(1937-11-06) Like No Time Has Passed
Details for Like No Time Has Passed
Summary: Annie comes to visit Rhye in the hospital, and offers to let her dear friend stay with her and her husband until she has recovered enough to live on her own.
Date: Tuesday, November 06, 1937
Location: Spell Damage Ward, St Mungo's
Related: An Addition to the Family
Characters
AnnieRhyeline

A massive owl with fabulous eyebrows that fling up into the air on either side arrives early in the morning at Annie’s side to deliver a sealed letter. The owl bears the distinguishing crest of St. Mungo’s Hospital. The letter is addressed with a characteristically careful and neat handwriting.

At last, a letter from Rhye. It has been months since Annie has heard from her. During her two years living abroad, there would occasionally be long stretches of time where Rhye found herself far too preoccupied with her work to remember to send so much as a post card.

The note reads,

“Dearest Annie,

I hope this letter finds you well, my love. Please forgive me for not writing sooner. I have been recovering from a prolonged illness at St. Mungo’s. There is no need to worry. I will be leaving in a few days to return to work.

I have missed you and was wondering if you might come and visit me before I am discharged. I am staying in the long-term ward on the Spell Damage floor.

Love,
Rhye”


It is a fall morning. The weather is cool and raining.


Spell Damage - St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries - London

This area of the hospital has been set up for a double purpose. At the beginning of the ward are multiple stations meant to deal with transitory cases that only need the attention of Medi-wizards or Healers for a few hours. These stations have a small adjustable bed and a rolling chair and a stand with all the necessary tools to deal with any kind of temporary damage caused by misfiring or misused spells. The back of the ward has been designed to resemble a boarding house with individual rooms for each patient. These rooms are separated from the primary ward by a set of double doors securely locked by multiple charms. Over the doors a large wooden signs reads:

"Spells Damage Ward. Long Term Care Wing."

During the night this ward is illuminated by the ever present light globes floating around the ceiling.


The breakfast bustle of St. Mungo's is just about drawing to an end on a rainy Tuesday morning in November. Nurses are making their rounds with carts to clear off breakfast plates and give out morning potions, and many of the mobile patients are making their way to a patient's lounge area for some artificial sunshine and companionship. A hurried tap of feet can be heard approaching the Spells Damage Ward where Rhye is recuperating. The source proves to be a silently moving witch nurse, and Annie, with a light frown on her face. "Right in here, miss," the nurse says, motioning inside, and toward Rhye's bed.

No expense has been spared on her behalf. Polished wood floors shine underfoot. A luxurious double bed with creamy silk sheets and a burnt orange comforter stands across from the door. A cushioned chair has already been pulled up to the young witch’s bedside.

Sitting up in bed with a beautifully carved mahogany tray of breakfast poised over her lap is Rhye. At the sight of her friend, the rarest of smiles illumines her pale features, the smile reserved only for her. “Annie, you came,” she murmurs softly. While she was always a fair skinned girl, never was she this pale. It seems that the lightest touch will leave a bruise, the smallest knock will fracture her bones.

Mindful of being a little damp from the rain outside, Annie is shrugging out of her coat even as she crosses the room in a beeline for Rhye, the nurse forgotten without even Annie's usual 'Ta'. "Rhye!" She tosses the coat toward the chair, missing, and moves to hug her friend awkwardly, thanks to the tray, but warmly. "I just got yer owl this morning Are yeh alright How long have yeh been here?" The sentences run together in a rush, her North London accent a bit more pronounced without the more conscious effort to be 'proper'. The hug is careful, since Annie doesn't yet know what's wrong, but filled with affection.

Closing her eyes, Rhye draws close into the awkward hug. The nurse stands watching a moment before departing in silence. “Yes. I’m alright, my love,” murmurs Rhye as she nuzzles gently against the Annie’s neck, much like an affectionate feline. “I’ve been here a few months.”

This piece of information has Annie pulling back, although not far, to look into her friend's face with concern. "A few months?" One hand comes up to lightly brush against her friend's cheek, noting it's pallor. "What happened t' put yeh here, love? Last we wrote yeh were still abroad."

Tilting her cheek into the light touch, Rhye’s dark gaze flickers away as Annie asks what happened to her. “Yes, well,” she says slowly, glancing up at her once more. “I’m afraid I got caught in a bit of crossfire. A curse meant for the Ambassador hit me instead by accident, you see. At least it was slow acting enough that they were able to bring me back to London in time for treatment.” A small smile touches her lips as she watches her friend, hoping to reassure her.

A nurse bustles in, moving to take the tray from Rhye's lap without asking if the girl is finished, and leaving a potion on the bedside table. As the tray is cleared Annie settles more comfortably on the bed, facing Rhye and taking one of the young witch's hands in her own. She gives a soft squeeze, looking distressed despite the attempt at reassurance. "Rhye." It's a soft whisper, full of emotion. "I wish I'd have known."

The rest of her uneaten porridge is taken without protest, though she does try to snag the half-full cup of coffee from the tray before the nurse leaves. She places it on her bedside as Annie moves to settle next to her on the bed. At the sound of such emotion, Rhye bites her lower lip for a moment. “I know,” she murmurs, her gaze lingering on Annie’s hands over hers, which feel quite chilly. “But. I think it would have been better to receive news of me falling far away after the years had grown between us, rather watching a long, slow death over the course of four months.”

This brings surprise to Annie's eyes. "Rhye, it was as bad as that? Love, yeh know I would have wanted to be here with yeh every moment, how could yeh not?" She looks at her friend earnestly. "Yer my best friend. Even better than Digger." Her eyes ease somewhat as she adds, "But I'm here now, and I'll not be far, ever. Will yeh be out soon? Do yeh need anything?"

Reaching up, Rhye brushes the backs of her curled fingertips against Annie’s cheek ever so gently. “I know, my love. But I didn’t want that pain for you.” Resting her hand once more in her lap, she adds, “I’m leaving tomorrow. And actually, the healers have said it would be best if I didn’t live alone for a time.”

Annie shakes her head slightly at the words, not the touch, sighing softly. "Rhye, honestly, it would have broken my heart t' have lost yeh without a word." She doesn't say 'don't even do that again' but the unspoken implication is there. Her blue eyes brighten at news her friend will be out so soon. "Please, say yeh'll come stay with us. We have extra rooms, an' a house elf t' help dote on yeh, an' yer days will be quiet when we're at work." Annie doesn't even think to explain what this 'we' stuff is all about.

A blink as Annie chooses to use that particular pronoun. At the thought of having broken Annie’s heart, Rhye had lowered her gaze in shame. However now she lifts her dark gaze once more. After a moment of hesitation, she asks, “Where are you living now? I thought you were staying in my grandfather’s cottage.”

The question brings a blush to Annie's cheeks, as it's still a rather new situation to her, and she immediately confides in her friend, "I met someone. A wizard, an' he's the most wonderful man, Rhye." There's no denying the clear love she has for the man, and she leans slightly over Rhye, propping herself with her elbow on the other side of the girl's legs. Annie falls back into her comfort with her friend like they've not spent any time apart. "His name is Tim, an' I'm still takin' care of the cottage at Hogsmeade, I go there every day by Floo, but for all intents…" She pauses, brows raising, "Well, we're sorta married, Rhye."

A smile warms Rhye’s features as her friend leans close to confide her love for this man. As Annie drapes herself across her legs, Rhye reaches out to brush a lock of her auburn tresses from her clear blue eyes. At the mention that they have already married, Rhye’s dark gaze widens in surprise. However it is with quiet delight that she gently pinches Annie’s warm, blushing cheeks. “Swept off your feet. He must be wonderful indeed to make your eyes shine like this.”

"I can't wait for yeh t' meet him, love. He's the most thoughtful man I've ever met." Indeed, she was certainly swept, as she goes on. "We've only known each other a short time, but I've never known someone like him before." There's a bit of a hesitation as Annie pauses. "We aren't actually married, Rhye," she confesses, looking to her friend's face. "We've decided t' follow a tradition in his family called Handfasting. Some have said it's just him wantin' the wife without the commitment, but he's not like that at all."

“I know of the hand-fasting tradition,” she says with a nod. “There is a great deal of wisdom to it. But,” she pauses. “If that is the case, there are other options for me. My father’s home is still open to me, or the Ambassador has offered to secure a flat for me here in London.”

Annie speaks up hastily, "I know Tim would welcome yeh in with open arms. An' there's enough room that we'd not be crowdin' yeh, but I'd be right there, as would Bowie, the most adorable little house elf, for anything yeh need." She seems not the least bit worried that the addition of Rhye would upset the household, even as they're just getting settled together. It's not like they're in the habit of walking about the house starkers! "An' if yeh'd just like t' stay there until yeh have arrangements made." Clearly she will do anything to make her friend happy and comfortable.

Rhye’s gaze flickers away for a moment as she considers her friend’s offer. It is only sign of her apprehension of living in a house with strangers. “Arrangements for a flat can be made very quickly. However,” she glances to the door, “the healers have impressed upon me the importance that I should not live alone, at least for the first few weeks.” Lifting her gaze to her friend, she explains, “The new treatment seems to be working, but they are worried it will not last, you see.”

Annie has no hesitation in speaking up; as far as she's concerned she will have a lifetime with Tim. "Then, if yeh need me t' stay with yeh, it'll be like old times at Hoggies. As long as I can have Tim over t'dinner," she adds with a wink.

Of course the young witch would prefer to avoid the company of strangers as much as she can, particularly during a time of such vulnerability in her life. However, she shakes her head. “My love, you shouldn’t make such offers that would cause your husband pain. Without even consulting him. I don’t wish to take you from him when so recently you have been bound together. If it is alright with him – and please, listen to the yes he gives you, what the true answer behind it is– then I would be very grateful to stay with you both for a few weeks until the healers say I may live on my own.”

Although she had no doubt at all that Tim's heart is every bit as big as her own, for her friend's ease of mind Annie nods dutifully. "I will talk t' him immediately today. An' I promise t' listen t' the true answer, an' not take a polite answer." She takes Rhye's hand, petting it absently. "Is there anything I can bring yeh? Magazines, somethin' t' occupy yer mind?" Yes, she's getting out tomorrow, but surely it's been tedious for her, being cooped up in a hospital room.

With a nod towards a stack of books, six tombs tall, Rhye smiles and murmurs, “My father has been sending me those to keep me occupied.” A pause and a nod to a magnificent bouquet of white roses sprinkled with fresh baby’s breath standing in a crystal vase. A box of unopened chocolates sits next to it. “From my mother.” Glancing up to her friend, she adds, “If he would like to come and meet me before I come to stay with you, that would be alright. In fact,” her warm smile grows, “regardless of whether I come, I’d like to meet your husband as soon as possible.”

Annie smiles as the books and chocolates are pointed out. "How are yer parents? I would imagine this has been just dreadful for them." There's a small frown at this, concern for what her friend's family must have been going through these past months. But she can't help but brighten again at Rhye's request. "I'll see if we can come back for afternoon visitin' hours. I'll know he'll want t' meet yeh too."

“This afternoon should be alright,” says Rhye with a nod. “And my parents…” Her voice trails off a moment as she reaches for the cup of coffee saved from her breakfast. Taking a sip, she says, “Well, it has been difficult for either of them to visit, not only because I have not been well enough to receive them, but my father is busy as ever and my mother-“ she pauses. “Well, the situation in France is growing graver by the day.”

Annie nods, the concern rising again. "She's still there? Will she come here if things start to… get out of hand?" She's still not wanting to speak the word war right out again, least the mere utterance cause it to break out. Ok, so she's a little superstitious.

“She intends to stay, no matter what storm breaks. If war is to come, she does not wish to desert her family and countrymen.” Upon taking another sip, she looks up to Annie with a smile, “I wouldn’t worry, except for whatever foolish muggle or wizard that might try to harm her or her relatives. Her spellwork is extremely powerful.”

Annie sighs softly, clearly not thrilled with the news but not surprised, either. "I do wish that they'll work this out peacefully somehow. Why doesn't someone just stop that nasty little man?" If the war happens, Annie stands to have several friends directly affected, none the least of which is her friend Jack and his drive to be a pilot. Rhye will surely hear about Jack sooner or later.

Rhye nods, but does not remark further upon the situation. Instead, with a gentle smile, she reaches up to caress her friends cheek. “No more worries about the darkness far away. There is too much light in your life. And this afternoon, I will meet this love of yours, yes? I should probably sleep before that then. And you need to go find him.”

Annie takes Rhye's hand and presses a warm kiss to the back. "I'm so happy t' see yeh, Rhye. I've missed yeh so much." The sincerity of her words is undeniable, the love for her best friend clear even after their separation. She slides off the bed, turning to lean in and kiss Rhye's pale cheek. "We'll be back later, an' if he'll be busy with work I'll be back alone." Either way, she will have company.

Rhye tilts her cheek into the kiss with a warm smile. “Alright, my love. I’ll see you this afternoon.” And with that she settles back into the several feather pillows keeping her propped up. For a moment, Annie may glimpse how exhausted this brief visit has left her. However the shadow soon passes as she lifts her gaze to her friend once more.

Annie cannot resist one last tenderness, reaching to smooth a lock of hair from Rhye's forehead. "I'll be back before yeh even know I've gone. Sleep now, poppet." Her voice is soft and soothing, and after a moment she'll slip from the room quietly.

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