Disclaimer: Anything you recognize from the Harry Potter books and/or movies is not mine.

A/N: Wow. I really didn't expect so many reviews for that chapter! But I'm glad - I had such a hard day at work before I last updated, that by the time I got home, I just wanted to post the chapter and go to sleep (which I did). I was so surprised when I woke up later and logged on to find that so many people reviewed! It definitely made me feel better. :D

On another note, I'm trying to update as much as I can. Since it's been snowing like mad here, work has been canceled and I've had time to do my commissions and stories. Hopefully I make a lot of progress!

Also, about Carey. I doubt many people will like her, since she's an OC character. I'm trying my best not to make her Mary Sue like, but I think I'm only making her annoying. And that's not good. Every time I write about her, she reminds me horribly of Cho or someone along those lines. I'm trying to stay away from that, constantly re-writing the scenes, so if she really bothers the majority of the readers, I'll try and change her attitude a bit more and mold her into something better.

Thanks Wolf-in-Sheep-Clothing, Ash of Mine, numbah 1 HPFan, Cute Lover Gurl, Kail Ceannai, The Angel of Your Nightmare, emeraud.silver, Loki40766, MoonMixer, mechan, Anave Lipad, FreeDaChickens, Laughing Cat, Adriem, crazysquirl, Sylkie, DestinyEntwinements, meinien, aradonai, MorteDolce, RavenXI, Illuminatus, and mynoan for all the wonderful reviews!

Pretend World

By: xScenex

Chapter Nine

Harry had no run-ins on the way back to the castle and to the hospital wing. It was dead quiet, considering that everyone in the castle had settled down hours ago after the ball.

Harry guessed that it had to be around four in the morning at latest, but he couldn't be too sure since it was still dark outside.

By the time he found his way through the familiar castle to the nurse's station, he was dead tired. He found it odd that someone like him, brought to some strange earth by a phenomenal happening, would need just as much sleep as he needed when he had been completely human.

But he didn't mind. What would he do for the six to nine hours before everyone else woke up? Surely he couldn't wonder around for hours - that would definitely cause suspicion.

He flopped down on the white, crisp sheets on one of the many beds in the hospital room. No one else was there, Harry noted after surveying his surroundings for a second. He guessed that Carey had gone back to her dormitory for the night.

Sighing heavily, Harry rolled over on the bed, not caring that he was still wearing jeans and his shoes. The cool air on his chest was nice, as was the cool fabric against the heated skin.

The comfort was enough to allow him to relax. He closed his eyes slowly and fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.

When Harry eventually woke up, the sun was high up in the sky, sending rays of feverish light into the blindingly white room.

He had to squint for a few seconds until everything came into focus and he remembered where he was.

He sighed. It felt as if he'd only been asleep for a few minutes, not for hours. And by looking at the clock on the other side of the room, it indicated that lunch was in session.

Harry got up, stretching languidly as his stomach growled loudly, even to him. He could hear people chatting distantly through the halls nearby and wondered if he would be able to go down and eat lunch with Carey without getting in trouble.

As if reading his thoughts from a far distance, Madame Pomfrey walked through a side door on the left and stopped when she saw him.

"Where were you last night, Mr. Potter?" she demanded hotly.

"The Ball," he replied calmly, knowing he was about to be reprehended over his late-night adventures. He looked around to see if there were any spare shirts lying around.

Her hands landed on her hips and she stared icily at him. "The Ball, I can see, but you should have asked for permission to go! You were under no stable condition when you were admitted into my wing -"

Harry shrugged, eventually giving up on finding a shirt after it appeared clearly that there were none in the room besides hospital gowns. "Albus Dumbledore didn't care."

"You are my patient - you aren't allowed to leave without permission, young man! And where were you half the night? Last I saw, you hadn't showed back up past one in the morning!" The nurse continued scolding, ignoring the interruption.

"I was just hanging around, you know?" He smiled at her and shrugged casually, a small smirk appearing on his face at the end. "Making some friends."

She huffed, but she didn't bother him further besides mumbling something about irresponsible boys, and telling him he could go eat lunch after she did a quick checkup.

The nurse seemed rather annoyed when everything came out perfectly fine and grudgingly allowed Harry down to lunch. She transfigured one of the gowns for him, into something suitable, and he quickly put it on and started to leave. He barely caught the look of aggravation on her face as he stepped out of the door with only one more backward glance in which he smiled at her and bid her a nice afternoon before he hurriedly made his way out of the wing; he didn't want her to find some other reason to keep him behind.

He was glad to note that he hadn't had to use the Forbidden Forest excuse yet. Hopefully he didn't have to use it at all.

As he got closer to the Great Hall, he could hear the chatter and laughter from inside. He wasn't too surprised to hear so much noise on the Christmas Holiday - the Yule Ball had been the night before and loads of students stayed behind to attend it.

When he walked through the large arching doors, a few people looked up and stared.

He knew he stood out - how couldn't he? He didn't wear robes like the other students, and his hair was obviously mussed, even to him. Plus, he was a complete stranger.

But he ignored the looks, pointedly doing so. He walked forward, trying to see if he could spot Carey at the Hufflepuff table.

It took him a few moments to do so, but when he did find her at the very end of the table, he was glad to note that she looked fine. He had actually started to worry about her never showing back up the night before.

Carey hadn't noticed his appearance yet, so he quietly made his way towards her. When he walked up behind her, he lent down and whispered in her ear, "Good morning, beautiful."

Her head whipped around quickly, and her face was twisted in surprise. When she realized it was him, her expression quickly turned into annoyance.

"Good morning to you, Harry," she huffed but smiled slightly at him.

Harry noticed the circles under her eyes, and the red that underlined her eyelids. It looked as if she'd been crying. Harry walked around the end of the table and sat down in front of her, feeling concern bubble up in his chest.

He looked around for a mere second, realizing that none of the others sat close to them. That was a good thing. But a few nosy students kept staring and watching them as if they were about to perform a stunt of some kind.

"Carey," he said softly, ignoring the looks again. "Is something wrong?"

The messy haired girl shook her head, not meeting Harry's eyes.

The boy sighed slightly, leaning his elbows on the table and resting his chin in his hands. "Carey, I'm here for you. What do you think a Guardian Angel is for?" he asked, albeit awkwardly at addressing himself as such. It was the first time he actually said that allowed about himself.

She didn't look at him, still, and picked at her salad with her fork. She shrugged and Harry knew that something had to have happened last night.

"Look, Carey," he said quietly. "Although I haven't been around you much, I've seen enough to know that something's happened. Maybe you could call it a gut instinct, but as your… brother, I'd like to help you."

"You wouldn't understand," she said, looking up finally to meet his eyes. Her green eyes glistened with unshed tears, and Harry gulped.

He couldn't handle crying girls that well and was scared of making things worse.

"I'd like to try and understand," he said through the apprehension that was slowly beginning to build up in his chest.

She hesitated before she turned completely towards him, a determined look on her face.

"You left me to dance with that Weasley boy last night, remember?" she asked and Harry nodded. "Well, he brought me to his brother - his twin one - and introduced us."

"You mean George? Or Fred?" Harry asked, unsure of which was which.

"Fred introduced me to George," she told him awkwardly. "At least, I think that's how it went."

Harry smiled. "And?"

"Well, we danced and talked for a while since you never came back to get me," she told him accusingly. Before Harry could retort, though, she had continued. "George and I were just joking around, talking about the ball when those… Slytherin's came up and began teasing me."

Harry's head snapped towards where the Slytherin table was. He could see a few familiar faces, but at his distance, it was a bit hard to tell them apart.

His face darkened slightly and he growled out, "What did they say to you?"

Carey looked away again. "They were just teasing me about being there, and wondering why anyone would dance 'with the likes of me'."

Harry felt solid anger build up in his chest. Leave it to the Slytherin's to piss him off on his first day there. Carey must have noticed the change in his attitude, because she placed a gentle hand on his shoulder.

"It's not big deal Harry," she said.

"If it wasn't a big deal, then you wouldn't be upset," he ground out.

"Harry, really," she said, her voice slightly pleading. He looked up and noticed that her eyes kept darting to the Slytherin table. "It's not big deal. Just let it go, please?"

Harry closed his eyes and breathed in deeply. He'd rather not get in trouble his first actual day there, even if he wasn't a student. And especially not about some slimy snakes.

"Fine; but if they ever do anything to you again, I'll give them a piece of my mind."

She nodded weakly, and Harry knew she understood. The look on his face showed that he wasn't kidding.

Harry brushed his messy hair out of his face and picked up a bread roll and bit of the end of it, chewing on it thoughtfully as he stared around.

He noticed that Hermione and Ron sat far away from one another at the Gryffindor table, and that Draco sat next to Ron. He guessed that it was usual for the Ravenclaw to sit at the Lion's table without much more than a glance.

Hermione had a book open in front of her, and she seemed completely absorbed in it. Ron, on the other hand, was talking animatedly to Dean Thomas and Seamus Finnagin at the table, whereas Draco seemed to keep quiet most of the time.

Harry didn't think too long on any of the students behavior before he turned his eyes on the high table where the professors sat. He stared at each in turn, and when his eyes landed on Moody, he felt a growl of anger rise in his throat. How could that imposter sit there with so much dignity?

"What's wrong, Harry?" Carey's concerned voice pierced through his thoughts.

He popped the rest of the roll into his mouth after realizing he'd been holding it. He shook his head, "Just a few things I don't like about here, that's what."


"A few professors," he stated with obviousness while nodding in the direction of the high table.

"Oh. Which ones?"

Harry looked at her and bent forward. "Let's just say there's a few traitors up there," he whispered, glancing towards where Moody sat.

She breathed in sharply, "Harry, you can't be serious. The professors?"

Harry nodded. "Trust me on that."

"But who?"

Harry shook his head quickly. "Not here. Too many people around."

The girl nodded in acceptance and sighed. "So what did you do last night?"

Her tone was curious, and Harry smiled. "I decided to acquaint myself with your worlds Boy-Who-Lived and his friends."

"You spoke with Draco Malfoy?" she asked, surprised. Harry nodded. "Was that smart of you to do?"

The dark haired boy shrugged. "Whether or not it was, what's done is done."

She nodded and they both grew silent as they slowly ate lunch. Harry wondered what they would do that day - he wasn't sure if Dumbledore wanted to talk to him, or if he was just free to roam around the castle until a certain date.

"How about we go for a walk?" Harry asked as he finished off the last of his pumpkin juice. "I would like to get some fresh air."

Carey shot him a smile, "Sure. It's too crowded for me anyway."

They both stood up and began walking their way towards the double doors. They passed the Gryffindor table on their way, and Harry was surprised when a red-head jumped out of his seat and made his way quickly towards the pair of Potters.

"Carey!" he exclaimed. Harry was a bit surprised to see that it was one of the Weasley twins.

"Uhm, hi," Carey greeted, bewilderment etched into her face. Harry almost laughed. Almost.

"Carey, I'm sorry about last night," he said solemnly as he stopped in front of her. He gave Harry a quick look, but seemed more interested in talking to Carey.

"Oh, it's okay," she looked down at her hands, shaking her head sheepishly. "It wasn't your fault that the Slytherin's decided to be arses."

"Yeah, but I could have stopped them. You just disappeared so fast that I was more worried about you. You are okay, though, right?"

Harry watched the exchange with complete amusement. Carey kept blushing and wouldn't look George in the eyes. George seemed persistant to get her to look at him. Overall, they proved to be great amusement to Harry for a while.

But eventually, his gaze wondered off down the table to where Ron sat. He was laughing at something to the point that he was doubled over on the table, nearly banging a fist. Harry's lips twitched at the scene.

He looked over a bit, and noticed that Draco looked tired, still, but thoughtful at the same time. Harry couldn't help but wonder if he remembered anything from the night before, but when the boy turned his head slightly and caught Harry's eye, he just waved and smiled.

Guess not.

Harry breathed in relief. It would have been disastrous if he had remembered - and the awkward questions that would have followed would have been worse. He grimaced at the thought.

Hopefully he'd never have to explain to anyone that he was from another world. If he did, they'd probably lock him up in a padded cell. He nearly grinned at that, thinking of what the headlines would say.

'Delusional Boy Claiming To Be Boy-Who-Lived Who Can Fly!'

Yeah right.

A/N: Urg. I'm not happy with this chapter, but it's getting me along. It's one thirty in the morning, I'm high on caffeine, and I'm freezing my bum off.

Anyways, what did you guys think of Carey in this chapter? Like I said, I'm not too happy with it, but hopefully I can get things straightened out soon.