Chapter 1 : trapped
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A/N: While I am mentally ill, I do not have PTSD. I did research to write this (I utilized Kaitlin's forum post on PTSD pretty heavily) and tried my best to be accurate. Also, this is a pretty experimental piece of writing for me, so I hope it turned out okay.
He has always been trapped.
Even when he was a child, too young to understand bloodlines and Blood Traitors, he'd been aware of it. Although Grimmauld Place lacked bars on the windows, he'd been able to tell somehow that this was his jail.
And now it is again.
Sometimes - most times - when Dumbledore comes over, he has to leave the room and go up to the attic until he leaves. His anger towards the old man frightens him. He gets the urge to break, destroy, run, and if he has to witness Dumbledore's stern gaze one more time he thinks that he may not be able to control himself.
What the hell does Dumbledore know? Does he think that locking him up in this house is keeping him safe? He has never been safe here, never.
Blood traitor, abomination, shame of my flesh; sometimes he goes to pull the curtains shut, only to find that they were never open in the first place.
Everyone wonders what's wrong with him. He can feel them all walking on eggshells, see the way they avoid his eyes. They say he doesn't have to be alone, but not a single voice comes to his defense when Snape calls him a coward, and he knows what they're all thinking - he’s fragile, he’s weak, he’s gone soft -
He was in Azkaban, doesn't anyone remember he was in Azkaban, doesn't anyone remember besides him? He escaped, only him – or he thought he did. Now they’ve trapped him again, locked him up in helplessness and foul memories - they are mocking him, taunting him, he is sure of it -
It's much too dangerous-
He scratches the walls until his nails tear and his fingers bleed.
It makes him furious. Others spill their blood in alleys and on unmarked battlefields; he spills his here, in this nightmare house, where it is useless. He would trade places in an instant. But no one will listen to him. They look at him with pity in their eyes. He doesn't want their fucking pity, he wants out.
The lamps in this house all flicker, and the curtains are restless with drafts. It's cold. He lights fires in the hearths and he casts as many heating charms as he can muster, and he's still cold.
The cold creeps over his skin, travels his veins and claims his lungs. Each time it catches him off-guard, he lets out a long breath, one heavy with panic, and frantically checks to see whether it lingers in the air in front of him. It never does, but he's never convinced.
He can see them. They're in the shadows, they're in the dark corners of the house, they're all around him, they're inside him; when it gets too quiet, he can hear them breathing, the ghastly rattling sound that has been the unrelenting soundtrack of the last 14 years of his life.
Innocent, innocent, innocent – is he? He is. But innocence has taken on a bitter undertone. If he is innocent, why has he been condemned to this pathetic half-life? He'd be better off dead than innocent-
When he sleeps, he leaves the lights on.
There's nothing there-
There's blood on the walls, there's blood on his hands, James' blood and Lily's blood and the blood of thirteen Muggles whose names no one can tell him. Red used to be a happy colour.
He starts locking himself in the attic with Buckbeak. He stops going to meetings.
Every moment, the walls get tighter around him.
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