The traffic at one of the busiest highways of Russia was clear. Every couple of seconds there would be a car passing by at high speed, with the drivers too busy looking at the road in front of them. Had they been driving slower, they had seen two young adults, appearing out of nowhere and falling into the muddy ground, right next to one of the lanes.
Rose and Albus got up rubbing their backsides and picking their belongings off the ground.
"Ugh, was it this necessary to fall in this exact place?" said Rose, cleaning her and Albus' clothes with a wipe of her wand.
"Have you got everything?" asked Albus, thanking her with a nod. He looked around to see if there was something else they could have dropped.
"I think so," replied Rose. She took out the folder Olivia Stone had given her and a map of Moscow, from the little beaded bag. She gave the map to Albus and opened the folder, searching for an address. "Can you find in there, the Research Institute for Magical Diseases?"
Albus unfolded the map. Some of the buildings in it popped out as if they were 3D figures. "Humm. I think this might be it," he said, pointing at one of the 3D buildings in the map. "It's not too far from where we are now."
"Should we Apparate there?" asked Rose, putting everything back on her beaded bag.
"It's on a Muggle free area, so I think it is safe to," Albus squinted his eyes and disappeared with a loud Crack!, followed by Rose.
The two of them reappeared in front of a big and ostentious Muscovite building. There was the occasional owl flying in or out through the windows, carrying mail.
Rose stared at the building amazed. It was one of the most incredible things she had ever seen, and she had gone to Hogwarts.
"Are we going in?" asked Albus looking at her.
"Ahem, wait, I think Ms. Stone said something about posing as documentary researchers. I didn't quite get it," Rose pulled out the folder once again and scanned it. "Here. She wrote 'It's too late for going in as a reporter writing about Dr. Solovyov's death. So what I want you to do is pose as a Documentary researcher, gathering information about Dr. Solovyovs work and how he lived.' How on earth are we going to do that?"
Albus thought for a moment, rubbing his chin. "I know! Follow me," The two cousins ran to hide behind a nearby tree. "Can you pass me your bag?" Albus streched his hand, where Rose placed the small beaded bag. Albus put his harm inside the beaded bag and rummaged through all the stuff inside it. A minute or two later, he took out a big piece of fabric, that resembled silk, but looked lighter than a feather.
"Your dad's Invisibility Cloak?" Rose looked at the fabric.
"Yesh!" Albus grinned. "Sneaked it out of the house, right before I met you earlier," he explained, putting the Cloack over their head and covering every visible inch of their bodies. "Let's go."
The two walked into the building with no problem. Passing all the security wizards, without being noticed. It was a bit more challenging to find Dr. Solovyov's laboratory. They roamed through numerous halls, before finnally finding the right one.
No one could be seen in any of the laboratories in that hall. As it still was marked as a crime scene.
They found the door saying Dr. Solovyov in it and opened it. The Laboratory was still a complete mess. All the vials lay in pieces on the floor, with it's contents now staining the pure white floor. Little pieces of parchment stood on top of small piles of ashes, that were scattered on the floor and on top of tables.
They scanned the room, looking for something specific, that even they didn't know what it was. Suddenly, they heard a sound coming from another room of the laboratory. They followed the sound, trying not to step on anything, or to be discovered.
The room, where the noise was coming from, was the Dr.’s office. It had also been rummaged. Books lay all teared up and ripped on the floor. The desk was turned upside down and the bookshelves were broken and at the risk of falling apart.
In there was a man, who, they figured, was the source of the noise. He was rummaging through all the mess. Picking books off the floor and throwing them across the room seconds later. Moving bookshelves from their places and taking the paintings that were dangling on the walls and placing them on top of the piles of books.
The man suddenly stopped what he was doing and stood still, as if he was trying to listen to something. He turned around and stared directly at where Albus and Rose were.
The two cousins covered their mouths and noses trying not to make a sound and be discovered by the mysterious man.
The man stared at the space where they were for a couple more minutes, before grunting and turning around to take another painting from the wall.
Rose and Albus decided it was time to go, before the man figured out that they were there. Walking as fast as they could, without making too much noise, they got out of the building and hid behind the same tree as they had thirty minutes ago.
“Who was that?” Rose asked taking the Invisibility Cloak from over them and putting it back on her bag.
“How should I know?” Albus replied looking back at the building. “But he sure isn’t an Auror. Did you see the mess he was doing? He was looking for something.”
“Maybe is the same thing we are looking for,” Rose sat on the ground, taking the magical map from the bag and unfolding it in front of her.
“I hope not,” Albus said, before Rose got up again and grabbed his arm disapparating.
St Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries
24 June 2024
“How is he?” asked Hermione, who had just arrived at the hospital and sat next to Ginny and Harry. “I’m sorry. Ron didn’t want to come, because he is afraid of caching the Disease.”
“That’s okay. I can’t blame him,” said Ginny in a chocked voice. Her eyes were filled with tears and her face was red of the hours she had been crying. “I don’t know what to do, Hermione. What if..”
“Don’t think that, Ginny,” Hermione hugged Ginny and looked at Harry.
Harry was crying too, but his face was petrified. He was staring at nothing in particular, but Hermione knew what he was thinking. After everything he had been through, when he was younger, it wasn’t fair for him to go through this.
Ginny looked at her husband too. “He hasn’t said a word, since he got the news about James.”
“Ginny, what is that?” asked Hermione, pointing at the corner of Ginny’s mouth. “Is that James’s blood?”
“What?” Ginny touched the place, Hermione had pointed. “I don’t-“ Ginny started coughing.
“Healer! We need a Healer!” Hermione screamed.
A couple of Healers ran to them and started examining Ginny. “Is she a Pureblood or a Half-Blood?” One of them asked.
“Pureblood, please help her!” Hermione replied crying.
“We will have to take her. She’ll have to be interned. She has caught the White Disease. I’m sorry,” the other Healer said levitating Ginny and taking her into the Quarantine wing.
“Harry, you have to go too,” said Hermione still looking at the doors, where the two Healers and Ginny had just gone through. “You’re a Half blood. It’s best to be safe. I’ll take care of Lily.”
“No,” Harry said, still with the vague look in his eyes. He hadn’t moved when his wife was taken into the Quarantine Wing.
Hermione kneeled in front of him and looked in his eyes. “Harry you’re in shock,” she put her hand on his shoulders trying to comfort him.
Harry didn’t say anything. His eyes still fixed on the something that didn’t exist.
“Harry?” Hermione tried again.
“Hermione,” Harry finally looked at her. “Just….go home. I’ll be fine.”
“Harry, you’re clearly not fine-“ Hermione tried to put some sense into her best friend’s head.
“Just leave, Hermione!” Harry yelled at her.
Hermione looked at him perplexed by his reaction. She got up and looked at him once more, before turning around to the fireplaces hall and flooing home.
The Malfoy Manor, Wiltshire, UK
24 June 2024
He stared at the stain, remembering the day his father was admitted into St. Mungo's. His father was, too, coughing blood.
He had read on the Daily Prophet that the White Disease was highly contagious, but he never thought that he, being younger, would get it get has easily.
Realizing that his time was running out, he ignored the stains of blood and started rummaging through his father’s things. Scorpius threw stuff on the floor, took drawers from their places turning them upside down. The room was a cloud of dust and debris.
Scorpius kept coughing, but he cleaned the blood out of his mouth without even thinking about it.
He finally found what he was looking for, when he turned another drawer upside down and from inside of it fell a photograph. Scorpius picked it up and examined it.
In the photo was his father accompanied by his Slytherin classmates. They were all with their arms folded, looking back at him, menacingly. He turned the photo around and read the names. He recognized all the names. Ignoring the girl names he focused on the boy names.
Vincent Crabb, Scorpius knew that he had died during the final battle against Voldemort at Hogwarts, so it was not him. Gregory Goyle, he had recently died of the White Disease, Scorpius had read about it on the Daily Prophet. Theodore Nott, Scorpius had heard his mother tell his grandmother that he had been admitted to St. Mungo’s at the same time his father had. And finally, Blaise Zabini.
Blaise Zabini was the only one Scorpius hadn’t read about on the Daily Prophet recently. I remembered him now. A tall man, with dark olive skin and green eyes. Scorpius had always been terrified by him, when he was a child. Zabini’s deep voice and austere posture was enough to for anyone to know, that the man wasn’t someone to mess around with.
Scorpius leaned against one of the walls and slid down exhausted, until he sat on the floor gasping for air. The photo was still clutched on his hand.
“Tenn!” Scorpius tried to yell.
The House Elf appeared in front of him a second later, with panick in hi eyes. “Master Scoprius!”
“Take m-me to St. Mun-mungo’s,” he managed to say before passing out.
The House Elf grabbed his master by the hand and disapparated
A/N: I'm so sorry for the long wait everyone. And for the very small chapter. My Muse still hasn't called back, or even sent a postcard. =(