XIX. CAUSE OF DEATH

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CHAPTER NINETEEN:

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CHAPTER NINETEEN:

CAUSE OF DEATH

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      The Nott family name was tainted with evil. It was more than just the surface title of being labelled as Death Eaters, servers and followers of the Dark Lord. Nova hadn't understood just how evil the Nott family name was until the night of January twenty-third, 1985. 

      It had been a normal enough day. Nova's father was at the hospital with Elizabeth and the twins were sitting around Nott Manor waiting for Rinks to get them warm cookies. Nova could hear her aunt moving around in the upstairs guest bedroom but Nova's mind didn't really process what was happening. Something was wrong. She could feel it in her bones.Even at such a young age, she knew something was going to change. "Theo," she whispered, her toddler voice coming out muffled. "Theo," she whispered again and her brother looked up at her.

      "What?" he asked, looking up from the picture book he had in his hands. Rinks was slowly but surely teaching them how to read, and Nova recognized only some of the words on the page. 

      "I'm scared."

      It was the first and last time she'd said those words out loud, but they still struck her to the core even eleven years later. Because January twenty-third, everything changed. When Nova and Theo had been brought to St. Mungo's later that day, Nova had reached her tiny hand out and held onto her mother's index finger with a grip so tight that Nova's knuckles turned white. The two of them were silent, knowing even at four years old that they shouldn't speak. That all their voices would do was aggravate their father.

      "She's making great progress, Edgar," a Healer mentioned, coming over with a clipboard in his hands as he monitored Elizabeth's body. "Her heartbeat is strong, she's been responding to some treatments. I'd say today's a positive day." Nova always heard those words. Positive. Treatment. Heartbeat. She didn't fully process them, but the Healer always delivered the news with a smile, so she figured it was a good thing.

      But Nova's father was never satisfied. "That's not my wife," he said, the same mantra he'd been repeating ever since the curse had hit her and she had become the lifeless thing in front of them. "That's not my wife," he repeated. The Healer looked uncomfortable, but nodded and walked away. Nova and Theo simply stared ahead. This was a time for their father to mourn, not them. They weren't allowed, or at least, they didn't feel like they were. 

      "Theo," she had asked him once when they were sitting in her room. "Why does Father say Mum wasn't his wife?"

      "I don't know," Theo had replied quietly in the darkness of the room. "I don't know," he repeated. It was a mystery to the both of them at the time, the effect the curse had on Elizabeth. They didn't know that it had stripped her of everything that she was. Suddenly, she wasn't the mother who let them ride on a broom with her. She wasn't the mother who took them to Florean's on her birthday so she could get her favorite ice cream. She was just a patient in a hospital bed who was like a statue of Elizabeth. The same beauty, the same expression, but no life in her eyes.

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