Disclaimer: Copyright to J.K. Rowling.


Chapter 5: The Ward, Part 3

Neville and Hannah Longbottom had both sat down on the right hand side of Daisy's bed, Tracy Towers having moved to the opposite side of the bed to stand beside Meena Kapoor and Bessie Catermole, who likewise were now standing. The roommates were careful to give the family some room to themselves, but were unwilling to yet leave Daisy by herself.

"We're so glad you're alright, Daisy," kindly said her mother, Hannah, who was gently stroking her daughter's identical blonde hair.

"I sat with you for quite awhile while you were sleeping, Daisy," added Neville helpfully. "I'm so glad you're ok. How are you feeling, sweetheart?"

"Alright, just a little shaken up by all that's happened. It makes me feel so much better having you both here, though." Daisy managed to crack a little smile for her family.

"And we feel so much better seeing you smile after what's happened, Daisy," said Hannah sweetly.

"I'm sure you remember me telling you and your sisters about my own near drowning in a lake. My great-uncle pushed me in try to force magic out of me, to prove I wasn't a squib, but it didn't work. I'm so grateful that my little magical squib niece is still with me after your own misfortune in a lake."

"I guess we also have our wands being broken in fifth year in common to, Uncle Neville," said Daisy with a hint of shy cheerfulness, while motioning to her broken wand on the table next to her bed on the right.

"Yes," said Neville, who picked up one half of her expensive snapped wand and turned it in his fingers before slapping it down with uncharacteristic force that made the table shake.

"And just what were doing in the middle of the black lake, Daisy? You know you can barely swim," bit out Neville with such foreboding that Hannah dropped her hand from her daughter's head and sat up straighter, clearly also expecting a dissatisfying answer as to what had happened.

Daisy Abbott had no response. Try as she might, she couldn't conjur a feeble response like she did for why she went looking for Sopophorous beans at night in the Dark Forest, but the alternative... How could she tell her mother and uncle that she had tried to kill herself? She could only stare at her interrogators.

Neville's features hardened and Hannah raised a brow in quiet adnomination at Daisy's silence.

"Daisy..." began Neville darkly.

"It wasn't Daisy's fault," said a voice Daisy knew at once to be Tracy's. "Daisy was just standing by the lake enjoying the view and the gentle breeze coming over the waters when a Grindylow attacked her."

"We all saw it happen - but weren't close enough to intervene in time, " seamlessly added Bessie. "It grabbed Daisy by her ankles and toppled her backwards onto the rocks, snapping her wand in the process, and dragged her under the surface and far out into the lake."

"We tried to use magic to rescue her," continued Meena earnestly, "but it didn't work. None of us is a strong enough swimmer to rescue someone from a situation like that, but thank Merlin, after a minute or two, the giant squid lifted her limp form out of the water and brought her to shore. We used magic to lift her to the hospital wing and were able to talk to her after you went home to get your wife, Professor."

Tracy Towers moved closer to the bed and placed a comforting hand on Daisy's back, but still looked at the Longbottoms, who were looking at her curiously.

"I think Daisy's just self-conscious about not being able to protect herself from the Grindylow," stated Tracy matter of factly, before turning to her friend. "But it's not your fault, Daisy," she continued kindly, while starting to rub her friend's back for further comfort. "You weren't here at Hogwarts for Third Year when we learned about how to protect ourselves from creatures like Grindylows, since you didn't have magic yet. There was nothing else you could have done."

A beat.

"Is that all true, Daisy? Is that how it happened?" asked Neville kindly, his anger having dissipated.

"Yes," said his niece at once, who sighed before flashing her family and friends with a warm smile. "I'm sorry for having trouble telling you myself what happened. I already told my friends, and froze up at the thought that you and mummy would be disappointed in me for not being able to handle the Grindylow."

Hannah leaned onto the bed to hug her daughter and Neville stroked his niece's hair lovingly, while Tracy, Bessie and Meena watched their friend with smiles on their faces. Daisy smiled back, and something passed between the four Hufflepuff friends that only they could understand.


Author's note: I hope you all enjoyed the final chapter of this little tale!