So, it's just recently come to my attention that *sigh* I have never updated the info I should have with regards to the Potter/Weasley wedding, and the arrival of baby number one. Again, *sigh*. One day I'll get around to it. For now, I'll just keep contradicting myself ;)
Round 9 of QLFC, people! YAY! This time, my prompt was "Goggles – write about a witch or wizard seeing someone in a new light." I also had to feature a known Quidditch player in the story; Ginny, of course! (And Harry, too. Hehe)
Off we go!
3 December 2003
Ginny was sitting in the nursery by herself one sunny afternoon, folding the clothes she'd received as gifts at her shower last weekend (Hadn't she done this for hours already? How many onesies did one baby need?) when it occurred to her that she hadn't seen Harry in quite some time. She stood up from her chair and called, "Harry? Harry, are you home?"
There was no answer, so Ginny walked out to the darkened hallway; the moon shone through one of the windows of the upper level of their new home, which they'd finally purchased after Ginny had gotten pregnant. "Harry?" she asked. Her voice seemed to echo through the upper story, which was impressive for such a cozy cottage. There was a light on in the downstairs study, and she smiled.
"Harry, it's almost two in the morning…" she said gently, approaching the doorway—and then her heart stopped. Harry's desk lamp was on, but his chair was empty, and the study window was broken, swinging wildly back and forth in the wind and storm outside, making a terrible, banging racket and sending stacks of parchment flying about the room.
"Harry?" Ginny gasped, as the banging grew louder and louder. "Harry!"
And suddenly, she was sitting bolt upright in her bed, impeded by her heavily pregnant belly and the faded Holyhead Harpies t-shirt that had twisted around her; the baby kicked at her sudden, sharp movement. Ginny massaged her side, but her other hand was already instinctively reaching to her left, searching for her husband's shoulder—and then she remembered. Harry was on a mission tonight, and would be back in the morning. She sighed with relief, feeling foolish. She started to lie back, rubbing her tired eyes with her fingertips as her breathing and heartbeat returned to normal.
It was then that she realized that the steady, loud banging that had permeated her dream, and persisted even now, wasn't just the storm raging outside her window, and it hadn't simply been in her nightmare.
Ginny seized her wand and flew out of the bed as fast as her large belly would allow, staggering and skidding in the direction of the stairs.
Out of breath by the time she made it all the way down, Ginny yanked open the front door, which looked as though it was about to be pounded off of its hinges. "Ron," she groaned, feeling her stomach plummet through the floor. Her own brother, soaking wet from the rain and shaking head to toe, stood on her porch, his eyes wide. He had what looked like a nasty gash on his cheek, and the hand that held his lit wandtip aloft had bruised and cut-up knuckles.
"Ginny—it's Harry," he stammered. "You've got to—"
"St. Mungo's?" she asked sharply, and he nodded. "Give me five minutes." She turned her back on him and moved as quickly as she could back towards the stairs.
Ginny didn't react to the sound of her name. Then, suddenly, Hermione's arms were around her and she was no longer alone in the quiet waiting room in the secure wing of St. Mungo's. Hermione was haphazardly dressed in her work things, her hair tangled and wild.
"Ron came home and told me—he's with your parents right now, but I wanted to get here—" Hermione drew her into a gentler hug.
"Thanks," Ginny murmured numbly into Hermione's shoulder. "He'll be okay… they said…"
Hermione reached up a hand to smooth her hair. "Of course he will. You look exhausted. Here—don't you want to sit? Your back must be bothering you…"
Ginny began to protest, but Hermione steered her from the window and helped her sit down on the waiting room sofa. Then she perched on the table, facing Ginny to scrutinize her features.
"Have you had any sleep?" Hermione asked.
Ginny shook her head. "I've been here since about four."
"You didn't see any reporters on your way in, did you?" Ginny asked.
"No," Hermione replied. "Ginny, you're scaring me."
"I'm sorry, I—I didn't…"
"Haven't you spoken with someone?" Hermione asked immediately.
"Hermione, please," Ginny said, and she suddenly felt exhausted. "Yes, I have spoken with a Healer. He was hurt during a covert extraction. The Aurors had a lead on someone, I don't know who. Ron said they managed it, but if anyone finds out where they were…"
Hermione squeezed her hands. "How is he?"
"He isn't awake yet," Ginny said. "They have him in a treatment room."
"How bad are his injuries?" Hermione's voice became soft.
Ginny leaned forward, lowering her head and trying to take a deep breath, though her pregnant stomach made this posture difficult for more than a few seconds. He'll be all right. He'll be all right. She sat back and pushed her fingers through her hair. He'll be all right. She blew out a breath, looking anywhere but Hermione's face, and recited, "Broken ribs. Broken back. Broken legs. Fractured skull. Internal injuries. Torn ligaments in—his elbow, I think—"
"What did he do?" Hermione gasped, horrified, and Ginny fidgeted, her leg starting to bounce up and down as she bit her lip. He'll be all right.
"He—um—he took a curse that was going for Ron, which would've been enough to do some of the damage, but he also fell," she replied shakily, flexing her hands in her lap and staring down at them. "Off of what, exactly, no one's told me…"
Ginny gave a great sniff and shook her head adamantly. "I can't talk about this right now," she removed her hands from Hermione's. "He'll be all right, that's what they said, so now I'm just—I'm just waiting for him—" she cleared her throat and looked away for a moment.
At that instant, a Healer in green robes with the crossed bone and wand insignia was approaching. "Mrs. Evans."
Ginny barely blinked at the Healer's use of Harry's assumed name in the Auror department for emergencies such as this.
"We've stabilized your husband's condition. He's sedated, but we've moved him to a room."
"Really?" Ginny breathed, half-rising from her seat. "O-okay—that's good—"
"Can he have visitors?" Hermione asked at once.
"Immediate family only," said the Healer, her eyes flickering between Ginny and Hermione.
"She's his sister," Ginny said at once, standing and linking her arm with Hermione's. The Healer looked skeptical.
"One at a time," she said, conceding at last.
"You first. I'll wait here for Ron," Hermione told her. "You'll be all right?"
Ginny gave her a taut smile. She started to follow the Healer, a short witch with gray hair, from the waiting area.
They walked along the deserted corridor of the wing that was kept private and secure for its patients; Ron had said that Kingsley and Hestia had seen to Harry's immediate admission there, avoiding the curious eyes of the general public in the rest of the hospital. The Healer stopped before a room that had all of the shades drawn in the windows. The name placard beside the door read, 'F. Evans.'
It was incredible to Ginny that they had once laughed together, coming up with that name from Harry's parents' names—Fleamont Evans. Somehow, it had been funny, before. She couldn't really remember why now.
"We've cleaned him up and done a lot of the repair he needed most, but there's only so much we can do until he's a bit more stable," said the Healer warningly, laying a hand on the closed door. "He's not looking his best."
Ginny gave a hollow laugh. "Don't worry, he stopped looking his best for me years ago." The Healer gave her a sympathetic look, and Ginny cleared her throat uncomfortably. "Thank you very much," she said.
"I am Healer Penswick, by the way. I'll be in charge of Mr. Evans while he's here," said the Healer.
"And…how long is that going to be?" she asked apprehensively.
"A week or two, as long as everything heals well."
"Can I sit with him now?"
"Yes," said the Healer. "You're welcome to stay. However, as he is resting now, it may be a good time for you to take a break, or ask any questions you may have?"
Ginny stared at her. The Healer nodded and stepped back from the door. "We'll be checking him every hour or so, but you're welcome to stay," she told Ginny.
And she opened the door for Ginny, who walked slowly into the room. Her stomach plummeted.
In the bed, Harry was covered in bandages, one arm and both legs splinted, and just about every inch of his skin that she could see was black and blue, covered in bruises and scrapes. There was a deep, angry-looking wound on his right temple; that eye was swollen shut. Ginny came to a stop and gripped the railing at the foot of Harry's bed hard with both hands, her knuckles turning white.
"His vision in his right eye shouldn't be impaired once the swelling has gone down," said Healer Penswick, noticing where Ginny was looking. She had come into the room silently. "But that laceration definitely came from a curse, and we won't be able to do very much to prevent scarring. He might have a bit of trouble speaking, as well, at least for the next day or two…his jaw was broken."
Ginny nodded mutely, this remark barely registering; nothing the Healer said could possibly be worse than what she was seeing.
"You're to be addressed by the hospital staff as Mr. and Mrs. Evans," the Healer went on, her tone becoming softer—or was Ginny simply tuning her out? She added, "If you hear of anyone speaking to or about you as the Potters, you should let me know. I will always be the one to introduce you to anyone new who might be working with him."
Ginny nodded again, not trusting herself to speak.
Healer Penswick hesitated for a moment—Ginny wondered if the Healer thought she might faint—but then she showed herself out of the room.
For nearly five full minutes after she was alone, Ginny did not move. She was transfixed by Harry's beaten, bruised, sleeping face where she stood at the end of the bed. Indeed, it wasn't until she felt her tears falling onto the backs of her hands that she realized she had started to cry.
And, once she had realized it, it suddenly became impossible to stop. She felt weak at the knees, and she quickly found a visitor's chair, drawing it as close to Harry's bed as she could. She picked up his uninjured hand and laced their fingers together, brushing her other hand gently over the scrapes and bruises.
Her whole body shook with sobs—she could not, in her entire life, remember crying like this, except perhaps for the day she'd been rescued from Tom Riddle…
Ginny squeezed her eyes shut, wanting to hold tight to the only part of Harry that didn't seem to have been shattered, but not wanting to cause him any more pain. She kissed the back of his hand and closed her eyes. "Okay," she whispered. "Okay…you'll be all right…"
"Well… good morning," Ginny said softly, sitting forward in her chair and taking Harry's hand. He had opened his eyes—well, his one good eye, anyway—at last and was looking around with a tired, confused expression. He squinted slightly at her; a nurse had brought her his wedding ring and glasses in a small bag hours ago, after Hermione had left and come back with a fresh change of clothes and a book for Ginny. It had been a long day.
"Having a lie-in, are we?" she teased him gently. "You're making a meal of it, it's after five."
"Hm," Harry said, trying to smile, but wincing. He allowed his eye to close for a moment. Ginny used the moment to set the book aside and draw her chair a bit closer to the hospital bed, gently running her fingertips up and down his arm, careful to avoid the deeper cuts. "Hm," he said, but he winced again when he tried to speak.
"Shh," Ginny said quietly. "I'm here, Harry, try to relax. You had a broken jaw. And just about everything else," she added, taking his hand in hers.
Harry opened his eye again and gave her an apologetic look. "Sorry," he managed to say, though it looked like it hurt.
"Yes, well, sorry won't cut it this time, Potter. I've already got the divorce papers on file," she told him. She tried to smile, but Harry knew the teasing was forced. He squeezed her fingers.
"How…lngh?" he asked.
"It hasn't been long," she assured him, her voice losing its bravado. "Ron came over in the middle of the night last night and practically blasted the front door off its hinges trying to get me here."
Harry's eyes widened in horror.
"It's okay. I'm fine, the baby's fine. You gave us a turn, but—but it's all okay," she started to say, but her voice caught. She blinked as tears came to her eyes; Harry's grip tightened on her hand. "All right… no, it's not."
She lowered her face; hadn't she cried enough?
"Gin," he said between his teeth. "S-srry…"
Ginny shook her head. "It's—it's not you, it's—I mean, it is," she said, with a slight hiccup. She met his eyes. "You… you're… breakable." And she laughed miserably, even as tears started to fall again.
Harry watched her, frowning in mild confusion.
"I've… you've never been that way, to me." Ginny swiped at her tears with her sleeve. "I never thought…"
Harry sighed miserably, and then gave a slight groan of pain. Ginny kissed his hand, and it was silent for a long moment until Harry had relaxed somewhat.
"Luvyu," he managed to tell her.
"Me too," she nodded.
"Whn…gome?" Harry asked, struggling not to move his sore jaw.
"A few weeks," Ginny told him, and Harry scowled (as much as was possible in his state).
"Would you like to put money on that, you Auror-shaped jigsaw puzzle?" she asked, resting her chin in her hand.