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A/N: This one is one heck of a whopper! The longest chapter I have ever written, mainly because it has a lot of stuff happening in it and we get a little bit more Jelle-ness. The happiness is back, sort of… *mwah ha ha ha* Anyways, enjoy this very long chapter and don’t forget to leave me reviews that I love so very much!

Disclaimer: I only own my OCs and the plot but everything you recognise from the Harry Potter world does not belong to me but the talented J.K. Rowling.

“Yes, we’re fine Mum,” hushed muttering was the first thing I heard when I roused from a dreamless sleep, “Elle’s just having some family problems… I’ll explain when we get back on Sunday, okay?” my whole body was disoriented when I finally opened my eyes because it was quite dark outside our bedroom window, with loud chattering pouring in from the people outside, “Okay. Bye.” A foggy haze was still over my eyes when I felt the bed dip beside me and I looked up at James sleepily.

“Who was that?” My voice was incredibly croaky and dry when I spoke.

“Mum,” he answered simply, lying down on his side so he could see my face, “She wanted to know where we were. She was getting worried when she got up this morning to check up on us and found out we weren’t there.” A frisson of guilt shot through me and James seemed to catch it but didn’t say anything thankfully.

“What time is it?” I yawned, stretching myself out a little more so I could wake up properly.

“It’s nine pm and it’s still Friday.” He replied, also yawning after me, making me chuckle quietly.

“Are we going back to the hospital now?” I sat up slowly, running a hand through my unkempt hair because it was a complete bird’s nest on my head right now. Well, that’s what I got for going to sleep with a ponytail in. James’ eyes followed me as I climbed out the bed, gathered up some other spare clothes and walked towards the bathroom to get changed.

“Yeah, we’ll go when you’re ready.” He nodded, pulling his shirt over his head and starting to get changed. I looked in the mirror in the cramped bathroom and noticed that my skin looked a lot paler than the last time I saw it given that I was supposed to be on holiday. The roots of my ginger hair were very greasy, making me feel yucky and so I jumped into the shower so quickly wash myself and at least make me feel marginally better. It wasn’t by much but at least I could focus on washing my hair and body without having to think about Norah’s situation. I stepped out, quickly drying my hair with my wand and pulling on the same joggers and shirt that I had worn yesterday/this morning. They still smelt a little like James so I snuggled myself into them, breathing in the heavenly scent. James was laid back on the bed when I entered the room again, pulling my hair back into a high ponytail so that it was out of my way.

“You ready?” He asked and I nodded mutely. We started walking down the stairs, past the judgemental glances of the bed and breakfast occupants and out into the cold night air. My stomach grumbled loudly as I remembered the last time I had anything to eat was this morning whilst we were waiting in the hospital café and I was starving.

“Um…” I blushed heavily because it was quite a loud growl and peeked through my eyelashes at James, who chuckled.

“We’ll stop in at the supermarket and get some food, don’t worry.” He grabbed my hand, intertwining our hands together and pulled me across the deserted street to a twenty-four hour supermarket. We walked in silently, still holding hands, and headed straight for the sandwich shelves. I let go of James’ hand to look through each sandwich and pick one that I fancied or was in the mood for but James just picked a random one up, inspected it for two seconds and threw it in the basket we had picked up. He came to stand behind me, his arms coiled around my waist protectively as I chose and I subconsciously moulded myself into him, smiling slightly when he placed a delicate kiss on my head.

“What shampoo did you use?” He murmured, sending a light shiver down my spine.

“I don’t know, whichever one was already in there.” I replied, shrugging awkwardly whilst his chin rested on my shoulder.

“Mmm, it smells really good,” he sniffed appreciatively and I giggled in response, “Smells like caramel.”

“I’ll make a mental reminder to use that again then.” My smile widened to a grin as I turned sideways in his arms to peck his cheek quickly. I ended up choosing a plain ham and mayonnaise sandwich, an orange juice drink and a milk chocolate bar. James decided against a chocolate bar because he said it would make him feel sick eating it at such a late time but I shrugged it off. I needed some chocolate right now, maybe even a whole tub of chocolate ice cream would help me feel a little better but I thought that was more of a ‘break-up’ kind of thing. Not a ‘my-sister-is-about-to-die’ type of food. Even the thought of what was about to happen still hadn’t settled in yet and every time I thought about it, it hit me like a freight train, knocking the wind right out of me. We walked towards the hospital in silence again with both of us eating our bought food. It was kind of hard for me to eat because as soon as I took the first bite, I instantly wanted to throw it back up again but I pushed myself to eat all of it because I would be hungry again later.

“Kinda wish I’d got a chocolate bar now.” James whined when he saw me chomping down on mine.

“Have some of mine,” I handed it to him, not really in the mood to eat the rest and he took it greedily, polishing it off, “Easy there tiger.” I laughed as he chucked the wrapper in the bin before slinging his arm around my shoulders and guiding me to the elevator and back up to Norah’s room. The dread that had been there multiple times when I’d made this journey, was absent for a change. I didn’t really know what to feel when I saw everyone stood outside her room so I settled for being neutral.

“Hey, you all rested?” Char embraced me tightly when we reached them and I did the same, holding on for just a bit longer than necessary.

“As rested as I’ll ever be, you?” I returned the question, ignoring the gigantic elephant in the room. Or corridor, because that’s where we were stood. She nodded her head mutely, grasping for Darrell’s hand, who immediately came forward to embrace his wife with a look of pity and despair on his face. I stared between the two lovingly, and then turned to glance at my Dad, who was stood with his back against the wall silently. His eyes were trained on the floor, looking rather empty but occasionally I could see his jawline tensing. A sure fire sign of trying to keep his tears in. James seemed to sense that I was staring at my Dad out the corner of my eyes and so came to stand between the two of us, grabbing my hand and giving it a light squeeze.

“Why are we waiting out here?” I pierced the silence and everyone’s heads swivelled to face me.

“The doctors…” Char started weakly but stopped, glancing anxiously at Dad. She couldn’t continue so Darrell stepped forward and took me around the corner out of earshot. James obviously followed and I was grateful. If it was horrible news, I wanted James to be there so he could comfort me like he did earlier.

“The doctors are getting ready for the final two stages of decreasing the oxygen.” He carried on from Char’s sentence, looking forlorn.

“What? Now?” My voice sounded surprisingly detached considering the myriad of emotions flitting through me right now.

“Yes,” he nodded his head, “Chris, uh, your Dad didn’t take the news well…” He wrung his hands together nervously as he looked to the ground sheepishly.

“What did he do?” James asked seriously, his whole posture stiffened beside me and I had to trail my fingernails up and down his forearm to calm him down a little.

“He, uh, he just got a bit angry. He ended up being kicked out until he was ready to come in calmly.”

“He doesn’t look calm…” I retorted, peering round the corner where his fists were clenching and unclenching rapidly. Darrell and James’ heads followed mine and both Darrell and I sighed.

“He isn’t, he’s just trying to keep it under control for the time being.” Darrell rubbed his forehead roughly, pushing his brown curls back, effectively making his hair messier.

“What are we gonna do?” I sighed heavily, feeling incredibly lost and useless.

“I don’t know. He can’t get kicked out permanently, that just wouldn’t help the situation.” He replied, ushering us back round the corner and towards the two lone figures in the corridor.

“I know.” I mumbled tiredly. Darrell immediately ran to Char, encasing her in his arms as she crumbled just a tiny bit more. It was painful seeing my sister act the way she was. In a way, ever since our Mum had gone, she had tried so hard to step into her shoes and look after the three of us but it took its toll on her. Especially as she had her own children to look after as well.

That’s precisely the reason why I had never told her about my relapse last year because I didn’t want her to think she’d failed in trying to help everybody else, putting herself last. The thing was when I first got the apartment near the centre of London, I had done quite well in paying the rent and keeping everything alright, given that it had been just over a year since the Seven Months From Hell, as I called my horrible stint. It wasn’t until one night that I fell into that temptation again. I swear that I hadn’t meant to drink that much, I hadn’t drunk anything since the seven months but every little thing had gotten to me again. I suppose that was why I had struggled because I had gone cold turkey almost straight away. It got bad, real fast and I drank and drank. Then I was late on my payments and I dealt with it by drinking almost every night and sometimes during the day I would go to the store and buy a crate of cider, beer or whatever the hell they had in the shop and drink it on the way back to the apartment. Char came round a few times but she always gave me notice so that I had time to pretend for a while that I wasn’t falling apart inside again. She believed me, thank God, so I could carry on with my double life. When I lost my job at a supermarket, I realised that I was falling back into my old habits and I didn’t want that to happen ever again. It had been the worse time of my life, rock bottom basically. And there I was, diving head first back into that bottomless pit for the second time. I threw out all the alcohol, going cold turkey again but this time I was determined to have a strong control over temptation.

Char never found out and she never would. Of course I would drink occasionally but now I was slightly mindful of when I had reached my limit and when I had to stop. James nudged for my attention whilst I had drifted off into my own little world.

“Elle?!” The nudges became more frantic as I shook my head, clearing it of all these thoughts so I could focus all my attention on what was happening now. Frantic beeps could be heard from Elle’s room and a number of doctors and two nurses rushed in and out of Norah’s room, holding various instruments and with determined facial expressions.

“What’s going on?” Char was asking each passing doctor anxiously, the cracks in her façade starting to become more pronounced. No-one answered her and kept rushing past, hurriedly muttering in medical terms and trying to keep their heads down so as not to catch the eye of any of us. I grasped James’ arm as the panic began to bubble inside of me. Dad’s eyes were frantically scanning each passing doctor’s face warily but I could sense he was feeling just as panicked as I was, “Why is no-one answering me?!” Char whined helplessly, leading Darrell to wrap an arm around her and lead her towards the hospital café. She went rather reluctantly but I promised her that I would go and get her as soon as anything changed. An hour of waiting, pacing and almost having panic attacks a few times, a doctor finally emerged with a sheen of sweat on his forehead.

“Are you family?” He asked, looking at Dad, Charity and Darrel then myself and James. We all nodded and he pulled the surgical mask that was covering his mouth off. The panic slowly started to die down when I saw the man’s facial expression. It was one of complete calm, his lips twitched upwards slightly and maybe this meant he carried good news.

“What’s happened? Is she alright?” Dad blurted, interrupted whatever the doctor was about to say.

“Do you want the good news or the bad news first?” He talked over Dad, ignoring him and looking round at us all.

“Good news, we need a bit of good news.” Char answered with a tiny voice when no-one would reply to the doctor’s question.

“The good news is that Norah is breathing herself,” everyone let out a collective sigh of relief and I loosened my grip on James’ arm only to be pulled into them. I didn’t even notice I had begun crying again until I pushed myself away to hear the rest of what the doctor was saying and saw the dark patches on his shirt, “And we’re trying everything we can to make sure it becomes stronger as right now, it’s very weak. We’re also trying to bring her out of the coma but we’re not quite sure what side effects she may have when she comes round. She may not remember you after being under for so long so just be warned.” He finished solemnly.

“Is that the bad news?” Dad piped up, his face was a lot less taut as his tense shoulders relaxed and his whole posture had changed to a relaxed demeanour.

“I’m afraid not,” the doctor sighed heavily and the short-lived relief I was feeling completely fizzled out, “Because of how she landed in the car accident, unfortunately when she comes round, she won’t be able to walk again,” Dad’s shoulders tensed once again and he put his head in his hands, “And there’s not much we can do other than provide her with as much support as possible. Of course it’s going to be difficult time for the next couple of months, she may feel a conflict of emotions but just make sure she talks about it openly with any of you or a professional. Don’t let her bottle it all up.” He finished, once again, solemnly. We all stayed in silence, letting the words hang in the air whilst we tried to process it.

“Thank you.” James was the first to break it, shaking the hand of the doctor. We all stayed in relative silence, processing the information that the doctor had just thrust upon us. Meanwhile, he had replaced his surgical mask and re-entered Norah’s room.

“Do you think she’ll remember us?” Char asked, her face looking a little too calm and devoid of any emotion for my liking.

“I don’t want to think about that right now…” Dad answered, staring at the opposite wall also quite calmly, “All I want to remember is that she’s alive and she’s fighting to stay alive.” He added with a small sense of pride hidden somewhere within his voice. I stayed quiet for fear of saying something wrong and re-hashing an argument that we’ve had before.

“Have you ever considered moving her to St. Mungo’s for treatment?” James asked Char quietly, out of earshot of our Dad.

“Yes, many times but,” she quickly glanced at said man, “He doesn’t want anything to do with that place…”

“But she’ll be treated faster? If we take her in tomorrow, there’s a strong chance she’ll wake up on Sunday, maybe even Saturday night.” He pleaded the case and Char nodded her head in agreement.

“I know that but he shuts the idea down almost straight away. He doesn’t give us any leeway to explain that to him.” She whispered, looking a little nervous at James’ expression.

“Well, he’s gonna listen. If he wants to see her wake up faster.” He puffed out his chest slightly and we all turned to face my Dad. His head was lent against the wall behind him, his eyes closed and if I didn’t know any better, I would have assumed he was asleep because of how contorted the position his body was in.

“I already know what you are going to say and the answer is no.” Dad surprised us by answering just as James was about to start. He looked momentarily stunned before the same look of determination from before came back.

“You haven’t heard all the facts?” James questioned him, crossing his arms seriously.

“I don’t need to. I just don’t want her anywhere near that place or magic.” He scoffed, standing upright finally and glaring at James with his dark brown eyes.

“If we move her to St. Mungo’s she will be treated faster and better, trust me.” James tried to reassure him but Dad was adamant.

“Nope, she’s staying right here where I can keep my eye on her.” He shook his head vigorously. James let out a quiet sigh of frustration that only I could hear.

“Dad, please, what James is saying is true. They’ll be able to use faster healing spells, James even said she’ll be awake by tomorrow night if we admit her tomorrow.” Char got involved with Darrell nodding his head to agree with her point. Dad scanned everyone, including me, and I tried my best to look pleading.

“The answer is no,” he said finally, “And that’s the end of it.” He turned so his back was against the wall again so James changed his tactics.

“I guess he doesn’t want Norah to wake up then,” he announced rather loudly, “It’s almost like he doesn’t even want her to get better.” As James expected and like I knew he would, Dad shot back up and started marching over to James with a murderous expression on his face.

“Listen here, you think you can come her and act like you’ve been a part of this family for years,” he nearly yelled but remembered that he’d get kicked out again. I was whipping my head between the two of them with worry etched over my face. I didn’t want Dad to rip into James badly when he’d been there for me so much lately but on the other hand, I didn’t want James to pester my Dad too much because it wasn’t his fault, “And how dare you have the guts to say I don’t want my own daughter to get better?! Of course I do!” They were practically in each other’s faces, neither one wanting to back down. I tried to stand between them to diffuse the tension but I may as well have been a piece of dust on the floor for all the attention they paid me.

“Then move her to St. Mungo’s, she’ll be treated faster and I can guarantee that she’ll be in good care,” James urged him, “And you can stay with her for as long as possible without anyone kicking you out.” Dad stewed in silence, not looking at anyone else other than James. They seemed to be having a battle of wits with their eyes.

“James is right, Dad.” I inputted quietly, looking at him tentatively. His eyes snapped to me, a small glint appeared before he realised he was outnumbered.

“Fine!” his posture visibly slumped and the guilt multiplied, “Fine. We’ll move her tomorrow,” James nodded his head silently in thanks, “But I want to be with her the whole time.” He added as we started to retreat back to where Char and Darrell were stood watching with baited breath.

“And you will be, I promise.” James promised him, grabbing my hand whilst wrapping the other arm around my shoulder, pulling me to his chest.

“How are we going to authorise moving a patient from a muggle ward to a wizard one?” I whispered into his chest, my forehead resting almost on his shoulder blade. I closed my eyes, relishing in being encased in his arms again and feeling slightly better.

“I’ll pull some strings, it shouldn’t be too hard.” He responded, kissing the top of my head gently and rubbing circles on my back that sent a light shiver down my back but also simultaneously warmed me up.

“Thank you,” I kissed his chest lightly, “You don’t have to… but thank you.” I could feel his lips quirk up into a smile from where his lips were resting against my head. He didn’t say anything but responded by tightening his grip around my shoulder and waist. We stayed like that for who knows how long when James pulled back slowly.

“I’m just gonna go make a few calls, I’ll be back in a few minutes.” He reassured me, cupping my face in his hands.

“Okay.” I replied, accepting the breath-stopping kiss he placed on my lips before delicately kissing me again in quick succession. He disappeared around the corner, glancing back to make sure I hadn’t crumpled to the floor in despair. But I was way past that point now. The fact that she was alive was still racing a million miles per hour through my mind. Barely alive but she was alive. And she probably wouldn’t recognise anyone, which now that I thought about it, was maybe a good thing because I don’t think I could deal with another load of guilt dumped on top of me. Then there was the no-walking-again factor that was prodding my brain for some attention. I wondered how she would react to that when she woke up, it wouldn’t be pretty. So I decided not to be in the room when she was being told everything that had happened in the four years she’d been in a coma.

“Hey.” I looked up from the floor, where I had slid down the wall in my thinking state of mind and pressed my knees to my chest.

“Hey.” I leant my head on Char’s shoulder when she’d sat beside me and in return, she leant hers on top of mine, “How are you holding up?” She stayed quiet for a while but eventually breathed out,

“She’s alive.”

“I know.” I replied in the same wispy voice. We fell back into that neutral silence, letting our eyes take in the goings-on around us. A few nurses zipped past us, not paying any attention to the two girls on the floor and one particular light flickered a little further down the corridor.

“She’ll remember us, right?” Char whispered again.

“I-…” I started but couldn’t find the heart to lie to my sister because in all honesty, I wasn’t sure myself. I desperately wanted to believe that she would but it seemed unlikely from what the doctor was telling us, “I don’t know, Char.” I slowly lifted my hand and grasped hers, intertwining our fingers to make sure she knew I was there for her if she ever needed me. She graciously tightened her fingers grip, shaking quite a lot. James came in a few minutes later, looking down at his phone after just hanging up on someone.

“Everything’s sorted for tomorrow,” he crouched down in front of me but said it loud enough for Dad to hear it, “She’s under the best care and all the legal stuff has been taken care of.” He placed his hands on my knees and I covered them with my other free hand.

“Thank you,” I repeated. He came and sat on my other side, in the same position as me and kept a firm hold on my other hand, “I think maybe we should go back to the B&B, I’m really tired.” I said, lifting my head off of Char’s shoulder and turned to face James.

“Okay.” He nodded in agreement, trying to stifle a yawn himself. He stood up swiftly, offering both myself and Char a hand up. We were both up in a matter of seconds and I turned to my sister.

“We’ll see you tomorrow. Don’t hesitate to call if anything happens.” I enveloped her in a bear hug, letting her bury her face into my shoulder for a change. She released me and pulled James in for a hug, totally shocking said person.

“Thank you so much for all your help. I’m glad that Elle has you,” they let each other go with James blushing a tiny bit but Char went back over to stand with Darrell, “I promise I’ll call you.” She reassured me finally and we both set off towards the B&B. The walk back was quiet but that was mainly because we were both tired and I knew I was emotionally drained from everything that had happened recently.

“Good night.” James wrapped his arms round me when we were both back in the double bed. I snuggled myself closer to him, entangling our legs together and trying to make myself as small as possible.

“Sweet dreams.” I responded lightly.

James woke me up as usual, mainly with his bloody loud alarm clock buzzing throughout the room. Just as I was peeling my eyes open properly, he dropped something heavy at the foot of the bed which made me jump. 

“What are those?” I sleepily asked, looking at the pile of clothing folded there neatly. From what I could see, there was something denim and a flimsy cream-coloured material. Which turned out to be skinny jeans and a short-sleeved shirt for me.

“I bought these because I figured you wouldn’t want to wear my sweats and over-sized shirt out again,” he smiled, shoving his hands into his new jeans as well, “Even though you look adorable.” A small smile graced my face at his compliment and I took the clothes sheepishly.

“Thank you… you didn’t have to.” I looked down at the ground, feeling really guilty. Here he was doing all these wonderful things for me yet I hadn’t done one thing for him, what a terrible fiancée I was!

“But I wanted to,” he responded, hauling me up and giving me a great big cuddle, “It’s what I’m supposed to do.” He whispered, kissing me on top of my head before shoving me into the bathroom so I could finally get out of the dirty clothing I was wearing. The shower I had wasn’t a long one considering I didn’t wash my hair and I quickly pulled my new clothes on, surprised he’d bought me the right size.

“What are we doing today? Going to help with the move?” I looked up at him whilst I was brushing through my hair. Just as I was about to put it up into a ponytail, like usual, he stopped my arms.

“You should wear your hair down, it looks nicer,” he offered me such a genuine smile that I felt myself going all mushy on the inside. So I left it down, “And no, I booked a tattoo today, remember?” He broke the tiny moment we just had but I wasn’t bothered because it wasn’t my imagination this time.

“Really? I thought you were joking about that.” I stared at him in shock. I honestly did think he was joking, but he replied with a serious nod and picked up a small backpack with all our stuff in it. Plus the shampoo he said made my hair smell like caramel.

“Nope. Booked it for today but it’s about a forty-minute journey so we’ll apparate a bit further down from the actual place.” He admitted and I nodded, letting go of the small panicky-voice that appeared in the back of my mind when he started talking about ‘journeys’.

“Okay, am I still picking it out then?” I joked as we walked down into the lobby, signed out and headed into the afternoon air. I checked my watch quickly to see that it was about one o’clock in the afternoon.

“Yeah, if you want.” He shrugged, guiding me towards a deserted alleyway so we could apparate. He grasped my hand tightly, looked at me for confirmation and I suddenly felt my whole body compressed through a really thin tube. Apparition was still a weird experience for me, despite how many times I’ve had to use it.

“You do realise this will permanently be on your body for the rest of your life right?” I gave him a questioning glance but he seemed as laid-back as ever and shrugged again.

“I don’t mind,” he slung his arm over my shoulder lazily as we walked down a busy street towards the tattoo parlour, “Just don’t choose a really rubbish one, please.” He finally showed a bit of worry when he looked down at me. He held the door open for me and I stepped through, hit with the familiar buzzing sound from the needles. Two other people were sat in leather chairs, one of them was a young girl – probably around eighteen – who was wincing slightly at having a tattoo on her wrist. The other guy already had multiple tattoos all along his arm and sat there chatting away to the guy doing the new tattoo.

“Hey, can I help you?” Yet another guy, with a very large neck tattoo, asked us from behind the reception desk.

“Yeah, I’m here for a tattoo at half-one?” James said casually, leaning against the counter like he’d been in here multiple times before. No-one would be able to tell he was bricking it except for me because I could feel him clenching and unclenching his hand in mine out of sight.

“James Potter?” the guy looked down at this planner and called out the scribbled name written there. James nodded, “Any idea what design you want?” He asked, bringing his elbows up onto the desk, showing off a multitude of other tattoos covering the whole surface area.

“Nah, she’s deciding.” He nodded his head to me and the guys eyes flickered to me and he smiled kindly. I returned it nervously, it had been a while since I’d stepped foot in a tattoo parlour but that one was closer to my old apartment and a bit shady.

“That’s a lot of power to be placing in someone else’s hands.” The guy tattooing the older guy’s arm chuckled and I smirked at James before heading over to the magazines and rifling through them. Eventually, after much debate on James’ part, I chose a skull that was surrounded by roses with a banner going across the top with a date in it. James, in the end, said he didn’t want a date going in the banner but decided on the Hogwarts motto – Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus – which made me giggle.

“You ready now?” James’ tattooist, Chris, asked when he’d finished up on the girl’s wrist.

“Yeah.” He nodded, heading over to the chair and sitting down and bearing his forearm.

“First tattoo?” He chuckled at James’ nervous face and I came to stand next to him so I could watch his face. Instead of replying, he just nodded his head as the guy behind the desk handed Chris the newly drawn design for him to do the outline and shading.

“You’ll be fine, it doesn’t hurt.” I comforted him with a reassuring smile and he laughed nervously.

“Much.” Chris added which just made James more nervous and made me laugh. Chris prepped his forearm, stuck the design down and got the needle ready. James looked up at me and grasped for my hand, giving it a tender squeeze as I smiled at him reassuringly again. Chris started going round the outline first but James hardly flinched, only when he did the outline on the parts of his arm that were closer to the bone but other than that, he was fine.

“That wasn’t too bad.” He sighed, relieved during a quick break when the outline was finished after about an hour and a half. His phone rang so he quickly hopped outside to answer. I watched him intently as he nodded his head, a smile making an appearance that started widening with each passing second.

“You two together?” Chris asked behind me so I spun around, sitting on the edge of the couch casually. Throughout the hour and thirty minutes, I’d gotten a lot friendlier with the guys who worked here and a few customers who came in.

“Yeah, getting married on Monday.” I nodded, crossing my arms but not before showing him the engagement ring. I had completely forgotten that I was wearing it, it had practically become a part of me that if I wasn’t paying attention, I honestly would never have known it was there.

“He’s a lucky guy.” Chris nodded, cleaning the other needle for the shading whilst we were talking.

“Pfft, I’d say run whilst you can!” John, the older gentleman that had been doing the sleeve before, piped up. Chris rolled his eyes, chucking an empty pot at the back of his head.

“Just ignore him, he got friend-zoned one too many times at the altar and is a miserable fucker.” Everyone laughed, including John, but not before he threw us all the middle finger. James came back in a few minutes later, sat back in the chair and Chris started the shading around and within the tattoo.

“That was St. Mun- the hospital.” He corrected himself when he realised we were in a muggle environment.

“Oh, yeah…?” I perked up, wanting to hear nothing but good news and hoping that the move went successfully.

“She’s alright, it all went good and we can go and see her once we’re finished. Your sister, Darrell and Dad are already there, watching her.” He explained and I almost pounced on him in happiness before realising that I probably shouldn’t and wait until later.

“Okay, that’s good.” I sighed happily, watching intently as Chris finished off the shading which took another two hours whilst swapping banter with all of them.

“You should be good. Just keep it wrapped in cling-film for about two-to-three days,” Chris advised whilst wrapping the cling-film around his forearm, “And because we’re adding colour as well, I suggest coming back in two weeks for another session and we’ll see how much we still have to do,” he finished as we walked over to the counter for James to pay, “That’ll be £150, so far.” He looked at the computer screen after typing something and James handed over the money casually.

“Cheers.” He nodded his head, saying good-bye to all the guys in the tattoo parlour.

“See ya and good luck on Monday!” Chris called after us as we exited the shop. James looked down at me in confusion and I clarified,

“I told them that we were getting married on Monday.” I shrugged.

“Oh right, okay,” he nodded his head thoughtfully and we walked back down the street to the alleyway we apparated into, “It looks cool, doesn’t it?” He admired the shaded tattoo in approval and glee.

“Yeah, it does,” I smirked up at him, “Now aren’t you glad that you made me choose your first tattoo?” I said smugly as he rolled his eyes. He lowered his head, motioning for me to kiss him and I did, planting a soppy one right on his lips.

“Yes, very glad. You’re gonna be really smug about this now, aren’t you?” he gave a little chuckle and I snuggled into him. He wrapped his arms around me, after we apparated just a little further down from St. Mungo’s, and pulled me to him, “What’s this for?”

“Just as a thank you.” I murmured into his chest.

“For what?” He looked down at me with confusion written all over his face.

I drank in the features of his face, staring at the small scar on his top lip and noticing that he was starting to get a little stubble along his jaw. All of a sudden, I started noticing little things, like the way his left eyebrow quirked up a bit when he looked confused and that I was weirdly jealous of how nice and long his eyelashes were. And the gorgeous colour of his eyes. Oh God, I was really falling hard and nothing was stopping me from the certain crash that was sure to happen when this whole deal had ended. Instead of answering him properly, I brought his lips back down to mine in such a tender kiss that even I was dazed for a few minutes. I tried desperately to put every emotion I had for him into that kiss. He pulled away, but not giving me a few pecks on the lips afterwards, his lips curving into his signature Smile. The moment was completely ruined by our stomachs both rumbling loudly, causing us to laugh.

“I think,” I murmured whilst our lips were still conjoined, “We should get some food before we go to St. Mungo’s.” I finally pulled away just as James was about to suggest the same thing.

“I agree,” he placed one final bittersweet kiss on my lips before we exited the alleyway we had just been randomly kissing in, “Where do you want to go and eat?”

“Erm… somewhere quick?” I tried to spot a nearby fast-food place and managed to see a small café sign that I recognised a few metres down the pavement to our right, “That café, there!” I exclaimed, grabbing onto James’ hand and pulling him along through the densely packed evening crowd of shoppers. We entered, glad that it was about five in the evening so it wasn’t as busy as it could have been. I grabbed us a small table in the corner as James went to order us some sandwiches and a nice, cool drink in the queue. Whilst he stood there, every time we caught each other’s eyes, he kept pulling funny faces at me which caused me to giggle out loud. A few people stared at me as if I was insane as I was just sat at a table by myself, giggling at nothing. I would be worried too.

“Here we are! A refreshing lemonade and a delicious BLT, for m’lady.” He placed the tray our food was on, onto the table and I picked up the glass of lemonade and the plate my sandwich was of, off the tray so James could take his food off and put the tray to one side.

“Why thank you, kind sir,” I played along, biting into one half of my sandwich and then taking a big gulp of the lemonade. My stomach gurgled in appreciation at having been fed seen as the last time I ate was yesterday and I was feeling the effects of it. My phone buzzed just as I popped the last bite of the sandwich into my mouth and I answered it, “Hello?”

“Hey, it’s Lily?” Said girl answered and I completely forgot that we were supposed to be on holiday.

“Oh hey, Lily.” I looked up at James, who had straightened up as he paid attention to our conversation.

“Do you know what day you’re gonna be coming back to Spain?” she asked, “It’s just Mum wants to know because we still need to organise your Hen Party tomorrow night…” She trailed off as I remembered that they’d been talking about it a few days ago and my eyes widened.

“Hang on,” I told Lily before pulling the phone away from my ear, “She wants to know when we’ll be back?” I explained to James, who then motioned for my phone so I handed it over to him and he put it to his ear.

“We’ll be back tomorrow?” he raised an eyebrow at me for confirmation and I nodded, knowing I couldn’t stay with Norah forever, “Tell Mum to stop panicking about Monday, we’ll be fine,” he reassured her whilst rolling his eyes at me, “Yeah. Bye.” He pressed the red button before handing me my phone back.

“Thanks,” I took it off him and put it back in my jean pocket, “Are we ready to go?” I asked him, watching him nod as he stuffed the last half of his sandwich in his mouth, making me chuckle. We stood up, putting the tray onto a rack off to the side and started making our way towards St. Mungo’s but this time, the dread wasn’t there because I was confident that Norah would wake up soon. Especially because of all the spells and potions they had there that could help her heal faster.

“You seem in a better mood.” James commented when we entered the hospital and made our way to the fourth floor where Norah had been moved to, despite it being the Spell Damage ward.

“Mmhmm, I know she’s still alive and whether or not she will remember us, I won’t care because at least she’s alive.” I explained, but a little voice made itself known in the back of my head that if Dad explains his side of the story to her first, she’ll hate me too.

“But the risk of her having amnesia was when she was in the muggle hospital, here they’ll be able to help her remember as much as possible.” He reassured me, my legs getting really tired by the third floor staircase.

“We’ll have to see when she wakes up,” I replied, adding, “I hope she wakes up before we leave tomorrow.” James heard me and grasped my hand, giving it a tight squeeze and offering me a Smile.

“I have my fingers crossed!” He lifted his free hand up with his index and middle finger crossed. We walked towards Norah’s room, peering through the little square window before entering. Char was sat right next to her bed, head slumped over tiredly and Darrell was curled up in the armchair on the other side of Norah’s bed, mouth hanging open and a little slither of drool dripping out.

“Bless,” I chuckled under my breath before walking over to Char, “Hey, wake up.” I shook her gently. She lifted her head slowly and her brown eyes locked onto mine before focusing properly.

“Hey, Elle,” she muttered croakily, brushing her hair from her face and over her shoulder, “What time is it?”

“Nearly six in the evening.” I answered, perching myself on the edge of the armchair.

“Oh,” she seemed a little surprised, “I told Dad that I’d take the shift until eleven tonight but I was too tired, I must have fallen asleep.” She yawned loudly, waking Darrell up with a start. He rubbed his eyes harshly to try and wake himself up too.

“Oh, hey!” He greeted the two of us in surprise.

“Hey.” We both replied simultaneously.

“Char, go home and get some sleep. We’ll stay here for the five hours until Dad gets here.” I suggested and she nodded her head.

“Okay, give us a call if anything happens and we’ll come as soon as possible.” She hugged me tightly, her eyes already drooping tiredly and I felt sorry for her. I gave Darrell a hug too and waited until they’d left the room before sitting in Char’s vacant chair and curling myself up so I was comfortable. James took Darrell’s empty chair, his head lolling back up to the ceiling. We both sat in silence as we couldn’t really find anything to say to each other at the moment, so we didn’t say anything. There was a little rack of magazines against the wall and so I grabbed the first one and began to scan through it.

“How are we all doing?” a familiar voice asked as the door opened. Both James and my head snapped towards the entrance, where Teddy Lupin was stood dressed in scrubs and a clipboard in his hands but this time he had plain brown hair, “Oh, hello!” His mouth curved into a brighter smile when he saw James and I sat there.

“Hey, Teddy!” James scrambled up to give him a hug as I watched the exchange in surprise.

“Nice to see you again, Elle.” He held out his hand formally and I shook it, my eyes still widened.

“You’re the Healer on this case?” I blurted rudely before blushing at how I phrased that.

“Yeah when James made the arrangements to get Norah moved, he specifically asked for me to take the case.” Teddy explained, coming to stand beside Norah’s bed whilst James came and perched on the armchair on my seat.

“Because he’s the best Healer I know.” James beamed proudly at him.

“And it also puts pressure on me to get everything right because it’s your future sister-in-law,” Teddy added as well, sending a small glare at James, “So thanks for that.”

“It’s okay, I have every faith that you can do it.” I admitted, knowing that James wouldn’t specifically ask for Teddy’s help if he wasn’t good enough. Teddy gave me a thankful smile and began checking up on Norah’s temperature and blood pressure amongst other things.

“Her health is a lot better than it had been and it’s definitely out of the danger zone now,” he explained and I listened intently, “So I’m gonna start bringing her out of the coma by injecting this potion into her arm every hour or so,” I nodded my head, watching him draw back an almost translucent green liquid into a sterile syringe before tying a band around her upper-arm so that a vein would appear. He slowly injected the liquid before throwing the syringe needle and empty plastic container into the bright yellow bin underneath the side-table, “If she does wake up in between the doses, just press this button above her bed or call for me.” He pointed to a vivid red button above her bed but to the right a bit.

“Okay, I will do.” I nodded once again, keeping my eyes on the heart monitor to see if anything changes.

“I’ll be back in about an hour to administer the next one.” He picked up the clipboard from the little holder at the end of her bed and exited again.

“I’m just going to speak to Teddy for a bit, I’ll be back in a few minutes or so.” James told me, leaning forward and kissing my forehead gently.

“Okay.” Was all I said, my eyes never leaving the heart monitor. The door clicked shut behind me and I figured that there was no point in watching the heart monitor for five hours when the process had only just started so I picked up the magazines I had been previously reading. Whilst still checking the monitor ever so often. Teddy came back in after the hour passed, injected Norah again and told me that James was talking with the Head Healer about something. Yet another hour passed by so now it was eight o’clock and I was getting bored. James still hadn’t come back and I’d already read all the magazines so I had to settle for counting the tiles on the floor, walls and ceiling for a while. Once again, at nine o’clock, Teddy came in with yet another injection for Norah and when he left, I recounted all the tiles even when I knew there were 320 altogether. In my counting state, I hadn’t noticed that the monitor had begun to pick up but only marginally so when I saw movement out of the corner of my eye as I was counting the wall to my left, I almost fell out of my chair in shock.

“… E-Elle…?” Norah’s eyes were slightly open and I only just managed to hear her say my name because her voice was so quiet. Without thinking, I slammed the red button hard. So much so, that I swore for a few seconds at the sharp pain in my hand.

“Noona!” I gasped, standing up and hovering over her worriedly. Her heart-rate was increasing, a little too fast than was normal and I could feel my heart pounding as well.

“She’s awake!” Teddy hurled himself into the room, shouting to whoever was in the corridor. Shortly, a bunch of Healers followed after him and I was advised to wait outside whilst they tried to bring her heart-rate back to normal. I anxiously watched through the small square window as Teddy barked orders around at the other people in the room, their wands moving at alarming rates and syringes swapping back and forth. Some full, some empty. Whilst they were doing this, I thought now would be the perfect time to call Char and Dad to let them know what was happening. And that she was awake.

“She’s awake…” I whispered to myself, the thought completely halting me just because of the pure shock of it. This whole time I was just waiting for her to die but never had I ever thought she would still be alive. Never mind, wake up.

“Elle, what’s wrong?” James hurried up to me as I stared at the door in shock. He must have thought something bad had happened.

“She’s awake…” I repeated, turning to him as the shock turned into utter euphoria, “She’s awake!” I laughed happily, jumping up and wrapping my arms and legs around him, “She’s awake!” I repeated yet again, “She said my name too! She remembers me!” I could practically feel my face split into a massive grin and my tears welling up with happy tears.

“Oh, Elle!” James’ voice sounded overjoyed as well and it made me just want to kiss every part of his face. So I did just that. James laughed loudly, but quietened down when I locked our lips together eventually.

“She’s awake.” I separated and told him again, not caring that I was repeating myself over and over.

“I know.” He pecked me on the lips.

“She said my name.” I sighed in glee.

“I know.” Another kiss.

“She remembers me.” I couldn’t help the massive smile on my face. It was like my brain was telling me that I deserved to smile after everything that had happened over the last three days and I was latching onto it.

“I know.” Yet another kiss.

“I-…” I unwrapped my legs from him and put them down on the ground. I’d almost said ‘I love you’ to his face and that would not have been good, “I’m just so happy.” I kept my arms around his neck and buried my face into his chest, inhaling his cologne.

“You deserve to be happy,” he whispered. I could feel his smile against the top of my head, “Especially after everything that’s happened.”

“I know.” I hummed appreciatively, staying like this for a few minutes.

“Have you told Charity and your Dad?” James asked me, bursting the quiet moment that I was revelling in.

“Yeah, I called them before you turned up. They should be here soon.” I answered, still with that face-splitting grin permanently etched there. We slowly swayed side-to-side in complete and utter bliss. The past few days had been a blur and they’d all mashed together so I couldn’t believe that my birthday had only been two days ago.

“Hey! She’s awake? Has she said anything? Has Teddy said anything?” Char came rushing around the corner of the wing with Darrell following closely behind her. She spoke without stopping for a breath and I almost laughed at her facial expression which was a mix between hope and worry.

“Yeah, she’s awake,” I nodded my head and practically pouncing on her happily, “They haven’t come out yet, they’re still in there doing something but she said my name, Char. She recognised me.” I lowered my voice to a whisper to let her know that I was just beyond ecstatic that she had remembered.

“Oh, thank God!” She finally embraced me back just as tightly and I could feel her shaking against me. When I pulled back to go and give Darrell a hug as well, I could see the happy tears that I had before in her eyes. James came to wrap his arms around me again and I happily let myself snuggle up close to him, just thinking about how good my life was turning out to be right now. I finally found someone that I genuinely care about and loved, Dad hadn’t blown up at me since we first arrived and Norah was alive.

“Dad! She’s awake!” Char exclaimed when our Dad came in a few minutes afterwards, I could see that he was trying to wake himself up even though he was still half-asleep.

He hadn’t really disappeared much from Norah’s side this whole time and I was feeling really worried about his health as I took in his tired features, the dark bags under his eyes, the unshaven stubble around his mouth and along his jaw and the mop of greying hair on top of his head that looked like he hadn’t even bothered to brush it. Without thinking, I ran towards him and enveloped him in a hug as I was caught up in all of the euphoria in this moment. To my surprise, he actually wrapped his arms back around me in a hug not too dissimilar to the ones he used to give me before this accident.

Unfortunately though, the moment ended as we both realised what the situation was between us and that thick, tense atmosphere settled down around us. I snapped my arms back to myself quickly, averting my eyes to the floor and hurrying back to James’ side. Not really wanting to see the look on my Dad’s face. We all stayed in silence as we waited for any kind of news. It seemed like all we’d been doing recently was just waiting around for any information that was available and the waiting part was the worst. The majority of the Healers in Norah’s room exited, dragging full trolleys behind them and with little beads of sweat dripping down their forehead. Teddy came out not long after and we all stood up straight, waiting in anticipation for what he was about to say.

“She’s alright, we managed to get her heart-rate back down to normal and she’s responsive,” he explained and the tense atmosphere from before dissipated into one of relief, “She’s just resting now but we will have to run a few tests on her. I don’t know how long it’ll take because it depends on the results on these tests but up until that point, myself and the rest of the team have decided that she can’t have visitors until we’re sure she’s recovering properly.” He added sombrely and we all nodded, a little upset at the fact we wouldn’t be able to see her for days or maybe even weeks, but we all knew she was alive and that was enough for now.

“Thank you, Healer Lupin,” Char rushed forward to embrace him, much to his surprise, “Thank you so much.” She let go before giving the same treatment to James but thanking him instead for suggesting moving Norah here under Teddy’s care. Said Healer left us alone so we could process the information and I couldn’t stop smiling once again. Then a though suddenly occurred to me,

“Where are we gonna stay tonight?” I hissed to James whilst Char was having a group hug with Darrell and Dad, “We booked out of that B&B this morning.”

“I know, we could always just book in another night in a different one. I’m sure there’s one around here somewhere.” He suggested and I nodded my head. Just before James was about to leave to go and find one, Char grabbed his upper-arm suddenly and turned him to face her.

“And where do you think you’re going?” She asked him through her happy tears.

“To find a B&B for the night.” He answered, that cute look of confusion all over his face.

“No you’re not,” she shook her head, detaching herself from the hug and beckoning me to come towards her as well, “You can both stay at ours tonight. It’s the least I could do after everything you’ve done for us.” She smiled kindly up at James, who returned it a little nervously.

“Are you sure, Char? We could always find a hotel to stay in, we don’t want to impose.” I hurriedly cut over her but she gave me a stern glance.

“Don’t be silly, Elle. We have enough room now anyway.” She gave me a secretive smile and I became nervous all of a sudden. We all said our goodbyes to my Dad and apparated to Char’s house. Darrell unlocked the house and we all walked inside, with me bracing myself for the attack from my niece and nephew.

“Where are Ruari and Gabby?” I asked when I realised how quiet it was and that I wasn’t about to be attacked.

“They’re staying with my parents over the weekend,” Darrell explained as he switched all the lights on and we followed them into the living room, “They think it’s a little treat whilst Mum and Dad have some stuff to take care of so they were quite happy to go.” He shrugged and began pulling all the cushions off of a brand, spanking new couch.

“When did you get this?” My eyes widened at Darrell, who was now pulling out a double sofa-bed and rearranging the cushions whilst Char brought down some bedding and pyjamas for us to wear.

“I got a bonus at the beginning of the month, we were going to surprise you when you got back from Spain but we might as well use it now.” He smiled, helping Char set it all up whilst James and I got changed into the pyjamas.

“Thanks for lending me your pyjamas.” James thanked Darrell as we were passing them in the corridor.

“It’s no problem, mate.” He smiled, patting him on the back and making his way up to his bedroom, his wife following close behind after kissing me on the forehead and saying good-night.

“It’s so weird…” I whispered in the dark as we both got into our sides of the bed.

“What is?” James responded, immediately turning on his side so he could see me.

“These past three days have gone by fast, it’s like a blur.” I admitted, also turning so that I was facing him and moving myself closer.

“I know, but at least the worst part is over.” He placed a kiss on my forehead and I felt that same leap in my stomach as before, meaning that I was grinning from ear-to-ear. Also like from before, instead of answering, I leaned my head up and started kissing him gently until things got a bit heated. James’ hands reached their way under my shirt, making me shiver in anticipation and in return, I reached with one to his hair and used the other to delicately trail my index finger along his jaw. Slowly, James started rolling so he was on top of me and started kissing me a bit more feverishly, forcing his tongue into my mouth so that our breathing was becoming more shallow. His mouth, eventually, left mine and started making its way along my cheek, down my jaw and onto my neck where he latched onto my weak spot again. I let out a quiet moan before realising where we were and bringing his face up to mine in the darkness.

“Maybe… here’s not the best place…?” I gave him a nervous smile to which he chuckled.

“Maybe not.” He pecked me on the lips gently before slumping himself down beside me, curling up so that his front was to my back.

“Good night.” I yawned, letting my mind drift off into the beautiful land of dreams. But not before hearing something in my sleepy-state of delusion-ness,

“I'm in love with you, Elle."

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