Chapter Two : Stranded
Disclaimer: I own nothing in this story except the plot line and anything you don't recognize from the Harry Potter series.
Awesome chapter image by Jeanie @ TDA!
"All students, please rise and get ready. The train will be arriving following breakfast today, at 10:00 sharp. I repeat, all students--"
Groaning, Rose pushed back her sheets. In the bed next to her Franky swore loudly, before rolling suddenly and toppling off her bed, tangled sheetes and all. Stifling her laughter, Rose rolled out of bed much more gracefully. Grabbing a few things, she headed into the adjoining bathroom.
With Professor McGonagall's magically magnified wake-up call echoing in the background, Rose performed a quick cleaning spell on her teeth, before sadly inspecting her reflection.
Today was the day. She could hardly believe it. Who knew when they'd return? Who wouldn't return at all?
These thoughts circled endlessly through her mind as she towelled her face dry following a quick rinse. A coil of dread twisted in Rose's stomach as she spotted something just above her lip, triggering memories the previous night. Small, faint greenish-brown smudges had appeared overnight, scattered lightly on her cheeks.
Taking a deep, shaking breath, Rose turned slowly, walking straight for the nearest stall. Time seemed to be moving in slow motion as she quietly locked the door behind her. Hands trembling, knuckles white, Rose lifted her pajama shirt. She stared in horror.
The faint marks she had spotted the night before were much darker and puffy. Some were even black and blue. Leaning against the stall wall for support, Rose tried to calm herself. It felt like her throat was closing up. This was impossible! She couldn't have the-she couldn't catch that
"Rose?" Franky's voice called out from by the sinks.
"F-franky," Rose croaked, just barely loud enough.
"Rose? Are you alright?"
"I-I don't know..." her voice was failing her. "I don't feel right..."
"Rose! Unlock the door!" Franky said firmly, a hint of worry in her voice.
Slowly, Rose slid down the stall wall until she landed, with a light thump on the stone floor. Everything was blurry. Was this a panic attack? No, surely not...
"Why's everything spinning?" Rose murmured.
"Rose? Rose! Answer me!" Franky was getting frantic. "Alohomora!"
With a crash, Franky flung the door open. For a split second she froze, staring at Rose, crumpled in a pile on the floor. She was very pale, and coated in a thin layer of cold sweat. But then she snapped into action.
"Help! Someone help me!" Her piercing scream temporarily drowned out McGonagall's voice, which had started on its tangent again. Almost immediately, the other 6th year girls skidded into the bathroom, eyes wide.
"Oh my god, Rose! What's wrong with her!?"
"No, don't touch her!"
And everything went black.
Thump. Thump. Thump.
Her feet pounded against the twisted forest ground, throwing up rocks and dirt in her wake. Tangled red curls flew out behind Rose as she took a running leap over a felled tree. Again and again her hand dashed up to wipe the vines and cobwebs from her face.
Rose didn't need to stop and investigate where she was. She knew that already. What she really wanted to know was why, exactly, did she find herself here, running wildly? No one was chasing her. She felt no fear in her heart. Well, yes, she did. But not that kind of fear. This fear seemed more associated with time. Or a lack of it.
She must be looking for something. Yes, that was it! But what? Why did her mind keep telling her to not stop? That she must find whatever it is, before it's too late? Before what's too late?
All of a sudden, an unearthly voice resonated softly through the trees. Stopping abruptly, Rose gazed around, eyes wide. At first it began as a near whisper, possibly mistaken for rustling leaves. But it grew.
"Declino ex lux lucis... Insisto atrum... Declino ex lux lucis... Insisto atrum..."
The soft latin tongue flowed together smoothly, repeating endlessly, insistently.
Rose understood at once. But it made no sense! Why on earth---
Suddenly everything began to mesh and blur together. A roar filled her ears. And she woke up.
Rose sat up slowly, disoriented. Her eyes felt itchy and heavy, her throat parched. Where was she?
Gazing around, Rose recognized the long room she lay in as the Hospital Wing. A soft golden haze drifted through the large windows. Over a distant mountain, she could just glimpse the rising sun.
"Healer Perez!" McGonagall's aged, hoarse voice drifted in through the slightly cracked wooden doors.
"Yes, Minerva?" Healer Perez's evidently tired, yet much younger voice replied.
"How is she?"
The silence stretched on for several moments, and, with a start, Rose realized they must be talking about her.
"I was just going to check on her again." Healer Perez replied heavily. "I've been preparing the physicals. Last time I checked her was two hours ago."
"And... how was she?"
Rose could taste fear in the back of her throat. But she must be fine, surely? She was awake!
"Not good. She was just as unresponsive as she's been since that morning. I-I'm not sure how much longer she'll last..."
Rose was having trouble thinking straight. What did she mean? She wasn't going to--.
"Have her hallucinations stopped?"
For one wild moment, Rose thought this new voice belonged to her mother. The excitement died quickly as Professor Chang's face came to mind.
"She's been unconcious for a fairly long time now--"
Rose sneezed; cursing at herself, she strained her ears. They had stopped talking.
"Um..." Rose grimaced at the rasp coming from her mouth. "H-healer Perez?"
Slowly the door creaked open to reveal the Healer. Her dark brown eyes were wide in shock, and her wavy, midnight black hair was mussed and frizzy.
"Rose!?" she asked incredulously. Professor McGonagall peered in from behind her, her pale hands clasped to her chest.
"But... but how can this be? She looks-she looks better!"
"We can't be sure of anything yet, Isabel," Chang interjected gently. "Just from what we've seen so far... The Morbus is unpredictable!"
Professor McGonagall observed Professor Chang silently. There was a feverish excitement in her eyes as they passed over Rose, but it quickly dissolved.
"Cho is correct. You need to look her over. She should stay separate from the other students for several days at least. This disease cannot be allowed to spread."
Healer Perez nodded briskly, flicked her wand, and caught the corked bottle that sailed through the air towards her. As she did this the two professors bustled out the door, no doubt off to inform the school about the latest developments.
It was then that Rose noticed the strange shimmer in the air. Everything more than six feet away from her cot had a strange blue haziness to it. Very subtle, but definitely there.
"What--why is everything blue?" Rose asked nervously, her mind replaying Professor Chang's question about her hallucinations.
Healer Perez's head snapped up quickly, before she visibly relaxed, letting out a sigh of relief.
"Oh, that... That's just the quarantine bubble. It keeps any airborne germs from getting out, and anything that I send in is magically cleansed once it passes back out of the bubble."
"Send in?" Rose asked, confused.
With another wave of her wand, Healer Perez sent the now uncorked flask sailing towards Rose.
Bringing it to her lips, Rose took one tentative sip, before downing the rest. A strong thirst was awakened as it slithered cooly down her throat, a strange sensation spreading swiftly throughout her body.
"Am I fine?" Rose asked, swallowing.
Healer Perez was silent, her eyes closely following the lines of script a pale gray quill was scrawling onto a piece of parchment.
"What was that potion?" Rose asked urgently, getting irritated.
With a heavy sigh, Healer Perez sat down just outside of the bubble, on the cot Professor McGonagall had vacated minutes earlier.
"The potion told me all of your vitals and made sure all of your organs and such were working fine. According to this," she continued, brandishing the parchment, "you have improved dramatically. Your heart rate has increased, and your temperature has decreased substantially." She paused, staring at Rose. "Your heart is also in much better condition. It was--it wasn't doing well."
Rose felt the color drain from her face. "My heart? But-I thought-I could've died!?"
Healer Perez nodded gravely. "Now-Listen. I don't want you to get your hoeps up. This disease is so strange. It effects some people one way, then the others a whole separate way! The only way I can even be positive someone has it is through a complicated diagnosis spell. You could be back in the state you were merely an hour ago like that
," she said seriously, snapping her fingers for emphasis. "According to the potion there are still small traces of the disease in your system. I'm going to have you stay quarantined for at least 120 more hours. If you're not exhibiting any more signs of the Morbus then, you may have visitors. None
Five tense days later, Rose awoke grumpily to the sound of many murmuring voice.
"Rose! You're awake!"
Rose grunted in surprise as several pairs of arms wrapped around her. Lily was sobbing dramatically, while both Roxanne and Franky looked like they were holding back tears. Peering through their arms, she could just make out her other cousins' relieved faces.
"You scared me Rose! Don't you ever do that again!" Lily cried out, refusing to detach herself from Rose's arm even as the other two girls stepped away.
Rose smiled shakily at them all. Standing right next to her cot was Hugo, his skin pale, his brown eyes blood-shot. He swallowed thickly and smiled in relief.
Rose sucked in a deep breath."So... What exactly has been going on in the past week?"
Roxanne looked at Rose curiously. "Healer Perez hasn't told you anything?"
"She's barely been in here. She stuck around for a couple hours after I came to, but then took off. I only catch glimpses off her once a day when she comes back to check on me."
"It's the physicals," Albus piped up from his spot at the foot of her bed. He brushed a strand of wavy black hair from his bright green eyes. "They've been doing these really thorough check-ups on all of us. I'm pretty sure they should be finishing up today, right?"
"Yeah," James responded, practically identical to his younger brother, save for his hazel eyes. "They've designated one of the dungeons to it. That's where we're supposed to go when we feel sick or get hurt now. This," he gestured around the long Hospital Wing, "is the Quarantine Room."
"But why..." Rose gazed at them all, her mind racing. "Why are we all still here?"
Franky shifted uncomfortably. All of a sudden no one wanted to look her in the eye.
"What happened to going home on the train?"
Louis laughed nervously, scratching at the stubble on his chin. "About that... Let's just say, the train sorta... never showed."
Rose stared at him blankly. "What do you mean, it never showed
"It never came. What am I supposed to say?"
"You could tell me more! What the hell is going on!?"
There was an irritated sigh from the corner. "Oh, calm down Weasley! You're going to give yourself a heart attack..."
Rose sighed. She hadn't noticed the extra company. Scorpius Malfoy was leaning against the wall next to Cain, another of Albus's friends.
"Well then, can either of you two explain to me what's happening, since my loving cousins are too afraid
to do it themselves?"
"Certainly," the blond said pleasantly, cutting off the several outraged cries at her words. "It's just like he said. We were all at Hogsmeade Station, waiting. After two hours they sent us back and sent out tons of letters. How many owls did they say returned?" he asked, looking at Cain.
"Sent out seven, and one came back." Cain said lazily in his Spanish accent, his blue-brown eyes staring boldly at Rose.
"And that one was hurt. Badly." Lily said softly.
"The professors won't tell us anything, naturally," Scorpius continued, "but there's rumors going around. Some kids think a couple death eaters who survived or children of death eaters are having some fun with what's going on," he glared at Roxanne, who coughed loudly, staring pointedly at him, "Taking advantage, that sort of thing. Others think there's a new dark wizard..."
Roxanne snorted. "Whatever it is, it's more than just a little 'taking advantage.' You can't stop a bloody school train just by 'taking advantage!'"
Rose opened her mouth to say something, but for some reason nothing came out. Her vision blurred, and she felt like the air was being sucked from her lungs. Her mouth gaped in a silent scream--
And then she was standing in the Ministry lobby.But something was wrong... Everything was dark. Floor tiles and panes of glass were shattered.
Rapid, echoing footsteps sounded from her right. Feeling her heart beat fast, Rose turned slowly, straining her eyes in the gloom.
They stopped abruptly.
A letter floated lazily from the hall, unfolding slowly. It was the free issue of the Daily Prophet from earlier that week. But there was something different about it...
Scrawled across it, in emerald green ink, were words. They looked so familiar...
'DECLINO EX LUX LUCIS. INSISTO ATRUM.'
And someone began to scream.
"Rose? Rose, are you alright?"
Rose blinked blearily. She was back in the Hospital Wing. She'd never left.
Everyone was staring at her strangely.
"You alright?" Franky repeated slowly, fear in her eyes.
"Yeah. I'm fine. Just-just a little tired. That's all... A little tired..."
A/N: I CANNOT believe how long it's been since I've updated! It's been forever! I did not expect high school and my swim practices to take up so much time... I'm REALLY sorry for not updating sooner! Swimming ends in a month, so I should get back into the swing of things before then, if not sooner!
I hope you enjoyed chapter 2! I worked hard on it! I have really high hopes for this story, so PLEASE review, whether you liked it or not! I need any and all the feedback that you can offer! Tell me if you loved it and why! Tell me if you hated it and why! (Just be nice about it :])
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.