A Riddled Universe
Disclaimer: Wizards, wands, potions and spells, oh my! Don't they just make our lives complete. Thank you JKR for giving us this fascinating and spellbinding journey into the World of Harry Potter.
I would like to welcome you all into 'A Riddled Universe'!
Healer Riddle was not amused. His day was supposed to be one of relaxation and rest or at least that is what he had promised his children. He had intended to live up to that promise but, was it his fault if he was indispensable and the wizarding world had to take a leave of their senses and act like complete dunderheads. How many times had he trained and instructed his staff at St. Mungos on dealing with emergencies and yet, when the Knight Bus crashed into some departmental store in Manchester, his entire medical emergency team started running around like headless chickens. He shook his head, 'This is why I can't afford to take a holiday. Without me, the entire place will crumble down.' Perhaps, he had high standards. In his tenure as head of St. Mungos, the hospital had the highest ever recovery status as well as the lowest number of deaths since its inception.
'Is it my fault that I don't want the standard I set for my hospital to fall,' he hissed to Nagini. 'They have absolutely no regard for my instructions, those idiots!' Nagini placidly carried on observing her environment; after all, her master always complained, he was very rarely pleased.
As soon as he arrived in the emergency room of St. Mungos, he quickly started giving instructions while checking the wounds and undoing the damage. "Carson, check the man on your right and make sure that adequate pressure has been put on that wound. Logan, are you a muggle or do you have a wand? Humour me, by using it!" He barked out the orders with such ease, that even those healers who had escaped his radar, struggled to work as meticulously as possible for the head of St. Mungos was known for being a tough taskmaster.
"Please pick up your speed. I am sure that the patients will not require your assistance if they die first. This is one of the finest hospitals in the entire wizarding world. I will not let your careless attitude shame me." He said as he finished patching up his tenth patient. "Of course, if you want me to do all the work for you, you can continue working at your current speed, I will be sure to collect your pay too," he snarled.
As he was spelling a blood replenishing potion into a patient's body, he heard the door open. "More casualties?" He asked, his concentration not leaving his patient.
"Shouldn't you be at home?" A younger healer asked him while he came to assist as Riddle patched up a patient.
"And come back to find this hospital in ruins! I think not. Why didn't you contact me sooner, Remus? I could have been here quicker and not have had to rely on Smudgens to tell me what is going on." He said in a huff, turning to his protégé. Remus Lupin had shown promise in Healing at a young age and he always had a soft corner for the boy.
"That is because we didn't need you. We were functioning just fine without you," Remus said calmly though his statement earned the gasp of a healer working next to them. Remus rolled his eyes, Healer Riddle may talk harshly, but his bark was worse than his bite. He then had to control his expression, because the image of Riddle as a dog floated into his mind.
"I am not nor will I ever be likened to a dog!" Healer Riddle snapped. Remus blinked and then he realized that Riddle must have been employing legilimency.
"Of course, I'm using legilimency, you dolt. How else will I make a proper prognosis?" He said and added quickly, when he felt that Remus was about to protest, "It is not my fault if you don't learn Occlumency. Any fool, who doesn't learn it, deserves to have their minds read. "
Remus rolled his eyes again, Riddle had an excuse for everything on Planet Earth and while his methods were not orthodox, he was one of the most brilliant minds that the world had ever seen. Which is why, the other healers didn't mind wetting their pants in fear, as long as they could boast of having worked under Riddle.
"You are supposed to be on rest and relaxation, Sir. You don't want me to inform Serena of your disobedience." Remus smirked, the one person or rather persons Riddle would listen to was his daughter and daughter-in-law. Otherwise, he was the most stubborn man Remus had ever met.
"Are you threatening me, Remus? With my daughter? Do you think I'm scared of her?" Riddle asked, raising his eyebrow. Even if his daughter was his weakness, he wasn't going to broadcast it to the world.
"She is just a patronus away and you know we can manage well without you. You are a workaholic sir, and you deserve a break. Both your children are extremely worried about you. You cannot afford to take any chances with your health. You are most negligent when it comes to yourself sir, while you take such good care of others. We will manage without you sir, don't worry about it!" Remus said. He knew it took guts to stand up to Riddle, none of the other healers dreamed of doing it; Healer Riddle was an extremely intimidating figure. But, Remus knew him since he was small, he idolized the man and that was why he became a Healer. After all, it was because of Riddle that he could live a normal life.
"Why were you so late in tending to these victims, Remus?" asked Riddle, desperately stalling for time. He wasn't about to be shooed away from his job without giving a fight.
"I was tending to Mundungus Fletcher. Apparently, he was trying to sell some people down at Knockturn Alley a fake. They turned him into target practice," Remus shook his head; Dung was a favourite at the hospital because he was quite a resident there. One of the healers had even suggested giving him his own bed.
"It's people like Fletcher who guarantee us a ready supply of patients. You should be grateful to him," said Riddle.
"Sir, aren't you supposed to leave?" asked Remus a bit exasperated. He would have shoved Riddle to the door, if he wasn't afraid of being hexed.
"I will leave when I am certain that my patients' conditions are not critical." Riddle said, he knew he was only wasting time. But he was not going home to be bored out of his skull.
"Why don't you take up the teaching position Dumbledore has been offering you? That should occupy you and also, not prove so taxing on your health."
"Why, of course Remus. After all, what is so taxing about teaching some dunderhead students and hopefully, they will be so respectful of me that they will keep their raging hormones at bay. I think not!" Riddle said. When was he going to drive it into Dumbledore's head that he wasn't the ideal person to be imposed upon his precious students? Probably, all those lemon drops had gone to the old coot's head. He wouldn't be surprised if Albus met his end by asphyxiating on a lemon drop. He could even imagine what Skeeter's headline would be. 'The defeater of Grindelwald has met his match in a Muggle Sweet! Lemon drop to be given the Dementors' Kiss!'
"Perhaps, I should try running Steve's practice down at Cokeworth," Riddle wondered, perhaps that was the perfect solution in getting these pesky people off his back.
"You are supposed to take a break from Healing and that includes Muggle healing as well. But, then perhaps that is the only thing you are suited for, after all, you may not have the stamina to teach," said Remus calmly, preparing himself for the explosion.
"What do you mean I don't have the stamina to teach? That is the most ridiculous statement that has ever left your mouth, and don't you dare try to use Slytherin tactics to make me take up that position. I am the Heir of Slytherin. I know every trick in the book," said Riddle in a huff. 'How dare he use those sly maneuvers on me? I invented most of them!'
"Perhaps, you should give Nagini a break. She must be tired of being curled up around your arm. I thought Nagini was a bit bigger, I am surprised that she has curled around your arm so perfectly," said Remus.
"Of course, she is bigger. But you forget that I am a wizard. I can use magic. Maybe, if you work hard and wish fervently, you will become a wizard too," Riddle said sarcastically, 'Was it his fault if he was surrounded by brainless idiots?'
One of the victims, a nine year old child, had regained consciousness and started pointing at Riddle "Hey, I know you. You are Healer Riddle. Can you autograph my chocolate frog card of you? Aren't you the one who invented a cure for lycanthropy? Thanks to you there aren't any vampires around!" Remus who was nearby started chortling.
"Shut it, Remus or I will make sure you choke on those stupid chocolate frogs you seem so fond off. Wasn't it only yesterday when I cured you from lycantrophy? How sad! Now the world has one less sparkly vampire," Riddle remarked with a smirk playing on his lips.
"Vampires don't sparkle," protested the boy.
"And Lycanthropy is the condition which afflicts werewolves," Riddle said. He finished patching up another patient. "If the future of the wizarding world lies on the shoulders of such bright minds, then we must surrender at once to the Muggles. Perhaps, they will show us leniency, and then we can all find employment by performing as magicians at Muggle children's birthday parties. The future has never been brighter!"
A healer apprentice came into the room rather nervously and as she approached Riddle, she started fidgeting with her hands. "Well, you have interrupted my work. This better be important." Riddle spat out, leveling a Basilisk gaze at her.
"Auror Dawlish is waiting for you outside," she said quickly, her manner was such as if she wished she was anywhere but there.
"You interrupted my work, to tell me that the clumsiest Auror on the face of this earth requires medical attention!" Riddle then paused and looking at her careful, he said in a softer tone, "Tell Dawlish I will be with him in a minute."
She ran quickly away from the room, glad to finally escape Riddle's presence. "You are right about Dawlish. Why then must you attend to him yourself? You can send Logan." Remus said while he looked around to see that Logan was only on his fourth patient. "He isn't required."
"If Dawlish needed medical care, then I wouldn't have spared any of my healers. But, he has come here requesting my presence in the Ministry of Magic," replied Riddle with a frown on his face.
"How do you know that?" asked Remus puzzled, the apprentice didn't mention anything.
"Legilimency, my dear Remus!" Riddle laughed on seeing Remus' confused expression and then, he shook his head. Muggle literature was practically ignored in the wizarding world. But, in terms of literature, Muggles were far ahead then their wizarding counterparts. Riddle would never read bedtime stories to his children from the Tales of Beedle the Bard. Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump, indeed!
"Remus, patch up this kid and I want reports on the patients' conditions after you finish healing them." Riddle sighed, while using his wand to spell the blood off his clothes. "I'm off to the Department of Mysteries."
"Sure sir. Good luck," said Remus, with a smile. As much as he respected his mentor, the atmosphere would be a lot less tense without him.
"C'mon Dawlish! Do try to keep up!" Riddle said impatiently as he exited the emergency room, after putting on his travelling robes and made his way to the Floo network.
"Auror Moody is in conversation with the Unspeakables, Healer Riddle," said Dawlish struggling to keep pace with Riddle.
Riddle rolled his eyes, if this was the state of physical fitness amongst the Aurors; he shuddered to think how they would be able to cope if there was a real threat against the wizarding world. The last biggest threat was the one posed by Grindelwald.
"I know. I know. Someone has crossed the Veil. That brings the total counts to two," said Riddle impatiently. He was already using legilimency on Dawlish, but the idiot was a bit too focused on catching his breath then on the newest entry from the veil. His mind was a bit empty except for trivial matters and Riddle realized that Moody didn't trust Dawlish with much information. Wise man!
After Flooing to the Ministry, Riddle apparated quickly to the Department of Mysteries. The wards surrounding the entire ministry were frightfully weak. Perhaps, he should mention this to Minister Crouch.
The Unspeakables and Aurors were huddled around a body laid on the ground. Riddle had his wand at the ready and hoped he wasn't too late. He didn't want to have a repeat experience of the other poor soul who made it across the veil.
"Let me through. Do not crowd!" Riddle's voice boomed and echoed of the walls of the chamber. The crowd quickly parted and made way for Riddle. Riddle wasn't a wizard to mess with.
"Riddle, about time you came. This boy made his way through the veil. Let me levitate the boy to my office and then you can heal him," said Moody.
"Don't use magic to carry the boy, it will strain his core," said Riddle as he gazed at the unconscious boy with messy hair.
"We have jurisdiction over the boy. He is from an alternate dimension. So, he is ours for experimentation," said one of the Unspeakables rather bravely, the others thought. 'Must be Gryffindor,' Riddle thought. Nobody else would have wanted to incur the wrath of both Healer Riddle and Auror Moody combined.
"Why of course. Take him. He is all yours. I would have thought the Unspeakables had learned from their past mistakes or has the permanent resident in the closed ward of St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, escaped your memories? He was also a victim of your experimentation," said Riddle snidely, he had absolutely no patience for strictly law abiding stuffy ministry officials, especially when a boy's life hanged in the balance.
"Sorry, Healer Riddle," replied the Unspeakable sullenly.
"Let's go, Allie. These cretins have already wasted valuable time," said Riddle turning to Moody. Moody nodded and picking up the boy, he began carrying him to his office.
"Anyone coming in Moody's way will be at the receiving end of my wand," said Riddle in a low threatening voice. Of course, the crowd lessened considerably.
Riddle turned his attentions to the boy Moody was carrying. He looked fifteen and was severely malnourished. His hand was littered with scars. Riddle thought, that the boy resembled James Potter. But that was impossible, James would be thirty eight and he only had twin daughters and not a son. Charlus, James' father, wouldn't have a child old enough to be his grandson and he loved Dorea too much to have an affair. Then who was this boy?
It was only when Auror Moody laid the boy down on a chair which Riddle transfigured into a bed, did Riddle notice an unusual scar which he had never seen before shaped on the boy's forehead. It was shaped in the form of a lightning bolt.
To Be Continued…