Actions

Work Header

Always Together

Work Text:

The class was pretty fun, no one could say that Professor Lupin was a bad teacher. He knew how to keep students entertained, at least that’s what Harry thought.

Seeing people’s deepest fears felt a bit too intimate for Harry’s liking, you were basically showing students what you fear the most. Perfect blackmail material right there.

The Ridiculus jinx made up for it though, seeing Snape turn into an old crone was hilarious and that spider falling like it was drunk got a chuckle out of him. Although he would have to get away from that Patil girl, she was a serial killer in the making if that terrifying clown was supposed to make her laugh.

But he had no time to ponder those thoughts anymore when he was thrusted forward, laughing at the friendly taunts, he turned towards the cabinet and squared up against it. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Professor Lupin get up, probably having the same idea as Harry.

Voldemort is going to appear in front of me.

He looked at his teacher and subtly shook his head. Lupin was confused for a moment before understanding shone in his eyes. He looked conflicted but Harry was determined, he wouldn’t back down. He wanted the challenge and face his mortal enemy, even if it wasn’t the real one, Might prepare me for next time he shows up, he thought snarkily.

Cowed but still wary, the Professor backed down. It was clear he was ready to jump at a moment’s notice if the students panicked after seeing the Dark Lord himself. The Boy-Who-Lived was confident though, I’ll turn that stupid creature into Pigmy Puff before he can even think of jumping in.

Now sufficiently ready, Harry stood in front of the cabinet and waited for the Boggart to show up.

It went pretty much downhill after that.

The creature jumped out of the furniture but surprisingly it didn’t turn into the embodiment of evil itself.

In front of him stood a door whose height reached his shoulders; it was pale in colour and had no distinctive features except maybe for holes which a human could see through if they were close enough. In the background were stairs which lead to nothing as it was cut off at some point, Harry honestly didn’t care, he could only see the door and what it truly was.

This is a cupboard, my cupboard he thought with dread creeping up his spine. But why? Why did this thing appear in front of him now? He left this part of him when he finally found Hogwarts!

Behind him, students were whispering and sharing confused glances, Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, scared of a door? It didn’t make sense and Harry would have agreed with them if he could hear what they were saying. Unfortunately, he was too focused on what was in front of him.

He tried to decipher what it meant, the cupboard never scared him, in fact, it was the only place where he was free from the torture of the Dursleys, where he made friends with the tiny spiders occupying his space.

Where he was all alone.

Movement finally registered in front of him and he flinched, it looked like the Boggart wasn’t finished what it saw in Harry’s mind. The door was opening, slowly, making a low sound that made everyone stand up in attention. It took five long agonizing seconds before it was opened fully, and all the boy could see was pitch black. Gulping he raised his wand, ready to humiliate the monstrosity but it again caught him by surprise.

It moved towards him, ready to claim him. His wand was slightly shaking in his hand and suddenly, a hand shot out of the cupboard and gained purchase on the side of the door. It was a child’s hand, baby fat was still noticeable on its chubby fingers. It slowly came out inch by inch, the mop of black hair was the first feature to appear with dull green eyes being more prominent when more of the body was showing itself. Hollow cheeks borne from malnutrition adorned its face with his mouth opened making an ‘o’ shape and of course, the lightning bolt shaped scar resting familiarly on its head.

This is me. Thisismethisisme.

He was panicking now, and hyperventilating was sure to follow. He made one last attempt to regain control, he looked into its eyes hoping to find the courage to fight back. The only thing he saw dullness and one single powerful emotion.

Loneliness.

And at that very moment, he knew what the Boggart was projecting onto him, he just knew. Sobs were already ringing into the classroom and he let his arm fall down to his side, defeated. It was then that Lupin shook himself out of his stupor and jumped in front of Harry shielding him from his worst fear. Harry didn’t notice, he was still in shock over what happened. People would later tell him that a strange glowing white orb stood in front of the man before he sent it away by transforming it into a balloon.

But right now, he couldn’t care less, silence rang into the classroom with only occasional whimpers from Harry. Suddenly his head shot up and he looked at the other students seemingly surprised that there were other people besides him. They all fidgeted, nervous about what to say and unable to handle the gaze he was throwing at them. Only two people came out of the crowd to take care of him.

“Harry…” said a soft feminine voice.

“Hey, mate…” tried to continue a deeper voice.

But he didn’t want their words, the pity and confusion that was going to appear on their faces. He needed… needed… something, anything to distract him from the humiliation he was going through right now.

So, he did the only thing he could, he ran away. He ran out of the classroom to relieve himself of the staring, the budding whispering which was now in full bloom when he stepped out.

He fled to parts unknown of the castle and eventually settled in an abandoned classroom where he was free to weep and hyperventilate to his heart’s content. It didn’t take long for him to get interrupted.

Hermione, his dear dear friend burst through the door “Harry! Are you okay?!” she rushed at him and smothered in a hug whether it was too comfort him or reassure herself, he didn’t know but it was nice to be held by his real friend.

Ron peeked out of the doorway and offered him a bashful smile “Hey Harry, you’ll understand if I don’t come and bear-hug you, I’m not ready to start rumours about us.”

The raven-haired boy chuckled despite himself before he came back to reality and his mask of sullenness came back.

The brunette let him go before stroking his cheek “Harry, what happened in there? What was that door? And why were you in there like that?”

She was firing these questions at break-neck speed and he faltered beneath the onslaught, not knowing where to start and even if he wanted to start.

Ron seemed to notice to hesitation and kneeled in front of him “Harry, we’re here for you if you need to get it off your chest mate.”

The boy looked up at that and stared at his friend’s blue eyes and only seeing sincerity. He then passed his look towards his female friend who was still quite close to him clinging to him as though he would disappear if she didn’t hold him. Her brown chocolate eyes were full of concern for him, her brows were scrunched up in worry.

That clinched it for him.

He took a large breath before starting “That… thing was me, from when I was still with the Dursleys. Or it wasn’t and it’s just a figment of my imagination.” His brows were furrowed trying to explain what happened and what it meant. His friends didn’t say anything and waited for him to continue.

He swallowed “I was neglected as a child.” A shock gasp came out of one person and shocked understanding showed in another, “It wasn’t a physically abusive relationship! At least not from the adults…” he tried to clarify, “I live with my aunt and her family. Her kind hates us, wizards I mean. They hoped that neglecting me would drive the magic away from me. They made me do chores all day and when that prove insufficient, they started to starve me. I was given the scraps of what they ate, it was just barely enough to stay healthy, but I managed.” He gave them what he hoped was a reassuring smile but all he could see was horror and guilt on their expression.

Finally, Hermione schooled her features and cleared her throat, “I-I see, that explains why you were so… malnourished, but why the cupboard Harry?” apprehension filled her eyes and I knew she knew what that door was.

“That was my ‘bedroom’ for my entire childhood, it’s where I slept and entertained myself when I was tossed in. As you can see, it left a profound effect on me” again, a smile to try and appease them, to show that it didn’t bother him, but he was fooling nobody.

“Is that your greatest fear Harry? This cupboard?” asked Ron still sporting a guilty expression.

He must be finally realising what the steel bars on my bedroom really meant.

He gave Ron a serious look and replied “No, it wasn’t that. The cupboard only contained my real fear.”

Realisation dawned on Hermione, “It was the child, this tiny you is your biggest fear.”

A reluctant smile bloomed on his face “Yes, or at least the idea of the child is.” Confused looks met him, and he released a sigh.

“Guys… This thing represents my life before Hogwarts. Before I met Hagrid, before Hedwig, before Hogwarts and before you. And it was ready to claim me back, take me to the days where I had no one, where I was beaten by my cousin and starved by my uncle. It’s the time of my life where I was alone and didn’t know companionship. My fear is losing what Hogwarts gave me, Love.”

Tears sprang from all of them and they all simultaneously went towards each other to embrace and comfort the lost boy. Sweet nothings were said by Hermione and Ron’s silent hug were all he needed right now. This friendship was what he needed, something real that he could grasp. The love of friends.

Finally, after a minute of holding each other, they let go of each other, eyes red from tears. The silence was suddenly broken by Ron.

“Well at least I understand better why there were iron bars on your bedroom when we saved you” he said not knowing the massive shit storm he just unleashed.

“WHAT?! Harry, they still abuse you??” cried an enraged Hermione. She turned towards the red head, “When was that Weasley?”

“W-What?” replied a thoroughly panicking Ron.

“WHEN THE FUCK DID THEY CAGE HIM LIKE AN ANIMAL?”

Ron, now whimpering in terror with Harry soon following answered “B-Beginning of Second Year, me, Fred and George got him out of there when he wasn’t replying to our letters!”

This did nothing to appease Hermione, “And when was I going to know that?” she snarled ready to chew him up.

The target of her ire was now inching his way out of the classroom.

“Don’t think you’re getting away with this Weasley. I’ll skin you alive!” she was well and truly mad now and the aforementioned Weasley scampered out of the classroom narrowingly dodging her spells. Harry quickly put an end to that despite his fear taking a hold of him

“Hermione stop! Ron saved me for Christ’s sake!”

She stopped her onslaught and turned towards him, her anger fully restored and now having a new target.

“And you! Leaving me in the dark when you’re hurting! Does our friendship mean nothing? How can you not trust me?” she was pacing back and forth while shooting him murderous glances.

Her comment stung “Your friendship means everything! For God’s sake I just opened up my heart to you does that mean nothing? I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about the incident, but as you might guess, it’s not something I like to remember.”

She deflated at that, “Oh Harry, I’m sorry I-I didn’t mean it like that, forgive me!” she threw herself into his arms now sobbing, “I just can’t believe everything you went through and I feel so useless for leaving you all alone in these times.”

“You didn’t know Hermione, it’s fine, if anything it’s my fault, please don’t judge yourself for this” he said while stroking her hair.

Her head shot up and fuelled determination entered her eyes “You’re not going back there.”

Now this caught him by surprise “W-What?”

“I said you’re not going back there Harry. These people aren’t your family, they’re monsters and I refuse to let them have you again. You’ll stay with me next summer.”

“Hermione are you even listening to yourself? Do you even know if your parents will agree to this?”

“Oh, they’ll agree, I’ll force them if I have to.”

“Hermione…”

“No buts! I can’t let you stay there Harry, I can’t lose you like this” and it was clear she wasn’t going to budge. To be fair, he wanted to believe in her, wanted to put his full trust in her and in turn Ron. Because that’s what friends did.

Seeing him falter, she put her head back on his shoulder “I’ll never leave you Harry, not anymore.”

And he believed her because Hogwarts showed him that Love was an amazing thing that anybody should trust. Now looking in her eyes he wondered if this old castle could teach him another type of Love with his bushy haired best friend.

“Always Hermione. Always Together.”