"There you are, Mr. Bode. Isn't that better? I am sure you are much more comfortable without all the blankets twisted around you like that."
Cold sunlight was streaming in through the windows and across the checkered floor of the Spell Damage Ward at St. Mungo's, and the Mediwitch looked at him with bright, cheerful eyes. She glanced at her charge from the corner of her eye, looking for any sign of response.
Mr. Bode continued to stare ahead. Occasionally, he would blink.
"I think you will like your new room, Mr. Bode," she went on in a voice of forced cheeriness. "There are several very lovely people here. We have Frank and Alice over in the corner. . . and Gilderoy over by the wall. You might even know him, come to that. He was quite famous and all. Name's Lockhart. Gilderoy Lockhart. Do you recognize the name at all?"
Blink. "Came in on an emergency to the Spell Damage Ward a while back. He's quite personable. Won't it be nice to have some more company during the holidays?"
"We could have our own little party down here and everything."
The Mediwitch sighed, almost inaudibly, and finished straightening up the bed of her silent patient. She felt odd, talking to this sallow skinned man with the haunted eyes, but it sometimes helped bring the patient out of the trauma. If it might make him come back to the world around him, she could continue to talk to him, no matter how foolish she felt.
Broderick Bode had come under her watch 3 days ago, looking like he had walked through hell and back, and unable to communicate in any way. He had been found in the Department of Mysteries, though she didn't know much more about it than that. According to his charts, he had been screaming fit for a banshee when they found him, rolling in convulsions on the floor and tearing long gashes in his skin with his nails, as if he had been trying to extricate something from himself.
The gashes were now little more than scars, but she could not figure out how to get the look of utter terror from his eyes. In close to twenty years as a Mediwitch, she had never seen anything like it.
With a brisk efficiency only achieved through years of practice, she put the whole room to rights in a few moments. "Much better. Would you like me to lower the shade a touch? The sun is very bright this afternoon."
"There we go. Anything else I can get for you? Anything at all?"
"Right then. I'll be back shortly to make sure you're still fine."
His eyes followed her as she walked out of the room.
Blink. Blink. Blink.
Time passed. The sun chased itself across the floor of the hospital ward. Shadows lengthened into fantastic shapes.
"Good evening Mr. Bode! And how is my favorite patient?"
It almost looked like he wanted to smile at her. . . but had forgotten how. Maybe it was beginning to work.
"Someone sent you this lovely plant. Isn't it pretty? Shall I put it on the window sill for you, Mr. Bode?"
His eyes widened at the sight of it, though the shadow in them didn't dissipate in the slightest. "Miblewims. Malforbus. Bladrast!"
She thought she was hallucinating at first. After three days of silence from him, this was certainly unexpected. His voice was clear and precise, as if he was reading from a primer, but the words were completely unintelligible.
"Mr. Bode? What. . . what is it you need?"
He turned his gaze on her, and then on the plant. "Branwen. Spingblunk arplock larcost?"
"I am sorry. . . I don't know what you're saying. Do. . . "
"Millform. Loonorous Millform. Elbeth! Elbeth!!!" Mr. Bode went off into mutterings, staring at the plant, then staring at the floor. Occasionally he would whistle like a tea kettle, but he still didn't seem to be able to move much. Odd behavior or not, this was definitely an improvement.
The Mediwitch looked over at the door to see Neville and Eunice Longbottom. With a last look at her newest patient, she bustled over to the door to greet them and take them over to see Frank and Alice.
Mr. Bode continued to babble incoherently until well after she went off duty for the night.
He knew what it was as soon as they brought it in. He'd always had top marks in Herbology, and though it looked much like a Flitterbloom, Devil's Snare had a different pattern to the veins in the leaves. Well, that and the small fact that it would kill anything that touched it.
He'd tried to tell Healer Strout when it came in, but for some reason he couldn't get the words out. Everything he said was coming out as gibberish. Well, as long as he didn't touch it, all should be well.
Still, he had to tell Albus about Lucius Malfoy as quickly as possible. He knew that Fudge wouldn't believe him, but with what had happened to him the other night. . .
He just had to tell Albus what Lucius was trying to do. Few people knew about the prophecy outside of the Unspeakables, but Albus was the one who had turned it in. He would know what to do.
Bode tried to settle down after Healer Strout came and drew the curtains around his bed, but every time he closed his eyes, his mind flashed back to the horrible visions he had succumbed to when he picked up the Prophecy Orb.
Leaning back on the cushions, Bode had readied himself for another enjoyable night of sleeplessness when he heard the voice next to his bed.
"Imperio." It was a caress, not a curse. He suddenly felt lighter than he had in ages, and the lack of pain was glorious. Wonderful. He would have danced if his muscles remembered how to.
Vaguely aware of the man next to his bed, he stared at the ceiling in wonder. From miles away, he heard the voice say "Engorgio," and was mildly surprised to see the small Devil's Snare plant grow to about three times the size it had been a moment before.
Part of his mind was screaming warning bells, but the rest of him was perfectly content to stare at the ceiling. It was much more attractive than the pain and the memories, so he shoved the warnings into the back of his mind and ignored them.
The overwhelming urge to touch the plant came upon him. Bode began to sit up in bed, reaching out for the green leaves. They looked so inviting. "Touch the plant. . . touch the plant. . . "
The warning bells came screaming back, but that seemed stupid. It was such a pretty plant. He wanted to touch the plant. He needed to touch the plant.
Just a few more inches. . .
How funny. The plant was touching him back. It snaked itself around his arm and wrapped around his torso in a verdant embrace. . .
Lucius Malfoy felt the connection to Bode snap like a twig and knew his work for the evening was done.
With a whispered "finite incantatum" and a quick look around to make sure he hadn't disturbed anyone else, he slipped back under his invisibility cloak and walked briskly out of the room.