I just want to say thank you for those who have continued to read, even through my absence! Things have been going much better, especially with the health issues I was going through. I should be back on track now, and there shouldn't be a long time period between each chapter. If I know ahead of time and know there will be, I will definitely let you know! Now, I know this chapter is long, but I hope you enjoy it!
"Where do you think she is?" Louis asked as he looked over at the clock on the wall. "She's usually the one waiting for us."
"I don't know," Fred answered.
They waited a few more minutes longer until they saw Susan come down the stairs. Fred stood from the armchair and rushed over to her, placing a hand on her shoulder.
"What do you think you're doing?" she asked harshly as she eyed Fred. "Get off me, Weasley."
Fred looked at her, his expression changing. "Where's Sophie?"
"You mean the up-chucker?" she asked as walked past him, her shoulder hitting him. She turned back around and looked at him and Louis, who had stood from the couch. "She's been in the bathroom all night long. Couldn't get in there last night or this morning." Before either of them could ask anything else, she turned around and walked out of the common room.
Fred and Louis looked at one another. "We probably shouldn't bother her right now, especially if she's sick."
"Well, she shouldn't be left lying on the floor next to the toilet. We should at least try to get her to bed. It's obvious no one else is going to to move her," Fred countered.
"Yeah, I guess you're right," Louis replied.
As they were going to make their up the girls' staircase, the bell rang for class. "C'mon. She'll be okay for a couple of periods. If we're late for Herbology, I'm sure Neville's not going to take things too lightly - not after yesterday anyway."
Reluctantly, Fred nodded, and the two of them headed out of the common room, down the staircases, and out of the castle to the greenhouses. As they finished trudging their way down the snow filled lawns, they saw that everyone was still waiting outside of the greenhouse.
"Professor Longbottom not here yet?" Louis asked.
"He's doing something inside."
Suddenly, the door opened and Professor Longbottom stood between the group of students and the door. He stood off to the side and let everyone walk in. As Fred and Louis passed him, he furrowed his brows and stopped them. "Where's Sophie?"
"She's not feeling well," Fred answered.
"Well, get on in," Professor Longbottom said after a short pause. He closed the door behind him and walked to his usual spot in front of the table. "Alright, class! Today, with the holiday season finished, we're going to work with the leftover mistletoe. I know what you're thinking: there's really no use for it. That's where you're wrong, though. We may use it as a Christmas decoration, but they're also used for healing."
Professor Longbottom continued to discuss the uses mistletoe and then gave them their assignment. Once he was finished, they began to nurture and have their mistletoe grow to full maturity.
Eventually, the bell rang and Professor Longbottom smiled at them. "Very, very well! Make sure that you don't let anything happen or lose your mistletoe! You'll be working to make a potion with them in Potions next!"
The class walked out of the greenhouse then and began to make their way up to the castle. Fred lagged behind Louis slightly. A smirk came to his face as he bent down to grab a handful of snow. He formed it into a ball and threw it at Louis' back. Before Louis could turn around and find Fred to be the culprit, Fred hurried to Louis' side.
"What the -," Louis started.
"You okay, mate?" Fred questioned as he tried to hold back his laughter.
Louis turned back around and scratched the back of his head in confusion. "Yeah, I'm fine."
"Yeah, yeah," he responded.
"Good to know you like snowballs being thrown at you," Fred said as he bent down quickly and formed another snowball. He threw it and it hit Louis in the face. Laughter bellowed from him. He continued to laugh as he looked at Louis. Seeing the look on his face, Fred turned around and began to run back toward the castle, laughter still escaping him.
"Yeah, you better run!" Louis shouted.
The two of them continued to run toward the castle, Louis catching up to him quickly. They caught up to the group and zoomed past them. As they reached the castle's entrance, they continued to run.
"Weasley!" a stern, loud voice sounded from near the Great Hall. They stopped in their tracks suddenly and looked over to see McGonagall standing at the entrance, a stern look on her face. "What in Merlin's beard do the two of you think you're doing?"
They stood their catching their breath, not knowing how to answer. She took a few steps toward them, her cane seeming to boom throughout the silent hall. Finally, Fred breathed, "We're sorry, Headmistress."
"Ten points from both of you. I take it you left Miss Palmer behind with the rest of the students?" McGonagall questioned as she looked toward the group of students that were making their way toward the three of them.
"No," Louis said as he finally caught his breath. "She's still in her room. She wasn't feeling well."
"Hmm… Well, get to your class - without trying to knock anyone over," she said.
Fred and Louis nodded and could've sworn they saw a small smile on her face as she turned to make her way to her office. They looked at each other and shrugged.
"I'm still going to get you back for that snowball. Just you wait," Louis said, a determined look in his eye.
"Yeah, yeah, whatever you say," Fred responded with a chuckle.
They made their way through the dungeons to the Potions classroom. They took their usual spots and Louis took out his mistletoe. Fred reached in his pocket to take his out when he found it was gone. He searched the other pocket quickly to find it wasn't in that one either.
"Good morning!" Professor Slughorn exclaimed as he stood from the desk he had been sitting at. "Today we're going to be making a healing potion from the mistletoe that you worked on in Herbology. The directions are on the board. You may get started."
Fred raised his hand. "Professor?"
"Yes, my boy?" Slughorn asked as he turned his attention to Fred.
"I don't have my mistletoe."
"What do you mean you don't have your mistletoe? Weren't you just in Herbology?" Fred nodded. "Well, Weatherby, I don't know what to say. You need your mistletoe and there's no extras, which is a shame because this potion determined your grade for this class and Herbology.
"I want a four foot paper from you discussing the importance of a healing potion made from mistletoe, along with describing mistletoe's characteristics and the positive and negative sides to it. You will hand it in at the end of class, whether finished or not. So, I'd get started if I were you."
Fred groaned once Professor Slughorn was out of earshot.
"Looks like you shouldn't have been throwing snowballs," Louis said with a snicker.
"Shut up," he grumbled. He stood from the table and grabbed a roll of parchment. Bringing it back to his desk, he began to work on the essay.
"Alright! Time is almost up. Everyone take a flask and pour a sample into them. Don't forget to place your names on them! Weatherby, I need your essay."
Looking down at his essay, Fred sighed and tore off the two and a half feet he completed and brought it up to Professor Slughorn.
"I must say, I'm disappointed," Professor Slughorn said quietly as he shook his head slightly. "Well, off you go."
Fred turned around then and headed for the door. He walked out of the dungeons and waited for Louis at the entrance. After a few minutes, Louis finally walked out of the dungeons and walked over to Fred.
"Thought you left me behind," Louis said as they began to make their way up the stairs.
"Was about to in another minute," Fred responded. "Was he in a bad mood or was it just me?"
"No. He was a bit off today."
"Four foot paper in an hour. Must be out of his mind."
"Just forget about it. It's not like that's the worst assignment either one of us failed," Louis said.
"I guess you're right. But it counted for two classes."
"You're starting to sound like Sophie."
He laughed and shook his head. "Guess I take over her role when she's not here."
"I wonder how she's feeling."
"Hopefully better," Fred responded.
They finished making their way up the stairs and made their way through the portrait. Walking into the common room, the two of them saw Lily, Roxanne, and Hugo talking to James and Rose, worried expressions on their faces.
"What's going on?" Fred asked as they walked over to the small group.
"Something's wrong with Sophie, I guess," James answered.
"What do you mean 'wrong'?" Louis asked.
"Lily and Roxanne went to see her and, apparently, can't get her up," Rose responded.
"She can be a heavy sleeper and she wasn't feeling well this morning," Fred said. He looked at Roxanne and Lily. "I'm sure it's nothing."
"B-But, Fred, it's different. Grandpa Weasley and Uncle Ron don't wake up easily either, but they don't act like that. She's not moving or anything," Roxanne countered, her brown eyes watering.
After a few seconds, as he took Roxanne's expression in, Fred said, "Okay, let's go check it out. Hugo, you and Rose stay down."
Roxanne and Lily walked up the staircase, and the three - Fred, Louis, and James - conjured slimy, sticky green stuff and placed it on the bottom of their shoes. They walked forward, and James' foot touched the stairs, which caused the staircase to turn into a slide. They, then, began to climb up. Once they made it to the top, where Lily and Roxanne waited, they cleared off the slime from the bottom of their shoes, and made their way to Sophie's room.
"Sophie?" James asked as he knocked on the door lightly. When no answer came, he looked back at Fred and Louis.
"Just go in, James!" Lily exclaimed.
He opened the door, and the five of them walked into the room to see no one there. Fred looked down at Roxanne and Lily. "Where was she?"
Roxanne pointed to the bathroom, a lump in her throat, causing her to remain quiet. Fred, Louis, and James made their way to the bathroom to see Sophie lying on the floor not moving.
"Sophie," Fred called as he hurried in and knelt down beside her. He reached out to shake her. As his hand touched her skin, he pulled it away quickly, not expecting her skin to feel as cold as the snow outside. "Sophie!"
"Turn her on her back," Louis said.
Turning her on her back, they saw that her skin was grey and her lips were slightly blue. "Oh Merlin! No, no, no…come on, Soph."
"Roxanne, go get some help!" Fred shouted as he pulled Sophie into his arms, cradling her.
"I'm on it," James said as he ran out of the bathroom and past Roxanne and Lily. As he rushed past them two girls he declared, "Come downstairs."
Before he wasted too much time, he slid down the stairs and almost collided into Rose. He caught himself and hurriedly said, "Get Roxanne and Lily down here. They don't need to be up there."
As she was about to ask him why, he began to run out of the common room, brushing past people as fast as he could, and down the stairs. His feet pounded down the stairs, and he shouted at other students when he ran toward them to get out of the way. Eventually, as he reached the third floor, he was about to rush past Professor Flitwick when his squeaky voice caught his attention.
"Mr. Potter! Where are you going in such a hurry?"
"Professor!" James gasped. "Quick, we need your help. There's something terribly wrong with Sophie. It's not good."
"Where is she?" Flitwick asked. James answered and Flitwick continued, "I'll meet you there. You continue on and retrieve Professor Longbottom, Madam Pomfrey, and the Headmistress."
James nodded and he continued to go down the stairs and Professor Flitwick hurried toward the Gryffindor common room. Finally, after what seemed to be ages, James finally made it to the first floor and hurried into the Great Hall. Sitting there was Professor Longbottom talking to the Head Mistress. He ran up the aisle the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw tables made and hurried to the High Table.
"Mr. Potter! What is with you and cousins today?" Professor McGonagall asked startled.
He gasped a few times. When he realized he wasn't going to catch his breath to talk normally, he said through gulps of air, "It's Sophie. Something's wrong. Professor Flitwick's there."
"Don't know," he answered. Finally, he caught his breath and he hurriedly said, "Before I came down here, her lips were almost blue and her skin was grey. I don't know if she was breathing or not."
"Neville, take James and hurry up to the common room. Get Poppy on your way, and I'll keep everything settled in here," McGonagall said as she stood from her chair.
Professor Longbottom nodded, and he and James made their way through the Great Hall quickly. He grabbed Madam Pomfrey out of Hospital Wing, and the three of them hurried to the Gryffindor common room.
Eventually, they made it into the common and hurried up the girls' staircase, the stairs refraining from turning into a slide due to Professor Flitwick undoing the charm.
"What happened?" Madam Pomfrey gasped as she saw Sophie, who was now lying on the floor in front of Professor Flitwick.
"W-W-We don't know," James stammered as he looked at Sophie to see that she had already worsened. He looked back at Fred and Louis, who were completely still, not looking as if they were breathing.
"We need to get her to the Hospital Wing, now," Madam Pomfrey said shakily.
Professor Flitwick conjured a stretcher, in which Professor Longbottom placed Sophie on it gently. Once she was on, they had it hover in the air, and the three of them began to walk out of the bathroom and back down to the common room.
James, Fred, and Louis followed after them. They descended the stairs, where Lily stopped them. "What's going on? Is she going to be okay?"
"Don't worry about it, Lils. You need to be getting to class," James answered.
"You're not going to class!" she accused.
"Lily, stop!" James exclaimed. He paused in his footsteps and looked back to her. Before he knew what he was doing, he pulled her into a hug and said, "I'm sorry. As soon as I know, you'll know, okay?"
She nodded slowly against him, knowing it was bad since he hugged her. He let go of her and smiled softly. Without saying another word, he turned back around and hurried out of the common room to catch up to Fred and Louis.
As they made their way down the staircases, there were many onlookers and whispers going on. They ignored them though and continued to make their way to the Hospital Wing as fast as they could.
Eventually, they made it into the wing and lied Sophie down on one of the beds. Madam Pomfrey began flourish her wand in all sorts of movements that the three boys couldn't follow.
"You three shouldn't be here," McGonagall said as she walked into the wing.
"We can't leave," Fred choked out.
"There's nothing more you can do. You did your best, and now it's in our hands to do everything we can. You don't need to be here for this," she responded. When they didn't budge, McGonagall shook her head slightly. "Professor Longbottom? Would escort these three out and go back to your class?"
Professor Longbottom turned to her as she said his name, and then nodded reluctantly. He then began to make his way toward the door, ushering Fred, Louis, and James out. Once they were out, McGonagall had the large doors shut.
"Neville, please!" Louis exclaimed.
"You heard what McGonagall said," Professor Longbottom said as he tried to keep his voice even.
"We can't just simply go back to class not knowing what's going on!" James shouted suddenly, the three of them turning to look at him in surprise. "I can't just pretend that there's nothing wrong with her and that things are okay! She's my sister!"
"Sister? What's going on?" a voice asked from near the Great Hall. "Is it Lily?"
"No," Fred answered instantly as he turned to see Albus.
"Sophie? What happened?"
"Okay, you lot. You need to get to your classes," Professor Longbottom said quizzically.
James let out an exasperated sigh as he threw up his hands. "I already told you I'm not going anywhere until I know what's wrong with my sister!"
"What is this sister talk?" Professor Longbottom finally asked, the article in December escaping his mind.
"It's okay, Neville. We'll get him to class," Fred interjected before James could say anymore.
"You know, why don't you lot just go up to the common room? I'll let the other professor's know what's going on."
"Thank you," Fred and Louis said.
Professor Longbottom nodded, turned, and made his way down to the greenhouses once more.
"C'mon, let's go to the common room."
"Seriously? You guys are just going to go to the common room without trying to find out what's wrong?" James questioned, his anger still in tact.
"There's nothing we can do…," Louis trailed. "If McGonagall finds us out here, we're going to be getting detention. Plus, we'd get Neville in trouble too."
"You never cared about that before!"
"James, calm down," Fred responded. "We're all upset… Sophie wouldn't want this."
"Forget it. I'm out of here," James said heatedly. He hurried past Fred, knocking his shoulder slightly before heading up the stairs.
"James!" Albus called as he followed him. "James! Wait up!"
"What's going on?" he asked curiously.
"I don't know," James answered, his voice hard.
Albus looked at him curiously. "What happened, though? Why is Sophie in there?"
"I don't know!" he shouted as he turned to look at Albus in the middle of a staircase. "I just don't know. All I know is that it's not good… It's not good at all, Al."
Draco was just walking back to his office after a meeting. When he walked in, he saw Natalia for the first time that morning and smiled at her.
"Good morning, Natalia," he said as he nodded.
"G-Good morning, sir," she stammered slightly.
"How did yesterday go?" he asked. He walked into his office and called, "Come on in and shut the door behind you."
She quickly stood, smoothed out her black skirt, and tucked onto her button up top. Taking a deep breath, she walked into his office, closed the door, and responded, "It went just as planned. Mrs. Potter received your papers."
"Excellent," he replied as he sifted through a folder of papers. "Go ahead, have a seat." Natalia did and waited for him to say something else. He then looked up and said, "I really appreciate you doing that for me, by the way."
"It's no problem. I was more than happy to do."
"Well, thank you," he said as he smiled slightly. "I've been thinking about what you said though - about the press and publicity. I'm going to need your help with that."
"You know I'll do anything to help."
"Good. I have a feeling Ginny and Harry aren't going to handle things quietly. Well, I should take that back, Potter would. Ginny's a whole other story though. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that whatever they throw at us, we're going to throw back at them harder."
Natalia's brows knit together, and before she could stop herself, she asked, "Do you think that's such a good idea?"
"What do you mean?" he questioned as he looked at her.
"I just mean," she started. She paused and cleared her throat nervously. "I just mean that if you kept your head about it - meaning lied low from the press and not retaliating back - that maybe it could show that you're not there to be vicious and that you really care."
"Hmm…" She bit her lip nervously when he didn't respond. Finally, he ran a hand through his hair and said, "You could be onto something, Natalia. I'm happy to have you by my side. You keep me from doing irrational things."
She blushed and looked down at the floor. Draco chuckled softly, but cleared his throat so she wouldn't notice. After a long pause, Draco stood and said, "There's going to be some long nights ahead of us soon… I hope you're prepared for them."
"I will be," she responded as she stood and looked back up at him, her eyes meeting his. "Is there anything else you need? I should get back to the other paperwork."
He walked around his desk and stood in front of her. "No, I'm okay for now. I'll call you if I need anything. And thank you, again," he said again as he leant in and kissed her cheek.
"It was my pleasure, sir," she said as she leant away from her, a smile on her face. Before she knew what she was doing, she leant forward and kissed Draco. To her pleasure, he kissed her back.
Ginny was at the headquarters of The Daily Prophet waiting for time to pass. She was working on her next sports article based on the Holyhead Harpies' coach, Helena. She was retiring after thirty years of coaching, which was something Ginny couldn't believe. They were meeting up for lunch and a short interview.
"Don't you have that interview today at the Three Broomsticks?" Carl, the top editor and manager, asked.
"Yes, in about fifteen minutes," Ginny responded.
"Okay good." As he was about to walk, he stopped herself and asked, "Do you ever miss it? Playing on the team, I mean."
Ginny smiled slightly as she thought back to her days of playing Quidditch. "A lot of days I do. I miss being on a team and seeing them all the time. I had some amazing days being on that team…"
"And that answer is exactly why I have you write the sports article," Carl answered. Before Ginny could respond, he walked away.
A smile came to her face, and Ginny stood from her desk and walked to the door. Once she was standing in the snow, the cold air hitting her face, she Apparated to the Three Broomsticks.
When she stood in front of the shop, she hurried in and looked around to see if Helena was already waiting. Not spotting her, Ginny walked to the bar and found a younger wizard behind it.
"Excuse me, is Rosmerta around?"
"No, she's not. She's not feeling too well. Is there something I can help you with?"
Ginny shook her head slightly. "Just two butterbeers, please."
"Coming right up."
A moment later, he handed her a mug of butterbeer, and she walked over to a table in a secluded corner. She set the butterbeer down and took off her coat. As she was about to sit, Helena walked in and Ginny called her over.
"It's great to see you!" Ginny exclaimed as she wrapped her arms around her old coach.
"You as well, Weasley," Helena responded as she hugged Ginny back.
They parted and then sat down. "I hope you don't mind that I ordered you a butterbeer."
"Not at all. So, how are things going with you and the family?"
"Good, good," Ginny said with a smile. "Everything's going pretty well."
"I saw that you had a new addition to the family…," Helena trailed slightly before taking a large sip from her mug.
Ginny's smiled waned slightly. "Yes, that's right. The secret finally came out. I don't exactly know how it happened, but it finally did. I think it was the best time it did though."
"Why's that?" Helena asked.
"Well, I had been thinking a lot about Sophie - that's her name - before Draco confronted me about it. But, a few weeks beforehand, Sophie had lost both of the parents that adopted her. I felt awful about it."
"Oh, I see… That's terrible."
"I can't even imagine being in her shoes. She loses two people who thought were her parents, and then to find out they weren't really her parents… I don't know where she gets that strength. I know I wouldn't be able to handle that, especially at such a young age."
"She gets her strength from you," Helena responded. "You've made it through some things that most people wouldn't be able to."
"Thank you for that," Ginny said with a smile.
"So, how have things been with Draco then? Was that the first time you guys talked since…how many years ago has it been?"
"Seventeen," she answered automatically. "Things have been…strained, to say the least."
"Well, of course things have been a bit heated, but we don't see each other much, which is good. The only downside to that is I haven't been able to see Sophie too much. She isn't the happiest with me either."
"Give it time. That's all anything takes is time. You're a friend, daughter, wife, and mother. A little time is the only thing anyone needs to fix their problems," Helena said.
Ginny smiled and took a sip of her butterbeer. "Before I waste all of your time talking about me and my life, we need to talk about you! Are you ready to start?"
"Okay." Ginny took out her pad of parchment and Quick-Quotes Quill. "You've been coaching for the past thirty years, an amazing run as a coach. I know from being on the team how passionate you are about the game and your team - old and new. Some say that you're way too young to retire. So, I must ask, what has you retiring? Is it a personal choice? Are the National Quidditch League members berating you about anything as they have in years past?"
"Well, my passion has lied within this game for the past thirty years, and I do admit that I'm retiring earlier than planned. I'd be ready to go another thirty years if I could.
"It's been a hard decision to make, and it's been mine and my husband's decision solely. The NQL is being completely supportive. They're respecting our decision, and also said that if I decide to come back that they'd be more than happy to let me do so.
"I've been waiting for the season to end to officially retire and to share the news. A few months ago, my husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer's." At this, Helena began to choke up. She took out her handkerchief and dabbed at her eyes slightly. "It's not so bad right now, but it is happening quickly. Unfortunately, as we know, we can't replace the memories we forget, so there's no treatment for him."
"Oh, Helena," Ginny said softly as her eyes watered.
Helena dabbed at her eyes a few times more and sniffled. "I'm sorry."
"Don't be sorry. I'm so sorry…I had no idea…"
"It's okay…," Helena said with a small smile. "Next question?"
"We don't have to…"
"Next question," Helena pressed.
Ginny cleared her throat. "How does it feel to be the first female coach to have won seventeen trophies, seven of them being in a row?"
"One of the most amazing things in the world," she said with a small chuckle. "Although, there's no way I could've done it without the group of girls I've worked with. Each and every one of them have been so wonderful."
As Ginny was about to ask another question, Harry walked up to the two of them, a frantic look in his eyes. "I'm sorry to interrupt, but, Ginny, we need to go."
"Harry, I'm in the middle of an interview," she responded, her teeth clenched as she tried to hide her annoyance.
"I know, and I'm sorry," he responded. He turned to Helena and apologized too. "I stopped at home because I forgot one of my folders, and found a barn owl sitting on the fence. The letter was from James. Something's wrong with Sophie."
A lump grew in her throat and her heart seemed to have dropped to her stomach. A panic rose in her and she looked up at Harry, a fear in her eyes. She took in a deep breath to try to calm herself and asked, "What happened?"
"I don't know. It didn't say. He just said that it was really bad and that we needed to get to the school."
"Okay, okay," Ginny said as she stood from her chair. She put her coat on hurriedly and grabbed her quill and pad of parchment. "Helena, do you mind if we reschedule?"
"Not at all. Go on, hurry. Your daughter needs you," Helena encouraged as she stood from the chair. She grabbed Ginny's shoulder and said, "Everything will be okay."
"Thank you," Ginny said quickly before her and Harry hurried over to the fireplace quickly. They grabbed a handful of Floo powder, and one after the other, they Flooed to McGonagall's office.
When Ginny landed on the grate, she stepped out to see the office empty, other than Harry. Tears began to well in her eyes as she quickly made her way to the door. They descended the small spiraling staircase and hurried to the Hospital Wing.
As they were about to enter, Albus called them. They turned to see him and James coming down the staircases.
"What happened? Where's Sophie?" Ginny asked frantically.
"She's in the Hospital Wing," Albus answered.
"What happened?" she asked again, her voice slightly raised.
"We don't know," James said quietly, a lump in his throat. "It's not good though."
"Where's your sister?" Harry asked.
"Lily's in class.
"Okay good. You two get to class," he responded sternly. As James was about to argue, Harry said, "No but's. Get to class."
Without waiting to see if they were going, Harry and Ginny made their way to the Hospital Wing. They opened the doors, causing McGonagall and Flitwick to turn and look at them. McGonagall looked at them quizzically.
Ginny and Harry made their way to her. "What's wrong with Sophie? What happened?"
"What are you two doing here?" McGonagall asked, her usual formalities gone from the surprise.
"We heard about Sophie," Harry answered.
Ginny was about to walk past McGonagall to see Sophie from behind Madam Pomfrey and Professor Flitwick when McGonagall stopped her. "Come, let's go to my office."
"I'm not leaving without seeing my daughter," Ginny protested as she moved out of McGonagall's grasp. As McGonagall tried to catch her again, Ginny moved out of the way and saw over Professor Flitwick and around Madam Pomfrey to see Sophie. Her skin was a complete grey, and her lips were dried out and blue. More tears began to come as the ones that had already welled rolled down Ginny's cheeks slowly. She opened and closed her mouth a few times to say something, but nothing came out. Her stomach began to tie in knots as her heart seemed to pound against her chest.
"Let's go to my office," McGonagall said again.
"Gin, come on," Harry said as he walked over to Ginny. His arm wrapped around her shoulder as he glance over at Sophie. As he was about to look back at Ginny, his eyes remained still on Sophie. His brows furrowed and his throat seemed to constrict against the lump that formed in his throat.
After a short minute, McGonagall touched Harry's shoulder. He turned his head slowly and nodded. Once he did, he tried to pull Ginny away, but she refused to budge.
"Ginny, come on, let's go," he said softly.
"I'm not leaving my daughter…," she rasped.
"There's nothing we can do, Gin. Let Madam Pomfrey do her job," Harry responded.
"Don't you understand?!" Ginny suddenly exclaimed as she turned to look at Harry, her eyes wide. "I left my daughter once! I'm not doing it again!"
Madam Pomfrey looked over at the sudden outburst, her brows knitted together and her lips pursed. Without saying anything, she pulled the screen around the bed and went back to Sophie. Ginny turned back toward the bed quickly. She moved forward and was about to pull the screen open when Harry grabbed her around the waist and began to pull her away from the bed.
"Harry, stop!" she exclaimed as her hands began to hit him. "Don't make me leave my daughter! Not again!"
Suddenly, Ginny began to drop to her knees as she started to sob. Harry held her up and held her tightly against him. McGonagall looked at the pair of them, her eyes watering.
After a while, the three of them made it to McGonagall's office. Ginny had finally calmed down and was looking expectantly at McGonagall.
"Minerva, please," Ginny said as she looked at her, "tell me what happened."
"If I had an answer, I would have told you, Mrs. Potter," McGonagall replied. "The only information I have is what we were told by your son, James."
"James?" Ginny choked out.
"That's why he wrote the letter?"
"I'm assuming so. Madam Pomfrey has been with Sophie for the past couple hours," McGonagall said.
"And she still hasn't been able to do anything?" Ginny asked incredulously.
"Not too much, unfortunately. It seems like we're going to have to have Sophie transferred to St. Mungo's."
Ginny looked over at Harry, hoping he had an answer. He looked at her, his green eyes, for once, seeming unsure. Biting her lip, she looked back to McGonagall, her eyes still watery. "Move her."
"I'll contact St. Mungo's and let them know you all are coming. They'll have a Healer come here to travel with you." McGonagall reassured. As the two of them were going to stand up, she asked, "Would you like me to contact Draco for you?"
"No," Ginny said without a single second to pass. "I don't want him contacted. I'll do it when it's time."
"But, Ginny, that's his daughter…," McGonagall gently trailed.
"Minerva, I said no. I will tell him when the time comes. I'd appreciate it if you didn't say anything to him or the school. Also, I'd like my children."
She looked at Ginny and stayed quiet for a minute. Finally, she let out a defeated sigh and said, "As you wish."
Without another moment, Ginny stood from her chair and made her way out the door. Harry stood from his chair and looked at McGonagall. "Thank you, Minerva."
"Potter," McGonagall said softly. He looked at her expectantly, and she said, "You know he deserves to know."
Harry just looked at her, not responding and not showing that he even heard her. Then, without a word, he turned and walked out of the office to meet with Ginny at the bottom of the small, spiraled staircase. When he reached her, he wrapped an arm around her shoulder.
Leaning into his embrace, she looked up at him. A small, shaky sigh escaped her, and she asked, "How did this happen? What happened?"
"I don't know," he sighed as he leant in and kissed her head.
Before they could say anything else, McGonagall and Healer Rodanthe were standing next to them. Ginny looked over, her eyes widened slightly in shocker. "H-Healer Rodanthe…what are you doing here?"
"I'm here to make sure Sophie has a safe travel to St. Mungo's," she responded. At their confused expressions, she answered, "The Headmistress filled me in. It's nice to see you again, Miss Weasley, even under these circumstances."
Without correcting her, Ginny nodded. Healer Rodanthe and McGonagall began to walk into the Hospital Wing. Before they entered, Healer Rodanthe looked to Ginny and Harry and said, "When you get to St. Mungo's, you will have to wait in the waiting room. When I know something, I'll come get you." Before they could respond, she walked into the wing then, leaving Harry and Ginny waiting in the middle of the Entrance Hall for their children.
Ginny's eyes continued to water as her mind continued to fill with different scenarios. After a while, Professor Flitwick was walking down the first staircase with James, Albus, and Lily. When Lily spotted her parents, she ran to them, and Ginny wrapped her in her arms.
"Come on, you three," Ginny said thickly through her tears.
James, Albus, Lily, and Ginny had been sitting in the waiting room silently waiting to hear from Healer Rodanthe. Without warning, a few cracks reverberated off the walls of the small waiting room, and Ginny looked up to see her mom, dad, and Hermione.
"Mum?" Ginny called hoarsely in surprise.
In response, Mrs. Weasley walked up and wrapped her arms around her daughter tightly. Mr. Weasley did the same, and patted Ginny's back. As they hugged her, Ginny looked up at Hermione, who's eyes were watering, and gave her a small smile.
Hermione returned it, and moved to the kids. "What do you say the four of us go get some tea and a snack?"
"No thanks," James answered as Albus and Lily stood from their chairs.
"Come on, James," Hermione said softly. She leant in and whispered, "For your mum, brother, and sister."
He looked at her, to Ginny, and then back at her. Nodding reluctantly, he stood, and the four of them made their way to get tea.
As they left, more cracks filled the room, and before Ginny knew it, her whole family was there surrounding her. The tears then began to fall down her cheeks slowly as she realized that no matter how many fights they got in, her family was going to be there for her.
Another half hour passed as the whole Weasley family was sitting in the waiting room talking amongst themselves, waiting for Healer Rodanthe to come in with an answer. Finally, after a few minutes passed, Healer Rodanthe walked in, and took off the head cap she was wearing, a serious look on her face.
Ginny stood quickly, as did Harry and a few others. "What is it? How's Sophie? Is she okay?"
"I have done all that I can for Sophie," Healer Rodanthe assured.
A few sighs of relief filled the room, but Ginny shook her head as she continued to look at Healer Rodanthe. "There's something else…what's wrong?"
"I wasn't able to come up with an answer as to what happened. There's no trace of anything in her system or any signs of a struggle."
"What are you saying?" Harry asked, a tone of frustration in his voice.
"I can't say what's wrong, and, therefore, can't do anything else for her. For now, I have a spell working with her lungs so she can get the proper air she needs. The only thing we can do is keep her as she is and keep a close watch on her," Healer Rodanthe answered with sympathy.
"Y-You mean?" Mrs. Weasley started, not able to finish her question.
Healer Rodanthe took in a deep breath as she looked around at the large family. "Without the spell, she wouldn't be breathing on her own."
A sob escaped Ginny. She controlled herself though, and asked shakily, "Do you think she could make it out of this?"
"Unfortunately, without knowing what's wrong, it's very hard to say, but anything's possible." A nurse came up to Healer Rodanthe, and she nodded slightly. "I have nurses checking on her every fifteen minutes, and I can always be here in less than five minutes."
"Can we see her?" Ginny choked out.
Nodding, she answered, "Two a time. We don't want things to get too crowded in there. Why don't the two of you follow me?"
She then led Harry and Ginny to the room that Sophie was in. Unlike the usual rooms with multiple beds, this one was a critical condition room and only had two beds in it. As they walked in the room, Healer Rodanthe closed the door behind them.
They walked to Sophie's bed, and before Ginny could help herself, she began to sob into Harry's shoulder. He swallowed the lump in his throat and blinked at the tears that begun to stung his eyes as he rubbed her back gently.
A few minutes passed before Ginny could control herself. She walked to the side of the bed and grabbed Sophie's hand. Her body stiffened as she felt how cold she was. She leant in and kissed Sophie's temple as she ran a hand through her blonde hair.
"What happened to you, baby?" she choked through the tears. "You're going to wake up soon, right? You can get through this, I know you can. You're a Potter… We'll get through this."
At her words, the feeling in the pit of stomach grew, and before he could help himself, he ran out of the room and to the nearest bathroom, where he became sick. When he finished, he walked to a sink and washed his mouth out with cold water. He then looked at himself in the mirror hard. Anger coursed through him as he continued to look at himself. He sighed, grabbed a piece of paper towel, dried his hands, and threw it roughly into the garbage. He then walked out of the bathroom, slamming the door.
Walking out to the waiting room where everyone was still sitting, he walked over to Ron and Hermione. They looked at him expectantly. "Can you two do me a favor?"
"Of course, Harry! What is it?" Hermione asked.
"I need to go do something, and I don't know how long I'll be gone. Keep an eye on the kids, and please make sure Ginny doesn't know I'm gone."
"What are you going to do?" Ron asked, his brows furrowed as he wondered what was so important Harry would leave his sister then.
"I have to go talk to someone," Harry answered as his eyes locked with Ron's. "Can you guys do that?"
"Of course," Hermione responded as she laced her hand with Ron's.
Without a word, Harry Apparated in front of the entrance of the Ministry. Once there, he hurried and entered the Ministry. Walking through the halls to the lifts, he went to the floor Draco worked on, and made his way to his office.
He saw the door was closed, and without keeping pleasantries and knocking first, he opened the door quickly. As he did, Draco and Natalia broke apart. Shock was written on both of their faces. Natalia, clearly embarrassed, buttoned up her shirt quickly, moved off the desk, and hurried past Harry.
"Can I help you, Potter?" Draco asked with annoyance as he fixed his tie.
The anger that coursed through Harry's body grew. "What the bloody hell is this, Malfoy?!"
"Nothing that concerns you," he spat. "Is there something I can do for you? By the way, you look like a bloody mess. Has Ginny kept something from you too?"
Harry was about to say something when he closed his mouth. He glared at Draco, and not telling Draco about Sophie like he intended, he demanded, "Drop the lawsuit."
"Right," Draco scoffed as he walked behind his desk and began to look through more of his paperwork.
"I mean it, Malfoy. Drop the lawsuit."
"There's a better chance of the Muggle world becoming knowledgeable of our world than of me dropping the lawsuit. You're wasting both my time and yours. Now, if you'd be so kind to leave. I have some paperwork to take care of before I head home."
"I can't believe you. This is the why Ginny and I didn't tell you about Sophie. You could care less."
"I'd shut your mouth before you speak again, Potter," Draco said, his tone deadly. "You kept her from me because you wanted to and because you didn't want to deal with her, or my family for that matter. Now, get out of my office and don't you dare step a foot in here again, unless invited."
The two glared at each other before Harry shook his head, scoffed, turned around, and slammed the door. As he was about to Apparate, he turned to Natalia and said, "You better stop while you're ahead." Before she could respond, Harry Apparated back to St. Mungo's and rejoined his family.