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Chapter 9 : Sick Kids
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I woke up feeling more tired that I had when I went to sleep. Draco was still asleep soundly – it was funny. You couldn’t wake him if you thumped him on the head with a mallet but the smallest suspicious sound and he basically jumped out of bed. I crawled out of bed and donned my dressing gown to shield me from the cold. I’d let him sleep for a while longer. I made my way out of the bedroom and started heating the water for a coffee. Then I heard a sound. It was the smallest thing but it sounded like sneakers being scuffed on the slate tiles. I looked around the room and saw nothing. It was strange but I let it go. I was stirring my coffee when I heard something again. I spun around and there in the middle of the room stood Ryan. I couldn’t help but jump a little when I saw him there.
"Ryan? What are you doing in here? Where did you come from?" I asked panicked for a moment.
"Ummm . . . the door, where else?" was his slightly condescending response.
"Right, why didn’t I pick that?" I said feeling slightly stupid. A closer look at him showed bags under his eyes. "Honey, are you feeling alright?"
"Yeah, fine mum – Professor McGonagall wanted me to bring this to you" he said extending the letter that was in his hand. I took it from him but my attention was still on him. "C’ya mum"
"Ryan, come here for a moment" He stopped and his shoulders slouched. He walked towards me with his head hung low. I lifted his chin and felt his temperature. He was slightly warm. "Why are you up this early anyway? Dad’s not even up yet"
"I just couldn’t sleep . . ." he replied, "Mum, I’m not sick"
"I beg to differ and the lack of sleep is obviously why your eyes are hanging open – wouldn’t be helping either with the cold" He looked at me sadly and I knew what he was thinking instantly – ‘should have had Reese deliver the stupid letter’. At that very moment, Harrison rushed into the room.
"Mum, I ah . . . I think I might be sick" he said in a strained tone. It was a sure sign that he was sick – his voice always disappeared when he got sick – had done so since he was a child.
"Not you as well – your getting something, I can hear it in your voice – next’ll be the fever"
"Oh no, I don’t think we’ll have to worry about a fever right now" he said in a tone I couldn’t decipher. I made towards him and put my hand against his forehead and then recoiled it in shock.
"HARRISON! YOU’RE BASICALLY FROZEN!" I yelled and he gave me a knowing smile. Draco came out of the room in just his pants. His normally perfect hair was askew and his eyes were fuzzy with sleep.
"What’s all the yelling about? What are you two doing bothering your mother at this time in the morning?" he ordered of them.
"Draco!" I said rushing over to him and then dragging him towards Harrison "Feel his skin – he’s frozen!" Draco touched his head and pulled his hand away in shock – much the same as I did.
"What the hell?" I was too shocked at our current situation to reprimand him on his use of language. At that moment, another of our children bowled in through the door and this time it was Charlie. He almost fell to the ground as if an unseen force knocked him and then he croaked a plea.
"Mum . . . I don’t feel so good . . ." I rushed up to him and pressed my hand determinedly on his forehead expecting to feel the same unusual icy touch. Instead, my hand sizzled and I recoiled it in pain. He was so hot with fever that he had burnt me. I held my hand against me and tears jumped to my eyes as the searing pain that ran through my hand. Draco rushed over to me and looked at my hand.
"That’ll need bandaging," he said and I then took command.
"Come on – you three to the hospital wing. Harrison, Charlie, Ryan . . . Ryan? Hey, where’d Ryan go?" We all looked around the room but Ryan was nowhere to be seen. "Did you see him leave?" I asked and they all shook their heads. Charlie collapsed on the floor and we decided that Draco would go look for Ryan once we got these two to the infirmary.
The two boys were resting in the Infirmary. Madame Gropler, the latest healer in Hogwarts since Madame Pomfrey had left, was completely dumfounded at their states. In all of her four hundred and seventy six years of being a healer (she says the secret to her longevity was a healthy diet – what a joke!) she has never seen cases like these. It even got Professor McGonagall out of her office to check on the peculiar circumstances. Draco had decided to stay with them while I went in search of Ryan. I started towards the dungeons – pretty sure that he’d be hiding somewhere down there. I was crossing the opening hall when I came across Reese. What was it with my children this morning? They all seemed to be awake before the owls had settled for a day of sleep.
"Hi mum – what are you doing up?" she said chirpily in her very quiet tone. I had learnt that I had to listen very carefully when Reese spoke – she was just so quiet!
"I should be asking you the same thing!" I said curiously.
"I couldn’t sleep – strange . . ." she looked around curiously and it almost seemed as if her eyes were following something for a moment. It was strange, almost like she saw someone walk around her – but no one was there. She smiled to herself. I let it go. It was strange for her to be up this early and it worried me that she might be coming down with something too.
"That’s not like you. Your brothers all have colds . . . or hots in one case . . ."
"Can you please go up and see your father in the infirmary and wait for me there? I just want to find Ryan. You haven’t seen him have you?"
"Ummm . . . no, not really" I must have given her a strange look. Her emphasis on the word really was strange. "He’d be down in the dungeons in his room wouldn’t he?"
"Yeah, I’m going to go check there now. Will you go up and wait with your father please?"
"I . . . ok then. Will you be long?"
"No, just a few minutes"
"Ok then" and with that she walked away . . . smiling to herself. Strange, very strange indeed.
I was standing in Ryan’s room where his other roommates slept on peacefully. He wasn’t here. Where else could he be? I was about to leave when I saw something move out of the corner of my eye. At head high, I saw something very strange indeed. There, in the middle of nothing, was a clump of hair. It swayed a little in mid air. I recognized the hair though – it couldn’t be any other. The sandy blonde of the messy clump of hair was unmistakable as my son’s. I feinted walking out of the room. Just as I was pulling the door closed behind me – I pushed it open suddenly. I pointed my wand and whispered the words of the full body-binding spell. The little clump of hair went rigid and straight – sticking up in the air and then fell sideways – along with an invisible body attached to it.
It seemed that Ryan had thought it would be funny to play with Draco’s invisibility cloak. Well – he’d have a shock now! I walked over to the invisible body on the floor and tried to pull the cloak of his totally immobilized body – only, all I got was the clothes attached to his body. That wasn’t right. I decided to un-freeze him. I heard his breathing come back harsh but I still couldn’t see him.
"Ry . . . Ryan?" I asked and then I saw something I never thought I would. Right before my eyes he suddenly appeared back in sight with a very guilty look on his face. He wasn’t wearing an invisibility cloak! "That’s not possible," I mouthed almost silently. He got up from his makeshift hard wooden mattress on the floor and looked at me sharply in the eyes. It was sad. I was a grown middle-aged woman and my thirteen-year-old son was as tall as me – great, really!
"Come on mum, I think I need to explain this to you" he said rather sympathetically. It was a strange tone for him – he was usually so sullen and gloomy – to hear this confident and understanding tone from him was a real shock to my system. It saddened me; it made me feel like I didn’t really know my son. But I strengthened my outlook.
"I think you do," I said sternly and we made our way out of the Slytherin dormitory. Just as we were closing the door on the other sleeping third years he spoke again.
"Um, can we not tell dad yet" I looked at him rather shocked "I just . . . don’t want him to know yet" I smiled at him and we closed the door behind us.
Author’s Note: I like this – the plan unfolds! Mwa ha ha ha ha!!! Gee, I’m weird! This is one of my favourite chapters in the entire story - I just love it! The next few are pretty good too (in my own opinion) - lots of revelations! Thanks to R3dl1nk - you're great!
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