Beater Two of the Tutshill Tornadoes. Prompts used;
(quote) "A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it." George Augustus Moore, The Brook Kerith
AN: Initially this was going to be different. I started writing and I ended up with over 10k words before I realized it had to be under 3300 for the competition, so I wrote this as a scene from the longer story, which I'm planning on finishing and posting sometime soon. Thanks for reading!
There she was. Lily his youngest, and his only daughter, bleeding on the white tile of the kitchen, a knife in her hand. "Lily?" He asked, confusion in his tone. Harry Potter thought himself to be a man of great composure and understanding when dealing with those of strange mental beliefs. However, never before had he considered anything was wrong with any of his children. Or his nieces or nephews for that fact.
"Dad!" Lily squeaked in surprise, throwing the knife in the sink haphazardously and shoving her bleeding arm behind herself with only a slight grimace.
Drip… drip… the blood fell to the floor. Harry looked around in shock, as if doing a double take would change the situation at hand. Was his daughter self-harming? No other explanation presented itself, yet Harry still didn't want to believe it.
Jerked out of his trance suddenly, Harry slowly asked "What… what's wrong? Why…" He didn't know how to ask why his daughter would want to hurt herself, if that's what the situation really was as it so seemed.
Lily looked away, her eyes brimming with unshed tears.
"Dad…" She started softly, her eyes settling on his for only a brief moment. "Do you love me?" She spoke so softly Harry wondered if he heard her right. Her questing, however, confused him and he almost felt the need to either laugh or cry. Laugh because, well, how crazy would it be that his own daughter didn't know the love he held for her- for each of his children. He loved his family more than life itself. And cry because, well, one of his children, his favorite people in the world, doubted he loved them.
Harry softened and stepped toward Lily as non threateningly as possible.
Harry started reciting a rhyme he made up when she a child for sad times to bring her up. It had been many years since he had to use those comforting words, but he thought it was definitely an appropriate time to use those long forgotten words.
"I care for you,
"more than the stars above.
"yes it's true
"these times are tough,
"but if you may cry
"just remember these words;
"I'll always love you-
"Until the day I die."
He looked into her eyes, willing her to remember and believe him. He didn't want her to be hurt, especially not by her own self. She had been acting different, but everyone just wrote it off as her being a teenager. Little did they think it could even be something more.
"How do I know you're not just saying that? Like he always did? He always said… He said he'd always be there, but where is he now?" Lily spat back tearfully.
Harry's brows furrowed at his daughter's words. Who was she talking about? Had some boy at school hurt her? She was only fourteen for Merlin's sake! Whoever he was, he was going to hurt for making his little girl cry! "Who? Did he hurt you?" Harry was so dead set on it being some idiot teenager that he was shocked when her answer slipped out.
"No, dad! Teddy! Where's he now? Why did he have to leave us? Me?... he's the best friend I've ever had." She said the last part so quietly that Harry nearly didn't hear it.
"Teddy? LIly, it's been years since he left…"
"I know that… but, well, why hasn't he written? Doesn't he care?" Lily was flustered now, and Harry didn't know what to do. Honestly, he'd always thought his god-son just needed some time to figure his life out. He was sad Teddy never wrote, but after a few months of no contact, Harry had accepted it.
"Lily, I'm sure Teddy's fine, he just needs some time away from-" Harry started.
"From Victoire, I know. She broke his heart at the dinner table and now he's too afraid to show his face around here. But he could still write! I- we haven't heard from him in three years! How do we know he isn't off somewhere- dead?" Lily screeched. This was the first time Harry had heard his daughter speak so many words at a time in a long time. In… well, in three years time just about… in fact, Lily started changing when she started Hogwarts.
Suddenly, Harry remembered that Lily was bleeding. "Lily, can we talk for a minute? At the table?" Harry asked gently. Lily looked at him with apprehension.
"Why? Is something… is Teddy okay, is there something you haven't told the rest of us? What's-" Harry reacted immediately.
"No! No, Teddy's just fine. If something happened, Andromeda would know, and she would tell me. He's fine… I just want to tell you something, help you, yeah?" Harry said carefully. Lily bit her lip, but nodded slowly.
"Okay." Harry could see in her eyes that she was struggling, and he wondered just how he had let their bond fall away. She barely trusted him anymore.
Harry led the way to the kitchen table, and Lily sat across from him, her arms under the table. He took out his wand and set it on the tabletop as a show of peace. "Lil?" He asked.
"Dad?" She asked, not meeting his gaze.
"Lily, can I tell you something?" He asked, thinking of a way to help her feel better about Teddy before addressing her bleeding arm. Lily nodded, albeit unsure, nut all the same. "A wise muggle once wrote 'A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.'"
"What are you trying to say?" Lily asked, seeming a bit confused to Harry. He smiled small before turning serious again.
"I think, maybe Teddy's just looking for what's best for him. He doesn't know who he is anymore… but in the end, he'll come back. He needs his family, it's who he is. He's bound to realize it eventually, so don't worry so much, yeah?" Harry elaborated. Lily nodded, a kind of quiet realization lighting her eyes.
"I think I understand." Lily amended. Harry nodded, then glanced down at her arms under the table.
"Now, what about you. What do you need?" Harry asked gently. "I'm always here to help you, Lily. No matter what."
"I… I'm fine." Lily said, nervously, but Harry could see that she knew she was beat. After a silent staring contest between the two, Lily finally looked away before saying anything.
"Promise you won't be angry with me?" She asked somberly.
Harry shook his head. "I would never be angry with you. I want the best for you, so sometimes I may be angry with myself for not helping you well enough, but I would never be angry at you."
Lily nodded and, looking down, she lay her arms down on the table to reveal cut marks all up the inside of her forearms. Some were old- scarred and faint- while others were still scabs, barely starting to heal. Then there were the fresh ones, beads of blood still pooling out. Harry was shocked. He knew she was cutting since he caught her just then… but he hadn't expected it to be so extensive.
"How long have you…" Harry couldn't finish.
"Cut? Since the summer after first year. I couldn't deal with the loneliness anymore, and when I started to do this, I felt… better." Lily said quietly, not looking at her father, whom stared at her, trying to be understanding.
"Didn't it hurt? Doesn't it still?" Harry didn't mean to sound so accusatory, but he couldn't help it.
Lily frowned. "Not really… I mean maybe for a little bit, but it's kind of nice now. It feels… good." Lily admitted with furrowed brows. "It was gross at first… but you kind of get used to it."
Harry frowned but he tried to understand. "Have you ever… do you want me to help you at all? I… I don't want you to hurt yourself, Lily. I can help you if you need." Harry tried. Lily nodded.
"Sometimes… I wonder what I've gotten myself into, and I hate cutting… but other times, I can't suppress the desire to see my own blood." Lily whispered. Harry shook his thoughts of pain away. He felt horrible that someone so close to him could want that for themselves.
"Do you want help?" Harry asked again. "Or a healing spell for…" He indicated to her arm and glanced at his wand sitting on the table between them. Lily nodded again.
"I think I do… yes." Lily said. Harry nodded and took his wand and cast a few healing spells, scar removing and others.
"Promise me you'll let me help you with this. Don't bottle it up anymore, okay?" Harry demanded.
"Okay, dad. I love you." Lily agreed.
They shared a smile and that was the beginning of a change for Lily, and Harry was glad to have his daughter back, and vowed to never lose her again.
AN: Thanks to all for reading! Review are appreciated! :D