Healing is hard to do


Rating: PG13
Genres: Angst, Romance
Relationships: Harry & Hermione
Book: Harry & Hermione, Books 1 - 7
Published: 29/07/2012
Last Updated: 06/09/2014
Status: In Progress

Post-Hogwarts. Harry is left with a painful neurological condition following his final battle with Voldemort. Hermione watches Harry decline without being able to help, but when she decides she has had enough of being helpless, can she help Harry put his life back together. Dark themes within, and lots of angst, but a happy ending awaits!

1. Chapter 1

Disclaimer: Not my Characters, but my plot bunny!

A/N: Okay, so I have had this idea for a while. A story where Harry had a lasting injury from the war that impeded the perfect life the Trio should be leading. This is a very angst filled story (My Specialty), that will have a very happy ending. Post-hogwarts, Pretty much ignores DH and the epilogue....H/HR. So, if you like angst, romance and happy endings read on...be warned there are some pretty dark themes to begin with.

Chapter 1

Sitting on the edge of the bathtub, with his head in his hands, Harry wondered how he had got here again. Sick to his stomach from too much alcohol and with a spinning head, in an unfamiliar bathroom belonging to a girl he had met only hours ago. The passion he had felt along with the flood of adrenaline experienced that paired together, briefly numbed the feelings he was so desperate to escape. Tired limbs and itchy eyes weren't the only signs of his new party lifestyle; the clothes he was wearing were three days old. The Daily Prophet that rustled on the floor beside the toilet painted the picture of a playboy name Harry Potter; celebrating and putting that war behind him. Different girls on his arm every night, and the dishevelled pictures taken as he left each girl at the crack of dawn.

This morning was no exception. Harry tried to avoid being sober at all, being sober was when the thinking started, the memories returned, and the shudders began. He could already feel the twitching beginning in his hands; the residual effects of numerous cruciatus curses were taking hold again, unbridled by the dampening effects of alcohol. Soon the shooting pains would begin: up his forearms, along his spine, piercing him to the centre of his being. Cruel taunts of a madman that refused to leave him, even though the madman's life had been taken many moons ago.

Apperating wasn't an option, Harry couldn't be sure he wouldn't splinch himself in his current state. A chuckle bubbled out of his throat, splinching himself would be all the ammunition that Ron and Hermione, his housemates, needed to get him locked away for good in St Mungo's. With that thought, he stood and steadied himself, gritted his teeth through the sharp prickling pains beginning in his lower back and left the strange bathroom.

There was a blonde asleep in the bed, Harry couldn't quite remember her name- Karen? Or maybe Kirsty? Kirsten?- Whoever she was, she was more than ready to jump into bed with the famous Harry Potter, the boy-who-lived, the boy-who-prevailed. She didn't know or care how broken he was. Shaking hands collected socks and shoes from the floor, where they were abandoned in the throes of his escapism. He barely glanced at the sleeping figure before letting himself out of the ground floor flat into the pouring rain that soaked the streets of London. He turned towards his flat in Diagon alley, and began the painstaking journey home.


Hermione woke with a start as the thump sounded from the stairway leading to the flat. The book on her lap slipped to the floor as she stood from where she had fallen asleep in an armchair. Harry was home. She ran to the front door and threw it open. Sure enough, Harry was crouched halfway up the stairs, groaning.

“Harry-!” She exclaimed softly, and crept -barefooted- to where he was crouched. He was soaked thoroughly by the downpour outside, but Hermione knew he would be boiling hot to the touch. She was surprised there wasn't steam rising off him! “You didn't take any of your potions out with you, did you?” She knew this was a stupid question, he hadn't been home for three days and she knew because she had been waiting for him.

“Ran out-“ he muttered through gritted teeth. Hermione shook her head and placed a gentle but firm hand around his bicep to coax him into standing. He relented but needed to rest two steps later. Hermione could see him working very hard to contain his cries of pain through the beads of sweat forming on his clammy forehead. Her own pain at having to witness this ritual again was quashed by her healer instincts. Luckily, Ron and Luna had been awoken by the sounds of Harry's return and quickly came to aid her. Harry's bedroom wasn't a long trek from the front door. Together, Hermione and Ron managed to help Harry to his bed. Ron's face was pale and drawn with worry;

“How long can we let this go on, Hermione? I'm terrified that one day we will just find him dead outside our front door” He spoke with a darkness that Hermione did not like to hear from him, and she shot him a glare

“We can handle it Ron, What else do you suggest we do?” She snapped, she saw him recoil from her harsh tone, but knew he had no answer for her. Luna stepped over and took Ron by the hand;

“Let's go back to bed” She soothed “Hermione knows what to do now” She turned and nodded at her friend before she led her boyfriend away. Hermione's glance lingered on their backs as they retreated to Ron's bedroom. She was losing faith in her steadfast promise to Harry that he could be treated at home for his ailments, and she wondered if Luna could see her willpower waning. The sound of Harry retching brought her back from her thoughts with a bump-

“Okay Harry” she whispered, beginning the ritual that was all too familiar now. She grabbed a plastic basin from the kitchen and placed it next to the bed. This was the part when the alcohol that Harry had consumed made a reappearance. She assessed him to see if she could leave him to run to the kitchen. When she was happy that he wouldn't choke on his own vomit, she half-ran to the kitchen. In the furthest corner of the kitchen was a cupboard they used to house all of Harry's potions. She grabbed the numerous pain potions, and treatments that were needed for his condition and hurried back to his bedroom. Harry breathed heavily from the pain and the unpleasant exercise of purging ones stomach. His eyes were closed, and she peeled back his eyelids and checked his pupils with a small light she produced from her wand. He was really in a state this time around, she noted, his pupils were almost pinpricks. The process of administering the potion was made much simpler by use of magical tubing that fastened to the skin when applied. Hermione had learnt that trying to get Harry to drink them when he was semi-conscious was easier said than done. His agitation ceased almost as soon as she attached the magical tubing and began the potions pumping with a flick of her wand. She conjured a damp cloth and placed it on his forehead to attempt to bring his temperature down, further she cast a cooling charm in the room.

How had it got so bad? Of course she hadn't expected any of them to come out of the war unscathed, but Voldemort had really left a lasting mark on her best friend. They had found Harry collapsed next to a burning pile of robes that night. He hadn't awoken for six months afterwards, and although healers worked tirelessly they couldn't seem to undo the damage done to his neurological system. The head healer on Harry's case, Healer Guttridge, theorised that Voldemort had used a curse of his own creation or Harry had simply survived an unprecedented number of castings of the cruciatus curse. A year and a half later, and no improvement was seen. Initially, Harry seemed on board with the tests and experiments', eager to start his life post-Voldemort. As the months passed with no improvements, Hermione had watched the life and spirit leach out of her friend until only a shell remained. Harry had developed his own coping mechanisms, and despite the damage he was doing to himself and those around him continued to seek anything that allowed him to escape what his life had become. Many people had given up on him, even Molly Weasley was visiting less and less.

They had tried to help him, Hermione and Ron. Sitting with him, attending hospital appointments, and attempting to reintroduce Harry to all the things he used to enjoy- but Harry just wasn't Harry anymore. Then he started leaving. The first time he left for one night, Ron had gone with him believing that a lads night out was `just what Harry needed'. It hadn't gone as Ron would have liked, Harry drank a lot and if he didn't find a girl he would find a fight instead. Then Harry would start sneaking out while neither of them was looking. Then they wouldn't see him for three days. Anyone looking in could see the cracks in the foundations of the Golden Trio, and that all was not as it should be. They should be happy, getting on with life, but while Harry couldn't move on, neither could the two people closest to him.

Hermione removed the -now warm- cloth from Harry's forehead, and brushed his hair back to thumb his scar. The potions had sent him to sleep, and he was resting easy now, but for how long?

Hermione breathed deep into herself. She needed her Harry back, her Harry from before the final battle. The person she missed the most, was the person she was sitting right next to. She stood and pulled the duvet over Harry. She lay next to him to make sure the potions were working, and that was where she fell asleep. She dreamt a wonderful dream where she, Harry and Ron were living the life she imagined, instead of the hell that they currently knew.

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2. Chapter 2

Disclaimer: Not my Characters, but my plot bunny!

Chapter 2

A scratching at the window woke Hermione. She felt that she only slept for a minute, rather than hours and felt no better than when she had succumbed to her exhaustion. She was glad it was Sunday, as she didn't have to be in healer training on weekends. The scratching at the window was created by a brown ministry owl. Hermione glanced at Harry, who was still out for the count and would likely to remain so for a few hours yet, if past experience was anything to go by. When the window was opened, the owl landed on the windowsill and held his leg out to Hermione. As soon as the letter attached to his leg was removed the owl gave an aloof hoot and flew away. The letter was addressed to Harry and she placed it on his desk, it was then she noticed the pile of unopened letters. There were five letters in total, all similar to the one she held in her hand, boasting the stamp of the Ministry of Magic. Eyebrows knitted together, Hermione struggled with a moral dilemma; Harry was obviously ignoring the letters for a reason, but they likely were important if they were from the Ministry. Casting a guilty look at the sleeping boy-who-lived, she ran her finger under the seal of the letter in her hand and read.

Department of Magical Law Enforcement

Auror Division

Ministry of Magic

Dear Mr. Harry James Potter,

We have previously sent you confirmation of your success in the Auror Written Entrance exam; once again we extend our congratulations on your excellent score. Our records indicate that you have not yet sat the practical examination and medical assessment. According to our records we have arranged three appointments on your behalf and you failed to attend.

May we remind you again that these appointments are mandatory before entrance to the Auror training programme.

Due to your excellent score in the entrance exam and known personal experience with the dark arts, the head of the Auror School, Kingsley Shacklebolt, would like to extend one further chance for you to attend for the examination and assessment.

An appointment has been made for you on the morning of March tenth; a representative will wait to meet you in the reception hall at ten o'clock.

Should you be unable to attend this appointment please inform us in haste.

Yours sincerely

Jackson Levy

Recruitment Co-ordinator

Hermione folded the letter and sat on the desk chair. Harry had taken the entrance exam to become an Auror? She was unsure when he had been able to do this without anyone knowing, and more so about the reason for doing so considering his current condition. Hermione thought back to the period following the final battle, just over eighteen months previously. She and Ron had decided to return to Hogwarts to complete their education after spending the summer assisting with the rebuilding of the castle. During this time Harry remained in the coma he was found in. They had wanted to wait for him, but healers advised that if he awoke he would likely be unable to leave the hospital for many months due to his numerous injuries and they do not believe he would be well enough to attend his final year. It was a tumultuous time for Harry's best friends, the fear of Harry never waking, the knowledge there was nothing they could do to help him and the feeling of helplessness had assisted them in making the decision to return. Headmistress McGonagall had advised them that they could leave the castle to visit Harry at any time, and convinced them that finishing their education and obtaining their NEWTs was their best option at that time. They had been given the head boy and girl suite for privacy, and it was there they healed together. With a smile, Hermione remembered her and Ron's short lived relationship. It quickly became clear, that their relationship was better suited to brother and sister rather than lovers; luckily for Ron, for it was there that he and Luna struck up their relationship. Hermione believed they were perfect for each other. As for her love life, well it was non-existent, as she was unable to move on whilst Harry was in Hospital.

Harry awoke six months after the final battle, and was in no condition to attend Hogwarts, as the Healers had said. When he had awoken, it was with great pain and the healers had diagnosed damage to his neurological system. Hundreds of tests brought them no closer to treating the problem, and his condition became managed through a complicated routine of pain and sleep potions. These allowed Harry to go about as normal, but required taking every 4 hours in the daytime. Harry had begged to leave the hospital, and with help from Hermione was able to move into his home flat in London, near St Mungos, and continued his treatment at home. This worked well for a few months, Ron and Hermione joined him upon graduation and he seemed to be taking everything in his stride. Hermione believed that the months of endless tests and trials, and the fact that the healers were no closer to a cure affected Harry more than he let on. It was when Harry had been advised that he would be unable to pursue any sort of physical career especially that of an Auror, his downward spiral began.

Back in the present Hermione placed the letter with the others, she guessed they contained many notifications of appointments he did not attend, she wondered what Kingsley Shacklebolt thought of all this- she remembered that he would have been one of the few that knew Harry's condition. McGonagall had made sure that the truth of Harry's condition was not known outside of the remnants of the Order. It was likely that he was following procedure to avoid raising suspicion. Hermione knew Harry must have sat the exam without telling anyone before he spoke with his healers. That would explain why he had not sat the practical exam, or attended the medical examination. He knew he would not pass.

With a sigh, Hermione stood from the desk. Harry was still sleeping soundly and comfortably. She left his bedroom, leaving the door open a crack, so she might hear him when he awoke. Stepping into the open-plan living area and kitchen, she was greeted by Ron and Luna. Ron had brewed some coffee and used his wand to poor her some from the coffee pot. The cup levitated towards her and she accepted it gratefully.

“How is he? “ Ron asked.

“You know...” Hermione shrugged sadly “The same as usual. He was sick, I gave him his potions and he went to sleep. I don't expect him to wake up anytime soon. I gave him one of the stronger sleep draughts that Healer Guttridge has given him for bad days” She thought about telling Ron about what she had read in the letter from the ministry but decided she would attempt to speak to Harry about it first.

Ron took a sip of his coffee thoughtfully, “What do you suppose he is thinking when he goes out? Do you think he plans on being gone as long as he is?”

Hermione considered this question. Harry must be taking some potions with him; she knew this because it was herself that collected his allowance from St Mungos pharmacy every week to replenish the cupboard. In the extensive tabloid coverage of his exploits there were never reports of the pain-addled Harry that they knew, nor reports of him downing potions in a back alley somewhere. She suspected that he managed to hide this quite well, so strong was his desire to appear normal to the rest of the wizarding world that even drunk he could hide his condition. Saying that it was plain to see the copious amounts of alcohol helped abate the pain somewhat. “I don't know, Ron” she sighed, she took a long sip of her coffee which was charmed to remain at the perfect temperature “I'm not sure who he even is anymore. It's like Voldemort took a part of him that day”.


Harry's eyes opened slowly. His tongue felt large in his mouth and his skull was ten time too small to house his brain. The hangover was a state Harry was far too familiar with now. He noted he was safely ensconced in his own bed. He didn't remember how he got there, but then again he never did. A wave of guilt crashed over him because he knew that once again he had left Ron and Hermione to pick up the pieces. The wave of guilt he felt raised so much so that he felt he was going to drown and he suddenly felt he was drowning and had - no, needed- to move, to get out. He threw back the duvet that was threatening to smother him and swung himself to his feet. Instantly he knew his mistake, the room swam and the pain shot from the balls of his feet to the top of his head. He couldn't stop himself from pitching forward into the chest of drawers by the side of his bed, the hand he threw out to attempt to catch himself only served to clear everything from the top of the drawers to the floor. Empty potion bottles cluttered and shattered as they hit the floor, his shoulder made contact with the dark wood and landed unceremoniously on the wooden floor. He swore, at first because of the cacophony of noise he had created and secondly because he had placed the heel of his palm directly into the shards of glass that littered the ground around him. He looked at the blood swelling from his palm with regret as the clamorous footsteps of his three housemates arrived at the door of his bedroom.

“Oh, Harry!” Hermione intoned softly as she surveyed the scene. “Why didn't you call when you woke up?!” The pity pouring from her brown eyes made Harry sick to his stomach and he looked away from her.

“I didn't think” he answered softly. He heard Ron clear his throat angrily but didn't look at him, knowing that there was plenty of things that his best friend wanted to say to him. They were too busy treading on eggshells around him to actually be honest with him. It was his fault that his friends suffered, he had dragged them through the war and now he was dragging them down with him. He felt he was spiralling deeper and deeper into an abyss with every passing day. He knew he should just run away- that they would move on eventually, and be able to live the lives they so deserved. He had planned on it, in fact when he went out on more than one occasion he had no plans to return, but something kept bringing him back.

“-Harry...Harry!” Her concerned tone snapped him back into the room, and he blinked fuzzily at her. She was kneeling in front of him now, his hand in hers as she used her want to extract the shards of glass and heal the furiously bleeding welts with tiny flicks of her wand. The rest of the glass was gone from the floor. “Did you hear anything I just said?” she continued.

He shook his head and muttered “I'm sorry, Hermione”, he glanced quickly towards Ron and Luna; a second apology left his lips. His eyes came back to his hand, where Hermione was almost finished, he didn't feel any pain. His reliance on the pain killing potions meant that every few months they had to be made stronger as his body became used to them. He felt very little whilst he was on them, like he had a second skin that numbed everything, even other people's touch felt a million miles away.

“I was saying that it looks like you have some nasty bruising where you must have hit your shoulder” Harry glanced at his arm where indeed he saw purple patches forming just under the short sleeve of his t-shirt. He nodded. Hermione's voice was laden with sorrow when she asked “Does it hurt?”

Harry shook his head “I can't- I don't feel anything”. Hermione looked like she was choking back tears, and Harry wished that she wouldn't cry but felt powerless to stop it. Why do I keep coming back here? How can I keep doing this to them?

“Come on, Mate” Ron said in a would-be jovial tone “Let's get you up. Hermione has done a good job on that hand” Harry nodded and allowed himself to be helped up by his two best friends. The people he felt closest too in the world, but at the same time he felt eons of space between them. A distance of epic proportions, an ocean he couldn't swim across to get back to them. To get back to himself. Now the Great War was over, who was Harry James Potter?

He blinked and he was in the kitchen. He had been so lost in himself that he didn't remember being helped there. Only Hermione was sat at the table. A sandwich sat on a plate in front of him- he didn't remember that being put there either- and he quashed the feeling of nausea that swarmed up. He pushed it away from himself gingerly.


Hermione watched him push his sandwich away with dismay. Did he even remember what solid food tasted like? The nutrition potion that became necessary to place him on provided him with all the basics, but it was a sorry substitute for real food. Harry caught her watching him and he gave her a guilty look;

“I feel sick” he offered up simply.

Hermione bristled. She wasn't surprised after the amount he had drunk last night, and frankly he had brought that upon himself- she stopped in her tracks. She didn't mean to lose her patience, but everything was so hard, why did he make everything so damn difficult! “Well, you've had all the anti-nausea potion I can give you” she exhaled angrily. Harry flinched but covered it up quickly. Shame burned in her throat but she couldn't quell the exhaustion that seemed to settle over her. The resignation that this was the rest of her life. The man she loved- and she did love him, she loved him so much, was in love with him- but she was sure he was so broken that he was beyond her love now. What good was her love to him, if it hadn't served to help him so far? However she knew that she would never be able to give up on him because maybe...maybe one day he would get better...maybe one day he could love her back.

Judging by the green tint to Harry's complexion she was sure that there was no way she would be getting him to eat today. His eyes were glassy already -he had already retreated into himself- no doubt reliving some horrific moment from his short life. It wasn't like he was in short supply. She wanted so desperately to ask him about the letter she had read this morning, but didn't know how to let him know she had opened the letter without his permission or if he would even speak to her about it. He looked even further away from her now, even though he sat within arms reach.

She remembered when those beautiful green eyes were radiant and full of hope, she remembered the confidence with which he set off to face Voldemort for the final time.

Hermione spun around as the death eater she duelled was felled by a very accurate reducto! from Harry's wand. It seemed they had been fighting forever but in reality it had only been an hour since the battle broke out. The order were spread throughout the cemetery in Godric's hollow, they outnumbered the remaining death eaters. The months of searching for the horcruxes had led to this, they had destroyed six, and the only remaining fragment of Voldemort's rotting soul was within Voldemort himself. Harry had stated he was near, minutes before the tell-tale noise of apparitions signalled the ambush of death eaters upon them. The order were ready however, and were steadily dispatching Voldemort's followers, picking them off one by one. Hermione felt tired, deep, deep to the bone tired; but somehow she knew this would soon all be over. She knew somehow, that the war was approaching its end. One way or another, it would be over soon. She cast spell after spell as the order slowly overcome the figures of darkness. Soon the death eaters were outnumbered, and they looked scared. She stunned one death eater, whilst Harry cast a shield with ease, protecting her from spell fire. They worked perfectly in unison. Back to back, hey spun, complementing each other perfectly with the timing of their casting and erections of shields to deflect. The Death Eaters were falling back. Their numbers were dwindling, the order was winning!

Hermione felt a tug on her arm as Harry tugged her to into cover behind one of the larger tombstones. His eyes were bright, and he was panting with adrenaline.

“I think this is it Hermione” he whispered “I think it's time” His eyes glittered brightly with something she did not recognise. “I see things clearly now. I have to go.”

Bile rose in her throat. She panicked. It was too soon. He wasn't- no, she wasn't ready to lose him.

“Okay” she countered. She suddenly felt absolute “I'm coming with you”

She tried to argue as he shook his head, but he raised a finger to her lips to cut her off “You are needed here, help Ron and the Order to distract the rest. I'll take care of Voldemort

“Harry!” She cried, annoyed that it bubbled up as a sob in her throat. “I'm - we're- not ready to lose you!”

Harry looked above her shoulder, as another death eater was felled nearby. He looked at her with a renewed sense of urgency. “Listen Hermione- I see so clearly now. I know I can beat him. I feel...” he stopped as he searched for the words to explain- “I know it is time. I'm going to beat him Hermione, and then this will all be over. We. Will. Be. Free”

Such confidence shone from his eyes that she believed him. She really did. He took her hand in his and gave it a squeeze. “If-“he stopped himself “When I get back. There are things we need to discuss” He was speaking really urgently now. She knew that her face showed the confusion and curiosity she felt, she parted her lips to speak, but he just shook his head and kissed her on the cheek. Hard.

“I'll see you later, Hermione” She looked into her eyes. Victory and promise shone true.

It was that moment she realised she loved him, although she did not know how to process it at the time.

She never did find out what he wanted to discuss.

She was woken from her reverie by the sound of paper slapping the table at which she and Harry sat. Harry also appeared to be jolted from wherever he had been.

“I think you both better see this” He stated grimly.

It was that mornings Daily Prophet.

A large magical picture of Harry graced the front cover, he looked dishevelled and unwell stumbling down the street towards their flat. It must have been that very morning, judging by the clothing he was wearing. Hermione was astounded at the speed these reporters must have worked.

The headline screamed `HARRY POTTER: GOLDEN BOY ADDICTION SHAME', in smaller print underneath it stated, `Conquest reveals Potter's addiction to dreamless sleep potion'

Hermione watched the colour drain from Harry's face. The details may have been slightly hazy but it appeared his condition was no longer going unnoticed.

“Oh shit...” Harry muttered dispassionately, dropping his head into the folds of his elbows.

Ron cast his eyes over to Hermione. “I don't think we can cover this up anymore”

Hermione swallowed in dread. What are we going to do now, Harry?

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