1995-01-17: Waking Up To Reality


Holly_icon.gif Jack_icon.gif

Scene Title Waking Up to Reality
Synopsis The morning after Holly is rescued.
Location St. Mungo's Hospital
Date Jan 17, 1995
Watch For misunderstandings and angst
Logger Jack

The woman lies in the bed unconscious for many hours. Bruised, albeit alive, with the injuries from the previous night deceptively hidden under blankets. She'd be in pain, except for the potions that take it away and ensure a restful, healing sleep. However, even if the broken bones and dislocated shoulder are on the mend, the scratches - and especially the bite - inflicted by the werewolf are going to heal much more slowly. It's a very unfortunate side-effect.

It's well past sun-up when Holly finally opens her eyes. They're dull and disconnected, looking at nothing specific, except maybe the ceiling. Holly has no idea where she's at, though she half expects to see the werewolf in front of her eyes again any second, tearing her apart, bringing an end to all this so she can finally rest. The hospital room looks nothing like the cell, but she's not connecting that in her bleary, half-awake state.

Jack has been beside Holly the whole time, unwilling to move any farther than he has to away from the woman in the bed. Luckily, the mediwitch had mercy on him and just left him there, finally realizing the stubborn man wasn't going to move. Jack spent the night in the armchair, having transfigured it into something a little more comfortable. However, it's still sleeping in a small chair, so when he awakens, he rolls his neck, the cracking seeming to echo through the quiet room. He rubs his eyes, runs a hand through his apparently sleep-mussed hair, and gazes over at the sleeping…. Wait. Holly's not asleep anymore. He sits up and reaches for her hand, hoping to convey some reassurance with his touch. "Holly," he whispers, leaning forward to rest his elbow on his knee. "It's okay."


The touch hurts, and the scrunching up of her face signifies that. There are scrapes from the stone all along her arms, and, hell, they're bandaged anyway thanks to the gouges created by werewolf claws. Even the simple act of turning her head to look at him hurts, ensured by the gash from one shoulder and across her chest. And then, when she does look at Jack, it's with wide, frightened eyes. Where is she? What happened? What's going on?! It's all conveyed in a look, but she's completely silent, even as she begs for answers.

Jack watches her face contort, and quickly draws his hand back. He inhales sharply and purses his lips, quashing the frustration and anger. He can't hear her thoughts, but he does want to reassure her, so he gives her the basics. "It's me. Jack." His voice breaks slightly on his name, and he swallows hard before he continues. "We're at St. Mungo's." Even in the privacy of her hospital room, he hesitates to say exactly how he's feeling right now. "Tonks' mum is taking care of you. You…" He can't say anything more, not wanting to be the one to tell her that her whole life has gone to hell. He closes his eyes and then reopens them, attempting to look into her own, to let her read what she can from them.

She hasn't forgotten what happened last night. Holly would like to, but, unfortunately, the memory is quite clear. She was able to avoid it for awhile, but in the end…

As Jack tries to convey what he can with his eyes, Holly's hand reaches down to her side, and even if it hurts to move her shoulder, the only sound she makes is a grunt of pain. Her fingers probe the bandages there, pressing against the still-bleeding wounds. The feeling of that terror is fresh in her mind even still. In fact, the clarity is so stunning, she might as well be re-living it.

Her hand drops to the bed again. Her lower lip quivers as she looks ceilingward, and her eyes fill with tears. She can't even convey how she feels with words, so she doesn't try. Everything in her life is over, and all because one woman - one pretentious woman - couldn't bear to be wrong.

"Oh, god." Jack can handle about anything. Dementors, curses, strange artifacts blowing up around him — pretty much anything. One thing he cannot handle very well is tears. He's only got the one sister, and she's only cried a few times since she's been very small. And even then, he would try to fix whatever was wrong as quickly as he could. This? This he can't fix. And it makes it worse. He doesn't know what to say, other than to repeat what he's already said. "I'm here." It's all he has to offer at the moment.

Holly doesn't try to move again. She doesn't try to take Jack's hands. Even though the pain-killing potions are doing their job, it still hurts to move, and now that she's poked at the bite wounds and knows they're there, they hurt that much more.

Holly's had a fairly easy life. Her father didn't live very long into her childhood, and she's had trouble since coming to England, but she still can't see why she deserved this. She can't deal with it, because no one else can, either. She won't be able to work, she might have to move…

Her head turns again, enough so that her eyes can meet Jack's. "Why did you bring me here after it was too late?" Why didn't they just let her die? Everyone knows that would have been better for her.

"Because I couldn't get there in time." There's anger in Jack's voice, but it's directed at himself. If only he could've run faster. If only he would've seen the building earlier. If only he would've known about it before the full moon. If only. He looks away, not wanting to vent that anger and frustration at her. When he looks back, his eyes still burn, but he's a little calmer. "I'm sorry, Holly. I tried." And the defeat in his voice is evident.

No, he doesn't get it.

She wrenches her arm, crying out as she does so, before she does the stupidest thing possible, and rolls out of bed. That causes the fracture in her leg to re-break, and she crashes to the floor with a thud on the opposite knee.

Now that the blanket's off, it's easy to see that the bandage on her chest would need to be changed soon, and the wound underneath tended to, if she wasn't attempting to tear all the bandages off. Under her hospital robe, her fingers find the bandages wrapped around her middle, and she starts to methodically rip them off. "You don't — " she says several times, unable, it seems, to get the complete thought out.

"Goddammit, Holly, what are you doing?" When she rolls out of bed and Jack hears that sickening crack, he growls at her, and moves to scoop her up, putting her back on the bed. Then, he grabs her hands. "What the hell are you doing?" Although it's pretty obvious that she's trying to get away, Jack isn't about to let her. "You need to rest. You need to get better." He puts his hand on the help-summoning device by the bed, alerting the mediwitch that they need help. "I don't what?"

He doesn't get it. "No, don't," she says when he calls for help. She's just got the bandages off, which seems to have been her entire intent. Now that she has, she's limp again, and she's een stopped crying. There are still wet trails down her cheeks, but she looks almost peaceful now. Probably because the profusely-bleeding wounds are once again making her drowsy.

But Holly can't live like this. And maybe it's the newness of the situation that's making her react this way, and the inability to parse the fact that, in one corner of the world, she's already made a difference. "Let me go, Jack," she whispers, eyes pleading.

"No, Holly." He quells the urge to grab her in his arms and hold her, knowing that it would hurt her worse. "No. I refuse." Intellectually, Jack knows this is difficult to take, but everything in him screams to protect her, even from her own self-destructive side. He's not going to promise to fix it, but he wishes he could. "If I could…" He looks away again, unwilling to release her arm. "Oh, god, Holly." He repeats himself, unsure what else to say.

It's likely not too long before the mediwitch on duty - not Andromeda, but an older lady who seems to take this completely in stride - arives to re-bandage Holly, and give her another dose of Wolfsbane potion. For some reason, she remembers the smell…

Whole chunks of memory that are full of holes, the dark hospital room, people closing in around her, holding her to the bed, the goblet pressed against her lips…

Again and again, until she literally couldn't take another drop. She thought it was a bad dream.

The mediwitch assures that she's comfortable before leaving the goblet with Jack. "Make sure she drinks all of it, dear," she says sympathetically, before leaving the room. She'll never be far away.

Holly doesn't tear at the bandages this time. Her eyes are fixed on the goblet, and, in a way, she knows she has to drink it. It'll make it easier for her in the long run. Make her not so sick before and after the full moon, and speed the healing of the wounds. "I can't live like this. I can't do it."

Jack wants to scream at her that, yes, yes she can live with it, that Remus has done for years, and that he will be with her through the worst, but something holds him back. He steps away and crosses his arms, the fire in him suddenly gone cold. "I think you can." He leaves off the obvious caveats, that she'd have to want to, and that it'll take time, etc. "You heard the lady. Drink up." He nods toward the goblet of potion.

She worked for werewolf rights at home, so she feels like such a hypocrite. After spending years convincing people to spread the word that this is a livable condition, all she wants to do is turn back the clock so that this never happened. Then again, doctors don't want the diseases that they treat every day, and no one thinks of them as hypocrites.

In any case, Remus had his whole life to get used to it. In a way, it was better, in Holly's mind. He didn't spend the time going to college and fighting for the rights to a career, only to lose all that in a single night.

Looking at the goblet, then at Jack, she says, "I can't."

Jack steps away, and turns to look at the painting on the wall. It's a painting of a horse galloping through a pasture, all serene and happy. He watches the horse for an interminable moment, and then half-turns back toward her, resting his hands on either side of her on the bed and crouching down to meet her eyes. "You can." It's belief, hope and worry wrapped up in care. "Please?"

She sniffles, a smile appearing briefly, through a choked sob. "No," she says meekly. "I mean, I can't. The burst of energy just moments ago where she essentially set back her healing to the beginning has her fatigued. Plus, she's not exactly trying to reach it under her own power. If she does it herself, it's essentially admitting everything to herself, and she's not ready to do that just yet. She knows, in a way, that this will be the rest of her probably short life - a regimen of drinking a disgusting potion, undergoing a painful transformation, and then repeating it a month later until the stress kills her. Holly's just not ready to admit that she's trapped. "Help me."

Honey, all you had to do was ask. Jack nods, and picks up the goblet, reaching out to touch her hair, hoping that doing so won't hurt her more. "Always." He holds it up to her lips, tilting it slightly so that she can drink. The plaintive tone of her request breaks his heart, but he will do all that he can, and he states that. "Whatever you need."

She's appalled to find that she remembers the taste, too. The arrival at St. Mungo's is becoming less and less of a blur…

They pressed it to her lips, and she gagged after the first sip. Someone told her she had to, though, and Holly was never known for just giving up on anything. At the time, she wanted to do anything she possibly could do to alleviate the pain and the fear. Push through it, she told herself deliriously, as some other witch stood by with another round of the blood replenishing potion. She should have died.

It's all Holly can do not to spit the mouthful out. It's the worst of everything combined into one slightly steaming liquid. Old socks, cat litter, burned toast, mud, window cleaner - she's sure she can detect a hint of that - and every undesirable food she's ever sampled is in that one sip. Once she manages to choke it down, though, all she can say is "More. Let's get it gone."

Jack nods and tilts the goblet to allow access to another mouthful. He gives her a wry smile. "Maybe if you just drink it all in one fell swoop and get the nastiness over with." He purses his lips, and shifts the goblet just a little to make it easier for her to drink a bigger gulp. "Is it nasty?" He figures it is. It smells like some of the worst parts of the world he's visited.

How is he smiling?

Even though she's trying to concentrate on not bringing the entire contents of that goblet back up, brown eyes are looking at Jack over the lip of it. They're confused. She can't see what's so amusing, and eventually, she moves just the wrong way, and her drink is interrupted with another cry of pain. There also might be some inappropriate swearing.

"Yeah, it is," she says, leaning back into her pillow. She can't get the look of disgust off her face as she stares up at the ceiling. "You're not having any trouble, are you?" she asks bitterly. "It's not you. You're just glad it's not you, aren't you?" That's why he's here. Licking her lips in an attempt to rid herself of the taste - it doesn't work - Holly goes on. "Don't— don't look at me, okay?"

Jack doesn't quite understand. He was attempting to cheer her up, spectacularly unsuccessfully, and closes his eyes. "Frankly, Holly, I wish it were me. I've got a big family here. I've got a room I could probably set up. My father would go barking mad and tear the ministry apart if she did something like this to me. If I could take that curse from you right now, Holly Maplewood, I would. In a damn heartbeat." His words are spoken fiercely, but according to her wishes, he doesn't look at her. He looks just beyond her, the pain evident in his eyes. "I'm angry that it happened at all."

Even with the desire to feel sorry for herself and - yes - allow herself to bleed out so she just doesn't have to deal with this - Holy still raises a hand to guide the goblet back to her lips so she can drown in the old-socks potion again. A couple sips later, she has to stop again, gagging, the reflex pulling at the slash across her chest. Resituating herself once again stirs up the pain in her leg, which, thanks to modern magic, is just starting to mend once again.

"Jack, I worked with them for years. I understand them better than a lot of people in this world ever will. I still wouldn't want to be one. So don't lie to me, or I can't respect you. Do you really want this?" Holly tries to bite her tongue, but the next statement slips out. "Because I'm sure it can be arranged."

"No, I don't want it. That's not what I said." Jack runs a hand through his hair, and drops his gaze to her, looking at her again. "No. I said I'd rather it be me than you." He can't help the snort that escapes. "If I change my mind, I'll let you know." He shakes his head at the thought. "I've been friends with Moony for years, though he's hid his wolf from the world." He frowns. "I only learned about it recently. I only know what I've read in books and what I've observed from afar with Remus." Which isn't a whole lot, actually.

"And then there's Umbridge," she says, closing her eyes and leaving the thought hang while she takes another few gulps of the potion. Oh dear god, it's like drinking sour milk.

"Who's gonna be publishing my name in the Prophet as soon as she hears.

The goblet is finally empty, and Holly's just about to make herself comfortable when the same mediwitch from before comes in with another. Setting it on the nightstand, she hurries out again, but not before saying, "That one, too, dear."

Holly can't take another one, and she just bursts into tears, wailing. "I can't. I can't do this, Jack. I don't even know where I'd begin!"

Jack loses the battle with his instincts. Whether it's gonna hurt her a little more or not, he moves toward her, wrapping his arms around her, letting her cry on his shoulder, much like the night he got to know her. "Shhh-shh." He isn't sure if she can make it through this, but he believes she can, and wants her to believe the same. "You take the potion, you sleep, you wake up tomorrow, and deal with that day, then you do it again." He sighs. "I should've stayed at Grimmauld, and not taken that job." He had gone out of the country for awhile, leaving Sirius and Holly alone. "I'm sorry." He lifts a hand to run through her hair again. "I'm here. Not going anywhere."

"Ow, ow, ow, Jack, ow!" she complains, though the longer he's against her chest, the less the cuts there hurt. She even manages to raise the less-injured arm to drape around his shoulder. Of course, this stretches the puncture wounds peppering her ribs, and— "Everything hurts," she cries, practically limp in his hold now.

And that anger has to go somewhere. Not at Jack, really. Or Sirius, or Tonks. It's sort of zeroing in on Lupin, even if it wasn't his fault, and even if she said she forgave him. "I… saw this recognition in his eyes," she says quietly into Jack's ear. "Like, for a second, he knew it was me."

At first, Jack is tempted to let go, but then he just holds her, letting her cry and rant. "I have no idea. If I know Remus, he's …" He trails off, not certain that's the best thing to say right now. She can deal with that part later. First, though, is keeping her here and getting her to drink the potion. It can wait a few minutes until she's ready for it, though. "I'm sorry, luv." At the moment, he may be channeling either Edana or Michael, or maybe a bit of both.

Holly would move away if she could, but the short bursts of energy are really all she has, and, besides, she's content to lean as the blood soaks slowly through another round of bandages.

After he leaves - and he must at some point - Holly can't even guarantee she won't try the same thing again. Her self-esteem is shot, her will to face this head-on is nearly nothing, and she's afraid of what people will think of her. Her family doesn't know yet, but they will. Maybe she won't be allowed to see her niece anymore because she's dangerous now. Maybe they'll kick her out of the UK. Maybe she'll have nowhere to go.

There's an inherent need to spare herself from all of that. At the moment, it's the easy way out.

But Jack's here now. She can think about that later.

If Jack can manage it, he's gonna be here for quite a while. And when he's not, there will probably be others coming to take their turns. He might make sure of it, in fact. He is willing to sit there, hold her, hold his tongue, and just be.

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