For Hogwarts Assignment 7- A Study of Magical Healing: Anapneo, write about someone who finds a way to breathe again.

Count Your Buttons: Rabastan Lestrange, boot

A/N: This is playing on my headcanon that Rabastan was often sick as a child.


"Rod? Roddy!"

Grumbling, Rodolphus sits up in bed, rubbing his eyes before looking at his younger brother. Rabastan is still in his blue and green striped pajamas, and his dark hair is a tangled mess. Their parents clearly aren't awake if Rabastan looks like a pitiful street urchin. Their elf would have been beheaded if she ever let the boys look so disheveled.

"Go back to bed, Rab," the older boy says sharply, throwing a pillow at the nine year old.

He expects the younger boy to sling the pillow back at him and storm off. Instead, Rabastan sits on the bed, bouncing rapidly like a maniac. The creak and groan of the springs are maddening, and Rodolphus resists the urge to shove his little brother to the floor.

His mother would lose her mind over that. Rodolphus can practically hear her frantic, shrill shriek in his head.

Rabastan isn't well! He's fragile, Rodolphus. You have to treat him with care.

The older boy exhales deeply. "What do you want?"

"Can you take me to see the snow?" Rabastan asks, his dark eyes shining with excitement.

"You know you aren't supposed to go outside without Mother."

Rabastan folds his arms over his chest. His lower lip quivers in a pout. "But Mother never lets me play!" he insists.

Rodolphus knows he should stand firm. Rabastan is too sick; he always has been, and they haven't yet found a potion to fix him. His brother looks so pitiful, though, and it melts Rodolphus' heart. He climbs to his feet, pushing his fingers through his dark hair and wincing at the tangles. "You'll have to put on something warmer than that," he points out, making his way to his own wardrobe and finding a warm pair of black trousers and thick black jumper.

Beaming, Rabastan offers him a salute before darting from the bedroom. Rodolphus sighs as he peels away his own pajamas and replaces them with an appropriate outfit. They won't be long. Their mother will never know, and everything will be okay.

Rabastan waits for him in the parlor, properly bundled up. Rodolphus lifts his Slytherin scarf, carefully draping it around his brother's neck and fixing it until it covers his mouth.

"You're being ridiculous," Rabastan whines.

"You know what the cold does to you," Rodolphus counters simply. "Deal with it, or I'll shout for Mother and Father right now and tell them I caught you trying to run away."

Though Rabastan's mouth is now obscured by a square of knitted emerald, Rodolphus can only assume his brother is scowling at him. Rodolphus holds his head high. It might be an annoyance for Rabastan, but it's necessary.

"Come on," Rodolphus says, leading the way out.

The cold air stings his cheeks. Rodolphus pauses, frowning. He worries about the temperature and whether the scarf will be enough to protect Rabastan's lungs. The younger boy, however, doesn't seem to care. With a squeal, he darts forward, his boots crunching the the snow.

Rodolphus opens his mouth to issue him a warning, but he changes his mind. Rabastan is still a kid. He deserves a chance to actually enjoy himself. "Wait for me!" he calls, following after his brother.

He finds Rabastan on his back, his dark jacket juxtaposed against the blanket of white. Rodolphus watches in amusement as Rabastan flails his legs and arms. "I'm making a snow angel!" he says proudly. "It's gonna be so-"

The sentence dies as Rabastan's slender body is rocked by a loud cough. Rodolphus freezes, his heart racing. Would it be safe to leave Rabastan here and run back inside to get their parents?

The younger boy bolts upright, placing his hand over the scarf-turned-mask as he sucks in a breath. "I-I'm fine," he says.

Rodolphus doesn't like how shaky his brother sounds. He shakes his head. "C'mon, Rab. We shouldn't have-"

"I'm fine!" Rabastan insists, how voice louder, tone bordering on desperation. "Please! Please! Please!"

"Stop, or you will make yourself sick," Rodolphus warns. "Five more minutes."

"Ten."

"Five."

"Seven?"

Rodolphus scowls. "Fine. Go play."

Rabastan doesn't have to be told twice. Giggling, he bolts. Rodolphus watches, his lips drawn into a worried frown. Suddenly, he doesn't feel like playing with Rabastan. He just wants to go inside so he'll know his brother will be okay.

The wind intensifies, and he shivers, his teeth chattering. "Rab, I think we should go back inside!" he calls before following his brother's footprints.

"You're no fun!" Rabastan cries, pausing and pulling the scarf down so Rodolphus can see him poke his tongue out in defiance.

"Don't do that!"

But it's too late. Rabastan breathes just a little too deeply and doubles over, his face twisting into a mask of agony. He gasps and sputters, his chest rising and falling pitifully as his lungs fail to take in enough air.

The twelve year old sprints, slipping slightly on the slick ground but managing to keep his footing. He scoops his brother into his arms, his heart breaking as he listens to the way the younger boy's chest rattles.

"Rod…"

"Shh… Shh," Rodolphus soothes, ignoring the added weight in his arms. He quickens his pace. "I've got you."

He shouldn't have given in. There will be no hiding it from their parents now, and Rodolphus shudders to imagine what they might do to him. Rabastan is the baby, the sickly one. Their parents have always coddled him, have always emphasized the need to protect him at all costs.

Rodolphus had ignored years of warnings in a moment of weakness, and now his brother might die. It's all his fault. If he'd been a crueler boy, he wouldn't have cared if his brother had thrown a fit. If he'd been heartless, he wouldn't be in this predicament now.

"Hold on, Rab," he murmurs.

His brother's eyes are wide. His mouth opens and closes soundlessly, and Rodolphus is reminded of a fish out of water.

He bursts into their home. Nettie, their elf, looks up from her dusting, frowning as she realizes what's going on. "Get my parents!" Rodolphus orders in a snarl; with a squeak, the useless creature disappears.

Rodolphus watches his brother expectantly. He hopes against hope that the warm air will be enough, but Rabastan continues to struggle. His delicate fingers close around Rodolphus' jumper, and he looks like he wants to say something. Before Rodolphus can coax him, however, their mother rushes downstairs, their father close behind.

She doesn't bother to ask. Stormy blue eyes narrowed into a cold glare, she snatches her youngest son from Rodolphus' arms and rushes away, her dirty blonde curls bouncing frantically with each step she takes.

"I didn't mean to," Rodolphus says, his voice breaking as his father approaches.

His father towers over him, and Rodolphus cowers, fearing punishment. To his surprise, his father dark eyes soften. "We'll get through this," he says, his deep voice warm and reassuring as he wraps a firm arm around Rodolphus' shoulder and guides him along.

Rodolphus watches as his mother works quickly with skilled, steady hands. He wonders if he could ever have her level of concentration. Even as her son lays there possibly dying, she doesn't falter in her movements.

"What were you thinking?" she demands without looking up from the plants she's juicing and mixing with water.

"He wanted to play," Rodolphus says stubbornly.

"You know he's sick! You know what the cold can do to him!"

Rodolphus shrinks back. His mother is small and lithe, and, while she may not seem intimidating to most people, she becomes as fierce as a lioness where Rabastan is concerned. "I didn't mean-"

"You're his brother; it's your job to protect him," she says, her voice calm but dangerously low as she moves closer to her gasping son and presses the vial to his lips. "Drink, my love. Drink. Everything will be okay."

Rodolphus watches with eager eyes. The seconds that pass feel like painful minutes; Rodolphus fears that it's taking too long, that his brother will give his last sputtering gasp and pass on. Rabastan coughs before sitting up, sucking air desperately into his lungs.

Rodolphus doesn't even realize that's he's been holding his breath until he exhales shakily. His relief is brief, however. His mother rounds on him, her nostrils flaring. "Now, what shall I do with you?" she asks, arcing a pale eyebrow.

"Mother, he was o-only helping m-me," Rabastan says quietly, still nursing the remains of the vial.

Their mother isn't swayed. Fury still burns in her blue eyes. "Well, since you seem so close to your little brother," she says coldly, and Rabastan can hear the sarcasm dripping off each syllable, "I'm sure you won't mind spending the rest of your winter holidays with him. Inside. Neither of you are permitted to step foot outside. Is that understood?"

The boys both deflate slightly, but they murmur their compliance. Their mother offers them a curt nod before walking into the hall, shouting for Nettie.

"Sorry I got you in trouble," Rabastan mutters.

Rodolphus shrugs and sits next to his brother on the uncomfortable, cold table he's been placed on. "Trouble? Don't be daft. Mother thinks forcing me to spend time with you is punishment?" He rolls his eyes, wrapping an arm around the boy.

"It's not?" Rabastan's thin pink lips quirk into an almost smile.

"Of course not. Now, come on. I bet we can sneak some sweets while Nettie isn't looking," Rodolphus laughs, dropping to his feet and keeping his back to Rabastan.

The nine year old giggles and wraps his arms around the older boy's shoulders, his legs securing themselves around his waist. "I want sweets!" he calls before coughing again; too much enthusiasm after an attack can do that, Rodolphus remembers.

"No sweets unless you take it easy," Rodolphus warns.

Though he can't see him, Rodolphus is certain Rabastan is making an ugly face at him. Rodolphus rolls his eyes, a small smile on his lips as he creeps slowly into the hallway. Nothing can ruin his day now. Rabastan is all better, and that's all that matters.