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Chapter 5 : Monday Icks
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A/N: Everything Harry Potter belongs to J. K. Rowling.
The day began with a crash. Merissa closed her eyes in pain. She could not stop a few tears from running down her face and she only just managed to keep from crying out loud. She wasn’t an infant anymore. She sat up carefully, trying not to use her hands which hurt. Her foot throbbed. What had happened?
Her eyes narrowed when she saw what she had tripped over - Margaret’s satchel. She bit her lip to keep from standing up and poking Margaret with her wand. She bit her lip harder. She refused to cry. It would not help matters. “Milly?” she whispered softly.
Milly appeared with a crack that surprisingly didn’t wake the other girls. “Is Mistress needing something?”
Merissa nodded miserably, the pain was still there. “I believe I need to see Madam Rowan.”
Milly took Merissa’s hands in hers as she looked at them. “Mistress’ hands be injured.”
Merissa nodded glumly. What else could she have expected?
“What is making Mistress fall?” Milly looked at Margaret’s satchel left carelessly by Merissa’s bed. She pointed at the offending satchel. “Is that making Mistress hurt?”
Merissa nodded again. “I believe so.”
“Mistress is needing to see Nurse,” Milly decided, “Nurse will be making Mistress feel better.” Milly snapped her fingers and Merissa floated in the air.
“But I cannot go out of the room in my nightwear!” Merissa protested.
Milly sighed before snapping her fingers again and her robe floated to her, waiting for her to put it on. “Is Mistress ready to see Nurse now?”
“I suppose . . .” Merissa started, but stopped as Milly moved her down the stairs and through the common room. She remained silent as Milly took her to the hospital wing.
“Lady Merissa, whatever is the matter?” Nurse Rowan hurried over to Milly and Merissa. She settled Merissa on one of the nearby beds.
“I fell this morning,” Merissa answered, becoming more embarrassed about the entire situation. “My hands hurt . . .”
Nurse Rowan had already taken her hands in hers and was looking at them, “Only slightly sprained. That’s easy enough to remedy. Do you have any other aches?”
“My foot,” Merissa blushed as she admitted to the pain.
Nurse Rowan gave her a long look, “Lady Merissa, why are you embarrassed about pain in your foot?”
Merissa looked down as she replied in a whisper, “Because a lady does not show her ankles.”
Nurse Rowan pursed her lips. “Lady Merissa, look at me,” she waited until Merissa had looked up into her eyes. “In this hospital wing, all those silly rules you have been following cease to exist.”
Merissa was puzzled, “What do you mean?”
“In here, if you are hurt, you will be allowed to express that hurt,” Nurse Rowan clarified, “And it does not matter the location of that hurt.”
“Oh,” Merissa bit her lip as she considered.
“I also believe that rule does not apply to other women,” Nurse Rowan added gently, “and is more for when your skirts are longer.”
“I do not understand,” Merissa answered.
Nurse Rowan chuckled. “You will later. Let me see your injured foot.” She examined her foot carefully. “There are a few small fractures. You are lucky. There is a spell that will fix it in a minute.” Nurse Rowan pulled out her wand, pointing it at Merissa’s foot, “Episky!”
Merissa closed her eyes and shuddered as pain flared in her foot. She opened her eyes only after the pain had receded.
Nurse Rowan pointed her wand at one of Merissa’s hands, “Episky!” Before Merissa could react to the unsettling pain, she had pointed to her other hand and repeated the spell.
Tears leaked from Merissa’s eyes as the spell healed her fractures.
Nurse Rowan performed another spell that Merissa didn’t hear healing the sprains in her hands. “Very good, Lady Merissa, you will stay here for the morning until I am certain you are healed.” She pulled back the covers and helped Merissa get settled, placing the robe over a near-by chair. Before she left, she pulled the curtains around, blocking Merissa from sight.
Merissa sighed with relief, her hands and foot no longer hurt. “Milly?”
“Would you mind bringing me one of my books to study?” Merissa asked, “And my wand?”
“I is not allowed to touch a wand,” Milly told her.
“What?” Merissa tried sitting up, but Milly held her down.
“Is a rule,” Milly said calmly, “Is Mistress wanting a particular book?”
“May I have my transfiguration book, please?” Merissa decided to ask Alice about House-elves and wands later. It seemed like Milly was upset about having been asked to bring Merissa’s wand to her. “And would you please let Alice and Helen know I am here?”
“I is doing so,” Milly disappeared with a crack.
Another crack and Milly stood there with Merissa’s transfiguration book. Milly placed the book on the table. “I is telling Miss Alice and Miss Helen that you is here in the hospital wing. They is coming to see you before class.” She disappeared.
Merissa relaxed for the first time since falling. She picked up her transfiguration book and began studying the chapters they had covered.
Merissa had finished one chapter and had began to study the next chapter when she heard Alice and Helen enter the hospital wing and Nurse Rowan’s admonition that this was not the Quidditch Pitch and to lower their voices.
Alice peeked around the curtain first. “Merissa! Are you doing better?”
Helen peeked from the other side. “What happened?”
Merissa motioned for her friends to join her. They sat in the chairs on each side. “I tripped over Margaret’s satchel this morning.”
“Margaret’s satchel?” Alice frowned, “How? Her bed isn’t near your bed.”
“Her satchel was next to my bed and I suppose that my foot caught on a strap and I fell.” Merissa explained what she thought might have happened. Though she didn’t understand why the satchel was there in the first place.
“Curious,” Helen exchanged a dark look with Alice, “When we got up, there was no satchel by your bed and Margaret was still in bed.”
Merissa shrugged her shoulders slightly. “I sprained my hands and fractured my foot. Nurse Rowan used a spell to heal the fractures and I think she used another one to heal the sprains in my hands . . .”
“Episky?” Alice asked, giving Merissa a look of pity.
“I believe that is what she said,” Merissa shuddered. “It truly did hurt.”
Alice nodded. “How long are you here today?”
“At least the morning,” Merissa answered.
“So you’re studying transfiguration?” Helen asked, “Instead of reading a penny dreadful?”
“A penny dreadful?” Merissa frowned, it sounded like something her parents would not have allowed her to read.
Helen stared in surprise. “It’s a book about, well, nearly anything. I have a stack of them in my trunk.”
“I have no penny dreadfuls,” Merissa replied after careful thought. “I only have my class books.”
“More’s the pity,” Helen shook her head, “If you’d like, I could loan you one of mine?”
Alice interrupted. “We’re going to be tardy!”
Alice and Helen hurried away to class. Merissa shook her head, picking up her transfiguration book to continue studying it.
Merissa was surprised to hear Professor Tregoran talking with Nurse Rowan.
“One moment, Professor Tregoran,” Nurse Rowan said as she slipped behind the closed curtains. “Let me help you get your robe on.” It took a fair amount of work to get the robe on while sitting in a bed, but it was done after Nurse Rowan shortened it temporarily into a bed robe. Nurse Rowan looked Merissa over with a practiced eye and chuckled to herself when she saw the transfiguration book, a detail that the professor would not miss.
Then she pulled the curtain back a little for the professor to enter. He could see the tracks left by tears. It was evident that she had been hurt. He noted the transfiguration book sitting on the bed beside her. “What happened?”
Merissa was surprised by the concern in his voice. “I do not know, precisely.”
“I want to know what happened this morning. No prevarications.” Professor Tregoran snapped.
Merissa leaned back. “I awoke and was about to ready myself for the day when I tripped and fell.”
“Tripped over what?” Professor Tregoran demanded.
“Margaret’s satchel,” Merissa said softly, “I do not know why it was by my bed.”
“What else happened this morning?” Professor Tregoran continued to look sternly at her.
“I called Milly and Milly brought me here,” Merissa finished.
“Merissa has been here since before breakfast,” Nurse Rowan stated firmly, “She had two sprained hands and a fractured foot.” Merissa blushed once again at the mention of her foot.
“Why are you blushing?” Professor Tregoran snapped, “Have you been caught in a lie?”
Merissa glanced at Nurse Rowan, “I cannot show my ankle . . .”
Professor Tregoran waved off her explanation, “Nonsense.”
Merissa was beginning to become annoyed. She had told the truth. What was going on?
Professor Tregoran waved his finger at Merissa, “Don’t think that I don’t know about your feud with Miss Margaret. She tells me that you have been accusing her falsely. Tell me the truth!”
Merissa’s voice was barely audible. “I am telling you the truth. Milly saw Margaret’s satchel on the floor next to my bed. Ask her.”
Professor Tregoran pursed his lips. “I have already and she has said the same.” He took a deep breath. “Tell me what is happening between you and Miss Margaret.”
Merissa played with the edge of her sheet as she considered. Margaret hadn’t been nice to her since they met. She could tell on Margaret and get her in trouble, but wouldn’t that make her a tattle-tale? Another consideration was if Margaret was trying to be a friend, as odd as it seemed.
A memory of her mother comforting her after their visiting relatives had left abruptly. They were on the wide swing, barely able to move it themselves. She had wanted to swing higher and had been just as surprised when a strong breeze blew them off the swing! Her cousin had been in tears as she had run to tell her parents that Merissa had pushed her from the swing. Only Merissa’s disheveled appearance had kept her from getting into trouble, though her parents had given her a very long considering look. Her cousin’s family left with shouting and dire promises. She had been quietly crying that night when her mother had entered the nursery and spoke with her. “Sometimes, sweeting, when people really want to be your friend, their actions come out wrong. Give your cousin another chance?” Merissa had agreed, but neither her cousin nor her parents had visited again.
She blinked as the memory faded. Perhaps she would give Margaret another chance. “I do not know. Honest!” She held up her hands. “I suspect but I am not positive. I do not want to say wrongly.”
Professor Tregoran remained silent for a very long moment. Merissa had to force herself not to move while he thought. “Very well, I will accept that answer. Remain here for the day.” He quickly left the room.
Merissa turned to Nurse Rowan, “I do not understand.”
“It isn’t my place to explain. Would you like more books?”
“I am fine with my transfiguration book,” Merissa picked it up once more, “There is so much information to be learned.”
Nurse Rowan shut the curtains behind her, Merissa already lost in the book. She felt sorry for Miss Margaret who had taken a dislike to Merissa. Miss Margaret was going to be serving a detention for lying to a professor. And she suspected there would be lines concerning where her satchel would be placed in the future. She looked once more at the closed curtains. How would Merissa hold up under the scrutiny of the other students who would very likely believe she had told Professor Tregoran everything that had been happening?
Merissa finally had to put down her transfiguration book after another hour of studying. She felt horrible for not being able to understand as quickly as the others appeared to learn. “Milly?”
Milly appeared with a crack, “Is Mistress needing something?”
“May I please have my charms book?” Merissa asked.
“I is going to get it now,” Milly replied before disappearing with a crack.
Merissa sighed. Not that she’d be able to practice without her wand, but maybe she could figure out what she was doing wrong.
Milly appeared with another crack. Merissa was surprised to see her satchel. “I is bringing you all your books,” Milly placed her satchel on the bed, “Is Mistress needing anything else?”
“No, thank you, Milly,” Merissa was grateful that Milly had brought all her books especially if she would be in bed all day until Nurse was certain her bones had healed. Milly smiled and disappeared.
Merissa picked up her charms book. Even if she couldn’t use her wand, she could practice the motions. She opened her book to the Levitation Charm page. She studied each moving picture carefully, trying to mimic what she saw.
Nurse Rowan looked over at Merissa when she heard her muttering to herself. And saw her practicing a charm without her wand. She was pleasantly surprised at how hard Merissa studied. Merissa studied each of her subjects as best she could, reading and re-reading the chapters, committing the lessons to memory.
Nurse Rowan wasn’t surprised that when Alice and Helen came in during lunch, they had Merissa’s wand. “Milly said you asked her to bring it, but she can’t,” Alice said quickly, “She can get in trouble if she touches a wand.”
Merissa frowned, “Why?”
“Because she isn’t a human,” Alice explained as if it should have been obvious.
“That is . . .” Merissa trailed off. She really couldn’t say what she wanted. It wasn’t polite. “That is backwards.”
“Backwards?” Alice didn’t understand.
“Thank you for bringing me my wand,” Merissa changed the subject. It was difficult explaining the rules her parents expected her to live by while at Hogwarts. She was more than a little envious at the freedom of expression that Alice and Helen appeared to have. But her mother’s admonition about greener grass kept coming to mind. As well as her parents’ expectations that she would gain an excellent education making her more interesting during her Season, though it was still several years away. She still had much more to learn.
“What have you done today?” Helen asked, “Please tell me you haven’t been studying all day.” She exchanged a glance with Alice. “I should have brought one of my penny dreadfuls.”
Merissa’s lips twitched as she replied, “I haven’t done anything today except read.”
Alice rolled her eyes, “You were studying all day?”
“It hasn’t been all day yet,” Merissa pointed out. She motioned at the window which showed the noon day sun. “The sun is still out.”
“Oh! That reminds me!” Alice’s attention turned to gossip. “You will never guess what I heard!”
Merissa didn’t even try to guess. “What did you hear?”
“Professor Tregoran was very unhappy with Margaret,” Alice said in a whisper, “He kept her after Transfiguration class and I waited by the door for just a little bit. He wasn’t yelling at her, but he was talking very sternly to her about her behavior being unbecoming.”
Helen shook her head. “As if she’ll change,” She looked at Merissa. “I’m thinking this might spell trouble for you.”
Merissa frowned as she considered their words, “She believes I told on her?” Alice and Helen nodded. “I didn’t. I don’t know how to prove it though.”
“You cannot change a person’s appearance,” Alice said causing both Merissa and Helen to stare at her, “Oh! I mean, you cannot change a person’s mind.”
“True. My Father has dealt with many people who don’t want to change their minds,” Merissa considered.
“Well, do what he does then!” Helen quickly said.
Merissa shook her head, “I don’t know what he does. I have heard him complain about these people in less than flattering terms.”
Nurse Rowan cleared her throat, pointing to the clock. Alice and Helen gasped as they grabbed their things, said a hasty farewell and ran from the room. “I would suggest not thinking about what Miss Margaret may think or may do.”
“Thank you,” Merissa shook her head, “I do not understand why I am unable to make this wand work! It sparkled when I waved it that first day. Now it does nothing.”
“May I see your wand?” Nurse Rowan held her hand out. Merissa placed her wand in her hand. Nurse Rowan made several swishes and flicks, her frown increasing. “I daresay it isn’t your technique at fault.” She looked closer at the wand and her frown grew larger. “Continue practicing the motions, please.” She handed the wand back and waited until Merissa was absorbed in trying to get the spell correct. She went to her fireplace and threw a pinch of Floo Powder in. “Headmaster Peregol.”
“Is it important? I am slightly busy at the moment,” The Headmaster’s voice came from the fire.
“Dreadfully important,” Nurse Rowan said, “Please come to the hospital wing.”
“Very well,” Headmaster Peregol appeared in the hospital wing, “What is dreadfully important?”
“Watch Lady Merissa practicing her Levitation Charm for a moment,” Nurse Rowan pointed.
The headmaster watched silently, “Why is she having difficulty? Her pronunciation is spot on and so is her wand work.”
Nurse Rowan and Headmaster Peregol crossed to Merissa, “Lady Merissa, this is Headmaster Peregol.”
Merissa paused, putting her wand down. “It is very nice to meet you,” she waited more patiently than either of the adults expected.
“May I see your wand?” Headmaster Peregol asked. “Your pronunciation and wand work is exceptional,” he held out his hand. Merissa placed her wand in it, wondering why the adults wanted to see her wand. He examined it himself and tried several spells. His frown grew frightening as the wand did not respond. “Why were you given this wand?”
“Why did Mr Ollivander give you this wand?” Headmaster Peregol clarified.
“My wand was working before,” Merissa pointed out, “It had blue sparkles.”
“Look here,” Nurse Rowan pointed to a small spot.
Headmaster Peregol’s mouth tightened. “I see exactly what you mean, Nurse Rowan.” He took a deep breath before looking at Merissa. “I’m extremely sorry. This is not the wand that Mr Ollivander gave you.”
“What?” Merissa couldn’t believe it, “It looks like my wand.”
He pointed to a smooth section, “Mr Ollivander marks his wands in this location.”
“There is nothing there,” Merissa frowned, “Therefore he did not manufacture this wand?”
Headmaster Peregol looked pleased at her deduction. “Indeed. Allow me to take this wand with me and pursue what happened. I promise I will find out what happened. This is not acceptable by any stretch of the imagination.” He hurried out the door.
Nurse Rowan shook her head, sighing. She held her wand out, “Would you like to borrow my wand to practice?”
“I thought I could only use my wand,” Merissa was a little confused.
“Your wand will work the best for you, but you may use other wands. Though it is better to have their permission,” Nurse Rowan nodded.
“Thank you,” Merissa took the proffered wand carefully. Her face lit up with joy when she carefully waved her wand, said her spell and the pages in her Charms book began to stand up, briefly trying to float.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Please let me know what you think. Feedback is always welcome! Thank you!
A/N: Thank you to Aphoride and marauderfan for their insightful advice to improve my story! Thank you!
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