Disclaimer: Wouldn't it be really funny if J.K. Rowling actually sued someone for forgetting to put up a disclaimer on their Harry Potter fan fiction? I mean, honestly, does she really need the extra money? And no one really reads disclaimers anyway. And it's not as if they matter, everyone knows J.K.R. doesn't post things on fan fiction websites only on her official website. And quite frankly, if you've read all of this disclaimer, and have gotten to this last sentence, you have way to much time on your hands.
"I've never been close with my family, but they treat me all right. I get into scrapes with Dudley all the time," he said. To Professor Lupin's blank face, he added, "My cousin Dudley that is."
"Ah," Professor Lupin said in acknowledgement. "Please continue."
"Well, my fam, " he said hesitatant, "my relatives didn't exactly discourage it. Because, you see, I'm not really theirs. I mean, sure, I've lived with them almost all my life, but they have no obligation to me."
Hermione made to protest to that statement, the words on the tip of her tongue, when Ron shushed her. He signaled to let Harry speak.
"And it makes sense that Dudley is their favorite. Because, there's favoritism in regular families, and we're certainly not a regular family, and I'm not even close to them. I've screwed up before, and been disciplined too, but, it's not that big of a deal. Aunt Petunia sent me to my cupb," he said, once more hesitating.
Then he figured they already knew about the cupboard, so what was the point in not mentioning it. Hermione would bring it up anyway. "My cupboard without food. And Uncle Vernon smacks me around every so often, but it's not a big issue. I can take it all right. And it's only when I do something wrong. Not for no reason, like if I was being abused or something," he said with a harsh laugh. No one laughed with him. There was dead silence.
There was a pause as Harry thought of what to say next. He fidgeted nervously in his seat, but looked solely at his hands, which were in his lap. The fire crackled in the background, and the sky outside darkened with the passing time.
Professor Lupin's thoughts were racing a mile an hour. Harry was clearly portraying all the signs of an abused child. He had suspected something, but this was much much worse.
For if it was mild neglect, Harry wouldn't be acting like this. He wouldn't be avoiding all of their eyes. And unless he had seriously misjudged Harry's character, he wouldn't have hid neglect.
In fact, from the sounds of it, he had used neglect as his cover story all these years. And even now, he was making it seem like less then it was. But Professor Lupin was not stupid, and he knew half truths when he heard them. The part that saddened him was the sincerity in Harry's words. They weren't half truths to him.
Harry sat with his thoughts never ending. He didn't know what to say, for there was so much to say. A specific example, he was trying to think of. Something that proved his point. He deserved punishment. And then, suddenly, he had the instant captured in his mind, like a snapshot in time.
"Like, well, Ron and Hermione know about second year, when they locked me up in my room for ruining their dinner party. You see, I came down, and Dobby, a house elf (he added this for Professor Lupin's benefit), smashed the pudding. If it wasn't for me, and my freakishness Dobby would have never come, and it would have never been ruined."
"And I mean, yeah, I was hungry, but it wasn't a big deal. It was like, an eye for an eye. I ruined their dinner party, so I didn't get a lot of food. It makes sense."
Harry paused slightly and then continued, "And, there was this one time, when I got into a fight with Dudley, and well, I lost. So, my punishment was to keep the injuries. To learn not to do it again."
'Dudley went to the doctor,' was left unsaid. But, there was no doubt in anyone's mind that it was the fact.
Harry looked at Professor Lupin with eyes that were simply pleading understanding. But Professor Lupin couldn't understand the twisted logic.
With a hoarse sounding voice, Professor Lupin choked out, "Anything else?"
Harry brightened slightly at that comment, thinking what he had said made no impact in Professor Lupin's mind. That Professor Lupin needed more examples.
He was wrong.
"Well, I mean, not really, nothing important." There were many other occasions that were important. But Harry couldn't admit them, not even to himself.
They fell once more into silence. Hermione's face was pasty white. Whether it be a sheet of fury, shock, or heartbreak, no one would ever know. Her thoughts were racing a million a minute. 'He was… abused. They didn't feed him, they favored his cousin, they hit him occasionally (I really should make him mention that), they favored him cousin, they left him injured from his whale of a cousin, they didn't care…. How could I not have noticed?' her thoughts ran on.
Ron's expression left observers less curious. There were no doubts what he was feeling. Rage, hate, venom…. There were many terms to describe it. His indignant thoughts too ran wild. 'He could have told us. We would have believed him. We would have helped him. But does he even believe he deserves help? Or needs it? How could they? How could they to… Harry? I can't call him family, not in relation to them. It's an injustice. They'll pay for this. He won't go back there. Screw Dumbledore, he's not his guardian. If Harry wants to come over, he will. I won't let him go back there.' While his thoughts raced from sadness to rage, his main was indignant anger. How could this have happened?
Professor Lupin's thoughts were so varied and yet so distinctly about the same thing. Harry. Simply, Harry.
Harry's thoughts were flying. 'I told them what they wanted to know. Professor Lupin has to understand that Ron and Hermione were overreacting. Professor Lupin's alright. He won't overreact. He knows about discipline and all. He's a teacher, he won't get all upset over a few punishments.'
Harry dared not think what would happen if he did.
"Get up," said the voice of a shaking Remus Lupin. Despite Harry's proclamation that he wasn't being abused, he flinched as Remus reached for his arm.
It was as though time had stopped. The fire crackling near went silent in their minds. That was near proof. Wasn't it? He flinched.
'Damn it! He won't beat me, he won't beat me, he won't beat me….'
Hermione suppressed a sob. Ron began to shake with anger. Professor Lupin took a deep breath and tried to control his rage on Harry's behalf.
While all this was going on, there was still dead silence. How on earth do you react to that?
In the next moment, Harry lifted his chin a millimeter, met their eyes for the first time in the confrontation, and stood to leave.
Professor Lupin stopped in shock at Harry's near defiant reaction. Daring them to say something nearly. And then he realized, this was how Harry avoided situations such as these, with a mask of worthiness. This wasn't Harry. This was the boy-who-lived.
And despite his friendship with Harry, and his never dying bond with his parents, Professor Lupin was beginning to realize, they were two separate things. The boy-who-lived was a mask and Harry was the person beneath.
And with that startling revelation, Professor Lupin led Harry off to…
Author's Note: I have in fact abandoned this story. I apologize if you wanted to read more. However, I am rewriting the story under the name Deepest Fear Revealed: Rewritten. It will contain the same concepts in a better writing style. I have it all plotted out. Please head over and read my rewritten version. Any questions, please PM me.