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Chapter 12 : Fear and tears
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Andy, J and the 3 youngest Weasley boys followed Harry as he resolutely marched back up to the house. It was like watching someone being pulled along by a fishing line, but being pulled over glass. Every step he made seemed to be painful but unquestionable.
They followed him down the dark hallway. Darkness had crept up on all of them, in more ways than one, but it seemed no-one was too concerned with the normalities of turning the lights on. As he reached the open doorway to the lounge Harry's step hesitated as though he were having a painful internal conflict; whether to enter or run. Andy felt his heart twist painfully as he watched his baby brother force himself into the room and to face his fears for the first time in his life.
No-one had uttered a word since Harry's abrupt departure, but as he returned the silence seemed to become even more absolute. Harry glanced around the room, barely holding anyone's gaze for more than a few seconds until he landed on a pair of beautiful brown eyes; beautiful, but livid brown eyes.
'How dare you?'
Ginny spoke barely louder than a whisper but the words hung in the air filled with pure anger, so much so that her brothers, who were still in the doorway, took an automatic step back.
Harry kept his eyes trained on her prone figure, in their armchair. This was the first time she had spoken and it broke Harry's heart that it would be her who would speak the truth about his cowardice. She was going to reveal him for what he really was; a weak, frightened, broken little boy, in front of his whole family, everyone he had ever cared about and hoped cared for him in return. They were all going to find out and when they did, that was it for his 'family'. They wouldn't want him around; he had no use, no purpose if he couldn't fulfil his destiny to kill Voldemort.
'How dare you Harry James Potter!' Ginny repeated louder this time, rising from her chair. James and Lily and Mr and Mrs Weasley exchanged worried looks, but none of them were brave enough to stop Ginny and deep down they all hoped that it might be what both of the young couple needed.
Still Harry said nothing, but kept his eyes locked on Ginny, incensing her beyond belief.
'Oh sure, you go quiet now!' Ginny shouted at him, completely oblivious to the rest of the occupants of the lounge. She couldn't believe the words that had come pouring out of his mouth just a few minutes ago.
'How can you think that no-one in this room cares about you? Cares about what happened to you?' she continued just as enraged. 'We might have not realised how it had affected you to start with but we sure as hell know now, and the only person that is standing in the way of us helping is you!'
The boys and teachers who had been present at the infamous 'test' flinched at the memories of Harry's haunted face peering through the bars of that cage. It hit Sirius particularly hard as he remembered the promise he had made to himself when they had first rescued Harry that he would never allow his Godson to look at him like that again. How had he let that happen? How had none of them realised that Harry was not ok?
Harry dropped his gaze at these words, not being able to bare the shame and guilt any longer. Staring at Ginny made it all too true, too real. The cracks in his wall, that had lasted so long and protected him against the horrors he had seen, began to widen as he held her gaze. Every word she spoke pounded into the trembling wall and Harry felt the swell of a sheer mass of buried fear and anger.
'No!' Ginny cried stepping around the coffee table and advancing on a shaking Harry. 'You look at me Harry Potter!'
Ginny now stood directly in front of Harry, 'Look at me!'
The shock of Ginny's sudden closeness broke something inside Harry and his head resignedly flicked up to meet her gaze.
Ginny stared back into those harrowing eyes and all the anger she had felt overtake her flooded away in an instant as she saw all the pain and fear stare back at her.
She placed a hand on his chest and with the other cupped the side of his face, her voice this time just more than a whisper and filled with hurt and sadness. 'How could you think I wouldn't understand?'
These words were Harry's final undoing. With a fresh wave of guilt his precious wall crumbled into pieces and he finally managed to force out the one thing he had wanted to admit since he could remember.
'I don't know what to do.'
With that Harry was overcome with a flood of buried emotion and it brought him to his knees, taking Ginny, by his hand clasped to hers on his chest, with him.
'I know Harry,' Ginny replied hoarsely as she tried to force her tears back. 'And that's ok.'
As the first sob wracked though Harry's body Ginny wrapped her arms around her broken hero and finally allowed her own tears to cascade down her face, as Harry finally succumbed to his past horrors.
The rest of the lounge looked on with a mixture of sadness, mainly Lily and Mrs Weasley, and relief, from all the Marauders. James looked down at his son's trembling form, gripping onto his girlfriend for support, and breathed properly for the first time in too many weeks. The days after Harry's rescue had seen James overflowing with pure anger and a desire for revenge so strong that it had taken Remus, Sirius and eventually Lily's Petrificus Totalus before he would listen to reason and eventually see the insanity in his plan, or lack of plan. James had agonizingly watched as Harry had fought back to health and as he had James had begun to come to terms with what had happened to his youngest son. They say that no-one suffers as much as the victim and while that's true, James couldn't help adding that it's hardly a picnic for everyone else either.
As James had come to terms with the horrific events that had conspired, he became more and more aware that Harry wasn't. So at this moment James felt lighter than he had in a longer time, as an immeasurable weight of worry lifted from his shoulders and his heart. He knew that things were going to be far from easy from here on out, years in the auror department had taught him that much, but as least they were going at last.
Knowing his son as he did, James unwrapped himself from Lily's embrace and silently signalled everyone to leave the sitting room and give Harry and Ginny some space. Harry was only just beginning to let himself feel again and the embarrassment of realising he had done that in front of the whole family was a sure fire way of him building up his walls again.
Ginny held onto Harry as tightly as he held her, as though the pair of them were fighting to hold each other together. Her heart was bursting with sadness and relief but all of the anger that moments ago had been consuming her, was nowhere in sight. Her thoughts now were solely of the broken man weeping in her embrace.
Hearing a shuffle Ginny's attention snapped backed to the sitting room of Potter Manor as she looked up from the crook of Harry's neck to see her family and the Potters creeping out of the door. Her eyes met James' as he turned to face her, a hand on the handle of each of the double doors. He gave her a look filled with understanding and sadness and a small smile before closing the doors between them and leaving Harry and Ginny alone.
'Ginny?' Harry forced out in a tiny voice between sobs.
Ginny leaned back and took Harry's face in both her small hands, lifting it gently until his wide, red-rimmed eyes met hers. She looked at him with what can only be described as love. It took Harry a moment to process this, as he realised that there was no pity or anger or hate between them, and when he did the enormity of the relief he felt threatened to overwhelm him again.
'Gin, I'm so scared.'
And there it was. The words he had been too terrified to voice, because to voice them made them true. A small part of Harry's mind registered the irony that it was years ago when Lupin had predicted that Harry's greatest fear was in fact fear itself. But it was only now, in the room he had grown up in, sat on the hard floor, in Ginny's arms did he finally allow himself to acknowledge that it was true, and that he was truly terrified. Everything rested on him, everyone's lives. And now there was no Dumbledore to guide him any longer, to tell him what to do and what he needed to do. So many people had already died because of him; he was so scared of that happening again. He was so afraid of being alone in this.
Ginny once again lifted Harry's terrified eyes to hers and, as though she could read Harry's mind, uttered the second most treasured 3 words he needed to hear more than anything, 'You're not alone.'
Harry looked deep into her eyes and imagined at that moment that he was looking right into her soul, and it was beautiful.
Then she said the 3 most important words in Harry's world and he could no longer keep the tears back and once again allowed himself to be enveloped in his own sadness and Ginny's small but impossibly strong arms.
'I love you.'
So what do we think people? Did you like it? Too over the top or just right? Let me know what you think and as i wrap up this story if anyone has any ideas of things they'd like to see in the future let me know and I'll see what I can do :D
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