When I left my small house in my small town for Hogwarts, I wasn't prepared for the type of people I would meet. I've come to realize that some of the most extraordinary people aren't the smartest, or quietest. People don't only come in extremes, like I do. There are mediums, like Alice and Peter. I've had to accept that there are people who don't have to work as hard to make the grades I have to fight for. This isn't something I took easily. Even when I was a child, I was a big advocate for fairness. Everything that was happening to me lately, it didn't feel like fairness. It's like ever since this year started, we've all been confused and scared of something, but no one will say it out loud. I'm not used to the feeling of everything being hidden, because with me, everything is fair game. I don't like secrets and lies, and that's exactly what this was beginning to feel like. I feel like Dorcas is lying to me all the time now; and I'm sick of it.
Ever since I was accepted into Hogwarts, I'd always gotten the feeling that Dumbledore was waiting. He was waiting on the edge of a hill for me to mess up. We'd been through plenty of mistakes, the five of us. It's strange almost, how the one with the largest problem has yet to cause the least trouble. This feeling, however, has been dissipating rapidly lately. We'll walk into lunch, or dinner, not usually breakfast, all together. Dumbledore, maybe McGonagall will scan the Slytherin table to make sure everyone is still intact, then the eyes fall directly to me. I don't know if it's because she's a girl, or because she's been all but present lately, but the eyes fall to Dorcas now. They follow her wherever we go. I don't even know if she's aware of it. Of course, I'm the hyper-aware one, but that's not the point. It's not that I missed being the focal point of the professors' attention, it's just that I want to know what has made Dorcas so interesting this year. That's the problem with Lily and myself, we're too damn involved with everyone else's lives.
"Remy, come dance with me!" I smiled groggily at Mary. Now maybe I wasn't exactly in my right mind, and maybe Dorcas was hiding in her room from something bigger than a cold and the sniffles. But maybe, almost definitely, the house of Gryffindor was not one of health.
"Help! Someone, get Dumbledore! Please, she needs help," I screamed, running into the courtyard, Dorcas' head bobbling around precariously. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a silhouette, but the darkness shadowed their face. At this point, I didn't care who it was; I stumbled towards them frantically. One of her shoes fell off with a clattering on the cobblestone and I looked back when the sound struck the silent night. The shadow was gone when I turned back, nothing more than a whisper in the night. Turning around hurriedly, I was sure no one else coming to join me in the courtyard tonight. I sighed in resignation, a hiccup of fear in my throat, and started moving as quickly as possible to the Hospital Wing.
Coming up upon the Hospital Wing, my voice was clearly hoarse from shouting all over the castle. I had screamed for help for about ten consistent minutes. I laid Dorcas down as gently as I could while I was shaking from the shock of finding her passed out on the Owlery landing, her skin paler than ever.
"Pomfrey," I yelled, banging on the Hospital's wooden doors. I banged repeatedly, tried Alohomora, and some other destructive spells (all failing) before I saw a small wand light held by a frail hand coming around the corner.
"Dear, dear, what is it at this time of night?" I had completely forgotten she doesn't actually live in the Hospital Wing. I saw her eyes stray from mine to Dorcas' body, and her eyes widened in horror. She abandoned her wand and ran to the broken form on the floor.
"What has happened to the girl! What happened," she asked, her voice shaking. I went blank. I really didn't know what happened, and what had caused the personal connection between Dorcas and Pomfrey.
"Never mind that now," she whispered to herself, checking the pulse in Dorcas' wrist. "Well what are you just standing there for? Open the doors so I can get her in!"
"Madame, I've tried everything, it won't open," I yelled, exasperated.
"Oh bugger," she said, lifting Dorcas surprisingly easily for someone of such short a stature. She stood in front of the doors and mumbled something that sounded like the Latin. The doors clicked open almost silently, a little anti-climactic for the situation. I pushed one open trying to stay out of her way as much as possible.
She lay Dorcas down on the first bed available, and made sure her head was secure before she ran to her desk to grab some file out of her drawer. A sweat broke out on Pomfrey's brow, and she grabbed a small bottle before running back to the bedside. Her wand flew over Dorcas head quickly, and a small red glow emanated from it.
"Bloody hell," she whispered, rubbing her forehead again.
"How did you find her," she said, addressing me directly now.
"Shouldn't you do something! She can't just lay there unconscious! I'll recount my tales later, she clearly needs help," I said in annoyance. I was out of breath and tired but I wouldn't let Dorcas come second anymore.
"There's nothing I can do, Nicholas. The most important thing now is to find out what happened," she answered, rather breathlessly as well.
"Well when is she going to wake up? She'll tell you, then," I responded, wanting some sort of treament to happen.
"There's not a definite answer right now. If you're not going to be answering me, I must ask you to leave." Her voice became tense with the last sentence, and her gaze hardened.
"I was going up to the Owlery, after the ball. It was about 9:00 when I came around the stairs and saw her lying there," I said, giving up my fight. I sat at the edge of the next vacant bed and crossed my arms in defiance. There must be something else she could do.
"That's all, you didn't see anything, find anything. I just need to know what she was doing there." Pomfrey looked at me desperately, and I squeezed the crumpled letter in my pocket tightly before answering.
"No. It was just Dorcas. Although, I do assume she was going up there to either send or receive a letter." I'm sure that would've gained me a scathing look on any normal day, but she just stood up abruptly.
"I think it's best you just go to bed now Nicholas," she said firmly.
"I can help! I can go get Dumbledore, or-" She put her hand on my shoulder and lead me towards the door.
"I think the best you can do right now is keep quiet. I also think it best that you agree with me." I shrugged her hand off my shoulder, and took one last glance back at the frozen body behind us.
"Dorcas will tell me, you know. She'll tell me everything." She looked over my head and chuckled silently, darkly.
"You know what they call this, don't you?" My face turned to annoyed.
"What the bloody hell are you talking about?" Her sharp eyes came back to mine. In warning, reminding of who I was speaking with.
"Domus valetudo, that's Latin for hospital. Well, it's actually Latin for house of health. A tad ironic, wouldn't you agree?" Her eyes grew misty, and I saw her gaze rise to the door frame where the title was inscribed. She was right. This was most definitely not a house of health.