|SIYE Time:20:46 on 17th January 2018|
Chasing the Demons
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Category: Alternate Universe
Genres: Drama, Fluff, General
Warnings: Mental Abuse
Story is Complete
Summary: With the help of his family, Harry finally chases the last demon of his past away.
Hitcount: Story Total: 2777
Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.
Dedicating this to potterfan2008' and her brilliant story 'No more Secrets', which I read over and over. Also my sister, who wanted another babysitting story, hence the beginning of the story. Sorry if the middle part explaining about the Dursleys is repetitive from 'When Harry Met Harry'. Wasn't sure what to put for the warnings, so if you have any concerns, please let me know. Now, read on...
“Come find me, Grandpa,” giggled five year old Harry Malfoy-Potter.
He quickly ran away to hide. He was determined that Grandpa Harry wouldn't find him this time. He crawled into a cupboard and shut the door.
He put his hand over his mouth to stifle his giggles as he heard grandpa really close. He thought grandpa might even be just outside. Then grandpa's voice went away.
Harry waited to hear if grandpa came back, but he didn't. He decided to go and tell grandpa he got so close, but didn't find him. He tried to open the door, but it was stuck. He tried again, but it refused to open. He pulled and pulled, but the door remained shut.
“Hallo! I'm in here,” called little Harry.
He suddenly realised how dark it was in the cupboard. He didn't want to play hide and seek any more.
“Grandpa, come find me,” called Harry.
He listened, but there was no sound. He sat down, kicking at the door. As he looked up, he saw his nana's cloak, hanging up. It looked like the scary 'Mentors his sister's Cassie and Ginny Rose had told him about.
“Grandpa. GRANDPA!” cried Harry.
He banged on the door, standing up. He knocked the cloak, which made it sway. It looked like the Dementor was coming for him. Harry was scared, and started to cry.
“Grandpa. GRANDPA, I'm here,” he cried, tears streaming down his face.
Suddenly the door was ripped open. Grandpa Harry looked both anxious and relieved as he knelt down to his youngest grandchild. Little Harry flew into his grandpa's arms.
“The 'Mentor was coming for me, Grandpa. I couldn't get out and I was scared,” he sobbed.
“Ssh, Harry. You're fine. You were very brave. Grandpa's here now,” he said.
“Where were you? You should have found me. I want Nana. Nana, Nana,” cried little Harry, running off.
Harry got up and sat on his bed. Little Harry had shut himself in his and Ginny's wardrobe. Ginny had mentioned the door was sticking, and asked Harry to look at it. Harry had tried a charm, and thought he'd fixed it. But now his grandson had been stuck in the cupboard and had been scared.
Memories of his early life with the Dursley's came to his mind. The little camp bed under the stairs he had slept on for so long. Being punished for one of Dudley's indiscretions, and having little or no food. Knowing that he wasn't wanted and loved.
He knew that he had since reconciled with Dudley. After the war was over, Harry had ensured the Dursley's were able to return to Privet Drive. After nearly a year of being in hiding with witches and wizards, and hearing about Harry from then, Dudley had apologised to Harry. Harry had accepted his apology, seen them settled in their house and left. He was prepared to leave it at that.
It was only as his wedding to Ginny approached that he realised he would have no-one representing his family there. Ginny had suggested inviting Dudley and Petunia, and he had been pleasantly surprised that Dudley had come. Dudley actually had a good time, and made an effort to mingle with Harry's friends.
A couple of years later, Vernon had died of a massive heart attack. Harry and Ginny had gone to the funeral. Petunia had thanked them for coming. Dudley was glad to see them, too. He introduced them to his new girlfriend Debbie, and a year later, they were married. Harry and Ginny attended their wedding.
When Harry and Ginny had told Dudley they were expecting a baby, Dudley was so happy for Harry. Every time he visited he would bring a new Muggle toy for the baby. When baby James was born, Dudley was so excited. He confided that he and Debbie were trying for a baby, too.
Three months later, Dudley proudly announced that Debbie was pregnant. A month later, Harry admitted that Ginny was pregnant again. Their sons were born a month apart, and grew up to be best friends, even when Albus went to Hogwarts. Al and Andrew continued to correspond and spend holidays together. Andrew was very supportive when Al told him he was gay.
Dudley and Harry never really talked about the way Harry was treated when the boys were younger.
The closest they came was when Harry and Dudley had taken the boys to the zoo together, and they went into the reptile house. As they looked at the boa constrictor, Harry and Dudley seemed to remember what happened last time they were there together. They glanced at each other, and smiled uncomfortably. Both men were pretty quiet after that, both lost in their memories. Luckily, the boys chatted so much they didn't notice.
After the zoo, the four went and got fish and chips, and ate in the park. After they'd eaten, the boys ran to play on the playground, leaving Harry and Dudley alone. As they watched their children, Dudley spoke up.
“You know, when Andrew was born, I was so scared I was going to treat him how Dad treated me. Or worse, how Dad treated you. Well, how we all treated you. I know I made your life hell. I don't think I can ever apologise enough for how you grew up,” he said softly, unable to look Harry in the eye.
“Don't worry about it, Dudley. What's done is done, we can't change it. Let's just move on,” said Harry, quietly.
“When we bought our house, I made sure there was no damn cupboard under the stairs, I can tell you that, said Dudley, firmly.
“Dudley, just let it go. Please.” said Harry.
Harry and Al left them soon after and returned home. Harry could feel Ginny's eyes on him all afternoon. That night he had a nightmare about his early life at Privet Drive. He was trapped in the cupboard, and he could Death Eaters break in to the house, and attack his family. Only it wasn't the Dursleys, it was his own family; Ginny and their children. Then his grandchildren. Harry was kicking and screaming, but no-one would let out of the cupboard. Finally, there was silence. His cupboard door opened. Harry crept out to find the bodies of everyone important to him, laying where they fell, their sightless eyes staring at him.
He woke up kicking and screaming, with tears streaming down his face. Ginny gathered him in her arms, and quietened him; reassuring him that his loved ones were all okay. Harry clung to her as he hadn't done since those terrible days after the war had ended.
Harry woke the next morning, deciding to take a step back from his burgeoning friendship with Dudley. Harry knew he still held back from fully embracing this new friendship with Dudley. It was only for the sake of Al and Andrew's strong friendship that he continued to see Dudley. He cared about Andrew, and was happy to have him come to his home for sleepovers. Andrew had a great time with Al and all his other cousins, and they had a great time at the Burrow.
With trepidation, Harry allowed Al to go to Dudley's for a sleepover with Andrew. He didn't sleep all night, and picked up Al the next morning as early as he could. Al assured him he had a fun time, and that Uncle Dudley and Aunt Debbie were fine.
Harry's nightmares continued. Ginny encouraged him to go to the counsellor he had seen after the Final Battle. She told him she would support him if he decided to limit the contact they had with Dudley and his family. However, she reminded him that Al and Andrew were best friends, and that they genuinely liked Debbie. Andrew was a great little kid, and Harry was happy to have him be part of his life.
With Ginny by his side, he went to counselling, and was able to work through the demons. Now he wondered if he had just kidded himself.
Tragedy had taken Dudley, Debbie, Andrew and his wife Zoe in a car accident. They were on the way to the hospital, as Zoe had just gone into labour. A lorry came speeding through a red light, killing Debbie and Dudley instantly. Zoe had barely survived long enough to give birth before she passed. Andrew had clung to life support, before passing two days later.
Al, who had already been asked to be godfather, was devastated. He had remained close to Andrew, and been his best man at his wedding to Zoe. In his will, Andrew and Zoe had named him as guardian to their son, Harry Andrew Dursley. Little Harry was adopted by Al and Scorpius, and became their fourth child. They had already adopted Annie, then Lily had been a surrogate for them using Scorpius's sperm, to give them Cassiopeia, known as Cassie. Four years later, they were joined by Ginny Rose, Al's biological daughter with Ali; James's wife as a surrogate.
The girls were delighted to have a brother, and treated him like a living doll. Al was happy to have a part of Andrew still with him.
Big Harry and Little Harry had a connection. Harry could see both Dudley and Andrew in his looks. His heart ached for Andrew and Zoe; they had been good people, and good friends to Al. His children had reassured him that little Harry was definitely going to be his last grandchild. Harry and Ginny were very 'hands on' grandparents, and spent a lot of time with little Harry. Harry wondered if little Harry would be affected by what had happened today.
Harry shakily got off the bed, and made his way down the hall. Little Harry was on Ginny's knee, and she was rocking him. As Harry got closer, he could see the tear tracks on little Harry's face. Ginny looked up and smiled softly at him.
“He was so upset, he wore himself out. He fell asleep a few minutes ago,” she said.
Harry sat down on the couch facing Ginny and little Harry.
“What happened Harry? He mentioned Dementors, and that Grandpa didn't come to save him.”
Harry ran his hands through his black/silver hair. “We were playing hide and seek. He hid in our cupboard, and it must have got stuck. I think he knocked your cloak. Merlin Gin, he was banging and kicking on the door, trying to get out. It brought back so many memories.”
“Harry, come here, sit beside me,” said Ginny,
Harry got up and came to sit beside Ginny. She relaxed back into him, and he automatically put his arms around her. He peeked over his shoulder to see little Harry, sound asleep with his thumb in his mouth.
Ginny leaned back and turned her head to kiss him on the lips. “Harry, you're a good grandfather. It was simply an accident; it wasn't your fault.”
“He was calling out for me, Gin. Shut up in the cupboard. Just like I used to...” Harry's voice broke off.
Ginny moved her arm slightly to stroke Harry's arm. “Love, please don't be afraid to talk to me. I know you went through hell with them when you were a kid. I also know you were worried you would hurt our kids when they were small. Harry, you are not Vernon Dursley. You are a good man. Our children, and grandchildren love you and look up to you, Harry. Please love, don't beat yourself up about this,” she implored.
Little Harry stirred, and opened his eyes. He saw his nana and grandpa looking down at him. He smiled sleepily. “'m hungry, Nana.”
“Well now, little one, why don't you sit here with Grandpa, and I'll go get you some juice and biscuits,” said Ginny, kissing his forehead.
Little Harry nodded sleepily, and moved from Ginny's lap to Harry's. He snuggled in to him, a feeling Harry relished with all his grandchildren. Ginny smiled at her Harry's, and went to get her boys a drink.
By the time Ginny returned, Al had flooed through to pick up Harry. He was happy to stay while little Harry had his snack Ginny spoke quietly to Al in the kitchen as she made him a cup of tea. Harry suspected she was telling him what had happened earlier. Al and little Harry flooed home soon after.
Harry was quiet for the rest of the day. Nothing Ginny said or did could bring out of his funk. As he suspected he would, he had tossed and turned all night. Memories of times long past surfaced in his mind.
The following couple of days and nights were the same. It just so happened that it was one of the rare times that Harry and Ginny didn't see their grandchildren for a few days. Harry had convinced himself it was because little Harry didn't want to come back, or that Al might be 'protecting' little Harry from him. Ginny told he was mistaken, but he didn't listen.
He awoke on the fourth morning after little Harry's 'imprisonment', as he thought of it. Ginny was up and dressed, saying she had an appointment. As Harry had had several near sleepless nights, he welcomed Ginny's idea that he stay in bed and catch up on his sleep.
Two hours later, he awoke feeling better. He showered and dressed, pondering Ginny's appointment. He usually liked to go with her. Since she had had an accident that left her in a coma for several days, he didn't like her to go somewhere alone. He couldn’t recall what appointment she might have, which also worried him.
He had just finished his brunch, when Scorpius fire-called him. After assuring him he could come through, he flooed in.
“Hey Harry, how are you?” asked Scorpius.
“Good. You and Al and the kids all okay?” asked Harry.
“Yeah, we're all fine. Al's had a couple of days off, and it's been really nice just hanging around home with Harry and the girls. We spent the day in Muggle London yesterday; the kids really enjoyed that,” said Scorpius.
“Good, good. So, what brings you here? Gin's not home, it's just me here at the moment. She's been gone awhile. She should be home soon,” said Harry, frowning as he looked at the clock.
“Actually Harry, I'm here to take you to Ginny. She-”
“Merlin, is she okay? I knew I should have gone with her. Is she all right? It's not her headaches again, is it?” asked Harry, frantically.
“Woah, Harry, calm down. Ginny's fine. She just wants me to Apparate you to where she is. Do you trust me to do that?” asked Scorpius.
“I've been Apparating since I was seventeen. Why can't you just tell me where she is?” demanded Harry.
“Please Harry, it's how Ginny wants it. Will you come?” asked Scorpius.
Harry nodded and held onto Scorpius's arm. “Okay, one, two, three...”
Harry felt the familiar sensation of being side-Apparated. He felt a bit light headed, as it had been awhile since he had done so. He was unsteady on his feet as they arrived, but Scorpius held on to him.
“Harry, you're here,” said Ginny, embracing him.
“Where are we, Gin? It looks familiar, but I can't place it,” said Harry, looking around.
“Turn around Harry,” said Ginny.
Harry turned around and his jaw dropped open. He was standing down the road from number four, Privet Drive in Little Whingeing.
“Wh-what are we doing here, Gin?” asked Harry.
“We're going to go inside, Harry,” said Ginny softly.
“What!” exclaimed Harry.
Ginny put her arm through his and they all set off towards the house.
“Dad, we've spoken to the owner, and she's more than happy for you to have a look around,” said Al, coming to stand beside Harry. He was holding little Harry, who reached over to be held by Harry.
“Going in, Grandpa,” said little Harry, pointing. Harry nodded, turning to look at Ginny and Al.
“Are you sure it's okay with the owner? I don't want to impose, or anything,” said Harry, nervously.
“Dad, it's fine. Come on. It's a young couple that live here now. I think you'll be surprised by what they have done,” said Al, leading the way.
Scorpius and Ginny followed Al, as he knocked on the door. They turned back to see Harry put down little Harry, and take his hand.
“Come on, Grandpa,” tugged little Harry. Harry laughed and walked up to join the others. Ginny took hold of his other hand and gave it a squeeze.
The front door opened. A young woman, in her late twenties, smiled at them.
“Mr Potter, hello again. Is this everyone?” she asked. Al nodded.
“Hello, Mrs Williams. This is my partner, Scorpius Malfoy, and my parents, Harry and Ginny Potter,” said Al.
“And me!” said little Harry, not wanting to be left out. Everyone laughed.
“This young man is our son, Harry,” chuckled Al.
“He's a cutie,” said Mrs Williams. “Please, come in.”
She moved out of the door way and let them into the hall. “I understand you used to live here, Mr Potter?” she asked Harry, who nodded.
“Many, many years ago,” he said.
“My husband and I bought the house five years ago. I believe it has been rented for quite awhile, since the original owner died,” said Mrs Williams, who then asked them to call her Emily.
Harry nodded thoughtfully. “That would have been Aunt Petunia. She passed about eight years ago.”
“My husband and I have done quite an upgrade on the house. The furnishings and wallpaper were quite dated. Look, I'll leave you to wander while I go to the kitchen. I've got an apple pie baking, and I'll put the kettle on. Please, come back and join me when you're ready. And please, feel free to take your time. My son Simon is taking a nap, but is due to wake up soon. I'll leave you to it,” she said, heading back to the kitchen.
Al and Scorpius nodded to her, and turned back to look at Harry. “Dad, we'll leave you to wander through with Mum. There's a cubby house and play equipment out the back, we'll take little Harry out there. Take your time, Dad,” said Al, gently.
“There's a playground down the road if you want to take him there. I used to run away and hide there from Dudley and his friends. Or just to get out of here,” said Harry, looking around.
He missed Ginny and Al exchange a look. Al turned back to his dad.
“No, there's no playground any more. They tore it down and made it into a fast food restaurant. You know, the one the Muggle kids like,” said Al.
Harry was surprised. He nodded to them as they left him and Ginny. He took a breath and walked to the cupboard under the stairs.
Only, there wasn't a cupboard there any more. The door and frame had been removed, and shelves installed. It was now a little storage area, a nook under the stairs.
“It's gone!” exclaimed Harry, exhaling a deep breath he wasn't even aware he had been holding.
“They've painted the hall a nice light colour, and the cupboard is gone. It feels nice and airy, don't you think? That door leads to the kitchen. We'll go through here, to the lounge,” said Harry, taking Ginny's hand.
He walked into a big open plan lounge, dining, kitchen. Emily looked up and smiled as they walked in.
“They've knocked down a wall, and painted this room in that nice colour from the hall. That ugly dark carpet is gone, too. Wow, it looks so much bigger,” said Harry, standing in the centre and continually turning around as memories assailed him.
“That was where the wall used to be, and Uncle Vernon would sit here, and Aunt Petunia there,” pointed Harry.
“I love the kitchen. These island benches are so handy. Harry, I think we need to re-do our kitchen,” teased Ginny.
Emily laughed. “This was the first change we did. Knocking out the wall, and then the kitchen. It's my favourite part of the house, especially in summer. I can sit here and watch Simon play in the back yard. Soon, he'll have company,” she said, patting her stomach.
Harry moved closer. “The back patio is still there, but you've added some nice French doors. I really like the colour you have painted the walls throughout this floor,” he said to Emily.
She nodded, looking around. “It was pretty drab before. We just wanted to freshen it up. Oh, I'm sorry, that was rude. It was your aunts and uncle's house, after all.”
Harry smiled. “It's fine. I guess they were the 'in' colours back then. I lived here in the eighties and nineties, although I was away at boarding school from when I was eleven.”
Emily smiled, then as she heard the child monitor beep and she heard her son awakening she excused herself, and went upstairs to get him. Harry and Ginny took the opportunity to check out the bathroom. Ginny sighed at the shiny tiles and modern fittings.
“I think I get why Muggles like to renovate. Harry, this place is lovely. Let's go upstairs,” she whispered, as Emily passed them with a smile; a drowsy son in her arms.
Harry took her hand again, and they made their way upstairs. The bathroom upstairs was similar to the one downstairs in the layout. They had painted it a different colour, a soft yellow. It was a child friendly bathroom, with bath toys and stickers on the wall.
They peeked into the main bedroom. Again, like the rest of the house, it was painted a nice light colour. A light grey was on the walls, with cream carpet. A big bed dominated the room. The ugly wardrobes had been replaced by built in wardrobes. It was tidy and neat, but not overly so.
They went to the room that used to be Dudley's. Now it belonged to another little boy. Simon's bed was against the wall. A bookcase overflowed with books and games. A bean bag sat nearby, waiting for a body to be plopped down into it. The walls were a bright blue. Posters of the Liverpool Football Club were on the wall, along with Thomas the Tank Engine.
Down the hall was the small room that Harry had slept in. It was now set up as a nursery for the new baby. A soft blue was painted on this wall, with circus and animal motifs. A cot and change-table sat in the corner, with clothes and baby toys piled on them.
Harry wandered to the window and looked out. He remembered Uncle Vernon putting bars on his windows, the summer after his first year. So much happened that summer. He first met Dobby, and he went to the Burrow for the first time, after Ron, George and Fred had rescued him. It was where he first properly met Ginny, although she had blushed and run away.
Harry chuckled at that memory. Ginny sidled up to him. “All right, love?” she asked. He drew her close, right where he liked her to be.
“Just remembering the night Ron, George and Fred came to get me in your Dad's car. We drove for quite awhile, then I arrived at the Burrow for the first time ever. We were having breakfast when my future wife came down the stairs. Do you remember that, Gin?” he asked, nuzzling her.
“Merlin, yes! There you were, the man, no, the boy of my dreams, and I was in my ratty old robe. Not quite the first impression I wanted to make, I can tell you,” laughed Ginny. She looked around.
“This room will make a cute nursery, but it's not the room for a teenage boy. There's hardly any room in here for a proper bed,” she said, looking around.
“My bed was there, and I had a desk there. Hedwig used to sit on it. The wardrobe was there, and well, that's it,” said Harry, looking around.
Ginny shook her head. Thinking of how Harry used to be treated by the Dursley's still made her mad, and she had often pondered how Harry had come out of it being the kind, caring man she loved. She took his hand and pulled him out the room.
“Come on, love. That apple pie smell is drifting nicely up the stairs. I don't know about you, but I'm starving!” exclaimed Ginny, heading downstairs.
Muttering under his breath about never getting between a Weasley and food, Ginny turned back to give him a teasing glare. He smiled innocently at her, and followed her down.
They enjoyed a nice chat with Emily, watching little Harry and Simon play together. Emily pointed out a few more changes they had made to the house.
“Probably the only thing we didn't change was out here. The garden was so lovely. We just added a few bits here and there. When Simon came along, we got the cubby. It's lovely out here in the springtime. We have quite an array of colourful flowers. But my favourite would be the lillies, in that corner over there,” said Emily pointing.
Harry looked over. “The garden shed used to be there,” he said, noticing it gone for the first time.
Emily shrugged. “It was an overrun garden when we bought it. Once we got rid of the weeds, though, we found a lovely garden. The roses are gorgeous. We planted some tulips over there. Then, the lillies started to bloom. Absolutely beautiful!” she exclaimed.
Harry and Ginny exchanged a look. Had Petunia planted them, for her long gone sister?
They stayed for half an hour more. Simon and little Harry were having so much fun together. It reminded Harry of Al and Andrew playing together. Meeting Al's eyes, he knew he was thinking the same.
They met Emily's husband, Joshua. He talked more about the construction of the house, and the decisions to knock a wall down here and there. He seemed a nice enough man, and he and Emily made a nice couple. Harry was pleased to see the love and care they had for their son.
Harry took a final look around. He thanked Emily, Joshua and Simon for letting him spend the time in their home. For it was a home now; a true home filled with love and laughter. As it should be.
Harry walked out the door to number four, Privet Drive, Little Whingeing. He hugged his son and his partner, thanking them for coming with them and setting it up. Little Harry told his dad's he was going to Grandpa's tomorrow. Harry smiled and nodded. Al, Scorpius and little Harry walked a bit before Apparating away.
Harry felt Ginny slip her arm through his. They walked a bit, towards the Apparation point from where Al and the others had just left.
Harry stopped to take a last look at the house. The house he had grown up in was gone forever. A nice family lived in it now; it was a lovely, modern home. Harry felt free. He had left the last demons of his past behind forever.
He turned and walked towards Ginny. She was his home and happiness. He slipped an arm around her waist. “Let's go home,” he said, kissing her cheek. He never looked back again.
Ginny smiled, and they Apparated home.
Harry slept well that night.
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