Chapter 6 : six.
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“Okay,” I say eventually, Harriet stopping in her tracks and looking desperately at me. “I’m reckoning he’s probably at St Mungo’s. If we just get there we can reunite finger and-”
A loud crack resounded through my tiny flat (Merlin knows what the sound was actually bouncing off, considering the miniscule dimensions of the place) and Eoin and the blonde girl appeared, just behind the chair and the finger. Harriet shrieked, then placed one hand over her heart, eyes narrowing into a glare.
“Eoin,” I say wearily, “I said no girls.” The blonde (who had landed giggling) looked between me and Eoin with wide eyes.
“Who’s she?” she demanded peevishly, then looked over at Harriet. Her mouth dropped a little. “Harriet?!”
Harriet’s mouth, too, was agape as she considered the girl. “Freya?”
“You two know each other?” Eoin’s eyes sparked as he looked between the two, a smirk rising to his lips. “Say, you wouldn’t be open to a – is that a finger?”
I look up from the finger to nod at Eoin. “It is indeed.”
Freya looks a bit disconcerted that she’s landed in a flat with a severed finger upon the coffee table. Her gaze flickered over Harriet and I, confirming that we weren’t in fact missing any digits.
“Whose finger?” Eoin demands after a pause.
“Freddie Weasley’s,” Harriet begins pacing once more, as Freya lets out a squeal of alarm.
“Oh my Godric. You have Freddie Weasley’s finger. I’m near Freddie Weasley’s finger.”
Eoin runs a hand through his hair. “And why have you cut his finger off?” I blink owlishly at him, then look over to Harriet as she begins to root in the fridge, emptying ice cubes into a bowl and muttering under her breath.
“He was holding me as we apparated and splinched,” I realise what Harriet’s doing and pull myself up from the sofa, picking the finger up and placing it in the bowl on top of the bed of ice. We stand as a four, collectively peering into the bowl.
“Okay,” seeing as no one else seems to be offering services, I try to form some sort of plan. “We need to get to St Mungo’s. Is anyone sober enough to legally apparate?” I look around the faces, at the dilated pupils of my companions. Sybil’s mew breaks the silence. I sigh loudly. “I guess I’m in shit anyway so may as well return it back to its rightful owner.”
I offer my arm to Harriet, and jump a little as Eoin takes my other, and then the blonde girl – Freya? – takes Eoin’s other arm.
“I’m not missing this for the world,” she explains with wide eyes. Heaving a sigh, I close my eyes and concentrate extra hard on the destination, and with a crack the four of us and Freddie Weasley’s finger are gone.
“Is everyone still whole?!” Harriet seems to be frisking herself, patting herself up and down, extending her arms and legs out to check for missing parts. Due to the absence of searing pain, I gather I’m intact and roll my eyes at her theatrics.
Striding towards the receptionist, bowl and finger clutched before me, I’m suddenly faced with a bustling crowd. Due to the magnitude of cameras and loud, shouting voices, I guess they’re reporters. Their focus soon becomes clear.
“Miss, miss, can you tell us the whereabouts of Freddie Weasley?”
“-I’m family, where is he-”
“-Llewyllen ward? Covered in blood-”
“Is he stable?! Will he survive?”
“Um, excuse me,” I say hesitantly, tapping a reporter on the shoulder. He glances back, briefly, then tries to push through the surge. “Coming through. I’m holding a bowl with a finger in it. Please move.”
Then someone catches my elbow; I glance back, surprised to see Freya. Flicking her blonde hair over her shoulder, she clears her throat a little.
“EXCUSE ME, COMING THROUGH!”
I wince at the sheer volume of her tone, catch Harriet’s flabbergasted look. Meanwhile, Freya’s elbows jab into sides, her hip slamming into reporters.
“EXCUSE ME, FINGER COMING THROUGH – SEVERED FINGER OF FREDDIE WEASLEY, COMING THROUGH! OI, OUT THE WAY, KNOBBER – OUT THE WAY!”
A pathway begins to form, everyone spinning around to the source of the noise. Then a camera raises and I squint and nearly stumble in the glare of the flash. But Freya presses on, propelling me through the crowd, right up to the desk where I’m able to put the bowl on the desk and look at the receptionist.
“Um, hello there. We seem to have acquired Freddie Weasley’s finger.”
She gazes at me with an uncomprehending stare, then glances into the bowl. Recoils at the sight of the missing digit. “Right. Okay. I think you’d best follow me. And – uh, bring it. Leanne, cover the desk.”
Leanne moves to cover the desk, her gaze settling into a pissed off one as she looks at the reporters and starts what seems to be a memorised spiel; “no, I cannot reveal personal details of patients. We have no statement at this time.”
Meanwhile the finger and its entourage follow the blonde receptionist, her blonde pony tail bobbing with each step. Freya trotted behind, bright eyed, hand still on my elbow until I glance at her. Harriet strides purposefully, and Eoin lopes along looking amused.
We turn through corridors, the reporters held at bay behind us, the doors shutting their calls out. We walk for what seems like an age, though it may be due to the dread that was building in my stomach as we went further into the hospital.
Then we round yet another white washed corner, and the receptionist stops as we hit a wall of Weasleys. Harriet audibly gulps, and Freya squeaks in what I assume is excitement. They’re all talking amongst themselves, the youngsters laughing and joking, the elders looking mostly bemused. A Healer stands amid them, speaking to a tall, ginger haired man, and a shorter woman; presumably Freddie’s parents.
The receptionist clears her throat and beckons the Healer over. She bustles over with a confused frown, and I’m propelled forwards by Harriet, bowl outstretched.
The Healer glances into the bowl, then looks at me. “You brought it back?” she asks in surprise.
“Well, yeah,” simultaneously we peer into the bowl, at the rapidly melting ice.
“We can just re-grow bones,” I peer at her, uncomprehending for a moment.
“He’s got a new finger?” the conversation is attracting attention, some of the Weasleys glancing over. Then I recognise Ronan, and he recognises me, and steps over.
“What’s going on – is that his finger?” his Irish accent becomes more pronounced as he looks into the bowl.
“Uh-huh,” I nod assent. “Though they grew him another one.” The Healer prises the bowl from my grasp, then looks amusedly at me.
“I assume you’re Evangeline. Frederick was asking for you.”
I look at Ronan in surprise, watch his eyes darken for the slightest moment before he shrugs.
“Go on in,” the Healer urges. “He needs a little support and love.” She smiles, pats my shoulder and winks in a knowing way. I open my mouth to protest, but am shoved forwards by Harriet.
“Yeah, go on, Evie!” I hear the anticipation in her voice, shoot a glare of my shoulder, and then am swept through the gathered Weasleys into Freddie Weasley’s hospital room.
It doesn’t feel like a hospital room. Bright pictures on the wall, cheerful curtains and a wide bed. Freddie was talking quietly to the woman who’d been speaking to the Healer outside, her hand resting protectively on his shoulder.
I stand awkwardly for a moment, before the woman notices my presence and nudges Freddie. He turns, then immediately the crooked smile is on his face. The woman rolls her eyes and gets up, gathering her handbag.
“I’ll leave you two to it,” she murmurs, patting his hand before leaving the room. The door clicks quietly shut behind her as she leaves.
The silence fills the room, but he makes no attempt to break it. Just lies in his bed, watching me.
“Soo,” I say eventually, to fill the gaping hole. “I brought your finger.”
He lifts up one hand and waggles the presumably new finger, though it’s obscured by a bandage.
My teeth rake over my lower lip. “Are you okay? I’m really sorry.”
“Good as new,” his voice is low and smooth, dark eyes alight with a spark of amusement. “Though you may be in a little trouble for apparating inebriated.”
I wince, thinking of the fine. The fine that will go unpaid. “Eh, it’ll be fine,” I wave one hand as if batting the problem away. “At least it wasn’t your head or any vital organ.”
Subconsciously my eyes flicker to the duvet. Freddie sees it, eyes glinting as my cheeks flush red.
“My friend Harriet thinks you have nice nails.”
“I’m no manicure critique, but they’re passable.”
“Evangeline,” my name rolls around his mouth like it’s a wine and he’s a connoisseur. “I do believe you owe me a favour. Compensation, for the emotional impact.”
I nod, “fair enough.”
He leans back, and it’s only then I realise he’d been leaning towards me. Now he looks at me for a long while, considering. His eyes are dark and his eyelashes flutter over his cheeks when he blinks. Goodness, he’s attractive. “One date. Just one.”
I blink, breaking from my stupor. Freddie Weasley, asking me out. Harriet was going to murder me. “Um – I’m flattered, really, but I’m sorry-”
“Would you prefer the Magical Enforcement Department? Your boyfriend-”
“Are you blackmailing me?” I blink at him in an owlish way normally attributed to Harriet.
“I prefer persuasion. I can get you off all charges-”
I scoff in disbelief. This was the law.
Freddie raises one eyebrow. “Weasley’s a powerful name to wield,” he informs me, and I’m looking at his lips and the way they quirk in the self assured half smirk as if he already knows my answer, as if this is all just formalities.
“Excellent. I’ll owl you.”
The four of us, Freya and Eoin and Harriet and I stand in my tiny flat, all gathered in the kitchen slash living room with mugs of sugary tea. Harriet raises the issue of sleeping places, her and Freya having exhausted themselves of the endless chatter about how lucky I was, how honoured.
Eoin glanced over at me, shuffled a little closer and leaned in to whisper in my ear; “your bed’s awfully comfortable.”
I roll my eyes, pull away from him and head over to the bedroom. “The sofa folds out into a bed. Someone come into mine if you want. Sort yourselves out.”
I pause at the doorway and turn around, pointing a finger at Freya and Eoin. “And no sex on the sofa bed. The springs squeak something mad and I am too tired for that shit.”
Harriet snorts into her mug, Freya blinks in shock and Eoin just smirks my way. “Whatever you say, sweetheart.”
AN: so, the sixth chapter! any thoughts or opinions? favourite characters? thank you all so much for the lovely feedback, especially cirque du freak who is officially one of my new favourite people. yay!
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