He blinked, swaying on his feet.
The sound of his own panting was loud and harsh in his ears and his outstretched hand was trembling, but he didn’t look away from the man that lay motionless on the ground before him.
He stood there, unmoving, waiting for the man to stand up again – waiting for the man to speak or lift his arm. He waited, but nothing happened.
He blinked again and lowered his arm.
In a distant corner of his mind, he started a mental tally of all his pains,
sorting trivial twinges from threatening injuries and making note of which needed to be attended to and in what order.
He still didn’t allow his eyes to stray from the man that lay sprawled before him. He’d be getting up any moment now, he was sure of it.
A soft sound came from behind, the scuff of a boot dragged over flesh, and instinct took over.
He spun, raised his wand, and spoke the first two syllables of some ancient phrase or other before he registered what he was seeing.
A young man, red-headed, tall, and lanky, and a young lady, eyes wide and hair flying in every direction, stumbled to a sudden stop. They each held a wand. That meant they were threats.
His voice trailed off, though, and he frowned. There was something in him that didn’t want to hurt these two. That didn’t make any sense. He clenched his jaw and refused to lower his hand.
They stood motionless, eyes cautious yet hopeful, while he struggled to remember why he wasn’t attacking them. His thoughts were moving so slowly.
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