“So we learned a whole lot of nothing.” Weasley shook her head at Neville’s file.
Weasley, House, Woods, and the blonde healer who House now knew was Megan Conway, sat in a meeting room near Weasley’s office at St. Mungo’s.
“Well, we learned he had whiplash.” House pointed out. “He has all his organs. His brain looks fine. His heart and lungs are clear. And he has a tattoo of a lion on his left buttock.”
Weasley giggled. “Now, that’s confidential. Don’t you go spreading that around.”
Woods snorted and shook his head. “Professor Longbottom. Who would have ever guessed?”
“Shh!” Weasley chided. “Back to his chart and less about his bum.”
House chuckled to himself. He forgot what a small community the Wizarding World was.
“Well, nothing’s changing since he had the Draught of Living
“He hasn’t been under long enough for us to decide that.” House got to his feet. “Without his pain to distract you maybe you’re seeing the progression correctly for the first time.”
Weasley flipped the folder shut and watched House pace. “What do you mean?”
“Well, when he first got here what was he like?” House asked.
“He was writhing in pain.”
“When did his toe change color?” House asked.
“We don’t know.” Woods said reluctantly. “It may have been like that when he came in but we didn’t find it for a couple days.”
“Why not?” House sounded annoyed.
“He was wearing socks when he came in.”
“How did you know to take his socks off?”
“I turned the light off in his room and his foot was sticking out of the covers. It glowed.” Woods shrugged.
“Good for you for even being vaguely observant.” House said. He headed for a chalkboard Weasley had set up in a corner of her office. “What do we know?”
“He’s being splinched.” Woods offered.
“But the anti-apparition protections we have on him should
“We think the green glow comes from a time delayed version of the Avada Kedavra spell.” Weasley added.
“So without the splinching, when the time bomb goes off next time will the flesh disappear or just stay rotten and attached to him?” House asked. They stared at him blankly. “Anyone?”
“It may be better to lift the protections so the contaminated parts of him are removed as they die.” Woods said hesitantly.
“What would happen if we just removed the problem?” House asked.
“You mean, remove his foot?” Weasley asked, wide eyed.
“I was actually thinking more along the lines of up to his knee.” House said, leaning on his cane and looking at her. “I think this thing puts out feelers into the next area before the change takes place. I want to make sure the contamination is cut out.”
“But if you’re wrong we’ve just wasted him a leg and God only knows how much time.” Weasley rebuked. “If he does have ‘feelers’ there’s no way of knowing whether they’re throughout his system already. Taking the leg may just speed it up.”
“You’re right, Healer Weasley.” House said sarcastically. “I should look at all our other options.” He cupped a hand to one of his ears and acted like he was straining to hear something. “Other options?”
He looked around the room and called out in a sing song voice. “Other opt-ions?!”
Weasley crossed her arms and started grinding her teeth.
“None?” House seemed to ask Woods and Conway as he peered at them.
Woods shook his head and
“If you get a better idea, tell me. Until then prep him for amputation.”
“Does she have to be here?” House whined.
Woods wasn’t sure whether he was talking about Weasley or Neville’s grandmother.
Hermione stood before the light wooden door leading to the sterile room, her arms folded. Neville’s grandmother stood beside her, also wearing healer’s robes. There was a small pin of a vulture on the third pleat of her robes.
House looked at her, stunned. “You were an Angel of Death in the Grindelwald wars?”*
“You bet your sweet bippy, buddy.” Mrs. Longbottom said with a curl to her lips. “And by chance of fate my records were reviewed and it turns out I never completed my service. I still owe the Ministry 36 hours.”
“It is an honor, madam.” House said as he tilted towards her. He looked at Weasley. “Why does she get to keep her wand?”
“Because she went through the proper channels and got a license instead of going freelance and ending up looking like a mad scientist.” Hermione snapped. “That’s why.”
House sized up Mrs. Longbottom’s challenging expression. “Fair enough.”
“You’d think you’d be more thankful.” Mrs. Longbottom said haughtily. “After all we’ve done.”
“All you’ve done?” House spluttered. Then he trailed off as Weasley took a long slim pouch from inside her robes. The red velvet caught the light as she fiddled with the gold tassel.
“It’s attuned to only perform healing spells.” Weasley said. “And you can only use it under supervision.”
House eyed the pouch suspiciously. “I’m here to do an amputation. That isn’t considered a harmful spell?”
“Not under these circumstances.” Weasley said nervously. She finally had the knot undone.
“The only thing it can’t do is Unforgivables.” Mrs. Longbottom looked at Weasley sharply. “I argued that I could supervise you and it would leave you the option of using… less conventional means.”
“Doesn’t the wand need to choose the wizard?” House asked.
“Ollivander keeps records.” Weasley said. “He knew what would work for you, but as I said, this is one of a kind.”
House looked at her as he reached out and took the bag. “What if we aren’t done in 36 hours?”
“By my estimation he’ll be done in 36 hours if we’re not.” Mrs. Longbottom said.
“No offense, but you’re specialty is predicting death and harvesting power, not actually applying it using healing. You’re not even a real healer, just some sort of battery to be used. How can you supervise me when you don’t know what I’m doing?”
“I expect you to know what you’re doing.” Mrs. Longbottom said sharply. “That doesn’t seem so hard, or is it, Doctor House?”
He ignored the jibe and opened the pouch. He pulled out a long thin piece of white marble. A small blue stone was set in the handle with the seal of St. Mungo’s stamped on it in gold.
“I know it’s heavier than you’re probably used to-“ Weasley started to say, but House held up a hand and stopped her.
“I haven’t had anything to be used to wielding besides a cane in years.” House said bitterly. Was that pity for a moment in Mrs. Longbottom’s eye? “This is fine.”
“It has a hair from the same unicorn.” Mrs. Longbottom said. “Your focus should be the same so you won’t have much disorientation from using a wand not tuned to you.”
“Thanks.” House said. Somehow he thought he’d feel more exhilarated than this.
“Good.” Mrs. Longbottom said brusquely. “Now, time to make with the chop. We don’t have a lot of time.”
*During the Grindelwald Wars, the Angels of Death were groups of young Healer women that combed battlefields after particularly bad clashes. Their job was to alleviate the pain in the wounded beyond hope and to harvest their remaining life force so they may become temporary vessels for it and use it to heal others quickly.
They were disbanded in the 1940’s and life harvesting was declared Dark Magic by the Ministry in the late 1960’s.