Chapter 7 : Chapter Seven The Blood of the Prince, and Chapter Eight Healers Hand.
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Chapter Seven. The Blood of the Prince.
My eyelids feel impossibly heavy. They are extremely reluctant to obey me and open. I can feel my hand clamped in someones, and I know it is not my father or mother's. This is Teddy's hand. It is so broad and callused. It causes warm currents to travel up my arm. I want desperately to speak to him, or see him, or just to grip his hand back, but my body is stubbornly un responsive. I can hear him saying something to me. His words fade in and out and I only catch a few, "I love you Vic... you mean the world to ... please get ... love ...Vic..." I can't hold on any longer. The darkness and pain claim me once more.
When I next wake it is to find a Healer wrapping new bandages around my chest, and Teddy no where to be seen. I wonder for a moment if he was really here, but quickly dismiss the thought. Of course he was. Teddy would not leave me in this place alone, he loves me.
The next day at Hogwarts is a blur. I am bleary eyed for lack of sleep, and my thoughts are consumed by terrifying images of Vic's pale form. She seemed only a few steps away from death in that hospital, not even able to open her eyes. The prospect of attending DADA is daunting, all those happy students without friends who are dying, so instead I wander the halls. It feels like someone has sucked the hope out of me, until I walk past a tapestry depicting several angry troll in tutus beating their flamboyant and foolish would be dance instructor. Bizarrely I am reminded of that day so long ago, when Vic danced as a little girl in a pretty pink skirt. I know how to get the counter curse.
In the summer past, when I came of age, Harry told me a story. He has always been a bit foggy about his past and I have always wanted to know more. The heart of it is that he told me about the reason the Room of Requirement is always a bit charred, and what his history was with that hallowed place. My forays into it have included a late night escape from Filch, and using it to mope after a brutal quiditch loss. Harry said that the room will give you anything, so long as you ask correctly. I walk in front of the stretch of blank wall beside the ludicrous tapestry. After ruminating for a good five minuets I pace by the place three times while thinking, "I need a counter curse for the dark spell 'Sectumsempra' that will heal the wounds that Victoire Weasley sustained last week by the hand of Jessica Patil."
A surprise greets me when I open my eyes. The only door I see is that of the front of a smoky old fashioned display cabinet. When I pry it open the only thing inside is a heavily charred, dilapidated copy of Advanced Potion Making. Gingerly I open what remains of the front cover and in one corner barely legible is a scrawling script spelling out 'Harry Potter'. I must have been thinking of Harry hard when I asked the room for help, because in my hands I hold the very book that caused my godfather so much trouble in his sixth year. This book was once the property of Severus Snape, the inventor of the very curse that has so wounded Vic. I know that that ex headmaster was a great brave man, but I dearly wish that he had never invented the 'Sectumsempra' curse, and the fact that he did puts an angry sour taste on my tongue.
Gingerly I flip through the blackened pages. Much of the bottom left corner of the book is burned off and most of the text is difficult to read due to age and fire damage. Maybe the room helped me out or maybe it has been that way since Harry hid the book so long ago, but one page has a corner turned down. When I flip to it I find "Sectumsempra, for enemies." scribbled in the margin. Just below is an even messier annotation, almost as if the author of the former added the latter in as an after thought. It reads "counter curse, Sanitasanare (nvbl)."
Without a further thought I jam the ashy text into my satchel and sprint for the statue of the One Eyed Witch. Hastily dodging a sleepy Professor Sinstra, and the Bloody Baron I descend countless stair cases, and it seems to take ages to finally reach the concealed passage to Honeydukes. The rest of the journey to St. Mungos is a blur. I am momentarily delayed by an irate reception witch in the entrance room, until I put a weak confundus charm on her and make her let me pass. It doesn't matter that my reason as well as my respect for the authority of the law have flown the coup, all I can think about is getting to Vic's side. My emotions must be running really high because the door of the 'Unknown Curses' ward springs open as I approach. There are no Healers, thank Merlin, on the ward and I am unimpeded as I approach Vic's bed.
She lies impossibly still, and for a moment my heart jumps into my throat, but then her chest shudders slightly. I exhale a vast lungful of air that I seem to have been holding since visiting the Room of Requirement. After stripping back her covers, my hands hesitate above the bandges winding tightly around her chest. I mentally smack myself before gently unraveling the thick gauze. My mind is so focused on saving her that my eyes barely stray from the horrendous gapping wounds marring her body. Gathering all my will, putting all the magical strength I can muster into the incantation, I think 'Sanitasanare' fiercely. Vic shudders below me. Her breath flutters in and out rapidly, like the wings of a pixie. I watch fascinated as the slashes that were so recently bleeding copiously, start to mend. The counter curse did not work like ditany which accelerates the natural healing process. Instead it sealed the wounds from tip to tail, as if some giant invisible cosmic being was pinching them closed. After three passes of the incantation all that is left of Vic's injuries is three long angry scars. I re-wrap the bandages, then tuck her back in. She dose not wake when I place a soft kiss on her cheek. Death will not come to claim her now. I know it deep in my bones.
As gently as possible I lie on the bed on top of the covers beside her. I lift her head up and slip my arm under it divesting of her pillow. When her breathing has changed to a slow even rhythm I let myself feel the incalculable relief of having her healed and in my arms. The exhaustion of the past week finally catches up with me. Sleep is ok know; Vic is safe.
Chapter Eight. Healers Hand.
As reality creeps up on me and I slip out of the dream world I recognize a few things. I am in a warm comfortable place. The pain that has been giving me constant agony for days is significantly reduced. I feel safe. Lastly and most importantly Teddy is here. One of his large muscular arms is wrapped loosely around my waist and the other is tucked neatly under my head. I smile and breathe in the piney smell of him, so happy to have my senses back in my control even if my chest still aches sharply when I take a breath. My head is crystal clear, and I know with an unshakable certainty that my fancy for Teddy is not going away. Perhaps it has always been a part of me. Teddy is my best friend, and has been for my whole life. He is my absolute rock, as steadfast and constant for me as Hogwarts is to the wizarding world.
"Merlins Beard!" a voice jolts me to attention. My reactions are very sluggish and my body is shockingly weak as I turn my head to spot the speaker. A very surprised Healer stands at the entrance to the ward. Her clip board is hanging loosely in one hand and her wand is in the other, until she seems to gather her senses and react. "I have now idea what this man is doing in your bed young lady, but you are seriously ill. He must leave this instant!" I prod Teddy while blushing furiously. I am so embarrassed that I can hardly speak, and my lack of voice isn't helping the situation at all. "Wuzgoinon..." Teddy has graced us with his eloquent conversational skills. He gently unwraps himself from around me. Briefly ignoring the glaring Healer at the base of my bed he kisses me softly on the cheek and says "Oh Vic, I was so worried about you. I thought you might ... blimey I am I glad you didn't." He then unfolds himself from the small bed and stands up, running a hand through his hair and smiling.
"Healer," he glances down at the woman's illuminated name tag, "Miranda, I am so sorry you had to catch me like this. Your patient is my best friend and I was really worried about her." He gives Healer Miranda a broad grin and the woman seems to soften significantly. "I showed up early this morning," he lies, "And was just so worn out that I must have fallen asleep." He appears so innocent and charming that the woman just tuts and blushes down at her clip board. "Young man, you should really leave. I don't know how you got past the front desk but I must give this patient her check up now. Besides visiting hours don't start 'till nine." He thanks her, apologizes then heads for the door. Just before leaving he shoots me a huge sunny smile, his hair turning to bright gold, the color of happiness. "Be back soon, Vic."
I step out into the hall and exhale with relief. The haze of last night lifts, and I can truly live the glory of Vic's recovery. It is amazing and ... well words are inadequate. I whistle my way up to the tea room on the sixth floor. There are several sleepy looking Healers drinking tea and coffee, they are clearly too tired from a long night shift to notice that I am out of place. I reach into my pocket for gold, as I am suddenly ravenous, but find it empty. In my fevered rush from Hogwarts I clearly forgot some things essential for an overnight stay. The long cafeteria tables have sugar cubes sitting in little baskets on them, so I take one and nibble on a corner. After non verbally conjuring a mug, and filling it with water 'Agumenti' I sip and try to quench my hunger. I am still whistling in happiness, and my jubilant emotion is so strong that I inadvertently change all the chairs upholstery from maroon to bright orange. The tea room looks decidedly 70s now, with its brown table tops.
"Teddy? Iz zat you? Teddy what are you doing 'ere? You are zuppozed to be at 'ogwarts, mon chere. Did you slip away just to zee Victiore?" Fleur Weasley is standing beside her husband in the tea room. I exclaim when I see them, and while I am gripping Bill's hand in a shake, I tell them "Vic's going to be fine, she's going to be alright." Bill seems to sag. In relief or disbelief I can't tell. Fleur eyes me in skepticism, "Teddy it eez ok if you believe ziz, but I do not want you to get up your 'opes. Ma petite Victoire est tres malade. She is very ill, Teddy." I encourage them with a "Just ask the Healers, Mrs. Weasley. She is going to be ok, as sure as Merlin."
Bill looks at me, his scared face lined with worry. "Are you sure Ted? Are you positive she is going recover?" Fleur has already glided off in search of a Healer when Bill entreats this of me. His voice is hoarse and desperate and I respond with fervent confidence. "I wouldn't lie to you, Mr. Weasley. I found the counter curse and used it on her." Bill's white face turns red and his voice is much louder when he says, "You used a counter curse that you found in the school library on my daughter without consulting a Healer? Merlin's beard! You're about to give me vanishing sickness." He had stood up in anger during this proclamation, but at the end he dropped down again into his seat. "She didn't have much time and you know it, Mr. Weasley. It would have taken days if I'd told the Healers. Vic did not have days." His objection is lost when a shining faced Fleur runs into the room. "Ma petite bichette est vraiment bien! Victiore et récupéré!" I don't speak french, but I get the gist of it as Fleur throws herself into her husband's arms and starts kissing him throughly. I look away a little embarrassed but really happy as well. Once the two of them are finished snogging, we all eagerly head for Vic's room. Along the way Fleur sends six swan shaped patronuses to go inform the family that the danger has been averted. I watch as the elegant birds take flight in swirls of misty silver exactly the same shade as Vic's hair. I am so happy I feel like I could make one hundred patronuses this instant.
The next week was a flurry of activity. Vic is moved to the Hogwarts infirmary, where she will spend the remainder of her recovery while being within reach of her teachers. The St. Mungos Healers were quite baffled at Vic's healed wounds. They chalked it up to the recuperative powers of Veelas, of which there is little recorded information, and the extreme amounts of blood replenishing potion they gave Vic. Neither me nor Bill disillusioned these uninformed medical professionals, we were both just glad that Vic was better. I got the distinct impression that Bill was watching me closely. I think my actions may have alerted him to my sentiments towards his daughter.
I may be going a bit batty. Being fussed over by the matron every half hour is sending me up the wall. Must she always plump my pillows so throughly before I lay back down after drinking by essence of rue? It is a bit ludicrous, and the only thing that is keeping me relaxed is Teddy. He comes to see me every day, bringing with him my home work, food snuck out of the great hall and most importantly, company. I yearn for his visits, to see him and fill the empty place in my heart that seems only to exist when he isn't with me. Blimey, I feel like such a sap. That curse of Jessica Patil's must have addled my brain.
In the hazy series of memories that I have of the time at St. Mungos I remember Teddy vividly. I am not entirely sure what was a dream and what wasn't but the Teddy in my thoughts loves me. Loves me, and not just as a friend. A little hopeful flutter in my chest at that makes me feel quite silly. Why would Teddy feel like that about me? He is so strong and handsome, smart and good. He is quidditch captain and top in his class, what reason has he to want to be with me in that way? A nasty little voice inside my head whispers 'You are beautiful.' I argue with myself 'Teddy wouldn't want me for that.' The voice responds cloyingly 'Are you certain, little Veela? He is a red blooded male after all.' I feel pain in my chest that has little to do with the angry scars there. I say quietly out loud, trying to convince myself, "Teddy wouldn't want me for that."
"I wouldn't want you for what, Vic?" Teddy is striding up the wing, his hair bright purple showing his curiosity. I feel a blush rise up my cheeks and adjust myself on the cot to hide it. A bolt of fire runs through my torso and I gasp. This time it is caused by the wounds that have not healed entirely. "You ok Vic?" Teddy asks, his hair fading to blue with concern. "I'm chuffed, don't worry. It's just a bit sore." I gesture to the bandage peaking out the top of my robe. Teddy glares at the bandage like it just made a very rude comment to him, before saying, "Patil got expelled you know. She even has a disciplinary hearing at the Ministry soon." I snort in accent and derision. Jessica is getting her comeuppance finally.
Teddy starts shifting around in his seat a bit. He looks quite uncomfortable as he asks, "How much do you remember from St.Mungos?" I study him carefully as I respond, "Dunno what was real, truthfully. I seem to remember you declaring your undying love for me, so I must have been stuffed." As I say the end bit, Teddy's face looses most of it's color and his hair changes to gray. He looks as if he's aged ten years in four seconds. "Blimey... they must'a dosed you with a lot of healing spells." I notice that he is avoiding the topic, carefully. "So you aren't about to get down on one knee?" He shakes his head firmly. My heart is being contrary today. First it wants Teddy, then it doesn't and now it is wavering again. My fancy of him is powerful, and I can't help but feel an extreme gratitude towards him that I don't understand. Tentatively I reach out and take his hand in mine. His palm is large and warm, and his long broad fingers wrapped firmly around mine, dwarfing them. We fall into a silence that is neither comfortable nor uneasy. It is like our bonded hands are holding all the ills of the world back, and until the moment we part we will reside safely in our own haven. As we are thus firmly tied together my heart conquers it's indecision. I know that Teddy is the one for me, perhaps he has always been, he has been my best mate and my favorite person for as long as I can remember. I know he feels the strength of our bond, and that if we were to become more than friends it would not be because of my beauty alone. With other boys I always feel uneasy, but with Teddy everything is clear and simple. While we are together I know that I am safe and loved.
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