Awakening

The first time, he isn't really properly aware at all.

He can hear voices, fading in and out, but he can't make out where he is or what they are saying. Just the voices.

Ron, sounding indignant about something. Ginny.

(There is a reason he should be glad both Ron and Ginny are alright, but he can't remember what it is.)

Remus crying out.

(Remus who never loses his cool?)

Music. Beautiful, but sadder than anything he has ever heard.

(What has happened? He wishes he could remember.)

The sounds fade out. He descends into the dark again.

-

He can't work out where he is or remember what has happened. There is pain, but he can't localise it or remember why.

Sounds, and a fog of confusion and heaviness.

There are footsteps and more voices. His mother, crying.

His father, worried.

Remus. His father. His mother again.

(What has happened?)

And then, loud, almost strident, the voice he didn't know he was listening for, waiting for, until he heard it. Fleur, brash and indignant, as only she can be. He wants to smile, to say something to her, to take her hand, because he knows instinctively that her indignation is on his behalf, but his body won't do as he tells it.

He can't reach her.

He feels cool hands on his face, and knows they are hers, as he sinks back into the darkness.

-

This time, he knows where he is. The hospital wing.

They added powdered asphodel and bratslung liver to the engorgement potion, because really it was the most boring lesson ever, and they had to do something to liven it up.

Perhaps they overdid it.

His arms and face hurt like hell.

He hopes Zoran is okay.

(That is what happened? It doesn't feel right…)

-

Next time, there is nothing but pain, white hot and overwhelming.

He can't remember what has happened, but it doesn't matter because all there is is the pain.

He can hear someone crying out, but does not realise it is himself.

Then there are gentle hands on his hand and forehead, a voice murmuring to him in a mixture of French and English (and really, the English is as incomprehensible as the French because he cannot get past the pain to understand anything, but it is reassuring nevertheless). He clings to the sound of the voice, because it is the only thing anchoring him to a reality that is not engulfed in burning agony.

Footsteps, another voice, matter of fact and businesslike, telling him to drink.

And he drinks obediently, and it is the taste of childhood, of falling from the apple tree, of Quidditch injuries, and of fighting with his brothers, sour-sweet and oddly comforting.

The hands and the murmuring voice cradle him as he sinks back into blackness.

-

He wakes in the cold light of early morning, the sickly taste of the potion in the back of his throat, the lamps still lit and pale against the sunlight.

He remembers now, all of it. He knows what happened. The dark, the fighting. Confusion and noise.

He hears Ginny screaming, sees Ron battling with a Death Eater twice his size. (Godric – his kid brother and sister - but they are okay. He heard their voices last night. They are okay. They are okay.)

And he remembers Greyback. Falling into the dark.

The pain is bad. He can see the slashes, red raw and jagged, on his arms and knows that his face must look worse.

But Fleur is curled in the chair beside his bed, her hand in his even as she sleeps, the marks of tears on her cheeks. She feels him stirring, and wakes and smiles at him.

It is going to be alright.