Disclaimer: I don't own the Avengers or Harry Potter, but...Skyfall was the greatest James Bond Movie ever!
The Morning's Martyr
It was the ache.
An ache so deep, reaching to the core of your bones and your body and everything that you are that consumed you in your darkness.
But not even the darkness could survive the despair. It was like a thick poison, festering and leeching in your very soul, filling it full with such unbearable anguish that it was left hollow. An empty shell, rotted in the middle from a black disease, a tar that dripped and stretched and burned everything it's inky hands could grasp.
It was burning you.
It was- is- burning and blistering away at everything that is you and everything that isn't. It doesn't make a difference.
Worse than the ache and the despair and the hollow soul and the burning tar that blisters, is the silence. The silence is filled with noise; you're sure of this- you can hear the pain, the sorrow, the screams, and the cries. You can feel it poundingthuddingbashingbeating against your brain in a steady rhythm of chaos.
But the sound is gone. It's there…but it's gone.
He took it away when He left; when you forced Him to leave, when you killed Him - did you really kill him? - He took the noise and the smell and the taste and the touch and the sight.
You feel everything. But there is nothing there.
It is the ache.
So you search for it, you search for 'it' whatever it is. You don't know but suddenly something else fills the nothingness. And you can feel it. So you look and you look and when He pushes against you, you force Him away. He's not gone, He's never gone, but you can almost feel 'it' touching you, an outstretched hand beckoning you just inches more forward.
And then…'its' there, flashing and swirling in the hollowness. The darkness comes back first, suffocating, but it passes quickly and then there's more. And then you remember.
Rubble was everywhere. Dull grey clumps spotted with small spots of color that blended together in a collage of throbbing, unsteady dyes. Some rang brighter than others. The fierce red stood, strong and unwavering alongside with the warm and soothing brown. The glazed silver flickered and swayed with strength, dancing to a soundless tune while the deep green flared bright with courage, wavering, but never fading.
But then that strange harmony faded too, and the red and brown bled to grey- an ugly, spotted grey with splotches of a reddish brown dotting throughout its depths.
Then even the grey swirled and changed, moving like a streamlined river into the air, out of the end of a singing golden statue.
It froze, hanging forever unchanging and cold like death, in an arch. The sound disappeared through the way, all of the noises, all of them - but the voices.
The voices still sang.
They beckoned you from the arch. You waited though, waited for the red and brown to call you back. They had before, with warm comforting voices full of sound that cut through the silent ache. But there was only grey. And the ache grew. The voices called you again.
So you went.
But the ache never left. It just stayed, filling you so full of emptiness.
And now the emptiness takes the fake colors still dancing in the hollow space. It takes the arch and it takes the rubble and the pictures and the sounds once more. It takes and takes and takes until nothing is left. It even takes Him.
So you smile, or at least you think you do- you can't remember what 'smile' was. It sounds nice though, so you decide to keep it, locking away the tune in the empty space left over. It should fit, there's plenty of room now. Maybe you can fit some more sounds, beautiful ones that sway and flow like the Silver.
You don't know how long you play your sound, that single note in an unending tone. But you play long enough for the voices to come back, the gentle ones that beckoned you on to another world. No pain, they whisper. No ache. No screaming quiet.
The voices drown out everything else until even the hollows are gone. And when it leaves, a last song of despair crying out, you open your eyes to new stars.
Mary hesitated, her hand resting just inches away from the door.
She didn't want to disturb him. He looked more peaceful than she had ever seen him, in all the weeks that he'd been here. He was sitting there, his back resting against the wall and hands lying lightly in his lap. It would almost seem as if he were half asleep already, that is, if his sharp, emerald green eyes weren't focused intently, almost hungrily on the world just outside the window.
She sighed, her hand dropping away. Despite his relaxed body language, the eyes made it obvious where he'd rather be, where he'd tried, on a number of occasions, to be. They always gave him away.
"You can come in you know."
The soft voice startled her, and Mary blushed, embarrassed, but still ducked into the room clutching her clipboard to her chest. "Sorry John, you looked so tired, I didn't want to disturb you," she said quietly.
He blinked, an odd sort of looking briefly passing across his pale face, before he swung his head towards her and smiled brightly. "It's Harry." He corrected. "At least I think its Harry," he furrows his brows, as if slightly puzzled. "It sounds better than John anyways," he finally dismissed with a wry smile.
Mary gasped softly, excitement rising for the young man- Harry- in front of her. "That's great J-Harry; your memory is finally coming back!"
But Harry shook his head, a disappointed grimace on his face. "No, it's not coming back, at least not really." Mary saw his eyes flicker back out the window again. "I just passed a hot dog stand the other day, I was kind of hungry, so I stopped and I saw the name Harry on the side, 'Harry's Hotdogs'," he smiled dryly, "Ever since then, it just kind of stuck with me, couldn't get the sound of the name out of my head."
She saw the glazed, far away film creep into his eyes. Her granddad had a similar look every time he started talking about her mom again. But unlike Grandpa Max, Harry- as usual- didn't seem to be looking at something far away at all. With his head cocked slightly to the side, it looked more like he had simply given up on seeing completely, and was instead trying desperately to listen to some lost, echoing sound.
"Harry. It has a nice ring to it after all, don't you think?" He continued absently.
Mary smiled at him, the one she reserved for her brother and for this young man who reminded her so much of Greg. "Yeah, it does sound better than John, but no memories at all yet? Not even a last name to get rid of that John Doe entirely?"
The bleak and miserable look on Harry's face almost broke her heart. He seemed so young whenever this happened, even younger than his already youthful and slim appearance suggested. He tried to hide it as much as possible from her, she knew, but she still saw it every now and again when Harry thought she wasn't looking.
"No," he said quietly, "still no memory. I told you, I just thought Harry sounded nice- familiar."
Mary didn't know what to say to that. Despite everything she tried to do for her patients, she was never very good at talking with them, a quality she so desperately wished she could have. She was almost jealous of the other nurses she saw toting around and chatting happily with old men about their glory days, blushing when they tried to be charming and giggling at their jokes.
It had been no different when she first met the strange boy sitting just a few feet away from her, lost in the summer day outside.
But unlike most of the patients in the long term ward, Harry never bothered with making too much conversation. When he had been first admitted, beaten and bloody, Harry hadn't spoken a word. Mary supposed that the initial shock of waking up to a strange place, with apparently absolutely no memories of anything that happened before, had taken the voice right out of him. But for the rest of the week, Harry, admitted as one John Doe, never uttered a word.
So Mary requested to be his nurse. It seemed like the perfect match to her. She would be able finally just enjoy her job of doing everything she possibly could to help the young man without worry of conversation, and he would probably appreciate her silence as well, no constant badgering questions about a past he didn't remember.
She already knew that a few of her fellow nurses had hoped to ask him about his past, after all, what was a teenager doing in the middle of central park beaten at midnight? But when they hadn't been given the opportunity, they had badgered her. Mary, with somewhat of a guilty pleasure, had icily told the nurses off and proceeded to admonish their curiosity. It can't have been easy losing all of your memories and the last thing Harry needed was a million and one questions about it.
But when Harry saw her the next day he had told her she had a beautiful voice and asked her to use it more often, obviously overhearing her scathing remarks. He even went as far as to offer himself up as a test subject to practice conversation as long as she would talk.
"I'm sorry, Harry, for bugging you about it," she said hesitantly, "You probably don't want to be reminded."
Harry gave her a sympathizing look, "It's not a problem Mary, and you weren't being rude, don't worry." She blushed again. "It's not exactly progress, but I'm sure you just wanted to see if you could help get anything else out of it." He grinned mischievously. "Now all you need to do is tell me that's what you were doing. You're getting a lot better at talking."
Mary ducked her head, embarrassed. "Yeah, well, only because you're willing to suffer through being my test dummy."
Harry studied the shy woman standing in front of him, awkwardly shuffling her feet at his praise. Mary Bryce did have a beautiful voice. It was soft and melodic, if a little stuttering at times. She was perhaps the sweetest person he had met so far, not that he'd met many being cooped up in the hospital for going on a month. And he didn't really have anyone nice to compare her to from memory, did he?
"You probably have other patients to check on before you leave, right?" He reminded her. Mary blinked, looking at the time. Harry knew she only had three other patients left on her rotation for the day other than him. Add that to the fact that it was Saturday, and it meant she only had about thirty minutes or so before her afternoon shift was over.
"Oh, I completely forgot." She snatched the clipboard from the table and scrawled something on it quickly. "I'm sorry I didn't get to talk with you more Harry, but I really have to go." Mary frowned apologetically.
Harry nodded. He would like for her to stay too. Mary always managed to make him feel- not so lost he guessed, or alone in the hospital. It was a special quality that just hung about in the air around her, matching her voice perfectly. "Yeah, it's okay though. Have a nice Saturday."
Mary left the room, leaving him once again to stare out the window. Harry- it was an interesting sounding name wasn't it?- was sure he wouldn't be here come Monday when Mary had her morning shift. The injuries he had been rushed into this small New York hospital with had mostly healed by now. The only reasons he had stayed was for the food, which admittedly wasn't that worth it, and for his memory, which turned out just slightly less worth it than the food.
His Doctor, Dr. Halbert, had told him that in cases such as his it had most likely been a trauma to the head that caused him to forget everything. They had quickly ruled out a repression of the events that caused his injuries to be the cause of his amnesia; that would have only wiped out his short term memory.
Harry couldn't remember anything.
Not his age, his name, his birthday, or even what color his eyes had been before looking in a mirror. It had been terrifying to wake up, shivering and cold, surrounded by strangers asking him a million questions he hadn't known the answers to.
It was determined he had been mugged, viciously. He had long knife wounds covering his body, some still bleeding, and numerous bruises stretching over his skin. His wallet and driver's license, if he'd ever even had either, were missing so the police and hospital had no way of identifying him. So an extended stay in the hospital and blunt force trauma it was.
But the doctor's never found anything wrong with his head to back it up. There was no swelling, no bruising, nothing to suggest he should have any sort of memory loss. There wasn't even anything genetic.
But there was something that filled in for his memories, if only temporary. The voices. When Harry had first become aware of the people surrounding him, grabbing and touching and asking too many questions, the voices had sung in his head, like tiny melodies that whispered things to him.
But they weren't just voices. Sometimes they were the tones, when people would talk to him it was all he could do to just listen to their voice, sounding so unique to each person. And, as he soon came to realize, they matched everything about who a person was and even who they hoped to be - like Mary with her sweet song of soothing that ached to take away pain.
And then, sometimes they were melodies. These were the strangest because, apparently, Harry was the only one who could hear them. The first time he mentioned the sound of New York, its thrumming excitement, Mary had given him the strangest look. He realized then that he was the only one who could hear it. Harry was almost inclined to call himself crazy.
But the songs and the voices helped him, they took away his panic when he felt it swelling up inside, -when the doctor would ask his age, when they would ask how he got the scar on his forehead they would always start ringing in his head. He would just close his eyes and let them carry him away, ignoring the sights and feelings around him in favor of the calm they brought.
If he was honest with himself though - was he even an honest person before? - Harry would admit he was still terrified out of his mind. Where was he supposed to go, did he have any family, how was he supposed to start living with nothing to go on?
All of these questions plagued him every second of every day for the past weeks, every time he thought of leaving. He might be a completely wiped clean slate, but he couldn't legally be kept confined at the hospital. But did he really want to leave? With nowhere to go?
Harry listened out the window again, to all the noises and bird songs and the sounds of cars from the city outside. It was a wonderfully odd harmony.
Yes, he did want to leave. He'd find some way to survive out there, even with his lack of virtually anything and everything; he knew he needed to leave. The almost suffocating silence of the hospital was driving him up the wall and not even Mary's wonderful voice would hold him over for much longer.
So he stood, still dressed in the single set of cloths the hospital had issued him, and made his way out the door. Harry refused to stay any longer when nothing was happening; might as well get his first-day-of-school introduction to New York City over with.
A/N: I hope the beginning wasn't too...different for you guys. xi wrote it after I got over a really hard time I've been going through, and this was just kinda how I felt. And for those of you who really want the story to start right up, well i have good news for you...Harry meets an Avenger next chapter (though, technically he doesn't, I'll leave that for you to decide).
Try and guess which one it is, and free virtual cheesecakes for anyone who gets it right! (I got really tired of making virtual cookies and brownies...) Review please!