Disclaimer: Anything you recognise from the books is not mine.
Author's note: Sorry for the really long break, I lost interest in writing after I moved and just recently decided to start working on this again. This chapter is tiny but, it's all I could cook up at the moment. I still plan to complete this fic, but give me some time for updates, my life gets pretty busy at college.
Harry became conscious.
There was a whole, blissful second, full of silence and comforting darkness… and then the pounding in his head caught up with him. If the pain was a good thing, it was only because it made Harry realize that he wasn't actually dead. Really, what kind of twisted world would it be if you got stuck with a permanent headache in the afterlife. Of course, what kind of twisted world would rely on him to defeat a Dark Lord.
Pounding head aside, Harry was actually fairly comfortable, almost as if he was laying in a soft bed and not the hard wood floor he'd passed out on...
He let his hand trail over the... soft, cushiony, ... hardwood floor.
Yeah, defiantly not where he'd been before. But he knew on thing for sure, he wasn't in the clutches of Voldemort. For starters, he doubted that the Dark Lord even had such a nice bed, it was like sleeping on a cloud. Not that Harry had ever slept on one before, that wasn't physically possible, though he supposed that magic might be of use if he'd ever like to try it. Bu the point was, Harry couldn't imagine Voldemort, feared Dark Lord, coming home after a long night of torturing muggles and laying down in a soft, fluffy cloud... err bed.
Harry tried to stop himself from picturing Voldemort curled up with a large teddy bear atop of some frilly pink bed sheets, suckling on his thumb and making high pitched nasal sounds as he softly snored... but it was no use.
Harry wasn't sure if anyone else was in the room as he hadn't regained his sanity enough to open his eyes yet, but if there was then they were probably fairly startled when he started laughing uproariously out of nowhere. The thought of Voldemort getting wearing a nighty and getting tucked in by Lucius Malfoy was just too much to bear. He actually feared for the wizarding world, they were placing all of their hopes in Harry Potter, a deranged lunatic.
...but deranged as he was, he had still learned a bit throughout the years. One thing in particular struck out at him now... He had eyes, eyes with which he could see. And if he could see, then he may be able to figure out where was! Now if only they would work... not supposed to be all black like thi- ...
He decided to ask Neil to oblivate that part of his internal monologue at a later time... though preferably sooner rather than later.
Before, his vision had been all black, now all he was receiving was a painful bright white. Not exactly how he'd hoped to come out of unconsciousness, but at least he could see, well... he knew he could see black and white, everything in between was still a bit iffy. Things seemed to be getting better quickly though, so he was hopeful. As everything became… less… bright, he started to get a bit worried. That is, until he remembered that he wore glasses. Glasses which weren't currently on his face, making the bright room he was in even harder to picture. So he wasn't prepared for the woman to walk up beside him and say, "good evening Mr. Potter." His response was a small jump, an odd speaking noise… and he sort of… fell off the bed, causing a slight thump.
He couldn't see, but he could hear the woman chuckling from the other side of the bed. The evil woman, laughing at his misfortune, the laugh suddenly sounded more sinister than before… How could she be so… mean…
Harry woke up again.
This time the light wasn't so overbearing when he opened his eyes, and the room wasn't so quiet. In fact, the room was fairly noisy. Little beeps and whistles were the more dominant sounds, but he could hear the far off roar of a large crowd as well. And footsteps, he could hear footsteps as well. Footsteps… what was it that Neil had told him about listening for footsteps…
Harry's eyes widened and his pulse quickened as he ducked under the cover for a moment. His wand wasn't on him, that much he could tell, and his glasses seemed to be missing. He was defenseless, but he'd been in such situations before, now was not the time to panic…
The bed sheets flew off in a swirling vortex, erupting upwards and slamming against the ceiling. Dust and fluffy padding rained down in a blizzard of comfortable softness, and the wall in front of him was… not moving. There Harry stood, in an overdramatic martial arts stance that he'd seen on TV once, a fluffy white halo of down feathers drifting lazily to the ground about him, and facing an empty wall… And it was laughing at him.
Wait… walls didn't laugh.
But Neil did… he laughed a lot. He was a very cruel person. "Settle down kid, no death eaters here," He said in between laughs. "I want you to meet me outside once they're done with you here so that we can talk about where you screwed up… and for Merlin's sake!" Apparently he had become frustrated with the feathery rain… which was trying valiantly to lodge itself in Neil's nose. A quick repairing charm later and his mentor was out of the room, leaving a still slightly dazed Harry behind.
Almost as soon as Neil had left though, the nurse who Harry had first met a few weeks ago when he'd first joined the department came bustling in. She was actually a bit frightening… had a crazed look in her eye. Harry guessed that she must take her work as seriously Madam Promfey back at school… and that thought also scared him a bit.
"Mr. Potter," she sounded a lot like McGonagall, "I don't know how you do it. I've never seen someone hurt this many times before they've been here even a month in all my days. Tell me, what possessed you to duel while in that condition? We could have made the bed you're sleeping on from what we pulled from your back!" And… yes, she was screaming at him now. Harry's headache flared up again in response… weren't healers supposed to make you feel better?
Harry tried to reason with her, "well mam, I… uhh… didn't know I was hurt that bad?" He smiled at the end of his imploring statement, hoping it might catch her off guard. He was disappointed.
"Oh, don't you try that on me Mr. Potter. I've heard every excuse in the book," and the way she said it… Harry believed that she most likely had heard them all. "Let me check you over and then I want you out of here, I never want to see you in here again!"
Harry just sighed and lay back down, resigned to his fate. The healer, Madam Salma as he'd learned from her nametag, dutifully checked him over for any overlooked injuries. After a few minutes she too sighed, "well, that's it… unless you'll let me take a look at your scar. I'm very interested in it…," she trailed off.
Harry thought about it, it couldn't hurt to let her look, but what was the point? He already knew that there was nothing to be done for it. Dumbledore himself had told him as much… Harry really didn't like the idea of wasting the healer's time, no matter how fascinated she was with his scar. ""I honestly think that it's a waste of time Miss," he sighed, "I don't think I'd like to go through that right now."
She huffed and nodded in a brisk manner, "very well, you are free to go now Mr. Potter… but know that you are denying us a valuable source of research. Curse scars are not a common thing at all and even with our seemingly limitless information, we know very little about them." With that she turned around a quickly made her way from the room.
Harry sighed again and thought that maybe he should have accepted her offer.
Harry was happy to be out of Neil's evil clutches. Honestly, he didn't think he'd done too bad considering his limited experience… of course Neil thought differently. There was a long list of thing that Harry was supposed to have done differently… literally. Neil had written down a list of what he'd screwed up and given it to him to study. That was fine with Harry though, it meant that he could tune his aggravated mentor out while being yelled at. Right now he just wanted to get something to eat and go home, his afternoon tutoring session had been delayed due to the mission… it just meant double torturing tomorrow.
Harry grabbed some lunch and sat down at his usual table. The room was fairly empty today, which wasn't really an odd occurrence lately with all of the large projects going on.
He was used to eating with Allison and Walter, but they'd probably already come and gone. Walter had surprised Harry one day by getting into a short scuffle with Cutler. Apparently they'd been at odds since the first training exercise where Harry and Walter were in the same group. Ever since then, they had gotten to know each other better and turned out to be friends. Of course, Cutler wouldn't associate with Walter when he found out, but it wasn't a high price to pay. Cutler was just an immature little brat anyways, though nobody could deny he had power under the right circumstances.
It was a bit of an odd coincidence that he happened to be thinking of Cutler… because he happened to be headed straight for Harry from across the dining area… and he didn't look very happy, not that he ever looked happy in close proximity to Harry. For a moment Harry imagined how funny it would be if the enraged young man tripped on his way over… he could almost see Cutler sprawled out on the ground whilst everyone in the room snickered behind his back… he even went as far as to imagine Fordon crying and running out of the room like an embarrassed preteen.
Of course it didn't happen, which made Harry a little sad. Though he was pretty sure that the large smile plastered on his face had unnerved, the now slightly bewildered looking, Cutler Fordon. "Uh, yes?" Harry questioned when the young unspeakable was close enough.
He grunted and ignored Harry's question all together, "Listen kid, you may think you're hot stuff, but don't let a little praise go to your head. You are nothing," Cutler whispered angrily, "just because you're famous, for an unfinished job at that, you don't have the right to come in here and be waited on hand and foot." Then Cutler did something unexpected, he smiled, "I know what happened earlier, maybe that will open your eyes. You thought you were good enough and look where you ended up."
Harry'd had enough of Cutler's badmouthing, the kid couldn't get it through his head that he wasn't trying to show anyone up, he was just doing what he could, "You don't know anything then. I took down an unexpected target and I've only had a few weeks of training. If I'd been here for two years like you have, then you could talk." Harry knew that wouldn't be the end of it, but he really hoped Cutler would just go away.
"...that's it, you better watch your back from now on kid. If you're stupid enough to believe that you're on our level… well you'll just have to figure it out the hard way," and with that Cutler stormed off. Harry thought it was a bit sad that the unspeakable had ended up resorting to idle threats, but there wasn't anything to be done. Eventually Cutler's attitude would catch up with him and he would learn a little humility.
…and now his appetite was ruined.