He was in the maze from the third task and Draco Malfoy’s voice was loud in his head.
“I said I was going to make you pay, Potter. You can’t land my father in jail and think you can get away with it.”
The pathway split into two;Harry took the left path and Malfoy took the right.
Good! I stand a better chance now, thought Harry. As he passed another path, however,he heard Malfoy’s gleeful cackle at the same moment as he toppled long and hard landing painfully on his poor abused ribs.
“Trip jinx, Potter!”
Crabbe, Goyle and the other Slytherins turned into Harry’s path and their slow reactions caused them to land on top of him in a heap.
He couldn’t move! He couldn’t breathe! He tossed and turned his head, but had about two tons of brainless Slytherins pinning him to the ground.
“Get off me!” Harry wheezed painfully.
“Get off!” Harry wheezed a second time.
“Open your eyes, Harry!”
The voice was commandingly insistent. “Open your eyes. You are quite safe.”
Slowly, reluctantly, Harry obeyed.
The face before his belonged not to a pointy-faced Slytherin, but to Madam Pomfrey. For a split second Harry thought he was back at Hogwarts, but the kindly face of his school nurse was replaced by Tonks, concern and guilt written plain for all to see on her unusually serious face.
“Oh, Harry! I’m so sorry. I landed right on top of you!” In her distraught state Tonks made as if she was going to grab Harry, but Madam Pomfrey, thankfully, stopped her from making a bad situation worse.
“Don’t worry. I’m fine, really,” Harry managed through clenched teeth.
“Now you let me be the judge of that, young man. Your job is to do exactly what you’re told, when you’re told. Do that and I’ll have you fit in no time!” These words from Madam Pomfrey were so familiar –after all she used them almost like a personal mantra – that Harry knew that physically at least he was in good hands.
“Yes, Ma’am!” Harry said meekly before another bout of painful coughing wracked his body.
Madam Pomfrey got to work treating Harry’s wounds. She vanished the dressings applied to Harry’s ribs by the hospital, tut-tutting all the while about primitive Muggle medicine.
When she saw the small incision where the chest drain had been inserted, she gave an exclamation of, “Butchers! What on earth did they think they were doing?”
“The doctors said I had two broken ribs and a punctured lung, as well as a concussion. But I felt as though I had been run over by a herd of rampaging hippogriffs,” said Harry quietly.
“It looks like you were, too! What caused these injuries?” queried the nurse.
“Well I don’t remember too much, but I think I got hit by a lorry.”
“A lorry? What’s a lorry?” questioned Madam Pomfrey.
“Oh, sorry. It’s about the size of the Knight Bus, but it carries goods instead of people. I overheard the doctors saying that most of the damage was done by the front bumper and that I was lucky that I got off as lightly as I did. I also had an allergic reaction to some of the pain relief they gave me. They seemed more worried about that than my ribs and head.” All this talking was making Harry very sleepy and he had to concentrate hard on the nurse’s reply.
“Allergic reaction. Great Merlin, a first year Healer knows the basic detection charm for that. And they think witchcraft is primitive!”
While this conversation had been going on MadamPomfrey had been casting numerous charms on Harry and using her wand in a variety of ways to tell her how he really was – and he most definitely was not fine!
“Three broken ribs – all fixed now, but I want at least four hours for that boneset to do its job properly. Yes, you definitely had a concussion – there’s a little bone bruising,too, at the top of your spine and base of your skull. You also have bruising to your right kidney and your liver and spleen show signs of recent trauma, too. Your pancreas is showing evidence of the reaction to their potions – allergic reaction indeed! Never heard the like. It will take a couple of days, but you should be up and around again in no time. That is if you do as you are told and stay in bed!”
“Yes, Ma’am,” acknowledged Harry wearily.
“Now, Harry, do you feel up to a short visit from Tonks? The dear child means well, but she can be a bit …” The nurse’s voice trailed off.
“Accident prone?” prompted Harry.
“I lost count of how many times I had her in the hospital wing. Up until your arrival at Hogwarts, she held the record for the most number of days spent in my care. I even began to think she’d end up as a Healer as she learned as much from me as she did in her Defence lessons. I still can’t believe she’s an Auror! With her track record, too.”
Madam Pomfrey was still muttering away to herself as she left the room and held the door ajar for Tonks to enter.
“Can I come in?” came the timid voice. Harry found it hard to believe it was the same person who had projected herself so confidently at his trial.
“Sure, Tonks. It’s good to see you’reOK after what happened,” said Harry.
“You’re looking heaps better, Harry. Madam Pomfrey’s magic, eh? Works wonders,” said Tonks.
“Soon be as good as new.” Harry looked around the room. “Tonks, where am I? I expected to be taken to the Ministry of Magic to a holding cell of the Magical Law Enforcement Squad at least, but this…?” Harry shook his head in puzzlement.
The bed he was in was a four-poster not dissimilar to the beds in Gryffindor Tower. There was electric lighting, but candles and oil lamps as well. The wallpaper was printed with a trellis that had honeysuckle and roses climbing all over it. Harry could smell the flowers and even hear the buzz of a bee as it flew from flower to flower.
The furniture was all very old and, like the bed, made of good English oak. One side of the room had a huge but simple stone fireplace with a banked down fire in its grate.
“Dumbledore thought we’d better get you somewhere completely safe and we couldn’t be sure that would apply to any of the Ministry holding facilities. So we brought you here,” said Tonks as though that explained everything.
“But where is here? This isn’t the Burrow or Grimmauld Place. I don’t recognise it at all,” stated Harry.
“Actually, Harry, we’re only about seven miles from the hospital you were in. This is Eleanor Cantwell’s home in Whittlestone. When Eleanor told Dumbledore where you were, she suggested you come here to recover. We had thought that wouldn’t be until your trial had been concluded though,” said Tonks.
“Now it never will be. I’ll still be wanted in the Muggle world,” moaned Harry.
“I wouldn’t worry too much about that right now, Harry. Everyone present in that Courtroom – well, those who weren’t Kissed at least – had their memories modified by the Ministry. But Dumbledore will be by presently to fill you in. You rest for now. We’ll bring you something to eat when you wake. Madam Pomfrey says you need to take all of this Dreamless Sleep Potion and it will do the job of healing you while you sleep.”
Harry obediently drank the purple potion and felt the familiar sensation of his eyelids closing almost at once. He knew he needed to sleep, but he also desperately wanted to reassure Ginny that he was OK.
When he awoke the following morning, Harry found that beside his bed was a tray of breakfast and a mug of tea. Warmingcharms had been placed on the cooked food and drink so Harry knew he didn’t have to rush to eat. Truth was that Dreamless Sleep Potion usually left Harry with a somewhat queasy stomach and a very ‘furry’ tongue.
He’d been shown where the bathroom was the night before so that was Harry’s first stop of the morning.
On his way back to his bed Harry noticed an elegant wooden writing chest sitting on top of a table by the window. The chest was open and quills, ink and parchment were clearly visible. Hermione was always trying to get both Harry and Ron to write notes down when they needed to get thoughts in some kind of order so, as he had done back in the hospital, Harry made out a new ‘to-do’ list.
1.Tell Dumbledore everything!
Harry still wasn’t sure he fully trusted his Headmaster, yet but he had spent enough time trying to sort things out himself and he’d made a right ‘pig’sear’ of things. He needed help and advice from others – he just didn’t promise himself or anyone else for that matter that he would automatically take the advice when it was given.
2.Find out what has happened to Sam.
Now more than ever, Harry was convinced Voldemort was holding Sam. Last June Voldemort had placed images of Sirius being tortured in Harry’s mind. They had been false, of course, but Harry didn’t know that at the time. Well Harry knew for certain that Voldemort did have Sam, so the images this time would be real ones and probably stronger for that.
3.Find the Omnioculars for the Order to use against the Death Eaters.
Last time Harry had them they’d been in his rucksack. Were they safe and sound? He didn’t remember seeing them at the hospital, so did the police have them? Was the recording intact or had some inept policeman wiped it?
4. My wand.
It was so long since he’d seen his wand. Was it safe or had Voldemort snapped it in two by now? Considering Voldemort must know by now that Harry and his wands were brothers, it seemed like a very logical thing to do. Harry only hoped Voldemort had a good reason to keep it.
5. Prove my innocence! a: to the Muggles b: to the Magical community.
6.Talk to Ginny – PROPERLY! Face to face!
Harry was still sitting writing out his list when the door quietly opened and Tonks poked her head round to peer in at him.
“Wotcher, Harry. You look a hundred times better than you did last night!”
“MadamPomfrey and her Dreamless Sleep Potion strikes again!” quipped Harry with a silly grin on his face.
“Good to see you’re getting a sense of humour back, too – perhaps that’s just a side-effect though?” Tonks screwed up her brow in mock puzzlement.
Harry threw a screwed-up scrap of parchment at Tonks who ducked to avoid being hit. It was only then that Harry realised that Tonks was looking very un-Tonkslike. Her hair was long and the same wonderful red as Ginny and once more looked like an older Weasley sister or perhaps as Molly had in her youth.
Whichever, Harry decided he definitely found redheads very attractive – female red heads that is.
Harry knew his mum had had red hair.He had pictures of both his parents given tohim by Hagrid at the end of his first year at Hogwarts. He’d also seen her hair for himself when he entered Snape’s Pensieve. His mind had just turned to wondering if there might be a long-forgotten connection between his mum and the Weasleys when Mrs. Weasley herself entered the room.
“How are you feeling, Harry dear?” There was the familiar look of concern on Molly’s face. “I must say you do look a lot better, but what’s this?” She was looking at the untouched breakfast tray. Harry had the good grace to look properly chastised.
“Sorry! It’s just that I had so many thoughts in my mind when I awoke that I thought it best to note some of them down while they were fresh. So much has happened – it’s been so hard …” Harry found that his throat had tightened up and words would not come. He could feel tears filling his eyes. He fought for control, but he found it wrested from him.
As she had done at the end of his fourth year after the traumatic Third Task, Molly Weasley opened her arms as she had opened her heart. She embraced Harry as one of her own and he in turn for the first time in his life hugged this mother as if she were his own.
Truly, at that moment, a son was being held by his mother.
Harry was only dimly aware of Tonks silently leaving the room as a great dam burst within him and he wept. Great heart-wrenching sobs broke from him, from deep within his soul. He wept for all the times in his childhood where he held the tears in check knowing his tears would never be dried by a loving hand. Not while he was with the Dursleys, at any rate. Harry wept also for all the times he’d been rejected and belittled by those who should have cared for and nurtured him.
The two stood in the bedroom of Eleanor Cantwell’s home and shared all these hurts and Harry felt a cleansing, a healing, a cathartic release that only a mother could bring.
Eventually the sobs subsided and the two separated;Harry felt guilty when he looked into Molly’s face and saw that she too had been crying.She instinctively knew what he was feeling and immediately put his mind at ease albeit with a gentle rebuke.
“Don’t you go worrying over me now, Harry.You’ve done nothing to be ashamed of or feel guilty for. These tears are nature’s raindrops that let the flowers of love grow in our hearts. My old mum used to say that and she was right. You’re a part of my family just as much as any of the others. Don’t forget that.”
“Ginny told me about when the Aurors came to the Burrow looking for me. I’m so sorry for all the trouble they caused and thanks for believing in me.”
“Shush now! It was nothing. Bill’ll be so relieved to know it wasn’t you that … you know,” said Mrs. Weasley.
“Ginny said Bill had been looking for me on Sirius’ old bike,” Harry said looking for confirmation.
“That he had. Horrible noisy thing – good job he didn’t know how to make it fly though. It’s been put back in storage, thank goodness.”
Harry wondered how Molly had known the bike was supposed to fly, but his train of thought was broken as he heard footsteps ascending the uncarpeted wooden staircase. A few seconds later the bedroom door opened to reveal Madam Pomfrey.
Instantly the nurse took in Harry’s condition and noted the tear-stained faces of Molly and Harry. No comment was made, but a smile lifted the corners of her mouth in mute understanding.
“Morning, Poppy,” said Mrs. Weasley.
“Molly,” came the nurse’s brief reply.
Mrs. Weasley continued. “Harry here has not long been awake and hasn’t yet had time to eat. I placed a warmingcharm on the food so there’ll be no need to rush.”
“Good thinking,” said the nurse before she turned to her patient. “Right then, Harry, let’s have a good look at you.”
To spare Harry’s blushes, Molly made a hasty retreat downstairs while the nurse tut-tutted her way through yet another assessment of the physical condition of one Harry James Potter.
B/N: Apparently I checked this off my list as posted on the 11th and it obviously was not. I don’t really know what happened there. Oh well. Chapter 21 is the last chapter that’s ready to come online at this point. It will be up on Wednesday(ish) to make up for this oversight.