Chapter 2 : Healing in Hell?
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Chapter 2- Healing in Hell?
Notes: All the recognisable characters and ideas are J.k. Rowlings
Hermione could not determine why all she could see was black. It was not until she began thinking about it that she realist that she had only just come back into consciousness. Feeling numb and heavy, she slowly began to move around her limbs. Her head was aching, her brain pounding against her skull, and her body felt tired, as though she had been lying for some time. As she moved her limbs around once more, she had difficulty operating her muscles. Why am I this stiff? Surely I haven’t been out that long?
As she began to gain full control of her body, as it registered her conscious state, she slowly opened her eyes. It took some time for her eyes to adjust. As blurriness cleared, what she saw was not black, as originally expected, but a darkened bedroom. How did I get here? Why am I out cold in a random bedroom when I’m supposed to be fighting a war? Hermione sat upright at the thought. The war! What had happened? She couldn’t remember. Closing her eyes, she tried to see the past events in her mind, but the last thing she remembered was the incidental death of Lucius Malfoy, as she was searching for Harry. Oh I hope wherever Harry and Ron are that they are okay. Maybe they are here! With that thought, she jumped out of bed, much to her muscles’ displeasure, and began to walk to the door, only to collapse before she even reached for the doorknob.
“What the hell? What’s wrong with my legs? Up Hermione, what’s wrong with you?” she mumbled to herself.
Hermione spotted a chair not a metre from her and used that to prop herself up. Using the back of the chair she succeeded in getting vertical, and slowly she walked forward and opened the door.
Still walking very precariously, she found herself in a short hallway that had two doors on either side further down from her. As she finally got to the end of the hallway, she began to make her descent down the stairwell which seemed to open up onto a kitchen. Hermione, being naturally curious, had her brow furrowed trying to determine where exactly she was. Cream walls, small upstairs area with a hallway, and two suspected bedrooms and one bathroom; she did not recognize this place in the slightest. As she walked through the kitchen, mumbling to herself, she did not realize that a pair of eyes at the end of the kitchen were watching her with amused interest.
An ear-piercing scream escaped Hermione before she turned around and collapsed again, but this time more out of fright.
“Malfoy!? What the ffffffff… what the flying fiddlesticks! You just gave me a heart attack! What are you doing here?” Hermione yelled at Draco Malfoy, when she finally found her voice and had picked herself off the ground for the second time in ten minutes.
Draco closed the book he was reading and shrugged. “How should I know? Same reason you are I guess. I haven’t been told anything. They are supposed to be getting in contact with us once we’re both awake. Now that we can see you’ve graced consciousness with your filthy mudblood presence, maybe I’ll be able to get away from you and leave this place.”
Hermione scowled at his use of the foul term but said nothing. As she turned around to get a full view of the kitchen what he told her fully sunk in. “Hold on, get in contact with us? What did we do? Are we in trouble or something?” she asked.
Draco frowned. “What did I just say?” He retorted. “I don’t know, all the letter said that was laying on the table when I came down was that someone would be in touch with us to discuss the situation when we were both awake. I tried to wake you up but even screaming names at you didn’t stir you. I’ve been awake for two days now.””
Hermione stared at him. Two days? How long had she been out for then?
Fully taking in what he said, she narrowed her eyes at him. “Can I see the letter?” She asked, trying not to sound as suspicious as she felt.
Draco rolled his eyes at her. “Don’t trust me Granger?”
“Not in the slightest, hand it over.”
Draco merely smirked at her and tipped his head to the piece of parchment sitting on the table. After a quick skim, Hermione accepted that Draco was telling the truth.
“Seems accurate enough.”
“Funny that huh Granger. Even Malfoy’s can sometimes tell the truth.”
Hermione took this opportunity as Draco got up to grab something from the pantry to look at him. He looked awful. Skin paler than usual with dark bruises over his arms and circles under his eyes. What’s going on? Why does he look so sickly?
“You look awful Malfoy, what happened to you?”
“Seriously, mudblood? Have you looked in a mirror?” Malfoy scoffed.
“Yeah, yeah I’m ugly and all that bullcrap.” Hermione retorted.
“No seriously” he said, as he turned to face her. “Look in a mirror. No joke.”
Hermione frowned and turned around to see a small mirror opposite the pantry wall. As she walked slowly up to it, she gasped in shock. If Malfoy was bad, she was terrible. Her skin was a sickly yellow colour and her eyes were sunken in. Her face was hollow and her arms were also covered in horrible black bruises. She looked ill. She looked dead.
As she turned back to Draco with a look of horror on her face, she swallowed and spoke. “Malfoy, what exactly happened to us? What’s going on? Are we going to be okay?”
Hermione saw a look of worry and fear enter Draco’s usual cold and unnerving eyes. “Granger, I honestly don’t know.” Malfoy said with unusual sincerity. “But hopefully, now we are both awake, we will soon find out and fix it.”
Two long, uneasy hours passed and both Hermione and Draco had not heard anything. Draco was focused on the book he had been reading when Hermione first came downstairs, and Hermione was nibbling on a sandwich she had made from food in the pantry. The cupboard had been fully stocked, which worried her. Were they expected to be here for a while?
While trying to waste time she familiarised herself with her location. It seemed to be a cottage, but not as small as she had originally thought. There were four bedrooms, two upstairs, as she had expected, and two downstairs. A large kitchen complete with a dining area, with a separate living room where Draco was reading. There was also a small study just off the living area that had bookshelves laden with old novels that, if Hermione wasn’t so worried about her current state, she would be fawning over. There seemed to be a backyard also but she hadn’t braved going outside as it was freezing in the cottage already, and the snow outside the window was thick and heavy.
Hermione looked down at the sandwich she had been nibbling on. She had been eating the same small corner for the last twenty minutes, lost in thought. She could not remember how she ended up here or what the events of the war put her in this position. It was all a blur of distant memories and foggy impressions. Why was Malfoy here? She just hoped that soon she will get some answers.
As almost as an acknowledgment of her prayers, there was a sudden light knock coming from the foyer. Hermione whipped her head around and listened as the knock came again. As she got up with her wand stretched out in front of her, Draco met her in front of the main door with the same incredulous look on his face. “Well what are you waiting for Granger?”” he asked, “open the damn thing.”
She opened the door quickly to a short stock man wearing Ministry of Magic robes. Looking pitifully at Draco and Hermione, he introduced himself. “Mr. Malfoy, Miss Granger, my name is Dr. Harold Cartwright. I am from the Ministry on behalf of St. Mungo’s Unknown Disease and Rehabilitation Clinic. I am here to explain to you what has happened and why you are here. Would you mind if I came in to explain?” he said with a small smile as he looked upon two shocked and uneasy faces.
“O…of course. Sorry. Please come in and have a seat,” Draco said, as he was the first one to find his voice. Unknown disease and rehab?
Draco and Hermione followed Harold inside and led him to the living room. When they were all comfortable in the oversized armchairs, Harold began to speak again. “What is the last thing that you two remember, if you don’t mind my asking?”” he asked.
Draco motioned to Hermione to answer first. “Um...” She began, “the last thing I can remember clearly is the incidental death of ... ah … Lucius Malfoy…” She answered, looking everywhere but Malfoy’s direction, as she did not know whether he remembered this or not. If it had affected him however, he was doing a good job at masking it.
Harold nodded reassuringly. “I understand. And you, Mr. Malfoy? What do you remember? “
Draco looked uneasy. “I-I can’t be sure. I think it was to do with Gra-Hermione. I saw Bellatrix go to attack her and was running towards her… but it’’s all blank after that. I’m sorry to be blunt, but what has this got to do with the fact that we both look half-dead and are in this place? Where is this place even?” He said, a frown on his face as anger began to seep back in.
Harold looked at the both of them and sighed. “Well,” he began, “You are currently in a rehab safe house, I can’t tell you precisely where, but in England nonetheless. The reason you are here has to do with that attack Bellatrix Lestrange was aiming at you Miss Granger, and that you intercepted Mr. Malfoy. You have both been attacked with a curse that we are currently unable to identify, I’m afraid. But the repercussions that it had on your bodies were that of severe trauma. Almost a disease like effect, such as cancer, took hold of your muscles, and began to eat away at them.
Hermione looked between the short man and Draco with a look of puzzlement on her face “I-i don’t understand. How have they healed then, as we seem to be moving around relatively well, if not for a few falls. I don’t know what to make of this,” she mumbled, more to herself than to Harold, who was looking calm but uneasy. It was evident he did not like being in this awkward situation.
Draco was still trying to grasp the initial aspect, and decided he needed a few more minutes to mull it over. “Dr. Cartwright, would you like some tea?” He asked, getting up and making some before he even got an answer.
“Ah, oh um, yes please.” Harold said uncomfortably.
As Draco made tea for everyone, the silence was thick with tension. Hermione was curious to know more but was also worried about what it could mean for her and her future, as well as her friends. She hoped that they were no longer in any danger,
As Draco came back to sit down, he placed three mugs on the table and poured tea for everyone, motioning to Harold to continue.
“What you are not aware of is that you have spent the last two months in an intensive care unit at St. Mungo’s as we figured out just how to get rid of the curse and begin to heal you. We have been successful, as you may have well figured, but it has been a slow process. We had to rid your bodies of the curse to begin with, and then slowly start to rebuild up your muscle so that you would be able to function with everyday activ-“
“Hold on!” Hermione said, flustered by the great amount of information she had just received. “You mean to say we’ve been unconscious for over two months, sick in St. Mungo’s?”
“In a coma-like state, yes” Harold answered calmly, expecting an outburst. “You’re muscles are rebuilding themselves as we speak, they are nearly completely restored, but as you can see, it has taken a toll on your bodies. You are both here in this safe rehab house for a time to heal properly. What your body needs now is rest and to be kept away from any stressful situations. The situations in which your bodies were in while undergoing treatment were stressful environments, and the muscles took all health from other parts of the body to restore, which is why your skin is so pale and sickly. The bruises are from the muscles repairing themselves, while in a coma if you were touched too roughly bruises would spring up because there was no protection there.”
Hermione looked at Harold with a frown. “These symptoms will heal and disappear, right?” She asked.
“These symptoms will fade over time, like I said, you just need to keep yourselves rested. A mere precaution also is to keep you here until we find out what you had exactly. As I previously stated, we do not know what it is you were hurt with.” Harold explained.
“So how long to we have to stay here for? I would rather be at home resting than... here” Malfoy asked, face masked with confusion. He was still trying to come to terms with what happened.
Harold nodded. “I understand, Mr. Malfoy. But currently the world outside is not the best for two people in weakened states such as yourselves to be going back into. You both, however, have been healing at a remarkable rate. We are looking at minimum three weeks, maybe a month. Then we will come back and assess you to see if you need to stay any longer.”” Harold smiled kindly at the two teens.
Hermione spoke up at this point. “A month! A month is a very long time Dr. Cartwright. Surely there is something we can do to speed up the process. What about our friends? Can we see them, or write at least? And what about the war, who won, what happened there?” Hermione was becoming visibly upset.
Harold shook his head firmly. “I can’t disclose to you the circumstances regarding the outside world. It’s too stressful a time to be doing so. Closer to you leaving you will be filled in on what you have missed over the last two months, but until then, you are to stay in the dark. Your friends are allowed to visit, in fact Mr. Potter and Mr. Weasley have been trying to come and visit for the last week, but you have not been awake so it was futile bringing them here. They will not be able to explain the happenings of the war and such to you either. Same goes for you Mr. Malfoy, your friends can visit also. I know Mr Zabini has been asking about you. You may write as you please, there is an owl for each of you here.
“All of your personal belongings and clothing that seemed necessary are here as well as items that friends asked for on your behalf to be here. You have full access to the cottage and the grounds. There is an acre of land surrounding this cottage, with a garden and fruit trees out the back. The pantry will always be fully packed. There are board games and several bookcases on books also. Also, there is a television with many movies available for you. We put a protective bubble around the grounds though, there is a limit to how far you can go, for your own safety, of course.”
Hermione nodded in understanding. “Sir,” she said, “What about if something happens to us? Medically, I mean.”
Harold looked to her. “I was just getting to that” he said. “There are medicines available to you, potions for calming, exhaustion, headaches, and pain relievers. Expect some pain and you may struggle to walk on occasion, but after about a week it should not become a problem. Your skin and bruises will come right over time. If something major happens, tap your wand against the front door and speak the incantation salutem subitis, and someone should be with you within the minute.” He said as he began to stand up.
“I have explained all I can, the rest of your healing is up to you. It should not be hassle. I wish you the best of luck Mr Malfoy and Miss Granger, I will leave you to your own devices. I’m sure you have a lot of thinking to do. Any questions feel free to send me an owl. I will be in touch.” With a nod in their direction, he walked out of the living room, and the closing of the door was the last sound he made.
Hermione stared up at the ceiling, taking in all the information she had just received. She was sick, she had been cured, and she is currently suffering the after effects. So that explains why I’ve collapsed a couple of times today, and why I felt so heavy and drained when I first woke up. A week he said, I can handle a week before I’m better, then it’s all about resting up and letting my body heal. After much consideration, she decide that she could do this, and a month in a health rehab may be good away from all the stress of the war. But then she looked next to her.
She had completely forgotten Malfoy was even in the room. Things may be a bit more complicated having to heal in a house alone with him. Surely that’ll end in more injuries than what they already have. It was time to swallow their pride.
As she turned to him, seeing him having the same thoughtful look, more than likely considering the same situation as her, he looked almost human, almost…nice.
Ugh! Hermione! She scolded herself. This is Malfoy! M-A-L-F-O-Y. And he’s sick! You said civil, not crazy!
She cleared her throat softly to get his attention. “Hey, Malfoy” she began, “I think if we are going to be in this situation together we should try and act civil to each other, at least while we are still healing. It is not gonna do us any good if we constantly fight with each other.” she said, observing him for a reaction.
Malfoy just looked at her, before speaking. “I think you’re right Granger. We are not going to get any better if we are at each other’s throats all day. Truce?”” he asked, putting his hand out.
Hermione leaned forward and grabbed his hand, shaking it with a small smile. “Truce” she said and they exchanged a small smile before each looking away.
Hermione turned back to look at him. “I’m going to go and write Harry and Ron a letter, telling them that they can come visit. Just thought I’d give you a heads up.”” She said, as she got up and began to walk slowly out of the room.
She swore she heard a soft “Thanks Granger” as she walked out the door.
Author’s Note: Hi everyone! This is my newly edited second chapter J
I have made some adjustments to it and I have also had my new and amazing beta toomanycurls look through this and clear up any mistakes as well. She has done a great job! Lots of thanks to her! Make sure you go and have a look at her stories, they are incredible.
Any comments or criticisms welcome, so please review!
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