Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Hollow

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by kinoth 1 review

Harry is a little more damaged than everyone believes, but for once it works to his advantage.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Action/Adventure - Characters: Harry, Tonks - Warnings: [?] - Published: 2006-11-28 - Updated: 2006-11-29 - 3359 words

Wednesday mornings during the summer meant one thing at 4 Privet Drive- Harry needed to tend to the lawn. Even though the Dursley's were off tending to Aunt Marge in the hospital, the raven-haired Boy-Who-Lived walked out at nine a.m. sharp, retrieved the mower and began. It was readily apparent why everyone else's yards looked crummy- a heat wave made an effective deterrent to doing yardwork, as within minutes he was sweating rivers despite the early hour.
As Harry let the mower die about an hour later he became aware that the tingling he felt wasn't just the vibration of the mower- someone was watching him, and he would wager it was someone magical. Toweling himself off with his shirt, he casually turned and scanned, noticing a grey-haired head shuffling past the hedgerows next door. She came in to view, but other than looking like every tweed-clad old British lady in the Kingdom, there was something familiar-
-the old woman almost tripped over nothing on the sidewalk, but righted herself with spry steps that belied her age-
-yes, there was something familiar about her.
The dowager brushed off the front of her jacket and looked up at him with eyes too young to be in such an old face. She smiled at him, exposing her yellowed and cracked teeth and croaked at him.
"If'n I were ten years younger sonny-"
Harry tried to force a smile onto his face, but only a flicker of it showed.
The young Auror cocked her disguised head at him.
"Are you alright, Harry?"
"Not as well as I could be." He murmured. "Why don't you head inside to change into someone more comfortable? I will put the mower away and be right in."
Tonks flashed him another view of the yellow, moldering pillars of her teeth.
"'ve got to finish my rounds here, Harry. 'sides, it'd look suspicious if you invited a lady in, wouldn't it?" Her laugh was the clacking of age-roughened stones. "Privet'd be scandalized if you they thought you liked older women, anyhow."
Harry shook his head but didn't answer as he walked the mower back to the shed, though an idle thought tickled his mind. I hope time has been more kind to the real Margaret Thatcher.
Harry stepped into his room still dripping from the shower and trying to tuck in the corner of his ratty grey towel around his waist as he headed to the trunk that contained his clothes. Without wearing his glasses he didn't notice the new occupant of his room until the low, sultry utterance of a growl and a "Hel-lo Harry!" caused him to spin, arm pointed at the fuzzily-shaped blob he thought was the intruder. He felt a fluttering that he ignored.
"Who are you-"
"Holy hell Harry! Cover that beast up!"
Jamming his glasses onto his face rather than threatening the "intruder" with them allowed him to see Tonks, wide-eyed and red-cheeked, staring at him. He tracked her gaze and discovered that the flutter he had felt had been his towel against his legs, not a surge of adrenaline through his veins. He knew his face should be flaming red, but instead of sputtering, he calmly turned and fetched a pair of boxers from the open trunk and slid them up his legs before turning to face the Metamorphmagus. Tonks gaped at him for a moment longer before bolting from the bed and heading downstairs, blurting out that she'd be in the kitchen, never meeting his eyes. Harry paused and looked at the door for a moment before continuing to dress. There would be questions once she saw what lay downstairs.
He coughed, hands spread and supporting him on the carpet, tears and mucus oozing from his nose and down his throat. He felt another oddly pleasurable tingle as the magic lashed the walls, like a piece of his soul had detached and smashed whatever was in its way.
-You never forget the faces that haunt you
Awake or asleep, I know you can't tell-
Harry wasn't sure when he had started screaming, but the horrid, wet gurgling that erupted from his mouth stopped only long enough for him to suck a ragged breath before he was keening again was beyond conscious control. After the third repetition of the song his arms were trembling and he was dizzy from lack of breath. His chest hitched as his lungs tried to claw precious oxygen through the slime that blocked his throat, and he collapsed face down in the berber and crushed his nose before slumping to his side.
-Like someone pushes a blade through your mind
There on the edge where no-one will find you
Still hearing them laugh-
Harry scrabbled for his legs and folded himself into a fetal ball and rocked on the floor. The slight boy felt the crest of a wave of magical force trying to escape, causing his hair to stand on end. The small part of his mind that was still sane screamed as it tried to impose order amongst the chaos in his head. Without conscious realization, Harry slammed his head against his knees violently, causing his eyes to unfocus farther. A second sharp blow, and the Boy-Who-Lived lay on the carpet amongst the destruction with blood and snot from his nose pooling around his head, a soft wheezing the only sound of life.
A few minutes later a fully dressed Harry joined Tonks at gazing at the field of destruction that used to be the Dursley's living room. Taking in the pile of ash that used to be a couch, the blast pit that was the fireplace, and the army of melted ceramic pools that had been pieces of bric-a-brac. Tonks turned to him as he walked through the door, but her eyes slid off his, and she ended up speaking to his shoulder.
"What the hell happened here?"
Harry's green eyes gleamed as he gazed at his reflection in the pooled remains of a silver tea set.
"I did."
"Whaddya mean by-"
"You didn't know about this? I assumed that was why Dumbledore sent you."
The metamorphmagus shook her now short, purple hair.
"I don't think anyone had a clue, Harry. I'm on my normal patrol time, and no one said anything."
The black haired boy shaded his eyes with his fringe.
"So that explains why I don't have an owl from the Ministry."
"Well, you damn well should have gotten one when you started casting-"
"I didn't."
Tonks looked a bit put out with how the conversation was flowing, and finally looked into Harry's eyes for a moment.
"You didn't what, dammit!"
The skinny boy shrugged slightly. "Didn't cast spells. I-," Here he paused, though his voice stayed the same even, slightly cool timbre it had been throughout the conversation, "had some issues and things got.... away from me. Accidental magic, wandless magic, whatever you want to call it." He gestured towards the destruction, contained neatly within the confines of the room.
The junior Auror gaped at the boy next to her. "Well no wonder we didn't sense anything! Wandless magic like that isn't detectable except in very specific circumstances." She peered at the boy. "Is all this why we haven't seen you outside recently?"
Harry simply ignored her question by asking one of his own. "If wandless magic isn't detectable, how did Fudge know about Aunt Marge in the summer before third year?"
Tonks blinked. "Well, you're the only wizard in Little Winging, and anyhow, the old hag was screeching your name while they were deflating her."
Harry bobbed his head noncommittally at that, taking a step towards an end table with a piece missing as if it had never existed. He felt Tonks' glare tingle along the back of his neck, then lifted his head calmly to watch as she stomped in front of him and glowered, hands on hips.
"What the hell is your problem, Potter? You're acting like I'm barely even here, cutting me off, acting as if you're a fuckin' Malfoy, you are!"
Despite her anger, the metamorphmagus flinched when Harry focused his eyes on hers fully. Even though the boy had to look up slightly to meet her gaze, she felt dwarfed by what lurked behind that viridian surface. She expected many things after comparing him to a Malfoy- something she figured would set his blood ablaze after overhearing some of his friend's conversations- but the boy's face was impassively calm. After a minute's pause, Harry spoke.
"I don't know how to explain in a way that you will understand. Even I cannot comprehend why I feel this way." His words were carefully enunciated, frosty and exact without being insulting. "At times it seems as though I've wept myself hollow and cannot feel anymore. Or perhaps I've simply divorced myself from my emotions. I can smile, I can laugh, I can frown, I can scowl, but they are simply masks I wear for a moment, discarded as easily as they are donned. When I was naked in front of you, I knew I should be embarrassed- what teenager shouldn't be, in front of an attractive woman?- but it was if I simply noted it as an observer, not felt it." Again he paused, as if to give her a moment to collect he thoughts. "Perhaps my hollowness with heal with time. I do not know, and cannot force myself to care." He turned slowly to present his profile, breaking the gaze that had held her captive.
"Tonks, promise me that you will assist me this summer, and help me acquire the information I will need to destroy Voldemort."
"Harry," Tonks rasped, obviously trying to adjust to the shift in the conversation, "you've done your part, you don't need to defeat You-Know-Who, it's the Order's job!" She grasped the baggy sleeve of his hand-me-down shirt as if to reassure him.
Harry continued staring at an ice-encased lamp lying in a puddle of slowly-expanding water.
"You are wrong. Dumbledore may not have appraised you of this, but it is my job. It is my duty. It is my- destiny." Harry turned to her, and his hair could not hide the scar standing in relief on his forehead. "I will not give you the full details now, as it is not safe even for an Auror to know this. I will only tell you if I know I can trust you, Nymphadora Tonks, and I would like to trust you, and have you trust me not to lie to you." Harry shook his head gravely. "However, I understand that to believe me now would involve a work of faith- something I have little of at the moment- and so instead I will ask this of you:"
The iciness Harry exuded increased slightly, though he still seemed unnaturally calm and detached from reality. Tonks flickered her eyes over Harry's face, and found herself pinned in place, prey before a predator. "Ask Dumbledore about the contents of the Prophecy. Ask him of my role in all of this. Ask him why I have lived with a physically and mentally abusive family that provides me only with the minimum necessary to live. Ask him why I must stay here every summer, living on cold tinned soup, locked in my room. Ask him about the bars on the window and living in a cupboard." Voice still level, he raised his right hand, showing Tonks the scars. "Inquire if he knew and stopped the Inquisitor's tortures of children. Ask if he was there as a counselor when I needed the help most last year. Have him explain his reasoning for having Severus Snape teach me Occlumency by brutalizing my mind. And then, hearken as to the wisdom of Dumbledore, telling a fifteen-year-old boy all of this on the eve of his godfather's death, and all because he loved me.
So speak to the head of your Order. When you return, you will either know my secrets or you will see Dumbledore keeping his. And should you wish, I will lay out every truth for you to see. Then you can decide if you wish to assist me in bringing down a Dark Lord. I will ask of nothing further of you before then."
Turning from Tonks' statue-still form, Harry disappeared upstairs at the sound of arriving owl post. Shortly afterwards he returned and began to read at the dining room table, paging though the parchment scrolls without comment or change of expression, save a slight tremor in his cheek. He seemed oblivious to the Auror's tentative approach, not acknowledging when she sat. Placing the stack of letters in the middle of the table, Harry looked up.
"So, wandless magic is generally undetectable?"
Tonks was again rendered speechless by the odd change of subject, but gamely managed to answer in the affirmative with only a slight pause.
The pale face of the Boy-Who-Lived nodded slowly in acknowledgement and thought.
"So even with all the extra wards that have been erected around this place, no one detected anything unusual..."
"Well, I don't know a lot about the wards here, Harry. Dumbledore may be the only person who knows everything about what's been cast here."
Harry hmmed thoughtfully, but chose not to comment on Dumbledore's all-knowingness as he rose and began busying himself in the kitchen. While he was busy, Tonks caught herself paging though Harry's correspondence with a practiced Auror eye and became disgusted at the vapidness that the Weasleys and even Hermione showed. It'll be okay Harry, it's not your fault Harry, how about them Cannons, Harry, hope you're doing well. Mindless, the lot of them. No one would be 'doing well' after their godfather died. She was still hurting herself though they hadn't known each other well, and her mother still had a haunted look in her eyes as she would recall memories of Sirius in happier times.
There were notes from schoolmates about how well they thought they would do on O.W.Ls, but two letters stood out from the rest. The first, from a Luna Lovegood, read like a fever dream. Right from the Salutations and felicitations Harry, she dropped into talking about Crumpet-Horny Snackcakes, or something similar. The girl's handwriting was as loopy as the author, obviously, and after a bit of straining her eyes and brain at the stream-of-consciousness writing, she gave up and slid it back into the pile.
The second letter was from Remus Lupin, and this time after the first line she was close to crying. For all that people believed werewolves were dark creatures, the most outstanding feature of Remus was his poet's soul and kind heart. Even though the man had been hit hard by Sirius' loss, perhaps as hard as Harry himself had been, Remus offered everything of himself to try and heal the wounds he believed Harry was feeling. The pages in front of her offered the younger man a balm for his soul, telling him how much Sirius loved him, and how he wouldn't want Harry to grieve overlong, offering stories of their exploits and memories of happier times.
Tonks was sure that the crack in the coldness Harry had shown was because of Remus' letter, and it gave her hope that the apparent savior of the Wizarding World would once again smile his brilliant smile and replace the almost-automation that intimidated the young Auror. Drying her eyes quickly, she placed the documents back as she found them and stared at the ruins of Harry's grief until a plate was set in front of her.
Her lunch companion wasn't much for conversation, and she instead studied him as he ate. There was something different about the way he walked, the way he held himself that told her that besides this hollowness he had spoken of, something had changed in the mind of the Boy-Who-Lived. Something about him was different and more vibrant, turning a pale, thin boy in a fat boy's castoffs into a figure of power. She blinked again, and he was Harry, just Harry. Crossing her fingers mentally, she tried a conversational gambit.
"So Harry, any letters from girlfriends?" She fluttered her eyelashes innocently at him, aware that he was probably seeing right through her.
"Three, actually." Harry's green eyes glittered as he placed the sandwich down on his plate. "I assume you are not counting casual acquaintances."
The boy wasn't going to make things any easier on her, was he? "So you're playing them all off each other? Rather studly of you, isn't it?"
Harry leaned back in his chair slightly, straightening his shoulders. "No, they all know about each other. In fact, they are all friendly with each other, if not overly so." He cocked his head slightly, and his voice deepened to a smoky baritone "Actually, Luna was just saying how she missed Hermione and I warming her bed. She even started the letter out Dearest Lover, I am so horny for-"
Tonks sputtered indignantly, "No she didn't, she said-" The spiky-haired woman clapped both hands over her mouth as Harry raised an eyebrow.
"Oh? Well, my dearest girlfriend, please tell me what Luna said, then."
The junior Auror mumbled something that caused a miniscule quirk of Harry's lips.
"I believe she was mentioning the Crumple-Horned Snorkack, not snackcake. And Tonks, I understand if you need to read my correspondence and report back to the Order, but you could simply ask me, and I will let you read it." He looked at her evenly, without a hint of anger. "No secrets."
Bowing her head to stare at her plate, Tonks wondered at the Harry she just saw. There was a sense of humor there, but the calm and reserve he had shown all day was there as well. Something had changed the young Mister Potter, and perhaps she could find out what.
Soon after, lunch came to an end and Tonks eyed the time. "I'd like to get this mess cleaned up Harry, but I get off shift now and there's an Order meeting shortly I'll need to be at."
Harry shook his head slightly as he took her plate to the kitchen. "The Dursleys will be gone for at least one more week, giving me time to clean what I can. Go to the meeting, and we can talk about the damage I've done at some other time."
"Tomorrow, Harry. I'll be here in the morning, as it's my day off, and I'll repair what I can, and we can... talk."
Returning from placing the dishes in the sink, he extended a hand to the seated woman. Taking the offered hand, Tonks stood from the table, and Harry placed his hands on her shoulders. "Thank you for treating me like an adult, Tonks. I apologize for using your full name earlier, as I know you dislike it." Dropping his hands, he glided towards the front door, Tonks following behind, bemused.
After the door closed behind her, Tonks strolled down to Arabella's house to Floo out. Away from Harry's unconsciously intimidating presence, she decided that she would do as he asked, not because he was right, necessarily, but because he needed someone to believe him.
He also needed a good cheering up, and who better to provide it than someone he could talk to? Dearest girlfriend indeed.
After securing the door, Harry gracefully swept back into the Dursley's living room and surveyed the wreckage. He strode to a ceramic figure laying in pieces, staring sightlessly at the wall. He regarded the thing for a moment before holding out one hand like a benediction, furrowing his brow and commanding "Reparo!"

Author's Notes:

Spawned out of writer's block, here's a second story. This time, I have already started on the second chapter (and have five chapters of notes), rather than notes but no story, as with Bonds of Love.
Yes, Harry is acting odd. Yes, there is an odd section in the middle of the story. More will be explained next chapter- or perhaps not, as Harry is currently unconsious in said chapter.
Lyrics are © VNV Nation 2001
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