Harry concentrated on pushing all thoughts of Severus and Sirius out of his head and focused on what he needed to know. The reality scared him, but that was what Gryfindor courage was for. He'd just have to jump right in.
"What's going on with the muggles. . . I remember calling for everyone to wake up. The wizards woke up, but the muggles. . .?" Harry forced the question out, afraid of the answer.
His fear only increased as Remus paled and glanced away in response to the question.
"Didn't Severus tell you. . ." Remus asked trailing off uncertainly.
Harry looked down and flushed. The bed sheets covering his lap were wrinkled and messy. Evidence that Snape and him had indeed not been focused on world events. He had just been caught snogging Snape and now, somehow, had to explain how the two of them had failed to talk about anything relevant.
"I just. . . after waking up," Harry broke off, uncertain how to continue.
How could he explain to Remus how selfish he had been? How cowardly? Harry knew he had failed; he hadn't woken the Muggles. He had been scared to face his failure--the magnitude of it was surely staggering. And so, utterly selfishly, he had decided not to face it. He had just wanted one night to gather his strength before he had to face the world.
"Did Severus say anything?" Remus asked.
Harry clearly saw worry in his eyes. He knew he had to confess.
"I didn't want him to. I wasn't ready," Harry cut off again as his voice cracked with emotion.
Remus nodded, understanding written on his face. He reached over and squeezed Harry's shoulder.
"Nobody blames you for needing time to heal. Its a miracle you're alive at all."
"I want to know," Harry resolved.
He'd have to face the music sometime; it might as well be now. Again, Remus' response was not reassuring. He looked worried, tired, and drawn. Almost as though he had just gone through a full moon, but Harry knew that couldn't be the case.
"Harry, you should rest. You're magically exhausted. There's no point in getting upset over something you have no control over," Remus said gently.
His words sent a panic through Harry. His heart accelerated and his stomach clenched. Remus knew how he worried. If Remus thought letting Harry worry about the possibilities was better than the truth, the truth must be horrific.
"I have to know," Harry ground out.
Remus closed his eyes as though in exhaustion and nodded.
"There is still a lot we don't know about You-Know-Who's attack. We haven't had much time to study it." Remus hesitated here, clearly uncomfortable going on.
"The spell he used was a sleeping spell. The entire world was affected by it." Harry nodded, unsurprised. It had certainly felt like he woke up the whole world when he had reached out with his magic.
"You woke up every individual that had even the tiniest shred of magic--squibs, people living as muggles that had no idea they had magic of any sort. We were not able to find a way to wake up the muggles."
Remus said this with such sadness, devastation, that it confused Harry. Then he wondered why Remus had spoken in the past tense--'We were not able...' It was almost as though they had given up.
"I'm sorry I don't understand," Harry began. "Inducing people to go to sleep? That hardly seems like the grand master scheme Voldemort was after."
Remus looked uncomfortable as though he were the unfortunate one assigned to the task of giving a particularly bad piece of news.
"They were put to sleep, not stasis," he said quietly. Harry shook his head and Remus' face crumpled in pain.
"Sleep, Harry, not stasis. Seventy-five percent of the muggle population has already died of dehydration."
Harry's ears rung. He must have misheard. He must be hallucinating.
"What?" he breathed.
"The muggles are dead," Remus repeated quietly with a painful shake of his head, as he though he too were trying to deny the reality of what he was saying.
"No! No! No! That can't be!" Harry shouted in denial.
He had to be sleeping--he must have fallen asleep without taking his potion--this was a nightmare. But Remus simply stared. His face was a picture of exhaustion, horror, and sympathy.
"All of them? Every last muggle?" Harry choked out.
"We will be able to save a few. We've gathered as many muggles as we can care for. We're treating them like a muggle hospital would treat coma patients," Remus answered in a weary voice.
Harry nodded numbly. No further explanation was needed--he was muggle raised.
"Billions. . ." Harry trailed off too emotional to continue.
"I shouldn't have told you. Pomfrey doesn't want you upset. You need to focus on healing--not solving problems out of your control," Remus said gently.
'Solving problems out of your control,' the phrase sound like something Severus would say and suddenly Harry desperately wished Severus was here with him. He remembered breaking down in front of him after the incident in Hogsmead. It had been humiliating--his loss of control. But Severus had been so comforting.
Harry didn't want to lose control in front of Remus. His breath was coming faster and faster and he wasn't sure how long he could keep it together. He knew Remus wouldn't judge him for his weakness, but he didn't want to further burden him. It seemed as though everybody left alive in the world had more than they could handle.
"I'd like to go to sleep now," Harry whispered.
Remus nodded and pulled out a vial of Dreamless Sleep. How Remus knew Harry took that potion, Harry wasn't sure. But he was grateful.
He pored the contents down his throat. As Harry fell asleep, he begged that this be a horrible nightmare, that when he woke up the world would be back to normal. In fact, he thought sleepily, he'd settle for not waking up at all. Let this be a personal hell just for me. If only it meant all the muggles were still alive. The faces of all the people in the world tried to swim before his eyes, but mercifully the potion kicked in and sleep took him.