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Chapter 34 : Bated Breath: Scorpius POV
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“Hi Scorp,” Selenia’s eyes flicked up for a moment, and she immediately returned to the task at hand. She was reading numbers off of each of the bubbles and monitors and recording the information on a floating chart with her wand.
“I don’t know how long you’ll be able to stay. The potion we gave her earlier is wearing off and her heart rate is slowly climbing.” She was the perfect balance of compassion and composure. She sent the chart flying to a hook on the end of Rose’s bed and looked me square in the eye. There was a tinge of sadness in her voice at her friend’s situation, but she maintained her cool head.
“What is it at now?” I asked.
“One thirty-five. It’s been climbing steadily. I thought perhaps having visitors would help her, but the fact that it’s climbing up as the potion wears off tells us it isn’t under control yet. If we could just get her to wake up, maybe she’d remember something that could help us out.”
I blinked, nodding my understanding. It was already too high earlier and had begun to climb. Rose and the baby were in danger.
“Can you give her more potion yet?” I tried keep my voice even, but failed miserably.
“We really shouldn’t – not for another hour or so. But we may have to weigh the risks versus the benefits of administering it early.” She then directed the medi-witch to get Healer Lawrence and Healer Chang for a consult. Her voice was kept calm, but I could tell she was worried.
After the medi-witch left, Selenia spent a few moments explaining to me what all of the machines and bubbles were monitoring. She showed me the numbers that displayed the heart rate and her blood pressure, along with her cardiograph that was moving up and down in a wavy pattern and then all the same information for the baby. At this point, the baby’s heart rate was also increasing slightly.
“Oh, Merlin. Can she hear me if I talk to her?”
“We don’t know that for sure, but it can’t hurt Scorp. I’ll give you two a minute while I assist Healer DeLong with preparing more potion. If Chang and Lawrence decide to give it to her, we want to be ready.” Selenia and the other Healer began working on the counter at other side of the room. I pulled a chair next to Rose’s bed and sat down.
Even though I’d finally concluded that I needed to be with Rose, that didn’t mean I knew what to say to her.
“Hi Ro,” I began thumbing a loose end of the white sheet wrapped around her middle. I thought if I just talked normally maybe she would relax enough to calm her heart.
“So… I’ve been a great prat,” I figured I should stick with the facts at first.
“Probably the biggest prat in history. But… I wanted you to know that… I’ve missed you so much – it hurts.” The bubble monitor next to me read One forty-five. Oh, shit. They were going to kick me out any minute. I found her hand lying limp next to her side and twisted our fingers together.
“Whatever you need, Rose. I’ll give you whatever you need. Please, wake up.” My other hand began rubbing her shoulder and arm. “Rose, I love you. I love you and the baby so much… Please, please wake up and come back to us. You know, your whole family is here and… everyone just loves you so much.”
This time, I leaned down and kissed her gently on the cheek and then again in her hair. It smelled like lavender and I laid my head on the bed next to her, getting as close as I could for now. I just kept talking to her, whispering her name and telling her how much everyone loved her and how excited they all were for the baby.
I glanced at the monitor bubble and her heart rate was back down to one-thirty five. It was dropping!
Presently Healer Chang entered the room with what I could assume was Healer Lawrence. I sat up, but didn’t let go of her hand.
“Look!” I pointed to the bubble. “It’s going down – a little bit…” I was stroking her hair with my other hand.
The three of us watched as Rose’s heart rate fell from 135 to 132… 128…
I began to watch the baby’s monitor. 175 – 168 – 163.
“Well, it looks like she’s turned a corner,” Healer Lawrence looked relieved. “I’ll need you to step outside for a few moments so we can evaluate her and the baby. You may return presently.”
Healer Chang offered me a warm smile that was in stark contrast to Healer Lawrence’s gruff demeanor. She immediately began working, waving her wand around Rose’s belly.
I leaned over and whispered to Rose that I would be right back and took a left out of the room to tell the family the good news. I only got about halfway there, when I heard my name being shouted.
“Malfoy! Malfoy! You’re needed in here immediately!” Healer Lawrence’s enormous head was darting out of the door as he bellowed urgently.
I spun on my heel and ran back to the room in a panic.
“What is it? Is it Rose? The baby?” My eyes flashed to the monitors. Rose’s heart rate read one-forty and the baby was back up to one-seventy five. “Merlin, no…”
“What did you do?” Healer Lawrence demanded. “What did you do to get their heart rates down?!” He was barking at me as a man who was used to having his demands instantly met.
“I… I don’t know – j-just talked to her and held her hand. Nothing special.”
Healer Chang was still working with her wand, hovering it over Rose’s abdomen - where our baby was. She was doing the same movements as before, only a little more frantically. Healer DeLong was standing ready with the potion and Healer Lawrence was fidgeting with a piece of equipment that was attached to Rose’s arm. Selenia quickly walked over to Rose and bent over her friend. She began whispering in her ear and rubbed her hand tenderly. We all watched the monitors intently.
155 – 176 – 198. My fists clenched at my sides. Rose had been getting better just a few moments ago.
“Give her the potion now!” Healer Lawrence shouted. “Before her heart explodes.”
Oh shit. I took a step closer to Rose.
“Wait a minute,” Selenia said firmly, looking up at him.
“We don’t have a minute, missy. This patient is going to go into cardiac arrest and I do not have the time to turn this into a lesson for some trainee who is still wet behind the ears. Give the potion NOW!”
“No! Don’t!” I couldn’t believe Selenia was standing up to this bloke. It was not like her to confront others – and he was obviously a senior Healer.
“Scorpius,” she continued confidently, bracing me with her eyes. As always, there was a kindness in her voice underneath the urgency. “please come over here and hold her hand like you did before. Talk to her. So far, that’s what has worked the best to control the palpitations.”
“Who are you to challenge my orders? Get out of here now! I’ll see that you’re suspended from the program and you’ll never get a Healer license!” He waved his wand and the room shook with the sound of an alarm permeating all of our ears. The sound reverberated down the hallway. Blue lights were flashing everywhere. For a moment all the commotion was distracting everyone from Rose and the baby. I ran over to her side and knelt down next to her. I tried to cast a quick otailffum totalis charm, but it didn’t take. While muffliato is a relatively easy spell to master, its reverse requires intense concentration. It’s much easier to put one on the entire room, rather than just a space around a couple of people– not very many wizards can do it. Putting one hand on the side of her face and the other on her hand, I began to whisper softly in her ear, trying to ignore the blaring alarm and all the yelling medical personnel.
“Honestly Aphis, you called security?” Healer Chang’s voice was raised somewhere behind me. “What are you on about? Cooper is right! That is the only thing that has helped and giving the potion now could make Miss Weasley lose the baby! DO NO HARM! They teach that on the first day of Healer training. On the second day they teach that you should always stick with the simplest explanation!” She waved her wand and the flashing lights stopped as well as the alarm.
“And all this noise is not good for the patient,” she said, her voice was much quieter.
I vaguely heard something about losing the baby. It was a good thing that they weren’t monitoring my heart rate, because it’d jumped to at least triple what could pass for normal. I steeled myself and turned my focus on talking to Rose.
“Hello, love. It’s me again. I told you I’d be right back.” Despite the commotion around us, I was very careful to keep my voice calm and soft, gently stroking her cheek with my thumb and the side of her neck with my fingers. “Rose, do you know how much you’re loved? Well, if we counted all the Weasleys – and the Potters it might take quite a few hundred years. But none of that compares to how much the Malfoys love you. I know there is only one of me right now, but there’s more than enough love for me to share it with you… and the baby.” My thumb found the sapphire ring on Rose’s left hand and rubbed it absentmindedly. “Do you remember the day I proposed? I was so nervous. I wanted it to be a surprise and I thought you might say ‘no.’ I thought you’d say it was too soon, or we were too young or that you couldn’t marry me for… I don’t know… some other reason.” I kept talking to her, reliving stories and special moments.
“Look!” Healer Chang exclaimed and my eyes lifted off of Rose’s face for a brief moment to the monitor above. 172 – 160. “It’s coming down. The baby’s too!” My eyes shifted slightly to look at the smaller bubble. 202 – 187 – 165. Not wanting a repeat of the events from before, I turned back to Rose and continued talking to her. I lifted her arm at the elbow so that I could wrap our forearms together and lace our fingers tightly. Gently, I pulled her hand to my lips and softly kissed each one of her limp fingers.
All at once, the door burst open and several things began to happen. The security wizards came barreling through first and Healer Lawrence directed them to Selenia. The three wizards immediately surrounded her and magically bound her hands behind her. Healer Chang began yelling at Healer Lawrence and the security wizards, but she didn’t move from her position monitoring the baby. Next moment, Al, Harry, Ron and Dom ruptured through, wands drawn. As soon as Al saw Selenia being restrained, he aimed his wand at the security wizard who had his wand pointed at Selenia’s neck. In turn, the two other security officers pointed their wands at Al’s head and chest, in a four-way standoff.
“Release her now!” Al growled. The purple vein in his neck was pulsing angrily.
Harry rushed to Albus’s side to try and settle everyone down. He lowered Al’s wand and said, “All right, all right. Everyone needs to calm down, here. What happened?”
Dom was more of an ‘action’ than ‘words’ type of Auror. She moved next to Al’s other side and disarmed the three security wizards in a matter of seconds. This resulted in more shouting by the security wizards, which was retaliated by both Dom and Al shouting back at them, wands still drawn.
Ron had dashed through the door and stormed toward the foot of Rose’s bed, demanding answers from Healers Chang and Lawrence. It was too much noise and commotion. I let go of Rose’s arm and pulled out my own wand, taking my focus off of Rose only long enough to concentrate on the otailffum totalis spell that I needed to put around us. This time it took. I could see everyone yelling and waving their wands and arms at each other, but Rose and I were in total silence.
As soon as I knew the spell had worked I was back at Rose’s side. She was still unconscious, but I continued to talk to her. “There,” I said. “That is much better. Now I feel we can talk properly.” This time, I put my hand over hers and squeezed. I started stroking her beautiful red curls that spread out on the pillow, lowering myself to her so our heads were level.
I began to whisper, “Rose, do you remember when we first heard the baby? It was right here in St. Mungo’s. Selenia used that special instrument. It sounded so – peaceful – and alive.” I continued to talk to her, keeping an eye on the two monitors. Rose was now at eighty nine and the baby was at one-thirty five. I looked to see if any of the Healers had noticed, but they were all a bit preoccupied.
Harry and Healer Chang were trying to calm everyone down. Healer Lawrence, the security wizards, Dom and Al were still yelling. Healer Lawrence was purple he was so angry. Healer DeLong was cowering in the corner. What a mess.
My eyes tore themselves back to Rose when I noticed a flicker of movement. She was stirring. Her eyes fluttered open.
“Hello, love.” I was trying to keep my voice level, but excitement and elation were pulsing through me. “How’re you feeling?” She looked around the room and her eyes widened. I really couldn’t blame her. The scene she awoke to was pretty peculiar. There were Healers, security wizards, and her family. Everyone was yelling silently, pointing wands and, in the case of Al, physically being restrained by Harry and Dom.
“Er…” I began. “It’s – a long story. Are you all right?”
“I think so,” she said weakly. “I am really tired and my head hurts. W-what is going on?”
I released the otailffum totalis around us and the noise levels suddenly invaded our ears. I felt Rose’s body jump at the sudden change in volume and instantly responded by placing a silencing charm on the entire room. It was quicker. It took about three seconds for them to realize what happened and that yelling wouldn’t do any good. All of them, that is, except Healer Lawrence. He continued to yell and scream at Selenia first and then me.
Harry looked over at us. I waved my wand again and released the charm on the Aurors.
“What the hell, Scorp?” Al’s voice was booming and Rose jolted again. I immediately put the charm back on him and turned to Harry.
“Someone needs to calm him down. He’s frightening Rose.” I kept my voice calm, but they all got the picture.
It took a few more minutes to sort everything out. Healer Lawrence was really, really pissed off at just about everybody. Al was still angry that Selenia had been restrained and held at wandpoint. She’d since been released and the security wizards had left. Healer Chang and she were consulting off to the side. Healer Lawrence had stormed out, commenting that Selenia would be put under investigation for interfering with a medical professional. This brought Al’s temper back to its fury and after Harry and Ron threatened to kick him out, he finally calmed down a bit and realized that Rose was awake.
“Sorry, Rosie!” he whisper-yelled. “Alright there?”
Rose nodded slowly. “What happened?”
“We aren’t exactly sure,” I answered. “You had a fall this morning – down the stairs at Number Twelve. Once you got here there was a problem with your heart – it kept speeding up – and made the baby’s heart speed up in turn.”
“Is the baby-?” Rose sat up immediately and put a protective hand on her belly.
“Everything looks fine,” Healer Chang answered, placing a caring hand on her shoulder. She gently guided her back to a resting position. “We’re going to keep you here for a few days, just to make sure. But you need to rest. Your heart rate was so high for so long, it was the equivalent of running a marathon.”
“Wow,” Rose commented, “that explains why I’m so tired. Thank you,” Rose breathed a sigh of relief. She turned to me, held out her hand and whispered. “And thank you, Scorpius. I could hear you talking to me. You sounded so far away, but I wanted to be near you so I just kept listening… until I woke up.”
I grabbed her hand and squeezed.
“I love you,” I said. I wanted to make sure that she heard me this time. And then I said louder, so everyone could hear, “Actually, Selenia is the real hero here. She fought for them to avoid giving you the potion that could have harmed the baby. And she’s the one who told me to keep talking to you…”
“Oh, Sels…” tears began to form at the edge of Rose’s eyes. “Thank you, thank you, thank you,”
“Goodness, Rose. You would’ve done it for any of us! We’re all just glad you’re back.” Selenia kissed Rose’s forehead.
Now that it appeared Rose was on the mend, Harry, Ron, Al and Dom began to ask question after question about what’d happened. It was Selenia who finally got everyone’s attention.
“All right you lot,” she held up her hand in such a commanding fashion, I could’ve sworn she was channeling Ginny Potter. “This is not the ministry of magic or an Auror debriefing. This is a hospital room and my patient needs her rest,” she said firmly. She wasn’t kidding around. “We can set up a room where you can interrogate anyone you like – but not in here. I’m going to ask all of you to leave now. When Healer Chang and I are done, we’ll contact you and answer all your questions.” She spoke with such authority that no one dared disobey her. The four of them filed out of the room at once. I stayed behind and Selenia didn’t say anything. She knew there was no chance that I’d be leaving.
I sat next to Rose’s bed and held her hand and stroked her hair as she drifted off to sleep. Even though she’d been the one in mortal peril today, somehow it felt like I was the one that’d been saved.
A/N: Hi everyone! First off, I'm really sorry for taking so long to post this chapter. RL has been a bit busy and ya' know - The House Cup started! For ANYONE who's left a review recently, I promise I will reply to them soon - I really appreciate all of them and I promise to get to each one - thank you!
Special thanks to Andrew (oldershouldknowbetter) for our awesome discussions about the HP World - this chapter took a new shape because of his insights.
In addition, I need to thank Malfoy Mannor, TreacleTart and Tonks1247, all of whom recently reviewed most, if not all of the currently posted chapters - gah! thanks so much, guys!
And SUPER l♥ve and thanks to my beta reader, Joey (crestwood), who not only puts up with all my stuff, but ALSO reviewed all my chapters recently. He's an amazing writer, so if you get a chance, check out his author's page.
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