His head hurt. That was as far as he got in accessing his waking condition, before he was forced to roll sideways on the soft surface that he was lying upon and spew his gut over the edge and onto the floor below. He let out a pitiful moan and tucked his burning forehead into the crook of his arm, attempting to shield his eyes from the light assaulting his closed eyelids. His head didn't just hurt, he realized. No, his brain was practically pounding against his skull with all its might and demanding it be released from its confines. His stomach rolled a second time, as a particularly jarring wave of pain punctuated through his cranium and caused his entire being to wither and contract in response.
"Harry?" a male voice asked urgently, followed by the shifting of floorboards and the sounds of someone kneeling down beside him.
He flinched, as a hand came to rest upon his back. The pressure of the hand lessened the slightest bit, but did not disappear.
The man's worried, yet hopeful tone caused him turn his head in the direction of the man's voice and valiantly squint his eyes open. Gold-hued light flooded his vision through his eyelashes, instantly sending his head into a painful, stationary spin. He ignored the increase of nausea and the fresh pain shooting from his optic nerves to his abused and throbbing brain and forced his vision to focus on the figure hovering over him.
"Harry?" a man with sharp, angular features, a mess of black hair atop his head, and square rimmed glasses shielding his hazel eyes asked, now sounding more concerned than he had before.
He blinked at the man, finding the name 'Harry' to be very familiar, as well as finding the man to be just as familiar to him, though he wasn't sure why. Delving into his mind, despite the mother of all migraines afflicting, he attempted to locate the name 'Harry' and the man in his memories. And just like that, it was as if a dam broke. Memory after memory flooded his awareness - two lives set side by side - two lives aligned harmoniously with smooth and flawless transitions from one lifetime of memories to the next - two lives that truly couldn't have been any more different from one another, yet both were his and he had lived and experienced both in their totality. There was no confusion, no warring of emotions or thoughts within him, as the memories continued to rush back to him. He knew his past with perfect clarity. He knew his present, as well as what could be and what needed to be done, with that same perfect clarity. Most importantly, he knew who he was. He wasn't two separate Harry Potters. He was a single being: Harold'Harry' James Potter, son of James Charlus Potter and Lily Annabel Potter nee Evans, brother of Bethany Laurel Potter, and godson of Sirius Orion Black.
It wasn't until the memories stopped and the present once more asserted its precedence over the past that Harry realized that he had been screaming and had turned back into the sofa to press his forehead back into the crook of his arm with his eyes firmly squeezed shut. So much for only a bit of pain, he grumbled mentally, as he gasped for breath and winced at the raw feeling now possessing his throat. He had been lying to himself in more ways than one, when he had assured himself that merging his existence would only hurt a bit. Sure, as long as he had remained unconscious and within his mind, he hadn't really felt the physical strain of having a constant flow of concentrated magical energy ripping through his divided conscious and forging it into a single awareness. Being awake and facing the aftermath, however, was a whole other matter.
The shaking of his shoulder was insistent and his father's voice was near frantic.
"I'm all right," Harry said, forcing the words to form and become vocalized. He wasn't exactly 'all right' so to speak, but he would be, and that was what his father truly wanted to know. "I could do with a headache reliever though." Though he'd rather use Occlumency to block the pain, he knew better than to attempt it. With his mind still afflicted by the trauma of merging his two selves, using even the smallest amount of magic, with his mind as its conduit, to alter his perception of pain would only lead to greater pain, not less.
"A fever reducer and a stomach soother as well," James murmured, as his hands moved to feel the back of Harry's neck and to touch the teen's forehead.
"Just the headache reliever," Harry refuted, rolling carefully back on to his back, while keeping his eyes shut. His brain did not need optical stimuli at the moment. The light from the oil lamps that was reddening his closed eyelids was bad enough. "I don't want to be so doped up that I can't think straight."
There was more shifting of floorboards. Then a hand that was colder than James's hands pressed against Harry's forehead.
"I only have a fever and an upset stomach due to my head attempting to murder me," Harry said in an attempt to reason with the two men, as he knew that if his godfather agreed with his father's assessment, they'd force the potions down his throat, despite his unwillingness to consume them. Considering that he was certain that just sitting up would send him toppling over due to a severe lack of any semblance of equilibrium, he'd say that their chances of success were exceedingly high at the moment.
Harry couldn't help but whimper, as Sirius's cool hand withdrew from his forehead. He settled quickly, however, as a conjured washcloth that was damp and even colder than Sirius's hand was pressed to his forehead mere seconds later. It didn't do much for his gut wrenching, skull splitting headache, but it sure felt good against his blazing skin. The fact that the cloth slipped over his eyes only served to make his condition all the more bearable.
"If Mayra were here, she'd put him under until his fever goes down."
Harry opened his mouth, inclined to protest, but stopped himself, upon quickly realizing that sleeping off the pain would be preferable to suffering through it. "Sounds like a plan."
The two men, who had taken up a whispered conversation that Harry had quite been paying attention to, ceased their quiet exchange.
"You want to be knocked out?" Sirius asked for clarification, sounding bewildered.
"It's better than being conscious," Harry said, while reaching up to press the damp washcloth more firmly to his forehead. It had already absorbed a good amount of heat. "My head is killing me. Either get me a headache reliever or knock me out. I really don't care which."
"I'll be back," Sirius said softly and gave Harry's shoulder a comforting squeeze.
As Harry listened to his godfather's receding footsteps, he felt his father refresh the charms on the washcloth. He let his hand fall back at his side with a sigh. "Thanks."
"I know it probably doesn't help much," James said sympathetically, "but it might keep your fever somewhat in check, until Sirius gets back."
"Did it take me the full 24 hours?" Harry asked, wondering just how long it had taken to consolidate his existence.
"A little over," James said. "Another ten minutes and you would have hit the 26 hour mark."
Harry hummed. 24 hours hadn't been a bad estimate. He probably should have told his father 30 hours just to be on the safe side, though, so his father wouldn't have had to worry. He could tell by the strain in his father's voice that the last 26 hours hadn't been kind to the man. "Are you okay?" he asked with concern.
James gave a shaky laugh that sounded somewhat forced. "As long as you're all right, I'll be just fine."
Silence fell between father and son. Harry focused on his breathing, the steady pound of his heartbeat, anything but the pain assaulting his head.
"It did work, didn't it?" James asked tentatively, his voice barely above a whisper.
Harry reached up and pushed the washcloth back from his eyes. He winced at the light reddened his closed eyelids, once more, before pressing onward and fully opening his eyes. Intense pain pierced his cranium and a wave of nauseas churned his stomach at the optical exposure. By sheer willpower, he endured both sensations and looked to his father. "It worked," he said firmly.
James held Harry's pain-clouded gaze for a moment, before nodding, his face an indecipherable mask and his eyes gleaming ever so slightly behind his glasses. "That's good."
Harry offered his hand to the man with a hint of uncertainty. He knew his feeling and his thoughts, but his father had been hesitant about the merge. With the man's face so closed off, he wasn't sure how his father felt about him now that he was neither the 13, almost 14 year old that the man had come to know, nor the 23 year old, who went by the name of Porteur and who his father had silently disapproved of and had struggled to trust.
"I love you, Dad," Harry said with open honesty, hoping that his sentiments would be return.
James hesitated for only a moment, before taking Harry's offered hand in his right hand. "I love you too, son."
Harry's smiled ever so slightly, relief washing through him. "We're okay?"
"We're okay," James confirmed and did his best to give Harry a reassuring grin.
It would take time, Harry knew. The persona of Porteur was a large part of him, just as his teenage self was a large part of him. He and his father were going to have to adjust and make compromises, if they were to retain the close relationship that they had shared. He could see it in his father's eyes that the man knew as much as well, but was willing to make an effort all the same.
When Sirius returned several minutes later, Harry consumed the multitude of potions that his godfather all but ordered him to take. Upon swallowing down a vial of Dreamless Sleep, he welcomed the relief that the potions offered and allowed unconsciousness to have him.
When Harry next woke, he immediately noticed that he was very warm and very comfortable. As he roused from the depths of blessed darkness, he yawned and habitually scrubbed the last vestiges of sleep from his eyes. Upon opening his eyes to world around him, he stiffened and blinked a few times, while slowly taking in his altered surroundings. He was no longer sprawled out on the sofa in the Black Library, though it didn't seem that he had been removed from 12 Grimmauld Place entirely. The dark wood floors and the faded and pealing wallpaper on the walls were recognizable enough to him as belonging to the ancestral home of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black, as were the overall dark atmosphere of the home and the just noticeable stench in the air.
Sunlight streamed into the unfamiliar bedroom through a lone window that had its curtains drawn back and cascaded across the floor, creeping around a dark green, wingback armchair and cutting in a bright strip across the foot of the roomy four-poster bed that Harry was lying in. Harry pushed back the finely embroidered comforter covering him and sat up. For a brief second, he experienced the dizzying sensation of a head rush, as he adjusted from lying horizontal to sitting up vertical. With careful movements, as to not provoke another head rush, he moved to the edge of the bed and swung his feet over the side. He grimaced as his skin came in contact with the cool floorboards.
With a quick glance about the bedroom, Harry located the rucksack that he had brought with him to Grimmauld Place resting on an antique sideboard to his left. The shoes that he had been wearing were set before the sideboard, while the clothes that he had been wearing were neatly stacked on the sideboard next to the rucksack. Getting up out of bed fully, he stretched. He couldn't remember the last time that he had felt so well rested. It had definitely been months in this world, years in the other world.
With at first careful steps that progressed to a normal speed, he crossed over to the sideboard and exchanged the flaming red night robe that he had been dressed in for his familiar clothes and shoes. Once he was dressed, he looked to the nightstand beside the bed for his wand. Not seeing it, he turned to his rucksack. His ash wand was tucked inside, resting atop the change of clothes that he had brought.
"Still a piece of shit, I see." Harry glared mutinously at the wand, as it is fail to yield properly to his magic, yet still performed the mouth refreshing spell that he had cast upon himself.
Deciding that getting a new wand had just been labeled'urgent' and moved to the top of his list of things to do, Harry slipped the ash wand between his belt and the waistband of his trousers, as the tan trousers lacked pockets on all fronts. Jeans, he thought firmly, deciding that getting his hands on a couple pairs of decent jeans was a must as well, or at least a couple pairs of trousers with pockets. Plus a wand holster. He added the item to his mental list. In fact, I better make it a whole new wardrobe. He truly did love his mother dearly, but she had no sense of practicality. He couldn't go tromping through muddy trenches and fighting Death Eaters in trainers and mere cotton trousers. Not to mention, the bright plaid shirts and the dashing robes would be spotted a mile away and were not at all conducive to dueling or any other sort of fast pace movement, such as running for one's life.
Impractical, completely ridiculous, Harry ranted, as he opened the only door to the room with full intentions of tracking down his father and godfather. Now that his head wasn't attempting to murder him, they had some very important issues to discuss. His wand and his wardrobe being amongst other pressing issues, such as how to explain his shift in personality and what his intentions were in regards to the impending war that was set to begin its second round in less than a year. He wasn't certain how things would pan out. However, at the current moment, only his father, his godfather, and he knew what he had done and who he actually was. They all needed to get on the same page, in regards to who could know what and exactly what said person or persons could be told. Yes, very important issues, indeed.