Things were beginning to quiet down in the Hospital wing of Hogwarts. Only a small number of patients remained. Any well enough to travel had left with their Families. This meant maybe a dozen or so had one or two more nights left. Sitting at her desk Madam 'Poppy' Pomprey had a view of the Black Lake and the Headmaster's tomb. It was a cruel joke they played on her having to stare at the monument to him every day. She could not have saved him - he was dead before his body hit the ground from the killing curse.
In the distance she saw flashes of light and thought no more about it. The sunlight reflected off the white marble this time of day. She did not notice this time the white was followed by a multi colored flash. She left her office one final time to double check her patients before turning in herself. In her pocket she felt the calming draught she had prescribed for herself which she planned on taking as soon as she reached her quarters. An extra bed was kept shrunken inside her desk in case she didn't have the energy to return to her room, and early this morning she made use of it.
Finishing her walk to check on her patients (she found four of them improved more than she thought and authorized releasing them) she headed back into her Office for the book she began reading last week before going to bed. She thought she heard voices but when she entered she saw no one. Just as she went to leave she heard them again.
"Ginny do you have any idea where we are?"
"No I don't Ron. Fawkes would not have brought us here if this wasn't the right place."
"Ginny? Ginny Weasley is that you?" she asked in the direction of the space between her two windows.
"Poppy?? Oh thank GOD. Where are you? We need your help!" Ginny replied.
"Keep talking and I will try to find you." Poppy began inching her way past her desk in the direction of the windows. She wondered if someone had transfigured her Office, taking out a wall so she would fall out if she stepped too far.
"Oh Poppy it was horrible!! We were attacked at the Headmaster's tomb! Harry had just repaired it and now he is badly hurt!!"
"Madam Pomprey Hermione is too. Please help her!!" Ron added.
"I'm sorry but I can't find you" she stated now wondering if this was a Weasley prank. Their older brothers Fred and George used to pull all sorts of things before they left school, making a name for themselves before doing so.
"Ron what can we do? I can't leave Harry!!"
"Poppy keep talking if you can. We are in a large room which looks like the Hospital but it is empty" Ron instructed.
"Very well" she said, growing more unsure as time passed. She knew every square inch of this place having been here for over 40 years. There was no other room they could be in. Her Office was only big enough for 8 unless a room extension charm had been used ... "As you all know the Battle ended in the morning. Harry Potter killed Voldemort and most of his Death Eaters were captured. A few have fled, but Minister Shacklebolt is confident they will be caught. Any unauthorized port keys can be traced. A few of the dead are waiting to be claimed. Your Brother Fred will be taken by your parents when all of you can travel together."
"Poppy I am not going anywhere with anyone named Weasley right now" she heard Ron firmly reply.
"Why not?? What happened?" she asked as she thought she saw something. A door was slowly appearing in the space between the two windows, which was ridiculous because it was a wall between two windows. Silently it open inwards and Poppy was shocked at what she saw. Ron Weasley was covered in blood much like the night before. This time he was holding Hermione Granger who was wrapped in what looked like one of the jumpers Molly Weasley used to make.
"Ron can you set her down somewhere so I can look at her?' Poppy requested, now ashamed for doubting them. Behind Ron a bed appeared which he laid her down in.
"No. Harry first" Poppy heard her whisper.
"I don't think so young lady. I will be the judge of who goes first. And you Mr. Weasley will follow her" Poppy insisted. She got easily offended in her Infirmary when patients tried to tell her how to do her job.
"No Poppy. Hermione's right. Harry needs your help first" Ron firmly told her placing his hand on her wand preventing her from examining Hermione.
"Poppy?? Over here please?" she heard a voice ask. From her experience she knew it was someone who was on the verge of tears, fighting not to lose control.
"All right, all right. Now what has our Mr. Potter gotten himself into this time?" she asked as she stepped around Ron. Inside the room were two beds with a curtain in between. "Miss Weasley if you could please tell me what ... ?" was all Poppy got out as she stepped around the partition. Ginny was kneeling on the floor facing her, her face covered in dried blood. Poppy surmised her head was hurt in at least two places. All down the front of her clothes were blood stains.
Lying on the bed in front of her was Harry. His face was different shades of purple, green, and yellow. His glasses were gone and round cuts circled his eyes. His shirt was solid red from all the blood he had lost, and his pants were half ripped off him. Every bit of skin she could see either had fresh blood or that which was dried on. Poppy did something she had never done before. She fainted.
Seconds later Poppy awoke to more voices. They were talking wondering where else to go. "Sorry. I've never seen so much death and destruction" she said as she sat up. Surrounding her were Ginny, Ron (who was back to holding Hermione again) and Hagrid. Some ways behind him she saw two more bodies lying on the floor.
"Prisoners. Don't worry about them Poppy. Mr. Potter and Miss Granger need our help now" Hagrid stated. He too had looked better but she knew how quickly Giants healed.
Poppy nodded and began to wave her wand over Harry. In the back of her mind she could hear Ginny and Ron explaining what had happened to Harry, but most of it was lost on her as she focused her magic trying to decide where to start. At least half his bones were broken including his back in three places. He had lost a lot of blood also. Her wand told her he had malnourished, but that was obvious. "A few weeks at the Burrow will be good. Molly will fatten him up."
"No Poppy. We do not want anyone to know about this, especially our parents" Ron firmly instructed.
"But Ron they are your parents" she tried to reason as she began to mutter spells.
"Poppy we need you to promise" she heard Hermione say.
"When I am finished with Mr. Potter we can talk" she responded. Her magic didn't seem to be affecting him. It was almost like he was refusing her help.
"Ginny did you do anything to try and help him?" Poppy questioned. She was getting very frustrated feeling his life slipping away.
"No Poppy I didn't. My wand was taken from me. Ron gave it back about 10 minutes ago. Why?" Ginny asked, afraid of the answer.
"Because your Harry Potter isn't allowing it!! Somehow he is blocking my spells, preventing me helping him" she stated.
Ginny realized what Harry was doing. She waved her wand over him and a white glow appeared. "He has raised a shield around himself. Kind of like the 'Protego' Charm. But this one is draining his life. If we can't break through to him we will lose him! Harry? Harry you must listen to me!! We are at Hogwarts in a special Room, kind of like the Room of Requirement. Fawkes has brought us here. Madam Pomprey wants to help you but you have to let her. Please Harry" she said as she brushed his hair aside again. The white glow spread up her arm and covered her body now too. She described it later as a 'warm, fuzzy feeling. Like when you are with the one you love'. "Poppy try it now."
The Healer's wand was waved again, this time with better results. The next two hours were spent with Poppy using spell after spell on Harry. Since he was unconscious she could not give him Skelegrow or other potions to help heal him, so she was forced to use various spells and Charms.
Finally Poppy took a break. A large chair appeared for her which she settled into. "Now if you please I need to know more about what happened and why you insist your parents not be told" she said.
Ginny thought hard about what to say. And for that matter who to say it too. She knew she and Ron needed help but were unsure who to trust. She let go of Harry for a minute and was pleased to see his color better. It was difficult to tell when they were touching. Everything looked different. She went over to find Ron sitting next to Hermione's bed holding her good hand in his. "Ron we need to trust someone. Hagrid will keep this quiet but I don't know who else we can confide in."
"Kingsley and Minerva" he responded. "We were talking a minute ago. They have to investigate this. We can't since it is our Family, and we don't know if they are all involved at this point. Better to keep them all away until we know it's safe."
"I agree. And three others. Neville and Luna. They can use the DA to keep unwanted people away. And lastly Kreacher" Ginny added.
Hearing his name the old Elf appeared. "Yes Mistress Ginny you ... " Kreacher stopped dead in his tracks at the sight of them.
"Kreacher the four of us were attacked. We caught the ones who did this but don't know who else might be involved. Can you help us please?" Ginny asked.
"Please tell Kreacher what needs to be done" he replied.
"We are in a special room inside Hogwarts. Fawkes the phoenix brought us here. There is a doorway from Madam Pomprey's Office. We are going to have to guard this to make sure no one enters without permission. Hermione, Ginny, Hagrid, and I are the only ones allowed in unescorted. And Madam Pomprey of course.
Please bring the Minister and the Headmistress up here, along with Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood. Only tell them they are needed here. Do not tell anyone else, especially our parents. Right now we do not know who to trust. When you return with those four we will explain as well as we can what happened and you will understand why we are saying this" Ron instructed.
"Please Kreacher" he heard Hermione try to whisper.
"Mistress Granger Kreacher will do as you ask. But where is Master Harry?"
Ginny nodded to Hermione and Ron and left holding Kreacher's hand. She felt his hand grip hers tighter than she thought he could as he looked at Harry. Much of the dried blood had been cleaned up but he still looked terrible. Ginny felt Kreacher kiss her hand and say "Kreacher will return as quickly as he can." With a faint 'pop' he was gone.
"And now Ginny we need to continue, then I will spend some time with Miss Granger" Poppy said. The chair had transfigured itself so it allowed her to float above Harry saving her strength. Ginny placed her hand on Harry's this time and the white glow spread across her again.
* * *
"The 'short' meeting lasted much longer than anticipated. Once the frustration on Molly Weasley's part was dealt with they continued to discuss things involving the Castle and the Ministry. It was unclear how well Hogwarts was at this much Dark Magic having been used against her and the students, so much help might be required.
The Ministry was a different story. Once Pius Thickness became Minister he brought in many people to replace the existing staff. Some were sent to Azkaban Prison and others left. Most of the Aurors who were loyal to Kingsley were killed leaving very few. Percy Weasley promised to work diligently beside the Minister and his Father who was promoted to the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Arthur had the basic training many years ago just as every Ministry employee did, but his sense of right and wrong was more important now. The same for Percy. They would be there for Kingsley.
Molly agreed to help supervise the clean up and repair of the Castle. As a Mom she knew how to clean up after a 'tornado' came through, which is the way she used to joke about her Family sometimes. Especially when Harry and Hermione were staying there too and everyone was there for Sunday Night Dinners.
The feeling of dread which Molly felt at the start of the Meeting did not go away during it. Patiently she waited for the Meeting to end confident that her two oldest, who she had seen leaving the Great Hall shortly after the 'kids' left would keep an eye on them. Since she did not wear a watch and felt it would be impolite to keep asking Arthur for his as she waited. 'I'm sure the kids will want to help here. And to be with their friends. This way I can look after them, and at night we will return to the Burrow. They can bunk just like old times, with Harry and Ron in his room and Ginny and Hermione in hers'. In Molly's eyes they were still children, and since she did not know what each had gone through this last year she did not realize how much all four had matured. Especially in their relationships which she felt they were too young to have.
Finally the Meeting ended with a toast to all those lost. A memorial of some kind will be constructed that summer listing all those gone. Both Wizarding Wars would be included. Arthur Weasley wondered how Harry might react to it. Earlier he and Molly had convinced him to stop blaming himself for the decades long struggle against Tom Riddle. Arthur hoped this would not be a setback.
Minerva waved her wand and the Conference Room door unsealed itself. The sound of hundreds of people talking at once was heard. "I guess Augusta must have given them something to discuss" she said as she opened the door. Everyone was clustered in the center of the room which grew quieter when they approached.
"Minerva! Glad to see your Meeting is over. Well we have a surprise for you" Augusta told them. The crowd parted and standing in the center were Neville Longbottom and Hannah Abbott holding hands. At their feet were two bound figures. Both were encased in thick black ropes. One of them had a Gryffindor scarf wrapped around its face preventing it from speaking and the other had a similar one only in Hufflepuff's colors.
"Err umm while you were talking we began searching the halls and rooms nearest the Great Hall" Neville began stammering. He felt Hannah squeeze his hand tighter.
"We smelled something coming out of the 'Defense' classroom so we went in to investigate. A magical fire was burning which of course didn't start itself so we knew someone else was in there" Hannah stated.
"Hannah was fantastic! She figured out where both of them had disillusioned themselves. It only took a moment to capture them" Neville replied.
"Neville you were amazing too! Just like outside with Nagini" Hannah said as she kissed him again.
"Not to interrupt, but can you please tell us who you have here?" Kingsley wondered. He had waved his wand but it didn't reveal anything more than they were Death Eaters.
"Sorry" Neville mumbled as they both blushed much to everyone's amusement. They waved their wands and the two scarves unwrapped themselves revealing Alecto and Amycus Carrow who immediately began cursing again.
"Now you see why we did this" Hannah replied making both scarves stuff themselves into their mouths this time.
"But how did they escape? We left them in the Ravenclaw Common Room bound and inside a net" replied Minerva.
"With this." Neville handed her a wicked looking blade. "He must of had this on himself somewhere. He attacked me with it but I stopped him." Neville had his hand on the Sword of Gryffindor as he spoke.
"And his sister had this" Hannah added holding out a wand. "I'm not sure but I think it's .. "
"Fred's." Everyone turned to see George Weasley approach. He took the wand from Hannah and gave her a hug then walked back away with Angelina Johnson.
"Good work you two. I can see two Aurors in the making" Kingsley half seriously said as applause erupted. Hannah and Neville were blushing again.