The Red King
by Stellamaru

Harry awoke slowly. Antiseptic smells filled his nose. His vision was blurry and his arms felt heavy. "Did- did I fall off my broom?" he asked. "Did I catch the Snitch?"

"Hush, dear," he heard a calm female voice--not Madam Pomfrey's--say. "He's awake, now," she told someone else. Harry tried to look around, but all he could see were fuzzy blobs.

"Harry? Harry?" said another female voice, also unfamiliar. Someone touched Harry's foot and caressed it. "Oh, James...."

"We've brought you a visitor, son." This came from a deep masculine voice. Harry squinted and made out several shapes, a dark head and a red one, and three blondes.

"Malfoy? What- did you knock me off my broom?" Harry's throat felt thick and unused. He blinked, trying to clear his vision. He could pick out faces, but not features.

"What's he on about, Mum?" said the blonde boy.

"Harry, don't you recognize your cousin Dudley?" the red-haired woman said. Harry stared at her, willing her to come into focus. She wasn't a Weasley.

"Dudley?" he croaked. "What's he doing at Hogwarts? He's a Muggle, not a wizard."

The red-haired woman choked back a sob. "Harry, we want you to get better. You- you've got to stop with this wizard business." The grip on Harry's foot got tighter.

"Darling," the dark-haired man said, putting his arm around her shoulder. "Doctor, isn't there anything-- he will get better, won't he? There's medications for these... delusions, aren't there?"

"We have every reason to hope," said the first woman who'd spoken. Harry felt a cool hand brush through his hair. It was soothing.


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