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Daniel Nash
[Daniel’s Quarters] Ho ho humbug (or, Aisha, I’m sick)
Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:38

Daniel had figured the latest staff meeting had something to do with the connection between the fever and the accidental magic outbursts, as those were becoming more clearly linked with every new person admitted to the hospital wing. He himself had taken to taking his own temperature on a regular basis, knowing it was only a matter of time before he fell ill as well.

He’d been right. What he hadn’t been expecting, however, was a quarantine, effective immediately, and a room assignment for the duration. He had been tempted to follow Tarquin in storming out, but he didn’t think he was upset enough to be a danger to anyone. This was inconvenient, certainly, but he lived alone, and quite frankly, the only people he’d miss at Christmas were his fathers (which was to say, Dad and Barry, not whoever Mom’s latest boyfriend might be now that her divorce with Anton was finally legalized; and certainly not Anton himself who wouldn’t be there anyway, good riddance, and while that marriage had lasted nearly two decades longer than Daniel had predicted, he suspected he might have gotten dirty looks this holiday for saying it was doomed too often and get unfairly blamed for it falling apart, had he been able to attend the upcoming Christmas festivities) and Molly.

Mostly he wanted to object because it didn’t even make sense in his case. Okay, yes, he was actually one of the infected ones, but he had probably already spread it to Holly’s household, as his first bit of accidental magic had happened at her ranch, and the rest of his relatives were all muggles so it was unlikely it would present as anything other than a fever if they got it, if they could even catch it at all, which they might not as it was a magical illness.

And, yes, true, Molly was pregnant so not giving her a fever would probably be in everyone’s best interests, but trapping him at Sonora was simply ridiculous. Holly’s ranch was perfectly suitable - it was already exposed to the disease and remote enough that there was no chance of infecting anybody else. They could voluntarily quarantine themselves in the comfort of familiar territory so they didn’t pass it around either. Not that he had heard of anyone but the kids there doing accidental magic so far, but how could you tell if the kids had it or not when they were already prone to the first major symptom?

Of course, that would mean spending weeks on end with Holly so maybe Sonora wasn’t so bad after all.

So while he had protested being confined to the school with the reflexive resistance that being stuck at work over a holiday instinctively engendered, he lacked the passionate objections that had forced Tarquin out of the room. Did he want to be trapped in a school hosting its full complement of teenagers and preteens who were probably going to be angry their plans were disrupted and who, given why such plans were disrupted, would likely be prone to showing their displeasure in potentially explosive and magically demonstrative ways? No, no he did not. He wanted a quiet holiday at home with his books and his material belongings - and more than the one pair of clothes he currently had on his back.

The realization that he would be separated from his wardrobe had brought him very close to being genuinely upset but then he realized Holly could pop into his apartment and send him some things.

Which is how he came to be in these impersonal staff quarters not terribly far from Aladren (which he had, in fact, used before when Rory Taransay was away doing book research and Daniel filled in as the Aladren HoH for a little while; a responsibility he and Gray traded off covering when it came up) with a veritable train of owls coming in through the window and dropping off parcels.

Some of them he recognized. The first one to arrive had been one of the school owls whom he had sent off to Holly with his original request for clothes, sheets, blankets, personal care items, and Sam. That owl had returned, bringing him two shirts, a pair of pants, and a letter. The letter, when he got around to reading it later, read:

This is awful. I feel so terrible that we won’t all be able to have Christmas together. I’ve sent along the things you asked for, and a few more I thought you might like to have.

Of course I don’t want to risk getting Molly and her baby sick! We’ll follow your suggestion and stay here at the ranch instead of going to the Greers for Christmas like normal. Do you know how long we need to wait for a fever, in case Philippe or Anya do have this terrible disease? I still want to see Molly before she has her baby, but we can certainly wait until we know we’re not contagious.

Anyway, I sent some things for Jasmine, too. Can you see to it she gets them Christmas morning? I trust you’ll see she has a nice Christmas even if we can’t all be together. Oh this is such a terrible time for a Quarantine! I will miss you both so much!

You sister always,

On the tail feathers of the school owl came his own snowy owl, Sam, who couldn’t be left by himself at his apartment with nobody there to take care of him. Holly’s personal owl, Snow White, who happened to be Sam’s sister (Mom bought the two young snowy owls together one year as Christmas gifts and a none too subtle hint that they should be writing to her more often), arrived with Sam, along with the ranch’s business owls, a trio of great horned owls, named Flora, Fauna, and Merriweather. By the time she packed the parcels carried by their personal birds, Holly had apparently remembered she was a witch who could shrink things, so they carried the bulk of his requested items, including a fair portion of his wardrobe, bedding materials, his shaving supplies, his hair products, the things that were necessary for Sam’s long term care, and some books from his home library. (He’d have to check later whether she sent the right ones- he could usually trust Holly to know about clothes, good hygiene products, and animal care but he wasn’t always convinced she bothered to read anything unless it had to do with horses and he wouldn’t put it past her to just grab the first ten books she came across figuring they were all the same anyway.)

And then there was the rest of the procession. The fifteen or so owls that followed the six that he knew were unfamiliar postal owls of various sizes and species. They each carried large canvas bags that, when the owl let it go, opened up and added several wrapped gifts to the pile that was swiftly growing into a small disorganized mountain of shimmering gifts, most of them labelled “To Jasmine” with some of them specifying “Love Mom and Dad” or “From Santa” while others didn’t bother to clarify who sent them. A small handful were addressed to Daniel and wrapped in green, while two less gaudily wrapped purple ones were signed ‘Love Anya’ and ‘FRUM PHLIPIPE’ (it wasn’t so much that Philippe spelled his name wrong as that the letters were more arranged in a jumble than in a line.)

It was around the time he saw the first “From Santa” that Daniel belatedly realized that this quarantine was separating Holly and Jasmine over the holiday and his sister was going to expect him to fulfill all of his niece’s Christmas expectations. Had that even remotely occurred to him during that thrice cursed staff meeting, he very well might have walked out right on Tarquin’s heels.

Nothing to be done about it now though. So he just watched in helpless dismay as his room filled up with Christmas presents in glittery pink wrapping paper with cutesy penguins and snowmen dancing around on them. (As the gifts kept coming, Daniel began to suspect Holly had done some extra shopping for her eldest daughter this year, though he wasn’t willing to speculate on whether that was to try to make up for not being together on Christmas or because Jasmine was her favorite and she didn’t have to pretend to buy equal amounts of presents if the three siblings weren’t opening presents together.)

Eventually the parade of owls ceased, and Daniel used up all of his owl treats feeding them before sending all but Sam back to their normal roosts. As he set up Sam’s perch, he told the bird, “Well, until this quarantine is lifted, this is our new home.” Sam ruffled his feathers and didn’t look impressed. “Don’t complain to me, I don’t like it any better than you do.”

As he began putting away his own belongings, he remarked out loud, “I suppose I’m going to need to order more treats for you since that hoard of locusts just devoured what should have lasted you a month.” Sam looked even less impressed than before. “I should still have some regular owl food here somewhere, if Holly remembered- ah, here it is.” The bag of food grew back to normal size as he pulled it out of the postal packaging and he grunted a bit as the featherweight charm on it also came to an abrupt end. He staggered slightly before recovering and made a mental note to use the MARS room for some weight training as long as he was stuck here anyway.

He got that stashed away in a cabinet in his quarters’ little kitchenette. It wasn’t much of a kitchen, Sonora being equipped with an actual kitchen staffed by professional kitchen elves, but it was good for storing the owl food and he could brew up some tea or coffee on his own if he didn’t want to trudge down to the Cascade Hall for that. “Did you want any now?” he asked, but Sam just turned his head away, beak up in the air, as disdainful as any human. “Of course not,” Daniel commented, “I saw you grab three of the treats from the pile just now. Don’t think I missed that.”

Sam made a not quite audible huff, then took to his wings and flew out the window to explore his new temporary home. Daniel grumbled and got to work getting his space set to rights. The pile of obnoxiously pink presents kept drawing his eye and making him shudder. He was going have to live with them there for almost two weeks? What had Holly been thinking?

He didn’t notice it at first, but at one point his mental monologue got to complaining about them and he turned to give them a glare and he stopped, blinked, and smirked.

He would probably turn them back before delivering them to their intended recipient, but for now, the presents were all wrapped in plain black and dark blue paper that perfectly matched the Aladren House colors. No glittering, no gleaming, no adorable animals or cheery winter constructs. They were also neatly arranged into a nice tidy and tall pyramid that almost resembled a decorative tree. Ever so much better.

He smiled and got back to work, humming Christmas songs.

- - -

It was officially midterm now. There were still a few days until Christmas, but classes had ended and, had Daniel and most of the other people at Sonora had any say in the matter, past the time when they should have all been home with their families. Or at least his books, in Daniel’s case. Christmas day was plenty enough time to be forced into the company of all his relatives. In the last week, his Tree of Wrapped Boxes had continued to grow as Molly and Luke and Mom and the Greers all sent him their gifts for Jasmine and himself. Holly sent a few more things that Jasmine ‘had to have’ as well. But it was fine; he knew what to do with them now and he counted it an intellectual challenge to fit all of them into the gift tree.

As Snow White breezed in with another one, though, Daniel just sighed, rubbed his head, and felt tired. He fished an owl treat out of the new bag that had arrived a few days ago, and waved the snowy owl away. He waved his wand to change its color to blue and regarded the tree without enthusiasm. He decided to cheat, and just shrank it down until it fit into an opening left by a larger oddly shaped present.

Then he made himself some tea. He thought about reading but he didn’t really feel like it today. At that, he realized something was wrong and summoned his thermometer. 99.7. Pretty low grade as far as the fevers from this disease went, but Aisha had said to call her in as soon as it started going up, so he jotted off a quick note to her.

Healer Kapoor, he wrote,

I have begun feeling a bit run down. I believe I have developed a low grade fever as well. My muggle thermometer reads it at 99.7. For the past week, I have generally measured in at an average of 98.9, with a variation of plus or minus 0.2. I believe this is a significant variation off of my norm. Other symptoms include a lack of concentration and a lack of desire to do much of anything, including reading (and I am an Aladren!) Though I am not yet feeling seriously ill, I would appreciate your attendance with some medication at your earliest convenience.

Thank you,
Daniel Nash II

He attached the letter to Sam and sent the owl down to fetch the Healer. She had encouraged the staff to call her in for a visit instead of going to the Hospital Wing themselves, which Daniel was quite relieved by. He did not care to have anyone see him at less than his best, and that went at least doubly so for students. Plus, well, he never much liked hospitals or doctors offices anyway.

While he waited to her arrival, he tidied up what little mess he had in his quarters, which mostly consisted of the crumbs dropped by Snow White. Once that was done, he splashed some water on his face so he didn’t look too pallid in front of the Healer.

Then he began making minor adjustments to his gift tree, so it would look better for company. This gift would be more aesthetically pleasing in black, that one ought to be blue, this one should downsized just slightly . . .

The healer knocked, and Daniel waved his wand in the direction of the door, opening it non-verbally but intentionally (a distinction one needed to make these days). “Come in,” he invited. “Should I sit on the couch or my bed? And don’t mind the massive tree of presents. My sister sent most of those for her daughter, who is one of the second year students and, as I’m their only other relative on campus, she has appointed me to be Jasmine’s Santa this year.” He grimaced slightly in distaste of this role.

    • Off one list and onto anotherAisha Kapoor, Fri Apr 13 09:01
      The quarantine was a pain in the backside. Whilst going home for the holidays had certain disadvantages (such as lectures on why she hadn’t found a suitable young man yet), it was still ‘home’ and... more
      • I really feel like going to bedAisha Kapoor, Fri May 4 09:47
        Aisha had been up for a while when the salutometre informed her that Daniel was awake. Her hair was freshly washed, and actually neatly tied in a French braid rather than her usual sloppy ponytail.... more
        • I’m not tired anymore Daniel Nash, Wed Jun 6 11:29
          Daniel awoke feeling much better than had when he closed his eyes. He’d had a quiet day after she left, some reading mostly, a couple short naps. He hadn’t been very hungry when dinner time rolled... more
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