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Escaping the Acheron by kenpo
Chapter 5 : Finding a Place to Sleep
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 6


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            “I’ll have another rum.”

 

            The witch serving drinks raised an eyebrow, eyeing the empty glasses next to the young man.

 

            “Can you pay for it?” she asked.

 

            He threw down all the money in his pocket. Rolling her eyes, she picked it up and counted, “You’ve got enough for one more. You sure?”

 

            “Yes, I’m sure,” he groaned. He shivered, and his hair fell from his face, revealing his identity.

           

            “You’re Harry Potter,” she said, clearly surprised that she met him in this situation.

 

            “Yeah,” he retorted, “And you’re supposed to be getting me my rum.”

 

            The witch rolled her eyes once again and slammed his drink down in front of him. He took a deep drink and continued to pour over Hogwarts: a History*. He finished the chapter concerning the lake that sat on the castle grounds and, frustrated, slammed it shut. He looked outside, where the drizzle that’d been persisting all day turning into a downpour.

 

            Fucking English weather, he thought. After spending just over a week in the South of France, the constant rain was hard to return to. Down the road, the rain was a nasty shock for another young man.

 

            Ron cursed himself for not bringing an umbrella as he looked in and out of the pubs he knew his friend had been spending a lot of time in. Ron couldn’t remember ever being this angered with Harry. They’d argued before, they’d gone months without speaking in their fourth year. Although he didn’t care to admit it, Ron knew that when they were younger his emotion was generally closer to jealous than angry.

 

            Now, though, he was furious. He was angry enough when Harry turned his back on Ron’s mother – after she’d already lost a son. That, though, he let slide. She understood. When he abandoned Hermione and Ginny, Ron nearly hit a breaking point. This, though? Teddy? Ron could hardly contain his anger. People rushing through the rain in the opposite direction took the time to cross the street before passing him – he must look dangerous. Ron looked through the window of the Leaky Cauldron and saw a familiar head of messy hair. Before opening the door, he took a few deep breaths and counted to ten. He let the cool rain calm him down before confronting his friend. 

 

            “Harry.”

           

            Harry looked up to see Ron walking towards him. He sighed. This would be annoying.

 

            “I’ve just come from dinner at the Burrow,” he said.

 

            “Did you?” Harry said, refocusing on the book.

 

            “Have you had anything other than…” Ron picked up his drink and sniffed, confirming his suspicions.

 

            Irritated, Harry grabbed the drink back.

 

            “That’s what I thought.” Ron turned to address the waitress.  “Madam, he’ll have a steak and kidney pie.”

 

            “Harry, what are you doing?”

 

            Harry finally looked up at Ron. “I’m figuring out what we missed,” he said.

 

            Ron shook his head, sending rainwater flying, “Harry, we missed nothing. He’s gone.”

 

            “No, Ron. I still see him. He still gets in my head. He’s so angry, Ron.”

 

            “Harry, those are just dreams. They aren’t real. Voldemort is gone!”

 

            “Yeah, were they just dreams when I saved your dad?”

 

            Ron sighed, trying to refocus his mission. He repeated, “I had dinner at the Burrow tonight.”

 

            Harry raised his eyebrow sarcastically, waiting for him to continue.

 

            “Andromeda was there. She said you haven’t been around to visit.”

 

            Harry piled the pie the witch brought him into his mouth.

 

            “Teddy is your Godson, Harry,” Ron reminded him.

 

            Harry turned, irritated, “And what is he to you? He’s nothing. So get out of it.”

 

            “Was he nothing when you got Lupin to go back to Tonks?” Ron asked.

 

            Harry glared at him, wordlessly.

 

            “Do you want him to grow up like you did? Feeling alone?”

 

            Harry laughed, “I guess now Ron Weasley knows how I felt during my childhood. Teddy and I aren’t the same.”

 

            “You’re right. You and Teddy aren’t the same. His Godfather isn’t locked up in Azkaban. His Godfather is able to go see him, but chooses not to.”

 

            For a moment, Ron thought Harry was going to attack him.

 

            “Don’t – Sirius. Don’t try to understand,” Harry spit, “You’ve always been so cushioned. Nothing gets to Wittle Ronnie.”

 

            “Nothing gets to me?” It was Ron’s turn to laugh this time. “I didn’t sleep for a month so that I could get to Hermione faster when she woke up screaming. Ginny was destroyed when you left. Mum just recently started to be able to look at George. Everyone in my family is one wrong comment away from a meltdown. I don’t let anything get to me because if I did, there’d be nobody left standing.”

 

            Harry looked guilty at the mention of Ginny.

 

            “Harry, that isn’t the point. Go see Teddy.”

 

            “Leave me alone.” Harry rose from his stool and started to leave, but Ron grabbed his shoulders.

 

            “No. I will not leave you alone.”

 

            “Get off of me, Ron.”

 

            “No. Harry, sit down. Let’s figure this out,” Ron pleaded with his friend. He looked into his eyes, but did not see the same person he’d met on the Hogwarts Express so many years before. This person wasn’t the same. The Harry that stood before him was dark and empty. His face was pale and the bright hue of his eyes was faded. Ron could barely see his best friend behind the veil of rum.

 

            Harry pushed his best friend off of him and shoved his way out onto the streets of London, the rain still pouring from the now dark sky. Not caring if any Muggles saw him, he spun in place and Apparated.

 

             He landed in the toilet of one of his favorite pubs. He glanced in the mirror and straightened his hair out. He removed his wand and dried off his shirt. After making himself look decent, he left to join the crowd. He walked around the filled tables, keeping an eye out for the right type of person. Finally, he found an appropriate looking girl. She looked old enough, probably in her late twenties. Her dark brown hair was parted in the center and her makeup was applied with a gentle touch – unlike the younger, more irresponsible women Harry had met. She was wearing boots with a small heel. She was fashionable but sensible. Perfect. Harry walked up to her and smiled, “Hello.”

 

            She eyed him suspiciously and smirked, “Hi.” Her friends at the table behind her giggled.

 

            “Can I get you a drink?” he asked.

 

            She eyed him again, considering his offer. Finally, she seemed to decide that it would be foolish to turn down a free drink and said, “Sure.” She handed him her empty glass. “Raspberry cider.”

 

            What a girl, Harry thought as he turned the corner to go to the bar and ordered her cider and another rum for himself. He ran his hands through his hair, returning it to the usual messy state. He went back to the table that the women were sitting and took a seat next to the one he’d talked to. Her eyes were a deep shade of brown, he noticed.

 

            “Thanks,” she said. “What’s your name?”

 

            “I’m Derek Collins. You?”

 

            “Sarah,” she answered, making a point not to reveal her last name.

 

            Harry was getting the feeling that Sarah would not easily let him go home with her. Already feeling tired of trying to woo her, he took out a small vial and dropped a tiny drop of love potion into her drink. Not enough to get her so fancied that her friends would notice, but enough to make her bend her morals.

 

            The drink made her much more open to flirting than she had been before.

 

            “You look so young,” she said, playing with his hair, “How old are you?”

 

            “Twenty-five,” he lied effortlessly.

 

            “What do you do, Derek?” Sarah asked.

 

            Harry decided to be honest, “I fight Dark Wizards.”

 

            She giggled, as Harry had expected her to. “I bet you do, Derek,” she slurred, planting a sloppy kiss on his lips.

 

            “Is that how you got that scar?” she asked, tracing it with her finger.

 

            He chuckled, “Yes, it is.”

 

            “You’re so funny,” she said, leaning into his arms.

 

            The other women she was with had left after one of them got very upset over seeing someone who apparently looked like her recently ex-boyfriend.

 

            “Oh, she’s so dramatic. Don’t worry about her, she’ll be fine,” Sarah informed him, as if he cared. Sarah took off her jacket, revealing that she was wearing a tight, low-cut top. Perhaps she didn’t need the potion, after all.

 

            “You’re cute, Derek,” she said.

 

            “You’re stunning,” Harry said, whispering the last word.

 

            “I like you. Most of the men as cute as you don’t just come up to me and talk. You’re all so standoffish. All the time.”

 

            Harry faked a smile and let her continue to talk. After what seemed like an eternity, she finally offered, “Do you want to come back to my place?”

 

            Harry feigned interest, “I’d love to.”

 

            She giggled once again and grabbed him by the hand to lead him out of the pub. They walked for just about ten minutes before she suddenly stopped. She turned to face him, leaning against a large door.

 

            “Here we are!”

 

            Sarah struggled with the keys for a moment. Harry had absolutely no idea how much she’d already had to drink before he arrived, but it appeared she’d had quite a bit. He helped her up the stairs and she led him into her flat.

 

            Immediately, she began to passionately kiss him. He felt her arms wrap around him and he followed her. She pushed him back onto the couch and lay on top of him. She kept kissing him, and slowly removed his shirt. He let her kiss his neck and his chest while his mind wandered back to what he’d been reading earlier that day. They never found a Horcrux relating to Gryffindor. He thought he might go back and look around Godric’s Hollow again.

 

            She broke their kiss, “I really like you,” she said, “Do you want to go into the bedroom?”

 

            “What do you think?” he answered with a wink.

 

            “I’ll get changed. You wait here.” 

 

            Sarah left him to go into what he assumed was the bedroom. He looked around the flat. There was a large, open sitting room with a table and chairs. A half wall separated the sitting room from a small kitchen. There were four doors. The one they’d come in, the door Sarah had went through, and two others he presumed were the toilet and a closet.

 

            “Another drink?” he called.

 

            “Mmhmm!” she replied.

 

            He went into the kitchen and got her a drink from her fridge. He put a few more drops of a second potion in it and brought it to the bedroom door.

 

            She opened the door slowly, revealing her “outfit”. She seemed to just have taken off most of her clothes and attempted to touch up her makeup, succeeding only in smearing lipstick across part of her nose.

 

            “How do I look?” She asked.

 

            “Fantastic,” Harry tried to say as seductively as he could, “Here, have your drink.”

 

            Sarah eagerly took one large gulp, and immediately slumped over into Harry’s arms. He lifted her and carried her to the large bed in the small room. He draped the covers over her and sat down on the bed. On the dresser across from him was a series of photographs. He recognized Sarah in some of them, but most of them were of other people. Many of them were extremely posed. One of them featured Sarah with two young children, a man who looked her age, and two people who he guessed were her parents.  In one of them, Sarah was wearing a large white dress.

           

            Slowly, it dawned on Harry that the white dress was a wedding dress. His eyes expanded as he looked back to the other picture. It was a family photo. The young children had the same brown eyes as Sarah. They had the same nose as the man.

 

            “Shit. Shit,” he said, pulling the covers off of Sarah and grabbing her left hand. She was not wearing a wedding ring, but Harry could clearly see a white ring on her skin where the sun hadn’t reached.

 

            “Shit. Shit!” Harry said twice more. He rushed out of the room and opened one of the other doors.

 

            The first led to, as he’d previously expected, the bathroom. To his horror, though, he saw superhero toothbrushes and men’s shaving cream at the sink.

 

            Not knowing exactly why he was doing it, he opened the last door. Inside, he saw two beds. One of them had what looked like the older child curled up in a blanket. The other housed two people. One of them was a very small child, a little girl that looked just like Sarah. To his horror, he saw that the man from the picture – Sarah’s husband, was also asleep in the bed.

 

            His suspicions confirmed again and again, he swore, louder this time. The youngest child stirred, and opened their eyes.

 

            She screamed.

 

            “Daddy! Daddy!” The man and the other child quickly woke up. The child screamed too, and backed up in bed as close to the wall as possible.

 

            The man got out of the bed and lunged at Harry, “Who are you?!” he roared.

 

            The man was much taller and much more muscular than Harry. Harry reached into his back pocket to draw his wand when, to his horror, he realized it wasn’t there.

 

            “ACCIO WAND,” he yelled madly, praying his wand was in close enough range to be summoned by his extremely weak wandless magic. In an instant, his wand was in his hand and he allowed a shield charm to instinctively project itself. The man hit the charm and fell back onto the floor, hard. He looked up at Harry in horror. The children behind him were as white as their sheets. He could see a dark spot on the younger one’s bed where they’d obviously wet themselves in fear. Harry quickly stunned the man, and walked in between the beds of the children. They whimpered in complete terror. He pointed at them each in turn and muttered, “Obliviate”.

 

            Shaking, Harry turned around and performed the same charm on the father after reviving him. The three of them fell back into a deep slumber, their Muggle minds not being able to handle the events of the past minute.

 

            He quickly put his shirt back on and Apparated from the flat to another pub bathroom, very tired and wanting to find somewhere to sleep that night. After the last five minutes, though, he wasn’t sure he’d be able to sleep. Resolving to at least get some work done, he left the pub and wandered, looking for an open diner.

 

            After wandering for no more than ten minutes, he found a small café boasting a sign indicating it was open twenty-four hours a day. Harry opened the door to see that it was nearly empty, just a waitress reading a newspaper and a couple huddled in the corner. Harry sat down at a table as far away from the lovers as he could. The waitress walked over.

 

            “Coffee,” Harry said, before she could ask. She nodded and returned to the counter. Harry once again removed Hogwarts, A History from his bag. He opened to a chapter he’d already read numerous times, detailing the construction of Gryffindor Tower. He knew, he just knew, that he was missing a key detail – a key piece of the puzzle that was Lord Voldemort. The waitress brought him his coffee, eyeing the strange book. Harry sipped it, the affects of the alcohol already wearing off. He tried to read the words on the page, but his eyes were becoming blurry. He felt his scar start to heat up and burn in a way it never did before the Battle of Hogwarts.

 

            Harry looked up and struggled to focus on his surroundings. He saw the couple, the affectionate couple in the corner. How irritating, their constant caressing and touching and kissing. The man held the woman close; they were hardly paying attention to anything going on around them. The woman flicked her long red hair over her shoulder and stared seductively into the man’s eyes. Flirting, she turned away from him for a moment.

 

            In this moment, Harry recognized Ginny. As if he’d been frozen, he stood, watching Ginny with his lover. He couldn’t speak, he couldn’t move. Ginny was with another man, and he’d have to accept that. He didn’t think she’d wait around with him forever. Ginny was giving this new man a look so intense, not even Harry could recognize it. Her soft hands held the back of his head, pulling him closer. He turned to the side, kissing her collarbone.

 

            Over his shoulder, Ginny spotted Harry.

 

            Her face, which was previously blushed, turned stark white. Her eyes widened in shock over the appearance of her apparently ex-boyfriend.

 

            Harry watched as even more color drained from her face. He’d never seen her so pale. She looked ill. He could only remember one time ever seeing her so white.

 

            “Help,” she whispered. Her dry voice echoed throughout the entire café. Harry’s feet were rooted on the spot as he watched the male turn around to smile. It was Him. Harry burned to reach Ginny, but his feet would not move. He could see Ron watching him from the window, pointing at Ginny then at him and back at Ginny. Ron frowned, pointing, pointing.

 

            “Help me,” she whispered again, louder this time. She cried out as He continued to kiss her face, working his way back to her lips. Her arms began to mutate where his hands grasped her. Her flesh burned, and He laughed.

 

            Harry saw his mother walking towards him as he continued to struggle to reach Ginny.

 

            “Help her, Harry. Help her.”

 

            “I’m tried!” he screamed. Ginny’s scream answered him, terribly.

 

            “Help her. I’m sorry, you can’t. Help her.”

 

            Harry furiously tried to lift his feet from the ground.

 

            “You can’t. You can’t”

 

            “You can’t. I’m sorry.”

 

            “Son, I’m sorry, you can’t save her.”

 

            “You can’t.”

 

            “Sir, I’m sorry, you can’t sleep here.”

 

            Harry’s eyes opened suddenly, his heart pounding.

 

            He screamed for Ginny and lunged at the couple in the corner.

 

            The girl, she wasn’t Ginny. She wasn’t Ginny. She was terrified by Harry, but she wasn’t Ginny. The man put his arm protectively around her. Harry blinked hard.

 

            “Sorry.. I..”

 

            “I think you should get going,” the waitress said cautiously.

 

            “Yeah. Yeah. Here,” he handed her the Muggle money he had in his pocket.

 

 

            Still breathing heavily, Harry left the café, now more than ever determined to find somewhere to sleep. 


 
*Hogwarts, A History is part of the universe J.K. Rowling created, and I didn't come up with it.

 


Author's Note: I'm really enjoying writing this, even if nobody is enjoying reading it (welp). If you are enjoying this, leave me a review! I love me some critisim. This is probably going to be the last time for awhile that we hear from Harry. If you've made it this far, thanks for reading! Review!


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