Chapter 1 : Chapter 1.
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Disclaimer: I do not own anything you recognize. It all belongs to JK Rowling. Also, the quote I used for the summary of this story belongs to John Diamond.
Amazing Chapter Image by RoxiMalfoy @ TDA! <3
As I sat in the waiting room of St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, I couldn’t help but feel a little nervous. I had been having a terrible pain in my back for weeks now and none of the pain potion from Diagon Alley seemed to be working. My mum had taken the day off of work to come with me to the hospital as support. As it was nearly September, dad was already at Hogwarts setting up his office and the Greenhouses, and my big brother Frank was at home babysitting my other siblings.
“Mum, what if it’s something bad?” I asked.
“We’ll get through it, love. And plus, you’d know if it was something serious, wouldn’t you?"
I let my mind wonder with that thought for a bit. I hadn’t told her how bad the pain had actually gotten, only because I didn’t want her to freak out. My mum liked to worry, so if I’d told her how bad it really was, she’d probably baby me worse than she does my eleven year old brothers.
“Longbottom, Alice?” called out a Healer in green robes. I stood up, and together my mum and I walked towards her. “Date of Birth?” she asked.
“Why?” I asked curiously. I couldn’t stop myself; I always had a bad habit of asking questions.
She smiled, “Just a cautionary procedure.”
“Oh, alright,” I said, “October 4th, 2006.”
She checked her clipboard. “Thank you. Now, will you please follow me?”
She led us through cramped hallways, all the time dodging other sick patients. Mum and I didn’t know what floor would have been appropriate for us to go to, so we ended up on the second, per the receptionist at the front desk. It was the floor for Magical Bug, but since no one seemed to know what was causing my pain, it seemed like the best option to come to this ward.
“Okay, we’ll put you in room 6.” said the Healer, walking into a spotless room. Mum and I sat down into the two empty seats by the window and the healer sat down across from us at a desk. “So what brings you here today, Miss Longbottom?”
“Well,” I started. “I’ve been having some pretty terrible back pain recently and nothing I do seems to help.”
“I see,” she said, scribbling something down on the clipboard. “Can you explain the back pain?”
“Er- well… It’s a stabbing pain, I guess?”
She looked up at me through her dark brown hair. “Could you be more specific?”
I looked over at my mum but she just nodded in encouragement.
“Well, it’s in the middle of my back and I guess it feels like I’ve been hit with a stinging jinx. It mostly happens at night or if I’ve been sitting or standing for a while.”
“Can you show me exactly where it hurts?” she asked.
I nodded and stood up. I pointed to the spot where the small of my back was, but she seemed to want to get a better look. She lifted up my shirt and examined it.
“Alright,” she said after she had a good look at it. “Well can I have you lie down on the table for me please? I need to take your vitals.”
I did as I was told, and soon enough I was being poked, prodded and measured. She took my blood pressure (whatever that was), my temperature, and recorded my hight and weight.
“Alright, Alice, I’ll go tell your Healer about your symptoms and he shall be in shortly.”
“Thank you,” mum and I said at the same time, and she left, closing the door behind her.
“I thought she was the Healer?” I asked mum who was flipping through an outdated copy of Witch Weekly.
“I guess she was more of an assistant. They are the ones who care for you while the Healers diagnose and treat you.”
“Ah,” I said. I was still lying on the bed, staring at the ceiling. The tiles up there were painted, obviously by little kids, but I still found it amusing. I wonder what I’d have to do to make one of those.
“Mum, aren’t those cool?” I asked, pointing up.
“They are,” she nodded, looking up from the magazine. “I bet Albus would love to make one.”
She was definitely right. My best friend, Albus, was an amazing artist. He was one of those people who was always very modest about their work, and for some reason was never able to finish a certain picture of the Black Lake back at Hogwarts. He would sit outside for hours drawing and sketching, but constantly claimed that it "isn't ready yet,". Whenever I asked him what was missing, he could never answer right. He would just cock his head to the side and fix something that I thought was already perfect.
I was brought out of my thoughts by a sudden knock on the door and I sat up quickly, ignoring the pain in my back as I did so. It wasn’t all that bad, just a few stabs here and there.
When the door opened, I almost forgot about the pain completely. The Healer who entered was the most gorgeous man I’d ever seen and he left me completely speechless.
“Hello,” he said, smiling. I could tell he found my gawking amusing because he blushed a little and smirked as he shook both mine and my mum’s hands.
“So, Katie told me you’ve been experiencing some back pain,” he said, taking a seat behind the desk.
Katie? Oh, yes. She must have been the “assistant” Healer.
“Yeah,” I said. “It’s been hurting for a few weeks now.”
He pondered this for a second. Merlin, he looked cute when he pondered… “And you haven’t been dueling, right? Haven’t been exposed to any weird potions?”
I shook my head.
“Hmm…” he said, looking at the clipboard. “Would you remind me what your blood status is?”
I looked at Mum for the answer because my blood-line was always confusing for me.
“I’m a Half-blood and her father is a Pure-blood,” she answered.
“So one of your parents is either a Muggle or Muggle-born, correct?”
“My father is a Muggle-born, yes.”
“Okay,” he smiled, scribbling on the clipboard some more.
“So which one am I?” I asked.
“Am I a Pure-blood or a Half-blood?”
He laughed. “There’s actually some of controversy about that. I’m the same way. My mother is a Pure-blood and my father is a Half-blood, but I’ve always considered myself a Half-blood. Even though it isn’t fifty-fifty, I still think if you still have at least one grandparent who has Muggle blood, then you aren’t a Pure-blood.”
“Thanks," I smiled. "My best friend and I always wondered about that, so who better to ask than a Healer?” I blushed after I said it. I sounded so stupid.
He nodded, standing up. “That’s what I’m here for! Alright, can you lay down on your stomach for me? I want to take a look at your back.”
I did as I was told, trying to control my body from shivering. His hands were freezing and since my back was pretty sensative, I was nervous for him to touch it.
“Alright, I won’t push hard, but tell me when I’m at the spot that hurts,” he said, with his hand on my back. He moved down my spine and when he got to the middle, I gasped. He jumped a little, apologizing. “It’s that sore?” he asked.
I just nodded, letting my blonde hair fall into my face. Tears sprung to my eyes and I knew if I spoke he’d be able to tell right away that I was about to cry. He put my shirt back down for me and had me sit up again.
“Alright, well I’ll tell you this; I don’t think your pain is magic related at all,” he sighed. “Since you’re in the Magical Bug department, I’m afraid there isn’t much I can do for you here. We are, however building another floor here at St. Mungo’s primarily for Muggle illnesses and diseases, and I’d be happy to refer you there.”
I glanced at my mother, who shared the same look of confusion as I did. Muggle department? How could I have contracted a Muggle disease?
Mum spoke up. “What do you mean ‘building’? How long will it take to be finished?”
“I’d say a few weeks to a few months,” he said with a frown. “I know it’s quite a while but it's the best option you have besides going to see a real Muggle doctor."
"So what would you recommend?" asked mum.
"Well," he said, scratching his head. "I honestly have no idea what is wrong with Alice. A Muggle doctor would probably be able to figure it out sooner, but I have to warn you that going to a Muggle hospital can be very tricky. You've got to keep a very low profile so that you don't get in trouble with the Ministry and you never know what kind of questions they're going to ask you there. If the pain gets too severe to handle, I would say to go for it, but it's really your call."
Mum looked at me. “Do you think you can wait or would you rather go see a Muggle doctor?” she asked.
"I think I'll wait. Lying to Muggles about our world makes me nervous." I said. "I don't know if I can handle the pain getting any worse, though."
“We can give you some pain potion, if you’d like,” said the Healer.
“Yes, please,” I said.
He scribbled down something on a piece of paper and handed it to my mother.
“That stuff’s a lot stronger than what you can find in Diagon Alley so don’t take too much of it,” he warned me. “Just take this prescription to the front desk and the receptionist can get you the potion. And would you like to set up an appointment for the Muggle Ward while you’re here? You’ll be able to get in a lot faster if you do it sooner rather than later.”
“Sure,” said Mum.
After we set up the appointment and got the Pain Potion we were finally able to leave the hospital. As I was only going into my sixth year, I wasn’t able to Apparate by myself yet. Mum grabbed my hand as we went outside, and then next thing I knew, I was being sucked through a tube.
“Ugh,” I said shuddering as my feet hit solid ground. “I hate Apparating.”
“I always liked the feeling,” said a cool voice behind me. I turned around to see my brother smiling down at me. “How was the hospital?”
“Oh, they don’t know what’s wrong,” I said, brushing past him and plopping down on the couch.“They’re referring me to a Muggle specialist.”
“A Muggle specialist? They think you have a Muggle disease?” he asked, now with a serious face.
“I guess,” I said. “It’s okay though. They’re opening a new Muggle Disease Ward soon so I’ll be able to be seen there in a few weeks.”
“That’s it? That’s all their doing for you?”
“They gave me pain potion, Frank, calm down; they’re doing all they can.” But I smiled as I said this. I knew he was just being a good big brother.
Mum sat in awe watching our conversation. I knew how much she loved how well Frank and I got on, but it never ceased to surprise her. “You guys are so sweet together,” she smiled, tucking her blonde hair that matched mine perfectly behind her ear. “But it is awfully quiet in here… where are my other kids?” she asked.
“The boys are outside and Bailey’s in her room,” said Frank. “Where else would she be?” he whispered in an undertone as Mum turned her back.
I giggled. He wasn’t wrong. My sister Bailey was a bit… different. She didn’t really like being around people and she was unnaturally quiet.
“Bailey!” Mum called up the stairs. Not waiting for her to answer, she walked to the back door. “Boys, come in here please!”
Owen and Dylan, my two identical twin brothers came running in straight away, but Bailey decided to take her sweet time. When she finally came down, the five of us were waiting in the sitting room.
“What?” she asked, stopping on the steps. She looked irritated about being bothered.
“I was thinking we could go shopping for school supplies today? I have the rest of the day off.” said Mum.
“Do we have to?” she whined.
“Your father is at school already and I won’t have another day off until this weekend. Would you rather wait for the weekend when loads of people will be there?” asked mum. I could tell she was irritated, and I didn’t blame her. Bailey had been so moody lately and was always jumping down everyone's throats. I didn't understand how mum could go so long without snapping.
“Fine.” She spat. “I’ll go get my list.”
Mum sighed. “I try to do something nice…”
“It’s okay, Mum,” said Frank. “I don’t have to work tonight; I’ll come with you guys.”
“Thanks, love. You can take the girls and I’ll take the boys. They need to get their wands and pets,” she smiled fondly, stoking Owen’s light brown hair. “I can’t believe my all my babies will be at Hogwarts!”
“Hey!” said Frank.
“Or out of Hogwarts; the point is, you’re all growing up so fast!”
We all laughed as Bailey came back downstairs. “Okay,” she said. “I’m ready. Let’s go.”
Living right on the outskirts of Diagon Alley really did have its perks, I though to myself as we all walked down the street together. We never had to travel like other families did and it was pretty convenient to have shops all around when you needed them.
“So, where to, girls?” asked Frank, coolly. By the sound in his voice you could just tell he actually enjoyed spending time with us. Since he’s almost twenty-one now, and he didn’t live at home anymore, it was really nice being able to see him again. He had gotten a job at the Ministry and ever since then we hadn’t been able to see him much.
“I need more potion ingredients and my sixth year books,” I announced. “What about you, Bay?”
“Second year books,” she shrugged.
I glanced at her list and noticed she had a lot more on it than that. I made a mental note to ask her what was wrong later on when Frank went back home. Time for a girl talk, I guess.
Eventually, we made our rounds. We had gotten everything on our lists and even got Frank to buy us some ice cream. “Anything for my two favorite sisters!” he announced, ruffling our hair. Bailey backed away, claiming that she hated being touched.
“So,” I said as we made our way back home. “Are you coming to see us off next Friday?”
“What’s next Friday?” he joked.
Bailey looked up at him, annoyed. “We go back to school, duh.”
Frank glanced at me in amusement. “Of course I am.”
We walked in silence for a few minutes after that, until Frank asked, “So how are you and Albus?” He said it so randomly that it caught me off guard. I froze for a split second and that was all Frank needed to know I was embarrassed by his question.
“Er- what do you mean?”
Bailey smiled for the first time in hours. “Yeah, how are you and your boyfriend?”
“He’s not my boyfriend!” I protested. Why did everyone always assume that?
“Sure,” said Frank, drawing out the word. He nudged Bailey a bit with his arm. “They don’t kiss, do they Bay?”
“I’m sure they do. They’re with each other all the time!”
I stayed silent and quickened my pace. I could hear them laughing behind me, but I didn’t care. Nobody could accept that we were just friends…
As soon as I got home, I threw the door open. “Hi mum,” I called when I saw her shoes next to the door indicating that she was somewhere in the house. “We’re home!”
“Hi!” she said from the kitchen. “How was shopping?”
“Good,” I said. “I’m tired, though, I think I’m going to bed.”
She walked over to me, with concern in her eyes. “Are you feeling okay?”
I hadn’t really thought about it, but my back was starting to hurt again. “I guess my back just hurts. It’s been a long day,”
“Do you want some potion?” she asked. I nodded and she went to get it for me.
“Alright, drink this and you should feel better,” she said.
“Thanks mum. Goodnight.”
She kissed me on the forehead. “Goodnight sweetie.”
As I walked upstairs to my room, I heard the door open again.
“Where’s Alice?” asked Frank.
“She went upstairs,” answered Mum. “Did she run ahead of you?”
“Yeah,” said Bailey. “She got mad because we said Albus was her boyfriend.” I could actually hear the amusement in her voice.
I turned red and ran the last few steps, not wanting to hear my mother’s response.
Shrugging off my clothes and putting on a nightgown, I realized how bad my back was aching. I felt rigid and stiff and every time I tried to move it, it would cramp up on me. Accepting defeat, I crawled into bed.
I laid there for a few minutes, waiting for the potion to work its magic. It didn’t take too long, which I was amazed by. I could physically feel the pain going down, but I also felt how ridiculously tired it was making me. I heard the muffled laughs of my brothers in the room next to mine, talking excitedly about Hogwarts and it was soothing. Just what I needed to fall to sleep.
Just as I started to doze, I heard my door creak open. “Allie?”
“What?” I snapped, my eyes flying open. “Can’t you see I’m trying to sleep?”
“I’m leaving,” Frank announced. I sat up quickly, feeling guilty. I didn't want him to leave thinking I was mad at him, especially because he was the only sibling I was able to relate to.
“Come here,” I said holding my arms open. He walked over gave me one of his signature tight hugs.
“You know I didn’t mean anything about you and Albus, right?”
“Yeah,” I said sniffing into his shoulder. “I know.”
“I know you guys are best friends. Just don’t get so worked up about it,” he laughed. “It makes me want to mess with you even more.”
“Shut up,” I joked. He let go of me and I laid back down slowly. “Just make sure you come to see us off on Friday… We won’t get to see you until Christmas.”
“I’ll be there,” he said. He stood up and walked back to the door. “And do me a favor, okay?”
“What?” I asked.
“Talk to Bailey. Something’s going on with her…”
“I was planning on it,” I said, thinking about how much we thought alike. “I bet it has something to do with a boy.”
“How can you tell?” he asked.
“I acted the same way when I had my first crush.” I said, thinking back. "Maybe a little less harsh, but I remember being a little distant and weird."
He chuckled, shaking his head. “Goodnight, Allie.”
He closed the door quietly. I could hear him go into our brother’s room and I shut my eyes again tightly. How is it that Frank can read me so clearly? I barely know how I feel about Albus and yet he seems to understand perfectly.
“I can’t think like that,” I whispered into my pillow. Al only sees me as a sister. Why should I ruin our friendship by trying to make it into something more? I fell asleep with that as my last thought, keen on never thinking that way again. If only dreams worked as the way your mind wanted them to…
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