Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Bonds of Love

Broken Bond

by kinoth 2 reviews

The bond that once protected Harry is now killing him by inches. Can it be stopped and who will be able to shoulder the burden?

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Action/Adventure, Humor, Romance - Characters: Dumbledore, Fleur, Flitwick, Harry, Lily, Sibyll Trelawney, Snape, Tonks - Warnings: [?] - Published: 2006-11-28 - Updated: 2006-11-28 - 5858 words

Harry sighed and scrubbed his eyes wearily. When Dumbledore had explained what was needed of him at breakfast that morning, he had decided that out of all the participants, he had the easiest job- simply stand or sit in the center of the magical circle and let the others cast their spells.
Three hours later, the only participant not casting spells seemed to be the person most drained by the experience. The ritual circle throbbed in counterpoint with his heartbeat and Flitwick's piping voice slashed through his concentration like a knife thrust. He hadn't even notice that the professors had taken a break until a soft hand cupped his cheek.
Harry looked up into the concerned eyes of Fleur and gave a wan smile. "'m just tired, Fleur."
The quarter-veela gave him a suspicious look, but dropped the subject after he gave her a more composed smile. Instead, she turned and dantily picked her way past the various runes that comprised the ritual floor. Once she was back with the professors and Tonks, the Charms professor raised his wand again. "Ready, Mister Potter?"
"Sure." Harry mumbled tiredly as the pounding began again.
Sometime later the assembled adults stopped their spellcasting with weary sighs.
At Headmaster Dumbledore's bidding, Harry made his way to the edge of the double circle, careful not to disturb the various runes and Arithmantic equasions scribbled within. As he moved to step out of the circle, his foot encountered resistance, slowing as if pushing against a mattress. He looked up to the confused eyes of the professors, Madame Pomfrey, Fleur, and Tonks.
"Um, a little help, please?" he asked.
The apprentice mediwitch and the auror hurried forward to grab his arms and pull him across the plane of the barrier. Curiously, neither witch had any problem putting their arms across the barrier themselves. With their help, he was slowly pulled through, struggling all the way.
Once his head broke through the other side, gravity reasserted itself and the green-eyed boy took a couple of stumbling steps forward.
"What in the world-" was all he could get out before being tackled from behind by the two young witches. Seemingly with one mind they divested him of his shirt and had begun clawing at his jeans when three other female voices screamed "Stupefy!".
As Tonks and Fleur slumped unconscious at his side, Harry blew out a breath. "Good God. Than-"
Once again, panic set in as this time the three older witches looked at him with naked lust written on their faces.
Before he could take more than a step back, the redoubtable Professor Flitwick had stunned McGonagall, Vector, and Pomfrey.
Shaky and pale, Harry fell to his knees. Without all the commotion, the pounding he had believed was the ritual circle reasserted itself, leaving him feeling drained and weak. He tried to regain control of himself, but it seemed as if someone was brushing his attempts at control aside. He shifted and almost fell over Tonks, his hand slamming into the unconscious Auror's back. As he did, his out-of-control magic eased, and his shakes lessened. He looked up at the paired faces of the professors still conscious. "I think," he began, forcing a calm evenness to his tone, "I need a few minutes."
Dumbledore's eyes still managed to twinkle a bit as he gave the younger man a hand up. "Excellent idea, Harry. I will let you know when lunch is ready."
After making his way through the door, Harry stumbled into the far wall before forcing himself upright. Feeling as if he was cursed to be perpetually tired and involved in weird happenings, he made it to his bed moments before passing out.
Lunch was a dismal affair, made more so when Flitwick and Vector explained their findings from the morning's exploration. The Arithmancy professor explained- without meeting Harry's eyes- that the spell resisted most of the identification charms used, so many of the observations were made by watching how it didn't react. It covered Harry like a second skin, hiding detailed information within the corona of Harry's own magical signature. They could date the casting to within a half-year of that fateful Halloween night, and unlike normal, non-externally powered spells, the ward seemed to be just as powerful- if not more- than when it had been cast.
The joyless mood was not helped by Tonks' and Fleur's sniping. The two younger witches sat on either side of him and had spent the meal shooting each other dirty looks and making veiled insults. He half expected them to start a catfight with him in the middle! Finally, though, he could take it no longer.
"Both of you need to stop. Now." Harry growled, placing a hand on both their arms. As he made contact with their skin, a powerful, blissful wave of serenity nearly caused him to slide bonelessly from his seat. Both women snatched their hands away as if stung.
"What in the bloody hell was that?" the three gasped, startled.
Professor McGonagall opened her mouth to scold the three for language, but the diminutive Charms Professor interjected instead.
"Incredible! I had kept a magic-viewing spell up, and when you three made contact, the ward flared to life and grew stronger." A bittersweet smile crossed his face as he continued. "And as it flared, Lily Potter's face appeared over Mister Potter's head."
Not surprisingly, chaos broke out among the professors and Harry at that point as to what that meant.
After quite a bit of discussion and emotion- and little useful information- Dumbledore caught Harry's attention and spoke softly. "Don't read too much into this until we have a better chance to study the situation, Harry. Remember what I told you in your first year when your touch effected Quirrel."
The dark-haired wizard stared at the aged man before closing his eyes and taking a deep, slow breath. "Thank you, Headmaster. You're right."
Kindly blue eyes lacked their customary twinkle as they met green. "This is simply a suggestion, but you may wish to use this time to get some peace and quiet. Professors Flitwick and Vector will likely be discussing this for hours more."
Sparing a glance at the two, Harry had to agree. Both teachers were spitting rapid-fire ideas at each other almost too fast to follow. The Arithmancy professor was making a point by wand-writing against the wall, and Flitwick was gesturing wildly while speaking in his piping voice. The rest of the inhabitants of the kitchen were paying rapt attention to the two.
"Yeah, you're right." Quietly he slipped out of the kitchen and made his way to the first-floor drawing room. Fortunately, no one seemed to notice his departure in the cacophony. Unfortunately, the room he entered was inhabited by a glowering dungeon-vulture named Severus Snape.
The Potions Master looked up when the door creaked, and their eyes locked. Harry felt the faint pressure of a Legilimency probe touch his outer defenses before it was hastily withdrawn and the older wizard actually cringed back.
"Come to gloat, Potter?" he asked hollowly.
The younger wizard scowled at the implied insult. "No, Professor." He paused for a moment and felt the faint stirrings of triumph at how defeated the man looked, but the more he thought about it, the more disgusted he felt for being proud of what he had done. "I didn't mean to intrude." He stepped back into the hallway and began to pull the door to when Snape's voice stopped him.
"Potter- Mister Potter." The Potions Professor's voice was oddly neutral.
Harry stepped back into the room and shut the door softly. In all of the dimly-remembered revenge fantasies he had, he thought a time like this would fill him with a triumphant joy. Instead, he just felt bitter that the whole of the Potter-Black-Snape hatred had come to this.
"Was... was everything you showed me true?"
Harry sat down in a wingback chair, keeping a respectable distance from Snape.
"Yes, professor."
The short, blunt answer seemed to rock the other man.
"You knew nothing of your heritage, your parents?" The longhaired man asked, bewildered.
"I was a 'freak', and told that my parents were worthless wastes of space killed by a drunk driver."
The older man hunched in on himself. "So that first day of class-"
"I hadn't even had a chance to study my potions text, much less have a family I could have watched brew potions. I certainly didn't know anything about things that we wouldn't learn until halfway through the year."
Snape's eyes bulged as he blew out a breath. "Whenever I see you, I see your father and Black and the pranks they played on me. I hated them, hated their popularity, hated any time they outperformed me in classes, and absolutely despised that I ended up owing your father a life debt. The fact that it passed to you, who look so very much like him disgusted me all the more."
"Professor- " Harry interjected, "-I don't understand the life-debt passing from my father to me."
Severus Snape stared at the boy sitting in the chair opposite him for a moment before shaking his head and mumbling to himself.
"I suppose you wouldn't know, and no one your age would think to have taught you. I owed your father a debt for saving my life. I could only have discharged it by doing something of equal value- saving his life, or that of one of his loved ones. He also could have simply released me-" he held up a hand to forestall any comment, "but releasing someone from something that important would be seen as a slight on their character, a belief that they could never do something worthwhile. Life debts pass from parent to child on both sides of the debt. When your father died and I was unable to help him, my debt fell to you, and due to the circumstances of you freeing me from the Dark Lord for over a decade, my debt only increased."
Harry frowned. "But you saved me from being thrown off my broom first year."
"I am a Professor of Hogwarts and was acting as such- it didn't count."
"That seems unnecessarily complicated."
The Potions Master grimaced. "Complicated or not, something like that could save your life one day."
The Boy-Who-Lived scowled into the fireplace. "I can't understand the mechanics of life debts, how will I understand being a Lord?
Snape's head whirled to face Harry, long greasy locks flying. "Black actually did that?" At Harry's sullen nod, the threw back his head and cackled disturbingly. When he had finished, he explained. "Making you heir over Draco will infuriate the entire Malfoy family and cause the Dark Lord to be most displeased. I know he has wanted to get his hands on some of the artifacts and books in the ancestral holdings, not to mention the money."
Harry had to smirk at that. "At least something good will come out of this."
Snape's smile was feral. "Oh, yes." He relaxed back into the couch and leveled a gaze at Harry that was, for once, neither malicious or hate-filled.
"Mister Potter, if you need advice on what your responsibilities are as a Lord of your family, I can offer advice." Again, an upheld hand forestalled comment. "I will admit that the advice will be ruthless, almost Dark, and will gain you no friends. I will be honest about the pitfalls, however. It is the least I can do to begin to repay the debt I owe you. Nothing will repay the debt I owe your father."
Harry sat and considered the offer fully for a few minutes before he nodded. "I would appreciate that, Professor. I do not promise that I will take your advice, but the offer is welcome." Smirking, Harry continued, "And while we're being all touchy-feely-" Snape winced and looked almost ill,"-can you tell me why Dumbledore's eyes twinkle when he used Legilimency, and yours gleam slightly?"
"You noticed?"
"Just recently, yes. I do not know how to use Legilimency myself, but I can now detect it easily."
It was Severus' turn to look thoughtful. "If you could assist me with rebuilding my shields, I will answer your question."
When Harry poked his head into the kitchen later, only McGonagall and the Headmaster were left. Professor Dumbledore waved him in. "Ah, Harry. The ladies adjourned to somewhere else, and the other professors left on an errand."
Sitting across the table from his Head of House, he was pleased to note that she looked calm and in control. "Professors." He smiled and nodded as Dumbledore conjured a teacup for him. "Did anything come out of the revelation at lunch?"
"Yes Harry. In fact, Filius has left to acquire another professor to assist us further."
"Headmaster, do you really think it's a good idea to bring non-Order people here? Doesn't that break the secret?"
The aged wizard smiled. "Constant Vigilence, Mister Potter? Actually, I am not telling the other professors anything. A portkey brings them here, and once here they are unlocateable, and cannot find the place themselves- if they walked outside, the house would disappear once the left the stoop- and their minds will forget any landmarks as well."
Harry blinked. "I see why the Fidelus is so powerful. So who else is being called in?"
"Professor Trelawney." McGonagall grumbled.
Harry made a face and looked to Dumbledore. "For what?"
"When your mother gave you the ward that protects you, we are conjecturing that a part of her soul was embedded in it, giving it greater power, as well as the ability to grow and adapt. Professor Trelawney is a powerful medium, and will attempt to contact the soul fragment and determine what the problem is."
Looking over his half-moon glasses, Dumbledore spoke gravely. "Remember that what she will contact- should this work, of course- will not be Lily Potter. It will simply be a fragment of her personality, possibly with only rudimentary speech skills and knowledge."
Clasping the teacup tightly, the boy's green eyes met with both adults'. "Thank you for the warning professor. It'll be hard, though, to be so close to something connecting me to my mum." He sighed and forced himself to relax. "When will this happen?"
Professor McGonagall pursed her lips disapprovingly. "Whenever feels right to her. Channeling spirits is more feeling than theory. She'll likely consult some tea leaves first."
"Minerva." Dumbledore chided gently.
The Deputy Headmistress frowned. "I simply do not like the idea of discovering the source of Mister Potter's problems hinging on the summoning of a spirit!"
Even Dumbledore had nothing to say to that.
It was just Harry's luck that Trelawney believed that the 'the stars were in perfect harmony' to perform the same day.
Harry approached the séance with a calm mind behind full Occlumency shields. Having had a chance to finally speak with Tonks and get filled in more than the note she had dashed off from the Burrow settled his mind. Hermione and Ginny had been recalled to the Burrow at Tonks' suggestion, and most important of all, Ron was recovering from the brain attack at the Department of Mysteries. There were details to be concerned over, of course, but he knew that he'd have a talk with the youngest Weasley son soon, and with that off of his mind, it was easier to clear his mind and do his damnedest to keep his thoughts off the woman sharing the space in the middle of the ward circle.
Professor Sybill Trelawney had apparently donned her best robes for the occasion- it seemed as though half of their mass was comprised of bells and frills and symbols dangling from the edges. Not to mention all of the 'focusing crystals' she was wearing as jewelry- they were quartz that looked fresh-plucked from the ground. That would be ugly enough, but for the fact that apparently the Diviniation Professor's skills at contacting the spirit world were enhanced by the thick braid her hair had been pulled back in, tight enough that her eyes bulged from their sockets.
Running through his calming exercises once more, Harry finally brought his attention back to the present. Trelawney was nattering on about astral-something-or-another, chakra-blah-blah, but she trailed off as Professors Flitwick and Vector got everyone's attention.
"Mister Potter, Professor Trelawney will attempt to contact the spirit once we have brought the wards up. We do not know how aware the soul will be after being part of the spell construct- it is possible that it will be incapable of communication, and equally possible that it is fully capable of memory retention and speech. Please let us ask a few questions first to determine what- and who- we're working with before you speak."
The raven-haired boy nodded solemnly. "I understand, Professor." His Occlumency barriers were so strong that all feeling had been leached from his voice.
For all that her appearanace reminded him of a phone-scam psychic he had seen on the telly, Trelawney was admirably sane-acting after the surrounding professors (plus Tonks, Madame Pomfrey, and Fleur) had activated the wards. Using her wand like a dowsing rod, she had found the 'seat' of his mother's spell- unsurprisingly, his scar- placed and hand on it, and began speaking in a language he did not understand.
A minute passed, and he believed at first that nothing would happen, but he began to notice a feeling of lightness and freedom- restraints lifted from his soul. The woman attempting to contact his mother's spirt had her brows furrowed in concentration, the gibberish interspersed with calling his mother's name. He rolled his eyes upward to look at where she was touching his scar, but looked back down as he heard his name being spoken by the Diviniation teacher.
"Harry, break the connection!"
Snapping his head back, Harry was blinded by a silent flash of light, overbalanced when flinching, and fell clumsily on his back. He dimly heard the sound of a body hitting the ward-wall and striking the floor. He panicked for a moment before scrubbing his eyes and beginning to get his sight back. As the grey haze drained away, and he turned to see the professor slumped agains the invisible wall, twitching her fingers and legs softly.
"Sybill?" Professor Vector called out.
The figure stirred and clambered to her feet unsteadily, appearing drunk. She pushed aside the strands of her hair that had escaped from its plait. Removing the coke-bottle glasses and rubbing her eyes vigorously, she mumbled something low. When she looked up, Harry- for the first time- looked into eyes the color of his own.
His mother's eyes.
"Harry?" Trelawney whispered, in a voice not her own.
(AN: I really wanted to end the chapter here, but it'd be too damned short.)
The teenaged wizard could hear gasps from the professors behind him. "Oh my God, my baby! Mummy loves you so much!" she cried, and Harry found himself squashed against the professor's bosom as she grabbed him. "Mummy loves her little boy! She's missed you horribly!"
Despite knowing better- the odd, frumpy woman holding him and sobbing was not his mother, green eyes or no- the young wizard still felt tears leak from his eyes at the sound of a voice he had heard only in fragmented dreams and Dementor-induced visions. "Mum." he rasped hoarsely. "Hello, Mum."
After a few moments of wonder, Harry tried to break free to compose himself, but the Diviniation Professor's slim arms held him tightly. She whispered something into his hair and he felt a wonderfully warm blanket cover him. For the first time he could consciously remember, he felt safe and loved. He vaguely heard Dumbledore's voice call Lily's name and her response. He was only half-aware as the professors' voices spoke for a time, gradually becoming raised. He did notice and frown as something skittered along the skin of his abs. Something....
Harry's eyes snapped into focus as something probed his Occlumency defenses. The probe radiated warning, but did not attempt to breach his wards. The soft, high-pitched whine told him that the intruder was male- and very powerful.
Forcing the intruder from his mind, the Boy-Who-Lived took stock of his situation. His face was still crammed in Trelawney's cleavage, but more disturbingly, one of her hands was lazily tracing its way down his stomach towards his waist. His bare stomach, as his shirt had been pulled up to his shoulders. Taking advantage of the surge of adrenalin that flooded his body at that sick revelation, Harry yanked his head down and out of the woman's grasp and moved back a big step.
Sybill Trelawney, apparently channeling the spirit of Lily Potter, had her lips curled in a sneer at the watching professors, but when she turned to fix her gaze on him, all traces of the anger faded. "Harry, baby, what's wrong? Don't push Mummy away, she can make you feel much better."
Harry flinched back from the witch's tone. "My mother would never talk like that to me."
"Your mummy loves you, Harry-baby. She's just trying to show you now that she's here." The woman smiled and stepped closer with a twist of her hips. As she touched his arm, Harry felt something wrap around him again, muffling his senses and worming its way past his Occlumency defenses without rousing them. This time, he took a step back before he could be snared.
"You are not my mother." The black-haired boy stated coldly.
Harry pulled his wand and began the counter-chant as he had been instructed to use in an emergency. The posessed witch lunged at him and he was only just able to move his wand from the path of her grasping hand and roll, fetching up against the ward circle. "What in the hell do you think you're doing?" he growled.
Trelawney's body licked her lips and smiled. "Your real mummy only needs your body, not your wand, dear."
Keeping his wand low and protected Harry inched around the circle. The spell that Flitwick and Trelawney had taught him would sever any connection between the ward-spirit and the Diviniation Professor, but it would take too long to cast- his wand would be snapped before he finished. He hoped that the professors could drop the spells holding them in, but doing that without ending Trelawney's posession could allow the sprit to take permanent posession of the Diviniation professor, something McGonagall had warned about.
As the two of them circled each other in the magical cage, Harry felt something tickle the back of his mind. He attempted a stunner, only to dive to the side as Trelawney charged him, and reversed their positions. Now able to see the teachers, he spared a glance to see Dumbledore gesturing and the elder wizard's eyes sparkle, just as a Legilimency probe brushed his defenses. Lowering his mental defenses enough to let Dumbledore through, he felt the master Legilimencer shove a packet of information into his brain. Harry paused as his mind tried to digest all the information and only his reflexes kept him out of the reach of Trelawney's next dive.
The Boy-Who-Lived was trying to sort through everything Dumbledore had done. The information the older man had given him contained thoughts, plans, memories, spells...
Harry sheathed his wand but continued edging away from the woman. "Why are you doing this, mummy?" he asked in a frightened child's voice.
Lily's host body had tears coming from her eyes. "I just want to keep you safe, my little baby boy."
"But mummies don't chase their sons like this," he whined, "You're scaring me!"
Lily's eyes teared up. "Harry, I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to scare you like that." She relaxed slightly as Harry did the same. "Mummy's so sorry, how about a hug to show you how sorry I am."
Harry sighed and spread his arms uncertainly. "Really?"
"Oh yes baby! Can we stop fighting now?"
Harry smiled a bit stiffly. "Sure, mum."
"Ooh, Harrykins!" The older woman squealed. She rushed forward to embrace him only to be stopped short by Harry's double palm strike to her solar plexus. The Boy-Who-Lived's eyes blazed in fury as he bellowed a short phrase in an ancient tongue.
Whatever the spell's origin, the results were spectacular. A semi-translucent shape was blasted out of Trelawney's back and rebounded against he magical ward-wall with enough force to shower everyone inside with sparks. The Diviniation Professor coughed and choked for a moment before looking up at him with muddy brown eyes.
"Mister Potter?"
Not taking his gaze from the ghostly form now taking shape in front of them, he nodded. "Get behind me and stay there."
The spirit of Lily Potter hovered a yard away, her face twisted in madness before flying towards them, trying to re-enter Trelawney's body. Harry intoned a single word, right hand upraised with ring and pinky folded, and the figure reeled back as the wards groaned against the pressure. The spell he had cast would keep the spirit from posessing anyone, and contained- temporarily. He spared a glance at Dumbledore and watched the aged wizard send Tonks and Fleur running from the room before turning to him. The two wizard's eyes met again, and a quick conversation passed between them. The younger man's eyes hardened, and he once again submerged himself behind his Occlumency techniques.
Holding his hands half a foot apart and parallel to his body, he began chanting in a language he did not understand. A translucent cage formed in between his palms and began glowing brightly. Lily Potter's spirit stopped trying to attack and quickly put as much space as was possible between itself and Harry. Nevertheless, the phantasm was sucked- clawing and with its mouth open in a voiceless scream- into the cage of light that Harry held.
"Now!" Dumbledore bellowed.
Professors Flitwick and Vector quickly dismantled the wards as Dumbledore cast spells all of the women in the room. Just as he turned to ask Harry a question, Tonks and Fleur burst back through the doors, and he turned to examine the items in their hands.
"Harry, how long?" he asked without lifting his head.
"As long as I maintain minimal concentration at this rate." the calm tones of the Boy-Who-Lived replied.
Dumbledore looked up quickly and a proud look creased his aged face. "Excellent, my boy."
The Headmaster quickly finished sorting through the items and made his way to Harry with gemstones in hand.
"We have two options, Harry. We can dismiss the spirit to its rest, or we can bind it and attempt to reestablish the ward with it later."
The boy wizard remained silent as he stared at the glowing cage between his hands. After a minute- perhaps two- he opened his mouth.
"Release her." Trelawney's voice croaked. She had remained cowered behind the Gryffindor student, and only now took a shaky step from sheltering behind him. "She- her spell- has protected you, but she is insane now. The ward now stifles your mental and magical growth rather than protect you."
"Sybill, are you sure of this?" Dumbledore's voice carried a bit of his magic behind it that the still slightly muzzy Diviniation professor responded to automatically.
"Yes. The spirit has few memories before Harry's birth, but her entire existence is focused on him. She alternately sees him as a defenseless baby, using the ward-magic to revert him back to that state, or she desires him as a sexual creature, punishing him whenever he shows desires towards a female."
Dumbledore's eyes blazed into the smaller woman's. "Is that all?"
"She drains the magical power of witches he comes into contact with when the ward power drops too low. Her attempts to counteract the advancements Harry has shows in Occlumency, as well as his magical maturity caused the seizure-like episodes he experienced earlier this summer. The conflict between the ward's spell aura and his own caused the lightning strike." The professor's eyes were empty and locked on Dumbledore as words poured from her mouth.
Harry and Dumbledore exchanged a meaningful glance. "I told no one of your hands, Harry."
The shorter man nodded. "Dismissal will be the Blessing of Azura Mazda?" he asked tonelessly.
Placing a hand on Harry's shoulder, Dumbledore spoke quietly. "I will perform the rite, Harry."
Green eyes returned to the figure trapped between his hands as he nodded once, slowly.
The Supreme Mugwump of the Confederation of Sorcerers put aside his barmy old man persona as he crushed a diamond with a flick of his wand. His movements were efficient and fast as he used the dust to trace the appropriate symbols on the ground, before gesturing Harry to position the caged sprit over the center of the triangle-within-circle pattern.
At the older man's signal, Harry released the caging charm and stepped back and watched mutely as one of the most talented wizards in recent history cast the fragment of his mother's spirit to rest.
Afterwards, in the shocked silence of the room, a tired Albus Dumbledore turned to face Harry, looking every one of his more than 150 years.
"May we speak privately, Harry?" he asked softly. "I would like to speak with Sybill as well, to enlighten us more on what she spoke of. Not tonight, but perhaps shortly."
"Yes, Headmaster." Harry responded evenly. His gaze never left the center of the wards where he had last seen the spirit of his mother.
Dumbledore turned to the room. "We will discuss what happened tonight at a later time, once Professor Trelawney has recovered. Harry, if you please?"
Harry had been ensconsced in a chair by the Headmaster, who considered him thoughtfully for some time.
"I understand that you are repressing your emotions with the help of your Occlumency, Harry. Normally I would even call it healthy- so long as you allowed yourself time to grieve."
"However?" Harry interjected.
The Headmaster sighed. "When I forced the information you used into your mind, it was a form of Legilimental attack- used benignly in this case, but an attack nevertheless. Typically, the memories given would cause disorientation or confusion, but primarily would make the Occlumens drop their mental defenses. What I gave you was part of my knowledge on how to remove and bind sprirts, as well as usage instructions. As you sleep tonight, your mind will attempt to reject what is not part of itself- and should you keep your defenses up, especially the primary wards, the result will be not a little painful, and possibly cause longer-lasting mental problems."
"And I have enough of those already." Harry replied. After a moment, he added, "Would a Dreamless Sleep potion still allow my subconscious to purge my mind?"
Dumbledore nodded. "I do not believe it would cause a problem- indeed, it should work nicely. I will send Madame Pomfrey or Miss Delacour to your room with it."
"Thank you. Shall I rest now, Headmaster?"
"Harry, if there is anything I can do to help you, please tell me." The sorrow in Dumbledore's voice was palpable. "You have dealt with more than anyone should be able to bear, and I have been a part of it. I do hope you will show me how best to help you."
Harry's bowed head lifted as he focused on the standing wizard. Closing his eyes briefly, he nodded once before making his way out of the room.
Harry was sitting on his bed, staring into nothingness when the door to the room opened. His eyes only snapped back into focus when a hand touched his shoulder. He looked up to see two identical quarter-veela mediwitches studying him with concern.
"So which one of you is Tonks?"
The emotionless delivery caused the farther away of the two to bustle up and cast a few spells on him before clucking her tongue.
"'Arry, you need to drop your Occlumency shields before ze 'eadmaster's memories 'arm you!" Fleur chided him.
The green-eyed boy seemed more alert now. "I know, and I will. Do you have the potion?"
The willowy blonde handed him a small potion vial, but Harry paused before uncorking it as the bed shifted. Looking back, he noted that Tonks had enlarged the bed. The metamorphagus answered his unasked question. "We're sleeping with you tonight, Harry. Deamless Sleep potion or not, you've been through a lot, and having someone there for you can help."
"Both of you?" he asked as he weakened the shields slightly.
The two identical-appearing women eyed each other neutrally. "Yes."
The wizard flopped back on the bed and rubbed his temple with his free hand. "And you thought that having not one, but two beautiful women in my bed would calm me down? I've never shared a bed with a woman, much less two women. When I wake up, I'll have a heart attack before I remember that you both fell asleep here of your own accord."
Once more, the witches shared a look. "So you're a vir-"
"Yes." he interrupted. "And you're lucky I'm still suppressing the bulk of my emotions, because that's a damned embarrassing revelation even with my shields up."
Harry felt his face flush as both women turned to give him an appraising look, turn to each other for a third time, and come to some sort of agreement via an unspoken conversation.
"Get ready for bed, 'arry." Fleur said gently. "Zere will be time enough for us to talk in ze future about 'ow 'orrible we are embarrassing you."
The Boy-Who-Lived stripped down to a t-shirt and boxers as the ladies transfigured their dresses into pajama pants and tops. They all piled into bed as Tonks fed him the potion and Harry released the last of his Occlumency defenses.
As Harry fell into sleep, he reflected that having both witches in bed with him was helpful- he was too nervous at their presence to cry about the loss of the last link to his mother before the potion-enduced unconsciousness claimed him.


Author's Notes:
Well, I can't say as I'm completely happy with this (and it's shorter than I'd like), but considering it's been a year and a month plus since I posted a chapter, I needed to get this off of my USB Drive and upload it somewhere.
The vast majority of this chapter has existed since shortly after the last update of BoL, but in the interim it's been changed quite frequently- more angst, more drama, less of both, more humor- etc, etc, until I finally just gave up and edited it into what it is now.
Some of the basic ideas I had started this story with I'm no long enamored with, but I don't see any reason to stop so soon- I do have pages of Harry meeting the goblins, etc. written (longhand, as is my wont) that need to be transcribed to file for chapter 5. Perhaps I can get myself to post Hollow 2 as well, once I finish cleaning it up.
Until next time (which won't be a damned year, I hope!)
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