Chapter 17 : Shock
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Warning: Contains Sensitive topic.
“Wh…what?” I stammered. I had heard the words come out of Luna’s mouth, but they didn’t register in my mind. Luna turned to face me, tear marks staining her cheeks. She nodded and I looked at her, silently pleading for answers.
“When you were unconscious in hospital they took some tests. They just wanted to make sure that I didn’t have Insomnia or something like that since I was spending so much time awake while you were there. But instead they found Leukemic cells in my blood.”
I gaped at her. This couldn’t be true, not now.
“Hey don’t cry,” Luna soothed, wiping the tears that were running down my face. I grabbed Luna’s hands in my own, capturing them to my face.
“How can I not?” I whispered looking directly into her eyes. Luna opened her mouth to say something but a voice coming from down stairs stopped her. It seemed that Luna’s father was home early.
“Don’t worry, I’ll go.” I said, kissing Luna gently on the lips and carefully stepping out of the bath. “I need some air anyway.”
I quickly dried myself; put my boxers back on and walked into Luna’s room. I threw on a pair of jeans and a shirt and thundered down the stairs, unable to stand the sobs still coming from the bathroom. I reached the kitchen to find Luna’s dad sitting at the table with his back turned to me. I cleared my throat and he turned to face me.
“Umm… Luna’s in the bath,” I croaked, aware that tears were still streaming thickly down my cheeks.
“She told you, didn’t she?” He asked his voice full of pity. I nodded and gestured towards the door.
“I’ll be back for dinner,” I said half sprinting out the door. I apparated away, my thoughts all mixed up in my head, making it hard to tell where I was going.
I felt my feet hit solid ground again and I opened my eyes to see where I ended up. Standing right in front of me was the most colourful shop I have ever seen, the joke shop. I looked around wildly, but no one seemed fazed by my sudden appearance.
I took a deep breath and pushed open the door to the shop. Looking around me I saw it was packed with people. I looked towards the counter to see Ron standing there. He caught my eye and just stared at me. He was still looking after it.
“George.” He started and was immediately at my side. “What are you doing here? Is everyone okay?”
“Yeah, just fine.” I murmured. “I’m going upstairs.” He nodded as I walked over to the cramped staircase in the corner of the room, dodging Lavender on the way, her baby bump finally showing.
I reached the top of the stairs pausing in the tiny kitchen before inching down the narrow hall to where the doors to my room and Fred’s were. I briefly considered just going into my room, but Fred was the one I wanted to see, the one I needed to see, so instead I pushed oped the door labelled ‘Fred’.
I looked around Fred’s room. It was exactly the same as I remembered it, a mess. I walked over and sat on the edge of his bed. I ran my hand along the soft green fabric, trying to imagine what Fred would say if he was here. I flopped back against the bed. A loud crumpling of paper came from directly beneath my head on contact. I felt under where I was lying and my hand closed tightly around a crumpled piece of parchment. With shaking fingers I began to smooth out the parchment. I recognised Fred’s untidy scrawl covering the page. With my eyes still blurry with tears I began to decipher the writing.
‘Voldemort, what a lame excuse for a human being.’ It started off. ‘This war is ALL his fault! None of this would be happening if it wasn’t for him. It is going to happen now, and I don’t know whether I will survive. I promise to protect my family with everything I’ve got, especially George. My emergency Galleon just went off. It is time. I hope that no one has to read this, that everyone survives, but life isn’t fair. I wish that I could come home and just set this on fire, but if I can’t I ask whoever is reading this to tell my family that I love them and goodbye…’
I finished reading the note and looked up to see mum standing in the doorway, watching me with her eyes full of tears.
“Ron flooed me,” She said coming and sitting next to me on Fred’s bed. “He was worried as to why you would just turn up out of the blue.” I nodded to show that I was listening and handed her Fred’s note. I watched as her eyes skimmed over its contents and she started to cry.
“Oh George, this isn’t your fault.” She whispered sensing what I was thinking. “There was no way to prevent what happened and you can’t keep beating yourself up about it.” I turned and sobbed into her shoulder as she put her arm around my shoulder and pulled me close. I felt my body shaking with silent tears as I clung to my mother.
Finally I looked up at her, dreading what I had to say. “Mum, Luna has cancer.” I sobbed all over again. She looked at me again before wrapping me in a mammoth hug.
“Let’s get you back to the Lovegood’s.” She said a short while later, her voice thick with tears. I nodded wiping my eyes against the sleeve of my shirt and standing up wobbly. Mum followed my suit as we headed back downstairs to find the shop empty, the sky outside dark. I had no idea how late it had gotten and I had promised to be back for dinner.
I stood waiting quietly next to the door as Mum spoke in hushed tones to Ron, Lavender and Percy. I guessed she was explaining what had happened to them.
Finally she reached me, took my hand and turned on the spot and we vanished.
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