Chapter 13

Harry wanted to run, he wanted to get as far away as he could, apparate anywhere… the touch of Severus's hand on his elbow brought him aware that he had halted inside the door of the house.

"Harry, it will be fine. Dr. Green just needs-"

Harry jerked away. "No. He doesn't need to do anything. He doesn't need to see anything! I'm fine!"

Severus took hold of Harry's shoulders. "He knows about us. It really is alright."

Harry looked up into the dark eyes in disbelief. He glanced over at Dr. Green and then at Doc. "You've gone mad. You told them? I know that there's really not a Statute of Secrecy here, but have you forgotten that I don't want to be found? I thought that you wanted to be safe, too-"

"We are safe. Dr. Green is Daphne Greengrass's cousin. He's a squib. He has a self-updating copy of Hogwarts, A history. He knows all about us already."

Harry stared at him, mouth open in shock. "And Doc? Are you about to tell me that he's a squib, too? I think I would have known if that were the case."

"No. Doc is a muggle. But he has sworn his secrecy. And I'll make sure his memory is modified."

Harry turned and went for the outside door before Severus could stop him. The door lock clicked into place with a wave of Severus's hand. Harry turned back to him, hands held out, sparks arcing. Severus held his gaze with a determined one of his own.

Dr. Green cleared his throat and turned to Doc. "Perhaps we should wait in the other room. I think Severus needs to speak with Harry for a bit before we do any exams." He turned the older man towards the dining room and gave him a little push through the open doorway there. Doc kept his eyes on Harry's hands as he let himself be moved from the kitchen.

Once they were alone Severus reached out and grasped Harry by the forearms. Harry pulled back, trying to break free.

"Stop! It could kill you!"

"You won't kill me."

"I can't control it! I need to go-"

"No. I can help you control it. You know this. Remember our spirit quest."

"That was just a vision. This is real. Let go!"

Severus tightened his grip and shook his head. "Show me how this all started Harry. It's time for you to show me so I can understand better how to help you. You can't keep hiding something like this. We're out here in the middle of nowhere and you've been fortunate that no one has gotten even more suspicious. Let me in so I can see."

Black eyes searched the frightened green ones until Harry sighed shakily. "I don't want you to see. You'll think I'm… You'll leave…"

Severus slowly drew Harry into his arms. Laying his chin against his head he whispered, "I'm not going anywhere unless you wish it. I don't believe that there is anything that can make me leave you."

"If you see it, you'll know." The quiet voice was filled with resignation. "I just ask that that you let me have some kind of head start to get out of here."

Severus held him back and looked back into his eyes. "Trust me. Let me see."

Harry tipped his head back, letting Severus see his eyes. "Legillimense…" Severus whispered….

Severus had not known the last battle as Harry had fought it. He had lain mostly dead, insensate to everything until he regained consciousness in Aberforth's care.

The magnitude of the destruction he saw in Harry's mind was staggering. Body's lay scattered over the rubble of the front grounds of Hogwarts. He could feel Harry shaking with effort as he crawled over shards of stone to reach the wand that lay out of reach. In front of him, Voldemort was crawling towards the Elder wand, and in seconds both men were casting Avada Kedavra. In Harry's mind he felt a sorrow and a sense of profound loss of self as he cast the curse.

The two curse beams were joined in a pulsating blaze of power and each of them fought to beat the other back to its caster. Harry held on with both hands as his strength began to fail. He gave one final effort and his curse beam sped to Voldemort where it exploded through his wand and into his body. The Elder wand flew towards Harry and he caught it. Voldemort had a look of disbelief as his body disintegrated. Ashes blew outwards in all directions as Harry collapsed to his knees, trying to catch his breath. The grey ashes rained down and he gasped as he inadvertently inhaled some of them. He gazed up with exhausted eyes and reached out a hand to capture some of the ashes and they turned to fine grey powder in his fist. It tingled, itching like a small electric shock…

He put the fist into his pocket as people began to come out of the ruins of Hogwarts, yelling in victory…

The images in Harry's mind shifted to another view… Ginny Weasley reached out to him, "Let me take that jacket and have it washed Harry, if you don't want to just burn it. It's awful."

Harry pulled the jacket out of her grasp, "No… I want it like this… I wore it for a long time."

Ginny shook her head and gave a heavy sigh. She smiled and held out a hand, "Then let's go have some fun, yeah? We deserve it after everything. Come on!"

The memory Harry shrugged and backed away from her. "No… I'm really not in the mood. You go ahead, though."

He caught the look of irritation on her face before she smiled brightly again. "We'll just order in, then. Chinese food okay?"

Harry shrugged again and she shook her head before leaving him standing alone.

More images of Harry's increasingly difficult interactions with Ginny…

…"Harry, I'm tired of waiting for you to "get over it"! We should have been married by now, or at least engaged! You keep putting me off and I want to know why!" The redhead was up in Harry's face, fists clenched and face red as she stood there.

Harry backed away. "Ginny, I- I'm sorry. It just won't work. It's not you, it's me. I just can't-"

"Of course you can. It's meant to be! Everyone says so! We belong together!"

"No. We don't. Everyone doesn't say so. You say so. Your mum says so. Ron thinks so. But I don't think so."

Ginny's face twisted into an ugly one of rage. "You lead me on all this time!"

"No I didn't. You've assumed. You never asked. You've just told me how it was supposed to be."

Her open-handed slap across his cheek made his head jerk to the side. His eyes began to glow in his own anger.

The door of the apartment opened and Ron and Hermione walked in. They took in the heaving and angry Ginny and the silent Harry.

"What's going on, mate? Lovers spat?" Ron asked in humor.

Hermione stepped towards Harry. "Harry… are you alright?"

"Is he alright? What about me?" Ginny screeched. "I'm the one he's led on, promising to marry me, promising me that I'll finally have the things I've always wanted!"

Hermione turned to her. "Did he really promise that, Gin? I never heard those words come out his mouth, actually."

Ron smirked, "Well, everyone knows, don't they? They were always going to be together. Ginny knew since she first saw him. They just go together, dark hair and red hair, just like his mum and dad."

Hermione frowned at him and then looked back at Harry. Harry still had his eyes fixed on Ginny, his jaw muscles tensing as he clenched his teeth. "Harry, did you ever say that, give her a reason to believe-"

"No. I never have," came the quiet reply.

Ginny started towards him again, shrieking, wand raised to strike this time. Hermione stepped in between them to stop her and Ron finally realized that this was not going well. He pulled out his wand…

The scene greyed out and Harry was shaking in his grasp. "No. You can't see this… you'll hate me too…"

Severus felt the violent push as Harry expelled him from the memories. His hands tingled and he looked down to see a few sparks coming from his own fingers.

He looked at Harry, who had a look of horror on his face. Without speaking he went to his room and returned with the staff that Harry had created in the storm. He held it out to Harry.

"Use this. Take hold of it now."

Harry shook his head but Severus moved forward and reached out. He took one of Harry's hands and forcefully made him grasp the staff, closing his fingers over Harry's as he did as Severus ordered. Under his hand he felt Harry's come to life with surges of tingling current. Harry looked at Severus and when he saw that Severus wasn't being hurt he let himself grasp the staff with his other hand as well. Severus held on for a few more moments, enough to feel that the currents were flowing from Harry and down through the bottom of the staff, where the sand had melted into a flowing glass conduit.

After a few minutes Severus saw Harry relax. He looked at Severus in surprise.

"It's gone. The electricity is gone."

Severus nodded. "For now."

"How did you know it would work?"

"I didn't. I hoped. It was worth the try, instead of doing nothing."

Harry gave a small laugh of surprise and Severus answered it with a small smile of his own. Then he asked, "Will you allow the doctor to see you now?"

Harry frowned. "He won't do anything, will he?"

"If you mean will he do crazy muggle experiments, then no. I won't allow it."

Harry looked at Severus, eyebrows raised in astonishment. "Crazy muggle…" then he burst out laughing. It had been so long since he laughed. He found himself unable to stop, even when Severus allowed Doc and Dr. Green to come back into the room.

He was still grinning while Dr. Green listened to his heart and lungs and took his temperature, blood pressure, and pulse. Dr. Green smiled at him when he finished.

"See? No invasive procedures, Harry. I just wanted to insure that you weren't having any residual effects from the venom. The others would expect me to check. It will make things seem more normal."

Harry stopped grinning and stood up, walking away to look out the window. "You may not realize it, but I've never been what would be termed normal."

Before Dr. Green could respond, Doc spoke up. "Ain't none of us normal, Zag. All of us have something that we want to keep hidden. All of us."

Harry looked at him and shook his head, obviously not believing that Doc would have anything to hide. Doc held up a hand and pointed to himself. "Me? Some would call me the worst thing to ever be allowed to live on this planet." Sitting down in a chair he looked up at Harry. "I'm an alcoholic, Zag. When I was not much younger than you I was drinkin' and drivin'. I had a wreck and my best friend was killed. From that point on, I've not touched a drop. But that doesn't change what happened. I joined the Marines. I learned how to help people. But nothin' will ever rid me of that guilt. Nothin'."

Harry looked at Severus and Dr. Green before he laid a hand on Doc's shoulder. "You've more than made up for it, don't you think?"

"Like you think you've made up for whatever is haunting you?" Doc peered up at him knowingly.

Harry shook his head. He picked up the staff and walked out of the house and out into the darkening land.

The other three men were silent for a bit before Severus said quietly, "Thank you for sharing that, Doc. Sometimes we all forget that we are not alone in having experienced the worst life has to offer. He will appreciate your words after he thinks about them. Let's go join the others before they come looking for you."

Severus was waiting by the pavilion fireplace when Harry came back. It was late and the others had gone to bed, knowing that Zag always turned up. Doc and Dr. Green had both assured Severus again of their keeping silent regarding anything they noted as unusual.

Harry leaned towards the fire, warming his hands. Severus silently stood up and slid his jacket from his own shoulders to lay around Harry's shivering form.

"I'm sorry for walking out like that. The staff worked again, though. I didn't need to call the lightning this time."

Severus nodded and remained silent, waiting for Harry. He didn't have to wait long.

"So, Daphne's cousin? How did that happen?"

Severus told him the story that Tom Green had told him. "So, he's obviously known who you were for awhile now. He has nothing to gain by making trouble for you."

Harry nodded as he stared into the fire. When the silence became too heavy he spoke again. "If you still want to see what happened, I'm ready to show you now."

Severus turned dark eyes towards him. "Have you decided to trust me then?"

Harry nodded. "You could have let me be killed so many times back then. Looking back, I can see it. If I can't trust you then I can't trust anybody… actually, that is really true. You are the only one I can trust. I trust you to tell me the truth after you see. I trust you to do what's right after you see."

"What is it that you think is right, then? What will you expect me to do?"

"You'll know."

Severus cast spell around them, insuring that no one could walk in and interrupt. Then he turned to Harry.

"Look at me." Harry did. "Legillimense!"

A/N: Once again, I am apologizing for the horribly long wait. Yes, I am still alive. Yes, I think about my stories all the time. Yes, I miss getting them written and uploaded in a timely manner. No, it was not something I could help. The delays have been caused by a combination of factors. Real life just doesn't appreciate the need a writer has to get the story told! When I would find a piece of time to write, the Muse simply refused to help get it all organized in the time allotted. Then, I would have to re-read the parts already written and make sure that after all that time it was as I remembered it being. You'd be surprised (maybe you wouldn't) at what I thought was there but had only been in my imagination, or what was not at all how I remembered writing it. I'm quite sure that there may be gaps and plot mistakes because of the time lapse in writing. Please forgive me, and I ask again that you remember that this is written as a creative outlet, not as any kind of factual treatise, whether concerning weather phenomenon, the cattle industry, medicine, Indian lore, or cannon Harry Potter. Read it in that spirit and we'll all walk away more satisfied! BTW, If those annoying page breaks or footer marks show up when I upload this chapter… I could not for the life of me get them off! Hopefully, the next chapter will not be afflicted with them!

Not beta'd, so any remaining grammar/ spelling errors are all mine…