Author's Noticable Note: Ha! You thought I would be slouching on updating this story now that I'm writing "Silent Cry", didn't you? Well guess what? I'm not slouching!
No, I don't think I'm going to go into every character's mind and thoughts, or else this will go on forever, and there's way too many people in the hospital anyway. Just to list them for the heck of it: Jerry and Theresa Russo (Duh), Justin, Juliet van Heusen, Max, Nancy Lukey, Mason, Alex, Harper, Zeke, and Angeline. Aérùen's touch becomes known and many surprises are in store for the Russos as things begin to unravel around them.
Enjoy. Please read and review. Thank you.
Pumpkin-love33: Ah, understood. Well, reading's a fun alternative. Takes you to whole new worlds. Like this next chapter.
fortheloveofchocolate: I'm glad you aren't brain-damaged too! And dang. I know about Tinnitus. Got it from my first and last visit to a nightclub. I had hand grenades blowing up in my ears all night long which those crazies called music, and was deaf for a day-and-a-half. It does suck having a phantom audio ringing in your ears, but it can be cured and will go away with time. Good luck on the script, let me know how it goes. And, heh, a thousand chapters? My hands will drop off! :P
WizKid: Thank you thank you. :) Yes, there'll probably be a few more like these.
qwutje: Wish granted, and might I say, I find you name to be very...unique! :P
Discombobulated Disclaimer: I don't own Wizards of Waverly Place or any products related to it, like laxatives, or Castor Oil, which totally does horrible things to your intestines.
Chapter 20: Deadly Magic
The wait is particularly agonizing for the Russos and the family friends. Everyone, other than Mason and Angeline, has someone holding them and offering comfort, though it means very little at this moment. The normally hyper and chirpy Angeline stays uncharacteristically still, expressionless, and quiet from the time she arrived. It is hard to fathom what is going on through her mind, though many would have thought she would not be able to comprehend mortality due to her elven-fairy half. But evidently, she possesses enough to understand the gravity of the situation.
"I thought my healing spells helped her." She suddenly says, and everyone turns to look at her.
"Not so loudly," Jerry cautions the girl, "but what was that again?"
Angeline turns to look at Jerry Russo, "I'm so sorry, Mr Russo. I didn't realize how bad it was until this happened. She's been coming to me regularly for months. The healing spell she needed is powerful and must be cast by another wizard."
"And you didn't think that was something you should be informing her family about?!" Justin shot to his feet, prompting Mason to rise up as well, his eyes turning yellow. Max also jumps to his feet, surprising Nancy, who had been leaning on him until that moment.
Angeline looks at them, but she maintains a neutral look, neither happy nor remorseful. "She made me promise, under the blood-oath spell, not to speak of it, unless she is completely incapacitated or unable to function independently. Meaning, I have been freed from the blood-oath just moments ago."
"Blood-oaths are powerful, not to mention unbreakable, I didn't even know Alex could do such things. I didn't even know she knew such things!" Jerry marvelled, "I never taught any of you kids those kinds of spells, they were only used in times of war."
He turns to Angeline, placing a hand on hers, "I'm not mad at you for not telling us about this sooner, you couldn't, but I wish you hadn't taken the oath spell." His expression turns sadder, "But moreover, why did Alex want so badly to hide what was happening to her?"
"I'm going to switch back to Fairy now." Angeline declares and cricks her neck to the right, and her expression immediately shifts to a more pleasant and relaxed demeanor. She places a bag of candies on her lap and starts kicking her legs back and forth as they wait for news on Alex's condition. Meanwhile, the others have much to think about with this sudden revelation.
Justin, Max and Mason however, are still glaring at Angeline, and eventually, they all stalk off, going in different directions, unable to bear looking at the girl any longer, somehow holding it against her for Alex's current plight. The Russo parents, Harper, Zeke and Juliet all look about helplessly, but Nancy gets up immediately and goes after Max.
"Let me talk to Mason..." Juliet says, then she turns to Zeke and Harper, "Zeke, please, can you help me? Talk to Justin."
"S-sure, I've got this." Zeke stutters momentarily, but Harper squeezes his hand encouragingly, and he smiles at her, then gets up and heads in Justin's direction, while Juliet follows Mason down a corridor.
When the teens have all left, a doctor comes out from the operations theatre, he makes a beeline for the Russos. "Mr Russo?" He addresses Jerry formally.
"Y-yeah?" Jerry and Theresa slowly stand up, as does Harper and Angeline.
"May I speak with you..." he glances at Theresa, Harper and Angeline, and then around at all the other doctors, nurses and patients moving around, and he cocks his head towards an office, "...alone. And just with you, Mr Russo."
Nancy catches up to Max, and calls out to him, "Max."
He stops in his tracks immediately, but doesn't turn around. The redhead gently touches her boyfriend's shoulder, and she is surprised at how stiff he felt right now. She has never seen him so angry before; he's always so easygoing and mild mannered, it's what makes him so appealing, besides the fact that he revels in disgusting things like she does and is a wizard.
"Max..." she says again, "...what is it?"
He finally turns around, gestures back towards where his parents, Harper and Angeline are still sitting. It is obvious he is looking at Angeline, however. "Nance," he says, "I do stupid things. I'm pretty dumb, especially in comparison with...everybody else, but even then, I will never do anything that will put my family in real danger."
Nancy crosses her arms and watches him attentively, letting him continue on for a while, "But what she did...my sister is in a hospital because of her! Because she didn't tell us immediately. I mean, why does Alex even need a healing spell?"
Nancy shrugs helplessly, "I don't know, Max...the way she talked about that blood oath spell, it sounded like she didn't have a choice. Are you going to hold it against her? It's not like she meant to hurt Alex on purpose."
Max sighs, and when Nancy leans closer to give him a sideways hug, he wraps his arm around her gently, "No. I guess...no, I won't hold it against her."
They stay like that for a while, until Nancy feels Max's thumb rubbing up and down on her shoulder absently, and she looks up to see him running his free hand through his hair in an irritated manner. "Max? Is there something else?"
"I'm just...I'm just worried for Alex. This isn't exactly normal. How many eighteen-year olds get a heart attack?" Max looks down at her.
"Not a lot."
"Not a lot." Max repeats, "I know I don't show it, or say it much, but I care for her. And I wish I knew what to do. I've been watching her, and worrying. I knew something was wrong...but I couldn't quite figure it out..."
Nancy rests her head on his chest, "I care for her too, Max. She's like a sister to me, and she really helped us both a lot." She raises her head to see him, but she could only see his chin, as he is looking up at the ceiling, though he is aware of her talking. "The only thing we can do right now is let the doctors do their work. She'll make it, I'm sure of it."
She nudges him a little, "C'mon, we should go back to the others..."
"There's something else..." Max frowns, "...it's important, I know it is. But I wish I can remember..."
Nancy smiles wanly, "Now would probably be a great time for a remembrance spell, huh? Or a brain amplifier thingy..."
Max looks down at her sharply, "What did you say?"
"Brain amplifier thingy...?"
"No, you said remembrance spell."
"Yeah, so you can remember what it was that's so important..."
Max abruptly straightens and slips out of Nancy's hold. "Oh man, Justin...!" Without waiting or explaining, he suddenly bolts away, looking for his older brother, leaving Nancy behind.
The redhead stares after her boyfriend in confusion, "Max?"
Mason is pacing through the hospital wing, and reaches a fairly remote area before Juliet finally catches up to him, "Mason! Hey!"
He turns around almost snarling before realizing who it is, and he slows down at last, when he notices that Juliet is literally running to catch up; he was fast walking...at werewolf speed. They're quite some distance away from their original location.
"What do you want Juliet?" Mason groans, though he has a fairly good idea what she's going to say.
"Don't you think you guys are being a little hard on Angeline? She didn't have a choice." The vampire crosses her arms over her chest.
Mason scowls at her, "She was hiding behind the excuse of a an oath. This was serious. Alex is in the hospital because she shut her gob about it!"
"Do you even have the slightest idea what a Blood Oath is?" Juliet snaps, "Don't even pretend you do, the last one that was made was almost two thousand years ago. I was there to see it."
He glares at her, but says nothing, and she goes on, "It's unbreakable. The wizard spell is so strong, you won't even be able to think about breaking the oath. I don't know how Alex learnt such a spell, but the fact that she used it on Angeline to keep her silent until Alex is no longer able to speak on her own behalf meant she really wanted to keep it quiet. But no one will know why other than her, and it seems likely she wouldn't have told Angeline the real reason either."
"...Yeah...I guess I wouldn't have told Angeline either..." Mason finally eases up and scratches the back of his head, "...girl can hardly keep anything to herself if told, which was why it was a surprise that she didn't say anything about Alex earlier."
Juliet nods her head, "So, in conclusion, Angeline's not to blame, but rather, Alex. You should ask her when she wakes up why she kept her condition a secret."
She looks away in a distracted manner. "But then again, I think we're all at fault this time."
"How do you figure that?"
She turns back to Mason, "In all these months, how is it everybody missed seeing warning signs? Think about it..."
Mason lowers his head as he goes into deep thought, "She's always tiring out fast, she hardly eats, she's always got a bad ache in her left shoulder and a weak left arm..."
Juliet nods in agreement, "And her breath always smelt of sickened blood. Like she threw it up."
Mason glances at the vampire, and she shrugs, "What? I can't help it, but I didn't even want to taste it."
"That is a warning sign." Mason points out, "You will taste almost any blood."
"That's an exaggeration. I don't want to taste every blood." She defends herself. "Anyway, so we noticed, and yet, we didn't act. Why?"
"I don't know. I should have." Mason says regretfully.
"Wait..." Juliet lifts up a hand in a stop gesture, and concentrates her hearing.
"What is it?" Mason queries, and Juliet shushes him.
"It's Max," Juliet explains, "He just mentioned something about Justin." She turns and starts sprinting down the hallway, "Come on, Mason!"
"Juliet! What...? Ah, hold on." Sighing, the werewolf breaks into an easy lope after the vampire.
Zeke finds his best friend leaning on the wall in an isolated hallway. He seems deeply lost in thought, and doesn't notice that Zeke is nearby, even when the latter stops in front of him.
"Hey..." Zeke says, and Justin finally looks up.
"Zeke." Justin acknowledges his friend.
Unsure of quite how to deal with the situation, Zeke just sticks his hands into his pockets. Alex is his best friend's sister, and then Harper, his girlfriend, is first and foremost, Alex's best friend, He always seemed to be the outsider, and even when he learnt about the great Russo secret, he is the last one of the mortal friends to know. He does care for Alex, like everyone else here. Though in the past, the girl can be quite a handful, she matured significantly over the last two years, and became something that everyone cannot help but identify as beautiful in body and spirit, despite the hint of darkness that surrounded her for some unexplainable reason. And then there came the weird companions, like a werewolf, a vampire, and a part human, part elf-fairy girl that can apparently switch between her human and fairy elf characteristics at will, as she demonstrated just moments ago. He isn't sure what to make of that, though he can only imagine what Justin is going through.
"What's a Blood Oath?" Zeke asks, trying to engage Justin in something, anything to get him to talk.
Justin looks up at his friend, considering, before he slowly answers, "It's...an ancient spell, as my dad said, very powerful kind, and one that wizards don't use lightly."
"Like...a forbidden spell kind of thing?"
"Yeah," Justin nods, "Like a forbidden spell."
"Heh, Sounds like something Alex would learn." Zeke muses.
And for a moment Justin allows himself a weak smile, "Yeah...it does, doesn't it?"
"Are you still mad at Angeline?" Zeke asks suddenly.
Justin sighs, "I was, initially, but when she explained the Blood Oath spell, I understood."
Zeke nods, then asks, "So why'd you storm away? Made Mason and Max do the same thing, now everyone's all over the place."
"Sorry about that. But I just needed to clear my head...or at least, I'm trying to..." Justin presses both of his hands to his temples, "It's like...I've got this cloud in my head, and I can't think straight, and it's bugging me!"
Zeke watches Justin helplessly, and he continues talking, "It's got something to do with Alex, but I can't...I can't remember. It's important."
Just as Zeke is about to say something, Max runs up to them, followed shortly after by Juliet and Mason.
"Justin!" Max calls, wand in hand. When Justin looks at his brother, Max quickly places a hand on Justin's shoulder.
"You told me to apply this to you if it ever seemed like you had lost your memories or if Alex is in danger. I guess this counts. So..." Max looks around to make sure there's only people who know about magic, and then he begins twirling his wand, "If you have lost sight in mind, may this gift bring light in kind. Cerebrum Restorum." He flicks the wand at Justin, and a ball of light blasts into the older Russo sibling, engulfing his body briefly in greenish-white light.
Justin shudders for a moment, and his eyes flash brightly, and all sorts of expressions cross over his face. Juliet cautiously wraps her hand around his right arm, looking up at him wonderingly. "I...I remember..." he says, and then his expression darkens considerably. "The pendant."
He grabs Max's face with both hands and leans close, "A year late, but better late than never. Come on, all of you!" Justin breaks into a run, looking for his father.
Once they're inside the office, the doctor turns around to face Jerry. The latter notices there is something unusual about the doctor's hawk-like eyes, but doesn't say anything. His only concern right now, is the news about his daughter. His wife, Theresa, no knowing what is going on, could only huddle together with Harper and Angeline. "I'm sorry about having to bring you in alone to tell you the news, Mr Russo." The doctor begins, "First of all, be rest assured, Alex is alive...for the time being."
Jerry takes little comfort in the news that Alex is living, due to the fact that the doctor added 'for the time being' at the last part of his sentence. "What happened? Do you know what's wrong?" He asks.
"I'm afraid that is the main problem, Mr Russo." The doctor replies, "We are not certain what it is. Medically, she's in top form. There's nothing that we could find that would tell us what made her so ill as to result in a cardiac arrest. We had managed to revive her with electrical shocks, and she's currently stable, but very weak." He sighs, and leans back against the wall, crossing his arms as he continued, "We looked through every possible situation, considered every avenue...of this world. We noticed symptoms of internal bleeding, malnutrition, and severe fatigue, along with multiple muscle strains. But Mr Russo, we found no cause."
"What do you mean?" Jerry blurts out, "All those things must have a cause!"
"I know, Mr Russo." The doctor calmly replies, "That is what I am trying to tell you: There is no natural cause for what's happening to your daughter."
Jerry narrows his eyes at the doctor, "What are you saying, doc?" He has to thread carefully now, the doctor is implying something that may lead to a dangerous conversation. If so, he realizes he'll have to do some fast talking, something which Alex is good at, but not him, nor anyone else in the family.
"I'm saying..." the doctor removes his surgical mask and cap, revealing the full details of his face, "...what's happening to Alexandra Russo is supernatural."
Jerry sees the face of the young man before him, but is unable to shake off the ageless impression he is getting from him, like he looks young, but is far older than he seems, and his eyes are more clearly inhuman in nature. It is exactly like a hawk's. His neatly combed, centre-parted dark hair falls out once the cap is removed, and shows him to be a very handsome man. Before Jerry can say anything, the doctor continues, "Rest assured, Mr Russo, there is no need to lie to me about wizards. Tiberius Perryn, late of the Knights Magus. Most of my associates who worked to save your daughter's life are also wizards or otherwise aware of our existence, or were wizards who lost the Family Wizard Tournament."
"Knights Magus?" Jerry says in awe, "But your people are..."
"...an almost entirely dead race, hence the 'late' aspect to my title." Tiberius notes.
"I was going to say legendary." Jerry says. He feels relief that he does not have to make up a lie after all, as Tiberius revealed himself to be a wizard, but this brings to mind more questions, "Why are there so many wizards in one place? And how is it that you all so coincidentally end up working on my daughter?"
"We were assigned to watch over your family," Tiberius admits, "There are a few of us, stationed in every office or position in the mortal world that you might possibly come into contact with."
Jerry gets a suspicious feeling, "Why?"
"To protect you, Mr Russo." Tiberius simply states. "Your family is extremely important to the Wizard World, and we are forever in your debt, because of the price paid by one of your ancestors." After thinking for a moment, he adds, "Understand, Mr Russo, that all that I am about to tell you, I was expressly instructed not to say, but I feel it is only a matter of time before you finally become aware. You are aware of the fact that there has been no word, no communications from the Wizard World for over two years?"
Jerry thinks about it, then frowns, "We have been getting mail and sending or receiving calls from Kelbo and other services."
Tiberius shakes his head, "But isn't it strange that you haven't received anything about the Family Wizard Tournament for your children? The due date has passed, hasn't it?"
"What's going on?" Jerry asks, looking a little suspicious, "And what did you mean about the wizards being indebted to my family because of an ancestor?"
"Mr Russo." Tiberius looks away, not wanting to bring such sudden news, then he turns back to look Jerry in the eyes, "The wizards are at war."
Jerry's jaw drops low, it suddenly becomes clear. Kelbo's short calls, deliberately avoiding questions about the Wizard World as travel and communications became limited due to 'technical issues'. There isn't any technical issues, there is war. "How could you people keep this from us?! Why?!"
Tiberius gives Jerry a sympathetic look, "Professor Nathaniel "Crumbs" Caldecott, now Arch Mage, had felt it right to keep the Russo family from getting involved in this, because he felt the wizards owe a debt that cannot be repaid. Your ancestor, an elven maiden by the name of Ithilwen Elf-Kin, sacrificed herself to save both the wizard and mortal worlds from destruction. It is because of her, that we all live until today, and also the reason for many of the rules that define all modern day wizards. Also, the enemy we are at war with is the same foe we thought to be defeated, and he does not forgive easily. He sought out your family to take his vengeance, and also to ensure that his rule will not be challenged ever again. However...it appears that we have failed you. Aérùen Elf-Kin had found your daughter, and somehow, is behind whatever is befalling her now."
"Then we're getting involved. All Russos are now involved." Jerry declares angrily. "My daughter is dying, and I am not going to sit here doing nothing."
"No one expects you to do nothing," Tiberius says, "I will help you, and we'll see to your retraining personally."
"Retraining?" Jerry asks with an arched eyebrow. "What are you talking about?"
"I mean that due to the fact that open war is quite possibly going to spill over into the mortal world, the council has decided to recall all former wizards, and is in consideration of rescinding the rule of exposing magic to mortals. It is highly likely that mortals are going to become acutely aware of magic, one way or another not too long from now."
"That...that's..." Jerry is at a loss for words, "That's never happened before."
"We've never faced war on a magnitude like the one we're facing now, either." Tiberius counters. "It goes without saying that all Russos will be given back their magic, we cannot afford to do without you."
"I don't know what to say..." Jerry begins, when Justin bursts through the office doors, followed closely by Max, Nancy, Mason, Juliet and everyone else.
"Dad," Justin says, "I know what's killing Alex. It's the pendant."