Lupin entered his living room, closing the door tight behind him. Snape and Dumbledore were stood against the wall opposite Tonks was sat on the couch with her arms wrapped around her. Her bewildered expression made her seem a lot younger than she was. Lupin sat down next to her and placed a comforting hand on her arm.
"Is he sleeping?" Dumbledore asked.
Lupin nodded, he let out a huge sigh.
"He hates me," he muttered. "He blames me."
"The boy applies blame to everyone other than himself," replied Snape quietly, he looked away as Dumbledore shot him a quelling look.
"The boy has been through a lot Severus. I think his destructive behaviour comes from a deeply stemmed self hatred."
"He's had it drummed into him from a young age that he's not good enough," responded Lupin angrily. "Why was he left to suffer at his relatives?"
Tonks squeezed his hand.
"He'll be ok Remus."
Lupin looked at her through tired eyes.
"I'm not so sure anymore," he whispered. "He's pushing everyone away, pushing me away and now he hates me for not letting him remain here. But he doesn't want to be here, not really. It's not me he wants, it's James and Sirius and it's killing him!"
"He needs someone to stay with and I think we've definitely ruled Severus out," said Dumbledore.
"That never would have worked," replied Snape glaring at him.
"Well what about you Dora?" Lupin asked Tonks. She regarded him with wide, frightened eyes.
Dumbledore considered her.
"It could work, he needs boundaries with someone who cares about him, someone who he trusts and hasn't got an emotional connection with his past."
"You'll be hard pressed finding someone who isn't involved in Potter's past," snorted Snape.
"I can't look after a teenager," insisted Tonks. "He's mentally unstable Remus, and I won't be able to handle him! He needs professional help, not –not, me."
"He does need help," agreed Dumbledore. "But unfortunately that's not practical within his circumstances."
"Not practical?" Lupin exploded standing up. "Our concern should be Harry, his best interests. He needs help!"
"Well what do you propose? He cannot see a psychiatrist in St. Mungos and it wouldn't be sufficient to see a muggle psychiatrist."
"We need to do something," pleaded Lupin. "We can't just stand back why he destroys himself."
"What about Potter's fan group?" Snape asked. "Is he not opening up to them?"
Lupin shook his head.
"He isn't seeing much of his friends."
"Well in my experience with troubled adolescents, they usually reach out to at least one person. His self-harming it isn't suicidal behaviour as such. He's crying out for help," said Snape. "Or attention seeking." He added.
Tonks shifted uncomfortably on the couch. Is that what Harry had been doing? Reaching out to her? All she had done was push him away and consequently made him resort to cutting himself.
"How do I stop him hurting himself?" She asked sadly. "I wouldn't be able to stand it professor, watching him fall apart."
Dumbledore gazed at her.
"You can only do your best, just let's hope you are more successful than us."
Harry was curled up on the bed, his face blotchy with crying and his voice hoarse from screaming into his pillow for the last hour. He couldn't believe that Lupin had given Snape consent to stun him. Then he'd been carried through the castle like a disobedient child, another muffled sob escaped his throat.
"Harry?" Lupin knocked on his door. "I thought you were asleep. Can I come in?"
Harry turned his back on the door and didn't respond. Lupin tried the doorknob anyway.
"Open up Harry," said Lupin, with a note of urgency in his voice. "Can you hear me?"
A loud bang made him jump, as the door flew open and then strong arms lifted him out of bed and slammed him against the wall. He had never seen Lupin look so angry.
"What the hell do you think you're playing at?" Lupin snarled, shaking him. "Are you punishing me? Is that it?"
Harry tried to pull away from the hands gripping his shirt, but they gave him another bone rattling shake.
"You are one stupid child!"
Lupin's face was inches from Harry's.
"That's enough Remus," said Tonks from the doorway.
"Did you think I'd forgotten what happened last time you were behind a locked door, eh Harry?" Lupin growled at him. "You lost the right to privacy when you decided not to live."
Lupin's sharp words stunned them both and he let go of Harry's shirt. Harry pushed past Lupin, who stood as though stunned and ignored Tonks. He was shaking as he stood in the living room facing a silent Snape and a frowning Dumbledore. Tonks stepped up and grabbed his arm.
"C'mon Harry, you're staying with me for the time being."
"What, with you?" Harry asked staring at her. "I don't need babysitting."
"On the contrary Mr Potter, your astonishing lack of self control, suggests otherwise," Snape remarked sarcastically.
"Come on, we'll get you bandaged up, you can collect your stuff in the morning," said Tonks as she dragged him out the room.
"Goodnight Harry," said Dumbledore.
Harry followed Tonks down the dimly lit corridor, she walked ahead of him but he could tell from her stature that she was annoyed. He hoped it wasn't anything he had done, but considering the night's events, it probably was. She opened the door to her chambers and held the door open for him.
"Sit down," she ordered, striding into the bedroom.
Harry obliged and sat down on the couch, she then returned and crouched down in front of him and wouldn't look him in the eyes, as she opened a small first aid box. She pulled out a small bottle of anti infective treatment and some cotton wool.
"Take off your shirt," ordered Tonks.
Harry pulled off his shirt and Tonks eyes went dark as she took in the damage. She applied the ointment to his arm and Harry winced at the fire sensation that seemed to spread up his arm. Tonks paused and looked at him with her eyebrows raised.
"What's wrong? Is this type of pain not as satisfying?" She asked him sarcastically.
She finished applying the ointment on his chest and wrapped his arm up in bandages, leaning back onto her heels she appeared to scrutinise him.
"Whilst you stay with me, there are some ground rules, ok?"
"No cutting yourself under my roof Harry. I mean it. I get that you have the whole stress relieving thing going on, but we are going to find a healthier way of dealing with it."
Harry stared at her and didn't answer.
"And if you think that hurting yourself will get my attention, think again."
"Not everything is about you," responded Harry angrily.
Tonks regarded him, her eyes unreadable.
"Then what is it about Harry? Why do you do these things to yourself if it isn't an attention thing?"
"It isn't an attention thing!" Insisted Harry, he looked away from her. "It helps, I don't know how, but it does."
"Well it's got to stop."
"Do you honestly think it's that easy?"
"You really want my opinion? I think you've been through a lot and you have somehow come to associate pain with love and now you think you need to bleed to get someone to notice you."
Harry looked at her shocked.
"This isn't to get your attention Tonks and it has nothing to do with you!"
"When I pushed you away after the, after you kissed me, you attempted suicide."
"I didn't try to kill myself."
"You are a liar Harry."
Harry stood up and pushed past her.
"Take me back to Lupin's. I don't want to stay with you. In fact I'd rather stay with Snape than here."
"You cannot go back to Remus's," replied Tonks. "Look I'm sorry, I shouldn't have interrogated you, I'm just worried and I don't know what to do."
"You tell me to talk to you, but you don't listen, so what's the point?"
"I am doing the best I can," responded Tonks angrily. "You think this only affects you, but it doesn't. You are hurting everyone around you Harry and I am trying to understand why you do the things you do, but I can't. And as for staying here, well I am awfully sorry, but you don't have any choice in the matter."
Harry glared at her, he actually felt like he hated her at the moment.
"Now you can have my bed for the time being," said Tonks shortly.
"Where are you going to sleep?" Harry asked her.
"On the couch."
Tonks paused outside the bedroom, she held her breath as she listened for any noise. But Harry appeared to be sleeping. Tonks took a deep breath, she knew she had lost her temper earlier, but the boy infuriated her so much. She wanted to shake him sometimes and despite his insistence earlier that she wasn't the cause of his problems, she still felt guilty. She'd come to curse the day she'd ever heard of Harry bloody Potter, because now she cannot get him out of her head.
Harry had been gently prodding Tonks for the last five minutes, he wasn't quite brave enough to shake her, yet prodding simply wasn't rousing the woman.
"Wake up Tonks," whispered Harry, as he gave her another, sharper, poke.
Tonks groaned and in turning over, the cover slipped onto the floor, giving Harry an unprecedented view of a flash of bare skin on her stomach. He felt his stomach clench painfully as he cleared his throat.
"What do you want?" She mumbled into her pillow.
"I err, I kind of need your help."
Tonks finally sat up, with much grumbling. Her hair was short today and extremely tousled.
Harry showed her his bandaged arm, which was stained red.
Tonks grabbed his hand and stared at him pointedly. She didn't look as tired anymore.
"No," objected Harry. "I woke up and it was like that."
"Well I suppose that's only to be expected given how deep they are," she sighed and pushed the cover completely off her.
Harry had to swallow slightly at the sight of her bare legs, what was wrong with him? He didn't react like this to Hermione.
Tonks however had noticed the direction of Harry's gaze.
"Harry! Will you stop gawping and go and get the first aid box?"
Harry flushed red and with a stammered response rushed back into the bedroom. Tonks shook her head at his retreating figure, a reluctant smile on her face.
Harry sat opposite Hermione in the great hall, he was stirring his porridge rather morosely whilst she stared him. Ron wasn't there, again, and Harry was willing to bet this would become a regular occurrence.
"But I still don't understand why you're staying with Tonks," said Hermione. "Why can't they let you back to your dormitory?"
Harry didn't answer and Hermione lent forward tentatively.
"You aren't, hurting, again are you?"
Well that was a euphemism if he ever had heard one.
"No Hermione, I am not hurting again."
Hermione set down her fork, Harry smirked, she clearly meant business.
"I suppose they think it may trigger you."
"Trigger? Seriously Hermione? Have you been reading up on it?"
Hermione's flush was the only answer Harry needed.
"Hermione, I promise you, I am better!" He tried to reassure her.
"Well I think you are in a rather enviable position!"
The cool look Harry sent her, made her go even redder.
"No, all I meant that because you're staying with a teacher, you're grades must be really improving."
"Not really, he doesn't do my homework for me, like you did."
Hermione looked scandalised and Harry had to bite back a laugh.
"That was only on special occasions-"
"Yeah sure Hermione," he teased. "In fact I have a potions essay due in for Monday if you have some free time?"
"I hope you aren't suggesting that Miss Granger does your homework Harry," said a slightly teasing voice behind him.
Harry ignored Lupin and biting back annoyance at Hermione's shocked expression, he gathered up his school things. He walked briskly out of the great hall, pushing past Lupin as he did so. But Lupin of course, followed.
"Harry, don't walk away from me."
Harry ignored him.
"I think we need to talk."
Lupin grabbed his arm and Harry flinched.
"Let go," he demanded through gritted teeth.
"Come on, come back to my chambers we can talk," pleaded Lupin.
"I thought I wasn't welcome," responded Harry childishly. He wrenched his arm out of the man's grasp and walked away.
"You are always welcome Harry, you know that!"
Lupin strode after him and grabbed his arm again.
"You are coming with me kiddo, whether you like it or not."
And so Harry was once again dragged like a disobedient child, down to Lupin's chambers.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" Harry asked furiously, the moment the door closed.
Lupin rubbed his temples.
"Sit down... please."
Still angry, Harry sat down.
"I think we should talk about last night."
"What's the point? You never listen to me," said Harry glowering at him.
Lupin sat down next to him, seemingly immune to Harry's death glare.
"I think you are being rather unfair Harry, you don't talk to me, properly talk to me. So I am forced to make decisions without knowing your wishes."
"Sirius would never have kicked me out," said Harry.
"I am not Sirius as you are undoubtedly aware. Besides, I am sure Sirius would have understood my reasoning for doing so."
Lupin looked Harry in the eyes and it made the boy uncomfortable.
"Harry I care very deeply about you and not just because you were my best friend's son. You are a remarkable, intelligent and kind boy and I am very proud of you."
Oh Merlin, Harry hoped Lupin wouldn't cry.
"But remaining here with me, I feared it would cause you more pain."
"You are the closest thing I have to dad and Sirius," objected Harry.
"Exactly. But I am neither James nor Sirius and you will continue to resent me for it, until you come to term with their deaths."
Harry pondered the man's words, did he resent Lupin? No, he liked the man, very much so, he was the closest thing he had to a dad. But he wasn't his dad and he never would be. Is that what Lupin was getting at?
"I know you're not my dad and I don't blame you for not being Sirius," said Harry quietly.
"I just felt that by keeping you here Harry, was purely for my selfish reasons of wanting to protect you, yet it just reminded you of their absence. That is why you cannot stay with me, so you can heal."
"I didn't, it wasn't because-"
Harry took a deep breath.
"- I didn't do any of this because I blame you."
"Is it because you blame yourself?" Lupin asked gently.
"Maybe, I don't know. It is my fault though. I didn't learn occlumency and Voldermort used that against me and that's why Sirius was murdered."
Lupin leaned back and Harry could feel himself shaking, he wasn't sure why he was telling Lupin this. Maybe it was simply the overwhelming desire to tell somebody.
"Well what would you say if I told you that I had been hurting myself, because I should have stopped Bellatrix before she killed Sirius?"
"I'd say it wasn't your fault," responded Harry reluctantly. "But professor, the situations are completely different. You had no control over the events that happened!"
"And you did?" Lupin questioned him.
"Yes. I didn't learn occlumency and I should've, because it would have saved his life."
"If that's the case then the fault doesn't lie with you. It lies with us for not confiding why it was essential that you learnt it."
Harry shook his head.
"No, it wasn't your fault, I should have listened. It should have been enough that Dumbledore wanted me to learn it."
He turned to Lupin with tears in his eyes.
"You don't get it. I didn't even try to learn!"
"Do you need any help with that?"
Harry looked up, Tonks had been hovering for the past half an hour whilst Harry laboured over his potions essay.
"You know, you really shouldn't start your homework last minute," she informed him unhelpfully.
But Harry conceded that she may in fact have a point, as he crumpled up the fifth piece of parchment.
"Do you know why Hippogriff blood is important in strength potions?" He asked desperately.
She shook her head and Harry groaned.
"You know at times like this I really miss Hermione."
Tonks sat down next to him.
"You don't really see much of your friends anymore."
"I see them in lessons," Harry answered absently.
"Yeah but it's not the same."
Harry laid down his quill and rubbed his eyes he felt exhausted, although he didn't want to go to bed, since that was when the urge to, damage himself was at the strongest.
"Why don't you spend some time with them tomorrow? You can go back to the common room after class instead of here."
Harry stared at her stung.
"I'm sorry, if you wanted some alone time, you should have just said. I don't mind!"
Tonks gave him a playful nudge.
"You're so touchy! I only meant you need to be around people you're own age."
"Well if I was allowed to sleep in my own bed..." Harry reminded her.
"Hey! I don't know what you're moaning about, you have a nice double bed awaiting you tonight, whereas I am on the couch again. We can swap if you want?"
"Nah, I'm ok in the bed."
"You're such a gentleman! Although if you are staying here is more long term, I may have to think up a better arrangement."
Harry blushed as a better arrangement popped up in his head, of dear, thank god Tonks wasn't an occlumens.
"Ooh you've gone red!" Tonks laughed, teasing him. "Is Harry having dirty thoughts?"
"No!" Harry lied. "Go away, you're distracting me."
Harry had decided to skip potions and he wondered if Lupin would class it as 'self-destructive' behaviour? The truth was Harry hadn't finished his essay and he really wanted to avoid Draco after what occurred on Friday. So now he was sat, freezing, in the toilets, furious that he allowed himself to be put in this situation. He now had an hour and a half to kill, plus all the drama he would get when he saw Tonks in the evening. And now that he had nothing to preoccupy him, the urge to cut returned. But he wouldn't do it, he'd prove to Lupin that he could be trusted. It didn't occur to Harry that he should want to stop for his own well-being, not simply to prove something. Harry groaned and rested his head in his hands, sincerely regretting his rash decision to skip class.
How the hell did Tonks know where he was? Harry stayed quiet, confident in the abilities of his invisibility cloak.
"I know you are in here and I suggest you reveal yourself now, before I really lose my temper."
Good god. She sounded like his mother.
"Goddamn it Harry Potter," she said coming around the corner, she was making her way down to where he was huddled, kicking open all the toilet stalls.
Harry held his breath as she edged closer scanning the air in front of her, she prodded him with her foot and then gave his invisible body another kick. Wordlessly she dropped to her knees and yanked his invisibility cloak off him.
"Well?" She countered, as he gazed dumbstruck at her. "Have you hurt yourself Harry?"
He shook his head.
"Let me see your arms," she said shortly.
"I haven't done anything, I promise," he answered quietly.
Tonks ignored him. "Let me see, now."
He pulled up his shirt and showed his bandaged arms to her.
"Take off your shirt."
Harry did so reluctantly.
Tonks examined him with a clinical coldness and Harry shivered under the weight of her glare.
"Can you take off your pants as well?"
"What?" Harry stared at her incredulously, his face bright red.
"I need to see if you have inflicted any damage to your legs," she answered coolly, standing up to give him some space.
Harry stood up undoing his pants with trembling fingers. They dropped to the floor and Harry could only be thankful that he hadn't given into the urge to cut, as his leg would have bore the damage.
"You are way too skinny," said Tonks critically as Harry stood there in only his underwear.
"Get dressed," she said turning around to give him some privacy. An action Harry deemed totally hypocritical, since he had just undressed in front of her.
"How did you know where to find me," he asked once dressed.
"Remus told me that I may find a certain map amongst your things."
Harry felt his mouth go dry, she had the marauders map.
"You had no right to go through my things."
"Don't you dare preach to me about the rights and wrongs of this situation," responded Tonks angrily. "You will be treated like a child, until you can act responsibly. The map stays in my possession." She picked up the invisibility cloak. "Along with this."
He made to grab it, but faltered under her cold glare.
"Now do you care to tell me, why I have had to waste my morning searching for you?"
"I skipped class Tonks, everyone does it," Harry replied sourly.
"Not everyone is under suicide watch," she snapped back at him.
"What?" He responded furiously. "Suicide watch?"
Tonks flushed under his glare and suddenly found it difficult to meet his eyes.
"I shouldn't have said that, but that still doesn't excuse your totally irresponsible actions. I am so disappointed in you Harry."
Harry was sat on the couch in Tonks's living room, it was half seven and she had ordered him to make a start on his homework and was no keeping a watchful eye on him. Tonks leapt off the couch as someone knocked on the door.
"Who is it?" She asked.
"It's me," replied Lupin.
Tonks opened the door and Lupin strode in, he looked over to where Harry was sat.
"How are you doing kiddo?" Lupin asked him.
"Do you want some tea?" Tonks asked Lupin, sounding very nervous.
Harry stared at her in amusement, as her hair turned dark. Lupin however didn't comment on her odd attitude.
"No I'm not staying," he said and turned to Harry. "If you're not too busy, I would like you to take a walk with me. I can take you straight to Snape's office after."
"Yeah sure," replied Harry, glad for a break from his homework.
"See you later Harry," said Tonks, staring after them.
"Now Harry, I need to talk to you about something," Lupin said once they were in his chambers, he looked rather apprehensive. "Dumbledore seemed to think this was a bad idea, but I disagreed, but it's totally up to you, don't feel pressured into doing it if you don't wish to."
"What are you talking about?" Harry asked with a horrible sense of foreboding.
Lupin pointed towards a basin like object in the corner of his room.
"Do you know what it is?"
Harry nodded, he'd encountered a pensieve last year in Dumbledore's office. But why would Lupin have a pensieve and what did it have to do with him?
"I have some memories in there that I think you would like to see."
Harry took a step towards it.
"Is my dad in them?"
"Can I?" He looked at Lupin. "Am I really allowed?"
"Yes Harry," smiled Lupin. "Although I am coming with you, if that's ok?"