Chapter 10.


Rufus Scrimgeour put his aching head in his hands. Whoever said 'be careful what you wish for' had been absolutely correct. Here he was, at the position he had lusted after for years, Minister of Magic, and so far, it was an utter nightmare.

You-Know-Who was back. That was an undeniable fact. Dozens of people had spotted him fleeing from the Ministry. His men, marked Death Eaters, had been found incapacitated in the Hall of Prophecies. Witnesses had spotted Bellatrix Lestrange helping him escape. No, there was no doubt about it - Voldemort was back.

Fudge had been tossed out on his arse immediately. The Wizengamot had called an emergency session and pushed through an impeachment hearing in record time. There was nothing else they could do - after all the ass had been insisting that Voldemort was not back all year. He had even been complicit in covering up evidence that proved he was back. Well, as soon as things had settled down, he would make sure that Fudge paid. Oh yes, Cornelius Fudge would pay dearly.

The Ministry building was currently totally unusable. The walls were still reverberating with some truly awful song about Voldemort. Whoever had done that was an insanely sick individual. Who on earth could come up with a hundred and twenty different verses (that they had counted so far)? All of them puerile and insulting to Voldemort. Only someone who was truly insane.

Then there was that poisonous white powder. It was everywhere. It seemed to have originated in the department of Mysteries but it had gotten into the ventilation system and now it was everywhere, in every single room, in the air, everywhere. It had been treated or spelled to be resistant to vanishing and cleaning spells, so all clean up efforts had been utterly useless so far. All he had to show for it was a dozen or so of the custodian staff in Saint Mungos, being treated for skin rashes and irritated eyes, racking up the medical bills. The Unspeakables were working on it now but they had already sent in a report stating that it would be months before the Ministry Offices were usable again.

The problem of course was that none of it made any sense. Why had Voldemort been in the Ministry? No one seemed to know. Who was responsible for the powder, the songs, the random destruction of furniture and artefacts by some blunt object or objects? No one knew. Voldemort might have been responsible for the powder but he would never charm the walls to sing insulting songs about himself. So who? Who could possibly be responsible?

So here he was, the new Minister of Magic for Great Britain, reduced to working out of a crappy rented office in Diagon Alley. Could things possibly get any worse?

~oo00oo~

Voldemort was sitting on a stool, utterly naked, every inch of his body slathered with salves and potions. He had tried lying down but he could not bear to have anything touching his skin which was still inflamed, burnt and raw, cracking in places and oozing pus. He even had to breathe through a cloth soaked in potions to ease his breathing difficulties. Death Eaters cowered in corners of the room, too terrified to make a sound. None of them wanted to draw his attention to themselves. That had already proven nearly lethal to several of them.

The only one relatively immune to his displeasure at the moment was Snape and that was only because Voldemort needed him desperately. Snape was brewing potions around the clock to heal Voldemort's tortured body. Even then, Voldemort had still subjected him to the cruciatus curse a couple of times after he had found Snape's application of the salves to be insufficiently delicate.

~oo00oo~

Harry was perched on an examining room table waiting for a Doctor. The Magical summer camp he had signed up for insisted on a complete physical before they allowed any camper to play any type of physical sport. So he found himself here, waiting for a Doctor to certify him fit and healthy enough to play Quidditch.

He swung his legs in the air, idly wondering why rooms like this were always so chilly. Especially as they had him change into a flimsy hospital gown for the examination. He was a bit nervous, all of his arrangements so far had been over the phone, so this was the first time since he left Britain (not counting that close brush he had in Amsterdam and his forays into magical bookshops) that he would be interacting with a wizard. He wished he could have just gone to a normal doctor but the Camp insisted on a thorough Magical examination. So here he was, in the Magical Wing at Cedars Sinai. He wondered, not for the first time, if he was making a terrible mistake. Perhaps going to that summer camp was not a good idea. Maybe he should just stick to the Muggle World. He felt far safer there. But on the other hand, there was Quidditch.

He missed Quidditch, he really did. He missed being able to fly. He missed the feeling of freedom that flying gave him. He missed the adrenaline rush of racing for the snitch. He missed doing something that he was really good at.

He forced himself to calm down. The Fidelius would keep him safe. No one looking for Harry Potter or the Boy who lived would ever be able to find him. He could afford to take the slight risk of attending summer camp.

"Aah Mr. Dobbins, I take it?" said a man in a white coat as he entered the room. "I'm Dr. Hancock."

"Please to meet you, sir," said Harry.

"So, I see you're here for a complete physical. Need one for camp, eh? Good, good. So what's your sport?" asked Dr. Hancock cheerfully.

"Quidditch, sir," answered Harry.

"Aah Quidditch, never got into that myself. I always preferred Quodpot. Much more exciting, but then that's just me. Quidditch can be fun too I guess. What position do you play?"

"Seeker, I've never really played Quodpot," answered Harry.

"Oh, then you must try and get in a game or two at camp. No need to restrict yourself to just Quidditch, eh? Now then, why don't you lie down on the table and we can get this exam taken care of."

Harry lay down and Dr. Hancock waved his wand over Harry. "Hmm, you're a bit underweight for a fifteen...almost sixteen year old. Don't tell me you you're one of those kids who try to keep their weight down so that they can be faster on a broom. Not a good idea at all," said the doctor shaking his head at Harry.

Harry wondered how he was to explain the Dursleys. "It was actually my cousin," he said. "I was staying with some relatives last summer and my cousins really fat. Like really really fat. So my aunt put him on a diet and she...well she asked me to go on the diet as well. To support him you know."

The doctor shook his head again. "Very irresponsible of your aunt I must say. Still, you're obviously eating better now, so probably no harm done in the long run. I'll just prescribe you a few multivitamins, just to be on the safe side. Now for the rest of the examination..." he waved his wand over Harry again and said "Egritudo inspectoris." An image formed over Harry's body immediately. It looked like a complete three-dimensional hologram of a human skeleton.

"Whoa!" exclaimed Harry. "That's a cool spell."

"I take it you've never had a complete physical before then. This is just a standard diagnostic spell. Right now it's just showing me your bones, but we can also use it to scan your internal organs, circulatory system etcetera, etcetera," explained Dr. Hancock.

Harry shrugged, he had been in the hospital wing plenty of times but Madam Pomfrey had never performed a spell like this on him. Well, maybe she had done it while he was asleep.

"Hmm, that must have been a nasty break," said Dr. Hancock as he frowned at the image of Harry's arm. "Normally we don't re-grow a bone unless it's completely shattered. How on earth did you manage that?"

"That was actually...well it was just a simple break caused by a bludger but then one of the teachers at my last school tried to heal it and he...well, he managed to vanish the bone instead," explained Harry.

"That is quite shocking. What kind of school was this? I hope you sued them. Untrained people have no business trying to cast healing spells, let alone teaching at a school," exclaimed Dr. Hancock.

"Uhh, well, no I didn't. The school nurse managed to fix me up and I didn't really want to make a fuss," said Harry.

"You really should have," said the doctor. He twisted his wand a bit and the image floating above Harry changed to show his lungs. Harry was fascinated at the sight of his lungs expanding and deflating in his chest with every breath he took.

"Hmm, take a deep breath. Yes, that's fine, hold it. Now exhale...Well, your lungs look fine," the doctor said. He twisted his wand again and Harry's heart and other organs came into view.

The Doctor frowned, waved his wand again and the image of Harry's heart expanded and rotated in front of him. This was soon followed by, what looked to Harry's untrained eye as his kidneys and what might have been a liver or perhaps a spleen.

"Have you ever been bitten by a venomous creature of any type," asked the Doctor. "I'm seeing some slight organ damage, nothing that's immediately life threatening but it looks like the damage one would typically see caused by exposure to a Hemotoxic and Neurotoxic venom."

Harry froze. Not only was he shocked by the news that his internal organs were damaged but how on earth was he supposed to explain being bitten by a bloody basilisk. It wasn't as if you could find them crawling around under every bush.

"Uhh, yes," he said. "I was bitten by a snake in my right arm. Around 3 years ago, I guess."

"Know what type of snake it was?" asked the doctor.

"Not really, no," lied Harry. "I had Phoenix tears poured on the bite and they seemed to...well, they healed the bite."

"I see," said the Doctor in a rather tight-lipped way. "You do seem to lead quite an interesting life. That must have been a particularly nasty snakebite. Phoenix tears aren't really the recommended course of treatment for most snakebites. Quite rare, you know, only used in the most life threatening of injuries. I suppose they couldn't find the specific anti-venom for the snake that bit you?"

"I guess," said Harry weakly. He really did not know what else to say.

Dr. Hancock waved his wand and the images vanished. He waved his wand again and another image formed. This was a complete ghost like image of Harry. Mostly transparent except for a ridiculous number of spots here and there that were glowing a deep red. Harry could see that they corresponded to places that he had been hurt in the past. There was the spot on his arm where Pettigrew had cut him. The basilisk bite, the Quidditch injuries, the wounds that he got while fighting the creatures in the maze. There were even faint, barely visible impressions of the cuts and bruises he had incurred in countless bouts of 'Harry Hunting'. Most troubling of all though was the dark crimson spot pulsating over where his scar was.

"Oh dear," said the doctor when he spotted that. He vanished the image and spent the next few minutes casting dozens of diagnostic spells upon Harry. Images of symbols and runes appeared and vanished around Harry's head at a dizzying pace. The doctors face getting grimmer and grimmer with each spell he cast.

Finally, he seemed to have finished. He waved his wand one last time and turned away. He pulled a chair out and sat down upon it before picking up the phone and speaking softly into it. Harry tried to get up but found that himself frozen to the examining table. He could not move. What the hell was happening? He tried to force himself free but found himself unable to move even a single muscle. He was just about to scream for Dobby to pop him out of there when the Doctor spoke -

"Please don't try to move, Mr. Dobbins," said the Doctor. "I'm afraid I've had to immobilise you for the time being. I'm sorry but it is the standard protocol we are instructed to follow when we come across cases like this."

"Cases like what?" shouted Harry.

"Well, the good news Jim, I can call you Jim, right? The good news is that it's nothing to worry about. We have a specialist here on our staff. He'll be able to fix you up in no time."

"Fix what?" asked a panicking Harry.

Doctor Hancock waved his wand and Harry felt the soothing pulse of a calming charm as it swept over him.

"You seem to be a victim of a possession. Tell me, have you ever spent any time in an area with a lot of ghosts?" asked Dr. Hancock.

"Possession! What? I can't be...Why can't I move?" asked Harry.

"I'm afraid that's standard protocol, Mr. Dobbins. You see, in most cases of possession the spirit will fight back if it feels threatened. We can't have it harming you, now can we. So it is best if we keep you immobilised. Now as I was asking you earlier - Have you ever been around spirits?"

"My old school. It had dozens of ghosts...but they never did anyone any harm that I ever heard of. I even went to a Deathday party once. But...but...there was this teacher...back in my first year at Hogwarts - he was possessed by the spirit of Vo…by the spirit of an evil wizard. He died. Is that...is that what's going to happen to me?"

"No, No Jim. Please stay calm. I've already sent a message to Doctor Patil. He's our resident specialist for dealing with cases like this. He'll have it out of you in no time, no time at all. We just need to get the authorisation from our Dean of Medicine. In cases like these, we feel that the patients permission is not required as in most cases the spirit inside them will not allow them to give permission. So we'll have it out of you as soon as we get the Dean to okay it. Come to think of it - I could probably just get your parents permission. Sorry, I should have thought of that. I've never had an underage possession case before. Well, the truth is I've never handled a possession case before myself but..."

"I'll give you my permission," shouted Harry frantically. "Just get it out. Get it out!"

Doctor Hancock looked a little taken aback. "I must say that's an encouraging sign," he said. "Obviously the spirit has not managed to influence your behaviour to any great extent or you would not be capable of asking us to get it out. Don't worry; we'll have it out of you in no time. Dr. Patil should be here any minute. In the meantime, I should really contact your parents as well. Are they in the waiting room?"

"There's only my Dad, Bob Dobbins," said Harry. "He should be waiting outside."

"We'll get him for you," said the doctor as he picked up a phone and instructed the person on the other end to send Mr. Dobbins into the exam room immediately.

"Dad!" shouted Harry the second Dobby entered the room. While Dobby had gotten better at pretending to be human, Harry really did not want the doctor to get into a long conversation with him. He didn't want the doctor to suspect that there was anything strange about Dobby after all. The last thing he needed was for the Doctor to realise that Dobby was an elf and not the middle-aged man he currently looked like courtesy of an enchanted bracelet.

"There's nothing to worry about," said Harry immediately, before the Doctor could even say hello to Dobby. "They say that there's a chance that I could be possessed but the Doctor says that they can fix that. Right? Doctor?"

"Yes, yes of course," said the doctor looking askance at Harry before turning to Dobby. "There is absolutely no need to worry. We'll have your son Jim here fixed up and ready to play Quidditch in no time at all. We have a specialist here on staff and he should be able to fix Jim up right away. In fact - there's Dr. Patil, right there," he said as a distinguished looking dark skinned man entered the room.

The two doctors conferred quietly for a few minutes before Dr. Patil approached Harry and beamed down at him. "So, Jim is it? Dr. Hancock tells me you've been hanging around ghosts. Deathday parties and the like?"

"Yes, sir," said Harry. "I used to go to a school in Scotland and it had dozens of ghosts staying there."

"Hmmm, well, well, well. Whatever will they think of? And I suppose no one ever considered the dangers of things like this happening?" said Dr. Patil frowning in disapproval before he took out his own wand and cast a series of spells at Harry.

"Will Mas...my boy Jim be all right," asked Dobby looking a bit frantic. The glamour enchantment worked very well at displaying the emotions that Dobby was feeling.

"Yes, sir," said Dr. Hancock is an extremely reassuring tone. "There is absolutely no need to worry. Dr. Patil is absolutely the best at dealing with this type of situation."

"Hmmm, well it looks like you were quite right Dr. Hancock. There are definitely signs of a spirit. Rather a strange one I would say. On one hand, it is surprisingly strong with a rather dark residue and yet it barely registers on some of my detection spells. It's almost as if it was just a fraction of a spirit but that would be impossible. Still, I don't see any reason why we can't have it out of Jim right away," said Dr. Patil as he opened up a bag and started removing odd bits of equipment that Harry could not recognise. There were what looked like potions ingredients and stones with runes carved all over them and crystals and delicate looking silvery instruments of some type.

Harry found himself stripped down with things placed all over his body. The rune covered stones were placed on his neck and belly button. The doctor painted his chest with runes drawn in a silvery liquid. Crystals were hovered around his body before being placed in a circle surrounding him. Then the doctor started waving his wand and chanting a ridiculously long incantation and then there was pain.

Pain...Pure unadulterated pain blasted through his body. It started from his scar and swept in waves throughout his body. For the longest moment, there was nothing but agony. It was the most intense agony that Harry had ever felt. It was even worse than that time his scar had exploded in pain at the graveyard. Pain...nothing but pain.

He could not have said how long it lasted. It seemed to go on for eons but then suddenly it was over and the sudden absence of pain felt wonderful. He relaxed limply onto the examining table. There was a dull ache in all of his muscles and he realised that he must have been clenching them. Dimly he realised that the doctor was still pottering around him, removing the various paraphernalia he had used for the operation.

"Well, well, that was a stubborn little spirit wasn't it, it was really stuck in there," said the doctor as he peered at a little vial he held in his hand. It contained a dark grey mist that bubbled and spun like a miniature cloud inside the vial.

"What...what are you going to do with that?" asked Harry.

"Not to worry, Jim. This is going to be destroyed immediately. We can't have something like this floating around after all. I'll be taking care of it personally," said Dr. Patil as he dropped the vial inside a box that had sides six inches thick.

"Now, as for you, young man," Dr. Patil said as he turned and beamed down at Harry. "I'm afraid we are going to be keeping you under observation for the next three or four days. Mostly just to make sure that there are no long term problems related to your possession but Dr. Hancock also tells me that he needs to treat you for a few other minor ailments. Something about damage caused by a snakebite."

"Nothing to worry about Jim, Mr. Dobbins," said Dr. Hancock as he nodded to Dobby. "We just need to give you a few potions to fix you up. While we're at it, we can even look at getting rid of some of those scars of yours. That's if you want to get rid of them of course."

"That would be nice," mumbled Harry as he fell into an exhausted sleep.

"And don't worry, once we're done I'll be happy to certify you fit to play Quidd...oh he's asleep," said Dr. Hancock.

"Yes, the ritual would have taken quite a toll on him. Please admit him and keep a close eye on his vitals, Dr. Hancock. Page me if there's any change," said Dr. Patil before he left the room holding the box containing the piece of Voldemort's soul very carefully.

~oo00oo~

A/N: Before you start writing the review to tell me that you can't get rid of the Horcrux that easily, I should explain that my opinion is that a Horcrux cannot be created accidentally. For something that is described as being the darkest and forbidden of magics to be made accidentally is quite preposterous. If Voldemort's soul was so fragile that bits and pieces of it were flying off with every murder he did then there should have been dozens of accidental horcruxes all over Britain. There is also the fact that Horcruxes are described as being quite indestructible to anything short of fiendfyre and basilisk venom. Harry on the other hand is injured dozens of times throughout the course of the series. Granted that an organic living Horcrux would be different, shouldn't it at least have toughened him up just a bit. At best, Harry was possessed by a bit of Voldemort's soul. And I'm not even getting into how his mother's protection which was strong enough to burn Quirrell into ash did nothing to prevent Harry being turned into a Horcrux.

Even in canon, there really is not much evidence given for the fact that Harry is a Horcrux. Ignoring Dumbledore's opinion, all we really know for certain is that Harry and Voldemort have some sort of a connection and we have the little deformed baby in Kings Cross Station after Harry dies. Does this really mean that Harry is a Horcrux? Why can't Harry be the victim of a possession instead? For those who will no doubt state that just having a bit of Voldemort's spirit inside you is enough to make you a Horcrux, I ask - What about Quirrell? He was possessed by Voldemort. Was he a Horcrux? If he was then Harry should have been able to destroy any Horcrux just by touching it.

Finally, why didn't Poppy Pomfrey ever realise this? Who knows? In canon, she is described as a talented healer but she works as a school nurse. Perhaps she is not qualified enough to detect this. Perhaps she never looked. Perhaps she was always more concerned with treating his immediate injuries to worry about a scar that was a decade old.

~oo00oo~

A/N 2: I had to put this in because I was getting too many reviews speculating about this. Patil is a very common Indian surname and the Dr. Patil in this chapter is not related to Padma and Parvati Patil. In retrospect I really should have gone with a different name.

~oo00oo~