Persephone continued to force air through her burning lungs as her ears filled with the sound of her shoes pounding against the marble floor and reverberating off the white sterile walls.
She no longer had any breath to shout at the people in her way, so instead she attempted to dart around them. She did not feel the pain in her shoulder and she rammed against someone whom she could not avoid quickly enough, and the back of her mind was vaguely aware of the fact that she would be acutely aware of this pain once the adrenalin stopped flowing through her.
Persephone finally skidded to a halt and threw herself through the doors to the Recovery Wing, where there should not have been an emergency.
She quickly rushed over to her patient and administered prostigmin and atropine. As her patient began to breath on his own again, she let out the breath she hadn’t realized she had been holding. She then turned on her fellow colleague.
“You completely imbecile! Just what were you thinking?!” she seethed.
“You don’t under-”
“No, you don’t understand,” she said seethed. “Administering curare to a patient who does not need it is a mistake that not even a first year intern would be foolish enough to make! You nearly killed this man! And you did nothing except flounder at your own mistake as he lay dying. If I had not happened to have been in this room at the time he would most likely be dead due to your absolute and complete incompetence. Mark my words,” she said while glowering at the man, “this incident will not go unreported.”
“Yes, Ma’am,” he said while hanging his head in shame.
Persephone stumbled wearily though the entrance to her flat and tossed her healer’s robes haphazardly onto the foot of her bed. It was then that a small hoot interrupted her progress towards the kitchen where she had been planning on preparing herself some supper. Instead, her attention was now fully upon the owl that did not belong on the back of her desk chair. A small frown appeared on her face as she made her way over to the owl and detached the letter from his outstretched leg.
My Dearest Sephoney,
I need your assistance. Life has been rather difficult as of late, and you are the only person I can turn to. Please let me know if it would be possible for you to stay with us for a while.
Persephone’s brow furrowed as she read the letter a second time before taking out a piece of parchment and quill from her desk drawer. She knew Cissy must be desperate; her letter seemed very rushed and it was not like her to beg for help. Cissy had always been the calm one in the family. She knew there must be something terribly wrong for Cissy to behave like this. Persephone dipped her quill into the ink and began composing a reply.
Of course I will come stay with you. I will send my trunks immediately. I have a few business matters to attend to before I arrive, but I should be within the comforts of your home before noon tomorrow. Until then, stay strong.
Persephone waved her wand across the parchment to quickly dry the ink before she securely attached her reply to the owl that had delivered the letter. She then gave the owl a treat and watched it disappear out her window. With a small sigh, she looked around the room and wondered where to begin.
With a wave of her wand her trunks flew towards her. Living in a small one-bedroom flat, Persephone thankfully did not own many things. She packed her clothes first, followed by her books and then her personal items. She clicked shut the lock on her last trunk, stood up, and gave one last wave of her wand and her trunks vanished.
Persephone woke very early the next morning. She had many matters to arrange before she could leave. She quickly dressed in one of her nicer robes that she had laid out the night before, and she placed her pajamas in a small travel bag. She then pulled her platinum blond hair into an elegant bun and donned her traveling cloak. Persephone looked around her flat once more, making sure that she had collected all of her items. She had sent the landlord a letter and the month’s rent the night before. Now all that was left to attend to was her school. Persephone grabbed her traveling bag and spun on the spot, disappearing from her flat and reappearing at the main office of the Saint Petersburg branch of Saint Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.
“Why hello Miss Nosova, you’re in awfully early today,” the front desk receptionist said with a slight surprise in her voice.
"Hello, Mrs. Kozlov. I need to speak with the Head of Trainees on urgent matters. Do you know if he has arrived yet?”
“I do believe he’s in dear. Why don’t you go on up to his office and knock. He shouldn’t be busy at this time of morning.”
Persephone gave a warm smile and bowed her head to the dark haired receptionist. “Thank you very much, Mrs. Kozlov.” With that she left the middle aged woman and began walking up the stairs to Head of Trainees office.
When Persephone reached the door she took a moment to straighten her robes and take a deep breath. She then knocked on the door three times.
“Come in” called the voice from within.
Persephone arranged a timid but charming smile on her face. She had learned many years ago that the best way to get what you want was to be sweet, but not overly so. She gently pushed the door open and stepped forward into the Healer’s office.
“Ah, Miss Nosova, how may I help you?” he asked brightly.
“I am sorry to say that I will be needing to transfer my internship to a different location, Healer Turov” Persephone replied softly without meeting his eyes.
“If I may ask, whatever reason for? Has someone here wronged you?” As he asked this, his brows furrowed together and he put down the quill he had been writing with in order to cross his arms on the desk.
“No, no! Of course not, I was having a delightful time here,” Persephone responded quickly while looking up to meet his eyes. “It’s a family emergency. My family back in England needs me to return home.”
Healer Turov’s brows softened and he leaned back in his chair. “Of course, of course” He said, now much more at ease. “Do you need me to fill out the forms to transfer you to the main branch in London?”
Persephone smiled gratefully. “That’s quite alright Healer Turov. I will prepare the necessary paperwork and owl them to you to be signed.”
“Well,” he said thoughtfully. “Thank you, I’ve always loved your initiative.” He then stood up to shake her hand. “Good luck to you, Miss Nosova, you are a bright woman and you will be sorely missed here.”
“Thank you” Persephone replied in a modest voice. She then turned gracefully on the spot and reappeared in front of a grand wrought iron gate. Persephone pushed the gate open and strolled up the long driveway. Once she arrived at a magnificent wooden door, she knocked.
The door opened slowly and a pair of bright blue eyes appeared from the crack in the doorway. The eyes suddenly turned wide and the door burst open.
“Sephoney!” Narcissa cried out in delight. “Oh my dear, come in come in! I didn’t expect you this early.”
“Cissy, surely you have not forgotten that I am an early riser?” Persephone chided gently. “Did my trunks arrive safely?”
“Yes, they’re up in your room now. But come, let’s relax for a while.” Narcissa and Persephone linked arms and walked to the kitchen where they sat down at a small, but exceedingly gorgeous table.
Narcissa and Persephone sat and chatted with each other until they had caught up on all they had recently missed in each others lives and reminisced about the old times until their ribs were sore from laughing. It was not until they had both dank enough tea to make them blue in the face did they move from their comfortable conversation to a darker one.
“Seph,” Narcissa said while looking down into her cup of now cold tea, “I can’t thank you enough for coming here. I-”
“Don’t worry about it Cissy.” Persephone replied while placing her hand gently on Narcissa’s. “I’m your cousin, and I will always be here for you. Shall we move into a more private room?”
Narcissa nodded and they made their way up the grand staircase and into Narcissa’s room.
Narcissa’s chambers were ornately furnished. A marvelous canopy bed sat in the middle of the room draped in deep purple and gold fabric. The room was spacious and inviting. Beneath the bay window was a plush fainting couch. Narcissa walked over to the window and sat down on the couch facing the outside.
“Seph, what am I-”
“Wait.” Persephone said firmly. “We might be in your own home but you can never be too cautious.”
Narcissa turned around to watch as Persephone pulled her wand out from her robes and walked around the room in a circle, swishing her wand back and forth.
“There,” she said after she arrived back at the door. “Not even a house elf could hear us now. Speak your mind Cissy.”
“I’m scared, Sephoney.” Narcissa said while staring at the handkerchief in her hands. “Lucius has failed the Dark Lord and He is now taking his vengeance out on Draco. I know Bella says it’s an honor to serve him, but Draco is so young. He could make so many mistakes. He’s my only son, Seph. I would die if anything happened to him. And now Lucius isn’t even here to guide him. Everything has been so hard with him locked away in Azkaban.”
Persephone sat down next to Narcissa and put her arm around the older woman’s shoulders. “Cissy, it’s only an honor if you choose it to be. Don’t let Bellatrix push you around. You’re a grown woman, Cissy. It’s time you took care of your family the way you see fit.”
Narcissa turned towards Persephone and then buried her head in Persephone’s shoulder as she broke into sobs.
“I-I know what I should-should do.” She said while sobbing. “But I just- I- it’s too late now. I-I should have done it years ago. Stood up to Lucius. Now, it’s too- too late.” Narcissa clutched Persephone and began sobbing uncontrollable.
Persephone hugged the shaking Narcissa tightly and rocked her soothingly. She stroked Narcissa’s blonde hair and whispered softly to her.
“Shoosh now, my Cissy. Everything is going to be all right. You have to stop blaming yourself and get control of the situation. There’s something you’re not telling me. You wouldn’t be upset if Draco was only a Death Eater. There’s something else. Tell me; let me help you, Cissy.”
After a few minutes passed Narcissa got control of herself and pulled away from Persephone to face the window again. As she wiped the tears from her face, she finally spoke again.
“I want to tell you, Seph. I need to tell you. But- I can’t. I was forbidden to tell anyone. I’m afraid of what He would do if He found out. I can’t risk Draco like that.”
“Cissy,” Persephone said gently, “I can’t help you if you won’t tell me what’s going on.”
“I know.” Narcissa said quietly. She then turned around and stared Persephone in the eyes. “But I will tell you this. The Dark Lord gave Draco a task that will surely kill him. He assigned Draco the task because He himself does not wish to perform it. If Draco fails, we all die… and I do not see how he will succeed. He’ll be completely alone at Hogwarts, with no one to help him there. There’s no way we’re going to survive this.”
Persephone reached out and put her hand on her cousin’s shoulder and looked her firmly in the eyes. “Draco will succeed. We will see to it. I will put in a transfer to work at Hogwarts instead of London. That way he won’t be alone. And surely there must be a Death Eater you can turn to; someone you can trust with your lives. Don’t even think about Bellatrix. It must be someone who is willing to help you and Draco.”
Narcissa thought for a moment before she spoke. “There is one person, the Dark Lord’s most trusted servant. He had been a friend of the family for many years. He could help us.”
“Who is this person?” Persephone asked firmly.
Narcissa stood up and went back to staring at the window. Without looking at Persephone, she answered.