Disclaimer: I'm not JK Rowling nor do I make any money off of this
Warnings: Minor swearing
Thank you all for your reviews! You're fantastically awesome.
After the less than positive experience of telling Hermione about his 'dear relatives', Harry was hard-pressed to tell anyone else about them, much to the chagrin of Professor Snape. Time and time again the man had offered to provide more support for whomever he decided to grace this information to, yet the boy was reluctant to even think about doing that. He'd never wanted anyone to know about it in the first place, why should he have to announce it the world? Just what it do for him?
Besides make him cringe in embarrassment for days on end, it brought up all of the things he didn't want to focus on. He didn't have to think on those things at all now, especially with him at Hogwarts at least for the rest of the summer and school year. It would be better for him and his delicate sensibilities if he could just forget all of it, pretend that someone had loved him, and go on with the tenuous peace he had built up so far.
These ideas, of course, were obviously very different from what Snape thought was necessary for him- something about confronting his feelings and healing? That obviously was a load of rubbish, not that he was going to say that directly to the man's face. In the end he had the potential to be much happier if he just pretended, and that was precisely what he was going to do.
He had decided this course of action when laid back on the common room couch, feet up on the oak coffee table before him, and lazily perusing a book he picked up a while ago from the library. This was how he had often spent him time yet, suddenly feeling a bout of inattentiveness and restlessness, he flopped the book over after the last few pages he had spent skimming unseeingly into the text. The longer he sat reclined, the more he thought that he should be doing something of value, like touching up his summer homework, arranging to visit the Weasleys, or flying.
Anything really would be better than lying around, yet he could not muster the energy to invest time into those things. He had spent a large portion of the summer bursting out into hysterical sobs, dreading people finding out about the Durselys, confronting things he had no idea on how to confront, and so on; he supposed the last few emotionally charged weeks were the cause of his resultant tiredness. In his mind, this just reconfirmed the idea that he'd be better off forgetting.
Staring into the vast expanse of ceiling above his head, it only took a few minutes until his eyes started fluttering as he dozed off.
He was there once again. How he longed to join them, to fly among the masses of feathers which seemed to all be apart of some strictly choreographed dance, yet was nonetheless wild and free. With a heavy heart he realized it was not his time yet, nor was it his destiny. It was something grander, something larger than himself, something even larger than the forest which it was currently confined to.
Stepping past the trees, the boy felt the insatiable burning in his palm spread out through the thread of magic in his fingers and curl around his wrist, forming Celtic knots, and tapering off near his upper arm. The glamour he had worrying placed on them every day had crumbled away with the sheer power of the searing lights, and the very snow beneath his feet had melted instantly on contact with the outpouring of magical heat from his body.
The heat. The heat. It was unbearable and painful and loathsome, yet entirely necessary. It was infinitely worse than a fever- it was as if the very core of his body was engulfed in red, hot flame that vaporized his lungs into charred crisps and shot blazing beams straight through his arms. It hurt worse than anything he had ever experienced in his life, and he felt unprepared for the fires melting his insides, yet he did not pass out from the staggering pain. The heat controlled his mind too- it made his head numb, it gave him the bravery to step forward into the collection of birds, and guided him where he would need to be...
Heat. Heat. Heat. Heat. He woke up writhing in sheer agony, contorting into odd positions and screaming. He was dying, perhaps he had rolled in the common room fire... his organs were burned into dust... his chest... his arms...
Suddenly his eyes fluttered open, and he was staring once again at the ceiling up above. The moment the heat had started was the moment that it had evaporated from every pore in his body, leaving him shivering uncontrollably in remembered pain. He wasn't dead, far from it, nor was he burning, though he was drenched in sweat as if suffering from a bad fever. He was lying on the carpet, the book he had been reading pushed off from the coffee table and right beside him.
"What was that? What the hell was that?" he said aloud to himself, his voice being gruff and little more than a soft breathy whisper as a testament to how long he had been screaming. Petrified and shuddering, the boy latched onto the mahogany end table to his right and used it to haul himself up from the floor. He walked in frenzied, dizzy circles and then ran up towards the dormitory and just barely made it in time to violently vomit into a trashcan.
Harry felt weak and cold and afraid and just wanted it to stop already. He wished Snape was here, or Sirius, even though he knew the two of them would be horrible in this situation.
"Fawkes, can you hear me?" he whispered into the empty room, wanting desperately to be comforted by the bird. The phoenix often intuitively knew whenever he was in trouble, and he hoped that maybe the call would work. "Please."
Hugging his head into his knees, it was only a moment later when he felt the familiar grip of talons on his shoulder. The presence of the bird seemed to steady him, easing him back into reality with a touch of renewed vigor. Fawkes nibbled on strands of his hair, tugging at his scalp, as he usually did and while that had at first bothered Harry, the boy had now become endeared to the action.
It was a whole fifteen minutes before he allowed himself to think about what happened and immediately a flood of terrified questions filled his head to the brim, making him gulp despite the bitter taste in his mouth. Would this happen again? Would it happen every night? Did it do internal damage?
"I'm scared." the boy said, the childishness of the statement being completely overridden by the depth and horror in his voice. He wanted to verbalize his dreadful thoughts, he really did, yet he couldn't get the words to form in his mouth. "I want to know what's happening to me."
The bird nudged him gently and the small action immediately made the words bubble like froth up and out from his throat, spilling out of his mouth, "What's going on with my hands? I don't know and it's, it's weird and freaky and it hurts and I don't know if it's really damaging me or not... I thought I had it under control but I don't, I see that now, and that dream... there was this forest with these phoenixes and I have that dream often, but I took a nap, and I woke up and I felt on fire. That's never happened before, this is the first time but I don't think it will be the last- but I hope it is. I don't think I can ever go to sleep again if I know that I could wake up like that. Literally it felt as if my insides were burning up. I don't know if it's hurting me but I can't tell anyone, not even Madam Pomphrey, or Snape, and I can't get help; no one can know about it. I've just been figuring it out by myself. And, and, there was this house elf... and she, her name was Wrinkly, you see, and she said something about 'old magicks' and me handling some sort of 'destiny', but I don't wanna. It hurts and it's stressful and I can't deal with it, I just can't." he cried, adding, "I never asked for this to happen."
Fawkes continued to sift through his black mop of hair, preening him as if he were a baby bird.
"Whatever's happening to me is getting harder and harder to keep a secret, and think about how hard it will be to control when the rest of the students get back. If I make a mistake, or I wake up screaming, or the glamour breaks in class, or... or... freaky stuff happens around me then all of it was f-for nothing." Harry said, biting his trembling lip. "Just how bad does it get?"
The bird did not reply, did not chirp back in acknowledgement or even throw decipherable glances in his direction, yet his very presence eased Harry's mind slightly. As the memory of burning receded from his mind, the boy was able to more calmly view the situation. Besides the fire that ignited within him in the dream, it was interesting to note that the setting was in a forest during the winter time- did that mean he would find this mass of birds during the winter months? Or, was it just meaningless symbolism? How much of the dream was symbolism, how much of it was down right false, and how much of it was comparable to reality? At this point, he had no way of knowing, and the idea that he'd just had to sit back and wait was equally as terrifying as the burning.
Lost in his thoughts, he did not notice that a scruffy house elf had popped into the dormitory until Fawkes squawked in his ear. Blinking, he looked at the creature. "Hullo there, what's this about?" he asked, voice still raspy.
The creature blinked back at him with dish-plate sized, glassy eyes. "Sirs, Headmaster Dumblydoors wants to meet you in his offices." he said, voice timid and trembling as he handed a scruffy piece of parchment to the boy.
I was wondering if you'd stop by my office. I haven't seen you much this summer and I'd like to know how you're doing, if you'd give an old man the time.
PS. I like Salamander's Sasparilla
"Thank you." Harry said tightly, "Could you tell Dumbledore that I'm going to get ready first and I'll be up in a little bit, if he'd wait?"
The house elf nodded abruptly, disappearing with a pop.
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Replying to some reviews:
"I can't begin to tell you how fabulous your last two chapters were. Thank you for having Fawkes help Harry while he was worried about his meeting with Hermione. I'm sure that if it hadn't been for Fawkes Harry would't have been able to sleep at all.
Severus was wonderful to stay with Harry while he told his story to Hermione. I feel so sorry about his flashback, it is horrible not to be believed about abuse! Harry is a much better person than me by being able to forgive Dumbledore for placing him there, especially after he had asked not to go back. I hope that Hermione will realize how insensitive her questions to Harry were. Even now, for some reason, I doubt that she will realize she was in the wrong.
Incredible updates! Please post again soon!"
A: Yes! I'm glad you liked it, that chapter took a long time because I didn't want to disappoint anybody. It was really an important moment to write and I think it adds a insight into Harry's past, as well as his character and how the abuse effected him. I'm super happy I didn't mess up the scene, thank you for reviewing by the way... you make my day!