A/N: This is the mature version of chapter 24. 2245 hours, 30 December 2020
Visiting hours were nearly over at The Groves. Ginny sat quietly in one of the wing chairs in Harry’s room, thumbing through a magazine and waiting for him to return from the bathroom so they could say good-night. At least that’s what Harry thought would happen, because she had promised to stay tonight until the very last minute. However, she had other plans Harry wasn’t privy to yet, even though her parents knew, since they’d agreed to keep the children overnight.
The bathroom door opened just as she was pulling at her rather unconventional undergarments; she’d been doing so all day, much to Harry’s amusement. He’d commented on her squirming several times, but she’d declined to answer his inquiries with anything more than a vague answer. Ginny watched as her husband slid from chair to bed with practiced ease, making her smile at him. Pride in his accomplishments bubbled inside her, and she rose from her chair to perch on the right side of his bed where he could see her easily. Lovingly, she reached up and gently removed his glasses, setting them aside on the bedside table.
“You won’t have to choose which side of the bed you sit on much longer, I think,” Harry said as they joined hands.
“Healer Stilwell confirmed your increased vision to the left, then?” Ginny asked.
Harry nodded. “Yes. We even joked about my seeing things, but he couldn’t tell me how long it would be before we’ll know if there’s any permanent damage,” he added.
“Well, I’ll be happy with whatever your ‘normal’ will end up being,” she said, reaching up to caress his cheek, “because it means I have my man back and I love him any way I can have him.”
“That’s good to know,” he said as Ginny bent down to kiss him. The kiss started off rather chastely, but Harry soon deepened it, his tongue seeking hers. Ginny eagerly returned his passion, knowing this would just be a rehearsal to her plans for the evening.
Finally, they broke apart, gasping slightly, and smiling at each other. “Good night, my love,” she murmured.
Harry reached up and clasped her hands with his. “Good night to you, my darling,” he said, completing the verbal part of the nightly exchange they’d started on Boxing Day.
Ginny kissed Harry lightly on the lips one more time and turned off the lights with a flick of her wand. Then she rose, walked around the bed and stopped before her chair, standing quietly, listening to Harry’s breathing. It had become her habit back in November to stay in his room until he fell asleep—even if he didn’t want her there—and now those extra minutes together had become the second part of their custom on those nights when she stayed until he closed his eyes.
As his respirations slowed, Ginny bent down and silently pulled Harry’s Invisibility Cloak from her handbag. She threw it over herself and then settled down in her chair again as Harry began to snore quietly. Then she, too, laid her head back and closed her eyes for a few minutes’ rest while the hospital slowly shut itself down for the night. If her plan was to work it would be at least an hour before she could wake her husband.
Two hours later, Ginny felt her wand vibrate and woke with a small start. It was time.
Before she stood up, she cast a Silencing Charm on the room, hoping the spell wouldn’t register on the hospital’s magic metre. The guard outside thankfully stayed where he was, so tiptoeing to Harry's bedside, Ginny sat down where he could see her easily when he opened his eyes. The bed’s movement made him stir, and when she simulated an Auror Alert to his wand—causing it to vibrate loudly on his bedside table—his eyes flew open and he was instantly alert.
“What’s wrong?” he demanded as she removed the Cloak from the upper half of her body. “Who’s calling? Why are you still here?”
Ginny smiled at him. “Nothing’s wrong, my love,” she whispered, “nobody called, although I’m not in the least sorry I woke you up.”
Ginny chuckled softly at his brilliant answer. “Harry,” she began, making her voice as romantic as possible, “how would you like to make a little mischief?”
In the dim light coming through his window, she watched his eyebrows shoot upward and his expression become curious. “What kind of mischief?” he asked, his voice responding to the sultry tone of hers.
In response, Ginny guided his hand under her blouse to the top of her string bikini.
“Here? In my room?” he squeaked, making her giggle.
“No, silly boy, I have another venue in mind. Will you trust me?” she asked.
“Erm, Ginny, I’m not wearing my bathers,” he protested.
“That can easily be arranged. So… are you interested?”
“My swimming floats are locked in the storage cupboard.”
“You won’t need them.”
“No. Do you trust me?”
Harry nodded, making her smile. “Good,” she said. “Shall we go under the Cloak, then?”
“What about the guard? And the Anti-Apparition Spell?”
“We won’t be leaving The Groves, Harry.”
Ginny chuckled again and tugged the Invisibility Cloak out from under her legs. Then, throwing back the covers of Harry’s bed, she threw the Cloak over both of them and cradled her husband in her arms as best she could before she Disapparated with the tiniest of pops.
They reappeared a bit awkwardly in another room of the facility, one with several video cameras mounted high on the walls. Harry had landed on top of her, pinning her arms beneath his body. She struggled out from under him and extracted her wand as quickly as she could so she could cast her All-Is-Well Charms on the cameras. It definitely wouldn't do for them to pick up anything not quite right, such as a foot laying somewhere it shouldn’t be.
“All clear,” Ginny whispered, barely holding in her giggles. “Let the mischief begin.”
Harry pulled off the Invisibility Cloak and threw it aside. He smirked at her, seeming to catch on to her mood. “Yes, let’s,” he agreed. “I think I like what you have in mind.”
He scooted closer and lifted his legs over hers so that he was essentially sitting on her lap. Then, he took her in his arms and kissed her thoroughly.
Ginny pulled away. “One more charm,” she said, her whisper bouncing around the room. She cast a Silencing Charm on the room as well as a few other privacy spells—including a Muggle-Repelling Charm. “That ought to do it. Now where were we?”
“I think right… about… here…” Harry murmured into her lips. His fingers began fumbling with the buttons on her blouse, making her skin tingle as the cloth fell away. She returned to favour and soon their clothes were strewn in a semi-circle around them.
Harry stopped kissing her. “Ginny, love, how I’ve missed you,” he murmured, gathering her into a fierce hug.
Taken by surprise, Ginny return his embrace, realizing she felt the same way. “I’ve missed you, too, Harry.”
They remained holding each other like this until Ginny’s back began to hurt from the strain of holding them both upright. “Shall we slip into the water?” she suggested.
Harry looked down at his pyjama trousers, which he had declined to shed. “I’m not going swimming in these,” he growled, “and we left my wand in my room.”
Ginny grinned at him in the darkness. “That can easily be fixed,” she said and with a flick of her wand, she transfigured his pyjamas into something suitable for getting wet; the tiny trunks just barely covered Harry’s modesty. “Oh, Harry,” she cooed, “you look simply stunning.”
“Get me into the pool, you wench!” he chuckled.
“Your wish is my command,” Ginny giggled. She slowly rose to her feet so Harry would have ample time to admire the view. He gave a low, appreciative whistle, one she hadn’t heard him do since before they’d had children. It sent ripples of happiness up her spine as she levitated him into the water, settling him gently on the steps. She joined him and they sat for a while with their arms around each other.
Then, Ginny asked, “Shall we go deeper?”
Harry furrowed his brow. “You know I can’t stand up.”
“Come with me, then. Just let yourself float.”
She stood up and offered him her hand. He took it and allowed her to pull him off the steps. Without the floats his legs sank immediately, but Ginny quickly shifted to support him. When they were deep enough, she changed her hold so that Harry’s feet were touching the bottom. He clung to her, breathing deeply.
“Oh, Ginny, I love you,” he murmured.
“I love you, too, Harry.”
He let go with one arm and gently tugged at the tie to her bikini top at the back of her neck. “May I?”
“Oh, so polite! Of course you can!” A moment later, the tiny triangles of cloth floated away and Harry’s hand was skimming across her exposed skin. Ginny’s knees suddenly felt rubbery. It had been far too long since Harry had made her feel this way and every caress sent her body into ecstasies of passion. When Harry switched arms, she guided his hand lower on her body as she walked them over to the side of the pool where she propped him up. She had a little exploring of her own to do.
They took their time rediscovering each other, touching here, kissing there, fondling this, running fingers through that. Ginny lost track of time, she was enjoying herself so much.
“Ginny, what would you like me to do to you?” Harry suddenly asked.
Caught by surprise at the question her husband had often asked her in the past, she could only request one thing, “Can we be naughty?”
Harry grinned at her request, making her chuckle; apparently, he had his own idea of what “naughty” meant and apparently, she’d just given him permission to try something. “Your wish is my command,” he murmured huskily in her ear. She gasped when he added, “Now Mrs Potter, I think this particular naughty bit will require us to switch positions.”
They switched and Harry took a deep breath before submerging. A moment later, Ginny felt his lips graze her shoulder followed by the flick of his tongue as he moved slowly down her body. Tension mounted inside her as he found all her sensitive spots with his lips, his tongue and on occasion, his teeth. Each time he came up for air, his hands were busy exploring, keeping up her level of sensation. When at last he reached his goal Ginny let her head lull back against the side of the pool and unable to contain her ecstasy, she let out a low moan of pure satisfaction.
Harry surfaced, his expression mischievous. “Shall I do that again?” he asked as he fondled her.
All Ginny could do was nod. Harry submerged again and Ginny let go of the side of the pool. They floated together until Harry needed air and she moaned with the pleasure of his ministrations. Then she tested the strength of her knees and finding them able to hold them up, she brought them back to the side of the pool.
“My turn now,” she said and before he could protest that he wouldn’t be able to feel anything, she took a deep breath and began testing his nerves with kisses and caresses that moved ever lower down his body. She surfaced and gazed up at her husband. The smile on his face told her she was making him a happy man. She moved lower, paying attention to every scar, every bump, every bruise, every sensitive place she remembered, always following the faint line of black hair that divided Harry’s stomach and eventually disappeared into his trunks. Whenever she came up to get a breath, she was greeted with a look of distinct pleasure mixed with awe and she suspected that Harry was not only enjoying what she was doing to him, but was also discovering that his body had indeed recovered more than he thought.
She went back under water. Using the fingers of the hand that wasn’t helping to keep Harry against the wall, she began caressing him intimately through the cloth at his hips. A grin spread across her face as he responded to her and when she couldn’t hold her breath any longer, she surfaced, wondering what Harry’s expression would be.
She was rewarded richly when he grabbed her shoulders and hugged her to him. “I felt you, Ginny, I felt you!” he sobbed over and over and suddenly she was crying, too, huge, happy tears of relief that seemed to release the tension of some unanswered question.
Eventually, Ginny floated Harry back to the steps and they sat holding each other and talking quietly. Then Harry began to yawn and Ginny realized just how late, or early, it was.
“We need to go back,” she said and Harry agreed reluctantly.
Ginny levitated Harry back to their clothing. She then cancelled her spell on his pyjama pants, dried them both off with a flick of her wand, found her bikini top in the deep end of the pool, Vanished their wet spots on the pool deck and finally covered the two of them with Harry’s cloak. Just before she Disapparated, she pointed her wand at the security cameras, whispering, “Finite Incantatem.”
They landed on Harry’s bed a moment later. “Will you stay the rest of the night, my love?” he asked as they disentangled themselves from the cloak.
“As long as you promise to distract your guard long enough for me to escape under the cloak in the morning,” Ginny answered.
“I can think of something,” Harry yawned as Ginny slid under the covers and snuggled at his side.
“Good. Good night, Harry. Mischief Managed.”
Harry’s contented chuckle was the last thing Ginny heard.
0132 hours, 31 December 2020
A yawn escaped Healer Stilwell before he could stifle it, making his companion chuckle.
“Sorry,” the tired healer said from behind his hand. “I appreciate you calling me in, Roger.”
“First time any of our residents have tried anything like this,” the guard snickered, looking back at the screen where a lone couple was embracing in the middle of the therapy pool.
“This is the first time any of the residents have owned an Invisibility Cloak,” Healer Stilwell said, joining in. He yawned again. “This is actually a very good development in this patient’s recovery. I was beginning to wonder whether the Potters could become a normal married couple again. This is very good news indeed.”
“What do you recommend I write in the log?” Nigel asked, bringing a log page up on the security office’s computer.
Healer Stilwell tilted his head to the side as he considered the options. Finally, he said, “Write something like ‘authorized private use of facility pool’ and then email me with the pertinent details, CC-ing Director Webber, please. I’ll fill out the necessary paperwork and backdate it to the thirtieth. If he asks me about it, I’ll tell him the truth.”
Roger typed a note in the appropriate space and punched a couple of keys. The screen changed and he typed a short memo into the message space. “All done, Healer Stilwell,” he said with a smile.
The healer stifled another yawn. “Thank you. Have a quiet rest of the night. Call me when the Potters have vacated the room,” he said.
Roger tapped a box on his desk. “I will. The spell sensor you activated in the room will warn me when they leave. I’ve already shut off that third camera,” he said.
Healer Stilwell glanced up at the monitor labelled “Therapy Pool Room” and smiled when he saw only two of the three cameras showing an empty room. Happy New Year a little early, Harry and Ginny, he thought. He walked to the door. “Good night, then, Roger,” he said and left the security office, headed for the Transportation room to Apparate home. If this was an indication that Harry Potter was regaining sensation in his lower body, he predicted the new year would be a happy and memorable one for his patient, indeed.
Harry stared at his PT clipboard, gobsmacked at the additions Silvia had made to his exercise schedule. In addition to the twenty-odd exercises he always did in the mornings, she had added a new mat component of five exercises and designated an area of the PT room as his for the hour after his normal therapy time.
There was a note as well.
On the following pages you will find the list of and directions for the additional exercises we talked about yesterday. I have reserved the mat area and adjacent equipment box (#HP10), bench and pulley system for your use during the hour after your normal morning session with me. I will be working with another patient during that time, so if you run into trouble or have questions, I’ll be around. You can also ask Mandy. She’ll be with you today, tomorrow and Sunday as we discussed.
In addition, if you wish to continue your therapy on your own in the afternoons and on weekends, you can repeat most of the exercises in your room—I’ve made notations on your list of the ones you won’t be able to do there because they require the pulley system. If you wish, we can talk about the proper way to do those exercises without it. When working by yourself, just Summon and Banish the equipment from your equipment box using the specialized spells below. The objects will not zoom through the facility as they would with normal Summoning and Banishing charms, but will appear in front of you as if they have Apparated.
I will caution you now: when working alone, please do not push yourself as hard as you did yesterday. You will only end up hurting yourself and I don’t think you want that.
P.S. Your TENS unit is in your equipment box as well. Use it only in the PT room after you’ve finished your tasks. You’ll need to have me or one of the assistants hook it up for you: facility rules. If you feel it is helping you relax we can talk about modifying one for you to use in your room.
Harry turned the page and found the list of spells he could use from his room. He grinned when he discovered that Silvia had included a spell for conjuring ice bags and another for enlarging them to fit his lower body. The thought occurred to him that he might use the enlargement spell with other objects like heating pads. He’d have to ask.
Harry then read his list of exercises and had to smile because Silvia had listed exercises that used large marbles (to be picked up with his toes), small rubber rings and the skateboard in addition to the pulley system. Some of them actually sounded like fun! He decided he’d do everything in order, beginning with the mat exercises. Those completed, Harry slid onto the bench and then bent down to remove his trainers.
“How are you getting along?” a familiar voice asked. “Do you want any help?”
Harry looked up and smiled at his physiotherapist. “Thanks, Silvia, but no. I’m getting along quite well,” he answered.
“Good. I’ll come back to help you with the TENS unit when you’re done, then,” she said, turning to leave.
“Thanks,” he murmured. He opened his equipment box and took out a box of large marbles and two thin rubber rings. As instructed, he scattered five marbles inside the first ring he’d put on the floor and picked one up using the toes of his left foot. Smiling to himself when he managed to transfer it to the second ring, he went back for another. The movement was small, the marbles were slippery, but he knew he was on his way to helping himself walk out of The Groves when Healer Stilwell finally said he was ready.
An elegant long-eared owl flew through the window of The Burrow and landed next to Ginny’s plate. It held out the leg to which a tightly-rolled scroll of pale blue parchment was tied. She stifled a yawn as she untied it and handed the bird a piece of sausage before it flew away, not waiting for a reply.
“What is that you have there?” her mother asked as she brought over the kettle to refill the teapot.
Ginny scanned the parchment. “It’s the letter from the St Mungo’s Fundraising Chairwitch, Madam Offerman, acknowledging my agreement with Madam Nigel to help her organize the March fundraiser ball,” she answered.
“When did you agree to help St Mungo’s?” Mum asked. “I didn’t think you were interested in such charities.”
“I wasn’t until Harry was hurt,” Ginny admitted. “When he was attacked in the A and E, everything changed. I wrote an article for the Prophet, which Mr Dixon never published, outlining the unacceptable working conditions at the hospital. The morning after Harry’s operation, I called a meeting of the powers that be at St Mungo’s, the Auror Department, and The Groves because of my concern for Harry and the other patients at both facilities. Madam Nigel, the Director of the hospital, extracted the promise from me to help with this year’s fundraising activities in order to solicit the additional funds needed to cover all my demands for better staffing and working conditions.”
“And your letter from the chairwitch…”
“Contains the dates and times for the usual two balls plus the third gala to be held during the summer months. Would you like to read it?” Ginny asked.
Her mother held out her hand and Ginny passed the letter across the table to her. It took her only a moment to scan it. “Looks like you’ve committed yourself to some pretty serious speech-making,” she said, handing it back.
Ginny nodded. “It’s the least I can do to help the hospital,” she said. “I had a letter from the Accident and Emergency Department Head before Christmas thanking me for pressing the administration to reduce the length of the workday as well as providing some additional staff to relieve his staffing problems.”
She glanced at the letter. “I’m actually looking forward to helping out. I’ve been studying the advertising techniques the Harpies use to promote the team and I think some of them might work for the hospital. I’m also going to contact my former teammates to ask that they come and mingle with the patrons at the gala, maybe sign a few autographs, that sort of thing. It might even be good if I could get a few of the other owners or head coaches to make an appearance…” She trailed off, searching the kitchen with her eyes for a quill. Her mother reached into a drawer and came up with a battered self-inking one, which she handed to Ginny.
“Here you go.”
“Thanks,” Ginny said absently as she rehearsed her list of ideas. She quickly wrote everything down and then looked back up at her mother. “What do you think of inviting people to an auction?” she asked. “I was thinking that for the summer event maybe I could solicit some themed gift baskets, maybe some jewellery items, possibly some spa treatments and a three-day holiday for two somewhere exotic and then have people write down their bids for items. The highest bidder would win the item.”
“I think that would be an interesting thing to go to,” her mother said. “I’ve never heard of such a thing, but it sounds like fun. Would your father and I get an invitation?”
Ginny raised an eyebrow. “You’d be expected to pledge a certain amount at the end of the evening to sponsor the hospital,” she said warningly.
Her mother smiled. “One doesn’t get invited to such occasions without being expected to give generously at the end of the evening, Ginny. It just so happens that your father and I are looking for a worthy cause to sponsor and we’ve talked about how much we should give once we found the right charity. I only just realized that the right charity has been helping our family since the end of October.”
Ginny’s eyes widened as she understood where her mother was going with this. “You’re serious about this, aren’t you?” she asked incredulously.
“Ginny, your family witnessed what the St Mungo’s healers did for Harry. He would probably be dead if there hadn’t been qualified healers on staff to keep him alive the night he was brought in. While we waited in the corridors we watched the staff trying to cope with all sorts of patients, and right then and there, your father and I decided that if we were ever invited to or contacted about giving to St Mungo’s, we would. I reckon that’s my round-about way of telling you that we have set aside a generous gift for when we’re asked to give.”
Ginny sat where she was, feeling somewhat stunned. At last she found her voice. “Mum, thank you. I will see that you received invitations to all three events,” she said as she made several more notes at the bottom of her letter. She looked up, her brow furrowed. “Mum, why can you give now when you couldn’t twenty years ago?”
Her mother smiled. “It’s a little thing called children, Ginny. They seem to want shoes and clothes and toys and an education for an awfully long time.” She sounded a bit embarrassed as she added, “Now we don’t need to worry about those things and our vault at Gringotts isn’t as empty as it used to be. Does that make sense?”
Ginny smiled. “It does now.” She changed the subject. “Is the stationery still where it always was?” When her mother nodded, she stood and walked to drawer where it was kept and took out a few sheets. “I’ll let the chairwitch know I’m willing to meet her at her convenience and that I already have some suggestions,” she said as she began composing her note.
A few minutes later, Ginny stood up, calling, “Bats! Bats! I have a letter for you!”
There was a flurry of wings as Albus’ short-eared owl soared into the kitchen via the stairwell. The medium-sized owl came to rest on Ginny’s out-stretched arm. She tied her letter to his leg saying, “Take this to Madam Offerman at St Mungo’s, please, Bats. Wait for her to reply and come back directly.”
The brown and white owl gave a loud “Voo-hoo-hoo” hoot and sailed out the open kitchen window, its wings carrying it swiftly away from The Burrow. Ginny stood watching it until she could no longer see it.
“I never get tired of watching the owls,” she said wistfully.
Her mother came to stand next to her. “Neither do I, Ginny, neither do I.”
Harry tiredly pushed his chair down the corridor past the Transportation Room on his way back to his room to take his afternoon shower. His legs, back and hips ached from the additional torment Silvia had put him through, but despite the pain, he was feeling quite chipper, considering he’d only had half the amount of sleep last night that he usually had. The fact that Ginny had spent most of the wee hours of the morning snuggled against his side in his bed had a lot to do with his good mood. That, and the bit of intimate mischief the two of them had participated in…
“Hello, Harry,” a voice called, bringing Harry back from his ruminations. “You’re looking happy this afternoon. Looking forward to the New Year’s Eve celebrations in the dining room this evening?”
“Oh, hello, Healer Stilwell,” Harry said, hoping he didn’t sound as tired as he felt. “Yes, I am. Are you celebrating tonight, too?”
“No, not tonight, Harry,” the healer said, smiling. “I have nothing mischievous to celebrate, I’m afraid, even if it’s New Year’s Eve.”
Harry braked his chair hard enough to make it skid across the polished tile floor. “Wh-wh-what do you m-mean by that?” he stammered, suddenly feeling cornered.
Healer Stilwell inspected his stethoscope. “There are three security cameras in the therapy pool area,” he said without looking up. “Next time you and the missus are in there alone, please enchant all three. There’s a huge stack of paperwork to be completed every time the cameras detect something worth calling the physicians for in the middle of the night.”
Harry felt his cheeks and ears heat up and he knew his face was a spectacular shade of red. “You… you kn-know about l-last n-night?” he barely managed to ask.
“And I approved your use of the room, as well,” Healer Stilwell said, finally looking up. “I assume things went well for the two of you. I can’t think of any other explanation for your good mood. Even Silvia has mentioned it to me.”
Harry blinked. Had he been that transparent? “Are we in trouble?” he asked softly.
Healer Stilwell shook his head. “No, not this time, Harry. However, the next time you two decide you need to play after midnight, I request that you inform me so I can smooth the way for you. Is that too much to ask?” he asked.
Harry smiled, relieved that he and Ginny weren’t in much trouble. “I’ll keep that in mind,” he said.
“Then enjoy the festivities tonight in the dining room, Harry. I’ll see you on Monday,” Healer Stilwell said. He patted Harry’s shoulder on his way past, leaving Harry to continue on his way while he marvelled at the fact that he had just been given permission to be intimate with Ginny again in the therapy pool!
A/N: I hope all of you liked this chapter. The idea this bit of mischief came from RSS, one of my pre-betas, so she get all the credit: I just assigned roles to Harry and Ginny. I know many of you have been wondering about this aspect of their lives because you’ve mentioned them in your reviews and while Harry may certainly not be completely “normal” he and Ginny are now headed in the right direction. So RSS, thank you sooooo much for the idea that only took me about an hour to write because once I started writing to your prompt, I just couldn’t stop until it was finished.
Other thank yous go to Jedi34, Mutt n Feathers, RebeccaRipple and Rosina Ferguson for looking over the first draft and encouraging me to make it even better than it was. And to Aggiebell, thank you so much for approving the final draft. Oh, I finally figured out how to type an ellipsis instead of just three periods!