This story was written for Desertisle in The DG Forum Fic Exchange - Summer 2018 by a member of our forum. For more details, please visit our page.
Author Notes: I apologize in advance, this probably isn't as lighthearted as you wanted!
Draco contacted Malfoy Manor when his mother didn't show up at the Delafield Ball as expected. It was her pride and joy, a ball dedicated to those that helped to rebuild the Wizarding World and establish the new social ladder. Of course Narcissa would ensure that the Malfoy name was still on it; she helped Harry Potter escape death and Draco had lied about recognizing him. Small rebellions to be sure, but there were few opportunities for Death Eaters to fight back when under Voldemort's thumb and stay alive. Draco kept his head down and his mouth shut since then, creating foundations commemorating the fallen and assisting with the annual Delafield Ball.
Narcissa should have been there early. It wasn't like her to be late without word, and she had been so excited about the new band she had hired for the ball. It was an up and coming Wizarding band that played dance music as well as old Wizarding favorites. She was hoping to entice the younger members of the British Wizarding World, not just the veterans from the Battle of Hogwarts and the Second Wizard War.
It was strange to think of himself as a veteran. He had turned thirty-five earlier that year, with little to show for it. He worked for his mother, essentially, and the old betrothal to Astoria Greengrass fell through when she eloped with Cassiopeia Warner, a mixed blood young woman that had come from Scotland. Draco couldn't say that he was truly upset by Astoria's move, since he hadn't been particularly attached to her. She was in love, and he could respect that, and had even given them a tasteful gift to decorate their new home in the Highlands.
His days felt hollow and empty, devoid of meaning. There were endless meetings and parties and social calendars to set up, communiqués to write and festivities to plan in order to draw in more funds for the charity work the Malfoy family did. It was a different kind of exhausting than he had thought he would have to endure. Once upon a time, he had thought he would be a man of business or politics as his father had planned for him, but now he felt all but useless to the way the world really ran. Politics really didn't stir his blood anyway, and he had loathed how he had to simper and preen for Voldemort as his father did in order to avoid being singled out for punishment or being killed. His father thought nothing of it, bending his knee without complaint, hoping for the dubious honor of being at Voldemort's side in the new regime. Lucius Malfoy died ignominiously at Azkaban not long before Draco's twenty-seventh birthday, and he hadn't even bothered to collect the remains. They had been unceremoniously dumped into the sea rather than interred into the family crypt. Socially, that was quite the insult, and it had sent ripples in the gossip column. Surely the Malfoy family truly repented of Lucius' crimes.
Disgusting, the lot of it.
There wasn't any word back from Malfoy Manor before some of the other ball organizers were heading toward him. Draco pasted a smile on his face and shook hands, made all the correct answers, excused his mother's absence as "unavoidable things to take care of," which sounded enough like her that some of them were mollified. Otherwise, the ball went off without a hitch, and his face ached from smiling so much as the band played and he danced with the various debutantes and philanthropists present.
By the time the ball was over and everything was swept up and back in shape, Narcissa still hadn't arrived. For some reason, cold dread snaked its way down his spine. She would have sent some kind of word, and there had been none. As beautiful and large as Delafield Hall was, he now regretted not setting precedent with enlargement charms on Malfoy Manor. Enough of it was plottable, it could have been found by any of the donors that he and his mother courted to aid the Wizarding World. At the same time, he didn't like the idea of strangers tromping in and out of his home, possibly going through the manor looking for proof that would suddenly appear to make him and Narcissa look guilty of something.
He Apparated home and rushed through the manor, calling for Narcissa. There was no answer, which made his stomach curdle in fear. Even if she had left, she would have instructed a house elf to answer if anyone came calling for her. She was always thoughtful in little ways like that, so that Draco would never have to worry about her as he used to as a teen.
Finally, he caught sight of a slender, pale wrist lying on the floor in the library. Running into the room, Draco caught sight of Narcissa sprawled on the floor. She was in a simple silk dress, the same one he remembered her wearing that morning, her shoes fallen off her feet and her hair spread around her in an untidy halo of pale blonde strands. Her eyes were closed and her breathing was so very shallow, and there was no bruising along her head or anything to indicate why she had fallen in the library.
Draco only knew the most rudimentary of first aid spells, and they were woefully inadequate for this. Narcissa had likely fallen early in the morning, while he had been at the Delafield Ball and feeling sorry for himself. He felt like the worst sort of son, the kind that everyone had always accused him of being. He didn't even realize he was wailing until one of the house elves came to see what the noise was all about, finding him on his knees and cradling her in his arms, sobbing and pleading with her to wake up.
The next few days were a blur, and he had no idea what happened. He probably ate and drank whatever the house elves put in front of him, and sat waiting for staff at St. Mungo's to tell him what was wrong with his mother. It wasn't poison, it wasn't spell work, it wasn't a cursed artifact of any kind. As far as they can tell, she had simply collapsed.
None of them knew why, and would not even hazard a guess.
Emotions swirled inside of him, and Draco wanted to howl in rage. "Who would know, then? I have to help my mother!"
One of the healers, less cowed than the others, stepped forward with a too-understanding look on his haughty, aged face. "You'll want the medical college. They're on the cutting edge of magic and medicine, between Muggle and Wizarding worlds. I don't know what this is, but they will be able to tell you something."
It might have been grasping at straws, but Draco had nowhere else to turn.
Muggles knew it as the University of Edinburgh Medical School, but there had always been a wizards branch since its inception in 1681. The barber-surgeons of Edinburgh had incorporated in 1505, and a fair number of them had magical skill as well. The craft guild had understood the need for magic at that time, and even as the witchcraft craze had swept through the British Isles and Europe, the guild had kept their magical brethren safe. Their skills were eventually passed on as part of the medical school, additional classes that were taught in a special wing separate from those of the Muggle students.
Ginny Weasley hadn't thought of herself as medical student material, let alone at a school that took in mostly Muggles. She had gone into Quidditch in a blaze of glory, and had tumbled out of the sky catching the snitch in a fantastic dive she hadn't been able to pull out of. Shattered bones had been easy enough to fix with spells and Skelegro, but the fall had rattled something in her head. The balance and joy of being on a broom wasn't there any longer, and Quidditch didn't matter to her as much as it used to. Instead of being her way to avoid memories she would rather forget, it had simply become another one.
Her team's healer seemed to sense the change in her as her bones grew back into place, and had sat her down. "Oi. I don't see that fire for flying like when you first got here," he told her, eyes luminous and expression caring as he held her hands tightly. She had dropped her gaze, taking in the contrast of his dark skin against her pale tones, grown almost ghostly and paper white during her convalescence. "This isn't where your heart is, and I don't think you should get back on the broom with the rest of the team if it's not."
"What else can I do, then?" she'd said, voice hoarse with unshed tears. "This is all I know."
He'd laughed then, genuinely amused. "As if I didn't see you nursing others' hangovers and splinting arms as well as I do when they take a tumble. I think you'd be just as good a healer as you are a flier."
She had thought he was full of it, but dove into the studies with a fervor that surprised her. There was quite a bit of catching up to do with Muggle subjects, but she found biology, chemistry, physics and biochemistry fascinating. She took the Muggle exams and scored top marks, much to her surprise, and tossed her name into the application pool at Edinburgh. What could it hurt? It was one of the best medical schools, and they could afford to picky.
Still, it was a shock when she received her acceptance letter, and this one mattered more to her than the letter she had received at age eleven. Entry to Hogwarts was guaranteed if one had magic, but this letter was only given to those that earned it.
The first two years of study were all the preclinical subjects, biochemistry, anatomy, physiology and the basics of microbiology. Most of the classes were at Teviot Place, which contained the anatomy teaching laboratory and resource center. She loved studying in the original lecture theater, a large space that easily sat more than two hundred students. It reminded her of the study desks at the Hogwarts library, and made her wonder if perhaps she should have sorted Ravenclaw when she had been a child.
Ginny decided to take an intercalated degree in neuroscience for her third year of schooling. The primary focus in her research at the time was in stroke and neurodegenerative diseases, and she tried to tell herself at the time that it wasn't just because she worried what possession and spells would do to the mind. She volunteered for imaging studies as a comparison in different tests her supervisor was running, and all of the results had been normal. As much as she hadn't really been worried, she was glad of that just the same.
Her final three years were all clinical work, and the rotations were divided between the three main teaching hospitals in Edinburgh: the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, the Western General Hospital, and the Royal Hospital for Sick Children. Most of her rotations were at the Royal Infirmary, and she liked those the best. Not that she didn't enjoy working with children or other populations, but she was drawn more to the mystery of diagnosis and research, and soon found herself talking with her supervisors in the neuroscience building again. She was taken into the programme and working part time in the clinic and part time doing research in the lab. It was a very different life than what she had thought she would have, but one that she found she enjoyed just as much as zooming through the air at a breakneck pace.
To Ginny's chagrin, she realized that the Wizarding students didn't usually finish their degrees at Edinburgh. They followed the seventeenth and eighteenth century traditions of leaving after the first year of clinicals, not bothering with the oral or written examinations or composing a thesis study. Even the best at St. Mungo's hadn't gotten much further in their studies than that.
Teaching Muggle and Wizarding students alike actually gave Ginny a lot of joy. She was an adjunct professor, doing research and teaching neuroscience classes when not caring for patients of her own. It seemed a perfect balance to her, and gave her a different sense of flying than she used to have while on a broom. Her family didn't quite understand it, but her father thought it was utterly brilliant that she lived and worked among Muggles and Wizards, and could contribute her skills to both worlds. "The best of what we had wanted to do when the Ministry was transformed," he declared with pride. "My daughter, the Healer."
"Dad," she'd said, shaking her head a little bashfully. "It's a lot of work."
"Right! And you do it without complaint, and you're wonderful at it." He'd grinned at her, the same grin he had given Bill when he began curse breaking and Charlie when he began working with dragons. "Groundbreaking in your own way, Ginny," he'd said, beaming at her.
Molly had also been so very proud of her. "All of our children are so talented," she had said, sniffling and dabbing at her eyes with a handkerchief. "Such a future you'll have!"
Never once did she think that future would involve Draco Malfoy.
The request to evaluate Narcissa Malfoy arrived via owl, with a charmed parchment that would only open to Ginevra Weasley. She rolled her eyes at the excessive discretion in it, since the Muggle assistants she had in the building wouldn't have thought to go through her office at all. Her organizational style was... eccentric to their eyes, and the smatterings of Greek and Latin were incomprehensible to modern students. They didn't realize she did research into improving various potions available for headaches and eyestrain, and was working on various other neurological diagnostic spells. The ones available for common use were woefully lacking in creating a proper differential diagnosis in her opinion.
Reading the request actually made her stop pacing her office. On the one hand, a Malfoy was asking a Weasley for help? On the other... It had been years. Years. She'd had little to do with any of the reconstruction efforts in the greater Wizarding World at her choice, but had still heard of Narcissa's efforts to do so. It hadn't been Narcissa that had wounded her soul as a child but Lucius, and Ginny had taken her oath upon earning her degree.
Do no harm.
She really shouldn't have hesitated at all in taking up Narcissa's case. Mysterious fall and lack of return to full consciousness that the staff at St. Mungo's couldn't identify, though they were able to determine at least what it wasn't. Still, it was Malfoy. She shouldn't have been afraid, it had been years since the diary had haunted her dreams, but there was still the hesitation.
Pressing her lips together, she slid the parchment inside of her sleeve and locked up her office. It didn't take long to bound over to the Hanging Bat, wave at the bartender and slip behind the Muggle area to that of the Wizarding section. There were private fireplaces for floo and fire calls, and it was here that she went to contact her family. Ginny wasn't sure why she was so nervous, exactly. It was silly. She was a professional. A Healer in both worlds, eminently known for her research and diagnostic skill. Malfoy obviously didn't hold her heritage against her, so why should she?
Molly was home, of course, and there were the distant shrieks of Ginny's nieces and nephews in the background. "Ginny, love, is something the matter?"
Ginny gave her a smile. "I have a case I'm not sure if I want to take on."
"But you like the complicated ones, you said."
"It's Narcissa Malfoy that's the patient."
That made Molly pause, as it had initially for Ginny, but then she let out a sigh. "I think our families have hurt each other long enough, don't you? There hasn't been any concern about bad intent from them, and I do believe in that."
"I know. I haven't heard anything."
"Do you think I can really be unbiased in this?" she asked anxiously. "Can I not hold the past against them? Can I really do what has to be done?"
Molly leaned as close as she dared to the fire. "You are a Healer. You've recovered from what happened your first year as quick as you please, and there's never been a day that I ever thought poorly of you. I think that you're even worried about it says a lot about you."
Ginny's mouth dropped open. "What?"
"If you were intending to hurt that poor woman when she's so ill, you wouldn't be calling me to talk about it. You wouldn't worry about being a good person or a good doctor." Molly's fierce tone gentled, and her kind smile deepened the wrinkles around her eyes and mouth. Her mother was getting old, and it shocked Ginny to see it. "I think you have the capacity for such good, and such love. You'll do right by her, I know it."
"Oh." Her shoulders slumped as the tension bled out of her. "Oh. Thanks, Mum."
"I'd give you such a hug if I was up there with you, but it'll have to wait until hols."
She grinned. "I could always Apparate to you..."
"Off with you now!" Molly replied with an answering grin, making a shooing motion with her hands. "I've the kids and you've got a patient to see. Do us all proud, Ginny. Talk to you soon."
Still grinning, Ginny ended the fire call and headed out of the pub to go back to her office. Her mother was right, of course. She was stronger than the demons of her past, and she would never harm a patient.
Time to see Narcissa Malfoy.
Narcissa had woken on the third day of her convalescence at St. Mungo's, but she didn't make sense at all when she tried to speak. Draco tried sneaking her wand to her even though her Healers hadn't wanted her to have it. Spells backfired and exploded, leading to visible frustration and throwing her wand across the room. Giving her a quill and parchment didn't work, because her usual penmanship was nothing more than an illegible scrawl. The Healers couldn't get her to follow through with instructions, and hemmed and hawed as to why she was that way.
"What good are the lot of you if you can't figure out what happened and why she can't speak?" Draco shouted at one of the Healers that suggested yet another calming draught for Narcissa to take. Her hands were shaking, her lips moving and her tongue trembled, but still the words didn't come out in recognizable orders.
"Saying out!" she cried, pointing at the Healer. Then Narcissa's expression crumpled when she realized everyone looking at her in confusion, and she stamped her foot on the floor like a tantruming child. "Saying out!" she repeated with more intensity.
"Unfortunately," Ginny said, entering the room at this point, "most of the Healers don't complete the curriculum at Edinburgh."
Draco turned to face her, incredulity in his expression. "What?"
"They finish clinicals," she added, and then nodded at the Healer in the room. "Hello, Nanne," she said brightly. "Were you the one that suggested they contact me?"
"That would be Healer Hammond," Nanne said, sounding a little resentful. She turned to Draco and Narcissa and inclined her head. "If that will be all..."
Bristling, Draco's chest puffed out a bit. "That will not be—"
"Yes," Ginny said at the same time, using that same brightly perky voice as previously. "I will have everything in hand here."
Nanne left quickly, not evening turning to look at either Malfoy. "Cow," Narcissa muttered, brows knit together.
Ginny giggled, startling Draco. "You're certainly not wrong about that, Mrs. Malfoy," she said, nodding. "She was two years ahead of me in school, and I was never very impressed with her."
"Are you as good as they say you are?" Draco asked, spine stiff and voice strained.
"No." She grinned at his visible shock. "I'm better."
He took a closer look at her than when she had first entered Narcissa's room. She had the standard Healer robes, and her red hair was brushed back and neat. The robes were overlarge, more than he would have expected them to be, and hid everything about her. He vaguely remembered she had played professional Quidditch, but he had lost track of just about everyone from Hogwarts after he had finished school.
Ginny walked with a confident air, one he remembered that he had before he had found his mother sprawled across the floor. Now he felt out of sorts and nothing like himself.
"This is my mother," Draco said tightly, his gut twisting. "She was perfectly fine until last week, and none of the Healers here can tell us anything."
"I'd taken a look at the chart," Ginny said, gesturing for Narcissa to sit on her bed again. "But I'd rather start over and do a thorough examination of my own. Not to mention, I would like to have a number of scans run at my clinic. I think I know what I'll find, given what the notes had said, but it's always good to double check that there isn't something else missed."
"Oh, there are number of neurodegenerative diseases that could cause various symptoms that come on suddenly. Or conditions that can result in this. I rather doubt this is a transient ischemic attack, though."
"The amount of time," she said, unbuttoning her robes.
"What are you doing?" Draco sputtered as Narcissa looked at Ginny in interest.
As Ginny turned to face Draco, he could see that the Healer robes covered Muggle dress and some kind of white waistcoat that was unbuttoned. The pockets held several tools in them that Draco didn't know the name of, and there was some kind of instrument hanging around her neck and dangling down her chest that he had never seen before.
"Please don't tell me you're a purist of the worst sort," she sighed.
"Purist?" he echoed, caught off guard.
"That you won't allow an examination because of Muggle tools?"
"N-no," he stammered, shaking his head. "But none of the other Healers had those things, and I won't have any harm come to my mother."
"What kind of doctor do you take me for?" Ginny demanded, outraged.
"I don't know! That's the point!"
She made a low growling noise deep in her throat. "I completed the most rigorous training at Edinburgh, and I teach at the college in the neuroscience department as well as practice. I am developing diagnostic spells and I work with the imaging studies to fine tune the treatment algorhythms," she snarled. "I earned that position, I'll have you know, and put in all the work required for my intercalated degree as well as the medical degree!"
Draco narrowed his eyes at her. "Are you sure you aren't suffering from the same mysterious illness as my mother? Half of those words you just said are gibberish."
Narcissa made an outraged noise and stared at her son as Ginny sucked in a breath, just as outraged. "Nurse man!"
"You have an extremely narrow understanding of the world, Draco Malfoy," Ginny declared.
He crossed his arms over his chest and didn't back down. "The wider world hasn't helped our family in the least, so that's hardly a terrible thing. What do you propose to do to my mother?"
Ginny made an impatient noise. "I will do a physical examination as well as a number of diagnostic spells."
"The Healers here did the spells already."
"And if they knew what they were doing, you wouldn't have called me."
"I requested the best."
"And here I am," she declared, turning her back to Draco so she could focus on Narcissa. "As silly as some of the directions might sound, just follow them the best that you can. I can tell there isn't anything wrong with your receptive language skills."
Was that a joke? Draco edged closer so he could see what was going on, but Narcissa had a faint smile on her face and didn't look to be in distress. He looked on in confusion as Ginny drew her finger in different directions, listened to Narcissa's heart rate and breathing, her abdomen sounds, used the ridiculous looking hammers to tap on her limbs, or the wheel with spokes to test her sensory input. It was unlike anything the Healers had done in their assessments, and Ginny occasionally nodded to herself with whatever she was seeing in Narcissa's responses. She tried talking, but the words didn't seem to make any kind of sense. Narcissa was able to name the pocket watch that Ginny showed her, as well as the quill, and could identify a few other words fairly easily. Past the one-word answers, however, Narcissa had difficulty stringing words together and didn't seem to be able to follow Ginny's complicated directions. To be fair, she had just as much difficulty with easy ones like repeating words after her.
Draco stood by helplessly, wishing he knew what he could do for his mother. He'd never seen her like this before; even in the midst of the war she always maintained her poise at all times. Though Ginny didn't expressly say not to, he knew he couldn't answer for Narcissa, couldn't do any of the inane tasks she was supposed to do.
The wand work looked different from the Healers' spells, and not all of it had verbal components that Draco could ask about later. Ginny did a few more motions, a look of intense concentration on her face, and then stepped slightly back. "I'd like to get a few imaging studies." Her gaze flicked toward Draco, taking in his anxious expression. "That'll be in my clinic, so we'll be entering Muggle Edinburgh."
"How will you explain this?" Draco asked. "The Healers here said that Mum can't leave."
"Which is just silly," Ginny scoffed. "Her heart and lungs are perfectly healthy. This isn't a contagious illness. I suspect it was a stroke of some kind."
"A stroke. A stroke of what?" Draco demanded uneasily.
Ginny opened her mouth to reply, then seemed to think better of it. "It's a term for a specific type of brain damage."
Narcissa and Draco both looked distressed, and exchanged glances. He instinctively reached out to grasp her hand and squeeze it, and she squeezed back. The strength was the same, wasn't it? Or was it weaker? Was she truly ill and getting worse?
She gave the two of them a reassuring smile. "There are ways to treat it and lessen the impact, if it's what I think it is. The imaging is to confirm that, and I have a lot of resources at my disposal at the medical college."
"College go," Narcissa said. When she realized what she said, she looked frustrated and defeated at once. Writing wasn't even an outlet, because the letters were unrecognizable.
"Let's sign you out of here and head to Edinburgh," Ginny suggested.
Feeling out of his depth, Draco followed Ginny's directions and ignored the deep frowns of the Healers who tried to say that Narcissa shouldn't leave the hospital. He focused instead on the way that Narcissa clutched his hand in hers as if she would be lost if he let go. Ginny stood tall and straight, eyes bright and jaw set in that no nonsense way he was now remembering from her time at Hogwarts.
He'd never been to Edinburgh before, as there had never really been a reason to visit. The sheer press of Muggles seemed to frighten his mother, and he wanted to shake Ginny for making her so upset. Though he had to admit, he was just as out of his depth as Narcissa was. He'd never been this helpless since the end of the Second Wizarding War, and even then he'd been able to paste a veneer of pride over himself because Narcissa had been able to.
Ginny took in his large eyes and the way he stayed close to Narcissa and stepped in front of her to bodily protect her from the strangers taking information and the odd machinery all around them in the city. She brushed aside the concerns of the strangers talking to them, and her calm demeanor struck Draco more than anything else. This was her element. These strangers were acting in a deferent way to her, and seemed only too glad to get her approval. She allowed Draco to stay with her in the control room while Narcissa was placed inside the large machine that sputtered and clicked with regularity. He wanted to ask Ginny so many questions, but his eyes were fixed on the screens in front of the technician. The technical jargon flowed over him, but he could see the whorls and twists in the pictures forming on the screen, different colors lighting up on different areas. He didn't know what it meant, but he knew that he was somehow looking at a representation of his mother's mind.
Growing up, he'd been told that Muggles were useless and pathetic compared to Wizards. This was a humbling and startling experience.
Draco startled when Ginny gently pushed a cup of coffee into his hands. "Hey. You can sit and drink this, yeah? I can tell when all the medical-speak is too much to bear."
He faintly smiled in the face of her self deprecating expression. "Is it... Is it bad?"
She jerked her head toward the machine. "That, you mean?"
"Yeah. It looks..."
"Plenty of Muggles get claustrophobic, too," she murmured. "But this is going to give us the clearest picture of functioning. The spells I'm developing are close, but not as good."
Developing spells for diagnosis. He didn't even want to think about how difficult that had to be.
After the scans were done, Ginny sent them to the cafeteria for a cuppa. "It'll be a bit for me to put everything together. Just try to relax for a moment, think of anything except these tests, and I'll come on down to get you when I'm ready."
Though he wanted to bristle and rail at her, they were important, they were Malfoys, Draco let his shoulders slump instead. At least she was doing something. She was trying to get answers, which was more than the Healers at St. Mungo's had given him. Narcissa touched his arm. "Cuppa new," she said clearly, nodding toward the door. Her glance back at the massive circular machine she had been lying inside was followed by a theatrical shudder.
Draco didn't know what to say when he was ensconced in the cafeteria with Narcissa. They had their cups of tea, but he still felt chilled and uncertain. If he started talking about the balls and the society events that Narcissa was missing, would she feel bad? Would she even understand it? A few times he had tried to talk about Malfoy Manor to make her feel included, her eyes seemed to glaze over in confusion. Maybe she could follow the simple commands that Ginny had given her, look up, look down, look left, look right, but the state of the gardens was too much for her.
"Knut," Narcissa said, reaching over to touch his shoulder gently, a concerned expression on her face. At his blank look, she tapped his forehead. "Knut."
"A knut for my thoughts?" he asked. She brightened and nodded, leaning forward intently in that universal position of listening.
He couldn't help but sigh. "Is it too much if I talk about society events? Or the Manor? I don't know if I'm tiring you, or if this even makes sense. Or is there something else I should be doing? Some spell I should be looking up, some potion to brew. I've been next to useless in this whole thing, and I hate that feeling."
She had likely missed part of what he had said, as her expression didn't appreciably change. "Me try," she said, then the corner of her mouth turned down a bit.
"I wish I knew how to fix this," Draco murmured, giving her a sad smile. "I can't seem to ever be able to fix things to keep you safe."
"Not," she replied, a fierce expression on her face. "Not true."
Maybe it was only wishful thinking, but that part made perfect sense. "All right. If it's helping to run charity events or balls, I can do that."
A flash of red in their peripheral vision stopped them from trying to have a conversation, and both turned in unison. Ginny was there, hands stuffed in the bottom pockets of her white coat, a sympathetic expression on her face.
It wasn't good news. She explained in the privacy of her office the Muggle concept of a stroke, and showed them the pictures of Narcissa's brain. A portion of it had apparently died, leaving her with the difficulty speaking, reading, writing, and comprehending language. The charity work she had thrown herself into was out of the question now, and even with intensive language and speech therapies it was unlikely she would be able to fully regain her prior skills.
He wanted to rip up the notes that Ginny had taken, the parchment she had gone through. He wanted to destroy the images showing the big black hole in Narcissa's brain, wanted to ignore it and find a spell that could reverse the damage. Surely magic could create new brain cells, could give her back the language skills she had lost. Magic could translate her thoughts to words, couldn't it? Couldn't magic do everything?
"Go home," Ginny told them, still sympathetic. "Sleep in your own beds, take comfort in your home. That usually helps. I can try to find some speech therapists that can help with recovering some of the speech."
"And if it doesn't?" Draco asked, voice cracking.
Ginny stood. "I don't want to give you false hope. That's just cruel. Damage was done, so our role now is to try to teach new areas of the brain how to pick up the slack. That takes time, even with magic."
Draco bit back a "What are you good for, then?" and nodded. His eyes fell on Narcissa's expression, on the blankness in her eyes. His heart broke, and he clasped her hand tightly. "Mum, let's go home, then."
They left for the public apparition point with heavy hearts.
It was never easy to deliver bad news, but for some reason it was particularly draining for Ginny to give it to the Malfoys. It was silly, they had never been friends in school and she knew of the animosity between their families. Seeing Narcissa, obviously still alert and intelligent despite her garbled speech, made Ginny's stomach turn. She felt sorry for her in a way she hadn't expected when she first saw the Malfoy name. Even Draco's brash questions that had gotten her back up weren't the irritating condescension she'd faced from some other Wizarding families when she first started her Wizarding clinicals. She had assumed they would be, but thinking on it as she processed the MRI results along with her physical exam, she could see the anxiety in him clear as day. That was humbling, and she tried to think of how she would be if Molly had a stroke the way Narcissa had.
If Ginny was honest with herself, she likely wouldn't handle it any better.
She wasn't a speech therapist, which was what Narcissa really needed, but she knew a fair number of good ones. In addition to the referral, she wanted to stay involved in this particular case. Ginny tried not to think of the pinched look on Draco's face when St. Mungo's staff all but said that Narcissa was useless to society if she couldn't speak, the way he had tried to protect her from Edinburgh even when he clearly didn't know anything about the city either.
He was alone, and didn't know how to deal with this kind of thing. For Ginny, it was rather common. That made her feel almost responsible for helping Draco cope with his mother's illness and recovery, so that he wouldn't feel as alone. He had no siblings, no family, and apparently all of his old school friends weren't as central to his life any longer. His entire life had revolved around his mother in the wake of the war, a complete turnabout from his school days. Obviously, he had changed just as much as she had.
Tucker Kilmek was available, and had experience working with Wizarding families as well as Muggle ones. He was older than Ginny by at least a dozen years, though they'd never discussed actual ages, and was an amiable fellow that was so optimistic he couldn't help but cheer up his most despondent patients. He was always excited to be working with new patients, and it didn't occur to him to feel any awe or trepidation at the Malfoy name. That helped buoy Ginny's spirits a bit, and he didn't think it was odd at all for her to accompany him to Malfoy Manor.
As Tucker and Narcissa started working on her speech therapy in the drawing room, Ginny looked at Draco. He was in a loose pullover shirt and trousers, both in dark colors that made his pale skin and light blond hair look even more washed out. She had dressed in gray dress trousers and a bright green shirt that flattered her coloring and her figure without being unprofessional, even if this wasn't a formal visit.
"How are you holding on?" she asked him, feeling a little awkward. They didn't really know each other anymore, and she wasn't sure what he would feel insulted by.
To her surprise, Draco let out a strained breath. "I don't feel like I am, really. I haven't the foggiest idea how to help, and she's just so upset all the time."
"Recovery is slow when it comes to this sort of thing. It's a slog. Like learning a language for the first time, if you've ever tried that."
She'd meant it in a comforting and supportive kind of way, but Draco didn't take it that way at all. He bristled, finally looking a little more alive than in mourning as he did before. "I know five different languages, Weasley," he said, voice clipped and sharp.
Ginny smiled sweetly at him. "Dr. Weasley, Mr. Malfoy."
Draco glowered at her. "That doesn't help me help my mother, now does it? She's all I have, you don't know what that feels like."
She blinked at him. "What?"
"There's passels of Weasleys, right? You don't know what it's like to be left alone."
Tilting her head to the side, she contemplated him. "I think the biggest problem you have, Malfoy, is that you don't have enough to do." Before he could bristle again at her words, she held up a hand. "There's the charity work you do, of course. But it doesn't occupy enough of your time. You've done it so long it's easy. You need to think about something other than how your mother is faring. She's in good hands, I promise."
He didn't quite scowl at her, but it was likely a near thing. "So what do you propose, Weasley." Before she could say anything, he shook his head. "Doctor Weasley."
Her sweet smile was less facetious now. "You've never been to Edinburgh, you said. Why don't we start with that? Exploring a new city will definitely get your mind off of things."
She hadn't dated in such a long time, it wasn't until the words were out of her mouth that it occurred to her that Malfoy might take it as an invitation. It sounded suspiciously like a date to her own ears, but perhaps he wouldn't think so.
Draco thought about it for a moment. "Can't hurt."
That certainly didn't sound like an enthusiastic date acceptance, so that helped ease her nerves a bit. Though it was possibly fairly pathetic that she was excited about taking him along with her into parts of the city that she had come to cherish.
Not. A. Date.
And why was she thinking this way anyway? His mother was her patient, their families had once been at terrible odds, he had treated her and her family terribly in school, and he was hardly the most polite bloke right now. But he was grieving, and needed help to understand, and Ginny was a sucker for helping others at this point.
She linked her arm through his and pasted a sunny smile on her face. "Fancy a pint, Draco?"
Before she could say anything else she could regret, she Apparated them to Edinburgh.
Draco had been floored by her request to accompany her to Edinburgh, the offer of a pint together, and then calling him by his first name. Hadn't they just been glaring at each other and doing the equivalent of a pissing contest?
He was off his game, was all. Maybe she thought she could conquer him by being nice. The speech therapist seemed to know what he was about and Narcissa had liked him well enough, so it wasn't likely a ploy to get him out of the Manor. Ginny hadn't seemed like the type to devalue her profession or that skills of others. But there had to be a reason for this, not just an impulsive question that he had just as impulsively accepted. Well, if he was being honest, she hadn't quite given him any opportunity to refuse him, but he could have denied it before her wand came out to Apparate.
"Welcome to the Hanging Bat," Ginny said cheerily as they appeared in the public Apparition Point within the pub. "This is a Wizarding and Muggle bar, but all of the Wizarding things are in the back section. Muggles don't even know this is back here."
"Back here" included the public floo lines, areas for fire calls, perches under the eaves for owls to rest in between sending messages, and a bustling clientele that was sitting and chatting amiably at the tables. Items floated out from the kitchen to the proper tables, people stirred their coffee and tea with wandless magic, and the music drifted throughout the space to add to the homey atmosphere. It reminded him of the Three Broomsticks, but with a younger clientele, and Draco's stance eased considerably.
"This part doesn't seem to be too different to me."
Ginny grinned, eyes lighting up in amusement. He was startled to see that she wasn't laughing at him, exactly, but just seemed to enjoy being in her element. And she was beautiful. He hadn't really paid attention before, but the firelight lit her red hair with gold highlights, and her eyes had those little crinkle lines that meant she smiled and laughed often. Her mix of Muggle and Wizarding clothing fit in well here, and she certainly acted as if she was letting him in on a juicy secret. Her entire demeanor was one of contentment and self assurance.
He missed having that feeling, and this now made him realize how much.
"Would you rather get a butterbeer here, or try the Muggle side?"
Draco thought about it for a moment, pushing away the thread of unease at the thought of rubbing elbows with Muggles. "I wouldn't know what's good," he temporized.
"Just go for a black and tan, cheer for whatever match is on the telly, and we'll fit in just fine," Ginny assured him, that grin still in place.
She'd been prickly at Malfoy Manor in comparison to this, and Draco wondered if she had simply been uncomfortable in that kind of opulence. His family was old money, Pureblood to a fault, and she clearly didn't care at all for any of that. Instead, she valued personal achievement and helping others directly, not just via a charity.
He allowed her to bring him through the door leading to the Muggle part of the pub. Sure enough, there were the things she called the telly, and a match indeed was on. He ordered something off the chalked specials menu behind the bartender, who seemed to know Ginny far too well for his liking. That kind of thought made him pause once he realized he thought it; she wasn't anything to him other than a tour guide of sorts. He had no claim on her time or affection, and he couldn't expect her to care what he thought or felt.
But he wanted her to. He wanted to matter, wanted to mean something, and he wanted to get back the easy grace he used to have when dealing with others. Seeing her this way made him ache in a way he couldn't explain. She was who he used to be, and he only now realized how much he had simply been coasting. He wanted to be his old self again.
Ginny explained the finer points of football and who the people were cheering for, and had her own pint of beer and a bowl full of pretzels and chips to snack on. Draco had been surprised by how well it seemed to go together, and how exciting the football match could be. No brooms and only one black and white ball, yet he couldn't help but admire the athletes on the screen. "And not a lick of magic in sight," he'd murmured, amazed.
"There's more out in the city than just magic, believe it or not," she said, shrugging. He didn't get the feeling that she was making fun of him or trying to put it down. "Anything in particular you might want to see? I don't know if you're for art galleries or zoos or dance clubs or whatever you do for fun other than plan charity balls."
"I've taken to tending Mother's rose gardens," he admitted finally, chin jutting out as if daring her to laugh at him. "It's remarkably soothing."
"Then we should see the Royal Botanical Gardens," she said brightly, finishing her pint with astonishing speed that left him gawping at her. "Want to try walking there or try a bus?" Her eyes sparkled with mischief. "Not that it's a far walk, mind, but you've never been on a bus, and it'll be a new experience for you."
"If it's not a far walk," he said with a guarded edge, eying her mischief warily, "then we can walk. I can save the bus ride for another time."
Was he actually suggesting another trip with her? Oh, Merlin, he had.
She laughed in that soft and nonchalant way that she had, and he found himself smiling back at her. An honest one, not just the social smile he'd cultivated for years.
The "not a far walk" was still over a half hour on foot, though it was actually a rather charming walk for Draco. He'd never been the type to really walk about a city, and had recently gone from one place to another without actually noticing anything. The walk took them past a number of places that Ginny knew far too much about. She'd certainly learned about her adopted city, and cheerfully pointed out her favorite shops, the path she would take to visit Edinburgh Castle and the Old Town beyond it, and various other things that tourists did in the city.
Draco rather liked the cobblestone streets and the homes they passed by. He'd never really paid attention to Muggle cars before, but now they passed so many of them as they walked through the streets and near parks. People walked about with packs and talking on cell phones, walked dogs, rode bikes, and seemed altogether normal. Ginny's commentary was soothing, and he found himself smiling at a lot of her observations.
He was actually exhausted by the time they got to the Botanical Gardens, and he collapsed onto a bench with a groan. "My feet hurt," he complained.
"Next time wear your walking shoes."
"Your shoes have heels!"
"I walk the wards back and forth all day, I'm used to it."
"Ugh, that's terrible," he murmured, shaking his head.
"Besides, I'm so short, I need the height." She lifted a finger and wagged it at him. "No short jokes, Malfoy. I get it enough from my brothers."
Shooting her an innocent expression, he lifted his hands in surrender. "I wouldn't ever suggest such a thing! Now, your brothers being the heathens they are..."
"No argument on that," she laughed. "Have you rested enough?"
"Are you insinuating that I'm weak?"
"I thought I outright said so."
The smile on her face was friendly, so it was more of a friendly sparring kind of comment. It had been so long since he'd had that kind of banter, he'd forgotten what it was like. Draco resisted the urge to childishly stick out his tongue at her, and gave a languid stretch. "I assure you, Weasley, I am quite fit. More than you're used to."
"Doctor Weasley," she reminded him.
He rolled his eyes at her. "Because that really applies in this case."
"My prescription for you is time in a new city," she said loftily, tossing her hair over her shoulder and smirking at him. "So yes, it absolutely applies."
Rolling his eyes again, he got to his feet and huffed a breath. Perhaps he wasn't as physically fit as he thought he was. He'd never admit it to her in a million years, so he let the comment slide and instead followed her into the Botanical Gardens.
It was odd, walking about without anyone recognizing him as a Malfoy or wondering how they could wrangle an invitation to one of the society events. Ginny seemed perfectly at ease, and genuinely seemed to enjoy walking through the gardens with him. Draco walked slowly, not because his feet hurt after the walk from the pub, but because he was taking in the sight of the gardens and couldn't help but think of the ones at Malfoy Manor. He had simply followed the start that Narcissa had done, but some of the displays and arrangements made him think that he could do similar things in the gardens.
"You look thoughtful."
Ginny had an expectant look on her face, and Draco found himself smiling at her. "I have a plan for the gardens at Malfoy Manor."
"This was an excellent idea, then," she said, looking genuinely pleased.
Draco was almost surprised by how calm and content he felt, given how edgy he had been earlier in the day. "Yeah, I think so," he said with a smile. "This was exactly what I needed."
Her grin was playful. "So the next time the doctor tells you to do something, you do it."
His startled laughter made her smile even wider, if that was even possible, and she joined in as well. A knot he hadn't even realized he was carrying in his chest loosened, and he grasped her hand tightly. "I'll definitely remember that."
She tapped his forehead, eyes dancing with laughter. "Keep an open mind, it's amazing the things that you'll learn."
He could certainly believe that now.
Though she must have been busy, Ginny continued to make time for Draco during the speech therapy sessions with Narcissa. They were twice a week, and Narcissa was certainly frustrated by the end of it. She apparently had to relearn how to speak, in a sense. The complicated, fluid sentences that leant themselves easily to speeches and flattery were out. She wasn't capable of stringing words together in such complicated ways. She had to use simple phrases or short, blunt sentences. It was too complicated to conjugate verbs properly, so sometimes she simply left them out. Politeness certainly went out the window, leaving her sounding imperious if she asked him for something. But at least now he knew what she wanted when she pointed and said "Book me green." Now he knew to look for a green book on the shelf of the library to give to her, though it seemed as though reading was still beyond her. Narcissa was in near tears when she realized that her favorite books no longer made sense to her, and she had forgotten the words to her favorite songs. Draco wanted to rush in and save her, but he didn't know how.
"There are spells that will help," Ginny suggested when he mentioned it during a walk through Old Town. "Or if she's not opposed to it, Muggle technology."
Draco stared at her blankly. "What are you talking about? She can't read anymore."
"Yes, but there are assistive devices and spells," she said patiently. "So the spell will read the book aloud for her. She still understands most of what she hears, right?"
He jiggled his hand in a half and half gesture. "Sometimes it seems that way."
"If she knows the story, she can mentally fill in the blanks. She's still clever."
Letting out a sigh of relief he hadn't known he was holding onto, Draco nodded. "Oh, I see what you're getting at now."
Ginny smiled at him, a pleased one that lit up her eyes. "Perhaps we should go to the office at some point. I can introduce you to the team of experts that help with recovery."
"That won't interrupt them?"
"We'd only talk to the ones that were available, silly."
Draco didn't even feel insulted by her lighthearted tone. "Better silly than overly serious and dull. Do you even get out and do anything other than these walks?"
"I have my research," she replied, shrugging.
"Don't tell me that you prescribe outings for others and don't get time to do any of them yourself!" he scoffed, grinning at her. He suspected that was the case, and her shrug only confirmed it. "No wonder you're playing chaperone right now."
"Are you implying that you're a dreadful bore without me?" Ginny asked in a flippant tone.
"I thought I outright said that you're the dreadful bore."
"In that case..."
Instead of the ward, Ginny Apparated them to a carnival of sorts, with rides and concession stands, booths with games that were sure to be rigged. "I've a friend that's been begging me to stop by for ages," she told him brightly. "Good a time as any, right?"
Draco narrowed his eyes at her. "What kind of friend is this?"
"The kind that makes all sorts of questionable decisions," she said with a grin. She grasped his hand, eyes sparkling with mischief, and Draco's heart skipped a beat. It was silly and awkward and odd, but he suddenly wanted to grasp her close and kiss her.
Just when he thought he was going to say so, Ginny giggled. "Let's go meet her!"
The "her" in question turned out to be a former patient that had moved to Germany to live with her grandchildren. She had recovered from her stroke enough to be able to communicate simple ideas, and spent her time taking care of the amusement park she had built. "Children play," Greta had said with a bright smile. "Me happy see."
"My Mum has the same kind of talk," he murmured, looking at Greta closely. "She just started the speech therapy, though."
"Tucker?" Greta asked, looking over at Ginny. She laughed at Ginny's nod. "Good man. Tough." She pressed her lips together for a moment, as if sorting through her thoughts. "Useful. Taught lots, still learn."
Draco looked over at Ginny's pleased expression. "Huh. Good to know. So it gets better, eh?"
Greta took hold of Draco's arm and tucked her hand tightly into his elbow. "See park. Parking lovely laugh."
That one didn't make much sense to him right away, but he smiled and nodded at her just the same. He soon gathered that she wanted to show off the park, and she enjoyed laughter. Her jokes didn't make any sense, but she was a pleasant lady and it was nice seeing how his mother could be in time. "You should visit my Mum," he offered impulsively.
She shrugged and smiled wryly at him. "Magic spoil spell."
"Have Ginny bring you, or the grandchildren," he offered.
After introductions with the grandchildren were made and information exchanged, Draco was surprised to have Ginny hug him tight. "That was wonderful, Draco."
He found himself kissing her before he realized it, and she was actually kissing him back.
It was over far too quickly for his liking, and the two stared at each other as if there weren't Muggles walking all around them outside of the amusement park. "I..."
"Don't say you're sorry," Ginny said, a rasp to her voice.
Okay, he might have wanted to say that. Instead, he lifted his chin. "I was about to say that I want to do that again. But better."
That surprised her, and she blinked when he stepped closer to grasp her hands. "Oh."
"Don't date much, Ginny?"
"I have my research. I suppose you weren't wrong about that."
"Think of this as another kind of research, then."
"That's not research," she scoffed.
He shot her a rakish grin. "What was that about keeping an open mind?"
Ginny laughed and nodded. "Got me there, Draco."
"You've been picking places to take me. How about I take you somewhere, then?"
Her smile was soft and a little shy. "I'd like that."
Draco felt like he was walking on air for the rest of the day.
They were dating. Ginny couldn't ignore that fact when she dressed carefully to meet Draco and looked forward to being with him. Draco had taken her to a restaurant in Paris, and she'd never been in that city before. Then he decided that she should see their summer home in Marseilles, and they spent the day lounging on the private beach. She had used the sunscreen spells over a layer of Muggle sunscreen, but had still shown up at the clinic looking obviously tan and well rested. She twirled her pen as she looked over her schedule for the day, computer screen next to her already loaded up with MRI scans.
"I think you a certain blond young man look good together," Tucker said, coming into her office with a grin on his face.
Ginny smiled shyly, because of course he noticed it. She didn't normally go to patients' homes or talk to their sons with heads bent close together. Even visiting Greta and her family didn't happen until after she had been discharged from the clinic's care, just so no one would think there was any favoritism going on.
"It's good you're getting out, Gin," he continued, plopping down into the seat across from her with that same grin on his face. "You're locked away in this office too long, staring at screens and scrolls and the like."
She leaned forward a bit in her chair, perching her chin in hand, elbow on the desk. "Are you that much of an expert, then?"
"At second or third or even fourth chances?" he asked, eyes twinkling. "Isn't that what our practice is all about? Getting out there and getting better?"
Smiling wryly at him, Ginny shrugged the shoulder not propping up her head. "I don't know where this is going, Tuck."
"Eh, keep an open mind and enjoy the ride, yeah? Don't think there has to be something final. Just go out and have fun." He waggled his fingers in front of her. "The next thing you know, ten years will have gone by."
"That's how you and Nick got together, isn't? How's he doing?"
Tucker laughed. "I can see a dodge quite clear, Gin. But yes, we were just having fun. I didn't think after my breakup with Sophie I'd be happy, but there he was."
"How'd you know he was the one?"
"I didn't," Tucker said simply. He shrugged and leaned back in the chair. "It's not like there was one soul shaking thing, you know? Just... Everyplace I loved to go to, I wanted him there with me. New things you all mentioned here in the office, I wanted to show him. I just wanted him there with me. I was happier with him, and that was it."
"I guess..." Ginny began slowly. "I'm feeling that with Draco. I liked walking through Edinburgh with him. I liked seeing him smile at some silly street vendor. I want to tell him about the horrid jokes that Annabelle tells."
Tucker pulled a face. "Oi, you have it bad."
Ginny flushed. "You think?"
"Definitely," Tucker declared. "Shall I go to my session with his Mum early so you have an excuse to show up and make moon eyes at him?"
She snorted. "I'm fully able to make a fool of myself without help, thank you," she said, dropping her hand on the desk. "My first patient today is in two hours. I was going to do some chart reviews and maybe look into that mystery case Uriel was talking about yesterday."
He made a shooing motion with his hands. "That'll all be here in the afternoon after clinic. Go beard your dragon in his den and do unspeakable things."
"Not that I wouldn't mind details," Tucker continued, grinning at her. "You oh so rarely have dating stories to share, after all." He caught the pen she lobbed at his head in annoyance. "Oooh. This is one of your fancy ones. Can I keep it?"
Ginny shot to her feet and grabbed it back. "No." She stuck her tongue out him and managed not to laugh at the playfully wounded expression he shot her. Honestly, it was like working with her brothers some days. "You have therapy sessions to do. You're not getting paid to lounge about my office and be a nuisance."
"Nah, but it's a nice side benefit."
She mock growled at him and then mussed his perfect hair on the way out of her office. "If Uriel comes looking for me, tell him I'm out."
He cheered and then followed her out of the office. "Good on you, Ginny. Have fun, you definitely deserve it from how hard you work. I don't think Uriel would begrudge you a morning here or there if you need it."
With that in mind, Ginny Apparated from the clinic's point to Malfoy Manor. She walked up the front walk, then veered off toward the back garden when she thought he heard laughter. Sure enough, there were Draco and Narcissa in the garden. She was trying to say something to Draco, who was clearly being patient with her so that she could speak in her own time. Ginny stopped where she was, a soft smile on her face.
It was the little things that mattered, the small kindnesses and wanting the other's happiness more than their own. Draco had grown a lot since school, and so had she. Now she appreciated the attentive way he looked at his mother, head bent slightly as he listened and tried to piece together the fragmented sentences into something that he could understand. This had been Narcissa's garden, but he had kept it neat and pristine for her, and had integrated some of the ideas from the Botanical Garden. He was trying to keep Narcissa involved in her own life, and wasn't allowing her to wallow in self pity. His smile at her was fond and loving.
That smile widened into a grin when he caught sight of her, and waved her to come closer. When Narcissa turned her head and saw Ginny, she smiled warmly at her as well. "Here come!" she called, waving to her as well.
Ginny walked forward, an answering grin on her face. It didn't feel as though she had to say anything at all to Draco. When she reached out for his hand, he took it immediately and started pointing out the changes that he was making in the garden with Narcissa. She leaned into his arm a bit, and he let go of her hand to put his arm around her shoulders. Ginny watched him instead of the garden, seeing how he lit up as he talked about his future plans for the layout. "I'm sure you'll like it," he was saying, gesturing with his free arm over an expanse of the garden. "I'll put in more benches and space over there, bring in more of the lilies that you liked. It'll look fantastic next spring, I promise."
She stood on her tip toes and pressed a kiss to his cheek. "I look forward to it."
Narcissa looked at them in approval and nodded at them. "Planning wedding?" she asked hopefully, clasping her hands together.
Draco looked embarrassed at that and sputtered a bit. Ginny didn't think he was opposed to the idea, just felt awkward about his mother pointing it out before he did. Considering how Molly could get when she fixed on an idea, Ginny was more than used to it. "If we do," she began, sliding her arm around Draco's waist, "I want the reception right here."
"Definitely lilies," Narcissa said appreciatively.
Ginny gave Draco a squeeze around his waist, and he leaned down to kiss the top of her head.
This was an absolutely perfect moment, and Ginny looked forward the millions of moments in her future with Draco.
Desertisle's Prompt (#1):
Basic premise: Narcissa Malfoy has contracted a mysterious illness, her son has called for preeminent Healer Ginevra Weasley to help with his mother's illness.
Must haves: Ginny has come out of semi retirement for this case. Both Draco and Ginny are in their early 30s, their lives didn't pan out as they were supposed to. I would like to see the classic DG banter, a Narcissa that has not lost her sense of self and all parties coming to terms with the past and present. The fic should be lighthearted with sprinkles of seriousness.
No-no's: No bashing of characters other than in jest, no Pureblood prejudices, no use of the word "mudblood", "blood traitor" and not too much potty mouth.
Rating range: K, K-plus, T, M
Bonus points: A kiss between the two filled with magic. Wedding/Vow exchange at a bedside. Ginny speaking to her parents about her new case.