“Nghghggg…” I groan, burying my head even further under my pillows. I hate waking up. Which is a major problem, because I love sleeping.
“Oh, good, I thought so. Up, up!” Suddenly sunlight is streaming into my eyes, somehow making its way through my eyelids. My nose crinkles further. “We have some very important things to discuss!”
Must. Refrain. From. Murder.
“What do you want?” I whine through my teeth, squinting up at Dumbledore and Flitwick. “Sirs,” I add. You know me, I’m always polite. Ha.
“Sit up! You have been sleeping long enough!” Dumbledore reaches down and practically forces me to sit up; he’s a strong little bugger too, believe it or not. I scowl darkly at the pair of them. “As you know, you will be missing quite a bit of school, so we will need to get you a tutor. That way, you can stay in the hospital and learn at the same time!” He looks excitedly at me, like he’s expecting me to jump up and hug him.
“Yaaay.” I say dully, crossing my arms. Dumbledore smiles knowingly.
“I thought you’d be excited about it, and I was correct!” He says cheerfully, obviously not paying attention to me face, which has ‘homicide’ written all over it. “You will actually have more than one tutor; you will have three. They will rotate depending on the subject you will study on the different days. It is a great opportunity for them, since they are all aspiring teachers. You will have lessons four times a week, on Tuesday through Friday. Does that sound okay?”
“What about Mondays?” I ask.
“Oh. Okay. Which entails…what, exactly?”
“Aerobic exercises mostly, I think, to strengthen your lungs capacity to do work.”
“This day just keeps getting better and better.”
“Your first tutor,” Dumbledore says, completely ignoring my sarcastic comments, “Will arrive tomorrow at nine-thirty. Her name is Miss Reimold, and you will address her as such. Do you understand? Excellent.” He says pleasantly, before I even have a chance to respond. “She will be tutoring you in Potions and DADA. You will have fifty-minute sessions, so as not to tire you too much. I believe that that is all for today, so unless you have—“
“What about the other tutors?” I ask. “Who are they?”
“Well, the day after tomorrow—that’s a Wednesday—Mr. Franklin will be tutoring you in Charms and Transfiguration. And Thursday you will have a Mrs. Straley for Divination and History. Is that all?”
“I guess so.”
“Okay, well I have other business to attend to now, I’m afraid, but I do wish you the speediest of recoveries.” He smiles down at me, blue eyes twinkling. “And I think you will enjoy your tutors; they seem like very eager and charismatic people.” He chuckles. He leaves then. Flitwick stays; I can hardly see him over the cot, he’s so short.
“Ahem,” he says, clearing his throat. “Very troubling times, Miss DeVough, very troubling indeed. How are you feeling?”
“Eh. I’ve been better.” I shrug, wincing. “What’s that?” I just noticed that he’s carrying a huge sack. He smiles, and hoists it up onto my bed; letters and cards falls out of it.
“These are just some ‘get well’ cards your classmates made you! Quite kind of them, really, they seem so down without you. They returned yesterday evening, of course; all seemed a bit happier knowing you are alright.”
“Oh, right, I forgot that they had to leave…can they come back today, once classes are done? Please? It’s just, I really wanted to talk to them all.” I pout, giving ol’ Flitty my best impression of a puppydog.
“Oh, well, I suppose it couldn’t hurt, as long as they’re back before curfew…who all did you say you wanted to come here?”
“Oh, umm, James, Hattie, and my brother of course. And I guess anyone else who wants to come along. Although I can’t promise that I will feel like having them stay for long; I’ve been kind of…tired, lately.” I shrug uncomfortably, noticing again the pain in my chest.
“Oh, of course you have, deary, of course you have…now, I want you to get plenty of rest and recover quickly, okay?” He pats my hand and gives me a comforting smile. “Gid-day and all that, then!”
And with that, he’s gone, and I’m left all alone. Except—
“Jackson?” I call out hopefully. I mean, he didn’t have to go back to Hogwarts, so he should still be here, right? There’s no response, however. I sigh, frustrated, and start counting the tiles on the wall.
Which can only really get you so far, especially if you have an attention span as short as mine is.
Instead I turn to the cards. Most of them are all 'get well' and 'feel better soon' but some of them look suspiciously dirty if you catch my drift. I entertain myself in tearing those up into shreds and letting the pieces rain down onto the floor like confetti.
This is going to be a loooong day.
At around lunch time, Jackson finally makes an appearance, looking very guilty.
“Thanks a lot for all the company,” I say, scowling darkly at him.
“I’m sorry! I got…distracted.” He clears his throat, and won’t look me in the eye.
“Ahh. More making out with the hot nurse, right? Don’t worry. I was only sitting here, BORED out of my frickin MIND, calling for you the whole day, hoping that you’d come.” That’s right, play up his guilty side.
“Jeez, Max, I really am sorry…” He bites his bottom lip, looking obnoxiously honest and adorable.
“To make up for it, you have to play exploding snap with me. Now.”
“It’s lunch…you should eat first. But we can play afterwards, if you want to.”
“I’m not hungry,” I say, shrugging. He looks at me, alarmed.
“Shut up, okay! Sheesh, I’m just not hungry right now. Come on, let’s plaaay.” I whine.
“Are you sure you’re okay? The old Max was always hungry…”
“God, Jack, I just got out of surgery! Lay off me!” I don’t know why I’m so irritable right now, but I think it must have something to do with my BEST FRIEND choosing to kiss a hot NURSE over spending time with ME. It stings, ya know? Or wait…my chest really does sting…
“Jack?” I say, peeking under the hospital gown to the bandages covering my chest. “I think…I think you should get the healers…nowish, preferably…” The bandages are soaked through with blood and something else, and it’s making me a bit woozy.
“O-Okay, just hold on!” He rushes out of the room, looking nervous. Moments later Mrs. Potter and some other doctor come rushing in.
“What’s the matter, Max?” Mrs. Potter asks, panting a little from the run here.
For response, I lift up my robes. Jackson’s eyes go wide at first, and then he pales once the bloody bandages are revealed.
“I think I have a leak,” I say sardonically.
“Okay, let’s get these bandages off of you!” She carefully peels the bandages off; this hurts more than I thought it would; the skin there is still tender and looks a bit bruised under the blood.
“Why does it hurt so much?” I hiss through clenched teeth. She frowns, still focused on the bleeding.
“I’m not quite sure…okay, I am going to have to ask you to lie very still. Can you do that?” She asks. I nod. I mean, do I really have a choice?
She places both of her hands over the inflamed, torn flesh on my chest, and begins chanting something under her breath, her eyes closed in concentration. I feel the torn skin realigning itself and weaving together to close the gap; her hands send a cool, relieving feeling sinking down into me. And then she’s finished, and pulls away, taking a deep breath. She’s paler, and looks exhausted.
“I haven’t had to do that in a while,” She admits. “It tends to seep your power.” When I stare at her questioningly, she explains further. “I healed you without my wand. It’s more effective, but is slower and much more difficult for the person doing the healing. It makes the healer feel drained, and exhausted.”
“No worry, no worry! That’s what I’m here for! Now let’s get you cleaned up.” She vanished the blood on my wound. There’s a long, white scar down about the center of my chest. “I apologize about the scarring, but unfortunately that is something quite unavoidable when you are realigning tissue. Anyway, I’m sure James will think it looks quite cool!”
I feel Jackson bristle all the way across the room.
“AHAHAHA.” I laugh nervously. “Yeah, sure…ahem.” Awkward, much?
“Well, there, you seem to be all sorted out now. If you feel any more—“
“OUCH!” I yelp, clutching at my side. “It hurts…here…” I point to where there is a sharp, insistent pain on the sides of my chest, toward the largest part of my ribcage. “It’s like I’m falling apart!”
“This is very troubling. Right here?” She places both of her hands on my side now, but lifts them away quickly, hissing. “There’s something…in there!” She says, sounding astonished.
“What…like a pony?” I ask dully. Could this day get any worse? Never mind, I take that back. There’s always room for my day to get worse.
“No, no, nothing solid, so much as…it is very peculiar.”
“Just tell us, what!” Jackson says angrily.
“Dark magic, I think. I don’t see how we never noticed…but it’s definitely there now, in any case…” She’s mumbling to herself. I look, scared, over at Jackson, who looks half pissed, half worried.
“Dark magic?” I ask loudly, to clarify. She looks up, as if just remembering I’m here.
“Yes, yes…it would explain why you’re having such a difficult time healing…”
“Well,” I ask, “Why the hell do I have dark magic inside me? How does that even work?”
“It means that someone cast a dark spell on you, and it never left; it’s been…growing, inside of you.”
“OH MY GOD, I’M A MUTANT!” I groan. Great. Just frickin excellent. What? Me, pregnant? Oh, yes, I’m expecting soon. No, not a boy or a girl…DARK MAGIC! I know, wicked, right? Oh, shut up, head. I hate you.
“Now don’t get too upset…let’s just think through this calmly. This means that your parents were not sick, not really, but…poisoned, almost. It would make sense, for the poison to come into the air, and therefore into your lungs…I’ve never seen a spell like this, before. I will have to do some research.”
“Wait! So does this mean that…that Ben is safe from it?”
“I would think so, if our theory about the poison is correct. Do you have any memories of a…a family enemy, or anything of the sort?”
“No! Everyone loved us,” I say, frowning.
“Well, I’ll let you think about it for awhile. For now, I can give you a potion for the pain…” She magics up a bright red potion in a small glass vial. I sniff it, scowl, then swallow it all in one go. It tastes like shit.
“Thanks,” I mumble, yawning. “Why am I always so tired?”
“Oh, that’s normal. You’re healing. Take a nap, okay, get some rest. You deserve it.” She bends down and kisses me on the forehead. I smile up at her. “I’ll be in in a bit to check up on you.” And she leaves, leaving Jackson and I alone again.
“So. Wow.” He says, looking at me.
“Yeah. It explains a lot, really. I mean, how likely was it, really, that my parents got the same lung sickness at the same time, and then I magically got it too? But who could have given it to us?”
“I—I don’t know, Max. But I swear, I’ll find out! If you weren’t sick, I’d head back right now and start looking—“ he looks furious, and scared.
“You need a rest too,” I say softly, reaching out. He takes my hand. “You’ve been up for too long. It looks like you haven’t had a good sleep in ages.”
“How can I sleep with you so sick?” He asks quietly. “What if you need me, and I’m not there for you because I’m sleeping? I don’t want to not be there for you again, Max.”
“I’ll wake you up if I need you, silly. Here, come here and sleep. I’m right here. You can rest.” I pat the space next to me on he bed. He lies down slowly, as if worried that I’ll revoke my offer. Then he rests his head down, sharing my pillow. I squeeze his hand, which is still in mine, and he squeezes back.
“I love you Max.”
“I know you do. I know. Shh, shh, now get some rest.” He closes his eyes, and eventually the wrinkles on his forehead smooth out, and I know that he’s really asleep. He breathing deepens, and he snuggles closer to me. I hug him back, desperate for human company, for human touch.
“Max? What the hell?”
Oh crap. I must have fallen asleep…with Jackson curled up—hold it! Why is he spooning me? And why are his arms around my waist?
“I said, WHAT THE HELL?”
James is heeeere. Oh, joy, this should be interesting…
I whack Jackson in the head with my arm, which had fallen asleep and is now tingling painfully.
“OUCH!” He shoots up, clutching at his forehead. I sit up next, feeling guilty, even though I know I didn’t do anything wrong.
“Oh, hey James,” I say cheerfully, yawning. “Jack, you’re sitting on my leg!” I shove him off, and he nearly tumbles onto the floor, before straightening himself up and glaring reproachfully, first at me, and then at James. His hair is adorably disheveled, and his eyes are still a bit red, the sort of red that eyes get when they haven’t had enough rest.
“Who is he, exactly?” James asks through clenched teeth. Remus and Sirius enter behind him, Remus looking a bit confused, and Sirius smacking one of his fists into his palm, looking threatening. I roll my eyes.
“Guys, this is Jackson, my best friend from Washington. We’ve known each other since we were squirts in diapers; he’s like a brother to me. Ease off there, Sirius, you’re makin’ me nervous!” I say; Sirius sticks out his tongue at me, but does stop the fist smacking at least. Jack looks pissed.
“Oh,” he growls. “Yeah, we’re practically siblings.”
“Yes, exact—“ I start thankfully, because I really don’t want him to get into a fight with James. But I stop when I see the look that Jackson is giving me; it’s a fierce, hungry, lustful look, obviously meant to enrage James. I feel my face flush, the look is so intimate. I swallow. “E-E-Ex—“
“Oh, HELL, no!” James says, lunging at Jackson.
“Oh, for the love of—JAMES, STOP IT!” I look on helplessly as the two roll around together on the floor, throwing punches at one another. “Remus, Sirius, do something!” I plead.
“Right you are, Max, right you are!” Sirius says rolling up his sleeves and cracking his knuckles. Could it be that he’s going to maturely stop them? Maybe, for once in his life, Sirius might actually do something helpful…?
He throws himself into the fist fight, a big ol’ grin on his face. I look at Remus, who just shrugs and sits down on the end of my bed.
“It’s best to just let it ease over now. It will eventually.”
“They’re gonna kill each other!”
“Nah, I doubt it. They’re a pretty equal match actually…”
“I can’t believe you aren’t going to do anything about this!” I say angrily. “YOU THREE, STOP IT!” I scream, as loudly as I can. Everything stills for a moment, and they all look up at me expectantly, James with a fat lip and darkening eye, Jack with a bloody nose, and Sirius holding someone’s leg up into the air. “You are all acting like two-year-olds! Now get the hell off of each other, or I-I-I’ll kill you!” I say, but I think they must not take my threat seriously, because soon they’re all laughing. And I know for a fact that they aren’t laughing with me, so…
“Fine, fine. I guess I got a little carried away,” James admits gruffly, standing. “Can I talk to you, though? Alone?” He asks through clenched teeth, refusing to look at Jackson.
“Of course! Sheesh! Everyone else, OUT!” They all scurry away, Jackson looking murderous. I sigh, and roll my eyes again. What boys.
“Max,” James says once they’re all away. “Max, I…I’m really sorry about that. I didn’t—“
“C’mere,” I say, reaching out for him. He takes my hand and kneels by me, so that our heads are at the same level. “There is no need for you to be jealous. I kissed Jack once back in Washington, and that’s all. There’s nothing between us anymore. I only want you.”
“Well, he seems to want you! Did you see the way he was leering at you? Like he wanted to rip all of your clothes off of you and shag you where you—“
“James! Stop it. He…yeah, he does like me. He says he loves me. I just…I want to be his best friend, nothing else, nothing more. But I just want…need you. To be here, with me. Did your mom tell you what’s going on? With the dark magic?”
His face darkens considerably. “Yes, she did,” he says furiously.
“Then you know that this won’t have a good ending, James.”
“I…I know,” He says, his voice cracking.
“So just do me a favor, and try to get along with Jackson. I love you both, a lot, and don’t want either of you to get hurt.” I reach up and touch his swollen lip. “Would it hurt too much for me to kiss you right now?” I ask softly. He smiles sadly down at me, a little bit of light making it back into his eyes.
Our lips meet; his bottom one is larger and harder; I try not to press too firmly upon it, but he doesn’t seem to mind. His hands are gentle as they run through my hair, and over my face. His skin is hot against my own. I sigh.
He pulls away.
“Max,” he whispers softly against my skin. “I have something to tell you. You may not like it, but…”
“Oh, god. What did you do?”
“No, I—well, actually I just—“
“You cheated, didn’t you! You cheated on me with Lily!”
“What? No! I would never—just listen, dammit, why is it that I can never get a word in edgewise when you’re around?” He huffs, crossing his arms in front of his chest. “I was just going to say that I think you need to make nice with Sirius.”
“Make…nice?” I ask, gobsmacked.
“He’s really upset, you know. That you hate him so much. And he’s been worried about you, too! I just don’t like seeing one of my friends so down.”
I look past James incredulously, to where I can see Sirius in the hall, hitting on one of the healers. I snort.
“Well, alright then. Bring him in,” I say through clenched teeth. James grins, kisses me, and then rushes outside to get Sirius.
Oh, for the love of all that is holy…
“Oh, h-hello Max,” Black says tentatively the moment he’s inside. I glare at him.
“Play nice,” James warns, before leaving us with a smirk.
“Sirius,” I say, forcing my voice to be at least somewhat amiable.
“Max?” He nods, moving a step towards me hopefully. And then, "Hey! That's my card!" He points to one of the shredded cards on the floor. "I worked hard on that thing, you know!" I ignore him and press on, determined to get this done with.
“Listen, Sirius. I…I feel…bad…” I swallow, willing myself to say the words. “I feel bad for what we did to you guys, leaving you out naked and stuff. It was mean. I’m s-sorry.”
“What?” He looks genuinely confused. “Oh, that…eh, whatever. That was a good prank! And anyway, I wouldn’t be apologizing yet…we’re still going to get our revenge, you know,” He smirks. I scowl.
“Oooookay. Well, I think that’s about it…”
“Hey! Isn’t there something else you’d like to thank me for? With a kiss, perhaps?”
“What? OH, the whole saving-my-life jazz. Nah. Anyone would have done it.” I shrug. “But I guess I should thank you for it. Soooo…thanks.”
“No kiss, then?” He looks slightly disappointed. “Can we at least be friends? I never meant to…rub you the wrong way…” He snorts. “Wow, that came out wrong…but you know what I mean. So…all’s forgiven? Friends?”
Daaamn, he is adorable. Too frickin cute for his own good.
“Fine! Sheesh!” I groan. “I never really hated you, Sirius. You’re just like an…annoying, perverted, but somehow adorable…pet dog,” I finish. At this he bursts into laughter. “Hey, that was partially an insult!” I don’t like being laughed at.
“Pet dog, did you say? HA!”
“What, you think you’re more of a pet…rat?”
“Nah, that’d be Wormy!” He laughs even harder now.
“Hey! Hey you with the big head and creepy bark-laugh thing! STOP LAUGHING AT ME!” I throw a pillow at his head. He ducks it easily, and moves towards me, and next thing I know he has me in a huge hug. I’m too surprised to even fight it.
“Cheers, Max, you really are a laugh!” He shakes his head, still chuckling, and then leaves, giving me a quick wink before disappearing completely.
What the hell was that all about?
A/N: Okay, sorry for the wait! I just got back from hols and finished writing this as quickly as I could! Thank you all for your reviews, we have very nearly made it to 200, which is incredible (to me)! So thank you all very much!
Please help me celebrate by leaving a review :)
Also, next couple of chapters will introduce the tutors, which should be very fun, you can have that to look forward to!
I am going to leave you with a question, because I am very curious. How do you want this story to end? (Eg. Do you want Max to live or die, etc) I may take your responses into consideration for the ending of this story! So review!
Write a Review The Perfect Cut: Is He CRAZY?!? Oh. Wait. Of Course He Is. He's a Marauder.