31st December, 2001
That was all Ginny could register as she felt herself come to, presumably somewhere on the pitch after her fall. For a Chaser who had once continued playing with a broken wrist, using just her good hand to expertly catch and aim the quaffle (and the Harpies had still won), pain was nothing new to Ginny. She prided herself on her ability to push through injuries; it drove Gwenog insane.
But this was something new, this was pain on a level Ginny couldn't remember experiencing since her awful, painful sixth year of Hogwarts. She felt as if she'd been given a round or two of the Cruciatus curse.
Ginny went to lift her head from the surprisingly soft pitch, but it was so heavy she could barely manage it. She blinked against the horrid sensation.
"Gin? Ginny? Ginny?!" a familiar voice sounded anxious and steadily louder as its owner got closer from somewhere behind Ginny's head. Harry was here, of course he was, he was in the stands watching the game. One of those rare but glorious times his day off had coincided with her match.
Since Ginny had been promoted from the smaller International League to the British League and they'd moved back to their flat in Holyhead, Harry was rarely able to watch her games the way he had done when they were travelling together. But once in a while, a match came up that he could attend.
Ginny adored these moments, when she could feel sheer pride radiating from her boyfriend as he watched her fly. They'd never made it through an entire season as team mates but this was even better. She loved seeing Harry there for her, the Holyhead Harpies logo shining brightly on everything he wore, and cheering for her ferociously.
"She's awake!" Harry entered her vision and it was only then that Ginny realised she couldn't have been lying directly on the pitch, as Harry's concerned face was only a few feet above her and he was standing over her.
"Where's the Healer? Quickly, I'll find him! George, get mum!" Ginny recognised her brother's voice from somewhere nearby as Harry gently and softly placed a hand on her cheek.
That was weird. Ron hadn't been at the game. It was then that Ginny recognised that there was no sight of the sky above her, in fact she was most definitely indoors.
"Harry?" she asked, surprised at how faint her own voice sounded. "What's going on?"
He continued to gently stroke her face and smooth her hair as he spoke. "You don't remember, they said you might not." Ginny could feel herself starting to come to, she was increasingly aware of her surroundings, realising there was a pillow beneath her head. "You're in St Mungo's, Ginny."
"St Mungo's? I can't be! The game!" Ginny tried to push herself up but Harry stopped her.
"No, Gin, you fell from your broom and you've been here all night. It's New Year's Eve." Ginny stared into her boyfriend's face, trying to read his expression. This wasn't Harry's idea of a joke. She noticed he was pale and his eyes home to deep, dark hollows, their edges rimmed with red.
"Let me sit up!" Ginny felt a surge of panic, a feeling of disorientation masking all common sense. She pushed past the heavy feeling in her limbs and head and forced herself upwards from the bed. This time, Harry didn't try to stop her and instead helped her position herself back against her pillow. A dull ache in the back of her head thumped. "Why does my head feel so-?"
"You're fine, they said you'll be fine. You're okay." he breathed, spotting the note of panic in her voice and gently wrapping his arms around her, kissing her forehead softly. "It was a nasty fall but you'll make a full recovery."
"I fell?" She echoed his words in a small voice and Harry's grip tightened around her.
"You held on longer than most could have, with that Sweetwater idiot ramming into you constantly. I hate this time of the season, everyone is just that bit too reckless." He muttered darkly into her hair. A pause, as he pulled away and looked into her eyes, his arms still around her shoulders. "You scared me, Gin. Last night, you really scared me."
It was a significant admittance, one which Harry would never say unless he truly meant it. The natural reaction would be to apologise for scaring him, but Ginny knew Harry would never hear it from her.
"Was I out all night?" She had no memory of any time having passed between the match and now.
"Completely out, you didn't move. I kept leaning in to check you were still breathing, even though the Healers insisted you were and told me to sleep." He gave a light shrug and a lock of his dark hair fell from his dishevelled, usually-neat knot.
Ginny was unbelievably touched that he had stayed awake all night for her; it was another of those moments when she was almost taken aback by how much she loved him. She reached out to tuck the loose hair behind his ear. "I love you, Harry."
Harry beamed, like he had the first time she'd told him she loved him. Generally, as a couple, they preferred to demonstrate how in love they were, finding the words by themselves inadequate. But this time, it felt enough to cover how she was feeling. "I love you too." He responded, not as if automatically but with genuine meaning, as he pulled her to him again with a quick kiss.
At that moment, a Healer came rushing in and Harry unwrapped Ginny, staying close to her side with his hand in hers.
"When did she wake up? How long has she been awake? How is she feeling?" the Healer asked hurriedly and Ginny bristled as he addressed Harry, acting as if Ginny wasn't even in the room.
"I'm feeling great thanks, just relaxing here in this nice, comfy bed." she bit sarcastically and Harry smirked as the Healer looked taken aback.
"So sorry Miss Weasley." the Healer backtracked swiftly and Ginny noticed from his name badge he was a junior Healer. This comforted Ginny to know they hadn't thought her injuries serious enough for a more experienced Healer. "Have you been awake long? How's the pain?"
Ginny considered her question, assessing where she could and couldn't feel pain in her body. Her head still thumped away like a cannon being fired into the back of her skull from a great distance. Her limbs felt as if they had been filled with lead.
"I've had worse." Ginny replied and Harry scoffed, although she was being serious. "What actually happened to me?"
"She's been awake around five minutes now." Harry informed the Healer. "You fell off your broom, that's really all there is to it, Gin. Probably didn't help that you were travelling at around fifty miles an hour when you came off. It was that Beater. I barely got my wand out in time, else I could have cast a more effective cushioning charm." Harry wore a dark expression.
"Your boyfriend here was the quickest thinker there. I've got half a mind to suggest a trained Auror at every match as standard procedure, I dread to think how much worse off you'd be if that charm hadn't been cast. No broken bones, you've been blessed."
"You saved me?" Ginny turned to Harry. Harry shrugged modestly, moving closer and wrapping an arm around her again.
"Do you have pain anywhere specific?" the Healer asked.
"My head kills but I'm sure I can sleep it off." Ginny murmured, leaning into Harry's touch.
"Your head?" the Healer looked worried and picked up his wand, casting a spell over Ginny which caused a number of complicated charts to appear in the air before them. "You can have more pain potion if you want," he eventually said and Ginny nodded reluctantly.
The Healer went to fetch the potion as the door opened again, bringing with it a strong ray of morning December sunshine. Ginny's mother entered the room, a warm but worried smile gracing her features.
"Ginny dear! Thank goodness!" she bustled over, taking Ginny's face gently in both hands and looking over her. Harry dropped her hand to allow Mrs Weasley to greet her daughter but he stayed beside her, sinking into a chair not far from the head of the bed, which might have been there all night. "This Quidditch, really! It's getting more and more dangerous every season, I'm sure of it. To think, if we hadn't been here at St Mungo's anyway, well who knows what might have happened?"
Ginny interrupted her mother's dramatic speech. "Why were you already at St Mungo's? Have I really been here since yesterday? Have you been here all this time?"
Mrs Weasley nodded her head vigorously. "Of course! Your father's upstairs too, with Bill, and Ron and George are outside, waiting to come in. Percy is planning to drop by again after work and Hermione should be arriving back any minute. Speaking of which, we must let Charlie know you're okay too before he sets off."
Ginny processed all of this information. "Ron and George can come in, the Healer's gone to get me more pain potion."
As if waiting for their cue, her two youngest older brothers came bundling into the room, both making a beeline straight for her then stopping short just before the bed, preventing themselves from no doubt grabbing her in a bone crushing Weasley brother hug.
"That was a bit scary, sis!" George exclaimed.
"Just a bit." Ron agreed.
"You've woken up just in time." George continued.
"In time for what? Where's dad, and Bill?" Ginny felt she was missing something.
"Maternity ward." Harry supplied the information nobody else was. "Fleur went into labour."
"It's been quite an eventful twenty four hours." Ron added.
"That's sooner than we thought! Has she had the baby yet? Have I missed it?" The Healer returned with her pain potion and Ginny immediately quizzed her. "Can I go upstairs to see my brother and sister-in-law?"
The Healer exchanged an uneasy look with Mrs Weasley. "Not just yet, we still need to monitor you. I'm sure they can bring the baby down here later. I'm afraid I can't let you leave until we're sure you're okay. You were out for quite some time."
"When will you be sure I'm okay? I feel okay!" Ginny would have been frustrated enough at having to stay put in a bed for the foreseeable future without the extra incentive of a new Weasley baby.
"It's up to the Senior Healer on the ward. Let's just hope you won't have to ring in the new year here with us."
Ginny's eyebrows shot up and she looked straight at Harry to see his reaction to this. They had plans to see The Sex Pixies for New Year's Eve and she knew how disappointed he would be if, instead, she was stuck in a hospital bed.
Harry, however, was not looking at her and was exchanging a panicked glance with Ron. Ginny presumed they were worried about how she would react to this imprisonment.
"Is that likely?" Harry asked, after what looked like a wordless conversation with Ron.
"I really couldn't say. I'll have Senior Healer Fairchild come by as soon as she's out of theatre." The hidden meaning behind his words was clear. The Healer left with this bombshell hanging in the air.
Harry looked utterly crestfallen; Ginny knew he'd been really looking forward to the concert.
"It's alright, you can go without me! We can see them together another time." she pushed aside her own feelings of frustration to comfort him. Harry looked up from his reverie and gave her a forced grin.
"I'm not going without you." he said after a pause. "There'll be other concerts."
Ron was mouthing silently at George, who looked up and noticed Ginny gazing at him curiously.
"No, Ron." George said pointedly. "You can't go instead, you don't even like them." Ron turned crimson and glared at George as Mrs Weasley gave him a judgemental look.
"Ron!" Her mother began but he interrupted her, guiding her by the shoulder away from Ginny's bed.
"I'm going to see if Hermione's here yet, and then let's check on Fleur." He looked sulky and stalked off out of the ward with their mother.
Harry stood up again and returned to Ginny's side to hold her hand. George took this as his cue to leave and did so, throwing Harry a hugely unsubtle wink as he left.
"Are you disappointed about the concert? I'm sorry." Ginny spoke immediately.
"No, no, of course not! The important thing is that you're alright." He kissed her forehead again.
Senior Healer Fairchild turned out to be rather formidable, unaware of Ginny's infamous pain threshold and unaffected by her boyfriend's pleas to release her. She examined the results emitting from her wand with a studious expression.
"I'm sorry Miss Weasley, Mr Potter, but I just don't want to take any risks. You were out cold for several hours, anyone would need recovery time. We can reassess again tomorrow but in the meantime you're stuck here."
Ginny glowered at her. "Can't I at least visit the maternity ward? My sister-in-law is about to have a baby."
"I'm sure that's true, I'll see how you do. Get some rest, try and sleep that headache off." She turned to leave then glanced back at Harry. "Oh and Potter, you'll need this tonight if you're going to refuse to leave again." She waved her wand and conjured an extra bed alongside Ginny's.
"Healer's orders, you heard her. Get some sleep." Harry instructed her, helping Ginny settle herself back down so she was lying flat. He kept a hold of her hand and stroked her hair with the other.
Ginny didn't think she'd be at all tired after her time out cold, but as soon as Harry began rhythmically stroking her hair, she felt exhaustion overcome her. The pain potion she'd been given must have been pretty strong because it seemed to only take a minute or two for her Healer's suggestion to become a reality.
†Ginny awoke, momentarily forgetting where she was and what had happened, before the memory washed over her. She hadn't a clue what time it was, but judging by the lack of sunlight streaming in, she guessed she had been asleep for several hours. Looking around her, she spotted Harry's bed untouched and empty and the space around her own bed unoccupied.
Ginny pushed herself up in the bed, her head hurting far less than it had before. In fact, she felt almost completely normal as she propped herself up on her elbows and scanned the empty room. She realised what had awoken her when she spotted the jug of water to her right and reached for it, registering just how thirsty she was. Ginny guessed it was the evening now and she'd barely drank anything for hours.
She drummed her fingers back and forth across the bed spread, wondering if she was allowed to leave this room yet or if Fleur had had her baby. There weren't any Healers in sight and Ginny felt fine.
Experimentally, she gave one aching leg a kick out, removing it from the bed and planting it on the floor. It felt steady enough as she joined it with the other. She stood, a lightheaded feeling present but not overpowering, holding onto the bed post in case she fell. The window opposite was pitch black, as it was the dead of winter, but the night was clear and the stars shone brightly.
Before Ginny could try a few steps towards the beautiful view, the door opened almost silently and Ginny turned, expecting a Healer.
It was Harry.
He looked much healthier than he had earlier, as if he'd had a few hours' sleep. His hair was swept back in its usual knot and he'd changed out of his day-old Harpies stuff into a dark grey t-shirt with long sleeves.
"You're up." He said, coming to her side at once and taking her hand.
Ginny shrugged. "Just looking at the stars. Can't see them all that well from here though."
"Here." Harry placed his arm around her waist and guided her over to the window, allowing her to lean against him. She breathed against his chest. "And even better." A flick of his wand caused the window to magically expand, until it took over the entire side of the room, allowing them to look out across the constellations.
"Sorry again about the concert." She murmured and he kissed the top of her head.
"I've thought of that." He grinned, flicking his wand towards the magical speaker Ginny hadn't noticed in the corner of the room. Music immediately came from the device, softly playing The Sex Pixies' most recent hit. "It's like they're here in the room with us."
Ginny smiled into him and he rubbed small circles over her back, the stars twinkling overhead. His eyes lit up as his favourite song began to play.
"I bet you were looking forward to hearing this tonight." Ginny sighed wistfully, still feeling bad that it was because of her they were missing the concert.
Harry looked at her for a long time before speaking. "That wasn't what I was looking forward to most about tonight."
"No." he said in a small voice, facing the ground. "Ask me what was."
"What were you most looking forward to then?" she asked him bemusedly, thinking her boyfriend was acting rather strangely.
He took both her hands in his, hesitating for a second to check she was able to stand without his support. She was perfectly able, she just liked leaning into him.
"Ginny, I'm so incredibly in love with you. You mean everything to me."
"Aw." She smiled at him. "I'm gonna fall off my broom and scare you more often, I like 'overly-romantic-Harry' from time to time."
His smile grew and his green eyes twinkled behind his glasses as he dropped one hand.
"I mean it, Ginny. I love you so much, and last night just made me even more sure about this, but I was going to anyway... tonight, at the concert." He reached into his pocket and withdrew something Ginny couldn't see in the low light. Her heart froze as a million and one thoughts rushed through her mind, each of them landing on the conclusion that 'no... he wasn't going to-'
"Ginny Weasley," he sank away from her, dropping to one knee, her left hand still in his, "will you marry me?"
The hand that wasn't holding onto hers flipped open a small box and held it up for her to see. Inside was a thin silver band, housing a sparkling diamond of perfect size. Ginny stared at in shock, her gaze flicking back to Harry's expectant, nervous expression.
"Please say something." He finally whispered, after what Ginny realised had been too long of a pause.
"Yes! Of course yes! Yes, yes, yes!" she practically fell down on top of him and he swept her up into his arms, picking her completely off the ground and spinning her around. She felt lightheaded again but this time she knew it had nothing at all to do with her accident. He placed her back down gently and pulled back, taking her left hand in his.
"I wasn't supposed to do that, I forgot to put the ring on, I even remembered to keep hold of your left hand." He was speaking without thought, his face split in half with a huge grin which mirrored Ginny's own smile. She immediately gave him her left hand again, and he carefully removed the ring and slid it onto her fourth finger.
"I'm going to be a Potter." She said, watching it fit snugly into place. Harry intertwined his fingers with hers, both of them staring at the ring now firmly on her finger. He kissed her softly, his arm finding the small of her back, her own hand tangled in the back of his hair.
"I'm not going to be the only Potter anymore." He said between kisses, looking overjoyed at the prospect.
"And you were going to do this at the concert?" Ginny asked him breathlessly, the two still in a tight embrace.
"Yeah. This is embarrassing, I doubt you even remember but the first time we ever kissed, in the common room after that game?" he was looking at her questioningly as if worried she might have forgotten that particular detail of their relationship. "Well, as that happened-"
"The Sex Pixies were playing at the Quidditch party." Ginny finished for him.
"You do remember?"
"Of course I bloody remember, Harry!" she smacked him lightly on the shoulder.
"Sorry." He chuckled and circled his arms around her tighter.
"I sort of like that it was just the two of us though." She kissed the end of his nose."How many of my family members knew you were about to do this?" she questioned.
"I asked your parents for permission a few weeks back." Harry grinned.
"I expect Mum told you you've always had their permission." Ginny smirked.
Harry nodded. "But only Ron knew I was planning to propose at the concert, until this happened," he gestured to her hospital gown, "then George figured it out and Ron had to tell your mum when she was getting suspicious. She's thrilled by the way."
"Of course she is, she loves you more than I do." Ginny said with a wink. "And Fleur, has she-"
"An hour or so ago, another girl." Harry responded.
"Oh Teddy will be so disappointed!"
"He is, he started poking my stomach and asking me when I was going to have a baby so that it would be a boy baby. He was complaining Fleur only has girl babies because she's a girl."
"A few mixed messages there." Ginny grinned. "I think that's Godfather's job to have the talk."
Harry blanched. "He's only three! I can most definitely bribe somebody else to do it in time."
"Don't look at me." Ginny nudged him with her newly bedazzled hand.
"The Healer said you'd be allowed to leave the ward when you woke up to visit upstairs. I had to promise to bring you back though." Ginny gave him a grateful smile, fully appreciating for a second that he was going to be her husband.
"Ready to swap big news then? Everyone's up there." He nodded his head to the ceiling. "They looked in on you but you were sleeping."
"How shall we tell them?" Ginny suddenly felt apprehensive.
"Make a fuss of the baby, wait for somebody to spot the ring." Harry grinned.
"It's a plan." Ginny accepted the hand he offered and leaned on his side as they walked out of the room and down the corridor towards the lift, pressing the button for the maternity ward.
The room Fleur was in became clear in a second due to the vast amount of her family gathered around the doorway. Charlie had arrived from Romania while Ginny had been sleeping and he immediately pulled her into a one-armed hug.
"Hey sis, still throwing yourself off broomsticks I see."
"Still throwing yourself at dragons I see." Ginny teased, pointing to a new, shiny burn present on Charlie's collar bone.
Hermione came over from a grinning Ron and looked straight at Ginny's left hand, indicating that Ron had told her. "I expect you're feeling much better now." She whispered as she too gave Ginny a hug. "Congratulations."
Arthur spotted Ginny next, coming to place an arm around her, while Percy gave her a somber, disapproving look from across the room, as if it was all her fault she'd been injured. Molly hurried over to bring Ginny into the room and she gave in, allowing her mother to guide her inside.
"Gee-Gee." Baby Victoire reached for her auntie upon seeing her and George handed her over, giving Ginny a knowing look and glancing at her left hand. Ginny pretended not to notice and smoothed the little girl's white-blonde hair down from where George had presumably been tickling her.
"You're a big sister, Vic!" she grinned at the little girl, who giggled and squirmed to be put down and walk. Ginny obliged and watched her toddle over to a cupboard and begin attempting to open it.
"No, Vic, you not allowed!" little Teddy marched over and stood in the way of the cupboard door. He attempted to haul the younger girl away from the cupboard and back to the adults and she gave him a sulky look, waddling from him and straight to her Aunt Gabrielle who picked her up.
Teddy watched jealously as the teenager bounced Victoire around to delighted squeals until Harry noticed and went to pick Teddy up too. His hair was jet-black today, just like his godfather's.
"Where's this baby then?" Ginny asked impatiently, moving further into the room to reveal Bill and Fleur, who was on a bed looking exhausted. Bill was carrying a bundle of blankets.
Bill chuckled as she crossed the room to him. "How you feeling?"
"Better than ever." Ginny's eyes shone. "Let's see what you've made." She grinned and Bill handed over the bundle of blankets.
"This is Dominique." Ginny peered into the blankets to see a tiny face with a button nose. "Cute, isn't she?" Bill smirked proudly.
"Adorable. Congratulations." Ginny said, gazing at the baby and sharing a glance with Harry who had come to her side, Teddy still balanced on his hip.
"What's dat?!" Teddy asked loudly, pointing fiercely at where Ginny was holding baby Dominique.
"That's baby Dominique, Teddy. Vic's sister." Harry watched his confused face.
"Not a baby." Teddy replied in a matter of fact voice. "Dat fing." He leaned out of Harry's arms and Ginny felt his hand brush hers under the baby, landing on the new addition to her left hand. "What 'sit?"
"No concept of when to let go in a hug but this he notices." Ginny laughed with Harry and Bill watched their exchange, his gaze drifting to the object of Teddy's question.
"Ginny, is that-" he was staring at her hand holding baby Dominique; a second later, Bill whipped his head round to Harry in surprise. Harry smirked.
"Oh, yeah it is." Ginny withdrew her hand from underneath the baby and held it out to show Bill her ring.
Harry shifted Teddy over to his other hip and placed an arm around Ginny's waist, smiling round at the now silent room. There was a short pause which was then broken by an outburst of celebration.
Ginny and Harry found themselves in the middle of a mass hug, baby Dominique and Teddy were sandwiched somewhere in the middle and he was squealing in delight, picking up on the mood of the room.
"Only my little sister could manage to upstage my second daughter being born." Bill chuckled, wiping a tear from his eye as the newly engaged couple were released. Ginny handed his daughter back to him and took Harry's hand.
Their intertwined fingers found the ring, the still unfamiliar feel of it an exciting reminder of the decision they'd made that evening. Ginny looked into Harry's eyes and shared a smile with him.
The room they stood in was so overflowing with joy and love and family; in that moment, Ginny felt like she was finally healed.