Chapter 19

It had been two long weeks since Harry had seen Bella.

Only a few days after she had returned ministry officials had come calling.

They had very nearly caught her. If she hadn't been able to turn into a raven they would have. Apparently they had been acting on an 'anonymous tip.' And although they had been very apologetic when they hadn't found anything he knew she wasn't going to be safe there anymore. Not long term.

So she had left. Again. Going god knows where. He had no idea where or when she would be back. It was driving him crazy.

The worst part wasn't even how much he missed her… how much he wanted her in his arms. It was not knowing if she was ok that was killing him.

He had lapsed once again into melancholy. Hermione and Ron had both made pointed remarks when they had seen him. Mrs Weasley had made even more of an attempt to fatten him up than usual.

And as for Ginny…

She was as lovely, as bright and as vivacious as ever… but she remained slightly aloof. Sometimes he thought she knew somehow that she no longer had all his affections. And she was giving him time and space to get his head in order.

Which suited him.

The situation with Bella was quite confusing enough without the complication of Ginny.

He was sitting in a comfy chair by the fire when a loud thump on the upstairs floor jolted him out of his thoughts.

Harry jumped up and ran upstairs… wand in hand in case it was an intruder.

A warm smile spread over his face when he saw it was Bella standing on his balcony. His expression quickly turned concerned when he saw she was pale and unsteady on her feet.

"Bella? Are you allright" he asked worriedly.

"My ankle… I think I twisted it… it hurts to walk…" she said raspily, her voice clearly showing she was in pain.

He quickly walked over and put an arm around her waist, helping her inside. The face she accepted such assistance without complaint told him more than anything that she must be hurt.

"Sit and let me look as it" he said firmly, tone brooking no argument. To his surprise she complied.

The ankle looked swollen and painful. When he tried to gently move it a hiss of breath escaped her.

"I think you might have broken it. What happened?" he asked worriedly, looking at her.

"I was hiding out in the woods. Quite a few miles away… I can't remember exactly where. I don't how they got so close… but I think they must be ex snatchers. They must have known someone was there… because they did an apparition jinx. I put my foot wrong trying to get away from them. After I got hurt I hid and kept quiet. Then I came here" she said in carefully calm voice.

If he hadn't known her so well he wouldn't have realized she was trying hard not to show how much it hurt. She hated being weak or vulnerable more than anything.

"Bella you have to go to hospital" he said firmly.

"Saint Mungos? Are you insane! Even with a disguise… it's far too risky!" she said in a don't-be-ridiculous tone.

"I didn't say St Mungos…" he said tentatively.

"Then whe… oh no. No. No! Absolutely not. Don't even think about it" she hissed, her expression defiant and rather petulant.

He sighed. "Do you want it to heal properly? I have no idea how to heal a bone… or even set it right. And neither do you" he pointed out.

"I am NOT going to some muggle hospital" she said sullenly, some of the defiance leaving her voice.

"Well if you want to walk with a limp for the rest of your life…" he said rather snappishly.

She was silent for a moment, obstinacy battling with common sense.

Finally she let out a sigh. "Fine… I'll go. But I do not have to like it!" she said mulishly.

"As long as you go I don't care" he sighed.

An hour later they were in the tube on the way to the hospital.

Harry couldn't help a flicker of amusement at Bella's sullen expression.

She looked very different in muggle clothes – a tight black t-shirt, grey jeans and one black boot.

He had popped out to get some clothes that would allow her to blend in… and it had taken him surprisingly little time to convince her to wear them. Once they were on she had commented that of course a male would choose a tight, low-cut t-shirt. He had simply replied, "Can you blame me?"

After some minor cosmetic changes to her appearance (including but not limited to straightening her hair and whitening her teeth) he was confident no-one would recognize her… at least not at a glance.

She didn't put up more than a token protest when he helped her up the steps and across a busy street to the hospital.

"Beatrix Black?" she said amusedly after they had given her 'details' to the lady at the emergency room. "Isn't that a tad obvious?" she smirked.

"Just be grateful I didn't say Beatrix Potter" he grinned.

She gave him a blank look until he explained who Beatrix Potter was. Then she couldn't help an amused smile.

After an examination, an x-ray and several scowls from Bella that made Harry grin with amusement her leg was firmly strapped up. He promised the doctor (out of earshot) that he would make he come back to get a cast put on in a few days, once the swelling had gone down.

Rather than lean on him as they left the hospital she opted to use the crutches, which he accepted with good grace.

"Please tell me we don't have to take that ridiculous muggle contraption again" she said once they were alone. He laughed and took her to a dark little alley where they could apparate without being seen.

Soon they were back at Grimmauld Place, her lying on the bed with her foot propped up.

"You aren't going anywhere until your ankle is better" he said warningly, "I don't care if I have to tie you down"

"You can tie me down if you like" she teased, a grin on her lips.

"Just you behave" he said with a smile.

"I'm not promising anything" she replied sweetly, laying back on the pillow with a smug smile.