It was late in the evening and the rain had continued to fall, a cold chill nipping at the back of his neck. Nothing was going to make him move from his spot on the stone wall as he watched lights flicker on and off in the small house. He didn't want to believe he was sitting out in the pouring, freezing rain too scared to walk up to the door and ring the bell. He was too afraid of change and too afraid of how much had changed over the last year or so. It was like he couldn't move, like something had glued him to the stone wall where he had been sitting even before the rain had begun to fall.
He put his head to his knees and gave a groan. It felt so strange to be alone in the rain again. There was a certain emptiness about it that was all too familiar, and he deathly wished that he could forget. If he could forget a number of things then all would be right in the world. He would be able to forget the day he left, that bleak rainy day that he found himself seeking out Draco Malfoy for help, for a secret keeper. The day that the two of them left London and disappeared. Harry wondered if he could ever be forgiven for his rash way of thinking.
And there it was. Like a slap on the face the front door opened and light poured out on to the wet pavement. He froze lifting his head nervously. A figure moved into the door way and slowly started out, an umbrella popping open over head. Harry hid his face back down on his knees, squeezing his eyes shut. Not knowing what to expect he drew in a breath, listening as each step got closer, and the smell of chocolate, tea, and mint got nearer. It was both comforting and mortifying.
"You'll catch a cold," Remus said faintly, standing before the stone wall, looking up at the boy.
Harry turned his head. "I wont," he replied, looking down at the older man. "You know I wont."
"Come inside, you'll be warmer."
"I'll be a lot of things if I go inside."
There wasn't much else to be said. Remus held out his hand to help Harry down and Harry stared at it a moment, as if he were offended by it. He took it, raveled in the warmth that the one hand gave and slid off of the wall and under the cover of the umbrella. The two of them walked in silence back to the small house, Harry with his eyes cast downward and Remus with lines of worry etched across his brow. Harry found himself surrounded by the sent of chocolate, tea and mint, three smells that went oddly together.
As they entered the house Remus told Harry to wait at the door while he fetched him a towel. He returned moments later with an old, large brown towel with he draped over Harry's shoulders, watching as the boy pulled it closer around himself. The two of them entered the dining room in silence, Harry taking in his surrounding. It was homely, small, and well kept. He liked it. They sat around a small round table, each with a cup of tea in front of them, neither saying a word to the other. Eventually, one of them spoke.
"Harry, I'm sorry," Remus said quietly. "It was a horrible thing, what happened, and I only wish that I could take it back."
Harry shook his head, taking the cut of tea in his hands. "Don't," he said, finally looking. "Don't be sorry. I'm the sorry one. I left and I didn't want to come back. I left not knowing what I was going to do because I hadn't stuck around to ask. I didn't know what to do."
Again, the two fell into silence as Harry picked up his cup and took a sip of tea. He felt his hands tightening around the cup and he set it down. He didn't know what he was supposed to be feeling at that moment. He didn't know what he wanted to be feeling. Was he happy, mad, confused? Perhaps he was just thinking too much about it, but something in the air made him tense. It was the same feeling he felt the day he left; it was demanding, telling him he should listen. But he didn't want to. He didn't want to listen to anything, he just wanted to be forgiven for the stupid things he had done and said before he left.
"How've you been getting on, then?" Remus' voice broke through the silence, commanding Harry's attention. "Well, I hope."
The boy faltered a moment before shrugging. "Fair, I suppose. Still in school - university. Got a paper due next week."
Harry swore that if these pauses of silence were to keep happening, then he would scream.
"I'm confused, Remus," Harry admitted absently. "Being here makes me want to run, I dunno where, just run. But I want to be here. I want you to know that I am sorry. Really, it's taken me a whole year to realize some of the stupid things I've done, the stupidest having run away. I shouldn't have been in that room that night - I thought, you know, that you'd had your potion, and everything was fine."
It was his turn to be silent, though he wanted to drop his head on the table and forget that he had ever said anything at all. Was he babbling - was he even making sense? Harry's mind was just one giant ball of utter confusion where everything wanted to come out at once, like water being let out of a dam. Once it started coming out it was almost impossible to stop. The same could have been said about his emotions. One minute he wanted to scream at the world, the next he wanted to break the table in half, and then he wanted to let it all go and have a good cry over how stupid everything seemed in retrospect.
"You're mum and dad would've killed me, you know," Remus admitted thoughtful, a wistful smile playing on his lips. "I suppose Sirius wouldn't rightly forgive me either."
Harry shrugged. "But they're not here," he said, furrowing his eyebrows together. "They can't do anything about it."
Remus smiled. "God save the queen for that, too."
They talked a bit longer. Harry mentioning in detail the places he had been, the schools he had gone to. Never once did he mention who he was with the entire time he was gone, no did he mention who he was currently staying with. Even when Remus offered to let him stay there Harry shook his head. He couldn't leave Malfoy to himself anymore than he trusted himself alone and at Remus. He admitted that the thought of running away again was still fresh on his mind. He didn't tell the older man about his worries with the ministry. That could wait for another day, he figured.
And before the night was over, Harry left go. He had all be collapsed in tears, everything from the past year seeming to come back all at once. Harry knew the dam had finally broke and he could only be glad that it had broke where it did. He cried and cried, and with each sob he began to feel better like all he needed was a good cry, and maybe, just maybe that was exactly what Harry needed.
A/N: Bahaha. It's sort. It's crappy. But it's an update. Not exactly what I had in mind for this chapter, but then again, I suppose it's better than nothing, and it's about time that his old thing got updated.