METMA Challenge 29 (amazing name, isn't it?)
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"Why are we going on a field trip to St. Mungo’s, of all places?" Seamus asked Professor McGonnogal for the millionth time.
"As I have previously explained, Mr. Finnigan, this is NOT a field trip, this is a community service expedition, and should not be regarded as a casual event. Here we are." The fifth years entered the hospital, and a doctor came to greet them.
"Thank you for coming to volunteer at the St. Mungo’s hospital, please remain courteous to all the patients, and-GOOD LORD, IT’S HARRY POTTER!" Harry looked down, embarrassed, as the doctor rushed forward and shook his hand. "An honor, Mr. Potter, an honor. I had completely forgotten you’d be one of the fifth years! Mr. Potter, we are having an educational seminar for some of the students about healing curses, it would be an HONOR if the only known survivor of Avada Kedavra would make an appearance. Would you?" Before Harry could answer, Prof. McGonnogal spoke up.
"Of course he would. Go with the doctor, Potter." And with that, Harry was dragged off, looking very annoyed, but helpless. Malfoy leaned over to Ron and Hermione.
"Now, WHAT are we going to do without the famous Harry Potter to lead us around for the day, hmm?" he snickered.
"Shut it, ferret boy," Ron snapped.
"Just ignore him, it’s not worth it," Hermione mumbled. They were about to move along when Trelawney showed up, wearing a tight, spangly red dress with a slit up to *here*. Ron stared without blinking for a good thirty seconds, and then quickly shut his eyes, and rubbed them hard, whimpering. Prof. McGonnogal stared as well.
"Sibyl, what is the meaning of this?" Trelawney sighed deeply.
"Minerva, as I was crystal gazing, I saw a most shocking apparition. I saw myself accompanying you, entertaining the elderly folk here at the hospital! And who am I to refuse the promptings of fate?" And with an elegant turn, she walked down towards the nursing home section.
Harry was led down a long hallway towards the educational center of St.Mungo’s. The doctor dragged him into a room, quickly approached the podium, and announced Harry’s unexpected arrival. "Come up here, Harry!" prompted the doctor, and Harry hesitantly approached the podium. The student doctors started to badger Harry with questions.
"Mr. Potter! Do you have any memory at all of the attack?"
"Not really. I was only one."
"How do you think knowing such a thing influenced your childhood?" a psychologist asked.
"It didn't. I didn't find out about it until I was eleven."
"And how do you think that affected you?"
"Mr. Potter! If I may ask a question?" Harry inwardly groaned as Rita Skeeter stood up. "Just a few innocent questions, Mr. Potter. I'm doing an article for the Daily Prophet on childhood traumas. Mr. Potter, do you think the, ah, accident, may have tampered with your mental abilities?"
"It wasn't an accident, it was a deliberate attempt on my life. And, no, I do not." At this point, Harry was about to strangle everyone in the room, but thought it might not go so well with the sanity comment. Lord, it was going to be a long day...
"Where exactly are we supposed to be, Hermione?" Ron asked, looking around nervously.
"I think we just go around to random rooms and see if anyone needs us for anything. Right, lets try this room." Hermione opened the door first on the left of one hallway and the two of them peeked in hesitantly.
"...And the pig says to the cow, 'Ha kova sheli shalosh peenot!'" A room of elderly people burst out laughing. Ron and Hermione backed away slowly and shut the door.
"Moving on to the next room," Ron said pointedly.
"As you know, Wormtail, the Potter boy is on a field trip to St. Mungo's-"
"-community service expedition," corrected Wormtail.
"I am going to pretend that I was not just corrected by a bumbling idiot who can't even perform a simple Heimlich spell, understanding that if it happens again, I shall show no mercy. Is that clear?" Wormtail gulped and nodded fervently. "Good. As I was saying, I believe that while he is there, he may be more vulnerable. Do you understand the plan, or shall I go over it for the forty-eighth time this evening?" Wormtail didn't answer at first, as his mouth was full of salmon. "WORMTAIL!"
"*gulp* Yes, my Lord?" Voldemort sighed.
"I said -*gag*" Wormtail jumped up in alarm as Voldemort started choking on a fishbone.
"My Lord, what shall I do? Oh, I can't even perform the Heimlich charm, you just said it! What to do, what to do..." Voldemort jabbed at the Floo powder. "Of course! But where to go, where to go?" After a good deal of mental strain on Wormtail's part, he finally remembered what place they had been talking about two seconds earlier, and he quickly floo-ed himself and Voldemort to St.Mungo's.
"Well, I'm sure we'll find someone who needs our help. What about that man?" Hermione asked, pointing to a man wearing one of those vile green hospital gowns, and one of those doctor facemasks. He was wheeling around someone, covered in a cloth, who appeared to be spasming. "Excuse me, sir," prompted Hermione, "But I'm with the volunteer group from Hogwarts, and I was wondering if you needed any help?" Wormtail instantly recognized her, and tried, without success, to disguise his voice.
"Well-I mean, uh (lowers voice), well, actually, could you perform a Heimlich charm?" Hermione looked at him skeptically.
"Of course I can, can't everybody? We were required to learn them, and they are vitally important to know, since-" Ron jabbed her in the stomach. "Oh, right. Heimlich!" The man under the cloth jerked forward, then stopped spasming.
"That's it? Just, 'Heimlich'?"
"What else would it be? You know, I think a doctor should know this sort of thing, you are a doctor, aren't you, well, even if you're not, that's still an important spell to know and-" she paused for breath, and Ron took the opportunity to drag her away. "Ron!" she exclaimed as soon as they were out of earshot. "I was talking to that doctor! Why'd you interrupt?"
"D'you honestly believe that was a doctor? Didn't he seem kind of familiar to you?" Hermione furrowed her brow in thought for a bit, then gasped.
"Wormtail! You don't honestly believe it could've been him, do you?"
"Almost positive. And the man under the cloth— I swear I could've seen two glowing red dots where his eyes should've been. It was probably *gulp* You-know-who. The only thing I don't get is why he's here."
"That bit's obvious! Harry's here! And he probably figures that Harry isn't as well protected! Oh, Ron, what'll we do?"
"Then, Mr. Potter, just how well do you think you respond under extreme pressure?" Skeeter asked.
"What purpose does that question have, Ms. Skeeter, exactly?"
"I'm writing an article about childhood traumas, Mr. Potter. Are you avoiding the question?" Harry could see her Quick-Quotes Quill scrawling like crazy. God only knew what kind of things it was making up...
"Not at all, Ms. Skeeter, I was just curious. As for the question, I think I respond under pressure quite well, being a Gryffindor, and all..."
"And does being a Gryffindor make you prejudice against other houses, such as Ravenclaw?" Skeeter was only thinking of her old house, but Harry immediately thought of Cho and blushed.
"No, no, I really like Ravenclaws! Sometimes I even wish I was one..." Harry saw Skeeter's Quill practically explode. He looked at the clock. 11:40. *Please give me a lunch break, please...*he thought.
"Now, listen, Wormtail. At exactly 12:00, we shall attempt to murder the Potter boy. That means, in twenty minutes, we need to find him." Voldemort had gotten a hold of one of those green dress things, too, and was also wearing one of those doctor facemasks. Wormtail rushed to keep up with him as they patrolled the corridors.
Draco Malfoy saw them and lazily strolled towards them. He might as well get this whole *helping* thing over with. "S’cuse me, d’you need anything?" he asked Voldemort. Voldemort turned and smiled.
"Ah, a soon-to-be death eater. Tell me, where is the Potter boy?" Voldemort asked. Malfoy stared uncertainly.
"Master? Is that really you?"
"Of course it’s me! Who else would it be? Tell me, where is the Potter boy?"
"Erm…some doctors took him to the educational center for some conference." Malfoy hurried away. Voldemort smiled.
"Come, Wormtail, we are going to a little seminar..."
Meanwhile, Hermione and Ron were trying desperately to find Harry.
"Try this corridor!" Hermione cried. They looked into the room to see Trelawney doing the splits (and other various dance moves) and singing in front of many people who looked scarred for life.
"And you see me, somebody new, I’m not that chained up little girl who’s still in love with you. And you just felt like dropping in and just expect me to be free, but now I’m saving all my lovin’ for someone who’s lovin’ me!" Ron started whimpering again.
"Never mind. I’m sure we can just ask someone..." About ten minutes later, they managed to find the seminar.
"Ron, he’s already here! What are we going to do?"
"Um...there’s McGonnagol, d’you think she might know what to do?"
"Might. Can’t hurt to ask. Professor?"
"Yes, Miss Granger?" McGonnagol seemed preoccupied.
"Well, this is going to sound a bit mad, but we have reason to believe that Harry might be in danger..."
"Of course he is! I already knew about it! Miss Granger, as soon as the Dark Art alarms went off in this hospital, I was informed and sent word to the Ministry Aurors. They will be here at exactly 12:05. Now please, run along. Harry will be fine." McGonnagol moved away.
"But we haven’t got that much time!" Hermione hissed to Ron. "Voldemort will attack Harry as soon as he gets off the podium, that’s at 12! What can we do to keep him up there for five minutes?"
"D’you know any glue charms?"
"Of course I do! But if Harry can’t leave the podium, Voldemort will be alerted to the situation and might just attack him while he’s up there. If only there was someway to stall..." she trailed off, looking at the clock, which read exactly 12:00.
"Mr. Potter must now be off. Thank you for your questions and enthusiasm." The doctor started to drag Harry off, but Hermione cast the charm. Ron quickly stood up.
"Erm, Mr. Potter? One more word?"
"Ye—yeah, sure..." Harry looked suspiciously at Ron, who cleared his throat and continued.
"Um, Mr. Potter, d’you, uh, think that, erm...Mr. Potter, what are your opinions on the enslavement of House Elves?" Hermione had been mouthing, ‘speak’, but Ron had taken it as ‘SPEW’. Harry cleared his throat.
"Well, uh, Mr. Weasley, I think that, um, there are some unresolved issues concerning House Elves that are prohibited from disobeying their masters, and I do think that this might lead to conflict in the future, yes. And, um, the first House Elf I ever knew worked for a former Death-"
"Everybody down! This is the Ministry Auror force, and we will attack if necessary!" Everyone in the room scrambled under desks except for Voldemort, Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Voldemort tried to curse Harry, but was held back by some Aurors. As Voldemort fought them off, Hermione dashed to the podium, quickly took the glue charm off, and tackled Harry so he was under the podium.
"It’s You-Know-Who Harry, he’s here to get you! That’s why Ron was stalling. You have to stay down until the Aurors take care of him." Harry looked at her, bewildered.
"Thanks," he whispered weakly.
"Any time," she said, smiling.
"Am I interrupting anything?" Ron asked. Both Harry and Hermione realized that the fighting had stopped, and embarrassedly pulled themselves away from each other. Harry got up and looked around. There were some wounded Aurors, but Voldemort was nowhere to be seen, having Apparated once he realized it would be impossible to get Harry. An Auror came over.
"All right there, Harry?" he asked.
"Yeah, I’m fine."
"Mr. Potter, Voldemort seems to have gotten away. I do have some surprising news, however. You are familiar with the story of Sirius Black and how he murdered Peter Pettigrew?"
"Um...I had heard that, yes," Harry replied evasively.
"Well, during our little brawl here, we caught the supposedly dead Peter Pettigrew with Voldemort."
"Really? Great!" Harry exclaimed. "I mean, erm, that’s...strange, I guess." The Auror eyed him suspiciously, but continued.
"Yes, indeed. Well, as you can guess, we have a lot going on, so your field trip is cancelled, and you will all be returning to Hogwarts. We are setting up a couple of portkeys immediately." The Auror walked away, and Harry went over to Hermione and Ron, who caught him up on the day’s events.
The next morning, Hermione was looking over her copy of the Daily Prophet.
"Good Lord, she’s done it again. Read." Hermione handed Harry and Ron the paper, and they read:
Chaos at St. Mungo’s
By Rita Skeeter
Yesterday at St. Mungo’s, the hospital had the honor of welcoming esteemed Harry Potter during a seminar on curse effects on mentality. But, of course, wherever Harry Potter goes, chaos is sure to follow. At approximately twelve o’clock, Harry Potter became convinced that he was being attacked by none other than You-know-who. Unlicensed Aurors-in-training rushed in to protect the boy, but after a quick brawl, You-know-who seemed to have escaped. These Aurors-in-training then made the ridiculous claim of having caught the late Peter Pettigrew, receiver of the Order of Merlin, First Class. By the time these Aurors-in-training were able to convince Ministry officials to see for themselves, Peter Pettigrew had supposedly "vanished". After an interview with the Minister of Magic himself, yours truly was able to conclude that He-who-must-not-be-named has NOT risen, and Fudge was able to further state that "Harry has believed himself to be attacked by You-know-who every year since he found out about his past."
"Well?" prompted Hermione.
"I wasn’t attacked in third year, if I remember correctly."
"Is that ALL you can say?"
"Well, it’s typical, isn’t it? Pettigrew got away, and I’m labeled crazy. Again. And you can’t get Skeeter for that one, Hermione; I think everything in there is technically true. Just very slanted, as well." Harry sighed and started eating his toast, as Ron and Hermione looked at each other in disbelief.