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Chapter 2: Recovery
So unlike with Secrets, i have no backlog for this story and i'm just writing it as i go. As such, there will be plenty of longer gaps between updates but i hope everyone toughs it out with me.
Images in Mind
Chapter 2: Recovery
Harry walked into the kitchen with Prongs just before lunch. The current occupants of the Burrow were gathered around the table with the exception of Mr. Weasley, who was away at work.
“Harry!” Ron greeted him with a big grin and a wave. “We thought you were going to sleep all day!”
He seemed happy, but Harry knew otherwise, he was worried and a little sad beneath that, but he was determined. Prongs yawned at the same moment Harry did and he sat beside him when he fell into a seat.
“Good morning Harry, or afternoon I should say.” Mrs. Weasley set a plate of food in front of him and a bowl of fruits on the floor for Prongs.
“Thank you Mrs. Weasley.”
Harry barely ate half of the food on his plate before deciding it was enough but Prongs finished off his meal for the first time in a while.
You must be feeling good today.
We’re around good friends, I like being here.
Harry yawned again and leaned back in his chair.
“It’s a good day for Quidditch, why don’t you come out and practice with us for a while,” Ginny urged.
“No thank you Ginny, I’m tired today.”
Harry left for the family room and stretched out on a couch.
“Why don’t you talk to him Prongs?” Ginny said teasingly. Prongs had lingered in the doorway with the others but at the joke he looked up at her with sad eyes. “Already tried did you? Don’t worry, I’m sure he’ll be alright.”
Prongs rubbed against her as he went to the couch and curled up on the floor near Harry’s head.
“Let him sleep you three.”
“But Remus, doesn’t he get enough sleep as it is?”
“I wish he did, maybe then he’d be doing better by now.”
“What do you mean?”
Mrs. Weasley intervened. “It’s too nice a day to spend it in here, you three go on outside, but stay close to the house,” she said as she practically pushed them out the back door. “Remus?”
“Prongs can watch over him, there’s no need for us to worry.”
“It’s been a month now Molly, Harry can’t escape the nightmares, but Prongs has done more for him than I ever could.”
“Is that why you let him sleep all the time?”
“Yes. I think he’s trying to escape to anywhere that he can, there are only reminders of Sirius here, but in his dreams he can leave them all behind, if only for a short while.”
“But he can’t keep running forever.”
“He’s not. Sirius meant a great deal to Harry, he was the first person to do everything just to be with him. He faced dangers and punishment worse than death just so he could be at Harry’s side. No one had ever done that for him before. When he’s ready, he’ll come to terms with it, until then, I’ll be happy just to be here every time he wakes up.”
Remus headed out to the yard and watched with Hermione as Ron and Ginny practiced.
When the werewolf checked on Harry he wasn’t on the couch and Mrs. Weasley pointed towards the stairs. Remus went up to the room he was sharing with Harry and he opened the door to find the teen holding a small mirror as if he was going to throw it against the floor, but he didn’t. The mirror was lowered carefully into its owners lap and tears splashed against the polished surface as Harry cried. This was a common occurrence now for Remus, he would see or hear Harry call Sirius’s name into the mirror and when he received no response he got angry and he made to destroy the small mirror, but could never do it.
The boy jumped and looked over at Remus before quickly wiping the tears away. Even though Harry could sense those around him, it wasn’t uncommon these days for him to get distracted and not notice when people were approaching.
“Remus, I thought you were outside with the others.”
“I came to see how you were doing.”
“You still don’t have much of an appetite, Prongs ate more than you did this morning.”
The fox looked to be sleeping at the foot of the bed, but his ear twitched at sound of his name. Remus sat beside Harry and looked at him.
“What are you thinking about right now?”
“Harry, I’ve known Sirius far longer than you and I know for certain that he wouldn’t want you to keep going like this. He would want you to be happy again.”
“I know, but it’s hard. It’s not fair, I miss him Remus.”
“So do I Harry.” Remus put an arm around Harry’s shoulders and the boy started to cry again. Normally Harry wouldn’t cry in front of him, he thought it made him seem weak, but every now and then he would break down a little when Remus was there.
Prongs got up after a minute and closed the door. The fox then chirped and went to the window. Sitting there was a beautiful white and gold barn owl, a note tied to its leg. Harry retrieved the missive and Remus waited patiently. Every so often the boy would get a letter from a mysterious sender and he would never let anyone else see them, this must have been one of those.
I love you Harry. It’s time for you to be happy again.
It was a short note, but Harry would recognize Sirius’ handwriting anywhere and the tears started fresh again as he held the note tight. Prongs leapt onto the bed and settled his head on Harry’s lap and the teen took a tight grip on the fur at his neck. Harry started to shake and his crying grew more audible until he had completely broken down. Remus knew that Harry cried, but it had never been like this.
“Harry?” Even if Harry had wanted to respond he couldn’t have. “Let me see that note.”
The werewolf got a shake of the head in response; Harry wouldn’t be parted from the note. Remus watched Harry cry himself to sleep and with a little help from Prongs he tucked the teen into bed. It was then that Remus gently took the note from Harry’s grip, it was slightly crumpled but he could easily tell what it said and he smiled and folded Harry’s fingers back around it.
“Watch over him Prongs.”
Remus went down to the kitchen to find Mrs. Weasley and the three other teenagers of the house waiting for him.
“We heard Harry crying pretty hard, is he alright?”
“I think he is Ginny, I think he’ll be just fine now.”
“Yes, he fell asleep a minute ago. He’ll probably sleep straight through until morning so the three of you should try and keep quiet.”
“I hope he is alright, it was weird seeing him so sad earlier.”
“Don’t worry about Harry, he’s pretty strong and he has Prongs to boot.”
“Remus, can I talk to you for a minute.” Hermione was waiting when the man arrived downstairs the next morning.
“Of course Hermione.”
She nearly dragged him out to the gardens.
“Is Harry really alright? There are stages of grief but it’s like he stuck in shock.”
“You know what he is right?” She nodded, they both knew about Harry’s empathy. “Harry has no way to deny what happened. Because of his empathy it’s impossible for him to say that Sirius is still alive, that’s he’s just sleeping somewhere and that’s why he’s gone. It’s true that he was shocked, but that wore off quickly and he’s been depressed and a little angry at times for weeks now. Harry will come around soon; he’s not the type to let everything fall apart because of this. He’s just a little lost right now and when he finds his way back to us then things will get better.”
“I just… I don’t like seeing him this way, none of us do.”
“I’ve been watching him Hermione, he’ll do better soon, I can see it.”
A click overhead earned their attention and Remus and Hermione looked up to see Harry taking a note from the same beautiful owl as the day before.
“I don’t think this will end well,” Remus muttered.
They waited and several minutes later Harry stormed out of the house with Prongs on his heels. He walked out to a tree about halfway to the apparition barrier then turned back and started pacing back and forth near the tree. Prongs sat there and watched just as Remus and Hermione did and after another few minutes Harry stopped at the tree and then began to attack it. He punched and kicked and chipped away at the bark and that’s when Remus rushed in.
He slammed his fist into the tree again and blood flowed over his knuckles as he broke skin.
“Harry that’s enough!”
“Just leave me alone Remus! Go away!”
Prongs just sat there watching as the werewolf tried to pull Harry away from the tree and got elbowed in the side so the teen could continue his rampage. The second time Remus was fought off he didn’t try again but waited for the rampage to stop as Hermione ran inside and the others all watched from the house.
Finally Harry wore himself out and he dropped to his knees and held his bleeding hands in his lap.
“How could I not see it? Me of all people!”
“Let me see your hands Harry.”
“My hands are fine,” Harry mumbled.
“They’re bleeding, a lot.”
“It’s not important.”
Remus gave up on Harry’s hands and sat back. “What didn’t you see?”
Harry shook his head; he found it hard to speak. Prongs chirped from his seat and Harry looked over at him. It had happened before, Remus had seen it; it was as though boy and fox shared conversations that only they could hear.
“Sirius. He was already dying wasn’t he?”
Remus cringed, he had told no one about it, just as Sirius had asked of him.
“How did you know?”
“I got a letter. He really was dying. How could I not see it? How is it possible for me to miss something like that?”
“Because he wasn’t in pain Harry. Sirius was happy, and strictly speaking he was healthy. It was his soul that was rotting, from so much time in Azkaban. He wasn’t in pain, but he could feel that something was wrong. I can’t explain it to you Harry.”
“But you knew, and he knew.”
“Yes. It was the reason he wanted to be the Defense Professor so badly.”
How can I possibly think through this Prongs? I don’t know what to do.
He’s gone Harry, perhaps this way was better. Sirius would have preferred going out in battle protecting you than rotting away inside I think.
That doesn’t make it any less painful.
Prongs stood and swished his tail in irritation. Sirius is gone! It doesn’t matter that he was already dying because he’s already dead! You have to stop dwelling on this, nothing you do will bring him back! He walked away, brushing Harry with his tail on the way back to the house.
“Is everything alright Harry?”
“Yeah.” Prongs had never been angry with Harry before. They were practically the same person, to fight with Prongs was like fighting himself, and he could never hope to win. The pain his hands seeped up his arms and Harry looked at just how bad it was. “Can you heal my hands?”
“Of course I can.”
Remus seemed eager to help and Harry just watched him work.
“Let’s go back inside Harry.”
He let Remus guide him to his feet and back into the Burrow where everyone was waiting. Prongs was curled on the couch and ignored Harry’s attempts at communication but Mrs. Weasley served him a big plate of food for breakfast. His fight with his familiar left Harry will less of an appetite than he already had and he barely took a few bites before excusing himself and going upstairs.
No one bothered Harry all day; even Remus never came past the door. He was left to his thoughts without Prongs there to help sort through them. It was so strange to Harry, he had spent a year without privacy of thought, his familiar was always there. Now Prongs was keeping himself secluded and it forced Harry to consider all of his words. It had been a long time since he had felt so confused before. Even if he was lost he had never been so conflicted before.
Prongs! Prongs please don’t so this to me. Harry waited for a response but never got one. Prongs!
I cannot help you Harry. You will not listen to me.
Prongs please. I understand what you were saying earlier. I can’t change anything by mourning and you were right, what was happening doesn’t change anything at this point. I’ve been angry with myself for what happened and I wasn’t willing to admit any of it even though I couldn’t say it didn’t happen. You know me better than I do Prongs, I could never win a fight against you, even if I did try.
Harry never got a response, but a minute later the door swung open and Prongs raced in and tackled him, curling against him and whining. Tears fell from Harry’s eyes again, he held tight to the sky fox and enjoyed the presence of his partner.
“I’m glad you made up.”
Remus closed the door behind him and sat on the bed.
“I’m alright,” Harry breathed as he calmed down.
The werewolf could see it, the torment that had haunted Harry had calmed, and he seemed more at ease than before. Whatever had happened between boy and fox, it had done a lot of good.