Chapter 2 : The Switch
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Chapter 2 – The Switch
In the town of Victorville, California, most were sleeping. It was the early hours of November first and clouds hung over the valley, rain dropping steadily and silently from them. At the High Desert Medical Center, Michelle Gomez was on night watch. She sat silently in the hallway down from the intensive care nursery. She looked at the clock on the desk and sighed.
The brunette had received word from Professor Albus Dumbledore via Fawkes the Phoenix several hours earlier that the plan for the switch of the two infants had to be moved up to that night. For while Michelle was a Muggle nurse, she was a Squib. Her parents were both Muggleborns from Idaho, but in the case of their only daughter, the magic had not passed on to her. So when news reached her ears of the dark happenings in Britain, she had, along with her parents, become contacts of Albus Dumbledore.
She heard footsteps coming down the hallway and looked up from her paperwork to see who it could possibly be at this hour. The man wore long robes and a purple cloak. His hair and long beard were silvery white and blue eyes visible under half moon glasses. In his arms was an infant wrapped up in a white blanket, sleeping soundly; a lightning bolt shaped scar on her forehead. Michelle glanced up and down the hallway as she stood and motioned with her head to the security cameras that were watching both ends.
Albus Dumbledore nodded and with his free hand, pulled out a finely polished stick from the pocket of his robes. With a wave of his wand, the red light on the cameras went out. He pocketed it once more and moved forward to greet the young nurse. “Need not worry, Michelle. The cameras will show no lapse in time and a silencing spell has been placed on the hall.”
“Thank you, Albus,” she replied, sighing as she felt as though a weight had been lifted off her shoulders. Switching the child was one thing, but tampering with the security system is another. She moved down the hallway and motioned for him to follow. “The infant’s health is declining steadily. At this rate, she might not make it through the night.”
When she finished telling him this, they had reached the glass window, providing a view of the room inside. In the room were about ten incubators, only three of these were in use. In the one nearest to the window, slept a one year old infant, a breathing tube down her throat. Michelle sighed as she and Albus looked in at the sleeping Jennifer Corral.
“No one can figure out what is wrong with her. Her parents, Michael and Jessica are frantic. Jessica was forced home this afternoon after a panic attack,” Michelle explained, crossing her arms over her chest as she watched the rise and fall of the infant’s chest.
“Sadly, it is that which makes her the perfect candidate for the switch,” Albus replied softly. Michelle gave a sad sigh and moved her way over to the door, Albus a few steps behind her. She entered her code into the security pad and the door unlocked.
The two adults silently made their way into the room and over to where Jennifer Corral lay. As Albus stood and looked at the infant, Michelle went over to the counter and pulled a pair of disposable rubber gloves out of the box on the counter. She pulled the rubber gloves onto her hands as she walked back to where Albus stood. “What exactly do you need?”
“I simply need to touch my wand to her,” he replied. Michelle nodded. She moved and unlocked the hatches of the incubator. She slowly opened the lid as the infant slept on. She moved and flipped to switch on the breathing machine, turning it off and then turned off the vital signs monitor. The sound of the machine’s help died away as Michelle carefully extracted the tube from her neck.
After a few moments, the tube was successfully extracted. Michelle gently placed two fingers to her neck. She sighed deeply and closed her eyes for a moment before turning back to Albus. “She’s gone.”
He said nothing, just gazed down at the dead form that had been Jennifer Corral. He glanced down at the sleeping infant in his arms before reaching into his pocket once more and extracting his wand. He pressed the tip into the now dead baby’s neck and recited, “Tribuo vultus illae unus.”
Michelle watched in amazement as a bright red light encased the body of Jennifer Corral. The light faded after a few moments and Albus began to pull his wand away from her neck very slowly. A silvery red strand was attached to the tip of his wand and after it had been pulled away several inches, the strand tapered off and clung to the end of his wand.
Very slowly, he moved his wand to the neck of the sleeping infant in her arms and said quietly, “Mihi pro insquequo vicis is evanui.”
Bright emerald eyes snapped open as red light surrounded her. Her screams of pain filled the room as the light glowed brighter and brighter around her. Squinting, Michelle could see the infant’s appearance changing. The scar on her forehead faded away into flawless flesh. Her limbs shortened and her healthy sized decreased into the thin and frail form of what had been Jennifer Corral.
All the while, the girl’s scream continued, tugging at Michelle’s heart and bringing her to the verge of tears. After several minutes, the light began to fade and the screams merely became a normal, frightened infants crying. While she had the body of the dead Jennifer Corral, one thing about her Potter appearance remained; her bright emerald eyes.
The spell now complete, the infant’s eyes drooped as she looked around the room. After several minutes of trying, her eyes closed as the exhaustion of the spell took her into a deep sleep. By this point, Michelle had her hand over her mouth to keep herself from sobbing. Even though she knew it was for the child’s safety, she still had hated to see it go through the pain it had.
Swallowing the sob, she removed her hand from her mouth. She looked down at the body in the incubator and moved to remove it; the small frail form very light as she lifted it. A few moments after she removed it, Albus unwrapped the now sleeping girl and set her inside. He then motioned for Michelle to give him the body, which she quickly obliged.
As he wrapped the body up in the blanket, Michelle set to work reinserting all the tube and all the wires that had been connected to her to keep Jennifer living as long as she had. When he was finished, he moved over and set a hand gently on Michelle’s shoulder. She looked up from the wire she was connecting and met his thankful blue gaze. “Thank you, Michelle.”
“I’m just glad I was able to help,” she replied quietly. She held his gaze for a few more moments before turning back to her work. Albus stood there for a moment more and looked down at the sleeping infant and whispered, “Live well, Jennifer Potter.”
With these quiet parting words, Albus Dumbledore quietly left the room without another word to Michelle.
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