summary: These are the things that he remembers. He doesn't always wish that he did.
rating: going to say R, but this is a WIP so not definite
word count: ~3297
disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters and ideas herein are the property of JKR and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
notes: for imprintofadream. (eta: sorry about the lack of a cut before, christ. i was half-dead by then, alas.)
part i; guilt is the cause of more disorders
When Harry Potter was two-years-old, he called his Aunt Petunia “Mummy”.
He'd been hungry, so hungry, and how come they didn't hold him like they held Dudley?
So he'd lifted his chubby little arms, flailing them about, and called it out.
Sometimes, if he tries hard enough, he can still feel and hear the slap that Uncle Vernon gave. He had the bright, purple bruise for a week.
Dudley would poke it, over and over, and while Harry would cry out in pain, his Aunt and Uncle would yell at him to shut and quit your whining, boy! Dudley would clap his hands and jump in glee.
One time, after a particularly mean jab in the face, Dudley had ended up across the room. Harry hadn't touched him.
That had been the day that he was introduced to the cupboard under the stairs.
When Harry shows up at the funeral arm-in-arm with Luna, Dudley is crying. It strikes a vindictive pleasure in his chest, see? Now you don't have a Mum either. Can I poke your face, can I hurt you, can I laugh? He tries to strike it down. It won't stay.
He wonders why he bothered coming in the first place.
There's a wild wind, but the sun is high in the sky, glaring down heat.
“...it's the Lord,” his Uncle Vernon says from in front of the casket, “welcoming his daughter home.”
No, Harry thinks. It's Satan preparing her for the heat.
Luna squeezes his arm, pressing him against her side. He relaxes.
They stand on the very outskirts of it all, under a tree that only provides mediocre defence against the sun, and none at all from the wind. He props the collar of his woolen grey coat, the one with too-many-buttons, protecting his face from the bite of the breeze.
“If one would like to gift Petunia one last gift before we lower the casket, now is the time.”
Luna prods him forward, placing the unnamed-flower in his palm. He takes her hand, silently asking her to go with him. She does.
When Harry walks forward, he hears twin gasps of surprise, but he ignores them and doesn't turn back until he has tossed the plant in. It's blood-red against white and pale-yellow, and he knows that Aunt Petunia would hate it. He bites his lips to avoid smiling.
He's really not a nice person, he thinks, but fuck it all. If he wants to be mean right now, with the people that just completely fucking – if he wants to, then he will, godammit.
Afterwards, when most of the guests have left and only his cousin, uncle, and a few stragglers remain, Harry approaches them. Luna stays next to the tree.
“Dudley.” He nods his head vaguely in the direction of his uncle as acknowledgment. “I'm sorry for your loss.”
Dudley smiles, a small watery smile, and opens his mouth to say something in reply. Uncle Vernon, looking as... large and nasty as ever, with more than a couple extra gray hairs, beats him to it.
“Sorry for your loss? You'd better show some respect for her, boy! Don't even know why you bothered showing up, she wouldn't have wanted you here. And you brought one of your folk?”
Harry raises an eyebrow. Fingers his wand in his pocket.
“I invited him, Dad. And he came, didn't he? You said he wouldn't if I did, but he came.”
Uncle Vernon shuts up. Harry had almost forgotten just how much better he looks with that shade of purple. Defying skin-tones at every turn, isn't he?
“You got my birthday gift, didn't you, Harry?”
Harry nods, and Dudley grins. “That's good. Good. Thanks for coming, really. It... it means a lot to me. To us.”
Harry avoids snorting at the addition, but accepts the hand that Dudley holds out to him. Somehow, he manages a smile for his cousin and another nod, before walking away altogether.
He waits a few minutes, until everyone has gotten into their cars and out of the cemetery, before Apparating away with Luna to outside Hermione and Ron's house.
He kisses her, desperate and in need of reassurance that he's fine, he's fine, before pulling away, breathless, and ringing the doorbell.
“How'd it go?”
“Fucking terrible,” he sighs, accepting a kiss on his cheek from Hermione as he walks in. “Absolutely fucking terrible.”
“Oh, it can't've been that bad.”
“His Uncle had an over-infested nest of Snorkacks,” Luna offers quietly, moving toward the living room.
Harry nods. “Yes. Many Snorkacks. Ugly, nasty, intolerable Snorkacks.” Hermione snorts, rolling her eyes. “Dudley was pleasant enough, though. I think he defended me, actually. Huh.”
When Harry Potter was five-years-old, he met his Aunt Marge.
She was an ugly thing, with her facial hair and... bulk, tons of bulk. She was 200-pounds of pure nasty.
“He's a runt, that one. Those are usually put down; root the bad ones out.”
“See, Dudley, he's real man. Has good weight on him. Don't know about that other one.”
“If it'd been me, I would have left him outside in the cold. Never have to even see his face.”
“I always knew his parents were worthless scum. Never met them, mind you, but with some people you can just tell. Just like this one.”
She would constantly set her dogs on him, and one time, when he'd just been tired, so tired, and paused his running for just a second, they'd gotten him.
It took him three weeks to heal, because Aunt Marge had refused to waste her gas to drive him to the nearest hospital, fifteen minutes away.
There's a series of gash-scars on his right thigh and he can't lift things quite as heavily with the opposite hand.
It's Hermione that finds him, Flooing into his apartment to invite him out to lunch with her and Ron. They'd been away for the weekend, visiting Charlie and his boyfriend in Romania along with Ginny. Harry had opted out, claiming that he didn't feel too well.
He sits on his bed and he doesn't cry and he doesn't think.
And he eats nothing, he drinks nothing, he does not get up and he --- he thinks that he should but that would require so much effort, so much energy, and he isn't sure that he has any of that right now. He gets up to pee once, in the middle of the night, but he doesn't remember, and isn't sure he wants to remember much of anything.
Hermione shows up Monday afternoon. Her smile is bright, her eyes sparkle and she carries two bags of something for him wafting over and scent-teasing his brain, and he thinks that he might be hungry.
But then she is on the bed and he feels very sorry for upsetting her, so he says nothing.
His arm wraps around her torso, and he stares blankly at the wall.
Closes his eyes, because it hurts. It hurts.
Harry's waiting in the small sitting room, the only one there, flipping through an old Daily Prophet. His face is glaring back from the pages, not taking it lightly that he can barely exit a bar with Ron and Hermione without making the front page—Saviour Seen Out And About: Could He Be Getting Back Into Dating Scene?
(It's fucking bullshit, and he's tired of it.)
It's the most obscene time Hermione could gain – six fucking AM in the morn', and he's curious about who could possibly be in there with the Mind Healer right now. He knows for a fact that getting the Healer in two hours before the office officially opens hadn't been easy for Hermione, and there'd been money and just the tiniest-status-abuse from Hermione, so this person must be terribly good at bribing.
It's Draco Malfoy that walks out, blanching when he sees Harry before holding his chin up high and leaving. Harry wonders if he can even see the floor from the level his head is at.
Harry snorts, getting up and walking to and through the door.
He finds a woman waiting there, standing with a smile and tapping her wand against her thigh. The room isn't exactly how he'd imagined it, with these light orange walls that just seem to brighten it up somehow, and the two different seats facing the green one of the Healer.
“Good morning, Mr Potter. Have a seat, please.”
He murmurs a greeting in response and chooses to sit in the dark chaise. It's comfortable enough, but makes him have to sit straighter. The Healer lets out a low hum and takes her own seat, crossing her trouser-clad leg over the other.
“It's nice to meet you. I'm Healer Holbrook, but as we're all for building comfort, Anne would be perfectly acceptable. All your choice. As is, I will be calling you by your first.”
There's a small table next to her chair, and from it she takes a piece of parchment and quill, tapping her wand to the quill, which then connects to the sheet, perking up.
Seeing the look of apprehension on Harry's face, she assures, “Everything said here and with all my patients is confidential. The only people who will ever know what goes on here are you and I.”
“Harry, if you could describe yourself in one word at this very moment, what would it be?”
Harry sighs, biting his lip. Hesitates. “I – destructive.”
“Your emotions? As many as you can name.”
“Aggravated. Angry. Bored. Confused. God, I don't know.”
“Because – I feel like I'm in limbo. There's nothing to do anymore, and I think I may just go crazy.”
He's going along with it all, because either she fixes him or she doesn't. Maybe he's fucking broken beyond repair and nothing can help. Maybe.
“When you say anymore... does this have to do with the war in any way?”
Harry blinks. Doesn't respond.
“Hmm.” The quill scribbles away. “What's going on in your life?”
She raises an eyebrow. “Nothing? Nothing at all?”
“What, you don't know every aspect of my life like the rest of the world?” ...thinks it does? Her lip curls down a bit, into a slight sneer. “I have my opinions about the papers and their... sources. I will not assume I know anything about your current life unless you tell me so yourself. Do you understand, Harry?”
He nods, and kind of likes her.
“Completely. But honestly, nothing. I spend my days staring at walls and visiting my godson.”
“Yes. Teddy Lupin.” His throat constricts.
“Lupin? I've heard the name before. I think – yes, it was from that new werewolf law, giving them better rights than before. Am I wrong?”
“No, you're right. It was named after his father. He... he is – he was a werewolf. It was hard for him to even get married to his wife, because of his... condition.”
She says nothing, but looks at him with scrutinizing eyes.
“Good for you, then. I've always thought that their alliance with... him could have been avoided had the Wizarding World at large respected their rights a lot more. Don't you agree?”
“Yes,” Harry agrees, smiling fondly, “I do.”
When Harry Potter was eight-years-old, he learned his mother’s name.
There'd always been mention of his parents, really, and they were never particularly kind mentions, but Harry clung to those mentions, in the way that children can cling, analyzed every detail until there was nothing left and convinced himself that there was no reason they could be that type, because then they'd be like his relatives and he rather liked to think that the Dursleys were a different species altogether. They certainly acted like it.
Harry had been inside his cupboard, and he supposed that Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon had stopped there for some reason or the other, because their voices came through a lot more easily than usual.
“He just disgusts me so much, Vernon. Replica of his father, glasses and all. You should have seen when she -- Lily, I’ve always hated her name, you know -- bought him home to tell our parents they were getting married. Mum was so excited, started planning that very second. What type of name is Potter, anyway?”
“I agree completely, Tuney.”
“Don't call me that.”
And he never did.
The thing about them, about him and Luna, is that there is no them.
She is waiting for Neville and he is waiting for no one.
It's convenient, and not as awkward as if should be, when she stays over and he makes breakfast for two.
It's not a relationship, so they are free to break it at any moment. If Harry sees someone that he'd like to fuck, then he fucks him or her, and when Luna gets too drunk at parties and starts getting touchy with Ernie, then that's okay.
“Luna,” he asks one day, “you know I love you, right?”
She leans into his chest, and the sheet covering them lowers a bit, displaying the leg loosely wrapped around her own.
“I do,” she murmurs. “And I love you, too. But it's not enough, is it?”
He sighs. Tightens the grip of his hand on her hip. “No. No, I don't think it is.”
It would be so much easier if it was, though, and they both know that. Not much they can do about it.
So they continue on about their business, and they have sex, and it's fine.
“How was your session?”
“Hello to you, too, Hermione.”
She huffs, putting her quill down and standing up to step around the desk and hug him, tight. She seems to be doing that more than usual, like right after the war when she'd touch him, Ron, everyone, every couple minutes or so as if to make sure that they were still there. Still alive.
“Hello, Harry.” She goes back to her seat. “How was your session?”
His lips curl into a smile, and he sits down in the chair in front of her, crossing his legs.
“It's fine, I suppose. How much longer do I have to do this?”
“You've only been doing it for a month. I'm sure that you cannot be tiring so quickly, Harry.”
“You know, there are some new positions here, at DMLE. Ron says that Robards it still dead-set on getting you to be an Auror.”
“I noticed. His owls come every day, twice on Sundays. But Hermione, I'm not working in the Ministry.”
“Well,” she says, crossing her arms and leaning backwards, “where are you going to work?”
He blinks. She sighs.
“You're so difficult. And stubborn.”
Grinning, he replies, “You say that like it's a bad thing. Have I told you about Malfoy?”
“Once or twice. Every time you go to a session. He's not up to anything, Harry. He's there for the same reasons you are: to talk to someone.”
“Then why's he go so early in the morning?”
“Why do you?”
She's far too good at getting him to shut up, he realises.
Harry drums his fingers against his thigh, murmuring low under his breath.
“It's three,” Hermione tells him, and Harry stands abruptly, gives Hermione a kiss on the cheek before briskly walking out.
Harry loves Thursdays. On Thursdays, he getsTeddy, all the way up to Monday afternoon, and he adores his godson, quite a bit. He's been in the boy's position, except that he refuses to let Teddy be in his, and as such, there will be no shipping off to crap relatives.
It scares him to even think of Teddy living with the Malfoys, though he suspects they might not have accepted him in the first place. Or maybe they would have. He can't say that he understands or knows the family as much as he'd like to think.
When he gets to Andromeda's house, they are already waiting for him outside the front door and Teddy runs towards him, shouting, “Papa!”
He exhales hard, tries not to smile. It's Andromeda's fault, really, in telling Teddy that, “Uncle Harry is really just like your papa,” when the boy was one and just starting to learn words, and though he's fairly certain that Teddy knows that Harry isn't actually his father, the address has stuck ever since.
His hair is a bright blue today, and his eyes have transformed to mimic Harry's, deep green. His hearts thumps, and he loves this child so much that he can't believe it sometimes.
He picks him up, stepping back a bit from the weight, and greets, “H'lo, Bear.”
“You really must stop calling him that, Harry. Half the time, he refuses to acknowledge me unless I call him Bear, and unlike some people, I believe in using proper, given names.”
Harry lightly bounces Teddy in his arms, turning and bowing his head to accept the raspberries against his cheek.
“Which do you like better: being called Bear or Teddy?” he asks his godson, and when the expected “Bear!” rings out, muffled against his cheek, he winks at Andromeda before taking the small bag with Teddy's stuffed animal and blanket and Disapparating.
“Hermione, would you terribly mind getting pregnant?”
Harry hears a plate fall and break, and though he can't see, he's fairly certain that it's Ron.
Hermione raises an eyebrow. Frowns. “Why?”
“I need a child. And I was thinking that if maybe, we give them a couple aging potions, they'll be old enough to play with Teddy sometimes, don't you think?”
She stares at him. “You're in a better mood.”
“Well, yes, I suppose, but that's beyond the point. We were talking about — and see, I think it could work. Nine months can't be all that long, can it? And then, with the spells or potions, we'll only have to wait another week at most before Teddy has a playmate.”
“Harry, you're clearly suffering from some sort or delusion that makes you assume that I'll get pregnant any time soon and so I think that you should go to sleep. Now. Good night, I love you, and am very glad that you are happy. Go to bed.”
She pulls her head out of the Floo, and yawning, Harry does the same, thinking that maybe sleep would be good after all.
Half an hour after he's almost-but-not-quite fallen asleep, he feels Teddy climb onto the bed with him. Sighing and making room, he allows his godson to curl up against his chest, stuffed wolf in hand.