wand_wavers: (Jonathan Rigby)
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It takes longer than expected, for Jonathan to wake up. He gleans that much from the concerned whispers around him as he drifts into consciousness.

"--been a week and more, and the healer said if he doesn't wake up soon..." His mum.

"I know." Allbright's voice, harrowed, tired. Jonathan tries to stir and can't quite manage it yet. "But with all that we've lost, from his team especially, we have to hope that he'll mend." A pause, then Allbright seems to buck up. "Now. Can I get you a pot of tea? Only I'm about to go myself, and--"

A sniffle. "Yes, please, that would be lovely."

Footsteps, and then the sound of a door opening and shutting.

A hand on his, squeezing.

He squeezes back, and pushes himself, pushes hard, as his mother gasps at the pressure on her fingers, and all of a sudden his eyes are open.

"Mum?" he mouths, his voice rusty from disuse.

Caroline Rigby stands, looking as haggard as her son has ever seen her, and bursts into tears.



No doubt they'll soon get well; the shock and strain
Have caused their stammering, disconnected talk.
Of course they're 'longing to go out again,' —
These boys with old, scared faces, learning to walk.

The slew of visitors is overwhelming. Jonathan can't quite-- There's just too many of them.

"--and then Harry Potter rose up and felled You-Know-Who like a bloody cherry tree--"

"You can say his name now, Augustus, honestly--"

"Well, he can say whatever he wants, now, can't he? Leave him alone, Caroline."

"Uncle Jonathan, Uncle Jonathan, I made you a drawing, d'you want to see? See, it's you and you're fighting the Dark Lord and kicking his arse!"

"Septimus Aleister Rigby-Bellwether you watch your mouth or I'll spell it shut!"

There's Aron, looking pale and joyful and awkward as ever, shuffling his feet on the sidelines till Jonathan reaches out a weak hand to him and grasps his wrist, pulling him down low to speak in his ear over the din of his family.

"B-Bernard. Elektra. Who else--"

Aron shakes his head. "No. No, Jonathan, they're all right. Well." He looks uncomfortable. "Sort of. The-- the bombs went wonky, one caught a stray hex and went off like mad -- it was yellow, I haven't quite figured out-- but no matter, the point is, we ran, and then they went off and Bernard threw himself on top of me." Aron flushes, and looks away, down at the blue coverlet under Jonathan's forearm. "Uh. Well, he broke his back. Head too, really. His leg was all messed up, and I guess there's some spelled shrapnel, all, all caught-like. Still in his back. B-But they fixed him up, there was this brilliant bloke there in the castle, I don't know what kind of magic he was using, but it was blue, and he didn't use a wand, and--and then I passed out."

Jonathan's eyes slip closed. "But he'll be all right?"

Aron nods, essaying a smile. "Yeah. Yeah, he's in traction spells right now, last I heard, but they think he'll recover all right."

A pause, and the family bickering rises around them like a blanket, warm and suffocating. Jonathan tries to breathe normally. "Elektra?"

"Um." He's shaking. "She-- um. Paul was one of the inferi, Jonathan."

Jonathan stills further, and his eyes fill with tears. "Oh, God." He can see that Aron's eyes are full as well.

"S-she's gone mad. Nothing seems to help except sedation. They're hoping to get through to her, eventually, but, um." Aron's voice breaks. "It's a slim sort of hope, really."

Jonathan nods, the tears spilling over. "Thanks, mate," he whispers, and shakily wipes his face before his mum and his sister see.

Aron's face, drawn and nauseated, pulls out of view. "Anytime." And he slips out before Jonathan can ask any more. It's just as well. He doesn't think he could manage it anyway.



They'll soon forget their haunted nights; their cowed
Subjection to the ghosts of friends who died,—
Their dreams that drip with murder; and they'll be proud
Of glorious war that shatter'd all their pride...

Ask anyone and they'll tell you.

The evenings at St. Mungo's, after the visiting hours are over and before you can possibly get to sleep, are the worst.

Jonathan thumbs through a copy of the Prophet, the one that came out the very night after the battle, in the dawn of a new world.

Heroes, they were called. Amazing, brave, singular individuals with iron wills, keen intellects, and brass bollocks.

Well. Maybe Jonathan adds that last bit in the margin. But it's implied.

It hurts to turn over onto his side, but he does. It hurts to read, even, but he manages it.

Ask anyone and they'll tell you.

The war isn't over when the last wand is dropped. He is afraid to sleep again, afraid of what he'll see. Afraid of never waking again, trapped with the images dancing on the backs of his eyelids.

You don't think about the carnage when it's happening. You have a job to do. You do it. That doesn't mean you don't think about it after.

Ask anyone. They'll tell you.

Men who went out to battle, grim and glad;
Children, with eyes that hate you, broken and mad.
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July 2010

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