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Jack Dare

O Captain! My Captain! rise up and hear the bells

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Jack Dare

Jack stayed at Prom's bedside for as long as he felt able, but eventually began to worry that he might be making Prom weaker by keeping him awake. Jack then professed his own fatigue then-- a bald-faced lie!- and took his leave.

 

As Jack stepped outside the curtain he found the room still dark. Jack guessed it must be sometime between midnight and dawn Judging by the lack of activity, though he supposed the staff could have charmed the room to darkness at any time of day if they wanted to encourage rest. Jack was not feeling restful though, and debated whether to go straight back to his cot or to try to find Angelique for Prom. It soon became apparent though that Jack had no idea which of the curtained beds was. It looked like he was going to have to snoop about a bit regardless. 

 

The first curtain Jack peered around concealed a girl's bed. Luckily the girl was both asleep and decently covered, but unfortunately she wasn't Angel. It occurred to Jack then that peeking around bed curtains at sleeping girls was pretty creepy and not the smartest thing Jack had ever tried. How could he help it though if he didn't know which bed was his?

 

Jack pulled aside a second curtain and saw the silhouetted outline of a patient sitting up in bed, very much awake.

 

"So sorry. Head damage," Jack said, and started to back up before realizing he was not looking into the face of a stranger.

 

"Julian?" Jack asked. "What are you doing here?" 

 

 

@Julian Pritchard

 

 

Edited by Jack Dare

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Julian Pritchard

Julian had spent most of the day in a sleepy haze punctured by moments of sudden alertness. Chief among them had been when his mum had walked in, Mr. Reed in tow, threatening to take him out of school in between tears and too-tight hugs. There had been others, however, moments where he’d slipped into a deeper sleep and had promptly woken with a start when his mind started replaying images from the previous night. As a result, it was the middle of the night, and he was wide awake.

 

Part of it was that a whole day spent mostly in bed, slipping in and out of a doze, had made him jittery, eager to move around or do something. Part of it was the knowledge that closing his eyes in an effort to actually sleep would only bring more nightmares. Ms. Lushia had mentioned something about a Dreamless Sleep Potion earlier, but Julian had shied away from asking for it. There was something about being stuck in a magically-induced sleep, completely unaware of what was going on around him, that made him deeply uncomfortable. Not that he minded being awake. He’d spent all day surrounded by people, and he felt like he needed some time to himself to think about everything that had happened. He knew he’d have to sleep eventually. Just not yet.

 

He was sitting in his bed, propped up against the headboard, eyes fixed on the ceiling, when the rustle of a curtain followed by a very familiar voice drew his attention.

 

“Jack?” He blinked several times, squinting through the dark at the boy peering through the curtain. “I… my shoulders. A werewolf injured them. Apparently, silver and dittany can only do so much. Are you okay? A head wound? Were you - I didn’t see you in the Great Hall. I looked.” His voice rose perceptively in pitch with that last sentence, suddenly worried that he’d simply missed Jack and Jeramie, and they’d been there all along. After all, the chances that Jack had simply coincidentally gotten a head wound were not high.

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Jack Dare

Jack imagined Julian as a grievously wounded Captain nobly asking after the injuries of his subordinates, while minimizing the tragedy of his own. So typical.

 

"Just a concussion. No wound, per se," Jack explained. "I seem to be mostly over it, save for the fact that I've misplaced my bed." He indicated a chair beside Julian's and asked, "May I?" before taking a seat. As he sat he cradled his wounded arm, more because of the splint than because it still hurt.

 

"The entire first year class was on the pitch. Miss Twila chose last night for some moonlit night flying." Jack sighed. "We didn't realize the werewolves had gotten anywhere else until the medevac people took us to the Great Hall." That in itself had been frightening. On the pitch it had been difficult to see where other people were or how bad their individual attacks had been. You were conscious that it was a lot more people than yourself but couldn't see the evidence of it. The Great Hall had been different. All that blood and broken glass had really driven home the enormity of what had just happened. 

 

"It looked like carnage," Jack said without much emotion.

 

"Does it still hurt?" he then asked, turning his attention quickly to something more concrete.

Edited by Jack Dare

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Julian Pritchard

Julian looked dubiously at Jack as he clarified that he hadn’t gotten a literal head wound, because while he certainly appreciated precision, it did not assuage any of his worries. In fact, as he nodded and watched the younger Ravenclaw take up a seat next to his bed, he noticed a splint on his arm, and the sinking feeling at the pit of stomach that told him that he was about to hear something unpleasant only increased.

 

It turned out to be an accurate prediction. It took a few seconds for Jack’s words to really sink in. A whole class of eleven year olds - eleven year olds who could barely cast a Knockback Jinx, if that - facing werewolves… How had no one died?

 

He leaned back against the headboard once again, momentarily rendered mute by the enormity of this new information. Jack’s assessment of the state of the Great Hall did not help, and he found himself staring blankly in front of him as his mind revisited the scene, with so many injured, and objects scattered everywhere, and the body of the dead werewolf just lying there - so still, so human. Carnage was an apt descriptor.

 

“Yeah. It did.” He cleared his throat, forcibly blinking a few times and turning his gaze back to Jack.

 

“A little bit,” he admitted when he asked if his injuries hurt, self-consciously wiggling his fingers. “Mostly when I move. Although not so much right now. I drank a potion. I’m not entirely sure how the dittany and silver are supposed to work, but it feels… tender, I suppose?” It was the sort of thing he probably should’ve asked - he normally would’ve asked. Not having the knowledge sitting there, ready for him to launch into an explanation, felt a bit disconcerting, like some part of him was missing.

 

He had more pressing things to worry about, though.

 

“How did you get a concussion, anyway? Did you fall off your broom?” Brooms were the only explanation for the fact that Jack wasn’t worse off, that Dante had been unharmed, and that no student had died. He shook his head slightly as he realised what he was asking. “I’m sorry. You don’t have to talk about it. If you don’t want to.”

Edited by Julian Pritchard
a comma should've been a period

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Jack Dare

Jack nodded as Julian discussed his injury. After having just come from Prom's bedside Julian's injury didn't sound so bad. Jack was on the verge of explaining everything he knew about dittany when Julian redirected him with a question. 

 

"No, it's fine. I don't mind talking about it. To be honest it already seems unreal--like a story I made up in my head . I'm afraid by the time I'm able to write it down, I won't be able to do it justice." It wasn't too hard to list what had happened and to tally the injuries, but the emotions behind it seemed wrong. Jack knew he must have been afraid, but he couldn't remember the feeling. He found that troubling.

 

"It grabbed my arm in its mouth," Jack explained, "and pulled me off. I'm not sure how far I fell, but it seemed far. Who knew wolves could jump so high, right? It must have lost interest in me after that. Maybe there were too many of us to choose from. I don't remember that part very well. My glasses were broken and I was sick." Jack closed his eyes, but replaying the images was unhelpful. His most concrete memory was the sound of Ringo screaming. "It was terrifying," he concluded, without conviction, "but others were hurt much worse than me."

 

Jack made eye contact with Julian again. His curiosity had suddenly grown much stronger than his sense of propriety. "Have you heard if anyone died?" he asked. "No one has said, but probability alone would--Sorry. I'm saying all the wrong things aren't I?"

 

Jack tried to recall if he'd ever read any stories set in hospitals that he could use for guidance but nothing came to him.

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Julian Pritchard

Julian nodded. He certainly could agree that the events of the full moon night felt unreal in his mind - though he might’ve compared it to a movie instead of a story, one that had the sound wrong and was a little too bright. He was silent as he listened to Jack’s explanation of how he’d been injured, and silent for a few moments after, unsure as to what he should say. His first instinct had been to point out that wolves could actually jump over ten feet in the air, and were also excellent swimmers. He had the sense that wouldn’t be very comforting, however. And then Jack moved on before had to say anything.

 

Despite the subject of the younger Ravenclaw’s question, Julian couldn’t help but smile faintly as he expressed the worry that he was saying ‘all the wrong things.’ It was reassuring, if he was honest, to know that he wasn’t the only one who felt that way sometimes.

 

“I don’t think so. But then, I don’t really know what the right things are,” Julian told Jack, tilting his head to the side.

 

He bit his lip as his mind went back to the memory of the dead werewolf. He didn’t mind Jack’s question - it was the kind of question that had a definite, clear cut answer (unlike, say, ‘how are you feeling?’) - but the image made him no less uncomfortable. “Anyway… yeah, a man died. One of the werewolves. The aurors… they killed him.”

 

Saying it aloud made his stomach lurch, and he let his eyes wander a bit in the the wake of his words. Eventually, his gaze turned back to Jack’s arm. He’d said that the werewolf had dragged him by the arm. The werewolf who’d bit him had done the same to Julian, and it hadn’t drawn any blood, so he’d just assumed… Now, though, he wondered. He couldn’t be the only person who had gotten bitten, right? With that many werewolves, there had to be others…

 

“Hey, Jack, when the werewolf dragged you… it didn’t -- it didn’t draw any blood, did it?” He averted his gaze away as soon as he finished asking the question. He had a sense that it wasn’t the sort of question he should be asking, and he hoped that the answer was ‘no,’ but a very small part of him needed to hear that he wasn’t alone.

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Jack Dare

Jack tensed at the word 'yeah' but immediately relaxed again. "That's good," he breathed, and immediately regretted it. "I mean, no, it isn't good. It certainly isn't good, but when you said 'yeah' I thought you were going to say it was one of us--a kid. Not that it's good that anyone died of course..." He trailed off, realizing how forced he was sounding. Jack still had so many questions. 'Did you see it happen?' 'How did it happen?' 'Did he look like a bad man or was he just a man?' They were questions Jack dared not ask though, as Julian looked so sombre. 'Visibly shaken' Jack would write later.

 

The two of them fell silent and Jack felt even more awkward than he had before, until Julian asked him the question about his arm. Jack knew what Julian was getting at immediately, and was happy that his answer at least would be something Julian wanted to hear.

 

"Oh no," Jack assured him. "Not at all. Funny story really. You remember that quidditch uniform I was trying so hard to get rid of?" Julian had broken the news to Jack that even the smallest Ravenclaw player was considerably taller than Jack, meaning he couldn't even give it away. "Well, I hated to just throw it out and I thought the arm and leg guards would keep me from breaking a bone if I fell off my broom. As it turns out no, because my bones broke all to bits" He smiled, knowing that Julian would appreciate the irony. "But to answer your question, no. No blood. The arm guard prevented it. So you don't have to worry about your mentee turning into a monster any time soon." 

 

It was good news and Jack's face reflected the fact, until he saw that Julian's face didn't.  Jack's frowned. Then his eyes widened. He glanced at Julian's shoulder then back to his face. He looked away quickly then, staring into his lap. Suddenly Jack didn't feel like asking any more questions.

 

Edited by Jack Dare

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Julian Pritchard

“I understood what you meant,” muttered Julian in response to Jack’s awkward attempts to clarify what he’d been getting at. He could imagine he would’ve felt much the same way. He wasn’t sure how he felt about the dead werewolf, other than queasy, but he was certain a dead student would’ve been infinitely worse - even though he thought that might be unfair to the wolf.

 

Jack almost jumped to answer his question, and Julian let out a breath he hadn’t realised he was holding. He was happy to hear it, of course - Jack shouldn’t have to deal with something like that - but he was suddenly acutely conscious of that hollow feeling that came over him whenever he thought about his condition. It took some effort to nod along as Jack asked about the uniform. It had been a funny realisation that even Mira was a few inches taller than Jack. He was surprised to hear his mentee had kept the uniform, though perhaps he shouldn’t have been. Jack was cautious, and flying was dangerous.

 

The irony of Jack’s broken arm elicited a light chuckle from him. The image of his bones breaking to bits was not a pleasant one, but Jack was smiling and he was going to fine. And then Jack reassured him that he wouldn’t be turning into a monster and the smile fell from Julian’s face.

 

He didn’t speak for a moment, unsure what to say. The word ‘monster’ had sent a cold feeling trickling down his back. Everything felt like it had slowed down. It occurred to him that Jack was the first person he’d spoken to since he’d been in the Hospital Wing who didn’t know. The seconds stretched on and Julian realised that Jack probably would guess something was wrong if he didn’t say something soon. He cleared his throat.

 

“Right, yeah. That’s good.” He tried to keep his voice light as he forced the words out, but he found he couldn’t quite meet Jack’s eyes. He contemplated changing the subject. He liked Jack quite a bit; the younger boy often reminded him of himself. He didn’t want to be something scary to him, especially not when his job was to help him and make sure he was okay. But he also didn’t want to lie to him. And now that they were on the subject, avoiding the truth seemed an awful lot like lying. He took a deep breath.

 

“Jack,” he said, trying to keep his voice steady. “You should probably know that the werewolf that hurt me, it... uh… bit me?” His voice broke a little as he spoke the last two words, and he had to clench his jaw momentarily before he continued. “But it doesn’t-- It won’t-- I mean... do you know what wolfsbane is?”

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Jack Dare

Jack kept his gaze lowered and locked on his one good hand resting over the splinted one in his lap. Without noticing he had begun to rock.  Julian hadn't said anything after 'That’s good' and though his tone had not been convincing Jack willed himself to be convinced. 'That's good' he repeated in his mind. 'It's good. Everything is good.' He didn't look up though. I didn't want confirmation for what he was afraid he already knew. 'Please don't say it,' he thought. 'Don't say anything. Don't make it real.'

 

“Jack---”

 

Jack closed his eyes tightly, just as he had as a tiny boy when he wanted to shut out bad things. If my eyes are closed, the monsters can't see me, he'd reasoned. Only in this case the 'monster' was something else entirely and there was nothing Jack could do to shut out his mentor's words. As soon as Julian said "bit me" Jack's eyes began to sting. He tried to hold it back, but his face crumpled and he convulsed with the effort. Choking on his sobs Jack stood and awkwardly threw himself at Julian in what would have been a hug if either boy had had free arm movement. As it was, it was more like Jack throwing himself into Julian's lap and smacking him with his splint.

 

"I--I'm so s-sorry," Jack managed to choke out. "I d-didn't know."

 

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Julian Pritchard

Julian bit his lip as soon as he finished speaking, and braced himself for Jack’s reaction. After what felt like an eternity of staring just to the side of the younger boy, he finally chanced a quick glance at him, trying to gauge his expression out of the corner of his eye. He didn’t know what he was expecting, exactly; for him to recoil, maybe? Or maybe just nod, and carry on in stride; he’d handled talking about his own ordeal well enough, after all. 

 

He had not been expecting crying. 

 

After a whole day of trying so hard to keep his composure, the sound of Jack’s first sob was the tipping point, and he could feel his lower lip trembling and tears forming tracks as they slid down his cheeks. He looked away again, trying to discreetly raise up his left hand to wipe at his eyes (a difficult task, considering his shoulder was still sore and wrapped in a heavy bandage), and trying to clear the lump in his throat so he could say something. 

 

He didn’t really get the chance. The next thing he knew, the small boy was in his lap, and his own choked sob was interrupted with the stinging pain of Jack’s splint smacking against his chest and forearm. “Ow,” he muttered, blinking rapidly as he stared at him, utterly at a loss for what to do. 

 

At Jack’s ‘I’m sorry,’ he suddenly felt inexplicably guilty. He hadn’t wanted to upset him. Not this much. Gingerly, he reached out, left hand hovering over the boy’s shoulder, without quite making contact. “I know,” he said. “I know you didn’t know. You had no way of knowing. It’s -- it’s okay. Are you… okay?” 

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