Marian Elvbow blinked. It wasn't everyday someone appeared out of thin air less than five feet in front of you. If she leaned forward she could have brushed the man's shoulder with the tip of her nose. At least she assumed it was a man, despite the long hair that was brushing said shoulders. Oddly enough, he looked just as confused at being there as she was, whipping his head around a few times. He gave her a once over before finally finding what he was looking for, and darting into an old building.
Marian sighed, releasing the hand that was clutching her stomach and cursing the dull ache that had begun there. Probably should have had lunch before going shopping, she thought as she continued walking down the street. She stopped when she got in front of the shop, though. The Leaky Cauldron was spelled out in faded letters above the door. Judging by the way the man was dressed, she assumed it was some kind of occult book store, just the kind of place she avoided at all times. All the windows were opaque, no goods on display, nothing to catch the eye. Okay, not your normal store then.
Another pang in her stomach made her wince. Yeah, she really should have eaten lunch before heading out. Marian decided that she would see if they sold any kind of food. Once she'd allowed a friend to drag her to The Psychic Eye, one of the larger 'new age' book stores in California, and she's had the best honey cakes there that she'd ever tasted. If she got something in her stomach, it might decide to let her live until she got everything she needed for dinner.
The heavy door creaked as she opened it and slipped inside, and froze. Okay, definitely not a bookstore, she though to herself. It was smoky, with a fire going in a large fireplace across from a bar despite the heat of the afternoon. There were windows, but they were near the ceiling, which had to be a good fifteen feet up, and let in slanted shafts of light. A pub then, with some of the oddest people in it she'd ever seen.
The man behind the bar looked normal enough, though his clothes seemed to be circa 1800. Everyone else was dressed just as strangely, and if it hadn't been the end of August, she would have sworn she'd just entered a Halloween party. And to make things stranger, they were all looking shocked at her, as if she were the odd one.
"Is there somethin' I ken help ye with?"
The question jerked her out of the daze she'd gone into. Quickly, she looked around, but there was no sign of the man she'd followed. "Ummm, no. I must have got the wrong door," leaving the sentence at that she turned to leave.
The pain hit her low in the stomach, almost doubling her over. In desperation, Marian gripped the doorframe, trying to stay upright.
"Are ye all right, love?" A woman had come up to her, laying a gentle hand on her arm.
Marian shook her head, and began reaching blindly for her purse. She knew she'd packed those pills her doctor had given her before she went out. Her hands closed on the bottle as another bolt hit her, turning her knees to liquid.
"Sillius!" the woman cried out. Marian tried to keep herself upright, but it wasn't happening. She started to pull away, not wanting to crush the small woman, but was surprised when a strong hand went under her arm.
"There ya go, miss. Nice 'en easy," she was guided to the bar, and sighed when she sat on one of the stools. Being off her feet helped.
"I have…to…to get my pills," she whispered, almost to herself as she dug frantically through the large bag she was carrying. She hadn't had an attack this bad in years. Finally, she felt the cool plastic of the bottle and pulled it out, trying to calm the shaking in her fingers so she could open it.
"I'll get that," the barkeep said, taking the bottle before she could protest.
"Thank you," Marian sighed, not noticing the man struggling with the childproof cap. She let her head sink onto the bar, grateful that the wood was cool beneath her forehead. The pain was receding on its own, just a little, but that little was paradise.
"Is there anything we can do, dear?" The woman was next to her, probably looking at her with a mixture of concern and curiosity. A hand was running calmingly up and down her back, and she didn't care who it belonged too, as long as it didn't stop.
"No," she shook her head without lifting it, feeling her skin drag against the wood. "I just have to take my medication."
"What's going on?" someone asked.
"Some muggle's havin' a fit," someone whispered.
Muggle? Before she could look up another spasm hit her, this one blurring her vision in its intensity. She let out a small squeak, and would have fallen off the stool if two hands hadn't reached out and steadied her.
"Two," she whispered, fighting to keep from crying as the tears tried to squeeze past her eyelids.
"What? Oh, of these," she heard movement over the roaring in her ears, then looked up. Her pills were sitting in front of her, along with a tall glass of water. She looked around and saw him, the man she'd followed. He was looking at her with the same intensity she'd expect someone to have while examining an animal. Straightening, she reached for her pills, but never got them. Halfway there, she fainted.
The occupants of the Leaky Cauldron were staring, stunned, as Tom and Jinks carried the woman upstairs to one of the rooms. It wasn't the fact that she'd passed out that had them stunned. It was the fact that, as soon as her hand brushed against the glass, it had exploded.
"I thought she was a muggle," the voice sounded like it was coming from far away.
"Thought she was," another voice answered. "No one comes in here not knowing why. And look at 'er clothes. Only muggles wear things like that. Petterwig was supposed to have people walking around London all week, checking to make sure everything was secure and we don't have any security breaches and what not. Maybe she's one a his."
"Any idea what was wrong with her?"
"No, tried to walk out, but started havin' some kind o' fit. Just kinda collapsed."
What in the hell was a muggle, anyway? She thought she'd heard every term the British had for Americans, but apparently she was wrong.
"Are you awake, now, miss?"
Marian opened her eyes. The room she was in was dark, and she was lying on something that felt like a very soft bed. "Yeah, I'm awake. Where am I?"
"A pub," was the short reply, and when her eyes focused she saw that the same man that she'd followed was sitting on the bed next to her, a rag in his hand. "You collapsed down stairs, so Tom and Sillius brought you here to rest," he set the rag in a bowl. "Are you one of Petterwig's people?"
Marian blinked. Petterwig? "Petterwig? I don't know anyone named Petterwig. "Why do you ask?" she sat up, ignoring the pain that was still thudding dully in her stomach. At least it wasn't as bad as it had been. "Look, I was shopping and I ducked in here. What's with everyone down stairs? Are they some kind of club or something?"
But the two weren't paying any attention to her. They were staring at each other with the same panicked expressions.
"Severus?" the other man said, backing away.
The man in black nodded, before taking out a stick and pointing it at her. "Ob-"
She didn't have time to steele herself, the pain hit so fast. One moment she was sitting up, the next she had curled herself into a ball. Someone was trying to straighten her out, but she wasn't about to relax, not when it felt like someone was tearing her apart.
"Professor maybe… Finnian in Diagon… just take a moment…"
Another pair of hands was helping the first, and she found herself stretched out on her back.
"Nose bleed. Tom, hand me that rag."
Marian reached up and wiped her nose, staring that the blood that coated her fingers. This was not good. "Call… an ambulance."
When no one moved she tried to sit up again, but was stopped by a firm hand on her shoulder. "You need to rest-"
Hissing, she pushed the hand away. "Purse?"
The hemp bag was handed to her and she began rummaging through it, sighing in relief when she found her cell phone. "I have...to get to…hospital," she pressed the buttons, but nothing happened. She'd charged the phone last night, she knew she had…
"Tom, contact the Ministry and tell them to send someone from Muggle Relations here immediately."
"No, call an AMBULANCE!"
A few candles, which had served as their only light, flared; the small flames reaching almost a foot in height before shrinking again.
"You have to calm yourself before someone gets hurt!" The man in black, Severus, was yelling at her.
"Don't tell me to calm down!" she yelled back, her pain fueling her anger. "I need to get to a hospital, can't you understand-"
Whatever she was about to say had been cut off, because she'd passed out again.