Disclaimer: This story is based on the Half-Blood Prince which is not mine. This story will also contain facts that were in the Half-Blood Price. If you haven't read the book and don't want to be spoiled, don't read.
This story is also a continuation of Midnight Guardian, Trials of a Champion and Burden of a Destiny. Reading those stories first will probably help understand this one.
A New Life
War. W.A.R. Three simple letters that when put in the proper order can cause so much damage. War can bring out the best in people, it can bring out the worst in people and it can make people realize just how precious (and short) mortal life really is, especially if you are one of the deciding factors of which way the war will end. War forces children to mature too early, facing horrors and pain that the most experienced of adults cringe away from. War also forces one to see that even the smallest of victory comes with a price.
That was how Harry James Potter felt. At the age of fifteen he had seen more horrors then he cared to remember. His parents had been murdered by the dark wizard Voldemort. He had survived only to spend twelve years at the Dursleys, his only living relatives, as what could only be classified as their servant. His years at Hogwarts had been a mixture of joy and pain. He had finally made friends but had fought for his life nearly every single year. He had faced Voldemort multiple times, saved his best friend's sister from death, fought a Basilisk, held back Dementors to save his godfather, witnessed the death of a classmate, and faced a corrupt Ministry head on when a Ministry appointed teacher tried to silence him.
However, those events weren't what pushed Harry Potter over the edge, causing him to leave the world he had grown to love despite the trials he had faced over the years. He could handle it all and so much more as long as his family was with him but it wasn't meant to be. Harry still didn't like to think about that night. He still had nightmares of the night he had been taken from Hogwarts to the Department of Mysteries where he faced off against Death Eaters. Members of the Order of the Phoenix (including his guardians Sirius Black and Remus Lupin) had come to his rescue, led by Headmaster Albus Dumbledore but that had been one of many mistakes. Harry had once again faced Voldemort but this time he had been beaten and nearly killed before Professor Dumbledore came to his rescue. The Dark Lord had been detained from the Department of Mysteries but in the end it wasn't enough. In the end he had lost one of the people who made his life worth living.
He had lost Remus.
Waking up in the hospital wing at Hogwarts and seeing his fallen guardian was all it took for Harry to realize that he was a danger to those he cared about. Remus was only the first of the long line of people who would die because they were trying to protect one teenager who found trouble like a magnet. He had managed to leave that night with the help of Hogwarts and Fawkes before anyone realized that he had even awakened. To save those he loved Harry walked away knowing that he was making himself a target for Voldemort. He was magically protected by Fawkes but that wouldn't stop people who know what the-boy-who-lived looked like to realize that Harry was indeed him.
Upon leaving the wizarding world nearly a month ago Harry had taken up a new identity: Jonathan Orion Evans. He figured that everyone would be looking for a 'Harry James Potter' or even 'James Evans' so Harry had used the middle names of his guardians with his mother's maiden name. In addition, Harry had managed to purchase colored contacts that changed his intense green eyes to a deep blue ones. He hated covering up his eyes since they were the only feature he had inherited from his mother but his eyes were too distinctive. Everyone knew Harry Potter had green eyes. Harry also made an effort to hide his messy black hair and lightening bolt scar at all times. When he was out, he wore a hat. When he was at work, Harry wore a surgeon's cap.
Oh yes. Harry's current job was at a local hospital where he worked as an orderly. Obtaining the job had actually been a complete accident on Harry's part. He had just arrived in Muggle London and being the trouble attracting person he was, witnessed a severe five car accident. Harry didn't hesitate. He hurried to help along with a few others, one of them being a doctor at a nearby hospital. Harry and the doctor worked side by side until helped arrived. The tall, middle aged doctor had been impressed and after the accident had been cleared struck up a conversation with Harry who introduced himself as Jonathan.
Harry had admitted that he was an orphan of murdered parents but claimed to be seventeen instead of nearly sixteen. He also admitted that he had hit a spot of trouble lately and had lost someone dear to him. The doctor, Doctor Henry Rolands, was sympathetic to Harry's story and decided to help him out. As is turned out, two hundred and fifty pounds didn't last very long. Harry wasn't able to find an apartment he could afford and had to sleep at the hospital. When Dr. Rolands discovered this, he offered his guest room. Harry had originally declined but after two weeks of pestering from the overprotective doctor, Harry gave in just to shut the man up. He still often slept at the hospital since he was normally paged when he wasn't scheduled to work but a few hours away from the chaos was always a nice change.
Working at the hospital had brought a lot of surprises Harry's way. After a week of working, Harry discovered that he could vaguely sense other people's actual emotions if he concentrated hard enough. It wasn't anything definite just a faint glimmer of what people were feeling at the moment. It had helped Harry immensely and had slowly become a more reliable ability. It was still faint but Harry liked it that way. It didn't do well to be bombarded by someone's emotions when you were trying to do your job.
Harry's other magical surprise wasn't as welcomed as the first. He was starting to grasp his empathic ability while talking to a sick little girl in the children's ward when all of a sudden his hands started to glow faintly. It was only for a moment but Harry felt extremely weak afterwards while the girl felt better than she had in a long time. She was still ill but her road to recovery had taken a jump start. This minor healing ability that he had was difficult to practice since he couldn't make the ability work when he wanted it to. It was more like it worked when it wanted to leaving Harry to tag along for the ride.
The healing ability had come in handy when it worked and when it didn't drain Harry completely but it was still risky. He had to be extremely discrete since he really couldn't tell anyone that he could heal people. Over the next two weeks Harry had learned how to sense when the ability was coming which gave him a small warning but he still had a long way to go to control it completely. He didn't know if these were temporary powers or permanent but since he hadn't had any sort of outburst since that night at the Ministry, Harry was guessing that his magic had finally matured completely into these powers. He knew he should ask someone but he had no one to turn to. Everyone in the wizarding world believed he had abandoned them.
Harry's only connection to the magical world surprisingly was Fawkes, Professor Dumbledore's phoenix. The bird usually appeared once a week to check on Harry, dropping off the latest issue of the 'Daily Prophet' so Harry was kept up to date. It was through that route of information that Harry had learned of the Ministry's formal declaration of Voldemort's return and the appointment of Rufus Scrimgeour as the new Minister of Magic. Harry had also learned that ten Death Eaters had been arrested that night including Peter Pettigrew, Barty Crouch, Jr., Lucius Malfoy, and one of the Lestrange brothers. (Harry couldn't remember which one.) They had all been sentenced to Azkaban but who knew how long they would stay there before Voldemort broke them out again.
Harry had also noticed advertisements for Weasley Wizarding Wheezes at number ninety-three, Diagon Alley. It seemed that the Weasley twins had indeed opened the joke shop that they worked so hard inventing products for last year. There had been plenty of reports concerning safety during these dark times along with several Death Eater attacks that caused several deaths, including Order of the Phoenix member Emmeline Vance. Surprisingly, there also hadn't been any articles about his disappearance which Harry figured was to ensure that Voldemort didn't find out about it. Too bad that was Harry's entire reason for leaving.
Every time Harry saw Fawkes he would ask two questions: "how's Sirius" and "how's everyone else". He would always receive the same answer. Fawkes would look at Harry sympathetically before letting out a sad trill as if he was saying 'they're alive but missing you'. It took every ounce of self restraint not to give in and return home to Black Manor but Harry couldn't. He couldn't risk Sirius meeting the same fate as Remus.
So Harry went through the motions of working at the hospital trying to master his new abilities while training himself any way he could that wasn't magical since he didn't know how strong Fawkes' protection was. He had no doubt that people were waiting for him to use magic and alert everyone to where he was. Considering what had happened just before he left, Harry figured that there were a lot of people who wanted a word with him.
Living as a Muggle did take some adapting on Harry's part. He had gone from a world of magic to a world of technology with very little training. His co-workers found it funny that Harry had never used a computer or a pager before. Thankfully he was a quick learner since every ward in the hospital quickly learned how good he was with people. It wasn't uncommon for Harry to be in the children's ward one minute and the emergency ward the next trying to calm someone down although it was almost impossible to pull him out of the children's ward between the hours of seven and nine o'clock every night.
The children had quickly grown to love Harry's bedtime stories of a world of magic with the evil wizard Riddle facing off against the Phoenix Knights. The nurses and doctors in the ward often stood in the background and watched as Harry captivated every child in the room no matter how old they were. Most of the adults felt that Harry had an overactive imagination with the preciseness he used to describe the goblins, trolls, centaurs, and dragons but didn't voice their opinions since the children were happy.
That was usually the way things were with Harry. Doctor Rolands had discretely mentioned Harry's difficult life to his fellow doctors so everyone simply kept an eye on young 'Orion Evans' (John was a rather popular name so everyone just called Harry 'Orion' or 'Ori' for short). They were there for him if he needed him but Harry usually just forced himself to stay busy. Working at the hospital kept Harry's mind off of everything happening outside the walls of the hospital. Working kept his mind off of the fact that he had just lost a father.
Like every day, the sound of Harry's beeping pager would pull him out of his accidental nap in the employee lounge. Opening his eyes, Harry blinked away the cloudiness from sleeping in his contacts before glancing at his watch. It was almost six in the evening. Grabbing his pager, Harry suppressed a groan when he saw that he was needed in the emergency ward. He had amazingly slept for two hours without a nightmare but he had hoped for another hour of sleep before his long evening shift.
Holding back a yawn, Harry pulled himself to his feet and clipped his pager to the waistband of the hospital issued pants he wore before leaving the lounge for the emergency ward. That was probably one of the best perks of this job. His attire was provided for. All of the money he made went directly into an account that Doctor Rolands had helped him open at a nearby bank for Harry to use when needed. It had been difficult since Harry had no form of identification but luckily Doctor Rolands knew someone at the bank and had a few strings pulled.
Reaching the emergency ward, Harry was almost knocked over by the overwhelming feelings of frustration and fear. He quickly regained his bearings and looked around to see that the entire waiting room was full with people and it looked like the doctors and nurses were running around frantically. Snapping out of his shock, Harry quickly approached the nurse's station and was instantly grabbed by a long blond haired nurse named Anna who was only a few years older than him. "A bus collided with a truck, Ori," Anna said quickly. "Dr. Rolands wanted you to assist him. He's in Examination Room Eight."
Harry nodded and hurried to small room and looked through the small window to find the tall doctor with graying-brown hair talking to a girl in her mid-teens with short blond hair that was on the examination table. There were two adults also in the room seated next to the table who had to be her parents. The mother looked exactly like the daughter only about twenty years older while the father had light brown hair and looked like he had put in some serious manual labor for a long period of time. The parents were unmarked while the girl had a few bumps and scrapes in addition to her right ankle that was already that looked badly swollen. Closing his eyes, Harry concentrated on the occupants of the room and could sense nervousness and fear along with protectiveness. He quickly pushed the feelings aside and knocked on the door.
The door opened to reveal a smiling Dr. Rolands. "Ori," he said cheerfully as he stepped aside to let Harry enter. "Thanks for coming so fast." Dr. Rolands closed the door once Harry entered and turned back to his patient. "Juliet Swanson, Mr. and Mrs. Swanson, this is Orion Evans. He is going to help me out tonight. I swear that he and I haven't lost a patient yet."
Harry looked at Dr. Rolands with a raised eyebrow. There were sometimes Harry just couldn't understand the doctor's strange sense of humor. "You are rather odd," Harry said seriously. "You know that right, doctor?"
Dr. Rolands looked at Harry and smiled. "I'm not odd, Orion," he said sounding like he was gently reminding Harry of something they had discussed before. "I am unique. Now, why don't you prepare Juliet while I go search for those x-rays."
Harry nodded and moved toward the examination table while Dr. Rolands left the room. He prepared the table Juliet was on so she was a little more comfortable, aware that the Swanson family was watching his every move. He could felt their curiosity towards him overpowering the rest of their emotions. Glancing at them, Harry forced a patient smile before saying: "you can ask your questions. I don't mind."
"How did you know?" Mrs. Swanson asked in surprise.
Harry shrugged his shoulders. "Because everyone does," he said simply. "I get it more when I'm called down here to work than upstairs because up there everyone just thinks I'm a volunteer. I'm not a doctor, just an orderly. Dr. Rolands usually asks for my help because I'm the only one here who can stand his odd sense of humor without taking offense to it."
"No offense but you still look rather young even for an orderly," Mr. Swanson said skeptically. "You don't look a day older than sixteen."
Harry bit back a smile. At least he was finally looking close to his age. For years everyone thought he looked two years younger than his actual age until his long awaited growth spurt last year. He was finally at an average height for his age and with the muscle he had put on from training over the past few years was no longer the scrawny little kid that had lived with his Aunt and Uncle in a cupboard under the stairs. "I'm seventeen, actually," Harry lied smoothly as he pulled up a chair and sat down. "I'm told that when I'm thirty I'll be grateful that I look younger than what I am."
Mrs. Swanson smiled compassionately. "But it's probably extremely annoying right now," she said. "So…Orion, that's a rather unique name. Your parents must have a thing for Astronomy."
Harry shrugged his shoulders noncommittally. "My middle name's Orion," he said. "First name is actually John. It just became too confusing with so many Johns working here so everyone started calling me Orion." Out of the corner of his eye, Harry could see Juliet trying desperately not to stare. He winked at her and saw her blush before looking away quickly.
Mrs. Swanson noticed the exchange and let out a laugh. "Orion, please excuse our daughter," she said. "Juliet's a little shy."
The door opened as Dr. Rolands entered with the x-rays. Juliet luckily only had a severe sprain. Harry helped Dr. Rolands bandage the injured ankle before retrieving a wheel chair while Dr. Rolands gave the Swanson family some final pointers before declaring them free to go. When Harry returned, he carefully put Juliet in the wheelchair sending her parents into laughter at the sight of her red face before they wheeled her out.
Harry continued helping Dr. Rolands with some more injured people until seven o'clock arrived and he was forced to leave for his nightly visit to the children's ward. He hurried up three flights of stairs before running down hallways until he reached his destination. Sliding into the room, Harry was welcomed by a roar of cheers of excited children. He took his normal spot in the center of the room and waited patiently for everyone to calm down which surprisingly only took a few moments.
Glancing around, Harry noticed that there were a few parents seated off to the side looking on with smiles on their faces. It wasn't uncommon for a few to sit in since their children often talked about Ori's stories. Clearing his throat, Harry turned his attention to the children. "Now, where were we?" he asked curiously.
"You were going to tell us about the enchanted lake tonight, Ori," answered a little six-year-old boy excitedly.
"Ah, yes," Harry said with a nod. "Thank you, David. The enchanted lake in front of the castle holds many secrets known only to those who are brave enough to dive into the darken depths. Everyone knows of the large squid that likes bask in the sun and even play catch with the stones people throw him from the shore. Everyone knows of the Grindylows and also are extremely aware that they should stay away from them."
"What are Grindylows, Ori?" asked a nine-year-old boy with short black hair.
Harry turned to him and smiled. "Grindylows, Jack, are very small water creatures," he said quietly causing all of the children to lean forward excitedly as if they were learning a bit secret. "They are very small when compared to humans but don't let their size fool you." Harry slowly walked towards Jack and gently wrapped his fingers around Jack's wrists. "They are very aggressive and will attack anyone who invades their waters with their long and powerful fingers." Jack gasped as Harry released Jack's wrists and turned to the entire group. "If you ever see one, be sure to have fish with you. They certainly prefer that to humans."
Relieved sighs filled the air along with a few chuckles from some of the parents.
"But like I said, everyone knows about them," Harry continued as he moved back to the center of the room and motioned for everyone to be quiet. "What they don't know and don't dare to discover is the secret village in the deepest depths of the lake. This village contains beings with their own language that can not be understood above water. If they were to speak to a human above the surface it would only sound like screeches and give you a rather painful headache very quickly." Harry thought for a moment before raising his hand and bringing it down as if scratching against an invisible wall. "Think of the sound fingernails make on a blackboard." Quite a few shuddered at the description. "Under water, however, their voices hold a sort of melodic tone, none of us humans could never have. They have grayish skin with long and wild, dark green hair. Their eyes are yellow and always watching. They are warriors of the water, noble creatures and expert swimmers with their powerful silver tails—"
"—Mermaids!" a five-year-old girl with long red hair shouted out.
Harry turned to the little girl and smiled. "Merpeople, Emma," he corrected gently. "Would you all like to hear about them?"
At everyone's nod, Harry continued explaining about the merpeople and the mysteries of the lake in front of Hogwarts. Of course he had never given the 'castle' a name or the real reason it was there since it would cause a lot of problems if the Ministry ever found out but these were kids who didn't know that Harry's 'fantasy world' really existed. He could also sense that for two hours every night these kids weren't feeling the woes of their ailments and was just glad that in a small way he was helping them get through these trying times.
Once story time was over, Harry helped tuck the children in before leaving the ward. He could see the smiles on their faces as they drifted off to sleep. Seeing them in their beds reminded Harry of the numerous times he had been in the hospital wing at Hogwarts. He remembered waking up and seeing Sirius and Remus there waiting for him. They always waited for him. They had done so much for me and I never got the chance to thank them for it.
Walking back to the emergency ward, Harry fought back the tears that threatened to come as everything hit him quickly. He knew he would never deal with Remus' death as long as he stayed here but this job was only temporary. Every place he went could only be temporary because staying in one place too long would make everyone around him a target. He was determined not to risk anyone else because Voldemort was obsessed with him. In the grand scheme of things, his life really didn't matter.
After all, his life had been determined for him before he had even been born.