Chapter 19 : Chapter Nighteen: Help Is Always Given
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A lone hooded figure made its way down the full moon lit path bathing the street, the streetlights above flickering slightly at the magical power radiating off the man walking. Luckily it was almost midnight, and most of the Muggle's in the area would be tucked away in their beds sleeping. The figure continued down the road before he came to a stop at an old worn down house in between the house of 11 and 13, which didn't appear to anyone who didn't know the secret of Number 12 Grimmauld Place. The man turned and walked past the rusty gates that guarded the front yard and only stopped when he reached the door. He knocked twice to announce his arrival before openly the door and letting himself in, shutting the door with a loud creak behind him. As he made to take his cloak off he heard Sirius walking down the hallway, and made sure to keep his face in the light so he wouldn't be hit by any curses. Sirius entered the room with his wand drawn out in front of himself, but relaxed as he saw the man standing in his house.
"Albus! I wasn't expecting you till a bit later. Follow me." Sirius said, motioning Dumbledore to join him as he started to walk down the hallway.
"Did I scare you Sirius?" Dumbledore asked with amusement evident in his voice.
Sirius and Dumbledore entered the living room where a roaring fire was lit in the fireplace, giving the room a warm glow, and made for the couch in front of the fire. Sirius looked at him and gave Dumbledore a mock scowl, but gave a short laugh and shook his head as he sat down in the chair on the side of the couch.
"You should be proud of yourself, old man. Sneaking up on a prankster. But I can't help but feel a little jumpy, I've become paranoid." Sirius replied, grabbing his glass of firewhiskey from earlier off the coffee table.
"It appears so."
Dumbledore settled on the couch with a smile and poured himself a glass of firewhiskey.
"So, you received a letter earlier today from Ms. Granger that concerns Harry?" Dumbledore asked, getting to the point of his visit.
Sirius took a swig of his drink before answering, "Yes, and I usually wouldn't make a big deal out of a single letter, but what she said left me worried. I knew that the events in the Chamber of Secrets would effect him, but I didn't know how, because he reacts differently to every situation."
Sirius grabbed a slightly crumbled letter off the table and handed it to Dumbledore, who took it with a withered hand and adjusted his glasses before he started to read. Sirius watched him for any reaction but unsurprisingly Dumbledore kept his emotions in line, and looked over at Sirius when he came to the end.
"Hmm, well Harry's behavior is very interesting." Dumbledore finally said.
"Interesting? It's bloody weird, unlike him. One day he's joking with them, the next he's quiet, and a few days after that he's ignoring them and snapping at everyone! Hermione thinks something happened either Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, because that's when he took to staying in the library and doing anything but hanging out with them, or Ginny, or any of the Weasley's!" Sirius ranted, his hands making gestures as he talked.
"I know why you are concerned Sirius, and I can't help but think Voldemort is somehow involved in this." Dumbledore quietly answered.
"Voldemort?" Sirius asked in shock.
Dumbledore nodded his head, "You heard me correctly. We both saw that figure of Voldemort appear in the Chamber, even though it was only an illusion, it might of said something to Harry enough to make him question something. With Voldemort's return and the connection him and Harry share we knew that Voldemort would try to use that to his advantage. I believe that through his Horcrux he could of tried to mess with Harry, to make him question something enough to make him withdraw from his friends."
Sirius took his time registering what Dumbledore told him, not wanting to believe that Voldemort would try to hurt Harry again so quickly after the kidnapping.
"Is there anything we can do? That I could do?" Sirius asked, almost pleadingly.
"What we can do is let Harry know we are here for him whenever he is ready to talk. You, as his godfather, might be able to get through to him easier. You and Harry share a connection that runs very deep, similar to the one he shares with Remus. You understand him more than either of you believe. If you push a little he may open up and tell you, and even if it doesn't work right away he'll know that your there whenever he needs to talk to someone." Dumbledore responded.
Sirius nodded, picking up his glass and drowning the last of his firewhiskey, his throat already used to the sting.
"Thank you Albus, for all your help." Sirius muttered, picking himself off the chair.
Dumbledore rose as well and put his hand out and shook hands with Sirius, a sincere smile on his face.
"Not a problem at all."
Harry secured the towel tightly around his waist as he stepped out of the shower, the room full of steam, and used his towel to unfog his glasses before he put them back on and walked over to the counter, and grabbed another towel to dry his hair with. His frustration from his small fight with Ron still lingered from earlier that day, just as he got over Ron's accusations he made in the Great Hall, Ron opened his big mouth the next day and asked Harry why he wasn't talking to either himself or Hermione. Harry snapped at Ron to leave him alone and skipped the class he had that day, which had been Divination, not that he would miss anything worth knowing.
Gritting his teeth, Harry used his hand to clear the steam off the mirror in front of him and started to rub the towel into his scalp. He knew that after his decision to keep his friends away from them for their own safety, that his friends would fight him, even if they didn't know why they had to in the first place. But Harry didn't tell them his decision, because it made it too real and he wasn't absolutely sure he wanted it, even though he knew he needed to protect them. Harry had never really been the one to snap at people and he knew it, he just became irritated quickly for some reason the past month and didn't really know what triggered it. Puberty, he thought with a shrug, throwing the towel he used to dry his hair on the ground and grabbed his comb.
After he finished getting the knots out of his hair, he dried he rest of his body and put on his boxer along with his sweats and a t-shirt, and got out of the bathroom. Looking at the muggle clock he kept on his nightstand he found it was only seven thirty, which was way too early for him to even consider going to bed, so decided to grab his copy of 'Quidditch Through the Ages' off the coffee table in the Common Room for something to do. Climbing down the stairs Harry spotted red hair by the table off to the side of the stairs, and quietly descended the stairs. But as he got closer he noticed the hair was longer than any of the Weasley boys and realized it was Ginny, and felt guilt rise in him.
Surprisingly she was the only one Harry never snapped at, but just gave her a small smile as he passed, because out of everyone else Ginny never asked him what was wrong, but treated him like a normal person, giving him the space Ron and Hermione never did, and he appreciated it immensely. Harry passed her and made for the coffee table in front of the fireplace, seeing his book and reaching for it.
"Harry?" Hermione asked, curled up on a chair near the fireplace with thick volume placed in her lap.
"What?" He asked, grabbing his book, purposely turning his back towards her.
"Ron mentioned you never showed up for Divination, I just wanted to make sure you were okay." She said in a shy voice.
Harry closed his eyes and sighed, knowing she was scared that he would snap at her like he had for most of the week. Guilt flared even more in his stomach, so he turned to face her with a soft smile on his face.
"I'm fine, I just needed some space." Harry replied, not looking her in the eye.
"More space? Harry, we've been trying to give you enough space to deal with whatever you're going through, but it's like your distancing yourself away from us on purpose."
Harry felt his irritation override his guilt and tried to control it, knowing Hermione had enough of his rude behavior.
"You two have been nagging me every time I don't talk, do you really blame me for wanting to get away from that?" He asked.
Hermione flinched a little at that, clearly hurt by his words.
"I know you two only do it because you care, but I need my space." Harry quickly added, not wanting to be more of an ass than he had already been.
Before Hermione could say anything else to him he gripped his book tightly and turned away from her, making his way back up the stairs and to the fifth year dorm, feeling guilty and irritated, but confused as to why he felt both. He opened the curtains around his bed and went to sit down, but Hedwig knocked her beak on the window beside his bed, and he went to open the window in confusion. When did I send Hedwig out? He wondered, watching her make her way into the room and to him, with a letter gripped tightly in her beak.
"Hey there girl, what do you got for me?" Harry asked, holding his arm out for her to perch on.
Hedwig landing on his arm and clucked her beak enthusiastically, and Harry removed the letter from her mouth and looked down at the writing on the front. The letter was addressed for him, in Sirius' handwriting. Harry almost dropped the letter in shock, not remembering the last time he had written to Sirius. Was something wrong? As Hedwig removed herself off his arm and made for her cage, Harry ripped the envelope open and grabbed the letter out.
Is there something you wanted to tell me? A little birdy told me that you've been acting strange this past week. Someone (and I won't say who) sent me a letter concerning your behavior, and it worried me. You never told me what the locket said to you down in the Chamber of Secrets, but I believe it said something to scare you enough to stay away from people. Am I right? Has anything else happened? If you need to talk face to face all you need to do is tell Dumbledore that you need to talk to me and you can Floo to Headquarters for a while. We need to do something, because you never act like this, and you need to fix your behavior before you loose any of your friends. Please, just come and talk to me.
Harry set the letter down on his bed and bit his lip, thinking over what Sirius had wrote. Should I tell Sirius? What should I tell him? The weird dreams I've been having, the thoughts, what the Horcrux said? Everything, a little voice in his head told him. Harry felt conflicted and scared, what if he was going crazy? But Harry's heart tugged at the thought of getting everything off his chest, at the chance of getting help with what he'd been going through. Harry ran a slightly shaking hand through his hair and laid out on his bed, his heart fighting a voice in his head saying 'Don't do it, it's none of his god damn business!' After thinking about for an hour going over the pro's and con's, with his tiredness creeping in from sleepless nights, his heart won; he would tell Sirius everything.
The day past quickly for Harry as he found himself making his way to dinner in the Great Hall, planning on having a quick dinner before asking Dumbledore for permission to visit Sirius to talk. Entering the Great Hall Harry found it almost empty, since dinner was almost done with, which was when Harry usually liked to come so their weren't as many people around. Harry sat down on the bench and made a small plate of food, finally noticing how little he had been eating for the past week, but ate the little amount of food he had on his plate and drank his glass of water. When he finished he stood up from the table and looked towards the teachers table and saw Dumbledore was missing from his chair. Looking around the hall, Harry noticed Dumbledore leaving the hall, and hurried towards him.
"Professor Dumbledore!" Harry called, catching the mans attention.
"May I help you Harry?" Dumbledore asked informally since no other student was around.
"I was wondering if I could use the fireplace in your office to Floo over to Grimmauld Place for a while, I need to talk to Sirius." Harry asked in a quiet voice.
Dumbledore smile, almost as if he was glad, "Of course, Harry. Take all the time you need. Follow me."
Harry gave a shy 'thanks' and followed Dumbledore down the corridor until they reached the Griffin statue that lead to Dumbledore's office, which Dumbledore gave the password (Licorice Wand) and together they made their way for his office. Harry lagged behind as Dumbledore searched his desk drawers for his Floo Powder, looking around until Dumbledore found the little pouch and handed it to Harry, wishing him a goodnight. Harry waited until Dumbledore was inside his living chambers before he threw the Floo Powder in the fire, watching it roar to life and turn green, and then stepped inside.
"Number Twelve Grimmauld Place!" Harry yelled over the fire.
Harry tucked in his elbows as he traveled through the Floo Network, making sure to keep his mouth closed so he didn't inhale any soot. Harry stumbled as he landed in Sirius' fireplace, but surprisingly a pair of arms caught him.
"Harry!" Sirius said in surprise, "I didn't expect you so soon."
Harry smiled and hugged Sirius, noting that Sirius didn't look like a skeleton anymore and added on some much needed weight that Azkaban robbed him of, and looked healthier than ever.
"I didn't expect to come here so soon myself." Harry answered, biting his lips hesitantly.
"So you read my letter? I'm glad you came, we need to talk. Come sit." Sirius motioned to the couch in front of the fireplace where a copy of the 'Daily Prophet' sat, with a picture of Fudge on the front page. Ignoring it as Sirius set it on the table in front of them, Harry sat down beside Sirius and looked down at his hands, not knowing where to begin.
"Before I ask you anything else, I want to know what happened in the chamber." Sirius said.
Harry hesitated before he began, "When I used Parsaltongue to open the locket, it exploded and a figure of Voldemort appeared, and I didn't notice anything else that was happening. I was so focused on him and felt so afraid, I felt like I was back in Little Hangleton. He told me that everyone around me died all because they knew me and... and that it would destroy me."
Sirius didn't hesitate as he pulled Harry into a hug, holding Harry to himself as he felt his godson shake. "You know none of that is true, Harry. Voldemort is the reason your parents are gone, along with Cedric and everyone else Voldemort has killed. It's all his fault."
Harry buried his head against Sirius' shoulder, drawn towards the physical comfort he had been long denied. When Harry didn't argue back Sirius took it as an agreement to his words, and simply held Harry, knowing that this was the most Harry had probably talked without snapping at anyone.
"There's... There's more, Sirius." Harry finally spoke up after a few moments.
Sirius nodded, giving Harry the time he needed to recollect himself.
"I've been having these weird dreams for months now, about a dark corridor and a locked door that I can never open, and a few times Voldemort's been there waiting for me, cornering me and taunting me about how no matter where I go that he'll be able to get me, that I can ever escape him. I'm not finished," Harry said as Sirius started to open his mouth, "I-I've been having weird thoughts too. I keep convincing myself that Voldemort will kill everyone I love because they're connected to me, and with what happened in the Chamber of Secrets amplified that fear, along with the nightmares that came along with it. I finally told myself that distancing myself will make it hurt less when you all die."
"Bloody hell," Sirius whispered, hugging Harry even tighter to him, "No wonder you've been acting like this. You should of said something earlier, I could of helped. Merlin, why did Albus have to be right?" Sirius ranted, petting Harry's hair.
"What are you talking about?" Harry asked.
"After I got the letter from Hermione I called Albus to talk about what she said, and Dumbledore had a feeling that Voldemort might use the connection to mess with your thoughts, and it looks like your dreams as well. Maybe your emotions." Sirius explained.
Harry felt all the color leave his face at the thought, and felt himself start to shake, "He can do that through the connection? What the hell am I gonna do Sirius?!" Harry asked with rising panic.
"What I need you to do is calm down, I need to talk to Albus and even Poppy about this, they might know something you could do to block him out," Sirius let go of Harry and lightly pushed him down, making Harry lay out on the couch, "Now I know you're exhausted, I can see it on your face. You didn't sleep good last night did you? Or any night this week?" Harry shook his head, feeling like a five year old as Sirius grabbed a blanket and covered him with it, "I want you to relax while I Floo Albus, I don't want you to worry about your friends and classes tomorrow, just try to catch up on your sleep."
Harry nodded and tried to control his shaking body, telling himself that there was nothing he could do right now, except for to calm down and sleep. He heard Sirius call for Dumbledore and start to talk quickly, explaining the situation, and Harry closed his eyes, allowing the sound of Sirius' voice to calm and lull him to sleep, feeling safer than he had in a while. After about a half hour, Sirius finished talking to Dumbledore and Harry was half asleep, and he walked towards the couch and kneeled in front of Harry.
"Albus is coming over in the morning to explain what we're going to do, and you're excused from all you're classes since I'm keeping you here. I'll be in the kitchen if you need me, I'll be using my mirror to talk to Remus." Sirius explained.
Harry hardly heard him though, but gave a soft nod of his head. Sirius gave a soft chuckle and kissed Harry's forehead, and frowned when he felt a slight fever. Harry was literally getting sick from all the stress he was dealing with, and Sirius was glad that they might of found a solution to help him.
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