This is unbeta'd if anyone would like to do so let me know
With the upcoming Quidditch match between Slytherin and Gryffindor, Harry hardly had anytime to spend speculating over who was the Heir of Slytherin. Once more, the fever since Mrs. Norris's attack had died with the lack of more incidents, Lockhart, of course, told anyone who would listen that he had chased the monster off with his mere presence.
It made Harry ill to listen to his boasting. Since the "Incident" Harry had been receiving notes, some were threatening, reminding him that know one would believe him. Even worse were the ones that were cajoling, apologizing for frightening him, promising that next time would be better.
Your special Harry, so special, that's why I've taken an interest in you.
Most of the notes were hidden in his Defense Against the Dark Arts homework, all of which, no matter how wrong the answers, were marked high.
In response, Harry threw himself into Quidditch practice. He arrived early and made sure he left with team with practice ended. He avoided Snape as well, terrified that if Snape found out he'd realize just what a freak Harry was.
By the time the day of the Quidditch match came, Harry was a ball of nerves. Still, the fresh air and the excited cheers of the crowd blustered his fraying confidence. For today, just today, he would think about nothing but Quidditch and wiping that smug smile off Malfoy's face.
With a deep breath Harry mounted his broom and at the sound of the whistle kicked off.
Harry Potter, the supposed bane of his existence was avoiding him. The child no longer came to ask him questions after class or to practice his penmanship. He did, however, occasionally fix Severus with wide green eyes, like he wanted to tell him something but didn't quite dare, always looking away when their eyes met.
Given what Severus suspected, it was logical to assume that Harry's guilty, evasive behavior meant that the golden trio were going through with what ever hair-brained scheme despite his warning.
The problem with that theory was that Harry was avoiding his friends as well. From his vantage point at the staff table he would watch as Harry scarfed down some food and left the great hall so quickly he was barely there fifteen minutes.
Something wasn't right; Severus felt he was missing a vital piece to the puzzle. He could pin point the exact day that Harry began to act strange and distance from all around him because it coincided with his talk to Harry. Severus had assumed that was why the child had looked so shaken at lunch, but perhaps not.
"Looking forward to the Quidditch match today Gildory?" Severus heard Filus squeak.
"Oh, why yes, should be an exciting game no? I hear Potter's quite talented, not as talented as I was at his age, but then, who could be?" boasted Lockhart.
Lockhart, Severus distinctly recalled that he wrote a note for Harry because he would have been late to Lockhart's class and the thing he wanted was that man alone with a child. Perhaps Lockhart was foolish enough to ignore the note and gave Harry a detention, or held him after class, Severus remembered Harry was late to lunch that day. Lockhart had also been late and Severus didn't believe in coincidences.
Severus's fist clenched around his fork. If his suspicions were correct and Lockhart had . . . well, Lockhart would need all the skills his books claimed he possessed.
Unfortunately Severus didn't have a chance to confront his suspicions because of the Quidditch match. As head of Slythern house, Severus was of course supporting his own team, but that didn't mean that he didn't enjoy watching Harry Potter in flight.
The grace and sheer natural talent Harry possessed put James Potter to shame. Watching Harry fly in comparison to Draco, well, Severus could kiss the cup goodbye. Draco was a decent flyer, but much more suited to Chaser than Seeker.
He had just resigned himself to Minerva's smug face when Severus realized something was wrong. The Bludger one of the Weasley Twins had just wacked away from Harry swung back around, once more aiming for the child's head. It didn't stop there, no matter where the Gyrffindor Beaters sent the Bludger it continued to fixate on Harry, relentless in its pursuit.
Severus watched as the Gyrffindor's called a time out, good, they would call the game, surely they would. But he had forgotten Gryffindor bravery or idiocy. Instead of doing the smart they opted to continue to play, this time with out the twins shadowing Harry.
"Albus!" Severus hissed gesturing to Harry as the boy did a skillful pirouette to avoid the rouge Bludger.
"Yes Severus I know" said the headmaster, hands clenched.
"Then do something!"
"You know as well as I that only the referee has the ability to end a Quidditch match, I am not allowed to interfere." There was frustration in Albus's voice.
On the field there was a loud crack, Harry had sat still for too long. Arm tucked against his body, Harry dove aiming straight for Draco's head. Draco swerved out of the way and Harry . . . Harry held up a clenched fist golden ball fluttering in his hand.
The whistle blew and Severus let out a sigh of relief, only to realize that the Bludger was still attempting to knock Harry off his broom. Finally the twins and Wood managed to wrestle the thing back into its case. Harry landed, swaying horrible, even as Severus watched he sunk to the ground, eyes closed.
"I want to examine that Bludger" Severus told Albus. The headmaster nodded.
"I trust you will keep me informed?"
Without even bothering to reply Severus hurried down to the field.
Harry's head swam as things came back into focus. There was a bright flash of light and the familiar click of a camera.
"Colin, I don't want a picture of this!" he groaned as he tried to shield his face with his good arm.
"Harry! Oh thank goodness!" said Hermione from somewhere above him.
Harry opened his eyes and nearly vomited, Lockhart was standing over him, smiling and beaming at Colin.
"There now, young Harry, if you just give me a moment I'll have your arm fixed in a jiffy and then you and I can have some tea, share tales of our Quidditch glory!" said Lockhart his wand already out.
Harry jerked away, ignoring the sharp pain in his broken arm.
"No! I want to see Madam Pomfrey!"
More clicking of the camera and flashes of light as Harry struggled to get away.
"Colin! Stop it!" Harry shouted his arm was really beginning to hurt. There was a flash of light again, but it wasn't the camera. His arm stopped hurting but felt oddly, limp and heavily. Harry looked down and felt bile rise into his throat. Oh, God. His arm hung as a fleshy mass at his side, as if there were no bones there to support it.
Oh, God, oh God, what if they couldn't fix it? What if it was like this forever? Panic rose in his chest.
"What is going on here?!" snarled a familiar voice. Severus Snape glowered at them all and Lockhart's normally jovial face fell.
"Ah, Severus, I was just assisting Harry here with fixing up his arm, it's a simple spell must have done it a hundred times."
"Clearly seeing as how Mr. Potter's arm is now lacking any bones." Sneered Severus.
Lockhart flushed, "Yes, that uh, sometimes happens"
"Does it now? Come along Potter, hopefully Madam Pomfrey has a not run out of Skele-Gro as we will need it to correct Professor Lockhart's error."
Relieved beyond words Harry slipped through the crowed that had gathered around him, clutching the oddly horrifyingly floppy remnants of his arm.
Madam Pomfrey was not pleased to see the state of Harry's arm.
"Fool of a man, we're lucky this is all the damage he did!" she raged as she handed Harry some pajamas.
"I can do it," Harry assured Ron when he offered to help Harry change on account of his arm. He wouldn't risk anyone seeing the still healing marking from . . . well, he couldn't bare it if any of them saw.
It took quite a bit of effort to get his arm into the sleeve but somehow he managed. The buttons proved to be the next challenge and all together it took Harry a while to change. Finally, he emerged, exhausted from the entire ordeal.
"Up here Mr. Potter," said Madam Pomfrey. She patted one of the beds. Gratefully Harry climbed up, pulling up the sheets to his chin.
"Severus will be back with the potion in just a moment dear, but you're in for a rough night growing back bones is an unpleasant business" she told him as Ron, Hermione and several members of the team gathered around Harry's bed.
"Good catch Harry!" cheered Wood with a grin when Madam Pomfrey had turned away.
"Yeah, but I swear, there was something wrong with that Bludger! I've never seen one fixate on a player like that before," commented Fred or George.
"Do you think someone tampered with it?" asked Hermione, the worry evident on her face.
"Of course, the question is who?"
Harry sighed and let their talk wash over him. He knew he should be concerned about the person that had tried to kill him with a Bludger, but it was too much effort.
"I highly doubt Mr. Potter requires an entourage impeding his rest"
Harry peeled his eyes open to see Professor Snape standing before them holding a vile in one hand and a glass in the other. Under the dower Professors glare, the others reluctantly said good-bye.
When the others had cleared out Snape approached his bed. Reluctantly Harry took the vial that was offered to him.
"I suggest you drink all of it in one swallow. The taste of Skele-Grow leaves much to be desired," Snape advised.
As instructed, Harry quickly gulped down the liquid and then almost spat it back out as the awful taste of dirty socks and spoiled food hit the back of his throat. It was a supreme effort not to vomit. One Harry had successfully drunk the potion; Snape allowed him the glass of pumpkin juice.
"Well done," Snape murmured as he sat down in the seat Hermione had vacated. Harry practically glowed under the praise; a "well done" was not something he'd heard often.
Snape was now gazing at him pensively and Harry shifted uncomfortably under the stare.
Snape sighed, "Perhaps this is not the best time to broach this subject with you, however, I feel I must. You've been avoiding me Mr. Potter."
Harry's stomach clenched, he knew his avoidance wouldn't go unnoticed. He could only hope that he hadn't ruined the only good relationship with an adult that he'd ever had.
"Harry I wish to reiterate that you may tell me anything, I give you my word that I will not belittle you or push you're concerns aside" Snape asked suddenly, taking Harry by surprise at the sudden change in topic.
Slowly Harry nodded even though he wasn't quite sure he believed Snape. He could recall all the instances where a teacher at school had believed Dudley over him and in this case it would be a teachers word over his.
"I also would like for you to return to your penmanship lessons, your handwriting still needs work," Snape continued as if he did not expect an answer.
Harry drew out a deep breath and nodded again, unsure that he could speak.
Later after Snape had left and Harry was just drifting off into sleep he wondered if perhaps he could trust Snape.
Harry awoke to a sharp pain in his arm and something cold and wet on his forehead. His eyes flew open. The Hospital Wing was in darkness but even so he could make out the large brown eyes above him and the bat-like ears.
"Dobby" Harry breathed, "What are you doing here?"
The house elf that had been the start of all his problems let out a squeak.
"Harry Potter Sir! Dobby had to come! He knew that Harry Potter had not heeded Dobby's warning! You must go home Harry Potter." said Dobby.
"Go home? I am home Dobby, I can't go back to the Dursley, they'll kill me!"
"But sir must go home, Dobby told Harry Potter that terrible things would happen and now terrible things has!" cried Dobby, twisting his ears.
Harry sat up, ignoring the sharp pain in his arm. "You mean Mrs. Norris? Do you know something Dobby? Tell me!"
Dobby shook his head frantically "Dobby can't Sir! He is not allowed!"
Dobby looked liable to start hitting himself so Harry quickly back track.
"Okay, you can't tell me, but you know who it is don't you? You can just nod or shake you head."
Slowly Dobby nodded.
"Is it Malfoy?"
Dobby shook his head and then proceeded to twist his ears violently.
Harry shot forward and grab Dobby's arm to stop him, "Well, that's something at least"
"Harry Potter must not get involved! He will be in mortal peril. Dobby though that his Bludger . . ."
"Wait," said Harry, "your Bludger? You sent that Bludger after me?"
Dobby looked positively anguished, "Dobby only did it to protect Harry Potter."
"Protect me! That Bludger almost got me killed!" Harry exclaimed.
"Not kill you sir! Dobby would never kill you! Dobby only hoped that if Harry Potter were injured enough he would be sent home," said Dobby, gripping tightly to his ears. Harry stared at him in horror as things began to add up.
"Hang on, you closed the barrier didn't you?"
Dobby nodded "Dobby never imaged that Harry Potter would find another way to school"
Harry closed his eyes, "you better get out of here Dobby, I think I've had enough of your protection."
It was funny in away, this crazy house elf was trying to protect him something that was petrifying people and yet Harry was far more afraid of Lockhart than any monster.
"Please Harry Potter, you must listen to Dobby!"
"No, I'm not leaving Dobby, all my friends are here and they'll be in just as much danger."
Dobby looked about to respond, tears in his big eyes when suddenly there was a loud clang outside the Hospital Wing doors. With a snap of his fingers Dobby vanished as Harry threw himself back down on the bed, yanking the covers up.
He could here the sound of several people entering the Hospital Wing.
"Lay him on the bed here," came Professor McGonagall's voice followed a soft thump and something or someone was laid on a bed.
Harry opened his eyes to slits in the hopes of seeing what was going on but without his glasses it was pointless.
"My goodness, what's happened?" said Madam Pomfrey, sounding aghast.
"I'm afraid there's been another attack, Poppy, this time a student" said Dumbledore.
"Who is it?" asked the Matron.
"Collin Creevy, we found grapes next to him on the floor, we believe he was trying to visit Potter when he met the same fate as Filches cat," said Snape.
Horror struck Harry risked squinting a bit harder at the blob surrounding the hospital bed and as one of the blurs shifted out of the way he though he could just make out a human shaped shadow with its arms held out in front of it as if it was holding a camera.
Hi everyone! Told you I'd be back! Sorry about the lack of updates, last semester ran me over with a train and then when it got done it turned around and ran over me again. Needless to say I've a long couple months. I'm back to writing now, so hopefully updates will be a lot faster. Thank you so much to those that have stuck with me despite the hiatus.
Until next time,