After a long shower, Percius made his way through London in a cab. Carefully exiting out of the black cab, he generously left a tip by not asking for the change back from the cabbie.
Glancing at the large, old-fashioned, red-brick department store, Percius shook his head at the name, Purge and Dowse Ltd. The place had a shabby, miserable air; the window displays consisted of a few chipped dummies with their wigs askew, standing at random and modeling fashion at least ten years out of date. Large signs on all the dusty doors read, CLOSED FOR REFURBISHMENT.
At this late hour, the street was rather desolate under the yellow lamp posts. The buzzing of the lamp post could be heard as a few relentless moths persisted in dashing against the lamp glass to reach the warm light found within. Percius stood before a window displaying nothing, but a particularly ugly female dummy, whose false eyelashes were hanging off and who was modeling a green nylon pinafore dress.
Leaning close to the dusty glass, Percius says, "Here to see, Gideon Prewett." The dummy gave a tiny nod, beckoning at him with its jointed finger before he stepped right through the glass and vanished.
Percius Clement arrived at a not very crowded reception area where only one or two rows of wizards and witches sat upon rickety wooden chairs. Some looked rather normal as they read out of date copies of Witch Weekly. Others were not as lucky as some had extra body parts or worse sprouted tentacles. One witch, in particular, seemed to be turning every color of the rainbow every few seconds, while another wizard seemed to freeze up every minute, before moving again.
A few of the witches and wizards on the late-night shift in lime-green robes were walking down the two rows, asking questions and making notes on clipboards. The emblems on their chests were that of a crossed wand and bone. The emblem was rather stark against their lime-green robes, but it served to remind the general populace that they were in fact trained medical healers.
Percius headed over to a tired looking witch at a desk marked with INQUIRIES. The wall behind her was covered in notices and posters that read, A CLEAN CAULDRON KEEPS POTIONS FROM BECOMING POSIONS and ANTIDOTES ARE ANTI-DON'T'S UNLESS APPROVED BY A QUALIFED HEALER!
But the largest eye-catching sign was that of a large portrait of a witch with long silver ringlets. The label for her portrait reads as follows,
ST. MUNGO'S HEALER 1722-1741
HEADMISTRESS OF HOGWARTS SCHOOL OF WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY, 1741-1768."
Dilys portrait eyed Percius rather closely, before nodding at him and half-closing her eyes as if to sleep. Waiting for the person before him to finish, Percius glances at the floor guide that reads as follows,
"ARTIFACT ACCIDENTS.... .... GROUND FLOOR, (Cauldron explosion, wand backfiring, broom crashes, etc.)
CREATURE-INDUCED INJURIES.... FIRST FLOOR (Bites, stings, burns, embedded spins, etc.)
MAGICAL BUGS......SECOND FLOOR (Contagious maladies, e.g., dragon pox, vanishing sickness, scrofungulus)
POTION AND PLANT POISONING.... THIRD FLOOR (Rashes, regurgitation, uncontrollable giggling, etc.)
SPELL DAMAGE....... FOURTH FLOOR (Unliftable jinxes, hexes, and incorrectly applied charms, etc.)
VISITOR'S TEAROOM AND HOSPITAL SHOPFIFTH FLOOR
If you are unsure where to go, incapable of normal speech, or unable to remember why you are here, our Welcome Witch will be pleased to help."
The guest before him seemed rather gloomy as they went away towards the third floor. "I'm here to see Auror Prewett, he was brought in wounded by a curse," Percius explained.
"Auror Prewett?" Yawned the tired-looking witch as she ran her finger down a long list before her. "Yes, he's just been moved into his present room, Fourth floor, third door to your left, Perry Winkle ward."
"Thank you," Percius sincerely said, before heading to the elevator. Quickly pressing his floor, the old elevator zoomed up as he tried not to stare at the other patients in with him. A sickly-looking witch got off on the second floor, while a giggling wizard got off on the third floor.
Mercifully he was the only one to get off on the fourth floor as he made his way down the hall. The hall was full of famous healer portraits as crystal bubbles full of candles brightly lit. The halls are largely empty at this hour as yawning witches and wizard healer apprentices in lime-green robes only wandering about at this late hour. Their healer masters that are on the night shift doze off on an empty bed in one of the wards.
The fourth floor was a bit somber as he made his way past the permanent resident's ward, before arriving at the "DANGEROUS" Perry Winkle Ward: SERIOUS CURSES. Underneath that was a card in a brass holder which had been handwritten, Healer-in-charge: Lancelot Prewett, Trainee Healer: Hippocrates Smethwyck.
The ward was small and rather dingy as the only window was narrow and set high in the wall facing the door. Most of the light came from more shining crystal bubbles cl.u.s.tered in the middle of the ceiling. The walls were of paneled oak and there was a portrait of a rather vicious wizard on the wall, captioned URQUHART RACHARROW, 1612-1967, INVENTOR OF THE ENTRAIL-EXPELLING CURSE.
Besides Gideon Prewett, there were four more individuals spread out through the ward. They all seemed to be either sound sleeping or placed under a dreamless potion to rest and not further injure themselves. Percius slowly approached the rather ghastly pale, red-headed man on the bed. Gideon Prewett was fast asleep as Fabian quietly sat as his side watching him in his still ash smelling Auror robes not having any time to change out of them. On the other side of the bed was another red-headed woman sniffing loudly as she held onto a hankie in one hand and smoothed the sheets on the bed with the other.
"Fabian," Percius slowly called out as Fabian's head snapped up.
"Percius!" Fabian gratefully said as he got up and reached over to grasp his hands. "Thank you," Fabian whispered. "If it wasn't for you, we'd have lost, Gideon."
"Nonsense that was all, Sara," Percius croaked as his voice broke.
"You don't give yourself enough credit, Percius," Fabian said. "You arrived just in time to save us and made sure we made it out mostly unharmed."
Percius nods his head as the red-headed young woman rises to her feet. "Thank you for saving my older brother!" Molly Weasley gushed as she hugged Percius into a hug. "Fabian told me all about it! How you saved them both at the risk of your own!"
Percius stiffens, before lightly patting the younger married woman on the back, "There, there, Mrs. Weasley, Gideon will be right as rain soon," Percius reassured her.
"Yes," Mrs. Weasley sniffed as she pulled back and dried her tears. "Where are my manners? Please have a seat, Auror Clements."
"Percius, would be just fine, Mrs. Weasley," Percius said as he took a seat next to Fabian.
"Then please call me, Molly," Molly Weasley said with a teary smile as she sat back down to watch over her older brother.
"And where are the boys?" Fabian finally asked as if suddenly recalling he had nephews.
"They're with Aunt Muriel," Molly sniffed. "Arthur is out there putting those poor muggles back to rights with the rest of the departments that were called in."
Fabian sharply barked in laughter as he imagined the grumpy aunt of Arthur in his mind. "A screaming baby and a toddler! What fun Aunt Myrtle must be having!" Molly weakly chuckles in reply to her older brother's words as she lets out another sniff and wipes her nose.
"How is he really?" Percius finally interrupted them.
"Cousin Lancelot said that Gideon should awaken tomorrow and be out of the ward by the end of the week at the latest," Molly hopefully said. "Cousin Lancelot said that Gideon was rather lucky as despite it being a cutting curse, it missed all the vital organs and arteries. It's mostly blood loss and dark magic from the curse that the healers are dealing with."
"Good," Percius said, but before he could ask another question, three figures burst into the ward.
"Mum!" Molly and Fabian shouted as a silver-haired woman with coiled back hair rushes over to them. The silver-haired woman hugs each of her children as Molly reaches over to hug the dark, silver haired woman accompanied by a large-nosed man with mostly sliver, rather than russet-colored hair. "Thank you for coming, Aunt Lucretia and Uncle Ignatius."
"It was no trouble at all," Lucretia flashed a rare warm smile in public as her gray eyes instantly darted to the figure of Percius.
Instantly sensing the black family eyes, Percius says, "I'll stop by tomorrow to see how he is doing."
"Thank you, again," Fabian called out to him as Percius nodded back to him.
Almost at the door, Fabian shouts, "And tell, Vinovich thanks!"
Percius freezes and is unable to reply for a moment. "I am certain she already knows," Percius huskily said, before rushing out of the ward lest his voice breaks again. With a bit of moisture in his eyes, Percius retreated home to lick his wounds in peace and mourn the loss of a close friend with a good bottle of fire-whiskey. Because sometimes that is all one could do.