The Wraith of Hogwarts
by Healer Pomfrey
All recognizable characters belong to J. K. Rowling, and I am not earning anything by writing this story.
I am not a native speaker of English. Please excuse my mistakes.
Arabella Figg looked at the clock on the mantelpiece in surprise. 'Nine o'clock,' she realised. 'Who'd ring the bell at this time in the evening? I hope nothing happened to any of my cats.' In utmost concern, she rose from her favourite spot on the sofa and went to open the door, only to realise that she could not see anyone outside. Privet Drive was lying in the dark, as quiet and boring as any other evening.
She was just about to shut the door, feeling extremely annoyed at the unnecessary disturbance, when she felt an invisible figure quietly press inside and behind herself. 'Harry,' she realised, immediately.
Since the fatal Halloween four years ago, when Harry Potter had been taken to the Dursley family, she had been responsible for the child on order of the great Albus Dumbledore. Of course the Dursleys were completely unaware of the matter; however, they happily accepted the fact that there was someone who willingly took the freak in - as they used to call him - whenever they wanted to get rid of him. At first, Harry had appeared to her like a normal baby, except for the fact that his magic seemed to be extremely powerful and he talked exceptionally well for a fifteen-months-old. However, a while into his stay with the Dursleys - if Arabella remembered correctly, it had been about the time of his third birthday -, he had suddenly become invisible. According to Petunia Dursley, she did not know how it happened, but from one moment to the next no one was able to see or hear Harry anymore.
Arabella could feel the boy. She could take him by the hand when she went for a walk with the little tyke or took him into the garden to play with her cats; however, he remained invisible and silent all the time.
"Harry, what happened?" Arabella asked in a kind voice. Apart from the fact that it was unnerving to speak with someone who was invisible and never replied, she really liked the boy and knew that he was not stupid at all. He had his own ways to express himself like for example when he helped with washing up after meals, cleaning the cat toilet or giving the cats their food. He also sometimes wrote small words on his paper, when she encouraged him to draw a picture.
She gently reached out for the boy, knowing that she had to be careful in order for him to not flinch back, startled. To her relief, he did not flinch; however, when she gently caressed his cheek, she realised that it felt hot to the touch and at the same time wet as if the child was crying without making sounds. 'What can I do?' she wondered. 'Maybe he's ill or hurt. Who knows what his relatives might have done to him that he comes here at this time of the evening. He should be asleep,' she thought. She carefully led the five-year-old into the living room and made him lie down on the sofa, where she gently covered him with a warm blanket.
Seeing from the movements of the cover that the boy seemed to be shivering, she decided to ask for help. "Hold on Harry," she said, gently. "I'm going to call someone who will be able to help you." With that she knelt in front of the fireplace and shouted, "Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster's office, Hogwarts."
Albus Dumbledore was just enjoying tea together with his four Heads of House, when the fireplace flared and Arabella Figg's face appeared in the flames.
"Hello Arabella, is something with Harry?" Minerva asked immediately, giving the Squib a worried look.
"Yes," Mrs. Figg replied. "It's not only that the boy is still invisible and I'm worrying how he's going to get along when he'll finally start primary school next summer, but he just came to me a few minutes ago, and I think that he's either sick or injured, but since I can't see or hear him, I can't help him at all. Albus, can you please send someone to check on the child?"
"I'll go," Minerva spoke up in determination, raising from her seat.
"No," Albus said in a firm voice, before he turned to his most trusted male colleague. "Severus, will you please go to Arabella's house and check on little Harry?"
The Potions Master stared at him in disbelief. "Why would I go and check on a Potter?" he queried, spatting the name.
"Because you won't be willing to bring him to Hogwarts just because the boy doesn't like it at his relatives' home," Albus replied in a no-nonsense voice.
"Because he's your best friend's son," Minerva threw in, seemingly angered. "Come Severus, let's go together then."
"Very well," Albus agreed, however, instructed the two to not bring the boy to Hogwarts if not absolutely necessary. "He needs to live with his relatives because of the blood wards," he insisted in a firm voice.
"If he's invisible, we'll be well able to protect him here," Minerva uttered, before she followed Severus into the fireplace.
'Well that might be,' the Headmaster mused, 'but I prefer for him to grow up far from the magical world, let alone Hogwarts.'
Harry Potter was quietly laying on Mrs. Figg's sofa, feeling slightly relieved that the cat lady seemed to have comprehended that he was in need of help. While she was waiting in front of the fireplace, his thoughts returned to the house of his relatives.
Flashback - one hour earlier
Five-year-old Harry was cooking dinner for the Dursleys, as usual, when he suddenly realised, horrified, that he had accidentally burned the sausages. They did not have their usual brown colour but were outright black on all sides. He was just about to summon his wish magic - something that he had been able to do for a long time - in order to wish them unburned and brown, when Aunt Petunia looked into the fry pan.
"You stupid freak," she shouted and hit him with the hot fry pan. Although she was not able to see him, she did not fail her aim and managed to hit him on the head, causing his head to become very sore.
His uncle shouted something at him, but in an attempt to get away from his aunt he missed the words, and then his uncle grabbed his arm and threw him into his cupboard, not caring that Harry crashed against the wall.
One could not say that he wasn't used to pain. However, his whole body flared in pain, and for the first time in his life he had problems breathing, which caused him to become very scared. Knowing that his relatives were now sitting in the kitchen having dinner instead of paying attention to him, he turned back to his cupboard door and wished it open, before he quietly dragged himself out of the house. 'I hope the cat lady will be willing to help me,' he thought, knowing that the cat lady, as he called his babysitter who possessed many cats, was much nicer and understanding than his relatives.
End of flashback
Harry wearily noticed that a man stepped out of the fireplace, followed by an older woman. Both were dressed in strange clothes. 'An adult man in a black one-piece,' he realised, feeling too miserable to further ponder the matter.
"Where's Potter and what exactly is wrong with him?" the man asked, seemingly impatiently.
"He's lying there on the sofa," Mrs. Figg informed her guests.
"Leave it to a Potter to attract attention by making himself invisible," the black man sneered, before he pulled a stick out of a pocket in his one-piece and pointed it at Harry.
'What's he doing?' Harry thought, terrified, and if he hadn't been feeling too sore and sick to move, he'd have hurried to move to a safe spot.
"Minerva, call Poppy. He's running a temperature of more than forty degrees, but since I can't see or hear him, I'm not able to assess anything else," the black man spoke up again in a friendlier voice, causing the woman in the green one-piece to kneel down in front of the fireplace like Mrs. Figg had done earlier.
All of a sudden, a soft voice penetrated his mind. 'Mr. Potter, is there a reason why you're invisible? We'd be much more able to help you if we could assess what's ailing you.'
'He sounds nice,' Harry thought, wondering, 'Is that the man in the black one-piece? He said he wants to help me.' Before he could further ponder the matter, he felt himself wish to think back to the friendly man.
'I'm a freak, and freaks mustn't be seen or heard,' he thought back, causing the tall, black man to stare at him in disbelief.
"You're not a freak," the man informed him in a firm voice. "You're a wizard like myself and apparently a very powerful at that. Now tell me what's ailing you. Does anything hurt?"
Harry remained quiet, knowing better than to complain, let alone aloud. Apparently, the man was able to understand his silence, because he repeated his question, telepathically.
'Everything,' Harry thought back, unsure what he should tell the man. 'I'm a wizard?' he thought in disbelief, just when another lady in a white one-piece came out of the fireplace.
The tall wizard informed the others what Harry had told him, causing the women to stare at him in apparent shock.
"Harry, you're not a freak. You're a very good boy," the cat lady said, reassuringly.
"Yes, and we love you very much," the woman in the green one-piece added, before the woman in the white one-piece interrupted her.
"Harry, I'm going to cast a diagnostic spell at you," she said in a soft voice. "It would make it easier if you could turn visible though."
'No, I can't do that,' his mind screamed, and Harry observed how the woman waved her stick over him multiple times.
"Misty," the woman suddenly called out, and within an instant, a strange creature appeared right in front of her. "Misty I need several potions," she informed the creature and listed multiple items, which sounded too strange to Harry to understand anything.
He saw the creature nod and disappear, only to reappear again a moment later. 'Are they wizards too?' he wondered but knew better than to transfer his thoughts to the black man, who was sitting in a chair watching the scene like the woman in the green one-piece and the cat lady.
He barely noticed that the white lady again waved her stick over him, but suddenly, he realised that he felt much better.
"I think I got him stabilized for now," the white lady finally spoke up. "He had a slight concussion along with several broken ribs, one of which was puncturing his lungs. I hope that it didn't do too much harm to his lungs, but it's difficult to diagnose if I'm not able to hear his breathing."
'Harry, who did that to you?' the black man's voice penetrated his mind. 'Who caused your ribs to break?'
'I'm not allowed to tell,' Harry thought, remembering that Aunt Petunia had told him not only that he wasn't allowed to complain but also that he mustn't tell the cat lady how he got his various injuries, bruises and welts. 'But they're so nice and helped me,' he thought, before he finally decided to reply. 'My uncle,' he thought back to the man.
'What happened exactly?' the man queried, quirking an eyebrow at him. 'Please tell me.'
'I accidentally burned dinner, and my aunt got upset and hit me on the head with the fry pan, and then my uncle threw me back into my cupboard and I hit the wall,' Harry explained to the man, anxiously staring into onyx eyes.
'All right Harry, thank you for telling me,' the man replied in a soothing voice.
"Mr. Potter has been abused by his relatives," the man said to his colleagues. "I suggest that we take him to Hogwarts, especially since he probably needs to be in Poppy's care for a little while."
"Yes," the white lady replied, nodding her agreement.
"What exactly happened to Harry?" the green lady enquired in what seemed to be a concerned voice, causing the man to explain what Harry had told him.
'Harry, do you want to return to your relatives?' the man asked him.
'No,' Harry replied quickly.
"Very well, then we're going to take you with us to the school, where we're working. It's a boarding school for witches and wizards from the age of eleven onwards. I hope the Headmaster will allow you to remain with us," the man informed him, causing Harry to think back a small 'Thank you.'
The lady in the white one-piece pulled a chain out from under her one-piece and carefully laid Harry's hand around the pendant that was attached to it. 'Is that a squirrel?' Harry wondered, while the lady instructed the others to come to see them in the hospital wing. Before Harry knew what happened, he felt a strange pull behind his navel, and the cat lady's living room vanished from his view.
The next thing he knew was that he found himself in a very large room, equipped with many beds. The lady in the white one-piece helped himself into the nearest bed and instructed him to lie down.
"Hello Harry," she then said in a friendly voice. "I'm Poppy Pomfrey, the Healer at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. You're here in the hospital wing."
The name 'Aunt Poppy' came into Harry's mind and felt strangely familiar. 'Mummy brought me here when I was ill,' he suddenly remembered, and a small smile played on his lips that unfortunately remained unseen by the adults, who just gathered around his bed.
"Harry, these are my colleagues Professor McGonagall," Aunt Poppy explained, pointing to the lady in the green one-piece, "and Professor Snape." She pointed to the man in the black one-piece. "And here comes our Headmaster, Professor Dumbledore," she added, when a very old man in a baby blue one-piece came around the corner.
"What does this mean?" the Headmaster queried, sounding very stern.
"Albus, Mr. Potter has been abused by his relatives, verbally as well as physically," Professor Snape addressed the Headmaster.
"That means you brought him here?" the Headmaster asked in an equally strict voice as before. He stared at Harry's bed, only noticing from the curves in the bed covers that a small boy was occupying the bed.
"Yes, it was necessary," Poppy informed him and listed Harry's earlier injuries to the old wizard.
"Very well," Dumbledore replied, nodding in understanding. "Harry may stay here overnight then; however, I shall take him back to his relatives in the morning."
Completely unaware of the fact that the Headmaster's three colleagues began an immediate verbal fight with the Headmaster, Harry quietly scrambled out of the bed.
Only when the door of the hospital wing shut with a bang and no one came into the room did the adults notice that the invisible, small bundle had vanished from under his covers.