Stand By Me In A Field Of Blue Chapter 3
Harry sat shivering the entire train ride with his borrowed robe held tight. His friends hovered over him the entire time, doing all they could think of to keep him warm. Cycling through their entire list of heating spell and pouring cocoa down his throat. Yet the chill persisted. It clung to him, clutching to his rattling bones and clacking teeth.
The longer he shivered the more his friends worried. They wouldn't let him leave their sight, or, more accurately, Ron's sight. The redhead kept an eye on him for every second that Hermione couldn't. When Hermione left to change into her uniform, he stayed with him. When he needed to use the toilet after the fifth cup of cocoa, he followed him there.
Apparently, he thought Harry was "As bad as Gin was when she had the Dragon Poxs." At that point, they had already gone deaf to his arguments and reassurances. He was going to the Hospital Wing, there were no if's, and's, or buts about it or allowed.
Though resigned Harry consoled his wounded pride with the knowledge he was no longer seeing things. The strange man vanishing about halfway through the miserable trip. Despite his right coloring and solid appearance the man obviously wasn't real. he learned this on one of his trips to the loo when Ron walked straight through the man. Whatever the man was he was less than a ghost and more like a magical photo or a skipping muggle film. Silently acting out scenes as he played off of some unseen costar.
When the purple haired man flourished a gun Harry hadn't felt fear or even apprehension, he only felt hate. Not a low simmering hatred as he felt for Snape or even Malfoy, but a bursting hate that screamed for him to stab out.
"Uh, you okay there mate?" Ron had asked on their way back to their cabin, the purple haired spectator running in fright from them. But it wasn't him, Harry didn't think so at least. The way he ran, the confused fear in his eye, did not fit the smarmy man who had haunted Harry most of the train ride.
Uncertainty, and a bubbling guilt that snuck up on him, won out against the hate. "I'm fine," That was a lie but he could honestly say he had never been happier to see the Hogwarts' station. He needed to get off that train.
His feet had barely touched the station proper when Hermione grabbed him by the hand. "Come on, Harry." She said, dragging him along in the rain as if he were a child. Ron was just ahead of them, clearing a quick path to the horseless carriages.
Harry stopped short, stumbling Hermione from his sudden dead weight.
"Harry," she asked, her worry doubling, "What's wrong?"
She looked over her shoulder, back to where Ron was waiting inside the door, "What about them?" She asked, looking back at him.
They weren't horseless for one. They had always been horseless before or so he had been told by his classmates and seniors. He had only ridden the carriages once during the year before. Thanks to a certain House Elf Harry wasn't able to ride them in his Second Year. Still, everyone said the same thing. That they pulled themselves like some fancy magical automobile.
But there were horses, or something like them, hitched to the front of each carriage. They were black and skeletal things with a beak like muzzles and a lizards tail. Long bat like wings that stretched from their sides and flexed with every breath.
One stomped its feet and looked of him, causing not a splash.
"Its nothing, nevermind." He didn't need them thinking he was seeing things that weren't there, well, more things. Hermione was already worrying enough over the strange man only Harry could see, he didn't need to put more on her. One hallucination was bad enough, a whole line of them would be a whole other level of problems.
The following ride was tense for Harry, to say the least. He kept looking through the rain splattered windows, towards the huffing creatures. Each stomp of their hooves a loud crack to his ears and the smooth glide of the wheels seemed to shake to his senses. He didn't know why, there wasn't so much as a rattle in the carriage, but he thought there was and that's what mattered.
It mattered because he was starting to think he was going crazy.
Why else would he be seeing things like, like, whatever that was? Or that man? Or even that dream?
No, no, he wasn't crazy, or so he told himself. There have been times before in his life where he thought he was crazy. Like when he heard voices in the walls in his Second Year. Or when he tried to explain all the strange things and people he saw as a kid before that. But, eventually, he found a way to explain each event. It was all magic he didn't know about yet.
He had to believe that was what was going on, just more things he had yet to understand. And until he did he would have to keep rolling with whatever life tossed at him.
Harry sat a little straighter and tore his eyes away from the strange horses. Instead, he looked past them, taking in a sight that always took his breath away.
The Scottish castle sprawled along the cliff edge as it peered down at the great lake below it. It's great towers reaching high into the rainy sky and seemed to scrape against the low hanging clouds. And, best of all, every window was lit with a warm yellow light that was calling out to him, calling him home.
The smile on his face couldn't be any more genuine, more so when he realized that he had stopped shivering.
This news was met with a rather lackluster response from his friends, or so Harry felt. They had hummed and raised their eyebrows, a little too synced in their disbelief he thought. He really was feeling better. Still, they frog marched straight into the exasperated care of Madam Pomfrey.
"Not five minutes in the castle and your already here, Potter?" She huffed, greeting them as they reached the Hospital Wing, "What seems to be the problem this time?"
"Um, nothing now," He hedged, squirming under her critical eye, "I just didn't feel too well on the train. It was probably just motion sickness."
"No, it wasn't." Hermione snapped, "Madam Pomfrey, he was shivering the whole trip. Warming spells didn't seem to work and we don't believe it was a curse, or it wasn't one we were able to dispel. It... It reminded me of last year and the Dementors."
The Healer hummed, waving her wand over Harry even as she forced him to sit on the edge of a bed. "Well, I'm sure it wasn't that. Buggers' effects are immediate but don't last too after exposure."
She waved her wand a bit more, weaving it in patterns he couldn't even being to interpret. At the end of it all she did was hum, "And you feel fine now, Potter? Not so much as a shake? Were there any other symptoms?"
Harry shifted where he sat, "I was a little confused for a while." It was a half truth, yes, but he really didn't want to talk about the purple haired man or the black horses.
"Sounds like you had a bit of a fever," Madam Pomfrey said, "It's not too odd for them to only last for a handful of hours. It was likely a short lived bug but it would be best if you had some bed rest. And water, plenty of water."
"Wait, he'd have to miss the feast?" Ron asked, "But, we just got here!"
"As I said, it would be for the best." Madam Pomfrey repeated, though her eyes did soften as she turned back to Harry. "Though, I don't see a reason why you have to spend your first night in the hospital Wing. I'll have the kitchen send you something up to eat in that Tower of yours."
Harry gave her a smile, "Thank you." He hadn't seen most of his Housemates since the end of Third Year, he was looking forward to seeing them all again.
"No problem at all, Potter." Then she smiled, "And don't worry about missing any announcements at the feast. I'm sure your fellow Gryffindors will let you know what you missed."
"Not you too," Ron moaned, earning a not so subtle elbow from Hermione. "What! Everyone keeps on hinting at something big and it's driving me mad."
Though Hermione admonished him to be more polite Madam Pomfrey just seemed amused. "You'll find out soon enough, now off with you. I'll send a messenger to the Fat Lady to let you in."
It was nice to be back in the Gryffindor Tower, Harry thought. The familiar red and gold of the room comforted him, more than the warm fire crackling in the den. He needed that more then he realized. It centered him, to be home. It gave him a chance to set his head back on straight after whatever it was that happened on the train.
He hoped it was like Madam Pomfrey said, a fever that burned its course. But, somehow, he knew it wasn't.
"Check," Ron said. His mouth half stuffed with another bite as his knight slashed at Harry's Rook, leaving only a pile of stones behind. Not ten minutes into the game and he had already backed Harry into a corner as they waited for everyone.
"Swallow Ronald," Hermione said absently, turning the page of her course book as she lounged not too far from them. Unlike the boys, she had yet to touch her food, her nose so deep in her book she hardly paid it any mind. Harry hoped he wasn't the cause, the bushy hair girl tended to get frazzled when she started to worry.
Still, it was nice, just hanging out near the open fire. It seemed so small but he wasn't sure if his friends really understood how much moments like those meant to him. The pleasant normalcy of it. IT was something he had never been sure he could or would experience when he was growing up. He wouldn't trade a moment of it for anything else in the world.
The portrait door to the dorm swung open, the rest of Gryffindor had arrived and they were absolutely a buzz. Each face Harry saw wore a bright smile as they chattered excitedly to each other. Most everyone ignored them as they passed, too busy with their own conversations to care. But some did notice, and they did care.
"There you three are!" A redhead exclaimed, striding towards them shoulder to shoulder with his twin. A few familiar faces trailed behind them, barely exchanging waves as the twins set on them. "We thought we lost you at the station again."
Ron's ears turned red, "That only happened once."
"But it certainly left an impression." One twin started for the other twin to finish, "On the Whomping Willow."
"Shut up," He mumbled back and received only grins in return from his brothers. "What's going on?"
"You first, where were you."
"I wasn't feeling all that well," Harry said, preferring to say it himself then his friends talk around it. "Now, what's going on?"
One twin hummed, Harry was fairly sure it was George but he couldn't be completely sure. "Bit of a good news-bad news situation that."
"What's the bad news," Harry asked, feeling a bit of dread, wanting the worst out of the way.
The twins were cut off by a dark skinned girl spoke, "Quidditch is canceled this year." Angelina said, arms crossed and lips pouting.
Harry actually stood up at that while Ron let out a horrified, "No!"
"Yes!" The twins shot back even Angelina nodded her head grudgingly. Harry couldn't believe it. He loved Quidditch, it was usually the highlight of his school year. And after watching the world cup he had been looking forward to pushing himself further in the new season.
Harry also knew that with Oliver Wood graduated and gone Angelina was set to take over as Team Captain. He could only imagine how disappointed she felt.
"Can we still practice?" He asked, feeling a bit desperate, "Run drills or something?" He'd even take flying around like a First Year at that point.
"I'm not sure," Angelina said slowly, stretching out the words as her pout started to melt away. "I'll ask McGonagall about it."
Harry smiled, relief flooding him even as the twins did a double take. "You have to tell us what happens." Fred, probably, said in all seriousness. Quidditch was just as serious to them as it was to Harry and the rest of their team.
"What's the good news?" Hermione asked, finger between the pages of her book as she looked on.
"Huh, oh. Oh!" George said, straightening out and eyes sparkling with excitement. "Hogwarts is hosting the TriWizard Tournament, can you believe it!?"
Even as a slow and disbelieving smile broke out on Ron's face, matched only by the pensive frown on Hermione's, Harry was left confused.
"The what now?"
Trying something new with Apps, hopefully it helps my writing. Anyway, thanks again to kaleidoscope89 and I hope everyone enjoyed.