The Talisman By chips challenge Chapter One: The Talisman Harry saw the glittering twinkle of the flying snitch out of the corner of his eye and dove towards it instinctively. "Harry, you shouldn't be trying to get the Snitch," Sirius protested turning around on his broom and physically blocking Harrys path. "Sorry, force of habit I guess," Harry answered. He broke out of his dive and flew around back towards the goal rings. He was in the middle of a playful game of Quidditch with his godfather and was having a hard time remembering that he was supposed to be playing keeper. He had been allowed to spend the second half of his summer with his godfather, if they both agreed to go to an un-plotable location. Harry had agreed right away simply because anyplace would be better than staying with the Durselys, and if Sirius were also there, this would be his best summer ever. Harry smiled as he watched Sirius aiming the Quaffle towards the far left hoop, and he forced himself away from the snitch and towards the goal. They had really only released the snitch as a distraction, and because it wouldnt seem like a Quidditch game if there werent
a snitch flying around. Harry saw the Quaffle coming towards him at what seemed like excessive speed, but on his Nimbus 2001, Harry knew he was pretty fast, too. Harry raced towards the Quaffle as the ball raced towards him, and then the world began to go dark around him. ********** "Why is he unconscious? What's wrong with him?" Harry heard the voices beside him and slowly began to realize that they were talking about him. He tried to turn his head towards them, but he found it just too heavy to move. Out of the silence came the undeniable voice of the school nurse. "Whats this?" He heard some shuffling, and he was turned over to his side. Cold fingers touched the back of his neck and sent a chill down his spine. Then pain came. The pain greater than crucio, greater than the loss of his parents, greater than anything he'd ever felt before. Just when he thought he wouldnt be able to bare it any longer, it was gone. With the pain gone, Harry tried to sit up, and with some help he was able to prop himself up against the
headboard of his bed. As he opened his eyes, his first question, where am I?, was answered right away. He was in the hospital wing. Sirius stood on one side of his bed and the nurse on the other. He voiced his next question because he had no idea of the answer. "Why am I here?" His throat was extremely dry as if he hadn't used it for several days. Madam Pomfrey handed him a glass of water, which he accepted gratefully. "We were hoping that you would be able to tell us that," she said. "What? Wait, I was playing Quidditch, right?" Harry looked to his godfather for confirmation. Sirius nodded and urged him to continue. "Then I blacked out. I must have run into something, right? Was it that Quaffle?" This time Sirius shook his head. "We don't really know. You just disappeared." Harry saw the worried look in his godfathers eyes and felt his chest tighten. "Disappeared? What do you mean? I just fell downinto the brush maybe, but you found me." I wish it were that simple, Harry. We searched the area for two days straight. You werent there. You disappeared. But where did I go? And how did I get here now?
"We dont know where you were. I can tell you a number of places that you werent; I mean all the places we looked. You were gone for a whole week and then you appeared just like that on the Quidditch pitch." Sirius suddenly reached down and hugged Harry. "I was so worried about you. I'm so glad you're all right. You are all right, aren't you?" "Im sorry, Sirius. I didnt mean to make you worry. I think Im all right. I mean I feel okay now," Harry answered. He turned towards the nurse, "What happened to me just now? Did you do something? "You have this particular glowing at the back of your neck. It appeared to be some kind of stone, so I tried to remove it. But removing it caused you great pain, so I put it back. Ive never seen anything like it before. Harry frowned as Sirius reached down and put his hand behind Harry's head pushing him down slightly so he could see what the nurse was talking about. Sirius gasped. Harry shook his head. He had something in the back of his neck that made his godfather gasp and that the schools best medi-witch had never seen before. "I want to see," Harry said. Madam Pomfrey looked up
at Sirius and then nodded. She handed a mirror to Sirius to hold behind him and she held another in front of him. He saw his especially unruly hair sticking out from sleeping on it, but that was normal. But then he looked a bit further down and saw a soft glowing coming from beneath his collar. Sirius slowly pulled down the back of Harry's shirt, and he saw a small green rod embedded in his skin. "What is that? Take it out!" Harry demanded. "We can't Harry, not until we know more about it. Removing it appears to cause you great pain, is that true?" Harry nodded. He hated to admit when he was in pain, but he had felt the worst pain that he could remember when she had removed it. And he would much rather admit that, then go through it again. But he couldnt just keep some strange glowing stone in his neck. What was it doing to him? What had happened while he had been missing? "I will ask the other members of the staff if they have seen anything like this. In the mean time you should probably get some rest. Maybe you'll be able start up your classes tomorrow. The headmaster doesn't want you to get behind."
"Classes?" The last thing Harry remembered, it had been summer. "Yeah, kiddo classes started while your were on vacation. Don't worry, Moony or I will help you catch up," Sirius added. "Remus is here?" Harry asked. "Yeah, he's teaching again. You've already missed two of his lessons." Harry rolled his eyes, and settled back into his bed. He was glad that his godfather was here. "Are you hungry?" Sirius asked almost as an afterthought. "No, Harry thought, not really. They must have fed me wherever I was. "Well then, have a good rest. Im sure Madam Pomfrey will have a nutrient potion for you in the morning." Harry settled down beneath his blankets and closed his eyes. He honestly tried to rest, but his thoughts kept drifting back to the weird glowing thing embedded in the back of his neck that now seemed to be a part of him. Several moments later, he head Sirius transform into his dog form and position himself at the foot of the bed. Rustling and movement at the end of his bed woke
Harry several hours after he had finally managed to drift off to sleep. "I've seen that before, yes." Harrys brain kicked into action. They were talking about him. Someone knew what that thing was. "Educate us please, then Severus," Harry heard Sirius say. It's a Talisman used generally to keep wizards sane or awake while they are being tortured. It sends endorphins to the brain and deadens nerve impulses among other not as well defined things. If used consistently, it can eventually be used to control a wizard. He can not live without it." "You mean Voldemort can use that thing to control Harry. We have to remove it." "I don't know who put it there, and I agree that it would be prudent to remove it, but that will not be easy." "Why? Can't we just knock him out until the pain is gone?" "First of all we can not just remove it all at once. He will go insane. His body has grown used to the support the Talisman gives him. His body needs that support." "Ah Severus; then what do you suggest?" Professor Dumbledore asked.
"He'll need to be weaned off it slowly but consistently. As he becomes less dependent on the Talisman, it will have less control over him. He should be able to forgo need of it at all." "Should?" Sirius questioned. "I don't *know* if it will work. Dark Talismans generally are not made to be removed. Ever." "Does he have to know?" Sirius asked. Snape gaped and Harry knew that he was glaring at his godfather as if he didn't believe he could be talking to anyone who was that stupid. "First of all, Black, he's been listening to every word of this conversation. If the headmaster didn't want him to know we'd be talking in his office. Secondly, the pain from removing the Talisman will be a dead giveaway." "Why does it hurt when it's removed?" Harry asked suddenly. "Because, Mr. Potter, every sensation you don't feel is stored in your memory. With nothing to block them they all come back. The pain ensures that someone does not remove his own Talisman." "What do you think of this matter, Harry?" Professor Dumbledore asked. "I think that I want it removed. I don't want Voldemort
controlling me." "I want Professor Snape to do it like he said, slowly," Harry added suddenly. "I mean if you will, Professor." Snape began to protest at once, but he stopped when he saw the headmaster's eyes twinkling at him. Harry knew he couldn't ask his godfather to do it, Sirius would never be able to sit and do nothing while he was in pain, but Snape could do it. He might even enjoy it, but at least Harry knew Snape wouldn't show him pity. "For me to agree to this, Mr. Potter, you must agree to do I tell you. None of your normal insolence." "I will sir," Harry said sincerely. "Very well then, it's settled," Professor Dumbledore said. "You'll report to Severus's rooms tonight. Now seeing how it's almost morning, why don't you get some breakfast Harry, so you can get to classes today. Your schedule and your books along with your worried friends are up in your dormitory." Harry's first day back in school felt quite normal. He pushed all thoughts of the Talisman and what he was sure would be hell to endue tonight out of his mind as much as he could. He'd explained to his friends everything that had happened. Everything except the Talisman. He didn't want them feeling sorry for him. He
even enjoyed his classes: care of magical creatures, fly