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SIYE Time:22:48 on 17th September 2021


Excellence
By GryffindorHealer

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Category: Post-DH/AB
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Other
Genres: Drama, Fluff, General
Warnings: Mild Language
Story is Complete
Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 5
Summary: We don't always know where we're going. Sometimes we've got a plan, though not necessarily. And often we don't remember where we've been, or what effect that has on others. Until we're reminded.
Hitcount: Story Total: 909



Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.



Author's Notes:
I do not own anything of JKR, I do appreciate being able to play in the sandbox.

Over the years in my professional life, I am privileged to meet, help, mentor so many students in Health Care. And I've learned from them as well. In this past year since I started writing, I've learned so many of them are also Harry Potter fans, and grew up reading the books, watching the films. The character Healer Colleen McKeanney is none of them, and she is all of them, and she is dedicated to them.

And kudos to annerb for giving the nod to someone from Changeling coming to visit.

This story is for the Discord Incognito Elf 2019 exchange, for Arnel




ChapterPrinter


Wednesday 20 April 2022

Gi nny Potter winced and tasted blood.

Sitting next to her at the end of a conference table, her friend and Muggle Affairs editor Tobias Burke mouthed, You OK? She nodded and mouthed back, So much for and stopped, her tongue still aching and bleeding. His concerned look changed to one with some mirth, and she shook her head. They leaned a bit closer, both reaching for the tea mugs on the table before them, hiding their lips as they whispered before sipping tea.

‘So much for resisting the urge to hex someone. I literally bit my tongue trying not to Bat Bogie this idiot,’ she whispered, nodding towards Geoffrey Lockhart, Business Editor and technically in charge of this staff meeting. ‘And I can’t get to my wand to heal it.’ Ginny sighed lightly.

Tobia s grinned, set his tea mug down next to hers and picked up his wand, which was already out on the table. With a subtle motion, he silently cast Episkey. GInny’s face relaxed as the pain lessened.

‘It also doesn’t help,’ he whispered back, ‘that he’s Gilderoy Lockhart’s cousin, merely proving ineptitude runs in families.’ Ginny rolled her eyes back. She mostly remembered Gilderoy Lockhart for embarrassing Harry in Flourish & Blotts before her First Year. Considering the rest of that year, she didn’t often think about him. Discovering the git running this meeting to be related both annoyed and amused her, however there wasn’t much to be done about that. Either way.

The enchanted washi paper vibrating in her shirt pocket provided a pleasant distraction. Harry’s shirt. Though I did charm it to fit me better, she thought, reaching for the paper and its message. I wonder what he’ll think if I tell him why I like using his shirts and keeping our washi against my breast. She unfolded it and read.

So it seems to be

Family Tradition. At

Saint M’s, for Lily

She tucked the paper back into her pocket and began gathering her materials together. Standing, she turned towards the conference room door.

‘Potter, where are you going?’ called Lockhart. ‘We aren’t done yet.’

‘No, Lockhart, you aren’t done. If you’ll recall, I finished my summary of the Sports Section nearly an hour ago. And I just received word my daughter is in the hospital, so I’m out of here.’ To her credit, she did not hex him, did not slam the door behind her, and did remember to gather her traveling cloak before using the floo network to get to St. Mungo’s.

GHGHGH

Ginny stepped out of the floo in the waiting room of St. Mungo’s, brushing ashes off her shoulders. Before she could start towards the Welcome Witch she heard, ‘Mrs. Potter!’ Turning, she spotted a young auburn-haired witch walking towards her, wearing the same training robes Harry did when going to the Aiki dojo. As she got closer, she held out a bag.

‘I’m Bailey Jayson Mrs. Potter, and Songbird Sensei sent me. These are Potter Sensei and Lily’s robes.’ Ginny took the bag from her and smiled.

‘Thank you, Bailey.’

‘Is Lily going to be alright? Do I need to yell at my brother? I tried to give these to Potter Sensei, but they won’t tell me where they are.’

‘I don’t know, actually. Harry’s message was brief, and as you see, I’m just getting here. It’s all right, they wouldn’t have told you regardless, you’re not on our contacts list. Now, why would you need to yell at your brother?’ In all honesty, Ginny only vaguely recognized the young witch before her from one of the many social functions Kenneth Songbird hosted for his students and fellow teachers. Probably a quarter of his students were magical, the majority being Muggles.

‘Lily worked her way into our group, and we were working on short staff techniques. Trystan’s the one who got through Lily’s guard. I’ve told him he needs to adjust for junior students.’

‘Well then, I will let you know after I find out more, but it doesn’t sound to me as if you must yell at him,’ Ginny said. ‘Having grown up with six brothers myself, I will certainly not deny you the pleasure of doing so if you feel you must.’ She smiled back at Bailey’s relieved grin.

‘I’ll go back to the dojo then. Oh, almost forgot, please tell Potter Sensei, Songbird Sensei says he’s got the short staff in his office, and Trystan waiting; he notified the Auror’s office to send someone to check things.’ Ginny kept the smile on her face as Bailey turned and left St. Mungo’s. Did Harry think dark magic was involved, she wondered.

She turned and walked to the Welcome Witch, past a witch with a chicken hat laying eggs in her hair and an elderly wizard in purple robes that appeared to be crawling around him in circles.

‘Ginny Potter,’ she said, reaching into her clutch for her ID, ‘and I’m looking for Lily Potter.’

‘Please show me some identification,’ a grumpy voice said from under a collapsed peaked hat. Ginny didn’t bother to hide the satisfied grin when the Welcome Witch’s face blanched at her ID. ‘Yes, Mrs. Potter, ground floor, Muggle Artifacts, Room 42.’

GHGHGH

Ginny pushed the door to Room 42 open gently, and stopped. Harry either conjured his own comfortable chair or transfigured one of the awful St. Mungo’s ones, and sat next to the bed where Lily lay, eyes closed, breathing gently. Feelings whipsawed through her: heavy weight that her daughter lay unconscious, lightened by the love she tapped through her and Harry’s connection, concern at the worried expression on Harry’s face as he watched Lily breathe, and oddly a mild amusement that he hadn’t noticed her yet.

‘I felt you enter the hallway, My Heart,’ he said as she held that last thought. Grinning wryly, she entered and dropped the bag by his chair. Settling gently into his lap, thankful that however this chair got here, it felt far sturdier than most of St. Mungo’s chairs, she wrapped him in her arms. ‘Ginny, I am so sorry, I should have kept better watch…’ Light pressure from her fingers on his lips silenced him, and she ensured his further quiet with a gentle, fervent kiss.

‘Harry, this is our daughter we’re talking about.’ He opened his mouth again and she once more pressed a finger to his lips. ‘No. I broke my first bone the summer just before my seventh birthday, from a hard landing while still learning how to fly. I told my parents I fell out of the tree outside my bedroom window. How much time did both of us spend with Madame Pomfrey at Hogwarts or here afterwards?

‘We’re lucky we’ve not been here more often with her; think about the times we’ve brought James and Al. It’s a given that she’d do something, and you were there to help immediately. So Harry James, this is not your fault.’ Their eyes met. He saw her determination in the gold-flecked brown, and slowly nodded. ‘Good. I met Bailey Jayson in the waiting area, she told me in general what happened. Now I want to hear it from you.’

He nestled his head next to her neck, sighing, and she ran her fingers into his messy hair, feeling his tension ease as she gently massaged.

‘Kenneth asked me to work with the newest students while he worked with the new black belts. Lil went to work with her cohort on short staff, mostly taking one away. Apparently she got bored, she’s said the others don’t feel as far along as she is. She wormed her way into a more advanced group, and caught a strike to the back and side of her head. They came and got me immediately; she felt all right at first, but then she didn’t seem to know where we were. Took her off to the side. When she started throwing up I told Kenneth ‘St. Mungo’s’ and brought her right here.’

She kept her fingers moving as he grew quiet, looking at Lily’s face as she slept. It sounded like at least a mild concussion, something both of them claimed far too much personal experience.

‘After doing her initial checks, Healer McKeanney prescribed a mild pain potion, and she drifted off after that. So not long ago, I sent you that message while the Healer worked on her.’

‘I don’t recall meeting a Healer McKeanney before.’

‘No, she’s somewhat new here. She’s been in the States working on something, she and her partner just moved back to the UK six months or so ago. When did you see Bailey?’

‘Right when I arrived here. Kenneth sent her with yours and Lily’s robes, and I asked her what happened. She didn’t know a lot more, though. Oh, and she said to tell you Kenneth sequestered the short staff and the student and called for the Aurors to check. Do you think there’s something dark behind this?’ She felt Harry shake his head no against her own.

‘No. Kenneth was DMLE in Hong Kong before the Muggles turned it back over to China, then he came to London. I’m pretty sure he’s working from habit, that he’ll also want to know magic wasn’t involved.’

A light knock at the open door commanded their attention. A young, blonde Healer in her lime-green robes, and two others that both the Potters knew stood there.

‘Are we interrupting something?’ asked Kelly Proudfoot with a smirk. Ginny shook her head.

‘Just calming down my excessively worried husband,’ Ginny said, standing and straightening her shirt a bit. ‘Hello, Kelly, Quincy. Would you be Healer McKeanney then?’ The other woman looked vaguely familiar to Ginny, a gentle yet persistent niggle at a memory that seemed to be playing hide and seek. From the look on McKeanney’s face, she could well be thinking something similar.

‘Yes, I’m Colleen McKeanney, and you must be Mrs. Potter. Mr. Potter said you’d be along. I see Lily is still sleeping.’ She stepped into the room and closer to Lily’s bed. ‘She looks to be sleeping peacefully. Mr. Potter, anything untoward while I was out?’

Harry shook his head, standing to greet Quincy Ohara, the DMLE/Auror department’s Chief Forensic Magical Pathologist. ‘No, she’s been quiet.’ He turned back to Proudfoot and Ohara. ‘Why are you two here?’

Proudfoot grinned. ‘Went by Kenneth’s dojo. Talked with Trystan Jayson, and Quincy examined the jo,’ she said, using the Japanese word for the short staff. ‘As far as I’m concerned, Harry, it’s a training accident.’

‘The jo showed no traces of magic at all, other than light touches, probably from the students who are magical. It certainly wasn’t enchanted,’ said Quincy. ‘Healer McKeanney, I presume you assessed for magical injuries.’

‘Yes, and I’ve no objections if you should like to do so as well, Healer Ohara.’ He bowed slightly and then with a quick wave of his wand over Lily, nodded.

‘Nothing magical, Harry, Ginny. I agree, most likely a training accident.’ Ginny felt some relief course through her, but still felt anxious about the extent of Lily’s injuries. She and Harry both turned to McKeanney.

‘I told your husband, Mrs. Potter, she’s definitely received a concussion, but there doesn’t seem to be more serious injury. I can show you both now, if you’d like.’ Ginny noted that Quincy Ohara looked excited and she turned to the Healer.

‘Yes, please, I’d like to see.’ McKeanney stepped up to the bed with wand in hand. She took a deep, slow breath, focusing, and then her wand moved above Lily in slow, sweeping strokes almost dance-like, with soft murmuring which must be the incantation. Slowly, a transparent image developed in the air over Lily, a pale outline of her skin and a network of red and blue lines through her head. On the lower right back, a thin brownish haze tinged the pale outline. Quincy Ohara’s eyes lit up in fascination.

‘This is a generated image showing Lily’s blood vessels. It’s intended to show bleeding or deformities; the brown haze you see is the bruising at the spot where the staff struck her. You should be able to see that’s the only place showing that, and nowhere else inside her head. That’s good, that means none of her blood vessels were injured. Now, I’m going to add a bit looking for swelling, which would be either skin from the impact, or possibly in her brain, also from that impact.’ Her wand moved around Lily’s head, and a faint yellow haze added itself to the brown, but again, no place deeper inside.

‘What does this show us, then, Healer McKeanney?’ asked Quincy.

‘As I said, a concussion, but no deeper injury than that. No hemorrhaging inside her skull, which will put a lot of pressure on her brain and would need to be relieved. One last touch, to look for any skull fractures.’ And with a twist of her wrist, the tip of her wand circled. Nothing else lit up. ‘Good. No broken bone.’ A flick, and the image vanished. She turned to face Ginny and Harry. ‘So all this supports my diagnosis, and Lily should recover fairly quickly. I’d like to keep her overnight, just to watch, and then she can come home with you tomorrow. Any questions?

Ginny let go a deep sigh she hadn’t realised was waiting to get out, her hand finding Harry’s and their fingers intertwining. ‘Harry said you’ve given her something for pain. She’ll be all right, then?’ Healer McKeanney nodded.

‘It’s a fairly mild pain potion, none of the poppy family as ingredients, and no willow bark extracts because I was concerned about potential internal bleeding. Rather it uses an extract from the hemp family.’ Harry nodded. She turned to him. “Yes, it’s probably the same the Aurors use when they need something in the field, yet need to stay alert.’

‘I’ve a question, if I may,’ said Quincy. McKeanney nodded. ‘Where did this imaging charm come from? I can see potential for it in my field as well.’ Colleen McKeanney’s face lit with a huge smile.

‘It’s my and my partner’s work, Healer Ohara. He’s a Nomaj and a physician. I went to America to study after finishing my Healer training, that’s when we met. We’ve talked back and forth about our areas, and some of the internal imaging techniques he uses intrigued me. Even though he can’t use magic, there’s magic in his family. So I started working on the charm, even with my specialty being Children and their magical injuries. We came back to Britain to introduce it here.’

‘Mum?’ came from a quiet voice on the bed. They all turned to see Lily’s brown eyes part-way open. ‘Dad? What time is it? Are we still going to class today?’

Harry budged forward on his chair and took Lily’s hand. ‘We already went, Lily. Don’t you remember?’ Lily looked between her parents and gently shook her head, wincing slightly.

‘No! I’m just waking up, we can’t have gone yet.’ She turned to face her mother, then her eyes got bigger. ‘This isn’t my room. Where are we?’

Healer McKeanney stepped forward.

“Lily, I’m Healer Colleen. Your dad brought you to St. Mungo’s. I need to ask you a few questions and check some things out. There’s no wrong answers and what we’re going to do is find out how you are. You ready?’ Lily’s eyes moved between the three adults, and back to the Healer.

‘Will it hurt? My head hurts a little, is that one of the questions?’

Collee n smiled. ‘Yes it is, though it wasn’t going to be my first one. You said a little; tell me, on a scale from Nothing Hurts to the Worst Pain Ever, how much does your head hurt?’

‘It’s a bit more than nothing, but way less than worst ever. It hurt more when I fell off my broom first time I tried to fly.’

‘Right, so it’s more annoying than really painful?’

Lily nodded.’Do you fly? And I meant, is what you’re going to do hurt.’

‘Oh, heavens, no, I can’t fly, I’m terrified of heights.’ Ginny glanced quickly at Healer Colleen, the persistent almost memory niggling stronger. ‘It might, though probably not a lot, and that’s sort of one of the answers to the questions, depending on what hurts.’ Lily looked at her Dad and squeezed his hand lightly. Then she nodded to Healer Colleen.

‘RIght then, tell me your name’ Colleen said.

‘Lily Potter. You already know that.’

‘Yes, I do, and finding out if you remember is important, because you got hit on the head. What day it is?’

‘If what Dad said is right, it’s Wednesday.’ Healer Colleen chuckled.

‘That’ll do. What did you eat for breakfast?’ Lily’s face scrunched up, looking quickly to Harry, then back to Healer Colleen.

‘I don’t remember breakfast. I should, but I don’t.’

‘What is the last thing you do remember?’ Lily thought a short bit.

‘Dinner, Dad made pot roast. Then we all played Exploding Snap before bed. We got to go to bed a bit later than usual because it’s the Hols.’

Colleen nodded.‘I know it’s a bit scary not remembering, Lily, but it is alright that you don’t. I expected it. How old are you?’

‘I’m eleven, and my birthday is in a couple months.’

Healer Colleen turned to Harry.

‘Mr. Potter, I need both Lily’s hands for a bit.’ They all shifted, Colleen sliding her fingers into Lily’s hand. ‘Now, I need to to squeeze my fingers as hard as you can, please, Lily.’

‘What if I hurt you?’

‘Then that will tell me something important. What I’m trying to find out is both how strong your grip is, in both hands. All of this is to find out how badly that knock on your head did you.’

‘Jamie says my head’s so hard it would break whatever hit me,’ replied Lily, and the adults all laughed.

‘Well, let’s find out if that’s what happened. Squeeze my hands. Tighter? Come on, you can do tighter. Right, you can relax. Now, this part might be the most uncomfortable. I need to shine a light into your eyes for a bit. Ready?’ Lily nodded, and with a quiet ‘Lumos’ Healer Colleen’s wand lit up. She moved it between Lily’s eyes several times, making sure the bright spot didn’t shine into both at the same time, then whispered, ‘Nox. Did the light bother you, Lily?’’

‘A little. Not much.’ Healer Colleen nodded.

‘Good. So here’s what happened, Lily. Your dad told me you got hit on the side of your head at a martial art practice. That gave you a concussion, where your brain got rattled about inside your skull. That’s why you don’t remember things from this morning, and why your head hurts a bit. Everything else we did tells me you’re doing OK recovering. I want you to stay here tonight, just to watch, and then you can go home with your family tomorrow.’

‘When will this headache go away?’

‘We can give you some more of the potion we’re using soon. It should go away by tomorrow, or even this evening. But you may well get headaches off and on while you’re still healing. And even after that, because a few patients I’ve taken care of would get headaches for a few years after. We’ll teach you and your parents some things to do for that, and a mild pain potion will always be an option.’

Lily sighed and nodded. Healer Colleen turned to Ginny and Harry. ‘I think we’re on for home tomorrow. We’ll go over this again before we discharge Lily, but do you have any more questions now?’

‘I can’t think of any,’ said Harry. Ginny shook her head. Her memory still nudged her, but she didn’t want to ask and seem… what? Not cautious or afraid. Simply that something seemed familiar. She and Healer McKeanney exchanged one more glance, then McKeanney nodded.

‘I must go see some more patients, then. If you do think of anything, feel free to contact me; the ward matron knows how. Lily, I’ll check in on you once more before I leave this evening, yeah? Good.’ And she left, closing the door behind her.

‘We should get going as well, Boss, but first, Baker asked me to give you this.’ Proudfoot handed the purple paper airplane she took from her robe pocket to Harry. He opened it to read, nodded slowly.

‘Tell her I’ll be along shortly. But I’m not staying!’

Proudfoo t and Ohara both laughed, nodding. ‘Right, Boss. I’ll tell her.’ Then they left as well. Harry sighed, turning to Lily, the concern in his eyes burning. Ginny cocked her head slightly. ‘Hermione needs to see me. You’ll be OK, Lils?’ Lily nodded.

‘Mum’s here, and you’ll be back, yeah? Go help catch evil wizards, Dad. We’ll be OK.’ He squeezed her hand, then turned Ginny’s face to his and kissed her.

‘I’ll send a patronus to Molly. And I am not staying there.’

Ginny chuckled. ‘Stay as long as you need, Harry. I’ve got things here.’

GHGHGH

Molly Weasley knocked softly on the door to Room 42 and pushed it open. Looking in, she nodded to GInny’s wave. Her daughter held a notebook in her lap, obviously reviewing either something for her work at the Prophet or working on her book in progress. Lily smiled at her Gran as Molly entered. ‘Hi, Gran. I got clobbered.’

Molly shook her head, a wry expression painting her face. From the corner of her eye. she saw Ginny trying to cover a smirk. ‘I am not sure you’re supposed to be so happy about that, young lady,’ said Molly sternly to Lily, who giggled then squinted and sighed.

‘I probably shouldn’t laugh too much now either, yeah?’ she whispered cheekily.

‘Don’t mind her too much, Mum, it’s likely the pain potion,’ Ginny said, shaking her head. Molly passed her wand through the air and conjured another chair for herself, sitting next to her daughter. Her expression still stern she shook her head at her granddaughter.

‘Ga ve your parents and grandparents quite the stir, likely took five years off my life!’

‘I’m sorry, Gran.’ Lily’s expression turned abashed, and she timidly held out her hand. Molly took it and squeezed. Molly nodded, squeezing back.

‘You are just like your mother, wanting to do all these dangerous things. I’ve no idea…’

‘Mum?’ Molly turned to face Ginny, puzzled.

‘Mum, I’ve been sitting here trying to work and thinking about two other things. One is Harry told me Lily’s healer is new here, but she seems very familiar to me. The other, well, I’ve been trying to remember something. It all happened after I came home from school, but I can’t remember when. You were quite upset with me, and said, “I hope you have a daughter just like you.” Now you just said something similar to Lily.’

Molly started chuckling, with Lily looking on curiously. ‘Oh, I remember that well. It was the year before you went off to Hogwarts, you came home from Ottery Primary with a black eye, cuts on all your knuckles, and other signs of fight. Plus a note from your teacher, you’d been in a fight with a year older boy, blackened both his eyes, broke several of his teeth, his parents were quite upset.’

‘Now I remember. Jimmy Banner. He’d been bullying Luna, and didn’t stop when I told him to.’

Molly nodded, grinning slightly. ‘Yes, that was in the note, too.’ She turned to Lily. ‘Your mother never had much use for bullies, Lily. And even though I felt quite upset with her fighting back then, I’ve not told her often enough how proud of her I am for never backing down.’ Smiling, Molly reached over and grasped her daughter’s hand. ‘Ginny, your grandmother said the same to me, once.’

Turning to face Molly, Ginny’s eyebrows quirked at her mother’s glinting eyes and impish grin. ‘That also came true.’

Molly regarded Lily again, leaving Ginny wondering at her mother’s words. ‘But back to you, young lady,’ she said to her granddaughter. ‘I eventually learned why your mother did so many dangerous things, and I am not waiting as long with you. Out with it. Why are you taking these studies with your father?’

The Weasley blush started on Lily’s ears and flowed onto her cheeks, darkening the freckles that danced across her nose. Her eyes flashed and flicked between her grandmother and her mother. When she pulled her blanket up a bit in an attempt to hide her face Ginny felt a suspicion reach confirmation.

‘Go ahead,’ she gently told her daughter, ‘you can tell her. We won’t be upset.’ Molly glanced quickly towards Ginny, then focused on Lily’s brown eyes again; Lily regarded Ginny seriously a moment, then appeared to straighten up. She turned to Molly.

‘I am going to be an Auror, like Daddy,’ she said firmly, her face set. Ginny watched the tinges of anxiety touch the corners of Lily’s eyes as she received her grandmother’s regard.

‘All right, then,’ said Molly, and relief flooded Lily’s face. ‘That’s why you take these classes?’

‘Yes. Dad says sometimes magic isn’t the best response, and to do something unexpected instead. And since most witches and wizards get so used to using their magic, they won’t expect something physical.’

Molly, nodding, turned to Ginny. ‘How long has this been going on?’ Ginny grinned at the surprise that now painted Lily’s face.

‘About a year, I think. You’ve seen her, I know you have, when she’s “not listening” to Ron tell stories from when he and Harry were partners as Aurors. And she simply devours mystery stories of all types, Mum. She’s read everything Robert Galbraith wrote seven times over, and she’s starting on an eighth.. I know people think James to be the next Auror, but he’s planning on Quidditch. Your granddaughter is going to be an Auror.’

Molly nodded. ‘What about Al?’

‘Al doesn’t know what he wants to do yet,’ said Lily. Molly regarded her with a patented Molly Stare, but Lily shrugged it off. ‘He doesn’t. He likes experimenting with Muggle things and magic, but he told me he’s not sure what to do when he finishes Hogwarts.’

‘That’s why he’s working for George and Ron, Mum. We told him we won’t replace any more mobiles or music players, he has to if he breaks them.’

Molly chuckled, shaking her head. ‘Spent too much time with Arthur in that shed of his, Al did. But about Lily. Does Harry know?’

‘I don’t think so. I just now felt certain. But I don’t think it will be long before he figures it out.’

Ginny could not hold in her laugh at the look of horror on Lil’s face.

‘Please don’t tell him, Mum, please! He’ll tell me it’s too dangerous, he won’t let me continue Aiki, you know he won’t.’

Ginny shook her head. ‘Long ago I accepted that your father will say and do things for stupidly noble reasons. But I also know he will come around, if this is truly something you want to do. You simply need to hold firm to your beliefs.’

‘Are you sure, Mum?’

‘It worked for me, dear. So far it’s working for James. It will work for you.’

GHGHGH

Molly carried the two mugs of St. Mungo’s Institutional Tea carefully, then paused at the partially open door to Lily’s room. Though soft and quiet, she could hear her daughter and granddaughter talking, and listened.

‘They’re scary, Mum, these holes in my memory. I know what we do every morning, but I don’t remember doing them today!’

‘Like a gap that should not be there, right? You feel something is there, but when you poke it, it’s totally empty.’ In the heavy silence that followed, Molly felt Lily nod, like a pebble tossed into the Burrow’s pond. ‘It will get better, Lils, even if you never remember what happened during that hole. It gets better by building new, more memories, with us, with your friends. Just like a cut, it heals over. You’ll know there’s something odd about it, you’ll rub that scar sometimes, trying to see if the memory hole filled in. It won’t, but we’ll be there -- family, friends, all around you.’

‘How do you know? What if it doesn’t happen?’

‘Because something similar happened to me, when I was younger than you are now, and those holes are still there. I rub on them every now and then, but when they stay empty, I look at my parents, my brothers, at you and Al and James, and I remind myself of how much more there is now.’

‘Are those holes still scary?’

‘Sometimes , yes. When they are, your father takes me into his arms and holds me, and I hold him, and those holes become smaller, less important. Less scary.’

‘So Dad helped you get better?’

‘Oh yes, my love, your father is the biggest, greatest part of how I got better. We made so very many memories together, our life, our big family, playing Quidditch.’

‘Catch ing evil wizards.’

‘Catchin g evil witches and wizards. Mostly good memories, but even the bad memories are important since we got through those times. And because we made you, and your brothers. I don’t regret the bad times, and particularly those holes in my memory, because they all helped bring me to where we are now. If I traded them away any, I wouldn’t be here. You wouldn’t be here.’

Molly blinked at the sudden slight burning in her eyes, filling her lungs slowly and easing the breath out quietly, marvelling at the wife and mother her little girl became. Her little girl who’d been taken from them by a maniac, to die merely to prolong his life. Wondering at the good fortune that a lonely, neglected young boy rescued her against huge odds, to become the son of her heart and her soul and the father of her grandchildren.

She took in another slow breath, in awe at the insight her daughter provided both her granddaughter, and herself. You’re right, Ginevra, she thought. I wouldn’t trade them either, because they brought you back to me.

GHGHGH

The next morning, Ginny walked into Room 42 to find Lily sitting on the side of her bed, kicking her legs, but still dressed in hospital robes. Lily’s face lit up when her brother Al followed their Mum into the room. ‘Hey, Lils, so did you break his stick with your head?’ he asked. Ginny couldn’t hide the relief she felt when Lily smiled back; obviously the night’s sleep helped her feel better.

‘It’s called a jo, Al, as you know, and no, I didn’t break it. But he didn’t break my head either, so we’re probably even.’ Al laughed as he gave his sister a hug. ‘Weren’t you going to be helping Grampa sort his shed today?’

‘Yeah, but Mum told him I’d be along later so I could help get you home without you trying to break your skull again.’

Lily shoved his arm, scoffing.

‘You slept all right, Lily?’ Ginny asked.

Lily nodded back.‘Healer McKeanon checked on me like she said, after you and Dad left yesterday, and again this morning. She said I’m good. One more check is all we’re waiting on.’ Ginny nodded, and with a pleased grin sat in the chair Harry conjured yesterday, still beside Lily’s bed. She regarded her daughter, who stilled her legs slowly.

‘So what do you think about Healer McKeanney?’ Ginny asked her.

‘I like her. She doesn’t lie when she’s going to do Healer things, She told me some things might hurt yesterday, and the light she shone in my eyes did a bit. But it probably would have more if she’d said it wouldn’t.’ Ginny nodded slowly. ‘And, she told me some things about herself, too. I liked that. It’s a bit sad if she can’t fly, but I guess not everybody likes to.’

‘Not fly?’ Al asked. Lily nodded to him.

‘I told her my head hurt more when I fell off my broom learning to fly. I asked her if she does, and she said she’s afraid of heights.’ That same niggling tickled the back of Ginny’s thoughts when Lily spoke. Afraid of heights. She’d heard those exact words. But when?

A soft knock on the door and Healer Colleen peaked around the edge. ‘Morning Lily, and everyone.’ Pushing the door open, she entered before stepping to Al while holding a small stack of parchment and folders in her hands. ‘I didn’t meet you yesterday, but from appearances you’re… Al?’ Al nodded, not saying anything. ‘Pleased to meet you. I'm sure hundreds of people tell you, you look just like your father. How are you this morning, Mrs. Potter?’ The two witches exchanged friendly looks.

‘Doing well, thank you. Looking forward to going home, I’m sure at least Lily is.’

‘I’m sure. Right, then, quick check. Lily, how many fingers am I holding up?’

Lily laughed as Al smirked.

‘None. You’re holding parchment.’ Healer Colleen smiled back.

‘Any headache?’ Lily shook her head. ‘Nausea? Dizziness when you sat up?’ Again, Lily shook her head, smiling. ‘Right then. I want you to take things easy for the rest of Hols. No training hall for the rest of the week. You can pick that back up when you’re back to school, but slowly. We’ll send you with some of that pain potion, and a note for Madam Pomfrey if you need more at Hogwarts. Any questions?’

‘How soon can I go back to Aiki dojo? I don’t really have that at Hogwarts, and I mostly practice on my own,’ said Lily.

Healer Colleen nodded. ‘You can start that when you get back to Hogwarts. But no dojo this week!’

Lily nodded reluctantly.

‘Anyt hing else?’ No one spoke up. Healer Colleen turned to Ginny. ‘Mrs. Potter, I think you and I share a particular problem, though mine is of significantly less magnitude than yours.’

Ginny’s eyebrows furrowed, a small crease appearing between at the bridge of her nose.

‘I can’t tell you how often I’ll be out shopping or at a restaurant or such, and someone comes up to thank me because I’d taken care of them. I’ve been avoiding saying anything out of respect, but I’ve noticed you watching me. Yes, we’ve met before, once.’

‘Really? Harry said you’ve been in America and only recently returned.’

Healer Colleen nodded, smiling, sorting through the small stack of folders in her grip.

‘We have, but I did go to Hogwarts. My name was Wright when we met.’ She turned to Lily. ‘I told you I don’t fly, Lily. However, my whole family including myself are nutters for Quidditch. I’m something of a black sheep on that count because I’m so afraid of heights I can't play.’ She turned back to Ginny. ‘For my eleventh birthday, Dad took me to see the Holyhead Harpies against the Falcons. You lost that game, Mrs. Potter, and I felt bad for you. Dad took me through the post-game reception line. Some of your teammates were a little abrupt, but you, you got down on eye-level with me. We talked about Quidditch and flying and I told you I am absolute pants about that--’

‘“Because I’m deathly afraid of heights”,’ Ginny interrupted. ‘Yes! I remember now. You’ve cut your hair since then as well.’

Colleen nodded. ‘I actually cut it not long after that, when I saw the photos of how short you cut yours.’ GInny laughed.

‘Harry was so upset with me! Not because I cut it, but because after the game that led to me doing so I simply threw my cut hair down onto the pitch. He gathered it all up, and later--’

‘He added the headband of braided red hair to his Ginny Weasley’s No. 1 Fan outfit! I wondered if that was your hair.’

‘It still is,’ Ginny replied, softly. ‘He’s still got it.’

‘He wears it sometimes, too,’ said Al. ‘Often on Mum’s birthday. But how do you know that was Dad? He and Mum told us that was a well kept secret.’

‘Not so much, actually,’ Colleen chuckled. ‘It was a pretty open secret, even though Mr. Potter did an excellent job at the disguise. I expect that’s part of what makes him such a good Auror, yeah?’ Lily beamed.

‘He’s the best Auror,’ she said. Healer Colleen looked from daughter back to mother.

‘You’ve your work cut out with this one, don’t you?’

‘With all three of them,’ Ginny scoffed, looking at her two children present. ‘But we wouldn’t trade them for anything.’ Both Al and Lily blushed.

‘Anyw ay, Mrs. Potter, you were so gracious with me then, and well, when I asked you to autograph my game-book, what you wrote inspired me.’ She pulled the pamphlet out of the stack of folders, both Al and Lily looking on intensely. They could see both Harpies and Falcons players zooming across the front cover, their mother’s red hair trailing behind her like a braided flame. Across the top of the cover bold text flashed between the two team’s colors: Falcons v. Harpies. Underneath that a smaller font flashed through the same colors: 19.2.2000.

‘Oh, sweet Merlin,’ whispered Ginny. Al and Lily’s eyes darted to her face; neither had seen her blush quite so brightly, not even at times any of the children had… interrupted… their parents. Looking back towards the Healer, they both noticed several lines in their mother’s handwriting towards the bottom of the cover. She and Healer Colleen’s focus on each other almost made them feel they witnessed a memory in a pensieve. ‘When I asked you, you said “I don’t know what I want to be when I finish school”, and then you asked for my autograph.’ Healer Colleen nodded. ‘May I?’

Colleen held out the game programme and Ginny gently took it in both hands. Al looked over her shoulder and read aloud, ‘Colleen, Know who you are, know what you do, and do it with excellence. Ginny Weasley.’ He looked over to Lily. ‘They weren’t even married yet.’

‘From the moment you gave that back to me, Mrs. Potter,’ said Colleen, drawing all eyes in the room to her again, ‘I felt those words burning in my heart. When I left for Hogwarts, I brought that with me. When I decided to be a Healer, I committed to being the absolute best. I never dreamed…’ Her voice faltered slightly, and she brushed at her cheeks. Ginny reached up and took her hand. ‘I never dreamed that one day I would take care of your child.’

Silence drew out, nothing awkward at all, warmth and caring swirling around the two women. Until a voice from the door interrupted gently.

‘You should autograph it again, Gin.’ Harry’s eyes focused solely upon Ginny’s.

‘Oh, I shouldn’t dare ask,’ said Healer Colleen briskly, ‘I’ve already pushed the limits of professionalism as it is.’

‘Nonsense,’ replied Harry, stepping into the room. Taking a cylindrical object from his shirt pocket unter his robes, he held it out to Ginny, who brushed her own cheeks before taking it.

‘A ball-point pen?’ asked Colleen.

‘Much more convenient than quills, sometimes, particularly at Muggle incident scenes,’ responded Harry, smiling. He turned back to his wife. ‘Go ahead, my Soul.’ Ginny smiled at him, and then clicking the button, touched the pen to the programme and wrote: Thank you for taking such excellent care of my daughter. Ginny Potter.

She handed the pan back to Harry and the program to Healer Colleen, who accepted it blushing.

‘Thank you,’ Ginny said to her. Colleen nodded.

‘So, everyone’s here, I will tell the ward matron to send in the discharge paperwork and get you all set to go,’ she told them. Turning to Lily, ‘And I don’t want to see you here any time soon, so you do what you’re told, yes?’

‘Yes, Healer Colleen,’ Lily replied, smirking.

‘Good. Mr. Potter, Mrs. Potter--’

‘Ginny. My name is Ginny. And his is Harry. You’ve earned that.’

Healer Colleen McKeanney looked between the Potters, then back to Ginny and Harry. “Ginny, Harry, I am glad I could help you. And while I truly don’t want to see Lily soon, if you do need me, well, you know where to find me.’ She shook hands with both Ginny and Harry, and then left.

Lily laughed loudly. ‘James is going to go spare when we tell him what he missed here.’

‘What do you mean?’ asked Al.

‘Mum being asked for an autograph, and not Dad!’

Harry laughed.‘James did once tell me that Mum playing Quidditch for England is better than me ending a boring war. And your Mum should be famous. She did all the hard work.’

‘And what hard work was that, Mr. Potter?’ asked Ginny, smirking.

‘Oh, training with the Harpies.’

‘That wasn’t hard, that was fun.’ She reached up to stroke his cheek. ‘So, again, what hard work?’

‘Growing our children and giving birth,’ he replied, resting his hand over hers.

‘Labor of love, simply a labor of love.’

‘Well, then, putting up with me for all these years.’

Ginny wrapped her hands behind Harry’s neck, leaning into him slightly as his arms circled behind her back. ‘Now that, I will give you, Potter. Though I still think you’re worth the time.’

‘Mum, Dad, we’re right here,’ said Al.

‘Don’t worry, Al, we aren’t going to embarrass you here,’ replied his father. ‘Lily, don’t you need to get dressed?’

‘Oh, yes, I do. But it’s more fun watching Al squirm.’

‘Lily, go get dressed,’ Ginny turned to grin at her daughter. ‘So we can take you home and properly embarrass your brother.’

GHGHGH

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