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Damaged

By AG Stewart

Mystery / Drama

Damaged

All the times Neville had visited St. Mungo's over the years, he had never quite seen it like this. The hallways were barren of people, the lights were dim, and most rooms were empty. People didn't come here for treatment any more, unless they were truly desperate. Most Healers had fled the place months ago, unable to come in to work for fear of being attacked. Few visitors ever came here, and any injured people that came only stayed the bare minimum of one or two hours before hurrying off again to heal elsewhere.

Only one ward was still full of people. Neville paused outside the Janus Thickley Ward, where the permanent spell damage patients were still housed. The doors were sealed tightly with magic, and only a very few were allowed in or out. Neville was one of those. He tapped on the window with his knuckles. The wait was only seconds before Healer Francis peered through the window to see him. She examined him for a long moment, then unsealed the door.

The lights were out in the ward and only candles placed on some of the side tables provided light. Neville glanced around the ward, imagining it as it had once been.

Lockhart had lived in the bed to the left. Agnes, who had barely survived a botched transfiguration into a dog, had lived in the beds on the right. Both beds were empty now, their occupants having disappeared in the current months. Neville knew they had both been killed in one of the first attacks on St. Mungo's.

Only three beds were occupied now. The first two held Neville's parents. Both were in bed, laying as if asleep. His mum's eyes were open, but she didn't really see.

The last bed on the right was blocked by curtains so the patient was hidden from view.

"You shouldn't be here, Neville," Healer Francis murmured. "What if they attack again?"

Neville shrugged. "I have a Portkey, just in case. I can get back to safety if something happens," he informed her softly.

Healer Francis considered this, then nodded. "I'll be in my office, should you need anything,"

"Thank you,"

Healer Francis walked across the room and entered her office, leaving the ward eerily silent in her absence.

Neville moved forward. He paused at his parents' bed, staring at them, but then continued on to the curtained bed. He only hesitated a moment before he parted the curtains and stepped through, letting them slip back into place behind him.

Laying on the bed, still as death, was the one Neville had come for. Harry Potter had been in this bed, prone and unconscious, for more than three years now, ever since Umbridge had used the Cruciatus Curse on him. Despite the begging of his friends in the room, she had continued the torture for nearly thirty minutes, until Harry had fallen into unconsciousness. He hadn't yet awoken.

Neville's stomach tightened painfully as he remembered the glee on the woman's face as she made Harry scream. Neville still had nightmares of it, and he was sure the others who had witnessed it did too. Umbridge was now in Azkaban, as there was far too much proof against her, but Neville thought she deserved more. The sight of Harry here, weak and pale; in the same condition as Neville's parents, made him angry. He pushed that anger aside for now. He had business here.

"Hey, Harry,"

Harry didn't respond to Neville's voice, but he never did and Neville didn't expect a reaction.

Neville sat down on the edge of the bed. "I found out that Seamus was killed yesterday. That means it's only the two of us left, from our dorm," Neville murmured. "Out of the five of us, who would've thought, right? The clumsy, inept one and the one who was always getting into life threatening situations."

Neville let out a choked laugh, then shook his head. "Ginny told me to give this to you. She found it a while back and thought you might like it, even though Hogwarts is empty now," he pulled out a scrap of parchment and set it on the bedside table. It was burnt around the edges, and the ink was faded, but he could just make out the words The Marauder's Map etched on it.

"Hermione had it on her, when she died," Neville explained. He paused, his fingers idly messing with a loose thread on the blanket that covered Harry's limp form.

"Sirius wanted me to give this to you," Neville pulled out a crumpled card from his robes pocket and placed it on the table beside the map. "A birthday card, since your birthday was last week. He wouldn't listen to Snape when he said you wouldn't know the difference either way."

Harry's face stayed unchanged at the words and familiar names.

Neville sighed and rubbed a hand down his face. "They would've liked to come themselves, but it's too dangerous for them. You-Know-Who found the headquarters and has blockaded it. Nobody can get in or out any more, through Floo, Apparation, or Portkey. I've been stuck outside it for days, with only Sirius' mirror as a communication source."

The room fell silent as Neville frowned at Harry. "There's only five of us left, Harry. I know you always hated it, but you were the hero we needed. If there was ever a time to wake up, Harry, now is it. We won't last much longer out there. We need you." His words fell on deaf ears.

Slowly, Neville stood up and stepped away from the limp form on the bed.

"And wouldn't it be a brilliant birthday present for little Teddy if you showed up? He's never met you, but you were meant to be his godfather. Remus said so, before the...the fire,"

Neville stepped back again until his back touched the curtains.

"This'll probably be the last time I visit. Even if I manage to survive out there somehow, You-Know-Who will probably blow St. Mungo's apart before I get the chance to visit. He's been attacking it relentlessly lately, determined to get to you," Neville's voice was barely audible now.

"Goodbye, Harry,"

With his words said, Neville turned and left, his hurried footsteps echoing through the room. Behind him, Harry's once still fingers twitched ever so slightly for the first time in years.

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