Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters. Only the general plot/setting is my own. All characters and other references to 'Harry Potter' are solely the property of J.K. Rowling.
A/N: I am so sorry for not updating any of my fanfics recently, so for starters I would just like to put my apology out there ^_^". The reason why I was away for the entire months of November was because I was taking part in the NaNoWriMo challenge where you have to write 50,000 words for an original story idea / novel idea that you can then turn into an actual book with pages and cover art and everything. As you have guessed; I succeeded! I wrote just over 50,000 words for my novel "A Poppy In Berlin"! Read the description and see the cover art I designed a year ago: art/A-Poppy-In-Berlin-Book-Cover-324857874
I hope this chapter makes up for a month or so of neglect!
The Boy Who Loved
Belle. A. Lestrange
Petunia's key clicked in the lock of the front door. It swung open to reveal a dark house, haunted only by the impression the fight had left ghosting along the walls, and whispering under every door. There was a distinct chill in the air as they both crossed over the threshold. Draco shivered as Petunia closed the door to the darkness outside, before she flicked on a few light switches, bathing the floral wallpaper in golden light. Everything looked so bleak -so drained of life -he wanted to turn and run back outside into the cloying night.
"So -where do we start?" he asked tensely as he eyed the dimly lit kitchen, living room and dining room. Another shiver went through him as his eyes fell on the locked cupboard under the stairs.
Petunia hummed in thought before she took a key off the hook by the door, bent down and unlocked the cupboard. Draco winced at the sight of the squashed bed inside. From the furthest region she pulled out a pair of suitcases. "You can take one and fill it with Harry's things from his bedroom. He won't have much else around the house."
She passed one over to him, "You take this one and I'll try and fit some of my things into this one, okay?"
Draco could only nod mutely as he grasped the handle of the suitcase, and turned to hoist it up the staircase to the first floor landing. The ghosts of the memories he had shared with Harry over the Summer flickered over the flowers dotting the wallpaper. The lost scent of sun-baked concrete, fresh cut grass and musky, tanned skin tickled his nose. A shiver ran down his spine as he came face to face with Harry's bedroom door. It stood wide open from where the brute had barged in. The room itself was in shambles; the bed was practically flipped onto its side, the items on the desk were smashed and flung across the thin carpet, and one of the posters over Harry's narrow bed had ripped in one of the bottom corners.
He swallowed past the lump in his throat as he hoisted the trunk up onto the bed and unfastened the clips. The lid dropped heavily onto the wall opposite, the stifling scent of dust wafting out into Draco's face. He chewed on his cheeks for a moment, eyeing the interior of the empty trunk, before sighing and turning to the chest-of-drawers behind him. He unpacked each of the drawers, one at a time, and organised them neatly inside the suitcase. He left a large space on one side to stack Harry's few pairs of shoes inside. Bundled socks and underwear were eased into every small available space before he gathered the items from the desk and scattered on the floor, and zipped them up into the extension inside the lid of the case.
He zipped up the case and then fastened the buckles up and dragged it off of the bed. At the door of the small boxed-in bedroom, Draco turned in the doorway. He felt a tug on his heart as he knew it would be the last time he set eyes on that room. A room that held so many wonderful memories for him. His stomach knotted before he stepped out into the hallway before pulling the door closed behind him.
It took another sixteen hours before Harry was even able to crack his eyes open in his drug-induced state. His black-eyes had reduced in swelling and -according to Severus -his hair-line fractures had healed at a fast rate that seemed to surprise the doctor in charge of him. When he opened his eyes though -it was dark and he was alone. The temperature in the room was cool and yet he felt as though he were being suffocated. He was just not used to consciously breathing. His skin was cold to the touch, so he drew the blankets up around his shoulders and wriggled about on the pillows, his back stiff and sore from lying in the same position for an extended period of time.
He opened his mouth to call out and winced as he felt his dry mouth crack down his throat. He clamped his jaw shut as he glanced around for water. There was none.
He whimpered at the back of his throat and shifted his heavy head from one side to the other. He could feel his heart beat growing faster behind his ribs. He parted his lips, "Hello?" he croaked out. It felt like he had paper-cuts lining his throat and mouth. He winced and willed saliva to dampen his tongue. "Hello?!" he forced the yell, his voice breaking against the strain of dryness.
After a few more forced attempts of yelling, his door opened up and a nurse poked her head inside. "You're awake? One moment, let me just call your doctor. Stay awake, okay?"
Harry gave a nod despite the nurse already disappearing from the door-frame.
Within ten minutes his door opened and the nurse walked in closely follow by -he assumed -Harry's doctor. He was a tall man with a rather flat chin and bushy eyebrows. The lights flickered on, piercing the blurred world Harry saw. He squinted through his eyelashes to look up at the tall white blur of his doctor. He blinked a few more times before giving up on focusing his eyesight.
"So Mister Potter, how are you feeling?" the doctor's low voice asked. He frowned and shook his head weakly.
"Th-thirsty -" he managed to rasp out.
The nurse quickly came over to one side of the bed. The sound of water sloshing down into a plastic cup rang out from his left side. He looked at her dark blurred uniform and reached blindly for the cup she offered to him. She didn't let go as she raised the cup to his lips and he drank greedily, the coolness washing his insides clean. He shivered as he thirst was sated. The cup moved away and he swallowed, "Better?" the nurse asked. He could only nod his head.
After another while of silence where only the doctor's shuffling movements could be heard, the overhead lights were turned on, momentarily blinding him whilst a stethoscope was pressed against Harry's chest, his temperature was taken, his eyes were checked, along with his vitals. He winced at being prodded and poked, but didn't complain as he opened his mouth -God, he could taste the bed breath! -so that the doctor could look down his throat. He shivered again as his glasses were handed to him and the room swam into focus. The metal frames were cold on his face, but he didn't mind. It helped to keep him a little more alert.
The doctor made some notes on the clipboard as he spoke, "Well other than the bruising and some swelling, you seem to be improving a lot more than we would have expected. We will need to book you in for a scan to make sure that your fractures are healing nicely. I suppose we can do that for you first thing in the morning."
Harry wrinkled his nose at the prospect of a scan but didn't make any complaints. When silence reigned once again, he licked his dried lips and croaked, "Where's my family?"
The nurse smiled softly at him, "They probably went home to get some more clothes and have a decent cup of tea. I'm sure they'll be back first thing in the morning."
Harry furrowed his brow, "Wh -T-Time?" he asked, his tongue feeling like a heavy weight in his mouth.
"Really late, dear," the nurse answered in a soft voice, "Why don't you try and go to sleep? You'll need your rest for tomorrow for when the police come back."
"Hush now!" snapped the doctor before lowering his tone, "Don't worry him even more. Let's just let him rest and get these tests over and done with."
Harry frowned at the mention of the police. He hadn't meant to cause any trouble. He blanched as the light was turned off; he hoped Vernon didn't visit him. He sighed. It would most likely happen and then he would be left to tell the police how he had fallen and gotten beaten up by his whale of a cousin -like all the other times. He wondered why the police bothered anymore. They never believed him. Why should it be any different now?
For two hours he tossed and turned in the stiff hospital bed, the smell of cleanliness and disinfectant clinging to everything. He missed the smells of his own room. Worn out, sure, but it was still 'home'. Home was where he would recover -not in this dingy, white place. The whiteness was cold and made him shiver violently. He wanted to get out of the bed and walk around, stretch his stiff legs but he knew there was no point. He would fall to the cold linoleum floor and his body would convulse at the dramatic change of temperature. At leas under the blankets was warm -to an extent.
He wrigged his toes and winced at how cold they were.
He squeezed his eyes shut against the blurry room and rested back against the pillows, still warm from when he had drifted back to consciousness. He somehow still felt tired -utterly bone-tired. He sighed and nestled onto his side, his back aching and stiff, and curled his legs up to his stomach. His muscles ached but it was a relief to get his muscles working again. Even if it was just for him to get some proper sleep.
The next morning, after a tedious breakfast of dry toast and burning tea so hot that it singed the taste-buds before any flavor had seeped through, Draco and Petunia were drawn out of the stiff silence by three sharp raps on the front door. Petunia skirted around the kitchen door frame to scurry down the hall, leaving Draco alone at the table with a soggy piece of toast in his limp hand. He hadn't slept well the night before. He'd slept in the spare room, as there was too much mess in Harry's. It hadn't been the same; the mattress had been thin and lumpy and there was no defined indent for his body like there was in Harry's.
He hadn't slept too well despite his brain telling them that if he slept, the sooner he would be on his way to see Harry in the hospital. He hoped he was awake.
Voices from the front door drew his attention and he leaned back in the chair to look at who was bothering them at such an early hour. He felt relieved when he saw Severus' dark figure. That's when the phone hanging on the kitchen phone began to ring. "Draco can you answer that?!" Petunia called out from the front door as she turned back to talking with Severus in quiet tones.
Draco blanched and then turned his eye to the ringing machine. He loathed it. It was such a noisy little bastard. He sighed as it continued to ring and then pushed himself out from under the table and went to snatch it off the wall. "Hello?" he grumbled into the mouthpiece.
"Hello may I speak to Mrs. Dursley, please?"
"She's busy at the moment can I take a message?" he asked, frowning at how tinny her voice sounded.
"I really need to speak with her it's urgent. It's about her nephew, Harry Potter."
"I'm her son, Dudley" he lied easily, "I can give her the message."
"Oh right," the shuffling of paper rattled in his ear, "Well just let her know that he is awake and is getting quite restless. The police have been notified and will be here to question him in the afternoon."
"He's awake?" Draco repeated. He felt his heart lurch in his chest. It ached. "That's great news," he mumbled out, not really hearing his own words as he replaced the receiver. His body felt heavy as he steered himself around the door frame and down the corridor towards the front door. "Good morning Sev," he grunted as he looked over Petunia's bony shoulder, "Apparently Harry's woken up ... and the police want to talk to him this afternoon."
Though relief flashed through Severus' dark eyes, he merely inclined his head, "We shall go to him shortly. At the moment I want both of you to get your things into the car," he indicated he muggle car humming at the end of the drive, "And then we'll go to the hospital."
Within twenty minutes the dishes were rinsed clean and stacked away and the suitcases were packed into the enlarged trunk of Severus' hired muggle car. Draco went back into the house, feeling as though he might have left something. He hovered outside the door of Harry's room, the police tape still stretched tight across the door. He shivered as he looked onward into the room. It looked so bleak and empty ... he wanted to turn the lights on and banish the chill from the air. He rubbed at his arms and zipped the hoodie up to his chin. There was nothing left in the room that held any value.
He sighed heavily and turned away from the room, a weight tugging down at his heart. He stomped down the stairs and out of the door, leaving Petunia to lock it behind her. He slid into the backseat of Severus' car and buckled up. Petunia followed suit and the engine started up.
The drive to the hospital was in a comfortable silence. The air from the heater warmed Draco's numb toes but his thoughts kept him distracted. He couldn't wait to see Harry ... but did Harry want to see him? He had witnessed the danger Harry was in and jumped to the rescue like some clumsy muggle prince and what if Harry felt embarrassed by that? Surely he would be far more happy to be alive than bother with feeling awkward? Draco sighed and rubbed his eyes. He hoped there wouldn't be any issues.
The hospital hadn't changed over night; it stank of disinfectant and was far too clean to be safe. He felt as though he would slip on the floor as soon as he stepped out of the reception area. The whiteness everywhere made him feel like he should be bleached. They traveled the familiar route to Harry's room before they stopped at the reception area and told the nurse who they were and who they needed to see. Draco hung back behind Severus and Petunia. Paired up against the nurses they were far too imposing. They were marched to the familiar room and the door swung open. Draco held his breath as they entered, with him still at the back of the procession.
Relief washed through his aching chest as he saw Harry sitting upright in bed and eating some soft food off of a tray secured over his bed. He still looked as pale as the bed sheets but it was still an improvement from his bluish grey tint that he previously had. He looked up as they walked in and gave a weak smile around a spoonful of porridge. It looked a little bleak but Harry was swallowing it greedily so it seemed to be better than it looked. Petunia brushed over quickly around his side of the bed and hugged him awkwardly over the table, "I'm so glad you're alright!" she gushed as Severus strode up and squeezed Harry's shoulder in an affectionate manner. Harry smiled at both of them -and then he looked up at Draco.
"I've missed you all," he gave a weak smile before looking over at me again, "Don't I get a hug from you?" he teased feebly, raising a bruised eyebrow.
Draco smiled and hurried over to loop his arms around Harry's neck. He buried his nose against Harry's neck and breathed in the clean, sweet scent. There was no hesitation, no tense muscles. Relief flooded through him once again and Harry hugged him back. He pulled away and -resisting the urge to press a kiss to Harry's forehead -went over to draw a chair closer to the bed so he could sit in it.
"So does anyone know when the policemen are supposed to come here and question you?" Severus asked curtly, all business now that he saw Harry was awake and for the most part, well.
"The nurse said about 3pm," Harry offered as he wiped at his mouth with his knuckles. Severus nodded but said nothing more as he and Petunia reluctantly left to get something for us all to eat from the cafeteria.
Later that afternoon they had been having a pleasant conversation with some fruit and sandwiches. Draco tossed a fresh green apple between his hands before ripping a huge bite out of it with his teeth. The juice ran down his chin and it made Harry smile over at him. Their chatter was general when a nurse decided to pop her head in and informing them that a policeman was waiting outside. A silence washed over them. "Do you want someone to stay with you?" the nurse asked.
Harry clicked his tongue before nodding, fiddling with the soft blushing apple in his hand. He glanced over every face and shifted awkwardly in his seat. "I'll stay," Severus' voice cut through the room, making no room for the nurse to argue. Petunia gave Severus a small smile before standing up and beckoning for Draco to follow her. He sighed heavily and gave Harry's cold forearm a final squeeze before dragging himself out of the room. Severus turned to Harry as soon as the door 'clicked' shut. "Listen to me Harry, answer as truthfully as possible, do you understand me? Hold nothing back. They need to know the truth."
Harry shuddered beside him, and gave a shake with his head, "No ... I c-can't."
Severus leaned over and squeezed Harry's shoulder tighter, "Harry you have to trust me on this. If you want your uncle put away then you need to tell the truth. Promise me, you'll tell him the truth." He watched as Harry chewed on his lower lip before nodding stiffly.
The door clicked open and a tall police officer stepped inside. His uniform looked pristine and stiff on his broad shoulders and clasped around his stiff neck. "Good afternoon my name is Officer Auld, I understand that I need to take a statement from a Mister Potter?"
"That's me," Harry offered weakly, tossing the apple over to the small cheap IKEA table on his right.
Officer Auld came into the room, closing the door behind him, before pulling up at a chair opposite Harry and taking a small tape recorder out of his back pocket. He clicked the button to start the tape. "Alright, I would like you to confirm that you are Harry Potter of number four Privet Drive."
"Yes, I am," Harry mumbled, his chest feeling heavy as he spoke. His muscles seemed to clench up as he forced himself out of his chair to adjust his gown with a blanket over his legs.
The officer nodded his head as he drew up a chair and sat down, his back could not have been straighter if Severus rammed a rod up his backside. "Okay I need to get a full statement from you about what your Uncle did to you. Based on your statement, it will determine if and for how long he will be sent to prison."
"If?" Severus sneered, his dark eyes narrowing.
Harry swallowed and cast a glance over at Severus, "I ... um ... I just-"
"Harry? Would you like a glass of water?" Severus asked, turning to the young boy. Harry nodded, his body rigid. Severus stood up and walked over to the small counter where he picked up a horrid plastic cup -stupid muggles -and poured some water from the jug. He gnawed on his tongue before slipping a small phial out of his coat pocket. The liquid inside was clear ... undetectable in the water. He popped the small cork and tipped the phial inside. He returned to Harry's side and handed him the cup, "there you go."
He watched as Harry accepted the cup and drank it down quickly. He licked his parched lips before frowning. Severus held his breath. Harry looked up at the officer with uncertainty in his eyes, "Where would you like me to start?"
Petunia was feeling anxious as they waited for Harry's questioning to be complete. A female officer had accompanied them to the cafeteria where she had taken a statement from both Petunia and Draco. Luckily the only other person there was a solitary man in a wheelchair who looked as though he was wearing a hearing aid. They were both agitated as the officer walked off with their statements. The harsh lights did nothing for either of their headaches.
"How long is this going to take?" Draco growled under his breath, his knee bouncing as he waited restlessly behind the small table.
Petunia shook her head, "This is ridiculous. He needs his rest. We need to take him home away from all these ... " she trailed off with a heavy sigh. Draco chewed the inside of his cheek as he scanned the hallways looking for the police officers to come back down. His eyes darted between the corridor to the clock on the wall, and back again. "Draco stop tapping!" Petunia sighed again, pinching the bridge of her nose. Draco was about to retort when the two officers rounded the corners.
"Mrs. Dursley? Thank you and for your co-operation. This will really help with the investigation. I would advise you not to return to Privet drive -is there anyone else you can stay with?" Officer Auld asked, frowning between the two of them.
Petunia nodded, "Yes, Severus has a house that he is taking us to up London. We will be safer there. Vernon doesn't know where it is."
Officer Auld frowned even deeper, "Are you sure about that ma'am?"
Petunia nodded, "Oh yes quite sure. You might even say it's -unplottable."
As soon as they were taken back up to the room Harry was reclining in bed, looking as white as the wall behind him, his black lashes wet and stuck together. Severus was beside him, his low voice soothing Harry, his hand grasping the young boys on top of the blankets. "It will be okay Harry, you did the right thing."
"I couldn't stop it -the words just kept coming like they needed to be said," he whimpered.
"They did need to be said, Harry, " Severus assured, "Now let me go and call a nurse so that she can check on you." As he stood up and walked out of the room with a glance over his shoulder, he huffed to himself at having spiked Harry's drink. The details of what had actually happened were enough to make him feel physically ill. He wanted to get out and get fresh air but he needed to remain calm for Harry's -his son's -sake. He drew in deep breaths as he came to the nurse's station and demanded that she come and check on him. He was thankful that every drink Harry had taken he had slipped in some skele-gro -making Harry wince at the bitter taste but not questioning it -and other almost undetectable potions that healed any internal bruising and bleeding. If his calculations were correct -and when were they wrong? -Harry would be allowed to leave that evening.
Petunia and Draco came out of the lifts and hurried over to him, "How did it go?" Petunia asked her mouth pinched at the corners.
Severus nodded, "It was -has been going on longer than I had expected. I have no doubt you will hear about it in the trial. But for now ... he is being checked over and should be released into our care this evening. Then we can drive up to London and get him to the safe house."
Draco frowned, "Are you sure that he will be safe there?"
Severus nodded, "No question about it. It may be dark there, but it's quiet. At the moment that is all Harry will need."
A/N: I know I was cheeky and left out the confession but I want that to be kept for the trial. The full impact will leave you all reeling.