Harry woke the next day with a splitting headache to the all white paint of the Hospital Wings. He let out a protesting groan at the brightness of the light, eyes and head giving displeased throbs at its presence.
Madame Pomfrey hovered over him in concern as Harry let his eyes slowly adjust to the brightness; it was greatly helped by the potion that she coaxed down his throat soothingly. Finally, no longer afraid of throwing up, Harry managed to sit up to and locate his glasses, sliding them onto his face once he had them in hand.
"Alright, dear?" Madame Pomfrey asked sympathetically. "Hagrid brought you in last night with the worst case of magical exhaustion I've seen in a long time."
Harry certainly felt exhausted, that was for sure. His whole body was tingling with an aching tiredness that made him want to go back to sleep and stay that way for a week.
"You should be fine in a few days but until then, you're on strict bed-rest! You're not to be going to classes or casting any magic for at least the next week!" Her tone gave way to no argument.
"You said I'd be fine in a few days!" Harry protested. While missing classes didn't really upset him, the thought of not being able to cast magic did.
"And you will," she confirmed. "However with a magical core as young as yours, it isn't wise to cast anything until your core is without a doubt recovered, less we risk doing permanent damage to it."
The thought of permanent damage had any lingering protests filter quickly out of his head and Harry sighed, nodding in a resigned agreement.
Two hours later and he was free to go, wand confiscated for the next week to prevent any temptation. He had a sneaking suspicion that the nurse was also trying to ensure that he would come back for his checkups as well.
Ron and Hermione were in classes, leaving Harry with the option of either going back to the dorm or waiting in the Great Hall for something to do. The order to reframe from classes had been sent to all of the teachers but Harry was also given a copy, just in case he had any run-ins with Filch.
Finally deciding to just head back to the dorms, Harry was stopped by the booming voice of Hagrid.
"'Arry!" the large man boomed in the hall. "'Ere ya are! Ma'ame Pomfrey said ya'd were a'right to go?"
"Yeah," the eleven year old answered, nodding his head as well. "I was going to head back to the dorm…"
Hagrid didn't seem to take the hint that Harry was trying to get across and motioned for the small first year to follow him. "'Ere's som'on' that wan's ta meet ya!"
Curiosity piqued, Harry followed the man out onto the grounds. As they got closer to Hagrid's cottage, Harry gasped in surprise.
Standing at the edge of the Forbidden Forest was the same unicorn from the day before, watching him almost fondly as they approached. "You're alright!" Harry grinned as he forgot his tired body and sprinted forward to the waiting animal.
"'e's got ya ta thank for it!" Hagrid smiled as he came up behind the small child. "Ah couldn' believe it when Firenze told meh what 'appened! Powerful magic, that."
The unicorn nuzzled him as Harry pet the equestrian happily. "You're welcome," he said shyly, blushing as the huffing snort he received in return. "Do you have a name?"
The unicorn nipped at his hair in response, so Harry considered that a 'no'. "I'll call you Hope," he told her, suddenly sure without a doubt that the unicorn was female. The unicorn considered for a moment before ducking her head in agreement.
Harry spent hours petting Hope the unicorn perfectly happy to receive his attentions and every once in awhile, Hope would begin to nip at his hair in affection; Hagrid seemed beyond pleased to have both of them there as well. It wasn't until the sky began to darken that Harry was escorted back up to the castle by the larger man with promises of being able to come and visit Hope another day.
Harry kept quiet about his new friend to Ron and Hermione as a voice in his head said that Hope wouldn't appreciate the two cutting into their time. Like the other things Harry had found himself just knowing, Harry didn't question the knowledge.
He had made another friend to add to his short list and that was well worth the discomfort that he would have to endure.
It was just before exams, maybe the week before, when Harry was nudged by his unicorn friend into the Forbidden Forest.
He'd gone in there twice since he had used accidental magic to heal Hope after Voldemort had attacked her. The centaurs seemed to be neutral to his presence in the forest and Harry had enjoyed exploring it with Hope to keep him company and Hagrid by his side. It was during one of these few times that Firenze had spoken to him again and Harry had learned who it was that had attacked Hope in the first place. Said unicorn had seemed displeased at the identification of her attacker and the reason that she was attacked in the first place.
Yet Hagrid wasn't here this time, too busy cleaning up other parts of the grounds to be supervising his visits with Hope. "We need to wait for Hagrid," he told the impatient unicorn.
Hope gave an irritated snort and began forcibly pushing him towards the forest, her horn going easily under his arm as to not hurt him. Harry frowned at her. "You don't want Hagrid to be there?" he asked in confusion.
Hope gave a pleased huff and pushed him towards the forest once more. Harry relented and began walking on his own, letting her lead him into the thick trees that created the border of the forest.
Most of the Forbidden Forest was made of dead or dying trees and seemed to be dark and depressing at first sight. That in itself made it shocking to find that as he and Hope roamed deeper into the forest woods, the trees and plants seemed to become brighter and more lively than they were in the first ring of trees.
There were more animals the father they went in as well. Unicorns of all sizes seemed to be roaming the woods peacefully, only giving him a questioning look before going back to their grazing. A few centaurs gave them acknowledging nods as they walked passed and soon Harry was greeted with the sight of all sorts of animals.
Looking around him, Harry could understand where Hagrid's fascination with magical animals came from. Unicorns, Pegasi, centaurs, and what looked liked nymphs were all present in the deepest depths of the Forbidden Forest.
Finally, Hope came to the stop before a large clearing inside a circle of thriving trees. Harry blinked at the awe inspiring image it made and couldn't help but take a closer look at all of the details the clearing held.
The grass was greener than he'd ever seen grass and it was as tall as he was. Large patches of flowers where mingled in with the grass and Harry swore that he saw a doe grazing on the opposite side of the clearing.
What really caught his attention, though, was the giant tree that stood proudly in the middle of it all. "Oh," Harry breathed and took in the glowing green leaves and the shining bark of the tree. A distinct humming began in his head.
Hope nudged him into the clearing gently, Harry not protesting as the tree kept most of his attention. She whinnied softly before taking a few steps back until she had returned to the edge of the clearing.
At any other time, Harry would have found this odd. In another place, perhaps it would have even concerned him. Now, right here and in front of this tree, Harry could only hear a welcoming hum and feel the crackles of a power that felt so familiar to him that it was almost like coming home. He took a few steps closer to the tree, his feet seeming to move on their own.
As he grew closer to it, the tree seemed to shudder in greeting. In the corner of his eyes, he could see the unicorns, pegasi, and centaurs they had passed before gather in the circle of trees the surrounded the giant middle tree. They all seemed to be watching his approach to the tree with anticipation. For some reason, Harry felt a spark of pride and confidence (of course they should!) at that thought.
Unlike when he felt the need to mouth off to his relatives or to fight back when Snape gained up on him, Harry didn't fight the thoughts down. It was a confidence that he'd never felt before and unlike when he would certainly be facing punishment Harry didn't feel the overwhelming fear which usually came afterwards; the certainty that this was the last time he would be able to get away with such a remark.
The tree rustled above his head. When had he gotten so close to it? Harry didn't bother to try and remember, hand reaching out to touch the welcoming bark.
Skin on bark.
Light filling the clearing, blinding and welcoming.
Power and memories, centuries of knowledge filling in gaps that he hadn't noticed before.
Whole; he was complete.
Wings stretching out of unused, unnoticed, muscles.
Names, so many and spread so far. Two at the front, ringing in his head.
He was Harry, eleven years old and orphan. Wizard and Boy-Who-Lived.
He was Gabriel, older than the universes themselves and Archangel. The Messenger, Archangel of Judgment.
They lifted their head back and screamed.