Mandy hated this time of morning. It hurt so much to have the bandages on her head replaced, but she knew it was a necessity. "...M-morning," she mumbled, as she felt the older girl come up to her. She still lacked proper vision, as she was without her glasses, but Steven had promised to bring them up the next time he visited.
"Good morning," Maya said softly, carefully peeling away the old bandage and placing the sodden gauze on the wound. "How are you feeling?"
Wincing slightly, Mandy replied with a faint "B-better... I think."
Maya nodded. The potion would take effect in a few seconds, and the pain that came from the wound exposed to air would be dulled. Silently, she prepared a new bandage. "It's a good thing that the wound was closed when it was," she said quietly, "Otherwise, even if there was no brain damage or... such, you'd have a rather prominent scar."
"Th-thank Steven... for th-that," Mandy muttered, still struggling with her speech. "He saved... m-me."
"Very resourceful of him," Maya remarked, fastening the bandage. "But... it looks better. You should be out of here in another day or two, and within another month, provided you don't over-exert yourself, you should regain all your faculties."
At that news, Mandy's eyes just about lit up. "...You serious?" She asked, somewhat shocked. "A... couple d-days?"
"Yes, no more than three," Maya answered calmly, "Although you must rest while you're here, and even after you're out, you shouldn't try too many activities too soon."
"Sick of r-resting..." Mandy muttered under her breath. "Want t-to... do things again."
"You will be able to soon," Maya stated, "But if you try too much, you'll get dizzy and might pass out, or such. I wouldn't recommend, for example, reading extensively for another week or so."
"..N-no reading?" Mandy had known that was coming at some point, but she still was unhappy with the news. "...B-but how will I... study?"
"Your friends can read to you, and quiz you verbally," Maya replied simply. "It's just that... head injuries take a while to recover from, and it's old fashioned rest that will do it, not spells and potions."
There was that word again. Rest. When she recovered from this, Mandy vowed to never complain about lack of sleep ever again. "Th-that could... work," she said, relieved she wouldn't have to cease studying. "Will I be-be able... to write the exams?"
"Because of... the circumstances," Maya started carefully, "Those who are administering them are willing to let specific individuals who are still recovering... to take them after they're well again."
"...Really? Oh th-thank heavens... Would th-they... let m-me?"
"I don't see why they would not," Maya replied.
"...Good," Mandy murmured, pleased by the fact that the pain in her head was beginning to subside, the potion taking effect. "I'd h-hate to not be... able to write th-them... Not after all...all the time I prepared."
Maya nodded. "Good luck," she remarked quietly.
"Th-thanks," Mandy replied, attempting to sit up.
The older girl reached out a hand and helped Mandy into a sitting position. "All right?"
Mandy nodded. "Yes... th-thank you. M-much m-more comfortable than... lying on m-my back.
She nodded. "All right... do you need anything, or would you rather me leave?"
Mandy thought for a moment before responding. "If you're n-not doing any... thing... You m-mind staying? I hate... being alone..."
"I'll stay," Maya said softly, "If you'd like." Truth be told, she didn't know the girl very well at all, but Mandy Brocklehurst wouldn't be the first patient who'd been bored and wanted company, even that of a virtual stranger, while she recovered.
"I would... Everyone's in... class. Get lonely." Mandy hardly knew anything about the older girl, but she was desperate for some company and someone to talk to, as it would help keep her from going crazy cooped up in the Hospital Wing.
Maya nodded. "That's to be expected. But they'll visit soon."
"Always do," Mandy murmured. "I wish... I wish I could b-be with th-them, though. Out of... here."
"It could be worse," Maya gave a wry smile. "You could be dead to the world and completely in isolation." Her tone was almost philosophical.
"...Point m-made. I guess I... should n-not complain. Worse off... are others."
"It's not about 'not complaining', so much," Maya murmured, "As feeling better. Complaining is better than... pain in silence, I suppose."
Mandy nodded, inwardly agreeing. "Speaking... of th-that... there m-many people... still up here like th-that?"
"Most are gone... a few still here," Maya gestured to a young man lying unconscious in a cot a few feet away from them. "Professor Weasley. Arithmancy classes have been cancelled until further notice... hopefully he'll be well soon."
Mandy's gaze wandered over to where Maya had pointed, her eyes widening slightly at the still form of her Arithmancy teacher. "Hope... so too," she replied. "Are th-the exams... for th-that going on?"
"The NEWTs and OWLs, as you know, are administered by the Ministry," Maya replied quietly, "They've asked Hermione Granger, I believe, what has been covered in class already. Pretty much everything that will be asked about on the tests has been covered in class, but because classes are cancelled, I think the students are forming study groups and reviewing on their own. I'm not sure... but that's the last thing I'd heard."
Mandy thought she could handle that, and told Maya so, albeit with a bit of difficulty. This whole thing with having her speech messed up... that's what she was most frustrated with. She wasn't used to stuttering and having word blocks and having everything come out mangled some of the time.
Maya shrugged slightly, "I never took Arithmancy myself, but I know people who have... most of them say that it's difficult, the NEWT, but not too bad if you'd studied."
"Studied... But n-not for awhile... Hope I...I still remember th-things. For all sub...jects, really."
Maya gave her a look that was meant to be reassuring, "The wound... it didn't affect any parts of your brain dealing with learning and long-term memory. As soon as you've recovered, you should be all right."
Mandy breathed a noticeable sigh of relief. "Th-thank heavens... Bad enough m-my short... term m-memory shot."
"That can recover in time..." Maya murmured, "Do you... have you heard of what had happened out there, yet?"
Mandy shook her head. "Not... Not all. Steven... and Lisa won't tell me any... th-thing hardly."
Maya sighed, "It wasn't pleasant. That's... why they don't want you to know." Now that SHE remembered it all, herself... she realized just how unpleasant it had been out there. How bloody, how terrifying... how many people had perished...
"Perhaps I'm... I'm better off n-not knowing any...way."
"Perhaps," Maya replied noncommittally, "Not knowing is less painful." And both more and less dangerous, because of all the complexities and...
"Were you... out th-there?" Mandy questioned, not having any idea what Maya had been involved with.
"You... might say that," Maya said carefully, "That was the day I... came back here."
"...Came b-back here? Where were you?"
"Away," Maya replied in an almost deadened voice, "Somewhere unsafe."
"Are you... all right n-now?"
Maya gave a light shrug, "I'm back. I'm away from that place."
Mandy nodded slowly and left it at that, despite being somewhat curious about what had happened to her. If Maya had wanted to say more about it, she would have. And, Mandy thought to herself, </i>it isn't like you to stick your nose into other people's affairs anyway.</i>
"There's nothing very interesting about my life," Maya pasted a wry smile on her face, Unless you count being amidst the Death Eaters almost all of it and turning away, hiding under a Fidelius Charm, trying to stay alive, living with a million secrets, that sort of thing... "What about you?"
"Well, th-that all depends... one what you would d-deem as 'interesting'..."
"Well, as I don't know much about you, that would be hard to say. You tell me."
"What do you... wish t-to know?"
"Whatever you wish to tell me, I've no objections in knowing," Maya answered simply.
"Like, where I'm... from? B-brothers and sisters? Good m-memories of this... place?"
"If you'd like," Maya folded her hands in her lap. "All I know of you... is that your name is Mandy Brocklehurst, you're in 7th year, Ravenclaw, and your physical condition."
"Well, all right... I'm from M-Manchester, have lived th-there my whole life... Used t-to only have th-the one brother... older, but now th-three m-more of th-them, and a couple sisters... as well." Mandy scowled slightly as she spoke that. She disliked having so many siblings.
Maya nodded. "I had an older brother too. But no other siblings."
Mandy noticed that Maya had used the past tense when referring to her brother, but again kept her mouth shut. After all, her brother had died awhile back as well. "...Lucky," Mandy muttered. "But I don't... live with any of th-them, so I guess... it's....it's not so b-bad."
Maya shrugged. "Perhaps... it just depends on how you view it. Some prefer larger families. But most of the families that I knew... didn't." Most Death Eater families had, at most, one or two children. It wasn't the most warm and welcoming of environments or lifestyles for offspring.
"M-mother always preferred... small families, but look at th-the m-mess she got... involved with. ...Seven children altogether."
Maya merely nodded. Her own mother had died of... mysterious circumstances soon after her birth. "I see. Hopefully she can handle it."
Mandy bit back a laugh. "Handle it? Ha. She... complained enough with M-Max and m-me... Now she's got... newborn twins t-to deal with... stepsons who can...can't seem to live... on th-their own."
"Well, good luck to her, then..." Maya murmured. "Especially with newborns..."
"She'll need it... m-most definitely," Mandy muttered under her breath. "She has n-no patience."
Maya was certainly familiar with THAT phenomenon. Almost all of the girls she knew... they'd been brought up by servants, because the wives of Death Eaters had more important things to do, such as entertaining and keeping secrets, than to fuss around with 'little bratty children'. She gave a wry smile, "She'll find some way to cope, I daresay."
"I don't... doubt th-that. She'll do what she... did with m-me, I bet. Get someone else... to raise th-them for her."
"That's not too unusual, either," Maya murmured, almost to herself, "I was brought up by House elves and tutors, myself."
"Honestly. If people... d-don't want to bother with... children, th-then why do th-they have th-them?"
"For heirs," Maya murmured, "But... that's neither here, nor there."
"... What do you mean?"
"Nothing," Maya said quickly, "Just... they procreate to pass on their line. But enough of that, I suppose. It's a rather... silly and boring subject."
"Yes... M-moving on... You haven't... been out of school v-very long, have you?"
"I'm only a year over yourself," Maya replied, "So... no."
"I th-thought I remembered seeing you... around last year... Slytherin, correct?"
"Yes," Maya answered concisely.
Suddenly, Mandy had had enough of the idle chatter. She wanted to get up. As in physically stand. Ignoring the slight pain in her bad arm, she began to slide towards one side of her bed to try and place her feet on the floor.
"Wait," Maya called out, reaching over and steadying her. "Stop."
"No. I want t-to get... up." Mandy replied stubbornly, trying to squirm out of Maya's grasp.
"That isn't what I meant," Maya told her, "If you want to get up, fine... but it would probably be best if you brace your good arm against something for support, first. Just in case. Because standing up might make you dizzy."
Mandy nodded and grasped a hold of the bed railing with her good arm. She slowly slid her feet to the floor - which she realised was freezing - and straightened herself up.
Maya watched as the girl, somewhat shakily, got to her feet and unbent her body. "Are you all right?"
"...Fine," Mandy murmured, although she did feel a bit light-headed. After all, it had been almost two weeks since she was last standing.
Maya summoned over a chair, close to where the girl was standing. "If you'd like, you can sit down when you feel tired, rather than lie down in a bed. Although I don't recommend you stand for too long."
Mandy nodded again, and mumbled a "Th-thank you," when the chair had been summoned over. She took a few steps, holding onto the railing all the way, and then realised she had to sit down. Things were beginning to spin.
"Take your time," the other girl told her, "Don't worry... you will be well again. But don't do things too fast, all right?"
Another nod. "How long... did you say it...it would b-be before th-things are better?"
"You should be out of here in a few days," Maya answered, "And within a month, if you take care not to overexert yourself, you should retain all your original facilities."
"A m-month... I th-think I could m-manage th-that..." Mandy said, wishing she could leave now, rather than in a few days.
"If there's anything that can be done to make your stay here more bearable, tell me," Maya said wryly. "I know you want to get out of here."
"M-more than anything... I hate h-hospitals," came the quiet reply.
"There can be worse places... but I understand. IS there anything you would like me to do, then?"
"Um..." Mandy paused, lost in thought. "Not at...at the m-moment, no.... But perhaps a glass... of...of water later on."
"All right," she nodded, "I'll bring that... and perhaps have one of the House elves send down a meal from the kitchens, rather than what they serve here. Hospital fare IS rather bland..."
"If you wouldn't m-mind," Mandy replied, a trace of a smile on here face. "I would like... some r-real food again..."
"That's fine. Anything in particular, or should I just tell them to bring whatever they're serving for lunch today?"
"Whatever's b-being served today... would be fine..."
"All right then," Maya answered evenly. "I'll tell them that... it's nearly lunch hour now."
A few moments later had her sending off a House elf named Biddy off to the kitchens with instructions, and she turned back to Mandy. "They're apparently serving grilled chicken and potato soup. I hope that's all right."
"Th-that's fine.... Sounds good."
The House-elf returned soon with a tray of steaming food, and Maya set up a table in front of the student's chair. Almost as soon as the bell rang to signify the start of lunch hour, another student walked in, also Ravenclaw, and made her way towards Mandy.
"Good day, Miss Quirke," Maya greeted the student, "Miss Brocklehurst, I believe you have a visitor. I'll leave you two to talk, then."
Mandy brightened at the presence of the younger girl. "Th-thanks again..." She said, glancing up at Maya.
"You're welcome," Maya murmured before walking away, her face solemn. Well, the morning HAD distracted her from otherwise unpleasant thoughts. Stepping away from the two Ravenclaws, she went to check up on another patient... keep working, keep working...