Author's Note: Here's the first chapter of my new story! Let me know what you think! Not Rowling.
I saw this in the Quibbler in the quotes section and I thought it was marvelous. It made me think of you. I love you very much. I do hope to see you this Sunday for dinner.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;
to leave this world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.
The Daily Prophet
WWW Taking Over!
When Weasley's Wizard Wheezes opened its doors for the first time, it was clear they were going to be a success, but no one imagined that its popularity would soar to such meteoric proportions. The fact that they were one of the few businesses to survive the War was impressive enough, but in the year since, they have expanded immensely. Zonko's Joke Shop, having closed its doors during the War, has now waved the white flag of defeat and merged with WWW in an unparalleled corporate move. New stores open in Hogsmeade, Edinburg, and Dublin have been welcomed with open arms and full registers, and a new store is rumored to be opening in Paris soon. Will WWW take the continental Europe by storm? Only time will tell, but we're betting it will be a smashing success.
As the chilly September night breeze ruffled his hair, he looked down at the city below him, dazzling and jewel bright, the lights of thousands of buildings and houses flickering, lighting up the night sky. Cars as small as ants zoomed this way and that, their lights speeding around, forming bright yellow and red snakes that twisted and turned through the city, trying to swallow it whole. The cacophony of the busy city was muffled from this height. Instead, a penetrating, almost tangible silence took its place, piercing George like a knife. He stood on the top of the gilded rail that protected the levels of St. Stephen's Tower, holding on to the decorative post. He looked up and saw the rest of the tower, only about two stories above him. He had been tempted to go to the absolute top and hold on to what he believed was a kind of weathervane, but he had decided against it. He felt the building shake slightly as the bell just above him began to chime.
Bong. Bong. Bong. Bong. Bong. Bong. Bong. Bong. Bong. Bong. Bong. Bong.
So it was midnight. How apt. It was midnight, the time when everyone should be asleep, safe in their beds, maybe with loved ones, maybe all alone, but yet life went on. There were still people driving determinedly from one place to the next, still lights on as people burned the midnight oil. He thought about the pain of this past year, the year since he lost his brother. He had never imagined life without Fred until he was taken from him. They had always been two halves of one whole, one cohesive unit of mischief and laughter. He remembered that night, and he knew he always would. It haunted him in his dreams. Seeing the wall explode without knowing why he would remember it for the rest of his life. Hearing Fred's laughter suddenly stop. Rushing to Percy's side to pull away the rubble. Seeing Fred, his last laugh still etched in his face, his bright blue eyes wide and unseeing, reflecting the red and green lights that danced across the night sky from where it was visible through a hole in the ceiling.
He squeezed his eyes shut. No matter how many times this scene replayed in his mind, no matter how often his brother's face loomed before his eyes, no matter how many times he looked around corners and turned as the sound of a crack!, he was not there. He would never be there again. And it never got better. It never ceased to pierce his heart, to make his blood run cold, to wound every inch of his soul.
He looked down at the city below, so far, far below. A sudden gust of wind buffeted him, and he felt one of his feet slip off the railing. A paralyzing, all consuming fear ran through his body, setting his every nerve on fire, freezing his heart in one millisecond. He grabbed onto the pole next to him, clutching it, his knuckles turning white. He slowly pulled his foot back up and set it once again on the railing. He breathed a deep, shaky breath. Well, this is a sad excuse for bravery. As he looked down on the city, Lilliputian from his perch, another thought flashed across his mind. Was this bravery? Or was this cowardice at its finest?
George walked into the doors of St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries and walked up to the Welcome Witch at the Inquiries desk, who was nodding off, her frizzy, gray-haired head drooping over her copy of Witch Weekly, on which a brunette witch was smiling toothily and holding a large fruitcake on a platter. He coughed to get her attention. The witch slept on. He coughed louder. She finally woke, looking around confusedly before seeing him.
"Yes, how can I help you, son?"
"I'd like to check myself in."
She blinked at him for a moment, unsure of what to make of this. "And why's that, dear?"
George thought quickly, trying to come up with how best to handle this situation. His eyes flicked to the map next to the witch.
Ground Floor – Reception and Artefact Accidents
First Floor – Creature-Induced Injuries
Second Floor – Magical Bugs and Diseases
Third Floor – Potions and Plant Poisoning
Fourth Floor – Spell Damage
Fifth Floor – Visitors' Tearoom and Hospital Shop
He smiled at her sweetly and asked, "Who are you?" Her head tilted to the side, confused.
"I'm Healer Grant, the Welcome Witch for St. Mungo's."
He nodded for a second, as if processing this imformation, then asked, in the same confused tone, "Who am I?"
She looked at him for a second, a look of dawning comprehension replacing the confusion and exhaustion on her face. "Do you know who you are, sir?" He shook his head, the same sweet smile on his face. "Do you know where you are?"
"With Healer Grant, the Welcome Witch for St. Mungo's."
"Do you know where that is?"
"Well, here apparently, though I don't really know where 'here' is. It's quite pretty though, all white and shiny. Is it hard to keep everything so white and shiny?"
"It is very pretty, now do you have any memories of what happened before you got here?"
George pretended to concentrate, staring off into the middle distance with squinted eyes, his brow furrowed as if thinking hard. "I remember waking up next to an ugly old building called Purge and Dowse, Limited. The mannequins were creepy." He smiled at her again, the innocent smile of a young child.
"Alrighty dear, you stay right here and wait while I get someone to pick you up." She turned, and wrote a note quickly, sending it off flying to anther floor while muttering, "Left him in the street, how simply awful."
He stood, smiling blandly and staring around aimlessly. A young woman, petite, blonde, and brown-eyed, probably just out of Hogwarts last June, came hurrying up in a white outfit with a lime green stripe down her sleeves. 'She's a healer-in-training,' George thought to himself. "Yes, Healer Grant?" she asked, her voice, like her stature, was small and unpretentious, pleasant to the ear but not remarkable or memorable by any means.
"Yes, this man seems to have had his memory modified. Could you bring him up to Spell Damage? Just put him in a room and I'll send a memo to one of the healers to come check him and see if he needs to be transferred to the Janus Thickey Ward. Thank you, dear."
The nurse nodded her head, obviously processing her instructions, before turning to George. "If you could follow me, sir, we'll take good care of you." She smiled warmly at him and gestured to him as she began to walk, silently asking him to stand by her side. George could see now why this unassuming girl wanted to be a healer. She had a kind face, a sweet disposition, and immediately made you feel safe, taken care of. He followed her to the special lifts reserved for patients and they headed up to the fourth floor. She led him to the front desk of this ward and quietly asked the older man sitting there for a vacant room. After a quick, hushed conversation, George was led through a set of double doors, down a hallway, and into a small room, whose lights turned on as soon as they walked through the door. "If you could wait here, sir, a healer will be with you soon." She smiled at him and walked out, closing the door behind her.
Hermione was exhausted. She had been working almost 24 hour shifts as a transfer to her new position. She was thrilled to have been promoted so quickly after getting accepted to the training program and completing it successfully, but it came at a heavy price. She yawned and looked over the paperwork that sat on her impossibly small desk. She sighed. 'Who knew healers had to do so much paperwork?' she thought grumpily to herself. She was just starting to re-read the sentence that she had read four times already without taking in a word of it, when a pink memo zoomed in and landed on her desk. She opened it to see a quick note from Healer Grant downstairs.
Healer Granger, we have a patient that came in about five minutes ago that says he can't remember anything. We are not sure if this is permanent spell damage from a memory charm or if it is something of a lesser degree. As you are the only healer for Spell Damage on call currently, could you go check him over so we know where to place him when the morning shift comes in? He will be in Examination Room 7.
Hermione sighed again and rubbed her eyes. 'Well, at least it's a chance to move around.' She stood and headed towards the examination rooms. She passed through the double doors just in time to see a trainee closing the door to Room 7. Hermione hurried forward to catch her attention. "Rose!" she called quietly. The blonde girl turned around and smiled.
"Oh hello, Hermione! Are you the only one on call tonight? I thought you were on the midnight shift last night."
"I was," she said, raising her eyebrows and taking a deep breath, as if expressing all her exhaustion and frustration in these two silent movements. Rose nodded understandingly.
"I can't believe they're working us so hard! Well, I suppose you're here to check on the new patient?" she asked, gesturing to the closed door.
"Yeah, can I see his chart?" Rose pulled it from the holder on the door and handed it to Hermione. She flipped through the two pages of scant notes. "So no name, no information, claiming to have lost his memory, no visible trauma."
"And he's cute too. I mean, really cute." Rose grinned somewhat guiltily.
"Yeah?" asked Hermione, biting her lip as she smiled slightly.
"Yeah. He seems a couple years older than you and he's tall with these gorgeous blue eyes."
Hermione grinned at her coworker. "Been checking out the patients, have you?"
Rose grinned back, looking slightly ashamed. 'Well, not usually but this one…" She took a deep breath that seemed to communicate the rest of her point.
"Wow, well make sure to keep your professional bedside manner," said Hermione with a wink, moving towards the door.
"Only if you do," Rose shot back. Hermione laughed and opened the door, her eyes once again on the paperwork.
"Good evening, sir, or should I say good morning? So what seems to be the problem today?" she asked, making sure her voice sounded as happy and kind as possible.
"HERMIONE?" a familiar, mellifluous voice asked incredulously. Her head wrenched up from her papers and her eyes connected with a pair of familiar blue ones.