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Chapter 4 : The Healer
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In an office at St. Mungo’s Hospital, the head Healer of the Memory Recovery Department was bent over her desk frantically trying finishing up the days paperwork so that she could go home. She tucked a loose strand of her long blonde hair back behind her ear and looked up at the clock on the wall again. She couldn’t believe that it was nearly ten o'clock already. She should have been out of there hours ago. She turned back to her work and became extremely focused. Despite the late hour, she always found it easier to remain focused at this time of day, because the hospital was usually pretty quiet. Almost too quiet at times.
“Miss. Saleena,” a voice called out suddenly from the speaker on her desk. The unexpected arrival of the night-shift secretary’s voice startled her so much so that she nearly yelled out in fright. “Sorry to bother you, ma’am, but it appears that you have a visitor here.”
She furrowed her brow in confusion. Who on earth would be coming to visit me at this hour? she wondered. “Send them in, I guess,” was her only reply.
A moment later, there came a soft knock on the office door. She gave the visitor permission to enter. A woman with hair equally as long, and equally as golden as Saleena’s, walked into the room. She closed the door behind her and slowly walked over to stand in front of the desk. Saleena stared at her visitor in complete shock. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing. This had to be a mistake.
I must be more tired than I thought, she told herself. She rubbed her eyes, hoping that the woman before her was merely a figment of her imagination. No such luck. When she opened her eyes again, the woman was still standing there.
“I am real, Saleena,” she confirmed.
“Obviously,” Saleena spat. “The real question is what you're doing here. You have a lot of nerve just showing up here like this. Uninvited. This is my place of employment; it's how I make my living. Therefore, this is not the place for unwanted family reunions. After all it's been, what? Thirty years, give or take. I hope you a very good reason for showing your face here tonight... Mother.”
“And thirty years is far too long, if you ask me,” her mother replied.
“What do you want, Kireonna?” Saleena snapped.
The use of her first name coming from her one and only daughter stung. But a moment later, she had regained her composure and calmly responded. “I have simply come to talk to you, Saleena.”
“Yeah right, I find that entirely difficult to believe,” Saleena barked. “There has got to be more to it than that. After all, there always is with you people. I know you want something else, you always want something. So enough with the pleasantries and just spit it out already.”
“Alright then, fine,” her mother snapped back. “If that’s really how you want it, I guess I'll just get straight to the point. You’re grandmother, my mother, the leader of our people... she is dying. She probably only has three or four more months left to live, if that. She isn’t doing good, Saleena. She’s not doing very good at all.”
Saleena’s heart sank. Whatever she had been expecting her mother to say, it was certainly not even close to this. After a brief moment silence she finally spoke what was on her mind. “So what do you expect for me to do about this?” She had to ask, even though she was almost positive that she already knew what was coming next.
“I want you to come home, Saleena,” her mother pleaded. “Come back and take up your rightful place among our people. I have already spoken with them, and they are all willing to let the past thirty years of your absence, go and accept you as their new leader. All you have to do is come back home with me now.”
“I have no desire to become one of them,” she said, making the word them sound as if it were some kind of nasty disease. “I have never wanted that, mother. You always just assumed that I would want to be their leader, and you tried to force their customs on me. That’s the reason I left with father in the first place. You know already know this. So how dare you come in here, after all these years, acting like everything is okay between us, and then have the nerve to stand here and ask me to go back there with you! My life here is perfectly fine here. I have a great job, and I am very successful at what I do. I am happy, mother. So what on earth would make you think I would even be the slightest bit interested in going back with you?”
“Well I had hoped that perhaps you've missed me as much as I have missed you,” Kireonna sighed. “But I can see now that I was mistaken.”
“Yes, clearly you were very mistaken,” Saleena nodded sharply. “Listen, mother, it’s not that I don’t love you, nor that I don’t miss you. Because believe me, I do. It’s just that I have no desire to be the leader of a people whom I honestly do not feel as though I fit in with.”
“What do you mean, you don’t feel as though you fit in?” Kireonna wondered. “Saleena, you'll fit in there just fine.”
“No, mother, I won’t” she stated. “Think about it. I’m not a boastful person like most of them are, I actually like my privacy. I have no desire to rebel against the ministry, and I actually view men as human beings; not just as breeding tools. They’re people too you know.”
Saleena slowly shook her head back and forth a few times before continuing. “No mother, me being their leader would never work out. They wouldn’t want me anyways. Because, if I were their leader, there would be a lot of things that I would have to change. But I already know that most of them don’t like change; they’re all so set in their own ways and beliefs, it isn’t even funny. I can’t lead them because I simply do not agree with them. Enough said.”
“So there is no way you will change your mind then?” Her mother was practically begging now.
“No!” Saleena said forcefully. “Why don’t you do it? You be their leader. Queen Caraleonna is your mother after all.”
“You know it doesn’t work like that,” Kireonna shot back. “ I cannot be their leader because I do not have the gift. But you do. It skips a generation, it always has. You know this.”
“Well, I don’t want the stupid gift. I never asked for it. I never asked for any of this,” Saleena yelled.
“Did you ever stop to think that, perhaps, it is because of that stupid gift that you’re so successful at this job?”
“No, I’m successful because I am good at my job,” she argued.
“So you mean to tell me that you have never used the gift to help you out with any of your patients?” Kireonna asked skeptically. “Not even once?”
“Well, yes, maybe I have a few times,” Saleena admitted. “But I don’t make it a habit of doing it every single day.”
Her mother clicked her tongue and shook her head. “Tisk, tisk, tisk. Imagine what the Head Healer of St. Mungo’s would say if he found out that his lead girl was actually a Gypsy. It isn’t good to lie to your superiors all the time, my daughter. What do you suppose he would say if he ever found out what you really are?”
“It doesn’t matter, because I am not one of you,” she retaliated. “And besides, he isn't going to find out.”
“Oh, would you please just stop fooling yourself, Saleena. Trust me on this; once your grandmother dies, and there is no one there to take her place, the whole wizarding world will know the truth.” Kireonna promised.
“How can you be so sure of that?”
“Because our clan has already been approached by another,” Kireonna explained. “One who has promised to give us back the freedoms that the ministry has been denying us for years. He has already suspected that you will not come back, therefore, he has made a move already. And a lot of the clan have fallen under his influence. Lord Voldemort truly does have a way with words, you know.”
Saleena found the idea of the entire Gypsy clan joining forces with Lord Voldemort to be even more repulsive than the idea of her becoming their next leader. She could not begin to allow herself to think that this was even a remote possibility. “But they would never join Voldemort. The Clan knows better than that. They all know he can’t be trusted. And besides, he's a man. They would never stand for being ruled by someone like him.”
“Ah, but the dark lord is very good at what he does, my daughter,” she debated. “When he speaks, he paints this beautiful picture of a perfect and peaceful world. One that you and I both know is completely wrong, of course, but the way he paints things is irresistible. A few members of the Clan have already secretly agreed to leave and join him, even if you do decide to return.”
Saleena slowly shook her head. “So what exactly will happen then, if I don’t return?”
“The Clan will have no choice but to vote on a new leader, and our family will lose all of it's power and influence. If they cannot find another girl in the clan who possesses at least one of the three gifts, then they will opt to join forces with Lord Voldemort,” she confirmed.
“And what will happen to you if they join him, mother?”
“I am not so sure,” Kireonna confessed. “But I will certainly not be taking side with a monster like him. It is out of my hands, however, because the clan does not consider my opinion to be of any value. Ever since I failed to raise you up properly, they have disowned me.”
“But I always thought that you agreed with Voldemort’s principals on blood purity,” Saleena challenged.
“Heaven’s no!” Kireonna exclaimed. “What on earth would give you that impression?”
“Well, you and Mrs. Black were always the best of friends,” Saleena spat. “And that woman was a pure-blood nutcase if I ever met one. Sirius and I saw right through her, but you and Regulus practically worshiped the ground that she walked on. You thought that woman could do no wrong. Please, try and tell me that that's not the truth.”
“Saleena Dawn Blackwell, we are not having this conversation right now,” she demanded. “That is not the reason why I am here. I have traveled a long way to speak with you, and I'll be damned if I am going to have this argument with you again right now.”
The room grew deeply silent as each of the women became engrossed in her own thoughts. They were both afraid of what the future might bring... After a few minutes of thinking, Saleena finally cleared her throat. Her mother looked up at her pleadingly. Saleena hated herself for doing this, but she knew that there was no way she could go back. She did not belong with the Gypsies.
“I am deeply sorry mother, but you will not sway my decision. I cannot go back there.” Kireonna buried her face in her hands and began to weep. “Please don’t do that, mother,” Saleena begged. “I’m sorry, but I just can’t do it. But listen, I’ll get us some help, alright? I promise. I’ll seek out the Order of the Phoenix and ask them if we can join sides with them. Then you won’t have to go with Voldemort at all. Would you like that?”
Kireonna looked up at her daughter. “You would ask me to turn my back on my own clan?”
“Well they have already turned their backs on you, it would seem.”
“I won’t!” she proclaimed. “I will stand with my clan, no matter what their decision.”
“Fine then!” Saleena yelled back. “Do whatever you want to do then, but leave me the hell out of it!”
On the upper corner of her desk, one of her business cards began to glow a bright yellow. It soared off the desk and glided towards her. Surprised, Saleena reached out and took hold of it, reading it quickly to herself. “Wow,” she mused. “This card hasn’t glown in such a long time. I never thought they would actually use this again. I wonder what has happened now…” she was muttering to herself. For a moment, she was so distracted by the card that she nearly forgot that her mother was there.
“What is that Saleena?” Kireonna asked, snapping her attention back onto her.
“It’s one of my old calling cards. I used to use these all the time back when I used to do house calls,” she explained. “But it’s been forever since one of these have actually been activated. I've always kept this particular card on my desk though, because it belongs to one of my primary patients; Draco Malfoy.”
“You mean Lucius Malfoy’s son?”
“Yes,” she confirmed. “The Malfoy's are the only people I make house calls for anymore, and even then they are few and far between. Now that Draco is all grown up, and Lucius is in prison, I hardly see them anymore at all. So I can't even begin to imagine what this is all about.”
“So, are you friendly with these people now?” her other asked. “That family is nothing but trouble, I trust you know that.”
“Yes, mother, I am aware of the Malfoy's current standing with the Ministry. But who I am friendly with is really none of your concern,” she spat. “If you must know, however, Draco Malfoy is one of the few patients that I have used the gift on. The Malfoy's are the only wand carriers alive today who actually know the truth about who I am. I have been their private Healer since Draco was only a day old. Because of our longstanding history, they trust me. And I in turn trust them as well. It is not a trust that I am anxious to lose neither. For when I do get a call in from the Malfoy's, I tend to get paid rather well for my time.”
“Well of coarse you do,” her mother said sarcastically. “That’s how Lucius Malfoy always operates. He uses his money to control the world.”
“Lucius Malfoy does not control me Mother,” Saleena glared at her and, for one tense moment, Kireonna glared right back. Saleena abrupt got u[ from her desk. “As much as I've enjoyed this conversation, I really do need to get going. I have got to take this call.”
The moment of confidence Kireonna had gained a moment ago quickly evaporated. Her face was once again ridden with grief and worry. “Daughter, can you really turn your back on your people without a second thought?”
Saleena paused to act like she was considering this question for a moment. “Yep.”
“But won’t you have a guilty conscience?” her mother pressed.
“Nope,” she answered truthfully. “If our people are seriously considering joining up with Voldemort, after all that he has already done, then I want nothing to do with them. Not now, not ever.”
Kireonna stared once more into the eyes of her only daughter. Even to this day, she was still caught off-guard at how incredibly similar Saleena's eyes were to her grandmother's. Her own eyes were a deeper shade of green, which she had inherited from her father. But Caraleonna and Saleena both had eyes that were the of the most brilliant shade of mint green. They shared the same all-knowing eyes that could pierce through one's soul in an instant. She sighed and shot Saleena one last pleading look. “So nothing I say could change your mind?”
“No Mother, there is nothing,” Saleena confirmed. “I have to go now, sorry. You found your way in alright, I trust that you won’t need any help in finding your way out.” She grabbed her traveling cloak off the hook by the door and threw it on. She motioned for her mother to leave, and then followed her out the door, locking it behind her.
Kireonna stopped at the main entrance to the hospital. “Well, I guess this is goodbye then,” she sighed at last.
Saleena stared right back at her mother and casually shrugged. “Yeah, I guess so.”
Then, without warning, Kireonna flung her arms around her daughter, embracing her. “I’ve missed you so much!” she cried
“Get off of me and act your age, woman!” Saleena spat, clearly affronted by the physical contact. She quickly pried herself out of Kireonna’s embrace. The look on her mother’s face made her regret her behavior, but only for a moment. Saleena sighed. “Look, I really am sorry that I cannot do more to help you,” she apologized. “But I must go now. I have a job that needs tending to. So goodbye, Mother.” And without another word, she turned and walked out of the double doors and didn’t look back.
Kireonna hopelessly watched her daughter go. She knew that she could never make Saleena come back. It would have to be her own choice. Of course, she had known all along that her daughter was going to say no before she had even come. But still, she had to try, and try she had. A moment later, Saleena apparated out of sight and Kireonna shook her head in defeat. It’s a shame she will never know how truly powerful she is. Or how great she could be, if she would just try, she thought to herself as she too made to leave the Hospital. But I will never give up on you, my daughter...
Back at the Burrow, it was about ten-thirty when there finally came a knock at the front door.
“I'll get it,” Molly said, hurrying out to answer the door.
The main entrance to the Weasley’s home opened up into their kitchen, and just as Molly was making her way around the dining table, there came yet another soft knock. “I’m coming, I’m coming!” she announced. She opened up the door and there stood Miss. Saleena Blackwell, a pleasant smile on her face. Molly's first impression of her was that she was far too young to be a healer. She was very pretty; tall and slim, with long blond hair and mint green eyes. She was very professional looking, with her clean-cut white suite, her briefcase filled with medical supplies, and her golden hair woven into a long braid along her back.
Molly smiled back at her. “Hello, my name is Molly Weasley,” she said, extending her hand. “You must be Mrs. Blackwell.”
Saleena reached out and shook Molly’s hand. “Miss. Saleena, at your service.” Molly let her in and closed the door.
“So, do you work for the Malfoys?”Molly wondered.
“Goodness, no!” Saleena exclaimed. “I work for St. Mungo’s. Lucius has just been a client of mine for quite some time. Draco got very sick as a baby, and I was called in to help them determine what was going on with him. I suppose that Narcissa must have trusted me after that, because I have been their privater Healer ever since. I must say though, it has been a long while since I have done a house-call for anyone. Can't say that I blame Lucius for wanting me to come here though, especially in these dark and dangerous times. After all, who knows how the Ministry would react if Draco Malfoy walked into their hospital right now.”
“Well, I highly doubt that Draco will be walking anywhere anytime soon,” Molly said. “His condition is not all that great right now.”
“What is wrong with him?” she quickly asked.
“Well, we’re not entirely sure,” Molly answered. “Arthur, my husband, he just found Draco out on our front porch when he came home from work tonight. We received a letter from Lucius, but all it specified was that Draco had been poisoned.”
Saleena’s jaw dropped. “What? What do you mean poisoned? What kind of poison?”
“We don’t know, Miss.”
“No, I suppose you don't.” Saleena half chuckled. “Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here.”
Molly wasn’t entirely sure how to take the Healer. Was she being serious, or was she merely tying to make light of the situation? “Well, um, would you like to see him now?” she asked, trying to ease the awkwardness that had settled between them.
“Sure,” she said enthusiastically. “It’s been a while since I've seen Draco.”
“Right this way then,” Molly said, leading her out of the kitchen and into the living room.
Saleena entered the room and walked straight over to the couch where Draco was lay. He was wheezing, clearly struggling to catch his breath. She placed a hand lightly on his forehead and immediately withdrew it. “My goodness, he is burning up!” she exclaimed.
Molly and Arthur were silent as Saleena began to take Draco’s vital signs and examine him more thoroughly. Judging by her reaction, there was obviously something going on that she could see and they could not. Saleena frowned, raised her eyebrows, rolled her eyes, muttered under her breath, shook her head, and continued to sigh for several minutes before turning away from her work at last.
“Could one of you please go and get me a cold washcloth?” She requested. Molly quickly rushed to the kitchen to retrieve the cloth Saleena had asked for. She returned and handed it over to Saleena, who gently placed it over Draco’s forehead.
“What’s wrong with him?” Arthur asked after a time.
“It’s just as we were told,” she sighed. “He has been poisoned. Among other things...” she trailed off.
“But what kind of other things?” Molly asked.
Saleena just shook her head. “His wounds are internal, and they go deep. They are the result of a dark magic, that which I have never seen the likes of before. This can only mean one thing; that Voldemort is growing stronger. His methods of torture clearly know no bounds,”
You can help him though, right?” asked Arthur.
Saleena nodded. “I should be able to, yes. But it will take me some time to sort this all out. A lot of time, and a lot of coin, I’m afraid. Are you sure you want to do this?”
Arthur glanced at Molly. She just shrugged her shoulders as if to say; whatever you like, dear. “We are,” Arthur answered firmly. “And as for the money, Lucius informed me in his letter that he would be covering the cost of everything. The money should arrive here around Midnight.”
“Very well then,” Saleena said with a nod. “Lucius hasn’t ripped me off, as of yet. So I suppose I can trust him enough to take his word for it on this. I will be needing a more private place to work from though.”
“Of course you will,” Molly said. “I’ll go and clean out Percy’s old bedroom. You can take him upstairs and work from there.” With that, she got up from her chair and disappeared up the stairs.
After Molly left, Arthur turned to Saleena. “You are aware as to why we cannot take him to St. Mungo’s, aren’t you?” he asked.
“Of course I am, Mr. Weasley,” she answered. “We are in the middle of a war here, and Draco happens to be a wanted man. I get that. And if you think for one second that I am going to turn him in, you’re mistaken. I am not like that at all.”
“Well I should assume not,” Arthur said. “If you were that sort of person, I highly doubt Lucius would have left us with your card.”
“Well, Lucius and Narcissa have always trusted me with the care of their only son,” she assured him. “This boy is like family to me. I have watched him grow up, and I confess that I've grown quite fond of him over the years. Rest assured, Mr. Weasley, I will do everything within my power to save him. I can promise you that.”
“I just hope that Molly isn’t too sore with me for allowing him to stay here. Lucius and I have never really gotten along, you see,” Arthur explained.
“Oh believe me, I know” Saleena said, nodding. “I’ve heard Mr. Malfoy talk about you before, Arthur. And he never really liked you either. So I imagine that it must have been rather difficult for him to leave Draco here. Lucius was clearly desperate. But despite all that, I for one do believe that this is what's best for him.”
“Absolutely,” she remarked. “You see, I have always believed that Draco was destined for greatness. I know that he is going to be different than his father, his grandfather, and so-on. I can’t exactly explain it myself, I just know that he’s different. You know what I mean?”
Arthur smiled. “Actually, I do. And I think that Dumbledore knew it too.”
“That he did,” Saleena chuckled. “And Dumbledore was never usually wrong about much.”
Molly returned, announcing that the room was ready for them. Saleena hurried off to follow her back up the stairs. Arthur scooped Draco up off the couch and followed right behind them. He took Draco into the room and laid him on the bed. After that, Molly and Arthur excused themselves, allowing the Healer to get right to work.
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