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La Sorbonne - Paris - Watercolor Painting by nicolasjolly

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Summary: The Weasleys, Harry and Hermione have snuck out from Umbridge’s control to spend the holidays in the closed ward…

Christmas at St. Mungos

( First Chapter ) | (
grim awakening: 18.0 )

“Arthur Weasley? He’s on the first floor, second door on the right, Dai Llewellyn ward. His wife—your mother?—is with him now.”

Fred gave Harry, Ron and Hermione a look. “Creature induced injury, ey? Sounds about right.” Fred lead the way, and soon Harry noticed the plaque on the door:

“DANGEROUS. DAI LLEWELLYN WARD: SERIOUS BITES.” Underneath this was a card in a brass holder, on which was written, Healer in Charge: Hippocrates Smethwyck, Trainee Healer: Augusts Pye. (*1) They entered without comment, quickly finding the right place.

“Harry, twice savior of our family.” Mr. Weasley said weakly from the bed. He looked cheerful enough, though. “First Ginny, and now me. I don’t know where I’d be without your quick thinking.”

Mrs. Weasley beamed up at Harry through her tears. She seemed to be crying a lot, recently. “We wanted to thank you earlier,” she began.

“You have.” Harry reminded her. “Lots. I’m just glad you’re ok.” His eyes wandered around the rest of the room. There were two other beds, but the curtains were drawn around both of them. He thought about moving closer, to take Mr. Weasley’s hand or to express how…happy he was he wasn’t dead, and how much he hated having to watch, to feel being the snake that had bitten him. Harry was still uncertain about whether or not he was possessed, but…where else could he go? What else could he do? Leaving Hogwarts and the Order’s borders was, if anything, easier for the Death Eaters to get at him, to use him. Tom had shown that…

Mr. Weasley launched into a story about the hospital procedures and his cranky elderly roommate, confiding quietly about the other patient being a newly bitten werewolf, and spinning off in a direction about something else. Harry listened and nodded in all the right places, but refrained from saying much. He might say the wrong thing. He tuned in again when Mrs. Weasley started shouting about surgery. Something about stitches, by the sound of it.

“I, uh, think I’ll get some tea…” Harry hedged, and ducked out before anyone could reply.

Ron and Hermione were quick to follow suit. Out of sheer relief, they all started laughing as soon as they rounded a corner. It wasn’t really funny; it was just…

“That’s dad for you.” Ron said breathlessly. “Stitches! I ask you…”

Hermione replied, “I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of that argument.” She agreed. “But the stiches might work if not for the venom.”

Harry moved his hands vaguely, “And the magic, I expect. It’s a magical snake.”

They walked along the corridor through a set of double doors and found a rickety staircase. They wandered up it, enduring the comments, diagnoses and suggested remedies that the ancient Healers recommended from the lofty vantage point of their portraits.

“What floor is this?” Ron asked, particularly flustered for some reason.

“The fifth.” Said Hermione.

“Nah, the fourth. One more.” Said Harry. But he stopped at the exit to the fourth floor; there was a small window set into the double door. There was someone there. It was Lockhart.

“Blimey!” Ron said loudly.

“He might know something.” Harry replied, and immediately reached for the handle.

“We shouldn’t be here.” Hermione hissed. “Don’t you know how much trouble we’ll be in—”

“Morning,” Harry said brightly to the Witch inside. “Can we talk to Professor Lockhart?”

“Oh, how sweet. We won’t let any of his fans in, but students! How nice of you to see your old professor. He really is quite kind, the poor dear, but very confused.”

“Er.” Ron said, trying to pull Harry back through the door as subtly as possible.

Hermione looked guiltily from the expectantly smiling Healer to her two friends. Then she sighed and pushed both boys further into the room. “Yes, we’re fifth year students. Professor Lockhart was, um, very kind, yes. We, that is, I enjoyed his lessons very much, and we were very, uh, sorry…”

“Just this way then. We need to get him back to his room, the poor dear. Lockhart! This way.”

Harry was at once baffled and annoyed at the tones she was using. Lockhart wasn’t a child, was he? But he followed. Lockhart, it turned out, was sharing a room with someone, but Harry didn’t pay any mind to the other person. He waited, fidgeting impatiently, for the nurse to go—he was afraid to say anything in front of her, just in case she turned out to be…just in case she thought something was wrong with him.

“Tell us about your heart. And Tom Riddle, and anything you know about Voldemort,” Harry said quite seriously.

“Harry!” Hermione squeaked, and looked over her shoulder. “Um, Professor?”

Lockhart didn’t look overly fussed. He was a lot calmer than he’d been at the pub, to say the least. “Heart?”

“Your heart, I think.” Harry clarified. “You said something like he took your heart…”

“I did?” Lockhart blinked owlishly.

“Yes. You did.” Harry sketched a picture in the air with his hands, somewhat forgetful that no one else could see the details he imagined. “You gave us two hints; Childe Roland, the Hairy Heart, and…I thought there might be another, because that’s how fairy tales work. In threes, you know. I don’t suppose you missed one?”

Lockhart hummed.

“Is the graveyard a hint?” Harry pressed.

Lockhart began to whistle. His hands moved at furious speed, and Harry saw that someone had cut his nails down to the quick. He was pale, his smile long gone. He didn’t look, Harry supposed, nearly as handsome as he had before.

Harry decided to switch tactics. “Er, tell me about the nurses then. Healers, I mean. Are they good?”

After several repetitions of this question, Lockwood finally stopped whistling. He perked up a bit. “They ask if I hear voices.” He said triumphantly. “Rather a lot.”

Harry mulled over this. “Oh. Did they listen to your warnings? About the heart, I mean.”

“Harry! You shouldn’t—I mean, that’s…this is all very hard for Professor Lockhart.” Hermione frowned.

Ron muttered something indistinct.

Lockhart drew himself up. “I don’t know. I forgot,” he said importantly. “They’ve locked away those troublesome memories… I’m a model patient. Are you hear for autographs?”

“Really. They erased your memories? Are you quite sure?” Hermione looked doubtful. “That goes against the Healer’s Code, I thought!”

“How does she know about the Healer’s Code?” Ron asked, mystified. “I don’t even know the Healer’s Code, and I’ve been here before!”

“I had to do something while Harry and I were at the house.” Hermione said briskly. “And I wanted to decide once and for all if Healing was a profession I would be interested in, or not.”

“Is it?” Ron asked.

“No, I don’t think so.” Hermione replied. “Professor Lockhart, are you sure?”

He looked at Hermione out of the corner of his eye, his lips pressed tight. “You would be a very troublesome patient. The Healers would cluck at you.”

Harry only stared. “You seemed to think I knew where your heart was—you asked me to find it. Is it one of the memories you Obliviated? Or do you mean I can find it if I go look?”

Lockhart looked at them, dazed. "My heart..." he murmured, and his long hands clenched into fists. He seemed unable to continue though, and his previously exuberant tone turned into a muddled mix of moans and mumblings. He pressed his chest.

Ron stepped in front of Harry. With one hand, Ron pushed him away. "Harry, why don't you go talk to the nurses about that stigma-what's-it. We'll talk to you, Professor. Why don't you tell us about, uh, your...joined-up writing practice. How's that going? You forgot that from before, did you?" He was eying a pile of practice papers. E e e e e was written again and again, followed by es et ed ef...

Harry decided that Ron and Hermione thought they were better at dealing with fits than Harry himself was. And it might be true, so he just said, "Let me know if he says anything useful about missing bodily organs. I remember the Dementor's dream from fall-- you know, they'd taken someone's heart then. Do you think it was his?"

Hermione gave him a warning glare and gestured toward the door. “His memory was fine when Professor McGonigal was talking to him at the pub. I mean, he should have still known why he’s famous, and how to write and all. But now he’s practicing writing! Someone must have erased his memories after he left Hogwarts.” Then she added a bit louder, “go already!" To Lockhart, she smiled sweetly and remarked, “Yes, I'm glad they've given you your peacock quill. Harry told me you really like that one."

Out of Lockhart's private quarters, Harry found himself faced with the smiling nurse from before. He stopped briefly to make sure his scar was safely behind his fringe, and walked up to her. "Professor Lockhart looks all right," he said.

She raised her eyebrows. "Yes, he is doing remarkably better. Only one month later-- no nearly two months now! And he's already so functional!" She chuckled warmly. "Now, what can I help you with?"

“I wanted to ask about mentally troubled patients being stigmatized.” Harry said as reasonably as he was able. “One of my other professors said that, um, people who are thought to be a little mad are stigmatized. Whatever that means. Does that mean they’re locked up for good, and not allowed to talk to anybody?”

“Haaa—” somebody made a strangled noise that might have been the beginning of ‘Harry.’ It was Neville Longbottom. He opened his mouth again and again, warm brown eyes wide with surprise and alarm. “You can’t say that to the Healer! They’re not stigmatizing anybody.”

Harry nodded politely at the Healer. “Sorry.” He said, and went over to Neville. “So you know about this stigmatizing thing. What’s it mean, exactly?”

Neville shook his head, his eyes still round, and his cheeks faintly pink. “People talk, I guess. I mean, people think they can’t live outside of the hospital.”

“Right. So it’s just an idea people have. Are the nurses nice to them? Do they ask for the patients’ opinions, or treat them like little kids?” Harry looked back toward Lockhart’s room and all the others. Neville looked so uncomfortable Harry felt sort of bad. “You’re visiting your parents, aren’t you?” Harry chewed his lip, uncertain how to tell Neville that Dumbledore had told him about Neville’s parents the previous year. “Sorry, err, didn’t mean to say that…” But Harry didn’t stop the flow of words, just the same. “Is your mum ok here? Can’t she live with your grandmother? Why does she have to live in hospital? Do they put everyone crazy in hospital?”

“Harry, you shouldn’t be here. Find Ron and Hermione and go. Please. We’ll talk later—”

There you are, Neville. Is this one of your friends? Ah yes, of course. I know who you are. Neville speaks very highly of you and the others. He says you’re very good at Defense, and you and your friends have helped him many times.” It was an old woman; the same style dress that Harry remembered from the Boggart in third year.

Harry nodded dumbly. “Yeah…. Um…”

“Of course he never was as talented as his mother and father… Oh, yes, Alice, what is it?” (*2)Neville’s mother had come edging down the ward in her nightdress. She no longer had the plump, happy-looking face Harry had seen in Moody’s old photograph of the original Order of the Phoenix. Her face was thin and worn now, her eyes seemed overlarge, and her hair, which had turned white, was wispy and dead-looking. She did not seem to want to speak, or perhaps she was not able to, but she made timid motions toward Neville, holding something in her outstretched hand. (*)

“Oh. Not again. Well, best take it, Neville,” but Neville had already opened his hands to accept the thing.

Ron and Hermione were coming out of Lockhart’s room, just in time to see the indescribable look on Neville’s face. Sad, expectant and at the same time, gentle and caring. “Thanks, mum.” He took the thing, which turned out to be a gum wrapper, and looked defiantly at Ron, Hermione and even Harry.

“Yes, very nice dear,” Neville’s grandmother said patronizingly, and Alice started to go back down the ward, humming something quietly. “Neville, put that wrapper in the bin, she must have given you enough of them to paper your bedroom by now . . .” (*3)

Neville didn’t say anything, quietly pocketing the wrapper.

“Come on, Harry… we’ll go see dad. He’ll be home for Christmas, they said…” Ron said quietly. “Isn’t that good news?”


Back in Grimmauld place, Sirius was happier than Harry could ever remember seeing him, singing Christmas carols as he cleaned. Hermione had already left for skiing and the Muggle Library.

Harry chewed his lip, looking around for the Absent Elf. “When’s the last time anyone saw Kreacher? I last saw him when we first got here… you were ordering him out… You don’t think he left the house?”

Sirius, who was bringing up a newspaper declaring “MINISTRY FEARS BLACK IS "RALLYING POINT" FOR OLD DEATH EATERS” to Buckbeak’s room, paused. “What’s this? Nah, haven’t seen the old coot. He’s probably holed up somewhere adding to his collection of Black monstrosities. But he couldn’t leave… he’s bound to me, and to this house.”

“But they can leave… Dobby did, to give me that warning back in second year…” Harry pointed out. “Then he did the thing with the pudding.”

Sirius looked slightly disconcerted for a moment,(*4) probably thinking the same thing as Harry. Kreacher knew some of the Order’s members, maybe even some of the plans. “Nah. He’s probably trying to rescue a pair of my mother’s bloomers or something. Don’t worry about him… I’ll look for him later.”

“Right,” Harry nodded, trying to dislodge some of his suspicion. He didn’t want to hate the elf… Kreacher just made it so easy…

Sirius’s face was alight again. “Happy Christmas, Harry!” his discomfort evaporated as he pushed the thought out of his mind. “Christmas in old Grimmauld place… Arthur’s doing well, isn’t he? Be home before Eve. We’ll have this place sparkling before then…”

“Yeah, he’s coming here soon.” Harry took some of the newspaper from his godfather, and together they headed for Buckbeak’s room.

“Any news about that boy you like? Where’s he staying for Christmas?” Sirius nudged Harry playfully.

“He was kidnapped by a Death Eater.”

“What? Why don’t you tell me these things?!” Sirius stood stock still.

“Or maybe by a Death-Eater-Beast Monster. Not sure. Luna thinks it might be the nameless, or the Fachin. Professor McGonnagal says he wasn’t really a student, anyway, ‘cause of his connection with You-Know-Who, so no one can be bothered to look for him.”

“WHAT?” Sirius barked, “Harry, no! Connections to You-Know-Who?”

Harry shrugged. “I don’t really get it either. Haven’t got a clue.”

“And I was sure you were making more sense these days…”

Harry glared. “What do you mean ‘were?’ I don’t feel any different since last spring... Nice of you all to try and understand me,” he said waspishly. Even Sirius thought he was mad, the git. “But quit commenting on it.”

Sirius forced a laugh. “Seriously, so this bloke…might be a Death Eater. Harry, how do you know he’s not acting?

“Oh, he’s always acting. He acts for the Slytherins, he acts for the teachers, and he plays word games with me. But he understands. It’s like…I get this strange feeling…” Harry remembered their kiss, the strange moments when it almost felt like their minds touched.

“Hang on, that sounds like he’s Imperius-ing you.” They stopped on the landing, and Harry noticed Sirius was crumpling his newspaper.

“Oh yeah? And do you know you weren’t Imperiused by my dad?! I would think I’d know!” Harry clenched his own fists.

“What are you getting on about? James and I would never—”

“I know what it feels like to be Imperiused. False-Moody and Voldemort did it to me. It’s not the same feeling at all. Tom didn’t do it.” He lifted his chin and glowered up into the haunted eyes of his godfather.

“James and I were sorted into Gryffindor. That’s proof we’re good,” he said stoutly.

Harry annoyed and angry, tried to keep his voice calm. “Tom wasn’t properly sorted, now was he? Though…he probably does belong in Slytherin. But Wormtail was in Gryffindor. Don’t you forget that, either.”

“Harry, Wormtail was… he’s the exception. Now I don’t know this boy, or what he’s like…” He sighed. “Just be careful.”

They stood there in silence for one long moment after the next. Finally, Harry had managed to push the anger down. “These are for Buckbeak to read, are they?” Harry tried to offer a smile. It didn’t quite work. “Going do his rats up in newspaper wrapping for the occasion?”

And so they got back to the task of cleaning the old manner, reluctantly putting the topic of Tom Riddle behind them.

It was Christmas time, after all. They were supposed to be surrounded by happy friends and family.

Christmas at St. Mungos (Breath 18.5)
Cover art by me.

Also archived at: Ao3 and Fan Fiction Dot Net
Bullet; Green
dA archive: See the Folder | Chapter 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 7.0 | 7.5  | 8.0 | 8.5 | 9.0 | 9.5 | 10 |   11 | 12.0 | 12.5 | 13 | 13.5 | 14.0 | 14.5| 15.0 | 15.5 | 16 | 16.5 | 17.0
| 17.5 | 18.0 Bullet; Green

(*1) JKR’s plaque. You have got to admire the puns. Ch. 22 OotP
(*2) through *4 are referencing JKR’s words. (Especially *3 the paragraph describing Alice, which is a direct quote.) From Chapter 23, OotP.

*Sings* "God rest ye merry Hippogriphs, let nothing you dismay~~" (Sirius. ♥)

So yeah~ we have a look at how the Wizarding Verse shapes the Closed Ward...

Thoughts? Voldemort Tribute 
Summary: Harry has another vision. The Weasleys, Harry and Hermione sneak out from Umbridge’s control to spend the holidays in the closed ward…

( First Chapter ) | Previous: into the rabit hole: penseive memories (17.5)

Harry went through the school routine without much interest. November crept into December, and there was no sign of Tom. The secret passageways were watched by the Weasley twins (trying to keep him in?) and Snape stalked the halls at odd hours of the night. He was stuck inside, and unable to attempt rescue. The only thing that kept him from breaking some rule seriously enough to get purposefully expelled was…a feeling. And the dreams.

He dreamt of Tom, sometimes. Talking in a hushed voice to shadowy people. Smiling viciously and somehow far, far out of reach. It was always twilight there. Harry didn’t know where to look. He had, at one point, decided to steal a Thestral…but the beast wouldn’t listen to him without being bribed with meat, and anyway, Hagrid had caught him at it.

I’ll come back.” Sometimes, Tom would speak to him.

And sometimes Harry would dream of long corridors, always ending with that door. Unopenable, it was as attractive as a siren’s call.

So Harry sat, cold and miserable one December afternoon, glumly anticipating the amount of homework they’d soon have over winter break. Ron and Hermione were tucked into a pair of cushy chairs as he stared out the window, arguing again. They had been cheerful enough a few minutes ago…

“He hasn’t said anything to me in days, Ron. Please, tell me honestly. Has he spoken to you at all?” She had to be talking about him. But he couldn’t get the energy to glare at her properly.

“Er.” Ron fidgeted. “You don’t think…he thinks…again, do you?”


“Err. You know. After the tournament, he thought he was…” Ron shot a nervous glance at Harry before whispering somewhat loudly, “…dead.”

Harry managed to stare back.

Ron screwed up his face and wrinkled his nose at Hermione. He seemed to be mouthing, ‘he’s listening!’ or maybe ‘I knew it!’

Hermione hummed. “I’ve been reading up on this. I couldn’t get a lot of the books that are specific, but we can’t really do anything ourselves; not without him wanting to. What he really needs is someone he trusts. A therapist too, I think. It’d be best if he trusts the therapist, though…Harry, you need to ask Snape for lessons again.”

“And learn to trust each other?” Ron was incredulous. “Fat chance of that happening! They hate each other.”

Harry turned back to the window. That was an easily ignored suggestion. Snape wouldn’t take him back if he begged, which he wouldn’t do.

“It’s been almost two months, Harry. Can’t you swallow your pride? You should make up before Christmas!”

Harry had the undeniable urge to feign sleep then and there. He did so, but he was tired recently, between midnight visions (that ended usually with an intense sense of frustration and homicidal rage…), he never felt rested. Occlumency’s invisible walks weren’t the answer either; Snape hardly slept, it seemed, and was uncannily aware of when Harry felt like exploring the castle’s exists. Pushed to exhaustion, Harry could drop off at almost any time of day.

It is a lovely cup.” Tom said. “A better shape now than before, for certain.” He was dreaming. He had to be. There was Tom, making such a careful and polite comment that Harry knew he was up to something. He was reminded of the Cowled figure he dreamed before, but these people seemed…different.

It is, isn’t it? It was in my possession once before, a thousand years ago or more. Those were the days…” And then Harry felt pushed away, and his dreams were his own again.

There was Umbridge, bouncing like a balloon through Hogwarts halls, simpering and laughing with a cruel smile. Barely ahead of her was a crowd of students. Neville and Ginny were most clear; they would run through walls and into hidden rooms Dobby showed them, and Umbridge would trail behind them, giving detentions and new laws which each step.

The dream changed again, like so much melting snow. He was back in the corridor; it was dark and cold enough to bite against his belly. Slowly, slowly, he made his way down. There was the door, but no—there was a man. Harry could not risk being seen. Besides, the warmth drew him closer and closer. All he had to do was open his jaws and snap—

The man’s wand was alight. And in that instant, Harry knew he’d been seen. A cry of warning was on his lips. Harry struck to silence the man forever, tasting sweet blood and

“Wake up, please!” Hermione was shaking him. It was dark; the common room was nearly deserted except for the three of them. “You said you’d stopped dreaming. Harry, your lessons. You were shaking. Screaming.” Hermione trembled as she said it, and he could see the worry in her eyes.

“Mr. Weasley.” Harry mumbled. His voice hurt. “He’s hurt badly. We need to tell Dumbledore— He’s bleeding. He could be dying—we need to—” He froze.

“Dumbledore’s not here. The only one in the order is Snape!” Ron protested. “What do you mean, my dad? Bleeding?”

Harry sat up. “The order, that’s it! We’ll have to tell Sirius. He’ll—he can—the mirror.” He scrambled to his feet, pounding up the stairs and tearing through the dormitory door before opening his trunk. He had it. He had it. The mirror was cold in his hands, burning his fingers and reminding him of the cold floor against his stomach—

While Harry rummaged through his trunk, disregarding the other sleeping students, Ron whispered, “You lot go back to sleep. We’re getting Professor McGonagall. You got it?” At Harry’s nod, Ron grabbed his shoulders and pushed him back through the door and down the stairs.

Harry’s teeth began to chatter. “Sirius.” He said quietly, his breath close enough to fog the mirror surface. “It’s Mr. Weasley. He’s been hurt. He’s bleeding. I think it was a snake. Sirius, Mr. Weasley needs help—”

Sirius’s groan was the first thing that came through. “Harry, wait. Slow down. I’ve only just woken. Say it again.”

“Mr. Weasley’s hurt. He’s bleeding. He needs help. I saw it—I saw—”

Sirius swore on the other end. “It’s his turn, isn’t it?”

“Enough, Sirius Black. Don’t tell them anything more!” McGonagall was standing in the portrait hole. Hermione climbed in behind her, shooting Ron a worried look. “But if you could relay the message—to Kingsley, perhaps? Umbridge has the Fireplaces watched; even mine.”

“I can do better than that.” Sirius said. “Phineas Nigellus has a portrait here—and guess who he knows? Don’t worry, Harry. We’ve got it covered. We’ll see if it’s happened, and I’ll fire-call Kingsley for good measure. Rest up. I’ll call you back when it’s settled.”

McGonagall took the mirror from Harry. “I’ll accept any return calls, thank you. Harry, you and the Weasleys should wait in…the hospital wing. I’ll escort you there myself. On second thought…the Weasleys. Ron, have them wait with you in the common room. We have to get word before you can be officially informed, of course, so be discreet. Miss Granger, take Harry.”

“But I want to wait with Ron and everyone!” Harry protested, angry now. “Why do I have to go? Why only me?”

“Because your scar is bleeding, and you look distressed. Get a calming draught, and if Madam Pomfrey sees fit, she shall send you back.”

Hermione lead him through the hall and brought him to and from the Hospital Wing. Harry wouldn’t stay there. Nothing she said would make him.

“—I know you feel that you and your friends can handle it,” Madam Pomfrey was saying at some point, “but there is a time and a place to consult adults in your lives! We do have a certain amount of experience, and to an extent, expertise.” She went on at length, but Harry wasn’t listening.

“When we’re ready.” Hermione was saying. “You know, it’s useless if the ‘help’ comes from the outside. We have to be willing to listen and accept that something’s changed. I’ve read all about it, Madam Pomfrey—”

Whatever the mediwitch had to say to that, it wasn’t enough. Harry swept out of the room as soon as he could, and they were among the Weasleys within moments. Time was a strange, disjointed thing. They waited in tense silence in the Gryffindor common room where someone had made tea. Harry didn’t remember getting a cup, but there he held it.

Nearly an hour after Harry’s dream, McGonagall came back. “We’ve received word that your father is in St. Mungo’s. As there’s only a few days left in term, the High Inquisitor will allow immediate family members to go to the hospital to wait.” She ignored Harry and Hermione’s protests. “All of you, proceed to the Hospital Wing. Madam Pomfrey has arranged for the Floo. Your homework materials will be sent along after.”

The Weasleys followed McGonagall woodenly. Harry and Hermione exchanged glances, and then joined the queue. Oddly enough, neither McGonagall nor Pomfrey seemed to notice them—or at least, acknowledge them.

So it was that Harry found himself Flooed to St Mungo’s hospital. All the Weasleys sat in a row, too nervous and afraid for sleep. Mrs. Weasley must have been where the healers were, with Mr. Weasley. But at last, around dawn, they got the news.

“The family can come and see Mister Arthur Weasley now. Please, just this way. No, no, I’m afraid the room’s, ah, too small. Non-family, please umm, come back later.” Her eyes drifted to Harry’s scar. “He’ll be moved to a bigger room when he’s stabilized, with some other patients, that is, in a few hours.”

Hermione and Harry sat back down, and Ron gave them both a weak smile as he left. Hermione turned to Harry. “I’ll get us some tea. There’s got to be someplace for breakfast, also. Do you…want to look for that? And come back here.” She said meaningfully. “Soon.”

Harry nodded. He stood up to go.

But Mrs. Weasley intercepted them before they even got down the hall, snuck them in to see Arthur sleeping, and then out again to Apparate them away to Grimmauld Place. “You should rest. Wait. Nothing is happening at the hospital.” She assured them. It happened so fast that Harry wasn’t sure that it had really happened at all. All thoughts of breakfast had evaporated.

“Harry! Hermione! It was some bad news you gave us last night, but good thinking.” Sirius slapped Harry on the back, smiling grimly. “I got the news too; they’re saying he’ll be fine. We got our people there just in time.”

Hermione smiled thinly. “We’ve already finished classes…except for History and Charms, but Flitwick said we were doing holiday-related things. It’s a shame to miss, but really, we’re better off here. I’m sure there’s things we can do for the Weasleys. You’ll sort it out, won’t you?”

Sirius nodded, surprised. “Er, yeah. I’ll, uh, remind McGonagall. The Inquisitor’s still roaming the halls, you think? You won’t get too many detentions, I hope.”

Harry glanced at his hand and then shoved it in his robe pockets. “You’re not sending us back because of that, are you?”

“No. No, we aren’t. Umbitch would have to be a real troll to do anything if she noticed, and none of the staff plans on mentioning it. So how’s she to know?”

When Sirius had left to make them breakfast, Hermione hissed, “That is a really sexist thing to say!” She said, but Harry noticed she’d told him and not Sirius. “I mean, she’s horrible and a troll of a person, but honestly.

Harry’s lips quirked. “Nah, I think Umbitch is pretty easy to remember, actually…yeah. I think it’s going to stick.”

Hermione threw up her hands and glared. “You wouldn’t.”

“Don’t you dare insult my guests! OUT, you filthy creature!” Sirius roared from the kitchen.

Hermione and Harry exchanged awkward glances.

Some moments later, Sirius called in a more reasonable tone, “Harry? Hermione? Aren’t you hungry?”

Breakfast was a quiet affair; Sirius kept trying to smile at the two of them, but then stopped awkwardly as he looked at their worried expressions. Eventually, he let out a big sigh and shoved his hands under the table. Harry suspected he was drumming his fingers.

“How’s uh, how’s school?”

Hermione and Harry looked at each other.

“Er.” Sirius said. “They’ll be taking you back to St. Mungo’s tomorrow, I think. Maybe the next day. You can help us get the bedrooms back in order after we eat. What do you say? It’ll take some work, but I reckon it’ll be worth it.”

The days passed quickly. As Sirius leapt between enthusiastically cleaning, yelling for his Vanished-From-Sight House Elf, and brooding over Mr. Weasley’s predicament, Harry frequently found himself on the outside looking in on the Weasleys when they weren’t at the hospital. The Weasley’s grief somehow seemed less shallow, and it bound them tighter together even as Hermione and Harry tried to help. Hermione seemed to get it instinctively, but Harry and Sirius would just exchange glances and breathe frustrated sighs of their own.

Sirius was busy fighting his own battles, it seemed. It wasn’t right, to trap him here, where he could only throw himself against mundane chores with reckless energy. It was like pinning a big dog up inside a small place…which was exactly what was happening, Harry supposed. As soon as he’d seen Mr. Weasley, Harry resolved, he and Sirius would have to sneak out and play in the park.

“I’m going to go ski with my family as soon as I’ve seen Mr. Weasley,” Hermione announced brightly. “I’ll send you all post…I really should prioritize my parents more, don’t you think? There’s also some things I need to read in the library.”

“The library?” Ron was incredulous. “The Muggle Library?”

“Yes, Ronald. The library. Muggles have more books than you could possibly imagine—” Harry tuned out the rest of that conversation.

So winter vacation had officially started when they found themselves back in St. Mungo’s.


Christmas at St. Mungos (Breath 18.5)

grim awakening: breath 18.0
Cover art by me.

Also archived at: Ao3 and Fan Fiction Dot Net
Bullet; Green
dA archive: See the Folder | Chapter 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 7.0 | 7.5  | 8.0 | 8.5 | 9.0 | 9.5 | 10 |   11 | 12.0 | 12.5 | 13 | 13.5 | 14.0 | 14.5| 15.0 | 15.5 | 16 | 16.5 | 17.0
| 17.5 | Bullet; Green

Term has ended!! Time to write!! and you know, do some homework. Sigh.

Spring is coming!

Journal Entry: Wed Mar 19, 2014, 1:07 AM

Happy spring~ it's the equinox! :floating:

Have you been enjoying the cool and warm weather? I've been trying some lovely sweets--   sakura flavored icecream and   rose flavored icecream. Yummmm. :heart: Also been cooking a lot! Do you like to cook? What are some of your favorite recipes?  

So, as some of you have probably noticed, I've been drawing some more "kanzashi girls" recently. :nod: it's great fun.  I've also been writing on two fanfics: one Kuro, one Harry Potter, and that has been know it takes a lot of energy to plot out a story, and even more time to write it out. ^^ I've been swinging back and forth about whether or not I have confidence in myself, so...yeah.

I keep reminding myself: confidence cannot be given. So that makes me wonder: how do you think a person gets confidence?

Which brings me to my question:

1) What's one thing you are confident in about yourself?  
2) How did you become confident in it? Story please?

or if you prefer, what do you want to have confidence in?

Also! I'll be leaving Japan in August. ^_^ I'm mentally preparing myself for that. It should be a fun venture, but there's a lot I'll miss. How about you guys? Anyone else starting a new journey?

  • Mood: Optimism


United Kingdom
I love to write, love to draw. Sometimes I wonder which one to do when...

Current Residence: England

:iconthanksllamaplz: You don't have to say thank you. I know~ llamas are cute. :iconnothanksforllamaplz: :iconyourewelcomesignplz:

:iconfloatingplz: :iconfaven1::iconfaven1: HOWEVER, feel free to thank for faves. ^_~ I like talking about art...and some interesting conversations start from thank-yous on art. :D

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EveVictus Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for the llama! :llama:
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NP~ Llama Emoji-23 (Shyness) [V1] 
MetalheadEjie Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks for the llama. Much appreciated. :headbang:
smallsmiles Featured By Owner 2 days ago
NP~ Llama Emoji-23 (Shyness) [V1]
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Bunny Emoji-88 (Hello) [V5] Thanks for the llama!:happybounce: Hug 
smallsmiles Featured By Owner 2 days ago
NP~ Llama Emoji-23 (Shyness) [V1]
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