biggest child of the James Thickey Ward at St. Mungo’s is about to learn
something astonishing and possibly dangerous. But – will he remember about it
Disclaimer: Things that are familiar
belong to JK Rowling, and everything else is mine.
Many thanks to Birgit, Gufa, for sweetly picking it apart before submission,
Helen for being a beta to die for, and Em for supporting me. Much love!
* * * *
love the way you’re always clean
like a queen
very special person.
Gilderoy Lockhart beamed and
left his quill to rest in the inkbottle. Absolutely exquisite. I ought to
get it published. Or make it a greeting card. And I could be on the cover!
He spun around in his lovely
padded seat, his favorite one in the entire room – no, entire hospital…
okay, he hadn’t been through the entire hospital, so say, ward – which
he always sat in or else he didn’t feel complete; he had even carved his
initials in as hard as he could with his quill, right on the back of it, so
that anyone who came in and decided to sit would have no excuse not to forfeit
the seat to him if he were to enter with tired legs … anyway, he spun around in
The young Healer-in-training
whose name he could never remember shook a reprimanding finger at him near the
doorway. “What are you doing in here? You were to remain in your room all
evening, don’t you remember?”
Chortling, Gilderoy waved
off the Healer’s remark. “Yes, yes, I know. But, you see, I was struck with a
sudden … inspiration. I had to come and write! I couldn’t just let the
idea … blow away, don’t you understand?”
“Mr. Lockhart, there are scrolls
of parchment and a quill next
to your bed.”
Gilderoy tapped the
parchment he had written on: a leaf from the scrolls. “I know, and it was very
kind of you to put it there, Miss …?”
Healer’s stern gaze did not lift. Slowly, she sauntered closer to Gilderoy
with her arms crossed.
“Right, was just about
to say that, Miss Howell. But, you know, I must be sitting in this very seat
if I want to get any work done.” He raised his eyebrows raised high into his
forehead, as if he had made an especially compelling point.
“This seat?” Blanche Howell
inquired, eyeballing the letters G.E.L. engraved on the back of
the chair. “Then … would you like it
transferred to your room?”
“Of course not, don’t be
silly!” said Gilderoy, laughing. “I want this seat to be shared with
everyone, though with the common knowledge that it is principally mine. I want
the world to know that I, Gilderoy Lockhart, have written my greatest
masterpieces in this very chair.”
“Why didn’t I realize that before,” muttered Blanche under
her breath. I have taken care of this character for two and a half years
now, this Thursday. You would have thought clobbering himself with a Memory
Charm would have knocked a little sense into him, or at least kept him a little
An “ahem” at the door
suspended Blanche from her thoughts, and she turned her head to see who was
Gilderoy stood up from his
chair to shake the visitor’s hand. “How good to see you, Healer …?”
Head Healer Leland Artzt
stared at him in confusion before responding. “Healer Artzt.”
“Right on the tip of my
tongue,” said Gilderoy, apparently unfazed. “What brings you to this side of
“I work on this side
of the ward, Mr. Lockhart.” Leland Artzt raised his brows, a faint smile
playing across his lips
course, of course,” Gilderoy chuckled. “Now, I wish I could stay and chat
longer, but I must finish this poem of mine before I lose my train of thought.”
He patted Healer Artzt’s back fondly, and flashed him his trademark dazzling
smile (which hadn’t quite been up to par since the Memory Charm accident, Miss
Howell noted) before sauntering back to his seat.
May I have a word?” whispered Leland, his eyes still glued to a busy Gilderoy.
“Certainly,” said Blanche,
stepping closer to the Head Healer. “Is everything all right?”
“Just fine. I hear Gilderoy
has made some considerable progress lately?”
“He has, but then again,
it’s been two weeks since the last attempt. You know how the charm sets
him in a daze for a while.”
“And that’s why I’m here,”
Leland explained. “I was wondering if you would try ‘The Talk’ again. He
needs to accept it calmly, sooner or later.”
“You think it will work this
time?” asked Blanche apprehensively
Another slight grin softened
Leland’s austere face. “Twelve’s a charm.”
* * * *
Gilderoy fell back with a
sigh into one of the ugly yet comfortable armchairs in room 717. “Where’s
everyone else, then? Late for such an important meeting? I expected better of
Blanche shut the Sound-Proofed
door and, rubbing her neck tensely with one hand and clutching her pocketed
wand with the other, took a seat adjacent to Gilderoy. “No, this is a secret
meeting. Just between the two of us.”
“Oh, a secret!” Gilderoy
clapped his hands excitedly. “I love secrets. Are we beginning now?”
“Right away.” Exhaling to
calm herself, Blanche mentally counted to three and then withdrew her wand.
The strange stick
immediately caught Gilderoy’s interest. “What’s that you have there? A baton?”
His eyes did not shift away. “I’m getting the funniest feeling of déjà vu.
Don’t you just hate it when
“Aspen, ten and a half
inches, hair from the mane of a wild unicorn.” She twirled it between her
fingers calmly. I’m going to take this slowly. I don’t want to scare him.
“Hmm?” he mumbled, his gaze
still locked on the curious object that the Healer-in-training was holding.
“It’s…” Take your time.
There was a minute-long
pause before Gilderoy broke out into giggles. “You know, you do have a
top-notch sense of humor. A wand? Are you going to turn me into a frog with
I ought to. “No, I won’t.” Be subtle, be subtle… break the
news to him coolly… “I’d rather do something that doesn’t involve you.
What else would you like me to do?”
Gilderoy blinked, and
coughed back a few more giggles. “Er … hehe … how about, make me a sandwich?
With a brisk wave of her
wand, Blanche conjured up a bacon buttie on a plain, white plate.
evolved into full-blown coughs of surprise. “How – how’d you do that?”
“Magic. This is a
magic wand. I already told you.”
Gilderoy’s panting grew
audible, and a worry crease appeared between his brows. “You mean like, ‘abra-cadabra’
“Well… yes.” As a sort of
comfort, Blanche offered the sandwich to Gilderoy.
Staring wide-eyed at the
food, Gilderoy edged away in his seat, as if he expected the sandwich to jump
out and bite him. He pulled up his legs from the ground and onto the chair,
and sat on them childishly. “What kind of … bizarre joke is this? Where’s the
… the … ” He searched wildly up and down, all around Blanche, for a source of
the sandwich’s astonishing appearance.
from this, Mr. Lockhart.” She offered the wand to him, hoping he would take it
and examine it. “You can use it also.”
Gilderoy started so
violently that both he and the chair toppled over backward. “Keep that thing
away from me! I mean … it’s fake! You’re lying to me! I – I trusted you!” As
he scrambled up from the ground, he snatched the pillow from the seat and held
it above his head, ready to hurl it.
“Settle down, it’s all
right! It’s just a little magic. You need to grow accustomed to it, Mr.
Lockhart. You’re a wizard, too.” This is not working out as planned. He’s
going to hyperventilate again!
Gilderoy’s chest heaved with
every breath. “No! I’m not! I’m just a man, a very talented one, with
charming good looks and a smile to die for! You’re just – just – JEALOUS!”
“No, Mr. Lockhart, I can
assure you – I’m not.” Blanche stood up and approached Gilderoy, hiding
her wand behind her back and outstretching her other arm as if intending to
“Go away! Stay away from
me! You’re going to – curse me! I didn’t do anything wrong! I’m an
innocent man!” He crouched down on the floor, still gasping mouthfuls of air.
He is impossible. Twelve really is a charm; the wrong
kind of charm. I didn’t want to have to do this, but…
grew very quiet very fast.
Blanche offered a hand to a
blank-faced Gilderoy. He accepted it, and once standing, stared up at her
curiously and then down at the chair. “Oh, I’m sorry, I must have knocked this
over. How clumsy of me.” Trembling, Gilderoy bent over to pick it up, but
Blanche beat him to it. “Oh, thank you. I’m not feeling very well, as a
matter of fact … do you think I could lie down?” He gripped the back of the
chair dazedly. Blanche wrapped her arm around his back, and led him to the
As they walked the corridor,
Blanche rubbing Gilderoy’s back to settle his quivering, Gilderoy spoke up.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name … ?”
“Very nice to meet you. I’m
Gilderoy Lockhart, a patient in the … er… this ward. Do you work here, then?”
A weak smile spread across his face.
“Yes, I do.”
“Oh. I’m surprised I
haven’t seen you before. I’m staying here a while. I suppose I’m ill.”
Blanche gulped back
laughter. “I’m sorry to hear that.”
* * * *
Through the window, the sky
was dim, and Muggle cars zoomed by, lighting the city with swerving beams from
below. Blanche stared down in fascination, and Gilderoy bounced slightly on
his bed behind her.
“These walls are lilac,” he
sighed. “It’s a lovely color. My favorite, in fact. I wonder if they knew it
was, and painted them just for me?”
responded, drifting out of her reverie and rotating to face Gilderoy. “Well,
you ought to get some sleep if you’re not feeling well. Under the covers.”
Gilderoy scooted back to his
pillow, and slid his legs under the sheets as Blanche held them up. He smiled
and nodded in appreciation.
“See you in the morning.”
She rubbed Gilderoy’s head and smirked at his simple, ingenuous expression. If only he could always be like this: naïve and
darling. Like a very big child. She blew out the candles which lit up the
walls as she headed for the door. “I hope you do make some progress. Or else
you’ll have to live like the Muggles out there,” she mumbled, glancing once
more out the window at the night life.
“What?” Gilderoy called out worriedly. “Muggles?”
Blanche groaned and massaged
her temples. “Nothing, Mr. Lockhart.”
“What do you mean by Muggles?”
“Good night, Mr.
* * * *
Well, it’s finally happened – I’m a
SQ author. [polishes badge proudly] And I’m a dork.
It means a lot to me that you’ve
taken the time to read this, and I hope you go even further and vocalize your
appreciation/disgust/comments/suggestions. I’m working on a second piece
currently, in case anyone’s interested. It’s about time I’ve thought up an
idea that I’ll stick with.