The first thing I felt moving were my toes. I wiggled them slightly, and I began to slowly get the feeling back into my legs. I could feel my face trying to form a smile, or a smirk, or a frown, or anything. Just the thought of movement made me want to shout. It made me feel like I had been in a coma for years. My bones felt like they were made of stone, and my features cracked as if they were ensconsed in clay. I took in a deep breath and my ribs felt like they were breaking, but strangely refreshed. I sat up, and checked out my surroundings. Madame Pomfrey's desk was filled with papers, pretty strewn about and messy. I smiled, as I spotted my beautiful dress hanging on a hook.
I pushed myself up from the bed, and stopped to steady my feet. I was still a little shaky from my, little rest. The last thing I remember before now was the Halloween ball, and Marlene, and trying to write to Harley. Oh my god, Harley's note. Where the hell was it? I moved my feet as quickly as they would go, which was not very fast right now. I almost fell, but not before I grasped the edge of the desk. I grabbed my wand, which was on the desk, and lit up the small area so I could see properly. I winced at the use of magic, but I'd gotten used to the sharp stings when I did even the simplest spells. I sorted through the disarray, only seeing a manila folder with Meadowes, Dorcas Hera printed on it, a few blank sheets of paper, a moon chart, another folder with Meadowes, Harley Ann on it, and a pile of papers that looked like a big headache of clerical work. No note. If Pomfrey didn't have it, who did? And how did I get here? I was going to have a lot of questions when someone finally woke up. I looked outside, and it was almost dawn. The sky was just turning pink, but I had no idea what day was starting. I went back to the table, looking at the papers again. Why was Harley's folder out? I grabbed it and a burning sensation hit my hand. I tried a couple random spells, some of the ones we used to counter the spell, but nothing worked. I looked around quickly to make sure Pomfrey hadn't come in, and I opened her first drawer. There was a piece of paper under a couple more sheets of nonsense with the word sanctimonia scribbled on it. I tried that last, tapping the folder with my wand. I smiled when it glowed a bright yellow, and closed the drawer. I opened the folder and took out the first page.
STUDENT : MEADOWES , HARLEY ANN
HOUSE : RAVENCLAW
MEDICAL CONDITION : MEADOWES DISEASE (terminal)
AGE OF DIAGNOSIS : 8 YEARS OF AGE
DANGER CLASSIFICATION : LEVEL 4
DATE OF BIRTH : NOVEMBER 9 , 1953
DEATH EXPECTATION : JANUARY 3 , 1972
I gasped at that. Harley was supposed to die over five years ago. I asked Dumbledore to tell me. Why did he lie to me? And what the fuck is a danger classification? I've never even heard of that. My head whipped towards the door when I heard the scraping of Madame Pomfrey's key in her door. I hobbled towards my bed, realizing it only took her about ten seconds to get from her room to the Hospital Wing. I was just placing my legs back under the blankets when I heaerd her speak the incantation to get inside the Hospital Wing, and I shut my eyes just as she walked in.
"Oh Merlin, she's still out," I heard her mutter. I could feel my eyes darting around behind my eyelids, and I hoped it wasn't noticeable. I heard her cast a patronus, and crinkled my eyebrows a bit. I wonder what that was for. Well, I should probably wake up. I really shouldn't be freaking anyone out anymore. I went through the whole process I did before, so it wouldn't seem suspicious.
"What the hell happened here," she questioned aloud. I can't believe I didn't put back the damn papers. She's going to know it was me. I better make this convincing. I finally sat up, and cleared my throat quietly. When I first looked at Pomfrey, I felt so bad. Her hair was a mess, and it looked like she hadn't slept in days.
"Dorcas!" She rushed over to me, and conjured a goblet.
"Aguamenti," she conjured, and she forced the goblet of water on me.
"Drink, dear. You cannot become dehydrated." I was a bit parched, I guess. I took a gulp, and realized how much I had missed water. I downed it in about five seconds. I placed it on my nightstand, and took the blankets off of my lap.
"Madame Pomfrey, what happened?" She scuttled to her desk quickly and brought back my file. She took out a sheet of paper, and placed it on top.
"These numbers," she said, pointing to some in the right column, "tell us what magical capacity you were at the night of the ball, before the sustaining potion." I was at a 73. That seems okay I guess.
"So what is a magical capacity, anyway?"
"It's the amount of magic you can use safely, without damaging yourself. Normal witches and witches will flucuate depending on what type of physical condition they are in. The lowest anyone should be is a 64," she finished impatiently.
"These numbers are where you were right after you took the potion." Whoa! I had shot up to a 97.6!
"So that's good, right?"
"I thought so," she said shaking her head.
"These were your numbers when Nicholas brought you here." I looked to the bottom of the last column.
"A 27? What are these numbers relative to? I mean how bad is that," I asked frantically.
"And Weids brought me here," I asked again, interruppting her. She gave me a stern look, and I decided to keep my mouth shut until she explained everything.
"The numbers are on a scale out of one hundred, dear. One hundred being healthy, normal." Wow, normal. The word bounced around in my head tauntingly. You're not normal, Dorcas, it said. Normal for Sirius was 100, normal for Lily was 100. My normal was a 73. And I was so close. I was at a 97.6, and I was almost normal.
"We should test you again right now, dear. I have to see how you've reacted to waking up." She went to get a needle, I guess. What happened to magic being so convenient?
"What is my normal, Madame Pomfrey?" She turned to look at me, a questioning look on her face.
"I mean, for normal witches and wizards, their normal is 100. What is mine."
"You're a steady 72," she said sighing.
"When am I supposed to die Madame Pomfrey?"she sighed again, bigger, longer this time.
"I don't know yet dear, we don't know." She came back over with her supplies and turned up the sleeve of my long nightgown.
"How long was I out for," I asked, wincing from the small sting of the needle. She withdrew when enough of my blood was taken, and inserted the syringe into a small tablet, where my blood was stored.
"A week, almost precisely. Nicholas brought you here at about 10:00 PM last Saturday." She brought my blood over to her desk and performed an incantation. It dissapeared, and she came back to my bedside.
"Open the folder," she said. A new number had appeared at the bottom of my chart. 74.
"Thank god," she said, breathing a sigh of relief.
"How come I'm here Madame Pomfrey?"
"The sustaining potion Madame Pomfrey supplied you has affected you more than anticipated, Dorcas," said a smooth voice, coming from behind the curtain. Madame Pomfrey pulled back the curtain, and Dumbledore was standing there, wiping his glasses on the edge of one of his scarves.
"I received your patronus, Poppy. Thank you for notifying me. Your certain disregard for timing has always intrigued me, as I was in nothing but my night robes." He smiled at her, and it made me smile, too. We've gotten so used to him speaking like that. It's refreshing compared to everyone else.
"Yes, well," she mumbled, clearly flustered. "Her levels are back to normal."
"So all is well," he asked, looking from Pomfrey to me. I nodded yes, as I was feeling relatively well, and I wanted to get out of here as soon as possible. However, Pomfrey was not feeling the same security as me.
"She is most certainly not! I'm sorry, Albus. I have to put my foot down. She has been asleep for an entire week, barely breathing, face of a ghost. She will not be jumping around pranking everything in sight the morning she wakes up!" The poor thirty-something year old was red in the face. Merlin, I guess I didn't even think of that. I have to put things in perspective. I'm not fine, and I'm definitely not ready to go see my friends. Heaven knows how i'm going to deal with this.
"You know, Professor, I'm suddenly aggreeing with Madame Pomfrey. This bed feels safe."
"Well, if you both feel that way, I assume I have no choice." He was smirking almost, and his answer sounded like a question. Everything would be so much less confusing if I was headmistress.
"Tut-tut," he said, "I didn't anticipate how tired I would be at 7:30. I'll be seeing the both of you, here, at about 9:00 AM for breakfast? Thank you for informing me, once again, Poppy." He turned and walked out, his long robes sweeping the ground. I fought to hold in a smile since Pomfrey was still clearly distraught over me. Professor Dumbledore had forgotten to take off his sleeping cap. I chuckled slightly, Pomfrey glaring at me before handing me some robes to change into. She pulled the curtain shut and I let out a small laugh, her footsteps getting faster and louder the more I laughed. This was certainly going to be an interesting day.
"What are we going to do about her," Pomfrey asked. Dumbledore raised his hand slightly, his demeanor much more serious after leaving the Hospital Wing.
"You're correct, Poppy. She must not get herself into any trouble after this. And have you discussed what she is going to tell her friends?" Madame Pomfrey looked at the man, clearly very confused.
"Whatever do you mean, Headmaster? Surely she'll let them know."
"Don't be too sure, Poppy. She isn't like her sister, you know. Harley was not aware of the social parameters like Dorcas."
"But, Albus, the boys are not stupid. They'll know somethings going on."
"You over estimate the ability of the boys, Poppy. They're children like any others, and they've always trusted her. I'm sure Dorcas will sort it out." Madame Pomfrey bit her fingernails and looked back to the hospital.
"Don't you think they should know?"
"That's up for her to decide," he said mysteriously. "I'm sure you recall it took Remus two years to confess. Time will allow her the opportunity for truth."
"Speaking of truth, did you find the date?" Madame Pomfrey looked up at Dumbledore pleadingly.
"Dumbledore?" The man did not answer for a while, his brow furrowed slightly, his lips pursed.
"She'll make it to the end of next year. These are merely presumptions, Poppy, based on our previous experience. I would beg you if it wasn't innapropriate not to tell her that."
"Never against your wishes, Headmaster. I'll update the file." The young woman walked briskly back into the Hospital Wing, and went inside. Dumbledore went to the window adjacent to the entrance.
"Tom, why are you here?" A tall man in dark cloaks rose from the shadows, and made his way about ten feet from Dumbledore. A small hiss emitted from beneath his hood at the use of the name Tom.
"I'm not here to harm. I'm merely here to give an old fool a second chance."
"You are free to speak."
"You must hire me for the post of Defense Against the Dark Arts. I can bring so much knowledge, Albus."
"You as well as I know that these children should not have the kind of knowledge you posses, Tom."
"This is your last chance, Dumbledore. And your last warning." There was a pregnant pause, in which the breathing of the figure Tom was audible.
"What is wrong with the girl, Dumbledore? She is a classification five, I've heard." There was another silence. Dumbledore's refusal to speak was angering the mysterious figure.
"You and I are the only other five's I have heard of. Are you grooming all your students to be just as lethal now? Or just the girls," he said, with a silky cruelty.
"Don't come back again, Tom. Hogwarts does not welcome you home anymore." There was a silent sweep through the air, and a cool rush of wind. The man in the shadows was gone. Dumbledore gripped the window sill, his ring clacking roughly with the opposite metal.
"You could have been so much better, Tom," he whispered, mostly to himself, almost a guilty plea. As if it was his fault.
The full moon finally set, and it was time for everyone to wake up. A fresh Saturday morning, nothing out of the ordinary. The headmaster walked slowly back to his tower, smiling at passing early-bird students. Seemingly seamless, the perfect Headmaster on the perfect morning.