"What have you done now Potter?" Madame Pomfrey joked. "Tried to jump onto a moving broom out a tower window? Broken both legs? An arm?"
Harry chuckled. "No, Madame Pomfrey, I've been having trouble sleeping."
"He's been having trouble sleeping for weeks and it's driving him yampy." Ron corrected.
"Um, yeah." Harry said, not disagreeing with Ron.
"Hmmm, and let me guess, he didn't say anything until you caught him, right Ron?" Madame Pomfrey asked.
"Of course not." Ron said, winking at Harry. "You know he has to be forced to ask for help."
"Well thanks for bringing him in," Madame Pomfrey said. "You know, the way to the kitchen I assume?"
"Sure, and if it's possible," Ron joked, "we'd like to keep him."
"Oiy, sitting right here!" Harry protested.
"Send a patronus when you're done." Ron called over his shoulder.
"Well, Mr. Potter, let's get to the bottom of this." Madame Pomfrey said. "When was the last time you got a good nights sleep?"
Harry looked at the ground. "Um... I don't really remember."
Poppy muttered a charm and scanned Harry from head to toe with her wand, looking at the color the wand changed as she passed it over him. “Have you slept at all? Dozed even?”
Harry whispered something, looking at the floor.
“What’s that?” Madame Pomfrey asked, as she checked Harry’s pupils.
“I haven’t slept normally in a few weeks.” Harry said, quietly.
“Ok, when you are able to sleep, does it feel like something you can control, or do you pass out from exhaustion?” Poppy pressed.
“I pass out.” Harry admitted. “I can usually hold it off until I can make some excuse for a nap if I have to, but that’s about it.”
“Ok, and how often does that happen?”
“Less and less; I started having a night here and there where I never got to sleep. Now I crash for a couple of hours about once a week.” Harry explained.
“I see.” Madame Pomfrey said, thoughtfully, “and I assume you’ve tried sleeping potion? I’m guessing that they have not worked since the last time I saw you?”
“No,” Harry said, flushing red at the reminder of his feux pas with the letter opener, “no, you’re right, they don’t work.”
“Have you been taking any other potions?”
“No, I haven’t had any trouble with pain in a while, and since I’ve been working with Trilby, I don’t need the calming draught Ginny had me taking.” Harry explained.
“Trilby? Is this the woman who was helping you with your… er… head injury?” Madame Pomfrey said, not wanting to say the word Horcrux. “Miss Weasley mentioned that she has expanded her training into some Australian traditional methods.”
“Yes, that’s her.” Harry nodded. “She’s been a massive help, and I feel loads better, other than the sleeping.”
“Well, I’m very glad to hear that Mr. Potter,” Madame Pomfrey said, with a sad smile. “I was finding myself quite ill-equipped to help you. I’m not entirely sure that I can help you now.”
Harry looked at the floor, his vision swimming a bit, “It’s fine, I can obviously carry on the way I have been.”
“Don’t misunderstand me Mr. Potter,” Poppy elaborated, “I do think I know what the problem is… I’m just not entirely certain how to correct it without… adverse consequences.”
“Adverse Consequences?” Harry asked, “What, like allergic reactions?”
“I wish it were that simple.” Poppy said sadly. “Here’s the rub Mr. Potter, I think that your inability to sleep is being caused by an overabundance of power. You see, when a Witch or Wizard has a delicate balance within the body of human life force and magic life force; in equal amounts these two powers exist harmoniously. When one is stronger than the other there can be challenges. Most commonly, we see this manifest in Squibs, people with little to no magic life force. Much more rarely, we see wizards with unusually high amounts of magical life force. The magic keeps alive a body that should be dead, ill, or in your case asleep.”
Harry just stared at the floor, so Madame Pomfrey continued, “I think, Mr. Potter, that your magic is taking over your body when you would ordinarily become tired and require sleep for the bodies normal process of regeneration. This is keeping you awake because you are not physically tired. Magically however you are becoming exhausted, and that is why you eventually collapse and sleep. Now, there are tests that can be performed to ascertain the power level of an individual wizard, however these spells are highly regulated by the ministry.”
“Well, the ministry would want to know about anyone with unusually high amounts of power, right?” Harry asked, quietly.
“Precisely.” Madame Pomfrey nodded. “Which is why I would very much like to avoid performing such a spell on you. I don’t think the ministry needs to be poking around in your affairs, and things never go well for the person being tested.”
“Yes, Hermione mentioned something about Unspeakables doing testing at the ministry.” Harry said sadly.
“Yes, Miss Granger is, as usual, quite well read.” Poppy said, with a smirk. “Unfortunately Mr. Potter, this leaves you and I in a bit of a predicament.”
“You can’t really help me without knowing how much power I have,” Harry said, matter-of-factly, “but if you test me to find out, there is a possibility that the ministry would take me into custody and turn me over to the Department of Mysteries.”
“Yes, but just because I can’t test you, doesn’t mean I can’t get an idea of what we are working with.” Poppy said. “I think, it would be easier if I came to your home and worked with you over a longer period of time, if you are amenable to such an arrangement.”
“Well, I trust you, and I’d rather not end up on the grid.” Harry sighed.
“What grid?” Poppy asked, confused.
“Sorry, muggle expression.” Harry explained, “It means I rather you know than the ministry.”
“Quite.” Poppy replied. “In the meantime, I think we might have luck with a muggle device. You understand that magic interferes with electricity, yes?”
“Yes, that’s why most wizards don’t have TV’s and such.” Harry said.
“Precisely, however, what most people do not know, is that electricity can also be used to counteract magic. It has grown out of fashion somewhat now, but a generation ago, it was a very fashionable treatment for unknown spell damage.” Madame Pomfrey explained. “The treatment is known as Electroconvulsive therapy.”
“Wait,” Harry put a hand up. “Are you talking about Electroshock?” Harry had heard his Uncle ranting about crazy people needing electroshock.
“Yes, but it’s actually quite a helpful treatment for magical ailments.” Poppy explained. “It fell out of fashion when the muggles misinterpreted spell damage for diseases of the mind. Such things are more often treated with potions and medicines these days. However in your case I think it could disrupt your power enough to allow you to sleep normally, or at least, more regularly.”
Harry burst out laughing. “Oh, if only my aunt and uncle could see me now! I’m completely insane and getting Electroshock!”
“Harry, Electroshock has nothing to do with insanity.” Madame Pomfrey explained again.
“No, I understand,” Harry said, wiping tears from his eyes and still laughing, “if you had ever met my uncle, you’d understand why this is funny. He always said that our kind were all insane, and needed Electroshock.”
“I see, very amusing.” Poppy said, looking skeptical. “But just so that I can do a bit more research, how much has your power changed since the battle?”
“Well, Trilby explained to me that the Horcrux was overpowering my magic, forcing it down. So when I came to Hogwarts and started using it regularly, my magic tried to compensate by building up beyond the Horcrux. When the Horcrux had gone, that power was fully released, but it had already had my whole life of building up.” Harry explained. “At first I had a few issues with accidental magic, when I got upset about things.”
“Yes, I remember you dimming all the lights in your house the last time I was there.” Madame Pomfrey agreed. “But you haven’t experienced accidental magic recently?
“No, Trilby has been helping me channel it.” Harry said. “But it’s changed the way I use my magic more than anything. I can’t do spells verbally at all anymore.”
“You mean you can only preform non-verbal magic?” Madame Pomfrey asked, sitting up quickly.
“Mmm hmm.” Harry mumbled. “I’ve tried simple things, and complicated, but it’s no use.”
“Well, Mr. Potter, that would indicate a very high level of power indeed.” Poppy said, “It suggests that you are more in tune with your magical abilities on a molecular level; that you use them almost subconsciously, like breathing.”
“But isn’t that just accidental magic?” Harry asked, confused.
“No, think of it like this: when you breathe normally, you don’t think about it. Your body manages it for you. When you sneeze, however, you are consciously participating in the action. It doesn’t mean that you can stop it, but it also isn’t part of your body’s normal patterns… something must trigger it.” Madame Pomfrey explained.
“But how is that different from everyone else?” Harry asked, still confused.
“It’s not necessarily that different, it’s just more… streamlined, so to speak.” Poppy said. “It’s like having a step already completed in a complicated arithmancy problem.”
“Oh.” Harry said, looking at the floor again.
“Mr. Potter, I’m going to guess that there’s something else you’re not telling me. Something, perhaps, that Miss Granger told you shouldn’t be flaunted in public?” Poppy said, bending her head to try and meet Harry’s gaze.
Harry looked up at her, and contemplated her question. So far, besides Hermione, he had only told Ron about his ability to do wandless magic.
“I’m going to take that as a yes.” Poppy said, and crossed to the side of the hospital wing that was lined with multiple bookshelves, crammed full of books and scrolls. She reached up to a high shelf, and removed several fat, ancient looking scrolls. Striding over to her desk, she rolled the first parchment out and muttered a charm over it. “Come over here Mr. Potter, and look at this.”
Harry walked over to where Madame Pomfrey was poring over the scroll. “What’s this?”
“These are some of Godric Gryffindor’s person journals.” Madame Pomfrey said. “He left them here at Hogwarts, and they have been protected, and hidden by generations of healers. He elaborates rather extensively in some of these, about wandless magic. This information isn’t published, and the ministry doesn’t know it exists.”
“Wait, he actually kept a journal?” Harry asked, scrutinizing the scroll.
“Yes Mr. Potter, and it would be useful reading for someone who had the ability to perform wandless magic to read some of these very carefully." Madame Pomfrey said. "I'm going to make you some copies in case you know anyone who can do wandless magic. I don't need to know specifically if anyone has that ability."
Harry understood that Madame Pomfrey didn't want to be able to actually confirm that he could do wandless magic. He watched as she muttered the Gemino spell over each of the scrolls, and then handed them to him.
"There you go, study these carefully." Poppy said. "Now why don't you collect Ron, and head home. I'll come over in the morning, because it'll be about time for bed for you and we'll give the ECT a try."
"Thanks Madame Pomfrey." Harry said, happy to have gleaned much more information than he was expecting. He quickly shrank the scrolls and tucked them into his mokeskin pouch. "I'll meet you at Mrs. Tonks' house to let you in, say 10:00 am your time?"
"That's fine Mr. Potter." Poppy said, "I'll see you in the morning."
Harry shot off a patronus to Ron, and waited for him to make his way back up from the kitchens. "Do you think you could teach Ginny to use the ECT machine?"
"Certainly! And it wouldn't be a bad idea for her to read those scrolls either!" Madame Pomfrey said. "Those copies will degrade quicker than normal parchment, so see me if you need additional copies."
"I will, thanks again!" Harry said, with a smile.
Ron returned from the kitchens, and the two of them made their way back to Drover's Haven.
"Did Pomfrey sort you out?" Ron asked.
"Not yet, but she has a few ideas. She's coming over tonight to try a muggle treatment, and she gave me some scrolls to read." Harry explained.
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