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Saving Luna Lovegood by Aaran St Vines
Chapter 16 : Almost All Cured, But Then... Pt 2
 
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Chapter Fifteen — Almost All Cured, But Then… Pt.2

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They started with Frank Longbottom at 9:12 AM. With their precautions it took thirty-two minutes to release him into a peaceful deep sleep. Neville’s mother took twenty-seven minutes. Except for the percentages of the anti-potions, the procedure had gone exactly the same each time.

Cho, Hermione, Neville, and Harry were a team in this process. After the two Longbottoms were wheeled out of the area, the head Healer of the Ward asked if they wanted to work on any more patients.

Neville immediately suggested Luna. He had been thanking Harry profusely through his tears ever since his father had spoken that brief sentence. His mother had said that she loved him and called him by name as she feel asleep. Neville never considered that it would be anymore possible to love and respect Harry than he did after the battle of Hogwarts. Neville had lived through it and had been a major part of that victory thanks to Harry’s training. Now, the bar of admirations and gratitude was set so much higher.

Harry said, “There are significant differences in the underlying spells and potions used on Luna before the Cruciatus Curse. We need more data before we work on her. Maybe if we work on other, more recently cursed patients in this condition, we will learn something to give us insight.

“Hermione, Cho, are you game to go forward? Neville, you will help us of course.”

“Gee, Harry, I have only held their hands and poured potions in their mouths. I don’t know…”

“Neville, you have a kind, gentle, and understanding face. People trust you. And you are very observant. You are part of the team. So. Are you three ready?”

Hermione spoke, “Harry, you are the one carrying the strain. Can you go on or do you need rest? If you go beyond your capacity we may not be as successful. If we wait a day or two if you need it, it would be better than making a mistake. But, Harry, I did not mean you would be careless…”

“No, Hermione, I know you are only concerned for me and the patients. I promise I will not go past my ability to control matters properly. But, there is no big strain in this. A minute or two after we finish I feel the same as when we started.

“There is one thing, though.” He turned to the head healer of the ward. “If I could have some water and a bathroom break you can bring in the next patient.”

The next patient took sixteen minutes. Every patient after that took less than fourteen minutes. By 3:12 PM there were no more sufferers of long-term Cruciatus Curse in St. Mungo’s other than Luna.

The patients had been wheeled in and wheeled out and the families had been immediately called if there were any. This caused a stir and someone called the Daily Prophet.

Harry and his team decided to break for lunch and come back fresh to consider how to proceed with Luna.

They made it to the door of the ward on the way to the cafeteria, and the flashbulbs started to go off. Someone held up a special edition of the Prophet that said in bold letters “POTTER DOES IT AGAIN.” Rita Skeeter ran up and started to ask Harry a question but he put up a Shield Charm barrier immediately and pulled the doors shut.

He was furious. He turned to Healer Wratley. “Sir. You know that it is the work of Healer Derwent and Stellar Goodleak Lovegood that is bringing this success. I know I am making this happen more quickly than they foresaw, but it is their work. Please go out and make sure credit goes to them, and these three on my team, not me.”

“I will, Harry. But you have no small part in this. You deserve a share in this, but they deserve an equal share with you. And that message I will go an wrestle with the press to deliver.”

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When notified of the success of the procedure and the “situation” outside of the ward, the chef went all out to prepare a feast for all of the participants – the actual team was presented with their favorite dishes. (How the chef found that out was a mystery Harry never discovered.) The attending professors and medical staff were treated to heaping portions of the four dishes prepared for the team. That the food was prepared and delivered in record time, was another mystery left unsolved.

Those there had not considered their hunger until the first smells arrived split seconds after the food arrived. But a feeding frenzy soon occurred. It was after 3:00 and most there had eaten little if any breakfast very early that morning.

After the initial rush, the conversation naturally turned to helping Luna.

“I had hoped we would discover some variation in the tortures to advance our experience,” said Hermione. “The Death Eaters were… unimaginative for a lack of a better word. Only Lucius Malfoy seemed to be interested in varying his technique. And he didn’t torture any others evidently.”

“Of course, Malfoy probably didn’t torture her,” said Harry. “He said that he just captured her and delivered her to Riddle. Riddle gloated to me that he used the Cruciatus Curse until she was almost dead. He said that he wanted me to see her actually die.”

Several in the room shuddered at Harry’s blunt description of the events. Those who had battled with him did not. Their determination had been inspired by, or completed created by Harry Potter. They would face whatever came at his side. At this juncture saying that sounded melodramatic. But after hand-to-hand, that is wand-to-wand combat, their willingness to follow him anywhere was a forgone conclusion.

Hermione suggested that they use the Analysis Spell to “see what we can see.” They could tell that there was an extremely long-term Cruciatus Curse effect in place, but that was all. There was nothing behind it that could be seen.

The team turned to the medical and professorial staffs present for suggestions. There was a lot of muttering and harrumphing and scratching of chins. This was such new ground that other than Harry, the experts had been experts for six hours or thirty hours, depending on how you looked at it. He knew the decision was his.

“Sister Mary Claire,” he called.

“Yes, Harry,” she said as she walked out from her cons tant place beside Luna.

“Claire, what do you think? I trust your skills of observation and your medical knowledge. You know the patient as a patient better than anyone.”

The medical sister had felt out of her league all day long. The team, led by Harry, was obviously far out in front regarding magical medical practice and on an entirely different plain when compared to muggle medicine. She looked into Harry’s eyes. She felt like she would know the answer there. She knew love was there. She knew faith was there. What she saw that was new was a major increase in hope. Not the “I-hope-so” that amounts to nothing more than sacastic doubt, but the hope that hopes against that negative type of hope.

“How do you feel, Harry? You and the rest of your team? Now take a minute all four of you and answer that truthfully. One more day is in some ways a long time, but not if it prevents a mistake.”

Harry looked to the three of his team and said, “Lunch and the break from the pressure of the moment has refreshed me. I can go on. But please do not hesitate to tell me if you are tired.”

“I am too excited to feel tired,” said Cho.

“The sense of history has me captivated,” said Hermione.

Neville completed the feelings of them all. “I am with you to the end, Harry. I am not tired at all. When my parents wake up I am going to want to spend as much time as possible with them, but I will do whatever you want, whenever you want, for the rest of my life.”

Harry looked back to Claire. “I think we are ready, but I still want to hear from you. What do you think?”

Claire continued to look deeply into his eyes. She saw even more faith, hope, and love. She felt the words from the Good Book leap into her mind and into her spirit: “There remains these three things, faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love.

“Harry, I have faith, hope, and love that you can go on and nothing bad will occur. And I believe you feel the same way. You may not succeed, but nothing bad will happen, and it will lead you further towards eventual success.

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On the morning before Harry had visited Healer Derwent and found out that Luna’s mother had been Derwent’s research assistant, Harry met Albus Dumbledore at the Dursley’s home. Harry’s aunt, uncle, and cousin were not there.

Though relations with his relations were “cordial,” perhaps, taking down protective wards was a bit loud. The two wizards had put up a Silence barrier for all of the neighbors outside of the wards, but the house itself would reverberate for several minutes during the wards de-construction process.

“Harry, you helped me add protective wards around Hogswarts after the battle of Hogsmeade. This process is, and in some ways is not, like that in reverse. Each protective spell has a dissolving spell to make it go away. This is not like a counter-spell to destroy the spell.”

They spent twenty minutes going over the dissolving spells for the protective barriers.

“Now we must start from the inside and at the beginning of the spell application order so we can undo them in the order they were applied.”

Harry asked, “By ‘in order’ you mean in reverse order of their application, don’t you, Professor?”

“No, Harry. We are working from inside a complete barrier. We dissolve the first ward applied and then the next. If were using counter-spells from the outside, which is the only way to de-construct a complete barrier from the outside, we would go in reverse order. Of course spells, curses, and charms that are not complete barrier types are usually undone in reverse order, but even they can be dissolved from the first spell outward.

“Let me show you how to analyze the order of wards construction. This a technique I learned from the building elves when they added on to Hogwarts in 1946, right after the war with Grindelwald was over. We had such an influx of students after those trying times were over. We may very well see similar increases of student attendance this fall because of your victory.”

Harry was very interested in the techniques of deducing the order and types of protective barrier spells in use. Dumbledore was still a gifted educator whether in the classroom or in the field.

The noises produced as the wards came down were loud but not as loud as a Weasleys Wizards Wheezes fireworks display. Fred and George had shot off several displays after Ron had finished his N.E.W.T.s exams.

When they were finished, the two of them sat in the garden behind the Dursley’s house drinking the Butterbeers Harry had brought with him. It was an unseasonably hot day for June. Dumbledore had found some muggle candy in Dudley’s room.

“Do you think your cousin will mind, Harry?”

“He will never miss it,” Harry said as he opened a drawer in Dudley’s desk and showed his headmaster the hundreds of pieces of similar candy located there.

Harry waved his hand over the bottle of Butterbeer and they were instantly frosty cold, and the tops popped off.

“You must show me that one, Harry. I have given up on the really powerful wandless magic like you do. I can perform some of it but it tires me quickly, and I find a wand no burden to use. But I must say, wandless bottle chilling should make for a great party trick.”

Harry and his mentor chuckled into a comfortable silence. “I want to thank you, sir for arranging my stay and protection here. As much as I hated it for the most part, I know it was probably the only way, and you had to work miracles to keep my relatives from abandoning me.”

“With age comes an increase in those things you regret, Harry. I wish there had been a better way. I could never find it and I still believe this was the only way that could succeed. But Harry, when Minerva McGonagall showed me your first Hogwarts letter, addressed to you under the cupboard, well, I was profoundly saddened.”

The older wizard lowered his head just noticeably. “Harry, you have had a terrible life for which I am truly sorry, but you are a better man and better wizard because of it. Few, muggle or magical, turn out as well as you have under circumstances a fraction as bad as you have endured.”

Uncomfortable with the older wizards confessions, Harry thought of a line of questions to change the subject. “Professor, shouldn’t understanding wards better help me if I train to be an auror?”

I have always felt that knowledge about dissolving wards would be helpful in that profession. Alas, they do not teach it because they rarely find they have time to bother. Their problem has to do with getting into a house protected by wards from the outside. Dissolving wards works from the inside only.

The concept behind protective wards is simple. A properly constructed wards system becomes one with the house. It is completely encased in the ward and the ward permeates the house.

Come to think about it, it is not too dissimilar to your mother’s protection of love. No matter what Tom Riddle did to you or to himself for that matter, you were at one with her protection and it was one with you. A house’s protection must become one with the house. Therefore, the protection of the house must be dissolved from within.

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The techniques and Analysis Spells and Harry’s Spell Suspension Charm did nothing for Luna. The half-counter-Cruciatus Curse accomplished nothing. The team tried everything they could think of. Not even the slightest ‘pop.’ Nothing but the existence of the long-term Cruciatus Curse effect ever showed on Hermione’s Charts.

Cho mixed a few half potions and Neville delivered them – they had no affect whatsoever.

“I am sorry, Harry,” said Neville. “I do not know what I can do to help. Please, I will do anything, anything at all. Auuggh! I am so useless, I should have paid better attention in classes.”

“No, Neville,” said Hermione. “I paid attention in those classes and nothing comes to my mind. I should have spent more time in the library, Harry. I am sorry. Maybe I would have learned something to make this Analysis Spell more powerful. I should have been with you throughout your research. My N.E.W.T.s were not that important in comparison with Luna. I could take them again next year.”

“You are both wrong,” said Cho in desperate frustration. “Luna was in my house and I let her down. Had I been her friend, or at least not stopped others from being her friend, she would have never been alone and we might have prevented her kidnapping. I am embarrassed to say that had I known whom her mother was, I would have fallen all over myself to be her friend. I should have done that regardless of whether her mother was famous or not. She should have been inside the Ravenclaw house protection. I can’t…”

Harry slammed down his fist on the table so loudly that most near him retreated with fear. “That’s it! House protection. Cho, you said that you did not think that Luna was a typical Ravenclaw, you said she was much more of a Gryffindor. The Sorting Hat knew she had her mother’s protection and put her in Ravenclaw to strengthen that protection.

“Her mother. Her mother died to protect her, just like my mother did. That power from “greater love hath no one than to give up one’s life for another” never leaves you. It is a part of you, isn’t that right Professor Dumbledore?” Harry said turning to the Headmaster.

“True, Harry, but I don’t…”

Harry interrupted him. “And you have to dissolve the protective wards of a house from within, not counter them from outside, correct also?”

“So, to dissolve Luna’s coma from within we need to reach in to the power of the love of her mother to reach Luna. We need the protection of the house to reach Luna so she can use the power from her mother’s love to dissolve the curses from within.

“Whatever Malfoy did must have put a complete barrier around Luna. Her mother’s protection met Malfoy’s curse or spell or whatever and Luna is sealed within. I thought I felt Luna as I approached her to fight Riddle… She’s in there.

“She’s in there! SHE’S IN THERE. I know it.

“Cho, you are assistant Head of House for Ravenclaw, right? Is Professor Flitwick at the castle?

“Yes, Harry, but…”

“Do you think you could ask him to come here as soon as possible? And do you think you could get as many as possible of the sixth and seven years from you house to come here also?”

Harry was staring into Cho’s eyes like she had always longed him to. But the love in his stare was for another.

“Harry, I don’t under….” It was now or never. Was she going to let Harry down, again? She knew how important confidence was in performing difficult magic, particularly for the first time for a person. And this was probably the first time ever in history.

She made her decision. “I won’t let you down, Harry. I cannot guarantee how many will come but I will gather everyone possible. I will also tell everyone from every house to be pulling for you like we did before you went into the forest to fight Vol…Riddle.”

“Tell them to pull for Luna. She will be the one fighting this battle. We just have to get through to her with the half-counter-curses so she can dissolve them from within.”

Nobody really understood what he was proposing, but no one was going to say anything.

“I will hurry, Harry. Trust me.” And with that, Cho ran to the fireplace and Flooed to Hogwarts.

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Harry spent the time holding Luna’s hand and telling her what was happening. Claire ushered everyone away from the two so they could have time together. She brought Harry a glass of water. She had noticed that he was drinking more water to day than usual. He swallowed it quickly and asked for another one.

In less than five minutes Terry Boot came through the fireplace and, dusting himself off walked up to Harry.

“Harry, I am the first…”

Hermione intercepted him and took him away from Harry and Luna and began to explain what had occurred and what she thought Harry intended. Neville went to the fireplace and intercepted everyone else that appeared and pointed them towards Hermione.

Within thirty minutes Cho arrived with Professor Flitwick. Harry heard him and left Luna to greet him. “Harry. This is so very exciting we heard about 10:30 what had occurred and the class schedule has been disrupted all day, we are all so excited. Several students have had loved ones released and send their thanks to you. Everyone in the school wants to come and pull for you or whatever it is we will be doing, but Cho decided you only have room here for those present.

“We brought all of the DA Ravenclaw members you have trained and fought with. We have all of Luna’s dorm mates and the ones who have made the best grades in Charms. We can send for anyone else you wish. The whole of Ravenclaw wants to be here. And of course we couldn’t stop Ron Weasley from joining us.”

“Hullo, Harry. Been having all the fun without me I see.”

“Thanks for coming Ron. I need you more than ever my oldest and best friend.”

“And Professor, thank you for coming. This group from your house is all we will need.” Harry turned to the assembled students, professors and medical staff.

“Thank you for coming to help us. Luna and I appreciate it, and I am sure she will want to thank each one of you personally as soon as she can. I do not know really what to tell you. Those of you who were there when I went into the forest to fight Riddle remember what you did then to support me. If you prayed or thought good thoughts or whatever, that is what I want you to do now. You who were not there, can ask those who were.

“I do not mean to pry into Ravenclaw secrets but if there is any special protective secret communications or rites or ways of calling to each other…awwwh. I don’t even know what I am asking for…

“What we have to do is get through to Luna so she can hear us and so we can strengthen her to perform magic she has never heard of. Magic that until this morning, no one had ever performed successfully.”

There were gasps among the crowd. Even those there all day had not realized what Harry had intended.

“She has three things going for her. First, her mother was Stellar Goodleak.”

There were a number of excited exclamations from those gathered.

“It was Stellar Goodleak Lovegood that invented these half-counter-curses, and Luna was there with her as a little girl when she invented them. Her mother died protecting her when a Death Eater bomb caused one of the spells to explode.

“Second, Luna is a powerful witch in her own right. Don’t let the Looney bit fool you. I believe I know a little bit about magic and I tell you, she can do it.

“The third thing she has going for her is all of us. Particularly those of you from her House. She was put there, with you, for her protection by the Sorting Hat. Just trust me. Your group support and concern and pulling for her, and whatever else you can do for her, will be the deciding factor. I believe you know what you need to do. I don’t. But now is the time to do it.”

Cho and Flitwick conferred and called several to them. Terry Boot, probably Harry’s strongest Ravenclaw supporter in the DA was among them. Cho turned to Harry.

“I asked to be the one to tell you this. We believe we should start with something that you may not like. Truth is one of Rowena Ravenclaw’s hallmark values. We hold dear the old adage that ‘the truth will set you free.’ Well, Harry, we feel we should start by confessing to Luna how we have offended her and to ask for her forgiveness. We will not go through a laundry list of our transgressions against her. We will only mention what we have done, apologize, and ask for forgiveness. And Harry, we feel you need to hear this. We need to apologizes to you with most of these things as well.”

Harry nodded and asked everyone to move away from Luna. One by one they came up and spoke briefly to the two of them. Luna was still lying in the hospital bed so each person held her hand and hugged Harry or shook his hand when they were finished. It took a little over twenty-five minutes.

It was now after 5:30 in the afternoon. Harry gathered the team at Luna’s side and gave final instructions.

“Claire, you have spent more time with Luna since the battle than anyone. I want you one her other side holding her left hand. If anything causes you concern call it out, please.”

“Certainly, Harry. Just give me anymore instructions as you think of them.”

“Ron, Hermione, Neville, I need you right here at my back. Cho, can you join me or do you need to stay with your house members?”

“I can join you and act as a conduit for their efforts.”

“Good. Professor Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall, would you please come stand with me. The rest of you find a position and please do what seems right to you.”

Many of the St. Mungo’s staff were Ravenclaws and had joined that group.

“Everyone,” Harry said. “This is a matter of believing, of faith, of hope. If you find yourself doubting please leave. Luna and I will not think ill of you. Go out and rest. It has been a tiring day.”

“Well, Let’s begin.”

The Ravenclaw group started something that produced a low buzzing sound. Cho looked to them for a moment and then turned to Harry with half-closed lids, but she was paying attention to Harry.

“Right, my theory is that she will be able to use the half-counter-curses, if she hears the tight one needed when she needs it. We do not know which one or which ones she may need. We have to get through to her and call them out to her. We may have to go through them a number of times. She may access the one she needs first, and then she may need one I have already called out.

“It is not a matter of volume. Shouting the words louder will not matter. It is a receptivity issues. I believe I can reach her. You will be backing me up and cracking through to her.”

Over the next hour the group supported Harry’s and Luna’s effort. None wavered. Claire prayed with power. The Ravenclaws reported that they felt like they were “transmitting.” The concentration of the professors and medical staff was intense.

Unknown to those in that ward, most of St. Mungo’s had stopped to “bare down” with the group. All of those cured and released from the Cruciatus Curse effect that morning woke up and started concentrating on what was happening. They knew. Word had spread from St. Mungo’s and Hogwarts, and there were thousands across the magical community and a few muggles participating in the effort in whatever way they thought helpful.

The Minister of Magic had all of those at the Ministry stop for five minutes to help. No one at the Ministry had left so they could hear the final outcome of the miraculous day. Arthur Weasley apparated to St. Mungo’s where he met his wife and oldest son and daughter-in-law in the waiting room.

After six go rounds of repeating slowly to Luna the half-counter-curses, Harry felt like he had done what needed to be done. He stopped and applied the specific half-counter-curse for the Cruciatus Curse, but there was no ‘pop.’

They waited in silence and those in the ward quieted to complete noiselessness.

A minute passed.

Two.

Five.

Harry held Luna’s hand and stared unblinking in to her unblinking eyes.

No one moved.

Everyone barely breathed.

Harry turned from Luna. He cleared his throat to speak. “Well…erm…I want to…that is Luna and I want to thank you….”

His eyes began to fill with tears. No one moved or spoke as he began and continued speaking.

He stopped trying to thank the gathered crowd. He just spoke out loud to no one in particular, “All I have ever wanted was to live in peace and quiet. To have a home with Luna and perhaps go hunting for Crumple-horned Snorkacks in the summers.”

He cried silently for several more moments and no one made a sound.

“I love her so much… SNIFFFF… I will never give up… SNIFFFF… Hunting Snorkacks. Is that to much to ask…”

SNIFFFF…

“There’s no such thing as a Snorkack, Harry,” she said.

Luna was awake.

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Author's Note —Thank you for reading. Please help me. — I have struggled over just how Luna could be healed. Within the given parameters of Harry Potter land and the parameters of the story I have created here, I think I have succeeded in breaking through to her with a believable cure. Please review the specifics of this.

A/N — New Story Soon! In less than three weeks I will be posting a new story line. This one will take place long before the founding of Hogwarts. It will reveal how magic as we know it in Harry's day originally came to England. If you would like to be notified when it goes up please e-mail me at st.vines@ameritech.net. Thanks for your interest.

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Disclaimer---As always, what belongs to J K Rowling is J K Rowling's. What belongs to anyone else is theirs. Everything left is mine, I guess, but remember the old adage — "There is nothing new under the sun." - Aaran St. Vines

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