Hi All! So, I've put the reasons for the delay and anything else I felt was relevant on my profile so if you're interested, please go to my profile and read about it there. Being the contrary person that I am, the moment I wrote that I had lost my translation momentum and impetus, I suddenly seemed to regain it, go figure right? Still, I will be busy prior to the CNY so don't expect anything like the old posting speed of two or three every week, it'll be more like one every week or so, but I will try my best.
A ploy truly worthy of Voldemort.
The werewolves who have used the wolfsbane potion would be harmless to his own side regardless of whether they were directly under his control. If they joined the Death Eaters, they would naturally be Voldemort's servants and his warriors, if not, they would be extremely dangerous creatures that would be detrimental to the safety of the magical world, which means that the Order of the Phoenix would be compelled to find ways to capture or even destroy them. With the current might of the werewolves, the Order would have to pay a heavy price to do this. No matter what, Voldemort can watch from the sidelines with a smile and reap the benefits. However, the werewolves and the Order were of no concern to Harry, the only thing that he was concerned about, and that might affect his life and his personal stance in the war, now or in the future, was the wizard Remus Lupin.
"Voldy wants to use Lupin's position. As a member of the Order of the Phoenix and a good friend of James Potter, Dumbledore would have full trust in him and he would make a wonderful tool, a tool that Voldy could deploy at the most opportune moment."
"Correct." Snape agreed, "As the war progresses, the younger generation of the Order, led by James Potter will have an ever greater impact and potential, thus Lupin's usefulness as a tool also increases."
"Voldy would not care how Lupin feels about all this, to him, Lupin is just a disposable tool, something he can use and then discard." As Harry said this, he looked at Snape, who flinched at Harry's words, although his eyes remained calm. Perhaps he had already come to the same conclusions? "Lupin is a gentle and kind wizard, at least to anyone other than Slytherins, he has a great amount of love for his friends James Potter and Sirius Black, Lily as well, he respects Dumbledore, McGonagall and other wizards and witches that are his elders, he feels pity and empathy for the muggles and believes that they should be protected. If Lupin were to bite or hurt someone after he no longer has access to the potion, he will be inconsolable and overwhelmed with guilt once he recovers his sanity, he might even be driven to take his own life."
"I know, that is why I came to you." Snape swept his hand over his face as he tried to gather his thoughts, "I alone may not be able to prevent that outcome… I had thought that I might be able to, but in truth I cannot do anything."
The two had known each other for more than ten years and in all that time, Harry had rarely seen Snape so despondent, this thing with Lupin was really getting to him. "You have asked me for help and I am hardly going to turn you down."
He thought hard over this matter. If Remus was needed for an operation, that operation was likely to be of great importance. In truth, it would be easy to sabotage a mission, there are hundreds of ways to isolate Remus, all they had to risk was injuring him to a possibly significant extent. That was not the issue, the problem was Voldemort's rage if the operation should fail. They could not put Snape in front of Voldemort in that case, he would kill Snape, and any other wizard would suffer an even worse fate. It seems that only Harry himself would survive the outcome of a botched mission. However… if an operation failed, wouldn't that upset Voldy? Harry felt a moment of sorrow. Such an operation might be of great importance to Voldemort and its failure might have a significant impact, if Harry then stood up and announce that he was responsible for the failure, what would Voldemort think of that? At the very least he would feel that Harry had betrayed him right? Being betrayed by the one you loved… if Voldemort had betrayed him, Harry felt that he might fall apart, so how then would Voldemort react if he felt that Harry had betrayed him? Even if Voldemort can understand Harry's actions, wouldn't the failure of such a mission have a detrimental impact on Voldemort's long term plans? If they lost the war… Harry recalled the first time he had seen Voldemort, without a body, without his magic, without his supporters and servants, only able to possess a weak wizard and drink unicorn blood to cling to life, easily defeated by his own eleven year old self… the once towering and great king of darkness reduced to a lowly and desperate existence. Even though he made a triumphant return and eventually ruled the world, he still had to endure drifting around that cold, desolate forest, struggling for eleven years, ELEVEN!
Harry, are you going to condemn him to that existence again? He asked himself. Are you going to push your lover into that terrible future with your own hands?
He didn't want Remus to come to harm but he also did not want to condemn Voldemort to eleven years of suffering, Harry was damned either way. But he told himself that there must be a way. If only Voldemort would not cast his eye towards Remus everything would have been perfect. But Remus was already in Voldemort's sights and it would be nigh on impossible to convince the man to not use such an effective yet harmless tool, unless… unless he knew what Remus meant to Harry.
This was a good plan, if Voldemort knew the significance of James, Lily, Sirius and Remus and how they were connected to Harry, then he would not harm these people, but this meant that Harry would have to tell Voldemort about his decade long secret and tell the man the truth about where he came from, who his parents were and everything he had gone through. Harry disliked this option from the bottom of his heart, every time he even thought of doing this he felt chilled all over, as though something terrible was about to happen.
In the end Harry had not come to any concrete conclusions, but he did not let Snape see this, Snape thought that Harry already had a foolproof strategy in place and returned home relaxed. Harry spent the whole carriage ride home deep in thought, staring unseeingly at the beautiful scenery and wondering what he was going to do.
The house elves stopped the carriage and in a lowered voice, so as not to startle Harry, said, "Honored master Harry, we have arrived at the Manor."
The house elf opened the carriage door and Harry got out of the carriage. It was already late at night and most of Voldemort Manor was slumbering, there was only a solitary light in the main hall on the first floor, awaiting the return of the other master of the Manor. Harry lifted his head and looked at the dark window of the main bedroom, feelings restlessness and unease getting stronger and stronger, weighing heavily on his heart. No, this would not do. Harry took a deep breath and shook his head hard to clear it, slapping his own face a few times to clear his mind, Harry stopped himself from thinking anymore on the disturbing issues, he would not allow these things to disrupt his time with Voldemort, especially not when the man was sleeping.
After taking a quick bath, he cast a drying charm on his body and walked out of the room, refreshed. The purpose of this room was so that they would not disturb the other's slumber if they were to bathe late at night. Harry walked up to the door of the main bedroom and whispered the password and as though understanding his intention, the door swung open silently, he crept over to the bed, carefully pushed aside the curtains and got in as softly as he could, only to be taken into the arms of a bright eyed and completely awake Voldemort.
"My dear Harry, do you know what time it is?" Without waiting for Harry's reply, he continued, "It's twelve o'clock. What meaningful topics were you and Severus discussing to forget the time like this?"
Shocked, Harry panted as he replied, "I… I thought you were asleep!" Immediately thinking that that wasn't what he should be saying, he continued with annoyance, "Didn't I tell you to rest and not wait for me?"
Voldemort smiled, "There are too many things for me to take care of, how could I get to bed early. I had only just come to bed."
Harry sighed silently, no matter how late he came home, Voldemort always had plenty of reasons to wait for him to return before going to sleep. "If I come home late in the future, don't wait for me, just sleep." He didn't know how many times he had already said this.
"Alright, I know." Voldemort replied halfheartedly, before rolled over and covering Harry's body with his own, reaching into Harry's sleep robes, he rubbed the pink nubs on Harry's chest with one hand while the other caressed his hardening member. "Tired?" He asked as he leered.
Giving the man a resigned glare, Harry put his own arms around Voldemort's shoulders, "Just once, I'm too tired for any more."
The next morning, Harry got up a little later than usual. Feeling tired, he called a house elf and had it bring him Pepper Up and restorative potions. They had gotten a little too enthusiastic last night, although his body felt alright this morning, he was still a little tired and disoriented.
Nagini was watching the morning news in the living room, not understanding why the muggles were so mad over a sport where the participants couldn't fly and there was only one ball, Voldemort was reading the "Daily Prophet" as he ate breakfast, his expression smug. Harry's repeated yawns attracted his attention, "What is it? Feeling tired?"
Vengefully biting into the bread as though it was the cause of his tiredness, Harry mumbled a reply, "It's nothing, I had the house elves bring make me some potions."
Voldemort rubbed his nose, slightly abashed, he seemed to have been a little too over enthusiastic last night, Harry's voice was raspy from crying out so much last night, but he had not stopped despite his cries. Harry was just too beautiful and Voldemort just couldn't help himself, of course he would never tell Harry this.
"Oh." Harry suddenly remembered, "November 12th is Lily and James Potter's wedding, I promised her I would attend."
"Lily Evans." Voldemort asked with apparent disinterest, "You certainly seem to get on well with her."
"We're just old school friends." Harry's reply was nonchalant. There were no "sides" at St. Mungos, the employees were divided into various groups based on personality quirks. Harry and Lily were similar by nature, this was why they got along well with each other and other people.
"In truth, I had expected the girl to join the Order of the Phoenix, after all, her boyfriend is in it up to his eyeballs." Voldemort said meaningfully.
Harry just smiled and concentrated on eating his breakfast. In the last three years, he had subtly steered Lily towards St. Mungo's motto of serving the people as a healer and it was finally showing some effect. He had been very relieved that day when Lily willingly stayed at St. Mungo's.
The announcement in the papers of Voldemort's ban on the selling of the Wolfsbane potion caused a furor and much debate in the public. In the six years since the Wolfsbane potion was put on the market, werewolf attacks on the wizarding public had decreased by 80% while the acceptance of werewolves by the same public had increased by 30% up to the current figure of 42%. Wizards had never felt safer and werewolves had never felt so accepted. Everything had been going so well as it was.
As a result of this, the "Magical Times" run by the Potter family, used a full page article to criticize Voldemort's decision, calling it the actions of a power-hungry, selfish man, pushing their entire society into danger, "These actions are extremely unethical and lacking in civic duty, it is also completely counter to Voldemort's usual position of wanting to lead the magical world into a better future. He has allowed his ambitions to go to his head and become a total warmongering madman, he isn't trying to build an advanced, civilized society, he is only out to fulfill his own desires."
The "Wizards Truth" newspaper run by the Parkinson family responded thus, "As we all know, the Wolfsbane Potion is a very expensive one, it was invented by a genius Potions Master with the aim of ensuring that werewolves in untenable situations might have a brighter future. The results are quite obvious, over the past six years werewolves are no longer being seem as creatures to inspire terror in the wizarding public. But do the wizarding public realize what the sacrifices the Death Eaters have made for them to enjoy these benefits? It is extremely difficult to obtain the key ingredient to the Wolfsbane potion and the volume required is quite huge, to ensure that the public enjoys these benefits by having the potion marketed, many of our Death Eater werewolves have not even enjoyed the benefit of the potion themselves at all! We empathize with these werewolves and wholeheartedly admire their noble nature, they are who we should look up to and emulate!" At this point, the tone of the article changed, "At the present time, war is unavoidable and the Death Eaters face unprecedented hardship in the coming future, we are facing a formidable enemy and harrowing conditions, as well as the lingering and hate filled gazes of our enemies' supporters, the Death Eaters are in a life or death situation! In these circumstances, our honored Master Voldemort believes that what we wizards and witches should concentrate on is protecting ourselves, ensuring the safety of our families and friends and our compatriots, also we must utilize all benefits and advantages for own organization. This is an incontrovertible fact, it is also a decision that any moral, responsible and ethical leader would make without any hesitation. Honored Master Voldemort is just such a leader. As only a small percentage of the werewolves belong to our organization while the bulk of the rest belong to or support the Order of the Phoenix, selling these werewolves the Wolfsbane potion would be tantamount to supporting our enemies and destroying ourselves, it would be unacceptable to any leader and this is why he had decided to stop selling the Wolfsbane potion." Finally the paper stated, with apparent nonchalance, "The great yet benevolent Master Voldemort may be cold and unforgiving to his enemies, but to his follower he is both generous and kind."
Harry didn't know whether to laugh or scoff when he read the article, so ludicrous did he find it. "Wizard's Truth" was completely twisting the truth. As least as far as he was aware, Voldemort had never withheld wolfsbane from his werewolf followers, instead it was the werewolves themselves who had refused to take the potion, this enjoy transforming and attacking wizarding children, thereby making more werewolves, they also enjoy watching those wizarding families suffer.
Although "Wizard's Truth" implied that those werewolves who joined Death Eater ranks would receive sufficient quantities of the potions, most werewolves didn't deign to consider this option. In their minds, they were just returning to their lives as they were prior to taking the potion, they didn't see any issue with that, after all, they had lived well enough like that, most wizards thought the same thing. Unfortunately, the facts proved that their dismissive and uncaring attitude would result in catastrophe.
The mayhem continued for more than three weeks, twenty werewolves were killed resisting when they went wild during their transformations, thirty-seven committed suicide from guilt over their actions and three were sentenced to the Dementor's Kiss due to the extreme violence of their actions, almost two hundred other werewolves were sentenced to six months or more in Azkaban and over one thousand witches, wizards and children died during the unrest, around seven thousand one hundred were injured and the area of St Mungos had to be expanded to three times its original space to accommodate the patients. Harry didn't leave the hospital for 48 hours. These results chilled the wizarding public to the depths of their souls and werewolves were once again creatures to be feared, no longer were they welcomed or accepted and they were listed even above giants and inferi as creatures to be feared. The number of werewolves that suffer because of this cannot be counted.
Remus put down the "Daily Prophet" with a heavy heart. Today's headline was "Crisis endured. But what do we do on the next full moon?" all the other papers on the desk had similar headlines.
It had been a nightmarish three weeks, the wizarding public had been living under the constant shadow of the werewolves and cowering from their sharp teeth and swift claws. The Death Eaters did not take this opportunity to attack, instead they helped the wounded and provided shelter to those hiding from the werewolves, this won them much goodwill, almost as much goodwill as the Order of the Phoenix won with their blood and lives. "Magical Times" and other neutral newspapers questioned why the werewolves did not attack the Death Eaters but those devious cowards just argued that as they had been researching werewolves for so long, they had ways to avoid them. Complete nonsense, but it was enough to pull the wool over the eyes of those who don't know the facts, making them feel safe.
This is quite damaging to the Order of the Phoenix, Remus understand this so he had made the decision to give up his own doses of the potion so the Order could research it, they believed that things were looking up, but when the various analytical magic reached the potion, it quickly became murky and unusable. It was fortunate that Dumbledore had foreseen this and had only allowed the researchers to take one fifth of the bottle of wolfsbane for testing, otherwise Remus didn't know how he would have gotten through this full moon.
After this failure to look into the potion, members of the Order had raised doubts about Remus, believing that such a dangerous person should not be allowed to remain in the Order. They said things like, "He's bait! Or a spy, otherwise why would he be the only one who can enjoy using the Potion without being a Death Eater!" "What kind of admirer can ignore Voldemort's ban? He would have to be unbelievably brave." But Dumbledore quieted these comments, "I have faith in Lupin, I also have faith in his admirer- he has been helping Lupin without asking for anything in return for these many years, he would never do anything to hurt Lupin." "What if he does want to hurt Lupin? Or what if he suddenly dies? Who can guarantee that Lupin won't become like the other werewolves, just another bloodthirsty monster?" Some even asked. "If that time should come, I will take care of it, alright?" Dumbledore chuckled genially.
With Dumbledore's personal endorsement, the other Order members had no choice but to accept this and Remus was allowed to remain in the Order. Remus was very grateful for Dumbledore's faith in him and became ever more admiring of the wise and kind old man, he would willingly follow this man always, to achieve their common ideals, but this would mean that he and the half blood prince will grow ever further apart.
Remus reached past his shirt to touch a piece of parchment that he always kept next to his skin, it was carefully folded and well preserved. This parchment had come with the wolfsbane potion on October 5th, it both thrilled and frightened Remus. The half blood prince rarely wrote to him, the last letter had been sent when he graduated, telling he that the wolfbane potion will be sent on a monthly basis instead of yearly as in the past.
Remus opened the parchment to read the sparse words:
I must confess that you are the only one that I want to help. I do not care what happens to the other werewolves but I will not allow it to happen to you. I will not let you become like them. Even if I should die, someone trusted will take over from me.
The Half Blood Prince
Remus added one add of words before the final sentence on the letter: "Abandoned by the world, desolate and pained over that which you cannot change", these were not Remus' words, they belonged to the half blood prince. When Remus had first seen the unevenness of the parchment, he had mentioned it in passing and Lily had taken out something called a pencil, after running it over the parchment for a while, this line of writing appeared. Obviously the prince had written a letter with similar content but had not sent it.
At the time Remus had not understood why the half blood prince had erased these words, it was not until he had woken up after the night of the full moon and seem the carnage wreaked by the werewolves and realized the Death Eaters' plot that he had understood the meaning the these words.
In that moment, he had truly felt that he was loved, that that person loved him incredibly deeply and passionately. It could not be denied that the half blood prince's love was selfish and narrow in scope, but Remus was nevertheless moved. The half blood prince was willing to ensure that Remus could do as he wanted at the risk of his own safety, to the point of ensuring that no problems would arise even after his own death, this love filled Remus with incredible joy. Maybe this is how Slytherins loved, Voldemort was such a cold and unfeeling man, but Harry was treasured and well treated by this man, the half blood prince could sit by and watch as werewolves butchered wizards then wake up and be consumed by guilt, but he could not bear to watch Remus suffer.
Remus read the half blood prince's letter again then carefully put it away. The half blood prince's love asked for nothing in return, it was not even overtly expressed, as though not wanting to burden Remus with any unwanted emotions, but the more selfless he was, the more saddened Remus became. Will they ever be able to meet? Or will the first time they meet be on a battlefield? Perhaps he will in the future kill the half blood prince without ever knowing? He heart trembled and bled as tears slid uncontrollably down his cheeks.
On November 12th James and Lily Potter held a simple yet grand wedding ceremony. Even though everything was kept simple due to the wartime conditions, a wedding in a family of the Potter family's wealth and power was still extremely opulent. All of the groom's friends and family came to attend the wedding but on the bride's side there were only three guests. Lily's mother and father were proud that their daughter had found such a wonderful husband, James impressed, no matter in looks, family background, his career, and his feelings for Lily. Lily's sister Petunia seemed to stick out from the beginning and she tried as hard as she could to hide in a corner, staring at the groom and the other attending wizards and witches with hateful eyes, she ate not one bite of food. She had gotten married two years ago and had a loving relationship with her husband, she had had no intention of informing her husband Vernon of the wedding but under the pressure of her parents she had no choice but to do so, however, she then came up with a multitude of reasons and successfully prevented Vernon from attending.
Harry's arrival chilled the atmosphere for a moment but everyone quickly got back into a more jubilant mood and many rushed up to greet him. As the Deputy Director as well as the Acting Director of St Mungos hospital, Harry had led the healers of St Mungos to diligently and conscientiously perform their duties during the past three months of war, they had healed patient after patient and all their attending guest had either been healed themselves or their families and friends had, given that Harry was Lily superior at work, and he was attending the wedding as St Mungos' Deputy Director and Acting Director, everyone choose to ignore that fact that he was at the same time Voldemort's lover.
Lily came towards Harry arm in arm with James, her face illuminated by the joy of being a new bride. "Harry, thank you for attending my wedding, I am so glad that you came."
"I told you that I would be here Lily. You look wonder, you are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen." Lily's surprised Harry a little. He of course realized that Lily was beautiful, she was the reigning beauty of Gryffindor house as well as St Mungos, but Lily usually didn't put too much effort into her appearance and was usually fresh-faced, today she had make a real effort, from her make up to her outfit, even the smallest details of hair clips and brooches were carefully chosen, resulting in a look that had shocked all her colleagues, Harry's reaction was a relatively mild one.
No wonder they all say that a woman is most beautiful when she has made the choice to walk hand in hand with the man that she loves, Harry thought. Right now, Lily was like a lily flower in full bloom, beautiful, delicate, pure and incandescent. "Congratulations to you as well Mr. Potter, you have taken St Mungos most beautiful flower for your own."
James looked with Harry wordlessly, his manners were the epitome of high society, elegant, grand and faintly distant, but his heart of hearts was consumed by wave after wave of emotions. It has been three years but he still has not been able to forget the man in front of him, even though they are destined to never be together, even though his love had only ever been one-sided. Seeing this face, so like Lily's, but with its own completely different allure, his heart began to beat uncontrollably. Three years had made Harry Potter more mature and confident, it had added to his air of intriguing allure, James wished that time could turn back and he could return to being a Hogwarts Sixth Year student, back then, he didn't know his own heart and Harry Potter was so close to him.
As the wedding neared its conclusion, Harry excused himself and fought his way through the crowd, bumping into Remus, "Oh, sorry Lupin."
"It's alright." Lupin stared at Harry's retreating back wistfully, he caught a scent from Harry Potter, faint but it stimulated his senses, like a small sting. It was not the first time he had caught this scent, a faint aroma of herbs mixed with some bitterness, he had smelt it on Harry Potter, on Severus Snape, on Lucius Malfoy and on many other Slytherins. Each time, the scent caused a nameless sorrow in his heart, as though his soul was weeping. Where had he smelled this aroma before? An why couldn't he remember?
Walking out of the hotel, Harry realized that Snape was calling him on the two-way mirror. "You forget this when you left." Snape waved the potion bottle in his had.
Harry smacked his forehead, "Oh Merlin, I did forget, I will come get it right away."
When he arrive at his friend's house, Harry was roundly ridiculed, "I had thought you were coming to my house to get the potion, instead it was just to whittle away some time before the wedding. You should of just told me and avoided the fuss."
Harry scratched his head sheepishly then snatched the potion and made to leave, "I'm going now!"
"Wait!" Snape called out, "Is he… alright?" He had heard that HE had taken part in the rounding up of the werewolves in September, luckily he had not been injured. Snape wondered if HE felt pain or sorrow over the werewolves' plight.
Harry didn't even hesitate or think, "No, everything's going fine for Lupin. He looked good and he was smiling, mentally, although he is saddened over the plight of the werewolves, he is just saddened. Afterall he doesn't have the luxury of worrying over others. Oh right! He seems to be very grateful for what the half blood prince has done for him, he- loves the half blood prince even more now."
After Christmas and the New Year, Spring seemed to speed up her pace. Green spread stealthily over the woods and red stained the flowers, after a silvery Winter, London welcomed a more colourful Spring. The war had been going on for more than half a year and St Mungos was filled with patients every day, some recovered and left the hospital, others fell into eternal slumber.
Harry came to the end of a five hour healing session resulting in a wizard's left hand slowly regaining feeling and his own exhaustion, rushing through the gratitude of the patient he proceeded to hear Rose's report while making his way up towards the elevator. On entering the elevation he suddenly recalled something and turned to question Rose, "Has Kate Green still not been discharged?"
Rose's answer was definitive, "No, Lily says that one tendon has still not recovered completely and discharging her prematurely could undo all the previous healing."
Harry snorted in disgruntlement and did not reply.
Rose looked at him then giggled, "Harry, Harry, Ms. Green was in the past. Master Voldemort broke all ties with these witches and wizards long ago and has been by your side all these years, you should not take these things to heart so much."
Harry rolled his eyes and ignored here. He couldn't help his disgruntlement, seeing so many faces somewhat like his own day in day out, having women that have been with his lover wondering around his workplace, nobody would be happy with that. Plus this woman's brother had ALSO had a thing with Voldemort, even though he wasn't around everyday like Kate Green, but in the month that Kate Green had been at the hospital, the brother had come to visit several times and run into Harry, adding to Harry's increasing ire. Unfortunately, Lily had not treated Kate Green any differently because she was a Death Eater, meaning that the woman was still in the hospital. Times like these Harry really hated St Mungos' neutrality, he would like nothing better than to kick that woman out and eliminate the source of his frustrations.
The two walked into the office and Allan's head immediately appeared in the fireplace, "Harry, emergency, please come to the first floor hall right away." The head retreated right away and Harry and Rose hurried out of the office after a brief look at each other.
When Harry arrived downstairs, he saw a group of people in the hall, old and young, male and female. A middle aged witch sat in a wheelchair and wept, her handkerchief half soaked in her tears, next to her sat a young witch with tear-filled eyes, clearly holding back her tears as she comforted the middle-aged witch. Before them stood a young wizard of around twenty years of age, face expressionless, eyes empty and glazed.
Allan passed the patient chart to Harry, shaking his head despondently, "The Cruciatus. He was under the curse for two days and nights and this is what he turned into. He's gone completely mad and it's permanent, no chance of recovery."
A trainee healer beside him continued, "The patient's name is Jack Longbottom, 21 years of age, male, the diagnosis is mental illness due to prolonged Cruciatus exposure, damage level above level 7, damage type permanent."
Harry glanced through the chart then looked at the trainee healer, "You're one of this year's new recruits right? Nicholas Barkley?"
"Yes Director Potter."
"It's Acting Director." Harry corrected.
Seeing Harry, one of the wizards solemnly implored, "Mr Potter, please try to save him, save my cousin, he's only 21, he's only been married two years and doesn't even have any children yet, he can't just rot way in a hospital for the rest of his life!"
Harry looked at him then suddenly recalled the man, "Longbottom? Frank Longbottom."
"Yes, your school mate." Frank admitted.
Allan tried to ease the situation, "Mr Longbottom, I understand how you feel. But this is no ordinary spell damage, it's cruciatus damage! After this amount of torture, there's no way that recovery could occur, you've seen the results, damage of above level 7 is permanent. I personally suggest that you proceed to choosing a room for your cousin."
Frank was of course aware of these facts, he knew in his heart that Jack was beyond help. But his did not want to give up and just watch this young man rot away in a hospital for the next decades, making Frank's parents live in sorrow for the rest of their lives. "Is there really nothing that can be done? He's only 21…"
"Don't ask for his help Frank!" Was shouted as a pair of twins rushed to the front of the group, running to Frank's side waving their fists to express their fury. "Our brother was tortured by Death Eaters and he, Harry Potter, is one of those Death Eaters, he's one of the culprits! We don't need to ask for his help Frank, he's a Death Eater!"
The hall was plunged into silence as all eyes gathered on the twins, Frank and another wizard hurriedly put their hands over the twins' mouths, rushing to apologize to Harry, "Mr Harry Potter, they're just children and don't know what they're saying, please, forgive them."
Harry smiled faintly, took our his wand and spelled away the hold of the two adult wizards, both staggered back several steps after losing hold of the twins. Oh no, they thought, the twins were done for.
Two Aurors that had been patrolling the areas around the hall had made their way over, "Mr Harry Potter, is our assistance required?"
Harry nodded faintly, "Please. Take these two young men to Azkaban, the charge is slander of a St Mungos healer, incarceration for one week and the punishment of copying the "St Mungos Neutrality Act" one hundred times.
The Aurors moved to take action, after a Silencio and a Petrificus totalis, both youths, now immobile, were taken out of the hall and apparated to Azkaban.
Frank and the rest of the Longbottom clan signed in relief, just one week and some lines, nothing really significant, Harry Potter had been very lenient, otherwise it wouldn't have been impossible that the two could have been put away for a year or more. Given the nature of the twins, they may not have been able to live normal lives even after leaving Azkaban.
After dealing with the youths, Harry cut though the crowd of people, "Let me look at the patient." He got to Jack then used his wand to cast diagnostics to ascertain his condition. The middle-aged witch had stopped crying when the twins started yelling at Harry and now her eyes were nailed to him, filled with hope and longing. Harry's brows drew together in a faint frown as he looked at the blue light on his wand, that indicated damage level of over 7, with the current healing methods there was no chance of recovery, "Damage level more than 7, permanent damage."
All the Longbottoms paled and the middle-aged witch started weeping again, even harder than before. They had already known how bad Jack's condition was, Head Healer Allan had been very clear with them, but Harry Potter's appearance had brought with is some hope- Harry Potter was St Mungos' best healer, his healing statistics climbed ever higher in the past few years he had been working here, breaking all previous records. So when even Harry Potter announce that treatment was impossible, it had a significant impact on them.
Too young, Harry though, only 21, his life was just starting, and he would have to spend the rest of it like a living corpse, causing his loved ones pain and sorrow. Harry was silent for a long time, running everything back and forth in his mind, finally he made a decision, "May I ask, which of you is responsible for the patient? I need someone that can make decision for him, a very important decision."
They all looked at each other, torn, then Frank walked up to the middle-aged witch and the young witch comforting her and said, "This is my aunt Jessica Longbottom and Jack's mother, this is Claudia Longbottom, Jack's wife, they are Jack's closest family and are qualified to make decisions for Jack."
The two witches looked at each other and Jessica wiped away her tears with the handkerchief, voice still rough from her sobs, "Deputy Director Potter, what decision do you need Claudia and I to make for Jack? Can this save him?" Because her words were done tear were once again shimmering in her eyes.
Harry raised two fingers in front of the two witches, "Right now there are two roads in front of Jack, one, check into the hospital, use traditional healing methods, we put him in a single room and assign experienced, well-trained and patient healers to look after him, or, two, I can use a method of healing on him, after this healing, he has a 3% chance of complete recovery, but the chance of death could be as high as 97%, because this healing method is both very dangerous and very painful."
At first the wizards looked overjoyed that there was a chance of recovery, but at the rest of Harry's explanation, this joy disappeared and was replaced with indecision and worry.
Frank frowned deeply, and sought confirmation from Harry, "Mr Potter, are you saying that after the healing you are proposing, if it fails, Jack will definitely die, he will not even live as he is currently, but… he would die?"
Harry nodded in agreement, "Yes, if the healing fails, Jack Longbottom will die. But if it succeeds, Jack Longbottom will be as he was before. This is a high risk high gain decision, so I need for someone who is qualified to make this decision to decide, also, the decision must be made soon, the best change for recovery is within 24 hours of the cruciatus exposure."
Jessica Longbottom froze, not sure which choice was the best for her son Jack. If she chose the first, she was unwilling to see Jack in this hospital for the rest of his life, she didn't think Jack would want that either, but the second, 97% chance of fatality, can she be sure that her son would be that 3%? If the treatment failed, her son won't even be able to lie in St Mungos!
After much deliberation, Jessica Longbottom was still not able to make a decision, so she turned to her daughter in law, "Claudia, you are Jack's wife, perhaps… you should make this decision, I will support your choice."
Claudia Longbottom was just as frozen with indecision, she simply didn't know what option was the best for her husband. She couldn't bear to watch her beloved husband go through the rest of his live lying senselessly in a bed but neither did she want him to go through a high risk medical treatment. There is only a 3% chance of success but a 97% chance of fatality, meaning that only three out of one hundred people would survive, how could she proceed with such odds?!
The atmosphere in the hall was heavy and no one broke the silence, there was also no one making any attempt to urge either Mrs Longbottom to make a decision, it was as though everyone thought that things might just resolve themselves if they let it drag on like this.
After five minutes, Harry's patience ran out. He can understand how the two witches felt, he can also understand what the other Longbottoms are going through, this was a life or death decision and it isn't an easy on to make. But he could wait no longer, there were still many other things that needed his attention and he could waste no more time in silence. Given that there was plenty of time left until the 24 hour deadline was up, it would be better to give the family time to consider things in depth, as a healer all he can do is suggest treatment options. "As both Mrs Longbottoms have no response, I can only take your silence as tacit acceptance of the first option, I will arrange a private room for Mr Jack Longbottom and assign an experienced healer to his care. I don't know the exact time Mr Longbottom's cruciatus exposure came to an end and I couldn't possibly pressure you to make a decision due to time issues, after all you are the patient's family, you have the right to choose a safer option for him, I can only say this, the earlier the treatment is administered, the greater the chance of recovery." After these words to the family, Harry turned to Rose, "Rose, please have some of our staff take Mr Jack Longbottom to… Room 547, have Sophie…"
Harry's directions were interrupted, "I'm sorry for the interruption, Mr Harry Potter, but we have decided to go with the second option."
Harry turned, the choice came from Frank Longbottom. "Frank, as your year mate, I feel that I must warn you, are you sure you have the right to make such an important decision for Mr Jack Longbottom? You are only his cousin." He would not want the rest of the Longbottoms to start assigning blame if the treatment should fail.
Frank's eyes were filled with a complicated mix of emotions as he looked at his cousin, who was staring blankly back at him, hardening his resolve, he replied, "Yes, I will make this decision, the Longbottom family will take responsibility for any consequences. Mr Harry Potter, please use the second option to treat my cousin."
Harry's gaze swept over the other members of the Longbottom family, on receiving other nods in confirmation, he inclined his head to Frank, "Alright, I will administer the treatment to Mr Longbottom and do my best to heal him." He then turned to Rose, "Have Peter, Alice, Jean and John come to treatment room 1, we will be undertaking an extremely difficult and short healing procedure and I will need their help. Allan, I will need you as well." He patted Allan's shoulder.
Allan gave his assent then dragged Nicholas over with a slightly ingratiating smile at Harry, "Harry, could we have this scamp go in to observe? You know what kind of rare opportunity this could be for a new recruit! He's very smart and studious, he's also careful and conscientious, he's a wonderful budding healer."
At this, Harry cast a mystified glace at Nicholas, Allan is one of St Mungos' most experienced healer and this was rare praise for him, Harry had not thought a day would come that Allan would ask him for a favour, and on behalf of a new recruit! This young man must have really made an impression. No matter, his willingness to unveil this new method was to achieve the target of helping more people, it would be a good thing for this young man to see the procedure. "Alright, he can observe then."
"Thank you, Harry." Allan gave Nicholas a little nudge, "Aren't you going to thank Mr Potter?"
"Th… thank you, Director Potter!" Nicholas as ecstatic and couldn't believe this stroke of fortune! When his mentor had made this request to Harry on his behalf, he had not held much hope. This was because the healers that Harry requested to assist him were all veteran staff of St Mungos who were both well versed in both applying healing magic and had much experience, not something a new healer like him could compare against. He never expected Harry to grant Allan this favour, this was beyond his wildest expectations.
"It's Deputy Director." Harry again corrected Nicholas, "Remember, when you go in there, use your eyes to observe, your ears to listen and your brain to remember, but keep your much shut." He glared briefly at the new healer in warning.
Nicholas nodded in understanding, "The moment we go into the treatment room, I will cast a Silencio on myself Director Potter!"
"Deputy Directory." Harry was somewhat exasperated. Even though he was in reality St Mungos' Director, officially he was still only the Deputy Director acting on behalf of the Director.
On the way to the fifth floor, Harry asked Nicholas a question that he had wanted to ask nine months ago, "Nicholas, why did you choose to become a healer at St Mungos after you graduated? Other young people your age have almost all gone to join the war."
Nicholas' reply was a question directed back at Harry, "Director Potter, it is because the war broke out that I came to St Mungos. Isn't this the time when St Mungos needs staff the most?"
Harry led Nicholas to treatment room 501, noting in satisfaction that the five healers that he had requested were already present, Jack Longbottom sat unseeing on the treatment bed. Nicholas chose a quiet corner with a good view of the rest of the room and made his way other without prompting. Harry transfigured a chair and maneuvered Longbottom into it with the other healers, then he used Incarcerous and Stupefy to ensure that the patient would not move or make a sound before the treatment.
He waved the other healers over and they gathered around him, Nicholas also shifted closer.
"As you all know, the magical world has had many wars in the past and from the first day the three unforgivables were created, they have been a major and formidable weapon on the battlefield. Many wizards believe that the Avada Kedavra is the worst of the unforgiveables as it causes the victim to expire, but I believe that the one that causes the most pain and damage in wizards is the Crucio. Death is instantaneous and it brings pain to family and friends, but such pain eventually fades. Not so with the cruciatus. This curse was designed to torture wizards and those who are subjected to it must endure the pain for longer than if they were just killed, minutes, hours, even days, in the books I consulted I have even read records of those subjected to it for longer than several months. And that's not all, after the agony from prolonged exposure to the cruciatus, the majority of the victims lose their minds and can never be healed, spending the rest of their lives at St Mungos. I feel that this is the cruelest form of torture for the victim's family." He paused for a moment to centre his emotions. After taking a deep breath in and out, his turbulent emotions started to calm. "Now, after a long period of unrelenting research, there is a possibility of healing the damage caused by prolonged exposure to the cruciatus, even though the chances are low. Jack Longbottom is the first victim of prolonged exposure to the cruciatus that has come to us since the war started, I am determined that he will become our first example of healing, for this reason, all of you are here not only to assist me, you are also here as a learning experience. It is my hope that after this treatment, you will be able to get the knack of how to perform this treatment, after all, as the war goes on, we may have many other patients requiring the same treatment."
The other healers present wholeheartedly agreed with Harry's words, regardless of whether Jack Longbottom survives the treatment, at least Harry had brought hope to future patients.
"Research indicates that Jack Longbottom's mental illness is completely due to the fact that a person's body and mind cannot withstand the shock caused by the severe agony of the curse. And because it is too much, out of self-preservation, the body forces the brain to forget the pain and go into a state of hibernation, as the pain is too strong, this hibernation and isolation must completely block off all information exchange with the world outside of the mind thus resulting in Jack Longbottom's current condition. At the beginning of this hibernation, the patient's body and mind still retains some trace of memory of the pain caused by the cruciatus with the memory being clearest in the initial 24 hour period, these memories fade as time progresses until they are completely forgotten, at which point there is no more chance of recovery and healing." Harry shook his head in resignation, "The healing we will attempt if based on what I just described, which is why I must place such emphasis on the timing, the earlier the healing is undertaken, the better the chances of recovery. This type of treatment is called stimulation treatment, in the initial period after curse exposure, while the patient still retains some memory of the pain, we must continually use the cruciatus to stimulate his body, to keep the patient's body somewhat "awake", at the same time, another wizard must stimulate all parts of the patient's brain, forcing him to wake from his hibernation and exchange information with the outside world, this must continue until the communication and information exchange finally become smooth and unhindered, at which time the patient will be completely recovered. But this type of neural stimulation is quite painful and the extent of the pain may not be less than the cruciatus. It will be done in 45 minute sessions, at the end of each sections we will administer potions and have the patient's family and friends provide some solace and positive stimuli, such as kisses, touches, reminding the patient of events in the past etc., this is also an important step in waking the patient's brain."
Harry found that the bulk of the healers had no concept of what he was proposing, Allan understood some of it and Nicholas was nodding repeatedly after periods of deep thought. Harry suddenly realized what he had neglected, all five experienced healers were pureblodds with no understanding of muggle medical theories, Allan had discussed muggle medicine with Harry in the past so he understood some of what he was saying and Nicholas, with his muggle father and eleven years of living in the muggle world, would definitely understand where Harry was coming from.
Stimulation treatment was invented and perfected by the Order of the Phoenix in 2004, it was combination of magical healing and muggle medicine, Harry and Hermione had invested much time and effort into developing it. Even though the success rate was quite low, it was enough to bring jubilation to the magical world. However, making healers, who knew nothing about muggle medicine, understand these concepts might be somewhat difficult.
"How about this, you don't need to think too deeply on the rationale behind the treatment, just watch what I'm doing and do the same, we will catch everyone up to speed on medical knowledge in this area when we have time later." Harry compromised with some resignation.
Although slightly discouraged by the reactions of the healers, Harry still decided to proceed directly with the treatment. First he woke Jack Longbottom, then he silenced him and went to stand behind him and asked Allan to assist in the treatment. "Allan, please stand in front of Longbottom and cast the cruciatus on him."
Allan hesitated for a moment, not quite able to bring himself to cast an unforgiveable as everything that he had ever been taught had made him hate them with a passion, he had learned them half in secret after graduation but had never cast them on anyone before. He told himself that this was for the patient's sake, he is only using the curse to heal the victim and should not hesitate. Finally, mentally prepared, he walked up to Longbottom, whose empty expression and blank eyes inspired him. If it would help heal more of these unfortunate souls, the he WOULD use the cruciatus!
He lifted he wand and warned Harry, "I will now begin Harry." At Harry's assent, he shouted, "Crucio!"
As soon as the word rang out, Longbottom's body stiffened and his expression froze, eyes widened and staring, the next second, all the muscles in his body seemed to be jerking and twitching and his normally handsome face twisted into a grotesque mask due to the jerking. His eyes protruded and his mouth was opened so wide and an whole egg could fit inside, beads of sweat also broke out all over his forehead and hairline, quickly becoming a small river that soaked his robes in less than half a minute. If Longbottom could have made a sound, his tortured screams might have reached every corner of St Mungos and if he could move, he would have done anything in his power to lessen the pain, but Harry had made adequate preparations and he could only side stiffly in his chair, not even able to so much as move his head.
For a second Allan was overwhelmed with a myriad of emotions, wanting nothing but to just stop and let this poor man be, the vague, puzzled look in Longbottom's eyes made him feel like he was hurting someone instead of healing them. He wanted Harry to say something but at that moment, Harry started chanting a spell.
It was a long and extremely complicated incantations, combining magical and muggle language, seemingly chaotic but still progressing in accordance with some logical format, even though Harry had tried to suggest to Hermione that she shorten it somewhat so that more wizards and witches may be able to learn it quicker, nothing could be done. This treatment was inspired by electro-shock therapy in the muggle world so Hermione called it "electro therapy magic", through the incantation, electricity of different voltages stimulates the brain in various areas in an attempt to force it out of isolation and hibernation. The minimum voltage used in this treatment was 20 volts and the harmful side effects were obvious, after one minute, snot, tears and saliva ran freely from Longbottom's eyes, mouth and nose and the patient passed out several times.
One incantation resulted in a 15 minute period of electro stimulation, Harry paced back and forth during this time, checking to make sure that the electricity was stimulating different areas of the brain, within 45 minutes, he repeated this process three times.
After the treatment was finish, he almost slid to the ground, seeing his condition, Nicholas rushed over to prop him up, "Director Potter, are you alright?"
Harry was too tired to correct his form of address, he could only lean against Nicholas. The electro therapy took a great deal of magical power and he was in grave need of a long period of res. "Allan, I will leave the rest to you, we will conduct the second treatment at 3:00 this afternoon."
Allan wiped the sweat from Harry's brow and solemnly took over, "Don't worry, I'll take care of it, you go and rest."
The Longbottoms were anxiously waiting at the door of the treatment room, the moment the door opened, they rushed up to Harry, but the pallor and palpable exhaustion on Harry's face halted them in their strides.
"Please make way everyone!" Nicholas yelled, "If any of you have questions, please direct them to Healer Allan, Director Potter is very tired from performing the healing, please let him rest."
The crowd parted to let Harry and Nicholas pass, then they gathered around Allan and the other five healers. Allan raised his hands to calm the crowd and ask for silence, "As the treatment is quite painful, the patient's current condition is not optimal, it might even seem worse that when he arrive here, but this is normal. Mr Harry Potter told me that Jack Longbottom's reaction after the first treatment is the best that he has ever seen so please don't worry. We will be treating him again at 3:00 this afternoon. In three minutes, healers will be coming to administer potions to Mr Longbottom, once the potions have been administered, Mrs Jessica and Claudia Longbottom, Jack will need you." He turned to the two witches, "He needs your comfort and encouragement. Kiss him and touch him, and tried to remind him of what you had, to put it simply, make him remember you. We will have one hour." Then he turned back to the others, "All of you may also go in to see Mr Longbottom, try not to talk, if you must speak, keep your voices low and do not disturb the two ladies."