Awesome chapter image created by Jeanie, @ TDA!
Disclaimer: I own nothing in this story except the plot line and anything you don't recognize from the Harry Potter series.
"They say no
healer's been able to find a cure!"
"They've been dying by the dozen, I heard!"
"'Bound to get to Hogwarts sooner or later..."
Those were the kinds of words being swapped all through the Great Hall during lunch on Halloween. Feeling a tap on her shoulder, Rose Weasley turned to look at her cousin, Lily Potter.
“D'you reckon all those things they're saying are true, Rosey?” The brown-eyed girl asked anxiously, looking more like a first year rather and a fifth.
Rose shrugged. “They're all probably blowing it completely out of proportion. You know how they are.”
“I dunno Rose,” a voice from across commented darkly, “Even my dad's worried. And everyone knows he barely takes anything seriously! His entire life revolves around the bloody joke shop, after all!”
Rose rolled her eyes and shot her other cousin, Roxanne Weasley, daughter of infamous George Weasley, a disgruntled look. “What, has he sent you some joke shop remedies to help if you catch it? I bet he's playing a huge joke on you. Just watch!”
“She's right, ya know,” Lily said innocently.
And the argument began. Shaking her head, Rose watched the two in amusement. Lily had inherited her mother's bright brown eyes and flaming hair. Roxanne, on the other hand, had not inherited the signature Weasley hair. She looked much more like her mother, Angelina Johnson, with her black hair, darker skin and brown eyes. Rose had inherited Ron Weasley's bright blue eyes and nose, not to mention his unfortunate height. She nearly reached six feet! Rose also had the red locks, although hers was a bushy, curly mass rather than straight and shiny.
Gazing around the Hall, Rose immediately spotted Lily's older brother Albus at the Slytherin table, chatting excitedly about something with his two best friends, Scorpius Malfoy and Cain Nimmson. Then there was Lucy, Uncle Percy's youngest daughter, at the Hufflepuff table. Finally, James, the eldest Potter child, and Hugo, Rose's little brother, at the Gryffindor table.
“Whatcha thinking so hard about, Rosey?”
Blinking, Rose stared blankly at Lily for a few seconds. Evidently the brawl had ended just as quickly as it started. “Just how big our lovely
family is,” Rose said wryly.
Roxanna rolled her eyes in agreement. “Now that you mention it, where's our lil' buddy Lou?”
“Probably out attempting some lady killing,” Lily snorted. “I'm sorry, he may be part Veela, but it just does not work the same with guys!”
“Hey, look!” Just then a pretty black girl popped out of nowhere, sliding into the seat next to Roxanne, pointing up at the flock of owls streaming into the Hall.
“Franky!” Rose crowed. “Why do you always take so long?”
“I heard from my mum that they're putting out a front page article on the Morbus! They're sending the Prophet to everyone, free of charge!” Franky continued, ignoring her best friend's outburst. Sure enough, subscribed or not, every single student and teacher found a paper plopping down in front of them. One confused scuffle later, and the Hall filled with the sound of voices once more.
Swallowing nervously, Rose lowered her eyes to the Daily Prophet.
As you read this paper, St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries is packed to its breaking point with dying witches and wizards. The cause? A dreaded disease, christened earlier this week as the 'Morbus.' This fatal illness is spreading at an alarming pace. Fortunately, one of the healers at St. Mungo's, Healer Diane Kala, has agreed to speak to us about this mysterious sickness.
“To be honest, no one knows where it came from. Our first confirmed case was a 25 year old wizard who died shortly thereafter.” Kala stated at our questioning. She went further, commenting on the progress towards finding a treatment or cure. “Unfortunately, we've got nothing. There are 200 healers working on this every day around the clock. They're trying potions, spells, everything! The problem is, we've got little time to test our possible treatments on patients. They come in with symptoms and die within several days. Some don't even last that long.”
When questioned on statistics, Kala's answers were grim. “I'm not going to lie to you. Untreated, less than 1% of the ill survive. However, the handful that do are then completely immune. Many help us treat and examine patients, since they cannot get infected, and we can
We also questioned her on why all the patients we saw in the hospital were at least 35 or 40 years old. “The Morbus may be rampant and dangerous, but rarely ever effects the young and strong. It's weak in that respect. You see, from the age of 30 the human body goes steadily downhill. But yet again, we are too ignorant about the disease to be able to tell if the disease will get stronger. Most likely it will. After all, it has
already affected the younger people, just not as often."
Is the survival rate of the young higher than that of the older? “We're uncertain, but we think that it's the same. Rarely any young people survive.” After a short pause, she branched off, “I would say that you are safest from the disease if you are between the ages of 10 and 28. Consider yourself lucky. Anyone who has not been directly affected in some way by the Morbus is lucky. Be thankful. I have watched more people die in the past month than I've seen in my entire career as a healer.”
And so ended our interview with Healer Kala, Head of the Morbus Unit at St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. Below is a quick list of symptoms.
-Feeling light headed, or dizzy
-Abnormally high fever
-Vomiting, often with blood
-In some cases faint spots will appear on the body, resembling small bruises
If you are experiencing any
of these symptoms, report to St. Mungo's immediately
Rose placed the paper face down next to her plate, staring blankly at her past, long gone cold. Most people were still reading, eyes glued to the words and lips moving soundlessly.
“Harvey man, you alright?”
Turning, Rose saw that Harvey Fielding, a fourth year boy, was sitting next to her. His friends were looking around nervously as they talked to him.
“Keep you voices down!” Harvey hissed, leaning across the table. “I am fine!”
“I dunno, you yourself said you haven't been feeling right.”
“Yeah,” another boy piped up, “You missed Quidditch practice last night because you were too dizzy to fly!”
Harvey scowled. “Just shut up, okay? Shut up! There's nothing wrong with me--” his panicked voice was cut off abruptly, and he convulsed, spinning around in his seat. Through the hands clamped over his mouth, Rose could hear a strange gagging sound.
And then he puked. All over the floor. Shrieking, the students around him fled, forming a wide circle surrounding him.
“Oh my god!” a Gryffindor second year screamed, pointing. “There's blood in it!”
Harvey was panicking. With a gurgling cry, he took a few running leaps before stopping short, swaying. He fainted on the spot, right at Rose's feet.
Everything felt far, far away. The tugging on the back of her robes as everyone backed further away. The whispered “No!” from Franky as Rose bent down, her fingers making path toward Harvey's forehead.
“Rose Weasley! Step away from the boy!”
He was burning up.
Hours later, Rose found herself sitting in the Ravenclaw Common Room, the silence pounding in her ears. After Harvey had been whisked away to the Hospital Wing, Headmistress McGonagall had ordered everyone back to their Common Rooms. Right now it was completely packed, many people even sitting on the floor.
“What the hell is going on?”
Looking up, Rose found her seventh year cousin Louis fighting his way over. He had short silvery blond hair like his mother and almost ghostly gray-blue eyes. You could easily see a shadow of stubble on his chin.
“Who knows anymore?” Roxanne grumbled, scowling.
“Honestly,” Louis exclaimed, throwing up his hands, “'Go to your Common Rooms,' they say. 'Harvey probably just has a stomach bug, you'll hear from us soon,' they say! It's been eight bloody hours and I am hungry!
“Is that all you can think about?” Lily squealed. “Some food to fill your poor tummy? That kid could die! You read the paper! We all
By now the entire room was listening with bated breath.
“Bollocks! They said young people aren't affected The Fielding kid just has bad luck!”
“Why you heartless--”
Just then the door to the Common Room creaked open. Silence instantly suffocated the room once again. Stepping out of the shadows was Professor Chang, the Ravenclaw Head of House.
“I'm very sorry for the wait, but we had a lot to discuss.” She cleared her throat, blinking rapidly. “Hogwarts will be closing until this horrible threat has passed.”
“What?!” Rose exclaimed, her voice drowned out as nearly every other student in the room shouted as well.
“Harvey Fielding,” Professor Chang yelled, “is in a coma! Healer Perez knows little about his condition, but we are sure he has the Morbus.” The Common Room was eerily quiet. “Mister Harvey,” she continued, her voice cracking, “has approximately one day to live.”
Rose gasped in shock. She could hear other girls sobbing in fright. Harvey's friends were yelling obscenities at the Head.
“B-but he was fine...” She whispered hoarsely. “Just this morning... Perfectly fine!”
Later, up in her dorm, Rose sullenly changed into her pajamas. The next morning the Hogwarts Express would arrive at Hogsmeade Station, ready to bring the terrified students home.
Just as she smoothed the pajama shirt over her stomach, something off caught her eye. Lighting her wand, she peered closer, pinching and pulling the skin on her stomach. With a jolt, Rose slapped the shirt down and fled beneath the covers.
“It's nothing... I'm just nervous, that's all. Overreacting... Completely overreacting...”
There were strange, faint purplish splotches all over her stomach. Almost like a bruise.
A/N- Hello! This is my new story, Morbus! I'm still focusing on Masquerade, but I'll probably be putting both stories up in regular cycles, for example, one or two Morbus chapter, one or two Masquerade chapters, maybe with a one-shot or two thrown in in between. ^^
Please review, as I worked hard with working out the idea and set up for this story, and I would REALLY love to hear any suggestions, criticism and general feedback that you have to offer. Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you'll tune in for future chapters!
If you would like to see roughly when the next chapter will come out, as well as sneak-peeks of up and comings, please visit my blog on the HPFF forums. The link can be found on my author page.