Author’s note: The story title and subject matter are loosely based on the song Time Enough For Tears by The Corrs. No disrespect is meant toward them.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or profit from anything here within. Thanks to Jo Rowling who graciously permits us to tweak and play in HER world.
Ginny Weasley was started awake by the ringing of a Muggle telephone. Ten months after its installation, she still hadn’t grown used to it. She pushed up the lavender sleep mask that covered her brown eyes, shielding out the night. A glance over at the illuminated clock by her bed told her it was 3:28 a.m. A wave of panic crashed over the young woman—she had been told that phone calls during the middle of the night were generally not a pleasant thing. Clearing her throat to find her voice, she answered the ringing telephone.
“Hello,” Ginny mumbled, massaging her temples, trying to rouse her own presence and awaken herself. “Yes, this is Miss Weasley.”
Ginny listened to the voice in the dark and promptly sat straight up in bed. Her heart was thundering loudly in her chest; she heard each world spoken by the Healer at St. Mungo’s, but she wasn’t sure she’d heard them correctly.
“Yes Healer Borchard, I’ll be there immediately. Has the rest of my family been notified?”
Ginny listened again while she grabbed her wand and illuminated her bedroom. Squinting, an instantaneous headache greeted her but it didn’t matter. “Fine,” she declared, her delicate hands shaking nervously, “I’ll be right there.”
She threw the covers off of her body and climbed out of bed. Her feet were cold against the bare floor. She carelessly began rushing around the bedroom trying to find something to wear. What did one usually wear to an occasion like this?
Finally, realizing she was wasting precious time, she pulled on a black jumper and her favourite pair of jeans. A glance in the mirror told her she should stop in the loo before going out. Ginny brushed her hair and teeth, all the while thinking that time was of the essence, and that it truly wouldn’t matter what she looked like, because she’d end up looking like a wreck before the night was over. She stopped once again in her bedroom and deposited a small item into the top drawer of her desk and hastily grabbed an elastic to tie her hair back.
Ginny hurried down the hall of her moderately priced but trendy flat and paused at the kitchen to leave a brief note by another Muggle telephone.
Apparition was risky in her current behavioural state, but it was the best way of travel. Ha, she thought, imagine explaining this story to the authorities after getting splinched. I’d end up in the loony bin for sure!
Ginny closed her eyes in concentration, mentally willing herself to think of her location and not the situation she would find after she arrived there. Frustration quickly set in and she stomped her foot—an echo softly reverberating in the quiet and empty kitchen. Calm down Ginny, you’ve been doing this for years, she thought, clearly finding this more difficult than she’d ever imagined. It suddenly came to her attention that she was shaking. Visibly shaking. She tented her slender fingers together and rested them on the bridge of her nose as she closed her eyes, shutting out the rude light of the room. A quiet, worried sigh escaped her mouth but she kept her eyes sealed and whispered a silent prayer.
Think Ginny! she commanded herself, as the shakiness worked its way up her arms to her shoulders, down her torso, and, finally to her knees. You’ve done this every day for five years! Think! Oh how she wanted to cry. Right there, right then. Just sob uncontrollably, like a 4 year old who’s just been told, ‘no sweets before supper’. Yes, just carry on, fall on the floor and weep. But if she did that, she would have to admit things to herself that she was not willing to let her mind entertain at this hour.
Ginny took a deep breath and slowly let it emerge. She envisioned herself blowing out all the stress, worry, fear, and pain that she’d suffered in these last 5 years. There was no changing anything. What’s done is done.
Ginny finally felt herself drifting toward the right frame of mind and closed her eyes tight, Apparating to the Designated Apparition Point at St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.
The lobby was rather quiet for this time of night, but Ginny took no notice of anything else. Later, she would recall seeing Healers in the corridors and hear nurses greeting her in hushed tones. She would apologize to them later if necessary. Knowing the path by heart, she made her way through the hallways she had traversed in one way or another over the last five years, to the lifts. She wouldn’t remember riding the elevator later on. The doors chimed and Ginny stepped out, immediately turning the corner to see Healer Borchard standing outside the door in the closed ward.
Ginny felt as though a frog was hopping around in her stomach; she wasn’t sure why there hadn’t been any tears yet, but at the sight of the closed door behind the Healer, her eyes finally moistened.
The young man smiled hesitantly and extended a hand out. “Ginny.” His voice greeted her matter-of-factly.
“Josh,” she replied with a handshake and a curt nod, wanting to skip any formalities and just crash through the door behind him.
“Are you ready for this, Ginny? It isn’t going to be easy.”
Easy? Easy? No it’s not going to be easy! she wanted to scream. Ease was beginning to be the last of her worries. Things had never been easy. Why would this be any different? Instead, she just nodded her head in confirmation. “I guess a part of me has always been ready,” she confessed in a shaky voice, tucking an escaped lock of red hair behind her ear.
Healer Borchard patted her shoulder in an antiseptic way, totally absent of emotion. “I know. Just give us a few minutes, Ok?”
Ginny nodded as the sandy-haired man pointed to a row of chairs that had been conjured up outside the room. “Have a seat and try to relax. The rest of your family will be along shortly.”
She was alone again; relaxation was out of the question. Her mind was racing. Ginny exhaled loudly, smoothing back the wispy hairs that had come loose from her ponytail. She felt frustrated and exhausted but wide-awake and nervous, all at the same time. Ginny collapsed into one of the chairs and rested her head in her hands.
Fearing an awful image, she was terrified to look into the small window a few feet in front of her. What would the room look like? What would she see? Curiosity won out and she stole a glance into the private room. Healers stood all around with their wands out, speaking incantations and talking amongst themselves. Ginny could not see the bed.
Footsteps suddenly broke the relative silence of the hallway, and Ginny’s eyes darted to the end of the corridor.
“Ron!” she gasped, rising from the chair and running down the hallway into his arms.
The siblings shared a brief hug before the brother grabbed his sister’s shoulders and held her away at arm’s length.
“Ginny, is it true?” His eyes were full of intensity, and they were red-rimmed.
“I haven’t been in the room yet. Josh Borchard will let us in after they’ve finished the exam.”
Ron squeezed his sister’s shoulders comfortingly and went to sit down in the row of chairs.
Ginny knew there was a question that she would be expected to answer over the next several days, but right now she’d do anything to avoid it. “Where’s Hermione?” she asked sweetly, pacing the hallway back and forth in front of the door with her arms folded tightly across her chest.
Ron tapped his toes impatiently and rubbed his hands over his face. “Oh, she’ll be along in a few minutes. You know it takes her a bit longer to get around these days.” He knew she wasn’t really listening as he watched her pacing. Clearly she was scared. Her fingers drummed incessantly on her folded arms. Ron tented his fingers and rested his strong chin on them. He broke the silence yet again.
“What are you going to say, Gin?”
Ginny stopped pacing and turned to look at her brother. “Only what needs to be said,” she began in a firm voice, moving to kneel at his side. “More important things have happened in the last five years than what’s going on with me.” Her eyes bored into Ron’s with pleading severity. The tears that had flirted at the corners of her eyelids had finally come. “Please, Ron, I’m begging you. Let me be the one to discuss it, it’s only fair. I’m asking you to let the rest of the family know my wishes.”
“All right,” Ron concurred, hoping he was not making the wrong decision and gave her hand a pat. “But what about—”
He never finished his question because Healer Borchard had returned.
“Ginny, you can go in now.” His voice was even tempered, almost monotonous. “We haven’t said much; we’ll leave some of that up to you and your family. Be careful. I can’t stress that enough. Don’t get intense too quickly. We’ll leave and give you some privacy.”
All at once the remaining Healers filed from the room, the last one holding the door for Ginny. She hesitantly grasped the cold metal handle in her hands and stepped inside the quiet room. Her eyes locked on the floor, unable to shift upward and look at the bed. The smell of the room brought back a familiar sensation. It was a sudden, fantastic and peculiar experience. As if for comfort, Ginny wrapped her arms around herself to stop the shaking again. The rush of air behind her told her that the door was shut tightly. It clicked softly to seemingly affirm the fact. Ginny briefly let go of herself to wipe a solitary tear off her freckled cheek as she forced herself to look up at the bed.
Her footsteps left soft taps on the hard tile floor and her ragged breath echoed loudly in her ears. Nothing felt as it had yesterday, even though she had been here, right in this room. Tears poured down Ginny’s cheeks as she finally reached the bedside. It was hard to believe he’d aged 5 whole years, he looked exactly the same. Every day Healers had magically shaved him and had trimmed his hair each month.
It was different this time because, when she took his hand and said his name— Ginny hoped he would answer back.
Ginny brought one hand up to cover her mouth and whimpered softly. It seemed as though all this time she’d been alone in this room, and now she was consciously aware that there were two living, breathing souls present.