The Sugar Quill
Author: ProfessorWannaBe  Story: A Stunning Recovery  Chapter: 1 - Waking Up Alive
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Minerva did not want to open her eyes

[Author’s Note:  It is with profound gratitude that I acknowledge my debt to J.K. Rowling for creating the alluring world of Harry Potter.  All but one of these characters belongs to her entirely as does the setting and the events that take place surrounding this story.  I’m so thankful that Ms. Rowling tolerates novice writers playing in her sandbox.

 

Thanks are also due to Suburban House Elf for not laughing at my ridiculous misspellings of names throughout the story as it was originally submitted.  Also to my daughter, Deborah, who kept me from throwing it away in the first place and to Sandra who helped to make it worth sharing outside my circle of friends.]

 

A Stunning Recovery

Chapter 1 - Waking Up Alive

 

Minerva did not want to open her eyes.  It was simply too much trouble.  There were voices coming from the vicinity of her feet, a man and a woman discussing the staff from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  They were comforting, familiar voices that kept her from being overly concerned about the strangeness of her circumstances.  She most definitely wasn’t in her own bed.

 

There seemed to be a heavy weight on her chest and breathing was difficult.  She was glad for the voices that kept her calm so that the inhaling and exhaling could be done slowly.  Her head ached like nothing she’d ever felt before.  The rest of her body was sore as well.  How had she gotten herself banged up this badly?

 

She listened closely to the voices, merely hoping to identify who was talking rather than trying to force her mind to recall what had caused all her pain. 

 

“How long will she have to be here?” the man inquired.

 

“Minerva isn’t exactly the youngest witch here, you know.  Healing will take time.  Rest and a break from all the stress going on at Hogwarts is what she needs.  Aurors arresting teachers in the dead of night, honestly!”

 

“Poppy, you know she isn’t going to rest while that woman is running things at Hogwarts.”

 

“I suppose not…but she’ll be staying here several days if I have any say in the matter.  Healer Derwent was the supervisor for my training and has come to respect my opinion.  That’s why I brought Minerva here to recover.  She’ll get excellent care without interruption from that idiot High Inquisitor.”

 

The conversation she’d just overheard not only helped Minerva to discern who was discussing her recovery but also triggered a flood of remembrance.  Anger and indignation quickly followed, causing her to take a less than judicious breathe.  She groaned, opening her eyes to see Poppy Pomfrey and Albus Dumbledore coming up either side of her bed.

 

“Where’s Hagrid?  Did they get him?  Is he okay?” she questioned rapid-fire while gingerly pushing herself up against the headboard of what was obviously a hospital bed.

 

Her voice sounded gravelly and strained.  Minerva saw Poppy snatch up a pitcher from the bedside table and pour out a glass of water while Albus moved close enough to wrap a warm hand around her own cold one.  Had she not been feeling frantic over the outcome of the fiasco that had landed her here, she would have been grateful for the soothing gesture.

 

“I’m so glad to see you awake,” Albus said with a delighted smile.

 

Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore,” she continued after taking a sip from the glass Poppy had handed her.  “Tell me what happened to Hagrid!”

 

Hagrid’s fine, Minerva.  He found me right away.  He came to no harm.”  His face turned solemn. “You, on the other hand, gave us quite a scare.”

 

“I’d best be getting back to the school,” Poppy interjected.  “The students are probably up and about by now.  Her, too.”

 

There was no need to discuss to which “her” Poppy referred.  The word fairly dripped with derision.  It was Dolores Umbridge’s fault that Minerva was laying here on the fourth floor of St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.  She had been interfering all year with the instruction at Hogwarts.  She made a mockery of teaching, routinely belittled students, and had humiliated Sybill Trelawney just because she could.  She had forced Dumbledore to take the blame away from Harry and flee Hogwarts, leaving the students without their greatest protector.  She had brought Aurors to the school to capture Hagrid, and Minerva couldn’t let her get away with that!

 

Four Stunning Spells at once had caught Minerva in mid-rant as she’d raced to Hagrid’s defense on Wednesday night.  It was unbelievable that she’d survived such an attack.  The distance from which they had cast their spells was probably the only reason she was still drawing breath, painful though it was.  Hagrid had actually been doing quite well on his own and had managed to get away without her aid after all.

 

“I’ll let Healer Derwent know that you are awake on my way out,” Poppy concluded.

 

“Thank you for letting me know, Poppy, and for delivering my messages,” the Headmaster responded.

 

Poppy slipped out the door at the far end of the ward that Minerva was occupying all alone.  There were five other empty beds.  A weak light was coming in through the windows set close to the ceiling to indicate that it was not much past daybreak.

 

“You shouldn’t be here, Albus.”

 

“Healer Derwent happens to believe me over the Ministry and has guaranteed the privacy of this ward.  She’s the only one who has been in here besides me and Poppy.  I’ll go as soon as she confirms Poppy’s prognosis for your full recovery.”

 

Silence fell between them but it suited Minerva’s aching head.  He still held her hand which was also a comfort.  Knowing that Hagrid was safe, relaxed the tension in her body and she began to sink into the pillow.  The entrance of Healer Derwent came just in time to keep her from falling asleep in the awkward sitting position she’d managed earlier.

 

While Albus sat at the opposite end of the ward, the wizened Healer erected a screen around Minerva’s bed and examined the contusions on her chest.  Several charms were administered to ease the pain that had been escalating since she had awakened.  A potion was left for her to drink as soon as her breakfast was brought up. 

 

“Poppy is right as always.  You’ll be mending just fine as long as you get enough rest.  The potion will make certain you do exactly that today,” the Healer commented cheerfully as she removed the screen and motioned for Albus to rejoin them.

 

“I’ll be back when the potion wears off, to be sure that there aren’t any complications with the mending of those ribs.  It will probably be another day or two beyond that before we can let you go,” the white-haired witch informed Minerva.  Looking between her patient and Albus, she continued with a twinkle in her eye, “We have to go slow with broken ribs, you see.  Keeping them completely still while they heal is impossible, unless you’re already dead.  Not much point in healing the bones then, of course.”   

 

Healer Derwent’s soft chuckle at her own morbid joke echoed through the empty ward as she crossed it.  “Even so, I expect you’ll be in your own bed before the weekend is through,” she concluded happily as she reached the door. 

 

As soon as the Healer had left them alone in the ward, Albus took up Minerva’s hand once more as he settled in the chair at her side.  Neither of them spoke for some time.  She was feeling quite comfortable with his nearness, now that her injuries had been tended and the soreness smoothed away.   If only she could take the potion now and fall asleep while he held her hand.

 

A flash of fire startled Minerva from her near stupor.  It was only Fawkes.  Albus cleared his throat and dropped her hand as the scarlet phoenix settled on the foot of the bed.

 

“I must go now so you can have your breakfast, take your potion and get a full day’s rest.”

 

Albus, who is going to watch over the students?Minerva asked nervously.  She felt very guilty for lying here in bed sleeping when the castle was under that…that…that woman’s supervision.  Dolores Umbridge was a menace to Hogwarts as far as Minerva was concerned.  It was a close call as to which was worse, the Basilisk that had terrorized the school a few years ago or this farce of a teacher sent by a Ministry intent on the vilification of Albus Dumbledore.

 

“We aren’t the only ones who care for the students, Minerva.  They will be fine for a few days.  The term is all but over.  You’ll be there to see them off and we have the holidays to straighten out the rest.  I’ll be back if I can but I hope to find you sleeping.”

 

“Be careful, Albus.”

 

“I will be,” he replied as he took hold of Fawkes’ tail and in a fiery burst they were both gone.

 

//
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