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Chapter 18: Harry's Worst Memory
I do not own Harry Potter.
Author’s Note: Sorry for the long wait everyone! Additional scene added June 27, 2012.
Lily spent the next few days sedated and alternating between unconsciousness, nightmares, and terrifying flashbacks. The flashbacks usually happened as the medications were wearing off and she would thrash around violently. It got so bad that the healers actually restrained her. Harry was barely holding himself together watching his daughter suffer so much.
After several days of this Healer Summer asked to speak with the family about what to do next. “Mr. Potter I wanted to discuss some options that I think Lily may need.”
When he nodded she continued, “We would like to obliviate some of her memories related to her kidnapping.”
Immediately Hermione shouted “No!” at the same time Harry jumped up out of his seat saying “Absolutely Not!”
James, Al and Scorpius were surprised by their strong reactions and the healers were shocked.
“May I ask why you are so adamant that she keeps these memories?” asked Healer Summer
“Gilderoy Lockart,” snapped Harry angrily.
The healers looked confused for a minute before one finally replied, “That wouldn't happen to your daughter Mr. Potter.”
“How do you know that? Do you think Lockhart meant to obliviate himself? Well he didn't! He was trying to obliviate us and I'm not allowing anyone near Lily with that spell!” yelled Harry.
Everyone was silent for what seemed like eternity while they let Harry calm down. He was still standing, or rather towering over the table, and he was breathing heavily. His magic was radiating off him in waves and he looked extremely dangerous. Finally, Harry seemed calm enough to sit down again.
Healer Summer continued as though Harry’s outburst hadn’t just happened, “There’s something else we can try…it won’t erase the memories but will dull them. It’s similar to what would happen over a long period of time. She would be able to recall what happened but wouldn’t remember all the details. And the emotions attached to the memory wouldn’t be as strong.”
“How is that possible?” asked Harry.
“It's still an experimental treatment so it's not completely understood yet but given the alternative of doing nothing I think it's worth exploring.” Replied Healer Summer
“I don't know...” Said Harry warily
“Mr. Potter I don't think you can comprehend what your daughter is going through right now,” said one of the other healers none too nicely.
Harry was furious! He rushed to his feet, letting his chair clatter to the floor behind him; his anger was definitely back with a vengeance.
“No you don't think that I know what she’s going through? Well, let me just clear that up for you then…. let’s compare, shall we?” spat Harry sarcastically.
He then started speaking again in a very dangerous tone, “As a teenager I was kidnapped, held completely against my will, and tortured. I had no control over what happened to me!”
He took a few deep breaths before asking again, “Really you don't think I have any idea?”
He paused momentarily before bellowing, “How dare you! I know what she's going through! You think I want to see my only daughter in this state? Suffering through horrifying nightmares and flashbacks of all the disturbing things that have happened to her? I know only too well what she's going through!”
Harry slammed his fist on the table at the end of his tirade making everyone jump.
“I'm sorry I didn’t mean to offend you sir, I just...” stuttered the healer, obviously terrified of him.
“Mr. Potter, we understand that you have experienced things that most have not, however, rape is something completely different and unless you have been raped...”
Healer Summer paused allowing him a chance to answer.
Harry shook his head no in response.
A long silence followed and Hermione reached over and squeezed his hand before speaking quietly, “Harry, I think you should try this other option. I remember when I was taken by the snatchers into the forest away from you and Ron... I’ve never felt so helpless and terrified.”
“Hermione, please, don't,” begged Harry.
“No, Harry, this is important. I understand what they are saying. Even being tortured nearly to death doesn't compare to how I felt in those moments when I was....”
Harry had tears streaming down his face and he reached over and grabbed her face with both hands and said, “He never got the chance Hermione, he....”
“I know Harry; I'll always be in your debt for stopping that from happening.”
“No, Hermione. I wasn't able to protect you like I should have.”
“You did Harry. You saved me in the forest and then again from Bellatrix...never doubt that you saved me from a horrible fate.”
“Ron helped save me from Bellatrix, yes, but the forest was you, Harry. Only you... If they hadn’t recognized you…”
Harry reluctantly nodded
The two seemed to realize they weren't alone and blushed. Harry cleared his throat and wiped his face before saying, “Alright, I'll agree to this experimental treatment on one condition.”
Everyone looked at him questioningly and he said, “I want you to do it to me first, then depending on the results I'll give the approval for Lily.”
The healers all were quite speechless
“Sir, it's a complicated procedure. We would have to sedate you, replay the memory over and over several times before slowly modifying it. It will take quite a while to complete.”
“Fine. While I'm sedated Hermione can make any decisions that need to be made for both Lily and myself.”
“Harry are you sure about this?”
“I'm not letting them near Lily with this spell until I know what it does Hermione.”
“But what if something goes wrong?”
“That’s the whole point, to see if it does.”
“If you're sure Harry, then you should put some things in writing beforehand.”
They agreed to wait until tomorrow to perform the procedure on Harry so that everyone could get ready and so that Harry could put some things in writing. They advised Harry to pick the memory that still was the most painful for him to think about.
The next morning, they put a bed in the same room as Lily and asked him to pull the memory that he wanted them to work on out for them to see in a pensive. Once they had viewed the memory they explained that they would find the memory in his head, and then play it repeatedly dulling it as much as they could without damaging the actual memory. Once they received his final consent they gave him some medications to sedate him.
No one except the healers knew which memory Harry had chosen and he had indicated that he wanted the boys to stay in the room with him and Lily while it was happening.
He also allowed Scorpius and Draco to remain in the room. He then told Hermione that if she needed to leave, he would understand which made her curious about the memory.
After several minutes of searching along with the occasional gasps, the healer finally found the correct memory and began playing it…
Hermione instantly knew which memory it was and gasped, stepping away from Harry.
Everyone looked to her questioningly but when she didn’t speak, they turned back to watch the memory. It was a much younger trio that they were watching. They were speaking to a strange looking man with white hair. After a minute of discussing Luna, the house was attacked and Harry, Hermione and Ron hit the floor. They crawled towards one another until they finally touched hands and disapparated.
They were instantly transported to a forest, where the three of them began to argue about why Luna’s Dad set them up. As they were separating out they realized they weren’t alone…
James watched in horrid fascination what was happening. He knew that his Dad had gone through some terrible things, but this was the memory he chose as his most painful, which gave him pause as to what was going to happen in it.
Al was in awe of his father, watching him and his two best friends try and escape capture. His Aunt Hermione was by far doing the best and he turned to smile at her but stopped when he saw the tears running down her face. She was clearly shaken by seeing this memory, no wonder his Dad told her to leave if she needed to. He turned back just in time to see Hermione shoot a spell at his Dad, making him fall to the ground.
Everyone made a noise of surprise at that, but as the memory played on it was clear it was a spell meant to disguise his face. She quickly ran over to him and took his glasses off and hid them and a locket he was wearing, all the while Harry was going on about Voldermort. She was quickly pulled away from him and the three were all interrogated.
Since it was Harry’s memories they could see Ron to one side of him and Hermione to his other side. Hermione seemed to be attracting the most attention though and they were horrified to see the leader take an interest in her. He came in real close to her and touched her face, then brushed her hair off her shoulder… all the while she whimpered in fear. He turned to the group and said, “She’s quite the looker this one, I think I’ll just take some time with her. Stay here.”
He then grabbed Hermione and started dragging her away from the group, while she screamed and kicked and punched with all her might to try and get away from him. He ended up motioning for two others to help him and the three of them carried a hysterical Hermione away from Ron and Harry, who were both trying to fight off their captors to help her.
Ron and Harry could hear Hermione screaming and crying and they knew what was going to happen to her. They both were frantically struggling to get free but it wasn’t working and they were terrified. “Hermione!” screamed Harry and Ron desperately over and over again.
Finally, Harry couldn’t take it anymore and he bellowed, “I’m Harry! I’M HARRY POTTER!”
Luckily for Hermione he had said it so loudly and so clearly that everyone stopped what they were doing and looked at him.
Hermione had gasped at that in surprise and said, “Oh, Harry.” She still had tears streaming down her face and the boys could only imagine how hard it must be for her to watch this. “I never knew ... I thought they just realized who he was on their own.”
“Hey Scabior, Come take a look at this one!” screamed one of the snatchers standing in front of Harry.
Scabior came back but made the other two bring Hermione back as well. He stopped in front of Harry and examined his scar closely, obviously determining that he was Harry and then they were all going someplace else.
Hermione was walking next to Harry towards a mansion, one that the boys recognized very well. It was Malfoy Manor. They had heard very little about what happened there but knew that it wasn’t good since no one would ever tell them about it.
Al chanced another glance at Hermione to see that she was backing up slowly towards the door. She stood against the wall next to the door, ready to escape if she needed to and Al felt awful for her. Draco got up and walked over to stand next to her and held out his hand for her to hold. She nodded and then took his hand.
Al turned back to see a crazy looking woman say, “Get Draco,” and then they were all being escorted into the Manor. There was a lot of arguing as to whether it was really Harry and the boys were surprised to see that Scorpius’s Dad kept denying it was him.
Then the crazy witch, Bellatrix, saw the Sword of Gryffindor and all hell broke loose. Before they knew what happened, Harry and Ron were being thrown in the dungeons. Harry took one last frantic look back at Hermione to see that Bellatrix had her pinned against the wall and she looked terrified.
Down in the dungeons, they could all hear Hermione’s screams clearly. Harry and Ron were going mental trying to get out. Ron kept screaming, “Hermione!” while Harry kept looking into a broken mirror saying, “Help us!”.
Al turned to see that Hermione was crying into Draco’s chest near the door.
Suddenly there was a lot of commotion in the memory and Al saw a house elf appear and take several people away then come back to release his Dad and Uncle.
Hermione’s screams had stopped which Al found worrying. When they reached an area where they could see her again, she was laying on the floor, unmoving, with blood dripping from her arm, her hair splayed out around her and tears running down her face.
There was a hushed conversation between the crazy witch and a goblin before she turned back to Hermione, obviously going to curse her. Harry and Ron then ran forward and started dueling with the Malfoy's until Bellatrix stopped everyone by holding a knife to Hermione’s throat.
James couldn’t believe how much his Aunt had gone through for his Dad. And vice versa. It was obvious how much they cared for each other…and he wondered how his Uncle Ron never picked up on it. Just this memory alone, she had been nearly raped, then tortured, and now held at knifepoint. How much more was she going to have to endure?
There was suddenly a squeaky noise and he watched as everyone in the memory looked up to see a house elf on top of the chandelier. Confused, he continued to watch as the elf dropped the chandelier down on top of Bellatrix and Hermione, with them both barely managing to escape before it crashed.
There was more fighting and then the elf disapparated them all to a beach. Harry immediately started yelling for Hermione and ran towards her and Ron. Then Harry turned and saw the elf bleeding and ran over to him.
Al watched as his Dad held the elf in his arms, silently crying when he died. Al was surprised at how affected his Dad was and watched in awe as his Dad buried the elf and created the headstone for him.
The memory then stopped.
“Bloody Hell,” whispered Scorpius, then he continued a little louder, “I can’t believe that’s my family, that I’m related to that crazy witch!”
This actually made Hermione chuckle a little and she wiped her face before saying, “You’re nothing like her, Scorpius.”
Al got up and walked over to Hermione and hugged her, which James soon joined in on. After a minute they broke away and Al said, “I’m so sorry Auntie.”
“Oh, sweetheart, you have nothing to be sorry for. It was a long time ago.” Replied Hermione tearily.
“You were so strong and so brave…how did you do it?” asked James tentatively
“I knew you’re Dad needed me. I promised him I would stay with him until the end and I wasn’t going to let him down.” Replied Hermione simply.
“Well Granger, you certainly are a true Gryffindor,” Said Draco quietly
The healers spent the next eight hours playing Harry's memory over and over again. Hermione couldn't stay in the room after the first time so Draco stayed with her in one of the family waiting areas down the hall.
James and Al stayed with their Dad the whole time alternating breaks while Scorpius stayed at Lily's side.
After about four hours, Al stood up and said, “Merlin's pants this is horrible. How does he live with this shit in his head?”
“I have no idea, but I'm sure this isn't the only bad memory Dad has,” replied James.
One of the healers spoke up and said, “If you're father didn't pull the memory up for us we wouldn't have been able to find it. Memories that are particularly bad are usually black, and half of your Dads memories were black. He's an incredibly strong man to have survived what was obviously a very difficult life.”
“He never talks about any of it,” Replied James.
“People that have suffered severe traumas don't generally want to talk about it; it's too hard for them,” replied the healer.
“Maybe if this works Dad will do it for his other bad memories,” said Al.
“I hope it works for Lily's sake,” added Scorpius quietly.
The door opened then to reveal their Uncle Ron escorted by Hermione who quickly left.
Ron took a minute to watch the memory then said; “I thought his worst memory would be when Sirius was murdered. No wonder Hermione is such a mess. How much longer do you have to play this for?”
“We're about halfway through so probably another 4 hours or so,” replied the healer.
“Blimey. Is he going to be ok? I can't imagine replaying this memory all day is any good for him...” trailed off Ron.
“Yes. We've heavily sedated him so he should be fine,” replied the healer.
Ron nodded then asked, “How's Lily doing?”
“Not so good. Dad said if this works on him he’ll let them do it to Lily,” replied Al.
“Right. Well I hope it works.” Ron paused for a minute then said, “I can’t stay in here any longer, this memory is not something I want to remember, let alone see. Let me know if you need anything-ok boys?”
They all nodded and then he was gone, leaving them to spent another four hours reliving their Dad’s worst memory over and over again.
Harry woke up suddenly to screams…it took him a minute to realize that he was the one screaming... “Hermione?”
Hermione crushed Harry in one of her famous hugs and buried her face in his neck saying, “Oh, Harry.”
He closed his eyes and hugged her back fiercely saying, “I’m so sorry, Hermione,” over and over again.
“Shh, Harry, it’s OK, we’re safe now,” replied Hermione consolingly.
There were tears streaming down both of their faces and James, Al, Scorpius, and Draco felt like they were intruding on a private moment. After a minute James spoke up and said, “Dad?”
Harry clung to Hermione tighter when he heard James and whipped his head around to assess what he obviously thought was a threat. He stared at the others for a minute before he got his bearings and relaxed a little, he cleared his throat and asked, “How long was I out?”
“All day,” replied Al.
“How are you feeling,” asked Hermione softly?
Harry thought for a minute then said, “Other than feeling like I’m in the middle of the war again, I’m OK.”
“I should go let the healers know you’ve woken up,” said Hermione starting to get up but Harry tightened his grip on her and pleaded, “No, please, just stay here.”
She looked at him sympathetically and replied, “Harry, we’re OK. I’ll be right back.”
They could all see the anguish on his face and his reluctance to let her out of his sight so Draco said, “Granger, I’ll go let them know.”
“Thanks,” replied Hermione but she could feel Harry tense up when he heard him, so when he left the room, she whispered to him, “Harry, we’re safe. The war is over, there’s nothing to worry about besides you and Lily right now. OK?”
“Lily?” asked Harry confused making everyone hold their breath…
“Yes, just you and your daughter, Lily. Remember, that’s why you did this?” asked Hermione patiently.
Harry scrunched up his face in thought and looked around the room finally setting his sights on his daughter in the bed next to him, breathing out, “Lily.”
They all relaxed at his obvious recognition, thanking Merlin that he still remembered what was going on in the here and now.
“How is she?” asked Harry.
“She’s restless, they’ve had to up her dosages a little to keep her calm,” replied Hermione.
The healers came back with Draco and Dr. Summer asked, “How are you feeling Mr. Potter?”
“Confused and…” started Harry
“And what?” replied the Healer
“I don’t know how to explain it, it feels like I’m still in the middle of the war, my senses are very alert right now and my adrenaline is pretty high.” Finished Harry.
“That’s understandable Mr. Potter, we can give you a calming draught after we do some tests,” replied the Healer.
Harry nodded and the healer asked, “Is it alright with you if I do some tests and ask you some questions?”
“Sure,” replied Harry
The healers spent the next half hour running diagnostic spells on Harry and asking him questions about his selected memory and how he felt about it as he was recalling it. He refused to let Hermione out of his reach, which was quite endearing to the healers. They decided to talk again the next morning and see what Harry thought about letting them perform the procedure on Lily.
In the meantime they gave Harry a calming draught and told him to go home and get some sleep. After arranging for Draco and the boys to stay the night with Lily, Hermione took Harry home. She brought him to his bedroom and waited while he washed up in the bathroom. He came out in just his boxers and she pulled the covers back for him to climb into his bed. Once he was in she tucked him in and leaned down and kissed his forehead, then took his glasses off and placed them on his nightstand. “Get some rest, Harry. You’ll feel better in the morning.”
As she turned to leave, Harry grabbed her hand quickly, making her turn and look at him curiously.
“Stay with me.”
“Please, Hermione, I just need to feel you next to me tonight.”
Hermione was quiet for a moment before she replied, “Alright, just let me get washed up and change.”
Hermione nodded and left to go wash up and change. She came back 10 minutes later expecting Harry to be asleep but he was sitting up against his headboard, obviously waiting for her.
She smiled at him and he couldn’t help but think how beautiful she was. She climbed in bed next to him and Harry immediately moved to lie down next to her pulling her into his arms. He leaned down and kissed the top of her head and said, “Thanks Mione.”
“Anything for you, Harry,” replied Hermione quietly.
Harry smiled deviously and said, “Anything?”
Hermione chuckled but didn’t say more.
They lay in silence for a long while and Hermione thought Harry had fallen asleep when he asked, “You know I love you, right?”
“No, just listen Hermione. I don’t really think I’ve ever told you how much you mean to me. Living through that again today, I just don’t know what happened to us. I mean I love you; I’ve always loved you. First as a friend and then as a lover; then as something else, something more. I’m not good with saying how I feel, and I realized while I was waiting for you, that I’d never really told you….”
Hermione had moved so that she was looking in his eyes while he said all this and she was starting to tear up with his heartfelt admission. “Oh, Harry,” she said before she leaned forward and kissed him. It was a kiss to express her love, to show him that he meant just as much to her as she did to him. It was sweet and gentle and loving and then it suddenly became so much more. It was 25 years of separation and longing set free all at once.
They couldn’t seem to get close enough and their hands were everywhere at once, pulling, pushing, and tearing clothes off. They were unable to stand being separated another second. They stared into each others eyes for what seemed like forever before Harry said genuinely, "I'm not letting you go again, Mione."
"I'm not going anywhere Harry."
Hermione looked him deeply in his gorgeous green eyes and replied, “I promise.”