It was to the smell decay that Harry woke from unconsciousness. His nostrils assaulted by the horrible stench, with every breath he took. He sputtered and coughed wildly as he lay on his back, the horrible stench burning in his eyes turning his vision foggy.
Confused and dazed Harry tried to get up, pressed his hands into the soft, muddy ground. With a grunt, he slowly pushed himself off the ground resting on his shaky knees.
Blood thundered in between his ears as unclear thoughts raced at an incredible speed through his mind. The urge to rest grew stronger with every passing moment, but Harry knew from pain filled experience, to resist this sweet temptation.
He had to get up, no matter how sweet the desire for a bit of rest was to him, he had to push through it. See if he had any injuries and then learn where he was.
It was a lesson he had taken to heart far too soon for a child like him.
Clumsily, Harry steadied himself with his left arm pressing into the weird wooden mushy ground.
The feeling of wet, soggy wood sent unpleasant shivers throughout his body.
Ever so slowly, his mind came to a rest as the conflicting and confusing sensations and thoughts ebbed away, to leave a single question in their wake.
'Where the hell am I?' Harry wondered, looking around him with watery eyes. He was in a square shaped room, it's walls brown and rotten. The wallpaper was torn, tattered hanging limply from the wall revealing the innards of the building.
The window pane to his right was broken, revealing nothing but complete and utter blackness from outside. Not even a single shred of light was to be found.
A mighty shudder ran down Harry's spine, his eyes travelling down to the window frame. There, green vein like tendrils clung onto the edge of the window frame, seemingly merging with the rotting room.
Harry's fought the urge to vomit as the stench of death, excrements and decay continued their relentless assault on his olfactory sense.
The stench was dizzying.
His eyes wandered across the writhing and shaking foundation of the room, when he abruptly halted his motions in their tracks.
'Wait-' Slowly Harry turned back and gazed closer at the tendrils by the window frame. They looked strangely organic, oddly coloured ranging from splotches of dark red to sickly greyish green nubs; almost fungal in their appearance, with fine hairs sticking out of them. They swayed through the air, even though Harry's couldn't find a trace of wind that would cause this, as the flesh underneath, pulsed in a steady rhythm.
Thub-thub … Thub-thub … Thub-thub
His eyes grew wide, the rhythmical noise reaching his ears. It was perfectly in tune with his own heartbeat. The room in it's entirety, started to shudder and tremble to the rhythmic beat.
Slowly Harry's gaze followed the green pulsating tendrils on the window frame as they twisted and turned through the ram-shackled, decrepit wooden structure and came together right underneath his feet.
Thub-thub … Thub-thub … Thub-thub
Before Harry knew it, the floor beneath him gave away and he felt a mass, slimy and sticky; latching onto his ankles and pulled him under.
Eyes wide Harry frantically looked at what was happening to him and immediately wished he hadn't.
His lower hip disappeared, swallowed by the churning greyish green mass underneath him. Patches of fur, fungus and rotten flesh were on the bubbling surface, always moving, changing it's shape at an bizarre pace as it thundered his own familiar heart beat.
Thub-THUB … Thub-THUB Thub-THUB
Thin tendrils shot towards out of the churning mass right at Harry, sticking onto his arms and head and began to pull him deeper into this writhing, gurgling monstrosity.
Harry screamed, shrieked like he had never before, as pure and utter terror flowed through his mind as flailing arms tried to grab, anything for him to hold onto.
Ever so slowly Harry sunk deeper into this thing's body, the feeling tiny teeth nipping and tearing at his clothes and bits of exposed flesh.
Primal terror that Harry had never felt before gripped his heart with an ferocious grip and paralysed his rational mind. His screams only grew in intensity, threatening to tear his vocal cords. His flailing arms glided across the wooden surface as he futility tried to save himself from an fate that he knew with absolute certainty, was worse then death. Something yanked at his feet and he was pulled deeper the moving horror now reaching just below his armpits, when the floor to his right creaked loudly.
Wide eyes flew to the direction of the sounds and locked onto the white clothed figure of Hermione standing above him.
Harry shot his hands towards her, flailing left and right in an desperate attempt to reach.
She was so close.
Towering over him.
Her face expressionless, eyes blank as she gazed upon his half swallowed body.
"Hermione!" Harry's hoarse voice shrieked in a pitch that sounded so wrong to his very own ears. His hands were trembling uncontrollably, fingers stretching out towards her as much it was physically possible.
"Help me!" The words rushed out of quivering lips, Harry's throat burned in fiery hot agony at it's abuse, his body below his armpits disappearing inside this writhing bubbling mass of dead flesh, fungal growths and fur.
A panicked shriek tore it's way out of his throat as something within this horrid mass, tugged at his leg.
"And what am I supposed to do?" Hermione's eerily serene, calm voice cut through the hellish gurgling and bubbling noise effortlessly, like a hot knife through butter.
Harry's eyes nearly popped out their sockets, snapping upwards to look at the shape of Hermione, who looked at him quizzically, with her head cocked to the side.
Cold sweat ran down his brow, his face turned ashen white, Harry stared at mouth agape at the still figure of Hermione. In that moment Harry felt something yanking at his legs again, this time more much more fiercely, causing him to sink deeper into the writhing horror around him.
Icy terror gripped his heart, as it hammered thunderously in his chest, his breathing becoming more and more difficult as yelled, bellowed with all the strength his weakening body had "GET ME OUT OF HERE! I'LL DO ANYTHING! JUST GET ME OUT OF HERE NOW! PLEASE!"
No sooner did those words leave his mouth, Hermione shot forward like cobra lunging at her target. Grabbed his arm in an iron grip and pulled.
The next thing Harry knew was that he was sailing through the air, before his back hit onto soft, moist ground with an dull, painful thud.
A sense of warmth enveloped his body as he cold feel the warm sunlight shinning upon his face.
The horribly sickening smell of that nightmarish place, gave way to a more pleasant yet bitter scent, gently soothing his violated olfactory sense.
Harry opened his eyes in a flash, to an crystal clear blue sky, the sun shinning over him. Forcing his hand to move, Harry shielded his eyes from the glare of the sun, while savouring the gentle warm heat it spread.
With an slight groan Harry rolled to his right, letting his eyes wander over his surroundings.
He was on a slight slope of an hillside, that allowed him a clear view of large green hills with rocky tops, surrounding a large lake. The sun reflecting of the waters surface bathed the entire land in ethereal golden light, making the the green of the mountains stick even more prominently.
Beyond the lake lay the ruined remains of an old castle. What Harry could only presume were once proud, tall and magnificent towers and walls, now lay crumbled and destroyed on the ground. Only skeletal remains of the complex walls remained.
An unbidden tinge of familiarity shot through him, his mind drifting as his heart wantonly called out for the closest place he knew as home.
'Hogwarts.' Painfully, Harry pushed these distracting desires out of his mind, ignoring the pained pin-pricks he felt in his heart at his actions.
He couldn't afford to lose himself in his emotions and desires. It hurt too much.
Struggling to catch his uneven breath, Harry looked around and to his immediate right; saw a lone tree. It's leaf filled branches gently moving to the wind. And standing underneath it, just a few feet away from him, was Hermione.
Her white robes shone brilliantly, as her hair fluttered with the wind.
"Is this real?" Harry asked, his voice quivering still as he slowly lifted himself up to his feet.
"It is, you're safe now. I promise you." Hermione spoke softly as if were sharing a secret to him.
Harry gasped for breath, sweet summer air filling his lungs. He let his eyes wander over the landscape once again, stepping closer to where Hermione stood underneath the tree.
"Where are we? What happened?" Harry stuttered, fear and terror still audible in his voice. He had experienced many horrors in his years in Hogwarts. The Dementors in his third year, the basilisk and Aragog in his second and the possessed Quirrel in his first year; just a few examples in this long list. Yet never before had he felt such crippling mortal terror as he had just now.
Simply thinking about it caused an ice cold shiver to run through body. Even now, his legs were still quivering and a sense of unease haunted his mind.
'Just what the hell happened?' Was the question that plagued Harry's tired mind, cradling his head in one hand.
He could still feel the ugly presence of that meaty, rotten, fungal-mass in the lower portion of his body. How it moved and shifted as it relentlessly tried to pull him into itself. The tugging sensations of the tendrils warping around him, restricting his movements, binding him. Silencing his voice, allowing only for his mind scream and howl in crazed agony as the creature writhed underneath, bubbling and gurgling in excitement.
'Sweet Merlin.' Harry nearly fell to his knees, as he bent over, his stomach turning over itself in pure revulsion.
His hand tightened around his head to a near painful degree as Harry resisted the strong urge to vomit. Breathing heavily through his mouth, Harry couldn't help but let a agonised groan escape his contorted mouth.
'Focus Harry don't think about it! Don't think about it! Don't think about it!' Slowly but steadily his breathing returned to a more normal pace, the nausea ebbing away from his mind as the revolting memories and thoughts were banished into the back of his mind.
Releasing a tired sigh Harry rose back upright his hand still cradling his head a bit more gently then before, looking at back at where Hermione was underneath the tree.
Hermione smoothed her clothes with an flick of her wrist, while she tiptoed around the place in front of the tree.
A sigh escaped her lips as she looked at Harry coyly "Don't you remember this place. It was during our third year."
Harry shook his head, clenching and unclenching his hands, forcing his mind back to the present. Still filled with jumbled thoughts Harry desperately tried to remember.
"I-I don't know." muttered Harry, his voice though firmer this time was still laced with the crippling terror he had experienced before.
Shaking his head, Harry inched closer to the tree inspecting it warily. It was an large oak tree, it surface showing deliberate markings and scratches on it.
"This- it seems familiar, somehow." Harry mumbled to himself when unbidden flashes of the past appeared in front of his minds eye.
A star filled night time sky. Their reflection shimmering from the waters surface. The Black Lake. And there above it all, Hogwarts.
He blinked and a small, wistful grin began to appear on his face as he unconsciously snapped his fingers; new energy flowing through him as he spoke more and more animatedly.
"I remember." Harry said, his voice slowly rising as fond memories flashed across his minds eye.
"It was in our third year, we used watch the stars as they shone over Hogwarts and the-"
Harry stops with an start, facing the lake and the ruined castle with outstretched arms. His eyes went wide and his mouth fell open.
In an instant Harry felt the world come to an screeching halt. All noise ceased to exist except the painful heartbeat that pounded against his ribcage.
'No. No! That- This can't be! Impossible! The Black Lake! No! It can't be!'
His heart stilled and all previous thoughts that occupied his mind blasted away leaving him with the utter clarity necessary to comprehend the sight he was seeing.
Frantically his eyes scanned the surrounding mountains, that looked so awfully familiar, around the Black Lake. Looking for anything that was out of place, anything that would help him prove this to be nothing more then a mere misconception.
'It can't be Hogwarts, this castle is nothing more then a ruin!' Denial raced through his mind, his eyes caught the shapes of the ruined castle sections. The building to his front, that had half of it's left side torn away, piles of rubble lying within a open space, that looked so much like a great hall.
Behind the remains of an tower, horribly bent, filled with cracks and a hole the size of an car, weakly reached for the sky.
Unbidden, memories brushed his mind's eye, the devastated tower bringing forth the countless of times he had climbed these very familiar set of stairs 'NO!' to his quarters, the long nights of studying and playing games with Ron and studying with Hermione in the Gryffindor 'No! NO!' common rooms 'No! No! NO!'.
A strangled choking noise escaped Harry's throat as he clamped one hand to his mouth, while the other firmly grasped his chest where his heart harrowingly pounded in it's place.
'Oh God!' Before Harry knew it his legs gave out and he collapsed onto the ground heap, still facing the destroyed castle, that he not long ago, had called his home. His eyes were red and tear struck, his stomach churning over itself; an indescribable feeling between sorrow and horror thundered within him.
A long mournful whine burst through his covered mouth, tears streaking down his cheeks as his whole body trembled in anguished sobs.
Harry knew this place, no matter how hard he tried to deny it, to not recognise. It was simply impossible for him not recognise the place he had grown to call home, Hogwarts.
"H-How did this happen." Harry finally asked, his voice hoarse, wavering still, barely managing to be audible or even comprehensible to his own ears.
"I don't know." Was the swift response from Hermione, who had come to his side, idly brushing her gently flowing hair out of her gleaming eyes.
"But it doesn't matter." Hermione continued her voice upbeat and light as she spoke "What does, is that we're both safe here."
Harry didn't know if it were the words or the way she had said it, but as soon as Hermione finished speaking, Harry stilled. His crying ceased, though his eyes were still red and puffy. Slowly Harry turned his head and looked up, to see Hermione standing over him with an large genuine smile on her face. Her eyes shinning with happiness.
"What?" Was Harry's blunt question, disbelief echoing in his hoarse voice as looked up completely aghast at what he had just heard.
"How can you say that!" Anger rising within him, Harry slowly clambered back to his feet glaring with a mix of disbelief and barely constrained wrath at Hermione, who didn't even flinch at his reaction. "How is that not important, 'Mione?!" Harry snarled with an slur in his voice, his throat thick and clamped with grief and sorrow. His eyes red and puffy.
In one sweeping motion Harry gestured agitatedly at the remains of his old home "There is nothing! Hogwarts is gone! Destroyed!" shouted Harry ignoring the pain his throat was in, his eyes swam in yet unshed tears. Rage and sorrowful grief burned within them.
His body was trembling with barely contained emotion, Harry stepped closer to Hermione his eyes locked with her unwavering indifferent gaze.
"How did this happen?! Why? What could've done this!?" the enraged boy continued yelling letting his grief be heard in his wavering voice.
"We," Hermione finally spoke lazily gesturing with her hand between the two of them an annoyed expression marring her face "don't know. But Harry, as I said before what happened here doesn't matter. It's in the past. What matters is that we're safe and sound once again."
'It doesn't matter!?'
Her response, the way she said it. So apathetically, yet so cheerfully happy sent Harry's mind reeling. Unconsciously he took a step back in shock, stunned at her words as they twisted the metaphorical knife in his heart ever deeper.
"You can't be serious." Was his flabbergasted response as he stared with wide eyes that reflected his shock.
"This is our home, Hermione!" Harry hissed through clenched teeth, his face contorted in agony and grief as the volume of his voice steadily grew. "Was our home and now it's gone! Destroyed, by god knows what and you don't even give a toss about it! How can you be so uncaring about it!?"
With every spoken word his anger and rage began to seep back in, his voice growing ever louder like an approaching thunderstorm.
"We have nothing!" Harry seethed, his nostrils flared angrily "We don't even have enough food! We don't even know if there is anything left in Hogwarts! We don't know anything!" The intensity of his own roar surprised Harry, the enraged echo ringing across the valley for anyone to hear.
"Nothing that is of importance to you, I assure you." Hermione replied coldly, her voice firm. Steel now shining in her eyes, as she stepped forward into Harry's personal space took his hands into her own faster then he could react, gripping them in iron clad hold, his furious glare answering her right back as she continued "These problems with food and shelter can be dealt with later, but right now all that matters is that we are safe. Safe and sound and far, far away from what was lurking out there."
" 'From what is out there'?!" Harry bellowed, ripping his hands out of her grasp and roughly shoved her away from him in one smooth motion.
"Safe from what!? God damn it! Where were we?! Why the hell did you take me away from her!" shouted Harry and immediately noticed the change in Hermione. Her posture shifted. She stood taller and appeared to be larger then a moment before.
Her eyes narrowed, almost imperceptibly and the Harry could sworn that even the air around her had begun to feel colder.
'What did I say?' Harry thought as he tried to gather his thoughts back and recall what he just said looking for any hint that her to react that way. 'She shifted when I said the last sentence, what was it again: Why would you- no- - no- doesn't fit I was- I said I was taken from somewhere? Close but not it. Taken from someone - "- take me away from her!" Hang on wait, did I say 'her'? Whom did I mean?'
Harry stared at Hermione who sent him an icy glare that chilled him to his very bones. She inclined her head to the side and hissed coolly "A dead person. Whom you would do well to forget everything about."
'That's not Hermione.' The realisation hit him hard and brutally, his mind fervently looking for answer as to whom or rather what he was speaking to. Deep within him, at the back edge of his mind he knew, yet the answer continued to elude him; slip out of his fingers every time he got close to it.
'Focus back on the present Harry!' Putting the topic off for the moment Harry returned his full attention at the figure that looked so deceivingly like Hermione, meeting it's burning glare with an fierce one of his own.
"Who is she?" Harry growled, hesitation and fear rolling off of him as he stepped closer to Hermione.
"Who is she and why do fight so hard to keep me from knowing anything! Why can't I know the truth!?"
'The truth? The truth about what? I feel, like that, is the key to this. I was looking for the truth but about what – my parents? Most likely, I still don't know anything about them why were killed and how they were and – wait there is something else a name – a relation? Ellie.'
Harry's eyes widened in realisation recalling a familiar place 'A Mall,' his mind supplied. Of two girls, one brown skinned; reminding him of a younger version of Angelina and a red haired girl with green eyes so similar to his own. Both wearing the same look of despair and resignation.
"Ellie." Harry whispered softly under his breath. A warm sensation filled his heart and unconsciously his lips formed a small smile "She was there." 'I was there! I had finally found her!'
"And you took me away from her." Harry growled lowly, the smile vanishing from his face almost as fast as it had appeared. He stepped closer towards this imposter, this creature,glaring at it with an boiling fury.
He felt his heart pounding in his chest, his senses sharper then he could ever remember, becoming more aware of the little twitches in creatures hands, the tensing of the shoulders and the glint of violence shining in it's eyes.
The creature in Hermione's form leaned it's head back and answered with an ugly sneer "She's a dead girl walking Harry. The sooner you accept it the better you're off."
"I. Don't. CARE!" Harry's sudden shout again resounded across the entirety of the great valley, setting off a flock of frightened birds.
"I need to get back to her right now!" Harry demanded his raspy growl sounding like gravestones dragged across gravel.
"And what makes you think I'll let you go?" The cheap imitation of Hermione asked nonchalantly, an single eyebrow raised in mock curiosity. An action that only further served to fuel his rage.
"I will break you if you don't." Threatened Harry immediately, his face contorted into an glowering glare.
"You do realise you are; by extension threatening yourself, right?" Shot the cruel creature back before letting out a tinkering, mocking laugh, gripping Harry's heart in it's thorny embrace as he gnashed his teeth together in an futile effort to control himself.
"Oh Harry, what lurks back there, in that mall; in her, is a greater danger then anything you have ever faced." The creature continued in an scathing, condescending tone. "You even saw a little glimpse of what fate would await you, should we return. Courtesy, yours truly." The creature gestured at itself with an grand, royal like motion. Placing it's hand theatrically on it's chest, with an self satisfied smirk.
"I will not have my truth taken away from me." Harry growled trembling in poorly contained rage. It took all of his already greatly drained willpower to not lunge at the creature wearing Hermione's skin and start pounding into it.
'Damn it! What can I use against this monster? What!?'
"Your truth?" Snapped the monster back highly amused.
'There has to be something!'
"Shut up!" Roared Harry "Bring me back now!"
"Cease this silliness. I have brought us to safety and if-" ' "-unlikely... to give up... by free choice." '
"Bring me back or I'll reject you!" His sudden shout silenced the abomination mid speech, freezing it in it's tracks.
'Fucking got you!' Harry thought victoriously as he continued "I'll swear I'll-" Before he could finish his threat however, the monster was suddenly right in front of him, their noses touching as he started to glaring red eyes, that grew larger and larger. Irises splitting and multiplying at an exceptional rate.
A deep growling moan erupted from it and before Harry had the time to react a loud, nearly deafening cracking sound erupted. He felt something violently tugging at his navel, dizziness clouding his mind and a screen of white static all he could see, when it suddenly and inexplicably replaced by the view of an destroyed wall in front of which stood two very flabbergasted and stunned girls and an very, very angry half bearded man.
"Soooo, wanna let us in in how you popped – appeared – what ever, right in front of us?" Harry bit back a tired sigh, ignoring the awkward and shyly formulated question from Ellie as he nursed his swollen cheek; a courtesy from an enraged Wolf who had yelled his ear off for the better part of the last thirty minutes before going back to the girls securing their bindings.
Ellie and the other girl were tied with plastic handcuffs to the construction railings positioned against a dilapidated walls.
"Save your words El'." Ellie's friend hoarsely whispered and from the corner of his eyes he could see her slightly paling, sweaty face; her eyelids half dipped over her eyes.
"He ain't talkin'." There was a certainty in her words that Harry didn't know just how she knew that he wouldn't talk about it. Yet she did.
'I don't know what to say.' Harry thought lamely, the thought alone seemed pathetic to him. From what had happened since his involuntary teleportation to now was all too much for him. The sight of his ruined home still haunted his mind's eyes. The creature in Hermione's shape has stay silent ever since he came back to Ellie and Wolf only to be greeted by an punch and a loud tirade from the latter.
His mind felt numb, he had borne the fierce rant from Wolf only with half an ear. The entire reason for his kidnapping and subsequent journey through a desolate wasteland filled with death, disease and despair sat on the other side of the room. He could see her shifting slightly in place from the corner of his right eye. His sister.
'Possibly my sister.' Harry corrected mentally. 'Hopefully my sister.' The after thought made him wince uncomfortably as he idly scratched his cheek. He had finally found her.
After days of surviving in this harsh world of suffering and misery, he had finally found, quite possibly his closest link he had to a blood relative that would 'love me' as family ought to do. A sister.
And now she was dying right in front him. Wasting away to a disease. An infection.
He didn't want this to happen. 'It shouldn't have happened. It shouldn't happen.' Still hoping against hope that it wasn't true that she would survive with him. After everything that had happened to him he never would've imagined their meeting to turn out like this. 'She doesn't deserve this. I don't deserve this. She can't die. She is … She is my … sister? No I can't say for certain that she is but still she shouldn't die, she doesn't deserve this. She's just a kid like me, it's not fair! She is … what? No, she can't die, she is the reason why I am here, she shouldn't die. She can't die on me like this! I was so close! Why?! I don't deserve this!' Harry shifted pulling his knees to his chest trying to ignore the dull roar echoing in his head.
He didn't know what to do. Or to say to her, them. What do you say to people that are on their deathbed yet still aren't out of their teens yet? 'What would my friends say if I were in their shoes? Or Sirius, Remus Professor Dumbledore?'
Inhaling deeply, steeling his weak nerves Harry turned his head and muttered loud enough for the two of them to hear "It's complicated." Was his belated response.
"I'll tell you later." reassured Harry reflexively a timid smile starting to show before freezing on his face as he realised what he had just said.
"Fuck you." was the blunt reply from Ellie's friend as she glowered at him through half lidded eyes causing Harry to cringe at his choice of words.
Ellie's shoulders sagged, her face marred into a open mouthed grimace.
She turned her head to the side, away from her friend next to her and Harry heard her faint sniffing sounds.
At this Harry could feel the other girl's glare intensifying, almost like she was trying to ignite him her mind; before a sputtering cough interrupted her attempt.
The coughing became steadily worse racking her body as bouts thick yellow, greenish slime spluttered out of her mouth, splattering the floor and her jeans with the fluid.
"Oh shit!" cursed Ellie as her head whipped around to her friend, whose hacking coughs still racked her body.
"Riley! Stay with me!" Ellie called out desperately. "Riley! Just-" Stopping mid sentence she whipped her head towards Harry and cried out "help us, please! She needs help!"
'I don't know what to do. Huh.' In his mind Harry looked into himself, for his magical core, to give him any kind of advise or help he could use, only to hear it's faint chuckling resonating within him. His stomach turned in revulsion.
Uncertainly Harry got to his feet steadying himself at the wall with his left hand and stared helplessly at the scene before him.
'What do I do?'
Before he could ponder on it a familiar voice halted his trail of thoughts "You don't go anywhere near them boyo." Wolf sombrely spoke, his face grim, his jaws set.
"It's alright El'." the girl wheezed out in between her violent coughing, her breathing growing laboured. She was drenched in sweat, her dark skin completely drained of any life, her lips and extremities quivering profusely.
"I feel it soon." she murmured softly almost for Harry to not catch her words, were he not fully transfixed at what was happening in front of him. Ellie's eyes widened as she shook her head fiercely
"No no no no no no no. This can't be happening it hasn't been a day yet!" sputtered Ellie in a panicked rush.
Wordlessly Wolf pulled out a pistol from the back of his hip, flicked his thumb for a soft clicking noise to pierce the tense atmosphere around them.
"It's time." Wolf grunted taking aim at the dying girl.
Ellie's head snapped towards the smuggler and her eyes went wide.
"No no no please she's not fucking turning! It's too early! Please!" pleaded Ellie desperately, her face twisted in terror. The mere sight of it cut Harry to his heart and he felt his throat constrict painfully.
"Please don't!" Ellie cried helplessly, her voice breaking.
"Ellie." The name was uttered in a hushed whisper by her friend who wore a forlorn smile. Her eyes were closed now, drool and yellow fluid dripped down her lips. Yet she still smiled.
"It's ok." She whispered before a gunshot tore through the air and her head snapped backwards violently. A large gust of red and pink matter splattered the wall behind the girls, as the girl's head fell back forward into her chest and came to a rest.
"NOOOOOOO!" The scream of grief ripped through the the large Mall that swiftly dissolved into a incomprehensible blubbering mess of tears and snivels. Harry turned his head to the side, his hand against his mouth as he walked into a corner, the sorrow filled cries of Ellie to his back and hurled once. Then twice.
'Holy shit. Jesus Christ. Sweet merciful Merlin. Fuck. Shit. What the Fuck.' He pressed his back against the wall uncaring about the fresh vomit next to him and slowly slumped down to the ground.
Ellie's bone racking sobs filled his as he closed his eyes and desperately hoped sleep would take him swiftly this night.
'God have mercy.'
He had a feeling it wouldn't
Sleep didn't come easy. The entire night was filled with Ellie's cries and sobs loss and despair that were later joined by the powerful pounding and guttural screams of the infected outside of their barricades. Overall Harry doubted that he had slept for more then three consecutive hours.
Yet the smuggler had still slept easily. And Harry had no idea how he had been able to. A part of him envied him deeply for it as he tired rubbed his sleep deprived eyes. A deeper part of him however pitied him.
'Just what did you see that makes this so … normal for you.' Harry thought tiredly. Slowly, stumbling a very few steps of the way over his own tired and numb feet; Harry carried himself over to his backpack. Grabbing a bottle of water, he took a greedy chug from it before washing his face and preparing a simple breakfast with bread and eggs.
A glance outside showed that it was in the early morning the sun starting to rise from the horizon, throwing dark looming shadows from buildings before it, while the cloudless sky seemed to burn in rich and lively reddish and orange colours.
'Beautiful.' Harry thought shifting his eyes back with an wince as a shudder ran through and he finished off the breakfast by adding a bit of salt onto he cooked eggs.
"Wolf I made breakfast, you want any?" Harry asked over his shoulder, his head tilted towards where the only entrance of this room was and the most likely place where Wolf would likely be at the moment.
"Safe some for me for later, I had something earlier." was his response.
'A sentence longer then three words. Huh. Progress, I guess.' With an nod Harry took an generous amount of food onto his plate leaving the rest on the pan and moved towards where Ellie and her … friend were. Once again Harry looked out of the window at the was next to them where the shining golden sky greeted.
'This is unnatural.' Harry thought grimly with an shudder as his eyes once carefully avoided the grizzly sight next to the window, for a split second seeing a glimpse of the pinkish red matter that was now plastered across the wall behind the girls.
Yet what he was seeing now was equally horrible. Ellie on the ground before him, completely listless. She looked sickly pale, her clothes drenched in sweat and tears, her reddish brown hair nearly falling out of her ponytail.
The only sign of her being alive at all were the shallow movements of her chest.
Kneeling down so that they were on the same eye level Harry held out his overfilled plate.
"I made us breakfast." Harry spoke softly, timidly his scanning her, waiting for a response.
"Not hungry." was the clipped hoarse reply, making Harry sigh out loud.
'What the fuck do I do?' Harry thought desperately. Carefully he inched closer bending his head forward as he softly, hesitantly spoke
"Ellie, you can't just... not eat it's not healthy."
"I'm already dying, why the fuck should I care what's healthy and what's not." Ellie shifted turning her body halfway away from him, as much as her bindings would allow her to.
"Stuff it up your ass and go away. Just leave me alone."
Never in his life had Harry heard such a tone from person let alone someone around his age. The lifelessness and sheer hopelessness in her voice sent chills up and down Harry's spine.
Inhaling and exhaling deeply Harry steeled himself and remained where he was.
"Not until you eat something."
A loud grumble was her involuntary response as she turned her head, glowering at him with one green eye misted in tears. Dry tears and dark bags caught Harry's eyes.
"I'll cough at you if you don't go away." Ellie growled as best as she could in her current situation though a deep part in Harry didn't doubt her words.
And most certainly not his magical core that was hissing and yanking at him, begging him to flee to run away from her.
Leaning his head back Harry sighed as he pondered 'Now what do I do? How do I get her to eat without causing her to lash out me.'
He felt another more insistent tug in the back of his mind core pleaded with him to leave this all behind.
'How easy that would be- WAIT!'
His green eyes grew sharper as an idea jolted through his mind and he turned his attention back to Ellie.
"I'll show how I teleported back to you guys if you eat breakfast with me." Harry offered with a small careful grin that still reached his eyes.
For a moment Ellie didn't respond, her body shifted slight more towards him and Harry's eyes gleamed as he waited with baited breath, hoping he had caught an edge in his current task.
"Wouldn't that be something to learn and brag about?"
"To whom?" Ellie ground out tears springing back into her eyes. "My friend is gone." Ellie bit out bitterly with wavering voice.
"I know." Harry murmured softly barely suppressing to flinch. "You can tell it later when you see her again." He gulped thickly. "When you'll meet each other again."
Something unidentifiable to Harry appeared in her eyes, turning her body completely towards him.
She was pale. Tear tracks ran down her cheek, her lips were cracked and bloody and dark eye bags hung beneath her eyes.
For a moment she simply stared at him lost in thought before she spoke again.
"Yes we would." Her voice sounded wistful, filled with wanton.
"And what kind of reunion could possibly happen on an empty stomach." Harry pushed forward hopefully.
Without answering Ellie opened her mouth and waited.
'Ah! I see. OK how was it first year? Everything is about intent? Ok. Inhale. Exhale. Focus, Intention, Execution.'
Within he felt his magic reaching out toward his plate, desperately ignoring the very weird sigh his core was making and saw a small mouthful portion of eggs and bread begin floating from the plate and slowly gliding towards Ellie's mouth who was watching the entire feat of magic with wide wonder filled eyes.
As soon as the mouthful portion was securely placed in her mouth Harry released his hold just as Ellie's bit down.
"That was fucking incredible! How the fuck did you do that?!" Ellie demanded excitedly after she had gulped down her food.
"Magic!" Harry chimed out in between bites as he swallowed thickly and spoke.
"It's magic Ellie. I can make objects fly or levitate. Transform chairs and do all sorts things. Though I am just a pupil at the moment."
"Awesome, so there is like a whole school of people like you learning magic!?"
"Yeah. I could do more if I had my wand with me and without I can only do the simplest things right now." Harry took another spoonful of his food while levitating the next portion of food into Ellie's awaiting mouth.
"I wish I could see that. The school and this whole magic thing. Can you fly? Like really fly? I mean if you can cast an levitation spell you only need to cast it onto yourself and there you'd be a new superman flying around the city!" Ellie excitedly rattled on a gleam shining in her eyes and a wide smile grace her face.
Harry snorted at the Ellie's last sentence the image of his bloated Aunt Marge floating away into the sky and Fudge reporting of expansive journey sent Harry into a chuckling fit.
"You did didn't you? How was it? What did you see? Was it fucking awesome?! It must've been."
Now the words were literally flowing out of her mouth as Ellie excitedly shot out sentence after sentence with an incredible speed.
"Slow down. Slow down. I didn't cast it on myself for one, I cast it on my aunt and second it was by complete accident!"
"You made your Aunt float into the sky?! How fucking awesome was that!" Ellie raised her voice slightly as her fascination took hold of her.
"It was fucking awesome and hilarious too."
"Why's that?" asked Ellie curiously as another bite sized portion of food floated into her mouth.
"I inflated my aunt's body causing her fly away like a balloon."
"What?!" Ellie sputtered disbelievingly an amused snort escaping her as her shoulders began to tremble.
"It's true she must've been carried by the wind for almost two hundred kilometres all the way to Sheffield screaming and wailing the entire time."
Ellie let out a bellowing guffaw, the sound echoing throughout the entire room.
The conversation died down as the two of them slowly finished off their now cold meal.
For Harry, it was the greatest meal he had eaten since he had arrived in this strange world.
"Thank you." Ellie mumbled softly her face peaceful and incredibly for the situation, happy.
"I don't want this to end."
"Neither do I."
Ellie hummed quietly and stared at her feet a pained sigh escaping her.
"How are you feeling?" Harry asked concernedly, instinctively reaching to touch her forehead oblivious to the panicked gasp from Ellie and the howls and wails of his magical core.
"What are you doing!?" Ellie asked panicky.
"Checking if you have any fever. How are you feeling? Anything like your friend earlier?"
"No! B-But I am infected!"
'Oh crap she's infected.'
Harry's arm floated centimetres in-front of her forehead. He could already hear his magical core roaring at him in pure absolute rage and deathly panic.
'If it's by air then I would've already been infected. Screw it.'
Gently, Harry placed his hand on her skin, brushing away locks of dirty reddish-brown hair.
"No fever. Though you're a bit sweaty."
'And dirty how many days was it since she had her last shower?'
"No fucking shit you idiot." Ellie hissed at him, her face rapidly changing colours between red and ashen white.
"I've been out here for at least two fucking days now, been bitten, sitting in a very un-fucking-comfortable position with an suicidal fucking idiot over here."
"That's a lot of swearing for a girl like you." Harry stated with narrowed eyes.
"You will doom us both!" The deep rumbling growl from his core was sudden and resonated powerfully within Harry.
A cold shudder ran down his spine and he couldn't stop himself from cringing at the feeling of ferociously sharp claws, working through his body and mind. Raging and Tearing at him from the inside.
'Inhale, Exhale. Calm yourself. It can't do anything to you, it needs you.'
"I consider this current mess to be the perfect timing for my great swearing vocabulary."
"Big words." The words escaped him before Harry had even time to think and only had a short moment for his eyes to go wide, before Ellie roughly and inelegantly; yet impressively, kicked at his shin.
"Fuck you dude!" Ellie yelled her face red in anger, but Harry could see something shining in her eyes.
Before anyone of them could speak a voice behind caught their attention.
"Boyo? What the fuck do you think you're doin'? rumbled Wolf angrily as he stomped towards the pair his glare fixed upon Harry who flinched under it's intensity.
"I asked you a question?"
Harry gulped and replied as firmly as he could "I-I was helping my sis-Ellie, Ellie, eat her food because of … well."
"You do know she is infected right?" asked Wolf with an growl before inhaling deeply and continued "Did she scratch you?Bite you by any chance?"
"No I didn't I swear!" Ellie yelped into Harry's sentence as she shook her head violently.
"He just gave me some food and talked that's all I swear! He's not infected! I didn't-"
"Shut it!" snapped Wolf, who tiredly pinched the bridge of his nose before sighing.
"Just be careful around. As long as she doesn't bite you or scratch you, your good."
Without sparing a glance at Ellie, Wolf turned around on his heels and moved back towards the barricade when Harry spoke up
"How long does she have?! Wolf!?"
"Don't know. The longest it took was three days!"
'Three days?' Harry gulped turning his head back towards Ellie who was shifting between glaring at the back of the smuggler and emptily staring into the room.
'Gotta have to make the time I have count.'
With that Harry slowly moved towards Ellie and with an groan, sat down beside her. Her eyes never left him as he reached out and softly grasped her left shoulder.
"How about I tell you a few stories from my time at school?"
"I don't get you. You're insane." Ellie muttered softly her eyes wide and her mouth slightly ajar, yet Harry could see the slight upward quirk of the corner of her lips.
Harry simply answered with an smile of his own and started to talk.
And so the stories would go on for day and night, with Harry sharing his adventure tales to an enraptured Ellie.
Until, after nearly four days, Harry noticed the weary, disbelievingly glances and stares Wolf would shoot at the completely healthy and human Ellie.
Harry didn't know what to make of it, but from the bone-wracking sobs and furious growls from his magical core he imagined that something was disturbingly wrong.
AN: I AM BACK! And I am so so sorry that it took me so long to update this story. I have updated the previous chapter, changed something at the end to make it flow better. I have a ride to catch soon so I keep myself brief. Over three years ago I lost someone dear to me family and that death had me on the ropes but now I am back and I hope you enjoy this chapter. Please give your honest critique on my work and how I could improve on it.