Chapter 9 : Comfort and Denial
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Hi! Please don't hate me for leaving you with a cliff hanger for sooooo long but first few weeks of uni has been crazy and I've had no inspiration but I am making time now to get this story done.
I don't know how many people are reading this but judging by my reviews it's only 1, so thank you to you. If there is anyone else out there who has read a chapter please just put a smiley (or sad face) in that box at the bottom, it would make my day to know that more than 1 person is reading this.
For a moment Tonks disappeared into the library, only to reappear with a flaming red head streaking ahead of her.
‘Back off boys,’ Lily whispered as she saw Ginny flying towards them. ‘He’ll just get overwhelmed otherwise and without Andy and J Ginny will have to try to do it on her own.’ Lily explained in answer to the pained expressions of Remus and James when she had suggested leaving Harry’s side.
The adults backed away except for Sirius who was now integral to Harry still being vaguely upright to give Ginny space to kneel before her love.
Lily watched, her hands clasped tightly in James’, as Ginny laid her hand on his chest and muttered quietly to him. A familiar hand on her shoulder made her whip around in confusion as she took in the sight of her middle son standing before her. He must have run out of the hospital as he still wore the dark green robes and troubled expression that always followed a shift at St Mungo’s.
‘J, what are you doing here?’ Lily said throwing her arms around J’s neck.
‘Hermione flooed me,’ J replied, concern thick in his voice and filling his eyes. ‘She told me it was happening again. I thought it would but not after all this time.’
‘I know.’ Lily took a deep breath of something vaguely resembling relief and looked around for Hermione. She was crouched with both arms around Ron. When Lily met her gaze she mouthed ‘thank you’ to which Hermione merely shrugged her shoulders, silent tears falling thick and fast.
Ginny’s quiet voice washed over Harry’s panicking mind. He felt her small hand rest on his chest as she took in just how frantic his heart beat was.
‘Harry,’ Ginny said again in a soft voice, a part of wondered with amazement how she was keeping the horror out of her voice. She couldn’t believe they had damaged her Harry so deeply.
Harry’s flickering eyes roamed the waves of fire he could see before him before settling on those brown eyes that he would recognise anywhere.
‘Gin?’ Harry rasped. He could feel the muscles in his chest screaming in pain and he knew he was hyperventilating but he just couldn’t stop. He forced his muscles to keep working as he knew the moment he closed his eyes he would lose sight of his beautiful Ginny.
‘Harry, you are safe,’ Ginny whispered as she stared deep into his green eyes. ‘Harry, you’re at home. You aren’t their anymore, you are safe.’
Harry stared up at her and thought these words through before something finally snapped inside him and he realised he was actually sitting in his home surrounded by his family.
‘Gin, I’m sorry,’ he whispered and he felt the burning muscles in his chest relax as a tear escaped from behind his glasses.
‘Harry, it’s ok. Everything’s ok,’ said Ginny lovingly as she pulled him into her arms and breathed a huge sigh of relief along with every other occupant of the hallway as she felt Harry’s breathing slow dramatically. She stared over Harry’s shoulder and met Sirius’ approving nod with a small smile.
J watched as Ginny pulled Harry into her arms. It was then that he realised just how deep Harry’s scars actually ran.
‘J,’ James said quietly putting a hand on his son’s shoulder, his other arm was tightly wrapped around Lily who gazed at the scene on the floor before her. ‘Can you check he’s alright?’
J looked at his father for a long moment as they both exchanged a knowing look. Anyone could tell that Harry’s was far from being alright.
‘I’ll see what I can do, Dad,’ J replied quietly turning to his little brother. It had been a long time since J had faced a medical situation and felt this helpless. He had raced through the healer training and graduated it as he had graduated Hogwarts, with top marks. He had sprinted through promotions and absorbed enough muggle medicine information to be given his own department in diagnostic medicine. He was given the cases when no one else knew what to do, especially the ones that involved muggle diseases and illnesses that were too stubborn for the normal healing spells. It had been a long time since J had looked at a patient and found his mind completely empty of ideas. For it to be his brother in front of him nearly brought J to his knees there in the hallway.
He knelt down slowly next to Ginny and gingerly placed a hand on Harry’s shoulder. At the contact Harry shot into a sitting position pulling away from Ginny’s embrace.
‘It’s alright Harry, it’s just me,’ J said looking him directly in the eye. J always found it incredible how each of the Potter children had inherited one thing from their parents in terms of looks. Andy had got their Dad’s brown eyes and J had got their Mum’s red hair. But Harry had got both the unruly dark hair of James and Lily’s unique green eyes which now stared back at J completely empty of emotion as Harry built up his emotional walls once more. J cast a silent healing spell on Harry’s wrists, which were paper cuts compared to the gouges of flesh the handcuffs had taken out last time.
‘I know who you are J,’ Harry said in a strained voice before breaking eye contact and attempting to stand up. The panic attack had weakened him, not that Harry would ever admit to it, and it took every ounce of his strength to not allow his legs to buckle beneath him. Despite his best efforts he staggered slightly and put one hand against the wall to steady himself as a hand grabbed his shoulder.
‘Whoah there Harry,’ said Sirius who helped him steady himself, another flinch not going unnoticed. ‘Hang on, just let J check you...’
‘I’m fine Siri,’ snapped Harry pulling himself out of Sirius’ grip. The sharp movement made his stomach roll as his fuzzy mind tried to clear against the rising nausea.
‘Harry, don’t worry,’ said Lily approaching her son. She had been worried about Harry’s angry retort to J and Sirius’ help. ‘We only want to help you.’
‘Well I’m fine, thank you,’ Harry responded, the lack of emotion now visible in his voice as well as his eyes. This was always Harry’s first response to emotion especially powerful ones like fear and anger. He had never allowed himself to feel them and so didn’t know how to deal with them when they threatened to break through his hard exterior. It broke Lily’s heart to think how all of Harry’s life had been about preparing him and the next mission but she had failed when it came to preparing Harry for everyday things such as emotions.
‘Harry I really think you should let J look at you,’ Ginny whispered to Harry lovingly.
‘I said I’m fine Gin. I just got a bit dizzy, I think I’ll go for a lie down.’ The rolling waves of nausea were threatening to overcome Harry’s iron clad emotional control, he had to get out of there or they would all know how weak he really was. With his parting statement hanging in the silence of the hallway he quickly dragged himself away from his family and up the staircase to the bathroom closest to his bedroom.
He made it just in time as the over exertion of climbing the stairs broke him and he emptied his stomach into the toilet. It was after several minutes and with an aching throat that he leaned away and against the cool tiles of the bathroom wall. The combined exhaustion of the panic attack and bringing up all the days food threatened to overwhelm him and he would’ve liked nothing more than to close his eyes their on the cold wooden floor of the bathroom. But someone might find him and start asking questions. It just wasn’t an option.
With an arm on the basin Harry wrenched himself into a standing position and brushed his teeth before soothing the burning in his stomach and throat with a large glass of water. He listened at the door for a few moments ensuring he hadn’t been followed. It was taking all his concentration to keep himself standing and he thought it unlikely he would be able to invent a satisfactory answer to why he had been in the bathroom so long for any inquisitors waiting outside. After a minute of silence Harry decided to chance his luck and opened the door to a mercifully deserted corridor.
Once in his room Harry shut the door and locked it manually and magically. Judging by the sunlight shining outside he estimated it to be only lunchtime. He went to the windows and pushed the curtains as far open as they would go and opened both windows fully for good measure despite the brisk wind that the day’s dreary weather had brought. Then he turned on the overhead light, his desk lamp and the repaired bedside light. Finally with the room flooded with as much light as possible Harry cast a quick but strong silencing spell before collapsing on top of his bedcovers, exhaustion finally claiming him.
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