Over a month had passed since the battle, and Jane had fallen into busy a routine. She found that having a lot to do helped her to move on from mourning the loss of her friend. Jane knew life wasn’t completely back to normal yet, since she still read in the Daily Prophet that some Death Eaters were on the loose, but things were getting better every day.
After the memorial service, Jane moved the last of her things from her flat to Andromeda’s house. Jane had been living on her own ever since leaving Hogwarts, so sharing a space with other people took a little getting used to. For seven years she was able to come home and know that it was a space that completely belonged to her, where no one else could intrude. By moving in with Andromeda and Teddy, she gave up most of her privacy. Even in her own bedroom, Jane had difficulty being alone since Teddy would often wake up crying at odd hours. In spite of her lack of privacy, Jane didn’t mind her new living arrangements. She enjoyed living with Andromeda and whenever Jane was lonely, she found comfort in her.
Thankfully, Harry came over once or twice a week to help Andromeda as well. Jane was grateful for this, since she knew her long shifts at St. Mungo’s sometimes prevented her from being available. If it wasn’t for his help, Jane would have had too much on her plate. Harry and Teddy were bonding quickly and Jane was happy to know that Teddy would always have a father figure in his life.
Although Harry was unsure of himself at first, he had gotten much better at taking care of a baby. The first time Harry changed Teddy’s diaper, he went about it so completely wrong that Jane couldn’t stop laughing for nearly ten minutes. She still laughed when she remembered how he had wasted three diapers before doing it correctly. The nursery was in a mess and Harry had pee all over his robes by the time Teddy was in a clean diaper.
Jane was exhausted by the time she left work and was looking forward to finally going home and relaxing for a bit. There had been so many patients who had been imperiused, tortured, or had been in hiding for so long that their health had deteriorated, that all the St. Mungo’s staff had been working extra since the end of the war. Thankfully, today was the last double-shift Jane would have to work for a while. Things were getting back to normal at the hospital and Jane was able to cut back her hours a bit. One relaxing evening was all Jane needed right now.
“Oh, Jane. Good, you’re home,” Andromeda greeted heras she walked in the door. “We have to leave now or we’ll be late.” Andromeda gave Teddy to Jane and turned around to pick up his diaper bag.
“Late? Where are we going?” Jane asked, the image of a relaxing bubble bath flying out of her head.
“Didn’t I tell you? Molly Weasley invited us over for Harry’s eighteenth birthday party and I promised her we would come.” Jane remembered Harry being over a few days ago, but he didn’t mention anything about a party. Chances were, the party was not his idea.
“Not everyone has met Teddy yet,” Andromeda continued, “and Molly keeps saying that we should bring him to the Burrow. Ready to go? Are you ok to apparate with him?”
“I’ve got him,” Jane said, holding Teddy a little closer. “Let’s go.”
They apparated to the Burrow and walked around the house to the back garden. As they approached, Jane could see that somebody had hung red and gold streamers and hanging lanterns between the house, shed, and trees. The streamers made it look like the party was taking place under a brilliant canopy. When Jane looked up, she noticed the glowing lanterns become brighter as the sun set around them. There were a few tables spread evenly through the garden. In the middle of the centermost table was a large cake that read “HAPPY BIRTHDAY HARRY” in large red letters.
There was already a crowd of guests gathered for the party when Jane arrived. She surveyed the crowd and saw what must have been all of the members of the Weasley family. There were also some other families she recognized present, such as the Longbottoms and Lovegoods. There were also a few other people Jane assumed must have been in Harry’s year at Hogwarts since they looked his age, but she didn’t know who they were. Sitting at one of the tables was Harry, his friend Ron, and a girl Jane didn’t know. When she walked towards them, Harry stood up and smiled.
“Happy Birthday,” Jane greeted him. “I didn’t bring a gift but I did bring Teddy.”
“Thanks,” he replied as Jane placed Teddy in his arms. “Teddy’s a better gift than anything I can think of.”
“Well, he’s yours for the night, if you want him,” Jane said.
“Thanks, I think I’ll keep him,” Harry grinned. When he sat back down the girl he was sitting with cleared her throat loudly. “Oh, right I should introduce you. Jane these are my friends Ron and Hermione.”
“Nice to meet you,” Jane said as she shook their hands. She sat down with them and watched as Harry bounced Teddy on his knee.
“How has St. Mungo’s been?” Harry asked.
“It’s been pretty busy, but things are finally slowing down,” Jane replied.
“Jane,” Hermione began. “Do you enjoy being a Healer? I’ve heard it’s a difficult job, but I find the subject fascinating. I would love if you could tell me about Healing some, I’m contemplating studying it. That is, if I do well enough on my NEWTS, I might.” She said all of this very quickly and Ron raised his eyebrows at her before grabbing a handful of crisps.
“Healing is difficult but I love my job, it’s really rewarding,” Jane said. “I’m only a few years out of my training, but I don’t mind if you ask questions. Hopefully, I can answer most of them.”
“Great!” Hermione said. “What NEWTS are required? And what NEWTS do you have?”
“You need at least an Exceeds Expectations in Charms, Herbology, and Defense Against the Dark Arts along with an Outsanding in Potions and Transfiguration. I have O’s in everything except Charms, I only have an E there because I couldn’t perform some of the household charms properly, although I can do them just fine now.” Jane explained.
“Grades aren’t the only criteria though. St. Mungo’s requires all applicants to write an essay on what motivates them to be a Healer and to include at least two recommendations from professors with their application,” Jane continued. “From experience, I’ve found that the best Healers aren’t the ones who have every spell and potion memorized, they’re the ones who really care about the patients and can think on their feet.”
“Hah!” Ron said as he sprayed food across the table. “Hermione, I told you not everything is about getting good marks and being clever.”
Hermione shot him a glare before turning her back to him. “Jane,” she said. “What is training like once you get in?”
Jane and Hermione continued to talk about the various things Jane did as a trainee-Healer for a quarter of an hour. Hermione had a lot of questions and no matter how much Jane told her, she still wanted to know more. Eventually, Jane recommended that she visit the hospital and ask to speak to the Head Healer. As Jane walked away, she laughed at the fact that a Gryffindor had just stumped a Ravenclaw.
Jane had never been close to the Weasley family, so she looked around to see if there was anyone she knew well enough to approach. She saw that Andromeda was helping Molly Weasley bring out the food for dinner. There was a lot of food to be brought out so Jane decided to help them.
As she was walking towards the kitchen, Jane thought she saw someone familiar out of the corner of her eye. When she turned to check who it might be, Jane only saw a blonde woman who she remembered as Fleur Delacour from the Triwizard Tournament sitting with two red haired men. Jane presumed one was with Fleur, since they were sitting very close to each other, but it was the other man who caught her attention. There was something very familiar about him, but Jane couldn’t figure out what it was. Just as she had given up and decided to continue to the kitchen to help out Molly and Andromeda, he turned and saw her. A look of recognition spread across his face and he got up and walked towards her.
“So, mystery girl is a Healer.”
“Excuse me?” said Jane with raised eyebrows.
“I understand if you don’t remember me. Last time we met I forgot to mention my name. I’m Charlie Weasley,” he said as he stuck out a hand for her to shake. Jane looked at him again trying to figure out where they had met before when it suddenly came to her. He was the man she had talked to on the edge of the Black Lake after the memorial service.
“Jane Lemieux,” she said as she took his heavily callused hand in her own. Jane kicked herself for not realizing he was a Weasley earlier, he definitely looked like one. “How do you know I’m a Healer?”
“Its kind of obvious that someone’s a Healer when they’re wearing lime green robes that have a St. Mungo’s emblem,” Charlie said.
“Oh, right. I didn’t have time to change after work. I was home for less than five minutes before Andromeda made me come here with her and Teddy.” Jane immediately regretted not asking Andromeda to wait an extra few minutes for her to change before heading to the party. Not only was she still in her Healer robes, her hair was pulled back in a messy ponytail and she had absolutely no make-up on. This was not the way she preferred to present herself in social gatherings.
“So you’re not here by choice either?” Charlie replied. He glanced over his shoulder before continuing to make sure Mrs. Weasley wasn’t too close. “Nothing against this party or anyone here, but if I had my way I would be back in Romania already.”
“Romania? What do you do there?” Jane asked.
“I work with dragons. There’s a sanctuary in Romania,” Charlie said. “I haven’t been able to go back because my mum isn’t letting anyone in the family out of her sight for longer than necessary, and longer than necessary is anything more than 8 hours by her standard. Ginny’s going to have a tough time convincing Mum to let her go back to Hogwarts in the fall.”
“Her worries aren’t completely unfounded, there are still a few Death Eaters on the loose,” Jane replied, remembering that Charlie said he had lost a brother.
“I doubt they’re hiding out in Romania,” Charlie said. “Anyway, they’d be crazy to attack a place full of dragons.”
“I think I’ve heard the sanctuary mentioned in Care for Magical Creatures. What’s your favorite part of your job?” Jane asked.
“You took Care for Magical Creatures? That’s wicked cool, it was my favorite class at Hogwarts. And I love my job, it’s really time consuming but worth every minute. The best part is that everything I do is hands on, I never get bored,” Charlie replied.
“That’s cool. It’s kind of like being a Healer, except your patients are much larger,” Jane joked. “I haven’t had much of a chance to do any research yet, but I hope to.”
At this point their conversation was interrupted by Mrs. Weasley announcing that dinner was ready. They headed over to the tables and found seats next to each other. Jane could see an array of casseroles, roast chicken, sprouts, mashed potatoes, and other delicious dishes. As soon as she sat down, Jane loaded her plate with helpings of everything in reach.
The rest of the night was spent swapping stories about their respective careers and gorging themselves on Mrs. Weasley’s delicious cooking. Whenever Jane would tell Charlie a story about something exciting she had experienced at St. Mungo’s he would come back with a better one about the dragon sanctuary. Even though Jane was sure his stories outshined hers, he was still interested in everything she had to say. Every time Charlie started on a new story about his life as a dragon keeper Jane could see his eyes sparkle. It was obvious how much he loved and missed his job.
Her family thought she was crazy for being so devoted to her job as a Healer, but listening to Charlie, and knowing that he was just as devoted to his own job made her happy to know she wasn’t the only one who threw themselves into their work.
After dinner and cake were over, Jane and Andromeda prepared to go home. With one last promise to Hermione that she would help her get in contact with the Head Healer and a goodbye to everyone else, they were able to leave. Jane was glad to finally be able to enjoy her bubble bath before going to bed.