"Good morning, Mrs Potter. Welcome to The Groves," the receptionist greeted Ginny as she walked into the lobby of the facility.
"Thank you," Ginny said as she fished into her purse to retrieve a business card Healer Stilwell had given her. She inspected the back of the card. "I'm supposed to be meeting with a… Mrs Marjorie Vaughn. She's supposed to check my husband into the facility."
The receptionist smiled. "That would be me." She gestured to a couple of chairs, which faced a desk perpendicular to the reception desk. "Have a seat. I'll get Mr Potter's file."
A moment later, Mrs Vaughn rolled her wheelchair over to the writing desk with a stack of folders on her lap. Ginny tried not to stare, gave it up as a bad job and finally commented, "When Harry sees you I hope he'll know there's hope for himself. Right now, he's lost all hope of ever getting back to work…"
Mrs Vaughn reached across the desk and patted Ginny's hand before handing her the first sheaf of papers from her folders. "That's one of the reasons I applied for this job and the main reason I was hired. I'm a symbol to everyone in this facility that there is indeed life after injury.
"Now let's get started so you can go see your husband. This is the liability release form…"
The two women slowly made their way through the folder of legal, governmental and insurance forms, making small talk as the stack of signed forms grew and the unsigned one diminished. While Ginny filled out the insurance form, Mrs Vaughn explained that while the British National Health Organization required every patient to fill out insurance authorizations, the papers Ginny was signing were really an authorization of compensation to Harry through the Auror Disability vault at Gringotts. In a round-about way, it made sense: medical care was funded by the government—both Muggle and wizarding—so the Ministry of Magic had a special fund for Aurors hurt in the line of duty.
There were other important facts as well. Ginny learned that there were both Muggle and magical patients at The Groves and that although they were housed in separate wards, the more mobile patients were encouraged to take their meals and some of their exercise sessions in a mixed group as part of the integration process back into normal society. Another thing she learned was that as soon as Harry was settled in his room, a physiotherapist would begin working with him to assess his limitations, over and above the ones described in his medical reports. In addition to this, Mrs Vaughn told her that whenever possible, the patients and their families were encouraged to interact with each other.
"After we finish, I'll show you the facility," she informed Ginny. "Most common areas have sliding doors which lead to the outdoor grounds. We have a football pitch, a running track, a playground for the under tens and a flower garden where many of the families spend time together. I hope your family will take advantage of this while the weather's still good."
"Are brooms allowed on the pitch?" Ginny asked, knowing that her children would love to take advantage of a place to fly.
"Unfortunately, no," Mrs Vaughn replied, looking sad. "All walking persons must keep their feet firmly on the ground. It would be a lot easier on the families if we didn't have to observe the Statute of Secrecy, but we do.
"I understand," Ginny replied with a weary sigh.
As she passed Ginny the last form, Mrs Vaughn commented, "This last form is the one that authorizes us to admit Mr Potter's visitors to the facility without contacting you each time someone wants to see him and you're not here. I understand that you have family living at The Burrow, Mrs Potter?"
Ginny's head snapped up from its focus on the form. "I... I know The Groves is in County Devon, but I was unaware of the actual location," she sputtered. "What city is the facility in?"
"Why, Ottery-St Catchpole, of course," Mrs Vaughn replied. "Didn't you recognize the scenery?"
Ginny put down her pen. "Sadly, no, we didn't. After the hubbub of the hospital and the anxiety of the last week, it seems Harry and I both took advantage of the peace and quiet of the Ministry car and had a bit of a nap," she admitted.
"That's quite understandable. The first week after an injury for magical people and the first month or more for Muggles is often the most mentally taxing on the family of victim," Mrs Vaughn told Ginny soothingly.
Ginny sat back and picked up the visitor's form and stared at the paltry list of visitors she'd already authorized because she knew that even with Apparition, not too many family members would be able to visit during Visiting Hours. The fact that The Groves was so close to The Burrow changed everything. She had been worried about finding a room to let in the village near The Groves so that she could be close to Harry without going home. Now, she decided, she would definitely take advantage of her mother's offer of the use of her old bedroom. It also meant that Harry's nieces and nephews wouldn't have to endure long visiting sessions and could instead go to visit Granddad and Grandmum if things became boring.
"Did Healer Stilwell choose The Groves just because Harry and I have family in the area?" Ginny asked as she added all of her brothers' family members, Luna and Rolf Scamander, Neville and Hannah Longbottom, and Teddy Lupin as well as Teddy's Grandmother, Andromeda Tonks, to the list. She paused and then wrote down Draco and Asteria Malfoy as well. The last time Harry had been in hospital, Draco had come to visit and had been turned back at the door because he wasn't on the visitors' list. Ginny didn't want any of her husband's friends to suffer that kind of humiliation, not when it looked like Harry was going to be in hospital for months to come.
"Most of the healers and doctors use that as one of the criteria for finding the right facility for their patients," Mrs Vaughn replied, "but in Mr Potter's case, the services we provide our patients and the location seemed perfect for his needs. I sincerely hope the two of you feel the same way after your first few weeks here.
"All finished? Then come with me and I'll show you around a bit," Mrs Vaughn said as she directed the folders back to her desk with her wand.
Ginny was gobsmacked. "You're a witch, too?" she blurted before she could stop herself.
"Yes, does that surprise you?"
"I don't know," replied Ginny truthfully. "How do you keep straight who is magical and who isn't?"
Mrs Vaughn chuckled. "It's all in the paperwork, Mrs Potter, all in the paperwork. You see, the Muggle forms are always coloured and the Wizarding forms are always parchment-coloured. That way, everyone working with the patients knows the correct way to interact with each one," she explained as they went down a corridor towards doors marked "Library" on one side and "Recreation" on the other. "It simply wouldn't do to have an intern ask a Muggle to cast a Voiding Spell when the Muggle neither has a wand nor knows the proper wand movements and vocabulary."
"No, it wouldn't," Ginny murmured as she looked into each of the rooms. Both rooms were full of patients and their assistants and she hoped that Harry would soon be able to come here, if he wished.
The two continued through the centre, inspecting various rooms as they went. After the Library and Recreation rooms, there were several common rooms, and an audio room where patients who had trouble reading to themselves could come and listen to books read on Muggle machines. The dining hall was located close to the main doors, while the mail room—which included roosts for owls in a separate Owlery off the main room—and the Transportation Office were on one of the central wings. This last room's door was guarded and admission was granted by pass only. Ginny learned this was also the room she would Apparate to and from if she chose to travel that way. Since she was there, the guard handed her a pass and instructed her on its use.
Mrs Vaughn next took Ginny out into the courtyard overlooked by some of the Magical rooms and the facility offices. "Unlike other facilities of this kind," she explained, "each patient has a private room. It's a necessity because of the make-up of our population. Besides the no broom-flying rule, we also strictly enforce our no wand rule when patients and their families are out in the grounds."
"I remember reading that somewhere," Ginny murmured as she looked about. She could see parts of the garden and the football pitch. It was a lovely fall day and from what she could see of the gardens, the foliage had taken on the distinctive hues of autumn and she knew it would be a very soothing place to go.
Finally, they toured the therapy wing. Ginny was impressed by the variety of therapies and medical diagnostic equipment available to the patients and commented on her observations.
"We have a high success rate, Mrs Potter," Mrs Vaughn stated proudly. "Nearly all of our patients eventually re-enter mainstream society."
"And those who don't?" Ginny asked curiously.
Mrs Vaughn shrugged. "Most of those people we never hear from again, mostly because they never successfully matriculate back into the main population."
"Oh," Ginny said, suddenly feeling uncomfortable. At this point in time she didn't want to entertain the possibility that Harry would be one of those people. She briefly closed her eyes thinking, Harry's not a quitter. This is just another obstacle for us to hurtle...
Eventually, Mrs Vaughn took her back to the reception desk and presented her with a magical facility map. "Just tap the map and say 'I'm lost' and your location and destination will appear," she instructed. "Now off you go. Mr Potter is most likely anxious to see you by now."
Ginny nodded absently for she had just told the map she was lost and answered its question about her destination. "You Are Here" appeared on her map followed by blinking green arrows, which showed her the way to go. I can do this! she told herself as she set off for Harry's room.
James sat with his girlfriend, Kendra, at a table in the Gryffindor common room scratching his itches and trying to concentrate on a History of Magic essay he was trying to write. The writing wasn't going well at all, mostly because his mind was elsewhere, but also because he hadn't found any relief from Albus' prank. Usually, showering to wash off the itching powder worked, as did cooling charms, but not this formula. James suspected that some sort of oil-based product was what would be needed. Sighing loudly, James shut his books and rolled up his parchment. He was going to the kitchens.
"Where are you going?" Kendra asked curiously as he stood up. She pulled her wand from her pocket and used it to scratch between her shoulder blades.
"Kitchens," James answered. "I think I might have found a solution to the itching problem."
"Oh, can I come? I'm tired of sitting here scratching."
James held out his hand to her. "I'd like that," he said.
The two crossed the common room and James held the portrait hole door open for Kendra. She smiled shyly as she passed him, sending shivers up his spine that had nothing to do with the itching p