Moving On

By Xavras

Adventure / Drama

Chapter 15

Royal London Hospital: 9 AM (Thursday)

The Royal London Hospital Emergency Room was crazy as usual, but the fact that it was so busy at 9 in the morning was unusual. One of the staff nurses came out of a patient room and bumped into a stretcher that she did not recall being there when she had entered the room. The fact that there was abode on the stretcher also surprised her. Even though she was busy with the influx of patients due to a traffic accident that brought in several patients at once, she paused to look at the patient on the gurney in front of her. She noted there was no identifying bracelet on his arm. She also noted that whoever this patient was, he was unconscious and appeared to have several injuries. She turned around and called out for someone to help her.

A young doctor who had recently completed his training as an emergency physician came around the corner with a disgusted look on his face. "Now what?" he demanded of the nurse. As he was asking the question he too noticed the previously unseen stretcher with a patient. Noting that the nurse was now calling for someone to help her assess the patient and obtain vital signs, he ran over and began to evaluate the patient. "Dammit, I'm a doctor not a magician," muttered the doctor as he realised the severity of the young man's injuries. "Quick, get him into trauma bay one!" he ordered.

"There's already a patient there," replied the nurse. The young doctor looked up at the nurse, eyeing her name on her identification badge, "Well, then, Miss Chapel, where would you suggest we put him? Or do you think we should just evaluate and treat him here in the hallway?"

She glared at the doctor for the way he spoke to her, but she answered calmly, "Trauma bay three should be open." She then began to push the stretcher as the doctor returned to evaluating the patient even as the bed was rolling.

The physician muttered to no one in particular, "Who opened the gates of hell this morning?"

{Monday morning, earlier in the week}

Harry and Daphne approached the gates to Hogwarts. Harry had just finished explaining to his girlfriend how his most recent encounter with his former best mate had gone. She gave him a big hug and a quick kiss on the lips.

"I knew you had it in you to try and salvage at least some sort of friendship with Weasley," said Daphne. "It's probably part of your saving people thing. Hopefully we won't have to deal with him trying to hex me or Astoria any more if we run into him again."

Harry smiled back at her. "Although, I am pretty sure Draco might have to duck if he ever ran into Ronald."

The young couple shared a laugh as they thought about Ronald trying to get into a duel with Draco. Then Harry added, "Although, it wouldn't help Ron any to get into a fight with an Auror, he's lost enough of those already."

Harry and Daphne walked slowly across the fields on the edge of the Hogwarts property, heading past the Black Lake and towards Hagrid's Cottage. Even from the distance Harry was sure that they would find Hagrid there today as he noted the smoke coming from the chimney. Arriving at the large hut, Harry noted that the half giant was working in his garden.

"Hagrid!" called out Harry.

"Eh? Oh, it's you Harry! How 'ave ye bin?" asked the large man with the thick accent. "And who be this lass who with ye? You dunna look like Ginny."

Harry tried to suppress any anger at Hagrid's mentioning of his former girlfriend. "This is Daphne Greengrass, Hagrid. You might remember her from the class care for magical creatures, she was in my year at Hogwarts." Harry hesitated to say she was in Slytherin House, knowing how Hagrid had declared to him that only dark wizards came from that house.

"Well, hullo, and good day to yeh then miss," said the large man as he took a handkerchief from out of his pocket to wipe his hands before offering to shake hers. Daphne wondered if the attempt to clean his hands only made them dirtier due to the condition of the cloth he had used. "Yeh do look familiar to me. I think I remember, now, you were a quiet one when yeh was a student as I recall."

Daphne tried to shake his hand, but she only managed to get a hold of a couple of his enormous fingers. She smiled back at him as she politely replied, "Your classes were always interesting as I recall. And Harry has shared so many stories of how he enjoyed spending time with you when he was, or when we were students."

"Aint she a charmer," commented Hagrid as he turned back to Harry. "Perfesser McGonagall told me that yeh had been lookin' fer me earlier this summer."

Harry put his arm around Daphne, and then he began to tell Hagrid a bit about his summer. "Well, I have been on an adventure of sorts, and I have to accomplish several tasks. Most recently we had to find a chimera and get some of the venom from the snake head on its tail."

"Now Harry, chimeras can be nasty and tricky," said Hagrid with a frown. "I wouldn't recommend that ye be bothering' with that sort of creature. They are kind of cute though."

Harry nearly laughed as he noticed Daphne rolling her eyes. "Oh, we know that Hagrid, we already got the venom. We did that last week."

"Yeh mean that the two of you, you and Daphne," exclaimed Hagrid, "you caught a chimera?"

"Not just the two of us," corrected Harry politely. "Neville was there with us, and Hannah Abbott."

"Well, that's good," said Hagrid who was smiling now that he knew that Harry had help with that adventure. "So what brings you lot here terday?"

Royal London Hospital: 9:20 AM (Thursday)

The young emergency room physician and the nurse who was with him were concerned. This patient, this John Doe, had severe injuries everywhere. There was an obvious compound fracture in the young man's right forearm, bruising over the abdomen and chest, suggesting internal injuries, the left leg was at an odd angle indicating another broken limb, and blood coming from his ears. As they cut away his clothes they noted various contusions and abrasions, in addition to a fair number of scars. John Doe was unresponsive and the doctor was concerned that this mysterious patient might not make it.

"Not on my watch," he said to himself, "and not if I can help it."

The physician started calling out orders for IV access and fluids, cross matching of blood, O negative blood to be given in a transfusion, lab tests and x-rays. "Get orthopaedics down here now!" he commanded. "Get the cardiac monitor hooked up!"

He looked at the other nurses and staff running into the room to assist with the patient. He turned to an aide who came in, "Do we have any ID on this guy? Who brought him here? Did none even see where he came from? Is there any family or friends here?" He looked back to the monitors and noted the pulse of 55, the blood pressure of 87/48, and the oxygen saturation level of 89%. "Bloody hell," was all he could say when he reviewed everything. "What did he do, fall out of an aeroplane?" he wondered out loud.

{Monday, earlier in the week}...

Hagrid listened as Harry recounted the story of fining the thunderbird and Daphne explained how they found him. Hagrid was worried when he heard about Harry's injuries, but Harry reassured his large friend that he had excellent care, and that Hermione, Daphne and Draco all made sure of that. Harry then went on to tell Hagrid of their facing a griffon in Australia, and how they had met up with Hermione. Hagrid shed a tear at the thought that he had missed seeing little 'Mione again, but he was happy to hear that she was doing research at the Library of Alexandria.

After finishing recounting the previous adventures of that year, Harry explained that they now needed to obtain tears from a unicorn.

"'Arry, you should know that only a…a…a virgin," stuttered the half giant, blushing slightly in the presence of Daphne, "only a virgin can get tears from a unicorn."

Daphne smiled sweetly. Harry tried to hold back a laugh but failed. "That's why Daphne is here," he said simply.

"Oh," replied Hagrid feeling slightly foolish, "well, that makes sense."

Now Daphne started to blush.

Harry then asked, "So, can you help us gather some unicorn tears?"

Hagrid let out a long sigh. "Well, to tell yer the truth, it al depends on those little critters, if they will even come to the edge of the forest. They don't always wanna be exactly helpful, if you know what I mean. They can be timid little guys, but then again, they jus' might come outta their hidin' places fer ya."

"So, what do we do now?" asked Daphne.

"Well, we can go over to the edge of the forest, and we can see if we can find them," answered the half giant. "They can be kind of particular about who they are willing to let see them and who they are willing to let come near them. Sometimes, if a fair maiden can sing sweetly enough, particularly at night, they may come out and have a look at who it is who is singing to them."

Daphne frowned at this. "I'm not really that good of a singer. I don't know any songs."

"Well, you see," explained Hagrid, "it's not the words that draw them near, but the melody. So, even if you could hum, say, somethin' like a lullaby, that might be enough to draw their attention to you."

Harry gently squeezed her hand. "Well, it is worth a try," he suggested hopefully. Harry then asked when would be the best time to come by, and Hagrid suggested in the early evening, just before dusk.

Harry then thanked Hagrid for his help, and then he and Daphne turned to leave. Harry suggested that they head back to Diagon Alley as he needed to stop by Gringotts and he suggested that Daphne could do some shopping while he was busy taking care of business with the goblins. They walked together to just past the gates of Hogwarts and once they were outside of the anti-apparition wards they disappeared to the Leaky Cauldron and then they entered Diagon Alley. Daphne had told Harry that she would probably spend the afternoon by visiting her parents, and she suggested that he join her there for dinner. Harry agreed with her that her plan sounded like a good one, and he gave her a quick kiss and then he left to head to the bank.

Royal London Hospital: 9:50 AM (Thursday)

The emergency physician was looking at the x-ray and ultrasound reports. He shook his head in frustration. Whoever this John Doe was, he had some serious injuries. His spleen was ruptured, and he may also have a lacerated liver. HIs right arm had a compound and comminuted fracture of the ulna and radius in the mid shaft, his left tibia and fibula were also fractured, and they would also require the orthopaedic surgeon to perform another open reduction and internal fixation procedure. However, what concerned him most was the skull fractures and the subdural hematoma. The on call neurosurgeon was already in the middle of another case. The trauma surgeon and the orthopaedic surgeon didn't want to begin their procedures without neurosurgery first stabilising the subdural hematoma. Meanwhile, the patient was receiving his fourth unit of O negative blood, and his blood pressure was still not stable.

He called to one of the nurses who just walked by the trauma bay. "Have you obtained any information from the police? No recent accidents to explain what happened to this man?"

The nurse shook her head. "Nothing to report from them, as all victims the accidents they know about are accounted for and no one here saw anyone bring that young man into the hospital. No missing person reports. Nothing to go on whatsoever."

The doctor pushed his hand through his hair as he puzzled over the mystery of this young man. He looked down at the injured body on the stretcher as he pondered what could have happened to the young man. He had a lot of scars, so he presumed he had a tough life, probably in some sort of gang. However, other than the odd lightning bolt shaped scar on his forehead, there was nothing else that was suggestive of being in a gang, there were no tattoos that would associate the man with any particular group, he had no track marks suggesting drug use. Something just didn't add up.

He quickly scanned the patient in front of him one more time. He thought that it was odd that there seemed to be less bruising over his abdomen that what he recalled when he first examined this John Doe. He dismissed that thought as being due to misjudging what he initially saw with the first inspection. The patient was still in critical condition, and something needed to be done and fast to stabilise the young man's condition.

{Monday afternoon...}

Harry met with the goblins at Gringotts Bank in a private chamber. Ragnok was pleased to hear that Harry felt he was getting closer to being able to obtain a dragon for the bank's vaults. He questioned Harry as to when he thought that would occur. Harry explained that he was hoping to be heading for the dragon the following week, after getting the last ingredient to prepare for the task later that day.

Harry then asked Ragnok if he could write out a will.

"A will?" asked the surprised goblin, "but surely you don't expect anything untoward to happen."

"I know," replied Harry, "however, I want to be sure that what ever I have, what ever is in my vaults, that it goes to someone I care about. I know that as of today, I still am indebted to Gringotts, but whatever is left over if something should happen to me before I erase that debt, I want that, all of it, to go to Daphne."

Ragnok could sense the seriousness in Harry's desire to do right by the woman he cared about, as well as knowing how serious Harry took his debt to the goblins. This was not an ordinary wizard as far as any in the goblin nation was concerned. This was a human who the goblins could actually respect.

Ragnok excused himself from meeting with Harry, and he explained that he would be back in a few minutes. When Ragnok returned he had several items with him. The first was a scroll, then was soon revealed to be a simple will that captured Harry's desire to leave everything to Daphne quite well. The second was a special emergency port key. The goblin leader went on to explain to Harry that the port key was set so as to transport Harry to the best facility to provide for him in case something went wrong with facing the dragon.

"Now, Mr. Potter," Ragnok explained, "this port key has some very special properties. You see we do have a vested interest in your success, as well as in some of your more exclusive possessions. Therefor, we would like to take precautions. Not only will this port key transport you to a facility to provide you with the best of care and it will simultaneously transport any of your magical possessions to a secure vault here at Gringotts."

Harry raised a concerned eyebrow at these comments. "First of all, whose vault? Second of all, why would you think you need to go to such lengths to protect my belongings? Do you think I have no chance in bringing you back a dragon?"

Ragnok raised a hand to wave off Harry's concerns. "You misunderstand me, my friend. To answer your first concern, it will be the Potter family vault to which these belongings would be transported. Therefor, based on your newly drafted will, which we will need to finalise shortly, it would become the possession of whomever you designate as your heir or heirs. To answer your second concern, we are bankers and we have business interests which we are obligated to protect, even by our own laws. If something untoward were to happen to your person while you were on such a quest such as obtaining a dragon for Gringotts Bank, then there could be construed that there exists a certain amount of responsibility for your actions and your fate would rest with the bank. Some of your possessions are considered highly valuable within the magical world, and we could not afford to be found negligent in protecting certain assets from being lost or damaged or from falling into the wrong hands."

Harry nodded his understanding. "If this is such a concern to you now, why did you not give me such protection when I began my earlier quests?"

Ragnok grinned in response to Harry's question, and the appearance of his face was unsettling to Harry. "Quite simply put, you were on your own with those quests. Searching for a griffon or a thunderbird or even a chimera, those things are not directly related to our request for you to bring us a dragon. Those tasks were undertaken by you in order to help you accomplish the one task we have set before you. Therefor, we, Gringotts Bank and the goblin nation, would have had no culpability in the event of any unfortunate accidents resulting in harm to your person or your belongings. However, at this time, we do feel that to protect our interests we need to take these measures."

Harry felt no reassurance at these statements. After a moment of careful consideration, he asked another question. "And the cost to me for such services and protection of my personal belongings?"

Ragnok frowned slightly at this question, and then he answered Harry. "Gringotts has prepared the emergency port key at our own expense as a measure of insurance to protect our interests at this time. We are happy to provide this service to such an important customer as yourself."

"I am not truly a customer but merely a servant at this time," replied Harry flatly.

"True enough," acknowledged Ragnok, "however, your service, should you complete it, as we fully anticipate you shall, will free you from any obligations to the bank and to the goblin nation, and you will have achieved the return of your family to their status as goblin friend."

Harry smiled back at Ragnok. "I appreciate your concern then for my well being and success in this endeavour."

Ragnok nodded in acceptance of Harry's comments, and then he called in a goblin scribe to record Harry's last will and testament in order to make it legal and official.

Royal London Hospital: 10:30 AM (Thursday)

The chaos that was the trauma centre at Royal London Hospital was not slowing down. Nurse chapel was showing the lab reports to the young emergency physician as he was still waiting on a neurosurgeon to show up.

"Dr. McCoy," she stated as she pointed to the monitors, "the patient's blood pressure is still dropping despite the fluids and the blood.

Dr. McCoy cursed under his breath. "Dammit, I'm a doctor, not a miracle worker."

The nurse looked at him silently wished he would stop making those trite comments.

The orthopaedic surgeon had left after making his initial assessment, and was waiting at the operative suite for the patient to be transferred there so they could start with the multiple surgeries that John Doe would require. Dr. McCoy looked at the left leg again that was splinted and he noted that the leg was already in a normal alignment. He turned to the nurse who was with him and he pointed out the leg.

"Did ortho already manipulate that leg here in the trauma bay?" he questioned.

The nurse looked back at the leg and shook her head, "No, they only told an assistant to splint the leg until they could deal with it under anaesthesia."

"What is going on here?" wondered Dr. McCoy.

{Monday evening}...

Daphne had enjoyed having a quiet afternoon visiting with her parents. They were glad to hear that things had gone well and that the group of young friends had been able to have some time to have fun and relax while they were near Greece. They had already heard many of the stories about their adventure from Astoria who had arrived home earlier. Jonathan Greengrass had again expressed how the family business was continuing to thrive, all thanks to the efforts of Harry from earlier in the year.

Harry arrived at the Greengrass home in time for dinner. He was greeted warmly by Daphne's parents. The conversation over dinner soon centred on Harry's plans after completing several recent adventures. Harry explained to the Greengrass family that he and Daphne would be finishing one project that evening, if all went well, and then he would be travelling alone to eastern Europe to complete his task. Daphne glared at him when he specifically stated that he would be travelling alone for the next part of his adventure.

Harry, however, did not back down. "Everything we have done has been leading up to this point, the final step in my getting my release from service to the goblins. This will be the most challenging part of the entire task."

"More challenging than trying to catch a thunderbird, which nearly killed you as I recall," snapped Daphne.

"I cannot allow you to be put in harms way if things don't work out," said Harry tenderly. "I will have the protections that the items we have obtained together will provide for me, but I will be the only one to be protected by them. It would be much too dangerous to have anyone else with me on this last stage."

"And what do you expect me to do while you run off on this foolish quest all by your self?" she demanded. "What if something were to happen to you? How would any of us know? What could we do to help you? You would end up dead or dying with no one having any idea what has happened or where you are. That is something that I cannot and will not accept."

Harry grinned at her.

Daphne noted the grin and snapped at him again. "And what is that foolish grin for, Potter?"

"Daphne, you know how much I care for you, and I know that I have a reputation for running off foolishly without being fully prepared."

"You can say that again," added Astoria with a smirk.

Harry turned to the younger Greengrass sister, "But what about when we went for the chimera? Was that unprepared? Was that without support?" Then he turned back to face Daphne. "I would like to think I have gained some wisdom after all of these adventures and that I am not nearly as foolish as I may have been back in school."

"I should hope not," interjected Isabella Greengrass, who was listening intently to the current discussion.

Harry nodded in acknowledgement of her sentiments, "Your comments are understood, Lady Greengrass, but I will have some protection beyond what we have acquired on our recent travels."

Daphne raised a doubtful eyebrow at his comment. "And what exactly would that be?"

"The goblins have provided me with a special emergency port key that would transport me to safety if something were to happen, and it would also make sure that any of my possessions were safely returned as well. Besides, what could go wrong? We have prepared for this, and with knowing that once I complete this final task I will be free of any further obligations to the goblins, and we can truly begin our lives together as our own, without having to feel that we owe something to anyone else. I will be free to do what I want. We will be free to do what we want, together."

Daphne leaned over and gave Harry a tight hug. Meanwhile, Jonathan Greengrass just observed the entire interaction and conversation and internally hoped that the bad feeling he had about all of this was just indigestion. Although, he was pretty sure it was not indigestion.

After they finished dinner, Harry and Daphne excused themselves, explaining that they had further plans for the evening to meet up with Hagrid, the game keeper at Hogwarts. Shortly after this they were meeting with Hagrid at his hut and he then lead them over to the edge of the forest. The sun was setting and the shadows in the forest were growing darker. Daphne was feeling tentative about venturing into the forest all on her own. Harry sensed her uneasiness and gently squeezed her hand in his as they stood by the edge of the Forbidden Forest with Hagrid. Hagrid, however, was busy peering into the woods at various openings into the dense underbrush.

Speaking quietly, for a half giant, Hagrid called over to Harry, "I think I might hear some rustling in the woods a little over that way," and he pointed off to his left. "Now, Daphne, if you just start to walk along the edge of the forest there, and ye need to start hummin' a little tune, and we'll see if you can draw out a unicorn."

"What if her humming attracts something else?" asked a worried Harry.

"I wouldn't worry too much 'bout that now, 'arry," answered Hagrid, "I went to speak with the spiders, and even though Arogog is no longer their leader, they at least agreed to stay away from this side of the forest, if jus' for t'night."

Daphne felt slightly reassured. Harry leaned over and kissed her on the cheek and he whispered into her ear, "I'll be nearby, I'll be sure to keep you safe. Don't worry about a thing."

Daphne squeezed Harry's hand once more before she started to walk away to the edge of the forest. Then she began to hum an old lullaby, tentatively at first as she felt a little embarrassed. She turned and looked over her shoulder and she could make out Harry keeping an eye on her and she felt more secure and she started to hum a little louder. Then she started to sing an old tune that she remembered her grandmother would sing when she was very little. It was a very sad song, she never really did understand it all, but she had heard her grandmother sing it every night for a year after her grandfather died. Shortly after she began the song, she was startled by the sound of branches rustling in the woods near where she was. The moon was starting to rise and was casting a little more light on the area. In the shadows of the bushes she thought she saw a flash of silver or white. She paused briefly in her singing, and she heard no more noises in the bushes. Realising that she needed to keep singing, she started the song again, and soon she heard the sound of light footsteps on the leaves as the creature approached.

The large white beast with the shiny spiralled horn stepped out from the bushes to Daphne's left. The silvery glow from the moonlight made the noble creature appear even more majestic. Daphne gasped slightly and the unicorn hesitated once again. Daphne was quicker to restart her singing this time, and the unicorn was soon approaching her and nuzzling up against her side. She continued to sing and slowly reached a hand to brush the silvery mane. The unicorn leaned towards her with its neck and head, enjoying the attention it was receiving from her gentle touch. Then after a minute of her singing she noted that the animal's eyes were starting to water. Slowly she pulled the vial out of the pocket on the inside of her cloak, and then she untwisted the vial. The unicorn startled slightly as she placed the vial under its eye as the tears soon began to flow. After obtaining several tears in the vial she carefully leaned forward and kissed the creature on its horn, and then she began to back away. After a moment she stopped her singing. The unicorn looked up at the now silent young woman, and then it turned and leapt back into the bushes and the woods.

Royal London Hospital: 10:45 AM (Thursday)

"Where is the bloody neurosurgeon?" barked Dr. McCoy. The nurses in the trauma bay shrugged their shoulders and returned blank expressions as no one had heard when or if the neurosurgeon would be arriving.

"Damn prima donnas," cursed the emergency physician. He turned back to look at the monitor on his patient and he noted that the heart rhythm was now becoming irregular. He then shouted out, "Someone check a pulse on John Doe now!"

One of the nurses moved from where she was standing and reached for the radial pulse on the left arm. "It's irregular and thready," she called back.

"Is the AED hooked up?" he called out.

One of the aides in the room replied that it wasn't available. The doctor muttered more curses under his breath. Then he asked in a loud and clear voice, "Is anyone using the defibrillator right now? If not, get it in here!"

He watched the monitor and he noted the heart rhythm start to accelerate in an irregular pattern. He asked the nurse to check the pulse again. She stated that the pulse was barely palpable.

"Check the femoral pulse," he commanded.

She moved slightly and shook her head. "Nothing,"

"Al right, get me the paddles. Charge to 300 joules, and everybody clear!" The doctor grasped the defibrillator paddles and prepared to shock the patients chest.

"Clear!" he called out. As he bent over the John Doe's chest to place the paddles, all of the sudden two hands reached up and grabbed his wrists, preventing him from making contact with the patient.

"What the?" exclaimed the doctor.

{Monday evening...}

Harry and Daphne returned to the Potter Manor and there they worked on the final preparations. Harry had reviewed the notes he made from Merlin's writings on how to prepare the mixture. The mixture was to be used on the griffon hide and then marked in specific runic patterns on the individual's chest prior to attempting to approach the dragon.

Harry placed the mixture into another vial after preparing the griffon hide cloak. Daphne reviewed the runes with him that he would need to apply to his chest.

"Lets get some rest now," said Harry with a sigh.

Daphne walked up to him and gave him a big hug and then stood very close to him as she asked, "Would you like me to spend the night with you?"

Harry flushed with the closeness of her body and the thoughts of what a night actually in bed with this gorgeous woman would be like. "You know I dream of spending the nights with you, and I look forward to doing so soon," he said with all the seriousness in his soul, "but I would really want to wait until this is all done, and we can come together as husband and wife. Maybe I'm just a little old fashioned in my thinking."

Daphne took a step back. Her mouth was agape.

Harry looked at her, and he was at first slightly confused, and then it dawned on him just what he had said and why she was reacting this way. Harry tried to speak, but he initially merely mumbled. This drew a confused expression on Daphne's face. Harry then bowed his head slightly in front of her, then he reached into his pocket and then looked up into his girlfriend's eyes. "Um, Daphne," he said trying not to choke up on his words, "I think I need to rephrase something that I just said."

Daphne now wrinkled her brow and was confused by what he was about to say. She thought he had actually stated he wanted to marry her, and now she was worried he was going to take back what he had said. Then Harry knelt down on one knee, looked her in the eyes and took her right hand in his. "Daphne Greengrass, would you do me the honour of becoming my wife?"

Daphne gasped, and covered her mouth with her left hand as Harry had not released her right hand. She leaned forward and hugged him around his neck. "Of course I would!" she exclaimed.

Harry then turned over his left hand which had been holding a small box which he had pulled out of his pocket just before he had knelt down. He opened the box and produced a ring of white gold with a large diamond in the centre and a small ruby and a small emerald on either side. Daphne gasped again when she looked at the ring.

"Harry, where did you…" she began to ask but she was cut off.

"This is for you, it is for us," he said with a wide grin as he slipped it on her finger.

She looked at the ring again and marvelled at its beauty. "Gryffindor and Slytherin, both on the ring?" she asked.

"Of course," he replied, "united with a perfect diamond. The goblins made it for me to give to you." He hesitated for a moment as they both stared at the ring as the light reflected off the many facets of the three stones. "It has several protections on it, to protect you from almost any danger, and it will be set to be able to be used as an emergency port key." Harry stood up and embraced his fiancé in a tight hug.

Daphne was crying as she hugged him back. She looked up into his eyes now that he was standing, and then she asked, "But why now, why tonight?"

Harry grimaced slightly and then smiled at her. "I wanted to make it clear to you just what I wanted before I went to finish this task. I know you wanted to come with me and I know you were upset when I told you that you couldn't come, so I wanted to make sure you knew just how much I love you."

"But what if something happens?" she asked, brushing the tears off of her cheeks. "What if you don't come back?"

"Hear this now, I will always come for you," stated Harry without hesitation.

Daphne wrinkled her brow, "But how can you be sure?" she asked.

"This is true love, do you think this happens every day?" he said. There was a moment of silence, and then Harry started to laugh.

Daphne looked at him with frustration, "Just what is so funny?" she demanded.

"I am so sorry," he answered with a laugh, "but we actually just quoted 'The Princess Bride.' It's a muggle movie." Harry noted a blank expression on Daphne's face. "Have you never seen a movie?"

Daphne's expression told him that she had no idea what he talking about. Harry grinned, "Well, think of it as a picture, where the people are waving at you, but instead of just watching one scene, there is a whole story, a whole series of scenes, and there is talking and everything, like watching a book played out in front of you."

"I know what a movie is, you prat," she said. "I just never heard of that one."

"Oh," Harry replied sheepishly. "Well, anyway, what we have, it is true love, and nothing will keep us apart." Daphne started to protest, but Harry silenced her with placing a finger on her lips. "No, nothing will keep us apart."

Royal London Hospital: 10:50 AM (Thursday)

"Sir, you need to sit down," ordered the doctor, staring into the eyes of the patient who had suddenly woken up and grabbed his arms as he was about to defibrillate him. "Please," implored Dr. McCoy, "you have been seriously injured, you have suffered serious multiple trauma. In fact you nearly died just now. Please, lie back down on the bed."

John Doe just stared at the doctor and he did not let go of the arms that were holding the defibrillator paddles. The piercing green eyes bored into the man. Finally, with a hoarse voice the mysterious patient spoke. "Bloody hell! You were about to use those on me?"

The doctor turned and nodded to a nurse who turned off the defibrillator. Then he turned back to his patient. "Sir, what ever your name is, please lie back down on the bed. You have a skull fracture and a subdural hematoma. You have multiple internal injuries and you broke your leg. Not to mention you have a compound fracture of your right arm."

Dr. McCoy and the patient both looked at the right arm that was holding the doctor away, as he had not let go of the doctors wrists despite the doctor handing off the paddles. John Doe stared at an area on his arm wrapped with bandages and a splint. He then looked back at the doctor. "Funny, I've had a broken arm before, and this doesn't feel that bad."

Then the green eyes flashed in anger as he turned back to the doctor. "Hold on a minute, where the bloody hell am I?"

The doctor gaped at the response from this patient who was near death just minutes before. "This is the Royal London Hospital Trauma Centre. Where did you think you were, young man?"

John Doe looked around the room at all of the staff who were staring wide-eyed at him. "Bloody hell!" he screamed. "How the fuck did I end up here? I'm not even at St. Mungo's."

The doctor tried to gather more information about his patient. "Sir, do you have any idea how you came here to our hospital? Do you remember anything about how you were injured? And could you please tell us your name? Who are you?"

"Harry," said the patient simply, "I'm Harry, and I really need to be somewhere else."

Dr. McCoy stepped forward. "You suffered major trauma and multiple injuries. I have no idea how you seem to be recovering so well, but we still need to do more tests and you need more treatment for your injuries."

Harry gently pushed the doctor away. "Bloody hell, she is going to kill me when she finds me."

"Who is going to kill you?" asked the doctor. "Is this she you mentioned, is this the person who did this to you?"

Harry looked up at the doctor. Then he laughed slightly. "No, she did not do this at all. But when she finds out what happened, she just might kill me."

One of the nurses stepped up next to the physician. "Could you tell us exactly what happened, please."

Harry looked at the nurse and gave her a crooked smile. "No, because you wouldn't believe me if I did."

{Tuesday morning...}

Harry awoke early the next morning. He went down stairs to find that Daphne was already downstairs and waiting on him to join her for breakfast. He gave her a puzzled look. Daphne walked over to him and gave him a hard kiss on his lips. "Goof morning, love," she said in greeting as she pulled away. "I know you're off to finish the quest today and I know it might be several days before you actually find one of those dragons, so I wanted to wish you well. I came back over first thing this morning."

Harry just looked at her wonderful smile and her glowing expression. He knew he wanted to finish his task as quickly as possible so he could return to begin the rest of his life with this precious woman. Soon they had finished their breakfast together. Harry had already prepared the things he felt he would need to take with him to capture the dragon.

"You're sure you don't want me to come with you?" Daphne asked once more.

"I already explained this to you," answered Harry. "I am the one who needs to do this, and I am the one with the protections, I can't guarantee your safety if you were there."

Daphne leaned in and nuzzled against Harry's neck and the side of his face. "I'll miss you, and you better come back safely from this," she said.

Harry kissed her gently on top of her head. "Of course, and I have everything to come back for now," he added.

Later that morning Harry was on his way. He had arranged to use international floo travel to get to Romania, where the dragon preserve was located that Charlie Weasley worked at. Harry figured he should avoid any Weasley just so as not to complicate the task ahead of him, and he had already mapped out his travel plans to the Ukraine. He would have to head to the northeast, and up into the Carpathian Mountains, the natural habitat for the Ukrainian Iron Belly Dragons. His broom would be his main form of transportation after leaving the Romanian Dragon Preserve and he quickly cast warming charms and he made sure he had prepared several snacks and meals he placed in the small backpack he wore underneath his travelling cloak. He had his griffon hide cloak and his invisibility cloak in a special compartment within the back pack. He kept the thunderbird feather attached to the cord around his neck, and he had the special serum made from the chimera venom and the unicorn tears ready to mark with the runes when he reached the area where he would make camp and then begin his search for the dragons.

Royal London Hospital: 10:55 AM (Thursday)

The hospital staff in trauma bay three were completely stunned by the sight in front of them. Their patient, who was severely injured and about to go into cardiac arrest, had woken up and was now speaking with the emergency room physician. The doctor was trying to get the patient to lie back down on the stretcher so they could re-examine him, when there was a loud commotion outside the bay. The patient, who had recently identified himself as "Harry" was not being very compliant with the requests of the staff. When he heard shouting from the other side of the emergency department he looked at the physician. "Do yourselves a big favour," he said calmly, "if that ruckus out there is being caused by a very beautiful blonde woman by the name of Daphne, just let her back in here now."

Dr. McCoy gave him a puzzled look.

Harry then added, "Look, I'll promise to stay right here while you go check it out. If it is who I think it is, it's best just to bring her back here now."

One of the nurses gave him a questioning look. "Who is this Daphne, even if it is her who is out there?"

"Just my fiancé," Harry replied.

Gringotts Bank, London, 9:30 AM (Thursday)

A very worried goblin was knocking on the door to Ragnok's office. Ragnok was very busy and was in no mood to be disturbed. He grunted as he gave leave for the goblin to enter.

"And just what is so important that you have chosen this moment to disturb me?" demanded the goblin chief.

The goblin entered with his head bowed and his hands open in front of him. "Please excuse this intrusion, but there came an urged message from the overseers of the deep vaults."

Ragnok raised an eyebrow ever so slightly, and started to show his teeth in a sneer.

The goblin messenger continued. "It seems that several items have just appeared within the newest Potter Vault. The vault that was just created last week."

Ragnok jumped up from his seat behind his desk and slammed close the ledger he had been working on. "To quote the human wizards, 'bloody hell.' Where is Potter?"

"We already sent a message to St. Mungo's, they have not had any new patients show up in the past four hours."

Ragnok snarled loudly and the messenger tumbled at the fierce sound that echoed down the halls of the bank. "Find out where Potter ended up! Get me a post owl, the fastest owl we have, and bring me the goblin who made the emergency port key for Mr. Potter, and I want it done an hour ago!"

The messenger bowed his head and backed out of the office. A minute later another messenger had arrived in Ragnok's office with a large eagle-owl. Ragnok handed him the brief note that he had quickly scrawled on a piece of parchment. "Have this delivered to Lady Daphne Greengrass, the parchment has a port key that will bring her here to my office." The new messenger took the note and attached it to the eagle-owl's leg. Then he too backed out of the office.

Once he was alone, Ragnok let loose a series of curses in the ancient goblin language.

Royal London Hospital: 11 AM (Thursday)

Dr. McCoy was having one of his worst days ever as an emergency room physician. In the middle of a busy morning, he had a John Doe appear, seemingly out of nowhere, and with severe injuries. He was having difficulty getting the various specialists for the trauma team to show up and help out, and then the patient started to crash, only to wake up as he was about to be defibrillated. And now he was having to go deal with a commotion in the lobby of the emergency room which this John Doe, or 'Harry', claimed might be his fiancé.

"This would make for one hell of a domestic dispute," he said to himself as he approached the lobby. Sure enough, there was a very beautiful blonde woman with strikingly blue eyes, and she definitely was angry. He walked forward to where she was arguing with one of the receptionists who seemed terrified but nonetheless was holding her ground.

"You cannot go back there, miss," insisted the receptionist. Dr. McCoy stepped forward and finding the most pleasant sounding voice he could muster he then spoke to the very obviously irate blonde.

"Are you Daphne?" he asked.

Her blue eyes focused on him with an intensity he had never experienced. "So, Harry is here?" she demanded. "Where is he? How is he? And just why is here at this hospital?"

Dr. McCoy winced at the last question. "Harry is here, and I will bring you to him." Then he paused as he asked her what he knew might be a dangerous question. "And just what is wrong with the Royal London Hospital? It is well published that we have one of the best trauma services in the entire country." He then started to lead her back to the trauma bay, through the secured doors separating the lobby from the treatment area. He had not really expected an answer from this woman, but he did tend to get a bit defensive about his work place. He noted that she was looking everywhere, as though she was trying to absorb everything she was seeing as she was following him to the patient area.

"I must want you miss, Daphne," the doctor added, "Harry has been through quite a lot. However, I am not sure exactly what happened to him, could you possibly shed some light on that subject for me?"

Daphne stopped in her tracks and stared at the physician. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you," was all she had to say in response to his question. "And you still haven't answered my question, how is he?" she demanded again.

"He is doing better," answered Dr. McCoy, "I think. Well, he has many injuries, and some of them are quite severe, but he started to stabilise shortly before you arrived."

Daphne gave him a quizzical look and then proceeded to follow him towards the trauma rooms. She noted that he pointed her towards an area that was cordoned off with a curtain and that there was a number 3 on a glowing sign above the curtain. She walked up to the curtain and pushed it aside. Green eyes met blue eyes, and tears began to well up in both of them.

She ran up to embrace him in a hug. Harry winced in pain.

"What's wrong?" asked Daphne. "Where does it hurt?"

"Everywhere," he deadpanned. "Apparently I have a skull fracture, with bleeding around my brain, a broken right arm, a broken left leg, a ruptured spleen, a lacerated liver, not to mention all of the bruises and scrapes. And then they said my heart nearly stopped, but I didn't let them use the defibrillator on me."

Daphne inspected him from head to toe. "Funny, you don't look to bad for having fought a dragon, and obviously losing."

Harry looked at her and felt ashamed that it was clear that he had failed. "So, how did you find me?" he asked.

"Ragnok sent for me," she said, trying to hold back more tears that were welling up in her eyes. "The special equipment he gave you did part of what it was supposed to do. Your things appeared at the vault. That is how they knew there was a problem. But you didn't appear at St. Mungo's for some reason."

The two were trying to be very careful with their words as they knew they were in the presence of muggles. Harry reached up and pulled the monitor leads off of his chest. "Perhaps that is where I really should be," he suggested. He was about to say something more when one of the nurses stepped up right next to him, and Harry felt as though his personal space was being invaded. "Can I help you?" he asked the nurse.

"My name is Amanda," she said quietly, "and you must be Harry Potter."

Daphne and Harry stared at her, both surprised at her comments.

"My sister is a muggle-born," added Amanda, "I'm just a plain muggle. I heard all about you-know-who and the news of your battle with him. I figured only a powerful magical person like yourself could pull through what you've been through. I thought I recognised the scar on your forehead from the stories my sister told me."

"Well, yeah," Harry answered, "I am Harry Potter." Then he added, "And this is my fiancé, Daphne Greengrass."

Amanda quietly muttered, "I can't wait until I can tell my sister that I actually met the great Harry Potter."

Daphne looked at the young nurse and then back at Harry. Harry was blushing at this comment. Then Daphne turned to look at the nurse as she asked her a question. "So, how do you suppose we get out of here to get Harry over to St. Mungo's?"

Amanda thought for a moment and then she leaned in a whispered to the couple. Harry blushed for a moment, and Daphne took a step back. Then after a moment Harry announced, "Is there any way a bloke can relieve himself without having an audience?"

Amanda spoke up, "I'll go get you a urinal, and everyone else can step out of the room." She gave a wink to Daphne as she left. Soon all of the other hospital staff had left the trauma bay after closing the curtain behind them.

Dr. McCoy looked at everyone as they left trauma bay 3, and wondered what was happening as he had stepped out to quickly review the chart of another patient. He moved quickly to find out what was happening with his John Doe, or Harry Potter, or whatever his name was. He pulled the curtain back to find no one left in the trauma bay.

(Thursday afternoon)

Harry was irritated with having to be examined repeatedly. The healer at St. Mungo's had finished her exam and shook her head. "It seems that your magical core took quite a shock, but it seems to be rebuilding rather quickly. Although," she added, "I've never seen anyone with a magical core this strong before." She looked up at Harry and sighed. "Apparently I should have suspected this."

Daphne was biting her lip as she waited on the report from the healer. "But what about his injuries? The staff at the muggle hospital claimed he had lots of injuries."

The healer nodded, "Apparently he did. However, I have never seen spontaneous healing like this before." She removed the remaining splints and bandages from Harry's various body parts that were treated or stabilised at the Royal London Hospital. She then examined his right forearm. "That scar from the broken bones that were protruding may take a little while to heal, but the arm should be as good as new within a couple of days. However, I would recommend no heavy lifting for the next week. Your leg should be good enough to walk on in a couple of hours. And again, I wouldn't do any running or lifting for at least a week. Your internal organs all seem to be doing fine. The head injury is perhaps the most surprising. Muggle medicine would have recommended surgery to drain the blood clot you had around the brain. We can't even find any evidence of your having been injured there." She looked at Harry, "And you are sure that they used the words subdural hematoma?"

It was only a couple of hours before Harry was cleared to leave with Daphne. He had made it quite clear that he did not want any publicity about any of his injuries, and he assured the healer that he would take it easy at his home. Daphne also reassured the healer that she would do everything possible to keep him in line while he recuperated.

After the ordeal of the muggle and magical hospital visits, Harry was grateful to finally arrive back at his own home. Immediately upon stepping through the floo with Daphne supporting him, he took a couple of steps and sat down on one of the sofas in his sitting room. Daphne called for the house elves and quickly explained that Harry was to be taking it easy for the next week. She then requested that they prepare a meal and bring it to them here in the sitting room and she explained that Harry would probably be staying in this room for some time.

Once the house elves were busy seeing to the requests that Daphne had made, she sat down next to Harry and took his hand in hers. "Now, Mr. Potter," she said with a smile, "just what the bloody hell happened?"

Harry let out a long breath, and then he began the tale of what had happened earlier…

{Wednesday}

Harry had arrived in the Carpathian Mountains in the Ukraine. He had researched where the few wild Ukrainian Iron Bellies would be found. He set up a camp in a clearing on the far side of the mountain from where he would begin his search the next morning. When dawn broke, {Thursday morning} Harry was already awake and finishing the breakfast he had made and he was preparing the runes on his chest. He applied the serum to his skin just as Daphne had him practice at home using pumpkin juice repeatedly until she was sure that he would do it right. Harry placed all of his belongings into the back pack, except those he would be using. The feather was still around his neck and he had confirmed that before putting the griffon hide cloak over his shoulders. He then shrunk the back pack and placed it in a pocket within the cloak. Finally, when he was sure he was ready, he stood over his broom and kicked off into the air.

Harry soared up high over the trees, and then he recalled that Daphne had warned him to stay closer to the trees, as that would give the dragons less of a chance to see him. Harry swooped down and flew just over the tree tops and then he alit on a rock outcropping not far from the mountain top. He paused as he sensed which direction the wind was coming from, and he was glad that it was not from his back. He took a moment to scan the mountain side in front of him, and decided to head down into the valley. He noted that the terrain remained quite rocky in that area, which he knew would be an area that the Ukrainian dragons would prefer. Harry briefly hoped he would be able to find a younger dragon than the one they had set free from Gringotts, as he really did not one to have to face one that was that big.

Harry flew for several hundred yards and then he alit on another rocky area. He decided to wait there for a few minutes and see if he could find evidence of any dragons. He spent the next couple of hours making short flights, landing in rocky areas, searching for evidence of the dragons that were supposed to be nesting in the area. Finally after rounding the fourth mountain that he was exploring, he thought he heard the sound of a large animal up ahead in a clearing. Harry steadied himself as he thought about all of the preparations he had made leading up to this. He shrunk his broom and placed it in the pocket with his already shrunken back pack. He slowly walked towards the clearing, and then he noted that there was a large grey-white animal on the far side of the clearing. Harry relaxed slightly as it was not nearly as large as the Hungarian Horntail that he had faced during the try-wizard tournament. He had his wand out in his hand and he walked stealthily along the edge f the clearing. He stopped briefly to cast a silencing charm on his feet, and then proceeded to make his approach. He ran the various spells through his mind that he would use in an attempt to subdue the dragon. He was within fifty feet of the creature and he estimated that it was at least thirty feet from head to tail. Over ten feet of the length of the dragon was the tail itself.

Harry took a deep breath and tried to relax himself and then he started to move closer again. Suddenly the large beast turned quickly and lunged at Harry with a quick snap of his jaws. Harry had cast a shield spell and the dragon's snout bounced harmlessly away from him. Harry jumped back and prepared to fire a spell when he heard a voice in his head.

"What are you doing little human?" spoke what Harry quickly realised was the dragon in front of him.

Harry started to speak out loud in response, and he soon had to duck from a slashing of the long tail as the dragon whipped it around at him. Harry jumped out of the way and rolled into a crouch. He hissed in frustration.

"What did you say, little man?" asked the dragon, with obvious anger in its voice. Harry realised that the words reminded him of when he heard the basilisk in the walls at Hogwarts. He then tried to reply in parseltongue. "I mean you no harm," he hissed back.

"So you say, but you come sneaking around, and your thoughts betray you," growled the dragon.

The dragon then lunged again with its jaws and Harry rolled away once more. The dragon reared up and spewed fire into the air.

"You mean to capture me?" laughed the dragon. He then sent a column of flame at Harry, who was protected by the cloak and the feather. Harry had not had time to move out of the way and he was relieved that the protections he had obtained actually did what they were supposed to do.

Harry stepped back, and the dragon was now incensed that the puny human in front of him was unscathed. The dragon's anger turned to fury. The dragon then began to charge at Harry. Harry was not expecting the creature to run at him and he barely had time to dive out of the way. He rolled to his left, but as he was about to get out of his crouch, the dragon swiped at him with its tail which sent him crashing into a boulder, hitting it on his left side. The pain he felt was excruciating, and Harry wondered if he broke a rib, or if he had some sort of internal injury. Slowly he pushed himself off of the rock, only to feel his back being grabbed by large talons. He could feel his skin being scraped by the sharp claw, and then he felt himself being thrown through the air, crashing into another large rock. Harry was dazed as his head had hit first. He pushed himself up off of the ground and he tried to move quickly to duck behind the rock for protection. However, he was not moving fast enough. The dragon had flown into the air, and swooped low and once again grabbed Harry with it's talons. Harry could feel himself being lifted into the air, and he was feeling dizzy. Then he noted that he felt that the dragon was diving towards the ground….

Harry was nearly in tears as he finished recounting to Daphne all that he could remember. He told her that he could not remember what happened next, that everything went black and it hurt to just try and think about what more the dragon did to him after that. He was sure that he must have lost consciousness at that time.

Daphne noted that Harry was in tears as he recalled the events of that morning.

Harry wiped his eyes and squeezed Daphne's hand. After lying still in silence, staring at the ceiling, he finally spoke. "I must have missed something in Merlin's writings. I'll have to go back to Pembroke College, to the Hall of Secrets."

Daphne leaned over and enveloped him in a hug. "Of course you will." Then she added, "But not before you finish recuperating here."

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