"…no, he was perfectly happy at my house!" A snappish voice was muffled through his foggy brain.
"He jumped off the roof; I think something must have been wrong!" Another voice joined in.
"…such progress he was having…"
"…get rid of anything sharp that could hurt him, he's coming around."
Harry's eyes fluttered open for only a second because of the bright lights above his head. Why did his head hurt so much? Did he get hit by a bus? What happened?
"Baby, baby, can you hear me?" A voice yowled.
"Don't call me baby," Harry growled. "Get away, you smell like cheap perfume."
"Harry, don't be like that," Rita reprimanded.
"Do you know where you are, Mr. Potter?" Harry struggled to open his eyes, and he saw the outline of a shorter woman with red hair. "Mum?"
"We'll have to move him back to his old ward," the woman's voice was now dull and disappointed. "Didn't you watch for signs, Miss Skeeter?"
"He was perfectly fine!"
"Harry, open your eyes," she said.
He struggled to do as he was told, but his head stung behind his eyeballs. When he finally did open them again, he found the grey tiled ceiling and barred windows. He looked down until he found the speaker of the soothing voice - Dr. Porter.
"Do you know where you are?" she repeated.
"Prison," Harry's eyes trailed to the bars again, but then he remembered seeing them back at the hospital. Why didn't he listen to his senses before? The room smelled the same, well, almost, it also smelled of antiseptic. "I'm back at Hogwarts, right?"
"Very good, Harry, now which Hogwarts do you see?"
"The smelly one," he smirked, "The hospital."
"Excellent, that's really great," Lily's eyes lit up. "Everything isn't lost, after all!" But then she sent an accusatory glare at Rita who was sitting on a chair in the corner, picking at her ruby red nails.
"Do you remember what happened?" she asked, her hand weighing heavily on his arm as if he were going to jump up into a frenzy at any moment.
"Um…" He didn't. He tried thinking back… he remembered the trial… going to Rita's…. dinner…. "I… I don't…"
"How are you feeling now, Harry?" Lily asked.
"Like crap, thanks."
"How about emotionally? Are you angry? Scared? Depressed?" she questioned further. He felt like he was back on the stand in the courtroom.
"No more depressed than usual. Fine, I guess, why?"
"You… Harry, you jumped off the roof," Lily sighed, a new look in her eye. Disappointment? No… fear…?
"I didn't jump off any roof," Harry snapped. He knew he would never do anything like that. Right? He felt like there was something else he was doing… something important. What could it be?
"Then explain what you were doing on the ground, with the injuries of a jumper?"
"Um. I fell?"
"What were you doing on the roof, then?" Rita spoke up.
"How should I know?" Harry grumbled. He had a headache; couldn't they just leave him alone? He hadn't realized how much his arm stung until now, did he really fall? Did he jump? No, impossible.
"You were there!" Rita snapped.
"Miss Skeeter, if you can't keep quiet, I'm going to have to ask you to leave. You're disturbing my patient."
"I don't remember," Harry said. "My arm hurts."
"Your shoulder was dislocated, thank goodness that was all that it was. Well, you hit your head, but there shouldn't be any lasting injuries. We're going to put you on some anti-depressants that can work with your other medication."
"I'm not depressed," he assured her. "I'm fine."
"Until you can tell me what happened, I'm going to have to assume that you tried to kill yourself," the doctor sighed.
"I didn't. I had something important to do," He told her.
"What was so important?" she asked.
"I – don't – know!" Harry snapped. "But I'm not insane anymore. I'm not depressed! I'm not! I'm not anything!"
"Calm down, you know what happens when you get overexcited!" Lily reminded him, pushing harder on his shoulder. He was thankful it wasn't his bad shoulder, yet the strain was pulling on his other shoulder and he felt it sting.
"I'm over that now, stop that. Really, I'm fine. A few bumps and bruises, but otherwise – fine. I know that magic isn't real, okay?"
"Do you think this could have been prevented in any way? Could Rita have kept a closer eye on you?"
"She doesn't watch me, the nurses do," Harry remembered the two nurses, meeting outside the admittedly pretty house. "I think I was talking to my dad when it happened. I don't know, everything is so fuzzy. Something having to do with James…"
"Did he say something that might have upset you?" Lily asked.
"Um…" Harry racked his brain, but he knew the answer. Yes, he had upset him, but he knew what conclusions they would come up with. What he didn't know was why he would be upset with him. Did it have to do with the increasing anxiety that he was supposed to be doing something else at the moment? "No. I don't think so."
"But James was there when this all happened?" Lily said.
"Yes… no. No, he wasn't there… he was… I left him. We were talking and then I went to my room. Maybe I was sleepwalking? I really don't know."
"Do you know what you were talking about?"
"No… well, wait… Rita… I was talking back to her at dinner and James – dad – was trying to come to an agreement to try to get along. That's all I remember. Can I go back to sleep, now? I've got a headache."
"No, you've got an appointment with Dr. Lupin, and if you still don't feel better, we'll take you back to your room. But I think Hermione would appreciate a visit from you again."
"Am I going to stay here, now?" Harry asked, indifferent.
"Yes. You don't have to go back to your mother's," Harry felt like he should be happy with this piece of information, but something nagged at him. This wasn't a good thing, for some reason.
"Well, Lupin is waiting for you, Harry. Shall we?" Harry got to his feet and watched as two guards came and stood on each side of him. Boy, this wasn't something he missed.
"I told you! I didn't try to kill myself!" Harry vehemently insisted after he retold what he knew for the fourth time, and, of course, Remus was trying to come to his own conclusions, which weren't making Harry feel any better.
"Okay, I believe you, but something caused you to go on that roof. Now try to remember, Harry, what happened when you went to your room?" At the question, Harry huffed, annoyed. The colorful drawings on the wall seemed to be admonishing him for his gloomy attitude. The pictures of what seemed to be cured patients stared him down, and he felt like he was being punished. It was not helping his headache at all, and he was getting quite hungry as well.
"I went to sleep."
"Yes," Harry insisted.
"Did you dream at all?" Remus's voice was soothing. He made Harry angry because he felt like now was not the time to be calm, but he held that piece of information from the doctor because he didn't want to be questioned much longer.
"I don't know. Maybe," he was bitter.
Harry tried. Usually he was able to recall his dreams better since he woke up from his 'fantasy world,' but now it was much harder to do. His mind was racing with something else. It felt like he was back in the Ministry of Magic and the doors were revolving around and inside one of the doors there was a wind of activity, but there was no key to open it. "I was…" Images slipped under the door like private notes. James, talking… and Snuffles was there… "My dog… James was talking to my dog. I think the dog turned into my godfather."
"This is strange. Should we try to interpret its meaning?"
"Can we do this some other time? Maybe if I sleep on it, everything will come back to me."
"Fine, I'll set up another meeting on my schedule. Mr. Goyle, could you please escort Harry back to his room?" he asked the bulky man who guarded the door, and the man nodded, ushering Harry to come with him.
When they were in the hall, Harry stopped him. The guard's fingers twitched for his stun gun, but Harry shook his head. How he wanted to hate this man, yet he knew that this wasn't a death eater. "Could I go to the cafeteria?"
"I suppose it couldn't hurt," he grudgingly said. He led Harry loosely by the arm, mindful of his injuries and they came to the cafeteria doors. As soon as he came in, he found the table that he sat at last time, with Neville and Hermione, as well as a few other recognizable faces of some first years that he remembered seeing sorted at the beginning of his fifth year. He quickly went through the line and grabbed some real food before sitting down.
"Hello, Hermione," Harry winced, as she ripped open one of her ketchup packets.
"Hi," she muttered, devoid of her happy nature. She didn't seem as thrilled to see him as he last saw her. It was like she was embarrassed, or scared.
"What's wrong?" He questioned.
"They found me," she whispered, like a story teller.
"I tried to escape, but… I was caught. They took me back to that room, Harry. You know how I hate that room," tears had started to drip down her face.
"How can you not remember? Have you forgotten me while you were locked away?" she was miserable, holding herself in a shaky manner. "The torture room."
"No, I remember, I just thought that you hated everything about this place," Harry lied. What else was he going to say? She nodded in understanding. "Did they hurt you?" Alarms went off in his head.
"Of course they did, it's the torture room," she mumbled. Now that Harry had a good look at her, there were bruises on her left arm. "They threw me at the window. I think they were trying to throw me out of it."
"They wouldn't do that," Harry assured her.
"Why not? They live to make my life wretched."
"Because… because you're too important," he quickly said. She gave him a weak smile, which disappeared as soon as it came.
"You're too noble, my prince," she whispered, "I'm beginning to think we're never going to get out of here. My parents haven't sent anyone else to my aid and you're all I have. I don't even get to see you most of the time."
"Don't worry, you'll get out of here soon enough."
Her face shot up in surprise, almost anger. Harry flinched, cautious. Had he said something wrong? Nobody at the table seemed to be paying attention.
"You never say, 'you,' Harry, it's always 'we!'" her voice was dark.
"I'm sorry; we'll get out of here –"
"You're not my prince," she snapped. "Imposter. IMPOSTER!" Harry jumped in his seat, surprised at the volume of her voice. Harry's headache still hadn't gone away and he truthfully had missed Hermione, any form of her. He wasn't ready to leave her, so he quickly made up something.
"Hermione, shh! You'll alert the guards!" Harry spluttered. Thankfully, she quieted down, but her malicious face did not disappear. "The reason I said 'you' is because… because… um… you're freedom is more important than my own… and…. I was planning on… er…. Sacrificing myself for your freedom."
"Oh," her structure became much slacker. "Harry, you know that's not what I want at all. That's not the future I want. I want us to be together… to rule my country. There would be no better king to suit my kingdom than you."
They ate in silence. She was thinking hard, like he had always seen her in the library. It was comforting for him to see this. At least there was a glimpse of his Hermione in there. He admired how she always would chew on her quill when something troubled her. He wished that none of this had happened. That he had never woken up from his fantasy world… that….
His fantasy world. As soon as he thought it, something seemed to have caused the door to open a crack. Something wasn't right. The feeling that he was forgetting something important was coming back full force.
Okay, he was outside… James was there, and his dog… and the dog… the dog transformed! Sirius! He's alive! And James…
Everything came back to him, the plan, the argument, and the fact that he needed to get out of this world. Hermione – everyone – existed in the other world. He was on a mission. It wasn't a dream he had, it was real. He had a prophecy to fulfill. He had to kill Voldemort. He had to get out of here…!
Hermione hadn't noticed the fact that he was practically jumping in his seat. She had grabbed some of his potatoes in his musings and seemed to be slowly giving up on her conquest to avoid 'poisoned' food.
Where were James and Sirius now? Were they making plans? How long was he here, anyway? Did they have everything set up? He suddenly understood why being back here was worse than back at Rita's – it had heightened security. There was no way he was going to get out of here.
Maybe he could contact them? He had no doubt that they were using his current state against them so that they could find a way to allow him to leave the house, and – wait. That wouldn't be possible now; they think he tried to kill himself. There was no way they were going to get permission for that. He was stuck. He was going to have to break out of this place if he had any hope of getting out of here.
He shouldn't have overreacted like he did. Maybe then he would be back at Rita's, formulating a plot with them and maybe sneak out together. Couldn't he have just gone downstairs and walked through the door? No. Debby was cleaning, not to mention the fact that Rita had high security on the doors.
"Mr. Potter, it's time to go back to your room," Goyle told him. Harry looked up, surprised.
"Lunch is over," he told him, calmly. Harry looked around – the whole place was vacant. When had everyone left? He hadn't noticed. He wasn't hungry anymore, but he didn't have a choice anyway, Hermione had eaten everything on his tray.
"Oh, okay," he mumbled.
"Is everything okay, son?" Goyle questioned.
"Yeah, zoned out."
"Do you need to see Dr. Weasley?"
"No, I'm fine, really. Just thinking. I'm just really tired."
Harry was stuck in his room for days. Well, not really. He was allowed many freedoms, but he didn't use them. He was too preoccupied with trying to think of different ways he could get out. He hadn't had any word from Sirius and James at all.
Harry mostly refused to talk during his sessions with Lupin, which only strengthened his belief that Harry was more depressed than he was letting on. He hadn't had the chance to see Dr. Weasley either. Apparently he was working with a new patient that took up most of his time.
That day, however, he was supposed to go to the visiting room at three o'clock. He was becoming impatient because he had been sitting in the visiting area for about twenty minutes now. Who knew if it was James and Sirius? Maybe they set up the appointment? He hoped so, he was driving himself crazy. Again. Did complications arise? Did someone find them out?
"…is there anything potentially harmful on your persons? Pins, scissors, pocket knives, anything? They're not allowed to go in with you."
"I don't have any," the person said. It didn't sound like it was his dad, and he was quickly disappointed. He only wished it wasn't Rita, he didn't want to be near her anymore.
"Try not to upset him, dear," It was Lily saying this, he recognized her voice. "He's under a lot of stress. Don't feel bad if he doesn't talk to you either, he hasn't been speaking to anyone."
"He'll talk to me. I'll make him."
It was Ginny. Only she had that tone when she was confident – or stubborn. He was right, as soon as the door opened; he saw her slightly freckled face poke in. Harry was happy to see her; it was just that he was disappointed that it wasn't who he was expecting.
"Harry," she sighed, as soon as the door clicked behind her. She came closer with her arms folded across her chest. She had gotten a haircut, it was short now. Really short, it only went passed her ears. There were still some fuchsia coloring at the tips, but –
Harry felt her hand fly across his cheek. Well, he wasn't expecting that to happen.