As always, the characters and setting of this story belong to J.K. not me and I'm simply adjusting a few details.
Chapter 5: Hospital Visits
Sirius was waiting in the Hospital Wing when Harry arrived, he was visible now and in his human form and he looked up from his small meal to grin at his godson.
“How was your feast?”
“The Ministry is taking over Hogwarts, it was said differently, but that was the whole point of it. Professor Umbridge is the new Defense Professor and she interrupted Dumbledore to give a speech of her own.”
“Is this Dolores Umbridge?”
“A short, toad looking woman with a painful voice and bad fashion sense?”
“That’s her. She practically lives in Fudge’s back pocket, she works for the Ministry and she isn’t a teacher, she was one of the people present when I was sent to Azkaban. Whatever you do Harry; don’t trust her and don’t cross her.”
“I don’t trust her as it is, and I won’t cross her if she doesn’t cross me.”
“Harry!” Madam Pomfrey swept him into a fierce hug before having him sit on one of the beds so she could examine him. Her wand waved over him repeatedly, giving him a tingling feeling before she finally stopped and just stared at him. “You do seem healthy, I can’t explain how, but it seems that your injuries were all healed a while ago. It also seems you’ve put on weight, which is good. How do you feel?”
“Fine, I wouldn’t have come if it weren’t for Sirius, he worries too much. Honestly, I’m perfectly healthy.”
“You’re right about that, though I can’t see how. Well, go ahead up your dorm, just take it easy and try not to lose weight again this year.”
“Of course Madam Pomfrey.”
Harry talked with Sirius for a few minutes before he actually left for the Gryffindor Tower. Finally on his own, the lack of close and powerful emotions helped his headache to lessen quite a bit and he felt so much better for it. As if on cue, an interruption came, it seemed right, Harry had been alone for almost five minutes already and it was absolutely unacceptable that he should have some time to himself. He didn’t stop, he couldn’t risk anyone realizing that he was able to sense people, he didn’t even prepare himself, he just remained as relaxed as ever. If Harry hadn’t known there was someone coming around the corner at the same time, he would have run into Draco Malfoy who was heading up his group of Slytherins, it seemed he was a Prefect this year.
“Well, well, if it isn’t puny Potter, back at last. What happened, get kidnapped?” Malfoy asked jokingly to the amusement of his flunkies.
“Actually, yes.” All laughter stopped.
“Very funny Potter, we all know you’re precious guardians hid you so that no one would see that you’d gone crazy.”
“Really? I’ve heard a lot of stories about that today but it’s the first time I’ve heard your version. My favorite was the one where nargles took me away to their leader.”
“What’s a nargle?” Goyle asked.
“Dunno, but the story was quite amusing,” Harry answered.
“Oh shut up Potter! What are you doing out after hours? Answer or I’ll give you a detention.”
“I was in the Hospital Wing; there are a lot of people who are still concerned about my health.”
“Not recovered from your ‘injuries’ yet? Well that’s too bad.” Malfoy was slowly moving his hand towards his wand and his emotions betrayed him; he wanted a duel.
“It is, most everyone I know fusses over me, it’s annoying more than anything,” Harry half lied.
“Then I guess this is the perfect time for a duel, don’t you think?”
“Oh no, if I duel you then I’ll get in trouble.”
“Too bad; Reducto!”
Harry threw his arms up, he didn’t have time to do anything else, he was just in time; the spell hit him and sent him flying back in the direction he had come and strait into a suit of armor that clamored to the ground all around him. The noise was no help to the faded headache Harry had just gotten over, but it helped in other ways, he could now sense Sirius and Madam Pomfrey heading his way, though there was no need to tell Malfoy that.
“Is this all you’ve got?” Malfoy laughed as he approached. “You’re not even going to draw your wand to protect yourself?”
“No,” Harry stated firmly from under the armor.
The Slytherins were all laughing right along with Malfoy as Harry didn’t move from his position.
“Harry!” Sirius rounded the corner and stopped abruptly at the sight of the Slytherins and the fallen armor and Madam Pomfrey arrived just after him and took in the scene.
“What’s going on here?” Madam Pomfrey demanded as she stepped out from behind Sirius.
Malfoy stowed his wand as fast as he could and looked innocent. “Just some harmless fun Madam Pomfrey.”
“Harmless my foot!” Sirius shouted as he rushed to the suit of armor and dug Harry out from under it.
“Hey there Sirius, I’m glad you didn’t leave yet,” Harry joked. The armor was beginning to crush him and he had scrapes on his hands and face and his shirt and robes were torn in places, not to mention his arms and ribs were burning.
“Harry, you’re not even armed!”
“Not true, I’ve still got my right arm and my left arm.”
“This is no time for jokes! Can you walk?”
Sirius helped Harry to his feet and he swayed for a moment and let the ringing in his ears fade, Sirius was furious, but his concern triumphed.
“Come on, let’s you get you back to the Hospital Wing.”
“If you say so Sirius.”
Harry walked with Sirius and Madam Pomfrey dragged Malfoy along behind them while the other Slytherins scattered and ran to their common room.
“Just when I thought I had gotten out too,” Harry mumbled as he sat on a bed.
Madam Pomfrey used the Priori Incantatem spell to find the last spell used from Malfoy’s wand and then stared at Harry. “You can still walk after being hit with a blasting curse? Do you even realize how lucky you are to come out of this conscious?”
“I’m that lucky? Well that’s a change, normally I’m pretty unlucky.” Harry kept his little bit of wandless magic to himself, he had used a small shield charm, which had taken on the majority of the blast, but that didn’t mean he had come out unscathed.
“Harry!” Sirius scolded. “Get serious, you could have been killed!”
“But I wasn’t. Look, I’m tired and so if madam Pomfrey could just fix any broken bones, I can just let these cuts heal on their own, I want to go to bed.”
Madam Pomfrey waved her wand over Harry a few times and his arms and ribs stopped their complaining and she finally nodded that he could leave again, though he didn’t need empathy to know that she didn’t like the idea. This time Sirius accompanied Harry to the Gryffindor Tower.
“Granted.” The portrait swung open and Harry faced Sirius.
“You write a lot, and don’t get into any more trouble,” Sirius said.
“I’ll write to you soon Sirius, I promise, and I’ll do my best not to get into any trouble.”
“And don’t forget to draw your wand next time; you scared me half to death tonight.”
“Right, I will.”
Harry climbed through the portrait hole and it closed behind him leaving Sirius outside.
“Harry! We were worried, you had been gone for a while and – what happened to you?” Hermione fussed when she saw him.
“I ran into Malfoy after I left the hospital wing, he’s as much fun as ever, knocked me into a suit of armor and it fell right on top of me. Sirius and Madam Pomfrey heard and they got there quick enough, that thing was heavy though and it landed me back in the hospital wing. But I’m alright and Sirius brought me here himself and Madam Pomfrey took care of Malfoy.”
“Thank goodness you weren’t hurt worse! Why didn’t she heal all these cuts for you?”
“They’ll be fine in the morning; none of them were even bleeding, so I told her not to.”
“Are you sure you’re okay?”
“I’m fine Hermione, honest, it’s nothing a little sleep won’t cure. I’m exhausted I’m going to bed; we’ll see you in the morning Hermione.”
“Good night Harry, Ron.”
Harry led the way up to the dorm and the conversation between their three dorm mates Neville, Dean Thomas, and Seamus Finnigan, stopped as soon as they walked in.
“Don’t let us stop you, go ahead and keep talking,” Harry said. They didn’t resume their conversation so Harry started a new one. “How were your summers Dean, Seamus?”
“It was okay, better than Seamus’s anyway,” Dean said.
“Why, what happened Seamus?”
“Me mam almost wouldn’t let me come back to Hogwarts.”
Harry paused with his torn robes half off. He could feel a bit of appreciation from the others, he knew full well that he toned his muscles over the summer and he wasn’t afraid of letting others know and not shy of letting his roommates see. “Why?”
“Because o you.”
“Did I do something?” He finished pulling off his robes and he examined the tears in them as he pulled on his pajamas and set his wand on his bedside table.
“You have to ask? They’ve been runnin’ articles ‘bout you in the Prophet Harry, sayin’ you’re the one that killed Cedric but since they have no proof they can’t do anythin’ ‘bout it!”
“Oh those, I heard about them but I haven’t read any yet, are they any good?”
The four other boys stared at Harry as though he had grown an extra head.
“What do you mean are they any good?” Ron demanded. “The Ministry is telling everyone that you killed Cedric! The only ones who don’t believe it are the ones who know you well enough, most of the Gryffindors know better, but that’s about it!”
“Hey, I like a good rumor as much as the next person and I know better than to believe the garbage that the Prophet runs. I think I’m a bit disappointed in you though Seamus, you could have stood up for me, even if it was against your own mum.”
“Look, if we just knew what happened that night…” Seamus hinted.
“The only three things anyone needs to know about the third task is that Cedric died, Voldemort returned and I’m not going to talk about it,” Harry said in a tone that ended that branch of the conversation at once.
“Well it doesn’t help that Dumbledore is supportin’ you either, everyone thinks he’s loosin’ his marbles and me mam reads all of those articles too!”
“I wonder how old he is, exactly,” Harry mused. “Look, what Dumbledore says is always true, even if it’s a guess; his guesses are usually true as well, so even if he is just supporting what I said, he wouldn’t do it if he didn’t believe it. Tell your mum that for me will you?”
Harry fell into bed and pulled the hangings, placing a silencing charm to keep all the talk out. He was out like a light a few minutes later, his lack of sleep over the summer finally catching up with him.
“There’s no way anyone can get muscles like that laying a bed for two months,” Dean said after Harry pulled his hangings closed.
“There’s no reason for Harry to hide anything,” Ron said defensively. “And even if he is hiding something, there’s probably a really good reason for it. Just lay off of him alright.”
“Don’t pretend like you don’t want to know what he was up to this summer,” Seamus said.
“It doesn’t matter if I want to know or not, Harry is my best friend and if he’s not telling me something then it’s because I don’t need to know what it is. He’ll tell when he’s ready, until then, it’s not important.”