How To Cope
“NO, Uncle Vernon, please, I'm sorry, please stop, I'll do anything!” almost everyone in the Gryffindor tower was woken by the terrified screaming of one Harry Potter, as he pleaded with his uncle for some reason. When he saw what was happening Ron Weasley immediately took charge, “Neville, run and get McGonagall now, Dean, get Dumbledore now, take Fred and George with you, they know where to go. Everyone else get back, give him some space.”
It was five minutes later that McGonagall came bursting into the dorm, with Neville behind her, to see Harry, still in the throes of a nightmare, screaming in pain and terror, tears streaming down his face. McGonagall immediately started casting spells to silence Harry, while giving him more room. While this was happening Dumbledore came through the door with Snape following close behind. “Severus, I need your potions expertise now, as I am going to try and wake him, and I may need a calming draught for him.” As he said this Dumbledore moved over to Harry and gently grasped his shoulder to wake him, but he didn't anticipate Harry's reaction.
As soon as Harry woke up he brought his knees to his chin and started rocking back and forth after drawing away from Dumbledore, who reached over again to Harry, who started screaming in terror again, causing Dumbledore to pull his hand back quickly, and motion to Ron to attempt physical contact with Harry. Ron immediately tried the contact, but flinched as though burnt when Harry screamed again. Dumbledore turned to McGonagall and started speaking to her, “Minerva, could you please bring Miss Granger up here.”
McGonagall left the room to get Hermione, who had been one of the few not woken by Harry, and brought her to Dumbledore, who turned and spoke to her, “Miss Granger, I would like you to try and approach Harry, to comfort him please, but please approach him slowly.” When Dumbledore finished speaking Hermione turned to Harry, and after gasping loudly at him, she ran to Harry, but stopped just short of him, and spoke quietly, “Harry? It's Hermione, are you OK?”
As she was speaking, Hermione was inching her hand to his shoulder, to give his support, and was instantly surprised, when, after the contact was made, Harry his arms around her, and started sobbing into her shoulder. Dumbledore had a contemplative look on his face, before he spoke, “It seems that something has happened to Mr Potter that has shattered his trust in all males. For a while Miss Granger I am going to have to ask you to stay with him and comfort him, while I make arrangements, one of which will be to have him moved into the third year girls dorm if there are no objections.”
It was Snape who raised an objection and proved to everyone just how petty he was, “How do we know, Headmaster, that this wasn't a ploy by Potter to be sequestered with the girls, therefore allowing him to take up his father's mantle as a man whore?”
Ron was the one to answer the question, shouting at Snape, “Who the hell do you think you are, Snape, there was nothing at all fake about the screams of terror from Harry, so in future, keep your nose out! You can still see the terror he is going through now!”
Everyone turned from Ron and could see he was speaking the truth, as they saw the terror in Harry's eyes as he looked at all the males in the room warily. They all saw him whisper something in Hermione's ear, as he pulled her tighter to him. “Professor,” Hermione started, “Harry has asked that he be taken somewhere away from any men, he is really uncomfortable in the presence of them.” It was McGonagall who answered her, “Of course Miss Granger, shall we take him to your dorm room, then? At Hermione's nod McGonagall shrunk Harry's trunk and all his possessions, to be taken to the girls dorm, while Parvati and Lavender went to Hermione to help move Harry.
Everyone saw the large, but involuntary twitch that Harry made when the two girl touch him, but, to their relief, fortunately he didn't draw away, but still kept a tight hold of Hermione. The four slowly made their way to the dorm, in the wake that McGonagall had made as they followed her to the foot of the stairs that led to the girls dorms, where Harry was given clearance to ascend them. As there was very little else for her to do, Parvati was given Harry's possessions to take to them with her. Once there they noticed at fourth bed in the room, set close to Hermione's, so that she could look after him if she needed to.
Hermione and Lavender led Harry over to the fourth bed, and lay him down to let him sleep, but when Hermione tried to pull away she felt Harry's grip tighten, and heard him whisper, “Please, stay with me Hermione.” in such a small voice she felt her heart break for him, and what he must have gone through. She quickly nodded her head and lay next to him holding him close to her.
Every night Hermione would lay in the same bed as Harry so that she could support him, and be there if he had any nightmares.
For days on end Harry would have a panic attack every time someone came near him, with it eventually coming to a head when Malfoy grabbed Harry's arm refusing to let go, until Harry's magic lashed out, nearly killing both of them.
Eventually, on the ninth night that he had been in the girls dormitories, he finally broke down and told Hermione what had happened.
She lay with him silently for two hours just holding him quietly, letting her love for him show, until eventually she heard Harry speak quietly, “It was my uncle Vernon, Hermione, he... he...” Harry knew that he had to ease the information, so that he wouldn't frighten Hermione, “Hermione, when I was seven my uncle did something horrid, something absolutely vile. Hermione myunclerapedme, he did it repeatedly, he made me do other things as well. He hurt me greatly Hermione, I hate him, I hate him with all my heart, but what's worse, is that I hate myself, I hate that I couldn't stop him, and I hate what he has made me.” The last part was said with a choked sob, “He made me feel little more that a whore Hermione, and hate myself. He always said that I was a freak, and that I was worth nothing, that it was all I was good for, what if he was right, Mione, what if I am just a freak to be abused?”
Harry was startled when Hermione almost shouted at him, “Harry, you are worth infinitely more than that, no matter what you think, what your uncle did was not your fault, he is a sick and depraved individual! No one should have to go through what have, but if I have to, I will spend the rest of my life proving to you that you are a worth while person, you are the best person I know, to be so strong, kind and loving after what you have through.” She tightened her hold on him, and kissed him gently on the head, before she spoke again, “I can understand if you say no, but would you be alright with me letting Dumbledore know what happened, after all he will be able to help you in the long run?”. Harry didn't respond verbally, as he was falling to sleep again, but Hermione felt an almost imperceptible nod against her chest as Harry finally slipped into sleep again, this time without dreams.
The next morning was quite a shock for Harry, as he found himself being held be Hermione, who had stayed with him even after he had shared what his Uncle had done, who was still fast asleep, despite Harry flinching, due to the contact with Hermione. When Hermione finally woke up, she was surprised to find Harry in her arms until the events of the previous night caught up. Noticing that Harry seemed to be scared again, Hermione hug him tighter for a few seconds, letting her love for him pour out through the hug.
The first morning they had hit upon a complication, as they needed to get ready for the day, but Harry seemed completely opposed to being left alone, until Hermione hit upon the idea of asking Harry if he needed constant skin contact with a woman for the moment, and if it had to be her, or if someone else could be their for him when it was needed, which Harry answered verbally, replying “I would prefer it to be you, but if for some reason it cannot be you then someone else will be acceptable, why, do you need to go somewhere?” Harry started panicking greatly at the thought that Hermione was abandoning him. Hermione noticed that Harry was panicking, and quickly tried to calm him down, “Harry, it's OK, I was just going to go to the bathroom, and get ready for the day, I was just going to ask Parvati or Lavender to sit with you.” Hermione could see the relief flooding Harry's face, as he realised that Hermione would not leave him behind.
30 minutes later
Harry had been surprised when both Parvati and Lavender agreed to sit with him while Hermione sorted herself out, however, they soon hit upon a complication, Harry sorting himself out, before Hermione had an idea. If Hermione blindfolded herself then she could hold Harry's hand, while he did what he needed to, and the idea had worked brilliantly.
--End Of Flashback--
Now however Harry and Hermione stood outside of Dumbledore's office, waiting to be admitted. When they were admitted they were quite surprised to find Dumbledore surrounded by the teaching staff that Harry and Hermione associated with the most, which resulted in four men being in the room, leaving Harry feeling very uncomfortable, the only thing keeping him from fleeing was Hermione, as she wrapped her arms around him and whispered that it would be OK, and that they wouldn't hurt him, as they would have to get past her first.
Everyone in the room noticed the sheer panic in Harry's eyes when he entered the room, and it was not lost on them that Hermione was able to calm him down somewhat. When Hermione indicated that Harry was calm enough to continue, Dumbledore started speaking, “I am quite sure that you were surprised by the fact that my staff are here, but we were talking about what to do concerning Harry, and I assume that is why you are here.”
Hermione nodded to Dumbledore, and then turned to Harry to quietly make sure that he did indeed want everyone to know, and when he nodded, she turned back to Dumbledore and started speaking, “Last night, as with previous nights, Harry didn't want to be left alone, so I lay in bed with him to ensure he was alright,” all the professors looked shocked at the admission by Hermione, “after quite a while, Harry started speaking, and he told me what was wrong, and I want an oath that what I am about to reveal will not be passed on to people who have no right knowing.”
The professors looked uneasy about that, as they knew that something really bad would have to happened for Hermione to ask for an oath, but they all gave their oath eventually. “Now that we have sorted that out,” Hermione resumed, “While I held Harry, so that he would feel as happy as he could, he revealed something to me, something, that I cannot say in front of Harry, for his own peace of mind, however, Professor Dumbledore, after reading about you I know that you have a Pensieve, so I would prefer to show you the memory, please, do this for Harry, you will understand why afterwards.” Dumbledore quickly agreed, and after removing the memory from Hermione, he and the staff entered the Pensieve.
In the ten minutes that they were alone Harry broke down and started sobbing again, as the memory of what happened hit him once again. When the professors returned and saw Harry crying they were not surprised, but Hagrid, not using any common sense ran to Harry to comfort him, Hermione tried to stop him, but Hagrid kept going, and drew Harry into a hug. All of the other professors and Hermione noticed Harry panicking greatly, nearly going into a seizure, until Dumbledore managed to restrain Hagrid.
After Hagrid was restrained Hermione lashed out at him, shouting louder than she ever had before, “ARE YOU AN IDIOT? YOU HEARD WHAT HAPPENED TO HARRY, AND YET YOU STILL TOUCH HIM, DID YOU NOT NOTICE THAT WE WERE IN THE GIRLS DORM? HARRY TRUSTS NO MALE AT THE MOMENT, AND THEM YOU JUST ABOUT ASSAULT HIM. USE COMMON SENSE IN THE FUTURE, PROFESSOR”, once Hermione stopped shouting at Hagrid, she turned to Harry, and gently pulled him into a hug, to ensure he was OK, before asking Snape if he had any dreamless sleep potion with him, which Snape nodded to and passed it to Hermione, who asked Madam Pomfrey to verify it was indeed dreamless sleep potion, before giving it to Harry, who immediately slipped out of consciousness.
When Harry did fall asleep Hermione turned to Snape, who looked insulted, until Hermione apologised, “I'm sorry Professor, but Harry wouldn't have taken it from a man unless it was verified by a woman, that is how deep Harry's mistrust is, Harry is turning every male into a pseudo uncle, and as such, he doesn't want to be near any, and he won't accept anything from them.” When Hermione finished speaking Snape understood, and thanked Hermione.
After finding out what had happened to Harry, Snape was able to see that he was not his father, and that Harry was a truly damaged person, who had been forced to endure something truly horrible.
After Hermione and Snape had finished talking McGonagall asked the question that was on everyone's mind, “Miss Granger, why is it that you have been able to calm Mister Potter down, when he has been panicking?” As she finished speaking McGonagall threw a dirty look at Hagrid, who looked ashamed at what he had done.
She was brought back when Hermione started speaking, “This is something I asked Harry myself, and it is because of two things, first, he trusts me more than any other person on this earth, and second, even if it is just through hugging him, I am the first person to have truly shown him love that he can remember, and he feels a closeness with me because of that. Though he is comfortable enough with any female, his first choice would be me, and on the first morning I asked if he would be comfortable with either Parvati Patil or Lavender Brown he started heavily panicking thinking that I was abandoning him. I would even go as far as to say that he needs me.”
It was at this point that Dumbledore decided to test a theory, “Miss Granger, I would like you to stop holding Harry and stand up for a minute please.” Hermione very reluctantly let go of Harry and stood up, at which point Dumbledore placed his hand on her shoulder to prevent her from going back to Harry, when she saw that he had started panicking, his head thrashing from side to side, as he flailed his arms about. Dumbledore quickly let go of Hermione's shoulder, at which point she sat back down and gathered Harry in her arms. He immediately relaxed as he subconsciously recognised Hermione's presence next to him.
“Now, if you have no further need for Harry or me I will take him back to our dorm, and let him relax. Please let us know later any conclusions you some to, thank you.” With that said Hermione gently picked Harry up, absently noticing how little he weighed, and slowly carried him out of the room and down the stairs, before setting off for the common room. When Hermione entered she wasn't surprised to see a fair few Gryffindors milling about. Though they all stopped and looked at the door when they noticed she was carrying Harry through.
Ron immediately jumped up to help Hermione with Harry, only stopping when Hermione told him to stop, and to leave Harry, before she turned to Angelina and asked for help, knowing that Harry had a slight friendship with her through Quidditch, not paying attention to Ron's look of anger. All of the people in the room were surprised when they noticed that Harry seemed to snuggle closer into Hermione when he somehow noticed that Angelina was approaching. It was Angelina who asked about it first.
“I've just been in Dumbledore's office with Harry, in an attempt to find some way for me to look after Harry all the time, last night as I held him for his comfort, Harry told me what happened, and before anyone asks I won't be repeating it to anyone that Harry doesn't want to know, but, I showed all the Professors present the memory of what happened, and when it finished, Hagrid, that,...that,... that moronic, imbecilic, thick idiot,” When Hermione finished insulting Hagrid, Ron sniggered because they weren't Hermione's usual sorts of insults, showing her close friends just how much it angered her, “he raced at Harry, and pulled him into a rather forceful hug, despite my warnings not to, and Harry freaked out, and I had to give him a dreamless sleep potion to calm him down.”
Hermione took a deep breath after her tirade, and gave Ron a sympathetic look before she continued speaking, “After what happened, the memories were repressed, but it all came rushing back to him last night. But, at the moment, Harry doesn't trust any male, and he trusts barely any female, as far as I can see, the only person he trusts at the moment is me, and he seems to know when I am not touching him, as he starts to freak out.”
Everyone in the room looked at Harry with something akin to pity, not noticing that Hermione was becoming angry again, “WHY?! Why is it that everyone always looks at Harry with pity, and treats him like fragile glass when something unusual or bad happens to him, and yet anyone else gets a slap on the back, and a comforting word, you all know that Harry hates pity, he hates that people seem to think that he is weak.”
Everyone looked at Hermione in shock, as they started to realise that she was right, but they never got the chance to verbalise these thoughts as Hermione asked Katie Bell to help her take Harry up to bed.
Hermione could honestly say that she had never felt so angry in her life, firstly, because of Hagrid acting like such an idiot, when it was bloody obvious that Harry couldn't stand to be touched by men at the moment, and secondly, those imbeciles down stairs, always alternating in how they decided to treat Harry, alternating between fear, hero worship and pity, assuming they had the right to do so.