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Chapter 15 : Giving Up
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This is an odd feeling.
I’m drifting in water, floating and it's so gentle... but I could be drowning. I don't know. Perhaps it's both. I understand and can hear everything that’s happening, then occasionally I feel as though they’re leaving me, the voices muffling and nothing clear to listen to.
Lily just came in. I can hear her crying.
It’s not that’s she’s crying loudly; in fact, I bet if it weren’t for the tears you wouldn’t even know. She doesn’t make a sound when she’s crying except for her erratic breathing. Sometimes I think I know her too well- but now I don’t think I know her at all.
She’s being so quiet. Please talk, Lily. I want to hear you.
Lily, I need you. You need to talk. It’ll help me.
“What the hell’s going on? Lily, where’s-“
His voice stopped dead. I wondered if he’d seen me.
“Ellie?” he whispered.
Albus had. This was worse; this was so much worse than facing my fear of him. Everything that really meant something to me, that really mattered, had been left unsaid... I’d never told him. We’d never have a first date, or a first anniversary-
This was dying, wasn’t it? I could think this without regret. This was death. Slow and completely painless.
It could be worse.
“We don’t know what’s wrong,” Lily said calmly.
I love how she curls her tongue around her words with that beautiful accent of hers. I should have told her.
“She’s fine, except she won’t wake up.”
I’m fine? I don’t feel fine. Everything’s numb, frozen. It’s like a Body Bind hex only I can’t open my eyes.
You can open your eyes under that hex, I’m sure of it.
But Lily... I am awake. I’m right here. I know I am, I just know. I want to talk, but no muscles are moving. It’s like I’m not working, but I know I am.
I hate this. What’s wrong?
James spoke. He spoke wonderfully, too. “I’ve owled mum. They should come at any time now.”
I’ve never heard him so quiet and serious.
By ‘they’ I hoped it was both his parents. Ginny and Harry would know between them what’s wrong with me.
Al didn’t seem to understand.
Internally, I sighed. He wasn’t alone.
“We don’t know,” Rose said, her voice breaking. “We just... found her. She was at the bottom of the steps to the Owlery, just... lying there.”
“Me and Scorpius,” she added, before Al could ask. “We were going to send a letter to his dad... it’s his birthday tomorrow, you see.”
I took that to mean they were finally together.
Something heavy dropped to the floor. It sounded heavy, but not breakable or as though it had fallen from a huge height.
It sounded like books.
“Coming through, coming through!”
Madam Patil burst into my hearing. It was strange; I hadn’t heard her approach.
“What’s that?” asked Roxanne.
Yes... what are you giving me?
“You can’t!” Lily said indignantly. “It won’t work- we don’t even know what’s happened to her yet, you can’t give her that!”
“Do you even know what this is?”
Of course she does. Lily knows everything and anything about potions. She started inventing her own years ago, for goodness sake.
“It’s the Syrup of Eden!” she snapped. “I know potions, and this doesn’t call for that!”
I felt cloudy for a moment and couldn’t hear what was said, but I fought back to the surface. It was a conversation worth listening to.
“It stops and restarts your heart, that’s what it does!” she said, letting my hand drop to the bed. “Don’t you dare even try giving that shit to her; you don’t know if it’ll work!”
Hold my hand, Lily. I’m in pieces.
You’re holding me together.
“Don’t give her anything unless you know it will help.”
Al had made his opinion known, too.
I don’t want to die.
“I don’t know what else to do. It might reboost her brain, give her the kick she needs-“
“Or kill her,” Lily cut in darkly. “It could kill her too.”
No. I don’t want to die.
“You’re right,” she muttered. “But I’ve never seen anything like this before.”
“Nor have I,” Lily told her.
There was a sudden collective jump as the door opened and a thunder of feet ran to my bedside.
I was pretty sure I was lying in the hospital wing.
“What’s happened to Ellie?” Ginny demanded as they stopped dead. She sounded breathless, worried... terrified.
“How could anyone have done this?” Al choked out.
They quickly counted the details they already knew as I began to drift away again... the drifting so comfortable, so easy to do...
“And you have no idea what it could have been?” Harry quietly said after a moment.
Harry, tell us you know. Tell me I can be fixed.
He began to pace and I could imagine they were all watching him.
“We need Severus.”
“Snape?” Ginny asked, a frown in her voice.
“Yeah. He knew the Dark Arts like the back of his hand, he saved Malfoy in the bathroom without even knowing what I’d done-“
“Your Potion’s teacher?” Lily asked vaguely. Her brain was thinking far too much, I just knew it. She’d had an idea, or maybe the stirrings of one. “As in Albus Severus?”
“Lily-“ Ginny began quietly.
“Where’s your Advanced Potion Making?” she demanded.
“I didn’t have it today, it’s-“ James started, caught off guard. She groaned.
“I had potions first,” Rose said, and the flurry of books was quickly replaced by the sound of Lily catching it, in her deft little Chaser way.
She flipped it open and sped pages through the pages so fast I was sure she knew exactly what she was looking for.
“Where is it... where is it... ah HAH- found it!” she suddenly exclaimed, and as soon as she had celebrated her voice died. “No...”
“What?” asked James impatiently, and I’m sure he snatched the book off her.
“No... Ellie...” she said, and I felt her hand on mine again. “Ellie, please wake up.”
“Lily, it’ll be fine,” James said, relieved.
“It’s been altered. I can tell.”
“But then we can’t-“ he said slowly, oddly strangled.
“It has. It fits,” she barely whispered.
What fits? Lily, tell me what’s wrong. Tell me, please. If you know you have to tell me.
“But... but Ellie-“
“Dad,” she said imperatively over James’ shock and the snap of a book closing, “I need you to go home and get everything and anything Snape ever wrote on Potions and their effects. You kept all his work, didn’t you?”
Her voice was not a question or a request; it was a command.
“Take it down to the dungeons, the potions classroom,” she said, a pause being her gesture to leave. “Now!”
Harry turned on his heel and ran out of the room.
“Roxy, I need you to go to the Transfiguration corridor and find the third suit of armour from the Great Hall on the right hand side. Jab it with your wand and say ‘Revelio’. It’ll give you an array of potions, but I want the black opaque bottle with the gold stopper. It’s pretty small, but near the front. Got it?”
That was her secret supply of potions again. I wondered what she needed.
“James-“ it was his turn for instructions “-you know how to get into the girl’s dorms, don’t you?”
“Go into my room, and under my bed is that wooden box mum gave me last Christmas. Take that down to the potion’s room, too.”
He took his turn to sprint out.
“I’m not leaving her,” he spat.
Thank Merlin. Don’t go, Al.
“I know,” she comforted sadly. “I want you to stay here and protect her. Make sure Madam Patil doesn’t give her anything.”
“And make sure that no one finishes the job they started.” Ginny seemed quietly certain.
“You don’t think-“
“Of course I do. This was deliberate,” she said.
But Lily knows. Lily is a genius. She’ll help me.
“Rose, owl your mum and get her arse down to the potions room. And you come down too,” Lily continued. “Mum, you can come with me or stay-“
“I’m coming,” she said determinedly. “I need to know what’s going on in your head.”
Suddenly, a body pressed against me and two arms wrapped themselves around me.
“I’m getting you back, Eliana Fay Wood. You aren’t going anywhere, have you got that? Keep fighting, and we’ll keep working. Hold it together, kid. I’m coming.”
She knows I’m awake.
And I’m fighting.
The door opened, and someone walked across.
“Your sister made Felix Felicis,” Roxanne said, stunned.
“What? Just now?” a bewildered Al asked.
“No. Get this- it was in her third year. Professor Gardner just told Aunt Ginny that Lily did beyond NEWT level, and they reckon she’s some kind of potions genius.”
“What’s Lily doing now, then?”
“Making some kind of restorative. She knows what wrong with Ellie but won’t tell us, and is making a cure. Professor Gardner didn’t even seem to know what was happening, and it worries me.”
Roxanne sniffed. “How can the potions teacher not know what potion she’s making?”
They sat in silence for a while until the doors were flung open again.
“Really!” she heard Madame Patil shriek. “This is no way to treat a hospital, with patients who need care-“
“Where the hell have you been?!”
Fred had joined us, but the second pair of feet didn’t have a voice yet.
“We’re hearing all sorts of crap about Ellie being thrown off the astronomy tower like Dumbledore and now she’s in a coma-“
“Well, the first part’s wrong,” Roxanne said sharply.
“But... she’s fine. Look at her, she’s okay- oi, Ellie! ELLIE-“
“Shut up!” hissed Roxanne, and there was a sharp slap.
“Ouch, you mad woman-“
“Fuck off, Fred.”
Al, don’t get mad.
“Go away. We’re worried out of our minds here, and we don’t want some idiot messing around.”
“She won’t wake up, that’s what!”
Please stop letting it go silent. It’s so suffocating.
“We don’t know. Lily does, though. She’s fixing it.”
“Why isn’t anyone else?”
“Because we don’t know what to do,” Al admitted helplessly. “We... can’t. Lily’s smart. She’s on it.”
Dom was the other one.
“Ellie, darling, are you okay?”
No, I’m not. Not in the slightest.
“Can you move?”
“Do you not think we’ve tried that? We’ve done everything we can think of.”
A gentle hand found its way up my arm, touched my nose and gently pried open my eyelid.
I could see her! Everything was far too bright, but Dom slid into focus.
As soon as she appeared, she disappeared again, along with the hands.
“How’d you know that?”
“Well, comatose patient’s eyes move, even if involuntarily. She can’t. She can probably hear everything we say.”
“Yeah. So don’t you dare give up on her. Don’t even think it near her; she’ll know and give up herself.” There was another hush as this announcement.
Note to self: worship the ground she walks on when I get out of this.
It must have been a day, at least. Al never left me, he just ate whenever anyone brought him food and changed whenever his brother told him he stank.
James was the only one, except for Lily, that really believed I could hear him. I knew it.
Some nicknames never leave you.
“-guess what? Lily managed to break through with the cure yesterday. Said something about unicorn blood or crazy shit like that.”
I giggled to myself.
“Mum got pissed at her this morning though. We’ve all been taking shifts helping her out, but she didn’t sleep at all last night so mum made her go to bed for a couple of hours. I don’t think she’ll stay there long.”
She’ll obsess until she gets it right.
“Oh, and its eleven thirty right now- in the morning. I should be in Herbology, but old Neville won’t mind if I miss a lesson or two. Actually, I didn’t tell him at all, but hey, you’re worth the detentions.”
“Well, you would be if I actually turned up to them.”
That sounds more realistic.
“And when you wake up- which will preferably be soon- I must warn you that I’m going to kill you.”
“Lily told me about you and her stealing back the Marauders Map without telling me. Cheeky little sods, you two are. Slightly ninja though.”
I could hear the grin. Lily and I had dressed up as ninjas two years ago at Halloween, cast Disillusion charms on ourselves and did silly things like spiking drinks and tripping up people we didn’t like.
“Halloween last year was hilarious. Do you remember when you managed to get Lucy so drunk she snogged Reece and tried to climb up the girl’s stairs only on the banister? That made me laugh. Or when Lily knocked Alex on her arse, and started dancing with her boyfriend and he didn’t even notice until she slapped him? I remember you were tipsy and very nearly pissed in your pants laughing.”
Did not. HE LIES!
“Erm... am I interrupting?”
What was Sammy doing in here?
“Nope. Just having a one way conversation with her.”
“Can she hear?”
“I think so. She seems to. Well, according to Dom.”
“Yup. She wants to be a Healer and is an absolute medical ninja. Do you want to be alone, or what?”
“No. I just came to give her these,” I heard the rustle of a bag, “and... is she going to get better?”
“Lily’s going to do her best.”
She didn’t say anything more, and walked out.
“Now, Eliana, I know lilies are your favourite, but be grateful, okay?”
He was mocking me.
“She got you some lovely pink pansies, isn’t that sweet?”
“James, do you want something from the kitchens?” Harry asked wearily. He gave the impression of aging three years in a day.
“Yeah. Blueberry muffins. And maybe chips?”
“You have odd taste,” Harry remarked, but his voice sounded less tortured and more amused.
“Love you too, dad!”
The door shut.
“Ah, he’s a moody git sometimes.”
“Yeah, he is.”
Al had joined us again; James had convinced him to have a shower.
“How is she?”
“Listening. I’ve never heard her so quiet. It’s great!”
“Shut up, James.”
He sounded so miserable.
“Look, mate. I know how you feel about her-“
“-fuck off, yes you do- but I know she feels the same way about you. She wants you to be happy, not some saddo loser that hangs around all the time. Just talk to her. She wants to hear you and Lily, not anyone else. Not me, but I’m pretty good entertainment and I believe in her, so she tries harder.”
He should have been in Ravenclaw. I’m going to worship the ground he walks on and all.
“How’d you know that?”
A soft hand was pressing on my chest, where my heart is.
Gently, two lips touched my cold ones. They pressed down for a few seconds, then parted from mine again.
“Her heart sped up,” Al whispered.
“Course it did, you idiot. She wants to snog you, she just can’t right now. Don’t give up. I’m not and Lily’s not- do you want to be the only Potter disappointment?”
I love you, Al. I love you I love you I love you.
“She’s thinking something.”
“What do you reckon it is?”
“Something good. She... I don’t know. It was an excited speed up, then. Like she was breathless.”
I heard a gentle pat on the back.
“Mate, she’s whipped.”
“I want everyone in here now.”
Something was happening.
Ginny sounded coldly desperate. It was chilling.
“Right, has anyone here told anyone? Anyone at all? Friends, enemies, said something at the table...?”
“Mum.” Lily sounded exhausted. “I’m going to put it right. I don’t have time for this.”
“We need more security,” Harry said quietly. “They’re still in here.”
“Well. Draco Malfoy.”
“What about my dad?” Scorpius asked defiantly.
“He was forced to do terrible things,” Harry summarized simply. “Now, I want all of you- and I mean all of you- to stay in here. No one leaves here until further notice.”
“What about Lily?”
“Kingsley Shacklebolt and Ron are tailing her disguised as students. Professor Gardner is overseeing the potion, and when I left her she was almost certain it could be salvaged. Ginny is going home, but Teddy and Percy are joining us. Understood?”
There was one angry voice, and it was not the one I expected.
“You didn’t ask me about that, Harry,” Ginny said dangerously.
“Kingsley and I decided it would be best,” Harry said clearly. “You’re going to the Burrow and I’ll inform you of the slightest change.”
“I’m not leaving her.”
The statement was clear and clean.
“That’s not up for discussion.”
“She’s my daughter, and she needs me.”
“I don’t think Lily needs you, mum,” James said quietly.
“Who said I was talking about Lily?”
There was a pause that followed this.
“Look, I promised Katie that if anything happened to her I would always protect Ellie and I’m not breaking my promise.”
“Ginny, you’re not an Auror. Only Aurors and Ministry officials are authorized on this site now.”
“You can’t force me.”
She turned towards and began to head over to me.
“Ginny, please go to your mum,” Harry said exasperatedly, following her. “I can’t be worrying about you as well as everyone else.”
“You won’t have to. I’ll stay in here.”
“Ginny. I’ll have to arrest you if you don’t.”
“Please, Ellie’s mine too.”
I wanted to cry.
“I swear I’ll protect her with my life.”
There was a long pause. I felt a hand on my shoulder, a kiss on my cheek, and she was gone.
“Right, everyone. Get cosy. No one’s leaving for a long time.”
James was holding my hand on one side, and Al on the other. The rest seemed to be pacing or discussing something in hurried whispers.
“Dad’s worried,” James said. I wasn’t sure if it was to me or Al, but he answered.
“Course he is. This means that... well; it’s someone in the castle.”
What was? Why were they here?
“Ellie, someone’s tampered with the potion that Lily’s been making. She left to sleep, and she did for about fifteen hours in which time the potion was guarded but someone got to it. Gardner reckons Lily came in about five minutes after she left to add some ingredient, and then went up to sleep. She didn’t, because I took her to Gryffindor Tower and she never went back. So whoever’s tried to mess with the potion has Polyjuice potion. That’s why we’re being kept in here- so dad knows it’s none of us.”
“That’s speculation,” Al added with a frown.
“It’s true though.”
“How’d you know?”
“I’ll have you know four of my cousins are in Ravenclaw.”
“Your cousins are my cousins.”
I would have grinned if I could.
“Yes, my favourite brother?”
“Tell me what’s wrong with her.”
Don’t. I don’t want to know, James. Don’t tell me, please.
There was a long pause.
“No, I don’t think I can. Lily’s keeping it quiet with good reason. No one will have any faith in her you find out. Ellie will get moved away, and Lils won’t be able to give her this remedy. It’s better Ellie stays here as long as possible, although I don’t imagine it’ll take much longer for Patil to work it out.”
“James, I need to know,” he said, more firm and stern.
An unfamiliar hand traced lightly over my hand. “You’ll give up on her, Al. I’m not letting you do that.”
The subject was dropped.
Dom, Fred and Al were at my bedside when she said it.
“The seeker,” Dom blurted out.
“Congratulations,” Fred said happily. “You’ve officially gone insane. Yes, Ellie is the Gryffindor seeker.”
“No, no! The Slytherin seeker- what’s his name?”
Fred didn’t say anything.
“You’re on his team, you dumbarse!”
Fred frowned. “Bole, I think. Michael Bole. Why?”
I finally had a name for the face.
“Didn’t he harass Ellie?” she demanded, speaking at a furious pace. “Tried to make her dance with him, and said ridiculously explicit things to her during the match?”
“Yeah,” Al said quietly and slowly, thinking. “Yeah, he did.”
“And she was defended, right? The second time he ended up in the hospital wing for a month, for crying out loud! Don’t you think that would be reason enough to side with someone who wants to hurt her?” she demanded.
I heard Al jump up and stride a few feet, but he reached Harry quickly.
“Dad, Dom just had an idea about who did this.”
He quickly explained about the match, and within the minute Harry had left Teddy in charge and had marched off to find the boy himself.
I drifted away, but I jerked back to the world around me quite quickly when the hospital wing door burst open, and raised voices echoed through.
“Now, what do you think?” I heard Harry command a pair of stumbling feet. “Do you think she did this to herself?”
“W-w- what- but I-“
“Keep back,” Al snarled.
“Harry, I think you should calm down-“ Teddy began.
It went deadly silent for a moment.
“He just called Ellie a name. That thing actually had the audacity to call her a whore. I have every right to be angry as hell, Lupin.”
“I’m her guardian. Practically her dad. Don’t mess with me, Bole,” Harry spat.
We all heard Bole whimper a little.
“Did you do it?” Al insisted.
“Do what?” Bole whispered.
“I don’t- what- what’s even wrong with her?”
“We were hoping you would tell us, Bole,” Harry said, slightly more calm. “And the cure would be appreciated.”
“But I didn’t do this- I don’t know-“
“Did you, or did you not, try to force Ellie to dance with you at a party where there was drinking?”
“Y-yes, I did, but-“
“And did you, or did you not, say explicit and inappropriate things to her during a Quidditch game?”
“And did you, or did you not, attack her yesterday?”
“No! I haven’t done this- I don’t anything about this!”
From the terror in his voice, I believed him.
They all paused, apparently weighing him up.
“Would you take Veritaserum to prove it?”
“That isn’t infallible, Harry,” Teddy reminded through gritted teeth.
“I’ll take it- look, I haven’t done anything to her, not since-“
“Ahh,” Fred said, a knowing arrogance in his voice, “did my message get through well enough?”
I tried to frown- what?
“You had five Howlers attack me! Of course I got the fucking message!”
“Howlers don’t attack,” Rose frowned.
“Dad’s new range do. They’re genius- they can bite, squirt ink, paper cut, and my personal favourite, spit fire.”
“You singed my hair!”
“You threatened Ellie.”
“I don’t care about her! Don’t you have any loyalty to your house?!”
“Don’t know if you noticed, mate, but Gryffindor is the place for loyal pansies-“ (‘oi!’ yelled five voices) “-and I’m a Slytherin. I’m all about greatness and that, my friend, was a great way of getting you off Ellie’s back.”
Oh, Fred, you badass genius.
“Are you sure it worked?” Scorpius cautiously asked.
“Oh, yeah. Bole wouldn’t risk his neck to get back at a fifth year. It’s not his style,” Fred offhandedly informed them. “He’d rather get to her emotionally- so it’s Lily we should worry about, as far as this guy goes-“
Harry roared, and Bole bolted for the door- not that he actually got very far.
After Harry had told Bole where to shove his fancy ideas of revenge on his family and Bole had to agree to his terms of never looking at Harry’s relations, close or extended, ever again, it was quite peaceful.
Scorpius and Rose took their turn at my bedside, and James told me the updates Ron had fed them about Lily.
“Lily’s invented a potion, been working on it for years apparently-“ I decided it was third year, when she first become obsessed with antidotes “-that cures... well, what you’ve been given. Lily told Uncle Ron that mum saw a story in a newspaper that broke her heart, and she’s been trying to right that wrong ever since.”
“What’s wrong with her?” Rose whispered.
“Not telling,” James whispered back, but quickly brought his voice to normal volume. “Oh, and Ellie- Chelsea says she wishes she could visit, but dad’s not letting anyone in or out, and she told me to tell you that she has amassed a huge amount of Sugar Quills for you when you wake up. Oh, and she’s got you some pink and white lilies, too.”
“It’s a gorgeous display,” added Rose. “It’s on your windowsill in your room.”
I smiled to myself.
Chelsea believes I can hear, and the others must think James is a lunatic.
It took me a second to reconsider.
He is a lunatic. Just a different kind of lunatic.
“I think Lily’s gone mad, you know,” Al told me after a while. Everyone had left except him, so he had taken Lily’s place next to me, holding my hand. “I love her to bits, but I think she’s lost it.”
She hasn’t. She’s smart.
“Then again, she probably knows something I don’t. She’s a genius, but a little bit nutty.”
I couldn’t argue with that.
He had sank into his own thoughts, and the silence was deafening.
“Can you hear me?”
Yes. I can. Keep talking.
“Talk, if you can hear me.”
I tried to pry my lips apart.
“Open your eyes.”
I so desperately wanted to see.
“Please, move your finger. Blink. Please, Ellie, please, just wake up.”
I’ve tried. I am trying. I can’t.
His fingers tightened around my hand, and I felt him gently stroke my cheek. Something cold splashed on my bare shoulder.
He was crying.
“Ellie, I need you. I don’t know why, but I do. I get why you avoided me, I get why you hate me- but I promise, when you wake up, whether that’s in an hour or a year, I’ll make it up to you. I’m going to right every wrong I’ve done by you, I promise. I just want you to wake up.”
I shouldn’t have walked away. I’m so sorry.
I love you, Al.
“Ellie, I’m in love with you. I need you. Please.”
Don’t give up, Al. It’s barely been two days. You need to hold it together so I can.
He didn’t speak again, but his clutching hand didn’t let go of my limp one.
“I’ve done it!”
There was a whoop, a cheer, laughter, screaming... but I was fading.
I didn’t know if this was even going to work.
A third year had begun this, for Merlin’s sake.
A fifth year had finished it.
What if it killed me?
“This will go down in history, you realise,” I heard Professor Gardner whisper.
“If it works,” James added in cheerfully. At least three people hit him.
Al was holding my hand.
“Will tell us what’s wrong with her now?”
I felt a gentle hand begin to lift me up by the neck, supporting me. My head was tilted back.
“It... it was tampered with.”
Lily took a sharp breath in. “The Drought of Living Death.”
A hot liquid trickled down my throat, and the darkness vanished.
A/N So, hi.
This is strange for me- I’m not entirely sure what chapter this will be, but you’ll have seen a few authors’ notes over the entire novel.
Thanks for sticking by me, actually. This is the first chapter I wrote of this book- spewed out onto the page in less than four hours- on the 9th January 2012; my first day back at school after Christmas. This is my first fanfiction, my first chapter, my first attempt at anything like this and I already love it. I hope you readers- not sure how many there will be of you- are enjoying reading it the way I’m enjoying writing it.
INTERESTING FACT ALERT: Eliana was actually a character created for an entirely different book of mine, one outside of HPFF. I have her in another novel as I type J
(This bit is normal-time GingerGenower: yes, I’ve edited it and stuff since January. ;) )
So yes, I have made Lily my own. I figured she’d be an ace at Potions (the gene skipped over Harry, unfortunately) and James would really come into his own in times of crisis. He loves Eliana like a sister, and knows her back to front. He’d believe Dom, even if no one else did because he blindly believes in things he shouldn’t.
This chapter is for Becca, who's given me six reviews thus far... and she hasn't even got an account. That's just amazing to me. Thank you.
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