Harry slumped against the elevator doors as the slid closed. He was exhausted and despite all the heating charms he was somehow still frozen to the bone. The cold air seemed to leech into any miniscule opening on his clothes. Whether it was an inch of sleeve pulled up or a slither of where his socks met his hem line. The cold crept in and he was desperate for a warm shower.
The doors slid opened soundlessly but he could hear raised voices coming from his suite. Rushing in he saw a manic Felix, his face almost purple with rage, Evan stood up to him almost nose to nose his face passive but his eyes burning. Lana in oversized hotel pyjama’s standing hopelessly between them.
“What is the matter?” Harry entered loudly.
“Felix wants Lana suspended without pay for obstructing an arrest,” Evan’s voice was enraged.
“She let the killer go! Staying with that muggle woman instead of chasing him.” Felix roared, “she was that close and let him go, if one of us were out there—”
“But you weren’t,” Harry said, “none of us were. In fact at this point Lana has come closer to the killer than any of us and she did it on her own. In my Ministry she would be rewarded, not punished.”
Felix tried hard to calm himself but his was so tense when he spoke his mouth barely moved, “we all know that this is the cheer squad for Lana here,” he spat.
“I will cheer on anyone who makes a break in this case,” Harry said, his own temper beginning to flare.
“She needs to make a statement anyway,” Felix tried regaining his authority, “this is out of my hands now. Minister Nassar will want a full enquiry now.”
“I will ensure she gets to the enquiry first thing in the morning,” Harry opened the door to his suite, “now she needs rest.”
Felix’s jaw tightened once more and his eyes raked over the three of them, “I’m sure you’ll take very good care of her,” Felix snarled as he left the suite with Harry snapping the door firmly behind him.
“I’m sorry Harry,” Evan apologised, “he barged in here like a wild animal.”
“Don’t apologise, he’s got to blame someone, after all if he had patrolled his team on tonight the killer wouldn’t have gotten away as he said.”
“Because I stayed with Jamie?” Lana said quietly.
“No not at all, the victim was still alive, your instinct to stay with her was correct, it’s what any of us would have done,” Harry picked at a cracker from the room service platter in front of them.
“Sorry we ordered some supplies when we got here,” Lana said nervously tucking her hair behind her ear.
“Drink?” Evan offered a crystal glass of dark liquid, “warm’s you up.”
“Yes please,” he sipped and the alcohol burned his throat warming his insides up quickly.
“I’m going back to the office to sort out this shit storm,” Evan announced.
“Are you sure you’re alright?” Lana asked.
“Yeah, Felix just pisses me off and I think that anger was all pent up from a few years of listening to him bitch and moan,” he squeezed Lana’s hand, “I’ll be fine. You enjoy this luxury penthouse.”
“Here,” Harry said, he handed him his hotel key, “come back when you’re done there’s plenty of space in here.”
“Thanks Harry,” Evan smiled and kissed Lana goodbye with an embrace.
“Come back if you can,” Harry said quietly, “she needs you right now.”
Evan nodded, “try and get her to eat something if you can.”
“I’m ok you know,” Lana said tucking her legs underneath her, “Evan worries too much.”
Harry shrugged it off while privately agreeing Evan had every right to worry about his friend, “that’s what friends do though, the good ones anyway.”
“I suppose,” she wrapped her hands around her glass and took a deep drink.
“Hermione, she is the constant worrier,” Harry attempted to be conversational, he picked up a delicious looking sandwich from the room service platter hoping it would cue Lana to eat something.
“Really?” Lana perked up, “Hermione seems so calm and in control, from a media perspective.”
Harry laughed, “maybe now she is, but growing up she was really neurotic, very anxious about school and professors, she wanted all her professors to like her, not so much her peers.”
Lana smiled, “it must have been amazing at Hogwarts… you know before the war,” she shook her head, “sorry I shouldn’t have brought it up.”
“It’s fine really, I love talking about Hogwarts, it was one of the happiest times of my life,” Harry said before he could stop himself.
There was an awkward pause that followed.
“I don’t know why I said that,” Harry put the glass down.
“You’re not happy now?” Lana hadn’t let go of that glass.
“I was just being stupid, really Hogwarts was the first time I had real friends and I don’t know… I guess a place that felt like home,” Harry couldn’t stop talking, it was like a flood gate had opened, “I finally belonged somewhere and meeting Ron and Hermione, was the first time I felt like I had family.”
“Didn’t you live with your Aunt and Uncle?” She asked.
“Yes but that wasn’t my family, they made sure I never felt like a part of anything,” he put his face in his hands, “I’m so sorry, I can’t seem to stop talking.”
“It’s fine,” she smiled, “honestly, I mean not the same circumstances but I know a little bit of where you’re coming from. My mother died when I nineteen and any semblance of a family died with her.”
“Your Father?” Harry asked.
“We are estranged, I believe the word is, he remarried and any responsibilities he had with his children are also long dead. My brother too, except we don’t really speak, problems with Mom’s will, it just turned everyone against each other. That’s why Evan is my family now I suppose, we went to school together also,” she put her drink down, “what is in this Veritaserum?”
“It must be,” Harry smiled, relaxing further back into the luxurious sofa, “I’ve never said that to anyone.”
“Me either,” Lana admitted, “nothing like a near death experience to make you open up,” she shrugged and slugged the rest of her drink.
“Try one of these,” Harry handed her one of the sandwiches, “they’re delicious.”
He watched her nibble and pick at the sandwich but at least she was eating something.
“Seeing as we’re being honest,” Harry tried to sound casual, “why does Felix think we are…uh…”
“Sleeping together?” Lana finished for him.
“Yes! I mean he seems a little obsessed with it,” Harry felt himself blush.
“Are you blushing?” Lana laughed, “The great Harry Potter, as if you don’t have women throwing themselves at you constantly and the thought of an office affair makes you blush.”
“Well I just don’t like how everyone assumes these things about me,” Harry admitted, “I’m not like that at all. I haven’t dated anyone serious since Ginny and the press love to make me out like some swinging bachelor.”
Lana grinned, “were you or were you not going to go home with me that first night?”
Harry’s face turned redder, “those were extenuating circumstances, I promise. That was unusual behaviour, I was in a new city alone, this amazing room and well intoxicated and you were so beautiful and confident. What man could say no?”
Lana smiled softly, “were so beautiful, ouch, no wonder you’ve been single for so long.”
“You know what I mean, you obviously know you’re very attractive,” Harry said trying to cover up his error.
“Yes, obviously I look very sexy when I’m covered in someone else’s blood, sweating and crying,” her face paled at her own words.
“Are you alright?”
Lana shook her head and rushed to bathroom. Harry heard the retching sound as she was sick just making it to the toilet bowl.
Quietly he entered the bathroom, wetting a face cloth with cold water he placed in on her neck, that was hot to touch. He noticed the hair tie on her wrist and gently tugged it off and scraped her hair up into a messy bun to keep it out of the way. He’d done this for Hermione a few times, when she’d suffered post-traumatic stress, shock and also drinking too much.
She heaved again but nothing came out, her face sheened with sweat Lana flushed and washed her face in the sink, “sorry, I don’t know what happened.”
“You’re in shock, you lost someone you cared about,” Harry soothed.
“If only I went with her,” Lana said vexed, “one of us could have—”
“It’s no good going through the ‘if’s’, it’s happened and unfortunately we can’t change it but we can catch this maniac and I know you will be the one to find him.”
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