Chapter Three: St. Mungo's, Third Floor
Harry woke up on August 1st with a gasp, as usual, feeling the cold sweat on his forehead. As always, most of his dream had been wiped from his memory the moment he woke, but he could remember something now. Staring back into a face with those warped, inhuman features, as it just smiled at him. He didn't know what he found so un-nerving about that smile. It was just something that scared him, like the leering grin of the clown ball he'd come into contact with last year. The thing was that this time, he couldn't just throw away the dreams.
He sat up in bed, rubbing his eyes, and when he glanced at the clock, he realised it was only three in the morning. He sighed. So now he had at least four hours to go until anybody else woke up, and he just knew that he couldn't go back to sleep. The fear of seeing that face again drove all thoughts of slumber from his mind. What exactly was it? Was it a human, half-transfigured into something horrible? Or was it just a monster? He knew that there were various creatures that had a vaguely human appearance - vampires, manticores, mermaids, centaurs - but he'd never seen anything quite like the beast in his dreams before.
He swung his legs quietly out of bed, and stood up, planning to go and get a drink from the bathroom, when he noticed something odd. Draco was lying in the bed across from him, but the white sheets had a strange shadow on them. Harry stared for a few moments, before he realised that it wasn't a shadow, but a dark substance - most likely from Draco's dark mark. Harry made his way across the darkened room, and then reached out, gripping the blonde boy's shoulder.
"Draco," he murmured, shaking gently. "Draco, wake up..."
Draco tensed up, then awoke quite suddenly and jumped backwards at the sight of Harry. He choked, and then relaxed again. "Potter! What are you - " He glanced down, saw the blood leaking the sheets, and made a mangled squeaking sound. He grasped the sheets quickly, held them around his lower back and went tearing for the bathroom, but Harry caught up with him quickly.
"Let me help you!" he hissed.
"Get off me!" Draco snarled, tugging his arm free of Harry and bolting into the bathroom. Harry shot after him and managed to fight his way in. Draco pushed the door shut with a snap, reluctantly, then glared at Harry over his shoulder. "You tell absolutely nobody about this."
"As if I would anyway," said Harry. He sat down on the edge of the bath, took a cloth from the side and started water running in the cold basin.
"Why were you awake anyway?" Draco asked, suspiciously.
"I - " Harry paused, then continued. "I just couldn't sleep, I guess."
Draco frowned. "Mm." He took the wet cloth from the cold basin, wrung out some of the water, and then lifted up the back of his shirt to press it to his mark. He closed his eyes. "How do they live with this?" he muttered.
"The Death Eaters?"
Draco nodded grimly. "I don't know how my father coped. Professor Snape too... well, Father always came when called, so it probably didn't hurt him as much..."
Harry paused for a moment, watching Draco wringing some of the blood away down the sink, before he said, quietly, "He'll come and get you, you know. If you're not responding to his call."
"Don't remind me," said Draco, coldly, as he dipped the cloth into the water again. He started sponging away more of the oozing blood, as he muttered, "Every day is an achievement for me... I thought at first that he might not come after me, as I'm not a particularly skilled Death Eater yet... though of course, he's not likely to release his hold on "Malfoy's son" to Dumbledore." There was a note of bitterness in his voice as he said this.
"They want you because of your dad, don't they?" said Harry, who had never heard Draco speak much about his link to the Death Eaters, and fully wanted to take advantage of the situation.
Draco nodded. "Father was a main member... everybody expects me to want to follow in his footsteps."
"Yes, Potter," Draco snapped, sarcastically. "I actually do. Hold on one moment while I go fetch my wand so I can kill you. I know I really should do a big speech about gaining your trust before I hand you over to the Dark Lord, but it's such a cliché, I'll have to pass."
Harry smiled a little. "I've heard that so many times, it wouldn't have much effect on me anyway."
Draco sat down on the edge of the bath next to Harry, still soaking his dark mark. He sighed, then after a moment, he said, "So why don't you tell me why you were really awake?"
Harry looked away. "No real reason."
"Fair enough." Draco cleaned his cloth one last time, wiped the last dark gore from his mark, then opened the door. "We need sleep. I have the feeling we'll be decorating tomorrow."
Harry nodded, and stepped back into the darkness of the bedroom. As they shut the door, the light dimmed again. Draco went to his bed, Harry to his, and for a few moments, there was silence. Then, Harry's voice said, "Draco?"
"What?" came the reply from somewhere in the darkness before him.
"I knew there was a reason that I was friends with you."
"And what would that be?" said Draco, sounding confused.
"You just let things drop."
Draco snickered. "I try not to pressure people for information. I know what having something forced out of you is like, on an extreme level."
Harry rested his head back on his pillow, and pulled up the covers, closing his eyes. Maybe he would sleep after all. It was only a few moments however before there was a glow of light, as somebody lit a candle. Harry opened his eyes and looked over his shoulder, frowning. Ron was sitting up in his bed, glaring at them both.
"What was that about, mm?" he said.
"What was what about?" said Draco, lazily, as though Ron really wasn't worth his attention.
"Sneaking off to the bathroom. Cosy little late night chat?" Ron had a very suspicious look on his face.
Harry raised his eyebrows. "What are you accusing us of?"
"What do you think I'm accusing you of?" said Ron, frowning across the room at him.
Draco tutted in his bed, rolled over and pulled the covers up around his neck. "How childish... Weasley, if you're going to confront somebody, next time, make sure you know exactly what you're confronting them about, instead of resorting to immature mockery..."
"Shut up, Malfoy," Ron bristled.
Draco yawned, widely and obvious, stretching out in bed. Ron glared at him hatefully, then turned back to Harry, looking angry.
"So. What were you two debating in there? And I did hear voices. You can't tell me otherwise."
"Something that you won't believe, accept, understand or deserve to know," said Draco, simply. "Go back to sleep, Weasley, before your tiny little brain explodes from over use."
"I didn't ask for your opinion," Ron snarled. He turned to Harry, completely ignoring Draco. "So what was it all about huh? What's going on behind my back? All the time, you two are muttering to each other and sharing these private jokes. I'm sick of it. What's the big deal?"
"I just had a nightmare," said Harry, quietly, not wanting a fight with Ron. "I was just telling Draco about it, honestly, I - "
"You had a nightmare?" said Draco, completely blowing Harry's only excuse to smithereens.
Ron just glared at them both, suspicion and anger in his face, before he rolled over and pulled the covers right over his head. Harry got out of bed to try and reason with him, and he was considering telling Ron about the dark mark, but when Harry tried to talk to his cousin under the covers, Ron just fiercely ignored him. Finally, after fifteen minutes of being ignored, Harry just left Ron to it, and went back to bed.
Harry eventually drifted to sleep, and when he woke up, it was to find Draco sitting on the end of his bed. He jumped, and was about to ask Draco what on earth he was doing, when the other boy said, hurriedly, "Weasley's in the bathroom. I've turned out your clothes drawer on the floor. Shout at me for it."
"What?" said Harry, absolutely bewildered, and then he said, angrily, "You've turned out my clothes drawer? Why?"
"I'm sorry," Draco whined, his face suddenly covered in guilt, his voice a little louder than normal speaking tones. "It was an accident, I was looking for my jumper and I thought it was in your drawer..."
Harry stared at him. "Draco, what the hell are you playing at?"
"I told you, I'm really sorry, I didn't - "
The door creaked open, and Ron came out. He was pretending not to look at them both, but couldn't hide a glance at the upturned clothes drawer. Harry, finally twigging, turned to Draco and said furiously, "You can pick it up then, as you knocked it out! You stupid clumsy prat!"
Ron looked over his shoulder, and for a moment, he had an interested look on his face. Harry ploughed on, after the merest hint of an encouraging smile from Draco.
"And you can apologise to Ron too, for last night!" he said, angrily. "You're under my roof, Draco, and you'll learn your place!" He suddenly realised just how much like Uncle Vernon he sounded.
Draco turned to Ron, and said, half-heartedly. "Sorry, Weasley."
"Properly!" said Harry.
Draco paused for a moment, with a petulant expression on his face, then he said, again, "Sorry, Weasley."
"That's better," said Harry. "Now... uh... go and make us some tea!" He thought that this was maybe taking it a bit too far, judging by the look on Draco's face, but Ron seemed to swallow it.
"And some biscuits too!" he shouted after Draco, as the startled blonde made his way out of the room. Draco shut the door, and Ron turned to Harry. "There, that showed him," he said, triumphantly, and apparently, being allowed to yell at Malfoy had driven the argument right out of his head.
"Yeah," said Harry, nodding, and pulling on his dressing gown. "Knocking my clothes on the floor. Who does he think he is?"
Ron pulled on his own Chudley Cannons dressing robe, and the two of them headed for the door. Ron pulled it open, and stepped onto the landing. "And that tea had better not be too sweet," he said. "Or I'll give Malfoy what for."
And that was that. Harry and Ron went into the kitchen, their argument completely behind them, and as they sat down at the wooden table, Mrs Weasley put plates of bacon and eggs in front of each of them. "There you are... enjoy."
"Where's my tea?" Ron said, demandingly to Draco, who was sitting across the table eating his own breakfast.
Mrs Weasley said, angrily, "Ron! Don't be so rude!"
"But - "
"Morning all," said Ginny, as she came into the kitchen. "Hey, bacon, great!"
"You all need big breakfasts," said Mrs Weasley, handing Ginny a plate. "We're decorating this place today. Fred and George should be here with the paint soon, so we can start putting out the sheets. Hopefully it won't take too long... of course we do have some people going out later..."
"Again?" said Ron. "Why? Where are we going?"
"You're going nowhere," said Mrs Weasley. She handed him another sausage. "Harry's going to St Mungo's with Professor Snape and Tonks."
"Can't we come?" said Ginny.
"Absolutely not," said Mrs Weasley, stiffly. "Harry won't want you all there annoying him, will you, Harry?"
Harry gave an apologetic look to Ron, Draco and Ginny, and then said, "Sorry... it's the first time I've seen Kainda in ages though... she might not want too many visitors."
"That's okay, mate," said Ron, smiling. "We understand."
"When are going to Diagon Alley to get our school things?" asked Ginny.
"When the letters arrive," said Mrs Weasley. She sat down with a mug of tea, and a bacon sandwich. "Then we can get everything you'll all need at once... it's a shame they haven't come today, or we could get all your things..."
Ginny sighed. "I wish the letters would come... I'm sick of waiting." At the quizzical look from Harry, she said, "I'm getting my OWL results this year."
"How do you think you've done?" he asked, cutting up some of his bacon.
"Okay, I guess," she said, idly. "At least they're out of the way now."
The front door then opened, and a few moments later, Lupin appeared in the kitchen door. He was only carrying a newspaper. Ginny sighed, "Oh well," then left the table and headed back upstairs to get dressed.
Lupin smiled and sat down at the kitchen, taking his breakfast from Mrs Weasley with a grateful, "Thankyou, Molly..."
Harry sat back in his chair, waiting for Ron to finish with the paper. His plate was now empty, and he was desperate for something to do to take his mind off the St Mungo's visit coming later. He knew that there was no need to feel nervous, and it wasn't a worried, frightened sort of nerves he had in his chest. It was more like unbearable excitement. He remembered the last time he had seen Kainda, as she was carried from the hospital wing all that time ago, and he had to admit that he was desperate to see her again.
He took another piece of toast, starting to butter it, and he was about to ask Ron if there was anything interesting in the Daily Prophet, when Ron suddenly gave a strangled sort of gasp, staring at the paper.
"What?" said Harry. "What is it?"
"Uh - " said Ron, obviously doing some quick thinking, "Chudley Cannons lost their latest game. Too bad I guess. Hey, could you do me some toast as well, I still feel a bit - "
Harry's face creased into a frown. "It's about me, isn't it?"
"No," Ron squeaked.
Harry snatched the paper off him, and fearing the worst, he shook it open. A double page spread with a large photograph of his own face greeted him, and across the top was a huge banner headline of, "The Boy Who Loved". It took a few moments to register just what the article was about.
Ron was watching him apprehensively over the top of the paper. "What do you think?"
"I think I'm going to be sick," Harry growled, through gritted teeth.
"Is something wrong, Harry dear?" asked Mrs Weasley, watching him with a concerned expression.
"No," he said, quickly. "No, I'm okay." He smiled. "I'm just a bit full, that's all. I'll go and try to flatten my hair now." He got up from the table, and left, tucking the paper under his arm. There was a clatter as Ron jumped up and followed him, and then another, as Draco came too.
"Who do you think told the Prophet?" said Ron, hurrying to keep up with Harry's pace up the stairs.
Harry had the newspaper open again, and was reading through it, a blind sort of horror settling in his chest now. "I don't know... look at this! "Harry Potter's love life has been tragedy after tragedy, writes Jan Jerrison, gossip correspondent". How did they find out about Kainda? And why today, of all days?"
Draco cleared his throat, and read over Harry's shoulder. "Harry Potter's heartache touched many other students at Hogwarts. Ernie Macmillan, a sixth year Hufflepuff, told the Prophet, "Harry and Kainda were always sneaking off to the Quidditch pitch. Harry was heart-broken when she was poisoned. He didn't want to play Quidditch or anything". However, this is not the first time Harry Potter's heart has been toyed with. In his fourth year, muggle-born Hermione Granger - "
"That's enough," Ron growled.
"Oh, and look there," said Draco, ignoring Ron. "Just at the bottom... they've got an interview with Chang."
"I know," Harry said, with a sigh. He collapsed down onto his bed, and spread the article out. "It's got everything... Ernie and Cho must have told them. Trust the Prophet to squash Blaise Zabini and the Risotta into a quarter of a page, then ramble on about me for the rest of it!"
"Does it say what happened to Zabini?" asked Ron, interestedly peering over Harry's shoulder. "Oh, there we go... he went to Azkaban... youngest prisoner ever. Just two months over the legal age."
Harry sighed again, and rolled back on his bed, covering his face with his hands. "I don't believe this. The one day I'm going to see Kainda, the stupid Prophet publishes some great story about our "timeless love". I bet they're outside St Mungo's now, just waiting for me to turn up... why do I get the feeling Rita Skeeter had something to do with this?"
"At least you'll have something to talk about," said Draco, dryly.
"Maybe if you just don't tell her," Ron suggested. "You know, just... don't let her know. It's not lying. It might stress her if she finds out, and her wounds might go all weird."
Harry was now reading the interview with Cho, with narrowed eyes. He didn't bother to read it properly, and was just skimming, but from what he could tell, she was hinting he "was still in love with somebody else", and that he "didn't seem to care" about her feelings of grief following the death of "beloved boyfriend, Cedric Diggory". He looked up to see both Ron and Draco watching him closely. Ron looked worried. Draco looked serious, which was about as worried as Draco could ever get.
"Well," he said.
They said nothing for a moment, and then Ron said, quietly, "Sorry about this, mate... I really didn't think that - "
"Ohhh, look at this!" said Draco, snatching the paper up and staring at a box on the same page, unable to disguise the glee in his voice. He started to read aloud. "Harry Potter's Love Tangle. If Harry Potter's love life is not complicated enough, the Daily Prophet has unearthed evidence that his ex-girlfriend, muggleborn Hermione Granger, is now dating his best friend, Robert Weasley. After the siege of Hogwarts, in which half of the school's pupils were lost, Granger and Weasley were seen comforting each other. Whether Harry Potter knows about this deception by his best friend or not remains to be seen, but we hope that the wounds of love will heal quickly for Harry Potter."
Harry and Draco both turned to look at Ron following this. Ron had turned a magnificent shade of purple and was just sitting in horror, staring back at them. Draco was grinning from ear to ear, but it looked as though Ron couldn't even sum up the strength to hit him.
Harry took the paper back off Draco, and said, "Hey, but look here... Seventh Year Ogles Professor's Sister's Legs. Draco Malfoy, a seventh year Slytherin at Hogwarts, was accused yesterday of eyeing up the sister of Potions master, Severus Snape. "Malfoy spends half his life staring at Andralyn's legs," said an anonymous student. "Snape's not going to be happy once he finds out."
"WHAT?!" roared Draco, snatching the paper off Harry and scanning it desperately. After a moment, his fists clenched, and he shouted, "POTTER! You liar! There's nothing in there about me!"
Harry and Ron were too busy laughing to care. Draco beat them both with a pillow until they stopped, and feeling a little better, they all went downstairs again.
Snape was sitting at the kitchen table writing a letter, and when the three boys walked in, Ron and Harry swapped grins. Draco hissed, "Oh, don't be so immature."
Tonks stood up from her seat as Harry walked in. "Oh, Harry! Come here... we need to disguise you," she said, as she pulled him over and sat him down.
"Disguise me?" said Harry, staring at her. "Why?"
"Prophet reporters outside St Mungo's," she said, grimly. "The hospital staff won't let them in, but they'll be waiting outside for anybody they can get an interview off. You're the star prize, I'm afraid."
Harry watched her taking tubes and bottles out of a large briefcase open on the kitchen table in front of her. "What exactly are you going to do to me?" he asked, worriedly.
"We considered a polyjuice potion," said Tonks, brightly, as she squeezed some sort of cream out onto her fingers. "But we haven't got any at hand, and we wouldn't want it to wear off when you're in St Mungo's." She started dabbed the cream onto Harry's scar, peering at him with eyes that were today a light brown. "We're going to try and get you in as the son of me and Professor Snape..."
Ron instantly turned his laugh into a hacking cough, as he picked up his tea and buried his face in the paper again.
"What's the cream for?" said Harry.
"It'll just hide your scar a bit," she explained. "Obviously, that's the main thing... we'll give you an improved vision charm, as well. It won't be as good as your glasses, but the less you look like yourself, the better."
She continued to lather him in all sorts of creams, patting powder on him, getting out her wand and casting charms here and there. Harry was amazed when she dyed his hair with just a wave of her wand, turning it into light blonde instantly. Tonks was sporting long blonde hair today, so he supposed he had "inherited" that from her.
"Now, with your eyes," she said, cheerily, getting out a little bottle of something. "We're going to turn them very dark brown, so you've got your dad's."
"You're not going to do anything with my nose, are you?" said Harry, worriedly.
"No, no," she said. "We'll say you got mine. Might have to do something with your lips though. We'll see how you look with black eyes... open them wide." She dripped a few drops of the liquid into his eyes, and he blinked. She smiled as they apparently changed colour. "Lovely. This will all come out later, don't worry... I've got all the removers here with me. Though you do look nice with blonde hair."
"Is he quite ready yet?" Snape sighed, drumming his fingers on his upper arm.
"I suppose he is," she said. "Well, we can go now... come on Harry, get your cloak."
Feeling rather odd, Harry got to his feet, took his cloak from a hook on the wall, and went to wait by the front door. Snape wasn't disguised at all, and just looked his usual greasy self, but Tonks looked almost completely different. She had muggle clothing too, a big fur coat and sandy-coloured leggings. Try as he might, Harry just couldn't imagine Tonks and Snape ever having a son. It was like toast-flavoured ice cream - just not meant to be.
They set off out of the house, walking at a fairly brisk pace towards the centre of muggle London. Harry stuck close between Snape and Tonks. Even though he was disguised, he still felt paranoid. What if somebody recognised him? He desperately didn't want Daily Prophet reporters surrounding him and asking questions about his private life, especially not today. He was also worried that Kainda might not believe he was actually Harry. What if she called security and got him thrown out?
"Harry," said Tonks, next to him. "Are you any good with accents?"
"Uh... a bit," he said, suspicious of where this was going.
"You might need it," she said. "Just in case any reporters ask you a question. Let's see if you're any good at mimicry... Snape, say something."
Snape glared at her. "I hardly think the boy has to have an entirely new personality created for him."
"Go on then," said Tonks. "Try that."
Harry pursed his lips a little, and tried his best to sound like Snape. It was a very strangled Snape, and a little too posh, but Tonks grinned as he did it. "I hardly think the boy has to have an entirely new personality created for him."
"Great!" she said. "That'll do pretty well. Ah..." They had turned a corner, into the street where St Mungo's was located. "I think we're going to need it."
It was simply crawling with reporters. St Mungo's was a protected building, and so muggles didn't know it was anything special. Luckily, it was still fairly early in the morning, and a Sunday, so not many muggles were out and about. A few were though, and they were watching from the doorways of shops, muttering about the odd people in cloaks standing around everywhere.
"Stay close, Harry," Tonks murmured, before striding down the street, putting an arm around her "son's" shoulder. Snape was walking on Harry's other side, and the few reporters who paid them attention didn't want to come much closer because of the look on Snape's face.
"It's not him," somebody called. Harry felt a glow of excitement that nobody recognised him at all. Tonks squeezed his shoulder, as they stepped up to the front of the building. St Mungo's was disguised as an old muggle clothing store, and the only way to get in was to talk to the ugly female dummy in one of the windows. Snape turned with his back to the glass, and muttered out of the corner of his mouth to the dummy, "We wish to see Kainda Zabini."
Harry watched as the dummy gave the merest hint of a nod, and its chipped eyeballs rolled from side to side down the street. When sure that no muggles were watching, it beckoned them through, and the three of them stepped forward into St Mungo's. Harry couldn't help but glance back at the Prophet reporters standing outside, and grin.
The waiting room was just as Harry remembered it, from his last visit to St Mungo's, when he came to see Mr Weasley. Witches and wizards with various ailments were sitting around on rickety wooden chairs, reading copies of Witch Weekly and the Daily Prophet from two months ago, and healers in bright green robes were walking back and forth with clipboards, taking people's details. Harry knew it was rude to stare, but he couldn't help watch a few people as they got in the queue to find out what ward Kainda was in. One man apparently thought he was a rabbit, and was bouncing around the room persued by his frantic wife and a healer with a carrot. A large blonde woman was sitting reading a copy of Witch Weekly around a nose the size of a large orange that was throbbing green, and at the front of the queue was a man who seemed to be singing his problem to the Welcome Witch, in the tune of "I've Got A Lovely Bunch Of Coconuts".
"I've got a bit of a problem with my arm, dee dee dee - " he began, but he was cut off as his own hand slapped him around the face. "Ow! It keeps on a-slapping me round the face, dee d-"
"Spell Damage," said the Welcome Witch. "Fourth floor. Next!"
He danced away down the corridor, and a man supporting a teenage girl with bright blue hair came forward. He looked very exhausted, and apparently, he had dragged her from a long way. "Quidditch accident," he panted. "We were just playing a game in our meadow, and then - "
"Artefact Accident," announced the Welcome Witch. "Take a seat please. Next!"
The person in front of Harry, Tonks and Snape shuffled forward. He didn't seem to have anything wrong with him, and he leant up to the witch at the desk, beckoning for her to come closer. She leant in, and listened to his whispered problem, then said, "Spell Damage, fourth floor. Watch you don't get it caught in the doors." The man blushed scarlet, and shuffled off. As he went, Harry saw a long stripey tail poking from under his long coat.
"Yes?" said the Welcome Witch, as Harry, Tonks and Snape stepped forward.
"We're here to see Kainda Zabini," said Tonks, brightly. "We wondered if you could tell us what ward she's in."
The Welcome Witch got out a long list from under the desk, scanned down it, and said, "She's got a room to herself on the third floor, Potion and Plant Poisoning. It's number 18, the healers there'll show you which way. She's just come out of the major treatment ward though, so it's family and friends only. What's your relationship with the patient?"
Tonks smiled, and murmured to the Welcome Witch, "Do you read the papers?"
The Welcome Witch frowned. "I do."
"This is Harry Potter," said Tonks, grinning and looking down at Harry. "We had to get him past the reporters, so we disguised him a bit." To prove it, she reached down and pulled his fringe back, showing the Welcome Witch the hints of a scar trailing into his hair.
The Welcome Witch smiled warmly down at him. "Oh, we thought we'd be seeing you sometime soon... very well. Third floor, and watch how you go past the Growth Corridor, we've got some nasty plants in this morning. Wouldn't want any accidents."
Harry thanked the witch, and she gave him a beaming smile as he, Tonks and Snape made their way down the corridor towards the stairs. Harry had an odd bubble of happiness inflating inside him now. He practically bounced up the stairs, and even went a floor too far because of his enthusiasm before Tonks called him back, and steered him down the right corridor. "That way," she said. "You know what room it is, 18. Snape and I are going to have a coffee in the tearoom."
"I don't - " Snape began, but she elbowed him in the back and pushed him away up the stairs.
"Get me a nice seat," she chirruped after him, then she leant down, gave Harry a hug and grinned at him. "Go get her, Tiger."
Harry grinned back, then turned and made his way into the third floor corridors alone, checking the room numbers as he went. He passed a large ward, then a huge door leading into a domed room full of plants, the reception desk, and room 18. He turned a corner, and there it was, at the end of the hall, room 18. Feeling as though his legs had turned into eels, he approached the door, lifted his hand, and knocked.
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