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Amidst the Ashes by TheHeirOfSlytherin
Chapter 4: Memories of the Past
He held the package tightly in his hands, unable to let go, unable to do anything but open it. Because if he opened it, it would all become real. And he didn't want that.
It had been five days since Harry had argued with Ginny and she had been ignoring him ever since. Rightly so, he thought. He regretted how he had acted and every chance he got he tried to apologize, but she adamantly refused to talk to him. Harry had hoped that she would ignore him for a few days just to be stubborn, than go back to normal, or as normal as they could be given how their life had gone the past ten years, but no that hadn't happened. Not this time.
But he hadn't expected this, anything but this. Harry let the package fall onto his desk and dropped his head in his hands. "This can't be happening," he whispered.
But then he remembered everything that had happened to them through the years, the way he had acted, treated them, and he began to wonder why this hadn't happened sooner.
"No," he muttered, shaking his head. "It's not all my fault."
He stopped at the knock on his office door, stuffed his papers into his drawer and rubbed his eyes to make sure there were no more tears threatening to fall. He cleared his throat. "Come in."
The door opened and David came in, closing the door behind him. He held up the file for the case and opened his mouth to comment, but changed his mind when he noticed the man's appearance. "Are you okay, boss?"
"I'm fine," Harry nodded quickly, but his tone was defeated. "What are you here for?"
David shook his head and sat on the chair in front of him. "No. Come on, Harry, you've been acting weird ever since I got back, and I mean weirder than usual; what's wrong?"
Harry stared at him for longer than was comfortable for either them and David turned away before he did, choosing to look at the pictures on his desk instead. "Are these your kids?" He asked, changing the subject.
Harry watched him pick up the picture of James, Albus and Lily and nodded his head lightly; it was taken on Lily's second birthday. James kept lifting up his party hat because Albus was purposely knocking it down and Lily was giggling madly because Harry was tickling her. "You all look so happy."
He put it down and picked up the second picture. In this picture, Harry had his arms wrapped around a little boy's waist while he was sat on the man's knee. The boy looked around twelve years old, with brown hair that turned green after Harry whispered something to him. David turned it around so Harry could see, though Harry knew what it was. "Who's this?"
"My oldest," Harry murmured after a long silence.
David narrowed his eyes in confusion. "I thought you only had three kids."
"I do," Harry said, then explained. "That's Teddy, my Godson. But it felt like he was my own and I loved him like he was my own."
"Oh, I get that," David replied softly. "It's like you adopted him, you love him." Harry nodded. "Why do you keep referring to him in the past tense? Did he do something? Are you no longer talking?"
Harry gestured to the picture still in David's hand and he wasn't sure whether or not the man was changing the subject. "That picture was taken in the summer ten years ago. It's the last picture I have of him." He choked back tears, refusing to let them fall. "I had to get a new frame; I broke it a few days ago. He'd be twenty two now if -"
David leaned forward, not seeming to understand where this story was going, but when Harry looked up he saw something in his eyes that he couldn't decipher. "If what?" He murmured.
"I refer to Teddy in the past tense because he died," Harry whispered, letting himself say it for the first time without feeling like he had to to move on. He continued, the need to get it of his chest and say everything he had wanted to say all those years ago was overwhelming. And David wanted to listen. "On Halloween, we went to the party."
"The party that's held every year that you no longer go to."
"That's the one," Harry said. "There was an accident that night, a fire. He'd disappeared, I couldn't find him and the fire brigade dragged me out. They wouldn't let me back in and they couldn't find him. They never found him."
"I'm sorry," David replied softly. "You still think about him."
Harry noticed immediately that it wasn't a question. "I always think about him. That's the problem, that's what they don't understand. I could have found him, I could have saved him if they'd let me. Maybe we both would have gotten out, maybe only he'd have gotten out or maybe neither of us would have, but at least then he wouldn't have been alone. I promised him I'd never leave him alone and then he had to go through that."
"It's horrible." David ran his hands through his hair, his face saying he understood Harry. "No one can ever truly get over that. They didn't make that promise, they don't fully understand, that's all."
Harry pulled open the drawer and dropped the package on the desk in front of him. "Don't open it," he said when David went to pick it up. The younger Auror moved his hands back quickly. "I tried to talk about how I felt ten years ago and they all said how it was just survivors guilt or something and that I would be fine; my family, the councilor everyone made me go to and they grieved in their own way, they wouldn't talk to me about it. But they want to talk now, because they think my bottled up feelings are ruining my life. They think this because I won't go to a party, but I just can't go there anymore."
Harry didn't know what David was thinking, that seemed to bother him the most, though not enough to stop talking. His eyes said he understood, maybe more than he should, but that was all. "What's that got to do with this?" Was all he asked.
Harry's gaze stayed on the other man, not wanting to look at the envelope he was pointing at. "It seems Ginny can't take it anymore; they're divorce papers. I understand why she's doing this; I'd leave me too."
"I bet this felt good to finally say," David said, smiling a little.
"Yeah," Harry agreed, returning the smile. He changed the subject. "Why did you come?"
David blinked, only just realizing why he had come here in the first place, and held up the file. "The writing was ink again and I've gotten the victims' names; they're all in there. I can talk to the families of you want."
"No, I'll get Ron to do it," Harry assured him. "You can talk to the last couple of witness with me from the second murder."
David nodded and promised he'd meet him in the atrium in half an hour, then got up and walked to the door. "Hey, I think this is a good thing, talking about it. If you've got it off your chest, then talking to Ginny might be easier. I have a feeling things are going to change."
He left before Harry could ask how.
I'll ask him later, he thought, feeling a little better for the first time in a long time.
A/N: Chapter four, beta'd by the awesome AC_rules. I hope this chapter takes away some confusion about Harry. But it's not the end of the story; there are still a few surprises in store.
Reviews would be greatly appreciated. :)