Chapter Eight — Setting the Stage for Recovery
Claire left Harry sitting holding Luna's hand and he began talking to her as he had been when she first saw them. She pulled partitions around their end of the ward and went to arrange their first visitors.
Fifteen minutes later, Molly and Arthur Weasley and Ron and Hermione came in with Claire and could not believe what they saw.
Harry had transfigured her bed into a special hospital reclining chair. Luna was sitting there and for the first second you looked at them, it looked like she was listening to Harry intently. He looked up to Claire and said, "These chairs help prevent bed sores and increases circulation while providing stimulation of a different set of muscles. Am I right?" She nodded. He then looked at his friends. "How is everybody that was wounded in the battle?"
Mrs. Weasley was the first to respond. "They are all recovering nicely." And then the tears came. She rushed to him with the rest right behind her. She hugged him and thanked him again and again for doing what he did.
They all hugged him and asked the meaningless answer-less questions that meant so much after all they had been through together. Arthur asked him how he was and Harry looked up to Claire to tell them. She realized Harry did not even know his own prognosis. He had asked only about Luna.
"Your magical healing took care of his broken bones in a matter of hours. The internal organ damage will heal quicker than in muggle medicine but he still has another week until they are restored. That is the most of what in my medical understanding is serious. He is also bruised and cut all over and they have to heal. That is what makes him feel the worse, even though it is the least serious."
"However, apparently there was a draining of power during the battle that makes Harry too weak too move much for a few more weeks. That is what is normal for a wizard I am told. But this is the strange thing. Harry is very weak physically and it is normal for there to be a corresponding magical weakness. Harry does not seem to be magically weak at all. But what do I know? Are you weaker magically Harry?"
He looked at her and then at each friend in turn and smiled very slowly. "Of course. I am nothing that special. It is just left over energy from the battle." They all smiled. And not a one of them including Claire believed him for one minute.
They looked at him and no one knew what to say. Over the past week there had been plenty of discussions about Harry and his more powerful powers. Self-levitation, walking with broken bones, disapparating and apparating where it is impossible to do so, the protective barrier around Luna during the battle, and everything he had done since arriving at St. Mungo's—none of this was possible. Well, at least it used to be impossible.
Saying that the rules don't apply to Harry any more was a clever way to express the impossible, but few people who knew him wanted to accept that as the only answer they would receive.
Harry did not read minds although he had learned enough Legilmency during Occlumency to be able to force his way into most minds. But he knew his friends well enough to have a good idea of what they were thinking. And he was right.
"Did we round up all of the Death Eaters?" This started a quick discussion of who they suspected got away. There were few, but Draco Malfoy was one of them. Harry saw him leave. Draco had learned enough from his father and the Dark Lord in the last year when he should have been at Hogwarts, that there would still be a need for aurors.
Next Harry took them through a series of questions about specific people he knew were at the final battle and their well being. He was sad about the list of professors that were dead. He had never thought to train the professors that were not more directly involved with defense-type subjects. Arithmancy, Ancient Runes, and Herbology were not the subject of warriors. More deaths. But he was convinced that the death toll could no longer be his burden to carry. He would grieve but would not blame himself.
Hermione jumped in, "Harry, you cannot blame yourself for their deaths. They..."
"I do not blame myself. How was I to figure out that they might need defense training? It is obvious in hindsight that that would be logical. But Claire has helped me find peace about the things I was responsible for, and now I can view those things out of my control with sadness but no self blame." There wasn't a person there who did not want to hug Claire around the neck.
Harry asked then about school starting back.
"We start on Monday, in three days," said Hermione. "Almost everyone is well enough to go back. N.E.W.T.S. and O.W.L.S. have been pushed back a week but they have not been cancelled. Professor Dumbledore has made arrangements for Ron and me to come see you everyday with your lessen assignments. You will probably not be ready for N.E.W.T.S. but I dare say there can be some accommodation, all things considered."
Ron chuckled, "I dare say. Surely you can exempt your Defense Against the Dark Arts practical based on the success of recent self-directed studies."
For just a moment Ron's circular statement was lost on them. Harry was the first with a chuckle. They were almost laughing to tears in moments.
"Please get Ginny to gather all of Luna's lesson assignments also. I will help her study. I know she does not have N.E.W.T.S. or O.W.L.S. this year but you know how she likes to keep up, don't you dear?" This time their uneasy looks went unnoticed by Harry because he was staring at Luna as though she were awake and just not talking.
Molly took that moment to usher the friends out because there were many more who wanted to visit. "You four mean a lot to us, please come back to see us often." They agreed. Anything for Harry, who they were now worried about again.
Collin, Ginny, Neville, and Remus Lupin were in the second group to visit. These eight constituted Harry's "family." By extension they were Luna's also. Her dad had died under mysterious circumstances during the previous year. It was declared an accident by Ministry of Magic investigators but it cannot be a coincidence that it happened after The Quibbler
broke a major story disproving Voldomort's claim to being the Prince of Magic of the prophesy.
By that time Harry and Luna were an established fact. She had no real friends from before the year they met her other than Ginny Weasley. Her new friends were already friends with Harry. He had always included her and ignored the fact that anyone might not want her around. He simply acted like she was a part of everything until you accepted it. So did Ron, Hermione, Ginny and Neville, the other four from the battle of the Ministry of Magic.
If you were around the DA or anything else regarding the war at Hogwarts, Harry and those four (five with Luna) were at its center. You accepted Luna and her quirky ways or found yourself outside. Cho Chang fought it and brought it to Harry's attention when Luna had been going on one day about Heliopaths. He ignored Cho completely, as if she did not exist, until she dropped the matter. She never tried to do anything again to stop Luna's tooky-ness.
Group after group entered the ward delighted to see Harry and group after group walked out wondering if he had come unglued over Luna. Harry treated almost everyone the same way.
Sister Claire was a bit worried. He talked to Luna and about Luna with the visitors as if she could hear what they said. Harry was including her in the conversation—not to the point of expecting her to speak, but to the point of making sure she could hear every word and asked questions that he thought she might have ask as if she were the one asking. "Luna would like to know...." It was a bit unnerving.
From what Claire understood, what little success there had been for recovery for Cruciatus Curse victims came over a long period of time. Harry was acting like she might awaken at any minute. Was he being delusional or worse? Or did he know something, That could not be discounted. The healers had told Claire that Luna’s case was one of the worse they had seen of anyone who have live through it.
From Friday morning when he awoke to late Saturday night, Harry had a string of visitors. Everyone was grateful to him. Everyone was glad he was making a full recovery. Everyone save a few were disconcerted by Harry’s inclusion of Luna in the conversations.
By Sunday morning there were only six from school visiting; Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Collin, Neville, Remus and the Weasley seniors (who made eight), They were troopers with Harry. The train at Track 9 and 3/4 was leaving at 11:00, in two hours.
Harry was going on with a three sided conversation between Luna, himself, and the others—talking to her at this time almost more than the others put together. Neville Longbottom was the only one who truly acted like it was a normal conversation.
Harry left them to go to the little wizard’s room. He was being encouraged to get up and walk and not use the bed pan. This was ahead of normal recovery schedule and was a good sign.
When he had left Neville spoke out. “I am shocked at all of you. This is Harry Potter, need I remind you, our friend and the one we all owe our lives to many times over. If he wants Luna to be a part of the conversation you better damn well include her or you will answer to me when we get outside. I am sorry you had to hear my profanity Luna. Excuse me. You too Sister Claire.”
There were a lot of red faces when Harry came back.
The conversation dramatically improved from there. Hermione asked Luna a question that she thought rhetorical enough to warrant no response. Harry answered it as if he could read Luna’s mind. It was an awkward moment but Ron’s stomach chose that moment to grumble and they all laughed just a little too hard—but the tension was broken. By the time they had to leave the conversation was almost normal.
Harry looked at all of them at the appointed time to leave and simply said, "Thank you." They all knew it was more than a thanks-for-coming-to-see-me.
Ginny broke the uncomfortable silence. "Harry. You saved me when there wasn't a hope or a prayer. If you think Luna can hear us, if you think she is going to be well soon, well... all I can say is...Luna, I will bring you your assignments and tell you all about the most important things said in class everyday if you want. Just let me know...somehow.. how often you want to see me." She was crying a bit but her words held more and more conviction as she spoke.
Everyone made statements of believing that Harry was right and as they began to leave their word were more convincing.
Mrs. Weasley hugged Luna like she always had and everyone touched her in their typical manner.
Each would find they had trouble going to sleep that night. They had so much to ponder.
Harry would have a few non-Hogwarts visitors over the next days and weeks and months, but there would no traffic like those three days.
After Claire came back from escorting them out, she began to do the busy work of a nurse with Luna and Harry. Harry was concentrating on her and she stopped and looked at him. "What?" she asked him.
"Now that everyone is gone and we will not be visited very often except by those eight, we can get started."
"Get started?" She queried.
"There is a lot of work to do if Luna is going to be well soon. I think it should occur some time about the end of the school year. Luna will be able to leave and maybe we can spend some time at the Burrow, the Weasley's home in the country. I am sure they will invite you to visit us there. Or maybe I will take Luna Crumple-horned Snorkack hunting. I hear Norway is beautiful this time of year and I have never seen it."
"Harry?" "Yes Claire."
"Are you crazy?" What a thing for a psychiatric nurse to ask she thought as she said it.
He smiled. "Of course I am. Just ask the chief healer of this ward. Of course I cannot do any of the things I am suppose to have done, and that is why everyone is going to leave us alone and humor me until Luna is well."
"I am going to need help from someone who believes in miracles and who knows medicine. Are you up to tolerating a mad man who just might be mad as a fox?"
She gave him a thoughtful look, smiled, nodded agreement with less hesitation that she felt, and left them alone.
Harry told Luna, "They may not get it but they are close. And that is all I need. It is going to work out just like I told you it would"
But it wouldn't be just
like he said it would.
A/N — New Story Soon!
In a few weeks I will be posting a new story line. This one will take place long before the founding of Hogwarts. It will reveal how magic as we know it in Harry's day originally came to England. If you would like to be notified when it goes up please e-mail me at email@example.com. Thanks for your interest.
Disclaimer---As always, what belongs to J K Rowlings is J K Rowlings'. What belongs to anyone else is theirs. Everything left is mine, I guess, but remember the old adage: "There is nothing new under the sun." — Aaran St. Vines***