Chapter 18 : Chapter Eighteen: Confrontations
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Harry huffed out a breath as he shut the top of his Hogwarts trunk, locking the sides with a flick of his finger. He looked around the room, which now looked strangely empty without all his stuff scattered around. Harry heaved the trunk off his bed and set it near the door, so it would be easier to grab in the morning. He walked out of the room, went down the hall to Ron's room, and opened the door. He stood there for a moment, looking around the empty room with confusion. Hadn't Ron walked in his room only moments ago telling Harry to meet him and Hermione there? Shaking his head as he rolled his eyes, Harry walked over to the stairs and started to climb down, faintly hearing voices echoing from downstairs.
When he reached the landing he looked around, straining his ears to find out which room everyone was in. After a moment of standing alone in the hall, Harry figured everyone was gathered in the living room. He set off down the corridor, walking as fast as he could, and turned the corner.
Right away Harry could tell something was wrong. Hermione and Ron were backing away from the others who were standing in front of them, obviously trying to leave without anyone noticing. Remus, Sirius, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were all looking towards someone Harry couldn't see, but by the way everyone was talking, he doubted it was Dumbledore. The person gave a response so quiet Harry couldn’t hear it, but guessed that they had said the wrong thing when Sirius started yelling at them.
Sirius was beyond angry - he was enraged. Harry didn't like this side of Sirius, he was unpredictable and acted before thinking. Again, the person was talking, but it still sounded like mumbles to Harry, who couldn't hear a word of what they were saying. Sirius let out a dog-like growl and started to make his way across the room, but Remus stepped in front of him and put his hands on Sirius' shoulders, holding him back.
"Calm down, Padfoot." He said in a soothing voice, but even he looked like he was seconds away from punching someone.
Harry took the opportunity to glance at the person they all were crowded around, able to see now that Remus had moved out of the way. A jolt of fear shook Harry as he stared into cold black eyes, his heart started to race inside his chest and his body tensed for a moment, a familiar horrible feeling of dread filling him before he could clear his mind.
"You!" He yelled, startling everyone in the room, who turned to look at him with wide eyes.
Harry thrust his hand into his pocket, gripping his wand tightly in his fingers before drawing it out, and pointing it directly at Snape.
"Harry!" Mrs. Weasley shouted, looking at him with wide eyes.
Harry started forward furiously, stopping when he was only a few feet away from Snape, the wand in his hand pointed right at his heart. Snape had not drawn his wand, but looked at Harry with an expression he did not recognize. He didn't care. Remus let go of Sirius, both were watching Harry in disbelief.
"How could you let him into the house?" Harry started with a yell, "He's a Death Eater for crying out loud!"
"Harry," Sirius started, finding his voice, "You've got the wrong idea, Snape is on our side-"
"No he isn't!" Harry roared his interruption, red sparks flying out of his wand and narrowly missing Snape, "He's a death Eater, I saw him! He works for Voldemort - he's in his inner circle!"
"Don't do anything stupid, Potter." Snape said, lacking his usual sneer.
"Or what? Are you going to torture me like you did back at the Riddle House with your Death Eater buddies? Torture me until I can't think straight like last time?" Harry snapped, his hand starting to tremble.
Harry heard the intake of breath around him, he hadn't mentioned anything that had happened to him at the Riddle House since telling Dumbledore, they all knew Harry was too angry to care about anything he said.
"Potter, I-" Snape started, but Harry cut him off.
"Don't deny it, I saw you standing with all the other Death Eaters! Did you enjoy putting the Cruciatus Curse on me with the others? Did you laugh when I screamed out in agony? Did you laugh at how stupid I looked twitching and thrashing on the ground-"
"Stop it!" Hermione yelled, her face stricken.
Harry stopped and turned, glaring at everyone in the room until he came back to his senses. His eyes widened as he realized what they had heard him yell, a look of horror on his face. He dropped his wand to his side, his fingers still clutching it tightly, but he turned fully away from Snape and looked at everyone else in the room apologetically.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean for anyone to hear what I-" Harry started, his voice cracking slightly.
"It's okay, lets get you out of here." Mr. Weasley said, walking over to Harry and putting an arm around his shoulders, "You all finish up in here, me and the kids will be in the kitchen." He told the adults in the room, his eyes on Sirius.
Mr. Weasley beckoned Ron and Hermione towards him, who followed him wordlessly as he steered Harry out of the room, down into the hall and into the kitchen. Harry sat down at the kitchen table, hiding his face in his arms as Ron and Hermione stood by the table, their eyes flickering from Harry to Mr. Weasley, who was at the fridge.
"Butterbeer anyone? We have that, pumpkin juice, firewhiskey, wait, forget I said that, you’re too young for it..."
No one answered him, but looked at each other nervously. Harry refused to look at any of them, but focused his stare on the table in front of him, feeling humiliated and furious. Ron and Hermione finally sat down next to him, silently debating whether one of them should speak up or not. After a minute Hermione rolled her eyes at Ron but nodded, silently agreeing to speak up.
"Harry-" She started.
"I don't want your pity." Harry snapped, finally looking up at them.
"Don't lie. Just don't. I can see it in your eyes and hear it in your voice, just don't lie to me." Harry said quietly.
Hermione looked lost, and she could feel tears start to form in her eyes as she looked at Harry, who was staring back at her with his own haunted green ones. Harry, who saw the tears forming, gave Ron an alarmed looked before he put a hand on top of hers and patted it clumsily.
"Don't cry, Hermione - I didn't mean to upse-" Harry began.
"Don't apologize, Harry, it's not your fault. You reacted without thinking, seeing him triggered your memory and you defended yourself in the only way you could think of." Hermione cut in with a choked voice.
Harry didn't say anything, he just looked at her with his lips parted and eyebrows pulled together slightly, wondering how the hell she knew what had happened to him. Hermione sniffled and put a hand to her eye to wipe away a tear, Ron took the opportunity to wrap a comforting arm around her, and Hermione allowed a small smile at the gesture.
"Why was he even here in the first place?" Harry asked hesitantly.
"Honestly, I don't know, mate. Me and Hermione came in about a minute before you did, and could only hear Sirius yelling at him." Ron answered, creases forming on his forehead as he thought about it.
Mr. Weasley came over then, four Butterbeer bottles clutched in his hand as he sat down opposite Harry and passed out a bottle to each of them. Harry uncorked his and took a swig, looking for anything to do as the silence settled in again.
"Harry," Mr. Weasley started, his mouth open as he thought over his next words, "I need you to listen to me carefully, eventually you'll have to understand. Snape is on our side - don't interrupt me please - I know you don't think he is, because of what you saw at the Riddle house. But he never did anything there to hurt you. He tried slipping you potions to relieve some of your pain a few times, but every time he tried a Death Eater was always present, and he couldn't risk blowing his cover. He kept us all updated on how you were, and what condition you were in. When V-Voldemort and his Death Eaters put you under, under that curse, Snape didn't raise his wand - he couldn't bare the thought of causing you so much pain, he looked ready to faint when he told us what happened. He helped you as much as he could there, did you ever question the Pain Relieve Potion that was left on your food tray after that night? Snape finally managed to slip you something, right when you needed it the most."
Harry stared at Mr. Weasley, digesting everything that was just told to him. Most of it clicked, like the potion on his food tray, he didn't think that any other Death Eater would pity him enough to put him out of some of his misery. Harry knew that neither Sirius nor anyone else in the Order would even allow Snape in if they didn't trust him. But still, he had his doubts.
"What about the day I was taken? One minute Snape was there, and the next Voldemort was strutting towards me." Harry asked.
"Dumbledore told us that the wards around the house don't allow anyone in with dark magic surrounding them, except for one person - Snape. V-Voldemort somehow figured this out and used it to his advantage, and managed to possess Snape to enter Headquarters. You know the rest." Mr. Weasley told him.
Harry nodded vaguely, his mind pondering over everything. Snape wasn't a true Death Eater, he was on their side... He couldn't wrap his head around the idea, it sounded wrong and unbelievable. Mr. Weasley, Hermione and Ron left him to his thoughts, trying a few times to start up a conversation amongst themselves to fill the silence, but it never lasted for long.
Finally, after what seemed to be half an hour, Sirius, Remus and Mrs. Weasley walked in, looking tired but wary. Sirius looked over at Harry, who stared right back at him with emotionless green eyes, then over at Remus, lost for words. Remus was about to open his mouth when Harry spoke.
"You don't need to explain, Mr. Weasley filled me in on everything." He said quietly.
"Are you okay?" Sirius asked, coming over and putting a hand on Harry's shoulder.
"I'm fine, honestly. I'm just tired, I need to sleep." Harry replied.
Sirius bit his lip and was silent for a moment, as if deciding whether or not he should trust Harry's words, but ended up nodding his head.
"Remus, will you take Harry upstairs? I need you to explain what'll be the plan for tomorrow, I have to speak with Arthur and Molly about something."
Harry was about to protest, he knew Sirius was making up some excuse to have a babysitter make sure he could get into his bed without falling or hurting himself, but kept his mouth shut at the look Remus shot him.
"Ron, Hermione, it's time for you both to go to bed as well. Fred, George and Ginny are all in their rooms, so make sure to keep your voices down. Goodnight." Mrs. Weasley said, and smiled at them all.
Harry gave her and Mr. Weasley a smile in return then looked over and gave Sirius a sad smile. In truth, he was going to miss Sirius terribly. This whole summer he had devoted himself to Harry, did anything Harry needed of him, even saved his life. Part of him wished he had taken Sirius' offer of staying at Grimmauld Place for a while, until he was completely healed. But Harry knew that would be selfish, Ron and Hermione needed him and he would eventually have to face everyone in the school who all now knew the truth of what had happened to him.
Remus walked over to Harry and put a gentle hand on his back, he started to steer him towards the stairs, slowly walking up with him, Ron and Hermione in front of them. When they reached the landing to their floor, Harry said goodnight to his two best friends and went to his room with Remus following. Harry sat on the bed as Remus shut the door behind him, giving a small sigh as he joined Harry on the bed.
"I know you must be irritated that everyone has been following you around lately, I can see it in your face." Remus said gently.
Harry sighed and ran his fingers through his hair, hesitating, as he thought of what to say.
"It's just - I get why everyone is, I really do, but it is annoying me. Sirius won't leave me alone half the time, and I know he wants to spend time with me - and I want to spend time with him too - I just feel like he's babying me too much." Harry explained quietly.
"Yes, I can see how that would annoy someone, but I want you to understand something, Harry. Sirius spent thirteen years in Azkaban, and the only happy thought he had in there was you. Now that he's out and has the chance to see you, he wants to get to know you more, he wants to make up for the time that was taken away from both of you, and he wants to take care of you as well and as much as he can." Remus told him as he wrapped an arm around Harry's shoulders.
"I'm just not used to adults wanting me around, or taking care of me." Harry whispered.
Remus' grip on Harry tightened, and he felt the older man stiffen next to him. Harry knew that Remus hated the Dursley's because of everything that they had done to him, all the lies they told, and how they affected Harry in general.
"I think the Dursley's hardly count as real people Harry," Harry chuckled at this, "But we do want you around, we always will. You've been in our lives since the day you were born, and we never want you to leave."
Harry smiled, joy and happiness swelling inside him. Sometimes he didn't know if people actually did like him, or if it all was an illusion his mind made up. It was wonderful to know that what he thought was actually true, that Sirius, Remus and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley truly did care about him. Remus smiled down at him and squeezed his shoulder, using the other hand to ruffle Harry's hair.
"Now, before I go, I want to let you know something. Sirius will come with you to King's Cross tomorrow, Tonks is really good at concealment charms and will disguise Sirius. Just make sure not call him by his first name, anyone could be listening." Remus added.
Harry's eyes lit up, and he beamed at Remus. Sirius could actually be there to see him off on the Hogwarts' Express, just like his parents would have done if they were still alive.
"Thank you, Remus. For everything you've done for me." Harry said, and wrapped his arms around him.
Remus sat in shock for a moment, not expecting Harry to hug him, but after a moment wrapped his arms around Harry, and held him tightly. When they both finally pulled away Harry yawned loudly, and Remus gave a small chuckle.
"Alright pup, time for bed. Sirius will be up here after he's done talking with Molly and Arthur, but I think you'll be asleep by then."
Harry smiled tiredly, and laid his head against the pillow behind him. As Remus was walking towards the door Harry could already feel himself falling asleep, and accepted it gratefully.
"Night Moony." Harry whispered.
"Night kiddo." Harry heard Remus reply, faintly.
A:N- Sorry about the wait again, but like before it was out of my hands. I've read your guys reviews and loved them, but I hope I get a little more next time, I love hearing from you guys! R&R!
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