I can see a dark forest. Well done Potter oh shut up now isn't the time to develop a snarky inner voice. I'll go mad.
Think Harry, narrow down your options, where do you know forests to be? I'm at Hogwarts I have to be at Hogwarts which means this is the forbidden forest. Wait! It's fading I can't I can't stay I don't want to leave.
Tasking Ron with the responsibility of flooing the necessary people, Hermione made her way through Muggle London to St Mungos. She knew she could get there quicker with magic, but sometimes it was nice to just walk and think about things. That was something she had never liked about magic. The speed of it, it left absolutely no time for logical thinking. When you could go to point A to point B in an instant, you'd better have your plan formed before you set off because there would certainly be no time for ironing out the fine details en route. Harry had taught her that.
The wind was cold and harsh while the sky was a typical bland grey. Good weather for summer she thought. Then all thoughts stopped, because Hermione had just reached the hospital. Standing in the atrium she looked around. Numerous Healers were walking this way and that, their lime green robes trailing behind them. Such cumbersome things. Hermione never understood the insistence on robes and pointy hats, such was the advantage of being muggle born that she was gifted with the greatest magic of all. The ability to dress practically.
Hermione waited impatiently in the line and finally reached the front of the queue.
The wizard behind the desk did a slight double take when he recognised her, then regained his look of steely boredom. It must be such fun to be a receptionist.
'I'm looking for Harry Potter. Which ward is he in?'
'I'm afraid,' the wizard began, 'that the esteemed Harry Potter is not currently a patient in this facility. Perhaps you have been misled?'
Hermione took note of the man's condescending air and counted to ten in her head. She would not be thwarted by this man.
'Actually,' Hermione replied, 'I have it on good authority that he is here because his partner, who happens to be my good friend, was brought in with him and has since been discharged.'
Then something dreadful happened. The wizard listened to Hermione and at the mention of Ron said not as under his breath as he'd have liked, 'Oh yes, the cripple'.
Hermione stunned the man.
Or at least, in her mind she did. Hermione had her wand to the wizard's throat faster than the eye could follow. 'You,' Hermione carefully enunciated each syllable, 'will take me to Harry Potter or you will find me someone competent enough to tell me where he is. I will count to three.'
A small squeak snuck from the wizard's mouth, and he raised a trembling hand towards an iron faced Healer who was coming down the hall.
'I'm Healer Jessop. Please come with me.' With that, the Healer turned from Hermione and made her way down the nearest set of stairs. As they walked the Healer talked, and Hermione listened.
'We're under orders not to reveal that Auror Potter is a patient in our care, straight from Minister Shacklebolt. For that reason we couldn't have the other patients knowing, or the Healers for that matter, gossip spreads like Devil's Snare around here if you let it. Once the Minister asked him to be moved I found him in a supply cupboard, I've since had him moved to the basement; no one comes down here without authorisation from me or my superiors.'
Hermione took this information and processed it, before storing it away under the appropriate file in her memory. When this was done she responded. 'Why are you letting me see him, if it's a secret?'
The Healer didn't answer. Hermione knew why she had been told, but she needed to probe the Healer, to find out what was happening from other people's perspective. Together they approached the featureless door that separated Harry Potter from the wizarding world.
Concentrate just think for a minute. What would Hermione tell you? Join the dots Potter you need to use logic what could possibly be related to the forbidden forest that can help you now?
A glow, an orange glow bright bright in the night sky and a voice, who? Fang FANG the dog and the dog means Hagrid and the glow is a fire Hagrid's hut, the fire and then that means Malfoy!
Really well that was stupid wasn't it what can Malfoy do? No, not Malfoy but with him who was with Malfoy a man a dark man a dirty greasy slimeba- SNAPE. Think what can Snape do, Snape knows mind magic he knows Occlumency, clear your mind clear your mind clear your mind ok I can protect my mind from others but oh of course! Legilimency! My mind is ok so all I need to do is reach out are you a wizard or not just send out the magic come on Legilimens!
LEGILIMENS LEGILIMENS Legilimens legil…
'I don't understand.' Hermione faced the broken body of the boy who lived and stood mouth agape. 'How did he survive this? Why did you let him survive this?'
'We have to keep him alive,' implored the Healer, 'we're sworn by magical oath to care for the sick. No matter what condition the sick happen to be in. You are a woman of reason don't you see there is much we can learn from him. He's completely brain-dead but stable. Other than keep him alive there is nothing we can do and I won't sit here and let him die,' the Healer's voice cracked then recovered, 'You might be able to live with letting the chosen one die but not me. Not me! Do you understand?'
Hermione looked at the Healer, and once more at Harry. The Healer was right; she couldn't have let Harry die either, because he was the chosen one, not just with Voldemort but forever after too. Hermione did not feel the tear on her face, nor did she feel it slide down her cheek and gather at the end of her soft chin. But when it fell, Harry felt it.
Hermione bent down and kissed the top of Harry's head, where his scar was.
Coming up, Harry and Hermione talk, and Ron begins to adjust to his new life.