Harry put the chart down hastily as the door clicked. Curiosity and impatience led him to pick up the parchment on the table beside him; but the charts, codes, symbols and paragraphs made little sense to him.
“Harry!” Molly breathed, hurrying over to his bedside. She seemed to only just be able to stop herself from hugging him to death. “How are you?!”
“Numb as hell – what’s happened?” Harry muttered, watching as people filled the room. Charlie, Bill and the twins – George in crutches – hung back. Molly Weasley was fussing over him as her husband stood behind her.
Ron and Hermione where the last two to enter the room; one of Hermione’s hand covering her mouth and her other clasped in Ron’s.
Hermione sank in the chair to Harry’s left and Ron stood behind her, holding her shoulders.
“Harry…” Hermione breathed her voice whispered. She let out a low, shaky laugh, pushing her hands through her hair.
“What’s going on?” Harry muttered as loudly as he could; but either no one heard him or no one could answered him.
“Are you okay, Harry, dear? Are you hungry? You haven’t eaten solid food in Merlin knows how long – and the food here… well, I’ve had better. If you want, Harry dear, I could hurry to the Burrow and make you your favourite dinner for tonight – it would be no bother at all for me! What -”
“Mrs Weasley,” Harry interrupted, stuttering slightly, “W-What’s happened?”
Mrs Weasley ignored him, plunging on, asking him continuously was he alright.
Harry looked around the room sluggishly. Ginny would tell him. She would tell him what was going on…
“W-Where’s Gin?” he asked quietly, looking around the room. His eyes landed on Ron’s, who hastily looked down. “Where is she?” he said loudly, struggling to sit upright. Hermione’s hand held onto his shoulder, holding him down.
“Harry – don’t move – calm down…”
“Where is she?!” he said louder still, his eyes darting around wildly.
“She’s… sleeping,” Ron said quickly, glancing at his brothers. Harry looked at Ron.
“Where is she?”
“D-Down the hall,” Hermione muttered, her hand still on Harry’s shoulder, her eyes cast downwards.
“Can I – I want see her,” Harry said, trying to push himself up again.
“No – Harry - ”
“I need to see her!”
“Harry – need’s a strong word - ”
“You don’t understand - ”
“Harry, please…” Hermione begged. Harry stood struggling, his heart pumping wildly. He glanced at her bright, large brown eyes.
“I want to talk to Ron and Hermione,” Harry said slowly, not breaking eye contact with Hermione, “Alone,”
The Weasley brothers evacuated the room quickly, feeling out of place in the conversation. Molly was a bit more hesitant but Arthur led her out.
“Where is Gin,” Harry said once the door locked behind Arthur.
“We told you - ”
“No guys. Seriously. Don’t lie to me,” Harry interrupted, casting Ron a hard look.
“Please. I need to know.”
“Need is a strong word Harry. You want to; you don’t need to…”
“Hermione, I need to know where she is. I know wanting and needing are two different things, and I’m telling you. I need to see her.”
“Nigel said - ”
“Nigel doesn’t know me,” Harry rebuttled, staring at his friends.
“He does Harry - ”
“He knows my body. Not my personality.”
Hermione barely stifled a groan, “Look, Harry. You’re still extremely weak. If… if you get emotional, or irrational, something serious could happen…”
“I won’t get out of the bed,” Harry said quietly, “I swear to you – I won’t move if you just tell me what the hell has happened.”
“How is he?” Equin asked anxiously, standing up and wringing her hands as the door closed behind Arthur.
“He wants to talk to Ron and Hermione,” Bill muttered, sitting down beside Sirius, James and Halie.
“Alone,” added Charlie, picking up an old copy of Quidditch Weekly off the table.
“About Ginny,” Fred said, sitting on the windowsill. Equin groaned and sat back down, pushing her hand through her hair.
“Will they tell him anything?”
“What do you think?” Charlie said darkly, flicking through the magazine, looking at Equin, “They’ve been friends for almost fifteen years,”
Equin sighed heavily and sank into the chair, folding her arms. George sank down beside her, grimacing slightly. Equin glanced at him.
“You need to take your potions, George,” she murmured, leaning forward and placing a hand on his shoulder gently.
“I don’t need no stinking potions,” George muttered, eyes closed, crutches on the seat beside him.
“George,” Equin said quietly, leaning forwards slightly, “You’re in pain. If you take the potions - ”
“I don’t need the potions!”
“They’ll make your back less painful.”
“I don’t need the potions. I’m not weak!”
“I’m not saying you’re weak,” Equin said soothingly, placing her hand on his knee, “I’m just saying, that if you take the potions, you’ll be in less pain,”
“But…” George sighed heavily, his eyes cast downwards, “I don’t like feeling weak. I… don’t like feeling… I don’t like sympathy… and…”
“George, taking potions doesn’t mean you’re weak,” Equin whispered, squeezing his knee, “Just… please take them. For me?”
George glanced at her and groaned, sitting upright and taking her hand, “For you,” he muttered, his eyes sparkling as he kissed her hand softly.
Ron pulled up a chair beside Hermione and collapsed onto it. Hermione was staring down at her hands in her lap as Harry surveyed them impatiently.
“When the hell is someone going to tell me what’s going on?” he demanded, staring from Hermione to Ron.
“I… where do you want us to start?” Hermione said timidly, glancing at Ron, who looked disgruntled.
“Well…” Hermione faltered, glancing at Ron, “What’s the last thing you remember?”
Harry paused. What was the last thing he remembered?
“Equin. I met Equin Malfoy… hold on. Where’s Lily?” he asked quickly, trying to sit up again. Hermione pushed him back down clumsily.
“She’s fine; she’ll come in later. Equin’s the last thing you remember?”
“Y-Yea…” Harry nodded jerkily, glancing at the door.
“Don’t even think about getting up, Harry,” Ron said quickly, leaning forwards.
“We got you out of there,” Hermione started, glancing sideways at Ron.
“Malfoy - ?”
Hermione hesitated, but Ron saved her, “Killed. In a battle – Moody killed him,” Hermione looked at Ron.
You’re certainly quick on your feet when you need to be…
Harry nodded wordlessly, his voice constricted.
“You and Ginny collapsed whenever you got here…” Hermione continued.
“Gin! What-? Is-?”
“She…” Hermione breathed out heavily, glancing at Ron. Ron was biting his lip and letting Hermione do all the talking. “Harry, please don’t get upset… just… stay calm…”
“I swore I wouldn’t leave the bed.”
“Just… Harry… you came into here about five months ago.”
“I – I’ve been…?” he said slowly, looking from Ron to Hermione.
No wonder I’m so bloody sore…
“You’ve been in a coma for around five months,” Hermione said softly, “That’s why you can’t move. We have to take things slowly…”
Harry nodded jerkily. “Has Gin…?”
“No… she was in her first coma for a week.”
“First coma?!” Harry said loudly, eyes wide. He made to sit up again but Hermione held him down, “She…?”
“She collapsed again yesterday…” Hermione said quietly, glancing again at Ron, whose eyes were bright and he was biting his lip.
“Why?” Harry said faintly.
“She… she…” Hermione faltered. She looked at Ron for help.
“Harry, you know the Hocutius Spell?” Ron said lowly, looking at Harry.
“Yea, I read about it when I was searching for - no…” Harry whispered, looking desperately from Ron to Hermione. “She didn’t…?!”
“I’m sorry Harry…” Hermione whispered, her eyes bright. “I… we didn’t want her to…”
Harry didn’t say anything; he swallowed hard and gazed, unfocused, in front of him.
“I told her…” Harry said quietly, his voice shaking and eyes watering, “That I’m not worth it…”
“I… I told her…”
“Please… Harry, remain calm…”
“Calm? Bloody hell… I… I told her…”
“Please Harry… Nigel’s going to kick us out…” Hermione muttered frantically, glancing desperately at Ron.
Harry swallowed, eyes fixed forwards.
“I… when can I see her?” he said mechanically, looking at his friends.
“Harry, you said you wouldn’t get up!” Hermione said shrilly, looking around at Ron again. Say something! she mouthed desperately before whipping her head back around to Harry.
“I – I know,” his voice was starting to get raspy and croaked. His head started to throb and he felt sick and dizzy. “I just w-want to k-know…”
“We don’t know Harry,” Ron said. His voice sounded strangely hoarse, “But we’ll try. We’ll try and get you down to see her by the end of the week at the very least,”
“End of the w-week?” Harry said quietly, his voice dripping with disbelief. His head spun and the room blurred for a second.
“Relax Harry,” Ron said quickly, noticing the croak in Harry’s voice and his face paling. “You’ll have to work with us and Nigel if you want to see Ginny,”
Harry swallowed heavily, sinking back into the cushions. While his head throbbed horribly the rest of his body was numb and unfeeling. He swallowed hard.
“I… I just wish…”
“No one could’ve stopped her Harry,” Ron said soberly, picking at the bed sheet absentmindedly.
“I… if only I…”
“Harry…” Hermione sighed bitterly. Her eyes were glazed over and her hands were shaking slightly, “Stop it with the I. You did nothing wrong. No one – not even you – could’ve stopped what Ginny did. She… she was… obsessed, almost. She needed you to get better. It was her own decision, not yours. And no matter what happens now, now that you’re up, I’m willing to bet my N.E.W.Ts that she’d do it again.”
Lily was sitting, cross legged, on one of the softer chairs beside her Mummy. Mummy was still unconscious.
Lily sighed, leaning her head against the bed. Everyone else – all the grown ups – had left. The Healer man had said something quickly, Lily didn’t hear. All her Uncles, her Aunts, Granny and Granddad hurried out of the room. Equin had stayed with Lily for a moment, before saying that she’d be right back.
That was about an hour ago.
Her head against the soft bedding, Lily closed her eyes. She went into the place inside her head – her most favourite place in the world.
Home with Mummy and Daddy. Just one big normal, happy family.