Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, and I make no profit from this story. All characters, etc belong to JK Rowling.
A/N: Wow, it has been a very, very long time. Over a year. Due to things in my personal life, I have sort of fallen out of the Harry Potter fandom. I do miss it, but I spend a lot less time writing fanfic and a lot more time interacting with people, being with my friends, living life. I've also been working a lot more, much more than I'm used to, in fact. I can't really say I regret leaving, but, like I said, I do miss it. I've especially been missing this story. I wrote this story at a difficult time in my own life and in some odd ways, it really helped me worked through my own problems. So I've decided to finish this story up, for however long it takes, and potentially write that sequel I was working on. Here's hoping I still have some people left who want to listen to what I have to say!
Oh, and there's some swearing in this. Apologies.
He holds the blade in between his fingers and twists it around.
It can't hurt, really. Just once. No one would know. Maybe on his leg, or his belly, or on the top of his arm. Somewhere where no one could see. No one's checking him anymore; he doesn't see Alex again until Friday and by then he'll be over it. Alex will never be able to suspect.
But it's been so long. It's been five months. Does he really want to throw all of that away? And term's going to end soon, and then he'll have the whole summer ahead of him. The only person he'll be accountable to is himself. He doesn't want to start it off like this.
But still. He wants this. He wants it so bad. He wants to press that blade to his skin and see that line of blood bubble up and run down. It'll hurt. But he wants to hurt. Why does he want to hurt himself so bad? He's not the one who has caused death, pain, devastation and destruction everywhere. That's Voldemort.
So why has he convinced himself that he deserves this pain? Convinced himself that he needs it?
He could go downstairs and talk to Ron and Hermione. He could write in his journal. He could go for a walk. He could study for class, or read a book. Hell, there's a blade in his hand; he could probably convince Professor Dumbledore to firecall Alex and see if he was available to talk. There were grounds for it. If six months of therapy had taught him anything, it was that he had other options.
But nothing has ever looked so appealing as the razor blade between his fingers.
When Ron came upstairs later, he found Harry sitting next to his own four-poster bed, his knees pulled up to his chest and his head in his hands. "Harry? What's wrong? Are you okay?" he asked, sitting next to him. He was slightly shocked to find him sitting on the floor. With the beautiful weather and his day off from therapy now, Ron had assumed he'd be outside taking advantage of it, practicing for Quidditch or studying with him and Hermione.
Harry knew he could lie. In fact, he knew he probably should have lied. But instead... "No, I'm not okay," he said, dropping the blade on the floor and pushing himself to his feet.
Ron picked it up and stared at it, once again mystified by the complexities that this simple piece of metal had brought to his best friend's life. This tiny sharp object represented...hate, and fear, and pain. Ron went over to the open window across the room and threw the blade out, knowing that this was just one sharp thing in a world full of sharp things. It was just one thing that Harry could use to hurt himself, and there were plenty more. If the past few months had taught him anything about being a friend, it was that he couldn't fix Harry. If Harry was going to hurt himself, he was going to find a way to do it, whether Ron wanted that or not.
But still...he couldn't stop Harry from hurting, or from hurting himself, but he could do that small thing. He could get rid of that one small thing.
After he had tossed the blade, he went downstairs to find his best friend.
Harry woke with a jolt, on edge and uneasy. He looked around, and realized he was in the hospital wing. Why was he in the hospital wing? What on earth had he done now?
As he was laying there, Madame Pomfrey came bustling over to him.
"Good, you're awake!" she said, waving her wand over him and performing a few simple spells to find out his temperature and other things. "How are you feeling?"
"What happened?" Harry asked. "How long have I been asleep? Why am I here?"
Madame Pomfrey's face paled slightly. "Harry, dear...what's the last thing you remember?"
Harry thought for a moment. He remembered going to Professor Dumbledore's office...he remembered everything in that terrible cave, giving Dumbledore the potion and watching him in pain, and the Inferi...and suddenly, it all came flooding back. Apparating with poor Professor Dumbledore back to the castle, and seeing all the Death Eaters. Watching from below as they all flooded the tower and that cold look in Snape's eyes just before he...before he...
Dumbledore was gone.
You could put it any way you wanted to...gone, lost, dead. It all meant the same. Harry would never see or talk to Dumbledore again. He'd never hear his words of encouragement or wisdom ever again. He'd never know all that Dumbledore had to share with him. He was gone, an unfinished sentence. He'd never be back.
And he, Harry, had watched it happen. He'd stood, immobilized, in fear, as that cowardly bastard, Snape, had raised his wand and ended Dumbledore's life. There was nothing he could do or say that would erase that moment, He'd tried, in vain, to get Snape back, but it hadn't worked. Snape and the rest of the Death Eaters were gone, and they'd gotten what they had wanted for so long—Dumbledore's death.
Harry felt his body go limp, and he leaned back against the pillow. He felt a lump rise in his throat, and he desperately tried to push it back down. "Merlin..." he murmured, and he saw tears jump into Madame Pomfrey's eyes.
"Poor child..." she said quietly, resting a hand on his shoulder before bustling away quickly to get him a glass of water.
"Are you okay?" Madame Pomfrey asked, handing him the glass and watching him take a long drink.
He nodded, and watched as she walked away again. To be honest, he wasn't okay. But he had a feeling he would be saying that he was for a very, very long time.
The next few days went by in a blur. Harry didn't speak much; in fact, he rarely spoke at all. He told everyone he was doing fine, but in reality, he hadn't felt this badly since Sirius had died. Ron and Hermione were concerned, and spent a lot of time hovering around him. All he wanted to do was be alone.
The tipping point, however, was Dumbledore's funeral. He put on his dress robes, like everyone else did. He went downstairs and out the front doors of the castle, tromping across the lawn like everyone else did. As he neared the area where Dumbledore's body was in the casket, he froze. His breath caught in his throat, and for the first time in four days, he felt something. He felt pain, coming over him in waves, and suddenly he knew what he wanted.
All he wanted to do, in the entire world, was cut. He wanted the sweet release that he knew it would bring. He didn't want to talk to his friends, or to Alex (whom he had seen briefly after Dumbledore's death, but who had been unable to get him to speak about anything). He didn't want to journal, or read a book, or go for a run. He wanted a razor blade and he wanted it right then.
Ron and Hermione were right next to him, though, and everyone was staring at him, mostly with tears in their eyes, knowing this was THE Harry Potter, and he couldn't just bolt. He owed it to Dumbledore to see this through, but after...
I'm sorry, sir, but there's no guarantees what will happen after.
The ceremony was long, longer than he had hoped, because there were just so many people there who had been inspired by Albus Dumbledore and had something to say. It started physically hurting Harry, sitting there and listening to people speaking over and over to Dumbledore's greatness. Couple that with Hermione's quiet sniffling, Ron's blank face and Hagrid's steady wailing, and Harry was ready to be done. At the end of the service, he stood up immediately, mumbled something under his breath about having to go to the bathroom, and, not caring how it looked, he bolted.
"Harry!" he heard his name being called, and when he stopped and looked, it was Alex. He considered continuing to run, but he knew his Mind Healer was just crazy enough himself to run after him.
"How are you holding up?" Alex asked, reaching out and putting a hand on his shoulder.
"I'm fine," Harry said, taking a small step back.
"You don't seem fine, and that's what you've been saying since this all happened. Harry, I know how upset you must be. I really think it would make things much easier if you talked about it. You wouldn't feel so alone," Alex said, offering him a small smile. He felt like he was overstepping his boundaries, but at the same time...this was a boy who was hurting, his patient, and it was too late for him to quietly try to coax Harry out of whatever hole he'd found himself in. He needed help now.
"I am fine, I swear. What I really need is for everyone to just leave me the hell alone. I want you to go away, I want Ron and Hermione to back off and I just. Want. To. be. Alone," Harry said angrily. "I'm done with this. This whole...therapy thing, it's been great while it lasted, but guess what? I don't need it anymore! I'm all better. I'm all fixed." He threw his arms up in the air. "Better yet, I'm not fixed. I'm screwed up in the head and I've messed everything up and I just...I'm done. I don't want to pretend that this whole therapy things work anymore. Because guess what...it didn't. It doesn't. See you."
Alex watched as Harry walked away, wondering if he ought to go after him. It wouldn't do any good to chase after him, though, and he had a feeling that Harry just needed to calm down. In a few days he'd owl him, or Firecall, and see if he was feeling up to a session. In the meantime, he would just let him be.
After Harry stormed away, he took the stairs quickly up to Gryffindor Tower. The castle was deserted, with nearly everyone gone downstairs at the funeral. He knew they'd all be filing back quickly though, so he hurried. Once he was upstairs in his room, he reached underneath his mattress and pulled out one of the razors he'd stashed there a while back. He hadn't touched it in months, and it was such a cliched place to hide it, but no one had ever found it. He rolled up his sleeve and touched the point to his skin, marveling at how simple that one sharp prick could align his senses. With reckless abandon, he pushed down and dragged.
His breath caught yet again, marveling at how much this hurt. And then there was blood. So, so much blood. More blood than there'd been in ages, since that time he'd almost died. He put the blade to his wrist and dragged again, just as hard.
And then again. And again.
He wouldn't mess this up. It was very simple, really. He had little left to live for, and he was just plain done trying. It was time to say goodbye, and this was his only way out.
He was starting to feel woozy, and his vision was starting to cloud. He was about to pass out again, he could tell, and he tried to take deep breaths. The last thing he heard was Ron's voice, saying his name over and over, and he tried to make him go away. He wanted to be left alone; this was the natural progression of things for him. But then everything went black.
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