Thank you to autumngold, Breathing January, and of course, rainydaydreams! Here is the next chapter, for you guys. He get to meet some of the other patients, and their powers will be revealed in the next chapter, which will also be longer and a lot more action-y!
"Good news, Harry!"
Harry winced from the corner of the white room he had lived in for the past three years. The only person left that never called him 'Patient 7' was Bellatrix Lestrange, the head of the program. And one terrifyingly insane witch to boot.
He turned towards her from where she stood in the grey room, and raised an eyebrow. She sighed. "Come now, Harry, we aren't going to have this argument again, are we? I really do hate falling out with you."
"Funny. I'd love to see you fall out. Out of a window, maybe..." Harry mused sarcastically.
"Now, now," Bellatrix taunted, pressing a button that made the ever-present metal cuffs around his wrists give him an electric shock, "play nice, Harry. And why don't you congratulate me?"
"Congratulate you?" He scoffed, standing up shakily and rubbing his wrists. "What for? Winning the Best Insane Bitch of the Year Award?"
"That was hold months ago, Harry, do keep up," she joked, giving that damn button another press. Harry jerked and fell back down onto the white floor. "And of course you should congratulate me. I've finally won, you see. I. Have. Won."
"Now, Harry. We're going to play a little game. The aim is to be out of control, to let your power loose. We are going to play until you lose. Are you ready?"
Harry pulled himself out of the memory.
"For three years, Harry, you've been training yourself; fighting against your power so that we won't use you. So that I won't win. Ever since that first session, you held it in. I was quite impressed, dear. I bet you can even scream, now, and nothing will even break. But you see, we've found your weakness."
"Light," he whispered, remembering the most recent test. He got the day off after that. He should have realised why.
"Yes!" Bellatrix called gleefully, clapping her hands together.
"What are you going to do with me?" he asked, clutch the wall with one hand whilst the other braced itself against the floor so that he could struggle to his knees.
"You've heard of our main project, haven't you, Harry? About the people who are the same as you, in this very building?" Harry nodded. They had goaded him, talking about the other patients who didn't have torture sessions, but had proper lessons to learn to use their power, and to use their wands.
He didn't have a wand.
He had been taken to Ollivander's, thrown in by Bellatrix and instructed not to say a word. A wand had chosen him. Bellatrix had that wand now. Phoenix feather core, it was. Beautiful, Harry had thought.
"You're going to join them."
Harry's head shot up. Join them? But he was a special case; Bellatrix's own personal weapon. He was just Patient 7.
"Don't look so shocked, Harry dear! We promised, after all." Her smile became wider, and she leaned closer towards Harry, the wall still separating them. "You'll be taught spells. You'll be taught how to use your power. You'll be with people your own age who went through the same things you did." Bellatrix laughed humourlessly, throwing her head back wildly. "Well, not all the same things, right Harry?"
"You're a sadistic bitch, Bellatrix," Harry growled at her, stepping forward angrily.
"Such language! What would Mummy say?"
He tried to release his power. It didn't come. He had contained it too deep inside himself now. Only that stupid test seemed to work now, and he had to overcome that too.
"See!" Bellatrix laughed gleefully, point gat his growing frustration. "You can't release it yet. The puppy's too well trained! Don't worry, darling. We'll soon fix that." She pressed the same button, twice, three times, until Harry was writhing on the floor. "Boys. Get him ready. It's time to present our best student."
"I'm not yours! I don't belong to anyone!"
"You're just Mummy's boy through and through, aren't you? Never mind, we'll soon fix that. And you're going to play nice, Harry, or it won't just be you in those handcuffs," she threatened with a smile.
Harry tensed. He remembered people from the start of the project, before he was locked away like a child sent to the naughty corner. They were nice to him. Sweet.
"Harry, isn't it? Hello, Harry. We haven't seen you 'round here before. We're so sorry, but we're going to make it better. We're going to stick together, all of us. Harry, can you hear me? It's okay. Don't cry. We're going to help you."
They were the same as him. And now they were in danger. Those sweet children who had held a stranger whilst the walls shook in time with his sobs, who were locked here, the same as him. One wrong step and they would all be dead.
"What do I have to do?"
"Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to finally introduce you to another of our students. He has dutifully been practising his control under... special conditions for a little while. It would do you well to give him a warm welcome, and a round of applause, please, for Patient 7, also known as Harry Potter. Isn't that right, Harry?"
Bellatrix Lestrange stood on her podium in the lunch hall, looking extremely smug and happy with herself. Harry sneered at her turned back and mimed strangling himself. To his surprise, a few of the other students laughed.
Realising that the ending of her speech was not a rhetorical question, Harry shook his head and gave a charming, silent smile when she turned towards him.
"No. Now, Harry, run along. Your classmates are already awaiting your arrival. That table... over... there..." Bellatrix pointed to the table furthest on the right. "There's no silly house nonsense, here. You're simply categorized by age. Isn't that nice?"
Harry glared at her, and she gave him a particularly hard push that almost made him stumble off of the stage. When he turned back, her wand was drawn. "Don't pick a fight with me, Harry dear. You're one of my best."
He headed towards the table where there was seat between a particularly bushy haired girl and a red-headed boy.
"Hello," Harry greeted softly. The entire table of around twenty people turned to stare at him - at least, the ones that weren't staring already. He blushed and ducked his head.
"You're Harry Potter," the bushy haired girl stated with interest. Harry looked at her questioningly; was he some sort of hero? He doubted it. Bellatrix would have already used that against him. "They say that you were the inspiration for this entire... project." She said the word with disgust.
"I was the first one they started to do... tests on," he explained, still in the same quiet murmur. He didn't trust his control completely. "That's probably why."
The girl suddenly smiled. "That's exactly what I thought. I didn't suspect that you performed experiments on yourself then handed yourself on a platter to Bellatrix." She glared at the red head on the other side of Harry. "I'm Hermione Granger. Muggleborn."
"Come on, Hermione, don't you think it sounded a bit dodgy?" The boy argued. He sent a cheery smile Harry's way, and stuck out his hand. "Ron Weasley, by the way. I'm not as bad as she insists."
Harry gave a light laugh and shook his hand.
"We're all in - well, what would be our fourth year. Purebloods, halfbloods, Muggleborns, we're all here, whether we like it or not," a girl opposite Ron told him. "Daphne Greengrass. Non-blood traitor pureblood, unlike some people." Daphne pointed at Ron, who snorted.
"Does anyone actually like it?" Harry asked, ignoring the blood traitor comment. From his time in 'solitary confinement' he had learnt the bare minimum about the main program Bellatrix was running, but he knew a lot of it was torture.
"He does," an Irish boy said from the other side of Ron, jabbing his finger at a blonde haired boy at the end of the row. "I'm Seamus Finnigan, halfblood and lovin' it." He winked at a girl opposite him.
"Why?" Harry asked, craning his neck to get a good look at the boy. Someone had obviously attempted to slick his hair back with limited materials. It just ended up somewhat slimy.
"His name's Draco Malfoy, son of the masked guy standing next to Bellatrix, though I don't think either of them are exactly here for their own benefit," a slightly rounded boy said from one side of Daphne and opposite Harry. "I'm N-Neville Longbottom, pureblood. It's nice to meet you."
"Nice to meet you too, Neville," Harry replied warmly, shaking the hand offered to him. Something tapped his shoulder and he turned.
"Luna Lovegood," the girl behind him said airily, fiddling with a necklace. "You're very devoid of Nargles. What do you use?" Luna walked off before Harry could give an answer.
Needless to say, Harry was extremely confused.
"Oh, ignore her," Hermione interrupted his train of thought, sounding exasperated. "She's a year younger than us and completely insane. Her talent is to create delusions, and she's not exactly against creating them for herself, as well."
"Talent?" Harry echoed.
"Well, we can't exactly call them super powers," a black boy next to Neville put in, shaking Harry's hand firmly. Harry raised an eyebrow at the Muggle reference. "Dean Thomas. Muggleborn. I think, anyway."
"We all have 'talents', as they call them," Hermione explained, moving her hands in frantic gestures. "That's why we're here. After years of the same wizards, with no differences, we are the next generation of change, the next step in wizarding evolution. We've adapted."
"So, what can you all do?" Harry asked, interested. For three years, he had wondered if anyone was worse off than him; or better yet, if anyone was capable of doing good in the world.
The world needed people like that.
"Mine's somewhat boring," Hermione said apologetically. "I can access a bigger percentage of my brain power than most people, meaning I have quite a decent memory - most of the time, anyway - and can react quicker, think faster." She grinned sheepishly. "You get the idea. Not so great for crime fighting. Excellent for researching."
"It sounds great!" Harry put in. His memory was severely lacking. He couldn't even remember what he had for breakfast yesterday.
Oh, of course; he didn't have breakfast yesterday.
"What about you guys?"
The girl opposite Seamus waggled her finger at him and tutted. "No. Nope. You are not going to figure us out that easily, Harry Potter." She gave a wolfish smile and laughed rowdily, and the Asian girl diagonally across from her joined in. "I'm Lavender Brown."
"And I'm Parvati Patil," the other girl added.
"And I'm Parvati's twin, Padma," yet another girl next to Seamus chimed in.
Harry mentally did a list of the people who had introduced themselves so far, and came up short on about half of them. Hermione smiled at him.
"In our "year", there're seventeen of us. We're the biggest. Most have about eleven in them, not including first year and fifth year, which only have eight."
"Seventeen?" Harry repeated. That was a large number. Had all of them developed these... powers? Had all of them been found?
"I know. In Hogwarts - you know Hogwarts, don't you?" Harry nodded. He had been allowed a rare bookcase two years ago. Hogwarts: A History had been among the selection. "Well, there's an average of forty students per year. Forty. We're... we make up almost half of that," Hermione told him soberly.
"Enough depressing conversation with Hermione I-Have-No-Brain-Limits Granger, Harry! You need to meet everyone else!" The blonde girl, Lavender, said cheerfully with a glare at Hermione.
Though Harry could "meet everyone else" by just looking down the table, he complied. Lavender clapped her hands.
"Okay, down the end here is where the Slytherins and Hufflepuffs have taken refuge - well, people who might've been in Slytherin or Hufflepuff if they were taken before Hogwarts."
"What House were you in?" He asked politely as Lavender's cheerful bouncing stuttered to a stop.
"Gryffindor." She smiled sadly. "I was only there for two terms before I was "kidnapped" by Bellatrix and her goons, or Death Munchers, as we like to call them." Harry let out a quiet laugh at that; a few others on the table joined him.
"But anyway, we have Hannah next to Padma and Susan next to Parvati." The two girls waved. "Then Ernie and Anthony, who was a Ravenclaw, but he doesn't get on with Padma, the only other Ravenclaw in our year, so he mainly stays down with the 'Puffs. Then the Slytherins, Blaise Zabini, Pansy Parkinson and Draco Malfoy." The three Snakes in question scowled in Lavender's direction when they heard their names. "Daphne was a Slytherin as well, but she prefers the Gryffindor blood traitors down our end," Lavender finished jokingly.
"So you're the famous Harry Potter," Draco drawled.
"I don't see anyone else round here that qualifies," Harry snapped back, still quiet, but somewhat confused by this retort.
"No?" He asked in mock-surprise. "I'm surprised you can see anything at all, you're so blinkered. There's no such thing as good and bad, Potter." Harry raised an eyebrow at this; was it normal for someone to be so hostile when meeting new people?
He supposed it was just the Malfoy charm.
"People say there's no such thing as a cheesy philosophical retort, but I suppose people can be wrong."
"We'll see who's wrong, Potter." Draco smirked, and stood up. Pansy followed obediently, and Blaise stretched up from his seat, looking like a panther unfurling from its sleep. "Til then, though..." He flicked his wrist, and suddenly Harry was so tired. He fell to the floor, clutching the table as the people around him shouted angrily at Draco who, from what Harry could see, practically waltzed from the room.
"That... went well," he breathed, standing up slowly.
"Are you alright, Harry? I'm so sorry about him. Here, let me help..." Hermione murmured, more to herself than Harry, he was guessing. She muttered a few charms with her pretty wand, and the weight that felt as though it had been pressing on the back of his head lightened and he smiled gratefully at her."Thanks, Hermione," Harry whispered weakly, not trusting himself to speak louder; self defence mechanism and all that.
"No problem." She smiled broadly.
"Guys, our timetables are bein' announced! Get ya head on, Granger!" Seamus called from the other side of the table. Harry looked up.
"Would Patient 1 and Patient 32 please come to the front," Bellatrix said softly from the table at the front of the hall. Slowly, Hermione looked up and sighed wearily, twitching her fingers. A small boy walked up to the platform.
"Patient 1, get up here now!" The blonde man beside Bellatrix roared. Hermione shot up, rubbing her neck as she did so. She hurried to the table, and was handed a few sheets of paper. She flipped through them quickly, barely glancing at the words before she moved on to the next one.
"What's she doing?" Harry asked Ron, who was now standing up after the confrontation with Draco Malfoy.
"Hermione always collects our year's timetables for the term," Ron answered, sounding distracted as he tapped an abstract rhythm with his foot. "She can memorize them, you see. She's their personal filing cabinet." The last sentence was said bitterly.
"Yeah, oh," Ron sighed. "I mean, it's good here. We could all be in cages. But they manipulate us, twist us..." He rubbed his face with her hand. "We're their weapons. Not people. We have patient numbers, not names."
"I've got them," Hermione said, sitting back down at the table, looking more than a little worse for wear.
"And? What classes have they put us in this year?" Neville asked, leaning forwards with concern in his hazel eyes. Harry sent a questioning look Neville's way. "They try out different "classes" each year, plus the usual core classes. One year, it was done by patient number. Another was how strong you were. We're stuck in that class, with that teacher, until the end of the year."
He nodded calmly, then looked back at Hermione, whose face had a set, determined look about it.
"We're all in OWL class now," she muttered, closing her eyes. "Patients 6, 7, 8, 15, 16, 19, 21, 22, 23 and 25: Defence class. Patient 3, 7, 12, 15 and 20: Combat class. Patients 2, 5 and 6: Stealth class. Patients 8 and 18: Interrogation class. Patients 1 and 18: Intelligence class. High Stimulus Class: Patients 1, 2, 3, 6, 7 and 8. Medium Stimulus Class: Patients 5, 12, 15, 16, 18, 19 and 23. Low Stimulus Class: Patients 20, 22, 21 and 25. There will be two specialist classes, one stimulus class, three core classes and one year group meeting per day. All patients must attend year group meetings and core curriculum classes."
"This'll be interesting, lads," Seamus commented, rubbing his hands together. "Defence class - I like the sound o' that."
"I'm so sorry, Hermione," Daphne said, mock-sincerely, "You and Terrahawk over there almost have your own private intelligence lesson. Poor Parkinson might break a nail trying to read your mind."
"Poor Padma and Harry, they have Malfoy in every single one of their lessons," Dean shivered. "I don't know why I'm in Defence, though. My power's almost the worst out there."
"Your power's great, Dean!" Padma interjected from the other end of the table. "I'd love to be able to do what you do."
"Which is...?" Harry asked, giving Dean a sly smile.
"Nope! You're finding out nothing 'til Group tomorrow, Harry. We'll all, um, demonstrate for you then." Ron winked. "Oh, and Group is just what we call our year group meeting. But from your expression, I'll guess that you already figured that out..." He trailed off sheepishly, and gave Harry a grin.
"That's okay," he reassured with a small, answering grin.
"So we're back on track for the year," Lavender said, tapping a strangely long, pointed nail against her chin, "and we've got a new recruit. And OWLs. This doesn't make for a great situation, guys."
"Oh, stop being so morose, Lav," Seamus said jauntily.
"I'd like to hear you disagreeing with her by the end of the week, Seamus," Neville put in, nudging Dean with a wink.
Then, Anthony, the Ravenclaw-turned-Hufflepuff, leant back, and called out Harry's name. Harry turned, and gave him a slightly confused - which seemed to be his most common emotion today - smile. "Don't worry," Anthony said, turning round to face Harry properly. The side of his neck appeared to be harshly cut and sewn in metal. "You'll get used to it all. I guarantee that by Sunday's Group you'll have fitted right in."
Anthony;s last smile before turning away seemed somewhat sad.
Okay. Here's the drill: There're six classes a day, the core classes of which aren't all that important - you know the basics of Transfiguration, right? - so we'll mainly be focussing on the specialist classes - Combat, Defence, Stealth, Interrogation and Intelligence - the stimulus classes, which are how powerful you are/how well you can control your power - High, Medium, Low - and finally, the year group meeting, which is held at the end of each day.
You'll learnt the patient numbers in time - the only three you really need to know is Hermione - Patient 1, Harry - Patient 7, and Draco - Patient 8. Draco's a moody bastard, isn't he?
THE NEXT CHAPTER WILL BE MORE EXCITING. I PROMISE FIRE.