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Chapter 18 : Anger and Resentment
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Utterly superb image by the talented .flystella @ TDA!
Chapter Eighteen: Anger and Resentment
Regulus had just given Harry another dose of the potion to help clear up the horrid burns over his body, only leaving his side when they reached the entrance to the Gryffindor Common Room where they found Liam lying at the portrait of the Fat Lady, half asleep. He jumped up as soon as he saw Regulus and Harry approaching.
"Grace told me what happened, so I decided to stay here and wait for you… are you okay, Harry?” Liam asked, noticing how Harry was leaning into Regulus for support, “You’re as white as a ghost.”
“Harry’s in no fit state to talk just now, Liam,” Regulus stated, “It would be best for him to simply get some rest and sleep.”
Harry winced as his entire body seared with pain as Regulus tried to carefully and gently hand him over to Liam; even though the burns were no longer visible, the horrible stinging had remained.
“Get better soon, Harry – I’ll take care of this,” Regulus told him, patting the lump in his robes that was the Hufflepuff Cup, “Oh, Liam, make sure Harry takes two drops of this potion every hour – it’ll help the pain.”
Liam nodded and watched as Regulus disappeared from sight before muttering the password and heaving Harry through the portrait hole and into the full Common Room. Mirth and chatter were replaced with looks of fear and concern as Harry and Liam crossed the room to go up the stairs to the boy’s dormitories.
All of a sudden, another person grabbed Harry’s free arm and helped him up to the seventh year dormitories; Ron Weasley.
“He’s been to get a Horcrux, hasn’t he?”
“How do you know!?” Liam gaped.
“I have been his best friend for six years, you know,” Ron replied. Liam stared ahead and did not say anything; it was obvious he was quite annoyed.
Finally, they reached the dormitory where they carefully laid Harry down on the bed. Liam sat down on his own mattress to the left of Harry, clutching the potion Regulus had given him, while Ron hovered on the spot, unsure where to go, before finally deciding to sit down upon his bed to the right of Harry.
“So, Harry… are you still on the Gryffindor Quidditch Team?”
“He’s the Quidditch Captain,” Liam stated the obvious. Ron shrugged.
There was a large, uncomfortable silence. Ron cleared his throat and fidgeted nervously, “You know, Sirius really misses you, Harry… we all really miss you.”
“I’m sorry I acted like a prat. I just hope you can forgive me.”
With one last sorrowful look at Harry, Ron pulled the drapes around his four-poster bed and disappeared from sight.
“Harry, Harry! Are you in there?!
Harry snapped out of his train of thoughts to come face-to-face with Grace, who was peering at him curiously.
It had been about a week since Harry had gone with Regulus to get the Horcrux and he was already back on his feet, insisting he was fine. His friends, however, were always on the lookout.
“Are you okay?” Grace asked, taking his hand and giving it a warm squeeze.
An old, distant memory that Harry had pushed to the back of his mind surfaced at this show of affection.
An eight-year-old boy with large, baggy clothes that hung off his small, frail frame and a girl with lovely, polished-brown curls were walking happily down Magnolia Crescent, hand-in-hand. Both of them had equally large grins on their face.
“Do you think we’ll stay like this forever? Best friends?” Harry asked, licking the small, red ice-lolly Mrs. Warrant, Grace’s mother, had generously given him.
“Of course – forever,” Grace grinned, sucking her lemon-flavoured icicle. Harry smiled at her warmly.
“Oh, look! It’s Freak One and Freak Two!”
The two, young children stopped abruptly as Dudley’s gang of vicious hooligans rounded the corner, a gaggle of gossiping girls a little way behind them.
“What do you want, Dudley?” Grace asked boldly with a slight tremor in her voice.
A boy that was much more well-built than Harry grabbed a handful of Grace’s hair and pulled her over to one side. Harry narrowed his eyes in anger, and, in a split-second, the boy’s hair was on fire. He screamed and ran down the street, calling for his mother.
However, this didn’t stop Dudley, who took the boy’s place, ordering other members of his gang to surround Harry.
“Now, listen up, Gracie-poo,” Dudley informed her, “I have had enough of you hanging around with the freak, and you are going to do exactly what I say, okay?”
Grace didn’t say anything and just glanced at Harry fearfully.
“Okay!?” Dudley bellowed in her ear. Grace jumped and nodded, frightened.
“Harry doesn’t have any friends and that’s the way it’s always got to be.”
“But Harry is my best friend, I won’t leave him!” Grace stated firmly. Dudley pulled her head back further by her hair, causing the young child to gasp in pain.
Harry tried desperately to reach his only friend, but was held back by his cousin’s large cronies.
“I won’t do it,” Grace sobbed, tears freely falling down her soft, porcelain cheeks, “I won’t do it!”
“I’ll beat up your sister.”
Grace’s eyes widened in shock and fear, “You… you wouldn’t,” she whispered.
Dudley grinned viciously, “I would – who cares if she’s a girl? She’s a freak like you.”
“N-No!” Grace shouted defiantly, her voice echoing through the empty darkening street, “I won’t allow it!”
The sky was gradually growing darker and darker, as if adjusting itself to Grace’s mood. The scene on the corner of Magnolia Crescent was no longer visible to anyone apart from those involved.
A smirk stretched itself widely over Dudley’s podgy face, “Well then, you know what to do.”
A boom of thunder sounded throughout the streets. Crystal-clear pellets of rain fell from the gloomy sky, splattering the once-dry concrete pavements with water.
Dudley forcefully let go of Grace, causing her to stumble and almost fall. She gazed at Harry fearfully before fleeing from the scene.
“You better make the right choice, Warrant, I know where you live!” Dudley shouted after her. With one last triumphant smirk at his cousin, Dudley and his gang strode off, leaving Harry standing there, alone in the cold, miserable darkness.
The playground was alive with chatter and laughter. Many of the children were playing in the sunlight, soaking up the last of the summer sunshine.
Harry Potter was standing in a shadowy corner, his thoughts lingering over the night before and why his best friend, Grace, was hanging around with a group of girls that she hated.
Deciding to go and talk to her, he crossed the playground, carefully avoiding Dudley, and approached the girls, many of them staring at him disgustedly.
“Hey, Grace,” he said softly.
Grace glanced at Harry and then at one of the girls, who nodded at her, before viciously replying, “What do you want?”
Harry’s eyes widened in shock at Grace’s hostile tone, “Nothing, I-I just wanted to see if you were okay-”
“Of course I’m okay, why wouldn’t I be?”
“Grace, you don’t need to listen to what Dudley said yesterday, he wouldn’t really beat up a girl,” Harry told her earnestly.
“Look, Harry, I’m not your friend anymore, please, just… just leave me alone.”
Harry’s heart started to beat rather fast, “What?”
With another glance at the girl, Grace continued her small speech, “I’ve got new friends – better friends,” she said, her voice trembling slightly when she noticed Dudley watching, “I-I don’t need to hang out with f-freaks like you anymore – I don’t want to be like you. G-Goodbye, Harry.”
With that, she linked arms with her ‘friends’ and walked away.
Harry simply stood there, shell-shocked and hurt as a tear escaped his eye and rolled down his cheek. He wiped it away with his hand defiantly, not wanting to believe what had just happened.
She’s just frightened by Dudley’s threat, Harry thought, she’ll be my friend again tomorrow.
However, Grace did not return the next day. Or the day after that, and when Harry finally realised she wasn’t coming back, he fell. Hard.
Harry looked up into the chocolate-brown orbs of his childhood friend and let go of her hand abruptly.
“Why did you do it, Grace?” Harry asked her quietly, turning away to hide the hurt look on his face.
“I-I don’t know what you’re talking about, Harry.”
“Yes you do!” Harry yelled, swishing back to face her, his emerald eyes full of anger, “Why did you do it, huh? Why did you abandon me like that?”
“I thought we agreed not to talk about that! Harry, please-”
“No! I suffered because of you, Grace! You were the one good thing in my life, the one good thing that would always bring a smile to my face when I woke up every morning in that bloody cupboard...”
“He was going to hurt my sister!” Grace screeched, her eyes blazing angrily, “Did you really think I was going to let that happen?”
“It was an empty threat, Grace!”
“Well it sounded like a real one to me, then again, maybe I was too stupid to realise that.”
“Maybe you were.”
Harry felt a hot stinging in his cheek as Grace slapped him furiously.
“Grow up, Harry,” she muttered coldly, marching up to the castle without looking back once.
After a few minutes, Harry followed Grace’s tracks up to the castle where he angrily made his way up to the Gryffindor Common Room.
“I don’t want to talk to you, Sirius,” Harry muttered upon spotting his godfather.
“I don’t want to talk, Sirius!” Harry yelled. Sirius backed off, eyes wide as he watched his beloved godson storm off in the opposite direction.
Harry eventually reached the Common Room, stomped up the stairs to the empty dormitory and flung himself down on his bed.
What have I done to deserve this? Harry thought as he was left to deal with the emotions he hated most; anger and resentment.
A/N: This has got to be my favourite chapter in this fic so far; so much drama! So, what did you guys think of it? In your eyes, was what Grace did something that could be forgotten easily or completely unforgivable? Did Harry overreact? I want to know what you think! Oh, and I'd like to thank everyone who has read this story so far; almost 15,000 reads - again, thank you!
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