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Chapter 8: Experimental Stages
I apparated directly in to the waiting room where we had met Eric for Oliver’s last appointment. The woman at the desk took one look at the two of us and paged Healer McCoy immediately. I cradled Oliver’s head in my lap as I slumped against the nearest wall. I whispered his name over and over again until Eric and his assistants rushed out with a stretcher, lifted Oliver on to it, and rushed off, leaving me dripping wet, stunned, and terrified in the waiting room.
I climbed off of the floor and on to one of the couches. The woman who had paged Eric brought me a blanket and a warm cup of tea. I tried to form a smile, but I’m not sure my mouth formed one. My head was throbbing now, even as I laid it against the wall softly so I closed my eyes. I tried to force sleep, but it refused to come, and instead I sat, thinking and hoping for the best, for two hours.
When Eric finally came out from behind the doors, he was flipping through a chart. His face looked grim and his eyes were circled with dark rings. He looked to the woman who had brought me the blanket expectantly. I wasn’t sure what he had asked her, but she shook her head and simply pointed to me. Eric sighed, nodded, and walked over to sit down across from me.
“Usually we would not be able to tell you anything about Oliver’s condition, but we were unable to reach his family, and when he was here last he listed you as his emergency contact. That, combined with the fact that he’s been asking for you since he woke up, means that I can fill you in on what is happening.”
I pulled my eyes from their trained spot on the wall so that I was at least looking at Eric. I couldn’t speak, all of my words were caught in my throat, but I nodded to tell him to continue.
“All of the progress Oliver made over these last months has been completely reversed. He didn’t feel much pain as he was practicing due to high levels of adrenaline running through his body, but I assure you, he is dealing with pain like he has never felt before now that it has worn off. We’ve got him set up with several pain potions, but I’m afraid they are barely dulling the pain.” Eric’s eyes looked heavy and I could tell he hadn’t even reached the bad part yet.
“The surgery we had scheduled in three days is no longer an option. When Oliver was simultaneously hit by both the bludger and the quaffle, the impact not only set his recovery back to square one, it also shattered his collarbone and his impact with the ground combined with all of the trauma and stress tore several vital muscles. There is far too much damage to complete the operation now.”
I found my voice, although I wasn’t sure it could really be called more than a whisper, “So what does that mean. Is it over? Can he ever play again?”
“I don’t want to get his hopes up, or yours. His chances of playing professional quidditch again are dismal at best, but there is a new potion on the market. It is still in the experimental phases, and results have varied drastically from patient to patient. We haven’t presented this option to Oliver yet. We thought it best that someone close to him brought it up and then discussed this with him.”
“He’ll do whatever it takes. You know that.”
“I do, but he has to be made aware of the side effects and the pain. This potion combines mending bones with mending muscles and it is being marketed to athletes only because of the strain the potion itself puts on the body. The person who takes it needs to be in top physical condition, or else their body will not be able to handle the speed at which the potion progresses recovery. It is painful, like growing pains maximized by a thousand, and this potion would only mend the bones and muscles back to the point where we would be able to complete a successful operation. If both the potion and the surgery are successful, Oliver still only has a 75 percent chance of playing at his previous level.”
“That is a lot to take in at once. Are you sure I’m the best person to tell Oliver all of this?” my voice was stronger now and I was leaning forward trying my best to be engaged in the conversation.
“He trusts you, even now. Yes, Ellie sent me a letter about the fight, to let me know to possible expect Oliver. He needs to hear this from someone who has his best interests in mind and will be there for him during this whole ordeal.”
I hesitated for a moment, running over all of the hurtful things that we both said to each other. There was nothing I could do but agree. I would be there for Oliver, no matter what decision he made.
“You need to make a decision within the next hour. That’s the window for administering the potion under such extreme circumstances. After that, the body will become unresponsive as it tries to mend itself.”
He squeezed my arm for support and then wandered off looking over charts and talking seriously with the other healers and assistants that were in the corridor with us. It was then that I realized I was behind those solid double doors that had previously separated Oliver in the wings of the hospital and myself in the waiting room. I must have absently let Eric lead me in as he was explaining the potion and its effect to me. I was now standing outside of room 109 and staring at the slip of paper that had been placed in the slot on the door telling me that “OLIVER WOOD” was in that particular room.
I tried to inhale deeply, but I took in air so sharply it gave me a slight cramp in my side. I brushed my hair from my face, feeling the tangled mess that had never been brushed that morning and then endured a rainstorm and apparition. I didn’t think Oliver would care, but I didn’t want to look frazzled and risk him reading the sheer terror all over my face. I pulled the hair tie out and smoothed it down as best I could before twisting it in to a bun and securing it again. I felt a little better, and I hoped the small effort would make me appear more confident as I spelled out all the details of the new potion to Oliver.
“Would you get in here? Your hair looks fine and I’m sick of being alone with all of this beeping and whirring!”
Apparently Oliver’s door had been cracked just far enough that he could see me from his bed.
He was smiling at me, but his eyes looked heavy and he was gritting his teeth slightly. Eric said he was in pretty intense pain. I did my best to pull a smile on to my face. I’m not sure if it worked, but Oliver’s eyes seemed to brighten slightly.
“So what’s the news?”
I pulled one of the guest chairs as close to the bed as possible and rested my hands on the bed. He grabbed the one closest to his hand and gripped it tightly, preparing for the information the healers had told him to be expecting. I rubbed his hand lightly with my thumb and then went through all of the information I had received.
Oliver listened to every syllable as if it was going to be the last thing he was ever going to hear. I did what I could to explain the information slowly, and really give everything ample time to sink in before moving on to the next piece of the puzzle. By the time I was finished, I was exhausted, and through with talking, but I looked up to gauge Oliver’s reaction.
His brow was furrowed, his teeth were clenched and I could tell he was putting almost all of his effort in to not squeezing my hand as a relief from the pain. He was clearly letting everything settle and then he shocked me.
“What do you think I should do?” He asked softly.
“I really don’t think I can make that kind of decision for you.”
“That’s what I thought you were going to say.” He sighed heavily, “I want to do it.”
“Are you sure. A lot of things can go poorly, and this may not even work.”
“I know, but I don’t think I could live with it if I didn’t at least try. Quidditch means everything to me. I have to at least attempt to get back to it.”
I tried to sit back in the chair but he gripped my hand, keeping me next to him. He looked down at me, and his eyes were serious, decided. He was not going to change his mind. He was not looking at me for permission this time; he was looking to me for support. This time, I was not going to let my brain over run my heart. I was going to stay beside Oliver until all of this was over.
“Then I’m not going anywhere.” I said firmly.
“What about your offer? It really is a fantastic career move, and I don’t want to hold you back from something like that.”
“Sometimes there are things that are more important than my career, and you are one of them. You were there for me during the New Year’s event, which was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and now I’m going to be here for you during this.” I smiled slightly, “Like it or not, you are my friend now, and my friends have the hardest time getting rid of me. Just ask Ellie.”
He smiled a real smile and then squeezed his eyes tight, taking his hand from mine and moving it to the shoulder that was in a hard cast. He took several deep breaths and trained his eyes on the ceiling, obviously trying not to complain about the pain.
“Is there anything I can do to help?”
He looked at me and did his best to smirk, although the gritted teeth and squinted eyes didn’t produce the normal effect.
“You can kiss it and make it better.” He managed.
I stood, and leaned over the bed, my face just inches from his. Surprise replaced some of the pain in his eyes, and his jaw relaxed slightly. I kept moving forward, thankful that he didn’t have his wits about him. If he had he may have leaned forward to kiss me, but that would have ruined the dramatic effect I was going for. I bent merely centimeters from his lips and then placed mine on his cheek.
“Tell you what, you make it out of this alive and we will see about that kiss.”
“I’m holding you to that.”
“Please do.” I added with a wink.
He was smiling again, obviously having braced himself for the gesture this time because he grabbed my hand again instead of his shoulder. I looked up at the clock and realized that we had been missing for almost 6 hours to our friends and Oliver’s family. I had to contact everyone and tell them we were alright before Ellie organized a search party. I told you, she is the best in the business for parties and I meant it. We would have hundreds of people scouring every nook and cranny of Western Europe if I didn’t tell someone where we were soon.
I pulled my hand away from Oliver’s and started towards the door.
“Stay.” He whispered, barely audible, as I was about to open the door.
With a hand on the door knob, I let a small smile play on my lips before turning around and pacing towards him.
This time, I put my hand gently behind his head, and kissed his forehead before saying, “I need to let your family know you are safe and what is going on. You’re going to need as many people as possible by your side, but I promise, I’m not going to leave. I’m here, no matter what.”
He smiled, and closed his eyes as his most recent potion settled in to mask the pain. He would need his rest. Now I just needed to gather the strength to help him through either outcome.
Author's Note: Sorry about any typos. I tried to read it quickly before posting, but I only had limited time!
What do you think will happen with Oliver's potion and surgery? Do you like where Adelynn and Oliver are heading? Let me know everything you're thinking! I love hearing it!
Also, NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow. I will do my best to update this story once a week until it is finished, but my NaNo story has to be my priority. Only a few more chapters for this one though, so don't worry!
As Always, thanks for reading!