Chapter 11 : Of Heart Matters and Hospital Wings.
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Yaxley quickly withdrew his paper after he had munched on a bit of toast, eyes surveying the headlines, a smirk flitting to his lips.
“Yaxley,” I said softly, gaining his attention, “who do you think killed that McKinnon family?”
I saw his smirk deepen, “Whoever did was doing this world a favor, they’re a bunch of filthy mudblood lovers, also I heard they were in some sort of group, trying to take down our beloved Dark Lord.”
I could hear the pride in his words, Yaxley was entirely sold out to the cause and that sent a chill through my body. An entire family murdered. I could understand why, at least to an extent, any who stood in the Dark Lord’s way were easily disposed of. I wasn’t sure I believed enough in the cause of pureblood hierarchy and rich bloodlines to kill others, but if our elders felt that was the way to secure our position then I had no choice but to agree. A mere seventeen year old could do little to change that.
“Come now, Yaxley, those matters don’t concern Claire. We’ll discuss them this evening at our meeting,” Evan said jovially, sending a wink towards Yaxley who nodded and turned away to engage the company of the lady to his right.
“I certainly think I have every right to know about those preserving our bloodlines, Evan,” I huffed, turning to face him.
Evan seemed a bit put off by my defensive attitude towards him; I could tell people didn’t often oppose him.
“Is that so, darling?” His expression hardened, a sickly sweet smile enveloping his face.
“Would you like to hear about the times I’ve watched the others torture someone for information? Or the moments where I’ve been the one to torture. Because I can assure you, it’s quite thrilling to feel the power coursing through ones veins, it’s almost as if your blood is humming,” Evan’s eyes laid intently on mine through his description.
I swallowed thickly, a chill racing down my spine and my whole body felt like it was dowsed in cold water. As curious as I was about what a Death Eater’s life looked like, I found I had little appetite to truly know. I had seen enough from my father this summer, and everything within in me strived to remember the once less dark Evan.
I remembered a summer or two back where he had snuck some firewhiskey at a rather drab coming out for a Black relative and we had all drank and played rousing games of truth or dare. I remember the way his laughs echoed in the tall ceiling mansion and I wondered quietly just where that boy had gone.
I pitied Evan Rosier.
I reached forward and grabbed his hand placed on the table, eyes softened, “No, dear, I suppose I don’t.”
His expression softened briefly and I suppose I caught a glimpse of guilt wash over him, but instantly it hardened back to anger.
“Good, it doesn’t concern you,” He returned to his breakfast, moving his hand from mine.
I sighed looking up at the Slytherin table now, noting the worn and angry looks on many of the boy’s faces. It’s like we all knew our time was coming, soon we would be thrust into the front lines of all of the mess our parents were advocating and whether we all stood for what they stood for or not, we would have to play our parts.
I noted Regulus sitting a couple of people down, his eyes glued to the prophet headlines and the faintest frown etched on them as if he was displeased. He looked up feeling someone’s gaze on him and I quickly looked towards my plate cheeks burning and began to pick at my poached eggs hoping he hadn’t seen me.
Darkness was stirring and yet my cursed heart was bothered with other matters.
The weeks were going quite quickly now, Quidditch was the only thing taking anyone’s mind off of school and a looming darkness these days, but it seemed the Slytherin team cared little for the cup this year. They had lost their matches against Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, while Hufflepuff soared on with Anabelle back on the team. They were dominating after their lose to Slytherin.
Evan met more and more frequently with his mates, I was very sure they were discussing their role in these times and probably puffing each other up for good measure. With little to do without Evan and Anabelle’s insane Quidditch practice schedule I had decided to become a woman of my word and serve in the Hospital Wing. In my monthly writings to my mother I had given the excuse that it would help me play a part in our great time of need for the Death Eaters, I could help in healing them to go and do more for our cause. I couldn’t tell if her absent-mindedness with my father led her to acceptance or if she really believed I could be of service.
Often Madam Promfrey let me treat minor injuries from various classroom accidents with ease and even the occasional Quidditch injury as well. With the muggleborns I tried my best to never actually touch them, but I fixed them up all the same. I was hardly sadistic enough to let them suffer.
It was a cool evening in early November, but the Hospital Wing had been buzzing that evening. A couple of younger ones had gotten in a scuffle and decided to use their newly learned DADA skills on one another resulting in a couple of broken bones and various injuries. Also a bit of the flu had been going around so several students laid moaning and generally asking for their mothers. Madam Promfrey was rustling around quickly when we heard a commotion at the door. I turned from the patient I was helping, just administering a couple of calming draughts to ease the discomfort from the healing work, to watch Barty Crouch Jr. and a gaggle of Slytherins come through the door. Avery was supporting someone and with a sinking realization I noted that it was Regulus.
I rushed up to them, as did Promfrey, who had begun questioning them, and directed them to lay him down on the closest bed. Evan surged forward now, his face set in disgust at Regulus.
“All right, lads, we dropped him off. Let’s leave,” He turned brusquely, hardly giving me a glance, and all of the other boys followed suit ignoring Promfrey’s questioning and demand for answers.
I looked over to Regulus and saw with relief the light rise and fall of his chest to indicate his breathing, his eyes were cracked open only slightly which meant he wasn’t knocked out.
“Oh, dear. We’ve got a busy place here tonight, I’ll begin to attend to him quickly,” muttered Promfrey as she bustled over to Regulus.
A couple of beds over a student cried out in pain, arching up and doubling over, Promfrey looked torn and frazzled and suddenly I found myself speaking.
“I’ll take care of Regulus here Madam Promfrey, I don’t mind,” I said quickly, looking down at his form.
“All right, that would be a great help Miss Nott. I warn you though, you may have to stay here over night if you take him on,” She said questioningly, although I saw the pleading for help in her eyes.
“I don’t mind,” I said with a light smile, moving to sit in the chair next to Regulus’s bed and beginning to shift him for an examination.
She seemed pleased with this answer and moved off to attend to the other patients. As I moved Regulus’s back to lie flat on the bed I heard him suck in a tight breath and watched him jaw tighten.
“Don’t worry, we’ll have you looked over and comfortable quickly,” I said soothingly, touching his arm.
I watched his eyes slide over to where I was touching and instinctively I flinched. I straightened out his legs finally and then drew my wand from my robe pocket. I lifted my wand over his chest and I felt the magic in me surge forward. A thin blue light cast over his torso and after a few moments with a flick a piece of parchment flew out from my wand. I grabbed it and examined the results.
“It seems you have a cracked rib, a couple of large wounds on the torso and upper leg, and possibly a concussion,” I sad reading off in a monotone manner, I wouldn’t let myself be shocked.
I walked off and went to the Hospital Wing storeroom grabbing the various potions needed to take care of him along with a pair of clean pajamas. I set the potions at his bedside and proceeded to lift his upper half up, moving the pillows to create a rest. I could feel the heat rolling off of his skin, and it made me blush. I wouldn’t let Regulus deter me from my job.
“Take these, but this one first as it’ll interact harshly with the others if not taken in the right order,” I said softly, picking up a swirling blue vial.
I saw his eyes open a bit more, and lamely he lifted his arm to take the vial from me but with a wince of pain he could hardly reach my elbow. I sighed and uncorked the vial and brought it to his lips, slowly I tilted it and he gulped slowly sighing.
It was strange seeing Regulus so helpless. His face scrunched in disgust at the liquid passing through his throat and I giggled softly. Merlin, I’m giggling. What in blimey hell is wrong with me. Regulus’s lips upturned in a small smile, and I brought the second vial to his lips and shot it back quickly and watched his face scrunch even more. I smiled. As I reached for the next vial he caught my arm and took the last one, uncorking it and shooting it back. He sighed, discarding the vial and leaning back.
His skin was looking less pale now, and his breathing seemed much more normal. After a few moments he opened his eyes, their cold gray looking forward determinedly. He started to look angry and I shifted uncomfortably, his eyes now flitting to me.
“You’ll need to shower next, the water here is charmed to take away any pain, almost like a muscle relaxer. We have pajamas for you, you will be staying over night,” I said quickly, reciting the words Pomfrey had said a handful of times for the more injured students.
Regulus nodded curtly and moved to get up, he stumbled forward a bit and I reached out quickly to catch him. I pulled him up and draped his arm around my shoulder.
“I’ll help you get to the shower, you won’t be strong enough to walk there yourself,” I said calmly, my cheeks flushed with heat.
Regulus sighed deeply but let me help and I escorted him over to the men’s bathroom area. I helped him make it to the shower area where he could lean against the wall.
“I’ll go grab your clothes,” I muttered, shuffling off to retrieve them from his hospital bedside table.
When I came back with the standard white pajamas from the hospital wing in hand, Regulus was pulling his plane white undershirt over his head giving anyone nearby a rather wonderful view of his chest and abs.
I felt my cheeks burn and Regulus looked up to regard me.
“Getting a good look, Nott?” He called teasingly, his voice strained and his arm the only thing holding him up.
I grimaced and moved closer, placing his pajamas on a bench nearby.
“Sod off, Black. Here are your pajamas, the shower should help standing on your own more manageable, come straight back to the bed after you’re done,” I said quickly, staring determinedly at his eyes.
He smirked a bit, and I huffed. Obviously he was in much better spirits, yay.
I went back out to the ward to assist Pomfrey and let her know of Regulus’s condition. She was administering a calming potion to get the majority of the Hospital Wing to sleep. After about ten minutes Regulus came staggering back in, his dark hair wet and clinging to his forehead.
“Dear, you’ll have to manage to wake Mister Black up every couple of hours this evening to make sure there is no lasting damage in light of the concussion. You may take the small cot in my office to nap on if you’d wish,” Pomfrey said quickly, an evidence of how drained she was becoming obvious.
I nodded and padded over to Regulus as he went to get settled, I helped him lean back easily on to the pillows.
“Are you feeling any better?” I inquired lightly, arching a brow as I pulled the covers over his form.
“Much,” He answered, his voice still sounding scratchy, “Thank you, Nott.”
“Don’t thank me yet, Black. I’ll have to come by every couple of hours to wake you to make sure there’s no lasting damage to your pretty little head,” I said swiftly, clearing the vials from earlier from his bedside.
“You think my head is pretty, Nott?” He said shifting to look at me, his gray eyes twinkling up at me.
I scowled deeply; flinging the vials into the nearest bin, “See you in a couple of hours Black.”
I went back to the storeroom and retrieved a pair of white linen pajamas that the patients wore and slipped into them before retreating to Pomfrey’s office to her small cot. While the bed was largely uncomfortable, I managed to catch a small nap before the tiny timetable buzzed for me to check on Regulus and even the other patients.
I got up groggily and stumbled a bit to Regulus’s bed. I decided the best way to wake him would be to annoy him so I started to poke his chest.
“Regulus, Reeeeegulus, Reguluuuuuuuuuuus,” I murmured softly.
“Bloody hell, Nott. Pomfrey told you to wake me, not provoke me to murder,” Regulus hissed, opening his eyes slowly swatting at my hands.
I giggled again. Merlin, what in Salazar’s name is wrong with me. I’m some dim little swooning girl now.
“Tell me, Reg old friend,” I started jovially, admittedly suprised at my delusional behavior from the lack of sleep, “how did you get so injured tonight?”
Regulus stared at me strangely for a moment, “Are you drunk Claire? I’m not really interested in helping you out with that again.”
I scoffed, “No, silly. I just wanna know. No one tells me anything!”
I could sense the whining edge to my voice; it really was frustrating that none of those idiotic boys would share what was going on.
“Claire, I’m not particularly sure you want to know why I’m injured, you’ve come to see that I’m not injured now let’s get back to bed, see you in a few hours,” Regulus said softly, massaging his temples, and shot me a glare.
I faltered, I could see his cool demeanor coming back and I had no interest of toying with him now. Regulus wasn’t someone I wanted to get on the bad side of, mostly for the reason of his Dark Mark. I knew how you got a Dark Mark.
I shuffled off back to my cot, and sighed, slipping into a small restless nap. The timetable chimed again and I groaned. The only thing willing my feet to the cold stone floor was my agreeing to help Pomfrey, she sincerely needed the break after a rousing day.
I walked calmly to Regulus’s bed, noting that somehow the poor boy had managed to twist himself up in the bed sheets and noted a thin gleam of sweat on his brow like he’d had a minor fight with some thing in the night. I shoved his shoulder, and he woke with a start, exhaling loudly when he could focus on where he was.
“Alright, you’re up, back to bed now,” I said gruffly, moving to go back to my cot for another couple of hours.
“The injuries were from Rosier, your dearly beloved boyfriend,” Regulus whispered out sighing.
I whipped around quickly; Regulus was struggling with the sheets to unknot himself. After doing so and sitting up, he pulled the linen pajama shirt over his body and tossed it to the side. The moon shone dimly in the room and it reflected well off of his pale skin, a light glimmer of sweat on his skin. I could see those scars along his ribs again, and now some fresh ones as well.
“That’s the treatment anyone gets, Claire. We can’t go against him, I may pull rank among the Death Eaters outside of this walls but in Hogwarts Rosier runs the show,” He ran a hand through his hair tiredly, his cool eyes meeting my bright blue.
I was rather stunned. Rosier hurt Regulus? He tortured someone on his own side simply for going against him? Unfortunately it was not a far leap from who I believed Rosier to be under his pretty boy mask, a side I hoped never to find.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered suddenly, moving to sit on the edge of his bed, “what did you do against him?”
Regulus kept his eyes on mine, “He was talking about those who had betrayed us, probably in some way to keep people from defecting. He started in on my brother after a while, accused him of sleeping with that mudblood Evans who’s married to his best friend. He called him a blood traitor, the worst of the worst. So I did what any brother would do, I tackled him and took a swing.”
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