The Detour to Reality:
A Harry Potter Story
The following story is based on situations and characters owned by J.K. Rowling or her publishers.
I am just playing with 'em I don't own 'em. If I did own 'em I'd be rich. :) I own nothing, the bank does. Damn! :(
Spoilers for all seven books.
With thanks to my proofreaders: "What contented men desire", "Mlui" and "tumshie"
Harry was staring aimlessly out the car window. His uncle had just picked him up at King's Cross station.
Uncle Vernon was very quiet after his little chat with Mad-Eye and Arthur; Harry was contemplating the last month. He wondered how his friends were doing after being injured at the Ministry. He didn't know if Sirius was gone or not. He passed through the veil, but did that mean he was dead or just lost? It was so frustrating. Harry was startled out of his thoughts when he realised that the car had stopped and his uncle was speaking. He looked around in confusion; this was not Privet Drive.
'Come on boy, I haven't got all day,' Uncle Vernon instructed as he headed for the roadside café.
Harry collected his wits and followed his uncle. Once the car door slammed shut, Uncle Vernon activated the car's remote locking without stopping or looking around.
Harry entered the café to find his uncle already sitting in a quiet booth sipping tea. He beckoned Harry to sit down. A waitress approached but Uncle Vernon waved her off.
'Boy, if those friends of yours think they can intimidate me they are mistaken. Remember, I can easily dispose of that damn bird of yours. Here is what's going to happen: you will do the chores and keep your freak friends away or...your bird dies. If you keep your head down I'll see about letting you eat more, okay?'
Harry nodded sullenly, wishing that the wizards had never opened their mouths. They returned to the car once Uncle Vernon finished his tea.
That evening after unpacking in his room, someone politely knocking on his door disturbed Harry. He cautiously opened it to find his cousin Dudley on the threshold, looking nervous for some reason.
'May I come in?'
Harry was confused at Dudley's politeness, but he beckoned him into the untidy bedroom.
Dudley shut the door after himself. 'I've done a lot of thinking while you were away. I was told to get something from the attic, and I found one of your freak books. Those monsters were real?'
Harry processed this ramble and said, 'Yeah. They're called Dementors.'
Dudley continued, 'You saved me, right?'
'Yeah,' responded Harry uneasily, wondering where the conversation was going.
'Well, I wanted to thank you and say sorry…well, sorry.' With that, Dudley turned and left the room and a very confused Harry.
The following morning, Harry was sent out to weed the flowers. The weather was really strange; there was a cold mist in the morning, but it got really windy after dinner. Uncle Vernon never said a word about their conversation in the café, but Harry believed that the threat was real, and he was not looking forward to the rest of his summer.
Over the next couple of days Harry was given a lot of chores to do, it was as if Vernon had purposely made more work for him. Hedwig was also acting strange. Harry had left the window open, but she did not want to leave the room. Also, now that he thought about it, he had seen none of Mrs Figg's cats at all, or any other animal for that matter.
Harry turned over and killed his alarm clock, got up and crossed off another date on the calendar. It was the sixth of June 1996. After getting dressed, Harry trudged downstairs to prepare breakfast. Uncle Vernon came down half an hour later, and started into his large meal. As Harry was tidying up, Uncle Vernon called for him to mow the lawn. Harry replied that he had done it three days ago.
'Well do it again. The grass is growing very fast with all this strange weather.'
After Uncle Vernon left for work, Harry got out the mower, hedge clippers, and a sack for the grass. He started on the front lawn.
It was difficult as the wind was blowing very hard, but he managed all right. When he was finished with the front, he went around to do the back all the while cursing his uncle. Damn! The mowers grass box had to be emptied. Harry shut off the petrol engine, and detached the grass box. He struggled to cover the mouth of the container with the sack, the blowing wind not making it easy for him. He turned around at the sudden silence and gawked at a tornado that was bearing down on him. Harry reached for his wand to cast a shield spell, anything really before realising that he had locked it into his trunk so that he would not be tempted to use it on his uncle. The last thing he saw was the world spinning before he lost consciousness.
Hermione was glad she had taken a potion for the pain; the motion of the train was making her chest very uncomfortable. An unnamed, silent, purple-coloured spell had injured her. She didn't tell anyone about the severity of the injury, as she felt Harry had enough to deal with without worrying about her, and she did not want word to get back to him. Madam Pomfrey was very reluctant to let her go, and advised her to go to St Mungo's for treatment, but she refused and instead asked for the prescription of potions. The pain potion allowed her to at least fake normalcy. She watched Harry leave with his uncle before looking for her parents. Hermione let her father take her trunk and Crookshank's carrier to the car. When her mother, Jane, hugged her, she bit back tears. "The potion must be wearing off."
Hermione tried to settle comfortably in the back seat of her father's Mercedes Benz E500, but nothing she tried worked. Jane kept throwing looks over her shoulder, but kept silent. There was an almost oppressive air in the car, and she was glad to get out of it once they arrived home.
After supper, Hermione retired to her room and locked the door. She gingerly pulled her jumper over her head. She slowly unbuttoned her blouse, grimacing at the sight of blood seepage on the garment. Slowly, she unwrapped the bandages on her chest. A sudden knock on the door startled her.
'Hermione, can I talk to you please?'
Hermione debated with what to do, but reluctantly decided she would have to face the music eventually.
Jane was worried, Hermione was acting strange, and normally she would be telling stories about school or talking about Harry and Ron. She could sense reluctance in the hugged greeting at the train station. Then, Hermione fidgeted all the way home in the car, she was sullen during supper, and now she had locked herself in her room. "What's going on?"
She knocked on her daughter's door again, asking, 'Hermione can I talk to you please?'
Jane heard muffled sobs before the click of the door unlocked. She stood dumbfounded on the threshold of the room staring at her daughter. Hermione stood, arms akimbo, one hand holding her bloody blouse, the other a bandage clasp. Her chest was wrapped in bloody bandages. Tears of pain and shame were streaming down her face.
Maternal instinct drove her forward; she needed to see how bad it was. She guided Hermione back to sit on the edge of the bed with her arms reaching for the sky. She slowly unwrapped the damaged torso.
"Oh my god! What happened to my poor baby? I'll gut the bastard who did this. Oh no, this doesn't look right." Jane raged in her mind as more and more of the damage was revealed.
From below Hermione's neck to just above her bellybutton, the skin was a dull purple colour. The skin was cracked and peeling, puss was oozing from sores on the skin. The breasts resembled shrivelled grapes. Jane gasped at the damage visible on her daughter's body, and she winced when she remembered the train station and Hermione's reaction to the hug.
Hermione sat in shame at having been caught. She was worried at her mother's reaction, and figured she would have some explaining to do. Jane turned and closed the door so it would be just between mother and daughter.
'Explain,' instructed Jane in a soft voice.
'I'm afraid there is a lot I have not told you.' Hermione raised a hand to silence her mother's protest.
'I never really made friends until Hogwarts; it started just the same there too until Halloween. I was depressed, I had no friends, and a boy called me horrible names. There I was: crying in the toilet when a troll, all twelve feet of it, came in.'
Jane listened attentively as her daughter laid out her experiences at school.
'Harry came because he was worried about me. Ron followed and the two saved my life. That night I gained two friends, even though Ron was the one who had said those nasty things, I learned later that's just his way. Second year, I was petrified by a Basilisk. Not pleasant, let me tell you," Hermione chuckled at the lame joke, then winced in pain.
'Harry is famous in the magical world because he survived a killing curse at the age of one. He considers me a friend; his relatives, the Dursleys, don't treat him well, but he never says anything about it. Two years ago, Harry discovered he had a godfather who was wrongly imprisoned. Harry got to know him well after he escaped, this past year, and Harry was lured into a trap; I went with him to try to help. And was injured.'
Hermione paused to catch her breath, since it was very short. 'Madam Pomfrey tried to heal me, but the potions effects are reduced to one tenth of their potency for some reason. She thinks that ten weeks worth of potions will heal me, but it hurts,' Hermione sobbed.
Jane stood stunned as the fragments of Hermione's life at Hogwarts sank in. Jane's first priority was to help Hermione; she would worry about whether or not to let her return to Hogwarts later, only after her daughter was better. Hermione showed Jane a bag of medical supplies all charmed to self apply. The only problem was that the old ones had to be removed by hand, and the bandages had to be changed three times a day. Jane decided to take sick leave from work to look after Hermione.
The talk with Frank was not pleasant. He wanted to kill Harry Potter for dragging his daughter along on his adventures. The following week was unpleasant for Hermione, as she got no sleep because she was in so much pain; the pain potion was gone and Muggle painkillers didn't work.
Hermione started to write in today's medical diary for Madam Pomfrey, the date was the sixth of July 1996. She was lying in the hammock out on the patio, since it was the only place in the whole house that allowed her to rest comfortably.
Jane sat in the kitchen contemplating what to do about her daughter's fate. Would they allow her to go back after hearing the full story? She was startled out of her thoughts by the glass in the windows and patio door exploding into the kitchen, and the fierce roar of the wind. The patio was empty; Hermione was nowhere to be seen.
The old man sat in his armchair reading the Times. It was dated the sixteenth of February 2008, and he was reading an article about the freak weather over the last few years. For example: the flooding that shut down the motorway, forcing people to spend the night in their cars. Or the freak occurrences of tornadoes last year, which had, torn tiles from roofs. The environmentalists were harping on about recycle this and reuse that—protect the planet. He was pulled from his reading by a roaring noise. He put down his paper and looked out his window in to the farmyard. A tornado picked up his Range Rover and chucked it into the barn, hitting the gas tank for the house's central heating system.
The resulting explosion blew the roof off the barn. The tornado lifted up the debris and spat it at the house, shattering the windows and peppering the walls with steel roof supports. The man risked looking again after ducking for cover from the explosion. He saw his prized Jaguar E-type lying on its roof half way up an oak tree when suddenly the branch broke. The car flattened upon impact. Cursing, the man went to investigate the rest of the damage done to his property. He was shocked to discover two bodies among the debris. He found the boy in a field behind the barn where the trail of destruction had stopped, and he phoned the emergency services. They found the girl lying face down on his gravel driveway in front of the house on their way into the estate. He just hoped his insurance would pay for all of this.
Alan Shearer was a medic, sent out to the Hutton-Bury estate; he was told that there was an injured boy there. They were racing to the scene when they spotted a body on the estate's gravel road. Bernard, his driver, swerved the ambulance to avoid hitting the body. Alan went to investigate, and found an unconscious girl with bushy brown hair. Bernard retrieved the stretcher; once they had loaded the girl, they proceeded to the farmyard.
It looked like a bomb had gone off; the barn was on fire, but the fire brigade were due any minute now. They retrieved the other stretcher and followed old man Hutton-Bury to where the boy lay. After loading him up, Bernard tried the ignition but the engine just would not start. Alan was just getting in when he received a strong static electrical shock from the door.
'It won't start!' Bernard said, shocked.
'But it was only just serviced, and the servicing department gave it a clean bill of health! Try it again.'
Bernard did. The response from the engine was silence. Just as Bernard went to check the engine, it roared to life.
'Strange,' commented Bernard before communicating with the hospital about the two casualties in the back. He passed the Fire Brigade on his way out of the estate.
Doctor James Spencer frowned. He was baffled by his case from ten days ago. After examining his two new patients, he discovered that the girl had a damaged heart, and fluid in her lungs. She was hooked up to a life support machine; the third one they tried. The first two mysteriously broke down. The boy seemed to be just unconscious, and Jim was waiting for him to awaken. However, he did have a strange gash that was not healing.
They changed the bandages twice a day, but nothing seemed to work. He had just tried to stitch it; the boys wound bothered him, and it was in the shape of a lighting bolt on his forehead, a nasty looking cut. The wound reminded him of something, something that bothered him. Nurse Lisa Grint stuck her head into Jim's office and reported another strange occurrence, this time in both the boy's and the girl's rooms. The lab had just reported finding two strange substances in the boy's blood stream. They could extract one of the substances, which turned out to be a very strong poison of unknown origin. The other substance they could do nothing with, but it did seem to be cancelling out the effects of the poison.
After the nurse left, it struck him; he had seen that gash before: but it was in a film he had been forced to go see last summer by his daughter Anne. She was a big fan of a young actor called Daniel Radcliffe. She even dragged him to that play of his, "Equus." She was only a year younger for God's sake. He decided he would read all seven books tonight, because he had a feeling that it would shed some light on his two new patients.
Over the following week, Jim poured through the seven stories. He was sure that the young man was Harry Potter from the novels of the same name, and that the young woman was his friend Hermione Granger. At a guess, he suspected that it was after the fifth book due to Hermione's injuries. He would not know for sure until one of the two woke up. But the weird occurrences added credence to his theory. After reading the books, and re-watching his daughter's DVDs, he came to the conclusion that Harry was from the books as opposed to the films, as he looked similar to the actor Daniel but there were obvious differences. His height, weight, and build were similar to a concentration camp victim after a year or two of "treatment," not a healthy Hollywood actor. He decided to contact his friend Aaron McClain who was a social worker and an avid Sci-Fi fan, so he should hopefully have an open mind.
Aaron approached his old college buddy's office with trepidation. They were in contact through e-mail ever since the two kids cropped up onto the system. He did not believe in hocus pocus, but he knew Jim was a level headed, intelligent surgeon and not prone to making jokes, unlike himself who owed his graduation to Jim after all the pranks he pulled in his college days, which distracted him away from his studies. He would give Jim the benefit of the doubt. The e-mails had hinted that the two kids were characters out of a children's book, one of the more successful granted but still a children's book. If it was the truth, he did not know what to think, but he had joined social services to help children in need and, if Jim was telling the truth, that's exactly what he was going to do: help them in any way he knew how.
Jim looked nervous sitting behind his desk, thinking that Aaron was going to have him committed, but proceeded to explain everything that happened since the two kids arrived in his care. He further explained that the rest of his staff would swear to tell exactly the same thing he had. He had various mutated objects, such as a bedpan with a bright luminous green flower growing off of the dark blue stained bed pain, to back up his fanciful tale. Jim was not a person to tell extraordinary tales or try to fool people, and he did have strange objects that were not easy to replicate, which proved his story. So they moved on to the life of the kids and what information the books provided. Aaron had gone out and bought the series after he started to believe Jim.
During the meeting, he decided to close the file so it wouldn't draw undue attention to the two teenagers. He guessed that the kids would not stay here indefinitely and would be returning to the world described in the book. Aaron was disgusted with some of the developments he had read, and decided before meeting Harry and Hermione that he would make sure they would be thoroughly prepared to face the tasks that would be waiting for them. He would contact his brother John, an ex-Navy Seal now working as a detective in New York, about some training for the pair of them: no questions asked.
Aaron's brother John was twenty years older than himself. He had left England to find a life for himself before Aaron was born. Shortly after arriving in the U.S., he fell in love with Tam, a Vietnamese-American woman. They married after an eighteen-month courtship. Tam received word from Vietnam that her grandmother was expected to die shortly, and she wanted to say goodbye. John agreed, and the young couple moved to her home. John became great friends with Tam's father, Lee. Lee had taught John various forms of martial arts during the six-years that Lee was alive.
Shortly after the start of the war, Lee and John returned from hunting in the jungle for food to the village they were living in, only to find it destroyed. Soldiers had killed all the men and were systematically raping all the women. Lee went in to a rage at seeing his dead wife and daughters. He managed to kill one soldier before he was himself killed. John's reaction to finding his own wife lying dead was slightly different. He knew he could accomplish nothing now; he would escape and return with Marines to get revenge.
After returning to the States, he joined the Marines. His determination was spotted during training, as it was different to the other grunts' reluctance to fight. He was transferred to the Navy SEAL's enrolment exam straight from basic training. His drive to avenge Tam's brutal murder forced him to the very top of the elite unit. He served for fifteen years before being discharged on medical grounds. He sank into drink, trying to find solace in the bottle.
Aaron was in Chicago for a conference on psychology, and was rushing to meet a date when he fell over a bum on the street. He stopped to make sure he was not injured and was shocked to look in to an older, mirror image of himself. He knew he had an older brother he never met living in the US, but he never imagined that he would find him as a bum on the street. Aaron spent the next three year's helping his brother to rebuild his life. He was appalled to discover the fate of his dead wife and his in-laws.
With Aaron's help, John went back to school and later joined the New York police force. When questioned about his reasons for working in law enforcement in New York, the response was: "I met Tam in New York. I want her to be proud of me when we meet again."
John rose through the ranks to become a detective. He got an awful lot of stick after some film called, "Die Hard." The force wanted John to retire, but he was far too stubborn, so they reappointed him to training the new cadets. Aaron was sure that John was the perfect man to help Harry and Hermione, and anyway, John did owe Aaron for saving his sanity.
John took the first flight to London he could get, after ending the call with Aaron about the two kids his brother was trying to help. Anything is easy after helping me was his thought. He hated long flights, but it gave him time to read the books about his two new trainees. Aaron, Jim, and John met at Jim's office to discus the situation.
After exchanging pleasantries, John dropped a bombshell. 'About two weeks ago I had a strange dream. In it, I was training two Caucasians, one male with black hair, and the other female with bushy brown hair. The training was the stuff I used to do with Lee, my deceased father-in-law, which is why it stuck with me, it has been bugging me ever since. The other strange thing was that the two kids moved like Jedi out of "Star Wars." I figure I'm here to help them.'
Jim responded that both teens were unconscious and Hermione was severely injured. John responded that in his dream she was fit and healthy. John went on to suggest trying to train Harry in magic, so that maybe Harry could heal Hermione.
Jim responded, 'How? We know nothing about it or how to train them.'
John further explained his ideas on how to help the two teens. Jim was doubtful, but said he would give it a chance. Harry woke up the next day.
Harry slowly regained consciousness to the noise of a steady beep and the smell of disinfectant. He opened his eyes to look around, but everything was a blur. He searched the locker beside the bed to no avail. He was fully awake and realised he was in a hospital, a Muggle one. A shape appeared at the foot of the bed. It was predominately white with some pink blobs and topped by a black splotch of colour.
'Hello, I'm Doctor Spencer. That's an interesting scar on your forehead.'
Harry regarded the doctor before saying hello and asking where he was.
'Normally when introduced, you give your name.'
Harry blushed in embarrassment and replied he was Harry. The doctor frowned, but Harry missed it without his glasses.
'Harry, can you see?'
Harry responded by asking again where he was and if the doctor had seen where his glasses went.
Harry tried to observe the doctor, but it was hard without his glasses; the doctor sat after finishing his exam. Harry guessed that the Order was on their way to retrieve him, if they knew he was here. The doctor spoke, pulling Harry out of his thoughts.
'Harry, my name is James Spencer; my friends call me Jim. I would like you to call me Jim, okay?'
Harry frowned and wondered why the doctor was trying to be friendly but said, 'okay.'
Jim leaned forward and told Harry how he was found and how long he was in the hospital.
Jim paused and regarded Harry, wondering if now was the time. He knew from reading the books that Harry hated to be kept in the dark, but there was Harry's temper to consider and with the weird phenomenon, obviously now magic. If the conversation with Harry went badly it could cause a lot of trouble.
Jim took a leap of faith. 'Harry, I have something to tell you, and I beg you to keep calm and let me finish. Can you do that?'
Harry's curious response was 'mmm okay.'
'Harry, the date is the ninth of March 2008.'
Harry gasped in shock but remembering their earlier conversation he stayed quiet, fearing it would get worse. It did.
'There is an author called J.K. Rowling, and she wrote a seven book series about a boy who went to a magical school called Hogwarts. The last book was released last year, and the books were so successful that the sixth film is in production right now. I believe that you have just finished your fifth year at school, and are missing Sirius Black, and that Hermione Granger is two floors above us in a critical condition.'
Jim paused to let that sink in. Harry resembled a gold fish lying on a table gasping for water.
'For the past week, after a hunch to your identity, I searched for any trace of magic. The only trace was this ward and the one where Hermione is staying...'
The bedpan beside the bed started to rattle, a light at the far end of the room exploded in sparks, and Harry's bed started to levitate. Jim surged towards Harry and wrapped him into a hug.
'Harry relax, please... That's it, deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth.' The room returned to normal, but Jim wasn't taking chances. 'Harry, please clear your mind.' Jim grimaced at the tension in the boy. It was as if Jim could sense the magic in him.
'Can I see Hermione, please?' asked Harry. Jim wondered if it was safe so soon, but Harry was too emotional right now.
'Harry, look at me. I want you to do an exercise for me. Concentrate on my voice and clear your mind.' Jim frowned as he realised Harry was not good at clearing his mind in the books, so he took a different tack. 'I want you to visualise a tap, just a tap and noting more. Do you see it?'
'Good. Now think about water flowing out of it. Do you see it?'
'Yes,' Harry responded dreamily, almost hypnotised by Jim's voice.
'Good, just concentrate on the water flowing, nothing else, and let you thoughts drift away.' Harry's eyes had a slightly glassy look to them. Jim hoped this next bit worked. He was not sure, but if it failed, he didn't know any other way for Harry to control his magic while staying at the hospital.
'Harry, don't speak, but try to do what I ask please?'
'Harry, do you feel the sheets on your body, the mattress under you, the air entering your lungs, the blood flowing through you? Somewhere deep inside you is your magic. Try to find it. Taste it. Feel it. Know it.'
Harry did as the voice asked. He could feel the starched sheets and the uncomfortable mattress. His chest rising and falling pumping air into his lungs; the thump of his heart pumping blood and, just at the edge of his senses, magic. It felt like a part of him, powerful but strange at the same time. He was surprised he never noticed it before.
'Harry, relax please.'
Harry's eyes snapped open to see his bed floating high above Jim. He tried to visualise the flow of water from the tap, and was surprised at it working. His magic relaxed.
'Good, well done.'
Harry gasped, 'I could feel my magic.'
Jim replied, 'Harry, I'm afraid until you control your magic, I can't allow you to see Hermione.'
Harry moved to respond.
'When you came in we lost two heart monitors, to what I now know is your magic. She is currently monitored by a nurse and a machine 24/7. In your current state, you would make things worse. I'm sorry. This evening an optician will test your eyesight for some glasses. I will come by every day to see you, and I think you have enough to think about for today.'
'You mean there's more?'
'Oh yes. The contents of the books among others, but for that I think Hermione deserves to know as well. Don't you?'
Harry made no comment, deep in thought.
'Once I think you're in control I'll bring you up, so try to practice. One of the nurses will be monitoring, so don't tire yourself out.'
Jim bade farewell and left Harry to his surprisingly calm thoughts "I'm not in Kansas any more. Hermione is here in trouble. Jim seems to be trying to help, and it worked!"
Jim returned to his office to relay his meeting with Harry to Aaron and John. Jim said, 'It was scary, all that energy, but he responded to your suggestion Aaron.'
'Good. I still agree that we should train him and Hermione. I believe that when they return, which they will do, things could be very different,' replied Aaron.
'How?' responded Jim.
'The butterfly effect,' responded Aaron.
'Explain,' interjected John.
'The butterfly effect is when, if you go back in time and change one thing, the world you return to could be vastly different.'
'But they didn't time travel, responded Jim.
'Yes they did, in a way. The books are set in the nineties, and this is 2008. If you tell them the contents of the last two books, they will then have knowledge of their future, which could lead to the butterfly effect.'
'Alright, but how do you suggest Harry heals Hermione?'
'I have a suggestion,' interjected Nurse Lisa.
The three men turned to regard the woman, just realising that the office door was open. She explained that she came to the conclusion of the two teens' identities herself. She admitted to being a fan of the books and made a suggestion on how to heal Hermione, with Harry's help. The men agreed with the idea, thinking it was the best thing they could hope to come up with.
That afternoon a male nurse arrived with a wheelchair. Harry frowned at it, and the nurse responded that it was hospital policy for the safe movement of patients. So, Harry got into it and was brought to a room at the other end of the hospital for his eye exam with the optician. The optician introduced himself as Dave Everett. He was a small little man of five foot two, with short-cropped hair and a white moustache. Dave said he would get new glasses either tomorrow or the day after. That evening, before falling asleep, Harry tried what Jim had shown him and enjoyed a peaceful night.
Harry woke up the next morning, confused, until his memory informed him of yesterday's events. The various items in the room started to shake and rattle. Harry tried the exercise he was shown, and was pleased when it worked. He thought about what the doctor said, and decided since he did not see any owls from the Ministry, or any members from the Order, and he was aware of magic, maybe he might be telling the truth.
After having breakfast, he tried more meditation to touch his magic and discovered it was a little bit easier to do. He spotted a plastic jug of water on the bedside locker. He tried to levitate it, but it only wobbled. For the next fortnight, Harry slipped into a routine of pestering Jim to see Hermione, practising his meditation, and trying to levitate the jug of water. He was successful in two of his endeavours, but not in his attempts to see Hermione.
Jim entered Harry's room and pulled up a chair. 'Harry, we have a problem, we can't help your friend Hermione. We've tried everything we can think of.'
Harry sat in stunned silence on his bed.
'However, we believe that you can help her.'
'How?' gasped Harry, as if it was a lifeline.
'I'll explain the how later, but first I'll tell you how bad it is. Normally, the hospital would only tell the next of kin, but I know you are the only person here who she knows.' Jim paused to let this news sink in before proceeding to explain Hermione's injuries. 'We have discovered liquid on her lungs. The walls of her heart are very thin, and we are concerned that she might have a heart attack. And, finally, the skin on her chest is badly damaged, including her breasts, and is getting infected as time wears on.'
Harry lay on the bed stunned at the extent of Hermione's injuries, he guessed that it could be from the Ministry, but wasn't sure. He didn't know how he could help Hermione. Jim proceeded to explain that as the injury was most likely caused by magic, the solution was also going to be magic. Harry argued that he knew of no spell that he could use to help; besides, his wand was not here. Jim retorted that he could now levitate a jug of water without using a wand, so therefore anything was possible. Jim produced a biology book and went through the heart and lungs with Harry, explaining what he wanted Harry to do.
That afternoon, Jim skipped to a section in the book about female breasts and explained how they were used to feed babies and help form a bond between mother and baby. Harry expressed his doubts.
The following day, Harry was brought to a room just two doors down from his own. The blinds were closed on the windows inside. A bed was placed in the middle, and there was a woman lying on it. It was Nurse Lisa. She was lying topless, asleep upon the bed. On the walls were various posters showing medical diagrams of the subjects Harry had covered yesterday. Upon a table was a medical bust made from plastic, with removable sections displaying the various organs and body parts.
First, Jim walked Harry through the various posters before moving on to the medical bust. Then he explained how he hoped Harry would heal Hermione, and that he needed a specimen to show what her repaired body should be like. Harry was instructed to let his magic flow through Lisa, focusing on her heart and lungs. Once he was familiar with the healthy organs, he moved on to the healthy skin and breasts. Jim instructed Harry to meditate and touch his magic.
"Good, now Lisa here is a health young woman. In your meditative state, I want you to feel her heart beat and her respiration. Study her organs. Know what a healthy heart is, what healthy lungs are, and what healthy breasts are," Jim instructed.
Harry's magic flowed around Lisa's form, and through her. She stirred as goose bumps popped up on her skin, caused by Harry's magic studying her healthy organs.
At first Harry was embarrassed to be thrust into a situation where he was shown nude breasts, but it dawned on him what he was expected to do. This sobered him up very quickly; he was doing this so that he could try to heal Hermione. At first, he was doubtful about his chances, but soon remembered his first couple of lessons in Hogwarts and how it was his willpower that made his magic work with his then new wand. He remembered his doubts then, and how he overcame them. He would succeed, he had to, and Jim was implying that Hermione was close to death.
Over the following week, Harry practised his magic, and was shown various women with various problems. However, unlike the first day, these women were fully clothed. Harry knew there was something wrong with the first woman—his magic told him so. When he told Jim, Jim nodded and said the woman had breast cancer. After visiting the second woman, Harry again could tell there was something wrong—this time it was the heart. Jim told him the woman was likely to need a heart transplant soon as the drugs weren't working any more. The last woman had lung cancer.
Harry was getting anxious to see Hermione; after hearing about her condition, he was too busy trying to help to dwell on his feelings. He never realised how much difference there was between men and women—the biology of it and how many things could go wrong with a body. He didn't know how he was going to help Hermione, but trusted Jim to know what he was doing.
A frantic nurse woke Harry up. He observed that the calendar said it was the thirty first of March. The nurse brought Harry to Hermione's room. The room was similar to the one he had met Nurse Lisa in, but there were no diagrams and loads of electronic equipment with wires and tubes connecting them to Hermione. She was lying motionless in the bed. She had a sickly pale complexion, the sheets were only pulled up to her waist—over her upper body was a tent-like structure covered in blue cloth. Two IV lines ran from her upper arms into bags hanging from a hook above the bed. On the opposite wall, there was a black stain, covered with fresh paint. Harry gasped in shock; she looked worse than second year after she'd been petrified. The monitoring equipment started to rattle and shake.
'Harry, calm down please; this isn't helping. Hermione is in an induced coma to protect her and us from her magic. See the black mark on the wall? That happened the day after the two of you arrived. Meditate; focus your magic. Good.'
Harry calmed down, but frowned. "How is it that Jim always knew?"
So, Harry asked. 'When you use magic, it feels like severe pins and needles. When you control it, the feelings go away.'
'Did I hurt Lisa and those other women?' Harry asked.
Jim responded by saying that Lisa found it to be a strange experience, but not painful. Harry relaxed.
'Harry, do same as before. Sense Hermione; feel her heart beating, her lungs breathing.'
Harry gasped as he sensed the damage.
'I wanted you to concentrate on just her heart. Find the damage and repair it by removing all the dead and damaged cells, and creating new ones.'
Harry concentrated on the rhythm of Hermione's heartbeat as he tried to heal it. It was irregular, but Harry was to busy concentrating on trying to heal her to worry. Her heart almost stopped once but Harry used his magic to help it continue beating. He started to sweat, after what felt like hours, as he worked on trying to heal the damage to her heart. Suddenly, he could feel that he did it. It worked! In his newfound confidence, he moved on to the lungs. He found liquid and, sensing that Hermione was struggling to breath, he concluded that it should not be there.
Trusting his instincts and the little training, if you could call it that, he had received, he proceeded to heal the lungs using the same procedure as before. He felt the liquid, which he had felt shouldn't be there, and removed it by thinking about the banishing spell.
He was getting tired now, so Jim stopped him saying, 'That's very good but, you're exhausted. In this state you could do more harm than good, tomorrow you can work on the lungs.'
Hermione's mind was reeling as she remembered being picked up by the tornado and seeing the table, and some of her heavy schoolbooks, hitting the glass patio door before losing consciousness. She remembered the feeling of floating in a haze of pain and worried voices, of time drifting by. She was worried about not hearing Mummy and Daddy's voices. She felt a presence. It awakened her mind from its slumber; it felt like Harry but…no that can't be right, she thought. The presence touched her heart, and she felt immense pain for a short time. After a long passage of time it moved up to her chest and she could feel it getting easier and easier to breath. Then it left. She felt the loss keenly as, even though it inflicted pain, she could now breathe and could feel the steady thump of her heart, where before it had been beating erratically.
The following day, Harry returned to Hermione's room feeling confident. He thought that she looked healthier than yesterday before he tried to heal her. Jim directed him on the medical aspects of what should happen to healthy skin and how he would normally use skin grafts, but, with Harry's newfound magical abilities, he wouldn't need to. Harry decided to concentrate on a clean environment just above the affected area. Once done, he removed all the damaged skin and cell being careful to note where Hermione's breasts were. When he decided to fix those first, his mind went back to the first day meeting with Nurse Lisa and the sense of his magic had of healthy breasts. He was concerned that he might make them look wrong and, with a burst of inspiration, he tried to contact Hermione's magic.
Her magic answered Harry's gently, almost as if it was Hermione herself. He decided not to ask to be shown what Hermione's breasts looked like, but instead showed her magic what he had done and how he was trying to repair her damaged body.
Unfortunately, Hermione's magic was very weak, so Harry offered some of his own power to help. Her magic finished the job Harry had started, and went on to fix the skin and restore the energy to Hermione's vastly depleted stores. Harry slumped in the chair. He was feeling very tired when suddenly his scar exploded in pain, worse than anything he experienced with Voldemort. The room was alive with magic and static electricity, his newly developed sense of magic felt Hermione's magic touch him in thanks for healing her, but it reeled from the stain of dark magic in Harry that he never noticed before.
His mind was still spinning and trying to grasp what was happening to him. At first, he was trying to heal one of his best friends that had gotten injured because of him, then he realised she was right and had known it was a trap but still followed him to the Ministry that night. As he berated himself, he thought he heard her voice telling him to stop beating himself in the far reaches of his mind. He went searching for her voice again. When he found it, his newly developed sense of magic discovered that Hermione's magic was their trying to console him.
Harry had to ask, Is that you Hermione?
She responded groggily, as if her mind was just awakening, Harry what's going on, where am I?
Harry's mind raced through the last six or seven weeks, replaying everything that happened, wondering how to respond to the question, all the while trying to ignore the severe pain in his scar.
Thanks Harry. came the sleepy reply.
Huh? Harry thought in confusion. He was tired and in agony from the pain in his scar.
The pain suddenly vanished and it was as if a great depression was gone from his mind. Straight after Hermione's voice came into his mind, a flood of images assaulted him.
Oh Harry, I'm so sorry about Sirius. My injuries are not your fault. I should have picked a better spell than "Silencio" to use. I never thought of silent casting before. Thank you, thank you for healing me. I felt it when your magic touched my heart and how tired you were when working on my lungs; it was a strange sensation to feel your magic working and to hear Jim's instructions through your ears.
Thank you for thinking about my feelings when you…when you worked on my, err. . . breasts and stopped to show my magic how to heal myself, I really appreciate it. I never guessed at how draining it was for you yesterday, healing me, but when my magic followed yours guidance, I felt really weak; sorry I took so much of your power but my mind was not fully awake and coherent. When I went to give it back, I sensed your scar. It felt like the restricted section of the library, with all the old Dark Arts books, so I tried to help you like you helped me. Sorry about the pain, I tried to heal the scar wound, but I think it will still leave a mark. Sorry, I'm rambling, so I'll stop now.'
Harry worked through the babble of Hermione's thoughts before trying to process the flood of images. The shock in her mother's face at her wound. Hermione studying her injury in the bathroom, before trying to bandage it with tears streaming down her face at the realisation that she was scarred for life. Hermione trying to convince Harry that it was a trap, realising that Harry wanted to save Sirius, and deciding to help anyway. The long conversation with her mother in the kitchen about life at Hogwarts, the new friends she made in the magical world, and about Voldemort.
The last few images were of Harry, happy on his Firebolt or in the company of herself and Ron, while her thoughts focused on the task Harry's magic had given her. He followed Hermione's thoughts on the dark magic contained in his scar and how she tried to get rid of it, like how Harry had banished the liquid in her lungs. The scar caused the intense pain. The scar contained dark magic. The dark magic was causing intense pain through an unwillingness to leave Harry's body. But Hermione's stubbornness won out.
Harry felt his body slip into contented slumber, but his mind was still connected to Hermione's. He tried to answer her questions about the hospital and Jim the doctor as best he could. When Hermione's questions drifted to Sirius, Harry did not know how to respond. Instead, he decided to show her the memories of Sirius he had, and how being with him was better than living at Privet Drive; unfortunately, this lead to a trip down memory lane. His life before Hogwarts, living in a cupboard under the stairs, how the spiders never bothered him as they were his friends. His depression at the loss of his friends in the summers, and Dumbledore's decrees of no communication for fear of discovery by Voldemort's thugs. He could feel Hermione's shock and horror at Harry's home life and how she never saw the signs. Unfortunately, Harry's trip down memory lane led to the night he tried to rescue Sirius and the words of the full prophecy came to mind.
"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches... Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies... and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not... and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives."
And Professor Dumbledore's thoughts on the subject of the prophecy. He could feel the gears turning at a high rate of speed in Hermione's mind, processing all the information. She asked if this was like when Snape taught him Occlumency? That triggered all of Harry's thoughts and feelings on all his sessions with Snape. He could feel Hermione's impressive intellect work through Snape's lessons and his memory of reading the book that was supposed to help him block his mind. She guided him in what he should have done, using Jim's meditation techniques, and he was surprised to discover forgotten memories being reintegrated with his memory: spells he had forgotten, parts of Binn's lectures on history that he was awake for. He could tell Hermione was doing the same to her own mind. He found the experience of sharing mind and magic with Hermione oddly safe and comforting.
Hermione was dozing in her mind when she felt the presence again, but this time she felt pins and needles throughout the area of her chest that was scarred. Then, all sensation left that area and she felt the dead and damaged skin and muscles removed, with a surprising lack of pain. She cried in her mind at the loss of her breasts, but stopped when she felt a curious sensation where they once were. The presence touched her mind, and she gasped in shock to discover that it was Harry's magic, and that the first time she had felt it was Harry healing her damaged organs.
She beamed at the thought that Harry had tried to subconsciously limit the amount of pain he caused her yesterday by healing all of her damaged organs at once. Her joy soared at the reason for Harry's magic contacting her mind and magic. Harry wanted the healing to be perfect, and respected her too much to ogle her new breasts, so he was showing her how to do it herself so that he would not have to invade her privacy. Her mind was flooded with Harry's meditation techniques, and his weeklong study of the female form so that he could heal her. Using these new techniques, she re-grew her own breasts and the skin and underlying tissue to the affected part of her chest. Hermione was getting fatigued very early in the process of healing herself, but Harry leant her some of his magic so that she could finish the task at hand. The infusion of Harry's magic felt brilliant; she felt powerful, as though she could do any thing she put her mind to.
At first, she was confused by what Harry's magic was saying. He was berating himself about the fiasco at the Ministry, about getting her hurt, about how it was only after Neville's reassurance that she was alive, that only then could he collect his wits and fight on.
She tried something to console him. Harry, stop it. It's not your fault you were tricked. She sent him reassuring thoughts and feelings to try, and calm him. Harry's puzzled response returned.
Is that you, Hermione?
A flood of images of Harry also being picked up by a tornado accompanied the confused reply.
Strange, she thought, Images of all his time from that incident to now. Hermione thanked him, but Harry continued to be confused.
She could detect something wrong and, using what she learnt from Harry, she traced it back to his scar. It was a new presence, evil and disgusting. Realisation struck: this must be what causes Harry to be an open book to Voldemort. But she instinctively knew that she was stronger than the presence, and pulled on it. She felt the pain she had caused Harry from pulling on it. She winced in sympathy, hoping Harry would forgive her. That didn't work, so she repeated what Harry had done yesterday to the liquid in her lungs: trying to banish it, and was pleasantly surprised when that did the trick.
Hermione could sense relief wash through Harry at the loss of the almost mind-numbing pain, and she felt guilty at having caused it. She proceeded to thank Harry and tried to console him about his loss of Sirius, and her failure in battle. She vowed to be better next time; she would be, she hoped. She thanked him for just being himself, trying to heal her, and teaching to heal herself. She then realised that she had also sent some of her memories; trying to distract Harry she questioned him about the people he met. She discovered that Harry's body had fallen asleep, but was delighted to know that he was still communicating with her mind.
Hermione enquired about the staff in the hospital, and about Sirius. Harry responded by showing her a flood of his memories, as she processed the memories she was aghast to learn that the memories were pretty much all that Harry could remember about his life: from his earliest memories right up to the present. She was horrified to learn of the suffering he endured before coming to Hogwarts; the grief Dumbledore inflicted with his order of no communication. She was shocked and appalled to learn that she had added to Harry's burdens, by cajoling him incessantly to study all the while he was suffering nights of mind numbing pain inflicted by Voldemort. She was secretly pleased that he still studied when she asked him too. However, she was dismayed that she had never seen the signs that Harry's life away from Hogwarts was so horrible.
She processed the prophecy, and was dismayed at Harry's understanding of it and the fact that he thought that he was going to die. Changing thoughts, Hermione sent an enquiry to Harry, Is this mind-speak the same as what you went through with Professor Snape?
In response, she received a detailed recollection about all of Harry's private lessons with the Potions Master; she was horrified at Professor Snape's teaching methodology. After assimilating the information, she tried to implement the theory in conjunction with Doctor Spencer's meditation technique. Hermione was pleasantly surprised at how her impressive memory was now almost better than photographic recall. Pleased with this, she guided Harry through what she understood of the technique and was ecstatic that Harry understood, and above all implemented it. Hermione re-sorted her mind, like a librarian does after receiving new books, to include the new information.
Hermione offered to exchange memories of her life before they met, in exchange for what Harry had already shared. They proceeded to reminisce about both of their lives before and during, Hogwarts. Hermione discovered the motivation behind his more reckless decisions, among other things. Harry, meanwhile, learned that Hermione was insecure underneath what she showed the world. They spent what seemed like eternity just sharing thoughts, ideas, feelings, and dreams. After a long while, a stray thought blossomed into Hermione's mind about an old game her father enjoyed.
Trivial Pursuit? she asked Harry. Did he want to try something new and ask each other questions about obscure magical facts?
Harry responded that he would try, but he was concerned that he could cheat by reading her mind. Hermione responded that she trusted him implicitly to play in the spirit of the game, not scan her mind, and stay out of parts she asked him to. Harry agreed to stay out of certain areas of her mind and agreed to the rules. He found that the game helped him to learn new spells, from the vast array of books Hermione read in the Hogwarts library, as Hermione shared her understanding and practice of the spells. She enjoyed the game as it gave her a fresh perspective and could now see Harry's point of view about Quidditch and the sense of freedom he got from flying.
They enjoyed this new form of communication, however, all good things must end, and Hermione was disappointed when Harry was awakened and returned his mind to the waking world. It was a worried Doctor Spencer that had disturbed Harry. She was pleased to discover that Harry offered to let her mind piggyback in his so she could listen into his conversation with the doctor.
Jim was worried—it had been three days since Harry passed out. He was concerned that he had pushed Harry to hard and to fast, but Hermione's vitals were failing so he had needed to rush Harry into the procedure. He was amazed that Harry managed to repair the organs, and Hermione made a noticeable improvement. The following day was amazing and Jim was fascinated, watching the skin heal behind a soft blue mist. Jim was concerned when Harry slumped, exhausted into the chair beside her bed.
He was transferred back to his room to sleep off the effects, but that had been three days ago. It was strange; Harry did not appear to be comatose and, after examining Hermione, it was discovered she was also was simply asleep. On his third visit to Harry, he tapped him on the shoulder to try to awaken him, and was surprised when he responded groggily.
'Hello, Harry, how are you this morning?' inquired Jim.
'I'm fine, thanks. Is there a reason that you woke me up?' Harry responded.
'You realise that you were asleep for three days, right?'
'Hermione hasn't woken up yet, even though we believe that she has made a complete recovery.'
'Okay, I'll ask her to get up then. She doesn't want anyone to be worried about her.'
'Pardon me? Explain, please,' Jim requested, once he got over the shock of Harry's statement.
'Well, after healing Hermione, I discovered that we could communicate. So we were just talking until you shook me, she is now taking to the nurse, a Ruth Bakersfield, I believe, Harry replied.
Jim slumped in his chair in shock. Harry had just described doing things that he had certainly never done in the books. 'Thank you, Harry. After my examination of Hermione, I will meet with both of you and share the contents of the books with you. Sound good to you?'
'Okay, I can't wait to see Hermione up and about,' Harry responded.
He spent the rest of the day practicing the meditation techniques Jim had shown him. Hermione spent her day going from one medical exam to another, mostly stress tests done on her heart and lungs. Jim decided it was too late for the meeting, and told Hermione she would be seeing Harry tomorrow and the rest of what he had to reveal would happen then. Hermione relayed this to Harry, and both enjoy a pleasant night in their shared dreams.
The following morning after breakfast, Harry was brought to a new room in the hospital, it had been set up like a lounge. There was a television mounted on the wall, two large windows, and large comfortable armchairs. Harry sat in one, wondering what was going on, when the door opened and Hermione flung herself at him in a hug. After a short period of time, Jim cleared his throat, and Harry and Hermione both took their seats.
'From what Harry told me, can I assume you're up to speed Hermione?' started Jim.
'Yes,' responded Hermione.
'I wanted to share the contents of the books with you both, however, I got sidetracked. My daughter, Anne, is a fan of the series and has lent out some of her books, I hope to share them with you by the end of the week. This room is halfway between both your two rooms, use it, there are books on shelves under the windows, and the TV has all the channels if you want to be couch potatoes, I'll leave you to it.'
With that, Jim left.
That afternoon, Jim found an old mansion for sale about fifteen miles from the hospital. It was in okay condition, and was for sale because the revenue commissioners were trying to recoup outstanding tax owed by the previous owners. The price was high; none of the people involved in the project had that kind of money solely or collectively. The mansion stood at four stories of red brick construction. A large courtyard enclosed it, with stables against the north wall. It was listed as having six master suites and contained a further twenty-two bedrooms, excluding the servant's quarters.
There was a large parcel of land included in the sale price; approximately forty hectares. As Jim viewed the property, an agent of the revenue commissioners approached him. The man introduced himself as Jeremy May. Mr May explained that the property had been on the market for about eighteen months and was attracting little to no interest. Jim inquired as to the reasons for this. The response was that the area had a myth that it was a haunted house. Jim thanked the man for his time and left. Two hours later, Jim received a strange phone call from Mr May saying he had been given the deeds to the estate. When Jim inquired why this was so, the response shocked him.
'Doctor Spencer, you were the only one who managed a full tour of the property untouched. Every other prospective buyer fled in terror, the press has begun to call it a "Dangerous House of Horror." We don't want to try to run the place, as the running costs are about 100,000 a year, and no one is willing to work on it. Therefore, we decided to offload it to you. Thank you. Good day.'
Jim thought, "At least no one will bother us about stray magical emissions."
The next morning, Jim and the McClain brothers had a meeting in Jim's office to discuss the new developments. Jim started by saying that Hermione was up and about after making a full recovery, all thanks to John's suggestion. They went on to discuss the situation.
'I've been thinking—Harry is a troubled young man with a heavy burden, and Hermione is at his side for the majority of the seven books. But I fear it will be different when they get back,' Aaron commented.
'You expect them to return, don't you?' responded Jim.
'Yes. I am a fan of science fiction, and this is as close to time travel as it gets for Harry and Hermione; anything they learn about the next two years covered in those books can have disastrous consequences for them. Have you ever seen "Back to the Future?" It is one example of what can go wrong with time travel.'
'But they left their world, it is not the same.'
'I agree, but the eventual repercussions could be just as bad.'
'So, what do you think could happen if we help them?'
'It has already changed. Hermione's injuries were worse than was ever described in the books. They have spent the time since Harry healed Hermione's injuries bonding; in the books, Harry ends up falling for Ginny. Do you see it happening now?'
'No. I don't see it happening after what they went through since they arrived here.'
'Exactly. I suspect that it will be much worse when they go back. They need help because of what they could face once they return.'
'How can we help them? Why should we help them?'
'First we train them. They appear to be able to do magic; we research it and push their magical abilities to the limits. We train them in armed and unarmed combat, swordsmanship, and tactics. But we will also train them in English, maths, science, arts, and crafts. Have John train them the skill sets he used in his old detective job. Secondly, the two of us took an oath, as medical practitioners: "Do no harm". I believe we will be harming them by not helping them.'
John spoke up. 'I am going to help them, on my own if need be. I already told you of my dream; I always seem to get two dreams a year that have helped in someway, and the last one showed me helping them.'
Jim nodded but said, 'I agree, but we should offer to train them and give the reasons why. From the books have shown, he hates been kept in the dark about things. Dumbledore ran his life with no input from Harry. Frankly, I'm surprised he has no resentment issues.'
The meeting wrapped up with John saying he would contact a friend he knew who would be perfect to train them in swordplay. He was a Scotsman named Connor Wallace; he was currently living in the Bahamas after moving out of New York last year. He owed John a couple of favours, no questions asked. After contacting Connor, arrangements were made to contact a lot of Jim and Aaron's old college buddies to help with the planned training. Connor booked the next flight to England; he was looking forward to passing on his skills with a blade. They were pleased to find that he had instructors for each planned course.
They had a close-knit group of friends that they trusted to teach the various subjects he wanted Harry and Hermione to learn. John and Connor would handle the combat side. He was shocked at the good fortune of finding the perfect place. It was close to where his friends lived, so they could commute easily. Jim wanted it to be a complete package before offering the two kids their options. He was concerned about his next meeting with Harry and Hermione, and how they would react to the contents of the final two books. He liked to think he could make his own future and not have it planned by some one else.
Hermione looked up from her novel, "The boy in the striped pyjamas." It was about a German boy, whose father was the commissioner of a concentration camp during World War Two, and the friendship he had with one of the boys incarcerated inside. She looked at Harry sitting across from her reading "Goldfinger." He was completely engrossed in the novel.
She missed home, but Harry's presence helped combat the feeling of homesickness. Doctor Spencer took longer than the couple of days he had said he would, and it was now almost two weeks later. As she returned to read her book, the door opened and Doctor Spencer entered. He pulled up a blue chair and sat down; he looked apprehensive. Harry looked up at the new presence in the room.
Jim sat into the chair aware he had the two teens' full attention. He was pleased with the progress they had made so far. The nurses maintained a vigil in their rooms, due to the concern that if either of them suffered a nightmare the hospital could be damaged by magical emissions like it had before he taught Harry the meditation techniques he passed on to Hermione. However, the reports were that they both slept peacefully each night, which gave Jim hope that his planned talk could go well. Both teens, perhaps aware of the seriousness of the situation, closed their books.
Jim produced a large school bag and put it in front of him. He removed fourteen books and stacked them into two piles of seven. Harry guessed that they were the books Jim mentioned after telling him that he was a character in them. Jim explained that his daughter sourced through her friends the extra copies of the books, and apologised for the lengthy delay. Jim further explained that he was not keeping anything from them, but felt that the rest of the information was too dangerous to reveal before they recovered and had some control of their magic. He told them that they should read the books and that they would speak again afterwards. If they wanted to talk before hand, all they had to do was tell one of the nurses stationed on the nearby ward and he would come quickly.
Harry cautiously reached for the first book, called the "Philosopher's Stone", and started to read. Hermione copied him and started into her copy of the same book. After finishing the first book, they compared notes. Harry found that, though the book was mostly accurate, it omitted certain events he felt were important, such as his various discussions with Hermione about what family life was like. How he had kept his own home life hidden, he didn't know. The book did not cover his various bouts of accidental magic. Hermione found the first book to be a brief summary of their first year at Hogwarts and was struck with the thought that some of the events in hindsight seemed fishy, like moving the Stone to Hogwarts and the fact that Professor Snape had more hidden layers than Hermione had first realised. As Hermione was an avid reader, she spotted some good ideas in the text: namely the significance of Harry's dreams. She held off sharing this with Harry until she finished reading the rest of the books.
After discussing the differences between their experiences and what the book told, they moved onto the second. Hermione was disappointed with the lack of detail when she was petrified, and the fact that Harry would often visit at night to see her and talk to her. She was pleased to see that Harry's recollection of the events in the Chamber were modest compared to the recollection in the book. Harry was generally disgusted with the second book; he felt that there were large parts of his second year missing. On the nights when his terrible nightmares woke him, he would visit Hermione's prone form in the hospital wing and talk for hours, about anything and everything. The book didn't tell about everything that happened in the chamber. He was relieved that the book did not reveal his secret, which he would eventually have to tell Hermione. He could sense her curiosity.
'Hermione, there is something I have to show you.' Harry told her at the beginning of their discussion about the end of the second book.
He showed Hermione his memory of the battle in the chamber. She did not, as of yet, spot any differences between his memory of the event and the description in the book until after the Basilisk chased Harry through the network of tunnels under Hogwarts. Harry was running down a dark tunnel, grasping the sword tightly in one hand. He tripped over a pile of rubble and fell through a small hole in the floor that was slightly bigger than he was. The Basilisk passed overhead without noticing the pit. Harry looked up; he was in a small chamber, light was provided by a small wall of sconces. He started to panic; there was no door, no way out.
Suddenly, he was bathed in a rainbow of light. He felt a strange sensation wash over him. After what seemed to be an eternity, the light faded and Harry found himself at the mouth of a tunnel looking down over the chamber. Harry heard the Basilisk coming; he closed his eyes as the giant snake moved to bite him. He felt the fang pierce his skin, and he shoved the sword up through the roof of the snake's mouth.
Hermione's mind was reeling as she watched the events continue to play out as described in the book. She was puzzled about what happened to Harry in the tunnels under Hogwarts. She asked Harry why he told no one about it.
'Something told me to stay quiet about that room in the pipes, and now it's telling me to share the story with you. I don't know what it did and I felt no different before or after.'
Hermione offered, via their linked minds, to try to discover what happened to him in that room and what the strange light was. She was, unfortunately, unsuccessful in her attempt to discover the cause of the light and its effects on Harry's body or magic.
The next day they moved on to the next book, which was about his third year. Harry was startled to realise that Hermione turned in his Firebolt due to concern for his safety and not out of spite as he had first thought. He was ashamed to not deduce earlier that Hermione's sporadic appearances at classes throughout the year were due to her time-turner. He found it uncomfortable to be looking back over his third year, as it was the year he was introduced to his godfather and many of his father's friends.
Again, the book lacked detail about his time at Hogwarts. It was little more than a quick summary, with some of his more eventful days recorded in limited detail. He was dismayed to discover that none of his pranks were mentioned, or his discussions with the Weasley twins about pranks, as that was the first year he learnt more about his father's exploits at Hogwarts and had decided to learn all he could about practical jokes and maybe follow in his father's footsteps.
Hermione found, after reading the third book, that she had been lucky to pull the wool over everyone's eyes with her blatant use of the time-turner. She found, on reflection, that she enjoyed the ride on the back of Buckbeak. At the time, she had been too scared of falling to truly enjoy the experience.
That night, they took a break from the books and watched a movie instead. It was the first Lord of the Rings that Jim brought in to show them; Harry thought it was nice to see a different type of magic shown on screen and felt he could identify with Frodo and his struggle with a task that seemed beyond him. The following day, they watched the rest of the trilogy. Hermione was amazed at the advances in filmmaking from her time in 1996. The last film she had seen was Jurassic Park, two years previously; it seemed that special effects progressed in leaps and bounds since then.
After enjoying the break, they went back to the next book: the Goblet of Fire. Hermione found that the whole book lacked a great deal of detail; the conflict between the students of the three different schools, each with different rules and regulations, meant that there was an ongoing prank war occurring. She remembered the difficult fortnight when all the ladies' bathrooms were put out of order because of a vicious prank on the doors that would magically strip everything back to your birthday suit and destroy clothes, wands, schoolbooks, and bags. It was next to impossible to counter, and the solution had been to close half the men's bathrooms and open them instead as ladies'. The perpetrators were never caught.
Hermione was lucky to hear through the Hogwarts grapevine that it was discovered thanks to an unfortunate Slytherin first year caught by the jinx as she left the bathroom. Due the curse, all the females in the castle united, and it now meant there were no longer any feuds between the women of the houses at Hogwarts. Hermione also learnt how alone Harry had felt at the beginning of the year, caused by his ostracism due his name coming out of the goblet. The book was also very brief about the Yule Ball. Yes, Harry had gone with someone else, but he did dance with her after her blazing row with Ron. He had come to comfort her, even though he was enamoured with Cho. She could see it in his expression that night—he thought that she was beautiful. Hermione was coming to the conclusion that the books were more like a biography, ghost written, about Harry's life with only half of the story told.
Harry was coming to the conclusion that he was overlooking Hermione's contribution to his life.
Again, the fourth book lacked important details; yet, it did show that Hermione stood with him even when Ron abandoned him over the stupid tournament. Looking back, he saw how poorly he had treated the one person who stood by him, especially with his hopeless pining for Cho. Harry was, at this point, no longer surprised that the book was short on many details he personally felt were important. At this rate, he was not looking forward to the fifth book. The book did not cover his catatonic state after the battle with Voldemort in the graveyard or Cedric's parents' reaction to him returning with the body; the reaction was much worse than of what was told in the book, and had led to the public turning against him.
The following day was very uncomfortable for Harry as he read about last year and he could find many faults that led to the disaster that in turn resulted in the loss of Sirius. Harry was shocked, and appalled, to discover that the injuries Hermione had sustained were played down to an almost insignificant level. He was disgusted to learn, on reflection, that Voldemort played him for a fool.
Hermione was not surprised at the events depicted in the fifth book; it was as she was coming to expect. The book didn't detail any of the D.A.'s reactions to the stupid decrees imposed onto the student population, or how Harry swapped a fake broom for his beloved Firebolt when it was confiscated. The fight at the Ministry as described was very lacking. Hermione, on reflection, came to the realisation that some of the spells she cast led to the death of at least two Death Eaters; however, the book said twelve were caught and did not mention any deaths at all. It just said that Sirius Black fell through a veil and that was it. Harry must have killed at least one—when she woke up in the hospital wing in Hogwarts, she overheard the Aurors talking about six of Voldemort's forces dead and six captured.
Aaron McClain entered the room to a very subdued atmosphere. He saw the cover of the book Harry and Hermione had just finished, and felt it time to discuss their last five years before they read the final books, which described their future. Hermione burst into tears as the realisation that she had killed someone sank in. Harry asked what happened to Hermione and, after she had explained through her sobs, Harry retreated into himself. He realised what he had done, the three lives he had taken, and as they had worn masks, he did not know whom they had been. Aaron, realising what was going on, rang his brother John to come and help him in his counselling session. After John arrived, he discussed his life and how he understood where they were coming from, considering what he had done after losing his wife.
After a week of counselling, Aaron felt they were ready for his brother and Jim to talk the two teens through the last two books. During that time, Harry and Hermione came to grips with the fact that they were in a war to the death with madmen led by a lunatic which meant that people on both sides would die because of their actions or inaction,
Harry was pleased to discover that his father's good friend Remus Lupin found love and could marry Nymphadora Tonks. He was dismayed to learn of their death and the orphaning of their son Teddy. He also was disgusted to discover that he would spend his sixth year watch glorified home movies of his enemy, and that Hermione would not believe him about Draco. He found the story and sections about his seventh year similar to the Lord of the Rings film that he had watched. He thought that after facing Voldemort in the Ministry, he could not be beaten by a simple Expelliarmus; he was appalled that Voldemort would, or even could, split his soul in to several fragments, and he was pleased to see that Hermione stuck with him throughout, even though Ron left.
Again, Aaron had pointed out to Harry the phrase "Chest monster" in relation to his developing romance with Ginny, and Harry had to ask Aaron to explain what he was trying to imply. He went on to explain the various symptoms of love, contrasted with the symptoms of lust. Harry was very disappointed to discover that most of his relationship with Ginny was not covered in the book, and wanted to know what happened between the end of the last chapter of the seventh book and the flimsy epilogue. He was, however, pleased that he could bounce ideas he got from reading books six and seven off of Aaron and John.
Hermione wondered what could have happened that could have caused her to change so much in the sixth book; it show that Harry was right by the end of the book, so what was going on? She was dismayed at the future that the books implied; she was confused, she had always suspected that Ron fancied her but thought that she had tried to treat the two boys equally with her time. It was just that Harry had always needed her more; she knew she was worrying about what to do about her parents' safety, and was shocked that her future self from the seventh book was using illegal methods to send them to Australia and change their memories—she liked the idea behind the beaded bag.
After talking to Lisa about boys, she was quite disappointed with ending up with Ron, as it seemed in the epilogue that he had not grown up and that she had no known career. She mulled over the idea that she could bend or break rules or laws to suit herself. Was she really as vindictive and petty as implied in the last two books? She hadn't meant to make the charm last so long; the word sneak was supposed to last maybe three months at the most, not the length of time that was implied in the books. She was dismayed to find out that Harry was to suffer more for the next two years. She closed the connection to Harry as she puzzled out the books and any hidden information to help Harry be victorious sooner rather than later, and without as much loss and suffering.
She did not like the idea that her life was controlled by a woman; she would have much preferred that her actions in the here and now controlled her life, not some author who changed her life and sent her parents away with their memories changed on a whim. The McClain brothers really helped her through the last two books with their fresh perspective.
When Aaron expressed his theory that the teens would be returning to their world, Harry and Hermione didn't know whether or not to be pleased. At least here, in the 'real' world, no one was controlling their life, or so it would seem. Aaron further explained about his theory that it would be worse for them, and therefore they would be provided with training.
When Harry asked, 'Worse, how could it be worse?' Aaron explained about fan fiction, and how some fans told stories about a world in which Voldemort won and someone from the side of light went back in time to change history, or where Voldemort took over Britain and forced Harry to flee resulting in a world war, or a world where magic was revealed and in the resultant few years all magic was wiped out in retaliation by Muggles.
When Harry expressed his objection to how his love life was set in stone, Aaron answered that yes, in canon he married Ginny, but in fan fiction he was paired with almost everybody described in the books, however briefly. Harry asked about males as well as females, and Aaron replied that it was some times both at once.
Hermione scrunched up her nose in disgust, but he turned the tables on her, 'It's almost the same with you, paired with almost anybody. The most popular are, in no particular order: Draco, Victor, Ginny, Ron, Snape, Harry… well you get the idea.' Hermione was almost sick at the idea of some of the names mentioned.
'If you want to see how bad it is, I can show you some of the sites on the internet if you like?' Aaron suggested. It was an emotional couple of weeks as Harry and Hermione's worldview was ripped asunder.
Jim approached the two teens with an offer to train them in various subjects out in a country estate he had acquired for their use.
'I'm sorry to do that to you but we felt that, well what I mean is Aaron, John, and myself feel that you should know about those books and we want to help you. We believe that you will return home; however, we feel that when you do things may be drastically different than the books describe. Therefore, we believe you have a couple of options. The first one is to do nothing and ignore what we told you in good faith. The second one is do nothing but believe we are telling the truth. The third option is to learn anything and everything that could help you to succeed once you are back. Aaron, your social worker, is a fan of science fiction and believes that the potential future proposed in those last two books cannot happen now because of what happened to you over the summer. There was no mention of tornadoes in the book; instead, it mentioned a mist. He believes that your future is now what you make of it and I for one agree.'
Jim let that sink in before continuing his speech.
'We know that we know nothing about magic, but I taught you how to control your accidental magic and how to heal injuries. We feel that we could help you learn how to do magic through thoughtful suggestions. John is an ex-navy man, and currently a detective, and is willing to teach you everything he knows so you will have some idea on how to go about stopping Voldemort. While you're here, we will endeavour to bring your Muggle education up to scratch, since it is, at the moment, quite poor. At the end of the day, the decision on what to do is yours. We believe that the two of you control the length of time you're here. Please take your time and discuss it between yourselves; we will respect your decision. Thank you for your patience and your time; see you later.'
Jim and the others left the two puzzled teens.
Harry and Hermione sat in stunned silence after that speech. Harry tried to come up with something to start the conversation with Hermione, but nothing came. Instead, he made contact with Hermione's mind and magic; he shared his full memories of reading and understanding the books, as well as his current mindset. She then shared her reactions to the books and their current situation after processing his.
Hermione was surprised when Harry's presence made contact again after she pulled away while reading the seven books; it seemed worried and nervous. After processing his mixed thoughts on the books, she asked the question aloud. 'What do we do now?'
'I don't know, pick one of the options I suppose.'
'I think we should do the last option and train; I read a couple of books and was surprised at the ending of the last book. I agree with them; I don't think we will go back home and expects events to play out exactly like it did in the books.'
'I agree with you, we should train.'
'What? You do?'
'Yes I do. I may not always defend you against Ron, but I do pay attention to what you say. I just don't always act promptly because I'm…well, a bit thick.' Harry smiled.
'Well you are male and it is a problem with the species,' Hermione retorted with a small smile. Harry smiled in response.
'How long do you think we will be here for?' Harry asked with a sigh.
'Don't know, as long as it takes, maybe. It feels like the "Wizard of Oz," especially after the tornadoes and everything.'
'I don't think getting back will be as easy as clicking our heels together three times and wishing to be back though,' Harry responded. He was pleased to have watched the film last week with Hermione.
He thought it was a little too convenient that his latest adventure almost resembled the set up for an old film.
'Doctor Spencer and Doctor McClain seem to want to help, so I suggest that we agree to the third option he supplied,' Harry nodded, and then sent his thoughts and feelings on what they could face in the future; Hermione settled into contented peace now that they had a plan for the future.
Jim returned after Lisa, the nurse on ward duty, contacted him to say that the two teens had made a decision and wanted to see him. They told him that they wanted to start training. He informed Aaron and John, and John replied that the mansion would be ready in a week's time. In the meantime, Jim started the teens on their training by doing mental exercises and trying to get their magic to levitate a simple glass of water without spilling or smashing the glass. By the end of the week, they had mastered this simple magic spell.
A/N Please review.