Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Summary: What would you do if somebody locked you into a room with your worst enemy, and you were told that at the end of 24 hours, one of you'd be killed. But you don't know who? A question Ginny and Draco have to ask themselves when facing a very difficult situation.
Author's Notes: It is done. It is finished. I know that many of you will attempt to kill me, but I'm not one to avoid certain things. I am also very, very, evil. Read the author's note at the end, for what I will say there might ruin this chapter for you if I said it at the beginning. I need an answer.
Chapter 9: Reconstruction of a scene
When the veil of darkness finally lifted from the vision of the crumpled form that was lying in the grass, the wind was still caressing the landscape with gentle touches, much as it had been doing 24 hours ago, when the person in question had last been outside.
Slowly the huddled figure sat up, rubbing their head and then yawning tiredly while glancing at the pale yellow moon that was about to nestle itself in blankets of clouds. The edge of the forbidden forest looked like a looming wall in the distance in the eerie light, and the trees strangely alive. All this didn't unsettle the lonely figure that was currently half sitting, half lying unperturbedly on the lawn that separated the castle from the lake at one point. But when the weary form turned its head so that it's eyes fell on a large heap of boulders and stones, recollection of the events of the last day hit.
And the scream that followed this recollection was so intense and loud that, even in the wee hours of the morning, people woke up from it and looked out of their windows to see where it had come from. Some of these people's windows actually revealed the origin of the heart-wrenching sound, and soon the lawn was buzzing with life, after the Headmaster had been roused.
The figure on the lawn took no notice of the people surrounding it – it couldn't really, as it had lost conscience again. Exhaustion had claimed the young body again, taking its mind away to blissful ignorance for the time being, but not after having grabbed one of the smaller rocks from the heap in its hands.
Madam Pomfrey later told Professor Dumbledore that she had not been able to get it out of her student's firm grip, and had then proceeded to take care of the horrible discovery they had made when removing the rocks and all the debris. It pained her heart to see such a young life put to an end prematurely, and even more so when done in such an atrocious manner.
Wiping a stray tear out of her eye, the elderly woman fetched her wand, gripping it so tightly in apprehension that her knuckles started to whiten. It had to be done, she knew, and she was trained to do the job. And she would do it, even though it seemed like the most appalling thing to do at that time, because she owed it to the victim and to its family. She was fairly sure that they'd want to see their child one last time, perhaps even insist on an open casket.
After four hours of hard work, lots of reconstructive charms, and checking on the other patient that was still lying unconscious in the room next to this secluded one, Madam Pomfrey looked almost as ghastly as the body on the table in front of her, exhaustion and sleep deprivation adding to the horrors of what she'd spent her time with these past hours.
Casting a cooling charm on the now fully reconstructed body and pulling a white sheet over it, that, despite being fresh seemed to scream death when looked at, the witch extinguished the light and left the room with one last backwards glance, locking it securely so no student would stumble across the sad picture.
Dumbledore had told her not to over-exert herself, but honour and loyalty had prevented her from going to bed and leaving the work for the next morning – which was now, anyway. The sun had just gone up, and Madam Pomfrey still did not even think of returning to bed. She had a patient to tend to, after all.
While opening the curtains and trying to get some order into the hospital wing that had been a mess until now, due to lots of people rushing in and out of it last night, she tried to make some sense of the scene they'd stumbled upon after a frantic Gryffindor fourth year and roused them, saying there was a dead body lying on the lawn.
They'd been relieved upon discovering that the alleged dead body was still very much alive, but unconscious. More than one professor had been sick after discovering what lay underneath the pile of stones though, and even a trained healer such as herself had to restrain the urge to scream and hide somewhere, telling herself the whole affair was just a horrible nightmare.
Professor Dumbledore, whom she had seldom seen look so grave yet sad at the same time had ordered that classes be suspended the next day, that students were not to leave the school until the scene had been cleared and for Gryffindors to be relocated to somewhere where they couldn't see what was going on outside.
He had also ordered the witnesses of the whole spectacle, if it could be called that, not to inform anybody of what they'd seen just yet, not even family or close friends of either of the two, which had caused some problems for Madam Pomfrey, for she had had to fight of Ron Weasley and his two best friends for hours that night.
The boy's sister had gone missing, and he had had a spell of hyperventilation right outside the Infirmary doors after screaming that his sister was dead and that it was all his fault. Her heart reached out for the boy, and she desperately wanted to tell him about his sister's fate, just so he would at least know what had happened to her, but she kept her promise to Dumbledore, for she knew his reasons. Someone was bound to overhear conversations, and he didn't want false rumours making the headlines the next day in the daily prophet. "All in good time," he'd said, and she trusted his judgement, although she admitted to having doubts when seeing the broken boy who was alternately sobbing and screaming.
While cleaning the floor with a disinfectant solution she contemplated the stranger aspects of the crime scene, for she had taken to call it that. Clearly such an incident could not be an incident, not after the two students had been kidnapped.
Madam Pomfrey was aware that she was the only one who had noticed this – the only one who could have – but the two students had been strangely clothed. She had managed to reconstruct the tissue of the crushed body, and not just the organic tissue, but also the clothing that the student had worn, and, after looking at both the boy's and the girl's clothes, had decided that they must have belonged to the same person.
All the girl had been wearing was the boy's robe. Had she been -? What a horrible thought! She hastily scrambled over to the fireplace and contacted the Headmaster, almost afraid to get an answer.
"Good morning, Poppy," the old man said with a weary smile. "I trust you didn't get any sleep either?"
"No, Headmaster," she replied, looking slightly guilty as she said so. "But I've got an important question: did you find anything, ah, strange under the pile?" she asked, trying to sound as vague as possible. She'd left after having maneuvered the two bodies to the Hospital Wing, as the rest did not really concern her, and it had been important that she tend to the living student as soon as possible.
"Well, there were remains of what we suspect to be a table, and something that might have once been a mattress. And some kind of material. It hasn't been looked at yet, but I suspect it's either clothes or curtains. Professor Snape also found crumbles of an as of yet unidentified obdurate substance. Any particular reason you're asking?" he asked, regarding her over the rims of his half-moon spectacles.
"Oh, no, I was just interested, is all," Madam Pomfrey hastily said, aware that he did not believe one word of what she'd said. "You must be busy, and I don't want to keep you any longer with my babbling. Good day, Headmaster," she said, fumbling for words and then retreating to the Hospital Wing again.
Good lord, it seemed as if her suspicions were not too far off! Of course she needed proof for that. She couldn't very well tell the family of the girl that she suspected their daughter might have been raped by their capturer. Still she found it very noble of the boy to have given her his robe, and the thought of that brought another tear to her eye. She would have never thought him capable of such a chivalrous thing.
Her train of thought was interrupted when she heard her only patient for the moment stir, and Madam Pomfrey immediately went into her professional Healer mode, grabbing a flask with a potion she'd prepared, putting it on a tray along with a glass of water and made her way over to the limp form in the bed that was currently trying to say something. The only sound that came from the apparently sore throat was a croak, though, and Madam Pomfrey shook her head disapprovingly, narrowing her eyes as she was prone to do when a patient did something that a patient should clearly not do. She was not one of those cynical Healers that thought that patients should never be allowed to talk, but obviously one was drained after a long stretch of unconsciousness, and therefore much too weak to indulge in straining activities such as talking. People never realize how much subconscious thought goes into thinking, the elderly witch thought with a sigh.
"Here, dear, drink this," she said kindly, not able to be as harsh with this particular patient as she would be with others. The poor child had seen too much horror in the past hours. After helping her protégé with this task, she said with a stern voice "Now rest," and left to inform the headmaster that the student was now awake.
Said student held up the stone that had left marks on the otherwise unmarred skin of the pale fingers and regarded it glumly for a few minutes.
"May you rest in peace," the sore voice croaked after what seemed like ages, dropping the stone onto the covers.
And in the back of her mind Ginny Weasley could hear his voice, clear as if he were sitting right next to her.
"In peace? I'm not resting in peace. I'm resting in pieces! Ha, shambles, even!"
Yes, he would say something like that. Taking the stone up again, she remembered something her mother had once told her, and smiled, albeit wearily so, before falling asleep again.
Author's Note #2: Okay, kill me now. But I actually left a backdoor for myself open so that I could write a sequel. But only if you want a sequel. And no, I'm not going to resurrect Draco, but I have ideas. Terry Pratchett is inspiring. So, does anybody want this pile of rubbish continued?