That Which He Needs
Warnings: Character death, suicide, mild violence, mild language
Summary: The only element of consistency in Harry Potter's life always seemed to be the death of the people who cared about him, the people he loved. One more death, so soon after the last, pushes Harry over the edge. He never would have expected to find solace in such an unlikely place. But with his heart and mind engulfed in a torrent of pain, that is exactly what he finds there.
Thanks to the Ilia for beta'ing!
Hermione and Ron had both eyed him nervously when Harry announced he was going to spend some time alone. Harry understood their concern. He knew they were worried about the effects Sirius' death had had on him. But they didn't need to worry.
He was at Hogwarts, finally. He was home. He would be fine.
Trailing his hand along the cold wall of an empty corridor, far away from the Gryffindor common room and not caring that he wasn't quite sure where he was anymore, Harry smiled. He had missed Hogwarts. Nothing – not even Malfoy stepping on his face earlier that night or Snape being given the Defense Against the Dark Arts position – could dampen the joy he felt at being back at Hogwarts.
Here, things were different. Here, he was loved and accepted. Here, he at least had a chance at being happy.
"There's nothing more I can do," a stiff voice acknowledged nearby. "The poison was in his system far too long."
Harry looked around wildly, broken away from his thoughts. He knew that voice and he also knew it never boded well. He wasn't breaking any rules per say, but who knew what wild reasons could get him a detention or points deducted this time.
"We've done all we can," another voice said solemnly.
Following the voices, both familiar, Harry came upon a pair of large, wooden doors. They were ones he had seen many times, though usually the other side. Harry peeked inside, as one was open a tiny bit.
Madam Pomfrey, Snape, and Dumbledore were all standing around a hospital bed. Harry immediately recognized the face propped up on the pillow... Remus.
"Time of death," Madam Pomfrey sighed. "Eight twenty-three."
Before Harry knew what he was doing, he had pushed open the door to the Hospital Wing and stepped inside.
"Remus?" he heard a voice whisper. It wasn't until everyone turned to him that he realized it was he who had spoken.
"Remus was a great man, Harry," Dumbledore said solemnly, stepping slowly forward. "He lived a good life and will be missed greatly. He cared deeply for you."
The words did not register. Stepping around Dumbledore and a blank-faced Snape, Harry approached the bed. He now saw that Remus was covered in gashes and bruises, blood trickling down his pale cheek.
"Remus?" he croaked again, reaching up and pushing a strand of blood-stained hair out of Remus' face.
"I'm sorry, Harry," Madam Pomfrey said.
No. No. He couldn't be dead. Remus couldn't be dead.
Harry pulled his hand away from Remus' face and placed it on the pale hand instead. He resisted the urge to shake Remus awake, to tell him it wasn't funny, to tell him it was too early in the school year for practical jokes this cruel. Deep down, Harry knew it wasn't a joke.
A comforting hand gripped his shoulder, snapping him back to reality.
Abruptly, the silence of the Hospital Wing was too profound, the blood too red, the hand beneath Harry's too cold. The suddenly intense scent of death surrounded Harry, taunting him, overwhelming him.
Harry turned and fled from the room.
Quite unexpectedly, Harry found himself standing, panting, in the middle of a deserted bathroom. He closed his eyes and Remus' ashen face danced behind his lids. Harry took a deep, gasping breath, holding back sobs.
It was clear to him now. Remus was gone, just like everyone else. And now Harry was alone. Completely, utterly alone.
Boiling rage filled him suddenly and Harry strode to the wall of sinks and mirrors. Cursing every god he had ever heard of, Harry punched the nearest mirror.
"Are you happy now?" he screeched at the ceiling. "Are you happy you've finally taken everything from me? Do you think I don't need someone? That I don't need anyone?"
Fuming, Harry took a glass, which had somehow appeared in his hand, and threw it against the wall. It shattered.
"What the hell were you thinking? Let's take away his parents; Harry doesn't need them!" He threw another glass. "Let's take away Sirius; he doesn't need a godfather!" And another. "Let's take away Remus; he doesn't need anyone! Anyone at all!"
Harry dropped the glass that had appeared in his hand yet again, opting to punch another mirror instead.
"I don't need anyone," he muttered, sinking to the floor against the wall. Glass was digging into his hands, but he barely noticed. His anger was quickly dissipating, leaving him feeling empty, weary.
"I don't need anyone," Harry whispered, trying to assure himself the words were true, trying to make them true. He shouldn't need anyone. He shouldn't, because he always lost them anyway. "I don't need anyone. I don't need anyone. I don't need anyone."
There was a quiet sigh from somewhere across the room. "Those words are a lie no matter how you emphasize them," a passive voice announced.
A figure in black kneeled in front of him, gently taking Harry's hands into his own delicate, soft ones. With a wave of a wand, the glass embedded in Harry's hands disappeared. Another wave and the cuts healed.
The man stood again, leaving Harry staring at a pair of shiny, black boots. An outstretched hand entered his field of vision.
Then the figure spoke again, in a quiet, sincere, kind sort of voice that Harry had never heard before. "Everyone needs someone. You need someone."
Silent tears streaming down his cheeks, Harry reached out and took the hand.
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