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Perfection by AnEmptyPromise
Chapter 31 : The Child Is Gone
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 60


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Authors Note: I'm sorry this took so long. Our computer broke and we've only just retrieved the stuff from it, including this;  the last chapter of Perfection before I write the Epilogue.

 It's been a long journey, 4 years! When I set out to write this, I was scared of the reception it would get, I would never have dreamt it would end up 30 Chapters long and thats not includng the Prologue and Epilogue.

It was only at the end of last year that I really felt I was in a good enough place to be abe to write this chapter properly, so I picked up my pen and did... and then the computer crashed... But now it's here

I only have the Epilogue to write and then that's it. Finis! Although I will be going through and editing the story, especially the first half, it was written SO long ago and my writing style has refined alot since then.

I'm so proud of this little baby. I want to give all of you readers a HUGE THANK YOU, without you and your support I would never have had the inspiration and determination to continue, you've all given me so many kind words over the whole story!

So without further ado, here we go - HAPPY READING!
 


 

 

The Child Is Gone - Fiona Apple


From the roots of my soul come a gentle coercion
And I ran my hand over a strange inversion
As the darkness turns into the dawn
The child is gone

 

Hermione


 The world hangs in a cloud. Thoughts swirl and tangle like leaves blowing in the wind. I open my eyes to white. Nothing but white. It hurts my eyes so I close them again. I slip back into darkness...

 

A small girl plays with her dolls; her father comes into the room with a ham sandwich. She smiles up at him, takes it and politely thanks him. There is a shout from the kitchen. Her father pats her on the head comfortingly and leaves the room. There is a smash from the kitchen. The little girl walks out, taking a bite of the sandwich as she enters. There is ham on the kitchen tiles, smashed plates and cups. It looks as though everything on the bench has been swept onto the floor. Her parents are shouting. The little girl begins to cry. The fridge door opens as if by magic and the contents begin throwing themselves on the floor. Tomatoes, pickles, bread, all launching themselves at the ground. Her parents turn around, shocked beyond belief and rush toward her. The little girl looks at the carnage in the kitchen and drops her sandwich, sobbing.

White, nothing but white. I’m groggy, like someone has stuffed my head with cotton balls. I can feel something attached to my stomach. Gingerly I move my fingers and feel for it. It feels like a tube. I open my eyes a little more. The Hospital Wing? No, it’s too white. My eyes, stinging, not wanting to be open, look down at my stomach. It’s a tube.

 

Horror takes me. Why is there a tube in my stomach? It appears to be filled with thick honey coloured fluid. Am I dreaming? I follow the tubes progress, it snakes up my arm, attached with surgical tape, around my wrist until it drapes up to a big bag filled with the same fluid, hanging from a thin metal pole. Something clicks in my brain. And I panic.

Food, fat, drip, weight. Feeding tube. I tear it out frantically. No, no, no. They will not, they cannot. I try to sit up. Who knows how long it’s been pumping fat inside me? Who knows what damage it has done? My head spins drastically. I swing my feet over the side of the bed. I try to stand up, but I fall. I yelp, my hands splaying in front of me to catch me. Someone is rushing toward me. I try to swat them away. They cannot put that

thing
back in me. I struggle, I cry, I try to push them away. And then one of them pulls out a needle. I feel a sting in my arm. And then everything fades once more...

The little girl hugs her doll tightly. She knows they are talking about her in soft voices in the room next door. She did something wrong. They are whispering about it. They say no one can find out. They say there is something strange going on. The little girl knows it has something to do with the fridge. With the food... They say something odd is going on with her. They had to throw away all the food in the garbage. Her belly rumbles. But she doesn’t want to eat, because it might happen again... She doesn’t want them fighting. She knows it’s all because of her. If she is a good little girl, they might stop...

A basket. It started with a basket. I can’t seem to grasp the details. Wine? Yes, there was wine... And pain, in my ankle. In my arm... Everything was... unbearable... Blond hair... blue eyes...Malfoy... Malfoy saying... No... He couldn’t... The entrance hall... Anger... They were accusing me of... Ginny... Ginny! She told them! And then... And then what?

 

‘Eat your dinner Hermione, the starving kids in Africa would do anything for a meal like that.’

It was her fault wasn’t it? She was eating food that they could be eating... They were starving because of her...
 

Hips expanding, skin blemishing, buds on her chest, hair in places – it shouldn’t be… Emotions that simply can’t be controlled, angry for no reason, sadness  for none as well. Getting taller, getting wider, hungry always, so hungry…

Her stomach ached, oh it ached, and her back ached, no it seared. Her whole midriff was on fire. Why did it hurt so much? Her period had never hurt this much. It was unbearable, she felt like... She was dying. Surely she was dying. It hurt so much she wished she WAS dying! And then she couldn’t handle the pain any longer and she fell off her chair, in front of the whole class, and passed out.
 

I wake to white once more. For a moment adrenaline rushes through me. The Death Eaters must have me! But then I remember that the war is over. I have no idea where I am.

‘Where am I?’ I manage to choke out, my voice is raspy. There is no reply. ‘Hello?’ I rasp again.

I hear voices not too far away. They say something like. ‘She’s awake.’ There are footsteps and I open my eyes. Everything is unfocused. ‘Where am I?’

I see the blurry outline of a blonde haired woman. When she speaks, she has a beautiful calm voice.

'You’re safe. You’re at St. Mungo’s in the Janus Thickey ward. We weren’t actually sure where to put you.’

It barely registers. St. Mungo’s? So I’m in hospital. The Janus Thickey ward? That’s where they put Lockhart isn’t it? But that doesn’t make sense.

‘What- what happened – why can’t I remember anything?’

‘You had a heart attack. Temporary memory loss and confusion is a side effect of the potion you’ve been given.’

I can hardly believe my ears. I had a heart attack?

The Halloween feast has been brought up to the Gryffindor Dormitory. Her heart is still racing. She lied to a teacher. She lied to all of them. She lied! Straight to their faces! They knocked out a troll! And now, now they were talking to her... There was so much food. What must the feast have been like? Her new friends are stuffing their faces. She should eat slowly. Don’t want to make them think she is a pig...
 

They moved me from the Janus Thickey Ward the next day. They started me off slowly, yoghurt, strawberries. And they had a muggle drink called “Ensure” and if I didn’t eat properly, they’d threaten me with it. It was full of everything designed to make us put on weight. 
 

When I say us, I’m talking about the other underweight patients. I’d been put in a ward designed to help severely emaciated patients gain back some fat and muscle before being moved to different wards for various procedures.

But they were underweight for different reasons. They hadn’t

meant
to lose weight. One patient had gotten himself lost in the Sahara desert looking for rare potion ingredients, one man had a worm like creature in his stomach that had eaten almost everything he’d put in his mouth for weeks, another had some sort of magical malady and she looked like a twig.

At first I could hardly believe I’d been put in here with patients so ridiculously skinny. But these same skinny patients looked at me sadly with “tsks tsks”. And “You poor thing, they’ll fatten you up.”

They didn’t know why I was in here... That I’d gotten this way from sheer determination... I don’t think they would have been able to comprehend anyway...

I guess that was my first step to recovery. The day I looked at the charts attached to the end of their beds. I weighed at least 5 kilograms less than most of them...

How could it be that when I looked at my fellow patients, I saw grossly bony, withered bodies, thighs that looked like sticks and ribs that poked out- and they frightened me- and when I looked at myself I saw fat?

 I mean I guess part of me saw that I wasn’t obese or anything but it was like I honed in on everything wrong with me. My arms were still too flabby, my stomach not concave enough...

But to everyone else, I was skinnier than the man lost in the desert for a month...

How had my perception become to warped? Smart, sharp witted, clever Hermione, couldn’t even see the truth in front of her...

When they first described to me, the treatment I would be receiving, when I heard they needed to fatten me up... I was scared... I thought I would fight back at first. I thought I’d stop them at any cost to make me put on weight. I thought I’d kick and scream to stop them ruining the good work I had done. Or that I would meekly comply until they let me go and then when I was released I would be free to go back to my old habits, undo the damage they would have done, just lose it all again.

I thought there was no way I would comply.

Tell them I was fine, there was nothing wrong with me.

Except now that I had the care I needed... I could no longer deny what I had...

The thing that scared me the most... My body had failed me. I had had a heart attack!

I’d abused my young strong heart enough that it failed. It didn’t have enough of what it needed to survive.

And me, clever smart Hermione, had gotten so caught up in the world of starvation that I hadn’t even really thought to research the long term effects of my abuse.

My body would never be the same. I was lucky to have survived...

If I didn’t do something... I would die...

‘But they get paid?’ Hermione said. ‘They holidays, don’t they? And-and sick leave, and pensions and everything?’

Nearly Headless Nick laughed so hard his head flopped off, dangling gruesomely on the inch or so of ghostly muscle that kept it attached to his neck.
 

‘Sick leave and pensions?’ he said, pushing his head back onto his shoulders and securing it once more with his ruff. ‘House-Elves don’t want sick leave and pensions!’

She pushed her plate away from herself. She refused to eat the slave food. Those poor little creatures, slaving away all day to make the whole school every single meal... And she’d been unknowingly taking advantage of them for years. Every single day, three meals a day, she’d eaten food cooked by servants! They didn’t get paid anything, they didn’t even get gratitude! How could the entire Wizarding community take advantage of the poor little elves!
 

Well she wasn’t taking part in it. She looked at the boys, shoving their faces, trying to entice her to eat... Oh gosh she was hungry. But no, she had the strength to refuse! To refuse the hams, the sausages... the delicious mash potatoes... Dessert would come later...

She sat up in her seat proudly. In her mind she chanted. ‘I have self control!’…
 


Those first few weeks, I struggled, boy did I struggle. When they put my first full meal in front of me, I panicked. I felt anxious, I was shaking and I had butterflies. I could barely lift the food to my mouth without shaking so much that it fell off the fork.
 For the first time in months I was going to put a decent amount of food inside me and not have the option of throwing it up...

  But I managed. Just as I had managed to refuse my body’s hunger, to ignore the pains, to deny myself fuel for so long, I used the same determination to deny the

need
for hunger. And it was scary, giving my body so much control, after having my mind make the shots for such a long time.

My doctor approved but knew not to push me too far. To make sure I took it slow. Unlike my own attempts to help myself, where I went mad for the food and then hated myself after, they monitored me and made sure I didn’t gorge myself, just as much as they made sure I didn’t deny myself. They only gave me fruit for dinner after that first meal.

I panicked when I first started eating meals, I was gaining weight so quickly! If I continued at this rate I’d end up a whale. That was when my doctor calmly sat me down and explained that after being so starved for so long, my body was storing everything it could. She said that if I continued eating healthily and ate a steady rate, my body would realise it didn’t need to worry anymore and my weight would even out again.

And I believed her.

I tried not to think of the night I had collapsed. Everything was in the open... And Malfoy had said...

But I couldn’t focus on that. I had to focus on letting the doctors help me.

So many times I wondered, why bother? Why let them help me? Why not starve till I die? I’d been so close already.

I spoke to my psychiatrist, Susan , about this... She said the suicidal thoughts came from not eating, from depletion in serotonin, the happy hormone in our bodies, from sheer exhaustion, she said the starving came from depression and probably spawned from my already obsessive nature. I liked to keep things, neat, orderly, managed and under control.

She said it was about control, she said I’d probably started starving just so I could control something, that I’d felt chaotic and at least my eating was something I had 100% control over. She said the body’s natural pain-killers were also addictive.

So when I’d described to her how I felt like a drug addict, that I needed that gnawing hunger inside me, fuelling me like a roaring fire that burnt all and left nothing, she said that I was addicted to the chemicals my body was releasing in response to the hunger pains and all the other pains resulting from not eating.

I’ve never had a professional to talk to and she was nice. She didn’t treat me like a silly child who refused to eat. She’d seen straight away that I was a smart witch and treated me thusly. She said it made perfect sense for someone as intelligent as me to get swept away by the power of my own mind.

She’d said something like, ‘You’re brain is like a horse and cart, you can’t let it get too carried away or the horses will break free and you’ll be tumbling along the road at top speed, ready to crash at any moment.’

After a few months, for the first time ever I spoke about the fight against Voldemort with someone other than Harry and Ron.

I thought I’d been dealing, I thought I’d handled it fine. I thought we’d all come through fairly unscratched. Psychically yes, but psychologically maybe not so much. It had been shorter than we’d thought it would be, it had all happened in the span of a few weeks… It had happened so fast and so many people had died. I’d SEEN so many of them die. I’d been tortured by Bellatrix…

I’d blocked that memory out. When she asked me how much I thought about those few weeks, and I realised that I barely ever did, I preferred to pretend they hadn’t happened… but I dreamt about it all the time.

I dreamt flashes of it all the time, dreams I forgot upon waking. They had me at Stonehedge, Bellatrix employing Umbridge’s tactics… holding me at wand point while I was forced to scrawl Mudblood across parchment over and over again while my chest seared over and over again. And then when I didn’t crack, didn’t tell her where Harry and Ron where, she’d performed Crucio on me until I felt like I was bleeding tears…
 

I held it together in the beginning talking to Susan… and then I recalled the things I’d blocked in my mind the moment they were over. During that holiday in California right afterward, I’d made sure to focus something on completely irrelevant and tried to make it relevant.

The moment I thought Harry had really died, I’ll never recover from that, I’ve been filled with fear that he really will die ever since then. I’d lost him once, what was to stop me losing him twice? I can’t explain what it felt like. Only that it was the most hopeless moment of my life. ..

I'd started crying then, right there in the clinic, for a good ten minutes I was inaudible, just sobbing and muttering to myself. Susan just sat there sadly, not saying anything, but offering me tissues and letting me sob.

She told me how brave I was, and that it was a shame that no one thought to offer any of us counselling after all of it. That she had in fact read the Prophets article, but they’d beaten around the bush, hadn’t described the gory details that I was telling her now.

She told me that she’d never met such a brave young woman. And that I really was the most brilliant witch of our age.

I’d burst out crying. ‘That’s not true, because I’ve given in to something so stupid and meaningless after all of that! I helped defeat the Dark Lord and yet I can’t even defeat this stupid urge not to eat for Christs sake!' I was desperate, I felt like I would never smile again.

'I’ve let my fear and hopelessness take over! I’m a fuck up. I might have acted bravely and brilliant but I’m not, I bottled it up, pretended it didn’t happen and I still couldn’t cope and as a result I tried starving myself to death! What kind of brilliant witch would fall to her feet because of food?’

And then in the midst of my tears I remembered something I’d forgotten moments after it had happened, I’d forgotten because the Order had shown up, the memory had been swept away and overwritten by the battle, by my own pain and exhaustion, by Harry sacrificing himself, and Neville slaying Nagini and then Harry duelling Voldemort…

Bellatrix had me in the centre of the circle of Death eaters, while they all watched me being tortured, Narcissa, Lucius and Draco Malfoy included. I’d been screaming from the Cruciatus curse until my voice was raw but I still hadn’t given in. The moment Bellatrix let up, I collapsed to the ground in agony, and slowly raised my excruciating head.

I’d met Draco’s eyes at that moment and in shock, amongst my pain and despair, I’d noticed wet streaks down his cheeks, he met me squarely with his stormy grey eyes, they were filled with some sort of emotion I’d been to shattered to recognise.

And then my attention snapped back to Bellatrix when Voldemorts voice commanded. ‘It appears the filthy Mudblood isn’t giving anything away, perhaps we should free her of an appendage to loosen her voice. ‘
 

The face of Bellatrix Lestrange lit up with glee, she licked her lips excitedly. ‘What will it be Hermione? Should Potter’s girlfriend lose her feet first or her hands?’

My eyes had expanded in sheer terror.

‘No!’ I heard the shout first and then my head snapped to the side and I saw Draco burst forth from the Death Eaters ranks.

 ‘Draco no!’  Narcissa Malfoy tried to hold her son back, to stop him from going to his death but he had broken free and was suddenly in front of me, arms spread.

His voice had cracked and broken in desperation as he addressed his aunt. ‘No! You can’t. I won’t let you.’

I couldn’t see Bellatrix’s face behind Draco’s body but her voice was breathless and shocked. ‘Move aside boy! Have you gone mad, you defy the dark lord for her?’ she spat the last word out.

And then the air around us crackled and fizzed and the Order began to Apparate all around us, and I got swept up in the fight… The Death Eaters spread out to fight, Voldemort disappeared and then Ron arrived, shoving Malfoy aside and handing me my wand which he must have grappled off Lucius Malfoy….

My tears flowed freely. How had I forgotten? I had just shoved that memory aside, like all the others, it seemed so unbelievable anyway. I’d forgotten, all the fighting with Draco this year and I’d never even thanked him for doing what he did. I hadn’t even recalled it myself. I’d kept asking him why he even cared about me starving and he’d never even said anything, never even used what he did as a defence, never held it against me. It must have hurt him so much, added extra confusion to his mind…

 ‘He,’ I gasped, ‘Draco Malfoy, he tried to save my life…’ And then it all came tumbling out. All of it. I told her everything…

I wasn’t allowed visitors at first, in case I became upset and triggered what they called a ‘relapse’.

Mum and Dad were an exception one time only. They didn’t understand.

I tried explaining but they couldn’t fathom what had made me get to this point... Why was their daughter so thin? And she’d knowingly done this to herself?

The only thing they really got was when the nurse said I was severely stressed. They hugged me anyway and told me they loved me and were proud of me. The moment they left, I cried and cried until I fell asleep.

It was Harry, Ginny and Ron that really drove me to want to get better.

They didn’t send me a letter. Instead they sent me a photo album full of photos of all of us, newspaper clippings that Mum must have given them showing things like me in primary school grinning proudly while holding a public speaking award or as part of our local choir. They had even included funny little letters and pictures that Harry or Ron must have kept that we’d written in class throughout our years at Hogwarts.

When I flipped over the pages, I saw the three of us grinning nervously in our first year school photos. Photos of us in second year, looking like scrawny little things; I was still taller than Harry. There was a photo of us at Diagon Alley in our third year. We all looked so happy.

There we were, first year to fifth, still smiling despite all we’d been through. They had even included the huge article we’d reluctantly agreed to be interviewed for with the Daily Prophet in the weeks after the downfall of Voldemort.

 We’d shared so many memories. Gotten out of so many scrapes.

 I remember them constantly teasing me in a loving manner about being so clever and bossy.

And then they’d put in pictures from this year. They started out normally. There was a lovely one of me hugging Crookshanks and laughing while Ron’s gobstones exploded all over him. And then there was one of us sitting by the lake, I had my books out diligently studying, while Ron and Ginny mucked about. Harry must have taken the photo.

 And then I started to look more and more unhappy. A few photo’s later my clothes looked baggier and although I didn’t want to admit it, I had bags forming under my eyes. As the year passed in photographic memory, for the first time I saw myself as my friends must have seen me.

I smiled less. I got noticeably skinnier. I was scowling in a few photos. In one or two, my usual study was replaced by me scribbling in my food diary (although the boys wouldn’t have known this). The last few, I could hardly recognise myself. My face was gaunt and pale and unhappy.

Harry had been right. I had turned into a zombie.

What had happened to smiling, clever me?

I wanted that back more than anything....

My name is Hermione Ganger. Recovering anorexic. Or at least I hope recovering. I just spent six months in hospital. Today they want to let me out. They think I’m ready to face the world again, and all the food that comes with it. I’ll be starting my seventh and last year of school in 3 weeks. 

 At first they focused on making me get to a safe place weight wise, to make sure my heart was ok. And then they’d starting working intensively on my mental health. I was diagnosed with depression, anorexia with bulimic tendencies, obsessive compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. That’s a lot for a witch to handle right? They put me on a potion to help my body balance its chemicals, finally deciding on a muggle anti-depressant, figuring that that is what they gave anorexic patients in muggle hospitals.

After my head had started to clear, I realised just how much my education had suffered and when the doctors saw how stressed this made me they had Hogwarts send in my study.  In my mind I was relieved because it meant I could still do my exams, that I could still salvage the year, I could go to school normally again with all of my friends. The doctors were relieved that it gave me something to do and focus on.
 

I had a few bad moments, when the fear just became too much again, when I felt I was expanding too rapidly. Near the start of my treatment I threw up one of my meals into a jar and hid it beneath the bed. Gross right? That’s how unclear my thoughts were. When I got the chance I’d sneak it to the bathroom and pour it into the toilet. I got away with this a few times before they cottoned on.

I had times when I felt so desperate and alone and everything was so grey and monochrome, times when I felt like there was no point to anything, when I wished I could crawl under the covers and sleep forever, when my emotions and my reasonable mind were in separate worlds, when food was no longer the enemy, the world was, I had nothing left to control and now my world was left to chaos.

And I hated myself for reasonably knowing that it was worth fighting but still struggling so damn much. And I worried about people worrying about me and then I’d worry about my worry and it would escalate until I had to hide under my covers and pray that the monsters would go away.

However the sun still rose every morning and the bluebirds still flitted by my window, every single day at St. Mungo’s a new life was born. I was still alive, miraculously, and I still WANTED to get better, no matter how much I struggled.
 

 I just wanted to have a clear mind again, to be able to function normally, stop being so psychically and emotionally worn out, every moment of every day.

 And then I’d look at the photo album my friends had given me. I’d remember what things were like before and see how much things had changed, I’d wish and wish for them to go back to the way they were, exactly the way they had been.
 

And then one day when I was absolutely spinning out in my mind, trying with all my will to eat the small bowl of Puttanesca I’d been given for dinner, I started to cry and get frustrated that I was so torn, I KNEW I had to eat but I was just so scared, so scared of giving away my control and even of getting better because then there would be a chance I’d fall back into the same patterns. And the second fall might hurt more than the first…

I closed my eyes and wished and wished I could go back to how I used to be, back to old familiar, bossy, ordered and driven me.
 

 And then when I gave up and put my fork down, gave in to the things tearing me up inside, it dawned on me.

It wasn’t going to happen, things weren’t going to go back to “normal”.
 

Even if I recovered, I wouldn’t go back to the “old” me. If I honestly asked myself, I wasn’t even sure I’d want to. As much as it pained me, all the stuff that had happened, the starving, the fighting, even the stuff with Malfoy, it was all something I wasn’t sure I would wipe out given the choice. Maybe all this starving was about something bigger. Maybe I needed to go through this to get to the other side, maybe I had to fight all these little demons to get to the really big one, whatever it was.

 Maybe I’ll come out the other side stronger. I’d be something new, something forged from the battles and pains of anorexia, someone who had battled with demons almost too strong to fight. The urge to starve would never fully go away, but I could learn to keep it at bay.  I’d come out with scars. However if I beat this, then all those scars would be nothing but that- scars. Scars to remind me how I had been but no longer am, to show me how strong I’d been, to prove that I’d persevered past the point when I thought I could persevere.
 

 In that moment I no longer felt afraid or ashamed of having scars. I wanted them! I wanted them so I could show myself and others that no matter how much a wound hurts at the time, physically, mentally or spiritually, no matter how unbearable the pain is, if we can endure it, all scars can eventually fade…

And then this image began to form of what “new” me would be like. She’d be just like old me, but with tougher skin, better coping strategies, someone who didn’t always need to be in control ALL the time. She’d be healthy, have healthy body image, she’d work hard but not so hard that she’d suffer in other areas like her relationships, she’d be smiling, she’d take time to smell the metaphorical and the actual roses, she’d make jokes again…
 

The more I spoke to my psychiatrist the more I saw things I’d never thought about before. I started to realise that starving was just a way to cover up and smother my emotions, a way for me to focus on something else instead of facing them head on.

She suggested that maybe there wasn’t one big huge thing wrong that I needed to face, but that the way I was now was just an accumulation of things, trauma, witnessing violence, self-doubt, the need to succeed even if it’s detrimental to me and especially having such a fast brilliant mind but struggling with how to work WITH it, that I AM my mind but I’m also my body and my spirit, I get so focused in the mental world that I sometimes disregard other things.

She gave me strategies; she tried to teach me to be mindful of my emotions, not to ignore them but to acknowledge them and to let them out in a safe way, instead of bottling them until they detonated. She suggested things like painting, music, poems, outside activity etc. Things I guess I already knew but where just too hard to face in my state.

I was quite sceptical at first but seeing as I had not much else to do in hospital, I took her advice and it did help. I know that ultimately, she didn’t “fix” me, she just listened and was the outside voice that helped me unravel knots in my own mind, she just found and showed me the end of the piece of string so to speak, and I did the rest myself. I worked – still am- working hard to help myself.
 

Slowly with treatment the pains, the aches, the lethargy began to go away and my mind began to clear. From that point on the healthier I got the more motivation I had to get ealthier.

Now they think I’m ready to face my problems. I still get relapses, if I let myself get hungry; I am tempted to let it go further. There are certain foods I won’t be able to face for a long time. I still get nervous sometimes before I eat. I still can’t see myself in the mirror the way other people see me. 
 



But whenever I think this, I look at the second last picture in the photo album my friends gave me. It was the photo Colin had taken of me by the lake, the photo in which I’d mistaken myself for a ghoul. Even I couldn’t look at that photo without cringing. I was nothing, I was emaciated, I was a skeleton… 

And the scariest thing was that I hadn’t seen it. It’s taken me six months of intensive treatment to see how sick I had been.

Looking back now, I understand better why I did it all. Back then, six months ago, when I was admitted, I could never have imagined myself here today, 2 kilograms over the minimum weight for my height, by my own doing. I would have thought myself a fat pig.  Except now, looking back, I can hardly recognise the person I’d become during that time. I had been in a dark, dark place.
 

But I’d fought my way out if it... God knows how... I guess with the help of everyone around me, even Malfoy. I guess I was brave in lots of ways; I eventually did let people help me, despite my pride and my fear. I took the hand that they offered and made the choice to try to solve my issues.

 All the starving, the cutting, the despair, I guess ultimately, it was my way of coping, even if it was a bad method. I needed to learn better ways. Although I never realised, it was also a call for help, it let myself and others know that I did have other demons to fight, that it was real and that it was really awful.  I needed my family and friends and even the professionals to show me that I had to fight the real demons... 

I knew that Harry, Ron, Neville, Ginny, Mum, Dad, Fred, George, Bill, Charlie, Mrs Weasley, Mr Weasley, even Dumbledore, maybe even…….and everyone else who supported me, they all loved me and believed in me and that helped me love and believe in myself.

I’m still in a dark place but it’s not quite so dark anymore and it’s getting brighter with every passing day.

All I know is that I never want to go back there again.






 
 

 

 

 



AU: READ IT? REVIEW IT!

Only the epilogue left....

 
 
 
 
 


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Perfection: The Child Is Gone

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