Elphaba's mind slowly regained consciousness. She couldn't remember much, but she knew she had been through a lot in the last forty-eight hours. She didn't try hard to remember, because she could feel Fiyero's arms around her, and she knew she would be okay so long as he was there.
She laid in darkness for a little while longer, but then she felt pain in her body increase rapidly. 'What the…' Elphaba's eyes flew open taking in the dilapidated ceiling above her. Then she looked to her right and saw it was Harry's arms that were around her, not Fiyero's. Fiyero was dead, and she couldn't do anything about it. She was helpless then and now. Tears pricked her eyes at the thought of her "limitedness." Tears traced lines down her cheeks for the umpteenth time in forty-eight hours. Some landed on Harry's exposed arms, which caused him to wake up. When he opened his eyes, he was staring into Elphaba's shining brown eyes.
"Uh, morning," Harry said awkwardly. Elphaba merely looked at him blankly.
"Good morning to you, too," Drawled a voice from the corner. Both Harry and Elphaba jumped at the sound and looked over. Professor Snape sat at the small table in the corner of the room reading the Daily Prophet and sipping coffee.
"How long have you been there?" Harry asked as he gently disentangled himself from Elphaba.
"Since seven seeing as that is what I said last night. It is eight now."
"Well, why didn't you wake me up?" Harry asked in an annoyed tone.
"Because you both looked so peaceful sleeping together, I just couldn't break you apart." Harry liked Snape better when he acted like a bastard toward him all the time. He wasn't sure he enjoyed this nice/teasing/darkly sarcastic Snape. It put him on edge. Harry stared at Snape with a less than trusting look. "You are being paranoid again, Potter. Stop, before you hurt yourself. Now, out. I need to apply this healing salve to Elphaba's wounds."
Harry suddenly thought of something Snape didn't know about Elphaba yet. He grinned wickedly at his professor. "Okay," Harry bounced off the bed and practically skipped to the door. "Enjoy." Harry shut the door, as both Snape and Elphaba stared at the space Harry had just been wondering if he was high on something.
"Well," Snape said to break the silence, "that was odd." Snape stood from the table and pulled out a large jar of healing salve. He walked over to Elphaba and set the jar down on the bedside table. Taking out his wand, Snape said a spell, and pointed it at his own throat. "Elphaba, I need to apply this salve to your wounds. It will speed up the healing process by days. Within three days, you will merely have scars. Will you allow me to apply it?"
Elphaba stared at him in shock. Not only could she understand his language, but she could also understand his intent, and as wonderful as it was to be able to communicate with him, she did not want him touching her like that.
"No," she said in a steely voice.
"Let me rephrase that. I need to put this lotion on your cuts or else they will become infected, and you will die a slow and painful death." Snape said matter-of-factly.
Elphaba mulled that over in her mind. "No!" she said more forcefully.
"Oh dear, we have come to an impasse. Well, it is either me or Harry. You choose." Snape smiled bitter-sweetly at her.
Harry stood listening at the door. He couldn't hear anything they said, but when he heard a loud "IYADA!" and a crash close to the door, he smiled evilly.
'I guess Snape just found out about Elphaba's extraordinary gift with wandless magic.' Harry thought as he snickered quietly.
An hour later, Snape came out looking more than a little flustered, his hair was out of place and his clothes were torn in places. Harry attempted to cover his laugh with a cough.
"What are you laughing at, Potter? You are the one who has to apply it next time, and the time after that, and the time after that. Make sure it is applied every day for the next three days." Snape said smugly.
"What!?" Harry's voice cracked, "Why? What will you be doing?"
"I have prior engagements which include school curriculums, potions for the infirmary, and the unfortunate situation of your nemesis being alive again. Therefore, I have to have a hand in taking him down again. Thank you very much. Besides, it looks suspicious; me coming here every day. People will start to wonder. And, I thought you wanted your stay here to be a secret." Snape looked at Harry and gave him an evil smile.
"I do." Harry answered the last statement weakly.
"Well, then. I will see you on September first at the Welcoming Feast. Do try to be a normal student and come without a grand entrance." Snape said as he started down the stairs.
"Wait! What about Elphaba? What will she do when I am off to school?" Harry asked desperately.
"I will leave that up to your genius mind to figure out. You are a bright young wizard, according to some, I am sure you'll think of something absolutely crazy." Snape said half turning around.
"What about my appearance?" Harry asked frantically. He didn't want to be left in charge of this woman's health all alone. "I still have brown hair."
"Well, I thought you would like not being the Harry Potter for a little while. It makes your staying here a secret that much easier anyway."
"Fine," Harry relented, "what if I need money? I can't go to my bank vault looking like this."
"I graciously left you a considerable sum on the table, and I already bought your books and a few others you might find interesting." He said pointedly.
"I don't want your charity money," Harry tried one more jibe to get his professor to stay.
"Too bad, it is already there. Plus, you said it yourself; you can't go to your vault looking like that." Harry couldn't think of any other thing that might keep his professor there any longer. "Well if that is all… I will be leaving. Good day, Potter." Snape walked down the stairs chuckling darkly to himself again.
Harry stared after Snape despondently. After a few minutes of working up some seemingly nonexistent Gryffindor courage, Harry walked back into his and Elphaba's room. Harry tried very hard not to make eye contact with Elphaba for about five minutes, but with her being the only other living being in the room, it was rather difficult. After five and a half minutes of him staring at the floor and Elphaba glaring daggers at him, he finally looked at her. He wished he hadn't. Was there a word that meant more angry than irate? He wondered. Harry gulped and walked meekly over to the bed.
"So, ah, ho…how'd… it go?" Harry asked timidly.
Elphaba watched Harry walk over to her after about five minutes of awkward silence. She couldn't tell if she were angrier at him or that man. On the one hand, that man saw things she would rather him not have seen. And on the other, Harry let it happen. She wondered briefly if she would be able to get up and slap Harry like she really wanted to; but she doubted it. Her tongue couldn't even move after some spell that that man placed on her. What was it? Pet… Petriiifiikasu toutaorisu? Something like that anyway.
Elphaba threw the man backward with her mind when he came closer to her with that jar of salve. Didn't he hear her? She said 'No.' She didn't want either of them spreading that stuff on her anywhere.
As soon as the man got to his feet after slamming into the wall, he had pointed his wand at her and said, 'Petriifikasu toutaorisu!' From that point on, she couldn't move a muscle; the only thing she could do was breathe and move her eyes. Her frustration and humiliation only got worse as time went on. By the end of the whole ordeal, she was very near tears of mortification and anger. She wanted nothing more than to throw the man out the window.
He said a few things to her that she ignored, and when she finally got the courage up to look at him again, he was walking out the door. She hoped she would never see him again.
Harry took her silence as being too angry to even attempt to talk to him; even in a foreign language, and walked over to the table. He saw the stack of books that Snape had bought for him. They all looked equally boring. Even the DADA textbook looked unbearably childish. 'I wonder what psycho-maniac is teaching this year.' Harry thought dully. He looked through the books anyway; for lack of other things to do. He was desperately trying to think of anything else other than what he had to do tomorrow morning.
'I would rather face off with Voldemort again than rub that salve on Elphaba's cuts. …Maybe he'll show up tonight and kill me so I won't have to worry about it.' Harry thought half-heartedly. Harry got to the last book and looked at the title. "Translation Charms: For the Idiots that Did Not Bother Learning Other Languages," Harry read to himself. "Boring…" Harry set the book back on the table, "That would be Hermione's kind of book." Harry sat at the table for another thirty seconds.
Elphaba lay on the bed wondering how long it would take Harry to figure out that she couldn't move and therefore not speak. She really had to go to the bathroom. She looked at Harry again. He had looked through the books and now sat there staring at them dully. Then he suddenly smacked his palm against his forehead, and quickly grabbed the last book up again. Elphaba worried for his mental health.
Harry flipped to the table of contents and skimmed the chapters.
Why Idiots Should Learn Languages the Hard Way First!
Ways to Translate Languages If Said Idiots are Too Lazy to be Academics
All the Different Languages One Could Have Learned the Hard Way
Separate Spells for Those Who Only Learned Halfway (Speaking but not Reading, Reading but not Speaking, etc)
Spells that Translate Everything for Those Who Refuse to Even Try Learning Anything
Spells for the Language Speaker Who Also Chose Not to Learn
Why it is Best to Learn Another Language Rather than Depend on Someone Else's Genius for the Rest of their Lives
And the patronizing list went on.
"Geez, did Snape write this book?" Harry wondered aloud. Harry looked at the author half expecting to see the greasy git's name. "Nope, some other snarky, sarcastic bastard wrote it." Harry looked at Elphaba, "Even when he's not here; he insults my intelligence." Elphaba's look seemed to say, 'What intelligence?' "Still mad at me I see. Come on it couldn't have been that bad…" Elphaba merely stared at him disgruntled. He thought about what he had just said. "Never mind, it could have been that bad." Harry turned back to the book. 'Chapters five and six sound promising…'
Half an hour later, Harry stood up and walked over to the bed with his wand. "Watch this…" he said. He pointed his wand at his throat and said one of the translation spells that he had learned from the book. Once he muttered the spell, he said, "Well, do you understand me?" Elphaba said nothing. She merely blinked. "I could have sworn I said it correctly," he whined as he looked at the book again. "I even moved my wand correctly."
Elphaba would have strangled him by now; if only she could MOVE! 'Come on, Harry. You have to notice sooner or later. Are you really that dim?' She thought desperately.
"He's only fifteen," Glinda said in her mind, "Give him some credit. He's doing the best he can. This is most likely not a walk in the park for him either."
'Well, while he's busy being 'slower than usual,' I'm going to make a mess on the bed.' Elphaba thought testily.
"Well, it sucks to be you then."
Harry was sitting at the table again, pouring over the book. He stood up to give the spell another go, when he noticed a piece of paper on the table. He picked it up and read it.
As you oh so graciously threw me under the bus when I said I needed to put healing salve on Elphaba, I found out something rather interesting about our new friend. She is quite good at wandless magic. Of course, being the perfect young man that you are, you allowed me to find out on my own. Because of the difficult situation I was made to endure, I had no choice but to place the Full-Body Bind Curse on her. When you deem it safe to take it off of her, please do so.
Harry stared at the letter for thirty seconds before he realized his mistake. He looked over at Elphaba who was staring at him annoyed. Harry meekly walked over to her again. He pointed at his throat, said the translation spell, and then pointed at her. He took off the curse, and stared at his shoes. As soon as he had taken off the curse, Elphaba closed her eyes and inhaled as deeply as she could.
"You must think I'm pretty stupid, huh?" Harry admitted.
"I have not made up my mind yet." Elphaba said in highly accented English.
Harry cleared his throat nervously; he liked it when they couldn't communicate. Suddenly, he felt very young and inexperienced compared to her. "Do you, ah, need anything?" He asked apprehensively.
Elphaba frowned at him and considered telling him her predicament. "Well, what else are you supposed to do? It's not like you can get up and walk." Glinda said matter-of-factly. "I have to use the restroom," she said as she stared at the ceiling. She didn't see Harry blush, but she did hear him say another spell. Instantly, she felt relieved. She looked at him, but Harry was now staring at the floor.
She didn't say anything to relieve him of his embarrassment. She felt like he deserved it. Then again, he could have just left her in that park yesterday. He could have left her to die rather than leave his home and nearly lose her in the process anyway. Elphaba sighed. She never really was good with children.
"Harry," She arched one of her eyebrows quizzically when he didn't look at her. "Harry, look at me, please." Harry glanced up at her, but didn't keep eye contact. "I know this will be difficult for both of us, but please let us not be awkward with each other." Harry finally looked at her. He had a glimmer of hope in his eyes. Elphaba felt the metaphorical ice around her heart crack a little. "I know for a fact that we will have more awkward moments," Harry wondered if she knew that he would be the one to put healing salve on her again, "but, I will try to be as cooperative as possible. Seeing as I cannot do much on my own."
'Nope, I don't think she knows about that bit of information. Did Snape conveniently forget to tell her?' Harry figured he would. 'Should I tell her now, and possibly ruin our bonding moment, or wait until later when she has gotten used to me?' Harry paled at the thought of having her yell at him the way she yelled at Snape.
"Harry," Elphaba noticed that Harry had gone pale. "Are you alright? Have you eaten anything today?"
Harry gulped a little and decided on later. "Um, yeah. I mean, yeah, I'm fine. Uh, no, I haven't eaten. Are you hungry? I can go get something from downstairs." Harry was already half-way to the door. Elphaba wondered at his sudden nervous behavior, but put it off as his way of dealing with their awkward friendship.
"Yes, I suppose I am," She answered slowly.
"Okay, well, I'll be right back then," Harry backed out the door and bolted down the stairs to get some food.
Later that day…
"What do you mean he's gone?!" yelled an irate Alaster Moody, on the steps of Number 4 Privet Drive.
"He left yesterday. I don't know where he is and I don't care. He just said he would never darken our doorstep again. Good day." Mr. Dursley slammed the door in Moody's face. Moody turned back to the group of witches and wizards standing behind him.
"Well, what now?" Tonks asked.
"I suppose we should go tell Albus." Moody said gruffly.
"Shouldn't we look for him first," mentioned Kingsley, "There aren't many places he could go."
"Sure, let's start at the Leaky Cauldron," the group Apparated on the spot.
No one noticed the little red beetle shaking from anticipation of her new headline.
The group went to the Leaky Cauldron and interrogated the barman; he said he knew nothing. They searched Diagon Alley thoroughly, and even went into Knockturn Alley. They also checked Hogsmeade just to say they had checked everywhere. When they didn't find him, they returned to Headquarters to deliver the bad news.
When they walked into the kitchen where everyone was waiting, everyone looked quite confused.
"Where's Harry?" asked Sirius.
"He's missing." Moody informed the room in general. Everyone waited for him to yell "Gotcha!" and have Harry burst into the room.
"What do you mean he's MISSING!?" Sirius yelled.
"MISSING!?" Many people yelled at once.
"Quiet down, please." Professor Albus Dumbledore said from the head of the table, "Alastor, let's hear it from the top, if you please."
"Thank you, Albus. We went to Privet Drive to pick up Potter when his oaf of an uncle opened the door, took one look at us, and said, 'He's not here.' He attempted to shut the door in our faces, but I stopped him and told him to elaborate. Dursley only said that he left yesterday with the intention of never coming back to the house again. And, that's it."
"We searched Diagon Alley, Knockturn Alley, and Hogsmeade, but he was nowhere to be found." Tonks added.
"Interesting that Potter did not let any of us know that he was leaving." Snape commented from the corner, "I would have thought if he planned to meet anyone, he would have let them know." He looked pointedly at Hermione and Ron.
"Harry hasn't contacted us in days." Hermione said to the room at large. Ron nodded in agreement.
"Then perhaps Potter does not wish to be found," Snape said matter-of-factly. Snape missed the questioning look Minerva McGonagall gave him.
"Impossible. Harry knows he's at risk if he goes off on his own. He wouldn't let us worry over him like this." Sirius denied.
"Well, perhaps he got fed up with being left out, and went off to finish the Dark Lord on his own so as to prove himself; how very Gryffindor of him." Snape commented dryly.
"Shut your trap, Snivellus!" Sirius yelled. Snape opened his mouth to retaliate.
"Gentlemen, please." Albus spoke up before they came to blows, "If Harry is in trouble, I am sure he will let us know when he can. Until then, we will search every place he would willingly go to until we get some information about him. Miss Granger, Mr. Weasley, and Miss Weasley, will you kindly send letters to Harry and let him know of our concern."
"Of course, Headmaster," they chorused and walked out of the kitchen.
"Well, I suppose we all should start looking." Albus dismissed them all and went back to his office via Floo.
Snape had almost made it to the door when McGonagall called him back. "Yes, Minerva, what is it?"
"Severus, I would like to have a word with you in private," Minerva gestured to an adjacent room. He opened his mouth to say he needed to be somewhere. "Now," she interjected. He grudgingly followed her into the room. She waved her wand to sound proof the room and turned to face him.
"Where is he, Severus?" Minerva asked.
"Where is who?" Severus played dumb.
"Harry Potter. If you didn't know where he was, you would be just as frantic as Black; for other reasons of course. He is Lily's son after all."
"You are implying that I know of Mr. Potter's whereabouts?" Snape played along.
"Yes, I am. Now, where is he?"
"I don't know what you're talking about." Snape answered smoothly.
"I think you do. And, I will go straight to Albus if you don't tell me where Harry is now. Then, you will have to deal with him instead of just little old me." Severus thought about his options.
"Hypothetically, say I did know where he was. If he was in danger, do you think I would let you know?"
Minerva studied him briefly, "Yes, I think you would." Snape smiled briefly at her.
"Then it is settled. Have a nice night, Minerva." Snape swept out of the room and out into London's cool late-summer's air.
The next day
Harry Potter is MISSING!
"Oh, look I made the front page again. Well, now Voldemort knows for sure that I am vulnerable, if only he could find me." Harry laughed at his own joke. He still looked like someone else.
"I wouldn't joke about things like that," Elphaba said in her accented English. "You might just curse yourself."
"I've already been cursed." Harry stated.
"Baka," Elphaba sighed. Yesterday, after they had had breakfast, Harry proceeded to tell Elphaba his life story. She found it very interesting and distressing at times. She realized he hated attention as much as she did, and got it, unwillingly, for different reasons. They were more alike than she had originally thought. However, when he had asked about her life, she refused to say much except that her father was a lot like Harry's uncle. After Harry had worked up the courage, he asked who Fiyero was, but Elphaba just looked away with a very sad face. Nevertheless, Harry was so overjoyed to have made such good friends with Elphaba that he couldn't find the motivation to kill the mood by telling her about their impending predicament the next morning.
So, now he sat at eight o'clock the next morning twiddling his thumbs nervously, trying to work up some more nonexistent courage to bring up the subject. He had set the jar on the bedside table next to her before she woke up; hoping she would notice it during breakfast. If she had noticed it, she didn't say anything. Now, they sat in another awkward silence.
Elphaba was getting fed up with the silence. She remembered when she would have rather sat in silence than talk to someone. But, after making friends with Glinda, she found she couldn't stand the silence between them. She could tell Harry wanted, perhaps needed to tell her something, but was too anxious to tell her.
"What is it, Harry? You have sat there fidgeting for almost half an hour, just tell me." Harry looked at her with a very red face. 'Why is he blushing?' She wondered; slightly on edge.
Harry had to clear his throat a couple times before he could make himself speak. "I, uh, have to, um, put that… thatstuffonyou." He waved in the general direction of the jar. Elphaba stared at him.
"Sorry, I did not understand that last part." She had an uneasy feeling start up in the pit of her stomach.
"I…" Harry took a deep breath, "I have to put that healing salve on your wounds. Like Snape did yesterday." He explained a little more slowly. He dreaded what would happen next. He braced himself for impact. He even closed his eyes so he couldn't see it coming.
Elphaba watched him as he closed his eyes and tensed. Had she heard him correctly? He needed to put that healing paste stuff on her wounds. Like what that man, Snape, did yesterday? 'Can my life get any worse?' she wondered briefly.
"It could. Don't forget, you said you would cooperate with him." Glinda reminded her.
'You come up at the most inopportune times, you know that. Besides, I didn't realize Harry would have to… you know.' Elphaba shot back at her friend.
"Yes, you did." Glinda said, "Snape told you yesterday, you just refused to accept the fact, so you forgot. But, if you would try to remember, he did tell you, and he said a few other things as well. But, let's just focus on Harry's predicament for now."
Elphaba did remember, unfortunately. She also recalled her promise, and she never backed down from her word. She sighed; resigned.
"Well, let's get this over with then." Harry looked at her shocked. "I said I would cooperate, did I not?"
"Yes, but…" Harry stuttered. He was sure she would refuse to let him come near her.
"But nothing, Harry." She sighed again. "I said I would cooperate, and I never go back on my word. You will understand of course, if I do not talk to you for the rest of the day, or at least for a couple of hours." Elphaba couldn't help but tense a little when he walked over to her.
"I understand. I might just make myself scarce for a couple of hours too." Harry gulped as he took the lid off the jar and looked at her again. He couldn't help it; he blushed.
"How many times do we have to do this?" Elphaba dreaded his answer.
"Two more days after today," Harry answered. Harry was unsure of what to do. Where should he start? He felt slightly ill.
Elphaba just had to know the answer to what was running through her mind at the moment. "Harry…" he looked at her, "have you ever seen a naked woman before?" Harry blushed.
"No," he whispered. "I mean… I have an idea… I mean, um, …"
"That is all I wanted to know. The only surprise you may get, is that yes, I am green everywhere," She just had to put that out there. If he, like any other normal boy, could and had imagined what a naked woman looked like, then this could be relatively painless, just totally and completely embarrassing for both of them. "Well…"
"Well…" Harry repeated her awkwardly. "What should I do first?"
"You could start by helping me out of my clothes." Elphaba suggested. She tried to be as accommodating as possible.
After two very painfully awkward hours, Elphaba was dressed again. And Harry was kneeling next to her on the bed, only he wasn't looking at her. He was staring at the wall on the other side of the room. Elphaba felt like she should say something to him, but she was just as dazed as him. What could she say? Good job? No. Just think we get to do it all over again tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. Definitely not. Nothing at all? Well…
"Well," Harry started after he got over the blankness that had settled in his mind. "What now?"
"Seeing as I cannot move; not much," Elphaba said just to make conversation.
"Yeah, and I should probably avoid going out in public even if I don't look like myself." 'Tap, tap.'
Both Harry and Elphaba looked at the window. 'Thank Merlin, a distraction.' Harry thought relieved. Ron's owl Pigwidgeon was flying in front of the glass. He was carrying what looked like five different letters.
"It's about time they sent me some letters. I was beginning to think they had forgotten me again." Harry walked over to the window and let the hyper little owl in. Pigwidgeon flittered around the ceiling some before Harry could get him to come down. Once he had, Harry took the letters off the owl's leg and gave it some scraps from his leftover breakfast.
"Who are they from?" Elphaba asked curiously. Harry looked at the names.
"My friends, my godfather, and my best friend's mom," Harry answered as he tore open the letter from Sirius. "Dear Harry," he read aloud. "Where are you? What are you doing? Are you safe? I'm worried about you. You need to contact me right away so that I can come get you. You would be safer with me. Please don't ignore my letter. Love, Padfoot." Elphaba cocked her head to the side at the writer's name. "It's a nickname; I will explain later. Next."
Harry opened another letter. "This one's from my friend's mom, Mrs. Weasley. 'Harry, what do you think you are doing? You know you are not safe on your own. You need to contact us as soon as you are able. With all my love, Mrs. Weasley."
"She seems to care a great deal for you," Elphaba commented.
"Yeah, I'm like a son to her, even though she already has six sons and one daughter." Elphaba stared at him in shock. "It's a lot of kids I know. Sometimes, I wonder how they get by. Next, ah, this one's from Ginny Weasley, my friend's little sister; the youngest of the Weasley family. 'Harry, are you out of your mind. You-know-who is out there looking for you, and you just go off on your own. It's definitely one of your more stupid ideas.'
"Next, is from Ron Weasley; my best friend. 'Harry, have you gone bloody insane? You have a psychopathic, mass-murdering, dark wizard looking for you, and you just up and leave one of the safest places for you to be. Not smart, Harry. By the way, Mum's in tears, Hermione is irate, and Sirius and Remus are deciding whether to go out and look for you, Aurors or no. Hope you are safe, and write back. Ron.'" Harry put down Ron's letter and picked up the last one, from Hermione. "This last one is from my other best friend, Hermione Granger. 'Harry, what are you up to? I know you wouldn't leave Privet Drive, unless it was for a really good reason. So, what are you hiding from us? Everyone is frantic. Professor Dumbledore and the others are really worried. Although, Professor Snape didn't seem too worried, and Professor McGonagall noticed too, I think, because I saw her talking privately with him. I didn't hear what they said, but I could see your name on their lips a lot. I think he knows something the rest of us don't. Harry, what is going on? Hermione.'"
"She is a quick one," Elphaba praised. "She has already figured that there is something amiss."
"Yeah, I would have been surprised if she hadn't thought of something already. What should I do? Should I send them a letter?"
"They are your friends, Harry. That is your decision. However, if it were me, I would send them a letter. If you do not want to join them wherever they are, you do not have to tell them where we are. But, if you do want to join them, I understand," when Elphaba said this last sentence, she looked away from him. She didn't want to be left alone again, but she would completely understand if Harry chose his friends over her; especially after this morning. She was too much trouble; she always had been.
Elphaba heard rather than saw Harry get some paper of his own and start writing. For half an hour, she just laid on the bed waiting for Harry to get done writing. When he was finished he walked over to Elphaba and held out his letter.
"Could you proofread it for me?" Elphaba took the paper and looked at it. She couldn't read it.
"Sorry Harry, but I cannot read it." she gave the paper back to him.
"Oh, well, I will just read it out loud then," Harry cleared his throat. "Everyone, I am sorry to have caused you so much worry. Please, take comfort in knowing that I am safe where I am, and I have taken as many precautions as possible to be safe. I plan to attend school on September first, so I will see Ron, Hermione, Ginny, the twins, and the professors at school. Mrs. Weasley, Padfoot, Remus and everyone else, I will probably see you all during Christmas Holidays. I hope you all are well. Love, Harry."
Harry put the letter down and looked at Elphaba, "What do you think?"
"It is good, I suppose," Elphaba gave a shy but grateful smile. "Are you sure you want to do this? Stay with me, I mean?"
"Sure, I would rather be here with you having some fun before school than anywhere else."
"Fun? You call staying cooped up with me in this little room for another few weeks fun?"
"Well, it won't be exhilarating, but I can take the time to teach you everything you need to know about wizardry and witchcraft. You can already do wandless magic, magic with your mind, but I thought it would be helpful to know what the rest of us can do. Plus, I need to figure out a way for you to be able to communicate with everyone else; not just me. Not everyone in the wizarding community will be able to cast that spell I use to talk to you."
"You make a good point. I just have one question, why would I need to communicate with anyone else?"
"Well, since you will be coming to Hogwarts with me, I figured you would want to be able to talk to other people."
"I see. And, what, pray tell, will I be doing at your school? I do believe I am too old to attend your school as a student."
"Yeah, I haven't thought that far ahead yet. I'm sure we'll think of something. We have… two weeks. Are you game?"
"Are you willing to go along with my crazy plan?" Elphaba nodded because she honestly didn't have any other options, "Okay, well, first thing I am going to do is go to the bookstore and try to find a book on translation charms that work for everyone else."
"Alright. I will just wait here then," Elphaba made herself comfortable as Harry attached the letter to Hedwig's foot and sent her out the window. Then he grabbed the money Snape had given him and walked to the door. Harry turned to Elphaba,
"I'll be back as soon as possible."
Two hours later, Harry came back through the door carrying a single book. He looked over at Elphaba; she had fallen asleep. He tiptoed over to the table and started reading through his new book on translation charms.
Five year old Elphaba played with her little sister Nessa. They were playing with some dolls that their father, Frexspar, had given to them to play with. Frexspar sat in another room writing another sermon. He decided he would preach about loving everyone no matter how different they were. Of course, he could use 'it' as the perfect example for his flock. He just started on his conclusion when he heard his little Nessa scream. He jumped out of his chair and ran to the other room. When he got to the door, he stared in shock. Little Nessa was dangling from her wheelchair eleven feet in the air, and his eldest daughter was sitting on the floor clutching a doll to her chest as she stared up in amazement and alarm.
Frexspar leapt forward just as Nessa fell from the chair. He got under her and caught her before she could hit the floor. Nessa was sobbing and barely able to breathe. He set her down on the table and cupped her cheeks with his large hands.
"Sweetie, tell Daddy what happened. Please…"
Nessa sniffled, "Elphaba and I were playin' and I want'd to play with a doll that Elphie was playin' with. I asked her for it, but she said no. I asked again, and she said no. I wanted to play with it so I grabbed it. Then I was up in the air. I was so scared, Daddy." Nessa started crying again.
"It's okay, honey. It's okay. I'll make everything better, okay?" There was a tremendous crash as Nessa's wheelchair fell to the floor. Frexspar wheeled around to glare at his monster of a daughter. "You," he said forcefully, "don't move. You stay right there." Frexspar lifted his little Nessa, carried her to her room, and laid her on the bed. "Daddy will be right back. He's going to go talk to your big sister and ask her for the doll, okay?"
"Okay, Daddy." Frexspar smiled, kissed Nessa's forehead, and walked down the stairs. Before he entered the dining room, he took off his leather belt and folded it into a loop in his hand. Then he marched into the room. He saw that she had not moved, but tears were already staining her ugly cheeks.
"I'm… mm… sor…sorry, Daddy." Elphaba said shakily from the floor. "I didn't mean to. It was an accident."
"Shut your mouth, you WITCH! Not only do you plague this family with your ugly, monstrous skin, but you fiddle with sorcery too! Your father is a preacher, and you shame me and the rest of this family with your… HELLISH ways!" he waved the belt menacingly as he raged.
"I'm sorry." Elphaba whispered tearfully. She had backed against the adjacent wall.
"Get over here now. I am going to teach you what happens to little girls who practice sorcery." Elphaba didn't move. "NOW!" Frexspar yelled as he slapped the belt down on the table next to him. It made a resounding slap. Elphaba flinched, but climbed to her feet and started walking toward him. She was nearly sobbing, and he hadn't even started yet. He had no sympathy for her. When she was standing in front of him, he grabbed her long black hair, forced her back to him, and raised the belt. "You are an abomination; I wish you had never been born." He slammed the belt down on her small back.
Eighteen years later…
Elphaba looked on in horror as the witch-hunters strapped Fiyero to a pole, and lit the surrounding brush on fire. The flames leapt up toward him, as he struggled to pull free. She tried to yank herself away from the men holding her, but she couldn't get away. When she started struggling, they would hit her and force her to her knees. They would make sure she had no strength left to fight, just like her father did when he would hit her.
Elphaba whipped her head up when she heard a terrified scream; Fiyero's clothes had just lit on fire and were being eaten away by the flames. His straw body caught fire at that point and he screamed even louder. As the flames licked at him, Fiyero looked straight at Elphaba and screamed,
"This is your fault, you Witch! If you had…any power at all, you would… save me! But, you are weak, you always were, you… FREAK!" Fiyero stared at her with hatred in his eyes as he burned. Elphaba couldn't look away from those cold, unloving eyes. They were exactly like her father's and everyone else's in the crowd. She felt frozen; she couldn't even fight as the men strapped her to a pole and lit the fire. Only when she felt the flames lick at her skin, did she scream.
Elphaba screamed and sat up in the bed. She was confused. Where was she, why wasn't she burning? She saw movement out of the corner of her eye. She immediately threw her magic out and forced the being away from her. She huddled against the bed frame as she tried to make sense of everything in her fogged mind.
"Elphaba…Elphaba, it's alright. It's just me, it's Harry." Elphaba looked over at the person she had slammed against the wall. The boy looked shocked, but didn't seem angry at all; nothing like the people in her…dream. Elphaba gasped and let Harry down. She was breathing hard and she could feel tears on her cheeks. She didn't dare move to wipe them away; he would notice and only think her… weaker than she already was.
"Harry…I am… sorry. It was accident, I didn't mean to," Her own words echoed in her mind as she remembered using that exact phrase with her father. She looked down at the sheets around her; she couldn't look him in the eyes. She couldn't stop the tears from falling down her face, but she really wanted to.
"It's okay." Elphaba felt Harry sit next to her on the bed. He reached for her hand. She tried to snatch it away, but he caught it with surprisingly quick reflexes, and curled his fingers around her hand. She let her hand lay limp in his for a few seconds, but relented and wrapped her own fingers around his hand. He scooted a little closer to her, and she inched away. He tried to make eye contact with her, but she ducked her head. She was still crying. "I know what it is like to have a bad dream and wake up scared and confused. I've had plenty. Like I said yesterday, last year a friend of mine was killed right before my eyes and I wasn't quick enough to save him. …It's entirely my fault. My head felt like it was splitting open, I knew that we were in trouble, and I told him to run, to get away. But, he was too preoccupied with me and my stupid pain to defend himself. He stood up to defend us both from the bad guys, but without my help, he was no match for them. He was killed instantly and I couldn't lift a finger to help…" Harry trailed off.
Elphaba stared at the sheets in her lap. She still refused to look at Harry; he had been so helpful to her, and he didn't even know anything about her. She felt ashamed and tremendously sad. Elphaba hated that she couldn't put more trust in the one person that helped her without even hesitating.
"I am truly… sorry, Harry," she noticed that Harry had started rubbing circles on the back of her hand unconsciously in an attempt to comfort her. She remembered Fiyero would do that all the time, when she started to doubt herself and her cause. He would hold her and tell her everything would turn out fine in the end. But, he would never do that again. New tears filled Elphaba's eyes as she remembered his cold stare from her dream. Harry wrapped his arms around her shoulders to hold her as she cried.
Elphaba let him hold her for one minute before she pulled away abruptly, turned her back toward him, and lay down on her side. "Please, do not hold me like that… it reminds me of…"
"Of Fiyero." Harry finished for her. She felt guilt well up in her chest at his sad tone. After a minute or two, she felt Harry's hand on her arm. He rubbed gently from her shoulder to her elbow and back again. She knew he meant for it to comfort her. "You don't have to think of it that way." He said hesitantly behind her. "You could think of it as an annoying younger brother showing rare sympathy and love for his bossy older sister." Elphaba couldn't help but give a small derisive snort at the thought. She heard Harry sigh. He got up and walked to the table. She couldn't see him but she heard him fiddling with something.
Then she saw him walk to her side of the bed and duck down below the bed. He stopped in front of her on the bed, but she couldn't see him. "Harry, what are you…" Harry popped up and nearly gave Elphaba a heart attack. She moved away from him on the bed, "Harry, what…" she tried again.
"This is what I wore to the bookstore. What do you think?" he asked in a proud voice. "Thought of it on my own, I did." Elphaba stared at him. He was wearing a long cloak that covered him from neck to foot, a creepy old man's hat that was checkered, a painfully obvious fake mustache, and dark sunglasses.
"You look like you are about to flash someone." She said astonished. "That, or you are a child molester trying not to be noticed. Harry, please tell me you are joking, and you did not go into public like that. If you did, we need to have a serious talk about fashion and what vibes are given off by what clothes. Sweet Oz, I sounded exactly like Glinda."
"I'm so proud…" Glinda wiped away tears of joy from her cheeks.
"You're one to talk about fashion and vibes. You are green, and wear black clothing. In the muggle world, you would be a witch. Or, someone who wants to be a witch."
Harry's words rang so true with Elphaba's father's words that she was shaken out of her momentary happiness, and reminded unpleasantly of her dream. She frowned and looked away.
"What? What is it?" Harry leaned down next to her and tried looking at her again. "What did I say?" She shied away from him. Harry sighed and plopped down next to her, mustache and all. He threw his arm around her and held her in a half hug. She sat very tense next to him. "Now…" She looked at him when he didn't finish. What she saw made her smile shyly and look away quickly, she almost laughed a little. Harry had been looking at her from over his sunglasses in a mock serious way. "You tell little brother all about it and I will try to give you some advice. If I can't give you good advice, which is likely because I am the idiot younger brother, at least you will have let yourself vent about your… troubles." Harry waited for her to decide.
"If I refuse to tell you anything…" she started.
"I am not moving from this position until we make some mentally healing progress. Granted, I am no psychologist, but I am a good listener when it comes to helping my friends." Elphaba relaxed a little in his arms. He had just admitted that they were friends.
"Well," she started, "the first part was really a memory, because it did happen, multiple times. The second part was a memory and a nightmare combined, I suppose." Harry waited for her to continue. Elphaba guessed he didn't want to force her into anything; he would let her take her time, like a good friend. "I was five years old playing with my little sister, Nessa…."
Harry held Elphaba two hours later as she cried quietly. She wasn't cuddled up against his chest; she was leaning into his side just below his shoulder with her head turned slightly toward his chest. Her hands were clutching parts of his shirt and the sheets as she let out her grief and mental pain.
After Elphaba had told Harry about her dream, she told him about every other prominent experience in her life so far. She told him about more abuse from her father and her father's favoritism for Nessa. She told him about how she was treated like a monster all her life because of her appearance. He learned about Glinda and Fiyero and the good things they had brought into her life for the first time. She told him of how she was tricked into doing something terrible and was then shunned and hunted for things she hadn't done.
She was beside herself with grief when she told him about how all of her good intentions with magic always ended in disaster, such as Boq's transformation, Nessa's eventual death, and Fiyero's torture and death. Everything seemed okay after Fiyero had come back as a scarecrow and she had made everyone believe she was dead, but their happiness was short-lived.
Somehow, the people of Oz had found out she was still alive, so they hunted her. She and Fiyero were forced to live on the run. Fiyero claimed to not mind, but she could tell he was… frustrated. They were almost to the border of Oz, when the witch-hunters finally caught them. Since they couldn't physically hurt Fiyero and punish him for aiding a fugitive, they made him watch as they tortured Elphaba for the "crimes" she had committed. In the end, they decided to burn both of them and be rid of both of them. From there, Harry knew the rest.
Harry stared at the wall as he mulled over all the information he was given. Elphaba had stopped crying in earnest and was sniffling quietly. He would have moved to get her a tissue, but he didn't want to let go of her. Somehow, he knew that letting go of her at that moment would not be good for either of them, especially her. So, he stayed put.
They sat there for hours; Elphaba had stopped crying hours ago and was just sitting in silence. Harry had no idea what she was thinking, but he hoped it wasn't anything too negative. At about six o'clock in the evening, Harry's stomach grumbled loudly in the quiet room. Elphaba startled slightly at the sudden noise, but relaxed again just as quickly.
"I am sorry." Her voice was quiet and hoarse. "I…"
"You don't need to apologize."Harry said quickly but quietly, he didn't want her to get the wrong impression from his voice. "You needed to do what you did. Crying, grieving, sharing, and stuff; I'm glad you did anyway. I feel like I know you a whole lot better, and I will be that much more help if and when this happens again, because I already know about your… experiences." Elphaba didn't respond. When it was clear she wouldn't, Harry just sat with her a little while longer. His stomach growled even louder after another five minutes. Harry sighed, "Listen, I don't know how you feel about me knowing everything about your life, but I know that I am glad to be your friend and someone you can trust. I wouldn't give up this time together for the world… big sister." Harry saw Elphaba smile sadly at the title he had just given her. He knew she was thinking of Nessa.
"Thank you…" she stopped when Harry's stomach rumbled again. Harry sighed. "Thank you for everything. I think I will be able to cope better now, at least. …You had better go get some food," she tried to make herself sound more teasing than she felt, "You are still a growing young man. Go get some food for both of us before we starve to death, little brother."
"Yes, bossy." Harry grinned and walked out the door. Elphaba sighed depressed. She felt absolutely drained, but her shoulders felt a little lighter than they did before.