A/N: As always special thanks to jennyelf for her tremendous encouragement and beta skills. This is the final chapter of Bedside Manner.
Fail Safe Way of Charming your Witch #8: Resolving the Conflict
In your quest to charm your witch, there will be times in your courtship when the two of you will disagree. This chapter will explore the art of 'resolving the conflict'.
No couple is without their moments of discord, but there are ways to avoid the common pitfalls most wizards find themselves when in the midst of a conflict with their witch.
The two most common precursors that lead into a disagreement between couples are lack of communication and poor listening skills. Please note that these two do not discriminate. Witches are just as guilty of executing such faults. However, if there is to be any resolution of conflict, these are the two basic fundamentals needed to charm your witch back from the silent treatment and you back from kipping on the sofa.
It is important that should you wish to progress successfully in your relationship with your witch that you show her not only that you care about her, but also that you care about what she has to say.
Maintain eye contact when she is speaking to you. Eye contact is an intimate action and conveys to her that not only is she important, but that you are listening. Chances are she may or may not ask you what it is she just said, but be prepared to give an accurate answer. (This may seem like a trap and in many ways it is, but rest assured sometimes simply repeating the last sentence is enough to appease her.) Also be careful not to adopt a glazed over look on your face as this will only give her the illusion that you are bored and not remotely interested.
Fail- Safe tip #23: As tempting as it may be when listening to your witch pour her heart out to you, do not offer her advice. Do not make any attempts to fix the situation either, just offer a listening ear and wait for her to ask for your advice.
A more simplistic manner to resolving the conflict can be done in these short steps:
1) Accept responsibility for the cause of the conflict by starting with an apology - "I'm sorry". (Even if it wasn't your fault, an apology from you is likely to get an apology back from her, but don't count on it.)
2) Compliment your witch with a simple statement - "You were right". (The probability of you being right is unlikely and really not important.)
3) Do not utter the words, "I was wrong" unless you are prepared to tell her exactly where you went wrong. If you cannot recall where you went wrong, she will either tell you (which is highly unlikely) or she will make you wait until you have figured it out resulting in a "delayed resolution".
Harry blew out a breath and closed the book Twelve Fail-Safe Ways to Charm Witches that Ron had given him a couple of years ago on his birthday. Upon receiving the book as a gift, Harry had put it aside, thinking Ron's offering of the self-help text to him as a joke, therefore never cracking it open.
In Harry's honest opinion, the chapter had some good points, but a large part of him doubted the advice was sound. But Ron swore by its helpful advice, which is why he suggested Harry read the chapter on "Resolving the Conflict".
Harry could understand where this book could have helped Ron resolve his many rows with Hermione, but he wasn't confident it would help him with Ginny. About the only helpful advice he had gleaned from the chapter was the apologizing part.
Looking at the clock in his office, Harry hurriedly put the book back in his bag and hastily gathered the files of unsolved cases needed for the weekly morning meeting with Kingsley Shacklebolt and the other Aurors. As he was ready to leave his office, a fox Patronus made its appearance, softly landing on his desk.
"Please do not be alarmed Mr Potter. My name is Healer Clarke and I am contacting you on behalf of an injured player, Ginny Weasley. Miss Weasley's condition is stable; however, your presence is urgently requested at Holyhead Stadium. Please meet me at the Players Entrance on the west side of the building. Authentification phrase: 'Your eyes are as green as a fresh pickled toad'. Please reply at the earliest convenience."
Harry's heart hammered in his chest at the news of Ginny being seriously injured. He, of all people, knew the dangers that Quidditch could impose. He reckoned he had more Quidditch related injuries than most students had at Hogwarts. Still, it didn't make hearing the news about Ginny any easier.
He quickly replied to Healer Clarke's Patronus, sent a quick note to Kingsley and Ron, and hurriedly made his way to the lifts that led to the Disapparition zone in the Atrium. Once he got there, he turned on the spot with Holyhead Stadium in mind.
Harry Apparated outside a large faded green building with peeling yellow trimming along the windows and doors. The deserted structure looked like it had once been the local comprehensive. Years of decay and neglect gave off the air of abandonment and ironically the perfect place to hide a Quidditch Stadium. Various signs like 'DO NOT ENTER' and notices such as 'BUILDING CONDEMNED' were plastered along the grounds of the building, including the doors and some of the windows.
Harry quickly walked along to the west side of the stadium that faced away from the street and passersby. Standing just outside the Players entrance was a short older woman with greying mousy brown hair secured into a loose bun. She was dressed in dark green robes and appeared to be humming to herself.
Harry cleared his throat to get the Healer's attention. The Healer gave Harry a serene smile reminiscent of Luna Lovegood. The dreamy demeanor faded once she seemed to register exactly who Harry was and why he had come.
"Right, Harry Potter," said the Healer offering her hand to Harry to shake. "I'm Healer Clarke. Pleased to meet you."
"Pleased to meet you," Harry greeted, taking the Healer's hand and shaking it.
"If you will please follow me, Mr Potter, I will take you to see Miss Weasley," said Healer Clarke, holding the door open for Harry.
Harry walked through the door and waited for the Healer to lead the way down the long faintly lit corridor.
"I walk fast, so keep up please."
She wasn't lying. Harry noticed for a short woman her strides were quick and determined. He was grateful as he wished to get to Ginny as quickly as possible.
"Is she okay?" Harry asked, no longer able to take the silence.
"Like I said in my message she is stable, but I'm afraid she will need to go home," Healer Clarke instructed.
"Miss Weasley fainted," Healer Clarke answered matter-of-factly.
"Fainted," Harry panicked. Images of Ginny falling from her broom instantly entered his mind.
"Oh that sounded much worse that I meant it to," assured Healer Clarke. "She wasn't on her broom if that is what concerned you. The players were doing Bleacher runs and she collapsed at the last set. We thought it was dehydration as that is the most common culprit. After casting a few diagnostic spells on Miss Weasley, we discovered there were other factors involved; most notably a high fever, swollen sinuses, an infected throat and a migraine. The spell also found inflammation in her neck, shoulders and back, which leads me to believe she has-"
"- the flu," Harry finished.
"Precisely. I administered some potions for the pain…"
Harry didn't know what to think. Healer Clarke continued to speak to him, but he tuned her out. After all Ginny had done to take care of him while he was poorly, his way of repaying that kindness to her was to give her the flu. Now there where two things he needed to apologise for.
Shit. Well done, Potter.
The stadium was a labyrinth of long corridors that forked off into other dark corridors. Harry wasn't really paying attention to where they were going, or how he was to find his way back. He was too preoccupied with what he was going to say to Ginny.
"…are you up to the task, Mr Potter?" Healer Clarke asked, a stern expression on her face reminding Harry of Professor McGonagall.
"Pardon?" Harry gulped.
It shocked him a bit that someone could remind him so well of his good friend Luna and the next minute of his strict Transfiguration professor.
"Due to the contagious nature of Miss Weasley's illness, she will need to go home and be cared for. That is why I messaged you here. Are you up to the task?"
"You look puzzled, Mr Potter."
"I guess I just don't understand why I was called and not her brothers or her parents."
Healer Clarke stopped walking and turned to look at Harry. She seemed to have a strange knowing smile on her face.
"It is not uncommon for a Quidditch player at this professional level to list a non-family member as their emergency contact," explained Healer Clarke. "This person is likely to be a very good friend who understands the dangers and demands of the game as well as the player at an intimate level. Family members, especially parents, tend to fuss."
As they continued to walk down the corridor, the Healer's explanation penetrated Harry's mind. He felt a strange sort of comfort that marginally overshadowed the panic that had gripped him at learning of his involvement in Ginny's current condition.
They passed a door that read 'Harpies' Changing Room', and turned a corner until they reached a door that read 'Harpies' Training Room'.
"Ah, here we are," Healer Clarke said, pushing the door open for Harry.
The door led into a small clinic area about a quarter of the size of Hogwarts Hospital wing. The room had white walls with the only colours being single vertical stripes of dark green and yellow along the middle of the room.
Healer Clarke directed Harry to the far end of the clinic to a cot where Ginny lay sleeping. She was tucked in pretty securely under the thin blanket. Vials of various potions and a pitcher of water and a glass sat on the bedside table.
Ginny's red hair stood out in sharp contrast to the white bedclothes.
In Harry's honest opinion, Ginny looked awful. Her cheeks were flushed, a light sheen of sweat covered her brow and she appeared to be shivering. Despite all of that, an overwhelming need to look after her consumed him. He wanted to climb into the small cot with her and hold her until she stopped shivering. He settled for sitting in the chair next to her cot.
"Oh Ginny, I'm sorry," Harry whispered, fingering her flushed cheek.
Ginny began to stir. She turned her head toward Harry and slowly opened her eyes. Watching her look around the room, Harry could see the comprehension slowly dawn on her face. Her brow furrowed as she looked at the vials of potions on the bedside table. The expression didn't change once her eyes rested on Harry, but he was sure her cheeks flushed even more.
"Harry, what-what are you doing here?" Ginny asked quietly, rubbing her eyes. "What happened?"
"Healer Clarke called me because you fainted during Bleacher runs."
"Uh," Ginny moaned and turned away from Harry, hiding her face in her hands.
Harry was unsure if he should continue, but he thought it best to get the truth out there.
"She also said that you have the flu, which is likely what caused the fever that made you faint," Harry sighed. "Ginny I'm so sorry."
Ginny turned to look at him, tears glistening in her eyes. She freed her hand from inside the blanket and took his hand.
Maintain eye contact…
"It's not your fault I fainted, Harry or that I have the flu." Ginny sniffed.
Accept responsibility for the cause of the conflict by starting with an apology.
"Well technically it is, Ginny, and I'm sorry…about everything. I'm sorry I gave you the flu. I'm sorry I interfered with your interview, and used my…" Harry swallowed thickly. "…name to advance your career."
Ginny kept her eyes on him. A small watery smile graced her lips.
"I'm sorry too. I shouldn't have blown up at you like I did, or yelled at you," Ginny apologised. "You just have to stop saving people, Harry."
Harry smiled at her and brushed her fringe away from her brow.
"Oh no, Harry I took you away from work. You're probably missing out on an important meeting or…"
"Shh, Ginny relax," Harry assured. "Don't you think I'd rather take care of someone that I love than sit through a boring meeting at work?"
Ginny smiled at the familiar statement.
Harry looked deep into her bright brown eyes and down to her lips and softly kissed her. The dormant monster in his chest roared in triumph.
They broke the kiss and Harry uttered to her the simple words he had wanted to say to her for awhile.
"I love you, Ginny."
"I love you too, Harry."
Healer Clarke cleared her throat.
"Sorry to interrupt you, Mr Potter, but Miss Weasley is free to go. I am releasing her under your care, so if you could please sigh this waiver," Healer Clarke said, handing Harry a sheet of parchment and a quill. "I also have the potions that she will need to take every six hours in here." She indicated a small box in her other hand setting it on the bedside table.
Harry signed the waiver, returned it and the quill back to Healer Clarke and stuffed the box in his robes' top pocket.
"Healer Clarke, can we just Disapparate from here? I'd like to get her home as quickly as possible," Harry asked.
"Yes, of course. Goodbye Mr Potter, it was a pleasure meeting you. Miss Weasley, get plenty of rest and remember to take the potions on time. "
"Are you ready to go home?" Harry asked, slowly untucking the blankets and helping Ginny into a sitting position. "You are, after all, under my care, so I should probably take you to my flat; if that's okay with you?"
"Yes, that's okay with me, Harry," Ginny answered, removing the blanket and sliding her legs to the side of the bed facing Harry.
She began to shiver again, so Harry wrapped her back in the blanket. Harry draped her right arm around his shoulders and slid one of his arms around her lower back and the other under her legs, cradling her to him. She snuggled into his embrace, resting her head in the crook of his neck.
"Harry, I can walk," Ginny said, though she made no attempt to leave his arms.
"I know, Ginny. Hang on to me tightly okay?"
"Are you kidding, Potter? I'm never letting you go." Ginny kissed his cheek and wrapped both her arms around his neck. "I'm ready when you are."
"I've been ready since my sixth year at Hogwarts," Harry answered, kissing her forehead.
"Me too," Ginny giggled.
Harry held Ginny securely in his arms and turned on the spot.
A/N: I would also like to thank all those who put this fic down as their favorite story, and story alert. I was so pleased that you all liked this fic. It was my first attempt at a multi-chaptered fic and I'm glad that I was able to meet the challenge. I would also like to thank Nymphadora, your thought out reviews were extremely encouraging and insightful. Your kind words were such a blessing during this writing process. I hope you all enjoyed reading this fic as much as I enjoyed writing it.