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It was late evening. The blocks of light that normally shone in from St Mungo’s windows were now blocks of shadow on the shiny marbled floor. Most of the staff had gone home for the night and the constant stream of footsteps and voices outside the ward doors had been reduced to the occasional chatter of various “night shifters”. The sound inside the ward was low and sleepy. Tom, who was on his way to a full recovery, just waiting for his burns to heal, snored rhythmically from his bed in the far corner of the room. Hermione, at the other end, bedridden but on the mend, was sighing deeply as she fell into her slumber, snuggled up in her covers with Ron watching over her. Harry was the only person up and running, his only injuries being a few burns and cuts, and was quietly pacing left to right then back again in front of a bed in the middle of the room.

Hannah sat by that same bed in silence, watching, waiting for Neville to wake up.

She had done everything she could. If she was honest, healing everyone else was just a distraction from her true purpose. Riordan Greencloak, her boss and the most accomplished healer in the hospital, had come in an hour ago to relieve her from her duties and upon leaving had examined Neville, concluding that Hannah had done everything that could be done. Hannah had no choice but to believe him, but hated that all she could do now was wait.

She went over a checklist in her mind, desperately hoping there was something she had forgotten, something that would wake Neville up immediately, something that would keep her from her morbid thoughts.

Clean wounds: check.

Calming Draught: check.

Dittany: check.

Healing spells: check.

Cream: check.

Bandages: check.

Everything: check.

Each gash had been horrifying, ten times worse than the one Snape had given Neville in his seventh year. Each cut had glistened evilly with red, deep and wide, a sadistic mark of Death Eater, Hannah, Neville, or anyone else that saw them would never forget. Hannah had reduced the gashes to thin white scars; the total increasing drastically from one to eight, but the result hadn’t looked any less sinister. Hannah traced the scars down Neville’s chest with her finger lightly, joining them up in two lines like the number 11.

Hannah felt Harry’s hand squeeze her shoulder in a faintly comforting manner. She looked up at him with a faint smile “thank you” she whispered. Hannah thought he deserved so much more than a thank you. He could have gone home to Ginny hours ago, but he had stayed to keep her company and to make sure Neville was all right, feeling that Neville’s injuries were partly his fault. Harry nodded at Hannah, feeling restless, then began to pace around the ward again, this time all the way to Ron and Hermione and back.

So far, Neville had only stirred a few times, letting out the occasional groan. Hannah became desperate. She grabbed Neville’s hand, her eyes darting around the room to check no one was watching- if they were, they would think she’d gone mad.

“Neville, it’s me, Hannah. I hope you’re having a nice sleep, but could you wake up? To let us know you’re there? Please?” Hannah sniffed back tears, but she felt one escape and roll down her cheek. “Harry probably thinks I’ve goon loopy, but I need to talk to you-”

Neville’s eyelids twitched.

“It feels like months since we talked, properly, without stuff exploding or people trying to kill us. But it’s only been a day-”

“That long huh?” a voice asked wearily.

“Yeah-NEVILLE!” Hannah squealed and launched forward, hugging him tight, pulling him close. She wrapped her arms around his neck and stroked his hair. She closed her eyes, just focusing on his warmth, the beat of his heart, his life.

“It was a nice sleep.” Neville said, his voice slightly muffled from his face being buried in Hannah’s shoulder. “It got better when you started talking though.”

Hannah smiled through her tears and let go of him gently, watching him rearrange himself so he was sitting up comfortably. As he did so, he caught sight of his torn up chest. Hannah saw in his eyes that he could remember the pain. He shook himself a little then looked at Hannah as if nothing was wrong.

“Oh Merlin” Hannah whispered shakily, as more tears fell. She began to sob, but started to laugh at the same time, the ridiculousness of it all overwhelming her. She tried to wipe her tears away with her sleeve but Neville took her hand and folded it with his.

“Neville, please, stop it. St-st-stop saving me, I can’t- seeing you ripped apart I-”

“Hannah, losing you is worse than anything they can do to me.” Neville said softly. “I love you more than anything else. I’m going to take every spell I can for you.”

Hannah didn’t quite know what to say. She didn’t want him to take every spell for her, she wanted to take every spell for him. But the forcefulness in his voice told her she had no choice.

“Typical Gryffindor.” She said, and then leant in to kiss him. His lips were slightly dry and cold, but it was still perfection. She closed her eyes and soaked up the glorious feeling of his lips against her lips, his hand on her back, her hand on his. The whole experience was made even more special just by the fact that they were living it. Hannah had spent the whole day hoping that the kiss they had shared the night before was not their last.

Neville curved a hand around the back of Hannah’s head then teased out a lock of her golden hair, winding the soft strands around his finger.

He pulled back suddenly, feeling a twinge in his chest.

“I can put more Dittany on it.” Hannah said, immediately getting up. Neville stopped her.

“No, stay, I’m fine.”

Hannah raised an eyebrow but obeyed, summoning the bottle instead.

“I forget you can do that. I forget about magic completely sometimes.” Neville admitted. He sat back obediently and toyed with the blankets.

“So do I” Hannah said, peeling one of Neville’s bandages off to apply more of the clear brown liquid to his scars.

“I don’t think I was supposed to be a wizard, you know. I’m terrible at magic, anyway.”

“You’re not terrible Neville, you’re-”

“Below average?” Neville suggested “Second rate?”

Hannah laughed. “No, I was going to say-”

“Barely mediocre? Subpar?” Neville continued. Hannah pretended to clout him round the head.

“You’re brilliant at magic Neville, your listening abilities, however, are a different kettle of fish.” She said sitting down next to him on the bed.

“Kettle of fish? Is that a muggle saying, like “don’t count your dragons before they’re hatched”?”

“You mean chickens?”

“Chickens? That makes sense too, I suppose-” Neville narrowed his eyes and pursed his lips. “Stop changing the subject, you’re lying about me being brilliant at magic.”

“I am not.” Hannah retorted. There was no way she was going to let him think so badly of himself all the time.

Neville stretched instead of answering. Hannah saw the scars on his chest elongate grotesquely as he did so. She bit her lip, trying to hold back the guilt she felt in not being able to make them less obvious. She thought of her own injuries. They matched. Stripes and dots. Scars and bruises.

“You know, a good healer would have given you a shirt.” Hannah said, snuggling into her boyfriend’s shoulder.

“Hmm. Well, I think we’ve already established your opinions of me and shirts.” Neville said, remembering the night before.

“I suppose we have.”

Harry paced over to them, realising that Neville was awake. He had been bracing himself for the worst, so let out a large sigh of relief when he saw that Neville only harboured a few scars. Harry had expected to see Neville’s chest mangled and shredded, so the thick pink lines of reality were considered minimal damage.

He snorted in disbelief, shaking his head. “You’re an absolute miracle worker Hannah.”

Hannah blushed and looked at her lap. Neville rolled his eyes with a smile and turned to Harry slowly, trying not to strain his wounds.

 “What happened in the end?- no one is- I mean everyone’s- aren’t they?”

“Yes.” Harry nodded. “Yes, everyone’s fine- well mostly fine.” He said nodding towards Neville’s chest.

Neville pretended not to see. “How many Death Eaters did we catch in the end?”

“Five” Harry replied. “All on trial for Azkaban as we speak, so overall it was a successful night, apart from destroying Diagon Alley in the process….” Harry’s voice faded as he remembered that Diagon Alley included Hannah and Neville’s flat. “I reckon we can rebuild it though,” he added quickly.

Hannah looked up; her eyes were alight with hope. Could it be rebuilt? She wasn’t even sure how much had been destroyed, it had all looked the same to her that night. She wasn’t paying much attention to what had happened to the Leaky Cauldron, all she had focused on was finding Neville and healing Tom and Hermione.

Hannah zoned out for a while, looking around the ward, deciding not to ponder the subject too much until she saw the damage.

Miriam lowered the lights and the ward settled into a peaceful slumber. Hannah’s eyes settled straight ahead, on Ron as he shuffled around in his chair next to Hermione’s bed trying to get comfortable. Hannah summoned him a couple of pillows and sent them floating down the ward. Ron looked up at her, adding pillows to the list of things he had to thank her for. He opened his mouth to say something, but Hermione decided otherwise.

“Ro-onn-aldd…” she mumbled, the sound echoing down the ward.

Harry’s voice melted into silence behind Hannah. He had just been thrown into a vision from his sixth year at Hogwarts, as if he were looking into the pensive.

Ron’s eyes widened and glazed over. He looked away from the others, trying to conceal his emotions. He gave up trying to get himself comfortable and slotted the pillows behind Hermione, the resumed his original position of holding her hand.

Harry came out of his flashback and suddenly ached to see Ginny. Seeing Ron with Hermione and Neville with Hannah made him miss that connection. It was more than a day since he had seen his wife, and she would be worried sick, knowing by know what had happened in Diagon Alley and probably beginning to panic because he had not come home.

Harry said good luck and goodbye to everyone, then apparated home, unintentionally reminding Neville and Hannah that he, unlike them, had a home to go back to.

“They gave me a room for the night.” Hannah said, breaking the silence, “a bed, anyway.”

Neville did not reply for a moment,  he was thinking. Even if their flat could be rebuilt, it would be months until they could move back in. Where would they go until then? Neville began weighing up the possibilities. His gran would probably take them, but it would be a squeeze-her bungalow was tiny. Harry and Ginny’s maybe? Ron and Hermione’s? Neither appealed, he wanted everything to go back to normal. He wanted this all to be a dream. He wanted to wake up on the sofa from a drunken snooze when Hannah came in. He wanted to spend the weekend as they always did, together, go out somewhere all day then come home and spend the evening with Hannah in his arms. But that was impossible now.

Hannah knew what Neville was thinking- she was thinking the same.

“I’ll ask Dad” she said, “there’s enough room, it’s just him after all…”

“I’m sure Gran will have me for a while…”

“I meant both of us Neville.” Hannah said. He didn’t understand that when she referred to herself, she meant him too. To her, they were a package deal; you couldn’t have one without the other.

“I wouldn’t want to impose-” started Neville. He didn’t want to be a burden on her dad, and he wasn’t sure what her dad thought of him anyway. He imagined that any dad would resent having their daughter’s boyfriend living with them

“I’ll write to him.” Hannah said forcefully, shaking her head at Neville ludicrousness. Her Dad loved him, almost like a son.

 Neville decided not to argue, happy that she’d made it easy for him to agree. It was almost impossible not to.

Hannah summoned a quill and paper and wrote a note to her father, sending it off with one of the hospitals owls.

A few minutes later, she became aware that Neville had fallen asleep on her shoulder, and laid him down gently on the pillows, covering him with a blanket. She lay next to him for a while, thinking she would make sure he was settled then go to the ward that was set aside for employees, but she never got that far.

 

Authors Note: Sorry for the slow updates! Thanks for reading as always, and reviews are much appreciated!~Hufflepuffhallows 

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