Title: Flesh and Steel.
Author: Knife Hand
Feedback: Constructive feedback appreciated, flames unappreciated
Spoilers: Nothing Specific, general for first few books.
Disclaimer: I do not own Hermione, or Luna, or Ginny, or Cho, or... I would buy them all but I am broke.
Summary: Harry fails in the first task of the Tri-Wizard Tournament, with tragic consequences.
Harry's back hit the rock hard as he slid into cover. Taking a second he glanced around the desolate landscape, absently wiping the back of his hand across his mouth. It came away red. He spat and the blood filled saliva was vivid against the grey of the rock it landed on. He checked quickly around the left and then the right of the large boulder he was behind. It was still out there. Tuning out a lot of the noise going on around him he tried to focus on the one subtle sound he wanted to hear. After a few seconds he heard it. Turning to face the rock, he shifted to the left, sliding his left eye out from behind cover and scanning the sky with an eye that could spot a Golden Snitch from a few hundred meters. When he saw what he was searching for his hope soared.
The Firebolt had almost reached his position and he was bracing himself to jump onto its speeding form. Suddenly the Firebolt burst into flames and ploughed strait into the edge of boulder. Luckily for Harry, he was falling backwards when the broom hit, thus avoiding the major flaming pieces of wood. One small sliver however did hit the left lens of his glasses at speed. The sliver was deflected but glass of the lens shattered and penetrated his left eye. Harry gritted his teeth at the pain, refusing to let out a scream. The same determination not to scream that had gotten him through his relatives, the Troll, the pain of Quirrell's touch, the Basilisk, and every other painful experience of his life. He ripped a section off of his robes, removed his glasses, and placed the pad of cloth over the ruined and bleeding eye, knowing the clotting blood would hold it there, before he replaced the glasses so he could see out of his one good eye.
With his primary plan now literally in pieces, Harry decided that he would just have to go for it. Harry waited while the Horntail sprayed the rock with Dragon Fire. He slowly counted down in his head and the second the fire stopped he was moving. He silently thanked Hermione, whose research had shown the Dragon Fire was not magical but chemical. It was a binary incendiary, meaning it was two different chemicals that were produced in glands deep within the dragon. There were two small 'bladders', one on each side of the neck that each held one of the two chemicals. When the dragon 'breathed fire' it squirted these two chemicals out of ducts just on the inside of each corner of the mouth. About two inches beyond the mouth of the dragon the chemicals mixed and ignited. These chemical bladders only held enough for a thirty second burst and then required over two minutes to refill.
Harry moved fast from one cover to the next, trying to stay out of the dragon's way. It worked for about forty seconds, until he learnt that fire is not a Horntail's only weapon. Harry was blindsided, literally, by the dragon's tail hitting him from the left. The dragon was not called a Horntail for nothing. Its tail was covered in razor sharp spines, which had outside edges like steak knives. Harry had just fired a cutting curse when the tail hit. His curse managed to make a discoloured line on the Dragon's flank. Its tail completely pulverised and almost severed his left arm, ripped open his chest and crushed his ribcage, sending several shards of bone spearing through his lungs and grazing his heart, weakening several veins and arteries. One shard made a hole strait through the heart, not only causing blood to leak from the organ but mixing the oxygenated blood from the lungs with the oxygen depleted blood from the rest of the body. The impact also threw Harry twelve meters, where upon landing he blacked out for a second.
As soon as he came to, Harry saw his wand a few feet in front of him, with a boulder between the wand and the dragon. Dragging himself forward with one arm and poorly operating legs, he inched his way towards his wand as the dragon slowly approached. Mentally, he had shut down the pain and only two things were passing through his mind. One was the need to get to his wand; the other was the mental countdown to when the dragon could use its fire again. In the desperate race, the fingers of Harry's right hand grasped the wand at the same time as the mental counter reached zero. The problem was that most of Harry's legs were not behind cover when the dragon's fire was unleashed. Agony flared through Harry as he felt his legs, up to mid thigh, melt from the intense fire. He finally screamed.
When the dragon pushed its head around the rock a few seconds later it expected its prey to be dead. This was a fatal mistake. With the courage and fatalism that almost no one in the Wizarding world possessed, Harry had gathered every scrap of magic from his core and condensed it, focused it into one final spell. This was never done because using all of ones magic would at best send a Wizard into a deep coma, or more likely the Wizard's core would be completely drained, causing one of two results. Death of the Wizard or a core detonation, which literally turned the Wizard into a bomb.
The final spell cast against the dragon was another simple cutting curse. This curse however was so overpowered that it not only overcame the dragons' natural resistance to magic and decapitated it, but the curse continued. It just cleared the spectator's stands, cut the top off of hundreds of ancient trees, crossed the entire length of the Black Lake and cut a gash seventy feet deep, ninety feet across and five feet high into the mountain on the far side. Generations later the gash would come to be known as The Draconian Schism and a legend would spring up that God himself had caused it a sign that a great battle was to come.
Harry's last conscious recollection before darkness claimed him was seeing a blur of black and red topped by a blob of brown racing towards him.
Hermione skidded to a halt beside Harry's body. She quickly cast a clotting charm on Harry's almost severed arm. His legs were gone but the wounds were cauterised. His eye had clotted thanks to the wad of cloth. Hermione was debating what to do about what to do about his chest when Madam Pomfrey slid in besides her.
"Legs are cauterised. I clotted the arm. Shattered rib cage. Punctured lungs, possibly perforated heart." Hermione instantly rattled off to the Medi-Witch.
"I'm going to have to place a stasis charm on his chest." Madam Pomfrey replied. "I need your help."
A constant dialogue went between the two witches. Quickly Headmaster Dumbledore and the other Judges approached.
"Well…" Dumbledore began, before being interrupted.
"Not now." Pomfrey snapped at the Headmaster, before turning to Hermione. "Damn it. His leg is haemorrhaging. I need to keep working up here. No choice, re-cauterise his left leg."
The Judges watched in horror as massive spurts of blood squirted out of the stump of Harry's left leg. Hermione cast a small, underpowered Incendiary spell, adding to the smell of blood and burnt flesh as she resealed the artery in his leg. Both Hermione and Madam Pomfrey were covered in dirt, streaks of blood and flecks of charred flesh.
"We got to move him, or we'll loose him." Hermione declared, before glaring up at the Judges. "Clear the way."
Madam Pomfrey cast a Levicorpus on Harry and hurried him away up to the Hospital Wing. Hermione turned on the Judges.
"You are all going to answer for this." She growled. "But if he dies, you will all wish I killed you."
With that said, she turned and ran after Madam Pomfrey.
"That's all I can do." Madam Pomfrey declared almost thirty-six hours later. "He's stable for the moment, but I'm afraid it looks like he will still die."
"No." Hermione said, sobbing, having been assisting the Medi-Witch the entire time.
Harry's condition was almost no better than when they had taken him off the field at the first task. The cauterisation of his legs had failed three more times, resulting in more charred flesh on the stumps. They had lost the left arm, having been forced to amputate when the entire arm suffered cell death. The ribs had been repaired, as had the heart, but the damage to the lungs had been too extensive and the major arties around the heart had been weakened. The left eye had been destroyed, but Hermione had scoured out the eye socket, cleaning out the ruined tissue of the eye and the contamination from the glass fragments and dirty rob compress.
"Let me take him. I think I can save him." Hermione said.
"How?" asked the desperate Medi-Witch.
Madam Pomfrey would never admit it to anyone, but Harry had a special place in her heart, not just a special bed in the infirmary. She had not had any one student in her care more, not since his father's time, but his injuries were usually the result of him trying to save someone, or from Quidditch.
"Cybernetics." Hermione replied, and then remembered she was talking to a Pureblood. "It's basically machines that will replace the missing organs and limbs. I can replace his lungs, legs, arm, eye, and help his heart function."
"But Muggle Technology does not work at Hogwarts." Poppy Pomfrey replied.
"This isn't really technology. It's Technomancy." Hermione replied. "I use Magic to create and install the implants, and then his own magic will power them."
"I have never heard of anything like this. How do you know it will work?" Poppy asked.
"Because if it didn't, I wouldn't be here." Hermione responded.
Hermione pulled her blouse off her left shoulder and waved her wand over it. The normal flesh colour faded to reveal the entire shoulder made up of a slivery metal. As she rotated her shoulder in demonstration, it moved just like a real shoulder. With the concealment charm in place there was no way to tell it was not real.
"Entire left shoulder, one Kidney and part of my stomach." Hermione replied.
"What happened?" Madam Pomfrey asked, shocked.
"I was attacked by Muggle criminals when I was seven." The young girl replied. "But that's not important. I can save him."
"Look." Madam Pomfrey said. "We've both been up for almost two days and he is stable for the moment. Get some rest. At least go get a shower and something to eat. If you are not rested then you may make a mistake when we do the procedures."
"We?" Hermione replied.
"Yes, we, Miss Granger." The Medi-Witch replied. "I want to save Mister Potter as much as you do, so I will be assisting."
Hermione just wearily nodded her head and left the Hospital Wing
The mood in the Gryffindor Common Room was sombre when Hermione entered. Everyone's eyes went to her when the portrait opened. She was a frightful sight. Her robes, hair (completely unkempt even for her normally wild hair) and hands were covered in Harry's blood, charred flesh and skin.
"Hermione!" One of the twins said. "How is he?"
"Is he alive?" The other twin asked.
"For the moment." Hermione replied, her voice heavy with fatigue. "He is still critical. I'm just here for a shower and a few hours sleep."
She shed her robe, revealing that most of her clothes were dirty from almost two days of wear but were mostly clean of blood and gore. Several of the girls, including the three Chasers, Lavender and Pavarti, all gave Hermione a hug.
"The cheater deserved what he got." Ron said his voice full of venom.
A second later he was on the ground, holding his groin, which had just been forcibly introduced to Angelina Johnson's knee. Katie Bell put her arm around Hermione and began to escort her from the room as an angry group surrounded Ron's prone form.
"We'll get you something to eat." George said as he and Fred left the common room.
Hermione was so emotionally and physically drained that Katie had to help her up to the showers, get undressed and into the shower. Hermione just stood under the shower, letting the water flow over her, but not getting any of the gore out of her hair or skin. After ten minutes, Katie had to strip off herself and wash the barely responsive younger Witch.
Once she was showered, Katie handed Hermione over to Angelina and Alicia had to feed her the food the twins had procured. She was then passed to Pavarti and Lavender that guided her into her bed.
Hermione and Poppy walked out of the makeshift operating theatre, after a marathon seven hour operation, only the first of several operations, which had reinforced the arteries around Harry's heart and replaced his lungs. The last few days had bonded Hermione and Poppy in their efforts.
As they were washing their hands clean of blood, the Tri-Wizard Judges entered. Dumbledore was in the lead, with Barty Crouch on his left and the other two school heads behind them.
"Dumbledore, we need to discuss how Mister Potter will proceed to the next task." Barty Crouch said.
"What the hell do you mean next task?" Hermione raged.
"Headmaster, this is completely inappropriate." Poppy added.
"Mister Potter is a Champion." Barty said simply.
"Mister Potter is barely alive." Poppy said.
Hermione was not so charitable and turned on Crouch and, despite being almost a foot shorter, intimidated him with her fury.
"Harry is no longer a Champion." She almost growled. "You said it yourself. 'Your task is to retrieve a Golden Egg, without which you can not hope to proceed.' Harry, aside from being so close to death, has also been disqualified as a Champion as he failed to retrieve the Egg. Furthermore, should you try in any way to attempt to force him to continue, I will ensure that you are prosecuted for child endangerment and attempted murder. That is assuming you live long enough to stand trial."
Bartimus Crouch, known throughout the Ministry as a tough and uncompromising individual, and the former Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement found himself scared witless of this Fourteen year old, bushy haired, mild faced Witch, who just so happens to have her arms covered up to the elbows in blood.
"I think you should all leave. Right now." Poppy ordered.
Even Dumbledore knew not to defy the Medi-Witch when she used that tone. The Judges quickly left and Poppy sighed, rubbing here eyes before turning to Hermione.
"So… what's going to be next?" the older Witch asked.
"The legs. I'm going to need some rare and special items for the eye and the arm." Hermione responded.
"Alright. We will let Mister Potter rest up for a few days before we proceed." Poppy said. "At least he is no longer in mortal danger."
Hermione simply nodded and headed out of the hospital wing and back to the Gryffindor Dorms.