Now That Your Rose Is In Bloom

Chapter 106

AN: Thank you for all the support. It is deeply appreciated!

"Okay Mr. Williamson," the healer breezed through the door, his eyes glued to his clipboard. "What seems to be the issue?"

"I am becoming deathly ill, and believe need immediate medical attention," the patient replied.

"Well, you've come to the right place." The healer closed the door behind him and turned the page of his notes. "What symptoms are you experiencing?"

"I'm experiencing nausea at the thought of the Ministry poisoning half of Germany."

The healer sat on a sea green wheelie chair. "Excuse me?"

"The Ministry is making me ill."

The Healer glanced at the patient. His eyes bulged. "You aren't Christian Williamson."

The patient tapped his cane against the examination table. "How very perceptive of you."

The healer frowned. "Lucius, where is my patient?"

"Don't worry about him. He is receiving the best care possible," Lucius began.

"Somehow I seriously doubt that."

"Oh but it's true. He is being very well taken care of."

"Where did you take him?"

"North Carolina."

The healer swallowed his spit and coughed. Lucius wore the most innocent expression he could muster.

"Why in Merlin's name is he in North Carolina?" The Healer gagged.

Lucius shrugged. "He tore his ACL. I thought he deserved only the finest care. So I sent him to one of the best healthcare facilities for such an injury."

"We have potions to treat that here," the healer hissed. "He did not need to leave the country."

"Now, now Healer Clinton," Lucius crossed his arms over his chest. "We both know Mr. Williamson only wants the best care possible. I thought taking him to a top five research institute would be more to his liking than some regular hospital."

Healer Clinton scowled. "You seem to be spending a lot of money just to see me."

"On the contrary, I am saving a fortune," Lucius answered.

Healer Clinton huffed and tossed his clipboard onto his desk. "I'm sure you are."

"All of this is a drop in the bucket compared to the money I would have to spend to finance a decent pool of German test subjects," Lucius continued.

Healer Clinton's frown deepened. "German test subjects?"

"Indeed," Lucius answered. "The Snapes and I going to need quite a few of them if we want to compare the physiology of the British former lycanthropes who have invested the squib cure, and the German former lycanthropes who have not."

Healer Clinton turned green.

Lucius twisted his cane into the ground. "Do you have any idea why we would be conducting such tests?"

Healer Clinton cleared his throat. "I don't even know who you are talking about."

"Excuse me?"

"Why would you be funding tests?"

"Because Hermione and Severus believe they have a promising lead on a serious epidemic."

The Healer's face was white as new fallen snow.

"Do you know why they want to conduct tests on the Germans"

"I wouldn't have the foggiest clue."

"Oh, but I think you do."

A bead of sweat trickled down Healer Clinton's neck.

Lucius smirked as if he were a child who had just swiped a bag of candy from the teacher's desk. "They think they've pinned down the cause of the monthly amnesia."

"They have?" Healer Clinton squeaked.

"Indeed, they have," Lucius answered. "There is only one small catch."

"What would that be?"

"They need hard evidence before publishing their theory."

"I suppose they'd better get some then."

"I agree," Lucius backed away. "That's why I came to you."

"M-me?" Healer Clinton was shaking.

Lucius' grin widened.

"Why do you think I'd be of any help to either you or them?" Healer Clinton asked.

"Because you were in charge of the tests run on Percy's captured lycanthropes," Lucius replied. "Surely you have some data they would find useful."

Healer Clinton trembled. "You can't prove that I know anything about Percy's antics. Y-you can't prove that I was even in the hospital during those last amnesiac episodes."

Lucius raised his voice. "Word gets around Mr. Clinton. I know far more than you think I do."

"No, you can't prove any of this." Healer Clinton pointed to him. "You've just bribed everyone. Yes, you've just bribed people to say I was connected to the experiments."

"Why would I bribe people to tell me you were involved in that project?" Lucius asked. "I have no issue with you, nor can you give me anything of value outside of those research notes."

Healer Clinton stood and hissed. "Find someone else to give you them."

"So they do exist?"

Healer Clinton gulped.

"That's what I thought," Lucius purred.

"Listen," Healer Clinton answered. "Do you need resources from St. Mungo's? Are you interested in using our doctors? I can contact my superiors…"

"I am not paying for an experiment which has already been run," Lucius answered.

"I don't have the data you need."

"I beg to differ."

Healer Clinton pressed his lips together.

"Look," Lucius began. "If you are nervous about the truth of your involvement coming out then rest assured, I will provide for you. You will remain an anonymous source. No harm will befall you or your career."

"Let's pretend for a moment this proof does exist," Healer Clinton began. "The Ministry will know who gave it to you."

"How can you be so sure?" Lucius asked. "Percy is no legilimens, and there are antidotes to Veritaserum you can take ahead of an interrogation. Even a pensieve can be manipulated under the right circumstances."

"They will know who headed this imaginary project," Healer Clinton answered. "They will know it was me who gave you all this information."

"I suppose there really is nothing in it for you if you hand over your notes," Lucius admitted. "Perhaps I could sweeten the deal."

"How?"

"Would you like to take an extended visit to South Carolina?"

"Is there a job there?"

"I could ensure that there is one."

"No," Healer Clinton backed into the doorway. "I don't want a job in South Carolina, at least not one offered by you. No doubt it will have been obtained through some unethical means."

Lucius' voice was strident. "What is unethical is watching Percy poisoning Germans so he could prove a point."

Healer Clinton bowed his head. "He thinks we can find a cure by the time the Germans begin showing symptoms."

"How close are you to discovering a cure?" Lucius demanded.

The expression in Healer Clinton's eyes betrayed the truth.

"Listen," Lucius stood. "You are in over your head, a fact I am sure you are all too aware of at the moment."

Healer Clinton let out a whine.

"The way I see it, you have two options. You could accept my bargain, give me the data I need, and then flee to South Carolina with some kind of credibility intact. Conversely, you can withhold this vital information from me, watch the Snapes conduct their own experiment, and go down in flames with the rest of the Ministry," Lucius leaned on his cane. "I trust you will make the right decision."

Healer Clinton met his eyes. "Can you guarantee me a job in South Carolina?"

"John Rupp, the director of Duchess Medical Center, is a dear friend of mine. In fact, we're scheduled to have dinner tonight at Malfoy Manor."

"How do you know John Rupp?"

"Does it matter?"

"No, I suppose it does not."

"There are a few prominent doctors retiring. I can put in a good word for you, offer a few donations, or give him some other incentive."

Healer Clinton squirmed.

"Do you want the job or not?"

Healer Clinton hummed. "I would not mind a fresh start. The weather is undoubtedly better there than it is here."

"For the most part it is much warmer there," Lucius answered. "The scenery is quite pleasant as well."

Healer Clinton stuck out his hand. "It's a deal."

Lucius grabbed his hand and shook it. "I knew you'd see things my way."

The healer sighed. "You are quite persuasive."

Lucius' smirk returned. "Indeed I am."