|SIYE Time:14:40 on 26th October 2021|
Category: Post-DH/AB, The I Love You Challenge (2020-2)
Genres: Angst, Fluff, General
Story is Complete
Summary: ***Winner of Most Unexpected in the I Love You Challenge***How would Ginny comfort Harry when he thinks it's all in his head?
Hitcount: Story Total: 2965; Chapter Total: 821
A/N: This chapter is identical to the first one and just slightly changed to make it eligible for the SIYE "I love you" Challenge. Please read below for the rest of the note.
"It's all your imagination boy!" Uncle Vernon shouted with a purple face.
Dudley, as whale-ish as ever, said from the TV, "Freak!"
Aunt Petunia screeched from behind him, "Your good-for-nothing parents died in a car crash, stop your nonsense!"
Harry was suffocating, "You're lying!"
The voices were echoing, he tried to block it out, but it wasn't working, "SHUT UP. JUST SHUT UP. THEY'RE REAL. IT'S NOT IN MY HEAD."
He gasped as his eyes flew open. For a few minutes, their voices rang in his head, sweat trickled down to his brows. As he dropped his head in his hand and waited for his heart-rate to return to normal; horrible thoughts crossed his mind. He scrambled in the dark to find his glasses and his wand. "It's all your imagination boy,"
"Lumos" he whispered, half dreading that the wand won't light up, but the wand lit the bedroom magnificently, and relief flooded him.
Soon though, his relaxed face turned into a frown. He knew it was irrational, he'd known magic since he was 11 but for some reason, since this case had started; he'd started questioning a lot of things. What if he had imagined it all?
Swallowing the uncomfortable lump, he swung his legs off the bed and stood up. Shaking his head, he walked to the kitchen to brew some tea.
Uncle Vernon was wrong, magic was real, but all the same.
What if Ron and Hermione were just his imagination?
He put the kettle on-
What if Ginny-
He had to grip the slab as the world swirled around him for a second. The case had shaken him more than he'd thought or let on. The healer's words rang in his head,
"It is possible, sometimes even common, children who go through abuse may come up with a whole new world to cope with the trauma-
"So you mean like a whole world? how does that work?" asked Harry
"Yes, a living, breathing person, completely from the victim's mind," the healer replied.
"So, Lia, the criminals she was talking about-?"
"It was my colleague because he tried breaking past her mental barrier. She became defensive, it's quite common actually."
"For muggles, sometimes, they make up a magical world. This is often not the case though, as most of the times they're actually a part of our world. Nonetheless, there are times when that happens."
"So you're telling me that the lady that we've been trying to help for is just hallucinatory?" he cringed at how rude that came out as but he was perplexed.
"As an easy explanation, yes," the healer replied.
"Sometimes it's without a troubled past, and we call it Leider's disease because he was the first wizard to get such a disorder without the influence of any spell or potion."
"Did she not realise that she was talking to a real person?"
"No Mr Potter, she cannot differentiate between the real and her imagination. If I tell her today that she made those friends up, or that nobody was actually murdered, she may think that I am lying. Usually, in these cases, the person imagines themselves to be an important figure, or have out-of-normal things happen to them. So maybe it's imagining themselves to be the mightiest or the only one who could crack a code."
"Will she be alright?" Doubt had crept up his conscience.
"Well, sometimes it's life-long, but we can help them understand the difference, sometimes we can counter the effects of a potion or spell. I think we can help her, but she would need some more work," the healer said as they both stood up.
"This just showed that she needs more care, I thank the Aurors for their co-operation Mr Potter."
"I am just a bit confused, is it possible for her to self-realise it?" Harry asked
"Yes, I have had patients who realised it themselves and then came to visit me. It usually starts as a doubt, of course, sometimes it's not true, and they just need confirmation of their existence. Other times, as I've heard from my patients, it feels like someone doused them ice-cold water as they realised that their whole life, their friends, were all nothing more than imagination, those are the hard ones, but we try our best to help them,"
"Thank you for explaining this to me. I will be going now, we might conduct some more investigations to avoid any missed pieces of evidence, but I do think you're right. I will also, of course, personally check the birth and death records at the ministry again but thank you for your time."
The kettle's whistle jolted him out of his thoughts. Sighing, he rubbed his face, it was stupid, and he knew it was. He lived in a magical world. He had felt the physical effects of it.
"realised that their whole life, their friends, were all nothing but their imagination,"
Could it be-?
He took the tea and headed to his couch, the healer's words were spinning around his head, "a living breathing person"
The haunting nights in the cupboard where he imagined his mother stroking his hair stood vividly in his memory. A hollow laugh erupted out of his mouth- how ironic. Harry Potter- The Saviour of the Wizarding World, boy-who-lived, doubting his world's existence. "have out-of-normal things happen to them"
He felt bile rise in his throat as the nightmare rang in his ears: "it's all your imagination boy!"
He stood up as the teacup fell from his hands, and made his way to the fireplace with a determined stride, but just before he threw the floo-powder, he jerked back. He was being silly, they were real, how could they not?
"Finite Incantatem," he said, loudly, pointing the wand at himself. The next few minutes witnessed recitations of major counter-spells.
A part of him mocked him for getting so worked up when there was proof right in front of him. But another part questioned his life, and unfortunately, the latter was winning.
"SHUT UP" a raw voice came from his mouth, he put his hands over his ears to block out the words, "Shut up, please," breathing was becoming harder as all logic flew out of his mind.
He grabbed the floo-powder, to hell with practice rules, "Chaser Weasley's cottage, Holyhead,"
The whoosh that usually annoyed him did nothing to distract his mind as possibilities fought for attention. Thus when he actually landed and stumbled out, he didn't curse the floo as usual. The room had a faint yellowish glow of the fireplace, the rest of the cottage was dark.
He heard someone's hurried, cautious, footsteps come his way, "Harry?"
He looked up at Ginny's worried tone and collapsed onto the hard floor, his knees complaining at the contact, she rushed towards him, "Harry, what's wrong?"
He just clutched her tightly, hugging her as she pulled him up, his breath came out irregularly and at short intervals.
"Ginny," the name sounded so real on his lips, he was trembling head to toe, but he couldn't get words out.
What if she too-
He scrambled away from her, she couldn't be, he was such an idiot. But his mind didn't co-operate, "living and breathing person"
Bringing his knees to his chest, he buried his head.
She walked up to him and put her hand on his back, softly rubbing it.
"Harry, please tell me what's wrong," her touch sent shivers down his spine and his back tensed from the contact.
She took his hand and gently rubbed it, not saying anything at all. It calmed his body down. Subconsciously, he remembered the days after the battle, the panic attacks and how Ginny always managed to calm him down.
"I don't know what's wrong! I don't KNOW!" He bolted upright, only after a moment did he realise that he had shouted the words out. "bucket of ice-cold water,"
"Let's take it a thing at a time," Her tone calmed his nerves and somehow forced the words to come out. Once he started, the words just came tumbling out.
"What if I imagined all of this? What if the whole Hogwarts thing was just in my head? What if all this is in my head?" He wrapped his hands around his stomach as his thoughts ran a mile a second.
"I don't know. What if this is a sick mind trick? What if Ron and Hermione don't even exist? What if you don't?"
He bent forward as another dizzy spell passed over him. Still, Ginny made no move this time, not moving from his position he spoke again. Only this time so softly that had Ginny not been so concerned and focused on him, she wouldn't have been able to understand him.
"I'm losing my mind, Gin, I'm going mad, please, do something. Do something," the last part came out as a whisper.
He heard footsteps coming his way, two gentle hands guided him to the couch, and then she pulled his chin up.
"We're real, Harry, you and me, Ron and Hermione, this world, the dead, the alive,"
"All this, it is real, you have scars to prove it. I am real Harry, you can feel my heartbeat."
She took his hand and guided it to just below her neck, where he could feel her heartbeat. Relief flowed through his nerves, but Ginny didn't stop there,
"I know why you think of this, I know that the case was too close. Harry, you truly live in this world. You're a wizard, and I, a witch."
She picked her wand from where it had fallen beside the couch and waved it. A brilliant silver horse galloped around the room, "This is real, Harry, and so is this," and she softly kissed him, and there was nothing other than love in it. He responded after the initial shock. There was no way he could ever make up something like that. After a while, they simply sat in silence, Ginny made circles on Harry's back as he sat bent forward, with his head in his hands.
"We're not your imagination Harry, and if you're worried, we can visit the healers. I'll go talk to Robards about giving you a day off. You're overstressing yourself, you're tired, and this case affected you too much. Are you feeling better?" She said in a firm but gentle tone.
"Yeah, I just-, you're right, I am so sorry for disturbing you, I don't know what got over me, I'm sorry," He was babbling, he knew he was. But as the irrational fear subsided, embarrassment took over him.
"I think I'll drop by to the healer, but you've reassured me enough, thanks Gin, I don't know what I'd do without you, it's stupid I know-" but Ginny cut him off,
"It's not stupid, Harry, it's alright to be scared and given all that's been happening around; it makes sense. We're going to take at least a week-long vacation after this match, and I wouldn't mind it in the slightest even if you wake me up every night if that means I can help you." Ginny finished.
He took a deep breath. Relief, love and joy flooded him simultaneously, it wasn't in his head, it was real, his life was real.
"You can sleep with me today, Gwenog won't mind, and even if she does, I'm on her good side, it doesn't matter,"
"No no, it's alright, I'm fine, I'll head back to the flat now," He said standing up, hoping that his face wasn't too red,
"Harry, there's nothing to be embarrassed about, really," She had stood up as well, she walked in front and looked up at him, "I want you here too, I was missing you the whole day, come on,"
He dropped his head to her shoulder as she held him and the realisation hit him like a truck, love. He couldn't live without her, he would sacrifice anything for her, and she would always care for him, she'll always be here for him. A vision of little black-haired, brown-eyed kids infiltrated his eyes "I love you Gin, I love you," the words tumbled out of his mouth.
They both froze, three words, those three words which had never left his mouth for anyone, they felt right though, they felt more right than anything he had ever said. However, Ginny stood still, "Say it again, Harry," her voice wavered slightly.
"I love you," those three words were so powerful that they erased all worries from his head, the fire's crackling and her arms around him made everything feel okay.
She pulled back and looked up with a blinding smile. As the fire cast an angelic glow on her face, she said, "I love you too, I love you Harry Potter."
She stood on her tiptoes as Harry bought his head down and kissed her. It was so very different from their fiery first kiss, which was loud and young, where this one was mature and full of love. These about two people grew up and had realised their feelings, and he didn't know if it was just him, but it felt like they had connected.
And it was the best feeling in the world, and for moments they just stood there as Harry's mind tried to comprehend everything that happened in the night.
She pulled away and extended her hand out for him to hold, the smile never leaving her face. He grasped it, and together they made their way to Ginny's bedroom.
As he lay in the bed which smelled much better than his own, his right hand wrapped around Ginny as she put her hand across his chest, he marvelled at her beauty, her calming aura. He knew he couldn't have imagined anyone like her, nobody could've.
He inhaled her sweet scent and closed his eyes. Their future dancing in front of him, he slept much more peacefully for the rest of the night.
Author's note: The symptoms and analysis of 'disorders' is purely for the stories purpose and may not be used as a reference to any real-life problems, please do not take this as a correct reference or diagnosis of anything. This was bouncing around ever since I read the theory about Harry's world being made up as a way of coping with his relatives' abuse, so here's my take! As always, your reviews are my only way of knowing your thoughts! They make me very, very happy! Thanks for reading!
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