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Chapter 18: Chapter Eighteen – Sweep Away the Lice, the Mould, the Dirt, the Rags and the Unkempt Hair and What is Left? – Just a Perfect Gentleman
Chapter Eighteen – Sweep Away the Lice, the Mould, the Dirt, the Rags and the Unkempt Hair and What is Left? – Just a Perfect Gentleman
Sensitive Topic - mention of torture.
He’d been in the care of the perfectly professional team at St. Mungos for hours now and he was only just beginning to feel clean again. He felt very weak in himself and knew the staff wouldn’t mind if he were to fall asleep but he wanted to be aware for this moment. He’d spent so much time being lost within his own mind with his own confusing thoughts and memories that this was like a breath of fresh air. How long had it been since he’d seen his own reflection? He couldn’t even remember. He felt like he was like a special guest at a spa, first they’d let him into a beautifully large and vast bath when they’d helped him strip and led him slowly into the hot waiting water. It was like being given a new lease of life, of that’s what the water felt like to him. When they eventually removed him from the water his fingers had gone all pruned like but he no longer smelled of dirt and scum, now he could faintly smell mint and lemongrass. They’d worked for hours on his hair as well, at first he’d thought they’d just shave it all off but instead they worked through it tirelessly combing out all the lice and mould that had got stuck in there. Once they were finished his hair looked glossier and healthier, any remains of his time in captivity completely washed away. They’d given him fresh soft bed clothes to wear, he assumed they’d burnt his old rags because he couldn’t see them anywhere, the feel of the fine cloth on his back was an experience he wasn’t likely to forget in a long time. His body was undernourished but it was nothing a few good meals wouldn’t fix.
He wished he could remember the name of the angel who saved him, she’d looked so familiar like a person from a distant dream of memory, he felt sure he knew her; she certainly seemed to know him. The healers had told him that his memories would come back in time, the amount of neglect and torture he’d been subjected to have forced him to push his memories to the back of his mind and hide them from whoever was trying to find them. They’d been locked away for so long that he was unable to retrieve them himself. The healers recommended a series of sessions with a mind healer to help him regain his memories. They’d already taken samples of his blood and matched it to DNA they had on file. They had just decided to put off telling him who he was until he was more within his own mind, there was no use worrying him over nothing.
There had been several other beds set up near the recovering man. They were all people who were hurt from the battle, a set or highly professional aurors had been appointed to guard over them. They weren’t in trouble for their actions but rather openly celebrated, as they’d achieved what the Ministry had been trying to do for years. It was yet another blow to the Ministry being beaten by a group of teenagers. The Ministry could learn a lot from the teenagers if it let go of its pride.
In one of the beds lay a woman who was so gaunt looking and cold to the touch that she could have been mistaken for being dead. As it was she was just in a deep sleeps, the healers had thought it wise after seeing the extent of her injuries. They were sure that their patient hadn’t even realized how close she was to looking death in the face. It wasn’t so much her physical injuries that were cause for worry more that she’d almost used her entire magical force up. She’d be heavily sedated for days while her body and her magic recuperated.
The woman in question thought she had died. In the confinement of her own mind the world was seemingly white and empty, not an object or person in sight. She found herself rather disappointed if this was to be her afterlife. She’d expected she’d be rejoined with all the others who had died in the war in some sort of heaven like area but it seemed more like she’d got stuck in some in between area. Perhaps this is where you came when you first died, perhaps there were some forms to fill out or some questions to be asked before you were allowed to move on. She knew her death meant that she’d succeeded but in her state of mind she felt hard pressed to find a downside in her death. The thoughts and feelings of all the people she left behind seemed distant and unimportant if she had succeeded as she thought she had.
Although quite suddenly, a spike of fear settled into her gut, perhaps this nothingness was the place people when to if they’d killed in their former life. Can ones soul truly stay whole if one kills without malicious intent? Surely there must be some truth in that or this place would be overrun with a million murderers. She was quite lucky that she didn’t have to face the likes of Bellatrix Lestrange, Voldemort or Umbridge again.
She felt guilty still for the lives she had ended, they all say all’s fair in love and war but it all seemed very unfair to her. The emotional experiences from battles since gone never really leave you.
As the morning sky drifted past the daily hours into the nights light, the patients slept patiently through all the worry and anxiousness others were feeling. They knew not that there were many people wanting to shout at them or curse them for their foolish behavior. They slept peacefully as the healers worked their magic and the injuries they sustained were closed and mended.
They’d been hard pressed to keep this information out of the news but money always went a long was to procuring silence. They’d give the reporters the relevant information when they were ready. The last thing they needed was to be bombarded by vicious reporters looking for juicy stories and lives to ruin.
It was a further two days till the remaining two patients finally awoke. The girl had been moved into the room with the man after they’d heard him whispering about an angel and her whispering his name. It became apparently necessary for them to be together when they awoke. The man was the first to wake up, the healer on duty was very happy with his progress.
“Mr. Zabini can you hear me?” she asked in a quiet clear voice.
“Just about” Mr. Zabini croaked out and was grateful when the healer passed him a drink of water, the water felt heavenly in his parched mouth.
“We’ve kept you heavily sedated while we fixed you so don’t try to move too much as you are probably still a little sore”.
“You know my name” he muttered.
“Yes Mr. Zabini, don’t worry, once you are feeling better I’ll arrange some lessons with a mind healer and we’ll work on getting your memories back for you”, the healer smiled down at him.
“Where is the angel?” he asked knowing he must sound quite silly to this kind healer.
“She’s right behind you Sir, she hasn’t woken up yet but we expect her to any moment now” she replied.
“Is she ok?” he asked moving slightly so he could look at his unconscious angel.
“She will be. She gave us quite a scare, whatever she did she almost completely drained her magical life force, she’s very lucky to be alive” said the healer.
“She saved me” commented Mr. Zabini.
“Then you best thank her when she wakes” smiled the healer, “I’ll be back when she wakes, call me if you need anything”.
After the healer had left, Mr. Zabini returned his gaze to his angel and began to study her. She looked so innocent and pure yet completely mature beyond her years as well. Her skin was very pale, her eyes were closed and her hair was laid out around her life an unearthly halo. Whoever she was and wherever she’d come from he was grateful for what she’d done for him. He wished she would wake up soon so he could tell her in person.
The unconscious angel moved in her sleep, her body was waking up but her mind still staying within the confines of her mind. Her mind was reluctant to wake up from the safety in which it found itself, the subconscious still believing it was dead. I don’t want to go back, don’t send me back! You aren’t sending me down are you? I didn’t mean to kill, it was done in defense. Don’t leave me, it’s quiet here, it’s peaceful! The mind desperately chanted words and phrases that would keep it where it was but it wasn’t able to keep the mind in its quiet peaceful corner, as the body came back to the living so followed the mind.
The eyes opened before the mind adjusted, blinking rapidly in the overly bright light. The mind repelled against the bright arena it found itself in.
“Are you alright?”
What was that voice? Why did it sound so familiar? Slowly the mind was opening back up and the memories of recent events were coming back in force, the assault on the mind was almost enough to push it back under but somehow the mind prevailed.
“I-I think so” she replied.
“Do you know where you are?”
“The Hospital” she responded.
“Do you know who you are?” he asked.
It was that moment that the healer decided to walk into the room, “Oh good you’re awake, how do you feel?”
“A little confused but otherwise fine” she replied.
“Hmm Miss Zabini you scared a lot of people with your actions, you’re lucky to be alive” said the healer as she bustled around, tending to the younger Zabini and propping her up with pillows. When she was done, she left the room leaving the two patients to catch up.
“She said Zabini?” questioned the elder Zabini.
“Yes, Evvie Zabini” she replied.
“You saved me?” he questioned.
“Of course” she replied.
“Why?” he asked.
“Because you’re family” she said.
He looked at her with a shocked expression. She realized in hindsight that she probably should have sugarcoated her response; after all he still had his memories to recover.
“Family?” he whispered.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that, you don’t have all your memories back yet” she hung her head in shame.
“No. I-I like that I have family. Are there others?” he asked.
“Yes” she replied.
“Who are they? Where are they?” he asked curiously.
“You have a wife Katherine and a son Blaise, they’re waiting outside I assume” she replied.
“A wife” he murmured, “She looks like you but older, she was my angel on the darkest nights”.
“You remember her?” asked Evvie shocked.
“I remember the angel. Everything is jumbled” he responded.
“I remember a little boy. I don’t know if he is mine or not but I remember telling him to always be brave and protect the girls” he said. “Girls, there was a little girl also” he whispered.
“Yes” croaked Evvie.
“She was…lost. Gone for so long. I-I tried to find her…my sweet angel. She just disappeared…I needed her. Gone, gone, forever gone” he muttered.
Evvie had to hold back the tears, the brain was a fragile thing at best but when throwing in missed memories and it was like treading on egg shells, Evvie didn’t know what she should say and what she shouldn’t.
“Do you know where my sweet angel is?” he asked her.
She didn’t know whether he meant her Mother or herself.
“She would be around your age I think” he muttered.
“Yes. I know where she is” replied Evvie.
“Where is she? Can you take me to her?” he rambled.
“She’s right here” whispered Evvie.
“Where?” he demanded.
“You’re looking at her…Father” whispered Evvie.
Andre Zabini looked at Evvie for a full 10 seconds. In his perusal of her it seemed as though the world had stopped. If he dismissed her claim she’d be devastated, but could he be held accountable for that devastation when he is missing half his memories. Well those 10 seconds were definitely some of the longest seconds in Evvie’s life.
“I saw you in a dream recently” he stuttered, “I thought you were my other angel. I didn’t realized you were all grown up. You disappeared. I searched for you. I was going to get you back. I was going to save you” he muttered, the words coming out fast and furious.
“It’s ok Papa, I’m here now” the word Papa seemed the right one to Evvie, it rolled off her tongue quickly and seemed to soothe Andre.
“You only ever called my Papa. B-Blaise always called me Father. But I was your Papa and you were my sweet angel” he sobbed.
“Shh Papa, it’s ok, don’t cry” whispered Evvie, she stretched her arm out to reach his, so she could hold his hand, it was the only movement she could do without pain and she was very thankful for it.
“How long have I been gone?” he asked.
“Just under sixteen years I think” she replied.
“How long have you been back?” he asked.
“Just under one year” she replied.
“How?” he asked.
“I was hit by a potion in school and the effects of it unlocked my true image. It was easy to figure out after that” she replied.
“So I never managed to find you?” he asked.
“No but I was raised by good people” she replied.
“Who?” he asked.
“Muggles. Dentists actually” she responded.
“Where are they now?” he asked.
“They died, in the war” she said.
“The war?” he asked.
Oh! Evvie remembered the war would have only just begun to start when Andre went missing.
“The War that was just starting when you disappeared” she said thoughtfully. “Voldemort was ripped from his body by the Potter’s. It took him fourteen years to get himself back into a body and from then on the war escalated into the great battle of Hogwarts which happened three years later” she said, “Voldemort is dead now” she added.
“Lots of changes then” he smiled weakly.
“Lots of changes” Evvie echoed.
“Mr. Zabini” said the healer as she walked back in, “We’re going to take you to the mind and memory ward now. Yours is a singular case, we don’t know how long it will take for you to regain your memories, it could be a day, it could be a week, but we will start now” she said.
Andre glanced back at Evvie, “What about?”
“Miss Zabini needs to rest!” said the healer, “She’s exerted a lot of energy just talking to you now. How do you feel Miss?”
“I feel fine” said Evvie.
The healer pierced her with a death glare, “Sleep now!”
“I don’t want to” replied Evvie, not liking this new healer at all.
“Fine” growled the healer, injecting Evvie with a dreamless sleep potion and sending her off to lala land.
“What did you do?!” demanded Andre.
“Put her to sleep” said the healer coldly.
“She was perfectly fine” replied Andre.
“I’ll be the judge of that” said the healer hotly.
“Says the TRANIEE healer. Who let you in here?” asked Andre.
“It’s none of your business” replied the healer.
“It is if you’re putting my angel to sleep without her permission” replied Andre.
“How dare you question my authority!” shouted the healer.
“How dare you come in and act without permission” responded Andre.
“What on earth is going on here!” said the chief healer as she walked into the room.
She glanced at the scene before her; the unconscious patient, the incensed Father and the angry trainee healer.
“Somebody tell me what’s going on” demanded the chief healer.
The trainee healer jumped right in before others could stop her, “I came in the take Mr. Zabini to the mind and memory ward. I told Miss Zabini to go to sleep but she refused so I put her to sleep. Mr. Zabini was judging my work ethic” she replied icily.
The chief healer pursed her lips, ignoring the trainee healer she turned to Mr. Zabini, “Sir could you please tell me what happened”
“Certainly! This…healer stormed in and demanded that she take me to the mind and memory ward. She turned to my sweet angel and told her to sleep. My sweet angel told her she felt fine. But this healer here demanded that she should sleep. My angel struggled against her, she didn’t want to sleep and she didn’t need to, so this so called healer forced my angel to sleep by injecting her without permission with a dreamless sleep potion mixed with a sleeping draught” growled Mr. Zabini.
“Trainee Healer Smith, is this true?” asked the Chief Healer.
“Of course not. This patient is missing memories, why take his word over mine!” she demanded.
The Chief Healer glared at her, “Trainee Smith, what exactly are you doing in here?”
“Transporting Mr. Zabini to the other ward” she replied.
“But weren’t you told to stay away from this room as it wasn’t within your training rights” replied the Chief Healer.
Trainee Smith coloured slightly, “I heard the Healers outside talking about how they needed someone to move Mr. Zabini but they were all too busy, so I came to do it instead” she replied with a sense of aloofness.
“Despite the fact that you were told to stay away”.
“What difference does it make” she growled.
“A lot of difference” said the Chief Healer, “Mr. Zabini my apologies, someone will be up to take you to the mind and memory ward shortly”.
“What about my angel? And what about her?!” demanded Mr. Zabini.
“Your angel shall be fine, she should wake up in a day or two and Trainee Smith will find herself in front of the health board, stripped of her trainee status and receiving a large fine” replied the Chief healer.
“Nooo” shouted trainee Smith as the Chief healer dragged her from the room.
The next few days were tense for the patients and the family waiting outside. With each passing day Andre Zabini remembered more and more of his past life. He encountered many headaches and became used to the constant tears that fell from his eyes. Evvie remained asleep for near to three days, once the potions wore off she drifted in and out of consciousness on her own accord. Her magic keeping her in a state of lucidity as it worked to restore itself properly.
While the other visitors passed in and out Katherine Zabini, Blaise Zabini and Draco Malfoy were constant occupiers of chairs in the hallway. So much so that the Chief healer had sanctioned off a room just for them that was complete with beds for rest. The three occupants were exhausted from remaining awake for so long and using up their emotional range of anger, worry and sadness.
While Katherine worried for her daughter and returned husband, Blaise worried for his sister and his mother, Draco worried solely for Evvie. At first he’d been inexplicitly mad at Evvie for her actions and for not telling anyone what she was doing but as time went on in the hospital his anger disappeared and was replaced with a fear so strong he wondered what would happen to his soul should Evvie not make it. He also carried a burden on his shoulders, one he wasn’t sure if anyone else knew yet, he knew if the same thing happened again; his actions would be the same a thousand times over. He just wished he knew what the consequences to his actions would be.
Two floors up and three doors to the left the healers in charge were clapping wholeheartedly and wiping tears from their eyes. This had been an emotional rollercoaster for the last few days, after removing the complex set of spells placed on their patients mind, it was just a matter of slowly coaxing the memories back to the present. The healers had been involved completely and were so happy for what they and their patient had achieved. One brave healer stepped forward.
“Welcome back Mr. Zabini” she stated.
“Thank you” he replied in a rich deep voice, “It’s good to be back”.
“Your family is waiting downstairs” added another Healer.
Andre’s heart lit up like a beacon he couldn’t wait to see his beloved Katherine and son Blaise again.
“I need to see my sweet angel” he commented.
“Miss Zabini is downstairs. She was asleep the last time I checked on her but should be awake now. Her magic should be fully restored now” replied the Chief healer who had made it her mission to see to the recovery of the two Zabini patients personally.
“Thank you” replied Mr. Zabini.
She was sleeping so peacefully when he arrived in her room. The healers instructed him to lie back against a bed they’d placed next to hers. He felt anger for all the years he’d missed, anger for not seeing her become this glorious angel and anger over that stupid trainee healer who put her to sleep.
“Papa” she cried out in her sleep.
“Shhh I’m here angel” he whispered comfortingly.
She whimpered in her sleep softly before ever so slowly regaining consciousness.
“My dear sweet angel, my Evvie” he murmured.
“Papa?” she questioned.
“I here” he replied.
She wanted to ask how long she’d been asleep for and how long it had taken him to regain his memories but it didn’t seem like the correct time to ask.
The door creaked open slowly allowing entry to three exhausted people. Andre’s heart sang out as he recognized his beloved Katherine and his grown up son, he even recognized the child of Lucius and Narcissa, Draco he remembered his name to be.
“Andre? Is that you?” whispered his wife, shocked beyond belief. She’d refused to let herself believe he’d been found and rescued, so much so that she’d forgotten that it was true.
“It is Katherine, I’m back” he replied in an equally emotional filled voice.
“Blaise” said Andre lovingly.
Hugs were given and received, bone clenching hugs at that while the family reconnected with each other. Draco knew he should leave and give them some space but he couldn’t tear himself away especially now when he could see his Evvie so delicately lain on the bed before him.
“Evvie, Evvie” he murmured hiding his head in her neck.
She welcomed his embrace, knowing he was trying to convince himself that she was there and she was alright, she hated that she’d hurt him but she would do it a million times over if it meant getting her Papa back. Draco wanted so desperately to be angry at Evvie but seeing her there before him he just couldn’t muster that emotion up. All he felt was sorrow and relief and he knew he’d never let her out of his sight again.
“My sweet angel”.
“My darling girl”.
Her family all started talking at once, stopping once they realized their names for her. Draco untangled himself from her neck but remained close to her allowing her to tangle her hands with his.
“I think what we are trying to say” said Andre, “Is how you found me and why you told no one else” he added.
Evvie sighed a heavy sigh, if there was one thing she didn’t want to tell everyone else about it was how she’d found her Papa and why she’d kept it to herself. She didn’t want the others to feel guilty about her admission but knew they would regardless; there is always some price to pay.
“I’ll tell you but you may not like why I kept it secret” she replied solemnly.
Her Papa nodded.
“It started when I was transformed in the potion, with my appearance changed; I put every other significant change down to my transformation. However, I began to feel a kind of thumping deep within me, it was never ending and it made me feel like I’d forgotten something. It was calling me forth into the unknown and I knew beyond my vision that something was waiting for me. I got my answer when I learned of my past. No one would talk about you Papa; you were like a big secret, like if you were talked about it would make everything a lot worse. I hated it. I tried to talk to Blaise about you but he shouted at me, he told me it was none of my business and that I should stop poking my nose around where it wasn’t wanted”.
“For all your insistence that I was part of the family and you’d missed me all these years you blocked me out of the one piece of information that I deserved to know. You were the same Mother, giving me half facts and refusing to talk about it. It was ridiculous, if anything it made me more curious to find out the truth. And you Draco, automatically taking Blaise’s side, shouting at me for getting involved where I shouldn’t. He is my Papa too, just because I was taken away didn’t mean I wasn’t allowed to know him!”
“So I did my own research, I had help I’ll admit but I’m not going to reveal the person who helped me. I looked through past year books and old records. I found out who’d you’d been running from all those years. Marcus Boyle ring any bells, he should, he’s the one responsible for all this. The day I found out about Marcus Boyle was the day I saw a bookstore owner die. Then there was the werewolf attack and I knew I was being watched. It was obvious really, Marcus was feeling threatened so he sent out his minions to threaten me as well”.
“It didn’t work, if anything it made me more determined. I knew I was looking for my Papa, I knew it was his magic that was reaching out to mine. I knew that we had a strong connection. I worked tirelessly for months finding the secret location of Marcus’s castle. It felt so simple when I found it, dark wizards tend to use the home of their ancestral parents as that dark castles, evil lairs etc”.
“Granted at this point I shared my burden with another, turns out I should have thought more carefully about who I trusted with the information. I had thought I could trust her, I didn’t think she’d involve anyone else. For whatever her reasons it’s still a betrayal when you come down to it”.
“By the time this lot arrived I’d already infiltrated the castle, broken several wards, stunned and killed several of Marcus’s henchmen. You lot should have stayed well away, your arrival caused the battle to escalate. I almost died, thanks to the distraction you all created but I managed to get away. Regardless of the battle and the people who had arrived I had a mission to carry out. I followed the trace of magic that called to me, I followed it all the way to the basement, I undid countless complex spells and blasted away countless doors until I finally reached my Papa. It was hard getting you out of there as you didn’t understand what was going on nor who I was nor who you were”.
“Marcus caught up to us at the foyer right when we were about to disappear. I saw the torment in his eyes, he thought he was looking at a young Katherine, it was like losing you to Papa all over again. But he didn’t get a chance to act this time, he was killed straight away by the killing curse”.
“The curse you threw Draco, you killed Marcus Boyle didn’t you” she cocked her head to the side waiting for his answer.
A note to the wise, as many have continued to ask this; Blaise’s character is Italian, I am unsure as to whether he is Italian in the books but every most every fanfiction story I’ve read with him in it, he has been Italian. When I write him, he is always Italian. Cara is an Italian word, it translates to: dear one, loved one, darling etc. I hope this will clear up any confusion on the subject.
Love you all (especially Shortie) ~ Zyii