car crash when I was barely a year old. So… I lived with them and attended the local school in Surrey. Once I was eleven, I was admitted to an old private institute in Scotland where I did my further studies till I was eighteen. And now, I am here, studying medicine."

"Cool," Eva replied.

"What about you?"

"Well, I grew up in a nice little family mansion in Somerset with my parents and little sister. I was homeschooled for a large part of my life. I only had one friend through childhood unless you count my sister, too. Her name was Tracey. When I was sixteen…" She trailed off and her eyes darkened. "I ran away from home, due to certain circumstances. Disagreements and stuff. Tracey and her parents took me in for some time and we went to the US for two years. Thankfully, I had a lot of money. Family accounts and stuff, so I could pay for school and all. I returned here to pursue medicine."

"Nice…" Harry said awkwardly. "What do you aspire to become? Which field do you wish to specialize in?"

"Cardiac surgeon. You?" Eva replied promptly.

"I wish to be a Neurosurgeon."

"That's a tough one."

"You are the one to speak," Harry said dryly.

Eva laughed. She had a beautiful laugh.

"True," she said as she pushed open the café door and they soon ordered coffee before picking a table and chatting amiably.


SEVEN YEARS LATER

Harry James Potter, now known as Dr. Henry James Evans, adjusted his shirt and checked his appearance in the mirror once more.

"You are looking good, Harry," Minister Hermione Weasley said. "Stop fidgeting."

Hermione and Ron had married a year and a half ago. The same day, Harry had made an appearance back in the wizarding world, standing as Ron's best man. The media had a field day on his appearance and his disappearance again, as he vanished from the wizarding world the very next day.

Also, six months ago, Hermione had succeeded Kingsley as the minister of magic. Ron, on the other hand, was the keeper for the Chudley Cannons Quidditch team and had managed to secure them a cup last year after more than 62 years of losses.

He was happy for his friends.

Harry, on the other hand, was gaining a name for himself as a Neurosurgeon in the muggle world. Fame couldn't leave him alone, it seemed. He had gained fame in medical circles for his astounding success rate in the toughest of surgeries.

A bit of his massive success did lay with his magic. While difficult cases, sometimes, when muggle techniques were failing, Harry used magic to stabilize patients and heal them. One of the cases Harry vividly remembered was a patient who had been shot in the head. A perfect bullet lodged in his skull. The man was a part of a special protection force.

The doctor who had been initially treating the patient had declared him brain dead. Thankfully, one of Harry's friends, who was a junior doctor and present during the surgery, brought the case to Harry. Harry had stopped the patient as he was being sent for organ harvesting and rushed him to the OT.

But, Harry knew they were running out of time. So, he had stabilized the man with magic before removing the bullet safely and rejoining the nerves… the last part was part muggle-part magical.

But, it had saved a lot of lives till date. So, Harry had no regrets.

Oh, and he was dating Eva Rose. They were in a relationship for the past seven years. They had begun with a friendship and by the start of Harry's sixth semester, they began dating. And, today, He was going to propose to Eva for marriage. In his pocket was a nice diamond ring that he had found in the Potter vault while emptying most of its contents and transferring them to the Barclay's. He still had all the heirlooms and a decent amount of wizarding money left in the vault, considering that his family was one of the upper-middle-class families by wizarding standards and so was Sirius's family, who had left everything to Harry.

"Harry, when are you going to tell Eva the truth about yourself?" Hermione asked.

"Soon," Harry replied with a sigh. That had been the toughest part. To tell Eva about his past and what he really was. He had no idea how she would react. Will she leave him? Would she break their relationship? Would she hate him? He didn't know. But he certainly had faith in himself to placate her if she got upset and mend their relationship.

"Alright. All the best."

"You have tried the food that I cooked, didn't you?"

"If I knew that you cooked so well, I would've made you cook while we were on the run." She scoffed.

Harry laughed.

"Anyways. Tell me what happened tomorrow."

"Sure thing," Harry said and he checked his watch.

"Don't be fidgety. Behave normally."

"Yeah, yea—" Harry cut himself short as the doorbell rang.

"Good luck," Hermione mouthed before apparating away with a pop.

Harry took a deep breath before walking out of his room into the hall of his house. He crossed the hall in a few strides and opened the door.

Eva stood there in a simple top and jeans, checking her mobile. She looked up as the door opened and smiled widely before kissing Harry.

"Hey," Harry breathed as they broke the kiss. "Come in."

Eva entered, placing her bag on the nearby table, and walked in. She was innately familiar with the house now. She had helped Harry set some of it up and had been here countless times with him.

"So, what's up?" she asked as she looked around at the overly neat house.

"Dinner!" Harry replied. "Sit at the table, I'll bring out dinner. Then we can watch a movie if you like."

"Awesome," Eva grinned. "A quiet evening at home sounds good after the day I had, and I am famished. What have you made?"

"Take a guess."

"Lasagna?" she guessed.

"Bang on. And a couple extra."

"Extra?"

"Starter and desert!" Harry said cheerily.

"Whoa, what's so special, Mr. Evans?" Eva asked, throwing her arms around Harry's neck.

Harry pulled her closer before kissing her cheek. "You will know, Ms. Rose."

"Oh, a surprise, is it?"

"Yep. Now be a good girl and sit while I bring the food."

She huffed and pouted.

"That's not going to work," Harry sang, moving to the kitchen.

A minute later, he came out with two plates in his hand.

"Presenting, buffalo mozzarella with tomatoes and basil," he declared, putting the dishes on the table.

"Nice. You made it?"

"The starter and the main course. Dessert is from outside."

"Nice. Let's eat," Eva declared, and they dug in.

Harry was doing his best to keep his nerves under control as he ate and watched Eva relishing her meal.

After the starter was over, Harry brought the lasagna out and Eva beamed at the sight of her favorite dish.

Soon, the main course ended and Harry brought out the Bigné topped with eclair, which he had ordered from the restaurant nearby. His nerves were shaking.

"Henry, are you alright?" Eva asked.

"Of course," Harry replied, clutching the box in his left pant pocket.

"If you're sure…" Eva said skeptically before she ate her Bigné and moaned in delight.

"Wow… certainly a great end to the day," Eva said, licking her fork clean.

"Eva?" Harry said tentatively.

His heart was hammering in his chest, threatening to break out of his ribcage.

"Yes?"

"I wanted to… ask you something…"

"Yes?" she asked with concern.

Harry took another deep breath as he wandlessly summoned the box out of his pocket before kneeling on one knee.

"Eva Rose. You are the most wonderful thing that has happened to my life. You are my ray of sunshine in the darkness. We have been dating for the past seven years. But, now I wish us to be more. Will you do me the honor of marrying me?" he asked, presenting the ring to her.

He had prepared the speech in front of the mirror a dozen times and he was glad he didn't mess it up.

She gasped before nodding. Harry took out the ring and slipped it on her finger.

A second later, she smashed her lips to his, kissing him deeply. Harry could taste the flavor of eclair as they snogged.

Finally, they broke apart, needing oxygen. Both had wide smiles on their faces.

Harry grinned but suddenly Eva grew serious. The smile vanished off her face.

"Eva…?"

"Henry… I need to tell you something. Something you should know before we marry… Please hear me out."

"Yes… what happened?"

"Sit, please… I haven't told you one of the most vital aspects of my life… and lied to you about my history a bit."

Harry's heart was hammering again, this time, it was nervousness about what Eva was saying.

"You see, Henry, I am not exactly who I am… Like I am, but I am not. I am who I am but the things I told you about my past self are not."

"You're making no sense."

"Yes, yes. I know. But, hear me out. You see, I didn't study in a normal school till I was sixteen… I studied in a school for magic," she said and Harry blinked in shock. She'd been at Hogwarts?

"But…" Eva was rambling. "Now, you may be thinking that, what the hell I am speaking about, but there is an actual society of witches and wizards out there who hide from non-magical people. I was one of them. When I was sixteen, a war broke out in that world. One of my classmates was at the center of it, but that's not the point. So, anyway, my parents wanted to marry me off for the safety of the family and some bullshit. They were going to marry me to a bloke who was a Death Eater… A Death Eater is the magical version of a terrorist. So, I ran away. I faked documents and took up this new name. I even changed my appearance, using magic. Yes, Eva is not my real name and this is not how exactly I look. But—"

"Stop," Harry ordered, cutting her short. "Who is the real you?"

Eva nodded and removed a wand from her pocket before saying, "Please don't freak out. Let us talk this out." Saying so, she tapped her forehead.

The disguise faded. Her cheekbones rose higher, becoming more defined. Her hair color became darker. Her nose became more angled.

She fidgeted, looking at the floor. "This is the real me. My real name is—"

"Daphne Greengrass."

Her head shot up to look at him, shock crossing her face.

"W-what?"

"You're Daphne Greengrass. Pureblood. Member of Slytherin. Sorted in 1991. You never returned for your sixth year."

"H-how do you know that?"

"Because… I have the same secret as you do. I too ran away. But not from the war. I ran away after the war. Too many bad memories."

"You're a wizard?"

"Yes."

"You went to Hogwarts?"

"Same year as you were in. Gryffindor house."

Daphne blinked. "My year… you are under a glamorṣ as well?"

"Yes," Harry nodded before the elder wand appeared in his hands. He whispered the counter charm, removing his disguise.

Daphne's eyes went wide. "H-harry? Harry Potter?"

Harry smiled. "The one and only, at your service."

"Wait… that means…"

"We both were journeying in the same boat. But, I assure you, everything I've told you except for my past is true."

"Me too… Same…"

"So… is the marriage proposal still valid?" Harry asked.

In response, Daphne leaned forward and smashed her lips on his.

"Does that answer your question, Mr. Potter?"

"It does, Ms. Greengrass."

"Uh-huh. Mrs. Soon to be Potter, dear."

Harry grinned. "Mrs. Soon to be Potter, glad to have you with me."

"Me too."


AND... DONE!

I hope you all liked the story.

This is my second foray into the one-shot space. So, Please encourage me more if u want to read more such works with favorites and reviews. (wink wink)

A HUGE THANK YOU to Dorothea Greengrass for beta-ing this fic. (She is a great Author. Read her fics if you haven't.)

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I will love it if you guys come on my server and interact with me there. If you have some of your own theory or wish to see something in this fic as the journey progresses, you can tell it to me on the discord server.

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Do check out my other three fics as well from my profile. They are:

1. The Rise of the Last Potter: My Novel length Harry Potter fic which is already 300k+ words long and it is a work in progress. Updated Regularly.

2. The Legend of the Son of Poseidon: A Novel Length Percy Jackson fic which is already 250k+ words long and it is a work in progress. Updated Regularly

3. Loved Ones Skipping Stones and Ice-cream: A Haphne one-shot. It is completed obviously.

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