To Be Made Whole
"Does anyone else think it is entirely too quiet around here?" asked Harry, sitting up from his slouched position on the living room couch. He looked at his friends, all of whom were similarly slouched on other pieces of furniture throughout the room. "Where'd everybody go?" he found himself wondering out loud.
"We're not sure. There was some kind of meeting last night after you went to bed, Harry. When Sirius finally came downstairs, he went into the kitchen with the rest of the Order and no one came out for almost three hours," George informed them.
"How'd you find out about all of this?" Ron wanted to know, crossing his arms over his chest. "We were all supposed to be in bed."
George gave him a 'how long have you know me?' look, and Ron grinned. "You're going to get caught one of these days, mate. And I will laugh in your face when Mum finds out you were spying on them again."
"I wasn't spying per say, I was just a little curious and wanted to know what they were doing."
Fred looked surprised. "How? Mum and Dad confiscated all of our Extendable Ears."
George shrugged his shoulders with a defeated sigh. "Like I said, I wasn't exactly spying. I just sat downstairs and tried to hear the old fashioned way. The old 'glass against the door' trick doesn't quite work as well with a silencing charm in place, though," he muttered.
"I should think not," mentioned Harry, all the while wondering what his Godfather had been talking about with the Order. "Did they say anything when they were coming out of the kitchen?"
"No. They all seemed pretty excited and proud though, for some reason. Something good happened, but I couldn't figure out what it was. Sorry, mate," he said apologetically, as if he could have done anything about it.
"Don't be. At least it seemed like good news, not bad."
"Well, you shouldn't have been spying in the first place," started Hermione, needing to get her two-cents worth stated. "But, at least it was good news, like Harry said. More bad news would only bring about more stress, something we don't need right now," she said, but was so focused on Harry that he knew she was referring to him not being able to handle anymore stress. He nearly growled at her but was able to reign in his frustration at everyone's inability to realize he wasn't going to break at the slightest thing.
Harry knew he was no where near recovered, it had only been a few days, but he was already sick of everyone looking at him like he was a small child who needed someone to hold his hand.
Sighing, he picked up the book he had been reading, a very strange book he'd found in the library regarding the historical aspects on the house he was currently staying in. It was quite interesting, if not extremely strange and scary at times. The people who used to live here and who wrote entries into the book must have been deranged…Harry shuddered.
"Are you cold, Harry?" asked Hermione, immediately picking up on anything Harry did, even if he so much as sneezed.
Harry sighed irritably. "Yes, Hermione, I'm fine," he said, his tone a little harsher than he had intended it to be. Hermione looked hurt. "Hermion-,"
Ron interrupted him. "Hey, you don't have to talk to her like that," he said, starting to look irritable himself. "I know you're going through a hard time right now, but you don't have to take it out on us!"
Harry could only stare. He hadn't realized he'd been acting mean or ungrateful; he would have stopped had he known he was annoying anybody. "S-sorry," he muttered, instantly looking back down at his book to avoid their eyes. He didn't want to admit it, because he'd just been thinking how much it annoyed him, but he was more fragile right now and his feelings were easily hurt, like just now. He wanted to believe he was stronger than he really was and it just wasn't so. And, pathetically, Ron's tone of voice had been harsh enough to make him cringe away from him.
He hoped no one noticed. What he hoped for hardly ever came true, though.
The hurt look on Hermione's face compared to the one now shining on Harry's made Ron want to eat the words that had just flew from his mouth. He had just acknowledged that Harry was going through a hard time and he couldn't believe he'd just yelled at him, especially considering what he had been through.
He knew before he even saw Hermione move that he was about to get smacked and he wasn't disappointed. He allowed her hand to fly at the back of his head, knowing that he deserved it. He felt horrible for talking to Harry like that, especially now that Harry wouldn't even look at him anymore, as if he were afraid of him, his best friend. At that moment, he hated himself. Harry was like a brother to him, he was supposed to protect him, not scare or upset him.
"Harry, I'm the one who's sorry. I didn't mean to yell at you like that. I was just upset," he started, but stopped, not wanting his friend to feel any worse than he already obviously did.
But, Harry shook his head. "No, you don't have anything to apologize for," said Harry softly. "I didn't realize I was being a prat or anything. I'm really sorry I hurt your feelings, Hermione," he said, his eyes still locked onto the open book in his lap. "I'll go upstairs and leave you guys alone."
Before Harry had even stopped talking Ron was on his feet. In all the emotion of the situation, Harry had forgotten that he couldn't just get up and move about on his own at first, he'd get dizzy. When the small boy stood quickly from the couch in his need to escape, he immediately started to sway, but Ron was already at his side. "Harry, damn it," he whispered as his best friend collapsed into his arms. "I'm so sorry," he muttered, lowering the semi-conscious teen onto the couch. He felt awful. He knew he was going to hate himself for the rest of his life for making Harry think he was a nuisance and not wanted. He already knew that was how he felt, he'd known for a while now that his best friend thought he wasn't worth anything. Too bad Harry didn't know he meant everything to them.
"Shite, what do we do now?" asked Fred, kneeling down beside the couch where Harry lay. "No one is here, and I don't know where the potions are that Snape has been giving him."
"Like Snape would just leave his potions lying around," said Ron, hurriedly placing a pillow underneath his best friend's head. "I'm sure we just need to keep him calm and quiet and he'll be fine until they get back," he said, not knowing if this was actually true or not. He just thought it seemed the most reasonable thing to do considering the circumstances.
Hermione nodded her head. "That's all we can do," she stated, placing herself directly beside the couch, nearly pushing Ron out of her way in the process. "Harry?" she gently called, running her hand through his hair.
There was no response from the boy and Hermione sighed. "We should probably try to wake him up. We need to make sure he's really okay."
"Harry?" questioned George, leaning over the back of the couch, the only available space open to him. "Can you hear me, kiddo? You need to wake up," he said a little louder than the other two had spoken. He grinned a bit when Harry stirred. "There! He's waking up," he said, calling Harry's name again.
Groaning, Harry tried to turn over, but came up short when he felt a hand on his chest pushing him back down. "No, Harry, stay still," Ron gently rebuked his friend. "Are you awake?" he asked.
Harry finally managed to open his eyes. They fluttered open and then closed a few times before he could keep them open for an extended period of time. "Yeah, I'm awake," he muttered, looking up into their concerned faces. "We have to stop meeting like this," he said jokingly, recalling the first time he'd seen them since school had let out. He'd nearly passed out in their arms, only to see them all gazing at him with concern in their eyes. Seriously, this had to stop happening.
"Well, as soon as this passing out business stops, we'll work on it, okay?" said Ron, helping Harry to slowly sit up. "Are you okay now? Do you still feel dizzy?" Ron kept his hand on Harry's shoulder until he was certain his friend wouldn't topple over.
"Yeah, I'm fine," returned Harry, but his face remained down, as if he didn't want to look any of them in the eyes. He rubbed his eyes tiredly, wishing he had his energy back. If he had it he wouldn't have just made a fool out of himself by passing out once again.
"Tired?" asked a voice, and Harry finally had to look up to see who had questioned him. He saw it was Fred who was looking at him with concern and nodded his head. He was so tired.
"Maybe you should lie back down and try to rest for a bit, Harry." Hermione wasn't exactly asking him if he wanted to lie down. She grabbed a pillow and placed it on the arm rest before taking Harry by his shoulders and gently pushing him backwards until he was lying flat on the couch. "There," she said to the bewildered boy, "close your eyes and try to get some sleep, okay? We'll be right here with you, I promise," she whispered as she gently stroked his forehead with her thumb, causing his eyes to fall closed.
"That wasn't fair," he muttered, but he didn't really want to stay awake, it was rather nice to get away from the concerned stares he'd been so used to getting, but hadn't quite gotten accustomed to yet.
"Is he asleep?" asked George.
Harry would have answered himself, but was too tired to open his mouth and answer the question.
"Yes, I think so," whispered Hermione, and Harry heard her give a shushing noise to whoever had just shoved their chair back. "Don't wake him back up!" she said softly.
"Sorry," muttered Ron. "I wasn't trying to. It just makes me so…so mad, I guess, that he's like this. He's so frail I'm afraid we'll hurt him if we so much as touch him!" he said quietly, heeding Hermione's earlier tone.
Harry cringed, wondering where this conversation was going. He felt bad for eavesdropping on another conversation, much like he had done the other night with Mrs. Weasley and Sirius. Quite frankly, he wanted to know what his friends thought of him now. Were they disgusted of his weakness? He desperately wanted to know what they thought, even if it broke his heart to find out the truth.
"It's not his fault his relatives are a bunch of prats who didn't deserve him in the first place," said Fred, apparently a little upset that his brother might be thinking negative thoughts about Harry. Harry felt the same way.
There was the sound of a chair scrapping against the floor again and Harry waited for Ron to leave the room. But he didn't leave. He felt his best friend's hand on his arm, a comforting touch, not one full of anger. "I'm aware that it isn't Harry's fault," he said with conviction. "I just wish the bastards hadn't had the chance to hurt him as much as they did. And I'm pissed as hell that no one checked on him like they promised Harry they would!" he said, the hand still soft and comforting even though his words were harsh.
"Every time I think of him, locked in his room and starving, it makes me want to scream. He expected them to come and check on him if he didn't write back or respond. And I think he left a clue in one of his letters before they stopped altogether. And I didn't even notice!" he said, his voice sounding stricken.
"What are you talking about?" asked Hermione, sounding confused. Harry was equally confused until he remembered the letter he'd written towards the beginning of summer. He'd written something about doing his homework, hoping Ron or one of the others would notice. But they obviously hadn't. Harry felt a twinge of sadness but couldn't begrudge anyone not noticing. They'd been too caught up in more important things to notice.
"It just struck me, just this second," he whispered. "He'd mentioned having to do his homework…" he trailed off.
"They don't let him do his homework," muttered Hermione, finally figuring out what Ron was talking about.
"Precisely. It was clue, don't you see! He was trying to let us know what was going on even when he was writing those letters. And nobody noticed. Merlin, it had been going on the entire time!" he hissed, his anger growing. "They'd been starving him ever since they took him home!"
Fred sounded devastated when he spoke next. "Why didn't anyone check?" he asked, his voice so quiet Harry almost didn't hear him. "He could have died."
"And to top it all, Harry doesn't even think we did anything wrong. He thinks we had the right to forget about him or something! That finding Sirius was more important than him," Ron continued to rant. "He doesn't know how much we all love him," he whispered. "He doesn't know that our entire family would die for him. He doesn't know that Mum has wanted to adopt him for as long as she's known him."
Harry was shocked. They wouldn't be lying to each other, obviously, but he just couldn't believe that they all cared about him as much as they said. And yet, they did. He could hear it in their voices as they spoke of what had befallen him. His best friends cared more than his relatives had ever thought about doing. They loved him. Any more revelations like this one would likely make him run in the opposite direction. This was just about beyond his ability to comprehend. People loved him. He'd known before now that he was at least partially cared for. He knew Hermione, Ron and the Weasley's all cared for him to a certain extent, but he hadn't known just how much. Not until now.
"Those bloody Dursley's beat him down so low that he doesn't think he's worthy of love, I think," said Hermione quietly and Harry couldn't find it in himself to deny it, either. That was precisely how he had felt. His perception of things was beginning to change, though.
"He's worth it," said a voice from the hallway, not inside the room.
"Sirius," said Ron, his tone telling Harry that no one had realized they had an audience. Harry was glad he was facing away from his godfather; otherwise everyone would know he was awake. A shy smile had lit his face when he heard his godfather's words.
"Is he sleeping?" asked Sirius who sounded closer now.
"Yes. He had a bit of a dizzy spell earlier and we made him lie down," she said, and Harry felt her hand running through his hair again. "We weren't sure where anyone had gone and didn't know what else to do except make him rest," she explained.
"You did the right thing," whispered Sirius. Harry felt more than heard his godfather as he sat down on the couch. His leg was pressed up against Harry's back, making the boy feel more comforted at the touch, more secure. "I'll take him to bed," he said and suddenly Harry felt arms slip underneath him and lift him up into a strong embrace. He went completely limp as he was lifted; hoping Sirius wouldn't realize he was awake.
"He doesn't weigh a thing, does he?" asked another voice. Harry realized with a start that it was Remus. Apparently the two were finally speaking to each other again.
"No, he doesn't. I wish he'd eat more."
"He can only eat so much before his stomach rebels against it," informed Remus sadly. "He went so long without food that he's just not used to eating more than about a quarter of a meal at a time, if that."
"He'll get better, Sirius," Hermione said quietly, still trying to keep Harry asleep. He felt bad for deceiving them like this. He wasn't sleeping and it was starting to feel a little awkward trying to fake it. Especially considering they were all talking about him when they thought he wasn't aware of it.
"I know he will. I plan on making certain of it."
Ron sounded skeptical. "How are you going to do that if you're still in hiding?" he asked. Harry had to wonder the same thing. He purposefully shifted in Sirius' arms and clenched his fingers as they held onto Sirius' shirt front. "Is he waking up?"
"I think so," said Sirius softly. "Listen kids, would you mind giving Harry and me a moment alone? I need to tell him something in private," he said, making not only Ron and the others gaze at him curiously, but Harry to wonder what exactly he was going to be told. He tensed in Sirius' arms. All the thoughts running through his mind were negative and consisted of him being sent back to the Dursley's or worse.
"Are you awake?" asked Sirius when the door was finally shut.
"Yes," he whispered dully. Sirius set him on his feet but immediately had to catch his godson as he started to fall. "Harry!" he called, grabbing onto his arms and pulling him back towards his chest. It killed him to see Harry this weak and vulnerable.
"Sorry, Siri," he said, grasping his godfather's shirt in a death grip in order not to fall.
"No need to apologize, kiddo. Let's sit down on the couch, all right?" he said as he helped the unsteady boy to the sofa and gently lowered him until he was leaning his head against the back of the couch. "Better?" he asked worriedly.
"Fine," he said softly. He realized he probably really should have used the time before to rest instead of eavesdrop. He was so tired still.
"We need to talk about something important," said Sirius, taking a seat directly across from his godson.
Harry looked up nervously. "Why? Did I do something wrong?" he asked apprehensively.
Sirius shook his head quickly. "No, you did nothing wrong," he said. "Why do you always think you've done something bad?"
"I don't know."
"I think you do," replied Sirius.
"Why are you lying to me?"
Harry stood up in an effort to leave the room and to stop this confrontation from happening and immediately regretted it. He grabbed his head as he felt the world tilt. "I've got to stop doing that," he moaned. Sirius had grabbed his shoulders by then and was helping him to sit back down. "I'm sorry," he said dejectedly.
"Stop it, Harry. There's nothing to apologize for."
"But I was lying to you," he admitted. "I do always think I've done something wrong, even if I really haven't. It's a conditioned response. I can't help it."
"Because of the Dursley's, right?" asked Sirius, sitting down beside Harry on the couch. He wrapped an arm around the boy's shoulders and drew him up against his side. When Harry's head was resting comfortably on his shoulder, he continued. "Did you get into trouble a lot with them?"
Harry shrugged; glad he didn't have to face his godfather now. "I guess so."
"How often?" he persisted.
"So often I lost count."
Sirius sighed deep in his throat. He hated the Dursley's. "Well, I've got something I need to tell you, Harry," he said so seriously that Harry felt for certain it must be bad.
"I have to go back, don't I?" he instantly asked, his voice trembling. It could only be something bad, right?
"What? No! Merlin, Harry!" Sirius sounded infuriated. Harry started to pull away from his godfather, his entire body trembling now, but didn't get very far when Sirius wrapped an arm around his shoulders and gently pulled him back. "Shhh," he said soothingly. "It's all right. I'm not mad at you, Harry, never at you," he said with as calm a voice as he could muster. "I didn't mean to frighten you. Please don't be scared."
Harry slowly calmed as Sirius' fingers ran through his hair and was startled to discover he was almost falling asleep at the motion. "You're not mad?" he asked quietly after prying his eyes back open.
"Not at you, I'm not. I'm just angry at your relatives. You're never going back there, Harry. Never, not even in a million years. You're going to stay with me. I want you and I've gone to extensive steps to make sure no one else takes you away from me again," he said, catching Harry's attention immediately.
"What?" he asked, curious now and wide awake. "What does that mean? Is this the reason you and everyone else disappeared this morning?"
"Yes. I had something I needed to do and I needed their assistance," he said softly.
"What'd you do?" asked Harry, shifting slightly so he could look in his godfather's face.
"I cleared my name."
Harry sat still for a moment, taking in what he'd just been told. He wasn't sure if he was coming to the correct conclusion. But what other conclusion could he possibly come to. "You cleared your name?" he asked slowly. "Does that mean you're free?" the words were barely loud enough that Harry himself could hear them. He hadn't been sure if Sirius did hear him until the man spoke.
"Yes, Harry. I'm free."
"You're free?" he asked, needing the confirmation. He couldn't believe what he was hearing. "Are you serious?"
"Yes, kiddo, I'm very serious."
Harry still remained stock still and shocked. "A-and you…you want me still?" he asked, flushing when he heard his voice break.
"I've wanted to keep you since the day I first met you. As your godfather, I'm still your legal guardian and I plan on using that to get full custody of you, Harry. If you don't mind, that is."
"I don't mind," said Harry happily. He wrapped his arms around Sirius' neck and squeezed as tightly as his worn out body would allow. He would have been jumping up and down and screaming if he had the energy. "I love you too, Sirius."
A/N: Well, this is pretty much the end. Nita wants me to write one more chapter detailing the demise of the Dursley's, but if I do something like that it will probably be in the form of a one-shot and not with this story. This part of the story is complete. I hope I cleared everything up!
I'm not sure what my next writing project will be, but when I do one, I will completely finish it before I start posting it. Please visit my Shadowarwen Yahoo Group to keep in contact with me, Nita, and my other wonderful fans who frequently visit there. If you want to write or draw something in regards to this story or my other stories, you can post it there. The link is in my profile, since I can't put it here.
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