[Author’s Note: A quick reminder that most of this belongs to
J.K Rowling and the bits I made up myself were inspired by her work. Suburban House Elf (the comma queen) deserves
my thanks for making me think about the dialogue and the relationships between
the characters. As always, thanks to
Deborah and Sandra for reading the roughest of drafts and encouraging me not to
put it in the bin.]
A Stunning Recovery
Chapter 2 – Good News and Bad News
difficult for Minerva to keep track of the passage of time during her
recovery. Each time she returned to
consciousness it seemed as if she had only just fallen asleep. The varying daylight (or lack thereof) and
the rearrangement of items on the bedside table were her only clues that time
was indeed passing.
By the time Minerva had gathered
her bearings upon waking, Healer Derwent would be entering the ward bringing
yet another potion. It would be a
tortuous trip to the loo, soothing charms as the Healer inspected the ribs, a
bite to eat then off to oblivion once more.
How many times this was repeated remained a mystery.
did have a chance to admire the large arrangement of flowers that had appeared
at her bedside during the first of these islands of consciousness. All of the staff at Hogwarts had signed the
card except for Umbridge and Filch – not a surprise. Later, a smaller vase had joined the other
with a note from Arthur and Molly Weasley. A tin of Ginger Newts from Kingsley
Shacklebolt and the latest issue of Transfiguration
Today had shown up somewhere along the way as well.
Physical improvement finally became
noticeable on what might have been the second day. The big news was that she could make her own
way to the loo with the assistance of a walking stick. Upon her next awakening, Minerva saw that a
tartan carpetbag had appeared on the chair beside her bed which contained her
nightgown, dressing gown and slippers. It was the first time that Healer Derwent
hadn’t shown up right away.
Taking that as a good sign, Minerva carried the fresh clothes with her on a solo trip
down the hall passing a now-occupied – but screened – bed in the opposite
corner of the ward. Another patient on
the ward ruled out the possibility of a visit from Albus, which was
She managed a brief shower, hoping
that the hot water would aid in the relaxation of the abused muscles in her
back and extremities. The effort so
exhausted her, however, she fell back to sleep immediately upon returning to
her bed, still wearing the dressing gown and slippers.
“Professor … Minerva.” Someone was shaking her from her natural
slumber and it didn’t seem fair. “Please
Professor, wake up. You will have a
terrible pain in your neck if you don’t slide up onto your pillow.”
reluctantly complied because she could tell the speaker was right. Her neck was already feeling kinked. It was Molly Weasley
whose voice had been laced with such deep concern. Now that Minerva had opened her eyes, she
could also see the concern etched on Molly’s face. There was something else as well but she did
not think she could stay awake long enough to find out what it was.
fussed over Minerva for a few minutes without any of
the expected protest from the patient.
Once the Professor was settled, Molly took the chair beside the bed and
began to knit. The soft click of the
needles sang a lullaby that was hardly needed given Minerva’s exhaustion.
When consciousness returned once
again, Minerva felt truly rested. A bright sun was spilling its cheerful rays
onto the foot of her bed, giving her the impression that it was late morning. There was a minor commotion going on at the
only other occupied bed. Healer Derwent
could be heard shushing an uncooperative patient. The wry smile that had been making its way to
Minerva’s face faded away before it could be
full-born when the patient’s voice became loud enough to be recognizable.
“I don’t need any more of your
potions. I’ve been sleeping for who
knows how long and there’s no one to tell me what happened to Harry!”
Adrenaline shot through Minerva in a flash.
She sat up a bit too hastily, bringing a stab of pain to the right side
of her chest. She willed her breathing
to slow as she eased herself off the bed, reaching for the walking stick.
what are you doing here and what about Harry?”
Minerva demanded as she made her way up the aisle between the rows of vacant beds.
The outburst brought Healer
Derwent’s head poking out from behind the screen, quickly followed by the woman
“Please, Professor. Don’t get yourself worked up. You’re making excellent progress that we
don’t want to have undone by emotional stress.”
“Well, it’s too late. I’m stressed by lack of information,” Minerva
countered as she stepped around the startled Healer and headed for Tonks’
“If you puncture a lung with a
re-broken rib you will still lack the information you so desperately need and you’ll be stuck taking my potions for
weeks. It’s my understanding that it is
curiosity that kills cats,” she added with an unpleasant gleam in the eyes that
fell directly on Minerva.
After a long pause during which
neither woman broke the eye contact, the Healer relented.
“Fine, you have five minutes.”
As she stalked to the ward door,
her mutterings included “obstinate”, “most difficult patient” and “stubborn”
which echoed back to Minerva and the young woman beside her.
“Professor, I wish I knew what to
tell you about Harry. We were at headquarters on Thursday evening
about to have dinner when Sn…,” she hesitated and her eyes darted around what
she could see of the ward. “Our
informant, that is, contacted us about Harry
having one of those dreams. This time Padfoot was being tortured in the
Department of Mysteries. We were
expecting Professor Dumbledore and planned to tell him as soon
as he arrived but the informant made contact again to say that Harry had gone into the Forbidden Forest
with Umbridge and hadn’t returned. We
set out for the DoM, fearing a trap for Harry, while the Forest was being
searched by our friend.”
“Who went to the Department of
Mysteries?” Minerva asked. “There’s no one here to eavesdrop.”
“Shacklebolt, Moody, Lupin, Black
“You didn’t wait for Dumbledore?”
“No, Sirius told Kreacher to tell
him where we had gone then we lit out of there.”
“Did you find Harry?”
Minerva asked with an almost undetectable tremor in
“Yes, we found him all right—in the Death Chamber, no less. He and Neville were surrounded by at least
half a dozen Death Eaters. They weren’t
doing too badly considering they haven’t even passed their O.W.L.s yet. They’d been putting up quite a fight to judge
by all the damage we saw on our way in.”
“Neville was there!” Minerva
exclaimed. “Let me guess, Miss Granger
and Ron Weasley were there too.”
“I suppose but I only saw Neville
and Harry . . . and all those Death
Eaters.” Tonks gave an involuntary
corralled her impatience to give Tonks a moment to recover her breath. It was apparent that she also had cracked
ribs and needed to tell her story more slowly.
Minerva needed to slow her own breathing to
deal with the increasing pain in her chest.
Healer Derwent was going to be furious if the rib had been re-damaged.
Finally, Tonks spoke again. “I fell, Professor,” she said quietly in a
voice filled with anguish. “If Harry died,
it will be my fault because I’m so clumsy that I can’t even fight one Death
Eater,” she added in a strangled tone and a tear slid down her cheek.
took the young woman’s hand then patted it, carefully considering what to
say. She needed comfort but, if Harry had indeed been killed (or worse), she would
need strength to face life with a guilt that was not entirely her own. Finding the balance between honesty and
kindness was not always easy.
Before she could formulate a proper
response, however, the ward door opened and closed. Minerva stood up
with a twinge from her chest and stepped to the edge of the screen. She saw that Healer Derwent had returned
bearing another potion and was being followed by Molly Weasley. The frown on the Healer’s face and the worry
on Molly’s gave Minerva the premonition that bad news was on its way.
“Come, Minerva,” the Healer
ordered. “Looks like you did yourself
some damage,” she continued in an “I told you so” tone of voice gesturing to Minerva’s right arm.
It was only then that Minerva realized that
she had clamped her right elbow into her ribs and was holding it tightly in
place with her left hand. The
shallowness of her breath was a second clue to the additional injury.
“Let’s see how bad it is,” Derwent
added as she steered Minerva toward her own
bed. “Then Molly
will answer the questions that turned you two into the day’s worst patients.”
Minerva cooperated as best she
could so that the Healer would be placated and finish her ministrations as
quickly as possible. The examination
seemed to take far longer than was truly necessary and Minerva wondered if the
Healer found satisfaction in drawing out the suspense. Finally, the screen around the bed was
removed and the prognosis was announced.
“How you managed to stress only one
of the freshly healed ribs is a miracle,” the Healer said with a shake of her
head. “I think it will be just fine with
a bit more motionless sleep today. You
can probably go back to Hogwarts in the morning if you’ll be more careful about
popping out of bed in a tizzy.”
As Healer Derwent removed the
screen, Molly brought over the walking
stick that Minerva had left at Tonks’ bedside. Brunch had arrived during the examination and
Tonks was disconsolately picking at the food, probably bullied into it by Molly.
“Molly, I’m putting you in charge
of making sure these two incorrigible patients actually take their potions once
they’ve had their curiosity satisfied and eaten everything on those trays. I’ll be back in thirty minutes and expect to
find two sleeping patients.”
The aged Healer marched out of the
ward with the air of one expecting to be obeyed.
gingerly sat up on the edge of her bed and accepted Molly’s
assistance to stand. She made her way
slowly across the ward to resume her seat beside Tonks’ bed. Molly had followed, carrying the tray and set
it on Minerva’s lap before sitting on the edge of the bed beside Tonks.
“I’m sure the first thing you want
to know is that Harry is all right,” Molly began.
“Well, not all right but . . .
The qualification and the tears
welling up in Molly’s eyes put a quick
end to the relief Minerva had felt with the first of
her words. Her premonition had been
right; there was bad news coming. She
was suddenly exhausted and wondered if she could stand to hear it.
“I guess I’d better begin at the
beginning as Dumbledore told me. First of all, Harry continued to have dreams about the
Department of Mysteries and just wasn’t telling anyone. On Thursday afternoon, he fell asleep during
his History of Magic O.W.L.s and had another one where he saw Sirius being
tortured in the Prophecy Room.”
paused then looked up from her hands directly at Minerva. “I’m sorry Professor, but he went looking for
you. When he didn’t find you, he
concocted a scheme to use Umbridge’s fire to contact Order headquarters.” She returned to the inspection of her hands
then continued. “Ron and Ginny, Hermione
and Neville and the Lovegood girl tried to help him. They all got caught. Harry had only talked to Kreacher,
who lied to him about Sirius’ whereabouts.
“He was frantic, of course, but had
enough sense to pass a message to Snape when Umbridge had called him to bring
her more Veritaserum.” Molly became indignant and addressed both patients
directly, “Can you imagine, giving students Veritaserum! I’m sure that violates any number of Ministry
subsided and returned to her tortured recitation.
“They tricked Umbridge into taking
them into the Forbidden Forest, claiming that they knew where Dumbledore was
hiding a weapon he planned to use against the Ministry. The centaurs got her and the children just
barely escaped. They flew on thestrals
all the way to London
and actually got to the prophecy where they were ambushed by Death Eaters.
“Hermione took the worst of it with
an unknown curse that gave her some internal injuries. Ron
ended up wrapped in brains that burned him pretty badly. Poppy has them both in the hospital wing and
expects them to be fully healed before the term ends. Ginny had a broken ankle and Neville a broken
nose both of which are good as new already.
Harry and Luna
had only bumps and bruises.”
There was another long pause in Molly’s tale. Minerva could see the tears that could no longer be
contained running down Molly’s
cheek. The time had come to hear the bad
news. At least it wasn’t about one of
“Tonks was the only Order member
began to sob openly and just barely managed to deliver the dreaded news, “but
Sirius fell through the veil. There
wasn’t anything that anyone could do.”