LbN: Er...sorry? Massive writer's block and a fascination with Glee is a bad combination. But I'm back on track! ...I think... Happy reading!
"So have you used your Pensieve yet?" Blaise asked.
"No, but not for the reason you're thinking."
"What reason am I thinking?"
"That I'm being a stubborn Gryffindor," Harry said, smirking.
"Okay, yeah…that was what I was thinking. Why haven't you used it?"
"It's…silly. I just have this…weird fear that I'll get addicted to siphoning my memories out."
"You sure you're not doing this as some sort of self-punishment for your fight with Tonks?"
"Get past it, Harry. Forgive yourself. I'm sure Tonks has."
"Not that easy."
"We brought up the past that we've been trying to keep buried. I brought up Remus, and she brought up Ginny. And I think half of why we were so pissed at each other is that we were right."
Harry sighed. "There's stuff we're still holding onto."
"Everyone's got baggage. Look for baggage that goes with yours."
"I don't even know how. I don't know anything anymore. I saw some…horrible stuff in the war…but other people saw worse. I was in hiding—hunting."
Blaise leaned forward, folding his hands together. "I'm giving you homework."
"Don't you always…."
"Go on vacation."
"There's a vacation package for Quidditch fans. An ametuer camp of sorts. I think you'd quite like it. Sometimes people even get picked out for the minor leagues."
"This is all just a part of your plan to get me the hell out of the Auror department," Harry said, grinning and taking the pamphlet Blaise handed him.
"Damn straight," Blaise said. "I've said it once, I'll say it again: You are the best thing to happen to that department, but they're the worst thing to happen to you. Take the trip. Get away."
Harry looked down at the flyer in his hand and nodded.
"You want what?" Watkins asked.
"Er…leave. Not picky if it's paid or not."
"Well, thank Merlin for that," his boss said sarcastically. "Listen, Potter, you've been here for a year. A damn year. And you've been good for the department in some ways, I'm man enough to admit it…. But you're not indispensible. I want to know that you're on board for the long run. You had your Christmas break. It's time to get back to work. Now if you're in, great. But if this is going to be a thing—running off to play every six months—then…that's not going to work for us."
For you, you mean, Harry thought. "It's not going to—"
"Potter, just level with me. Are you in, or are you out?"
"Excuse me?" Watkins said after a beat.
"I'm out," Harry said calmly. "I've done my bit. You're on your own now. I'm sure you lot can manage. You are, after all, far more experienced than me. I've been doing my best to shut up and fit in, but I've been met with bullying and ultimatums most of the time, and complete indifference the rest of the time. I mean, if Kingsley hadn't stepped in on the whole regulation changes thing, would you have listened to me? Don't—I already know the answer. So I'm done. I don't need this. I don't want this," he said, more to himself. He smiled, and turned to go.
"Potter wait," Watkins said. "I didn't mean it like that. I just—"
"No, it's okay. I'm fine. I'm done." He started to walk down to Tonks' office, but decided against it. He went into the Ministry's Aparation hall and went to Ron and Hermione's house. He knocked on their door and waited.
Ron appeared a second later. "Hey mate. How's it going?"
"How open would Hermione be to you coming with me to a Quidditch camp?" he asked without preamble.
"Completely opposed. If she wouldn't, I would."
"Why? I thought you loved pick-up Quidditch…."
"I do. But…er…come on in, and I'll tell you."
Harry followed him into the living room where Hermione was sitting and….
"Since when do you knit?" Harry asked.
"Since Ron got me pregnant," Hermione said, smiling slightly at her knitting.
Harry's mouth dropped open. "What the…how long have you known?"
"A few months," Ron said with a grin that could light up Manchester for a year. "We wanted to keep it quiet until…well, until we were sure."
"Merlin's tits! Oops, sorry."
"He or she can't hear you yet," Hermione said, laughing. "You've got six more months to adjust."
"Well congratulations," Harry said, hugging her and then Ron. "And yeah, you're officially on daddy-duty," he told the redhead. "I'll bring the kid his first quaffle. Or her first quaffle."
"Sit down, let's catch up," Ron said. "How's work?"
"I quit today."
"Did everyone want me to quit?" he asked.
"Yes. You spent your entire childhood being abused and hunted down. I wouldn't work another day in my life," Hermione said.
"Or at least do something fun."
"I'm on that. Blaise threatened to sign me up and have me kidnapped."
The other two laughed.
"Glad you're having a bit of fun, mate," Ron said. "But when you get back, you're helping me with the nursery."
Harry hopped into bed, feeling…freer. Maybe Blaise was right. He grabbed Wizards' Wasteland off of the nightstand and flipped through the table of contents. "Malgron the Awful…Vesyris of Glauklem…Grindelwald…." He looked at the clock. Only six. Flipping to page 394, he began to read about Grindelwald's rise to power. He may have left the Auror department, but he couldn't shake off his past that easily. He was still going to read the book, if only for Tonks. And he was still going to help Neville with his research for his book. After a while, his former classmate had decided that a book might be a good idea after all. History therapy for the both of them, then….
It was one in the morning before he put the book down.