Categories > Books > Harry Potter > I, Alone
Chapter 5– Of Pins & Friends
Draco Malfoy realized that the start of his school year was not going as he had planned as he stormed into the boy's dormitory. The Malfoy scion threw himself down upon his bed, clasping his hands behind his head and crossing his feet angrily. His grey eyes took on a smoldering glare as if he would burn a hole through the canopy above him.
"How dare she spurn me in such a manner," he fumed aloud as Crabbe and Goyle took seats on the bed next to his, neither particularly wanting to be there right at that moment. "In front of everyone, no less," the affronted blonde boy groused. His closest two supporters could do little more than look at each other before turning back to the scion they had been instructed by their fathers to support in any manner they could.
"She puts on airs and acts as if she is better than the rest of us…better than /ME/!" Draco argued as he lunged to his feet from his reclined position, too upset to remain motionless, and started pacing back and forth as he continued his one sided rant. "Once Father has spoken to her parents and she is mine I'll be sure to show her just how much better she isn't," he added with a sneer that caused the other two present to grin. "She'll come to regret the day she chose to ignore me!"
"Do you want us to, you know," Crabbe started, with aknowing grin to his partner Goyle next to him, "have a talk with her?" he asked suggestively as he turned back to look at the leader of their group for directions. "Just say the word and we'll make certain she knows her place." There was nothing Vincent Crabbe enjoyed more than exerting his larger size on those smaller and weaker than himself. What the youngest Crabbe lacked in brains he made up for in brawn. It was only their first day at school and he had already earned a name for himself and not a good one.
Draco paused to regard his two bodyguards as he weighed his option concerning the irksome Greengrass girl. "No," he replied rather slowly, ignoring the crest fallen look that appeared on the other two's faces."This has to be handled delicately for the time being. I think I shall listen to my Father for now and let him handle matters on his end," he told them. "If I were to do something that jeopardized his efforts I would never hear the end of it," he said to them. "It would be just like her, the little Princess, to go running to her daddy too!" The last thing he wished was for the head of the Greengrass family to have to speak with his father concerning his actions at school.
"Just because she can turn a stupid match into a pin doesn't mean anything," he offered as he started pacing again. Though he might not want to admit it he was rather upset that he had only managed to transfigure only half of the match himself. "What good does it do to transfigure amatch anyway? If I need a pin I can send our house elf, after a good swift kick, to fetch me one," he added in a mocking tone to further belittle her accomplishment. "There will never be a time when I will need to make apin. It just goes to show you how far the standards here at Hogwarts have fallen," he finished with a sickening sneer of contempt.
"Well it's not like Greengrass was the only one to do it," Gregory Goyle offered up with a slight chuckle trying to mollify the blonde boy. "That Granger girl did it also so she's not that special. They must have just gotten lucky is all."
Draco stopped in his tracks as a look of disgust appeared upon his face. "How did that filthy Mudblood manage that?" he questioned sourly. "She should be little better than a squib by all rights, growing up with those filthy Muggles." The fact that someone who held no knowledge of magic at all till they received their Hogwarts letter could outperform him did not sit well with the spoiled Malfoy heir.
"Potter didn't even manage to transfigure his at all," Crabbe added with a grin in the hopes of pleasing Draco further.
"Speaking of The-Boy-Who-Lived," Draco said as an evil grin crept across his face, "did you two get the items I asked you to?"
Both boys nodded with matching mischievous grins upon their faces."Ready when you are," Goyle told the standing boy with a hopeful look. Gregory Goyle enjoyed misfortune, so long as it was someone else's and not his own. Even better, to his way of thinking, if he was the cause of that misfortune.
Draco did a quick survey of the room, determining that they were the only ones currently present at the moment. "Quickly," he told them, "go fetch them before someone comes and sees us." As the two large boys hurried off Draco walked over to the bed that was assigning to The-Boy-Who-Lived and pulled back the covers.
The two boys returned, each carrying a bucket in one hand."Here," Crabbe said, holding out a bucket of dirt to Draco like he was offering a gift. The large boy was certain that their leader would want to be the one to do the deed.
Draco eyed the bucket as if it was infested with some disease which he would contract should he touch it. "What? You don't expect me to get my hands filthy do you?" he asked with a trace of sarcasm in his tone. The blonde youth also didn't want to touch the thing in case there was amagical means by which it could be determine who handled the item. Better to be safe than sorry, he reasoned. Why do it yourself when you can get some other sod to do it for you? Draco thought in true Slytherin form.
"No, you should be fine, the dirt's in the bucket after all," Crabbe replied a bit confused, missing the veiled meaning to the other boys words. "I don't think you'll get any dirt on you."
"Just pour it on his bed," Draco snapped, causing the other boy to flinch away from him before emptying the bucket of dirt on the bedding as instructed. "Now you," Draco said with of a flick of his chin towards Goyle.
Gregory Goyle didn't need to be told twice and quickly lifted the bucket of water he was holding and poured it over the spilled dirt. The water, mixing with the previously added dirt, quickly turned to mud and saturated the sheets, seeping down into the mattress as they watched.
Draco looked down at the sodden mess they had made of the boys bed with a satisfied grin. "Good one, Goyle," he said with a pleased nod of his head. The other two grinned like puppy dogs being petted, at the praise from their leader. "Now hide those buckets in the broom cupboard so no one will be the wiser," he instructed them.
Draco pulled the covers back up on Potter's bed and tried to arrange it back into the manner it was before he had disturbed it. In a moment Crabbe and Goyle returned from hiding the buckets. "Come on," he instructed them, "we'd best leave so others won't suspect it is us."
The other two boys nodded in agreement, silly grins plastered on their faces as they walked towards the doorway to the dormitory. "You're certain Potter didn't transfigure his match at all?" Draco asked Crabbe who simply nodded in confirmation. Draco grinned at this small bit of news."Well I guess Potter isn't such a great wizard after all!"
The three boys walked back into the common room only to find it in an uproar. "Oi, Nott," Draco called out to a fellow first year that he was planning to recruit into his group, "what's all the ruckus?" he asked as he glanced about at all the students talking excitedly.
Theodore Nott turned with wide eyes towards the three of them upon hearing his name called. "You're not going to believe this, mate," he stammered. "Harry Potter just turned every book in the library into pins!"
"Bloody Hell!" Draco exclaimed. No, this term was not starting off how the young Malfoy heir had envisioned it at all.
Daphne Greengrass sighed and waited impatiently for the marble stairway to swing back to the proper landing. This is a magical school, she mused silently,one would think they would have a more efficient means of travel between the floors than these stairways. The young blonde had at first, as with all new first years, found the moving staircases to be enchanting. That was until she was in a hurry and realized just how much time was spent waiting on them to align themselves properly so you could get to where you needed to be.
Seeing the next set of stairs snap into place she quickly dashed up them to the landing and turned, starting up the next set of stairs only to have them suddenly move, shifting her from her desired course. There was nothing to do but wait for them to swing back to the prior location she realized, as she leaned frustrated against the decorative railing. The delay only gave her time to think about the events that had driven her from the study table she had been sharing with Tracey.
That miserable little prat! she growled mentally, recalling Malfoy and his behavior within the commons room of Slytherin. Why can't he understand that I want nothing to do with him? she pondered as the stairway snapped into place pointing in the wrong direction. I don't know what game he's about but I certainly do not plan on playing, she affirmed silently. Hopefully he'll grow tired of it and find someone else to bother. Daphne frowned, suddenly feeling sorry for whoever the new target of the Malfoy attention would be.
The stairs moved once more and swung back to the proper location she needed. A few quick steps followed by a short hop and she was on the third floor walking down the left corridor. Her blue eyes glanced to the distant side and the right hand corridor, wondering what could be there that would bring amost 'gruesome death'as the headmaster had stated at the start of term feast. Why would they have something of that nature in a school full of children? Even worse, why tell us about it, she thought with a smirk knowing that it would just make some students all the more curious.
The first year Slytherin, engrossed in these thoughts, approached the main entrance to the library and had just reached out for the door when it was pulled open from within. Daphne quickly stepped to the side, not wanting to run into whoever was leaving. The last thing she expected to see was the school nurse followed by the floating unconscious body of Harry Potter. Before she could stop herself a gasp escaped her lips.
Madam Pomfrey paused, turned upon hearing the gasp near at hand."The library is closed," the healing witch told the girl she saw standing next to the door. "You'll have to return to your common room to do your studying tonight."
Daphne chewed the inside of her lip for a moment, a look of disappointment upon her features. "Is there no place else I can go?" she enquired. "I just left there and I don't think I'll be getting much of anything done should I return." Daphne's blue eyes darted to the floating boy for a second and she had to fight back the loads of questions that threatened to jump out of her mouth.
Poppy Pomfrey had been a nurse at Hogwarts for a long time and had become, over the years, an expert at reading the students under her care. Poppy arched a brow slightly, "One of the boys in your house having a go at you?" Daphne looked down and nodded slightly, embarrassed to have to admit it. "All you need is a quiet place to study?" the aged nurse enquired to which the first year student nodded once again, glancing up with a hopeful look. "Very well Ms. Greengrass, follow me." Having said this, the nurse promptly turned and strolled off down the corridor heading back towards the great staircase.
Daphne couldn't believe her luck and quickly fell into step with the school nurse. "Umm Professor….," Daphne started with after a few feet but then paused, not knowing the woman's name.
"I am not a professor, so you needn't address me as such. Madam Pomfrey should do nicely," she told the girl walking next to her with a small smile. The petite girl reminded her of another student from several years back.
"Madam Pomfrey," Daphne said, getting a feel for the name as it rolled off her tongue, "I couldn't help but notice you called me by my name, even though I never told you it. I was wondering how you knew who I was."
"You have the look of your mother `bout you. As pretty as they come she was," the school nurse replied causing the young girl to smile and blush demurely. "But it was your eyes that gave it away," Poppy continued with as they approached the stairs and made their way to the fourth floor and the infirmary. "You've your father's eyes, child," the nurse told her with a softer smile. "I suspect this isn't the first time a boy has been set on garnishing your attention, nor will it be the last I'll wager."
Daphne could do little more than shake her head, unable to refute the nurse's claims. Being the eldest daughter of a pureblood family as well as having her mother's good looks and fathers piercing blue eyes was too tempting a package for most other families to pass up. She hoped that when her marriage contract came that at least it would be to someone she could tolerate. If it is a marriage for political or social standing then perhaps Tori can marry for love and know happiness. This was her fervent hope.
They walked in silence down the hospital wing corridor till they reached the main doors and paused. Daphne, hearing something thud against the floor behind them turned and looked down only to spot an apple rolling wobbly about on the stone flooring beneath the Potter boy. It must have fallen out of his robes, she reasoned upon seeing one side of the boy's robes now trailing on the ground. Without thinking about it the petite girl stooped down and retrieved the apple while at the same time flipping the trailing robes over the floating boy's legs. Standing back up she followed behind the nurse and floating boy into the infirmary to a bed at the far end of the room.
Madam Pomfrey made certain the unconscious boy was situated correctly on the hospital bed before turning to the girl with her who she noticed was staring at the boy on the bed. "He's in your House is he not, Ms. Greengrass?"
"Yes, Madam Pomfrey," Daphne replied taking her eyes off of Harry and looking towards the speaking woman as was polite. "We spoke some on the train ride here. He was very nice and helped me with…something," she explained vaguely, not really wanting to explain everything to the adult before her in case it would get them in trouble for being atop the train. "Will he be alright?" Daphne asked with agenuine note of concern in her voice.
Poppy sighed as she placed a hand upon the girl's back and used it to steer her out of the area and towards her own office. The aged witch knew there was more to the girl's words than she was telling but she well recognized a change in subject when she heard it and decided not to pursue the matter. Best to deal with the issue at hand rather than find new ones, she reasoned. "A good night's rest and Mr. Potter will be back on his feet," she assured the girl with her as they entered the Nurse's office. "Have a seat at the desk there and you can do your classwork while I tend to Mr. Potter and make him comfortable," she instructed. "When you return to your House I will have a note for you to give to your Prefect as the boy will be spending the night here."
"Thank you," Daphne said with a small smile as she seated herself and started setting out her books and supplies after setting the apple to one side.
"Yes, well…should you find yourself in need of a place which is a bit more…," Poppy paused as she looked for the correct term,"secluded, than the library, you may come here," she told the first year student. Truth be told the older nurse would be glad for the company.
"Thank you, Ma`am," Daphne said, looking up with asmile. "I think I would like that," she replied before opening her book and burying her nose in it.
So like her mother, Abigail, Poppy thought as she watched the girl start on her school work. The Head nurse of Hogwarts recalled fondly Abigail Smith, who used to come and help her in the infirmary when she didn't have anything else to do. I always thought she would go into the medical field, Poppy mused with a slight shake of her head as she turned and left the office, closing the door most of the way behind her.
Daphne glanced up as the nurse left before returning to the potions book in front of her and starting to read. Tomorrows classes were Charms in the morning and potions in the afternoon. Having already read over the chapter for charms which explained the levitation spell they would be attempting, she had decided to focus on the first chapter of the potions book. It was some time before movement past the partially opened door drew her attention and she heard Madam Pomfrey speaking with the Headmaster.
Albus Dumbledore glanced about to ensure no one was near before removing his half-moon glasses and massaging the bridge of his nose between his eyes as he strode down the corridor leading to the infirmary. Even with Minerva and Severus assisting it will take several days to untransfigure all the books, he mused as he hurried along. "Most remarkable," he mumbled aloud under his breath as he thought about what Harry had done. As the years stretched out behind him he had taken to speaking to himself more and more often.
The elderly wizard knew that they couldn't untransfigure them all at once for fear of damaging the books. Not to mention the enormous amount of magical energy that would require, he reminded himself as he slipped his glasses back on. While the spell Harry had used was the simplest and most basic of transfiguration spells, requiring avery small amount of power, the same could not be said for returning them to their natural state. Any untransfiguration spell required a considerable amount of skill and power which is why it wasn't taught till the NEWT level classes in seventh year.
When it came to transfiguration it was simple for the person who performed the transfiguration to reverse it. However for another witch or wizard to undo a transfiguration they had to not only contend with the object's belief in what it was but also the original caster's belief in the form it currently held. In this case it was Harry's belief or that of his wild magic, that all the pins were in fact pins and not the books they should be. The caster's belief was imprinted on the object at the time of transfiguration and was what allowed the object to retain that shape indefinitely moving forward.
Albus smiled wistfully to himself as he recalled his days as the Transfiguration teacher at Hogwarts and how he would explain it to his classes.'Think of Transfiguration as rolling a boulder down a steep hill. With a large enough push the transfiguration will gather speed and nearly complete itself. Now if you had to then roll that same boulder back up that steep hill that would be Untransfiguration. A hard and most difficult task if you were not the one to do the initial transfiguration.'
While the aged Headmaster enjoyed running Hogwarts and overseeing the education of all the young witches and wizards under his care, there were times when he missed the simpler times of when he was just a Professor and taught his own class. "Alas, we must all play our part," he softly said to himself as he opened the doors to the infirmary and strode down the aisle way.
"Good evening, Madam Pomfrey," Albus said with a warm smile towards the head nurse who moved to intercept him. "I trust your young charge is well and recovering nicely?" The Headmaster paused as he saw the head of the Hogwarts hospital pause and glance through the office door which was slightly ajar.
Poppy, satisfied that the first year had her nose buried in the book before her on the desk, continued the few feet to the waiting wizard."Headmaster," Poppy offered with a respectful tilt of her head. Noticing the glance towards the Nurse's office and arched brow, she explained."Ms. Greengrass was looking for a quiet place to study and as the library was closed I offered to let her use my office for the time being."
"I see," Albus replied, realizing there was more to it than that but willing to let the matter go. He had learned long ago not to question his staff on the smaller details and hence allowed them plenty of leeway to manage affairs as they saw fit. "I received your message that you wished to speak with me concerning young Harry?" The Headmaster looked more closely at his head nurse only then noting that she was clearly upset as well as barely containing her anger. "Perhaps if you start with what his condition is?" he prompted gently.
"Mr. Potter, other than suffering from exhaustion from today's accident should make a full recovery to the condition he was in prior to the incident," she told the Headmaster in a strained tone of voice.
"I fear it is not his current condition which you wished to speak with me about then," Albus said with a patient smile on his face knowing she would get to the reason for summoning him in her own time and manner.
Madam Pomfrey wrung her hands before her while she gathered her thoughts. "It's criminal," she finally managed to get out past the lump of anger burning in her chest. Being a nurse for many years she was no stranger to the cruelties that could be inflicted upon a person. The Wizarding world, being what it was, ensured that the head of a house was near onto the law themselves within their respective households. She had seen numerous cases where wives were abused with no recourse to protection as they were bound by marriage contract.
If only the abuse was limited to there, she growled silently. The senior Nurse took great pride and comfort in protecting as well as healing the children left under her care. Nothing angered her more than seeing cases of child abuse as she knew there was nothing she could do save patch them up, send them home, and hope it didn't happen again.
"I did a full scan as this is the first time Mr. Potter has been in my care. Standard procedure," she assured him. "He is severely malnourished and has been for some time I fear. It is most noticeable in his joint, primarily his knees and elbows. If I had to guess I would have to say that he's been under fed his entire life."
Albus only barely managed to school his features to not betray his surprise at this news. It was clear to him that the Nurse was worked up over the matter, which he could understand. "Are you certain of this, Madam Pomfrey?" he enquired. How could this have happened? He was with his family who should have loved and cared for him like their own.
Poppy shook her head sharply as she replied, "There can be no doubt, Headmaster. It would also account for him being undersize for a boy his age," she went on to explain only to suddenly pause to gather herself."There's more," she said softly, her voice dropping.
"More?" Albus asked in disbelief. In all the years he'd been at Hogwarts he had never seen his Nurse this shook up before. The Headmaster's blue eyes suddenly looked old and tired as they glance towards the screened off area where the boy who was Britain's only hope against the Dark Lord named Voldemort rested. If their only hope had been damaged to the point that he could no longer save them that would spell dire times ahead for all of Britain.
"I hardly know where to begin," Poppy admitted with ashuddering breath. The head nurse started listing healed broken bones, contusions and lacerations that were spread across the young boy's body from head to toe. As she listed each injury the Headmaster slowly grew paler."There can be no doubt that he was beaten and often over the course of his young life," Poppy said with a mixture of sadness and anger. "What has been done to him is nothing short of criminal, Headmaster!"
"He has a healed crack in the upper side of his skull that may very well account for the glasses he has to wear," she told the elder wizard as if to prove her point. "The injury caused swelling which affected his optical nerves resulting in the damage to his eyesight. Sadly, as it has already healed it is irreversible at this point. I seem to recall his father had glasses for reading mostly but nothing else." Pomfrey sighed softly truly feeling for the mistreated child.
"What can we do for him to repair the other aliments?" Albus asked, hopeful that there was something they could do for the lad.
Poppy paused and thought for several long moments before giving an answer. "I can help with some of the issues, Headmaster. Though natural growth, as opposed to magically assisted, is the best method, I think I can combine the two of them. It won't be easy," she admitted, looking towards the screened off area. "It will likely be painful as well due to growing out his existing bones to their proper size and density."
"What of the other injuries?" the Headmaster asked, suddenly feeling overwhelmingly guilty for leaving the poor boy with his Muggle relatives.
"The injuries that are already healed there is little I can do for them I fear. Bones that have broken and then mended are better left as is rather than breaking them again and setting them. For the most part they healed straight and we'll have to hope that they grow out with the rest of him." Poppy turned back to look at the man with her only to see him appear as if he had aged fifty years in but a few moments. "He's young and so will not notice them for now, however when he is older he will no doubt come to hate the winter months and the aches and pains the cold will bring."
Albus thought for several moments before reaching his decision. The needs of the greater good must be met; he tried to assure himself, even if that means further pain to the young boy. The thought of the pain Harry would have to endure did not sit well with the elderly wizard but he saw no other recourse. "Pomfrey, do what you can for him. How long will the treatments take?"
"I should like to see him three times a week for an evening," she replied after careful contemplating. "I think the first month he will need to spend those visits overnight here in one of my beds till I am certain how he will react to it. If everything goes well he should be better off by the end of the school year however he may never get to where he would have matured to naturally."
"Very well," Albus said in a tired voice. "I will speak with Severus concerning Harry's treatment. I would prefer no one else know of his condition or his treatment," the Headmaster told her."For now we will just say that he is undergoing treatment due to the accidental magic which transpired in the library."
Pomfrey nodded, deciding to leave such matters to the wiser and more experienced Headmaster which would allow her to focus on her patient."I should be able to start by Thursday. I would like to allow him tomorrow and the day after to make certain he is well rested."
"Then I shall take my leave, Madam Pomfrey," Albus said with a slight nod of his head before leaving the hospital wing.
Daphne sat and stared at the page of the potions book before her, too stunned by what she had overheard to even focus on her school work. 'He was beaten and often over the course of his life' Madam Pomfrey's words kept echoing in her head no matter how hard she tried to stop them. Not for the first time was the Slytherin girl glad for the kind and loving parents she and her sister had.
How? How could such a thing happen? she wondered. How could no one have known? He's Harry Potter! The-Boy-Who-Lived! Loved and cherished hero of Magical Britain! Who would do such a thing? Daphne's young mind bulked at the possibility of the boy who had helped her atop the train car being beaten like some stray unwanted animal. Just the thought of it had her rapidly blinking back tears that threatened to leak from her eyes.
"Ms. Greengrass!" exclaimed a stern and commanding voice next to her suddenly, startling the blonde girl. Poppy smiled slightly at the dazed expression on the girl's face and how she was rapidly blinking to restore fluid to her eyes apparently. "My word, I had to call you three times before you heard me. I know that potions must be a fascinating subject but do try to blink more often or you shall injure your eyes," she told the girl."It is near curfew time so you should head back to your house."
Daphne merely nodded, finding herself unable to speak past the emotional lump in her throat at the moment.
Mistaking the young girl's silence for fear of walking back to her House alone the head nurse spoke up sympathetically. "I need to get a few potions from the back but if you wish to wait I will escort you back to your House's common room." Poppy watched as the girl nodded eagerly to her offer. "Very well, I shall return shortly. Please wait here for me once you have your books packed up." Turning away the Nurse disappeared through another door which Daphne assumed led to some storage room or other.
The elder Greengrass girl soon had her school materials packed away only to notice the apple sitting upon the desk where she had left it. Grasping hold of it she set her bag down and walked out of the office and to the screened off area where Harry lay tucked into bed. Peeking around the screening she spied the sleeping boy lying under the covers. A quietly as possible she stepped to the side of his bed.
Daphne quickly noticed that Harry's clothes had been replaced with a type of hospital pajamas that were plain white in color but looked comfortable enough. She couldn't help herself when her blue eyes looked to his head as if she would be able to see the healed fracture there that had damaged the boy's eyesight. Quickly feeling ashamed of herself for doing so she hastily looked away only to have her gaze snared by the lightning bolt scar upon his brow. Before she was aware of her actions she reached out with her index finger and lightly traced the scar. Harry seemed to sigh softly at her touch or so it appeared to her, bringing a slight smile to her face.
"You dropped something on the way in," she told him softly as she held up the apple so he could see it, as if he was awake. "I thought about leaving it in Madam Pomfrey's office but figured you might be hungry when you wake up as you weren't at dinner tonight," she continued with her one sided conversation. "I'll set it right here," she told the sleeping boy as she placed the apple next to Harry's glasses on the table next to the bed. "Just don't try to put it on instead of your glasses, alright?"
Lying on the bed Harry groaned and moved about somewhat.
"I know, terrible time to make a joke and all," Daphne offered nervously as the boy groaned once again but louder than before and began the thrash about with greater strength. "Harry? Harry?" Daphne asked as she laid a hand on his shoulder and shook it slightly as if trying to wake him. "Are you alright?" Harry's head began to jerk back and forth as if he was in the throes of a terrible nightmare. "MADAM POMFREY!" Daphne yelled fearful she had unknowingly done something to further injure the comatose boy on the bed.
"Ms. Greengrass hold your voice down!" the nurse admonished the young girl sternly upon stepping out of the office and looking about for the missing girl that had called to her.
"It's Harry," Daphne exclaimed with a note of panic in her voice as Harry's arms began waving about in front of him as if he was trying to ward off someone attacking him. "I think something is wrong with him!"
Madam Pomfrey hurried over, wand in hand and started her diagnosis. Daphne, uncertain of what to do reached out and clasped one of Harry's hands in hers causing a startling reaction. The-Boy-Who-Lived suddenly stilled and gave forth a contented sigh before settling down and lying still once more. A moment later Daphne saw his eyes flutter open and twin emerald orbs came to focus on her.
"D…Daphne?" Harry mumbled in a confused and only slightly coherent tone of voice.
"Mr. Potter I need you to drink this," Poppy said as she tilted the boys head up and poured the contents of a small blue vial into his mouth. The nurse smiled as she watched her patient swallow the potion. She had learned early in her career that if the patient was dazed it was the easiest time to get them to take whatever medicine you needed them to ingest.
"W…where am I?" Harry asked even as his eyes began to droop closed.
"You're safe in the infirmary," Daphne tried to tell him only to see he was already fast asleep.
"Dreamless slumber draught," Poppy said upon seeing the questioning look from Daphne. "It was just a bit of a dream. He should be fine now," she reassured the younger girl with a warm smile and a pointed look to where Harry's hand was being held by both of Daphne's now.
Daphne followed the nurse's look only to see that she was grasping Harry's hand without recalling how it had come to be in hers in the first place. The warmth of his hand in hers recalled the time he had helped her up the ladder and how warm his fingers had felt then when they touched hers. As gently as possible, with a growing blush in her cheeks, she laid Harry's hand upon his chest patting it once before withdrawing her hand.
"You may have a healer's touch, Ms. Greengrass," Madam Pomfrey said to her in a serious tone to indicate she was not making fun of her. "Your mother was the same," the nurse confided. "Shall we go?" Poppy enquired after a moment. Daphne nodded and went to retrieve her back where she had left it in the office. Upon returning with it, she and the medical nurse made their way down to the Dungeons.
Harry slowly awoke and quickly swallowed in an attempt to remove the near sickeningly sweet taste in his mouth. Reaching to the table next to his bed, purely out of habit, he managed to find his glasses after nearly knocking the apple there onto the floor. As he slipped on the spectacles the first thing he saw were a pair of crystal blue eyes which rested above a pair of half-moon glasses and a bemused smile regarding him. "Headmaster?" Harry intoned both confused and disoriented upon not recognizing where he was. The last memory his fuzzy mind recalled was being in the library with the Granger girl.
"How are you, Harry," Albus asked, concern evident in his tone and features. While to the naked eye the boy appeared whole and healthy, he had received last night the sad truth of the matter from Madam Pomfrey.
"Confused," Harry replied honestly, drawing a soft chuckle from the wizard seated next to his bed. The-Boy-Who-Lived glanced about and suddenly realized he wasn't wearing his school uniform. Harry looked up with a questioning expression even as one hand absently rubbed at the hospital pajamas he wore currently.
"I would imagine so my dear boy," the Headmaster said in agreement. "You are in the hospital wing here at Hogwarts. You gave us quite the scare last night. A very lively start to the term." The elderly wizard's eyes sparkled merrily, "Though I dare say Madam Pince is none too happy with you at the moment."
"I'm sorry, Sir," Harry stammered as he sat up in bed."I don't recall much of the previous evening." His eyes gave himself a once over, finding no bandages, before looking to the side and seeing the apple on the table next to his wand.
Albus raised a weathered hand and motioned for the young boy to relax. "Fear not young Harry. This is not the first case of accidental magic we've seen here over the long history of this school," he assured the boy before him. "In my third year of teaching Transfiguration here at Hogwarts I had a student who grew increasingly frustrated before accidently turning my desk into a rather large porcupine." The Headmaster winced at the memory. "Alas I was seated upon it at the time. The poor creature was less than pleased with me when I landed atop of it. It was three days before I could sit without a pillow beneath me," he told Harry with an uncomfortable squirm in his seat at the memory of the incident.
Harry couldn't help but grin at the image the Headmaster's story conjured up in his mind. "Is that what happened yesterday, Sir? Accidental magic?"
Albus was pleased to see the boy smile which was the reason for his recanting of that story in the first place. "Yes, that was all it was, Harry. As no one was," the wizard paused for a moment and shifted in his chair once again, "stuck or injured, there's no harm done."
"Sir," Harry opened with, both curious as well as fearful of the answer to the question he was about to ask, "what exactly did I do yesterday?"
"What do you recall?" the Headmaster countered with curious as to just what the boy remembered.
Harry's eyes dropped to his lap as he thought back to the library the previous evening. "I was trying to figure out the formula for Transfiguration. I had discussed it with Hermione Granger who had completed the spell in class. She let me borrow her match to attempt it myself after we had talked for a while." Harry chewed on the inside of his lip for a moment."I…I think I was angry or maybe frustrated because I couldn't transfigure the match to a pin," he confessed thoughtfully. "Everything is kind of hazy after that," he finished with a slight shrug, looking once more to the Headmaster.
Albus held up his hand for the boy to see, pinched between his thumb and forefinger was a single silver pin. "While you may not have transfigured Ms. Granger's match, you did however manage to reduce several rows of books to these," he told Harry indicating the pin in his hand.
Harry's eyes bulged in disbelief as he heard the Headmasters words and stared at the silver pin in the wizard's hand. "I…I did that?" Harry stammered after quickly swallowing to moisten his suddenly dry mouth. Harry all too clearly recalled the sign at the front desk of the library and shuddered to think what Madam Pince would do to him. His next thought, though, had him far more scared than any punishment the librarian could dish out."Sir….am I to be expelled now?" The fear of returning to the Dursleys nearly had him quaking where he sat.
Albus smiled in his most comforting and grandfatherly manner upon hearing the note of growing panic in the boy's question. "Fear not, young Harry," he said even as he raised his other hand and passed it over the pin. "That which is done can also be undone," he stated as the pin in his hand shimmered and transfigured into a dark-brown leather bound book. Albus continued to smile as he offered the restored book to the boy.
Harry slowly reached out and accepted the book before he glanced down at the title upon its front cover. Understanding Accidental Magic, Third Edition by J.K. Rowling, he read silently to himself. Harry looked up with a crooked grin. "May I borrow this, Sir?"
"Yes, though I feel it would be best if it were I that informed Madam Pince of the loan of this book," Albus said with his eyes twinkling merrily.
Harry grinned and nodded enthusiastically as he held the book to his chest. I did it! I'm really a wizard, he shouted within his mind at the realization of what he had done. I was able to cast a spell…even if by accident! The tendrils of fear and doubt he had felt about being a wizardly slowly loosened their grasp upon his heart.
"Madam Pomfrey has asked that she continue to see you throughout the year," the Headmaster said, drawing the jubilant boy's attention back to himself. "There is a treatment she would like to start in a few days that may help you with control of your magic," he said."I wouldn't expect results instantly," he added seeing the hopeful look upon the young boys face. "There may even be a measure of pain involved in it as your body adjusts to the changes."
Harry sat and thought upon the Headmasters words, the aged wizard being more than happy to allow him time to think things over. "Sir, is what I did dangerous?" Harry softly asked, suddenly serious and worried that someone could be injured or worse do to his actions. "Could I have hurt someone last night?"
The Headmaster sat back in his chair for a moment, the twinkle gone from his eyes, as he pondered just how much he could tell the boy before to him. "Hogwarts is a school for teaching magic, Harry. We know that there will be the occasional accidents that take place despite the best safeguards we put in place. Accidental magic is really uncontrolled magic. Who can say what it will do?" the Headmaster posed to the boy.
Harry felt a shiver of fear traverse his spin. "So then Icould have hurt someone or my magic could have?"
"Again, who is to say, Harry," Albus told him in what he hoped was a reassuring tone. "You're here to learn how to control your magic and use it properly, just as the Professors are here to assist you with that endeavor."
"I understand," Harry said with a sense of purpose."I'll do the treatment Madam Pomfrey advised if you feel it will help me prevent what happened yesterday from happening again, Sir."
"I am truly sorry to ask it of you, Harry, however I feel it is for the best." The Headmaster got to his feet in a surprisingly fluid motion for one of his advanced age. "Now if you will excuse me I have matters to attend to and I believe you have a visitor," he informed Harry of with his customary twinkle returning to his crystal blue eyes once more before he turned and strolled away.
Hermione Granger frowned at her reflection in the mirror. The young witch had awakened early and quickly prepared for the day. After taking ashower she dried her hair and got dressed. The reason for her current frown was the same as it was every other morning, her hair.
It wasn't that she didn't like her hair. On the contrary, she loved it. It had taken her some time to grow it out to the length it was now after that fateful day over three years ago when her mother had thought she would look better with short hair. Her classmates hadn't wasted any time in adding calling her a boy to the list of names they had for her. Hermione suppressed a shudder at the painful memory.
Now, with her hair well past her shoulder she truly loved it. What she didn't love though was that as its length increased so too did the bushiness of her brown strands. It seemed to her that the two were proportionally linked in some manner. While at home she had products her mother had bought her to manage it, however when packing her trunk she had opted to leave the products at home to make more room for books, a fact she was now regretting.
With a final toss of her hair, and a resigned sigh due to its condition, the young witch returned to her bed and shouldered her school bag with today's class books as well as several for light reading when the opportunity presented itself. It never hurts to have a book to read on hand, she reasoned to herself. There was no one in the common room as she descended the stairs from the dormitory and slipped out the passageway.
The young Gryffindor had spent a restless night, worried about Harry and the events in the library. Try as she might she couldn't help but feel responsible for what happened. It was my match and I was the one that encouraged him to try right there in the library! Within her heart Hermione knew that she had pushed the matter because she hadn't wanted Harry to walk away yet.
It wasn't often that she found someone she could speak to, yet here he had actually sought her out and asked for her help. Having seen him seated at the table across the way reading through books she had felt a kindred spirit in him which is why she hadn't wanted him to leave. If I had just left well enough alone he wouldn't have hurt himself. Her thoughts had led her to the decision to go and visit him in the morning.
The great hall of Hogwarts only had a handful of students in it when she arrived. The only Gryffindor's present were a three seventh years who were seated at the end of the table closest to the entry way. None of them bothered to look in her direction as she passed them moving down to where the first year student usually sat.
As soon as Hermione seated herself in what had become her usual place, food started to appear around her. The young witch quickly spooned some eggs onto her plate before take the top two pieces of toast from a large stack near at hand. Reaching into her bag she slipped out her copy of The Standard Book of Spellsby Miranda Goshawk and propped it open and began reading as she ate. The bushy-haired witch was looking forward to her first Charms class with Professor Flitwick.
Once her food was finished, with an audible groan she reluctantly closed the text book, returning it to her bag. Before rising though she reached over and freed an apple from the nearby bowl of assorted fruit. A small smile appeared on her face as another apple appeared in the bowl to take the place of the one she removed. Magic is so wonderful, she thought appreciatively.
Shouldering her heavy school bag, the young Gryffindor quickly left the great hall and returned to the Grande stairway. A few minutes and several shifting flights of stairs later Hermione arrived at her destination, and gently pushed open the door to the Hogwarts Hospital wing. The young first year student froze in place after taking several steps within the room as she saw the Headmaster walking towards her with kind smile upon his lips.
"No too long, Ms. Granger," he said to her, his crystal blue eyes twinkling merrily at the look upon her face. She reminds me of the time I caught Hagrid with his hand in the cookie jar, Albus mused only to recall they had to eventually break the jar to get the stuck appendage out of it."Harry still needs to get ready for classes," he added as he continued on past her and left the hospital wing with a decidedly lighter bounce to his step than when he had arrived.
Hermione could do little more than nod mutely as she turned and watched the head of the school leave. It's almost like he knew I was coming to see Harry. The young witch shook such thoughts from her head believing them to be nothing more than utter nonsense on her part. There's no way he could know such a thing? Could he?
Making her way quietly to the screened off bed she looked in and saw Harry lying on his back apparently asleep. A quick summary glance about the space showed her the boy's wand on the table as well as an apple, which brought a soft smile to her lips even as her grip upon the apple in her hand tightened."Harry?" she whispered softly, fearful of waking him yet honestly concerned about him and wanting to speak with him about yesterday.
Harry's head rolled to the side, his emerald eyes landing upon her from behind his round lensed glasses. The boy's eyes widened slightly upon realizing who was there to see him. "Hermione!" he exclaimed lunging to a sitting position quick enough to startle the young witch.
"I'm glad to see you too, Harry," Hermione said with her heart pounding loudly in her chest from the fright his abrupt reaction had caused. "Is it alright for you to be jumping about like that?" she asked with a touch of concern in her voice.
"I'm sorry," he replied apologetically for having given her a scare without meaning to. "Are you alright? I didn't hurt you last night did I?" he asked in a rush, fearful that he had in some way and the Headmaster hadn't wanted to tell him about it.
"No, I'm fine, Harry," she told him as she walked over and seated herself in the same chair the Headmaster had just vacated moments before. "Why would you ask something like that? I should be asking you how you're feeling."
Harry's eyes gave the witch a slow once over to ensure that there were no injuries before he let out the breath he hadn't even realized he had been holding. "No…no reason," he finally replied dismissively as he dropped his gaze to his lap to avoid meeting her eyes. His aunt had always told him that she could tell when he was lying to her by looking in his eyes. He didn't want to give the girl seated next to him that chance.
"At least you can get some reading done," Hermione said into the silence that followed his words, as she leaned over and lifted the book that was lying on the table next to Harry's bed. "Understanding Accidental Magic," she read the title on the front cover aloud. "Is that what happened last night?" Hermione inquired with a slightly arched brow.
Harry simply nodded, fearful she would figure out just how close she had come to being hurt and would be angry with him. Please don't let her figure it out, he prayed. Angry people, in Harry's world, equated to a beating and pain. While he wasn't certain just how much the young witch could hurt him should she become angry he also didn't want to discover the answer to that question first hand.
"We'll just have to be more careful next time," she replied as she flipped the book over to look at the back of it before returning it to the table next to the bed. Maybe we can find an empty classroom next time…one without any books in it, she added with a mental chuckle.
Harry's head shot up at her words. "No, there can never be anext time," he told her in a frightened tone as he stared at her in disbelief. I don't want you or anyone else to get hurt, he wanted to tell her this yet the words wouldn't pass his lips.
"Honestly, it will be alright," she said in way of reply even as she reached for his hand to pat it reassuringly only to see him flinch away from her touch and drop his eyes to his lap once more, unable to meet her gaze. Confused by his actions she slowly withdrew her hand and settled it in her lap to clasp the apple held there. "What happened, Harry?" she asked in a small almost frightened voice.
Hermione suddenly got a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach. All through Primary school she had seen her classmates act in a similar manner. Classmates who she had thought were her friends wanted nothing to do with the teacher's pet that constantly out preformed them. He's going to tell me to stay away from him now.He's realized he made amistake in talking to me and now regrets it.
Harry recoiled from her hand reflexively without even realizing he was doing it. Years of abuse had built into him a natural response to shy away from anything coming towards him, especially a hand or foot as it usually meant imminent pain. It was a self-preservation technique that he was no longer even aware of it was so ingrained. Had he been conscious of his actions he would have been ashamed to have done that to her.
"That was an amazing bit of magic you did last night," Hermione said as the silence between then had stretched nearly to the breaking point. "I mean I could hardly believe it when I started to hear all the pins falling to the floor," she rattled on in a vain attempt to fill the silence. Somewhere within her head she reasoned that if she just kept talking he wouldn't be able to tell her to keep away from him.
"I mean they just kept falling and falling. It was almost musical in the way they sounded when they struck the floor. Madam Pince was so upset she couldn't even say anything and had to sit down. I think she would have fallen down if she hadn't," she told him as she frantically searched for something else to talk about. The young witch licked her lips only to have the breath in her lungs freeze at his next words.
"You shouldn't be around me anymore," Harry said softly as soon as Hermione paused for a breath. I wouldn't be able to forgive myself if someone was hurt due to me.The Headmaster had as much as told him that his accidental magic could be dangerous. What if I had turned her into a pin instead? That thought alone, more than any other froze his heart. "Just forget about me."
"Harry-" Hermione nearly sobbed at the rejection as she reached out towards him only to see him flinch away once again. She had been expecting it yet she hadn't thought it would hurt so much. I thought this time would be different. I thought he was like I was, an assumption she now realized she had incorrectly made upon seeing him in the library with a stack of books yesterday.
"Please just leave," Harry said cutting her off, without looking at her as he knew that should he do so his resolve might falter. There was a slight sniffle from the chair next to him which nearly did him in but he steeled himself and endured. If there was one thing he was adept at it was enduring the unendurable.
"I understand," Hermione said in a strained yet controlled tone as she sniffled back the tears she felt building in her eyes and got to her feet. "I brought this for you as I thought you might be hungry," she told him as she set the apple in her hand on the bed next to his leg. Hermione's sadness only increased as she noticed how even his leg shied away from her possible touch where she had set the apple. It's almost like he's afraid of being touched, the logical side of her mind reasoned even as the emotional part of her fought back bitter tears of yet another rejection.
Harry listened to Hermione's footsteps as she walked away and they grew fainter with each passing step till the hospital door closing cut them off entirely. It's better this way, he told himself. She'll be safer away from me.
"Are you certain that is a wise thing to do?" a warm carrying voice asked from the foot of his bed suddenly. "Sending her away like that I mean?" Madam Pomfrey asked with sad eyes. "Seems to me you could use a good friend or three, Mr. Potter."
Harry shrugged at the Nurse's words. He had been alone for most his life, even while with family. He understood being alone. It was familiar and welcome to him. He still recalled what having a friend meant and it was not an experience he wished to repeat again. "She'll be better off this way," he replied with after a moment's pause.
But will you be? she wondered silently. Poppy could do little but sigh in regret. Having cared for the students of Hogwarts now for several decades she realized that there were still times she didn't understand the youth of today. "Well, I won't tell you how to handle your personal business, Mr. Potter, your health though is another story," she told him with a firm look as she walked over to the side of his bed and held out a green vial to him. "Drink," she ordered in a no-nonsense tone.
Harry took the glass container and sniffed it curiously, his nose instantly wrinkling up at the foul odor. "If smells horrid," he complained. "What is it?"
"It's a Pick-Me-Up. Of course it smells terrible. It tastes even worse," she informed him of. "There are a lot of things that don't taste good or smell good but are none the less good for you. Now bottoms up!"
Harry cringed at the tone of her voice, realizing there would be no getting out of drinking the foul brew. Taking a deep breath he downed the contents of the glass vial in one swallow and then had to fight hard not to spew it back up. "Thanks," Harry said pitifully as he handed the now empty clear vial back to her.
Poppy chuckled at the tone of his voice. "Your clothes are in the drawer there," she told him pointing to the table next to his bed."Shoes are under the bed. Get dressed and then hurry down to the great hall and have something to eat before classes," she instructed him."If there are any signs of pain, light headedness or blurred vision you're to return here at once! Understood?"
"Yes, Ma`am," he replied with a small smile on his features at her business like mannerism. After Madam Pomfrey gave him a stern once over, as if she expected to find something she had missed before, she turned and retreated to her office. Harry quickly changed into his school uniform and shoes, slipping both apples into his robes, before walking to the hospital doors where he paused to glance back. "Hope I never have to come here again," he said aloud softly to himself before closing the door and heading down to the Dungeon to get his books for the day.
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