Author's Note: This was originally written for Josette in the 2011 SSHG_Exchange. I am extraordinarily grateful to her for the inspiring prompt and to the wonderful M, who has steadfastly supported me with her friendship (and, I might add, beta skills). Between the two of us, I hope the typos and rough sentences have been smoothed over. This is, as always, dedicated to M and to the new friends I've made through the Exchange.
Original Prompt: An exotic antidote research project—you pick who is in charge of the project and why. Bonus points for involving Neville in some herbological capacity.
Disclaimer: This is a work in homage to JKR's magical world and to AR's magnificent performance.
May 21, 2010
My darling Rose,
It is a beautiful day, and I am watching you running about the garden, throwing your Pygmy Puff into the air, laughing your beautiful laugh as you catch Apri. Do you still have him, I wonder? I would have to read up on the lifespan of Puffskeins. He was a present from your uncle George at your last birthday, and you've run around with him in your arms ever since. Although (nearly) every memory of you is my favorite memory, I am very fond of you trying to pronounce "Apricot" after asking (so very intelligently, I might add) what shade of colour your Pygmy Puff was. You can manage to say it properly now, but Apri is what he will always remain to us.
Yes, it is a beautiful afternoon. While you play, I am curled up under one of Grandma Molly's afghans in a lazy-back chair, christening this new journal I bought yesterday at Scrivenshaft's while out in Hogsmede with your aunt Ginny. It is a slim leather journal that adds pages as you reach the final few pages. This is a marvelous charm—usually I run out of room and fill in the margins and back cover of my research notebooks!
I have never kept a journal before–in school I was preoccupied with homework and adventures with Harry and your dad, and after joining the Ministry, I spent all my time researching and drafting legislation or convincing the public to support house-elves and werewolves. However, I have always had the talent of being more verbose than is required, so I expect I will rise to this challenge.
Why am I keeping a journal, and why is addressed to you? My mother suggested that, and I agree–but it is so gorgeous outside, and I would rather spend my time with you. Tonight, I can bear this.
All my love,
I sit at our table, staring up at the night sky through the paned glass. We are not so far into the countryside that the stars are easily visible, and yet I try my hardest to catch a glimpse of their light, if only to illuminate my own mind. It is not often that I cannot express myself or create a plan, but
I'm dying, Rose.
There is no use waffling around. You have seen me on my crutches; you deduced that I was sick—clever girl—but your dad and I have done our best to keep our uncertainties from you.
I also know that you will be grilling your father for the details, and I am sure you already know how your dad can be about details. Yes, he's an Auror, but if it is not part of some overall strategy…
About a month ago, I began to lose feeling in the tips of my toes. I am sure your feet have fallen asleep before, and while there are all sorts of prickles and tingles in the feet, you are unable to walk steadily on them till the nerves subside. My symptoms are similar: first the nerves go haywire; then they vanish. It is surprisingly hard to walk when your hallux (your word of the day) is partially missing, according to your medulla (the next word of the day—if you haven't borrowed your Nana and Papa's anatomy book, now is the time to do so, dear). Although I appreciate the exercise gained from hobbling around on crutches, I have begun to wish I could pester your uncle Percy about obtaining a flying carpet.
Doctors! Yes, I visited St. Mungo's and a variety of Muggle doctors. They were all mystified—I believe there is no documented case where nerves begin to disintegrate almost instantaneously beginning at the furthest point away from the brain. Over this past month, I have lost feeling completely in my feet. Muggles have names for similar diseases: Maladie de Charcot (a general term), motor neurone disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease in America), etc. Yet these diseases cause neurons to degenerate in the brain or spinal chord, and I did get my head checked!
Just to be sure, I swallowed a Bezoar, had Dittany applied to my feet, and was checked for spellwork by the Healers. I take a nerve regeneration potion daily, but with an unknown agent eating away, the new nerves never get time to grow. At best, it has slowed the degeneration. Essence of Murtlap (that bowl I soaked my feet in tonight during supper) helps soothe the pain, and both my Healers and doctors prescribed physical therapy exercises, which I maintain daily. Still, despite all the books I am reading (taking a week's vacation from the Ministry has been lovely) and all the specialists I've seen, my nerve degeneration is spreading. By my calculations, I have between five and six months before it reaches my spine and vital organs.
I want you to know the truth, Rose, even if it will come to you years late. It is my worst fear that you will grow up without a mother, and so I wish you to have something of me. You are four years old, and I will be unable to be there with you physically as you grow.
Forgive the tearstains, my darling.
This journal is my gift to you; it's a chance to get to know your mother. For me, it's the opportunity to pass on the things I would have wanted to share with you. I will ask that this be kept for you until you are close to going to Hogwarts, or when you start demanding to know about me, whichever is sooner.
You are my greatest treasure.