To his friends who have accompanied him from time to time he is "Harry", and here to the rest of us he is "Mr. Potter". I personally prefer to think of him has Harry, but I would never dare address him as less than Mr. Potter to his face. It wouldn't be prudent. To the girl he visits in the bed, I don't know what special name he has.
He comes in every day like clock work. We joke in the staff room that we could set our watches by his comings and goings. The joke is short-lived as we solemnly remember just why he comes.
"Margot! Margot!" My friend Anna had rushed over to tell me the gossip on that day many years ago. "Harry Potter is here and he is in your ward!"
It was an auspicious day. He had single-handedly made the war come to an end, and the world was in celebration. While I had never met The-Boy-Who-Lived, this would be the first time for me to meet The-Man-Who-Defeated Voldemort. In my excitement, I walked briskly to the room where he was.
When I entered the room, he was there surrounded by healers who were all attending to the young blonde woman lying stiffly on the bed. As I watched him hold the girl's hand, I had wondered if he had trouble living up to his own reputation. He seemed so quiet and alone. He was impressively unimpressive, quite the opposite of Gilderoy Lockhart who we also have in the ward.
When I saw Harry and the girl, I asked Anna, "What's wrong with her?" It wasn't merely gossiping curiosity any more, but professional inquiry. I straightened my robes in a dignified fashion.
Brenda, one of the chief medi-witches in the ward, whispered, "Cruciatus."
Anna and I both gasped.
"Cursed by You-Know-Who himself right before Harry Potter defeated him," Brenda continued. "Supposedly she was tortured into a coma because she wouldn't betray Potter."
We knew quite well the extent of damage that Cruciatus could take. So far no one had made a full recovery, and all we could do would be to ease the pain of her suffering until she mercifully died. The girl herself did not seem to know this because she looked like she was completely at peace. I bowed my head at the sadness of it all.
For the first few weeks Harry's friends would accompany him. As time wore on, his friends came less and less. It is the typical way with long term care patients. We see it all the time. Harry himself remained constant.
One of his friends, the tall one with red hair, sat with him several times in the beginning. They played wizard chess, but I don't recall them doing a lot of talking. I have never actually heard Harry's voice very often. When I do, it is usually in a very private murmur just for the ears of the girl.
I knew one of his other friends that would come with him to be one of the most brilliant witches working for the Ministry. She has quite an intellect stuffed under that head of bushy brown hair of hers. She usually had books with her and was researching possible remedies for the curse. I was hoping she'd find something. She seemed just like the sort that could actually do it.
At different times, Neville Longbottom would come say hello to Harry. Neville was usually here to see his parents elsewhere in the ward. We've all known him since the end of the first War. It's a shame about his parents, but at least they are awake, unlike the one Harry Potter visits.
Whenever I come into the room, I try to be as inconspicuous as possible. Every once in a while, I will ask him if he needs a glass of water or a cup of coffee. He usually politely declines the offer and returns to either holding her hand or holding personal mementos in his fingers.
It's the things he holds that give me a small amount of amusement. He has this set of radish earrings that he rubs constantly. I always thought of them as odd, and I suspect he is unwittingly rubbing off the color with every touch.
Somewhere in a mix of humor and seriousness, I wonder if by rubbing those radishes so hard he is praying for a genie to come grant him the wish to bring his beloved back to him. After so much time always at her bedside, his actions have spoken more to me than words that it is his beloved he visits.
Even if I were blind to his actions, I still would have noticed one of the smaller details of his visits. It is especially noticeable when he runs his fingers through his unkempt black hair. The small gold object flashes brightly in comparison. When I look to the cursed woman's hand, I see a corresponding flash of gold.
He also has a stack of butterbeer caps on the table beside the bed. Sometimes he examines them individually, looking closely at each one to remember details. Other times he stacks them to make towers. I have seen a necklace in the rubble. He might have made that, too, while sitting there, but I am not sure.
Many times he goes to sleep curled in the chair beside the bed. The glasses fall off his face and he wakes with a start, wand at ready. I have seen so many people damaged by the war, so I suspect that is one thing that will never be far from his mind. When he realizes his surroundings, he retrieves his glasses and puts his wand away. And then sometimes he crawls into the bed and sleeps beside her. If I come into the room, I cover him with a blanket and leave him there.
Sometimes more people come to see him, but it is always the same. He comes and waits by her side. Eventually they leave, but he still waits. I admire that quality of his that is filled with hope and maybe a bit of foolishness.
As he leaves all the people he passes whisper, "Goodnight, Mr. Potter." He walks and nods, but does not say much. We know he will return because he must. It is his compulsion.