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Chapter 2 : Orange Crush
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When I started to write Harry Gets Even, I began the culmination of an idea of a ‘tribute’ type chapter to my fellow HP fans/friends. This was an idea I began batting around as far back as September ‘04, when HGE was supposed to be a mere quarter to a third the length it turned out being. However, the storyline changed as my life changed and I must admit it’s REALLY REALLY satisfying to see this chapter finally come to fruition.
Since the contents of this chapter are largely surprise, I couldn’t let my beta readers see it…so if there’s anything overtly weird or inexplicable, I apologise. Just leave me your questions (regarding this chappy) and I shall endeavour to answer them as long as they don’t pertain to other crucial elements of this story. Thanks. Lurve and Enjoy, Rae ;D
As if the rampant altruism amongst the citizenry wasn’t fame enough, Harry Potter continued to gain notoriety in other genre as well—most specifically in the field of modern Muggle medicine.
Some quite amazing things in the way of healing had gone on for Harry’s benefit as he had been sleeping. Despite the fact he had still been mostly unconscious since day one of his hospital stay, Harry had managed to pick up on quite a lot since day eleven. It was just the majority of the time, he was simply too tired to bother with conversation, plus he had learned from a very, very early age just how much one could learn when they thought you were incapable of hearing them.
Shortly after admittance to hospital, Harry was catalogued as having a concussion, a jagged gash in his forehead from receiving concussion when his glasses broke, one large wound from a concentration of broken glass in his left arm (shards which Madam Adonna had removed while on the Knight Bus), bruised liver, ruptured appendix, and a perforated right lung. The hole in his lung was formed when his shoulder was turned earlier by Madam Adonna. It turned out she had not known the true severity of internal injuries before she reset a separated shoulder of his. That, along with his once-broken collarbone, were things hospital only knew about upon speaking with Muggle police men who had been allowed to ride the Knight Bus.
Thanks to Madam Adonna’s inducing the Gemini Stasis Charm, the Muggles had already declared Harry a “medical miracle” during his first day at hospital. It was quite touch and go, but the staff had ordered a series of chest X-rays upon Harry’s arrival at hospital; the successive films revealed that his three broken ribs and internal organs continued to heal themselves at an impossible rate. As a result, other dangerously fluctuating vital signs continued to right themselves and even exploratory surgery was eventually deemed unnecessary. His seemingly unfeasible recuperative abilities did not stop there, however.
Apparently, sometime during the third day of his stay, some completely inexplicable changes had happened to Harry’s status. One moment he had been in his patient shift in bed, machines and vital sign monitors whirring away. The very next moment—hardly more than the blink of an eye—he was wearing his street clothes and shoes, his hair was suddenly a quarter the length it used to be, and in many ways his physical condition was far deteriorated compared to when he’d started.
The Muggle machines did not like being abruptly bereft of their subject and appropriately started their squealing protests. Nurse Allie had luckily been on shift, and while upon entering the room her first comments were something along the lines of, “what have you done to him?” she quickly got to her tasks. The resident on floor was hot on Allie’s heels and immediate blood tests were ordered, even as the medical staff began to reattach appropriately sterilised equipment to the patient.
Harry continued to confound Muggle medicine. For even though his skin had a distinctly grey-bluish pallor, he no longer needed a respirator to breathe. In fact, only minimalist equipment was required from that point on—heart monitor, I.V., oxygen regulator, and a couple others.
After lab tests were performed, it came to be known Harry’s electrolyte levels were almost nonexistent because he had been inexplicably dehydrated past the point of all reason. Had they cared to weigh him, the Muggles would have seen a good eight-kg difference off Harry’s already lean frame from the previous three days. In short, it was “as if they were now dealing with two different people” according to medical staff. Regardless of the fact Harry had a dual I.V. drip going after this weird incident, he still continued to lose fluids rapidly.
The G.S. Charm was capable of much, but even its miraculous qualities were limited to the stabilisation and repair of major systems and organs. The window glass wounds on Harry’s arm had already been quite nasty to begin with. But after third day, the injuries had not only expanded in size, but also severity. Now up to sixty-five percent of the skin surface area of Harry’s forearms was just open wound; even though it wasn’t technically “bleeding,” he continued to soak through dressings at an alarming rate.
Along with other things, this created a potential harbour for mass infection, so hospital again started making plans for surgery. The difference this time would be that it was for skin grafts. Ironically enough, dermal repair just happened to be one of Madam Adonna’s areas of expertise, but she was indisposed and being cared for at Grimmauld Place, so another trustworthy healer was slipped into Harry’s room.
Regrowing bones is indeed a nasty business, but regrowing skin is an even longer process and immeasurably more painful. The biggest reasons are not only because of the amount of area it covers, but also because of constant exposure to external stimuli. Nurse Allie explained to Hermione and the Weasleys how it was a damned good thing magical medicine was available, because she’d personally had to clean out injuries as Harry had, and it was a procedure that left most Muggle patients screaming in pain. Due that, everybody was also glad Harry was still asleep.
It is generally a very bad idea to mix Muggle medicine with magic, but not necessarily because of adverse pharmaceutical reactions. It was largely due to Muggles going overboard in trying to figure out just what had happened and doing something stupid in response.
Over the course of three days, Nurse Allie gave Harry copious amounts of Derma-Gro according to the healer’s instruction. The wounds in Harry’s arms gradually filled themselves in and he no longer suffered from grievous loss of fluids. Gratefully, Allie’s indignant attitude managed to scare away all but the most persist of Muggle doctors and surgeons who kept trying to find convenient excuse to come stare at the oddity of nature who could seemingly spontaneously regenerate bones, major organs, and tissues when he needed to.
They still needed to make sure Harry’s new skin tissue would function properly, so Allie performed holistic touch on Harry’s arms every three hours. This type of healing was something that some Squibs and even Muggles could do, and it kept a constant balance in an otherwise erratic physical situation. Allie was the only one of her staff who could do this, but that was okay because it turned out Mrs. Weasley and Ginny knew how to do it, too.
It was this particular activity on fourteenth day of Harry’s hospital stay that Ginny was currently engaged in with him. Twelfth day, Harry had finally stayed awake long enough to eat something. This alone was enough to improve his already hopeful prognosis by leaps and bounds, and he continued his rapid recovery even despite the day three setbacks.
He only spent half the time sleeping now, and when awake he tried much of the time sitting up in a chair or trying to walk around. When awake he was mostly stir-crazy, because he wanted out.
Though Harry was sick to death of the whole hospital thing, he still could not leave. He still tired inordinately, he was still dealing with constant prescription-worthy pain, and he still couldn’t drink or eat enough to be weaned off intravenous fluids. It was quickly noted the things that calmed and helped him flourish most was if he was in company of his friends.
And Ginny Weasley had proved invaluable to this task. This was true even though she became slightly snippy at getting distracted during her assignment of helping Harry. As a result, it was unspoken agreement Ron and Hermione always left the room whenever Ginny was doing her thing.
“How do you…do that?” Harry inquired of the red-haired girl as she performed her holistic touch over his arms. Even though it looked to be just a lot of mystic hocus pocus, Harry would still swear by it. He could feel her draw the hurt away from his hypersensitive nerve endings.
Ginny, eyes closed, answered, “It’s a matter of restoring ionic balance to your chakras. Nurse Allie used to do this over your entire body before the Muggles got suspicious.” Hovering a hand just above Harry’s skin, the redhead girl continued to work her way from his elbow down to his fingertips. “And you need to be completely calm, otherwise you’ll disturb the balance you’re trying to reestablish.”
“What are…‘chakras?”” Harry repeated slowly, half-hypnotised by Ginny’s serene motions.
After a few moments, Ginny answered softly, “Chakras are psy-points of life force in the spirit and body. Everybody has seven chakras, which emanate from the spinal area; root, sacral or navel, solar plexus, heart, throat, forehead, and crown centres. When these are out of whack, it can really throw you. I learnt this stuff from mum when I was little. When pain occurs in the body, it means an unusual concentration of heavy ions have built up. The important thing is to draw that concentration away before it can get worse.”
“Well, I don’t know…anything much about that stuff…” Harry continued to be drawn in despite his confusion by Ginny’s explanation, “but I’d say you’re absolutely brilliant at it,” he observed as the last of his tension ebbed away and he slouched back into the pillows on his bed. Ginny blushed slightly and said, “Thanks,” with a small smile. It sure was nice to see her smile. Harry immediately found himself wondering where on earth that random thought had come from.
Suddenly, Harry was reminded of his unending happiness that Nurse Allie had allowed him the pleasure of wearing actual clothes during the day. It brought a feeling of dignified normalcy that hospital pyjamas just couldn’t conjure. Wearing street clothes also helped him forget he had to be tethered to things everywhere he went.
Ginny gently helped Harry roll his protective fingerless gauntlet back over his new skin. The special over-the-elbow-length gloves were a breathable silicon-poly blend of fabric and used for elemental protection as well as scar reduction on his arms. These were also the same gloves the Muggle hospital used for patients who had surgical skin grafts.
By the time Ginny had finished with Harry’s other arm, he felt about ready to take another nap but he fought it. He hadn’t even realised it, but Harry had subconsciously begun to tap out a rhythm with his other hand.
“Why do you always do that?” Ginny inquired. “You always…well, I think you wind up tapping out a heartbeat when we do this.”
“Oh, erm, I dunno.” Harry self-consciously stilled his hand; these weren’t the only times he’d found himself inadvertently measuring out the rhythm with the heart monitor. The activity was both simultaneously maddening and reassuring for him.
The adults amongst Harry’s circle of friends had been markedly absent from his room, instead choosing to stay out in the hallway whenever Harry had his younger visitors. Due to previous bickering that erupted over which station to watch, Nurse Allie had effectively banned guest television use in Harry’s hospital room. That was fine as far as he was concerned; he couldn’t see the stupid picture anyway because of his missing glasses and that, combined with the noise was enough to give him a migraine.
Harry’s friends were as informative as they could possibly be, much opposed to last summer. Together, they had helped him recount as much events as he had yet been able to remember of the car crash. It turned out he had been able to recall nearly everything except for the details of leaving the King’s Cross car park or what specifically induced the car to crash. It was only a ten-minute chunk of time, and undoubtedly the extensive media coverage of said events was in large part responsible for triggering Harry’s patchy memory. At least the annoying publicity had served some useful purpose.
Just as Ginny finished rolling Harry’s gauntlet back up onto his other arm, Hermione and Ron came back into the room. There had been precious little to do while Harry was sleeping, so his friends had invented the activity of plastering the back wall of his room with the cards sent from the well-wishers and subsequent fans. As a means to pass the time, they read aloud some of the more entertaining and meaningful cards aloud to one another.
“Oh now, this one’s so sweet!” exclaimed Hermione. “Evidently you have a secret admirer at Hogwarts, Harry.” This caused a weird, if distasteful expression to run across Ginny’s features.
“Really?” Harry asked. It was sure news to him that at least one girl amongst his schoolmates actually found him in any way admirable.
“Dear Harry Potter,” began Hermione, “I have watched you since your first day at Hogwarts, and I must say you are positively cute! My stupid friends always said, ‘Don’t pay any attention to him, he’s weird, he’s dangerous and attention-seeking, nobody wants to snog a lad who’s minging.’ I told them one day you’d all prove them wrong, and just look what happened! You’re not only brave among wizards, but the Muggles love you too, as well they should! My friends can now go take a hike, because you’re beautiful inside and out! I hope you get well soon, hot Gryffies like you don’t deserve to be kept down too long. Much love, Leigh from Edinburgh.”
This simple paragraph had caused just about every emotion under the sun to flit across Harry’s face. The “cute” comment had him blushing like mad, to be followed by indignation by being referred to as “minging,” and then being referred to as not only attractive, but “hot” in the end. The only thing he could think of to say was, “Who on earth is this Leigh person!” And why haven’t I known of her existence until now? he added mentally.
Ron was doubled over and laughing so hard he could barely speak. Ginny merely said, “Oh, it’s probably a fake name. I know if I dared write all of that stuff to you in a letter, I’d never let you know my true identity! ‘Positively cute!’” she exclaimed and began giggling with Hermione.
“Next card, anyone?” Harry prompted, trying not to smile or blush his fool head off.
He broke a corner off the chocolate bar Ron had snagged for him. That was another odd post-car crash quirk Harry had picked up; a inexplicable, never-ending hankering for wizard chocolate. It wasn’t that he hadn’t liked it before, but now he couldn’t seem to get enough. Hermione had such a mother hen type bedside manner, she’d pestered Harry over it until Ron just told her, “It’s for his health, Hermione. You can’t deny the healing powers of wizard chocolate.” Ron-logic to the rescue.
“I’ll go,” offered Ron and stepped up to one card on the wall. “Dear Mr. Potter, Seeing as how I’m a country girl from Nuneaton, England, you’d probably expect me to refer to you as ‘duck’ in this letter. I assure you this will not occur because I happen to think ducks are stupid and annoying, and I have a feeling you are neither. I should have written to you awhile ago, back when you first did your interview for the Quibbler. I want to tell you that I always believed what you said in regards to You-Know-Who, but your most recent actions just cement to me your true character. Not everybody would bother trying to save the lives of a group of people who hated them, relatives or no. My hat is off to you. Sincerely Yours, Siri Bartolomei. P.S. Get Well Soon!” Ron finished and grinned hugely at him, “See, not all of your admirers are crazy, frothing-at-the-mouth idiots.”
It was indeed reassuring for Harry to find out that people were not simply noticing the fame about him, but also his inner motivation. These letters actually meant something; he’d always assumed most of them would be mindless drivel.
“Hmm, this one’s from France,” spoke up Ginny, “Hey Harry, I’m dying to know, Are you a Lord of the Rings (LotR) fan?”
Ginny and Ron looked at bit confused as Hermione explained, “Muggle cinema series based on books. Most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen,” she scoffed, “magic rings, talking trees, epic wars—utter nonsense,” she mumbled.
“Moving on,” continued Ginny, “because I think LotR is even better than Star Wars! But nobody is better than Merry and Pippin. Anyway, I just saw your picture in the London Times online, and you seemed like a cool person, what with saving your relatives and everything. Drop me a line sometime, we’ll do lunch. Cheers, Pip’s Girl from Paris.”
“Nutter!” declared Ron, scarcely letting his sister finish the letter. Privately Harry agreed, and he even knew each Muggle reference the French girl had used.
“She’s not a ‘nutter,’” defended Hermione, “but she does seem a little…confused,” she allowed. “I guess it’s my turn again then,” Hermione said, skimming another set of cards on her lap. “It’s been long enough that some of these have even started to arrive from further overseas than France. Here’s one that I think you’ll like,” smiled Hermione.
“Hello there, Harry Potter! I can imagine it’ll be kind of different getting a letter from someone like me. Two of my three wonderful children have always been Potter fanatics, and I always supported them in it. The biggest reason why is because you are a young man who has never wavered in your story or beliefs, and that is certainly something to admire. Whatever you do, don’t trivialize this trait; I know many adults who are seemingly incapable of such things. Minister Fudge was wrong to have publicly ridiculed you, a boy who had to have suffered much because of those most unfortunate events you were forced to experience and witness. Thank you for daring to be the face of reason against so many countless pressures. Applause for you, and feel better soon. Fan-Dad Forever, Michael ‘Hardy-Boy’ Horntail, Minnesota USA.”
Harry was struck speechless. Now it wasn’t just kids or random people who wanted to show their appreciation for him, but…parents were, too. It was mind-boggling…yet…very…touching that people would care enough to contact him about it. The majority of them appeared to disagree fully with the Ministry’s prior treatment of him as well.
“Okay,” Ginny said knowingly, “here’s you a mental one right here.” Holding up a postcard, the red-haired girl showed them the picture on the front of a nighttime cityscape that once had the caption “Seattle’s Space Needle” on it. Instead the words were crossed out and written over in black markered scribble, “World’s Biggest Boogie-Extractor.”
“Hi, whoever you are,” Ginny began reading the back of the postcard, “I had to send this to you because your eyes are green. Green is great, it’s the color of boogies, my favorite thing to eat. Did I tell you I’m a boogie eater? Scabs are good, but boogies are better. I have a poem for you. Roses are red, violets are blue. Chunky boogies are best, ‘cause they make snot stew!”
The four of them all joined in with various sounds of disgust and derision. While the postcard’s content was indeed cringe-worthy, it was also undeniably…laughable. Apparently the American term for “bogeys” was “boogies.” Hermione didn’t seem to agree with her friends’ chuckling, however.
“For Merlin’s sake, some people should really be outlawed from using pens,” the girl said officiously. “And who’s it from?” she asked.
“It just says, ‘Wizened Boogie-Eater in Washington State,’” Ginny answered back.
Hermione replied sarcastically, “Well, I highly suggest you disinfect anything else you receive from there before reading it.”
“All right, well one more to read and we’d best be leaving,” Ron said reluctantly. “Allie was right when she said you won’t sleep when we’re around…because you don’t, you know.” The boy smirked down and Harry who looked away. Heck, when Ron was right, he was right. Plus Harry was feeling really tired at the moment anyway.
Ron picked one from Hermione’s stack of cards and said, “This one was signed by a lot of people. Dear Harry,” continued Ron, “this isn’t so much a fan letter as a letter of appreciation. We’re all really grateful to you for standing up to not only He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, but to Minister Fudge’s snow job of you, too. We are teens who think our parents would just sometimes get a big fat clue and stand up to Fudge’s idiocy. If you can do it, thousands of adult wizards should certainly be able to! Way to stay your wits and save your relatives, too. Keep the faith, get better soon, and stay cool! Stephaz and the HP Fic Factory, Southern California USA.”
Upon finishing, Ron stood up and handed the card to Harry so he could read the entire enthusiastic youthful scrawl on it. Hermione and Ginny slowly joined him and the three bid their farewells on the way out the door. The last thing Harry saw as he fell asleep was the welcoming signatures of his eager supporters.
Minging: (adj/verb) British slang meaning one of three things depending on context. 1) sinfully ugly; coyote muggly, or ‘muggle ugly,’ 2) covered in unmentionable gunk, 3) really really stinky, as in crack ho ‘stankay’. Ex: You’re minging! Take a shower, mate!
Space Needle: Six-hundred-and-something ft tall monolith built in Seattle, Washington for the 1960-something World’s Fair. No, it really wasn’t meant to contact extra terrestrial life, and if you want to know more, I suggest you Google it. Thanks ;)
Boogies: American slang, alt. version of “bogey”.
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