Chapter 12 : hospital, Christmas and a blasé plan
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-Rose: St. Helen’s Hospital
Saturday 25th December, 6.30am
I dreamt I was in a vast, barren landscape, with knee-high dead grass which rippled in a strong wind that didn’t touch me. To my right was fire, a wall of flames a hundred miles high, and to my left was a giant twister, tearing up the grass as it waved in the wind. In front of me was a crevasse in the ground, a great gaping maw which belched black smoke and slowly ate up the ground as it moved towards me, and behind was a tidal wave, powering forwards, tearing up the ground.
I dreamt that Scorpius, Zach, Lorcan and Richie were there, each wanting to pull me in a different direction. Lorcan was walking towards the ravine, tired of my indecision, while Zach wanted to go towards the water. Scorpius was trying to pull me to the fire, but Richie had hold of my hand, and was trying to persuade me to go towards the hurricane.
If I didn’t move, I would be drowned, burnt, swallowed and swept away. But I couldn’t bring myself to move my feet, terrified of the elements bearing down on me. Then, in front of me, Lorcan tumbled into the crevasse with a terrible scream. I tried to pull Richie towards him, to help, but his hand grew colder and colder in mine, and then Richie shattered into tiny shards of ice which were carried away by the wind. I tried to scream, but I couldn’t. The water was getting closer and closer, and Zach was swept up by it, and was carried past me, tossed around like a rag doll. I was only anchored by Scorpius, who looked utterly calm.
“Come on,” he said, and tried to lead me towards the fire, his legs pushing powerfully through the strong current, while I fell over as my feet were washed from underneath me. Only Scorpius’ firm grip around my wrist stopped me from being swept away on the torrent.
“No!” I tried to tell him, but he didn’t listen, just looked at me with a blank, impassive face, and in his brown eyes was the reflection of the dancing flames.
I wrenched my hand from his, and immediately fell. The water carried me closer into the deep crack in the ground. I managed a last look at Scorpius; he was completely engulfed in flames, and then I was swept over the edge, and was falling.
I woke up slowly, feeling shivery. It was dark. I could feel I was lying on something very soft- it couldn’t be a proper bed, could it? I cracked open an eye. On my right sat Scorpius in a chair, a laptop on his knee, and the wand was lying on the bed, next to my legs.
“Scorpius?” I mumbled, squinting.
He looked up from the screen. “Rose!” he said, relief colouring his voice.
“Seriously, Scorpius? Fire? What the hell was that about?”
Scorpius’ eyes were clear and brown, with no flames tinging them red. I shook my head. “It was just a dream.”
“You’re dreaming about me? Rose, I’m a married man.”
I scowled. “You’re an idiot.” I looked around. “Where are we?”
“Hospital.” Scorpius had turned back to his laptop, the glow from the screen lighting his face.
“You needed medical attention.”
I glared at him. “Please elaborate, or I will forced to show you my repertoire of curses.”
Scorpius looked unperturbed, but he slid the wand from the bed into his lap so I couldn’t reach. “You were pretty ill, and I know the Healer at this hospital,” he said. “Apparently you’ve had some sort of complicated infection with your ribs and hypothermia as well. But you should be all fixed.”
I lay back on the pillows. “How long have I been out?”
“A couple of days. It’s Christmas day,” he said.
Christmas. I should be at the Burrow, being thoroughly spoiled by the relatives. I should be listening to Vic and Lily arguing over bathroom time, and I should hear Nana moaning at Grandad for not wearing a tie. I should be Apparating over to Mum’s parents to spend the morning ripping up wrapping paper, playing with their dogs and then bringing them back to the Burrow with us to eat the biggest Christmas dinner in humanity. I should be having my eyebrows being singed by the crackers and the Christmas pudding exploding all over the room. I should be squished next to Lorcan on the magically-expanded sofa after the Scamander’s come over for the present-opening in the afternoon. I should be laughing and becoming ever more tipsy, until James will stand up, swaying, and announce that it’s time for Quidditch. And then I should be accompanying whoever inevitably breaks a bone with Louis to St Mungo’s, because everyone at the Burrow is laughing about how they would ‘do a Lockhart’ if they had to fix it. It felt like there was a massive empty hole in my chest where my family should be.
I wondered what Scorpius’ Christmas traditions were. Did he have a tree and presents and alcohol and cake? From what I had seen of Draco Malfoy, I couldn’t imagine him wearing a paper hat and a knitted reindeer jumper, and Astoria looked like she’d just walked out of Vogue magazine.
I looked around the hospital room, but there were no decorations on the sparse white walls.
“And the Aurors have caught Hugo,” he added, not meeting my eye.
I sat up straight, my mouth falling open. “Hugo? How?”
“The Daily Prophet says that he gave himself up.”
My heart felt like it had stopped. Gave himself up? What? Why?
“I don’t understand,” I choked out.
Scorpius awkwardly patted my leg through the duvet. “It’s the Prophet. Hugo is probably reading it in Barbados, wondering ‘what the hell’ just like us.”
“But he was left on his own, wasn’t he?” I said. “In that list of groups you made, Hugo wasn’t there- but everyone else was.”
Scorpius didn’t even pull out his book to check, so I knew I was right. “Rose-”
“What?” I snapped. I couldn’t believe I had left my baby brother. I hadn’t helped him. Even if he wasn’t at the Ministry, then he was still alone somewhere. He might be hurt.
“Rose, I’m not trying to be a dick, but you can’t afford to think about Hugo right now. We need to think about ourselves, or we won’t be able to help anybody.”
Scorpius was a dick. But one who was right. I rubbed my temples. “Okay. Fill me in on what’s been happening. How did we get here? How haven’t we been caught?”
“I woke up, and saw you were asleep, and realised something was wrong when you didn’t wake up, so I carried you to the nearest hospital-”
“Bullshit. You never carried me. How did we really get here?”
He held up his hands. “Alright, we got a taxi, but we didn’t even have to pay.”
I knew he wanted me to ask, so I did. “Why?”
He smiled smugly. “Manhandling unconscious people into cars is quite hard, and the driver may or may have not had a look up your skirt.”
My death glare rivalled Medusa’s and Scorpius visibly wilted.
“Later, my dear friend, I am going to seriously make you pay,” I said, in a sweetly innocent voice. “What happened after that?”
“Nothing much. I Imperiused Rob- that’s the Healer here- to keep us a secret, and managed to get us a private room. Basically, just watched you drool.”
I self-consciously wiped my cheeks clean.
“Now you’re awake though, we should get out.”
I nodded in agreement. “Where are we going to go?” I asked.
Scorpius looked nonplussed.
“We should get pretty far away from here,” I said, marvelling that we haven’t been caught yet with Scorpius in charge.
I levered myself out of bed, wincing slightly, and shuffled over to a chair where my clothes were. “Turn around,” I instructed Scorpius, as I pulled my hospital nightgown over my head. “Now, can you drive a car?”
-Hermione Weasley: the Burrow
Wednesday 25th December, 8am
The sun was just rising in the east, sending pale tendrils of light across the horizon. Ron and Hermione stood by the chicken coop, under the pretence of feeding the chickens, but they only wanted to spend some time out of the crowded house. Nobody wanted to leave the familiar security of the family home- Luna and Rolf had opened up their home near Ottery St. Catchpole to Draco and Astoria, but the four of them still turned up about midmorning, usually bearing some unusual type of tea in return for sharing their suffering.
Hermione wondered if they had trouble sleeping as well. Since they had all been suspended from their ministry jobs, she found herself drifting aimlessly without purpose. There are only so many times you can clean a house from top to bottom, and they had reached the limit a while ago.
Today was Christmas Day. Her presents for Hugo had been wrapped since mid-August; he had a new winter coat that she’d bought in France, and a blanket with sleeves that she’d seen in one of those Muggle catalogues. Hugo was like a cat- he liked to sleep, eat and be clean.
It was harder to buy for Rose though- she seemed to have no hobbies, or interests, only going away for holidays and breaks with the family or Lorcan. Not for the first time, Hermione wondered if there had been something going on with Lorcan and Rose. It would have been nice to have the Scamander’s as a proper part of the family- although she doubted Rose would marry again.
She wondered if her daughter was okay, if she was safe and warm and if she somehow knew something that they didn’t. Why had they run? It made no sense- unless they were guilty- and Hermione didn’t even want to think about that.
Whatever Rose was doing, Hermione was sure she was doing the right thing.
-Rose: St. Helen’s Hospital car park,
“I don’t understand how you can know how to hot-wire a car, and not know how to drive one,” Scorpius was saying.
“Shut up,” I grunted. Hotwiring a car in real life is a lot different from movie hotwiring- it involves a lot of fiddling under the bonnet, as opposed to sparking wires by the ignition. I was balancing the bonnet on my head as I leant into the engine, and then finally with a vrrooom, the car revved into life.
And before you ask, of course I was hotwiring the most expensive car in the parking lot. My logic is that they can afford to replace it. I swung myself into the passenger seat- Scorpius had apparently been taught to drive by his father-in-law.
“I bet that was a barrel of laughs,” I commented as we sped away, but Scorpius refused to talk about it. He seemed to block off all knowledge of the outside world, drawing in on himself- and me, I suppose. We were what mattered at this moment in time.
“Where are we going?” he asked instead.
“Get onto the motorway,” I told him, “and take the junction off which is marked ‘Fairview Caravan Park’. I have a caravan rented which is full of useful stuff. Hopefully.”
“Hopefully?” he queried, checking his mirrors to overtake a lorry.
“To be on the safe side, we should assume that the Aurors are one step ahead of us at all times,” I said, and Scorpius nodded in agreement.
“I see,” he said. “So they might know about your hidey-spots?”
“Exactly. I don’t think they’ll know about all of them- hell, I’m not even sure I could list all of them, some of them go back years- but it is a strong possibility.”
With some difficulty, and a bit of swerving, which caused a car in the lane next door to beep his horn angrily at us, Scorpius levered the wand out of his pocket. “If it comes to a fight,” Scorpius said, “I think you having the wand might be the best idea.”
And that, folks, is possibly the closest I will ever come to getting a compliment from Scorpius Malfoy.
We pulled into the caravan park not long after. It was old and dilapidated, the sort of place you come to by mistake. The caravans were uncared for and rusty, some had been parked up there so long that grass reached over the wheel arches. We slowly trundled past the caravans until I told Scorpius to stop. He killed the engine.
“Which one is it?” he said.
I pointed to a small low one with a pink dream catcher hanging in the window. “That one,” I said. The caravan was about thirty feet away, and around were plenty of other caravans, ideal for an Auror to jump out of and arrest unsuspecting fugitives.
“What’s the plan then?” Scorpius said.
“I’m going to get out the driver’s door,” I said, my brain working quickly. “I’m going to pretend nothing is wrong, walk up to the caravan, get the stuff and walk back to the car.”
“I see many flaws with this plan,” Scorpius said slowly.
I smacked him. “That’s because I’m not finished.” I passed him the wand back. “You will have a Disillusionment Charm on, and you will have my back. Hopefully, if any Aurors think it’s just me, then they won’t be subtle about attacking. If I get caught, for the love of Merlin’s most baggy underwear, don’t play the hero, just get out.”
“Why aren’t I the one going to the caravan?” he asked.
“Because any Auror with half a brain cell would work out that someone else is with you. They are probably waiting for me, James or Lorcan to turn up, not you.”
Scorpius nodded in agreement, his face hard. “Alright,” he said. He let the back of his seat down so I could shuffle under him to the driver’s seat and he levered himself over me into the passenger seat. I got a whiff of BO and stale clothes, and for the first time realised what Scorpius had done, taking me to the hospital. He’d taken a massive risk for me, and then he had waited for days with me, leaving himself open to risks and been massively inconvenienced personally.
If it had been the other way around, I’m not sure I would have done the same thing. It would have been tempting to leave Scorpius at the door of a hospital and run away.
“Don’t try to get caught,” he said suddenly. “You couldn’t help Hugo that way.”
I gave Scorpius a quick smile. “I wasn’t even thinking of it,” I said. “Don’t worry. I have no intention of going back to prison.”
I slipped out the car, shutting the door softly. The caravan park was quiet, the grass frozen where it was in the shade of the vehicles. I walked towards my caravan confidently, not bothering to look either side of me.
Not for the first time, I was utterly dependant on Scorpius.
I reached the caravan without incident, and carefully shut the door behind me, turning to the cupboards. I pulled a small backpack out of one, and started to fill it quickly with the necessary documents. Under the sink were the false IDs- passports and driver’s licenses. In a cupboard opposite were some maps, and- a lucky break; one of the old prototypes of the Marauder’s Map- I flicked the CD over to read: ‘Diagon Alley’.
In the fridge were a couple of Roxy’s concoctions- I’d have to check the labels later. I filled my bag with everything from tins of soup to packets of hair dye, and then, just as I was doing a final check, I saw a burst of light through the net curtains, which hit another caravan and it exploded. It rocked my caravan, and I lost my balance, falling to the floor.
“Crap,” I swore, keeping below the counters. I tried to peer out through the bottom of the door, but the frosted glass made the shapes outside dark blobs.
I instinctively ducked again as another jet of light sped in the other direction, causing another giant boom. I peeped through the window to see our car on fire, and I clapped my hand over my mouth to stop any sound escaping. Scorpius...
I picked the bag hurriedly and tried to open the door, but I couldn’t. Even when I shoved it with my shoulder. I took a couple of steps back and ran at the door, but the glass only shuddered slightly.
Outside, another caravan, the one to the right of me exploded. Breathing through my nose in an attempt to remain calm, I lashed out with my foot, hitting the space near the lock- but the door didn’t even crack.
My stomach twisted in terror as another caravan caught fire. I could see the Auror now, through the window. He was looking right at me. He was tall and well-built, with dark hair and a leather jacket. He smiled sardonically, and gave me a small wave.
Lazily flicking his wand, he exploded another caravan, this time to my left.
I ducked back down under the counters and opened a drawer. I needed something heavy to smash the glass to get out. I wasn’t entirely sure that this Auror would arrest me at all- it seemed a likely prospect that this caravan would be my fiery grave.
I couldn’t find anything in the drawers, and ended up grabbing the kettle. It was one of the old-duty hob kettles, but as I swung it at a window, it only bounced off, jarring my wrist. I dropped it with a curse, and picked up the toaster, launching it at the same window, but again, it did more damage to the cupboard it rebounded onto.
I was trapped, and it was a well-thought out, vicious trap. I stumbled as the caravan swayed- the Auror had leant heavily against the side.
“Ohh, Weasley!” he called in a high, mocking voice. “Are you a little bit stuck?”
“FUCK YOU!” I yelled at him. Sometimes, temper just has to get the better of you.
“Now now,” he said in the same annoying voice. “Calm down, or I’ll be forced to come get you before back up arrives.”
I forced myself to calm down, running a hand through my ponytail. If he needed back-up, then it was just him. If it was just him, then I could take him alone. I pushed thoughts of Scorpius away. If he was... gone, then I couldn’t do anything. If he was okay, then I still couldn’t do anything for him.
“What are you planning, missy?” the Auror’s voice had turned harsh and cruel. “You’re not going to get past me.”
Then, on the opposite window, the glass frosted up, as if someone invisible had breathed on it. I held my own breath. A question mark appeared in the glass. I gingerly stood, hoping the Auror couldn’t see me, and looked directly out the window. I tapped the glass with my fingertip and shook my head. The glass fogged up again, and another question mark, over the first, was drawn.
What should I do?
-Abner Carrow: the Ministry of Magic
With no daughters and only a bitter ex-wife who had remarried, Abner usually spent his Christmas holiday working. He didn’t have a Christmas dinner, he didn’t have a tree, and the only assistant who had attempted to give him a present one year had been promptly fired.
He told himself that Christmas was a waste of money, a consumerist celebration of trying to get one-up on your family and friends- but the truth was Abner had no family or friends, only colleagues. He had little respect for those either- the people below him he looked on as inferior, and the people above he viewed as obstacles to his own promotion.
His secretary, a pretty black haired woman sat sullenly behind her desk in the cupboard-like office opposite to him, stapling papers with perhaps more force than was required. Abner felt a perverse satisfaction in ruining her Christmas, as he reclined in his comfortable chair.
His fire crackled green, sending up a flurry of emerald sparks. With a wave of his wand, the door to his office shut, so he could only see his secretary’s blurred outline.
He turned to face the fire as a head appeared there. “Yes?”
“Good day, sir,” the head said. “My name is Ernest Macmillian. I’m sorry for the intrusion, but you asked to be informed on the Gringotts case?”
“Yes, I did.”
“I have just received notice that we have secured Rose Weasley, and we are awaiting a team to pick her up.”
“Rose Weasley?” Abner asked, slightly incredulous. His intelligence had outlined her role in the Clan as a kind of grease-monkey, doing the grunt work. He would have expected her to be one of the last ones to be pulled in, given her experience in the field.
“Yes sir, Rose Weasley. We suspect she was with another fugitive- possibly Scorpius Malfoy, who we assume to have killed.”
One down, then. Abner felt no pleasure, like he thought he would. It was similar to ticking items off his shopping list. “Avoid releasing that to the press. If it’s confirmed, I shall inform his family myself.”
“Very good, sir. And also, merry Christmas, sir,” the Auror said.
“Merry Christmas to you too,” Abner said, and the head disappeared. This Christmas wasn’t turning out to be too bad after all. Briefly glancing at his secretary’s outline through the door, it seemed like she had now found some paperwork to do.
Carrow picked up his personal phone, and dialled a number on it. It was picked up on the second ring.
“You’ve heard about the kids then?” the voice on the other side asked, without a preamble.
“An eager twat decided to blow up a pile of caravans in the hunt for them. He had an ID on Rose Weasley, and he now has her trapped in a caravan. The Aurors are on their way to the caravan park now, and so are my men. We’ll get there first, and sort things out.”
“You had better! And Scorpius Malfoy? What of him?”
“Think that was a lucky shot than killed him.” The off-hand, casual tone of the man only served to infuriate Abner further, his good mood gone once he learned of the mess that had been made.
“When I ask for the Clan to die, I don’t mean that I want you to kill them off one by one in an explosive fire-fight,” Carrow hissed down the phone. “How hard can the Killing Curse be?”
“With all due respect, sir, you are hiring me to kill them, and not doing it yourself. I will be personally taking care of the imbecile that found them, don’t you worry.”
“I hope the rest of this disaster is cleaned up as well, or I shall be forced into personally taking care of some imbeciles myself,” Carrow snapped.
The man on the phone chuckled. “When you want an undisciplined rabble to be caught, you use an undisciplined rabble, but you expect for it all to run as smoothly as your office? The Fraternity is doing all it can with limited resources and hardly any orders. We want to get rid of the Clan as much as you. If your spy could be a bit more forthcoming with information, we’d be faster.”
“You’d be faster if you didn’t blow up caravans. Make sure Scorpius Malfoy is dead, and kill Rose Weasley. Then find the others- quietly.”
Abner hung up and breathed deeply, pinching the bridge of his nose.
In the courtroom, as the ‘guilty’ verdict had been read out, he had thought he had the Clan exactly where he wanted them. He thought his plan had been executed perfectly.
And then all hell had broken loose, and the children had escaped.
His elaborate plan, foiled.
Now he had to rely on criminals like the Fraternity- really, they were no better than pirates. He made a mental note to shut them down once they had done his work.
He let his head fall into his hands. He just wanted the kids dead now, at any cost.
A/N: *ducks* please don't be mad! I haven't updated because of exams, but now my exams are over, I'm actually on holiday, and updating in an internet cafe. That is dedication, and love for you, my wonderful readers.
I hope you liked it, and reviews are always given a loving home with me.
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