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The nausea hit her hard and Elizabeth rushed to the lavatory just in time. Whatever it was it was draining the girl long after others had recovered from it. It had also had the effect of making her irritable and the students under her charge as well as others around her had learned to do the best that they possibly could to avoid her wrath. Even Lily and Beatrice had felt the edge of her unexplained temper and, although they had accepted it, they too wondered what was wrong with their friend. She finished emptying her stomach into the toilet as she thought about what the nurse had said to her.

I really think that you should see a healer at St. Mungos, Elizabeth, this is beginning to concern me. You have been sick for far too long.

She flushed the toilet and then left the stall to stumble to a sink to wash her mouth out. The dreams that she had been having comforted her as did the fact that there had been no more attacks on her mind. It was almost as though her father had abandoned his attempts, but her guard never wavered. She knew the possible price if he managed to breach her defenses and nothing could convince her to ever surrender to him.

Elizabeth lifted her head to look into the mirror and was struck by what she saw. Her eyes and face were puffy with her skin being pale. She sobbed as she felt the nausea begin again and rushed back to the stall to repeat what she had just ended. The past week had been like this, ever since she had first become ill, constant rushes to the lavatory to be sick.

‘Maybe she’s right, maybe I should go to St. Mungos, because this is terrible. If I don’t get better soon I’ll go this weekend.’

This weekend was only two days away and, although she hated the thought of the healers poking at her, she resolved to either get better or carry through with her plan. She finally rose from her knees and then returned to the sink to wash out her mouth. Thoughts of returning to the hospital entered her mind when this happened, but the Pain-B-Gone was having no effect on her symptoms, leading many to believe that the girl was under the effects of a dark spell of some sort. The nausea abated, she walked to the room where her friends were busy on their final papers for Potions.

Lily looked up from the table that she had created for the project to gasp as she saw her friend. Elizabeth looked ill, almost deathly, her face pale and she was trembling visibly as she sat down.

“Merlin’s Beard you look terrible!”

“Thanks, Lily.”

“Are you okay, Elizabeth? I’m really worried about you.”

“I don’t know what this is, but it’s terrible. I feel exhausted all the time and I’m tired of visiting the lavatory constantly.”

Lily looked at her friend with concern and reached across the table to lay her hand on top of that of Elizabeth. The eyes of the girls met and Elizabeth managed a smile.

“Are you even going to Professor McGonagall’s room to help?”

“She told me not to worry about it until I felt better. I spend most of the time in bed sleeping.”

“You have to see a healer, Elizabeth. If something is wrong you have to see one.”

“I’m planning to go to St. Mungos this weekend if things don’t improve.”

“I’ll go with you, if you want me to,” Lily offered.

“Thanks, Lily.”

Lily watched as Elizabeth reached into her bag and withdrew a number of pages of parchment before smiling again.

“It’s finished.”

“You finished the paper for Tindwell, even as sick as you are,” Lily answered after recovering from the surprise that she experienced.

“Not going to class has given me time to get things done. I’ll see him in the Great Hall at mid-day and give it to him then. It’s just one more thing that I can mark off as done before we have to worry about N.E.W.T.S.”

“What do you even have left to do?” Beatrice asked.

Elizabeth looked at her friend with a wan smile and answered with dry humor.

“I can always spend my time on the floor on my knees while I barf in a toilet.”

“Sounds, wonderful,” Beatrice choked out.

“Yeah, just wonderful,” her friend replied. “I can also rest and cuddle Tiger.”

“That sounds like a lot more fun than the other thing,” Beatrice added.

“Or I can help my dear friends with whatever they need help with,” Elizabeth remarked as a bit of her normal fire emerged.

“That would be great,” Beatrice answered as she showed Elizabeth the point that she was stuck at. Elizabeth swiftly read what was in front of her before picking up a quill that had appeared and beginning to write on a parchment that lay before her.

“I won’t do it for you, but I can certainly help you.”

“I’ll take any help that you can give me.”

Laughter and conversation was soon sounding from the table as the seventh year girls worked on the assignments and thought about the one thing that no one could help them with. It was only weeks away, the thing that all seventh years dreaded, and all that they could do was to get ready for it because there was no way to avoid it.

The bells rang in the tower far too soon and they hurried to gather their things to walk to the Great Hall and the mid-day meal. Professor Tindwell was the first person that Elizabeth saw and she made haste to approach him as she clutched the parchments that she intended to hand him. He watched the seventh year girl walk towards him, a bit on the unstable side, and then stop in front of the High Table to extend her hand with the parchments.

“I assume, Elizabeth, that you are submitting your final parchment.”

“Yes, Professor Tindwell that is exactly what I am doing. I’ve enjoyed your classes and learned a lot from you, but it’s time that I do this.”

The professor rose from his chair and walked around the table to accept the offering, which vanished abruptly and the girl knew that they were appearing on his desk. They smiled at each other and then turned to walk to their seats for the meal ahead.

Professor McGonagall met the girl and looked at her curiously.

“Mrs. Blackwell-Potter, you don’t look well.”

“I’m hoping after I eat that I will feel a bit better.”

“I hope that you do, I’ve missed your presence in Transfiguration class and the students miss you as well.”

The girl smiled at the comment and nodded.

“I’ve missed them too. Please tell them that I still will help them if they catch me somewhere. Kim has been coming to me a lot and so have some of the other Gryffindors, but I don’t tell the members of other Houses no. I’ll help them no matter which House they belong to.”

Minerva McGonagall smiled as the spirit of the girl emerged through her apparent illness.

“That, Elizabeth, is why I selected you as my Teaching Assistant and future Junior Professor. You should know, however, that your command of the elven magic has brought the attention of the Department of Magical Studies and Minister Bellins. You are being considered to teach a new class next term, one that would allow you to pass on what you have learned about that form of magic. I would hate to lose you as my successor, but feel that you would make a more than capable full professor in that class.”

Elizabeth’s eyes widened at the news and her mouth fell open as her hand came up to cover it.

“Are you saying that they want me to teach elven magic at Hogwarts?”

“It has been discussed by Professor Leeds, Minister Bellins and me. The Ministry is considering it highly, especially since you used those spells to such great effect against Koeppler and defeated him with them.”

“I’m honored, Professor McGonagall.”

“We thought that you would be.”

“Thank you.”

“Now, about your illness, I believe that you should seek the help of the healers at St. Mungos and I am prepared to inform your family, including Albus, about your condition if you refuse to seek the help that the hospital offers. The school lost a wonderful student when Miss Barker died, I would hate for it to lose another if something were to happen to you.”

“Elizabeth,” another voice announced and she turned to see Tobias Leeds had approached them to speak, “the entire school is concerned about you. As the headmaster, I am prepared to order you to St. Mungos, please do not make me exercise that authority. You are still a student here and I can compel you to do so under threat of discipline should you refuse to follow my directions.”

The comment hit hard and Elizabeth reeled for a moment before recovering. Leeds watched as her eyes and expression hardened before she spoke.

“Professor Leeds, I had already intended to seek help at St. Mungos this weekend. I do not appreciate your threats and it shall be a long time before I can stomach speaking to you again!”

The girl whirled on her heel, or attempted to as her knees crumpled under her and she started to collapse, a collapse that was halted by the headmaster that she had just confronted. He lifted her into his arms and then spoke to McGonagall before disapparating with the girl.

“Inform her parents that I am taking her to St. Mungos. I fear that she may need more than the help that our facilities are able to provide.”

Hundreds of eyes watched the wizard vanish with the girl in his arms with two of those eyes watching with malice.

‘So he is taking you to St. Mungos, is he? Perhaps you will do us the favor of not surviving the experience.’

The pair appeared in a room within the hospital and Leeds was relieved of his burden, bringing back memories of another recent trip to the hospital with a different girl in his arms, a girl who had died in the very room where Elizabeth had been taken by concerned personnel. He sat down in a nearby chair and was still there when her family arrived via apparation. They rushed to the headmaster and he rose to meet them.

“Professor Leeds, where is she?” Victoria Blackwell asked with tears apparent in her eyes.

“They took her in there,” he answered, “she collapsed in the Great Hall after a confrontation with me. I didn’t mean for this to happen, I was just trying to urge her to come here to seek attention.”

“Seek attention? What’s wrong with her?”

“She’s been ill for the past week. From what I understand, Mrs. Blackwell, she has been nauseous and extremely weak. We had had a wave of flu in the school and everyone assumed that she had fallen victim to that, but now we believe that it might be more serious. I feel terrible that I upset her in the fashion that I did and I intend to apologize to her.”

Victoria nodded and turned to the door as a healer stepped out of the room to approach them.

“Is she okay?”

“She’s exhausted and we want her to sleep. Can you tell me what happened?”

“She’s been like this for a week or more, weak, nauseous, irritable. She really hasn’t been herself at all,” Leeds responded.

The healer nodded and then turned to the parents of the girl.

“We want her to rest before we examine her. I really don’t think that it is life-threatening, but we are concerned. We’ve done some preliminary exams and will let her know when we have the results.”

“What about us? When do we learn the results?”

“Mister Blackwell, your daughter is an adult, we cannot tell you anything unless she gives us permission. She has that right and the hospital as well as its staff will respect those rights,” the healer responded to the frightened wizard.

“Can we see her?”

“She’s asleep right now, but I don’t see why not. Please don’t wake her, she needs the rest.”

A series of POPs sounded and suddenly the area was filled with Lily, Beatrice and Professor McGonagall. They were followed a moment later by Harry and Ginny, who approached the parents of the girl.

“Is she okay?” Ginny asked.

“She’s sleeping,” Victoria replied.

“Do they know what is wrong?”

“They haven’t told us anything yet. They’ve told us that we have to wait for Elizabeth to tell us anything because she’s an adult.”

“Then we have to wait?”

“Unfortunately, yes. Where’s Albus? Has he been informed?”

“Victoria,” Harry answered softly, “Albus is out on field training and they haven’t been able to contact his team. I’m afraid that it may take some time to contact him. Once they find him, I am very certain that he will be here immediately.”

Victoria nodded and stepped to the door of the room to see her child resting quietly in the bed. She watched through the window as a nurse tended to her daughter and fear entered her mind as she realized that this was the very room where Emma Barker had died. The nurse didn’t attempt to stop her as she pushed the door open to enter and watched as the clearly concerned witch approached.

“She’s sleeping right now. Please, no more than four people in here at a time and keep the visits under ten minutes.”

Victoria stepped closer to the bed as her husband and parents entered the room. They moved closer to the girl and Elizabeth’s mother gently placed her hand on the forehead of the young woman. She looked at the nurse with surprise before speaking.

“She doesn’t have a fever.”

“The healers have ordered tests and they will be done soon, until then they want her to rest.”

“Pain-B-Gone?”

“No, they used Morphios. They didn’t want to give her anything until they know what is going on with her.”

Victoria turned to see her parents stepping closer to the bed and watched as they gazed down at their grandchild.

“She looks so helpless,” Amanda whispered as she ran her fingers over the blonde hair of the girl in the bed.

They watched the girl for a long while until leaving the room so that others could enter. Lily and Beatrice entered slowly as they too recognized where their friend was.

‘Please don’t let this room claim you too,’ Lily thought as she looked down at her still friend and cried quietly.

Harry put his hands around both girls to comfort them as he looked down at the normally fiery girl who now was incredibly vulnerable. If the forces of the Dark Lord were to make an attempt on Elizabeth this would be the time that they would choose to do so, when she was nearly defenseless. He quietly made plans for a group of Aurors to be present to guard the room and its occupant.

Elizabeth wasn’t aware of any of this; she had reentered the world of her dreams and was content. Once again she was surrounded by darkness and warmth with the ever present sound repeating itself constantly. Her thoughts were immaterial at the moment, they weren’t necessary as everything that she needed was present. She had managed to throw her defenses up at the last moment before the sleeping charm had been used and any attacks would be futile.

The experience was just as strangely vaguely familiar, as though she had experienced this before at some time in her life. She was under complete protection, nothing could harm her and somehow she understood that some much more powerful force was watching over her. Again, a slight pressure caused agitation and she was relieved when it was removed. Finally, tired from what exertion she had expended, she drifted back into the blissful sleep that waited for her.

Professor McGonagall watched as the girl reacted to the light touch that she had placed her Elizabeth’s forehead as she was kissed. The young woman whimpered softly and the professor wondered if her kiss had caused pain.

A healer stepped into the room to check on his patient and gently shooed her visitors out. He was relieved by what the tests had told him and he looked at the patient with understanding. With some rest and tender loving care, Elizabeth was going to be just fine.

He turned and walked out of the room to find the group watching him with anticipation. Knowing that they were all both curious and concerned about her well-being, he spoke.

“She’s going to be fine. This will pass and she will be fine, but I want to talk to her about what she needs to do to ensure her recovery.”

He smiled as sighs of relief sounded in the waiting area and walked away from the family and friends of the girl convinced of what he had told them.

The night passed quickly and Elizabeth woke to a room full of people as bright sunlight entered the room. She looked around at those crowded around her bed and her eyes widened with fear for a moment before she spoke.

“Please tell me that I haven’t been out of it for so long that I missed N.E.W.T.S. and have to take the whole term over again,” she exclaimed with near panic.

“Not at all,” Professor Leeds answered, “you frightened all of us when you collapsed last night. I do feel that I owe you an apology, Elizabeth. I fear that what I said may have contributed to this happening. Please forgive me.”

“You’re forgiven, Professor Leeds, and please accept my apology for what I said to you in response.”

“You were forgiven the moment that you said it.”

Kim pressed forward through the crowd to stand near the bed. Her blue eyes were filled with concern and Elizabeth could tell from her puffy eyes that she had been crying.

“Are you okay, Elizabeth?”

“I’m going to be fine, Kim, I’m just a bit tired and I have the flu. It’s nothing serious, just the bug that everyone else at Hogwarts has. I’ll be up and around in no time.”

The small girl smiled as she moved closer to accept an offered hug of reassurance.
The group turned as the healer stepped into the room and he looked with surprise at the number of visitors in the room.

“Well, I guess that it’s okay, although I would have liked only four people visiting at a time.”

“So,” Elizabeth piped up as she sat up in bed, “when do I get out of here?”

“You lay back down,” he ordered. “I have something to discuss with you, so I am going to clear this room for a while.”

Elizabeth felt fear as she watched her family members and friends ushered out of the room and then the healer turned to her.

“What is it?” she asked with a trembling voice.

“Have they been able to reach your husband?”

Elizabeth shook her head slowly as tears filled her eyes.

“No, I know that they’re probably trying.”

Sensing her concern, he moved closer to her bed and then sat down on a stool that had appeared next to it.

“You’re scaring me.”

“Elizabeth, this is all going to be over in a few months.”

Tears began to flow down her cheeks as she cried softly and those watching through the window in the door could see her distress.

“Is it Dragon Pox?”

“Dragon Pox? Merlin’s Beard no.”

“Then what is it?”

She sat in the bed quietly as he spoke and then relief filled her as she understood what was going on. The dreams that she had been having made sense now and she realized that everything was going to be okay.

“Are you certain about this?”

“They want to run a few more tests, but I am fairly certain.”

Those watching through the window couldn’t see through the body of the healer as her hand dropped down onto her abdomen and gently rub as the next words that he spoke resounded in her mind.

“Congratulations, Mrs. Blackwell-Potter, you’re pregnant. Do you want me to have them come in so that you can tell them yourself?”

“Not yet,” she answered, much to his surprise. “It’s father needs to know first.”

It was at this moment that her defenses slipped enough for the news to reach another mind.

‘A grandchild? You are pregnant, Elizabeth? This changes everything!’
 

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