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Ginny pushed at the stray hairs that had escaped the knot of hair at the top of her head, even though it was a lost cause to even think about fixing it – she heaved the large pile of blankets off of the shelf in the supply closet at St. Mungo’s. The influx of injured DA soldiers had finally tapered off – but the hospital was at capacity. They were taking on as many witches and wizards as they could and the architects were trying to build extra wings as quickly as possible but it still resulted in wizards lying in the halls on cots. Being a first year Healer, Ginny had been taken off duty on the children’s ward to help out downstairs.

She entered the make shift ward which had formerly served as a lunch room. Witches and wizards of all ages were lying in rows. Ginny moved over to the far edge of the room and to begin to hand out additional blankets. Most of the patients in the room were non-communicative. Thrown into an awake coma by too many Crucio! Curses they lay on their cot staring at the ceiling. Ginny set the blankets on a table and performed a quick wingardium leviosa spell to keep the blankets in the air and close by – she took the first off the pile and moved to the first bed in the row. Smoothing down the blanket she moved to the next, silently saying a prayer for each witch and wizard that lay on the cots.

Smoothing the blanket down across the shoulders of her fifth patient, Ginny looked down at a witch in what seemed to be her late twenties. Her eyes showed no life as she stared at the ceiling. Ginny moved to the end of the bed and picked up the scroll attached to the foot of the cot. Reading the name at the top, she let out a sharp gasp – the lifeless body laying in the cot in front of her was none other than Nymphadora Tonks! Ginny looked her over –once a vivid and strong spirit, Tonks hair was limp and greasy- no longer a bright vibrant colour it lay on the pillow as a dull blonde. Ginny’s eyes ran down the scroll – victim of the Cruico curse. An intense sadness washed over Ginny – it was always harder for her when she knew her patient personally. Tonks had been such a wonderful person. Ginny had met her when Voldemort had first returned and Dumbledore had reconstructed the Order of the Phoenix to fight against his evil, The first time she was introduced to her at Grimmauld Place, Ginny knew that Tonks had a good soul. She cared about all those around her and wouldn’t let harm come to them if she could help it. And when she had declared her love to Remus Lupin not long after Dumbledore’s death during Ginny’s fifth year, Ginny knew Tonks was special. And now here she was, lying on a cot in the middle of St. Mungo’s; trapped inside her mind, her spark for life seemingly gone.

And that is how Harry first came across Ginny for the second time since returning to London. He had traveled to St. Mungo’s for two reasons. Mainly, knowing that he had to see Tonks and find out for himself how she was doing. During the war years, Tonks had become a close friend to Harry. On many a reconnaissance mission, the two aurors had shared their hopes for what they would do when the war was over. For Harry, it was simple – he wanted to return to the regular wizarding world, settle down, and start a family. Tonks had other dreams, wanting to travel the world with Remus and take in as much as she could.

His other reason for being there was for a standard checkup – the Aurors were required to see a Healer when they left action. The official statement was that it helped them to reintegrate with regular wizarding society. Because Harry had never taken time off during the war he had been able to steer clear of Healers altogether and that is how he generally liked it. However, looking across the room at Ginny, he thought there was one certain red-headed Healer he’d like to let take care of him.

Great, Harry thought, now what do I do? If she would just move away from Tonks, I could go forward see her and be done with it. But Ginny didn’t appear to be moving any time soon. Her eyes moved from the patient scroll in her hands and then to Tonks lying on the bed; Harry could see the sadness cross over her face as she read further down. The scroll probably had a detailed account of what had happened to Tonks. The injustice of it all was the fact that it had happened only 2 days before the war officially ended.

Deciding it would be near impossible for him to visit Tonks and not be noticed by Ginny, he walked down the narrow aisle towards his colleagues’ bed.

“Never expected to see Tonks in here did you?” Harry said softly near Ginny’s ear. Startled, Ginny whirled around, her free hand flying to her heart and her expression changing from sadness to shock.

“Harry! What are you doing here? “ After the words were out of her mouth, Ginny realized the absurdity of it. She was standing in front of Tonks after all.

“Hello Ginny,” Harry said, “I’m sorry I startled you. I was just coming for a quick visit with Tonks before I head to the eighth floor for my examination.” Harry moved over to look at his friend lying motionless in the bed.

“Your examination?” Ginny queried. Then realization kicked in. “Oh! You’re medical examination!” She could feel her cheeks getting hot, not two days ago Ginny was performing examinations on some of the DA soldiers and aurors that were returning home.

“Yeah – its some standard thing they make you do I guess. Try to get you to acclimate as quickly as possible back into the general wizarding population.” Harry looked up at Ginny. “So do you know what the course of action is going to be for her? Will she get better?”

Ginny stared back at Harry – not knowing what to say to him. “Harry…. Do you want the honest truth?” Not that she could have given him anything but the truth. One thing she had never been able to do and that was to lie to him. “The curse she was hit with was pretty severe.”

Harry snorted, using sarcasm and anger to cover the hurt he was actually feeling. “Severe isn’t the word for it. She was hit with 3 simultaneous curses. The Malfoy’s were at the centre of them - I was there. She didn’t have a chance to deflect any of them. And that’s all that scroll says – is she was hit with a severe curse?”

Ginny’s cheeks turned a deep shade of pink as her temper rose and she responded in a harsh whisper. “Gee Harry, if you already knew what happened to her – why did you bother to ask? I don’t know if she will improve. I don’t know what course of action we’ll take. She just arrived – that’s why she’s lying on a cot in the middle of our cafeteria.”

Instantly Harry knew he had said the wrong thing. “Ginny…. “ He began.

But Ginny’s temper had already started to flare up and she knew she had to try and control it before she created a scene. “No Harry – don’t say a thing – don’t even bother. I think you had better get upstairs for your appointment. The Healers that are performing them are on a tight schedule. It’s on the fifth floor.” With that, Ginny set Tonks’ scroll down, turned on her heel, summoned the levitating blankets and moved to the next patient.

Knowing he gone about the whole encounter wrong and he had been dismissed; Harry moved over to Tonks’ bedside, gave her hand a gentle squeeze and promised softly that he would return later to see her again. Giving one last look in Ginny’s direction, Harry left the makeshift ward.

*~~*

“Mummy? Can we play in the park tomorrow?” James asked his mother as she soaped his wild black hair in the bathtub. Ginny loved this time of day – when she got to come home and see her son. When she had returned today she’d grabbed him up in a fierce hug and hadn’t let him go until he squirmed out of her embrace.

“Hmmm?” Ginny said, gently massaging berry scented bubbles into his hair. “The park you say? Well I think we can do that. How did you know Mummy had the day off tomorrow?”

James giggled and splashed in the tub. “Nanny Edgy told me right before you came home. I’m excited! I wanna swing high on the swings!” Ginny giggled with her son, and smoothed his hair into a mohawk with its soap. Reaching for a mirror she kept on the side of the sink she held it in front of James’ face. Shrieking with laughter he splashed even harder.

*~~*

Ginny tucked James under his blankets and kissed his forehead. “Now I want you to go to sleep. Mummy is going to straighten up the flat. “

“Ok Mummy” James yawned. “And we’ll go to the park tomorrow?”

“Sure will my little Quidditch-bug. And… “ Ginny paused, “ Uncle Ron plays Quidditch tomorrow in Chudley. “

“Can we go? Can we? Can we?” James bounced under his covers and Ginny laughed at his excitement. She had planned to wait until after the park to tell him but after her encounter with Harry that afternoon at St. Mungo’s she changed her mind.

“Well we will… but only if you’re a good boy and go to sleep this very moment!” James threw his arms around his mother’s neck and squeezed hard.

“Yay! I love you Mummy!” Ginny untangled herself from his arms and tucked him back in. Pressing a kiss once more on his forehead she rubbed her nose against his.

“I love you too Quidditch-bug.” Ginny then moved to the door way and extinguished his light with a Nox spell.

Moving out into the living room, Ginny started to pick up the toys and books that had been left out around the room. When she had arrived home that evening after working at St. Mungo’s, she had just wanted to spend time to James and not worry about the little tasks that needed to be done. They had spent the time before his bath playing with his enchanted wizard set and reading Quidditch-Charlie books.

Ginny was placing the last of the books onto the shelf when she heard a ‘swoosh’ behind her. Turning around – she was surprised to see an owl perched on the back of her sofa. Doing a double take – she realized it was not just any owl, but a beautiful snowy white owl that hooted at her softly when she laid her eyes upon her.

“Hedwig! Hello!” Ginny moved from the bookshelf to the sofa to see what Harry’s owl had brought to her. Sticking its talon out to her, Ginny carefully removed the scroll that was attached to Hedwig. “Thank you Hedwig – just one moment and I’ll get you an owl treat from the kitchen.” Ginny jumped up from the arm of the sofa and moved into the kitchen; returning with some mouse flavoured treats. Holding them in the palm of her hand, Hedwig gently took them in her beak. Swallowing them down, she clicked her beak at Ginny and held out her talon once more. Taking this to mean that Ginny should read what was on the scroll and respond, she opened the scroll slowly, her heart quickening in her chest, afraid of what she may read on the parchment.

Ginny ~ I just wanted to apologize for this afternoon. As you know, we have much to discuss now that I have returned. Would you possibly be able to meet tomorrow? Hedwig has been told to stay at your flat until you respond. And you know my owl won’t take ‘no’ for an answer! ~Harry

Ginny looked over at Hedwig who paused in her preening and looked at Ginny with her yellow-lamplight eyes. “Ok – Hedwig, one second and let me get some parchment. Ginny rose from the chair she had sat in to read the letter and moved to the old roll-top desk in the corner to fetch her quill and her parchment. Dipping her quill in the ink she wrote:

Harry ~ no need to apologize, but you must remember that even though it was a few years ago, I also knew Nymphadora Tonks at one time. She was a great witch and didn’t deserve what happened to her. None of them did. As for meeting you tomorrow – I think it is quite important that we do. I will be heading to the park near my flat at noon tomorrow. James and I are having a picnic and spending the day there. Ask Hermione or Ron for the address when Hedwig returns with this letter. ~ Ginny

Re-reading it at least a half-dozen times, Ginny finally tied the note onto Hedwig’s talon and with one final click of her beak as if to say – thank you, she flew off into the night

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