Chapter 18 : Chapter Eighteen: His Fears
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"You just left her like that? Crying in a compartment?" Ron asked in amazement.
Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Neville and Luna were walking up the path to the carriages. Neville and Luna were caught up in a conversation with Ginny, and Harry, Ron and Hermione had fallen behind a little so Harry could tell them what had happened earlier with Cho.
"I wasn't going to just stand there and let her pressure me into telling her." Harry replied calmly.
Ron opened his mouth to say something, but thought better of it a moment later and shut it again, which Harry thought was very smart of him. Hermione just kept her lips pursed and said nothing, walking alongside them with her eyes looking straight ahead. Ron, who had just noticed the silence that surrounded them, looked at her.
"Well? You've been awfully quiet, what do you think?" Ron asked her.
She bit her bottom lip and glanced over at Harry quickly, and when he looked back she avoided his gaze and looked over at Ron for another moment before she answered him.
"Well, it might have not been the best move, Harry." She said hesitantly.
Harry looked at her with disbelief and opened his mouth to retort, she quickly cut him off.
"I know that's not what you want to hear right now, Harry, but speaking as I girl I know how she must feel. I mean, of course I know where you're coming from too, but I understand what she's probably thinking right now." Hermione said rather quickly to defend herself.
Harry closed his mouth and clenched his teeth but still managed to give a small nod of his head. Ron and Hermione watched him carefully as he thought it over and, after a moment, Harry could see where Hermione was coming from.
"I guess your right." He mumbled, giving Hermione a guilty smile.
Hermione gave a bright smile in return, hitching her bag over her shoulder more securely, as they continued down the uneven path towards the school carriages.
"Of course I'm right Harry, when have I ever not been?" She said teasingly, her brown eyes sparkling as Ron and Harry gave snorts of laughter. "Besides, I thought you liked Cho, what happened?" Hermione asked with a sly grin.
Harry choked on his own spit and looked at her, coughing as his cheeks started to turn red. She kept her grin on her face, watching him in amusement.
"You okay, mate?" Ron asked, patting him on the back.
Hermione watched as Harry's eyes nervously glanced at Ron and then to Ginny's back, and had to bite her lip to keep herself from laughing as Harry spluttered to answer.
"F-fine, and no, I don't like her anymore. She gets too emotional sometimes, is that normal for a girl, Hermione? You don't get moody a lot, well, only when Ron's around." Harry responded.
It was Hermione's turn to blush.
"I do not!" Hermione snapped, glaring daggers at Harry, who laughed.
"Whatever you say, Hermione." Harry shot back.
Ron looked at both of them, before shaking his head and starting to walk a little faster to catch up with the rest of the group.
"You are both bloody crazy!" Ron said playfully over his shoulder.
Harry and Hermione chuckled, and Harry watched as Hermione's eyes followed Ron. With a smirk he hurried to catch up too, stopping for a moment to whisper in Hermione's ear.
"I guess we both have a thing for redheads."
"How could you not see them? They were standing right in front of the bloody carriage!" Harry exclaimed as he, Ron and Hermione made their way towards the Great Hall.
"Harry, nothing was pulling the carriage, I think I would of noticed by now if something was." Hermione said, her eyebrows pulled together.
Harry looked at her incredulously, his mind spinning. The horses were huge and had wings, how the hell had she and Ron not seen it? The horses were right in front of them for crying out loud! Despite his confusion, he decided not to push it as they entered the Great Hall, not wanting anyone to hear him and think he was mental, it would just give people more reason to talk about him. As they started to make their way to the Gryffindor table Harry noticed the level of noise in the hall was low and the back of his neck prickled as he felt eyes watching him. Harry looked straight ahead at the Gryffindor table, ignoring the attention he was getting.
He felt the corners of his mouth pick up as Ron and Hermione started talking a bit louder, having noticed his discomfort, trying to get the attention away from him. He glanced up at them for a moment with a thankful smile before he went back to staring at his own feet, which were much less intimidating than the students watching him. Thankfully, by the time all three sat down, the volume in the Hall had risen again and Harry felt the tension leave his body for the first time since he walked onto the train that day.
Looking up at the staff table, he watched the teachers talk amongst themselves and let his eyes scan over each one, looking for anything out of place. Immediately, he noticed the absence Hagrid and felt a brief shock run through him. Still scanning the table, he saw a new face sitting beside Tonks, but didn't know who it was. The last thing he observed was that McGonagall was missing, this was no real surprise as Harry knew that she was collecting the first years to be sorted. With a jolt he realised this would be the first sorting he'd seen since his own.
"Harry!" A voice next to him said in a loud whisper.
Harry jumped a little and whipped his head to the side, mouth open, to find Ginny looking at him with an equally startled expression.
"Are you okay?" She asked in a small voice.
"Yeah, I was just thinking." He replied with a forced smile.
"The sorting's about to begin."
He nodded and raised his eyes up, following the little first years who waited nervously to be sorted. As McGonagall called them up to the sorting hat, Harry watched the first years scurry to the stool, a small smile upon his face.
Then, out of nowhere, his scar seared with a burning pain and at the same time an image flashed inside his head of him on the ground at the Riddle House, soaked in blood, obviously holding back screams of pain. Harry kept his eyes closed as a shiver ran through his body and took a deep breath. He chanted inside his head: it's over, it's all over. It didn't help. He found himself panicking, not really knowing why. Harry looked up quickly to see if anyone was watching him, student or teacher, and was relieved to find all eyes on the sorting. He quickly directed his gaze back at the ground.
Why was he suddenly having flashbacks of what happened at the Riddle House? Normally he could control where his thoughts went, so why couldn't he right now? He felt unease rise inside him like bile, something wasn't right. Maybe Sirius was right, I'm not ready to be here, not yet. As soon as the thought entered his mind Harry tried to shake it off, he was meant to be here, Hogwarts was his home. He was safe. Looking up at the staff table Harry could see Dumbledore giving his start of year speech, but easily blocked what he was saying as he calmed himself down.
He knew there was something wrong, but refused to believe that it was because he was at Hogwarts like he knew Sirius would. But Sirius wouldn't know this happened, Harry already knew what he would say and didn't like it at all. He was staying, staying with his friends and at the castle he called home, and wouldn't let anyone take it away from him. Shaking himself slightly to get rid of all the thoughts inside his head, Harry looked up and tried to listen to what Dumbledore was saying.
Harry wandered along the corridor, his eyes frantically searching for any door that he could find. Turning down the next corridor, a trickle of excitement went through him as he saw a door at the end. His feet started to hurry down the corridor without him being aware of it but he found himself not caring. He started to sweat as his heart picked up, he was finally close to what he was searching for.
Suddenly a figure emerged from the shadows, making Harry jump back as if he had been shocked. Straining his eyes, he tried to make out who the figure was but it was too dark. Fear replaced excitement as the figure approached him, a sense of dread engulfed him and, as the shadowy figure stepped into the light, Harry clenched his teeth together to hold back his scream. His red eyes glowed in the eerie darkness of the corridor, the all-too-familiar sinister smile forming on his lips, his cloak making it seem as though he was floating with each step he took. Harry stepped back. Voldemort continued to walk until he had Harry pressed up against the door, looking like a scared child as he pressed back as far as he could, trying to use the shadows to hide him.
"There's no use in hiding from me, Harry, I'll always find you." Voldemort sneered, his voice echoing down the hall.
Harry flinched, anger and fear mixing inside him. He wanted to do something - anything - but his body ignored his protesting mind. His eyes widened as he saw Voldemort pull out his wand, pointing it straight at Harry, who squeezed his eyes shut, his thoughts screaming for help. Voldemort's laughter filled his ears as he heard a curse fired, and just barely made out the green light behind his eyelids-
With a jolt, Harry opened his eyes and sat up quickly, searching the room, but found his vision blurry. His shaky hands searched wildly for his glasses and he jammed them onto his face as he pulled the curtain out of the way. With a sigh of relief his Gryffindor dormitory came into focus and, as he became aware of his surroundings, Harry could hear the breathing and snoring of the other fifth years in the room. Taking in a deep breath, Harry pushed his hand through his sweaty hair, leaning his body until his back hit the mattress, trying to make his body relax.
It was just a damn dream, Harry thought to himself, pulling the covers he had kicked off the bed over his body. But as images flashed inside his head of Voldemort, and the cold humorless laugh filled his ears, he couldn't help but think it wasn't. This is starting to get out of hand, Harry thought as he felt his body tremble from his dream. Was he becoming paranoid? Was his mind, conscious or not, going to keep reminding him of the danger that was awaiting him in the future?
Sirius. He might know why this is happening, maybe this was how it was like for him when he was in Azkaban, and maybe even after. But as Harry pulled back his covers to get out of the bed, realisation hit him. It had only been one day and he was going to go crying to Sirius. Was he really that weak? Could Voldemort have made him soft? If there was one thing Harry hated, more than Voldemort, it was showing weakness. To him that was telling someone the perfect way to destroy you and he refused to do that.
With a sigh he pulled the covers back over him, welcoming the warmth it brought to his body and, as a tired calmness crept over him, he felt his heart calm and his trembling stop. He shut his tired eyes. Don't worry about it now, it's not a big deal. Harry thought vaguely as he drifted off to sleep. Only time would tell how wrong Harry was.
A/N: Sorry for the short chapter! I promise the next one will be longer, but I could only put so much in this chapter without spoiling the next. I hope you all enjoy where I'm going with the story, because they're will only be a few things that were in the book in here, the rest is my story. Thank you so much for the reviews, I enjoy reading them! And about the Beta thing, I've have my Beta back, so I'm no longer in need of one. But thank you so much for the offers!! R&R!
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