Guys, I am so incredibly sorry. I know this update is well overdue and I honestly regret it being so late. But a lot has happened recently, and I haven't had the chance, nor the motivation to update. But I am back now (hopefully) and am going to try and update at least once a week. Especially once Christmas is over. Happy holidays!
The car rumbled loudly, jarring Harry's head as Remus drove through the wild countryside. He could feel the hot sunlight streaming through the dirty car windows. Sirius rubbed his back and he groaned, lifting his head from his lap as he cradled his sore hand to his chest.
The past few hours had been a blur. All he remembered was the flashback in the bathroom, the surge of fear and anger that took over the whole body. Then a sharp pain in his hand, then blood, so much blood. He had been fascinated with it, watching in awe as it ran down his arm and stained his skin red. Sirius had healed it and carried him to the car. They had decided that it was best to cut the holiday short, and honestly, Harry didn't care. He suddenly didn't care about anything. All he wanted to do was curl up in his bed and die.
But then he remembered Cedric, laying there in that bed, still cast under the spell that Voldemort had cast upon him. The spell that simulated death. Harry shook as the memory of the light leaving Cedric's eyes surfaced. He clenched his fists into his palm, sending sharp pain through the still tender skin. Sirius tried to wrap his arm around his shoulders but he shrunk away.
He didn't want anybody touch him. He didn't want anybody to be infected by the darkness that would one day swallow him whole. He looked out of the window without really paying attention. Fields after fields passed him by but he didn't see them. He just sat and stared. And thought. In no time at all, it seemed, they had arrived back at the house. The house that had been Harry's first home, outside of Hogwarts. The house where Harry had once felt safe but now Harry never felt safe anywhere. It was like he was constantly being hunted, chased down by the demons that haunted his dreams, his waking hours.
He climbed out of the car without waiting for anyone to exit and stood at the door, hand sliding over the wooden door. His parents had touched this door, perhaps ran their hands over the cherry wood much in the same way he had. It was hard to believe that this house was his. And yet, sitting there, it felt less like his than ever. He could feel Remus and Sirius' eyes on him, practically taste the concerned glances they exchanged but he resolutely ignored them, taking deep breaths to calm the anger that ran through him.
Sirius brushed past him and he flinched, heart racing as a memory of Voldemort doing the very same thing in the graveyard hit him. He took deep breaths and turned away from his godfather who was standing there guiltily. "Open the door." he said, a little harsher than he intended.
It was almost as if Voldemort had taken away the Harry that everyone knew and loved and replaced him with this jumpy, angry young man. Harry found he didn't care all that much. The moment Sirius opened the door, Harry darted up the stairs, slamming the door shut behind him. His heart raced and tears of fear pooled in his eyes but he swallowed them down bitterly.
"Real men don't cry, Potter. Get a hold of yourself." he spat, pinching the sensitive skin of his inner arm.
It was almost as if inflicting that pain upon himself helped him to think clearer. He closed his eyes and leant back against the door, digging his nails into his soft flesh, feeling a slight buzz as the pain intensified. He felt grimly satisfied when he lifted his hand and saw that he had drawn blood.
But afterwards, when his racing mind had calmed slightly and the tremors stopped running through his body, Harry felt nothing but shame. Deep, hot shame. What had he done? His arm was bruised and bleeding slightly, all done by his own hand. He sat down on his bed and placed his head in his hands.
Harry honestly didn't know what was wrong with him. He couldn't stop his mind from drifting back to that graveyard, time and time again. It was as if his mind was stuck on a constant loop, replaying that vivid scene over and over again in his head. There were times when Harry felt almost normal, almost his old self. But then his scar would burn ferociously and Cedric would appear in his blurred vision, just standing, staring. And then he would be sent catapulting into that nightmare. The nightmare that had really happened.
Sometimes Harry wished he could just die. When the flashbacks piled on top of him. When all he felt was acute mental pain, pain that made him gasp for breath and curl into a little ball. He wished with all of his heart that Voldemort had just killed him. It really would not affect any sort of world order. Harry, after all was nothing but a martyr. He knew that he was going to die eventually. Whether it was by Voldemort or by his death eaters. His future was ripped away the moment Voldemort ripped through the picture window of his parents and cast that scar upon his forehead.
Harry became awash with a sense of bitterness. A bitterness so strong that it could easily be translated to hatred. He hated Voldemort, he hated Voldemort for everything he had done. For taking away his parents and his chance of a future. For taking away his chance of being a normal kid.
And that scared Harry. It scared him that he possessed such darkness. After several deep breaths, Harry made his way shakily across his bedroom and into the bathroom. It was cold in there, despite the heat that permeated the outside of the house. He looked rough, now he knew why Sirius and Remus had been so worried. His eyes were surrounded by heavy black circles that made his eyes look as if they were sinking into his face. His lips were chapped and judging by the way his clothes hung off of his already lanky frame, he had lost a serious amount of weight.
"Jesus Christ." Harry muttered, gripping the edge of the sink so hard that his knuckles turned white.
Harry found that his appearance made him feel quite sick, so he turned away from the mirror. "Stupid, stupid boy." Harry muttered darkly, nails digging into his palms again. "you deserve everything you get. You deserve to die. People die because of you. You don't deserve to live."
Harry whriled around so quickly that he created a draft as he held his wand out, hands shaking as he faced his attacker. Sirius was stood in the doorway, hands raised in surrender. He could see the worry that took over his giodfathers face as he pointed his wand at his neck.
"How did you get in here?" Harry demanded, pressing the tip further into Sirius' neck so that sparks shot out.
"Your door was unlocked. Harry, lower your wand. It's me, it's Sirius. You're safe I promise." Slowly, Harry's heart slowed and he lowered his wand to his side, though he kept it clutched tightly in his hands.
"Sorry," he said, humiliated. "I thought you were someone else."
"I guessed." Sirius said without humour as he stepped into the bathroom, frowning when Harry backed against the sink.
"You know I'll never hurt you right?" Sirius asked, keeping his hands where Harry could see them, something for which he was grateful.
"I know," Harry muttered, mouth feeling as if it was full of cotton wool. "Just stay. Stay away please." the last part sounded as if he was begging and Harry instantly hated himself.
"I, er okay." Sirius agreed though he looked hurt.
Harry felt a swirling of guilt breaking through the darkness at Sirius' hurt expression. "I'm sorry," Harry said quietly, bowing his head.
Sirius sighed loudly and even with his eyes on the floor, Harry knew he had shaken his head. "Don't apologise, mate. I understand." Sirius said softly.
"I – I want to talk to you," Harry said honestly. He found it extremely difficult to get the words out, but now that he had started, he could not stop. "But, but it's just. I can't. Sirius I just can't."
"There's really no rush, Harry. I understand. Trust me, I do. You've seen terrible things, experienced terrible things that most adults would go insane over. And yet, you're still a child. Fifteen years old, Harry and yet you are by far a better man that I could ever hope to be. Please don't think you're weak by being affected by what happened. It just shows that you are human."
Harry nodded weakly. It was strange, because for the first time in weeks, Harry felt a slight calmness wash over him at Sirius' words. He nodded slowly, though he didn't reply. Sirius' face twitched slightly, as if he had been expecting Harry to pour his heart out to him right there.
"Harry?" Sirius said. "there's something I need to talk to you about. I – I think that it might help..."
Harry slowly sighed and nodded. Sirius' face broke out in relief as if he expected Harry to start shouting and screaming again. Or worse; crying. He reluctantly followed his godfather into the bedroom and immediately clambered onto his bed, hugging one of his many pillows to his chest.
"Have you thought maybe about seeing a mind healer?" Sirius asked, broaching the subject tentatively.
Harry's hackles rose, his walls climbing, blocking Sirius out. He felt a surge of anger at the man in front of him and fixed him with such a glare that Sirius actually reeled back in alarm.
"Oh. So you think I'm mad now do you? You think I don't know what everyone is saying about me. That Voldemort has finally sent me over the edge?"
"Don't you tell me to calm down," Harry spat, fists clenched. "don't you dare! What do you want to hear, Sirius? Do you want to hear that I see Cedric every night. Do you want to know that I have flashbacks of that bloody graveyard over and over again? Or maybe you want to know that every time I see a gravestone or hear a bang or see a flash that I instantly see that scene over and again. Or perhaps you want to tell me that it's my fault that Cedric is worse than dead!"
Harry didn't realise he was on his knees until his legs wobbled and he collapsed backwards against his headboard. Exhausted. He bit down hard on his lip, heart thumping. Sirius reached out and he scrambled back, his arms flying as he tried to bat his hands away. Sirius gave a strangled yell and fell backwards, clutching his mouth.
Harry stared at him in horror, realising what he had just done. He felt guilt punch him in the stomach with all the intensity of a raging bull as blood pooled through Sirius' fingers. It occurred to Harry that Sirius might be angry.
"Sirius!" Harry exclaimed, crawling forwards. "Merlin, I'm so sorry! I'm sorry."
Sirius used his free hand to squeeze Harry's shoulder comfortingly. It surprised Harry that he didn't want to shrug it off. "Harry. It's fine. I shouldn't have done that." Sirius spoke soothingly but Harry felt the encroaching panic engulf him from all sides.
He felt his breath coming in short gasps as the world around him blurred. He vaguely felt a warm weight on his shoulders, but it failed to pull him from the throes of panic. Minutes passed and something cool pressed against his lips. He sensed the bitter taste of some sort of potions before his surroundings blurred back to the present and he found himself looking into Sirius' alarmed eyes. His heart rate slowed down to a mere trot and he found the tremors slowly draining from his body.
"Better?" Sirius tilted his head to the side, lip still bleeding.
Harry looked away, feeling sick to the stomach and nodded slowly. Sirius must have taken to carrying calming draughts around with him, prepared for when Harry would explode next. The thought made Harry feel guilty.
"I think there's a few things we need to address." Sirius said slowly, healing his lip with a flick of his wand.
Harry's arms and legs felt impossibly heavy. His head pleasantly fuzzy. He struggled to see Sirius through his eyelashes. What was he saying about an address? Harry couldn't quite remember. He felt his eyes fluttering closed, the lure of the potion drawing him into sleep.
"That's it. Go to sleep. We've got plenty of time to talk about it." was the last thing Harry heard before his body sunk into the mattress.
Harry sat up, gasping for air. His skin felt hot and clammy and his limbs shook as if a strong electrical current had passed through them. As he looked around the room, it became evident that he was the only one in it. The dream, it had been just that, a nightmarish revisiting of his worst memory, played in his head as if in a silent movie. With slow, jerky movements, Harry climbed out of bed and headed for his bedroom window, grabbing his wand from his bedside cabinet as he did so.
Dusk had fallen, the sky a light blue colour, slowly blending into a deep purple that was splattered with a sprinkling of stars. Outside was empty, but for the garden and Remus' singing daises which whistled gently in the slight breeze that ruffled the messy hedges that rose over the back garden. Slowly, Harry inched himself towards the door, heart beating faster as his hand closed around the door handle and the door swung open.
The hallway was warm and brightly lit. there was no indication that anything dark was afoot, so Harry slowly stepped out, wand clutched tightly in his pocket. He could hear laughter from downstairs, Remus' rich baritone voice, mingling with Tonks' high pitched giggle. He smiled slightly and entered the living room.
Everyone stared at him as he entered, and he found himself wishing that he had stayed upstairs. The stares burnt a hole through him and he felt bile rise to his throat. Tonks blatantly stared at him, ignoring the not-so-subtle nudges Remus was jabbing into her ribs.
"Wotcher, Harry. You're looking rough!" Tonks said, blushing as she realised what she had just said.
Harry ignored her and entered the room, sitting down on the big, squashy armchair and curling his legs beneath him. To his immense relief, Remus, Sirius and Tonks continued their conversation, giving him worried glances every now and then. Harry tried to ignore them and sunk further into the cushions.
It suddenly hit Harry how very alone he was when even a room full of people, he felt like he was the only one in the room.