The Minister of Magic paced in his office waiting for word…any word about what was happening on the Isle of Mann. That was the problem with being the wizard in charge: when anything major was happening, he was generally left out. Of course he knew more than most about the event after it happened, but while it was occurring there was nothing he could do but wait…and wonder.
He’d just slid into bed after a long day when Harry’s alert went out. He’d roused himself enough to dress and was ready to report to the office when Hermione’s confirmation and call to action arrived a few minutes afterward. He’d received confirmation from Robards, once he arrived in the office, that the entire staff of the Auror department, including their allies’ forces, were also being called in. That’s how he knew the scale of the scale of the mission, but that was all he knew. Now he waited. No one had time to send him messages in the midst of a battle, and so his next bit of news came from an unlikely source: Arthur Weasley’s head appeared in his floo.
“Hello Kingsley,” Mr. Weasley said as he looked up at the Minister who was pacing in his office.
“Arthur?” Kingsley asked in surprise. “I’m sorry; I don’t really have time to chat right now I’m afraid. I’m expecting word, soon I hope, on a major raid the Auror team is conducting tonight.”
“Have you heard anything at all?” Mr. Weasley asked.
“I’m afraid not. I know that both Harry and Ron are involved…and Hermione too I suppose, although I understand her part is mostly on the fringe of the operation,” Kingsley said guardedly.
“Then I may have had more news than you have Minister. I just received Ginny’s patronus telling us that Harry’s been injured. He’s been taken to St. Mungo’s,” Mr. Weasley said.
“Is it serious?” Kingsley asked.
“We don’t know. From what I understand, they are there now. Molly and I are on our way. I expect we’ll know more once we get there.”
“I don’t suppose you know if Harry’s the only casualty?” the Minister asked.
“We can’t be certain, but they sounded very busy when Molly called,” Mr. Weasley told him.
The Minister of Magic nodded gravely. “Thank you Arthur. Thank you for taking time out to call me. I’ll be there shortly myself. Kingsley out.”
The Minister of Magic broke the connection at his end and placed another call.
Ginny was pacing in the hallway outside a triage room on the ground floor when her parents came hurrying down the hall.
“How is he?” Mrs. Weasley questioned without preamble.
“I don’t know Mum. No one will tell me anything,” Ginny said worriedly. “The only reason I got back here at all was because Hermys brought me.”
“We know dear,” Mr. Weasley assured her. “I had a word with the Welcome Witch at the front. Apparently she’s going to be reprimanded for not checking her patient listing and asking you for identification before trying to send you away.”
“You heard what happened Dad?” Ginny asked in dismay.
“Ginny everyone who was here heard what happened,” her mother assured her.
Ginny leaned back against the wall. “Harry’s going to be so mad at me…if he ever wakes up.”
“So what happened to Harry?” Mrs. Weasley asked.
“Hold that thought Molly!” Kinsley Shacklebolt called in a deep baritone voice as he strode down the hall. “Hello Ginny,” he said with a small smile as he joined them outside the triage room. “I’ve talked to a healer at the station. There is a waiting room just down the hall we can use. It’s just for families of those in treatment and they know you are here. It seems they’ve been overrun by patients coming in this evening,” Kingsley explained. “It’s making the staff a bit short tempered.”
“How many have they received?” Mrs. Weasley asked as Kingsley led the way.
“About thirty…not including Harry and his house elf,” the Minister answered as they stepped inside a tiny waiting room arranged with mismatched sofas of varying sizes on all four sides. Along the wall with the shortest sofa was also a rack containing several outdated copies of Witch Weekly and a small table with a stack of paper cups beside a container of powdered creamer, some sugar and concentrated lemon, though there was no coffee or tea to be found.
Mrs. Weasley frowned as they looked around. “Surely they should be able to handle that many. It’s not like it’s a major disaster or anything.”
“Most were muggles Mum, with serious magical injuries. I don’t think they’re used to dealing with so many of those,” Ginny explained.
“Do you know about that Ginny?” Kingsley asked looking puzzled.
“Some,” Ginny answered. “I know that the women and children Ron and I were helping from the dungeon…” Ginny explained. “There were twenty two of them with curse damage, and we had Kreacher bring them all here. I don’t know who the others are.”
Kingsley’s puzzled expression deepened as he listened, wondering if he was hearing her correctly.
“We saw Hermione bringing in four others with bullet wounds and spell damage just as we got here,” Mr. Weasley added.
“I didn’t see her Arthur,” Mrs. Weasley. “When was she here?”
“Just before you stepped through the floo Molly, that’s why you had to wait. Hermione brought them through, passed them off to the emergency healer and left. I got the impression that it wasn’t quite over yet,” Mr. Weasley explained.
“They had bullet wounds and spell damage,” Kingsley said as his puzzled look turned to a frown.
“Were they all muggles Dad?” Ginny asked. “I think Hermione was triaging them at the Digg Hut.”
“Yes she was,” Kingsley agreed narrowing his eyes slightly. From the way Ginny was talking, it sounded like she was there. “She and one of the muggle constables were positioned there. So what happened to Harry?” Kingsley asked again trying to verify his assumption and to learn what had happened before allowing himself to react. “Did you see?”
“He was shot, four times at least,” Ginny said as her eyes welled up with tears. “He was working with Dudley, providing cover for a squad of Aurors surrounding one of the Death Eaters up on one of the ledges. But I…” Ginny paused, swallowing hard as she fought back her tears. “…I distracted him. They were doing so well! We’d rescued lots of the muggles already…and then I accidently distracted him. A Death Eater fired a spell…Harry dodged to miss it, Dudley fired back trying to cover him, the Death Eater turned on Dudley and Harry threw up a shield charm to protect his cousin instead of himself, and the bullets being fired at the Death Eaters bounced off the ledge and hit him. He fell…I…I…I didn’t see what happened next. I called Kreacher and we took Harry home. Hermys tried to stabilize him then we brought him here. That’s all I know,” Ginny sniffed.
Mrs. Weasley stared at her daughter. “Ginny…you were with Harry when it happened?” she asked.
“No, not exactly. I was flying Mum. Harry was on this bridge, over the lake in the cave,” Ginny explained.
“But you were there…during the raid,” Kingsley confirmed what he’d already suspected.
“And you saw what was happening,” Kingsley said.
Ginny nodded again.
“Ginny, why were you there?” the Minister sternly asked the question that was on all their minds.
Harry, Ron and Hermione being there they could all understand. Harry and Ron were Aurors, and Hermione at least was a Ministry of Magic employee with a specific role to play in the raid. All three had been heavily involved with the plan and had assigned tasks. But Ginny Weasley was a professional quidditch player. She wasn’t even an employee of the Ministry. What in Merlin’s name had she been doing there?
“Tonight was my night off,” Ginny said in a small voice. “Harry and I were supposed to spend it together, and we’d just come back from dinner when Dudley’s message came. I was there when Harry left…and he left behind…something,” she supplied. “Harry had told me a little bit about their plan and I knew he needed the sword to carry it out. He needed me Minister, so I asked Kreacher to help me take it to him.”
“The sword?” Mrs. Weasley asked in confusion. “Ginny what sword?”
“The sword of Gryffindor,” Kingsley answered for her. “And Ginny’s right, having access to that sword was absolutely vital to Harry’s mission. You did the right thing in taking it to him Ginny,” Kingsley said. “Though it might have gone better for Harry if you had left after doing that.”
“Yes Sir,” Ginny said meekly.
“Why didn’t you?” he asked pointedly.
“I wanted to help,” Ginny answered lamely.
“And what did Harry say and do when you showed up?” Kingsley asked in a business like tone.
“He said ’thank you’ and kissed me,” Ginny said firmly. “Then he told me what to do.”
“And he said nothing about sending you away?” Kingsley pressed.
There was something in the way he said it that made Ginny remember that this wasn’t just Kingsley she was talking to, but the Minister of Magic, Harry’s superior above Robards in the Auror department’s chain of command. Ginny stared at him as the color drained from her face. Was it possible that instead of helping Harry, she’d landed him in trouble instead? Was it because of her that Harry had been both shot and in trouble with his boss?
“Yes, he tried. He did tell Kreacher to take me home at first,” she answered in a small voice as a tear escaped down her cheek and she sniffed. Ginny brushed it away “But I wanted to help…it was my idea to stay…and Harry didn’t have time to argue. He didn’t want me to stay, but he needed to get inside the weapon room, so he just told me what to do instead.”
Kingsley nodded as he considered the frightened young woman who had apparently come to Harry’s aid, not stopping to consider as she did that she was interfering with a carefully planned, ministry sponsored raid. He was torn between offering her comfort as the daughter of a friend whose fiancée was injured and doing his duty as the Minister of Magic in stressing to her that her actions could be construed as interference in Ministry business.
“Your heart was in the right place,” Kingsley continued weighing his words carefully. “And it is possible that Harry’s magic did benefit from your being there, but Aurors have special training Ginny. Even under normal circumstances your presence could have interfered with the conduct of the raid, and the circumstances surrounding this raid made it very risky indeed.”
“Yes Sir,” Ginny answered as she attempted to dry her tears.
“And it was impossible for Harry to protect you, given what he had to do,” Kingsley went on speaking kindly but firmly.
Again, Ginny nodded, realizing the trouble she’d caused for Harry…even if she was also able to help.
“Do you know if he succeeded by the way?” Kingsley asked.
“Yes Sir, he did,” Ginny said. “They were trying to capture all the Death Eaters afterwards when Harry got hit.”
“Minister?” A witch dressed in a lime green aide’s uniform addressed them as she stepped into the room. “Sir, two patients have been brought in that the Aurors want you to see.”
“The Aurors have begun arriving?” Kingsley asked.
“Two were brought in as patients Minister, just now. They’re awake though and they insist on speaking with you before they will consent to being treated by a healer,” she explained.
“If you will excuse me,” Kingsley told the Weasleys. “I’ll let you know if I find anything out about Harry.”
The Minister of Magic followed the little witch across the hall to the triage room near where the Weasleys had originally been waiting. Every bed in the small room was already filled, though at the other end one patient was being wheeled out, covered neck to toes by a bloodstained sheet. Black straight hair lay at odd angles against the stark white of the pillow that cradled his head. On the bedside table in the position beside where the gurney had originally been, lay a pair of glasses an orderly was putting into the pocket of an Auror’s robe.
“Is that Harry Potter?” the Minister asked. “How is he?” He questioned before the witch could answer his original question.
“Yes, it is. Bad, we’re taking him to a major trauma room now. These are the wizards we wanted you to see.”
The aide led him to the bed opposite of where Harry’s had been.
“Hello Minister,” the wounded Auror said.
Kingsley looked down into the face of Wendy Abbott.
“What happened, Wendy?” Kingsley asked.
“What this? It’s minor. I’ll be out of here in a jiffy,” Wendy assured him. “We got them Minister,” she said growing suddenly sober. “Not all seven, but probably the lead two. They are right over there.”
She nodded across the room to two other beds. Kingsley went to inspect the patients lying on the beds. Both were bound head to foot in ropes which the healers were anxious to remove. Both seemed to be bleeding, apparently from gun shot wounds, and quite likely had spell damage as well. Then Kingsley looked into their faces.
“Rudolphus and Rabasten Lestrange,” he murmured. He looked up at the healer who was waiting to tend to the two men.
“Keep these two under heavy sedation,” Kingsley told the healer. “Go head and treat them, but don’t let them come to without a double guard in their room. Do not house them together or with any other patients. These two wizards are under arrest, or they will be as soon as they are awake enough to take them into custody.”
“Are they dangerous Minister?” the healer asked.
“Very,” Kingsley assured him. “As soon as they are able, these two will be going to Azkaban under heavy guard for a very long time.”
He returned to Auror Abbot’s bed. “Good work Wendy,” he told her.
“Not me Sir. Harry had Rabasten cornered. That’s who they were shooting at when Harry went down,” Wendy explained. “We found Rudolphus tied up on the second floor of the palace. Apparently he got shot afterwards by a stray bullet that came through the window, but Harry’s cousin said Harry was responsible for apprehending and restraining him as well.”
Kingsley nodded. “Was it still going on when you left?”
“No Sir. We were in mop up when I got hit,” Wendy told him.
“Good. I expect the reports will soon be coming in,” Kingsley told her.
“Probably, would you like mine now Sir?” Wendy asked.
“Not unless there is something specific you feel I need to know?” Kingsley inquired.
Wendy shook her head weakly.
“Then I’m sure it can wait for your formal report on Monday,” Kingsley assured her. “Relax for now. Let the healers treat you and get better.” He nodded to the healer who’d been waiting to sedate her so that a bullet in her shoulder could be removed. Kingsley turned to survey who else was in the room, noting who the other Aurors were that had been injured before leaving the healers to carry on as he walked out of the treatment room.
“Any news Minister?” the Weasleys asked collectively as they all got to their feet when Kingsley returned to the waiting room.
“Not really. I did see Harry briefly. They were just moving him into the major trauma room. Based on what Ginny said though, we already knew he’s been hurt pretty bad,” Kingsley replied trying to mask the concern in his voice.
“I suppose it’s going to be a while then,” Ginny said with a sigh as she settled back down on the sofa again. Her parents did too, with Mrs. Weasley sitting beside her. Ginny rested her head briefly against her mother’s shoulder.
“Do you think it did any good?” Ginny asked Kingsley after a few minutes.
“I’m sure of it. They captured the Lestranges, who from what Harry said, were the Death Eaters behind this,” Kingsley said. “I saw Wendy Abbott too.”
“You did?” Mr. Weasley asked in surprise. “Is she here?”
“Yes. She and another Auror sustained minor injuries. They are being treated now,” Kingsley explained.
“Do you think we should tell Charlie?” Mrs. Weasley asked her husband.
“Are they still seeing one another?” Mr. Weasley asked his wife. “I thought Charlie said he was breaking it off.”
“He may have,” Mrs. Weasley agreed. “I know they’re still friendly though. Do you think we should?”
“Not if it’s not serious Mum,” Ginny told her. “Let them handle it themselves.”
“Oh I suppose,” Mrs. Weasley said with a frown. “Minister, did she say if the fight is still going on?”
“They’re in mop up phase,” Kingsley answered and Mr. Weasley nodded.
“Which means what?” Mrs. Weasley said as she looked at her husband.
“I presume it means the fight is over,” Mr. Weasley said. “They’re not done, but the conflict has ended.” He looked to his friend and former Auror for confirmation.
“I presume it means the fight is over,” Mr. Weasley said. “They’re not done, but the conflict has ended.” He looked to his friend and former Auror for confirmation.
“That’s exactly what it means,” Kingsley agreed.
Mrs. Weasley pursed her lips. “Well if the fight is over, what more is there to do? I mean, you told Ron and Hermione about Harry didn’t you Ginny? The same as us?” Mrs. Weasley asked.
“I sent a patronus to Hermione Mum. I didn’t want to distract Ron in the middle of the fight,” Ginny explained. “He knows Harry was hurt though.”
“Then he should be here!” Mrs. Weasley exclaimed. “I can’t imagine either him or Hermione not being here when Harry’s life hangs by a thread.”
“I’m sure they will be here Molly, as soon as they can get away,” Mr. Weasley soothed. “After all somebody has to sort out the injured left behind and get them all help. We know they’re still working on that since the injured are still coming in. And I’ve seen Hermione so we know she’s okay. I’m sure Ron is too or they would have brought him in.”
“And there are other Death Eaters besides those that were injured to be rounded up, taken into custody and removed from the cave. There are procedures to be followed around bringing them in,” Kingsley explained. “The foreign Aurors will be released to leave before the domestic ones will be.”
Ginny nodded as she leaned against her mother again, pulling the tapestry mirror from her robes. She’d almost forgotten about it in the midst of everything that had happened, but at her father’s mention of Ron, she pulled it out and looked at it, scrolling through all of their names.
“Ron’s fine Mum, look,” Ginny told her showing her the tapestry.
“It says he’s working. Hermione is too,” Mrs. Weasley confirmed and immediately she began to relax against the sofa as they all waited.
Ginny nodded, and just out of curiosity she looked at Harry and Dudley’s names too. Dudley’s showed ‘working’ same as Hermione and Ron, but Harry’s showed a wand and bone crossed beside a white dark mark. He was still in danger, but apparently it wasn’t dark, which suggested to Ginny it was the bullets he’d taken that had done most of the damage.
The waiting seemed interminable as Ginny dozed, looking intermittently up at the clock. It would be morning soon, and still they were working on Harry. She got up to stretch, just as the door opened and finally the healer treating Harry stepped into the room.
“Are you the family of Harry Potter?” he asked.
“We are,” Mr. Weasley answered for them. “My daughter is his fiancée.”
The healer nodded gravely. “I’m Healer Gudgeon. We’ve just moved Mr. Potter into recovery. He took four bullets that we’ve been able to recover. There is one other we will remove once he is stronger. The blood loss, internal organ, and bone and nerve damage was too extensive to try to remove it at this time.”
“He was hit five times?” Mrs. Weasley gasped.
Ginny nodded before the healer could answer.
“Actually we believe he was hit by six. There is evidence of an exit wound on his left side,” Healer Gudgeon said. “The ones we removed were in his upper left leg, his left shoulder, there was one embedded near a rib under his left arm, and the last injury was in his lower back. That one was the most life threatening as it pierced his kidney, nicked two major arteries, made holes in his intestines, and became embedded in his back.”
“Where is the one you couldn’t get out?” Ginny asked.
“In his left hip. It entered very near the one in his leg we were able to get out, but has lodged itself deeply in the joint. Under normal conditions it wouldn’t be a problem to get to it, but given Mr. Potter’s weakened condition, we only did those we could get to easily…and of course repaired his internal organs and arteries. He’s resting now,” the healer told her. “We expect him to sleep for at least two more hours…in fact we’re going to make sure he does. We don’t want him awake and moving until we’re sure all the internal bleeding has been stopped.”
“Is he…is Harry going to be okay?” Ginny asked tentatively.
“He should be…provided he gets enough rest. If not, he could be crippled permanently,” Healer Gudgeon said.
“When can we see him?” Mr. Weasley asked.
“Not for another couple of hours at least. I’ll have an aide come get you as soon as he’s released from recovery. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a few more patients waiting for me.”
“Of course,” Mrs. Weasley said.
Ginny, Kingsley, and Mr. Weasley watched the healer leave, but Mrs. Weasley watched her daughter’s face.
“He’s going to be okay Ginny. He needs to rest and to heal, but he’s going to be okay,” Mrs. Weasley soothed.
“I know Mum. But…I can’t help it…I’m still worried,” Ginny struggled to explained.
Mr. Weasley chuckled slightly.
“What Dad? What is there about any of what the healer told us that is something to laugh at?” she snapped impatiently.
“Nothing Ginny. It’s just that you sound so like your mother. She worries too whenever any one of us is hurt…now here you are worrying that same way about Harry. I’m proud of you Ginny,” he told her and he kissed the top of his daughter’s head.
Ginny hugged her dad with a groan. “I suppose it might help to step out for some fresh air. I’ll be back in a few minutes everyone.”
“Do you mind if I come with you Ginny?” Kingsley asked as he rose from the couch. “I probably should be getting back to the office to hear the reports now that we’re certain Harry and the rest of the Aurors are going to be okay. I have a feeling today is going to be a very long day. And after no sleep too. Are you coming in Arthur?”
“I’ll be in, but I’ll be late,” Mr. Weasley told him. “I think Ginny and Molly need me here at the moment.”
“I think they do too. Take your time. Take the whole day if you need to,” Kingsley offered as Ginny got up and headed towards the door.
Kingsley grinned as he followed her. “I can walk as far as the lobby with you at least,” he offered as he followed her out.
“Please,” Ginny replied feeling restless and stiff from having sat so long on the uncomfortable sofa. As they approached the lobby she pushed the idea of going outside from her mind as the sound of her brother’s voice in the midst of some commotion reached her ears. She glanced at Kingsley as soon as she recognized who it was and the two of them quickened their pace, with the Minister of Magic breaking into a run, drawing his wand as he went.
“What’s going on here!” he demanded as he emerged into the lobby.
“This wizard brought a muggle in here and I’m trying to get him out!” the Welcome Witch declared as she stood her ground, blocking the entrance to the patient rooms beyond.
Ginny came up behind to see Ron and Dudley standing toe to toe with the Welcome Witch, who was at least a head shorter than either of them, but was just as formidable.
“Ron! Dudley? What are you doing here?” Ginny demanded.
“This is where they brought Harry and Esme,” Dudley exclaimed.
“I know that, but what I mean is, how did you get in here?”
“I brought him in Ginny,” Ron explained.
“And I’m warning you, you have to take him out. If you don’t I’m calling the Aurors,” the Welcome Witch threatened.
“I am an Auror,” Ron retorted. “And I say he stays.”
“He’s not injured in any magical way. I say he leaves,” the Welcome Witch insisted.
“Now see here,” Kingsley intervened. “I know it’s not standard procedure, but this young man’s cousin…who is a blood relative, is a patient here. He’s in critical condition and having family here could be important to him and to his recovery. Also, from what I am to understand, Mr. Dursley’s fiancée is also a patient here. I think we could make an exception, just this one time.”
“With all due respect Minister, the running of St. Mungo’s is outside the Ministry of Magic’s responsibility or jurisdiction,” the Welcome Witch said firmly still holding her ground.
Kingsley stared at her. “I see. Please call your superior.”
“Healer Smethwyck is busy helping out with the high number of emergency cases which came in here last evening,” she replied.
“Then call somebody else,” Kingsley insisted.
The Welcome Witch openly glared at him, just as Hermione stepped into the waiting room through the floo.
“What’s going on?” she asked Ron in a low voice as she came to stand next to him.
“We’re trying to convince them to let Dudley in. He wants to see Esme and Harry,” Ron explained.
“Your cousin is Harry Potter?” the Welcome Witch asked Dudley.
“Yes he is.”
The blonde witch set her hands on her hips as she considered him. “I’d heard he was raised by muggles.”
“Yeah well he was. My mum and dad raised him. We grew up together,” Dudley told her.
“They’re family,” Ron added in an encouraging tone.
The Welcome Witch still looked far convinced, but at Kingsley’s urging she called another healer who agreed to let Dudley through.
“Just until these two patients are released, and then never again,” the healer said firmly.
“Understood,” Kingsley agreed. “Constable Dursley, please take this badge and pin it to you. It should help prevent such difficulties in the future.”
The dark skinned wizard handed him an empty plastic name badge to which he pinned to his shirt as Kingsley touched the object with his wand. From Dudley’s point of view, nothing happened and he arched his brow in surprise.
“Not all magic can be seen Constable. Trust me, this will make it easier,” Kingsley assured him.
“I believe you,” Dudley replied looking at him in awe, surprised that this wizard he’d never met seemed to know who he was.
The Minister of Magic grinned then walked directly through the front wall.
“Where did he go?” Dudley asked.
“Back to work I think,” Ginny said.
“Where’s Harry and how is he?” Ron asked.
“He’s this way, to the left on the ground floor,” Ginny answered as she led Ron, Dudley and Hermione down the hall. “They’ve had him in treatment since about one last night and just brought him out. What time is it now by the way?”
“It’s just after six Ginny. They were working on him for five hours?”
“Yes. Well they had to stabilize him first before they could really start. That took about an hour. . From what the healer said, he was pretty torn up inside so it took a while to fix,” Ginny explained worriedly.
“But they did fix him, right?” Ron said confidently.
“And they got all the bullets out okay?” Dudley asked as they walked.
“Mostly,” Ginny said and she began to fill in the details of what Healer Gudgeon said. “He’s in recovery now. They say he’ll sleep for another couple of hours before we’ll be allowed to see him.”
“What about Esme? Do you know where she is?” Dudley asked.
“She’s on the fourth floor,” Ginny told them. “I checked earlier. She’s not on the critical list so she must be stable. I haven’t seen her though.”
“Regular visitors hours aren’t until nine,” Ron explained. “Only critical patients like Harry can have visitors at any time. You can wait with us though. We should be able to see Harry before that.”
Dudley nodded as he looked curiously around. Except for the fact that the staff was all wearing lime green instead of white or surgical blue and carried wands instead of stethoscopes, this seemed much like any other hospital he’d ever encountered.
“Ron! There you are!” Mrs. Weasley exclaimed getting to her feet and pulling her son into a bone crushing hug as soon as he walked through the door. “And Hermione too!” as she hugged her also. “And you’re both okay? No wounds, spell damage or injuries?”
“We’re both fine Mum. Ginny’s just finished telling us about Harry. It sounds like he’s going to be okay?” Ron asked to confirm.
“He will be if he remains still, the healer said. He’s not to be moving around,” Mrs. Weasley explained.
Ron nodded as he collapsed onto a sofa.
“Are you both okay?” Mr. Weasley asked his son.
“Yeah Dad. I’m just tired. It’s been quite a night,” Ron said as he slid over to make room for Hermione while Dudley took the sofa opposite them.
“Yeah it has,” the Dudley agreed. “It sounds like we got them though.”
“Yes, Kingsley did sound pleased,” Mr. Weasley confirmed.
“David was too,” Dudley replied.
Ron nodded and Ginny did too but Mr. and Mrs. Weasley only looked confused.
“Have they said anything more Mum?” Ginny asked as she settled back into the spot she’d been in earlier beside her mother.
“No nothing,” Mrs. Weasley said. “Remember, the healer said it would take at least two hours before they dare move him.”
Ginny made a face. “I suppose I was just hoping to see him before then.”
“You could ask,” her father suggested. “As long as you don’t try to wake him Ginny, it might be okay.”
Ginny nodded, getting back to her feet. “I think I will,” she told them and she went out to the healer’s station. She was surprised to see she knew the person at the desk. Instead of the elderly aide who’d been there earlier, Parvati Patil was seated there instead.
“Hi Ginny,” Parvati greeted the red-haired witch with a smile.
“Hi. I forgot you were working here,” Ginny said as she returned her smile. “I don’t think I saw you here when we first came in.”
“I wasn’t here. My shift just started,” Parvati explained. “I suppose you’re here to see Harry?”
“Yes if I could. I know he’s still in recovery, but if I could just see him…sit with him a while. I promise I won’t try to wake him,” Ginny half pleaded as she made her request.
Parvati smiled. “I know you know it’s important for him to rest…especially so soon after treatment. Let me check and I’ll see what I can do for you.”
“Thanks,” Ginny answered with a small smile.
She waited while Parvati disappeared through a door to the rear of the healer’s station to the ward. A few minutes later she returned.
“Come with me. Don’t say anything, just follow me,” Parvati instructed.
Ginny nodded and she followed the dark haired witch to the recovery room door.
“He’s in the first bed on the right. They expect to be moving him to a room in another hour.”
“Thanks,” Ginny said and she pushed open the door.
As Parvati had promised Harry was there, with much of his torso wrapped in bandages, and his face looking extremely pale as he lay against the sheets. The bulk of the bandages were on Harry’s left side, so Ginny went to his right and gently held his hand. She thought it was her imagination at first, but Harry appeared to smile in response to her touch in his sleep. Feeling encouraged, Ginny conjured a chair and spent the better part of the next hour right there.
“Where do you think she is?” Mrs. Weasley wondered aloud when her daughter didn’t return to the waiting room where they all waited.
It had been nearly thirty minutes since Ginny left for the healers’ station to ask about seeing Harry. Ron was sleeping soundly, snoring with his head tipped back while Hermione slept more quietly with her head resting against his chest. The two were clearly exhausted and with the news that Harry would be okay, they’d both fallen into a much needed sleep. On the sofa opposite Ron sat Dudley who though he was clearly just as tired, sat wide awake, looking uncomfortable and tense.
“They must have let her in to see Harry,” Mr. Weasley answered reasonably. “I’m sure they’ll come get us as soon as he’s ready to be moved.”
Mr. Weasley looked kindly on the clearly uncomfortable muggle young man. “Try to relax son,” he told him. “I’m sure someone will come get you if there’s any change in either of them.”
Dudley nodded. “I’m trying to Sir. It’s just that I’m scared for Esme. I’m not sure what going through all this will do to her mind.”
“I’m sure the wizard healers here will do all they can for her,” Mr. Weasley assured him. “They are actually quite good with spell damage from curses and mis-used spells.”
“Mrs. Weasley?” the door pushed open and a dark haired witch in a lime green uniform stepped into the waiting room.
“I’m Parvati Patil. Could you come with me?”
“Yes of course,” Mrs. Weasley said getting to her feet.
“Is this about Harry?” Ron asked with a start as he jerked himself awake at the sound of the new voice while Hermione continued to sleep, her head now in his lap.
“In a way. Hi Ron,” Parvati said with a smile.
“Oh hi,” Ron said with a smile. “I forgot you work here now.”
“Yeah. It’s been almost a year. How time flies, huh?” the dark haired witch asked.
“Parvati was in our class at school,” Ron explained when Dudley and Mrs. Weasley looked curiously at him. “Is Harry okay?”
“He should be fine…provided they can stop the bleeding. They’re giving him blood replenishing potions at the moment. They are ready to move him though. Mrs. Weasley, if you would?” she prompted. “We’ll come back and get the rest of you once he’s moved.”
Ron nodded and leaned back as Mrs. Weasley followed her out.
“This way,” Parvati said.
She led the older woman into the recovery room where Harry lay sleeping on a gurney style bed. Beside him sleeping nearly as soundly was Ginny, half sitting in her chair half lying next to Harry as her head, shoulders and arms rested on the mattress beside him. Even in their sleep the couple responded to one another: Ginny’s hand lay protectively on Harry’s arm, while his fingers were fully entwined in her hair.
Mrs. Weasley smiled as she took in the scene.
“You see why we called you,” Parvati commented.
“Yes, I see. Ginny dear,” Mrs. Weasley called to her daughter.
When Ginny awoke it was to the touch of her mother’s hand where it lay on her shoulder.
“Ginny, they’re ready to move Harry. We need to be out of their way,” Mrs. Weasley told her.
Ginny’s eyes flew open as she jerked herself awake. She couldn’t remember falling asleep, but there she was with her head resting by Harry’s right side on the bed, her hand on his arm while his hand was in her hair. She doubted he was awake, but she found she had to disentangle his fingers from the locks of her hair to move. Harry stirred slightly as she did.
“It’s okay,” she whispered into his ear. “I’m right here. I’m not going anywhere.”
Harry’s hand once again relaxed allowing Ginny to disengage herself and stand up from her chair, just as two burly hospital workers came in. Ginny stood to the side as they prepared to move Harry’s bed, disturbing the curtain around the bed opposite his on the other side of the room.
Ginny glanced in realizing she knew the woman who was there.
“Wendy, is that you?” Ginny asked opening the curtain just a little bit further.
“Hi Ginny. How’s Harry?” Wendy asked. “I heard them talking. It sounds serious.”
“It is, but he’s stable I suppose. They’re moving him to a room,” Ginny explained. “How are you?”
“Good. They say I can go home in another hour,” the blonde Auror said.
“That’s great!” Ginny beamed. “I’ll tell Harry you asked about him when he wakes up.”
“I’ll do better than that. I’ll come by to visit…after I’m released and after he’s up to it,” Wendy promised.
“I’ll tell him,” Ginny said as the orderlies maneuvered Harry’s bed completely through the door. “Bye.”
She closed the curtain and hurried after Harry along with her mum who was carrying Harry’s things, including the robes he’d been wearing when they’d brought him in.
“Thanks for waking me Mum,” Ginny murmured.
“You’re welcome. I was worried what had happened to you when you didn’t come back and was just thinking I should come check on you, but Parvati beat me to it,” Mrs. Weasley explained.
Ginny nodded as she attempted to stifle a yawn. “What time is it Mum? I feel like I’ve been up all night.”
“That’s probably because you have. It’s seven in the morning Ginny,” her mother said.
Ginny grimaced. “I’m supposed to back with the Harpies by ten. And this was definitely not how I pictured spending my one night off. I wonder if I sent an owl to Gwenog if she’d let me stay longer?”
“Didn’t you and Harry have any time together before this all started?” her mum asked.
“We went out for dinner and we talked, and we made plans for after this week’s game. He was bringing Teddy…which reminds me. Did you get his glasses Mum?” Ginny asked “They weren’t on the bedside table when I checked. ”
“They might be in his pocket Ginny,” Mrs. Weasley commented as she felt round in the garment in her hands “He’s got lots of things in his pockets…here they are.” She carefully withdrew a pair of glasses from the torn and bloodied robe and handed them to Ginny.
“Yes, oh good! I was worried I lost them coming back. He wouldn’t even be able to see my game without them.”
“Well we found them, so don’t be worried about that,” Mrs. Weasley soothed.
“Of course, having his glasses is probably the least of his problems,” Ginny rambled on worriedly as they followed the aide and Harry’s gurney down the hall. ”He may not be up to it physically, and even if he is, I doubt he’ll be up to handling Teddy. I suppose I should give Andromeda a call. Teddy is going to be so disappointed,” Ginny lamented, trying to distract herself from the one thing that was truly worrying her.
“He still could be,” Mrs. Weasley said. “Today is only Friday and it’s still early. The healers here can heal wounds rather quickly you know. Your game is still one full day away. And even if he can’t take Teddy to the game, once Harry’s up to it, Teddy can probably visit him here after the game.”
Ginny nodded as she glanced at the form lying on the gurney in front of them. “Maybe we’re being too optimistic Mum. Harry isn’t even awake yet. And from what the healer said, he was awfully torn up inside. He may not feel up to it tomorrow…or even by Sunday.” She hesitated slightly as the realization hit her. “Actually, he probably won’t be for a really long time.”
Mrs. Weasley nodded sympathetically as they stopped. The orderlies finally arrived at a semi-private room and wheeled Harry in. Ginny followed him in looking curiously around, watching as the orderlies carefully levitated Harry off of the gurney and onto the regular hospital bed. Harry was the only patient currently in the room, a space outfitted with a couch that looked more comfortable than the one in the waiting room. Obviously it was intended for families of patients staying in the room.
“I’ll go get your father and let the rest of them know where you are,” Mrs. Weasley said as she set Harry’s things down on the new bedside table.
A healer’s aide surged in behind her, helping to get Harry properly settled in the bed. She checked him with her wand and tipped a blood replenishing potion into his mouth as Ginny watched silently. After warning Ginny again not to wake him but to allow Harry to wake on his own, she left them alone.
Ginny approached Harry’s bed standing on his right side. She put her hand in his and was surprised when his thumb twitched slightly to move over the back of her hand. She glanced at his face and saw the narrowest of slits open between his eyelids.
“Hi,” she said.
Harry moved his lips slightly but he didn’t make a sound.
“Don’t try to talk,” Ginny advised him. “They don’t want you to move at all for a while. You’ve had treatment but you’re still bleeding quite a lot.”
Harry’s hand twitched again and his eyes moved beneath their mostly closed lids.
“You’re at St. Mungo’s Harry. You’ve been hurt, but they say you’re going to be alright. You need to rest though. Alright?” Ginny said speaking as softly and gently as she could.
Harry blinked trying to clear his vision as he struggled to take in her words. In his semi-awake state he wasn’t exactly sure what she’d said to him but he knew it was Ginny speaking and to Harry she sounded scared. Again he made to squeeze her hand.
“Harry, please rest,” Ginny pleaded with him. “Or they’ll have to sedate you again.”
Once again Harry struggled briefly to open his eyes and was rewarded by the beautiful but blurry face of his fiancée looking down on him as she stood beside his bed.
“St. Mungo’s?” Harry’s lips formed the words.
“Yes. You’re at St. Mungo’s. Do you understand?” Ginny asked anxiously.
Harry nodded slightly.
“You need to rest,” Ginny repeated.
“Okay,” his voice rasped and once again he allowed his eyes to close. It was entirely too much trouble to try to keep them open, so instead he listened as voices he recognized came into his room.
“Is he awake Ginny?” Ron asked as he saw his sister standing beside Harry’s bed, holding his hand and watching Harry intently as if they’d just been talking.
“Not really. He opened his eyes just for a moment, but he didn’t really seem to know where he was.”
“That’s not surprising,” Ron told her. “That last thing he knew we were on the bridge in the cave and everyone was firing at us.”
“He was firing back though,” Dudley added as he looked at his cousin. “I never knew Harry was such a fighter. I’ve never seen him do anything like that before. He never used to fight back.”
Harry’s eyes flickered slightly at the sound of his cousin’s voice. Surely he was hearing things. That couldn’t possibly be Dudley…Didn’t Ginny just tell him he was at St. Mungo’s?
“Harry’s become quite good in a duel,” Hermione commented.
“Thanks Hermione,” Harry whispered and all eyes snapped to the head of his bed, where half-open green eyes were studying them all. “Dudley? You’re here?”
“Yeah I am Harry. I nearly had a fight though coming through the front door.”
“The Welcome Witch didn’t want to let him in,” Ron explained. “Kingsley talked her into it though.”
“He was, while they had you in treatment. He’s gone to the office to hear the reports. He’ll be back after awhile,” Mr. Weasley explained.
Harry nodded ever so slightly.
“Dud…why are you here?”
“To thank you. You risked your life for me out there…and I appreciate it. Also…Esme is here. Hermione says they’ve got her upstairs. I haven’t seen her yet though,” Dudley explained.
Harry locked eyes with his cousin taking in his worried expression. “Go to her,” he whispered.
“I will, as soon as they let me in. It’s not officially visiting hours yet.”
“They’re making an exception for you mate,” Ron explained.
Harry smiled ever so slightly and his eyes started to close again.
“Sleep Harry,” Mrs. Weasley admonished. “Don’t stay awake for us.”
Harry nodded again slightly and he felt himself doze off, surrounded by family and those he loved.
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