The Exchange Student
by Gina

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Chapter Seven: Amnesia?

< >The Gryffindor team crowded around Amy's prone figure. Madam Pomfrey had transferred her to a hospital bed, but Harry secretly wished she hadn't. Even when she was lying on the ground Amy had seemed independent, strong, beautiful. But under those white sheets, her pale throat exposed to the cold, she looked so…vulnerable. Helpless. Ron was holding tightly onto her hand.

< >Madam Pomfrey waited until her medical instincts could stand it no longer. "Everybody out!" she said firmly. "Ms. Swift needs rest, and having an entire Quidditch team milling about isn't going to do a jot of good." The team grumbled but eventually shuffled out the door, wishing Amy good luck even though they knew she couldn't hear them.

< >Ron didn't budge. Madam Pomfrey turned to him and said gently, "You too, Mr. Weasley." Ron didn't say anything and remained exactly as he was, staring intently into Amy's face.

< >Harry cleared his throat to address Dumbledore, who'd been standing next to Amy's bed since she'd been moved to the hospital wing. "Um, Professor Dumbledore, I was wondering if perhaps Ron and I could stay with Amy, just until she wakes up."

< >Dumbledore's eyes softened. "Of course you may," he said kindly, ignoring Madam Pomfrey's protesting glare. "But be sure to get back in your dormitory by curfew." Harry nodded his thanks, looking anxiously at Ron, who hadn't responded to Dumbledore's favor. Dumbledore smiled at Harry and Ron, then managed to somehow get Madam Pomfrey to attend other patients, leaving Harry, Ron, and Amy alone. Ron's face was white from shock and sorrow. Harry was leaning heavily against the door, gulping occasionally. It must have been the closest win in a decade, and yet Harry found himself wondering if Amy's knockout was worth it.

< >The moon hovered over the window sill, sending rays of light streaming onto Amy's face. Suddenly, Amy's eyes snapped wide open. "Amy!" Ron breathed excitedly. She didn't answer. Her forehead had broken out into a cold sweat, and she was gasping for breath as though she were drowning. Her hands stood rigid against the bedspread, and her back was arched slightly, tense and quivering with pain.

< >"Ron!" Harry yelled. "We need to get Madam Pomfrey!"

< >Slightly hesitant at leaving Amy, Ron left with Harry, running down the hall. They found Madam Pomfrey debating amiably with Professor Dumbledore. "Madam Pomfrey! Professor!" Harry yelled, slightly out of breath.

< >"Harry! Ron! What is it?" Dumbledore turned a surprised face to them, his eyes taking in their panic calmly.

< >"Professor - it's Amy - she's having seizures or something - please hurry -"

< >Without a word, all four went rushing down the corridor towards the hospital wing. Ron raced ahead of them. They heard a sudden cry, musical and challenging. Then a sudden white blur forced them all against the wall to avoid being run over. They stood still for a moment, slightly dazed. Harry looked up at Dumbledore. A faint smile was creeping onto his face. "Come, we must check on Amy's condition." Ron had already disappeared into Amy's hospital room. Harry got there second, and he stared at Amy's bed, startled. He looked at Ron's horrified face. "She's gone," he choked out. "Someone took her. She's gone."

< >Amy's bed was empty.

< >Harry felt one part of his mind go numb from shock, while another detached itself and began analyzing the scene before him. The bed sheets had been turned over and were badly arranged. It looked as though Amy had thrashed about as she struggled with her captor. There was a thin streak of blood on pillow. Ron saw it a moment after Harry and moaned. "Oh God..."

< >Dumbledore walked over to them, and ushered them gently back to the Gryffindor common room. "I suggest you get some sleep," he said kindly. "I'll tell you all that I can in the morning. He left, his feet making no sound on the tiling.

< >Ron's eyes flared up suddenly. "If I get my hands on whoever did this," he muttered darkly, his fists clenched so hard that Harry saw a drop of blood appear between his finger. "If I ever catch this bastard I'm going to make sure he regrets it for the rest of his life." His eyes were fairly on fire.

< >"Calm down," Harry said cautiously, alarmed. "We'll find her, they can't have gone that far."

< >"When I find him -!"

< >Ron climbed into bed, quaking with unspoken rage and sorrow. Harry heard him whisper "Amy" once, softly, before he drifted off himself into a fitful dream. He dreamed that he was at the edge of the woods, staring into them. Something dazzlingly white and pure was inviting him, silently...

< >Then without warning, a huge wolf-like creature snarled at him, snapping his jaws. Something clicked menacingly. Harry tried to escape, but he fell face first, and lay there, frozen with fear. Then, the white creature charged the hound and drove it away, but not before it lunged at her throat. Harry's last dream-image was that of silver blood before he woke, sweating, at four in the morning. he went back to sleep and awoke with a vague sense of unease, but could not recall what was causing it.

< >That morning, Dumbledore announced Amy's strange disappearance. "My dear friends," he said gravely. "I'm afraid I have disturbing news."

< >The Great Hall buzzed with apprehension.

< >"One of the recent exchange students, Amy Swift, has disappeared from the hospital wing."

< >A roar of outrage filled the Greath Hall. Angry, horrified faces shouted above one another to be heard. Dumbledore let several firecrackers explode from the end of his wand before continuing. "We have no proof that she was abducted. Nor do we have any idea as to where she is. However, Professor McGonagall and I have notified Amy's guardians and we've decided to issue daily search parties until she is found. This week, the prefects from each house will be dismissed twenty minutes early from their last class to comb the grounds for any trace of Amy. I'm sure that we're all very concerned for her safety, and I personally will make sure that she is found, alive and well, before the end of the month." Dumbledore sat down.

< >The students were visibly shaken. Amy had quickly beamed her way into the entire school's lives. Everyone knew her in one way or another. Her disappearance was taken as a severe shock by most of the school.

< >There were those, of course, whose reasons of disturbance were a bit more trivial.

< >"If she isn't found then the dance'll be called off!" Harry heard Pansy Parkinson wail. "It's not fair that she should ruin it for all of us!"

< >Ron just barely restrained himself from racing towards the Slytherin table and punching her in the face.

< >"C'mon," Harry murmured, leading Ron away from the table. "Let's ask Dumbledore if we can help."

< >Ron brightened slightly. "Alright." They made their way up to the table where the teachers sat.

< >All the teachers were chattering anxiously. Finch seemed particularly worried, her slender hands picking away at the tablecloth. Snape had an arm around her shoulders. Harry gave a look to Ron: How could anyone enjoy having Snape at such close proximity? Ron shrugged.

< >"Er, Professor Dumbledore?"

< >"Yes, Ron?," Dumbledore asked gently.

< >"We were wondering if - well, maybe we could help with the search -"

< >"Of course," Dumbledore answered. "Your shift is scheduled for Wednesday, after school."

< >Snape cut into the conversation. "I trust they'll make up their detention?" he asked silkily.

< >"The shift is their detention, Severus," Dumbledore said amiably. Snape's smile faded, but he still looked as cheerful as he could get.

< >"It's a good thing Finch is here," Ron muttered as they left the Great Hall. "Can you imagine what Snape might've done if she hadn't been?"


Editor's note:

< >Gina never finished this story, at least not to my knowledge. If you are still interested in this story, you can E-mail her and ask her to kindly send the story to Gypsy. I do not, however, know if the provided E-mail address is actually working or not.


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