|SIYE Time:16:03 on 17th January 2022|
Category: Alternate Universe, Post-DH/AB
Genres: Angst, Drama, Fluff, Romance, Tragedy
Warnings: Dark Fiction, Death, Disturbing Imagery, Extreme Language, Intimate Sexual Situations, Mental Abuse, Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations, Negative Alcohol Use, Rape, Sexual Situations, Spouse/Adult/Child Abuse, Violence, Violence/Physical Abuse
Story is Complete
Summary: The battle is over, there is life to be lived, peace to be enjoyed and trouble following close at their heels.
Ginny hasn't seen Harry since the dust settled from the battles with Voldemort, but when an unexpected piece of news draws them together will they be driven apart or become bound?
Follows Canon to the best of my knowledge.
The warnings are just to be safe. I don't know that they're all needed, but I'm putting them up just to cover my bases. If you have any questions or concerns, please message me.
Hitcount: Story Total: 118177; Chapter Total: 7337
Awards: View Trophy Room
New chapter, new character, new information, but not enough of course. Tell me what you think.
Monday June 1st
Ginny fell asleep right after she ate dinner and reluctantly Harry went down to eat his own, leaving Luna to sit and watch her, while she read a textbook. He went down to the kitchen table and started pouring over the material he was going to miss the next day. Technically he was still a trainee, but in reality he, Ron and the others were full-fledged Aurors. They just spent more time in the training room than in the field.
The back door opened and Harry turned to see Percy standing hesitantly in the doorway.
“Percy!” Molly said happily, still elated to see her son coming to the door after so many years of silence. “Well come in.”
Percy kissed his mother’s cheek and shook Harry’s hand before sitting down. Molly put on a pot of tea while Harry watched him. Finally Percy spoke. “I think I may have someone who can help with Ginny’s medical needs.”
Harry raised an eyebrow. So why was he looking so nervous? “Who?”
“Uhm,” he fidgeted with his tea cup as Molly sat on the other side of him.
Before he could answer Arthur and Hermione walked in. Greetings followed, but Harry kept his eyes on Percy’s face. When they were all seated, Harry asked again, “Who?”
Percy took a deep breath. “It’s… it’s my girlfriend, Audrey. She’s a healer at St. Mungo’s and before you think she had anything to do with this-” Percy said, forestalling Harry saying exactly that. “She, uh… she spent the night at my flat that night and I know she didn’t leave.”
There was silence before Molly finally said, “Percy!”
“Mum we’ve been together for almost a year now,” Percy argued his face was a brilliant tomato red. “This is why I didn’t want to bring her into this. I know she didn’t do this to Ginny, but I also knew that you wouldn’t approve of us being together like that.”
“It’s more that you didn’t tell us before now,” Arthur said quietly.
Percy shrugged. “I couldn’t really find a way to tell you.”
“Is it serious?” His father asked him.
Percy nodded. “She’s not ready to get married yet or anything, but we’ve talked about it. We’ll probably get engaged in the next year or so. Her mother is a world renowned muggle doctor who married a wizard but, you know,” he said looking towards Hermione for confirmation, “it isn’t uncommon for muggles to marry later on in life.”
“He’s right,” Hermione agreed. “My parents were both in their mid-thirties before they got married.”
“I didn’t want to bring her in here, not with everything that’s going on, before I got your approval,” Percy said to Harry. “I mean, she’s my sister, but she’s your wife, well she will be,” Percy faltered, still looking really flushed. “I think you need to have final say on her safety.”
“Wait,” Mrs. Weasley stopped him. “Do you mean she’s outside?”
“I left her beyond the boundary line,” Percy explained. “She gets that security is really tight.”
Harry had another pressing question. “What does she know about Ginny’s illness?”
“Nothing!” Percy assured him. “I told her that her morning sickness is really bad and we’re trying to find help in caring for her.”
“Do you want to bring her in?” Hermione asked Harry.
Harry’s mind was racing, but there really was only one answer to this and he couldn’t just accept Percy’s word. He sighed. “We need to go to the ministry and question her. Let me send the minister and Robards a message about what I’m going to do.” Harry pulled out his wand, conjured his patronus and quickly relayed to them what was happening.
Harry fervently hoped, for all of their sakes, that this Audrey was innocent.
Everyone made their way out the back towards where Percy had left her. Harry’s first impression was that she was pretty with chin length chestnut hair, and eyes that matched. She was nearly as tall as Percy, and willowy. She also looked nervous.
Percy put an arm around her waist, and Audrey smiled at them. “This is Audrey Michaels.”
“It is nice to meet you,” Mrs. Weasley said and she sounded like she meant it. “I’m Molly, Percy’s mum.”
They shook hands, “Hello.”
“Arthur,” Mr. Weasley said, sticking out his hand. “I believe I have seen you at St. Mungo’s.”
Audrey nodded. “Yes, I’ve seen you there as well.”
“I’m Hermione,” Hermione said, smiling.
“Harry,” he said, holding out his hand. Her shake was firm even if her nerves were working overtime. She didn’t automatically look at his scar like most other people did. “We would like you to come to the ministry with us,” he said, indicating himself, Arthur and Percy. “I imagine that seems very odd, but as there are still a lot of people who want to kill me, and by extension Ginny; we really need to be careful.”
She took a deep breath. “I can’t even imagine what it has been like. I’m willing to go through anything you ask, although I don’t know that I can help Ginny any more than Martha can. She’s a brilliant midwife.”
“Percy thinks you might be able to help, but we need to go to the ministry first,” Arthur said. “We will use our floo.”
Audrey nodded, and they walked back into the house saying goodbye to Molly and Hermione. They floo’ed to the ministry, and headed silently up to the Auror headquarters.
Kingsley was waiting for them, his hands in his pockets. “I hadn’t gone home,” he explained in his slow, deep voice at Harry’s question. “There is a lot to do, but I could use a small break.”
Introductions were made and they stepped into one of the interrogation rooms which were private. Audrey looked startled at the Minister of Magic being present, but she didn’t comment on it.
Lacing her hands together on the table, she asked, “What do you want me to do?”
“Take Veritaserum and answer some questions,” Harry explained. Percy, who was sitting next to her, began to rub her back.
“I want you to understand something,” Kingsley said. “This has nothing to do with the ministry. You are not going to be forced to take it, and you can walk away with no consequences to you or your career. This is strictly because Harry’s safety has always been tenuous and we need to make sure that you are not a threat.”
“I understand,” Audrey said. “I really do,” she told Harry, looking straight into his eyes. “I…” she looked at Percy who nodded reassuringly, and then to Mr. Weasley. “I hope to one day be part of your family so I will do whatever it takes to show I’m not a threat.”
Arthur nodded, a small smile playing across his mouth even though his eyes were very tired. “Let’s get this over with, then.”
Harry got up and went over to one of the locked cabinets. He put his wand up to the lock, and after a moment it clicked open. He pulled out a small vial of clear liquid, walked over to Audrey and said, “I need to put three drops in your mouth.”
“Okay,” she said, opening her mouth. Once it was done Harry returned the vial and locked the cabinet again.
A few moments later Audrey’s eyes lost their focus.
“What is your full name?” Harry asked.
“Audrey Lucille Michaels,” she answered with no inflection.
“Have you ever harmed Harry Potter?”
“Have you ever met Ginny Weasley?”
“Have you ever done anything medical to either Harry Potter or Ginny Weasley?”
“Do you have any sympathies for the Death Eaters or Voldemort?”
“Are you in love with Percy Weasley?”
“Harry!” Percy growled but Harry ignored him.
“Will you ever betray Harry Potter?”
“Will you ever betray the Weasley family?”
“Have you ever spoken to the press about Harry Potter or the Weasley family?”
Harry looked around to see if anyone else had any other questions. When no one spoke up, he went to the cabinet and retrieved the antidote.
He put three drops of the green liquid on Audrey’s tongue and within moments Audrey’s eyes regained focus. She shuddered. “The antidote is so bitter.”
“Yeah,” Harry laughed. Everyone looked relieved. “It is. Come on, let’s go back to the Burrow and we can fill you in.”
“I will see you later,” Kingsley said as they parted.
“You should come for dinner,” Arthur said quietly. “You look as if you could do with a home cooked meal.”
Kingsley sighed. “Being minister is not a glamorous job, especially with the state of things. I will try to come by, though. I’m definitely going to be at the wedding.” His dark eyes flashed with happiness. “I wouldn’t miss that for anything.”
As soon as they arrived back at the Burrow, Molly and Hermione jumped to their feet. “She’s cleared,” Harry told them and they smiled in relief.
The all stood around awkwardly for a second. “Why don’t we take you up to see Ginny? She’s asleep, but you can examine her,” Hermione suggested. “I’m sure it will be nice to get a second opinion.”
Harry looked at her curiously. He’d wanted to explain what had happened first, but Hermione shook her head almost imperceptibly and started up the stairs.
They walked in to find Luna still reading in the chair. “Oh, hello,” she said distractedly. “I’m Luna.”
Audrey smiled warmly. “I remember you! You were in my house when I was Head Girl.”
“Yes,” Luna agreed. “It was my first year.”
“Audrey was a year ahead of me,” Percy told them.
Audrey grinned at him, starting to relax. “You were such a stickler for rules as a prefect. Thankfully you’ve lightened up a bit.” She kissed his cheek, tucked her short brown hair behind her ear and then focused her eyes on Ginny and Harry saw concern wash over her face. “Can we turn the lights up? Will that wake her?”
Harry brightened the room. “She’ll sleep through almost anything right now.”
Audrey pulled out her wand and ran it over Ginny, muttering softly. “She is really pale and a bit clammy. She looks like she’s lost a good amount of weight in a short time. How often is she getting sick?”
“She hasn’t thrown up,” Harry said quietly, cottoning on to what Hermione had wanted. She wanted Audrey to come in with nothing, to see just how good she was as a healer.
Alarm crossed Audrey’s face. “She hasn’t vomited at all? But that’s-” Her breath left her in a whoosh and she looked around. “Has she been eating?”
“Yes,” Molly piped in. “She’s been eating 3-6 healthy meals a day.”
Audrey sucked in her bottom lip and turned back to Ginny. “This is not good.” Audrey sat back, staring at her, frown lines etched into her thin face. “She’s been magically impregnated, hasn’t she?” she asked softly, horror flooding her face. Despite the circumstances, Harry was impressed at how quickly she’s gotten to the answer.
She turned to Harry who nodded in confirmation. “We were in St. Mungo’s a few weeks ago. It happened then and we didn’t know about the baby until we were told by the ministry.”
Audrey’s hand flew up to her mouth. “But then… you two are being forced to marry?”
“No!” Harry said quickly, a little more vehemently than he’d intended. “We’re just being forced to marry now. We’d have gotten there eventually anyway.”
Audrey looked relieved. “This is…” she looked back to Ginny and her concern was palpable. “She’s not holding her own in this pregnancy.”
Molly let out a small squeak and out of the corner of his eye he saw Arthur put his arm around his wife. Harry swallowed hard. “She’s made some progress, but she can’t seem to keep weight on and she’s still very weak. When we were in St. Mungo’s it was because of a blood boiling hex.”
“I remember,” Audrey sighed. “Percy told me when it happened. You both got hit with the same curse, right? That’s why it didn’t kill you?”
Harry nodded with his heart in his throat. “Yeah,” he said, clearing his throat.
“I don’t want you to lose hope,” Audrey told them. “Ginny is young, and she’s otherwise healthy but the fact that she’s bed bound at all is troubling.” She got a distant look in her eyes and went back to staring at Ginny. No one spoke. No one moved and the tension in the room was palpable. “Does she remember what happened at the hospital?”
“She said she woke up when there was a sharp pain in her stomach,” Harry told her.
Audrey nodded. “That’s the impregnating part of it. It is supposed to hurt quite a lot. I’m not surprised she woke up. Was that it?”
Hermione answered. “The woman doing this gave her a potion and Ginny fell back to sleep.”
Audrey looked over sharply. “Did you tell Martha this?”
“Yes,” Harry answered, completely confused. “She said it was likely a sleeping potion.”
Audrey began to move her wand over Ginny again. She picked up Ginny’s limp hand, examining her finger nails with her wand light, before taking a look at her feet. “It could have been, but she’s clammy…” she kept muttering until her wand shown a blue light. She sat back heavily. “She’s been poisoned.”
“What?” Harry gasped, along with almost everyone else in the room.
Audrey looked at him sadly. “It’s a very slow acting poison. It would take a healthy person at least a year to die, maybe two. I need to make the antidote. It’s extremely volatile and doesn’t travel well.” She turned to Molly. “I’m going to need to make it here.”
“I can help,” Hermione said a hitch in her voice. “I’m very good with potions.”
“Go set up the cauldron in a place where no one will accidentally knock into it,” Audrey instructed and Hermione hurried from the room.
Audrey turned back to them and Molly finally found her voice. “Why didn’t Martha spot this?”
“It’s so rare, and while Martha is a trained healer she is not ever called in on dark magic cases,” Audrey explained gently. “I’ve seen this poison only once before and that was about six months ago. Ginny’s finger nails are orange at the nail bed.” She gently pulled Ginny’s hand up to show them. “She is showing signs of the same poison except my previous patient was much further along; he was definitely very sick from it. His hands were completely orange which is why he came in. It took me two days of pouring through literature to find the right poison to make the diagnosis. We cured him, but he never regained his full health before his death.”
“What does this mean for Ginny?” Arthur asked.
Audrey shook her head, looking helpless. Percy put a comforting hand on her shoulder. “Just tell us, Audrey. We need to know the worst.”
“If we can get the antidote into her soon, then I’m reasonably confident that Ginny will make it.” Her eyes were anguished as she turned to Harry. “I think we have maybe a 10% chance of saving the baby.”
Harry felt like he’d been hit straight in the gut. He closed his eyes and grabbed ahold of Ginny’s dresser for support. He felt strong arms come around him, and moved to hug Arthur back. “You can do this, Harry,” Arthur whispered into his ear. “Whatever happens, you can make it through and you need to be strong for Ginny.”
Harry nodded and let go. “How long will the antidote take to make?”
“Not long; a few hours,” Audrey said. “We need to get a few specialized ingredients. I don’t want to go to St. Mungo’s to get them, in case someone is watching.”
“I can get anything we need from the Auror’s supply. We have everything,” Harry told her.
Audrey turned to everyone. “I do not want Ginny to know what is going on. The one thing we’ve learned over the years is that women seeking impregnation need to stay in a good mood. Their moods directly affect how well they handle the pregnancy. Ginny can’t know,” she ordered, looking over to Harry. “You all need to plaster on a happy face and the antidote we’re going to give her is just another strengthening potion, nothing special.”
“We understand,” Molly said quietly. “Is there anything else we can do?”
“Hope for a miracle,” Audrey said fervently.
Audrey made an ingredients list and gave it to Hermione who went to the ministry with Harry to get what they needed. As soon as they got back, Audrey set to work in the sitting room where Hermione had set up the cauldron.
Harry excused himself, needing a bit of fresh air. Ginny was probably going to be okay, but the baby might not live. He held back the tears but only just. He didn’t know for sure that the baby was going to die, and he had to pretend to Ginny that everything was going to be okay. No. No, he needed to hope that the baby was going to be fine. All he had now was hope to keep going.
If the baby was a girl, Hope would be a really good name. He thought suddenly.
“Harry?” Percy said from behind him.
Harry didn’t want to talk to him or anyone but without Percy, Ginny would definitely have been dead. He turned to his soon to be brother-in-law. “Thank you for bringing her.”
Percy nodded. “She’s really brilliant. I’ve never seen someone so intuitive about healing. She completed her training in half the time it normally takes and she’s already qualified for two different specialties when most healers only achieve one specialty in their career.” His face showed misery. “This wasn’t what I wanted to hear from her about Ginny. I can’t even imagine what you’re feeling.”
“Pretty damn lousy,” Harry admitted. He needed to be up in a few hours to relieve Ron and he still hadn’t told Hermione what was going on there. He couldn’t focus on how he felt when he had to figure out why someone had poisoned Ginny.
“I…” Percy faltered. “Audrey wants to see you.”
He nodded and made his way back into the house. Hermione was stirring and Audrey had him sit. She picked up his hand and shown her wand light down on his fingers. As she did, he saw it. They were very slightly orange. “Oh hell,” he groaned.
“It’s the perfect way to kill someone,” Audrey murmured. “I just… I just had a feeling as I started mixing up the antidote.” Her brown eyes, just a shade darker than Ginny’s, were full of compassion. “The poisoner had you both at her mercy. Why not try to kill both of you? We were very unlikely to ever discover it in time and when we did, you’d have already suffered months of damage to your body.”
“Am I going to be okay?” Harry asked, not even sure he cared about the answer just then.
“Yes,” Audrey said firmly. “You’re in excellent shape and you haven’t even been infected for a month. Ginny’s fragile from the pregnancy, she hasn’t got your reserves to fight off the poison. It’s not nearly as advanced in you as it is in her.”
Molly, who had been hovering in the background, asked, “Is Ginny going to suffer any lasting damage?”
“No, I doubt it,” Audrey said reassuringly. “All the literature says that we shouldn’t expect to see lasting damage until at least six months in. Even with Ginny in a weakened state, I’d not expect to see permanent damage for at least another month.” She turned back to Harry. “Why would someone do this to you?”
“Lots of people want to kill me,” Harry muttered darkly, knowing he was damning his future wife to the same fate and he couldn’t walk away even if he wanted to. He didn’t want to walk away, though. He just wanted to wrap Ginny in cotton wool and lock her in their new house where no one could get to her.
“Yes but why this way? What’s the point?” Audrey looked completely perplexed as she stared off at a photograph on the mantle.
He sighed, suddenly exhausted. “No idea. Hermione,” he said turning to her. “I meant to tell you that Ron and I are tailing someone. He’s on duty until 6am and then we’re going to swap. He’s likely going to be sleeping at my house so he wanted you to know why he isn’t making it home.”
Hermione nodded as she continued to stir.
“You can’t be on duty at 6am,” Audrey said quickly. “I need you here to give you this antidote and then you’re going to sleep for at least a few hours.”
“Who are you following?” Hermione asked before Harry could argue.
“Uhm,” Harry hesitated, not wanting anyone else to know who the target was. “The beetle.”
Hermione’s frown only lasted half a second before she nodded. “I’ll take over for you. You can relieve me when Audrey says you’re free to go.”
“I can’t-” Harry began but Mrs. Weasley cut him off.
She got into his face and her fierce look, so like Ginny’s, froze him in his tracks. “Harry James Potter, you will do exactly what you’re told.”
“But-” he began.
“No buts,” Molly said with finality in her voice. “We need you cured. We’re in for a rough go of it, and Ginny needs you at your best.”
It was a low blow, but it was the direct hit that he needed to see sense.
“I want you to go and get some sleep,” Audrey said. “This is going to take another few hours and the more rested you are, the faster your body will accept the antidote. Hermione, you can go as well. I have this.”
“Oh, but I don’t mind-” Hermione began as Luna walked in.
“I can help,” Luna told them. “I’m not tired and I’m good at following instructions.” She pulled her hair back into a long tail.
Molly chivvied them both up the stairs. “Go sleep. Hermione, I’ll get you up at 5am and have some coffee on.”
“Thanks Molly,” Hermione said as they made their way up.
Harry went into his room after bidding Hermione goodnight, changed into pajamas and went back down to Ginny’s room. He climbed into bed with her and kissed her brow as she snuggled in. He gently laid his hand on her flat stomach as the tears began to flow silently down his cheeks.
He didn’t know how he was going to do this. He didn’t know how to pretend that everything was going well when there was a good chance their baby was going to die. It felt like his heart had a chunk missing from it. Ginny stirred slightly and her timer went off. Harry reached up for the potion, gave it to her and wiped his eyes. It didn’t matter that he didn’t know how to do this. He just had to find a way to make it through. Sleep didn’t come easily, but eventually he drifted off.
He awoke suddenly when Audrey shook his shoulder and handed him a large tumbler full of green liquid. “This is going to taste very foul,” Audrey told him quietly. “Try to drink it in one go.”
He sat up and choked it back. It was unbelievably disgusting. When he had it all in, he felt his arms start to warm and realized belatedly that ever since the blood boiling hex he hadn’t been able to get completely warm. Odd that he hadn’t noticed it until the feeling came back.
Harry turned and helped prop Ginny up into a sitting position.
“This might wake her,” Audrey said with concern. “Just keep her calm, try talking to her.”
Audrey started to pour the liquid and Ginny began to fight. “It’s okay, Ginny,” Harry soothed and Ginny instantly relaxed. “I know it tastes bad, but it will be over soon and you’ll be able to go back to sleep.”
Ginny swallowed the last gulp and shuddered, but didn’t wake.
“Go back to sleep,” Audrey told him as he guided Ginny back down into her bed. “I’ll be back to check on you in a few hours.”
Within seconds of his head touching the pillow, Harry was fast asleep.
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