Adam felt like he was floating. His skin was tingling and numb and it was like his ears and mouth were stuffed with cotton. His eyes were sealed shut and his limbs were frozen so he couldn’t look around or move. His world had become an empty void. All he could do was wait. Wait and think and sleep. But what was he waiting for? He didn’t know. So he thought.
He thought of the attack on Bronze Brick Road… He thought of Kris lying in the blood soaked snow… Of the red-heads who attacked him…
From the stories Harris had told, Frizzy – the new Mrs Weasley – had to be Hermione formerly Granger. The know-it-all muggleborn witch Harris had befriended back in first year at Hogwarts. She was highly intelligent in a bookish sense but was severely lacking in people sense. Not a socialite, Hermione Weasley was likely a brash sort of woman: pushy, self-confident, and presumptuous. Most likely the type to put her nose in everything whether it was her business to do so or not. And from what Adam seen of her she was arrogant. Not the type of arrogance Draco displayed which came with money, but the self-righteous kind. Thinking herself above everyone of lesser intelligence. Despite all her intelligence she was an average level witch. Power wise she was about half what Harris is.
Next there was Mr Frizzy. The Neanderthal husband of a Know-It-All. All brawn, no brains. Ronald Weasley. He had the look of someone who was use to getting hit in the head. He was also a person who believed he had no reason to think things through for himself. He just ploughed head first into things without thinking of the consequences, despite being a brilliant strategist. And he was jealous. Jealous of Harris and all that he had while Ron’s family went without. He had likely been more concerned with what Harris would have brought to his family if he’d married Ron’s sister than anything else. And he was the most discriminating of the lot. From what Harris had said, and how the red-head spoke, he was the type to hold onto a huge grudge with both hands. Even if that grudge was unfounded. His power levels were rather low. Less than half of his wife’s. No wonder his magic wielding relied on brute strength instead of finesse. Anyone could hit hard with their magic, but only the higher levels could control it with absolute precision. Which is why the backlash of his curse had hit Kris so hard.
Little Red, or Ginny, was just as pig-headed as her brother. However she was smarter than he was with stronger magic levels almost equal to her sister-in-law. Her forked tongue had Harris believing a life with her was all he ever truly wanted. Had him convinced that he was in love with her. It had taken years for him to even begin to realize that his disinterest in other women was not because of his love for the youngest red-head. The girl was in her last year of school and apparently had already secured a fiancé – within the week of her relationship with Harris being officially over. Clearly she was very successful at whatever she did, sacrificing little more than time and conscience to get exactly what she wants – and probably one other thing if the rumours Draco had told of her were true. Apparently she was a tiger in the sheets – slightly overrated but worth the try.
The snob with the glasses had to be the third Weasley son: Percy. Conceited, arrogant, pompous, chauvinistic, self-important, and a stickler for rules… So long as they benefited him. He was a high ranking Ministry official, and one of the most prejudiced ones at that – needless to say his entire family were homophobic, among other things. He got along very well with Madam Umbridge. They tended to support biased causes that would have many equality rights revoked – and make current rights non-existent. If they had their way “dark” wizards would be required to register themselves and be denied the use of wands, werewolves would be put down, and muggleborns would be little more than servants. Despite the fact that his new sister-in-law was a muggleborn, and a somewhat high ranking Ministry official herself. Just like his Neanderthal brother his magic levels were very low.
Lastly, there’s Big Red. The second son… The dragon tamer… Charlie … There was something different about Charlie. Something Adam couldn’t place. His magical levels were on par with his sister, but still well below Harris’. And well below Adam’s, which were double in comparison with Harris’. He recalled how Charlie had stared sharply at him in the street that day, his expression unreadable. Adam remembering locking gazes, for the briefest second, with the dragon tamer. He focused on that second, trying to figure out what was so different about this man… It was almost familiar…
Adam’s eyes snapped opened.
The first thing he registered was the bright light above him. He groaned and shut his eyes again, moving his arm in front of his face. At least he tried to move his arm but the second thing to register made him drop it back to his side: a persistent aching in his entire body.
He groaned again. “I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck.” His voice scratchy from disuse, it was as though he hadn’t used it in months and his mouth is dry. His entire body was throbbing uncomfortably and it hurt to move.
“Run over, actually,” the reply came from somewhere to his left. Kris, Adam thought. Kris is here. He must be okay. I doubt I’d be in this much pain if I were dead.
“What?” Adam asked groggily and let some ice chips be slid into his mouth. He blinked until his eyes adjusted to the light.
“You were run over,” Kris repeated a little too cheerfully. “It was amazing. It was like a glitter bomb went off.”
“What are you talking about?” Adam frowned and slowly glanced to his side.
“They’re calling it the Glitter-mobile,” Kris continued with a cheeky smirk. “And they want you to sign the Adam shaped dent in the hood.”
Adam grinned at his friend. “You’re an ass.”
“Well, you’re an engaged man now so you can’t tap that,” his mother’s voice came from his right.
He carefully turned his head to see Leila sitting beside his bed next to his father, Eber. “I couldn’t tap it anyway. He’s married.”
“To a woman,” his brother, Neil’s, cheery voice added from the end of his bed.
“Thank you,” Kris said dryly to Neil. “I’d forgotten all about that.”
“You want me to call her in case you forgot what she looks like too?” Eber quipped from his seat beside his mother.
“Dad, I’m gay,” Adam joked. “I don’t need to see that twice in a lifetime.”
“The last time you saw one you were drunk,” Neil pointed out. “You barely remember it.”
“Why would I want to?” Adam asked innocently.
“It’s educational?” Leila asked.
“This family should scare me…” Kris said to Adam’s Aunt Tanya, who sat beside him. “Maybe I should run.”
“Too late, you’re already one of us,” Eber stated with a grin.
“So,” Adam began conversationally. “Where am I?”
Two months… He’d been unconscious for two full months – under a stasis charm and a magically induced coma. And on top of everything he’d just had his spine removed and replaced by an artificial one. A slightly mechanical one that was enchanted by goblins to not set off any metal detectors and warded against rusting.
“I’m the Bionic Man,” Adam blurted out.
“I think Bionic Queen would be a little more accurate,” offered Kris with a grin.
“Watch it Gnomeo, I may not be able to jump over tall buildings in a single bound, but I’m sure I can lift you over the edge of one without hurting myself,” Adam grinned back.
“You might be thinking of the Million Dollar Man.”
“Who cares, I have a bionic spine and I’m a wizard.”
Kris thought for a moment. “True.” Adam had been put under a numbing spell until his damaged bones could be removed and re-grown that night. After that he’d be put on a Potion I.V. to heal the damage that had resulted from both the curse and being in stasis for as long as he had.
“So how are you?” Adam asked seriously, a worried look in his eyes as he surveyed his friend. “How are your injuries? What were your injuries?”
“Good, I’m healed to the best of their abilities,” Kris replied. “The Healer at St. Mungo’s described what happened to me as ‘bystander effects’. When the curse hit you the blast of the magical current overflowed into me and shattered the bones in my right side: my shoulder, arm, and some ribs. It’s just lucky it didn’t seriously damage anything above my shoulder. All I had was a concussion.”
“There was so much blood,” Adam remembered with a distant expression. “I remember thinking that I had to get to you, had to know how badly you were hurt despite the growing pain in my back. I couldn’t figure out why no one else noticed all that blood.”
“The curse tore through my flesh,” Kris explained. “They had to vanish my bones and re-grow them before they could properly heal the tissue. They explained later that if they healed the flesh before re-growing the bones it wouldn’t fit properly and would cause me even more discomfort in the long run. It’s easier to repair the soft tissue over the reformed skeleton. I didn’t feel any of it, thank God.”
“You probably should be thanking Merlin,” Adam grinned softly. “I hear God don’t look very kindly on the whole witchcraft thing.”
Kris grinned back just as softly. “Anyway, they placed a numbing spell on me when I first got there. It hurt like hell until then. They said it was lucky that the spell missed my spine. It would have paralyzed me instantly. After the bones were removed they hooked up an I.V. to feed the potion that healed my concussion.”
“So your side is good now? No lasting damage?”
“Well, the bones are all back in place and the concussion’s fully healed. Apparently it’s like I never had one,” Kris answered in a roundabout way.
“What?” Adam asked with narrowed eyes.
“What?” Kris tried to look innocent.
“You know what, Allen,” Adam glared. “And don’t try to pull those cute brown puppy eyes at me either. What aren’t you telling me?”
Kris looked down for a moment before explaining evenly. “I had to go through some nerve therapy here. They specialize in nerve and spinal damage.” He took a small breath before looking back up at Adam. “As well as tearing the flesh… the curse literally singed my nerve ends. They had to keep the numbing spell on me until they were sure that either the nerves were reconnected…”
“Or?” Adam prompted softly.
Kris took a shaky breath. “Or they couldn’t feel anything at all.” Kris suddenly looked smaller.
“Kris?” Adam tilted his head.
“I’m scared,” Kris admitted with a small voice.
“Hey, c’mere,” Adam indicated the space next to him on the bed. Kris curled into his friend’s side and let a few tears fall. “What are you scared of.”
“The nerves,” Kris began. “They were too far gone to save. All I felt was pain when they took the numbing off. Even though they were singed they were still alive.” He took another shaky breath. “The Healers had to kill the nerves. I haven’t told anyone yet.”
Adam held his friend close. “I’m so sorry,” he whispered as he felt tears in his own eyes.
“Getting you into this. If I hadn’t-”
“Adam, stop,” Kris demanded as he sat up and stared hard at Adam. “Stop. This isn’t your fault. It’s that damn red-head’s fault. It happened.” Kris stopped Adam from looking away. “It freaks me out, I admit it. But I’ll never regret learning about this… amazing side of you. What happened to me, and you, is really no worse than what could happen in my world. You are my friend. And I won’t have you shoulder blame that isn’t yours.”
Adam slowly blinked his tears away and offered a small smile. “Thank you.”
Kris tilted his head. “For what?”
“Being my friend.” Kris smiled widely. “So how weird is it?”
“It’s gonna take some serious getting use to,” Kris grinned and flexed his arm. “It’s like there aren’t nerves in my arm, shoulder, and most of my side at all. They explained that the sensory messages from my skin aren’t reaching my brain any more. It feels like everything just stops at this point,” he traced a line down the right side of his chest. “But everything is still there and still works.”
“Bet that’ll come in handy when Katy’s not around,” Adam teased.
“Handy being the operative word,” Kris smirked. The two laughed. Quietly at first and then they just couldn’t stop. They laughed so hard that a nurse had to come in and ask them to quiet down.
After calming down Adam asked about something that had been in his mind since before he woke up. “How’s Harris?”
“Your baby mama’s beside himself,” Kris answered with a grin. “They won’t let him travel in his condition.”
“My what?” Adam asked, quirking an eyebrow.
“Oh, yeah. You don’t know,” Kris’ grin turned into a smirk. “Apparently, because you’re both magic, your intimacies have shifted the paternity from that low level jerk to you.”
“Low level?” Adam chuckled. “I didn’t know you could be so spiteful.”
“I mean that the guy has lower magic levels than you, Wiz,” Kris rolled his eyes.
“So does anyone know who it was?” Adam asked interestedly. This information niggled something at the back of his mind. But he couldn’t put his finger on it.
“No,” Kris shook his head. “Harris thinks it doesn’t matter anymore.”
“And what if the jerk takes interest in the baby?”
“You’re magically stronger than the guy,” Kris shrugged. “And with your new bionic spine I think you could take him,” he teased with a grin. “Other than that, I’d take it up with your hot little lover.”
“That’s the second time you’ve called him hot. Should I be worried?” Adam said suggestively.
“I am going to go see if my wife is still in bed,” Kris pretended he couldn’t hear Adam.
“Sure, sure,” Adam laughed. “Does it matter if she’s awake?” he called after Kris as he walked to the door.
“Does it ever?” Kris shot back with a smirk, Adam’s laughter following him down the hall.
- 30 -