Unofficial Portkey Archive

The Perils of Innocence by puck_nc

The Perils of Innocence


Disclaimer: If you recognize the character, it isn't mine. Just playing in Rowling's sandbox.


29 November 1990

If only all patients were this easy.

Emily closed the file for Dean Thomas and dropped it into the drawer, pushing it shut with a satisfied thump. Their newest resident was a ridiculously easy case as far as her profession went. He had the usual healthy relationship with his younger brothers and sisters: scrappy and competitive for their parents' attention but unified against anything seen as an outside threat. His parents were typically loving and supportive while keeping a steady level of discipline in order to manage five energetic children. In two sessions with her Dean had revealed himself to be a friendly, rather intelligent and quite creative boy. He also had a nice sense of humour and a firm passion for the West Ham football team.

In short, the only thing the matter with Dean was the fact that he had incidents.

With resignation, she drew out the file on Piers Moffat, who was as night as one could be to Dean's day. In ten months the only progress they had made was in curbing the worst of his problematic behaviour. He no longer struck out physically at the other children or stalked them, but he still sought confrontation first and if bested would look to avenge himself. He went after Harry frequently, trying to get the other boy into trouble when an incident happened. Emily was quite frankly surprised that there had been nothing worse between Piers and Harry than verbal exchanges so far.

Emily opened the file and began mentally composing a pessimistic progress report to his parents.


4 December 1990

The trio was in Harry's room, enjoying an unexpected bit of free time thanks to two teachers being out with flu. Hermione had decided that they ought to make a chart of things that each of them had done more than once. Looking for patterns appealed to her organizational instincts. Harry found the exercise interesting and Dean was gradually drawn in as he began to see a pattern in his own incidents.

Hermione had already noted down come here, go away, break, and repair. When Dean saw that one, he sat up from his sprawl across Harry's bed.

"Repair? You mean, you fixed a broken thing?"

Harry was leaning against his headboard and gave Hermione a look filled with pride. "She put her entire kitchen back together after exploding it. Even refilled the broken glass of juice that started it."

"Wicked. I'd've had a lot less guff if I'd been able to fix my mum's snow globe collection."

The others winced in sympathy, then Harry returned to the subject. "How about safe? We've used that one at least twice that I remember."

"What does it do?"

Hermione wrote it as she replied, "The first time my mum was driving us home and the roads were wet. The car started sliding and Harry grabbed my hand and told me to concentrate on safe. It was like a giant pillow between the car and the lorry we would have crashed into." She smiled as Dean's mouth dropped open and continued, "The second time, Harry and I were up in the tree fort. Harry had gotten a bit out of sorts and I was upset and we'd shaken the ladder rungs off the trunk of the tree. We jumped down, thinking hard about safe, and we bounced like we landed on cushions instead of hitting the ground."

"I did that! My little sister, she tripped and was going to hit her head on the low table, but I reached out and it was like she changed direction or something, she fell into the couch instead!"

Hermione put a tick mark under Dean's name in the row for safe. "That's another one."

Dean glanced over at the open door to their room. "How about just move? Like when you closed the door my first day here? That's not really calling something to you or pushing it away."

Hermione added it and ticked under her name. "You?"

Dean nodded. "We had Mickey over, he's the baby in the flat above us and his mum needed to go talk to someone about a job. He was crying, really getting on my nerves, but my da was trying to make dinner. Mickey's dummy was on the table and I kind of slid it over to where he could grab it for himself."

Hermione made another tic on the chart. "Harry?"

He nodded. "Of course. Lots of times."

Hermione twisted one corner of her mouth as she considered the list. "What else?"

Harry frowned, fingering the bobbles on the edge of his pillowcase. "Did either of you ever…move yourself somewhere else? Like here one minute and there the next?"

Both of his friends looked at him with wide eyes. Her hand hesitating over the paper, Hermione asked, "Do you mean like a teleport? A real, actual teleport?"

Harry shrugged, looking a little upset at their reaction. "I dunno. I remember my aunt shouting to me from downstairs. I was cleaning the bathroom floors and when she shouted she sounded almost mental, she was so angry about something. And the next thing I knew, there was this loud noise and I was in the kitchen in front of her, still holding the brush I'd been using to scrub. She screamed and ran out of the room.

"They brought me here the next weekend."

Hermione got up from Harry's desk and hugged him. Dean cuffed his knee a little self-consciously. After a moment Harry smiled back and squeezed Hermione to signal that he was okay. Hermione went back to the list and wrote disappear/appear and another tick mark for Harry.

"I've got another one. Either of you just change something? No breaking or moving, just making something different about it?" Dean looked at them. "One of the first things I remember happening was when Malia's dollie suddenly had green skin. Malia was crying about it and Mum couldn't explain what happened. I'd tripped over the bloody thing when she left it in the floor. That was one of the incidents that made me think I was doing it."

Harry smiled. "I did something like that. One of the nurses got mad at me and another boy because we'd tracked dirt into the hall. While she was shouting at us, her hair changed colour to this really bright blue. She didn't even realize everyone was staring at her for ages. It happened a few months before you got here, Hermione."

Hermione noted change and ticked under all their names. "I've done that with a crayon when I wanted to use a different colour." Dean's eyes lit up at that, considering the artistic possibilities. She looked over the chart.

"Well, this is a good start. I think we should all do some kind of record-keeping. If we get in the habit of keeping journals, writing for a few minutes every night about anything that we think we did, it'll help."

Harry shrugged. "I suppose."

Dean nodded. "Can't hurt."

Hermione beamed and leapt to her feet. "I'll go ask Mary if there are any blank books in the office!"

The boys watched her run out the door. Dean shook his head. "She's always like this, isn't she?"

Harry grinned. "Yeah, but otherwise she wouldn't be our Hermione."


21 December 1990

"Harry, are you sure about this?"

Harry smiled over at Hermione, who was rocking back and forth in her chair, clutching Sir Woof and looking at him with worry. "I'm sure. Christmas is for families and your parents have been really nice about having me over plenty of times."

Dean shrugged from his own chair, his feet propped on his suitcase. "Wish I could offer, but we just don't have the room for anyone to stop over."

Harry leaned forward. "Mates, really, it's okay. The doctors will be here most of the time. Pippa will be here and you know she'll take me on outings and such. We'll get visitors who want to look good-once we even had one of the blokes who was the Doctor on Doctor Who come and hand out presents. And you'll be back after New Year's."

Hermione leaned back, still frowning. "If you're sure. I don't like you being stuck here. I'm going to ask my parents if we can have both of you over for a weekend soon."

"That'd be cool," Dean replied. He was flipping through the book that Hermione had given him on the history of the West Ham Club.

Hermione leapt to her feet. "My parents are here. Dean, I think I see yours down the queue."

Harry went with them to the doors where Mary and Sushila were escorting the departing children to their cars. Hermione hugged him fiercely and he returned it, patting her back. "Happy Christmas, Hermione, and don't worry." He slapped hands with Dean. "Both of you, call if you need to."

"You too, Harry." Hermione gave him one final fretful glance and followed Sushila out the door. Dean gave Harry a mock salute and jogged down the queue of cars, not waiting for an escort.

Harry waved at the Grangers and started down the hallway to his room. Perhaps getting into one of the new books the Grangers had sent would keep any feelings of loneliness away.

He frowned when he saw Moffat leaving his room and ran down the hall. He stopped at his door, aghast.

His room was littered in paper. He picked up a piece and realized it was a page from the new book on motorcycles that was Hermione's Christmas gift to him. Moffat had taken all of his new books and ripped them apart.

With a scream of rage, Harry took off after Moffat. The other boy was approaching the tuck cupboard when it burst open and snacks began shooting out at him. Moffat stopped and shrieked as he was pelted with granola bars, packets of crisps, and envelopes of dried fruit. Then his legs snapped together, stiff as boards, and he fell over. Harry stopped a few feet from him and glared as Moffat tried to pry his legs apart.

"Why? Why did you do it? Why won't you leave us alone?"

"You're a freak! You don't belong here! You should be put away somewhere where you won't make anyone else freaky like you! You've already made two others like you! But you won't get me!"

Harry froze at his words, momentarily stunned. In his mind he heard voices taunting him, calling him that hateful word. He barely registered the approaching footsteps until Pippa was beside him, checking him over. "Harry?"

He replied absently, "He tore up my new books. I saw him leaving my room."

Pippa moved to Moffat, now able to move freely, and looked him over. Other than some scratches from a few sharp corners of packaging, he was unhurt. Pippa yanked him to his feet and dragged him back toward Harry's room to check for herself. Harry, still slightly dazed, remembered Hermione's list and repair. He waved a hand at the scattered snacks and watched as every last item returned to its spot in the cupboard.

Pippa had gotten Patrick's attention and he was lecturing Moffat. The boy protested again about Harry being a freak and Patrick's temper snapped. "As far as I'm concerned, you've used up all your chances here. I'm recommending to Dr Greene that you be sent elsewhere as soon as arrangements can be made. In the meantime you are suspended from all activities until I say otherwise."

Harry walked back up to Pippa as Patrick led a still-whining Moffat away to find Emily. His oldest friend hugged him, leading him back into his room. "Make a list of the books. We'll replace them tomorrow and send the bill to his family."

Harry shook his head and waved both hands in a gathering motion. Pippa's eyes widened as the papers lifted and whirled, rapidly coalescing into four piles. The covers rose from the floor and wrapped themselves around each pile before sealing themselves into place and arranging themselves in the stack that had been on his desk. "At least being a freak is worth something."

The word freak jogged Pippa's memory and she remembered her very first conversation with Harry. Hoping he wouldn't pick up on her nervousness at witnessing his feat, she hugged him hard, willing her pulse to stop racing. "It's worth a lot when it means you can fix things other people can't, Harry." She stroked his hair and he seemed to relax into her. "It makes being a freak a very good thing."


5 January 1991

Dean crowed in triumph as he looked at the card he had drawn. "Three aces, two kings! Beat that!" He spread his hand out and looked at the others expectantly.

Harry tossed his hand onto the table in disgust. Hermione paused one moment, calculating odds in her computer-like brain, and laid her cards down as well. Dean scooped the pile of jelly babies and mint humbugs to him and put three back in the centre. "Next?"

Hermione shook her head. "That's the last of my Christmas candy you just took."

Dean immediately offered a handful back. "We weren't playing for keeps, though."

Harry shook his head. "I'm done, too. It's almost time for tea anyway." The three of them gathered the cards and sweets into the gift bags from the staff. "I'll meet you in the canteen, need to use the loo."

Hermione and Dean nodded and continued to tidy the playroom. Harry went down the hall to the nearest boys' toilet.

He opened the door and paused, puzzled at the lack of light. He fumbled for the switch.

He sensed the movement behind him and tried to duck sideways. The object that had aimed for his head came down in full force on his shoulder and arm instead and he cried out at the pain, barely registering the snap of a bone breaking. He grabbed at the door as he slumped, trying to keep his feet. He could hear running footsteps and yelled again as something heavy connected with his hip and sent him to the floor.

Hermione and Dean rounded the corner at a full run, Hermione bracing against the wall to keep from skidding. Harry managed to roll over and see Moffat standing over him with a cricket bat, ready to strike a third time.

Dean gestured, wrenching the bat from Moffat's grasp. The bully wailed as his weapon sailed into Dean's hands. Then Hermione made a fist and Moffat felt himself flung into the air. His head thudded against the wall and he slid to the floor, unconscious.

Hermione fell to her knees next to Harry. "Where did he hurt you?"

"Arm," Harry gasped out, fully realizing the pain of the blows as the adrenalin left him. Hermione saw the bend in his upper arm where there should not have been one and blanched.

Hermione reached out to Harry, then hesitated. Will it work on people? What if I hurt him more? Seeing Harry bite his lip as he tried not to move decided her. She lowered her hands to his arm, touching the sleeve very gingerly. Repair this, heal this, make it the way it should be…

Harry inhaled sharply as he felt the bones inside his arm shift back together and knit into place, then the pain receding. Dean's eyes widened as he saw light travelling from Hermione's hands to Harry's arm, spreading across his shoulder and down to his hip.

The light faded and Dean helped Harry to his feet. They both looked at Hermione, a bit awestruck. Seeing their expressions, she thought furiously for a moment and then hissed, "Keep a lookout, Harry. Dean, hide that bat fast." She moved over to Moffat and concentrated, holding her hands over his head. Heal. Heal. Fix this. Moffat stirred and groaned as white light briefly washed over his head like a halo. His eyes fluttered and Hermione panicked. SLEEP! Moffat went limp.

Harry moved his arm and flung it around Hermione in a tight hug. "You're brilliant! We can use this to fix ourselves, not just things!"

Hermione bit her lip, remembering her parents' first reaction when she repaired the kitchen she had destroyed. Not good, this is not good. "And what would happen if everyone knew we could just heal people left and right?"

Harry paused for a moment, thinking it through. "Oh."

"Exactly. We'd be heroes or monsters. Either way, we'd be taken from here in a heartbeat and possibly never see each other again."

Dean caught up to them. "It's in a corner in one of the playrooms. What are we telling people?"

Harry wrenched his thoughts away from imagining everyone withdrawing from him the way Dr Greene had in the summer. "Not a thing. Not this time."

"This is too big," Hermione added. "If even a hint of this got out we'd be swarmed by the newspapers, by doctors wanting demonstrations, by sick people looking for miracles…"

Dean shook his head. "But they are miracles, aren't they?"

"And what happens to miracle workers, Dean? The people in power use them or destroy them." Hermione looked back down at Moffat. "How do we convince him not to tell?"

Dean opened his mouth to reply, then paused. He remembered cross old Mr MacGillivray acting like he didn't remember his row of plant pots falling off his balcony and the postmistress forgetting about the mail sack splitting and spilling the post all down the street. "I think I can make him forget he did this."

Hermione gasped and Harry stared at him. He clarified, "Erasing his memory? How is that fair?"

"Dunno that it is. But it makes sure that no one else knows we can heal."

"But if he doesn't remember he can't be punished for it."

Hermione stared down at Moffat as the boys argued, then began nodding slowly. "It's the best choice. Moffat's leaving in a few days anyway and won't be here to try this again. I say do it."

Harry looked from one to the other. "I don't like it. It's not right to muck about in someone's mind like that."

She laid a hand on his arm. "I don't like it either. I just think it's the best way to protect us all, keep us here where we're safe."

Dean put his hand on Harry's other shoulder. "Same here. Don't like it, but don't see a better way out."

Harry drew a deep breath. "All right, I see what you mean. Do it, Dean."

Harry and Hermione turned to be lookouts down either end of the hallway. Dean knelt by Moffat and put his hand to the other boy's head. Forget that you tried to attack Harry. Forget that you planned to attack him. You're counting the days until you can be far away from him, but you never tried to hurt him.

Dean stood. "Now, start waking up." The trio took off around the corner and dodged into the playroom they had used for their card game.

Hermione collapsed into a beanbag chair. "I don't know about you two, but I say this doesn't go in the journals."

Dean blinked. "You're serious about not telling the doctors?"

She nodded. "This is too much for them to try and hide. We can't put this on them. There are more than twenty other kids here that need their attention, too, and they wouldn't be able to stop everyone's reactions once it got out."

"I think Hermione's right. The idea that we can heal people, make them forget things. All it takes is one staff member letting it slip, and we'd be taken from here. I don't think I could deal with that. This is the only real home I've had."

Dean looked at Harry's face for a moment, then began nodding. "All right, mum's the word."

Hermione jumped up and hugged him. "Thank you, Dean."

He returned it awkwardly. "S'okay. All for one, one for all and all that."


Author's Note: Thank you as always for reading! I should be back to my normal schedule now - look for the next update around the 15th.