While the other students rapidly recovered, Ron was still trapped in darkness. The healers hesitated in telling Arthur and Molly Weasley, knowing that Arthur would break something and Molly would scream. The twins had been pacing endlessly, throwing furiously glances at the silent healers. Ginny had cried herself to sleep. \"You know,\" George suddenly burst out, \"I\'m not the least bit surprised that Percy didn\'t even come.\" \"Yeah,\" Fred snapped, cracking his knuckles in a desperate attempt to do something with his hands. \"That stupid git… pretends he never even had a family. He\'s probably out waxing Fudge\'s desk or something.\" Molly Weasley sat on a bench, her spotted handkerchief to her face, staring at the floor tiles. \"I mean,\" George continued, \"why on earth aren\'t they saying anything to us?\" he jerked his head towards the healers in the Ward. \"If they\'re not talking, then it must be bad,\" Fred answered. \"Damn them.\" \"Watch your mouth,\" Molly said vaguely. Sighing, Fred sat down on the floor and leaned against the wall. On any other day, at any other occasion, Fred would have taken this opportunity to make some clever remark, but that day he simply said: \"Sorry, Mum.\" Once the other healers had changed Harry\'s bandages and pronounced that he was slowly, but surely on the mend, Cassie closed the door behind them. Turning around, she let out a deep sigh. She stepped over to the bedside table and opened the drawer. Sirius and Remus climbed out. \"So what was that all about?\" Remus squeaked. It seemed as though he had finally gotten used to his five-inch-high stature. \"Well, the poison is working its way out of Harry\'s system,\" Cassie replied. \"We should be able to use magic to heal it in about three or four days. In the meantime, he\'s just going to have a little forced bed rest.\" She smiled. \"So, you couldn\'t hear from the drawer, then?\" Remus jerked his head irritably towards Sirius, who was leaning against the lamp and grinning. \"YOU try being stuck in a dark space with him for half an hour, see how you like it!\" Then, he paused as Cassie raised her eyebrows and smiled. \"I\'d like that,\" she murmured, and then laughed at the expression on Remus\'s face. Pleased, Sirius folded his arms across his thin chest and nodded, satisfied. Then, in his tiny, shrill voice, he piped up. \"Hey, Cass, any chance you can get us to normal size?\" \"Maybe,\" she slowly said, enjoying their look of panic. \"I was actually planning on going to get some tea, and then head down to the Plague ward. Fancy coming? I heard the antidote may be doing its work.\" \"Really?\" Sirius exclaimed, jumping up. \"Then come on, change us back!\" \"Well, animals aren\'t allowed in that ward,\" she explained. \"You\'d have to stay tiny. Remus could come normally, though.\" \"YES!\" Remus cried out. \"Come on, make me normal again, please!\" \"All right,\" Cassie said, pulling out her wand. \"Finite Incantato!\" However, Remus suddenly realized what they were doing far too late: he had not been removed from the bedside table. With a shout he transformed to his normal height and fell unceremoniously to the floor with a loud THUD as he grew too large for the table. \"OW!\" he yelled, his voice, (thankfully,) its regular, lower pitch. \"CASSIE!\" \"That was YOUR fault, Remus,\" she retorted. \"Come on, let\'s go.\" \"What about me?\" Sirius squeaked. Cassie picked him up and gently put him in her coat pocket. Grinning foolishly, he decided that spending some time with Cassie, even this way, was something he definitely did not mind. ********** Cassie and Remus strode side-by-side down the tiled hallway, their footsteps echoing through the empty passageways. It was still rather early, Remus noted with a distinct yawn. He had only felt this tired on one separated occasion, and that had been during school, when James, Peter and Sirius had kept him up all night to plan a prank on the second-year girls. They had been second years at the time as well, and James had every intention to torture Lily Evans, the future Lily Potter, as much as humanly possible. He smiled as he remembered the girls waking up the next morning to find themselves on what they thought was the roof of the castle, but was instead a glamour spell used to alter their dorm room. The girls had gone absolutely mad. He grinned as he thought of it- it had been his glamour spell that they had used, after all. It was something to be proud of. He and Cassie walked down another hallway and ducked into the kitchen. Mercifully, nobody else was in there, and Cassie let Sirius sit down on the table next to the salt shaker. She smiled as she looked at him, full five inches high, and then poured some steaming tea for herself and her companions. She frowned as she realized that Sirius would probably have to swim in the teacup if he actually wanted any. \"This complicates things,\" she muttered. Then, she grinned as she saw a sewing kit sitting on one of the chairs. Opening it up, she pulled out a thimble, rinsed it, and painstakingly filled it with tea. \"Will this work?\" she asked, handing it to Sirius, who raised it. \"Cheers,\" he replied, smiling. Remus downed his tea almost in one gulp, sighed happily, and refilled it. He was about to open his mouth to speak when the door suddenly open and slammed shut again. The force of the door against the door frame was so strong that Sirius spilled the thimble full of practically boiling tea on himself, but went rigid and stared straight ahead. \"What a night,\" a young healer mumbled. \"I was stuck in the Memory Ward on night shift, it was an absolute nightmare.\" \"Really?\" Cassie asked, unable to hide Sirius without drawing attention to him. \"Yeah, that Lockhart bloke… I swear, if he offers me one more autograph, I am going to kill someone.\" However, the healer noticed the stationary Sirius on the table anyways. \"What is that, Cass? A doll?\" she inquired, gesturing towards the still Sirius on the table. \"Oh, that?\" she paused. \"Action figure. Muggle toy or something… I got it from a friend of a kid who wants me to drop it off to some other kid. Cute little thing, isn\'t it?\" \"If you\'re into that,\" the healer carelessly said. \"Bloody hell, I\'m due back in the ward… I\'ll catch you later, Cass.\" \"Bye, Gwen,\" Cassie called as the frazzled healer ran out again. The moment that the door clicked shut, Sirius leapt to his feet and screamed, dancing around. \"OW OW OWWWWWWW!\" he shouted, his hands red from the boiling tea. \"CURSES! MY ROBES ARE AWASH IN PEACH TEA! GAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!\" \"Hold on,\" Cassie exclaimed, while Remus simply leaned back and laughed. She filled a glass with cold water and set it besides Sirius, who gladly dunked his hands into it and sighed in relief. He sagged to the table, his face bright red in embarrassment. \"Let\'s not mention that to anyone, all right?\" \"OOOOH no,\" Remus laughed. \"That\'s going down as one of the best moments in history, thank you very much.\" Cassie grinned and headed out of the room for a few minutes. She came back with a set of robes that she had sneaked from the laundry. \"Since yours are soaked,\" she explained, shrinking them down to his size. He hid behind the flower vase on the table as he changed. Stepping out, he pretended to model them. \"Hot stuff,\" Cassie said, smirking. \"Come on, let\'s get to the Plague Ward, I want to see what\'s going on.\" Remus nodded and stood up. \"I need to see how the antidote worked out.\" \"I know,\" Cassie said. \"Come on, let\'s go.\" With Sirius once more in her coat pocket, the three of them headed deeper into the hospital. Remus grew slightly dizzy as he followed Cassie down the endless hallways, each one looking exactly like the one before- white and empty, save for the occasional healer walking by them. They reached a heavy door. To his right Remus could see a couple of healers talking quietly to each other in a conference room, grave looks on their faces. Before Cassie could enter the Ward, the door to the conference room swung open and a healer that Remus had not yet met came out. \"Cassie,\" the healer said in a low voice. \"I need your help.\" \"With what, Beatrice?\" she asked, but the healer looked pointedly at Remus. She sighed and said, \"Remus, go through that door and wait near the benches, all right? I\'ll be in shortly.\" \"That is quite fine with me,\" Remus answered, though confused. He headed through the doors to wait. The healer turned back to Cassie, who asked, \"Did the antidote work?\" \"Yes and no,\" Beatrice answered, looking pained. \"Most of the students are recovering, although they won\'t be able to make human contact for another few days.\" \"\'Most of\'?\" Cassie interrupted, catching on as quickly as Snape had. \"What\'s the bad news, then?\" \"One student is rejecting the antidote,\" the healer said. \"He\'s- well, he\'s not responding at all. He keeps falling into relapse.\" \"So why do you need me for that?\" Cassie slowly asked, a sense of fear gripping her soul. Healer Beatrice sighed. \"His name is Ronald Weasley. His family- or most of it- is here now.\" \"Oh no,\" Cassie said, already knowing what the healer was going to ask. \"You can\'t have me do that, you can\'t-\" \"I can\'t do it alone,\" the healer desperately said. \"I can\'t tell them by myself!\" \"So get someone who was working with you!\" Cassie exclaimed, her eyes wild. \"Why ask me?!\" \"Because you\'re compassionate, and they need that right now,\" Beatrice replied, looking on the verge of tears. \"But-\" \"Cassie, I need you. I have to tell them that their son is not going to survive the night.\" It was as though time had slowed down enough for Cassandra Revina to see every speck of dirt on the floor, every line on the healer\'s face, every mote of dust in the air. Each individual heartbeat thumped uncomfortably in her ears, and she unconsciously backed up a step. \"What?\" she faintly asked, her voice sounding alien and not her own. Everything felt slightly surreal. \"He\'s not going to live,\" Healer Beatrice said in despair. \"We\'ve tried everything.\" \"If the others are recovering, then there must be something different about him,\" Cassie said wildly. \"Where\'s his file?! Where are his charts?! Give me everything!\" Healer Beatrice handed Cassie a folder, which she snatched out of her hands. Flipping it open, her eyes tore across the print. NAME: Ronald Weasley AGE: Sixteen D.O.B.: 1/17 D.O.S.: 9/24 BLOOD TYPE: Type O, Pure. PRIMARY EVALUATION: Suffers from Ethereal Plague. SUGGESTED TREATMENT: Unknown- Antidote created by S. Snape. DATE OF TREATMENT: 9/24 REACTION: Immediate Relapse. Treatment Discontinued. Cassie stared at the chart. \"You discontinued treatment?\" \"We had to,\" Beatrice answered, looking frantic. \"He just kept getting worse, I didn\'t-\" \"Okay, shut up,\" Cassie snapped, her eyes wide and scared. Then, she saw it on the chart. She took a quick breath. \"Beatrice, I want to see all of the files for the Plague patients.\" \"But-\" \"Now. And don\'t tell the Weasley family anything until I tell you to, all right?\" \"A-Alright,\" Beatrice faltered, heading back into the room behind her. Soon enough, Cassie had all of the patient files spread out before her. She tore through each one, her eyes scanning the pages, searching endlessly. The Weasley family had found Remus sitting on the bench. Ginny was gently laid onto it by Arthur, as she was still asleep. The twins were pale and nervous-looking. Molly, who was silently crying, was then taken by her husband to go get a cup of tea. Remus and the twins stood there awkwardly, not really wanting to speak to each other in such a situation. They were all preoccupied and fearful of what the healers might say. \"Does Harry know?\" George abruptly asked. \"About Ron and Hermione?\" \"Yes,\" Remus heavily said. \"We did tell him.\" \"\'We\'?\" Fred asked. \"Snuffles came with us,\" Remus quietly said. \"Ah,\" George said. \"Where is he?\" \"With Cassie,\" Remus said, sighing. \"Hopefully he will be able to tell us what has been going on.\" Cassie closed the last file, her suspicions confirmed. Stepping out into the hallway, she grabbed the lapel of the nearest healer and glared. \"Bring me Severus Snape,\" she snapped, and then sent the healer scurrying away. ************** Severus Snape strode through the halls, his irritation, worry and fatigue all radiating off of him like black rays. One could feel the negative energy wafting off of him, and he snapped his gaze from one person to the next as he walked stiffly through the corridors to find Healer Revina. He had been trying to nap, but had been once more rudely jolted back to consciousness by a young, fretting assistant healer who said he had to go find a certain healer or some horrible happening would occur. After snarling at the young healer and leaving her quite traumatized, Snape had hurried through the abyss of the hospital to find what he was needed for this time. Pushing open the door, he saw a pretty young lady that looked vaguely familiar sitting in a gargantuan swamp of folders. As she glanced up and locked eyes with him, the feeling of familiarity strengthened. “Severus Snape?” she asked, as she flipped open a pile of folders. “That is my name,” he said in his drawling voice, pulling out a chair for himself. “And you’re Healer Revina?” “The one and only,” she replied, diverting her eyes once more to the charts before her. “I need your help.” “Obviously.” She chuckled. “You know, you haven’t changed a bit since school.” “What?” Snape asked, furrowing his eyebrows. Sighing, Cassie leaned back in her chair and pushed her dark hair out of her eyes. A tiny gasp escaped from Severus as he recognized the cut of her hair, the angles of her face, her quirky smile, her deep eyes. “Cassie?” he quietly asked, not daring to believe it. “Yep,” she answered, grinning. “Took you awhile.” “Well, I haven’t seen you in ages,” Severus answered. “How have you been?” Cassie glanced down under the table at her coat pocket- Sirius, who was still hiding in there, was pretending to vomit. “Oh, I’ve been better,” Cassie answered. She pushed the files over for Snape to look at. “See here? The Weasley kid is the only one not recovering, correct?” “Yes, that is right,” Snape slowly said. “So what’s all of this, then?” “All of the Plague files. Look at all of the patients- every one of them but Weasley is a half-blood or a Muggle-born.” Snape examined the files, a look of comprehension dawning on his face. “That’s why he’s not responding. He’s a pureblood. There must be something else he needs.” “But what does he need?” Cassie urgently asked. “It must be something that can distinguish it, something incredibly important…” Leaning back, Severus rubbed his chin thoughtfully. His oily hair hung limply around his face, and Cassie fought back the mad urge to just raise her wand and chop it off. “What would distinguish it…?” Severus said mostly to himself. “What would a pureblood need?” Cassie muttered, running her hands through her hair. However, when she glanced up, she saw that Snape was not really focusing on the antidote. He was staring at her. “What?” she asked, wary. “You know,” he said, looking at her, “You were always very pretty. Even back during school, but more so now.” “Um,” Cassie said in what she felt was an articulate way, “Uh-“ \"I had a crush on you from second year to seventh year,\" Snape suddenly said, not daring to look at her now. \"You were so funny and pretty...\" \"Uh...\" \"But we\'re both older now,\" Snape confidently said, still gazing at a spot on the floor. \"We\'ve both grown up.\" \"Well, that depends-\" “Are you seeing anyone?” Snape quickly asked, and Cassie just stared at him. Suddenly, they both heard a loud voice squeaking, “ALL right! Snivellus, you move on back!” “What?” Snape exclaimed, his eyes wide. Then, it hit him. “Oh no-“ Sirius, who had climbed up the side of the table, strode angrily over to Snape. “You stay away from her,” he shouted, his voice still high and squeaky. Snape simply stared at him, his mouth slightly open in confusion. Clearly, seeing a five-inch-tall Sirius Black when he had not slept for two days was nothing less than hallucination. Then, at Sirius’s words, he snapped back to attention. “I’ll do whatever I like,” he said coldly. “And if you don’t shut up, I’ll hit you so hard there’ll be blood all over the place-“ Cassie jumped up. “THAT’S IT!” she yelled. The two men looked at her. “What is?” Snape asked. “BLOOD!” she shouted. “WE NEED BLOOD!” She put Sirius back in her coat pocket and grabbed Snape’s shoulder. “Come on, we need to find the Weasleys!” she said before running pell-mell out of the room, folders flying everywhere.
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