It was humiliating, being bundled into an antiseptic-smelling bed in the Hospital Wing by a narrow-eyed Madam Pomfrey. It was even more humiliating to hear Professor Snape talk about him like he wasn't even there, discussing his "suicide attempt" and the wards the professor had put up to stop it.
But the ultimate humiliation came when the Mediwitch eyed him up and down, said she needed to get something from her stores and talk to Professor Snape more, she'd be right back, and used her wand to invisibly leash him to the bedpost so he couldn't run off.
Harry slumped down on the bed, halfheartedly pushing himself under the starched covers. He might as well be warm while he was imprisoned, right? The leash itched his wrist, and he wondered why she couldn't have just used a Sticking Charm while she was at it. Surely that would have been easier than this bloody spell.
"I'm not a dog," he mumbled. Or a toddler, he mentally tacked on, recalling what he'd occasionally seen in Muggle places, of parents tying long fabric leads around their toddler's hands or through a little knapsack. He was fourteen years old, almost fifteen. How was this supposed to help him? Aside from making him wish that the floor would open up and swallow him. Which was actually a possibility at Hogwarts, however remote.
He could see Madam Pomfrey and Snape in her office. She'd left the door open a crack. He couldn't hear a thing though. They must have put up Silencing Spells. Huffing a sigh, Harry scratched at his ear and tried again to get comfortable. His finger throbbed where he'd apparently ripped the nail off, and blood had dried down the side of his fingers. If this was how he was going to be treated for failing, it only strengthened his resolve to finish it properly the next time.
Besides, it was what he deserved, wasn't it? Cedric would still be awake, alive, and kicking, were it not for him. Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia had told him more than once what a burden he was. An imposition on their good nature, his aunt had said with a haughty sniff. No matter what he'd done, it was never good enough. It was never enough. Didn't he have the scars to prove it?
Why wouldn't they just let him go? His job was over. Voldemort was dead. There was no more use for him, was there? Couldn't they just let him die? Harry's shoulders sagged as he pulled his knees up to his chest, one hand still awkwardly stuck out with the invisible constraints.
The door to Madam Pomfrey's office opened, and he could hear the click of her shoes across the floor. He looked up, throat tightening with apprehension. She still looked rather...remote, and Professor Snape just glared at him.
"I'm glad to see you have stayed put, Mister Potter," the nurse tutted, waving her wand. The invisible leash unwound and he immediately tucked his newly freed hand into the other, under the blankets. "I'm not a Mind Healer, Mister Potter-Harry. And despite You Know Who's downfall, it's not safe for you to go to St. Mungo's for treatment." She paused for a moment, biting her bottom lip.
"So?" Harry prompted her anxiously. They weren't sending him back to the Dursleys early, were they? Granted, if they did, it's not like it would be that difficult for Harry to finish what he'd started...
"Since the dormitory is not as secure as it needs to be to hold you at this time, you'll be spending the remainder of the term, and possibly longer, with me," Professor Snape interjected, looking like he'd bit into something sour.