The characters and concepts belong to their own respective owners. I make no claim on them. This is set in the movie-verse; it's easier for me to picture them in my head that way.
Let me know if you see any errors, please. It's the only way I'll learn.ShellsPrologue
The doors burst open suddenly, shattering the otherwise tranquil atmosphere of the hospital wing. Harry Potter rushed in, followed by Ron Weasley. Hermione Granger's unconscious body hung limply in Ron's arms.
"Help!" Ron shouted, looking around frantically.
Harry made his way to an empty bed. "Put her down here."
Ron put Hermione's body down gently, making sure she was comfortable. He looked around for Madam Pomfrey, the school's medi-witch.
She was already on her way, her wand already out. "What happened?"
"We don't know," Harry said.
"She just collapsed in the middle of the hall!" Ron added, his heart still racing.
Madam Pomfrey put her hand to Hermione's forehead. She pulled it back, a concerned look on her face. "She has a fever."
"You have to help her!" Ron said.
"I will, boy," Madam Pomfrey told him, her tone soothing. She turned to Harry. "Go and fetch Professor Dumbledore at once."
Harry turned and hurried out the door, leaving Ron to hold Hermione's hand, concerned.
"I need you to tell me precisely what happened," Madam Pomfrey said seriously.
Ron looked down at Hermione's unconscious face, before glancing up at the medi-witch. "We were coming out of Potions, and she just collapsed," Ron reported. "One minute we were talking like normal, and the next, she's fainted."
Pomfrey went to a cabinet, fetching a big book. She started flipping through the pages, looking up at Hermione and Ron every now and then.
Ron clutched Hermione's hand, quietly waiting, hoping that it was nothing serious. Something told him though, that this was about as serious as it could get.**
It was strange, whatever it was. It looked like some kind of... of sarcophagus. It was large, made of what looked like sandstone and engraved with a set of indecipherable markings.
It was delivered to the lab late last night, while Winifred "Fred" Burkle, head of Wolfram & Hart's applied science department, was out of the office.
That alone made it kinda suspicious.
Fred walked around, inspecting it. "I couldn't find any invoice on it. I thought maybe you went crazy on eBay," Knox said.
Fred smiled at that, looking up at Knox for a moment. "No. No eBay," Fred said, shaking her head. She circled the sarcophagus, examining it from all sides. "After that commemorative plate incident, I'm living clean. Did you run a spectral analysis?"
"Yeah," Knox said, nodding his head. "Everything's bouncing off it, which doesn't thrill me."
Fred looked pensive for a moment. This thing just brought up all sorts of questions. The scientist in her couldn't resist a mystery, but... "Yeah. Let's not be hasty about opening it. It's probably just a mummy."
"Mummies can be a lot more trouble than you think," said Knox. "And you're seeing Wesley now."
Fred smiled uncomfortably, resisting the urge to squirm. "Uh... Oh. OK. That's not connected to mummies in some way..."
"No, I just wanted to get it out there. And I'm totally good with it. I -- I know that I've made..." He put his protective eye goggles on as he searched for the right word, "advances."
Fred shrugged. She wasn't really sure what was called for in this kind of situation. She settled for an uncomfortable apology, "I'm sorry."
Knox took his goggles off. "No, I -- I didn't want to make you uncomfortable," he said, that goofy smile firmly in place. "I love working with you, and that's plenty for me."
"You're sweet," Fred said, feeling something more was called for.
"You want me to get our HazMat's on this baby?" Knox offered, getting back to business.
Fred looked pensive again, before nodding. "Yeah, and see about where it came from."
With one last look at the sarcophagus, she turned away.