Disclaimer: I am only borrowing from the world of J.K. Rowling.
Chapter Three: Moving Away
Harry woke, and stared around him. It was pitch black and Harry could feel it was the middle of the night. However late the hour was, Harry could hear footsteps pacing out the Hospital Wing door. Damn, he thought, they probably have an Auror stationed out my door so that I can be safe. He wanted them all to know that he was perfectly capable of protecting himself and a fairly light sleeper.
There were muffled voices in the hall as someone stopped pacing and two were talking. Not long after new lighter footsteps replaced the old ones. They had obviously just changed guards, and Harry lay there waiting and waiting for hours on end and as the sun started to rise, there was obvious shuffling in Madam Pomfrey’s wards and not long after she came through the double doors.
“Good, you’re up.” she said as she spotted his glasses on him. “Now,” She repeated the directions for each of the potions, and instructed him to leave.
Harry dressed and walked out noticing that the Auror at the door was following him. Great, he thought, Kingsley was taking absolutely no chances. As he came to the Great Hall, one or two others were there but food was being served.
Not wanted to sit around aimlessly, he started to wander the halls always feeling the pair of eyes on the back of him. As he reached the seventh floor and in front of where the Room of Requirement was, he turned around and began to retrace his steps.
He finally called to the Auror, “You can talk to me you know.”
“It’s unprofessional if I initiate conversation.” She answered but fell into step next to him.
“I’m Harry Potter.” Harry said and held out his hand, “You?”
The Auror took it with a chuckle. “I know who you are. I was assigned to you.” There was a pause and she continued, “Christina Strong.” Harry nodded.
“You like the job?” Harry asked thinking back to when he was a fifth year and had wanted to be an Auror, hell, he still wanted to be an Auror, but was it his pressing desire? Or should he go back to Hogwarts like Hermione was sure to do.
“Well,” The Auror looked away from Harry and at a portrait that was sleeping. “It was sort of like a dream to me, and since I was in training for the couple of years before You-Know-Who, I was excited, but when he was actually out, the hope that I would get to do anything, vanished. Everyone at the Ministry was scared and didn’t trust anyone, so I just went with the flow. I knew if I tried to do anything special I would probably be killed.” There was silence for a moment. “It was cruel.” She said but then made eye contact with Harry, “But I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
They continued walking and then Harry sprung the question that was nagging him, “Would I help the Aurors?”
She smiled, “Just about anyone would help the Aurors. Whether it’s someone like you who is already fantastic at magic, or someone who can only levitate things. We are desperate for people and that’s how the whole Ministry is.”
“So you think I’d be a good Auror?” Harry asked noticing that she kind of avoided the question.
“Yes.” She answered.
There was a silence that punctuated the answer and it wasn’t long before Harry noticed that it was a much more decent hour than he assumed and lots of people were up and working. Harry joined a team that was rebuilding a wall, Harry couldn’t help but notice that everyone had a look of weary on their face, as well as sadness. It’s all my fault, Harry thought, all of this, it’s because of me. Midway through, he left and found himself next to Bill.
“Harry,” Bill said nodding, “Good to see that you are well-rested.”
“Bill.” Harry returned the greeting, “I hope that the Weasley’s are doing alright.”
“Are you?” Bill asked, “You are a Weasley yourself.”
Harry smiled at the thought that he was one of the family, and replied, “Yes, I’m doing fine.”
Bill waved a goodbye and they departed in opposite directions.
He knew that the entire Weasley clan would be keen to see any signs of him doing any worse than he let on, but he also knew that it was his fault, and he should just shut himself in Grimmauld Place so that no one could blame him. He saw that Christina was no longer following him so he could easily slip away without anyone noticing. If he did that, Harry thought, than Ron would most certainly come running after me.
He took to working around the castle but at midday, he told Ron that he was leaving. “I need to check on Grimmauld Place.” he said, “We have to see what Yaxley did to it.”
“You need any help?” Ron asked.
Harry did his best to smile, but it looked more like a lopsided frown, “No, I’ve got Kreacher to help me.” Ron nodded, and Harry walked out of the castle and off the grounds.
He apparated to Grimmauld Place and as he walked through the threshold, he called, “Kreacher!”
The elf appeared in front of him in a crack and replied, “Yes, Master Harry?”
“Please close off the floo and make sure that no one can apparate to here. If anyone knocks, don’t let them in, because I’m not here.”
Kreacher nodded unsure if his master was seriously asking him to do this, but because he was a house-elf, he must do what his master said.
Harry hurried into the kitchen and reached under the cabinet, and in the far, far back, he pulled out a dusty bottle of firewhiskey. After putting a automatic refilling charm on it, he opened it and sat in the sitting room sipping from it.
The first burn of his throat was enough to make him start to forget about the pain on everyone’s face. The second, numbed his. He kept drinking and drinking, grateful that the whiskey never ran out. It wasn’t long before he sat on the couch his head tipped back, whiskey in one arm, sleeping.
The next morning he woke with a splitting headache. As he rolled over, he found Kreacher was sitting there.
“Is there anything that I can get Master?” He asked and the worried tone was lost on Harry.
“Could you make a hangover potion, you can get the ingredient at Diagon Alley.” He fished a couple Galleons out of his pocket and handed it to Kreacher.
Kreacher bowed and disappeared with a crack, and Harry lay there his head back. He tried to think but it was much too hard, he looked at the firewhiskey, which was now ruined from being left uncorked for a day. I’ll need some of that, he thought, but the last thing he wanted to do was make an appearance anywhere there were wizards. Muggle alcohol will do, Harry thought and stayed there paralyzed until Kreacher returned.
When the potion was done, Harry felt instant relief and thanked Kreacher. He got dressed, and with his wand changed his face so that he looked older. He didn’t want to be carded or anything, especially since he didn’t have any I.D. He rumbled into a shop and found several bottles of wine. Which looked much like whiskey, but he wasn’t sure how strong they were. Grabbing one, he went up to the register and paid. That’s the last of my muggle money, Harry thought, he could get Kreacher to change money tomorrow if he needed it.
He retreated back to Grimmauld Place, and then opened to wine. He added several charms to it, making sure that it would refill and never spoil. And took his place on the couch drinking.
As the fire crackled, Harry was glad that he wasn’t connected to the Floo, and before he knew it he was unconscious. The next morning, he didn’t ask for a potion, but kept on drinking. Kreacher watched sadly from the kitchen wondering what he could do to help his Master.
Several days continued like this, and then one morning Harry dropped the bottle and it shattered. Cursing under his breath, angry that he didn’t add the Unbreakable charm, Harry started to clean it up, when he cut himself.
Suddenly, much like the alcohol, he felt as if his pain of the outside world released. Calling Kreacher to clean it up, he fingered several pieces of glass and wandered up to Sirius’ room. Sitting on Sirius’ bed, he looked at the pictures of his parents. Fingering the piece of glass, he brought it down on his arm. This is for my parents, he thought, and this one is for Sirius, for Lupin, for Fred, he was about to add another for Tonks, when the slight loss of blood, mixed with alcohol had him faint.
Kreacher went up to Sirius’ room and saw his Master. He tried to adjust him, but Master was too heavy. If there was a way that he could help him, perhaps he would do it, even if it went against his Master’s wishes. He said that his friends could come to see his Master, but what if they had a different objective.
He went back down and hoped that one of his friends would be there soon.
“Harry! We know that you are in there!” Hermione yelled at the door the next morning.
Kreacher opened the door and saw that a very harried Hermione and Ron were there.
“Hello.” Hermione said regaining her composure. “Where’s Harry?”
“Master is at Diagon Alley.” Kreacher said, “But do you have anything that you could put in Sirius’ room, so I can let you in?” Kreacher asked hoping that the witch would catch on.
Her eyes scanned him for a moment, and then they lit up. “Oh yes, come on Ron, remember that shirt that we borrowed?”
Ron looked at her for a moment and then asked, “What do you mean?”
“Just follow me.” Hermione said.
Harry’s eyes lifted open and he heard Hermione and Ron’s voices. Kreacher wasn’t supposed to let them in. His arm drifted down to his arm, and he quickly took his bloody shirt off. The cuts had stopped bleeding. The headache still pounded and he quickly grabbed something out of the closet. Thank god that the stairs were so long.
He went back to bed and pretended to be asleep. Hermione’s voice floated upstairs, “I talked to McGonagall and she said to go to Elphias, so I’m planning on doing that. I know that Harry will be behind it as will the DA and the Order. The Ministry needs a way for it to be correctly rebuilt.” The door whipped open and Hermione said, “So this goes in the- Harry!” She said and ran over to him. Harry’s eyes blinked open and Harry pretended that he had just woken up. “Kreacher said you were out, but I guess you weren’t.” Hermione said and Ron walked up behind her.
“You’ve been gone for a bit longer than a week mate. Where were ya?”
Harry put on his glasses, careful to hide his right arm. “Why would anyone want to see me?” He said painfully, and then he clamped his head.
Hermione saw that his head was hurting and then said, “Well we aren’t leaving without you, so we’ll go downstairs and make you some breakfast, and you better be changed.”
Harry nodded and as the two left, Harry quickly put on a long-sleeve shirt. He pushed the comforter and sheets in a position that they wouldn’t see the blood on the bed. Changing out of his jeans that had a slight stain on them, Harry knew that he couldn’t be too careful. He needed to be sure that this was well-concealed otherwise Hermione would freak and then the press would go crazy. He could just see it in the headlines. Killer of You-Know-Who has inherited part of You-Know-Who’s ideas by Rita Skeeter.
He stumbled down from breakfast and Hermione had a potion ready for him. He drank it and the headache stopped. “Thanks.” He mumbled.
Kreacher had started to make some toast, eggs, and bacon, and as the table started to be laden with food, it disappeared, mostly down Ron’s stomach.
Harry nibbled on a bit of toast. If he ate too much his empty stomach would surely protest and throw it all up. It didn’t seem that anyone noticed and Hermione started to talk, “Harry, everyone wants to see you. They care about you, they really do. You didn’t cause them pain, that was Voldemort.” Harry just stared at his plate and Hermione continued, “Andromeda came yesterday with Teddy, but you weren’t there so she left.”
Harry looked up. Teddy. He had completely forgotten about the little boy. He was his godfather after all, he couldn’t abandon him. Did Sirius moan and drink about James? Probably, but he had first tried to take care of responsibility for Harry. Harry had made a promise to himself that if he survived the war he would be as reckless a godfather as Sirius. And now, he was ignoring him, he was worse than Sirius was! Not that Sirius was a bad godfather. It might have been better if he had figured a way to not get arrested but that was life, and it wasn’t fair. Harry looked at Hermione and then stuttered out, “Okay, okay. I get it. I need to be around people.”
Ron and Hermione both practically dropped their forks. They were both thinking, how could it have been that easy? “Well,” Hermione said, the first to regain sense, “We will leave after breakfast and go to the Burrow. Molly would practically murder us.” Harry stared at her and wondered when Hermione started to use Mrs. Weasley’s first name.
They finished and as Hermione Side-Along Apparated with Harry they arrived at the Burrow. There was a huge tent in the backyard and hundreds of witches and wizards were around, dressed in black dress robes. Harry then noticed that Ron and Hermione were dressed up. It was Fred’s funeral today. Of course, he mentally cursed.
A/N: At least it gets sort of happier in the end. Sorry about the darker chapter, I'm not all that good in writing that sort of style yet, so please allow some slack. I hope you enjoyed it anyway though, and please tell me what can be improved! Thanks for reading!