"Are you done mopping yet, Tsukino?" The blonde teenager jumped at the voice that sounded behind her, which in turn caused her to spill the bucket of grimy water all over the tiled floor. With a growl, she slammed the end of the mop down in frustration and turned to her coworker with a glare of hatred. The blonde boy grinned from ear to ear, clearly pleased that he managed to upset the girl before him. "How'd you like my Finchster impression?"
"If you don't leave me alone, Tanner, I swear-" She began dangerously, only to be cut off by said boy chuckling.
"Usagi, dearest, you tell me the same thing everyday. 'I swear I'm going to kill you.' I'm still kicking, babe." He said. Usagi's left eye twitched, and she lifted her mop over her head, swinging it violently towards Tanner, who ducked just in time to send the splash of water across the wall behind him.
"Don't call me 'babe'." She spat through gritted teeth. Tanner rose back to full height with his grin bigger than ever.
"Alright, babe. I just thought you'd want to know that there's a new arrival in this room. They'll be here in about 10 minutes." He said. With a glance at the water streaked wall and sopping floor, Usagi's jaw dropped. Swallowing her pride, she latched on to Tanner's shirt.
"No way. Tanner, you have to help me clean this up, I'll never get it done by myself and I can't get fired. Please?" She pleaded with the hugest puppy dog eyes she could muster. Tanner gulped, making his Adam's apple wiggle.
"Um...but that would ruin the whole point of-"
"Please?" She asked again. Tanner sighed and mentally cursed himself.
"Fine," He shrugged.
"Alright, I'll mop up the floor and you do something about the wall." Usagi said cheerfully, grabbing an armful of towels from her cart and slowly soaking up the puddle of water. Tanner grumbled to himself and headed to the linen closet to grab a blanket. With some craftiness and speed, they manage to dry the floor and hand a blanket on the wall over the spill.
Just as they were smoothing the bed sheets, the head nurse, Nikki, wheeled in a rather obese lady. Following her was what must have the woman's family, a large many and a somewhat bony woman with a long, horse-like face. An equally large boy with slick blonde hair trailed his parents in, shadowed by a skinny boy with wild black hair and glasses who had a look on his face that suggested he'd rather be sticking his head in a lion's mouth than stay with the other four people he was accompanying.
"Smith, you're supposed to be cleaning up the cafeteria, remember? Get going," Nikki said off the bat with an unpleasant look at the boy.
"Sorry, ma'am," Tanner apologized before leaving the room quickly. Usagi shrunk under the Head nurse's icy gaze and started piling the used towels back onto the cleaning cart she had with her.
"Miss Marjorie Dursley, My name is Nikki Finch; I'm one of the head nurses here at Hammock Retirement Homes. If I'm not on call, there's also Nurse Garrison and Nurse Zworykin. The nurse aids rotate three or four times throughout the day, so there's usually different people checking in all the time. Also, the cleaning staff will pop in from time to time to clean up, like Miss Tsukino is doing right now." The blonde jumped and looked over at her name before stacking the last of the towels and preparing to leave.
"Um…excuse me, Miss Finch." One of the young boys stepped forward, looking at the nurse uncertainly. "Where's the restroom?"
"Tsukino, since you're on your way out, show this boy to the restroom." Nikki ordered.
"Okay." Usagi blinked and motioned for the boy to follow her. Once outside she began to grumble to herself. "Stupid witch, always ordering me around like some personal slave. I'm just supposed to mop the floors and make the beds but now I have to get her coffee and take the garbage to the dumpster and clean up the bed pans. The bed pans! Is there some sort of sanitation law against that? Get the stupid nurse aids to do it."
"Uh..." the boy next to her looked slightly bewildered at the girl's rants, which made her forget what she was complaining about and laugh.
"Sorry, I've been working at this job all summer." She said, "My name is Usagi, what's yours?"
"Harry," he replied with a slight smile on his face. "Usagi doesn't sound like an English name at all."
"Yeah, I know, I'm Japanese. My family and I moved to England earlier this year." Usagi explained brightly.
"Really, how come?" Harry asked. Usagi's smile dimmed.
"Well, my younger brother died last year so we moved out here to be closer to one of my Mom's relatives." She answered quietly.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to-"
"It's okay." Usagi smiled up at Harry as they stopped in front of the restrooms. "You couldn't have known, it was an innocent question. Do you need me to take you back to the room? I can wait for you out here."
"Yeah, I wasn't really paying attention to where we were going." Harry said gratefully. He went into the bathroom while Usagi stood idly to wait for his return. A sudden dizzy spell hit her and she grabbed onto the handle of the cleaning cart to keep from toppling over.
'Oh, so it finally kicks in at the worst time possible. How convenient. Please, just ten more minutes to walk this guy back to his family.' Whatever entity she was speaking to wasn't listening, as she soon realized. Her breathing started slacking as the room whirled around her. She grabbed the sides of her head as if that would make the dizziness stop and squatted down to the floor.
"What are you doing now, Usagi, praying to Buddha or something?" Tanner teased from above her, dirty wash rag slung over his shoulder from scrubbing the tables in the lunch area. The blonde groaned as his voice distorted in her brain and made her headache worse.
"Not now, Tanner." She whispered at him. He raised his eyebrows at her and squatted down next to her, tilting his head so he could see her face.
"What's wrong with you?" He asked. Usagi groaned and clenched her hands over her ears. Tanner reached his hand out and placed it on her forehead, making the girl flinch. "You have a fever, a bad one I'd wager. Come on; let's go see one of the doctors."
"No." Usagi said flatly pushing his hands away. The action made her lose all remnants of balance she possessed and she fell over onto her back. In any other situation, he would have laughed at her, but his worry overruled any such act.
"Usagi," Tanner protested, reaching for her arm, only to realize she was out cold. He blinked and reached for her wrist, looking at his watch. As he did, Harry emerged from the bathroom, looked around in a confused manner, and then spotted the two on the floor.
"What's going on?" He asked, gazing at the unconscious girl and then at the blonde boy taking her pulse, mouthing numbers to himself.
"Jesus!" He cried looking at Usagi in disbelief. Harry jumped and stared at him inquisitively. Tanner seemed to have just noticed the boy standing next to him, for he turned to him and said, "Hey, will you help me carry her to the waiting room? I need to call an ambulance."
"Uh…yeah," Harry nodded, suppressing all questions he had about what in the world was happening. The two boys carried her to the waiting room, Tanner encouraging a speedy jog. When they reached the nearly empty room, Tanner called out to the lady at the reception desk to call for an ambulance immediately and they both heaved the girl on to the couch.
"She's a lot heavier than she looks," Harry panted. Tanner shot a fleeting look at the blonde.
"Yeah, but if you value your life you won't tell her that." He said knowledgably. Harry raised an eyebrow but didn't question the other boy. Tanner grabbed Usagi's wrist again and starting retaking her pulse, just to be sure he hadn't been mistaken the first time. They waited for several more minutes before the sound of blaring sirens swerved into the front parking lot. Two EMTs jumped out and grabbed their medical kits before rushing into the automatic sliding doors.
"Is she the one?" One of them asked, gesturing towards the girl on the waiting room couch. Tanner nodded.
"She had a fever and was acting sort of snappy, like someone with a bad headache or something, then she just passed out. I'm no doctor, but I tried taking her pulse and it was way lower than whatever is normal." He explained while Harry listened in intensely. A third EMT wheeled a stretcher out from the back of the ambulance while the one standing next to Usagi fixed a blood pressure cuff on her arm and began pumping air into it. A minute later he let out a curse.
"60 over 40," He told the other. They immediately hauled her onto the stretcher while Tanner looked like he was about to faint himself. Harry, knowing absolutely nothing about medical statistics, leaned over to him and asked, "How bad is that?"
"Well, let's just say that the normal is around 120 over 70." He said, with another worried look towards Usagi. He turned to one of the EMTs. "Am I allowed in the ambulance?"
"Are you family?" He asked.
"Cousin," He lied quickly with a nod. The EMT nodded and waved him along.
"Tell Nikki that Usagi's in the hospital and I went with her, okay Marie?" Tanner called back to the receptionist.
"Done," She said and motioned for him to leave. Harry moved like he wanted to go too, but remembered that he was with the Dursleys. Besides, he barely knew the girl anyways, and they'd probably never see each other again. He turned and took a seat in one of the waiting room chairs to wait for his dreaded step family. He knew he'd never find his way back to the room by himself, so he rested his head in his hand and watched the ambulance speed away with its siren's flashing.
"I still don't know about leaving Marge in that place." Vernon muttered darkly as they drove back towards number 4 Privet Drive.
"Come now, Vernon, it'll be good for her to get away from those ruddy dogs and be peaceful." Petunia said matter-of-factly as she turned the radio dial, trying to find a song.
"I know that but there are some pretty funny things that happen in nursing homes. By the way, what were you doing lounging in the waiting room?" Vernon ranted, slamming on brakes just in time to avoid slamming into a red pickup truck. "Watch the road, pal!"
"Thegirl that was showing me to the restroom passed out and was rushed to the hospital," Harry spoke up after they began moving again.
"Figures," He muttered to himself, "She was probably on drugs." Harry didn't comment, but glared at the trees passing by.
"Tsukino, Usagi," One the nurses called out, reading from the chart in her hands. A woman with long, wavy blue hair jumped out of her seat like it was on fire and rushed over to the nurse, her husband and Tanner right behind her.
"That's our daughter." Ikuko Tsukino said, holding on to her husbands arm. Tanner stood off to the side rather awkwardly.
"Well, she's currently stable and asleep. It's quite a stroke of luck, she's going to get by with no backlashes, even I'm surprised that she's not in a coma right now." The nurse said in a slightly bewildered tone as she read over the doctor's report again. She pulled the two into the hallway where not so many people were walking by, and those that were didn't care what the group was talking about either way.
"What happened to her? I have no idea what's going on. We've been here for several hours now with absolutely no word." Ikuko said hopelessly.
"Your daughter had an extremely large amount of Tylenol in her system. The doctor believes that it was an intentional overdose, but there's no way of knowing until she wakes up. The reason we brought her to the emergency room was because she passed out while at work, which was actually caused by symptoms of an oncoming virus, probably a flu. The symptoms of acute acetaminophen didn't occur until she got here.
"Once the doctor recognized the symptoms, we pumped her stomach immediately. We also gave her several shots of antibiotics for the virus, which is what you signed the forms for earlier. She's lucky, if we hadn't pumped her stomach when we did, she might be in coma right now, or dead."
Usagi woke and slowly opened her eyes. The fluorescent lighting above her made her eyes burn, so she quickly closed them again. A repetitive beep sound echoed through the otherwise silent room. Her throat felt severely sore as if someone had shoved something down it, and her stomach felt raw. Discomfort radiated from her left arm, somewhere around the elbow joint. She reached her right arm over and groped around the area gently, realizing that there was some sort of cuff wrapped around the top of it, until she felt the atrocious familiarity of a needle under her skin.
'I'm in a hospital room. There's a blood pressure cuff on my arm and an IV in the other. This is just great.' She thought to herself.
"Open your eyes, Usagi." A familiar voice called from her left. She slowly obeyed, turning her head to greet the four-legged feline. Luna perched docile on the sill of the open window, staring Usagi down with her stern red eyes. Her tail weaved back and forth, and she almost blended in with the darkness of the night behind her.
"Hey Luna, why are you here?" Usagi asked groggily, feeling like she'd been recently run over with a truck.
"I'm not aloud to visit my owner when she's lying in the hospital?" Luna asked softly. Usagi raised an eyebrow and the cat sighed. "I came with a proposition that I think would be very helpful to you right now, Usagi. Albus Dumbledore contacted me and expressed his desire to transfer you to his school."
"Okay…?" Usagi said with a raised eyebrow.
"It's not just any school, Usagi. It's Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Also, I believe there's something that you need to take care of there. It may even be where your new destiny begins, and it's a great chance for you to meet some new friends." Luna explained.
"I don't need new friends, Luna, and I'm not a witch." Usagi said.
"Well, technically, you are a witch, in the loosest sense of the word. You do use magic; you just don't use a wand or potions. You have an ability to adapt to their kind of magic and to use a wand, if you wish." Luna replied.
"I guess I'll go then, if I need to. When do we leave?" Usagi asked.
"Now would be best." Luna answered. Usagi looked down at her IV.
"Get me a cotton ball and a band-aid." She sighed, removing her blood pressure cuff. Luna obliged and dropped them in the teenager's lap. Usagi braced herself and pulled the IV out in one swift motion, snatching up the cotton ball and pressing it down before the small hole started to bleed. She placed the band-aid over it tightly and changed into the bundle of clothes that had been discarded in a nearby chair, her work clothes. Luna motioned her to follow her out of the window, and Usagi did, thanking god that they were on the first floor.
Hey! This is quite different from the original, huh? Several people pointed out to me how vague and inaccurate that the original beginning chapters were, so I decided that it was high time to revise them. I'm happy to say that this is much better than the previous document. shudders in horror at it I hope you agree. If this is your first time reading on this story, be thankful that you didn't have to read the previous monstrosity. I don't think I'm going to revise the other chapters, at least not at the moment, because I need to continue working on the current chapter. Perhaps I'll do it before the story concludes, but for now, ta ta!
SachiNyoko "I see things no one wants to see." (Brittney)