Chapter 11 : The Hospital Wing
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Most people would assume that it had been one day, but Rose knew better. She’d spent three days passed out in the hospital wing after a nasty fall from her broomstick in her third year, and Roxanne had once been in the hospital wing for nearly two weeks with a concussion, most of which she had no memory of.
Madam Byrd walked out of her office. “What day is today?” Rose demanded.
“Wednesday,” Madam Byrd said shortly. She disliked engaging Rose in conversations about the duration of her stay in the hospital wing, because she and Rose always seemed to have very different opinions on what constituted “enough time.”
“How long was I out for?” she asked cautiously.
“No longer than you needed,” Madam Byrd told her.
Rose tried to quell her growing panic, but she was fighting a losing battle. Just as she was beginning to really lose it, however, the door opened and Albus stuck his head in. “I won’t upset her, I promise,” he said. Madam Byrd gave him a penetrating look, and then walked back into her office.
He came over and sat down next to the bed, and she grabbed his arm. “Al! How long have I been out for?”
“Less than a day. You’re feeling better, then?”
The sight of her cousin’s red hair brought the rest of her memories flooding back, and she gasped. “That bastard!”
Al looked lost. “What?”
“He put something in my tea!” Rose was livid. Albus glanced nervously toward Madam Byrd’s open door and tried to shush her. “I was too tired,” she said in a lowered voice. “I wasn’t paying attention, he was wandering all over the room, he was behind me at some point, and he slipped something in my tea!”
Her voice had gotten both higher and louder again. “Rosie, keep it down,” he said, his voice soft.
“He put something in my tea!” She did not understand how Albus was not reacting more strongly to this fact.
He rubbed his forehead. “Probably. I wasn’t thinking about it, either, if that makes you feel any better.”
“He poisoned me.” Rose actually looked around for her wand, though she had no idea what she was planning to do with it, given that Scorpius was not actually present and that there was no way in hell that Madam Byrd would let her leave the hospital wing yet.
He cousin rolled his eyes. “Now you’re just being melodramatic. He did not poison you.”
In Rose’s opinion, that was a very charitable interpretation of the events that had transpired. She sniffed. “That bastard.”
After about ten minutes, Albus excused himself to go get lunch before his afternoon classes. A few minutes after he left, the door opened again, and Scorpius walked in. He looked very pleased with himself.
“I just saw Al go down the stairs,” he said, sitting down in the chair her cousin had vacated. “How are you feeling? Everyone said you went hysterical yesterday.” He shook his head in mock disapproval and actually patted her hand. “Too much caffeine, Red.”
She snatched it away. “You bastard,” she hissed angrily. “You put something in my tea!”
He looked like he was trying to hide a smirk, but his attempt failed miserably. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. That tea must have been really strong.”
“I was relaxing! That wasn’t fair!”
The sun streaming in the window glinted when it touched his hair. It had faded a little more overnight, but the orange was still quite distinctive. Rose would have smiled if there hadn’t been a much more pressing matter at hand. “Well, I told you I’d get you back.”
Rose glared at him. “What was it?”
“What was what?” She leaned forward, trying very hard to stop herself from grabbing his collar. His grey eyes met her blue ones, and something about his smile made a not-unpleasant shiver run up her spine. She felt herself lick her lips and sat back quickly, feeling distinctly off-kilter. “An elixir to induce euphoria,” Scorpius said. If he’d noticed her discomfort, he was ignoring it - for the moment, anyway.
“But that’s N.E.W.T. standard.” She doubted whether even Roxanne could have brewed that potion yet, and Potions was probably Roxanne’s best subject.
“Well, I’m not stupid, Red.”
She hadn’t thought that he was stupid in the first place, just annoying, but if he had truly brewed an elixir to induce euphoria, she’d have to tread even more warily around him in the future than she’d thought. She hadn’t realized that he was quite that smart.
“It took awhile to take effect,” she said. “Why?”
“I wanted to be off having an alibi.” She caught her breath, ready to start yelling at him, Madam Byrd be damned. He hastened to add, “If you put in a few drops of syrup of hellebore, it delays the effects.”
“Oh. I guess that was smart,” she admitted grudgingly.
“Almost cunning, wouldn’t you say?” He was still looking entirely too pleased with himself, and she told him so. His mouth broadened into a grin. “Hey, be nice. Goldstein said in class today that you made a Patronus.”
He laughed. “Yeah. Apparently, being on the verge of hysteria does make it easier. I told him after class that I’d heard you been given an Elixir to Induce Euphoria, and he said that while it would certainly would make conjuring a Patronus easier, he didn’t really recommend it in case of a dementor attack because you’re likely to be unable to think straight afterward and they’d just come back and suck your soul out anyway.”
“So, what you’re telling me is, I was the first in our year to conjure a Patronus and I can’t even take credit for it because you gave me a stupid potion?” she snapped, her disgust with him deepening.
“Well…” He drew the word out. “Goldstein also said that even with the elixir, it was impressive that you’d managed a corporeal one on your first day.”
Madam Byrd came out of her room and shot Scorpius a glare. “This girl needs rest. She’s not going to get it if she keeps getting visitors.”
“I’m really fine,” Rose said. “I think I might go to class, actually.” She threw back the sheets and made to get out of bed, though she knew Madam Byrd would never let her go.
Sure enough, the witch rushed over. “No, you will not. You will stay here and rest.”
Rose looked mutinous, and Scorpius leaned over. “Oh, c’mon, Red,” he murmured. “Just take the day off. Don’t waste your time, she’s not going to let you go, anyway.”
She sank back into her pillows, and Madam Byrd looked mollified. “Five minutes,” she warned Scorpius before going back to her office.
“I hate you,” Rose said, though her voice lacked conviction.
He smiled. She tried not to look at his lips, though something about her mood since he’d walked in was making it very difficult. “Yeah, I believe that. Look,” he said, leaning forward, “you really were exhausted. You’re not just here because of that potion. Come on, Rose, how much had you slept the last few nights?”
His use of her actual name made her stomach lurch, and now she was pretty sure he was doing all of it on purpose to throw her off. She supposed she probably deserved at least some of it, but still, she really didn’t appreciate it.
“Not much,” she admitted. “I haven’t been sleeping well, and I had a lot of work to get done. I’ve been a little distracted with a couple books I took out from the library last week.”
“Yeah. I thought so. Believe it or not, I did not intend to put you in the hospital wing.”
She looked into his eyes suspiciously. Either he was a very good liar, which was always a possibility, especially with a Slytherin, or he was telling the truth. Either way, there was nothing to be gained from arguing with him. “Fine.”
He held her gaze, and after a moment, Rose looked away. Those eyes were far too disconcerting. “Just relax,” he said. “I’m sure she’ll let you out tonight.”
“She’d better. If I miss more lessons, I’ll turn your entire body red. I’ll turn you into a snail.” She thought for a moment. “I’ll feed you to the giant squid.”
“But I don’t want to be fed to the giant squid.”
“Yeah, I remember.” Rose finally saw an opportunity to regain the upper hand. “You’d much rather kiss me, wouldn’t you?”
Scorpius leaned in a little closer than Rose would have liked. He spoke softly, but she caught every word without straining. “You know, Red, you talk a lot about how I want to kiss you. Why are you so focused on that, exactly?” Rose felt her face get hot, and she had a sinking feeling that she had not regained the upper hand at all. He saved her from having to find an answer by kissing her cheek. “Just curious,” he murmured in her ear. “Feel better, Rose.” He straightened up. “You know, it’s nice to end an interaction with you and have your face be bright red, not mine.”
When the door closed behind him, Madam Byrd emerged, and Rose drank the goblet she was carrying without a fuss. At this moment, sleep was preferable to dealing with what Scorpius Malfoy had said - or, worse, speculating what his kiss meant.
Rose awoke a few hours later to the sound a very familiar voice at the door to the Hospital Wing. When Madam Byrd tried to convince him to leave Rose to rest, James cited his deep devotion to family and begged that he be able to come in for just a minute.
Rose very much doubted that he would only be a minute, but after another minute, Madam Byrd relented. Before she retreated to her office, and reminded James again that he really shouldn’t stay too long, since Rose needed rest.
James pointed his wand toward the ajar door as soon as she’d closed it behind her and muttered something. When she frowned at him, he smiled and pocketed the wand.
“Just a little spell to give us some privacy. Has anyone else visited you today?”
“Yeah. Albus during lunch for a bit, and Malfoy stopped in for a couple minutes. I think he wanted to gloat.”
“Ah. So is was him?”
She wrinkled her nose. “With a potion. Stupid git.”
“Want us to help you feed him to the giant squid?”
Memories of all the times Scorpius Malfoy had invoked the giant squid recently made her giggle. She stopped abruptly when she remembered what had happened the last time it had come up in a conversation between them. “No, it’s okay. If we get into a prank war, Albus is just going to get annoyed, so maybe we’d better just call a ceasefire. For now.”
He shrugged. “Fair enough, Anyway, it’ll be awhile until that red fades away completely.” The memory of his lips pressed against her cheek made her stomach turn over again - they’d been very soft - and she let out a loud groan as she fell back against the pillows. James looked startled. “Rosie, what on earth?”
“He sort of kissed me.”
James whistled and sat back in his chair. “What, today?” She nodded. “Ah. But this ceasefire you want to call is entirely for Albus’s sake, of course.”
“Naturally.” She started to run her fingers through her hair, but gave up almost immediately. It was hopelessly tangled. It occurred to her that she rather wished Scorpius hadn’t seen her like that — though it hadn’t stopped him kissing her, had it? “Can I borrow the cloak tonight, if she lets me out?”
A grin played across his mouth; James really couldn’t be serious for very long. “Sure. Planning some more eavesdropping?”
“Maybe.” She felt a smile spreading across her lips, too.
“I can’t believe you’re going for a Slytherin.” He shook his head. “I’m kind of grossed out. I should get you disowned from the family.”
Rose decided not to quibble over whether she was ‘going’ for anyone - she had a feeling that it wouldn’t end well.
Madam Byrd seemed satisfied that Rose really was going to be fine, but it was still well after six by the time she let the the Gryffindor leave. By that time, James and Roxanne had already reported to detention, but Albus came by after dinner to keep her company and make sure that the nurse would actually let Rose leave. Feigning exhaustion, Rose retired to her dormitory shortly after they got back to the Common Room, hoping that her cousins had remembered to leave her the cloak. To her relief, Roxanne had left the cloak in an inconspicuous bag on her bed before reporting to Professor Dorny.
Glad that she was alone in her dormitory for the moment, Rose threw it over herself and made her way down the stairs.
A/N: Any reviews would be greatly appreciated, and most importantly, thank you so much for reading!
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