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Chapter 10 : Of Hell
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Chapter X: Of Hell
“Good morning, Mr. Potter,” was the far too chipper greeting he received as he entered the room, back slumped and a grimace on his face as he walked, before gracelessly throwing himself unto the leather chesterfield.
He grunted as he made contact with the furniture, leaving that as his only acknowledgment of the therapist's existence.
“Nice to see you got up on the right side of the bed today,” Andersen quipped, an amused smirk gracing his face as he watched his patient's scowl deepen.
Harry uncovered his eyes, covered by his arm that carelessly had been thrown across them in an effort to block the blinding light. “Can't we hold off on the snarky comments for once?”
Eyebrows shot up and a jaw went slack at the retort. “I'm the snarky one now?” he gasped, confused as to whether he should snort or be offended by the off base comment.
“And you say I'm the one dealing with self-denial,” Harry grumbled moodily.
Andersen frowned. “It's going to be a hard day for the both of us now, isn't it?”
“Care to tell me about what started this pissy mood, then?” Andersen pestered, long ago having found that when a person annoyed Harry just enough, he'd be willing to say anything to just get the gutsy offender to “shut the hell up,” as he so eloquently phrased it.
Harry sighed. “I think I disappointed Hermione yesterday…”
Well naturally it would all come down to her, Andersen wryly noted, mentally preparing himself for a surely wearing appointment.
She let out a deep breath, frustrated as she felt herself beginning to strain her eyes in order to read in a manner they hadn't since she was back at school and spending inane hours at the library. “Do you think it's a coincidence?” she suddenly asked.
“What?” Harry asked as he skimmed through the profiler's report, trying to stifle a groan as he read through it, he really hated psychologists—all high and mighty and the rest of that useless shite, who needed them anyway?
“That McMullen and Sinclair were best mates?”
Harry shrugged, setting down his file to look at her. “I'd say about as much as the fact that both were killed at a McMullen Hotel that had the same security measures.”
She nodded. “Well, it seems as if we have the same female problem with this one… and they shared a lot of the same girls too…”
“Classy,” Harry snorted.
“Isn't it just?” Hermione added with faux perkiness.
Harry chuckled, rubbing his temples tiredly. “So it's definite, then?”
“That it was a woman?” Hermione asked and he nodded solemnly. “Yeah, Alex called me last night to confirm it.”
“And the body?”
“Interns are isolating the bones as we speak.”
Harry winced despite himself at the choice of terminology. “That doesn't sound gruesome in the least.”
She shrugged with a small smile. “Well, we all have our dark side.”
“I suppose so, never thought yours would be so obvious though...”
“I'm just special like that,” Hermione winked. “Ugh,” she groaned, raising her arms and lacing her fingers as she stretched, before letting out a deep breath. “Hey, by the way, when are we going to meet the profiler?”
“Soon, have to warn you though, he's a prat, probably going to spend the entire time staring at your rather well displayed cleavage.”
Hermione gasped, bringing a hand to her chest. “It is not!”
“Sorry, love, but I'm a bloke, I know what I'm talking about. Although, I do have to admit, it's a rather fetching look on you,” he assured her with a crooked grin.
“Ugh… I thought Ron was just being Ron when he said that this morning… damn!”
Harry snorted. “You've been with him for how long now, and you still don't trust him?”
“I never claimed that it was the healthiest of relationships, ergo why it's ending,” she shrugged, albeit a bit defensively.
Harry rolled his eyes, pulling off his leather jacket and thrusting it her way in a less than chivalrous manner despite the courteous intentions. “Here.”
“Take it. If the prat stares at your breasts the entire time I'll probably end up hexing him. If anything, think of it as doing the psychology department a favor, it's time for us to go anyway.”
“Fine,” she nodded, putting on the oversized coat and taking in the musky scent. “I like your cologne…”
Harry smiled as he got up off the floor and offered a hand. “Come on, we have to get going, I want to get you back here in time for when your interns finally manage to prep everything for you… can't have you whining about what a terribly distracting partner I am for the next year.”
“I don't do that!”
“Trust me, love, you know how to hold a grudge…”
“You think?” Andersen repeated.
“Well… no, I suppose I know,” Harry sheepishly admitted, a small blush rising, the sight actually placing Andersen in a paralyzed fit of shock for a moment, that reaction certainly was unexpected.
“Care to explain how?”
“I had a bad day at work yesterday-”
Andersen gasped from shock, realizing that he'd surely get a heart attack if the surprises kept on coming as they had that morning. “At work? Why was I not told about this new development?”
Harry shrugged. “It was Hermione's idea… she told me that it was about time I bucked up and did something with my life, followed my dreams, no matter how clich they were… so I did, I joined the PoliceAcademy, currently going through training?”
“Runs in the family,” Harry elaborated quickly.
“Ah… so care to divulge about the hard day then?”
“It was just… I just got tired of it all…”
“Of what, saving people?” was the dry and unsympathetic retort Harry received from his therapist.
“No, not that… as much as I hate to admit it, I do have a 'saving people thing', as Hermione so annoyingly phrases it.”
“Then, what is it that you got tired of?”
Harry let out a deep breath, his nostrils flaring slightly as he thought back to what was bothering him. “The fact that the only reason I was accepted into the training program is apparently because I'm a legacy… famous.”
“And you already knew this…?”
“Found out a week into my training, not the best high in my life, that much I can tell you.”
“But that wasn't so much what bothered you… whatever it was that happened yesterday is then…” Andersen noted, a bit perplexed by what could be worse than the knowledge that his accomplishments weren't even his own.
“No, I could deal with that… I knew that if I worked hard I could prove myself despite it.”
“Then, what is it that made yesterday so terrible?”
“I found out that people still see me as a hopeless drunk despite my being sober for five months now… despite how much work I put into my training. It's all worth nothing apparently,” he admitted, jaw clenching when he finished.
“Hermione this is Phillip S skind, Phillip this is Hermione Granger,” Harry gruffly introduced them, sending a warning glare towards the pervy little prat who already had his eyes set on the v-parting of Hermione's shirt that which was still visible even with Harry's jacket on—his eyes, in Harry's opinion, practically popping out of his head as he stared at the assets so intently.
“Don't throttle him until we finish, yeah?” Hermione inconspicuously whispered, causing a small smile to grace Harry's lips despite the increasing urge to hex the bastard's bullocks off. And he could, he'd learned that one from Hermione herself.
“Nice to meet you,” Hermione extended a hand.
“Pleasure is all mine,” was the smooth reply she received.
“Can we just get this over with, I have to get her back to the labs soon, she has a dismembered body to analyze,” Harry growled, teeth gritted as he spoke through them in an effort to maintain control over himself.
“Right, um… take a seat and I'll just go find the copies I made of the file,” he told them with a charming smile more so directed towards Hermione than Harry, before moving towards his cabinets, unlocking them as Harry and Hermione seated themselves across from his desk.
“Down boy,” Hermione whispered as Harry moved her chair closer to his own in a futile effort to protect her from Phillip, all the while wondering how the bloody hell the prat was the best in the ministry anyway.
“Right, here we go,” Phillip handed them each a file as he seated himself and opened his own. “Well… I suppose, first things first, all I can say is hell truly hath no fury like a woman's scorn. I mean this girl's sick,” he told them with a small chuckle that was only met with silence and two blank looks.
“How about telling us something we don't know, Phillip,” Harry stopped the pointless tirade with a disturbingly acerbic tone.
“Right,” Phillip gulped, for once taking his eyes off of Hermione's cleavage as he felt the piercing glare burning through him. “Well… um, as far as I can see it's all very symbolic… she tortures them the way that she does in an attempt to emasculate them and guts them… from what I can see… because they don't have any guts...”
“Now that's the most ridiculous shite I've ever heard,” Harry immediately snapped.
The exclaim from Harry, however, was apparently enough to prep Phillip for any spar, as he immediately retorted with the least bit hesitation. “Oi, I don't try and tell you what to do or how to do it, so don't just scrap my report like that-”
“I sure as hell will when it's utter crock! This is murder, brutal murder; there is no blasted symbolism like some damn Christie novel!”
“Every blasted murder we've ever seen before.”
“But this is different-”
“Of course it is, and I'm bloody-”
“Wait, Harry!” Hermione suddenly stopped him, gently placing a hand atop of his, which was roughly gripping the arms of the chair. “Harry… just stop for a second and think about it. I mean… what if he's right?”
Harry's eyes widened as he sharply turned to her. “You—you've got to be joking, you're agreeing with this prat?” he sputtered.
“Wow,” Andersen responded, left a bit at a loss for words, he wasn't actually expecting a substantial excuse from the, admittedly, often whiney prat.
“So I may have gone to a pub… and had a whiskey…”
“Ergo why she's angry with you, I take it.”
Harry nodded slowly. “It was just one, but that was enough for her… and I suppose I do understand why. She puts so much time into helping me through this and then I just throw it back into her face…”
“As much as I hate to admit it, and protect you, an alcoholic addiction is hard to overcome,” Andersen responded.
Harry shook his head resolutely. “Doesn't matter, she expects more form me, I should be able to give it to her.”
“But you also have to learn to be reasonable, realistic.”
“But I am,” Harry told him. “I've hurt her so much in the past; I want to be more… I need to be worthy. She deserves it. I—I can't keep on hurting her like this; it pains me too much to watch her cry over me.”
“Then why'd you do it in the first place? Why didn't that stop you from entering that pub?”
“I… I don't know… it should have been enough though, but it never even crossed my mind. Terrible, isn't it?—aren't I?”
“It's just—well…” she shifted uncomfortably, unable to grasp the right words as she felt herself wavering under his disbelieving look. “It's just that this all seems so terribly planned, don't you think?—And, also, there does seem to be a specific list, these aren't just random blokes that the girl off-ed, they were best mates…” she rambled on nervously. “I just think it would make sense if she went in with symbolism like that too… especially given whom the blokes were and what their history with women was…”
“Told you so!” Phillip couldn't help but rear his head in with.
Harry sent him a withering look before moving his attention back to Hermione, a desperate one taking the place of the previous as he eyed her. “I can't believe you're actually siding with him.”
She shrugged. “It's not with him, per say…”
Harry shook his head. “Go to hell,” her muttered grimly before throwing his head into his hands, oddly disheartened by the fact that she didn't agree with him. He sighed deeply, taking a moment to inhale before moaning loudly, all while Hermione sat by him, shifting in her seat as she tried to make sense of what she was supposed to do. Just as she was about to tap his shoulder he suddenly shot up, face harsh and determined as he announced “Fine, we'll go with that.”
Phillip gasped, offended. “Wait, you'll listen to her, but not the bloke with a blasted degree in psychology?!”
“Phillip, let it go and just continue with your analysis before Harry hexes you,” Hermione sharply stopped him as she noted how Harry's hand was inching closer and closer to his wand.
“Why do you suppose it didn't hit you that you might be doing something wrong when you first went in?”
Andersen rolled his eyes. “You've really got to stop asking me that question, we're in therapy, what else would I want form you?”
Harry chuckled lightly. “I… I think I knew, I just didn't want to admit it, it was easier to ignore the reality and just try to lose myself…”
“But then she found you?”
Harry shook his head, giving a croaking “no” in response. “I went and told her.”
Eyebrows shot up and a small fit of coughs ensued as the shock overwhelmed Andersen. “Never quite expected such a mature move, honestly.”
“Yeah… neither did I, but I had to. I finished my drink, paid for it, got up and went to her… told her all the sordid details.”
“And then what did she do?”
“She gave me a disparaging look as she told me she forgave me.”
Andersen stiffened. “But she forgave you…?”
“Yeah, and your point is?” Harry suspiciously asked.
“So why are you so worried if she forgave you?”
“Because I disappointed her,” Harry spat out as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. “I was weak.”
“Everyone falls to that once in a while, especially recovering addicts; you can't just expect to go cold turkey one day and never fall to temptation. The world's not that perfect.”
“Maybe not, but she deserves more from me and I didn't give it to her.”
Andersen cocked his head slightly, clucking his tongue as he wanted the scowling man on the divan. After a pause he finally asked, “What's the limit? When will there be a time when you'll finally be enough for her?”
Harry became visibly rigid upon hearing that query, opening his mouth to answer but after a minute only closing it as nothing escaped it, barely even a breath. He mouthed something incomprehensible but no words ever came and after five minutes of wordlessly sitting there, he finally said, “I don't know… probably never.”
Andersen nodded. “Hell is others, Harry, remember that.”
“Well, also, I was looking at the list of suspects and I had a thought…” Phillip baited.
“What?” Hermione curiously asked.
“As far as options are concerned, what if it's not a girl they dated?”
Harry's eyebrows furrowed as he felt himself nearing a small little outburst that would detail just what sort of an idiot he thought Phillip was but he stopped himself when he turned towards Hermione and found her pensively considering Phillip's theory. So, instead, he let out a deep calming breath before asking: “And who would she be to them, then?”
“Well… I was just toying with this, nothing is certain, and it may very well be a girl that they dated…it's just it could also be someone that they didn't… maybe someone who wanted revenge for how the blokes hurt someone she knew…”
“Why?” Hermione asked. “Why don't you think it's as likely that these ex-girlfriends were the ones?”
Phillip shrugged. “I don't know, there's just something about it that doesn't seem to fit. While they all claim that they would gladly roast the blokes' bullocks they also entered a relationship that they knew wouldn't last, no matter how much they may deny it. It just doesn't work…”
Hermione snorted, turning to Harry. “If he's right we're screwed, aren't we?”
Harry just stared ahead of his, jaw slightly going slack as his mouth opened a centimeter or two and he gaped at Phillip. He shook his head wordlessly for a minute, trying to grasp the words to respond but his speech failing him. After a moment he finally regained consciousness, though, but just enough to utter the word “Yep.”
author's note: well I finally managed to sit down and write this out, haven't really been on the mood to honestly, but you get quite bored when bed ridden and having nothing on TV as well as no clue what movie you'd like to see at the moment so no other choice of entertainment either… sad, really.
Anyway, remember reviews are like chicken soup for the soul! And that was terribly hackneyed and clich … I apologize; feel free to ignore that comment.
p.s. for any readers of Crypt Keeper be informed that I will be finishing the fic ASAP if I have enough time I'll try to get out the last 1-2 chapters in the next two days since I'm sick and bed ridden as it is. Also, for any Into the Dark readers I am so sorry for not having updated but as soon a Crypt Keeper is out I promise to focus on that piece again I just couldn't deal with writing two angst stories at once, especially given just how angst ridden Crypt Keeper is.
p.s.s. author mentioned in this chapter is S skind, can anyone guess the reference?
And thank you so much to my wonderful betas Searcy and MyUsedRomance!
(seriously, they put up with all of my indecisive bullshit, lol)
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