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Chapter 38 : Brutal Agony: Rose POV
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My eyes and body were frozen, I wasn’t even breathing.
My vision tunneled to the two bodies on the ground, Albus covered over Selenia.
“ROSE!” A gruff, panicked voice was coming nearer, but I couldn’t see anything but my two friends about fifteen meters in front of me. Al let out a tortured wail that sounded half human, his head buried into her shoulder. My legs worked to take a few steps forward. Slowly at first, and then my pace quickened. I had to get to them. There was no way what I was seeing was real. No. Way.
“ROSE!” the voice growled and I was violently grabbed around my upper arms. I pushed forward, needing to get to Albus and Selenia, but the hands were stronger and I was shoved backwards. My feet nearly tripped over themselves as I stumbled, being moved by this incredible force.
Away from where I needed to go. I struggled through the powerful grip. It was imperative I get to them. I had to check on Selenia. But I was still being pushed backwards.
My entire body collided with solid wall behind me. It pressed into my back, but I continued to thrust forward, even as I felt the jolt shudder through my body. Al was sobbing uncontrollably. My limbs were compelled to drive through the force. I had to start healing her. I began to fight back with my arms, flailing and twisting to break free from the vice grip. A familiar flash of orange made me pause, for only a moment, and I started pushing even harder.
“Rosie. ROS-IE.” My father’s face appeared right in front of mine. My eyes raised upwards to meet his long nose and fierce blue eyes.
“D-Dad?” My arms and legs stopped pushing, but every muscle in my body was tensed, ready to spring. I gripped onto the beaded bag with my Healer supplies in it for dear life.
In the brief moment that I stopped fighting back, Dad relaxed his grip on my arms, but he still held me firmly in place. He turned his head around and bellowed, “WHO GAVE THE ALL CLEAR?! I WANT TO KNOW WHO EFFING SENT THE ALL CLEAR?!”
A few of the nearby Aurors glanced around toward us, but no one answered. I peered around his head, still confused by the scene and tried to keep my focus on cataloging the onslaught of information and emotions my brain was receiving. Uncle Harry hadn’t moved from kneeling next to Albus, who was cradling Selenia’s limp body in his arms. Her torso raised up in his grasp, but her arms hung awkwardly, limply on the ground.
“No.” I said. “No, no, no. NO!” My eyes were frozen on the pair of them. I had to get there. I flung myself forward.
Dad turned back around and firmed up his grasp on my upper arms.
“Let me go! I have to go help! LET ME GO!”
“Rose, you can’t be here,” Dad growled, shaking me a bit as if I needed to see reason.
“No. I’m the Healer. I respond to cases. I’m the one who’s supposed to be triaging this… case… ” My voice sounded like someone else was talking. I had to get to Selenia.
“Rose,” a shadowy figure appeared by my side and spoke in a very soft voice. “Ro.” I felt a firm, smooth hand clutch my cheek. My head turned immediately at his warmth, and I was staring at Scorpius, heart pounding nearly out of my chest. Scorpius. Everything would be all right. But there was something wrong with his eyes. They were bright and wild.
“She needs to get the hell out of here!” Dad growled, looking around and analyzing the scene.
“She can’t,” Scorpius spoke to Dad, but didn’t take his eyes off me. “The anti-apparition’s already in place. It’s protocol.” I wanted to talk, but I couldn’t make any words come out.
“Rose,” Scorpius breathed, barely making a sound, but there was a touch of urgency in his voice, “do you have the cloak?” His thumb smoothed across my cheek and I felt his fingers gently grazing the side of my neck.
The cloak? I’d given the periwinkle cloak to Selenia.
“The invisibility cloak,” he answered my question before I could form the words. “You have to put the cloak on. Now.” His hand reached down and pulled the beaded bag from my grasp.
“Yeah, Rosie,” Dad echoed, voice still a thick growl. “Gotta put the cloak on.”
Scorpius leaned into the bag up to his armpit, felt around for a bit and drew out the shimmery fabric. Dad finally released my shoulders and the two of them draped the cloak around me. Just as Dad was about to lift the hood over my head, I reached up and stopped him, gripping the hem with tight fingers and turning to Scorpius.
“Scorp-?” I glanced over at Albus and Selenia. I was asking and not asking at the same time.
He brushed his fingers gently down my hairline, traced behind my ear and across my chin, shaking his head from side to side. A tear escaped from each of his silver eyes and splayed down his cheeks. “Stay under the cloak.” He sniffed and looked away as he stretched the fabric over my head.
Oh no no no no no.
“No. I need to check. I can heal her,” I pleaded.
Scorpius grabbed my hand under the cloak, but still looked away.
“Rosie, you have to say right here.” Dad wasn’t holding me back any more, but he stood right in front of me and crossed his arms, staring through me at the brick wall behind my back.
“Please, please. I need to. I need to see. I’m a Healer.” I was sobbing, but trying to keep my voice under control.
“Okay Rose,” Scorp answered. When Dad gave him a venomous look, he said to him. “You and I will stay just on either side of her, the whole time. Ya got that, Ro?” he looked right at me and I thought for a second that he might be able to see through the cloak. I nodded at first and then realized that I needed to give them a verbal answer.
“Uh-huh. I’ll stay with you.”
They separated and left a space for me to just barely squeeze between their shoulders. After a few feet, I found myself leaning into Scorp. With every step I was falling more and more into him. His arm lifted behind me, to place across my shoulders, but then he thought better of it. It would look as if his hand was resting on thin air. My eyes were trained on the couple on the ground. She wasn’t moving. Merlin, she wasn’t moving and Al was still clenched around her body.
As we approached, I recognized the two Aurors standing around the broken couple. Dom and Teddy. She was holding onto him as if she’d seen death.
Uncle Harry looked up at the two of them from his kneeling position and muttered some sort of order to both. Dom’s head jerked up. Color started flooding to her face and she nodded, pulling in a deep breath through her nose. She blinked a few times, turned away from Teddy and started off to check on another victim. Teddy turned in another direction and walked only a few steps away. He didn’t want to be too far from Al.
Uncle Harry continued patting Al’s back when we approached.
Dad knelt down next to Harry and whispered to him. I saw Uncle Harry nod when Dad asked about sending out an all clear signal. He lifted his head and scanned the scene, eyeing the Aurors who were maintaining the perimeter. “It’s secure, Ron. Rose can stay. This is the job we set for her to do.”
I moved to the other side of Al, so I could get closer. Scorpius stayed standing, wand tightly clasped in his hand and slightly raised. His eyes swept the area back and forth again and again.
Al was gripping Selenia so tightly, his hands were white. I pressed my fingers over his hands and squeezed with all the feeling and heartbreak and love that I had. At the same time, I leaned across and spoke into his ear.
“Albus, it’s Rosie,” my voice was weak. I cleared my throat. Stay strong, I repeated to myself. Stay strong for Albus. I pushed harder with my voice so the words sounded firmer.
“Love, just let me. C-can… can you l-let me see her?” Despite my attempts to keep my voice even, it broke a little at the end.
Al jerked his head up and twirled around, confused. “Rose?” he croaked.
“Under the invisibility cloak,” I explained. I gently pulled back on his shoulder until he’d released his vice-like grip on her and rocked onto his heels. Scorpius then lowered down next to Al and smoothed his shoulders. As if on cue, Dad stood and took on the role of sentry. These Aurors had their coverage down pat. Al’s face was swollen and tear stained and I took a moment before I dragged my eyes down to see my best friend.
Her eyes were open, unstaring and unthinking. My heart splintered. Selenia’d always had such bright, caring eyes.
Her sharp mind and bright eyes were both torn away from the being I was gazing upon. I fell completely apart and threw myself down onto her, taking the place Al had just vacated. Her unmoving body pressed up into mine. I held in my sobs the best I could, knowing that the four of them couldn’t see exactly what I was doing, but could still hear me.
I only let myself lose it for a few moments before using every bit of grit and strength I had to force myself to sit up and begin searching for her injuries.
Her face was unscathed and I couldn’t see any other damage at first. I couldn’t let myself look at her as her best friend. I had to keep my mind in Healer mode - a task that was proving nearly impossible. My eyes fell quickly to the rest of her, before I nearly lost it again. I searched the rumpled blue cloak and then I saw it. A single black mark torn through the traveling cloak. It was sharply defined and could’ve been mistaken for a black strip of trim, if it wasn’t stretched across the blue fabric at an odd angle. I carefully began to unbutton the cloak and paused briefly to glance around and make sure no one was looking this way. Uncle Harry was now standing on the other side of me and he and Dad both had their backs to us, providing a bit of cover. Albus was sobbing into Scorpius’s shoulder, who was cradling his best friend as he tried to hold back his own emotions. I forgot again that they couldn’t see me as I sent a sympathetic look at Scorp, who was staring over Al’s shoulder at Selenia’s lifeless body.
I turned back to my task and tried to keep my mind in Healer mode, not best-friend mode. I worked at unbuttoning the cloak first and then the blouse. The spell damage went right through the thin fabric of her shirt and I quickly peeked through to her chest, seeing the unmistakable mark of crucio flagrate. It was the same mark - almost exactly the same - that had been fresh on my skin nearly three years earlier, at the cabin with Stannous. I sat back in shock and horror, first staring at the wound digging through her tender flesh and slightly smoldering I turned to see if Scorpius saw the same thing I did.
He was still holding tight to Al, gripping the back of my cousin’s head, but his eyes were roving the wound in horror. It was nearly identical to mine, with one significant difference - I had survived. However, I didn’t have time to ponder that thought. I worked quickly then, covering her back up before anyone else could see her exposed. I tipped my head up and searched the row of buildings in front of me until I found the white tower poking above all the others. I squinted to read the crooked hands.
“Time of death: six thirty-three pm,” I said in a voice as loud and I could muster, noting the time on Gringotts enormous clock.
“What?” Al turned his head for a moment and looked around. “No! No, Rosie No!” Scorpius grabbed the back of his head and pressed it against his shoulder as Al deflated in agony.
“I’m so sorry Albus. So, so, so, so sorry,” I was choking out the words and trying to breathe at the same time. I turned my body and fell into him, pressing into his back and resting my cheek on his shoulder. My arms squeezed all the way around him and held onto Scorpius on his other side. Scorp and I were wrapping him in our love and comfort and our own hurt. We held each other and Al as if we were holding on to our last bit of sanity, to express our own grief and to just grasp onto anything solid. For several long minutes, the anguish and emptiness flowed through the three of us.
The only thing that existed was each other.
“Ahem, Rose…” Uncle Harry began searching around and I realized that he had no idea where I was when I wasn’t at least talking every few minutes.
“Yes.. erm…” I leaned back and wiped my eyes to ground myself. I had a job to do. I stood up shakily, patting Uncle Harry’s arm. “She need to be van- er.. m-mmoved to St. Mungo’s.” My voice cracked. “Can someone p-please… take care of that?”
“Alright then. Yes Rose.” Uncle Harry answered, nodding and grasping onto my arm that had reached out to him.
I felt my mind clearing a little bit as soon as I wasn’t looking at her anymore. I couldn’t let myself look. I was there to do a job.
“Can you take me to the next v-victim?” I asked Uncle Harry quietly. More pain pulsed through my damaged heart as I realized that I’d just referred to Selenia as a victim.
Uncle Harry put out his arm and directed Teddy to walk on my other side with me to the man who’d been writhing around that I’d seen earlier. We passed by three other people who were being guarded by Aurors. I was about to question why we were passing by so many others when I realized it was too late for any of them. They were taking me to the place where I could do the most good.
One sob passed through my lips and I cupped my mouth to hold in the rest. I’d signed up for this; good and bad, joy and horror. I was the only Healer here on duty. It was my job to heal, or determine who needed more care at St. Mungo’s.
Or call time of death.
The man was still writhing and clearly in a lot of pain. I accio’d some pain potion from the beaded bag and spoke gently to him, helping it down his throat. Within a few moments, he was clearly more comfortable and I found the source of his pain - a violenti totalis curse. Luckily for this man, it had landed across his thigh, so as not to hit any major organs. I was able to heal a small bit of the damage to muscles and repair the artery that supplied blood to the rest of his leg. I had some of the ointment that I’d created the night of The Quaffle attack and I rubbed that deep into his wound so that would stop the dark spell from doing further damage. Once he was stable, I directed two junior Aurors to accompany him to St. Mungo’s via floo. He wasn’t stable enough, even for side-along apparation.
The woman in the violet robes had been hit with impedimenta and while the spell damage wasn’t very severe, she’d landed rather roughly on the pavement and had hit her head pretty hard. She was stable, and I expected her to make a full recovery after given some time to rest. Another set of Aurors took her to the hospital as well. The two wizards were in much better shape. One of them had been hit with verbero scalpere, the curse that Al had received at The Quaffle. I knew I’d also seen it somewhere else, but Selenia had researched the name of it. I felt a lurch in my chest as I treated him with dittany.
The other wizard seemed to be recovering from stupefy. Since they were essentially alright, I allowed them to submit to questioning by the Aurors. They would probably end up being the best witnesses.
Then it came time to call time of death for all of the remaining victims. Five more witches and wizards had been killed - all of them with the same violenti totalis curse straight to the heart. I could tell that they were not all produced from the same witch or wizard. Just like a handwritten signature, curses usually leave the same distinctive marks on their victims. As far as I could tell there were three different attackers using this curse.
After the last victim had been tended to, Teddy, Uncle Harry and I made our way back to Albus and Scorpius. Dominique was back with our cousin and Al was now crumpled into a ball, kneeling on the ground, reduced to little cries that escaped from time to time. Dom and Scorpius flanked either side of him as Scorpius rubbed his back and Dom smoothed his messy black hair. Selenia’s body had been moved. The space where she’d been laying looked so empty. I felt the same hole tunneling through me as I’d felt when I lost my first patient, only this wasn’t a hole. It was a cavern.
I knelt down in front of the group of them, quietly announcing that I was there, but under the invisibility cloak. Al, understandably, was inconsolable. I accio’d a vial of calming draught from my beaded bag, trying to get him to lift his head enough to drink it. He turned slightly when I gently touched his cheek.
“Albus love, here. Take this. It’ll feel better.” I whispered into his ear.
Al lifted his head toward my voice and looked past my shoulder. His shaking fingers clasped around the small vial that was visible in my hand as it peeked out from under the cloak. He tossed the liquid back into his mouth and let out a shudder. I watched the potion take effect as his head lolled to the side. His green eyes that were dulling with every passing moment slowly closed and his puffy lips moved to mumble the last words before he completely succumbed.
“She’s gone Rosie. It’ll never feel better.”
A/N: So sorry for such an emotional chapter. :( Poor Rose and Scorpius and Albus.
On another note, I'm trying out a new format with an extra space between paragraphs and I'd love to know what you think. I got the idea from reading several of CambAngst's stories and I'm basically copying him (thanks, Dan!).
Thanks SO much to MrsJaydeMalfoy for recently reviewing EVERY chapter! And thanks to everyone who read this for the Dobbys.
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