Molly Weasley had seven children. Now, some (most) would say that that's too many, but Molly disagreed. She had neither too many nor too few, rather, she and Arthur had exactly the amount they were meant to have. And Molly was proud to say she knew each of her children quite well. Bill was confident and easygoing, and Charlie was adventurous to a fault. Percy thrived on stability and order and clear expectations, whereas the twins loved chaos. Fred was more theatrical and creative, while George knew just how to make things (and people) tick. Ron was ruled by his heart and his temper, but always meant well in the end, and Ginny was witty and defiant, yet still had a bit a bashfulness that cropped up occasionally.
Like I said, Molly Weasley knew her children. So, when Ron voluntarily stayed in bed on Christmas Day, the fifth day in a row, she knew something was deeply wrong. Ron had spent nearly the entirety of the break up until that point sleeping, and he had also been skipping breakfast and lunch. At first, she thought it was just a stomach bug, but instead of getting better, Ron seemed to be getting worse. Not even his favorite foods or the promise of gifts on Christmas morning could get him up at this point.
Her decision to take Ron to St. Mungo's on Boxing Day was cemented by an owl from George.
I know you probably didn't expect to hear from me or Fred, because we'll be home in a tomorrow ('today' by the time you get this. Thanks Errol) anyway, but Ron's been acting quite strange lately. Harry pointed it out to us, and after watching him for a few days, we think he might need to go to hospital. He's been sleeping all the time, and he's also mad quiet. Won't even play chess with Seamus or Dean anymore!
I dunno how long exactly he's been like this, but it's been at least a few weeks. It could just be a bug, but still, could you keep an eye on him? After all, we're need someone healthy to test our products on this summer, and Ginny's gotten a bit too good at the Bat Bogey Hex. Kidding! (Kind of).
See you on the 26th,
"Arthur," She called, and then handed her husband the letter.
He furrowed his brow, "That's not good at all. Who knows how long Ron's really been ill, then?"
"I know, I was thinking we'd best bring him to St. Mungo's after breakfast." Molly wrung her hands.
Arthur put down the letter and set a calming hand on his wife's shoulder. "Alright. Let's see if we can get him to have a bite to eat first, get some of his strength back. Then we'll bring him in."
"Ginny! Dear, would you get Ron up and tell him to come downstairs?" Molly called to her daughter, whose room was the closest to Ron's.
"Okay!" The teen yelled back. A couple minutes later, however, Ginny was yelling for a different reason. "Mum? Mum!" She called as she hopped down the last few steps hurriedly. "Ron won't wake up."
Molly's heart felt like it stopped. "What?"
Ginny's wide eyes met hers and she shook her head slightly. "I thought he was just being Ron at first, so I went in his room and shook him, but that didn't work, and then I got a glass of water from the bathroom to pour on him, and that didn't work either. He just isn't responding."
Before Ginny had even finished speaking, Arthur was halfway up the stairs, and Molly wasn't far behind. She burst into Ron's room a few steps behind her husband, who was already taking their son's pulse. "His heartbeat is shallow and fast, much too fast for normal sleeping." Arthur's usually sunny face was grim and his whole body fraught with tension as he carefully shook Ron's slightly damp shoulder, "Ron, Ron can you hear me?" There was no response "Ron?" Arthur gently turned Ron around so that his face was no longer to the wall and half buried in his pillow, and Molly gasped.
Ron's nose was bleeding, and obviously had been for quite some time. The half of the pillow they hadn't been able to see before was soaked in blood, and it became apparent that Ginny's glass of water wasn't the only reason Ron's shoulder was damp. The teen was sweating profusely, yet his forehead was clammy when Molly stepped forward and placed her hand on it. "We need to go to St. Mungo's, now." She turned to her daughter, who was hovering in the doorway. "Ginny, go turn off the stove and put everything back in the fridge. Then floo-call Bill and Charlie and tell them that breakfast is cancelled and Ron is sick, and I want you to go through to Bill's flat, okay? Or have him or Charlie come here to wait with you. Oh! And one of them might have to go to the station this afternoon to pick up the twins," She turned and softened her tone at her daughter's frightened expression. "Chin up, dear, the healers will have Ron better in no time."
"Yes, but now, we need to move, and you're blocking the doorway." Arthur added.
The worried father gathered Ron up in his arms, and carefully carried him to the door and down the stairs. They were a bit too steep and narrow for Arthur to feel confident levitating a stretcher down them, and he made a mental note to fix that the next time he had a day off. Once he made it to the base of the stairs, he did conjure a stretcher, and then hurried to the floo. "St. Mungo's Emergency Room entrance!" He called, right before stepping through.
The ER section of the hospital was fairly quiet, likely due to it being early morning the day after Christmas. That changed when the Weasleys arrived, however. "Hello? We need some help over here!" The sight of the usually calm and jovial Weasley patriarch splattered in blood and hovering over a stretcher jarred the hospital staff into action.
"His name's Ron, he's 14 and he's been sick all break, and probably before that." Molly babbled to one of the healer's assistants. "He's been sleeping most of the last week, and today we couldn't wake him up and his nose won't stop bleeding and he's so sweaty and cold."
"And his heartbeat was over a hundred when I checked a few minutes ago. That can't be right, can it?" Arthur asked worriedly as he was relieved of stretcher duty.
The healer on duty, a short blonde woman in her early 40s, turned at that. "Stevens, get his pulse, temp, blood pressure, and full core scan. We have suspected tachycardia, unknown origin, and possibly a brain bleed. We need to get him up to Magical Bugs Ward right away, and I need a consult from Potion and Plant Poisoning, and let's get one from Spell Damage, too, just to be safe."
"Tachycardia? Brain bleed?" Molly felt faint.
The healer turned to her. "Ma'am, we don't know anything for certain yet. We will do everything we can for your son, but we also will need your help, alright? Marcus here is going to do an intake with you, and we need as much information from you as possible, okay? No detail too small. And he's going answer as many of your questions as he can, but right now I need to go up there and tend to your son."
The healer gave Molly and Arthur a brief comforting smile before she turned to follow the stretcher. The aforementioned Marcus, a tall black man with box braids and kind eyes, approached them. "Healer Reis is a bit brief, but she's also one of our best, so don't worry about that. Ron's in great hands." He gestured at the waiting area, "How about we have a seat, and then see if we can figure out how this started, yeah?"
Half-an-hour later, they were finished with the intake. Marcus was very skilled at dealing with panicking people, and by the end of their conversation Molly and Arthur were almost calm again.
"I think that's all we need for now." Marcus made one last note on his clipboard, "I'm going to run this over to Healer Reis and her team, and see if I can get an update for you two, okay? And I'll have someone bring you two some tea and coffee, and maybe a morning paper to pep you up, yeah?" He gave them a smile and stepped away.
Molly was still extremely worried about Ron, but the calm and professional demeanor of the St. Mungo's staff was doing wonders for her nerves. It was a bit odd, though—the non-staff were acting kind of strange. There were only a few other people in the waiting area, but it felt like the few people that were there were staring at them.
"Arthur, dear," She muttered when the elderly witch directly across from her pretended to be wildly interested in a painting for the third time when she made eye contact, "Do you feel like the other families are looking at us a bit funny?"
"Well, we did make a bit of a scene coming in, Mollywobbles. I'm sure it's nothing too serious."
Molly believed him… right up until she was handed that morning's paper. "Arthur, dear."
"How inappropriate is it to make a howler in a hospital?"
Meanwhile at the Lovegood residence, Harry was preparing to fly back to Hogwarts so that he could board the Express and at least put in a token effort toward maintaining the pretense that he had been at Hogwarts the whole break. His plan was to cut it as close as possible and arrive minutes before the train left—that way, Dumbledore wouldn't be able to call him to his office for a meeting about his skipping the ball. And technically, it wasn't an academic or otherwise-school related issue, as the Tournament was a ministry event, so Harry couldn't get detention or lose points over it. Hermione had checked.
Speaking of which, it was just him and Luna in kitchen, as Hermione has floo'd home a few minutes previously. Her parents had ended up staying in France to help Hermione's grandmother for longer than they expected, and the Grangers fully intended to make it up to their daughter, so she would spend most of the day celebrating a late Christmas with them. Then in the evening they would pick Harry up from the station for the rest of the holidays.
The aforementioned young man looked around the kitchen/living space fondly, wishing that he had more time to spend there. His eyes landed on the North wall (or at least, the North section. The house was circular, so technically it was all one wall). The North section was where Luna had started an eclectic mural, and it was by far Harry's favorite part of the cozy home. It was yet to be finished, and didn't even have paint yet, but most of the sketched outline was already up. It was meant to be 'read' from left to right, and it started with several thestrals standing in a field next to two small figures petting them. Then it transitioned through some woods to a clearing with a dragon sitting on its nest, but instead of breathing fire it breathed books, the stream of which swirled and turned into a small library where there were three figures sat at a table. There was another section started, but Harry couldn't quite figure out what it was yet.
"Hey Harry?" Luna asked, interrupting his thoughts. He turned toward her.
"This has been the best Christmas since I was nine." She paused, then added softly, "Maybe ever."
Harry stilled. If he recalled correctly, Luna's mum had died when she was nine, so that would have been her last Christmas with both parents. He turned toward the blonde girl, who was staring rather deliberately at a small charm floating above the table. He leaned over and gently squeezed her shoulder. "For me too, Luna."
She looked at him directly, a rare occurrence with Luna, and smiled. She didn't need to say anything else, and neither did he. Both of them understood.
A/N: Ooooh, we're getting a little serious, here. Don't worry, it'll lighten up again pretty quickly.
This is over my minimum of 2k words/chapter, but man does it feel short. Updates in the future will probably stay a little longer. But also, yay! Finally past Christmas, so we can make some headway on the plot (what little of it there is).
Let me know what you think, and I'll see you next Friday!