"Let me sleep Clint." Harry murmured softly, lifting his arm half-heartedly to brush him away.
"Sorry." The man sighed and sat back away from him.
"'S okay, just want to sleep."
"Sleep then, you need some rest."
Harry couldn't reply, he couldn't do anything other than lie there as he drifted to sleep, his mind and emotions going into overdrive and knocking him out. He stayed there sleeping for several hours.
Chapter Ten – Overcoming Irrationality
When Harry woke up he felt empty and listless. It looked to be afternoon of the next day if the sun through the windows was any indication.
"Jarvis, where is everyone?" He asked softly.
"I was told to inform them as soon as you woke, they will be with you momentarily."
Harry groaned. He didn't want to be fussed. He went to the kitchen and made himself a cup of coffee. The smell usually made him feel sick, but he wanted coffee this morning, just to settle himself. It was familiar and comforting and just what he needed right now.
He was right, the smell of the coffee did make him feel nauseous, but he was able to drink it down without it coming back up, which was a plus.
"Caffeine is bad for the baby." Bruce informed him.
"I know, but I want one cup of coffee, it won't kill either of us."
"Please tell me you're not going to get reckless now." Tony said.
"Like you, you mean?" Harry chuckled. "No, I hardly think having one cup of coffee means I'm being reckless or flying off the handle. I'm used to almost dying now. I need something to settle myself and in the past it was always coffee, so I'm hoping one cup will help keep me grounded and settle me down a bit."
"There are plenty of other drinks here, there's herbal tea and hot chocolate."
Harry stiffened. "I was drinking hot chocolate before the explosion." He replied as calmly and casually as he could. "But lay off, I'm fine."
"Do you want anything to eat?" Steve's large hands wrung together and Harry tried not to show any tension, he knew Steve wanted to be fluttering around him, settling him back on the settee, feeding him and making sure everything was alright and that he was fine and resting, but that wasn't what Harry needed right now, which was likely why he was restraining himself. Steve was very perceptive of other people's needs.
"I'm fine, I've only just woken up, I don't want to eat just yet. But seriously, I'm fine; I'll get over this and get through this. I always do."
"You mean you'll block it out, stamp it down and bottle everything up." Bruce gave him a look.
Harry groaned. "So what if I do? It's worked well enough in the past."
"The little outburst about your family." Bruce was speaking softly and carefully, so as not to upset him. Harry would have been angry, except it was working.
"A minor crack, I don't usually show that much raw emotion without filtering it."
"You feel like you need to filter your emotions, why?"
"Oh stop with the twenty questions Bruce, I don't need a psychiatrist."
"Lucky for you then I'm a scientist, not a psychiatrist. These bottled up emotions are not good for you Harry, if you've had them for a long time then I'm surprised you passed your psyche evaluation to get into S.H.I.E.L.D."
Harry licked his lips; he may have used a memory altering charm to make the psychiatrist believe he'd done his evaluation when in fact he had barely stepped inside the door.
"You lied in your evaluation, didn't you?"
"Well, not exactly, I more, omitted the truth?"
"And the psychiatrist didn't see through it?" Clint asked with a frown. "Every time I try and leave things out she pounces on me like an old dog with a bone."
Harry sighed. "There's not a lot of information on me, my age counts for me in that and the move over from Britain helped as all my files are still secured overseas, I had new medical folders and everything when I came over so everything was fresh and new when S.H.I.E.L.D took me on, they had no reason to suspect anything untoward had ever happened to me in my life and I liked it that way."
"Your file labels your parents as deceased, as of nineteen-ninety-one. You would have been what? A year old."
"A year and three months." Harry corrected detachedly.
"That's hard on anyone."
Harry shrugged. "Easier than some, I never knew them so I had no time to actually miss them or for their death to emotionally hurt me, I was too young to understand."
"But you felt the pain of their loss."
"Of course. All throughout my childhood, I wished for them to come back every day, that childish thought that if you wish hard enough it'll happen."
"Were you happy during your childhood?"
"I thought you said you weren't a psychiatrist?" Harry demanded.
"I'm not, but that was a very violent way to avoid the question, were you happy as a child?"
Harry breathed out harshly and dragged a hand through his hair. "No. My entire life has been miserable from as far back as I can remember."
"Your folder says you went to live with your Mother's sister and her husband and son. An address wasn't given."
"I don't know where they live now, when I was seventeen they moved and never told me where they were going so I couldn't put an address for S.H.I.E. files."
"That must have added to the hurt."
"Not really, I was glad to see the back of them and that house."
"Come and sit down Harry, just come and talk to us."
"Why? Why do I have to talk about this now, why are you dragging it all up?"
"Because we didn't know it was there inside you before and now that we do, it has to come up. You're having a baby Harry and these emotions and bad feelings aren't good for the baby, it'll be good to get it all out."
"I feel like it's the only thing holding me together at the moment, if I get rid of it, I'm going to collapse in on myself."
"You won't." Steve assured him with a hand to his shoulder. "We'll be here to help you."
Harry was steered to the kitchen table and sat down gently; he was given a glass of juice and was surrounded by people. Clint and Steve on one side, Bruce directly opposite, Thor and Natasha were on the end and had probably been told not to open their mouths as they were being very quiet and Tony was sat next to Bruce, opposite Steve, who it seemed kicked him every time he opened his mouth to say something.
"I know this is going to be hard Harry, just answer as truthfully as you can. Were you ever abused at home?"
Harry shrugged. "Depends on your definition of abuse."
"What's your definition of abuse?" Bruce asked back. "Is there anything they did to you something that you'd do to your own baby?"
Harry's hand jumped to his stomach and he glared at Bruce. "No, never!"
"So what did they do that you wouldn't do to your baby?"
Harry sighed and rested his forehead against the table. "Can we not do this Bruce? I feel bad enough as it is without dragging this up as well. I could have lost my life yesterday, my baby's life!"
"It seems you're quite good at doing that, that's twice since we've known you, how many times; do you know about, that you have almost lost your life?"
Harry groaned and counted them. The bomb, the gun aimed at his head, the kidnapping, several times during the war, including actually dying, no matter how fleetingly, twice during the hunt for the Horcruxes, almost being killed by the Inferi, the duel and possession at the Ministry of Magic, four times during the Tri-wizard challenge, the Dementors and the fall at the Quidditch match, the Basilisk, the Philosophers Stone, several times at the Dursleys and the attack by Voldemort when he was a baby.
"Hold on!" Harry snapped.
"Is it too difficult a question?"
"No, it's about thirty."
There was silence as Harry let them soak that up. Bruce recovered first.
"Do you want to say what those thirty times were?"
Harry shook his head sharply. "No."
"How many of them were when you were a young child?"
"Give me a cut off age."
"We'll say thirteen."
Harry shrugged. "About ten, maybe more, I don't remember a lot from when I was really young."
"There were ten instances that you remember where you almost lost your life before the age of thirteen?"
Harry remained quiet and let them speculate in their own minds.
"Harry, have you ever actually died and had to be resuscitated?"
"Once that I'm sure on, but I came through on my own, the others are sketchy."
"How many other times?"
"Maybe two, no more than three."
"Were any of those from before you were a teenager?"
"One, maybe two, the other maybe was when I was fifteen."
"The one instance you're definite on?"
"I was eighteen."
"The trigger that made you come over to the US?"
"One of them."
"Do you have any medical records of heart problems or diseases that could cause you to stop breathing or stop your heart from beating?"
Harry shook his head. "No, I'm healthy and so was my blood family."
"Your blood family?"
"My Mother's sister's husband and his son, they had an obesity problem and all the ill effects that go with over eating and no exercise."
Bruce nodded his understanding.
"This question is going to be difficult for you Harry, but how many people have you known to have died? You mentioned that all of your friends had died."
That was the question Harry had hoped didn't come up. "Including my parents?"
Bruce nodded and Harry sighed. "Including people I didn't like and actively hated?"
"Yes, those too."
"Then I can't count them."
"Why not, are they not people you have known to be killed?"
"That's not what I meant, there are too many of them to count. It's going to be hundreds."
"What were you doing with your life?" Tony asked.
Harry looked at him briefly before looking back at the table top. He said nothing.
"Okay Harry, just friends and family first then, how many do you think?"
"And of those, how many did you see die personally? As in they actually died, right in front of you."
"Nine." Harry replied easily. He still had nightmares about them. His Mother, Sirius, Cedric, Dobby, Neville, Fred, Hermione, Snape and Dumbledore.
"What happened Harry? Something terrible must have happened for all of those people to die, you said hundreds, hundreds of people don't just die with no record of it."
Harry stood up and backed away, he turned and fled to his bedroom, half expecting to be chased or dragged back and made to answer, but he wasn't, they let him go and he curled onto his bed and cried.
He had suppressed it as much as he could during the meeting, but he couldn't any longer, he needed to let it out in privacy.
He crawled over to the half unpacked hold all bag, the only possessions he now had. He dug out all of his photos and the albums closest to him, the only ones he now had left, the ones he hadn't been able to leave behind, he wished now he had packed everything, but hindsight and all that, he hadn't expected his house to be blown up, he had fully expected to be able to go back some when soon, when everything was sorted out, so he had brought a few essentials and keepsakes he just couldn't leave behind, but everything he had left in the supposed safety of his home was gone now, blown up, burnt beyond repair or just missing completely. It made bile climb at his throat, but he swallowed it back down bitterly. It wasn't the worst thing that had ever happened, at least no one had been hurt in the explosion and he still had his memories, if he could somehow get hold of a Penseive he would always be able to remember them, but Penseives were rare, expensive and hard to come by, though he had been looking for one for a long time.
Harry turned the pages of one of his only remaining photo albums slowly, taking in the faces and the smiles of the people in them. They were still under a stasis spell because Jarvis would report directly to Tony if he saw Harry with moving photos, but just seeing the faces and buildings of people and places he had once known and been to, it brought memories back fresh and clean and it made him smile softly. If he still had his memories, he hadn't lost everything, he could still carry on.
These people in the photos had given their lives believing that there was a chance, a hope for a brighter future. They had all died believing he could finish Voldemort off for good, believing in him and his abilities. He had done it, he had died doing it, but the cost was so great, he almost wished he hadn't been able to win and then he felt so guilty and ashamed of himself as he thought of the rest of the people, magical and Muggle alike, that would have lost their lives too if he had failed. But why, why did he have to be the sole survivor of his friends and family? Why couldn't someone have struck him dead as soon as he finished off Voldemort? Why did he have to be the one to suffer on alone?
He didn't know how long he sat and cried over his photos before he was aware that he wasn't alone. He jerked his head up to look at Clint, who held his hands up as he came closer and sat on the bed.
"Steve wanted to know if you wanted dinner."
Harry shook his head, trying to brush away and stop his tears from falling.
"It's alright to cry Harry. I cry as well sometimes. I lost my parents to a car crash when I was very young, my mentors turned out to be evil, embezzling bastards who tried to kill me when I was fourteen and my own brother tried to kill me not too long after that when he found out I refused to take the money that was offered to me by my mentors when I caught them embezzling. They were the only people I had in the world until S.H.I.E.L.D scooped me up and I lost all of them, I was alone for years before Agent Coulson picked me up from the streets and put a bow in my hands once again, the police had taken the one I had from the circus away years before because it was a deadly weapon and I had no license for it. I loved that bow, I learnt to shoot and to aim with it, I can't complain about my new one though, but the one from the circus will always be my first."
They sat there in silence, reflecting as Harry turned another page in his album.
"I never wanted kids." Clint told him after a while. "I was such a fuck up in life, in everything; I never wanted to subject a baby to my lack of parenting skills, to my screwy decisions or my lifestyle. But now that I do have a baby on the way, if you'll let me into their life, I'm sure I'll try my hardest, though you're going to have to stop me from making screwy decisions."
Harry snorted. "Only if you stop me from making a total fuck up of it. I've never really been around babies or young children or even pregnant people. I have no clue what I'm doing and I'm not ready for this."
"I am sorry. I didn't mean for any of this to happen."
"I know, it wasn't your fault, it was a happenstance of chance, it could have been anyone who got me pregnant, including one of my captors or torturers, I couldn't imagine having a baby with Koli. I was angry at everything and I needed someone to blame, someone to be a target for my anger and you were so very easy, so convenient and that was wrong of me."
"Wait, Harry, who's Koli?"
Harry blinked. "I, the man who tortured me Clint, didn't I mention that?"
Clint shook his head. "Jarvis, give the name to Tony please, and tell Steve we won't be making dinner."
"I could have sworn I mentioned it."
"Do you know any other names?"
Harry shook his head. "No, that was the only name I ever heard from them and I think it was a slip up on both occasions it was mentioned."
"That's alright, why don't you get some sleep hmm?"
Harry sighed and lay down. "Stay with me please?"
"I'll stay for as long as you want me too." Clint promised.
That made Harry smile as he curled up and tried to sleep, maybe talking wasn't so bad, maybe telling them everything would help him feel better and would stop him from stressing so much, maybe for these few people he could break the Statute of Secrecy.
Harry woke up slowly and sluggishly, there was a comfortable weight and warmth against his back and it felt nice. He smiled, still half asleep and snuggled closer to the warmth, which suddenly moved and a band tightened around his waist.
Harry was suddenly just awake and he peered over his shoulder, not sure what to expect, but a peacefully sleeping Clint wasn't it. Harry went boneless with relief, both at not being held against his will again and at not having any nightmares so the Avengers thought him even more pathetic than they already did.
He lay there for a long while, just thinking and wondering what his baby would be like, would he have a boy or a girl, would they look more like him or more like Clint? How would they act, what would they like? He was three months pregnant and he was only just starting to firm up, not in a muscle tone kind of way, but like there was a hard stone under his skin. A stone that would soon be a rock and would then grow to be a small boulder. He wasn't looking forward to that.
He eased himself up and away from Clint and got out of the bed. He was hungry now and he wanted something to eat, no matter the time.
Clint must have been tired though, because he had heard that the Agent was a light sleeper and the smallest noise or movement woke him up, Harry had managed to get out of the bed and stumble over the edge of the rug without him waking up.
He made it to Tony's penthouse, only to find the Avengers watching a film; they were all looking at him though.
"Sorry for interrupting."
"That's more than fine Harry, your dinner's in the oven with Clint's if you want it, is he awake?"
Harry shook his head. "He's still asleep."
Harry took his plate out of the oven and ate quietly, listening to the film and smiling when the Avengers laughed, particularly Thor, whose laugh could have shattered the windows. They were obviously watching a comedy and when he was done he washed his plate and fork and joined them, slipping himself between Tony and Thor. He smiled wider when Thor wrapped a huge arm around him and invited him to cuddle for warmth.
He was getting more comfortable around these people, like he had with Ron and then finally Hermione after the troll incident. He had been desperate for a friend, any friend, so he had worked his hardest at making friends with them both and they had both cared for him in return, but they were gone now, had been for two years and it was their loss that hurt the most, they had been there for the longest, had known him the best and now they were gone.
Was he unconsciously looking to make these people his friends, or was it just working out that way with the situation? He didn't know, he couldn't tell, but he liked it, if only he could get Steve to back off his over concerned mother henning and get Natasha to either apologise, get off his case or go away everything would be perfect. Well, near enough perfect.
Clint stumbled from the lift an hour later and Steve directed him to the kitchen to get his dinner. The film had long ended; Tony and Bruce had gone down to the lab after Tony had an epiphany, though he had those very often, and wanted Bruce's input on his idea. Natasha had slinked off, thankfully, leaving Harry with Thor and Steve, not who he would have chosen to spend an evening with, but Thor was keeping him very entertained with stories from Asgard and what it was like growing up there, in a city of gold and light, as he claimed it to be. Steve was behaving, he was sketching in a leather bound notebook, he was over halfway through the book, so if every page was a picture, he was an avid artist.
Clint ate in the kitchen and then wandered over and sat next to Harry, even though there was more space on the other settee with Steve, but Harry didn't mind, he was getting better with Clint now he realised that he was scapegoating Clint for what had happened to him. It wasn't fair and it wasn't Clint's fault, but sometimes emotions and thoughts weren't always rational and he hadn't even realised until his own epiphany when he'd gotten the space he needed to actually think about it that he was being irrational in his blame of Clint.
He took a breath and shifted so he could recline against Clint, who had turned the TV onto a late night film. The other man's body jerked in surprise at the action, but an arm quickly wormed its way over his shoulder and held him across the chest. Clint's legs slipped up onto the settee and he pulled Harry down further, more comfortably and they watched the film quietly, Thor wandered off, but Steve stayed where he was, pencil scratching against the paper in different strokes. Harry didn't ask what he was drawing; he didn't want to disturb him as he seemed thoroughly engrossed in his drawing.
Harry stayed on Clint until the film went off a few hours later and he yawned widely.
"What time is it?"
"Almost one in the morning." Clint answered as he stretched.
"Oh, I'm so tired and I shouldn't be. I've been asleep half the afternoon."
"You're pregnant, it's normal to feel like this, I think."
Harry nodded. "Then I'm going to be spending a lot more time in my bed. Good night."
"Night Harry." Steve called out.
"Night." Clint smiled.
Harry went down a floor in the lift and smothered several yawns on the way to his room. He closed the door and pulled over the little bolt lock and shedded his clothes, and crawled into his bed.
He stayed awake, touching his stomach, trying to feel the baby growing within, but there was nothing there to feel and there was no movement that he could pick up on yet.
He sighed and pulled the duvet higher, moving onto his side and curling up. It had been a stressful few days, traumatic really, but he couldn't allow himself to dwell on it, if he thought about it too much, then he was going to break down, or go completely insane over it and he couldn't allow that to happen, not just for himself, but for his baby, what would a complete and utter breakdown mean for his baby? He didn't know, but it couldn't be anything good or something his baby needed as it tried to grow and develop inside him.
Harry sighed and cleared his mind as best as he could, he thought about good things, like his changing relationship with most of the Avengers, how kind Phil was to him and how protective Director Fury had been and how supportive Clint was trying to be despite not knowing how. It was sweet, but Harry still wasn't entirely comfortable, like when Clint's hand had accidentally fallen below his belly button when they had been watching the film earlier, that had made him flinch and almost freak and then again when Clint's fingers had brushed a nipple. It made him uncomfortable and unleashed a knee jerk reaction to flinch away to protect himself, but Clint had removed his hand as soon as Harry flinched and apologised, his hand moving back to the centre of his chest and all was forgiven and Harry could calm down again and relax.
They were both trying so hard, Clint had been trying hard from the beginning, but now that Harry was actually opening his eyes and mind and had become receptive of Clint's attention and help, he could work with him and they could both help one another. Emotional and irrational he might be sometimes, but he wasn't as foolish as some people made him out to be, he was able to analyse his behaviour and emotions and make the logical leap that he had been acting out of order, but he had only been able to realise that when he had been given the space he needed to think and realise it for himself.
Harry sighed and kept those nice thoughts in his mind and calmed himself down enough to sleep. Tomorrow he'd try as he had today to get more used to Clint, if he just took it one day at a time he had a better chance of getting used to it and accepting the change in his life than if he tried to get over it all at once and overcome everything in one go. His baby deserved to know its Father, no matter the circumstances of conception. Harry wanted to carry on living, despite what had happened to him and what had happened in his life, he had always wanted to carry on living and now he had a reason to, a better reason than just wanting to carry on, he had a baby to live for, a baby who would need him for years and years to come and he would always do his best by his baby. He swore it.
A/N: Right, I think this story is moving on nicely, another eight to ten chapters and I should be done with it, though plots never turn out how I want them too so it may be less or more depending on if I can get it to where I want it to be, we'll see.
Thanks to Kyurengo for being the 600th reviewer.
fan of fanfiction 1: A lot of average people don't use banks or safety deposit boxes to store their stuff, I don't. If my house was bombed or I had a fire, I'd lose everything I have, just like Harry. He wasn't expecting his house to be targeted like this or maybe he would have stored his stuff in a storage unit or something, but people don't go through their lives expecting their houses and possessions to be blown up at random, so they don't think about it.
darkest magic: He has his invisibility cloak, it was one of the things he couldn't be parted from, he's had it with him since it was given to him when he was eleven, that was one thing he didn't leave behind, but the things that were left at the house are gone.
Someone's Ghost: I would like to point out that me updating was for international happiness day, it is September in the fic, so it's not happiness day in the fic, so blowing up Harry's house was not actually done on international happiness day. Natasha did try to be nice, but she's not used to it or dealing with people's feelings, so her attempts come across as wrong and sometimes offensive.
Someone asked me something but I can't find the question, but it was something about Harry having wards on his house to protect against fire. That protection would have been on the outside of the property to stop fire from getting into the house and taking hold if it starts in the house, how do you contain an explosion from two trigger points with that much C4? The wards stopped the explosion from destroying the entire street, but it was centred in Harry's house, the explosion overpowered the wards that are meant for a mere fire, not a triggered, concentrated C4 explosion, thus rendering the wards ineffective, they didn't stop the fire, they just contained the explosion to Harry's house.
Right, I believe that's all, I hope you've enjoyed it and I'll see you next update,
StarLight Massacre. X