Disclaimer: I own nothing; it all belongs to J.K.Rowling. I'm just borrowing the characters to play with for a while. This is for pleasure only, no profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Author's Note: Big thanks to Skip and Cathal for betaing this for me. All comments and reviews are appreciated.
Harry Potter had done what everyone expected of him. He had defeated Voldemort for the final time. The Dark Lord was gone and could never come back. Calling him dead wasn't quite right, as he hadn't exactly been alive so much after Halloween 1981. He still sort of existed after the rebounded killing curse and caused mayhem many years after that, especially once he had his body back. When Harry defeated him for the final time, the world knew, Voldemort wouldn't ever be a problem again. But that all happened a couple of years ago and now Voldemort's final lasting legacy left a mark deeper than anyone could ever imagine on the one who sacrificed so much.
In a nutshell, Harry had issues.
Everyone knew he was going to have issues. Harry knew he was going to have issues. But, much like Mom's rarely mentioned gay brother, no one ever really wanted to talk about it. No offense to Aunt Brian or his special friend that always accompanied him to family functions.
Sadly, that sort of problem sounded like a blissful dream to Harry. Or at least sometimes Harry thought it might be nice to have living family members, whether they're normal, and safe from the lake of fire, or living a life of sin with their longtime roommate and special friend. But then again, they could just as easily be a molester. Or a Death Eater. Or worse, American.
This was exactly the sort of indecisiveness and unknowns that plagued Harry. He simply didn't know and wouldn't ever be able to find out what his family may have been like. He had so many unknowns in his life, but the one that perturbed him the most was the fact that it was unknown to him whether or not he had a fear of the unknown.
Small problems seemed to grow exponentially for Harry. This is why it's easier to simply say the man has issues.
Long ago, Harry realized he needed to talk to someone about his problems. None of his friends would be impartial enough. Quite frankly, there was no one qualified in the wizarding world. They all had preconceptions about him. And occasionally were compelled to express their eternal gratitude. This was another of Harry's issues.
Harry did some research and discovered muggles have a brilliant concept called Doctor-Patient confidentiality that not even the law could impinge upon. He quickly decided he wanted to get some good old-fashioned muggle psychotherapy. But for it to work, he would have to be honest about the Wizarding World, so they had to be informed. Of course, if they were informed, they probably knew about Harry Potter and felt compelled to express their eternal gratitude. This presented a bit of a hitch.
Then Harry came up with the perfect plan. He would save a muggle psychotherapist… and he would use magic to save them. Thus, clinging to his well-known bad habit referred to as a 'saving people thing', and at the same time endearing him to a man, by saving his life and introducing him to a world of wonder.
After randomly choosing a well regarded muggle psychotherapist, Harry engineered a boating accident for him, where the man's feet were tied together and he was being drug out into the ocean by his own slightly possessed, gear-in-automatic boat. Harry played up the hero role perfectly, and the good doctor expressed his eternal gratitude. As planned, the doctor asked if there was any way he could repay Harry. The conniving smile Harry responded with had the doctor flinching. As he wasn't supposed to know about the magical world, when he was faced with the option of merely having his memory modified, it was no surprise that a psychotherapist was against having his brain fuddy-duddied with.
Unfortunately, the need for honesty and openness the doctor asked for got a full and complete confession from Harry about his machination of the boating accident and the fact that it was Harry who put the doctor's life in jeopardy. Although according to Harry, it never really was in jeopardy, he just needed the doctor to think that, in order to get his services.
That was Harry's first session.
And Harry's last free session.
Dr. Nonjon readily agreed Harry clearly needed help and was both impressed and worried at the trouble Harry went through just to get into therapy. The man also recognized that he was the only one in the unique position to offer Harry the professional help he needed, involving legal open discourse on the magical world. This was the beginning of the doctor's best and most frequent return customer.
At the start of Harry's second session, he said the oppressive nature of being forced to rush his problems out within an allotted time wasn't fair. The doctor argued Harry was being ridiculous and there was no need to rush through everything. Each session was just to provide an hour or two where they could try and work through whatever came up or needed to be addressed.
After Harry's third session, the therapist was certain that sessions not restricted by time were clearly going to be necessary. That was why Dr. Nonjon was going to his office on yet another crisp, cool Saturday morning.
He walked up the steps to his office suite grabbing the post as he went. He put the mail on his secretary's empty desk, and entered his own office. There laying on the couch, waiting for him, was his most troubled patient.
"Good morning, Doctor." Harry said tiredly.
"Harry," the doctor condescendingly began. "My office is supposed to be kept private. You shouldn't just pop in here when I'm not present."
"Sorry," Harry's melancholy voice admitted. "I just don't think Lori likes me so I didn't want to sit in the waiting room."
"I'm certain she has nothing against you Harry, other than the fact that her name is Delores." Dr. Nonjon calmly explained.
"I know," Harry childishly said. "But Lori is a part of that name, so it's close, and I really just don't like that name."
"Are you sure it's not because it rhymes with cli-"
"No!" Harry vehemently denied. "I keep telling you that has nothing to do with it."
"Alright," the therapist agreed. "No need to get all riled up. And it's Saturday. Delores never works weekends, just like I never used to."
Harry furrowed his brow as he relaxed and laid back onto the couch. "Are you saying that to try and make me feel guilty?"
Dr. Nonjon looked away sheepishly. "It sounds like your paranoia is ever present. So is that what you would like to talk about today?"
Harry shrugged and said nothing.
The doctor had by now settled his briefcase, hung up his jacket, filled his pipe, had out his latest notebook and was set to take notes. "So that's a maybe on the paranoia. How about the voices in your head?"
Harry grunted uncertainly.
"Have you had many dreams of note?"
Harry sighed loudly.
"Whoa boy," the doctor exhaled. "We're going to be here all day, aren't we?"
Harry looked over at his therapist and began scrutinizing him. "You want me to feel guilty, don't you?"
Dr. Nonjon raised a challenging eyebrow. "Do you want me to want you to feel guilty?"
"What?" Harry asked with a perplexed expression. "No… I mean… Do I?"
Dr. Nonjon shook his head. "I don't know. Do you?"
"I'm confused." Harry said as he lay back down.
The doctor was nibbling on his pipe. "That we can agree upon, I'm certain."
Were it anyone else, Harry would know he was being mocked. But with Dr. Nonjon, Harry felt the intelligent educated man was more than likely just providing him with an exercise to make him feel more comfortable and open, rather than taking pleasure in making fun of his patient. Or at least Harry liked to delude himself into believing this.
Harry sighed. "Does it count as paranoia, if the people really are out to get you?"
"Yes," Dr. Nonjon assured Harry.
"Oh." Harry deflated.
"It may be accurate," Dr. Nonjon conceded. "And still be an irrational fear."
Harry considered. "That doesn't make it seem so bad."
"Nor healthy," added Dr. Nonjon.
Harry sat there quietly wondering how many people in the world were wishing him dead this very moment. He was guessing 'hundreds' would be on the low side.
The doctor was tapping his pipe to his teeth. "So tell me. What has you in such a melancholy mood?"
Harry sighed. "Lee sent me a bottle of fire whiskey. More eternal gratitude."
"Lee Jordan?" Dr. Nonjon verified. "He doesn't seem the type to have been overly concerned with the Dark Lord."
Harry shook his head. "Not that. He's engaged to Katie now, and he's thanking me for her." Harry rolled his eyes. "Again."
"Katie Bell?" the doctor asked. "What did you do to for her or Lee?"
Harry smiled a bit wistfully. "Me and her got really drunk and had a one night stand about a year ago. Apparently, she hadn't been sexually active since she left Hogwarts and was scared someone changed the rules or maybe she forgot how to do it right."
Dr. Nonjon coughed politely. "You don't think that perhaps, she made that up as a line to get you into bed?"
Harry furrowed his brow. "Well, now I sure do." He frowned. "Dammit Katie. Oh well, now I don't feel so bad."
The therapist was scribbling into his notebook. "You felt bad after the one night stand? Were you supposed to call her?"
"No no," Harry said while looking up from his spot on the couch. "It was nothing like that. We were both very clear on what it would mean for us. It was just, I was… you know trying to make it special because even before I'd always liked Katie as a friend. And I may have overdone it a bit."
Dr. Nonjon maintained a completely professional air and made sure his voice didn't crack. "Go on."
"Well," Harry explained as he scratched his head. "Katie says she stopped counting after her twenty-second orgasm as she kept 'losing time' in some sort of euphoric delirium. A few weeks later she was officially diagnosed with acute nymphomania. Lee started dating her shortly thereafter and every once in a while he sends me a bottle of fire whiskey in thanks."
The doctor just sat there quietly observing his patient. "So you feel no jealousy to see a former lover engaged and moving forward in her life?"
"Katie?" Harry asked with a raised eyebrow. "Not at all. I wish her and Lee the best. I think they make a great couple."
"And it doesn't bother you that others get to be in love while you waste away wallowing in your own misery?"
Harry frowned childishly. "I'd hardly say I'm wallowing in misery."
"But you are not in a reciprocal and love-based relationship with a partner?"
"So it's either one or other?" Harry clarified as he sat up to look in his therapist's eyes. "No middle ground of mild peacefulness and happiness in solitude?"
Dr. Nonjon puffed away on his pipe. "Enh… well I suppose that theoretically that could be fulfilling."
"You're not married, are you?"
The doctor shook his head negatively.
"And you haven't ever been, right?"
Dr. Nonjon nodded. "That's correct."
"And how old are you?"
"I'm thirty seven."
"So why haven't you ever been married? Why are you not wasting away wallowing in misery?"
The doctor frowned. "We're straying off topic here. We should be talking about you. Not me."
"Fine," Harry pleaded. "We can drop it after this question, but I still would like to know."
Dr. Nonjon considered his patient while smoking his pipe. After short moment of silence he asked, "Do you really want to know?"
The doctor nodded. "I'm not a particular fan of the vernacular, but the meaning is clear in this: a wise man once said 'Bitches ain't shit but hoes and tricks.'"
"Exactly," Harry cheered. "Bros before hoes. Nothing wrong with that."
"Quite," Dr. Nonjon agreed.
Harry laid back down feeling a little more normal.
The therapist spotted the opening and asked, "Do you think any of the women in your life you could have loved? Even if you never quite reached that point or haven't yet?"
Harry pondered that one for a moment. "I think when I was much younger, and sort of had a crush on Hermione, that with different circumstances we could have. But I'm really not sure how much of that is just the fact that she was like my second ever true friend. And she treated me like a human and basically hugged me for the first time."
Dr. Nonjon nodded and motioned for Harry to continue.
"By the end of third year she'd gotten on my nerves enough that that crush was clearly over. Though she was smoking hot at the Yule Ball. But by that point, I'd already essentially conceded her to Ron, and wouldn't ever even look at her that way until I knew he'd conceded her back to me. Course when you have two best friends, and one of them starts sprouting boobs… I mean it'd be rude not to look, you know?"
"If you say so," Dr. Nonjon ambiguously replied, doing his best to not to make his complete agreement obvious.
"Cho was eye candy and frankly little else. I was attracted to the packaging but a bit disappointed with the product inside." Harry paused for a moment. He began wistfully, "Then there was Ginny."
Dr. Nonjon nodded with recognition and urged Harry to keep going.
"Ginny I really wonder about." Harry agreed. "Because, if I were someone other than me, I could see me and her making a pretty good team."
"But because you are the icon the Boy-Who-Lived you feel that it is impossible?" The doctor inquired.
Harry wavered a moment and responded, "Can you imagine being raised and groomed for a role in your private life, even knowing your public life will always be extremely public? Knowing that your every move is newsworthy with everyone watching you whenever you're around? And then, behind closed doors when you can be who you want to be, and only your true friends and the people you care about, see the real you behind the façade you wear?"
Dr. Nonjon remained silent and unresponsive.
"And then for all of them to be trying to set you up for their idea of a fairy tale happy ending? Whether it's parents encouraging you to date their daughter? Or brother's approving of you through stern half-hearted threats? The older influences on your life constantly comparing you to your parents and how much Ginny reminds them of your mum? Setting a nice clear timetable for you to fall into everlasting love as a teenager and realize that even the girl you're dating feels this way too? She's certain you're the one and is ready to fire up the baby factory as a teenager?"
The doctor nodded but retorted, "Some people would appreciate that sort of thing."
"Would you?" Harry asked snappishly.
Dr. Nonjon shook his head. "I'm not the one we should be talking about. So I take it you didn't fall into the fairy tale love you felt obligated to?"
"How could I?" Harry argued. "None of the emotions ever felt genuine. My life was already being controlled by other manipulations, or prophecy, or people who seriously thought they were doing me a favor by allowing me to fall in love.
"I mean I like Ginny, and I still do. But the fact that it felt so hollow at the time, and neither her nor I was very upset when it ended, just made the whole relationship feel… plastic and forced."
"Plastic?" The therapist repeated in the form of a question.
Harry nodded. "Yeah, it looked real enough from a distance but it didn't feel real at all."
The doctor tapped his pipe thoughtfully. "Do you think perhaps this attitude could be preventing you from falling in love with Ginny?"
Harry shook his head. "Nah. Ginny's great and all, but she grew up with a decade of romanticized ideals of the mythical Boy-Who-Lived before she ever even met me. And then, before I'm really even much of a friend to her I did the whole knight in shining armor, slaying the beast, and saving the fair maiden crap for her. Pretty much cemented the wrong kind of early impression. She's a great friend when she forgets all of my history, but half the time you can feel that undercurrent of awestruck fan-girl she has around me. It's not really a character flaw on her part or anything. It's me that comes into things with all the baggage and it just couldn't work between us."
Dr. Nonjon nodded. "You seem to be seeking validation for your feelings."
Harry shrugged. "It'd be nice to know that I'm not being unfair, although even if I am, I still cannot change that."
The doctor smiled. "Well I can certainly understand where you are coming from. And love is definitely not something you can force."
"I know, I know." Harry admitted. "There are laws against it and everything."
"That's not what I meant and you know it."
Harry smiled sheepishly and shrugged.
"But you are unable to control how you feel, and validation or vindication will never change that."
Harry was bobbing his head. "I know. But it makes me feel less guilty for also thinking she's sort of plain looking. Cute, and at some moments very pretty and attractive, but never jaw-dropping beautiful."
Dr. Nonjon was clicking his tongue in disapproval.
"Alright fine," Harry added. "I also don't think she'd ever challenge me, and that would be a pretty boring coupling."
Dr. Nonjon tried to redirect Harry. "Moving on, have there been any others since Ginny you feel you could love?"
Harry tilted his head a bit. "Well, there's Luna."
"Isn't she the lesbian?"
Harry nodded eagerly. "Yup. Though that might be one of the reasons I would love her."
"Immature," the doctor commented. "But understandable."
"Yeah," Harry continued. "She always could sort of see through me better than others. But she's that way with everyone. Considering how few ever really could see past my scar that alone makes her pretty special. And there's just something lovable about hot blonde lesbians."
"They do often have excellent taste," the doctor agreed. "Any others?"
Harry thought about it. "There was a time I had a crush on Tonks, but I assumed the age difference would be pretty irreconcilable. Seven years to a teenager seems like an awful lot."
Dr. Nonjon was running out of space to doodle and turned the page in his notebook and urged Harry on.
"But then she went and got the hots for someone fourteen years older than her, so my reasoning may have been a bit flawed despite the accuracy of my conclusion."
"Ahh yes. Remus Lupin, one of your father's best friends, wasn't it?"
"Yup," Harry concurred. "And any attraction to her I had remaining at that point died instantly. And now I have trouble seeing what it was that caught my eye in the first place."
"Are you sure this isn't jealousy towards losing her to an older man?"
Harry pursed his lips and thought about it. "No, I don't think so. I mean she spent a year moping around like a weak-willed empty shell of a person and it was kind of pathetic. I was pretty relieved when she and Remus got together as she seemed happier. But she certainly never caught my eye in that way again. The Tonks I first met I was probably romanticizing a bit, because she literally seemed like a different person at the start of my sixth year than she had been at the end of my fifth year."
"It is easy to assume all the answers will be right before you get them," Dr. Nonjon sagely pointed out.
"Yeah, I suppose." Harry feebly nodded. "Though the change was so radical I really did suspect she was a Death Eater taking polyjuice for a while. She must have taken Sirius' death harder than I did."
"Let's talk about Sirius," the therapist segued. "You seem to at times have placed a lot of faith and hope into a potential life with him but act as though you never needed to grieve for him when you lost him."
Harry shrugged. "No clue. That was when I found out about the prophecy and tried to focus on that and pushed away thinking about him. I kind of thought I was bottling up my grief and figured I'd break down into a blubbering mess at some point. I'm pretty sure it would've happened by now if it was going to though."
"So you never did address your grief at losing the best link to your parents and the strongest hope for a family that you had?"
"I didn't know him nearly as well as I would have liked. But still… I probably cried more for Cedric than I did Sirius. And I barely knew Cedric."
Dr. Nonjon was shaking his head. "This does not sound healthy. Your emotions and mental state should not have been very stable."
Harry shrugged. "I cried a fair amount when Professor Dumbledore died. But mainly because he forced me to watch helplessly as he idiotically sacrificed himself for no reason."
"No reason?" The doctor repeated.
"No good reason at least." Harry sighed. "I suppose you could argue he saved a pretentious arrogant git from becoming a pretentious arrogant reluctantly loyal Death Eater git."
Dr. Nonjon raised an inquiring eyebrow.
"I mean if you believe in the principle strongly enough, I won't hold it against you. But I'm not about to give up my life just so that some random Joe Q. Public can still choose between chocolate or vanilla ice cream tacos. It's like killing the dog to save the disease-ridden flea. And at a time when the wizarding world really needed him. He actively chose to die. And he pretty much took public morale with him."
"That doesn't sound particularly wise," Dr. Nonjon pointed out.
"I'll always respect the man, even if I don't always agree with him. But for all the challenges he put before me, sometimes I think his death was the last one he intentionally put me through."
"That's a pretty selfish point of view," the therapist scolded.
Harry shrugged. "I'll never know how much he really knew about me or how close he watched over my life, but I'm pretty sure it was closer than any of us realized. He was a mentor and I know he cared for me, but I wasn't ready to lose him then and I felt betrayed by the way he died."
"So you no longer blame him for every bad thing in your life?"
"No," Harry sighed tiredly. "And I never did. That was a dream I told you about. Not how I actually felt. And in the dream he had been manipulating me all my life, stealing money from me, keeping secrets from me that he should have told me. He even hoped the Dursleys abused me."
"But the Dursleys did abuse you." The therapist pointed out.
"Not that kind of abuse. The Dursleys are loveless, rude, and were horribly neglectful guardians. It wasn't like they all got drunk and took turns whipping my swollen bum with a cat o' nine tails."
"I find it interesting you immediately assumed I was referring to sexual abuse. Why is that, do you think?"
Harry looked over at the doctor not liking the sound of that loaded a question.
"Have you ever had a dream where you were sexually abused?"
Harry was rubbing the bridge of his nose, questioning his personal pledge to be completely honest. "Yes, I have had dreams where I get raped."
"Rape fantasies are far more prevalent and less deviant than most people think. You have nothing to be ashamed of."
Harry blanched. "I don't have any rape fantasies, thank you very much. I've had nightmares about if things had been different. I've dreamt about being captured by Death Eaters and tortured severely, occasionally sexually. I've had nightmares where the Dursleys were far more abusive and active in my life. I've even had nightmares where I'm stranded on a deserted island with a whole community of gorgeous Veela where it's up to me to repopulate the species. Though I suppose I was a bit more willing in that one."
"I would assume so," the doctor snootily intoned. "Any nightmares with friends or acquaintances?"
Harry frowned severely and remained silent.
"Professor Snape perhaps?"
Harry paled and covered his mouth to stifle his gulp.
Dr. Nonjon smiled victoriously at Harry. "Would you care to elaborate?"
Harry sighed and lay back down on the couch looking back up at the ceiling. "Yes, I had a nightmare where Professor Snape was a completely snarky asshole who still killed Headmaster Dumbledore. He was a mean spiteful friendless person. And in the dream, I found that attractive. We were lovers as I apparently respected him and thought he was doing the wizarding world a massive favor by spying on the Dark Lord. I don't know. Maybe I was just trying to be a rebellious teen and I wanted to date someone I knew my parents would disapprove of, and considering how little I know of them, this was the only way to really make sure they definitely hated me back."
Dr. Nonjon was still grinning. "That's a fair amount of rationalization."
Harry just snorted a laugh.
"And how did you feel when you woke up from the dream to find Professor Snape was not sleeping next to you, greasing up your pillow?"
Harry seemed to shrink down a bit. He quietly mumbled out, "I gouged out my eyeballs with a fork and knocked myself unconscious."
Dr. Nonjon thought this seemed a bit severe but was inspecting his patient's physical health none the less.
Harry saw him looking for scars around his eyes. "When I woke I was completely healed. A voice in my head informed me 'It was not my time.'"
"Was this the one that tries to get you to do evil things?"
Harry shook his head. "Naw. This is the one that's always preaching about the supreme power of magic and wants me to go search for the sword Excalibur."
"Excalibur is real?" The man asked surprised.
Harry raised his hands in defeat. "According to the voice in my head it is. That one speaks in Gaelic or Saxon sometimes though. It's not been especially helpful. Though I appreciated not having to heal my own eyes."
"So I take it, you do not share the same attraction to Professor Snape in your waking mind?"
"Have I not described Professor Snape for you before?" Harry asked curiously. "I mean to seriously find him attractive? I cannot begin to imagine how his mother could ever even love him. And besides, I'm not gay."
Dr. Nonjon looked at his patient. "You can say that with certainty?"
"Yes, I can say that with certainty," Harry insisted. "I find the idea of myself having sexual relations with a man distasteful. Not that there's anything wrong with that."
"Of course not," the doctor condescendingly agreed.
"I mean I could care less what sort of tools are on the tool belts other people bring to their beds. It's like whether it's steak or bacon, if I'm a vegetarian, those things do nothing for me. And if I get really drunk and daringly try either steak or bacon despite a lack of desire, it doesn't matter which, I'm still going to end up throwing up with galloping diarrhea."
Dr. Nonjon winced a bit. "You have a way with words."
"Actually you know, just a few night's ago," Harry continued. "I had a dream where Draco was a male Veela, something I've never heard of, and he seemed to think I was his mate. We kept buggering several times daily, and a few times he even had girlie bits. It was like a life of nothing but sweaty pale arse love. I woke up in a pool of my own vomit."
"That could have been very dangerous. People have choked to death in their sleep from that."
Harry waved his hand away. "That wouldn't kill me. The voices in my head would never allow it. But I'm worried that I keep having these gay dreams. Do you think I might be homophobic?"
"I think you might be homosexual," Dr. Nonjon unhelpfully offered. "Not necessarily homophobic."
"So if the idea disgusts me to the point of making me ill, I must be gay? What would I be if I openly admitted to liking the idea?"
"I'd also think you might be homosexual," the therapist added. "But then at least I'd be certain you're homophobic."
"What! Why?" Harry asked. "That doesn't make any sense."
Dr. Nonjon clinically answered. "Most homosexuals, just before openly admitting their sexuality, have massive cases of homophobia. Once they're open and honest about their sexuality they usually immediately try to suffocate that fear of homosexuality, and they hide it for a while and hope it goes away. Usually it's still there for a good year or so before completely deteriorating and they truly feel comfortable within themselves."
Harry grinned and couldn't deny his bad pun impulse. "So I'm rammed if I do, and I'm rammed if I don't?"
"You know joking about an issue to avoid dealing with it is another sign that you-"
"Alright already," Harry interrupted. "Geezle petes. I get it. Feels like half of my dreams I'm gay in them. And it's almost always with either the greaseball whose sexual experience triples if you include the muggles he raped, or with the identical junior bastion of suckitude who acts just the same as the greaseball if he were wearing a less displeasing frat boy mask."
The doctor watched Harry's facial expressions and asked, "So you admit to finding Draco more attractive?"
"More attractive than Professor Snape? Yeah, I suppose." Harry admitted. "But more attractive than a slow and painful death? Nope, not in the slightest. Sign me up for the slow and painful death before I ever see Draco's lust-filled gaze."
The doctor was noting next to his latest doodle, "Patient is extremely defensive. Over-compensating?"
"But even still," Harry sighed. "I swear I feel like I've had and remember more dreams than I do sleep. Lately, I've been having an awful lot of betrayal dreams."
"Betrayal?" The therapist asked. "As in those closest to you have been violating your confidences?"
Harry nodded but furthered it and said aloud, "Yeah, as in framed me for a bunch of crimes and shipped me off to Azkaban."
"Ahh," the doctor understood. "The fickle press and the ease with which the public can turn on you. You have been extending that insecurity to cover the people who truly know you and whose betrayal would hurt the most."
"Well yeah," Harry said. "That too. But mainly it's just the most ridiculous situations where the laws don't seem to apply to me, and that includes common sense, reason, and logic. Most of these are machinations of Voldemort in the dream, who pisses me off greatly and dies especially easy. But here's where it gets weird. All the people that beat on me in prison, or testified against me or spit on me or hit me, they all just wait their turns for me to forgive them and life goes right back to normal."
Dr. Nonjon lit his pipe again. "And how does that make you feel?"
"I'm pretty fricking pissed off at myself in the dreams." Harry insisted. "I mean it's all the people that should have known me better, and there all begging and pleading for me to forgive them. How they made a horrible mistake and feel awful about it. And somehow, I'm convinced that it's my fault. So I do the stupidest thing I can think of: I forgive them all!"
Dr. Nonjon kept his impassive face, though he definitely wanted to encourage this strong show of emotion from his patient. "Is gifting someone forgiveness that grievous an error to you?"
"When they don't deserve it, but I do it simply because I have no other friends? Yeah, it really is that grievous an error. It's basically sending them a message, that what they did wasn't that bad and they can get away with it again."
"So you feel if they make one mistake, they should be punished forever?"
"I'm not saying we should tar and feather them. I'm saying they've shown themselves unfit to be people I can trust or confide in, and we should just go our separate ways."
"You think it's that easy to replace a good friend?" The doctor continued to play Devil's Advocate.
"No, not at all," Harry stated calmly. "I'm saying that makes them bad friends, and I shouldn't be lulling myself into a false sense of security by considering bad friends as good ones."
Dr. Nonjon sat there quietly and saw his patient felt that he had presented his case admirably. "That is a very logical and healthy response. I can understand your disappointment with your dream self's actions."
"Thank you," Harry said feeling particularly vindicated.
"You're welcome," the therapist said with an incline of his head. "But the frequency and repetition of these dreams is a very strong sign of your feelings of insecurity and inadequacy."
"Oh," Harry said defeated.
Dr. Nonjon let the silence hover for a bit and added, "But then again I'm not certain we can apply the usual implications to your dreams, given the vast amount of them that you have. You seem to frequently carry out 'what if' scenarios through your dreams. Are there any that you would consider pleasant or at least not nightmares?"
Harry nodded with a slight smile. "Yeah, they're not all bad for sure. I've had a few where it's like my parents never died and I grew up with a family, living under the threat of Voldemort."
Dr. Nonjon scribbled into his notebook. "And both of your parents are present? How did that make you feel?"
"Well," Harry said. "For the most part, it felt really weird having a dad tuck me in night, and a mom worrying over me."
"Did your father touch you improperly in these dreams?"
"What?" Harry asked surprised. "Eww. And no. Well, actually… no. And that seems a bit odd come to think of it. Dad's never been a love interest forcefully or willfully I don't think. That's kind of surprising."
The doctor jumped at his opening. "So you're saying your mother has been a love interest?"
Harry blushed a bit remembering one dream in particular. "Yeah, she has been. I was assuming it's because I've only ever seen pictures, and she's definitely a hottie. I've never really felt mothered by her or seen her differently from most other attractive females in pictures. Most of those dreams involve me going back in time and it's up to me to save her from my evil Dad."
"Many children growing up will confuse their feelings of love for their parents with a more common attraction to a potential partner. Young girls in particular see their father as the ideal protector and provider. They see the role in family their mother plays and wish to mimic that. Young boys more often wish to grow up and be men and take their father's place, both as alpha male and lover to their mother. These are not deviant thoughts but a relatively common step in the process of understanding families and traditional gender roles."
"Really?" Harry asked. "Then why do people take such offense to being called a motherfucker?"
The therapist rolled his eyes. "A failure to move past that step of understanding, or to actually act on it would most definitely be considered deviant. For some, it is this deviance that they find attractive or more commonly repulsive."
"I'm confused here." Harry added. "So are you saying it's natural to be attracted to my mom, but if I am attracted to her, I'm a pervert?"
"I'm not here to judge you," Dr. Nonjon pointed out.
"But I want you to!" Harry begged. "You have concepts of normalcy that are all Greek to me. I'd like to know just how screwed up and far from normal I am."
Dr. Nonjon sighed. "Very well. Yes, being attracted to your mom makes you a pervert, considering the fact that you are an adult and are well aware that a relationship with your own mother would be unnatural and highly deviant."
Harry frowned. "You're saying pervert like it's a bad thing."
The doctor chuckled. "Not a bad thing, nor a good thing. It is just something about you. To each person the term would carry different connotations, some bad some good. Same with if you classify me as a doctor. To most wizards I believe it would carry bad connotations, but to someone who I may have helped it could carry good connotations."
"Hmm," Harry was thinking. "So are you saying I'm like a professional pervert?"
Dr. Nonjon dryly replied, "No. I'm not sure there is such a thing, but if I find any openings in the field, you will definitely be the first person I think of."
"Thanks." Harry grinned but then his grin faltered. "I think."
"You said you traveled back in time when you would become your mom's lover?"
Harry nodded. "Yeah, it's usually about me going to school at the same time as them. A few times I've been their teacher, other times it feels like I'm only in the past so I can see what horrible people my parents really are and just how wonderful and misunderstood the murdering psychotics who became Death Eaters are."
"Professor Snape?" The therapist asked.
"Yeah, he's there. Still every bit as ugly and greasy, but in the dream I seem to find that attractive and respectful. Sometimes it's him, other times it's Bellatrix Lestrange and/or Narcissa Malfoy."
"Bellatrix is the one who killed Sirius and tortured Neville Longbottom's parents into insanity?"
"And Narcissa would be Draco's mother?"
"How do you feel about sympathizing with them?"
"Truthfully?" Harry rhetorically asked. "It's weird. I see all these reasons and justifications for how things got to be where they are. But I can see how horribly twisted and skewed reality is just to make those justifications."
"Does it endear you to them?"
"Endear? Well… not really. It more feels like I'm trying to justify finding them physically attractive by taking the tour at Kiddie Porn International and they're trying to make me sympathize with pedophiles. Even if you can understand why they are that way, you're still completely aware of how abhorrently wrong their existence, and in the dream, mine too, really is."
"That seems a bit of a stretch." The therapist added.
"Imagine a perfectly normal adult female being kidnapped, tortured, and raped by aliens in the form of five year old children."
Dr. Nonjon smiled a little. "A peculiar scenario your mind has presented, worthy of noting."
"And now, after being held captive for a couple years, this scarred twisted person who has earned your sympathy escapes and fights back at her attackers by kidnapping, torturing, and raping little children. You know it's wrong, but if she's still hot, you want to try and rationalize it to the point of understanding."
"And you feel her response would be justified?"
"Me?" Harry responded. "Hell no. But the me in the dream can twist whatever sort of morals or ideas of forgiveness I want around to make whatever end I wish there to be. It's like I've already decided those Black sisters are too hot to just write off, and I will do my best to ensure their so-called talents are put to better use."
"At the expense of the people you do know in the waking world or your parents."
"Yup. Feels like every action is sexually motivated. I don't like to think of that dream me resembling my waking existence very much."
"Perhaps your fear of that being the real you, is adding to your disgust over the sort of person you are." Dr. Nonjon added. "But your ability to recognize the fallacies in the dream you's actions and reasoning shows that you are not that person."
"Back in school, they were completely beautiful Betties though. No arguing that point."
The therapist rolled his eyes a bit. "At least your priorities remain clear."
"A man's gotta do who a man's gotta do."
"I'm not sure that's quite how the saying goes."
The therapist continued. "Are those sort of dream realities the versions of you that bother you the most? Due to sympathies or similarities?"
Harry thought about it. "They all kind of bother me, because in my dreams since it's from my perspective it feels like I'm able to justify it. But I think it's some of insecurities about my own family that perturb me the most."
"Oh?" The doctor urged. "Why is that?"
Harry sighed and began. "One of my more common nightmares is discovering that my father was not my father."
"Who was your father then?"
Harry was lying back and closed his eyes. "Sometimes it's random Death Eaters who raped my mom. Sometimes my mom was a Death Eater and was fooling the man I thought was my Dad, sometimes it's Voldemort, or Lucius Malfoy, but easily the most disturbing are the ones where it's Professor Snape."
"A man you perceive to hold as much hate for you as a father should hold love for a son?"
"Something like that," Harry reluctantly admitted. "I mean I know I can't ever view him from a non-biased perspective. To me he's disgusting, petty, painful to look at, his voice sounds worse than nails on a chalkboard, his attitude is so horribly selfish, childish, cruel, and unfeeling, that I naturally assume everyone else finds him unworthy of oxygen. And it's not our job to deny him that oxygen, but if a car swerved to avoid him in the street, it wouldn't be for his sake, but to avoid dirtying the tires, you know? I wouldn't particularly take pleasure in his pain or seeing him break down if he were forced to look in the mirror for once both in the metaphorical and literal sense. But in an ideal world 'Severus' would only ever be a word used to describe the bacteria you have to rinse off the clamps down in laundry for the eco-friendly reusable colostomy bags. Where Jorge on his second day of the job would walk up to his supervisor and point to his hand, 'I got this rash growing.' To which, the supervisor would take one look at all the oozing puss and spores and say, 'Woo! Careful there. You got a bad case of Severus. Come on, I got some Snape Oil Ointment in the trailer.' And then Jorge would-"
Dr. Nonjon interrupted, "You are aware of the extent of your hostility towards the man?"
Harry nodded cheerfully.
"And I have never met him, and I do expect were I to ever, I would not particularly care or respect him. But you seem to have a fixation on the man."
Harry sighed. "I really try not to think about it, but it's hard to miss the fact that he plays such major roles in so many of my dreams."
"Including frequently the role of your father?" the doctor indicated.
"Yeah," Harry said. "There's been a whole bunch with him as Daddy." Harry ended with a mocking snarl. "In some it's as if I grew up with him as my parent, and it seems almost normal the way I am in the dream. It's just when I wake up, I really don't know if that is how I, the real me, would be if I were to grow-up like that. And the person I am in the dream? I hate him even more than Professor Snape. Not jealousy or misplaced anger. Straight up pure hate."
"You do realize that by employing that particular response, you're actually acting more like the person in your dream then? As in that is how they would respond, so you, the real you, fear that means you are like them?"
Harry stopped suddenly and had to think about that one. His inexplicable hate did look like how they would respond. It was almost enough to make him stop hating the dream person he was. But not quite. "Yeah… I do think that is how that dream version of me would react."
Dr. Nonjon saw he got a point across to his patient.
"And he might fight dirty," Harry added. "But I could still kick his ass and his father's."
Dr. Nonjon added a few question marks to his theories. "Of course. And you don't even have an ego about it either."
Harry pouted a bit. "Not as much of one as they would."
The therapist challenged, "And so you wish to abide by their rules or use them as a measuring stick to yourself?"
Harry grumbled. "No, but as arrogant as it sounds, after having lived my life, I do have some idea of what it means to be Harry Potter. I'm not a complete dunderhead."
Dr. Nonjon bit the inside of his cheek to not blurt out anything terribly detrimental to his patient's psyche. "I don't believe anyone whose opinion you value has ever accused you of being a complete dunderhead." He smiled. "An occasional dunderhead perhaps, but not a complete one."
Harry nodded thinking Professor Snape was the only one who claimed him a complete dunderhead. And there are not too many opinions he values less. "Heartily agreed."
The doctor smiled. "And for what it's worth, the them we were referring to earlier would never display the humility you just have."
Harry smiled happily feeling significantly better than he did this morning.
Dr. Nonjon was tapping out his pipe into an ashtray. "I can sense your mood has improved. Would you like to call it a day now or was there something more in particular you wanted to discuss?"
Harry sat up. "I think we can stop here. I do feel better. Thank you, Dr. Nonjon."
"It's my pleasure, Harry," the doctor said double-checking his favorite doodles. "You know how to get a hold of me, if you have an emergency, but otherwise then, I will see you on Tuesday for our normal session."
"Sounds good, sir." Harry said standing and preparing to apparate away. "Oh, one last thing. I had a really strange dream. I think it was about something called fan fiction. Have you ever heard of it?"
The doctor's eyes flared in warning. "Yes, I most certainly have. In my professional field it is highly dangerous. Some colleagues even call it the Disorder-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named. For the most part, fan fiction is considered the point of no return in whether a patient can be helped. Once they reach that point, there's really nothing we can do. Some doctors try to reach them, but most of us know it's pretty hopeless."
"What?" Harry breathed. "How is that possible?"
Dr. Nonjon shook his head in anger. "You've heard of the concept of a gateway drug? Well, fan fiction is like a gateway disorder to all the extremely dangerous and hyper-violent neuroses. We call those hopeless patients mudminds. Trust me Harry, stay away from fan fiction."
Harry stepped back in fright.
"Just stay," the man paused for a moment and whispered out the last word, "away."
Harry apparated home, firmly agreeing to just trust his doctor on this one.
As soon as Dr. Nonjon saw Harry had left, he remembered he had a new one-shot to post.