Disclaimer: I have disappeared off the face of the earth for a few months. If I were JK Rowling, you'd know where I was and what I was doing.
AN: While typing this, I was in Kentucky at my aunt's house and she has a weird keyboard and I made lots of mistakes. I tried to proofread, but I may have missed some. The spacebar was the most annoying, so if you see a really long word that doesn't make sense, try to break it up into smaller words.
AN2: New Years Eve + depressed Irish chick drinking. Sorry if people drinking alone offends you. Oh,and the 1st scene is kinda choppy. I tried to fix it, but kept making it worse. Sorry.
Hermione emerged from the fireplace in the Burrow and dusted her clothes off.
Mrs. Weasley looked up from the stove and smiled widely. "Hermione's here!" she called brightly and rushed to envelope her in a hug.
Draco then stumbled from the fireplace and Molly also swept him into her embrace.
"We're so pleased to have both of you here, even if it is only for a few days."
There was thumping coming down the stairs and Ron appeared with a giant grin. "Mum, let go of them before they choke."
Molly released the two, then Ron also swept Hermione into a brief hug. "Glad you could come, 'Mione. You really need to talk to my sister."
"Now, Ronald..." Mrs. Weasley warned, her eyes narrowed at him.
Ron shrugged. He clapped Draco on the back. "You'll be bunking with me and Harry. It shouldn't be too crowded. I'll show you where it is."
The two boys disappeared up the stairs.
"Ginny should be in her room, dear," Mrs. Weasley told Hermione as she turned back to her cooking. "Let her know dinner will be done soon."
Hermione nodded and made her way up to Ginny's room.
Draco was almost blinded as he walked into Ron's completely orange room.
He spotted Harry lying on his stomach on a fold-out bed. "Hey, Harry," he greeted.
Harry continued staring at the wall and barely grunted in response.
Draco looked at Ron for an explanation. Ron looked very uncomfortable and murmured softly, "Erm... Him and Ginny got in a bit of a... spat."
Draco was nodding when a pillow came from Harry's general area and pelted Ron's shoulder.
"Harry, I'm just telling him what happened. I'm not blaming it on you; it's not your fault my sister's nutty."
Harry looked up at his best friend. "Don't insult her."
Ron rolled his eyes. "Whatever, mate."
Harry laid his head back on his pillow and looked sideways at Draco. "Is Hermione with her?"
He nodded and Harry sighed. "Great. Now every female I know will hate me."
"Hermione won't hate you," Draco reassured him as he sat on Ron's bed.
"And neither does my mum. She's very sympathetic," added Ron.
"What happened between you two anyway?" Draco asked.
Harry paused, but then launched into the story.
When he finished, Draco was leaning against the wall with his arms crossed.
"So basically," he began, "she hates you for--"
"Being himself," Ron finished. "I'm telling you, she's nutty!"
"She is not!" Harry sat up to defend his ex-girlfriend. "She's wonderful."
Ron groaned and plopped down beside Draco. "You know, Harry, you may be right. You're the one who's nutty."
Draco nodded his agreement and Harry glared at them.
"Sorry, mate, but she had you whipped. It's cruel to dump a whipped boyfriend."
Harry sighed and fell back on his bed. "Yeah… You're right…"
Hermione knocked shortly on Ginny's door before entering.
"Hey, Gin," she greeted as she walked in. She halted mid-step as she saw Ginny curled up on her bed, staring at the music box Harry had given her only days earlier.
"Uh oh… What's going on?"
Ginny looked up. "Oh, hi Hermione."
"What happened?" Hermione asked as she pulled her luggage to the end of Ginny's bed.
Ginny was silent for a few moments, then summarized the story, "Harry and I broke up."
Hermione was silent, but nodded.
Ginny sat up to make room for Hermione to sit, which she did.
"You wanna talk about it?" Hermione asked, not wanting to intrude if Ginny didn't want her there.
Ginny sighed. "I just… I hated having a boyfriend who was in danger all of the time. If something ever happened…" She shook her head. "I just don't know what I'd do if I lost him."
Hermione took her hand. "Ginny, I don't want you to think I don't support you, because I do. But, it seems like you've lost him anyway."
Ginny closed her eyes and nodded. A few tears appeared in the corners of her eyes.
"Oh, Ginny, I didn't mean to--"
"No, no," Ginny interrupted. "You're absolutely right." She wiped the tears from her eyes angrily. "I am such a bitch."
"Ginny, don't say that."
"No, I am. Harry's miserable. He's completely silent during meals. And Ron shoots me these hateful glares whenever he sees me." She laughed bitterly. "I can do more damage than You-Know-Who."
Hermione's mouth turned slightly upward. "Don't say that too loudly. He may try to recruit you," she joked.
Ginny started to smile, but then froze. "Oh, Hermione. I'm so selfish! Here I am complaining about Harry going into danger, and it was you he was trying to save! I am so sorry!"
"No, Ginny. It's fine. You were just worried about your boyfriend."
Ginny nodded and laid back sideways on her bed.
"You know you're like my sister, 'Mione, and it's nothing against you personally, but I just don't understand why he always has to save people."
"I worry about him too, Ginny. He's one of my best friends."
"Yeah, I kn--"
"DINNER'S READY!" The twins' voices traveled up the stairs.
"I'm going to wait a minute," Ginny said as Hermione stood up. "I don't want to run into him on the stairs."
Hermione nodded. "Do you want me to wait with you?"
"No, I'm not going to keep you from your friends. But thanks."
Hermione nodded and started towards the door. She turned the knob, then turned back to face Ginny. "You know you're my friend too, right?"
Ginny smiled and nodded. "Of course."
Harry was walking down the stairs glumly with Draco and Ron as he was attacked by Hermione, who had just come out of Ginny's room.
"Oh, Harry! I'm so glad to see you!" Hermione pulled away from him. "Are you OK?"
Harry gave a small smile and nodded. "I'm glad you're okay, 'Mione."
The group entered the kitchen to see the twins (who had apparently lurked over Mrs. Weasley until dinner was done) sitting impatiently at the table and Mrs. Weasley taking a package from an owl at the window. She looked confused as she read the label.
She looked up at the occupants of the kitchen. "Where's Ginny? She has a package."
"She said she'd be down in a minute," Hermione answered as everyone sat down.
"GINNY!" the twins yelled, leaning back in their chairs for better projection up the stairs. "You've got mail!"
Hermione held back a laugh, as she knew no one else would understand the Muggle reference to AOL.
Moments later, Ginny appeared at the bottom of the stairs, looking puzzled.
"Who is it from?" she asked as she walked to her mother. She looked even more confused as she was handed a box wrapped in brown paper.
"It's from Delphina's House of Fine Antiques." Ginny paused, but then tore the brown paper off,revealing a slim white box with a gold tag on it.
She turned the box to read the tag, then looked up at Harry.
Harry flinched as one of the twins kicked his leg.
"Who's it from?" George asked in an overly chipper voice.
"Harry... Gifts aren't going to work," Ginny finally said.
Harry's face was blank. "But, I didn't--"
"Open it!" Fred cut him off.
"There should be a slip inside that says when it was ordered," George added.
Ginny hesitated, but then slit the box open with her fingernail.
She pulled out a very thin object wrapped in white tissue paper with a piece of paper tied to it.
"Ordered December 27th. Delivered December 31st," she readout loud.Ginny looked up at Harry again.
"See?" Fred said. "It was ordered before all this happened and they just sent it today."
"Well?" Mrs. Weasley prompted as she sat a soup pot on a hot pad. "Are you going to open it?"
"You might as well," Hermione added.
Ginny narrowed her eyes at her and Hermione held back a smile.
Ginny sighed and gingerly removed the tissue paper to reveal a delicate-looking golden lily.
Hereyes widened as she ran her fingers over the authentic gold.
"The lily is your favorite flower," George pointed out as he snitched a bit of roast beef from the pan.
"I'm fully aware of that," Ginny snapped at him.
Mrs. Weasley moved closer to inspect the gilded flower.
"Why, I saw this in the window of Delphina's weeks ago and thought of you, Ginny." Molly patted her daughter's shoulder. "But it was more than a week of your father's wages. I do wish I had 200 Galleons to spend on you though, dear."
Ginny's mouth dropped open and comprehension dawned on Harry. '200 Galleons… That's why the twins keep kicking me.'
"200 Galleons?" Ginny screeched. "I can't accept this, Harry. Take it back and get a refund."
"No, it's yours. I'm not taking it back." Harry refused to take the flower from Ginny.
The room was silent for a few moments, then Ginny broke it by clearing her throat and saying, "I'm not really hungry, mum. I'll eat later, though."
She made eye contact with her mother and Mrs. Weasley nodded. "I'll save you a plate."
Ginny walked back towards the stairs and paused while passing Harry's chair. "Thank you, Harry."
Harry turned to look at her. "You're welcome, Gin." He looked in her eyes and sighed when she flinched and broke eye contact.
Shaylee bent and twisted her arm as she walked out of the hospital wing.
It was as good as new. That's more than could be said about Severus. His bones were still being mended and he had yet to wake up.
Shaylee entered her office and halted in the door. Everything had been returned from Cecilia's house. Her bean bag sat in the corner as usual and her miniature dancing fairy turned pirouettes on her desk. The Phantom of the Opera was lying on the bean bag.
Shayleeclosed her door, sighing,and went to her desk. She unlocked the bottom right drawer and took out a half-empty bottle of whiskey.
She plopped down on her bean bag, set Mr. Teddy down beside her and ran her fingers over the cover of The Phantom of the Opera.
She leaned her head against the wall and closed her eyes. Sighing, she opened her bottle and raised it in salute to the empty room, then took a long swig.
"Happy New Year, Sev."