Monsters In the Closet
Trigger Warning: WARNING Child abuse IS talked about, both magical and non magical. There are specific incidents talked about, in detail, so please, if this is a trigger, don’t read.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, or Sirius Black. J. K. Rowling does. Thank you Ms. Rowling for allowing us to play with the characters you created.
“Siriusly, Sirius. What are some of the monsters under your bed?” Asked his 15 year old godson.
Sirius looked confused for a moment, but considering he’d just had to wake Harry from yet another nightmare, it wasn’t quite so hard to figure out. “My monsters weren’t a what, Harry, they were people. One in particular.” He said as he tried to organize his thoughts and figure out what to tell the teen so wouldn’t both have nightmares for weeks to come.
Harry scrunched up his nose and frowned, “Your mum, right?”
Sirius gave a sad smile, “Yeah, my mum. You’ve met her portrait. Alive and in person she was ten times worse!”
Harry’s eyes went wide behind his thick glasses. It was hard to imagine Walburga being worse than what he remembered. Then again, since he only knew her as a portrait she couldn’t follow him around, and she most definitely could not use magic to stick him to the floor so he couldn’t walk away from her.
“Tell ya what kiddo,” Sirius said as he thought of a way to get Harry to talk about his own monsters, “I’ll tell you one of my monsters if you’ll tell me one of yours.”
Harry looked stricken. He hated talking about his time with his family. It was over and done with now, so why did he have to talk about it? “Do I have to?” He whinged.
Sirius pulled Harry into a hug, “No Harry, you don’t, but if you want to hear some of my stories, you’re going to have to reciprocate and tell some of yours, too. They don’t have to be about Petunia,” he growled, “but talking about them might make some of the nightmares go away.”
Harry turned his head so he could look at his godfather, “your mind healer tell you that?” He asked skeptically.
Sirius nodded, “Yeah, he did. But so did your dad, and Remi, and your grandparents…”
“Really? My dad and grandparents wanted you to talk about something so horrible?”
Sirius chuckled, “How do you know they’re so horrible? Some of them might not be that bad.”
Harry sat up straighter and poked his Paddy gently in the chest, “I met your mother’s portrait. Anything about her is NOT going to be unicorns farting rainbows!”
Padfoot grimaced, “that sounds absolutely disgusting Harry!” Harry laughed and nodded, he’d had the same reaction the first time he’d heard the saying, too. “So, what’s it going to be pup? Reciprocal story time, a sleeping draught, or some warm milk?
“Does talking about it really help Siri?” He asked as he tried to think of a way to get Sirius to talk without having to reveal anything about himself.
Sirius nodded, “it really does pup. Tell ya what, let’s go have some warm milk and you can think it over, then we’ll go back to bed and you can sleep on it and let me know tomorrow, okay?” Harry nodded emphatically, relieved he didn’t have to reveal anything of himself. Sirius’ gray eyes glinted in amusement, “you won’t get me to talk without talking yourself kiddo,” he said as he ruffled Harry’s hair and got off the bed.
Harry’s shoulders slumped and he heaved a deep sigh, but got out of bed and followed his godfather down to the kitchen. When Harry saw Sirius take a pan out of the cupboard he quickly grabbed it from the dog animagus’ hand and admonished him, “Nu uh! I don’t know how you managed to set the milk on fire last time, but it will not be happening tonight! I’ll heat up the milk, you get out the mugs.”
Sirius looked a little sheepish as he opened the cupboard door and pulled out their favorite mugs. Soon they were sitting at the kitchen table, dunking biscuits in their milk and talking about mild things, little inconsequential things. Things which wouldn’t get their brains going and make it hard to get back to sleep
The next day they went about what they needed to do, totally avoiding the topic of monsters under the bed, but totally aware of the fact Harry still had to make a decision about whether he wanted to trade stories or not. He was waffling between telling and not telling. He did want to hear Sirius’s stories, but were they worth totally baring his soul, laying it all on the line and letting the monsters free? Harry sighed as he sat at the desk in his room, trying to work on some of his summer homework and NOT think about other things. It wasn’t working though. He’d been staring at the same page in his Transfiguration text for the last half hour and hadn’t written a single word of the two foot long essay he was supposed to be writing for Professor McGonagall.
Finally he gave up all pretense of being productive and sat and seriously thought about things. Did he want to open himself up to ridicule and the inevitable flashbacks, or did he want to say forget about it and go on with his life?
Finally he heaved himself up from his chair and went in search of his guardian.
“My mother,” Sirius began, “I can’t ever remember her laughing. I can remember her smiling though,” he shuddered, “it wasn’t a happy smile, either: It was only after she had tormented someone with her wand or her voice.” Harry shuddered as he imagined the type of smile that would be. Not happy would have been an understatement. “The first time I can remember seeing that smile? Hmmmm…” His voice trailed off and he looked far away as he searched his memory. He growled quietly, “I was maybe two, and being trained to use the loo and I wasn’t doing very well. I had just wet myself, again. Once she got my wet pants off me, she sent a stinging hex at my…well, you know,” Sirius flushed scarlet as he stammered the last bit as he gestured to his nether regions. “I can’t remember seeing her smile so big as she did when I screamed and started crying.” He closed his eyes and heaved a deep sigh as he shuddered almost uncontrollably at the memory.
Sirius felt a smaller, softer but more calloused hand on his as Harry tried to comfort him the only way he could: He opened his eyes and smiled softly at his godson. “WOW,” Harry slowly said, his own face red from a combination of anger and embarrassment. “That’s really young. A stinging hex, there? That…” He shook his head, unable to articulate what he was feeling.
Sirius nodded, a frown marring his face, “Yeah,” he sighed, “a stinging hex. And she didn’t bother to dry me off first either!” They both flinched with those words, Harry with empathy. He’d never had such a horrendous thing done to him, but he could imagine. “I…i…I…” He stammered, then sighed.
“Uncle Vernon. He…” Harry stopped as he started to hyperventilate at the memory. Sirius grabbed both his hands and squeezed slightly, letting Harry know he was there. “Shhhh, Harry. I’m here. He’s not.” And if I ever get my hands on him, he never will be again Sirius thought. “Take your time. There’s no time limit on this, and you don’t have to share that particular memory if it’s too painful right now.” He was half tempted to tell Harry he didn’t have to share at all if it was going to cause his ward so much pain, but he knew that eventually the nightmares would lessen, so he kept that thought to himself and continued to hold Harry’s hands and let him feel what he needed to feel.
After several minutes Harry got up and washed his face at the sink, shoulders slumped in what might have been defeat. He got out a pot and turned on the hob, put some milk, sugar and cocoa powder, with some chocolate chips in the pan and made them both a mug of hot chocolate, much to Kreacher’s consternation. “Hermione and Remus got me started on this during third year. It makes me feel better for some reason,” he said with an unconcerned shrug.
Sirius took a sip and nodded, “Yeah, Lily used to do the same thing when she was upset. You made it the same way she did, too,” he smiled softly in fond remembrance.
“Really?” Harry asked, more than happy to change the subject and hopefully derail the conversation before he actually had to share anything.
Sirius nodded, “she did. But come on now pup, it’s your turn.” When Harry blanched, Sirius quickly assured him, “it doesn’t have to be that particular memory, but you do need to share a memory.”
Harry sighed in defeat, a deal was a deal after all, and his guardian had told him a memory. “Alright,” he said dejectedly. “Heonceheldmyfingertoalightsocket.”
Sirius just sat there, looking at him, trying to decipher what Harry had said. His godson sighed again, “you know what electricity is, yeah?” He asked. At Sirius’ nod he continued, “muggles have lamps which run on electricity instead of gas or candles. And they have things called light bulbs which turn that electricity into light, and they fit into a socket. I broke a light bulb when I was maybe three. I’d tripped over the chord and pulled the lamp off the table.” Harry took a deep shuddering breath and a large gulp of his hot chocolate. “Uncle Vernon turned more purple than usual. He went and got Aunt Petunia’s rubber gloves. At first I was stunned because I thought he was going to clean up the mess I’d created, which would have been a first for him to do anything when I was around to be his house elf.
He didn’t though,” Harry shook his head and started shaking slightly. His voice went whisper quiet, “instead he put on the gloves and held my finger in the socket.” He heard Sirius growling loudly, but pushed on to the end of the memory, anxious to get it out and done. “He started laughing when I peed myself and started screaming louder.”
“Oh pup,” Sirius commiserated before transforming into Padfoot and laying his head on Harry’s lap, the better to comfort the both of them.