AN: Hi everyone, my apologies for the short chapter. I'm having surgery this week (on Wednesday) and this is all I could get completed before I have to go to the hospital. I could have held it back, but I wanted to get something out there before I left. I'll be out of action for a few weeks minimum, so I hope this holds you over.
Ginny awoke to noise and chaos. She had trouble finding her bearings as her eyes were confronted with images that didn't make sense and her body told her that she was moving quickly.
Closing and opening her eyes again, she began to make sense of her surroundings.
She was on a table and being pushed quickly down a hallway. The white tile ceiling above her rushed past in a confusing jumble. Healers surrounded her and were casting various spells on her as they moved her down the hall, shouting things to each other that were unintelligible to Ginny.
"Harry?" Ginny groaned as she tried to sit up.
"Please just relax, miss," an orderly with a stern face told her as he gently pushed her shoulders back down to the gurney.
"It's all right, Ginny, you're going to be all right," Ginny heard her brother's voice.
She turned her head to the left and saw Ron moving with her down the hallway, still in his Quidditch Commissioner robes from the game.
"Ron, where is Harry?" Ginny asked with desperation, not remembering how or why she was here.
Ron glanced back down the hallway and then quickly turned back to Ginny.
"They are doing all they can for him, Ginny," Ron told her.
Ginny raised her head and finally saw another stretcher with Harry being pushed down the hall behind her. He wasn't moving.
"Harry!" Ginny shrieked, reaching out an arm toward his silent form.
"Miss, please relax! Ginny, lay back down!" an orderly ordered.
"I need a Calming Charm over here, stat!" Ginny heard another bark.
Soon she felt a cool, calm wash over her. She laid her head back down and closed her eyes.
Even as she drifted off to sleep, a whimper escaped her.
Sometime later Ginny found herself waking again. She was on a comfortable bed, with clean crisp sheets. The room was white with flowers painted on the walls. As she looked around, she realised that she was clearly still in hospital.
Her gaze focused on the sleeping form of her father, slouched over in a char in the corner of the room.
Arthur looked rumpled and worried, his brow furrowed even as he slumbered.
"Dad?" she called out hesitantly.
His eyes immediately snapped open, and he was by her side in a matter of seconds.
"Ginny!" he gasped with obvious relief.
"Daddy," Ginny whispered, feeling like a little girl. "What happened?"
"You were hit by a Bludger, sweetie. It was bad," Arthur said, his voice trembling.
He reached up and brushed her hair with shaking hands, then leaned forward and kissed her on the forehead.
"We are very fortunate that Harry did...whatever it was that he did. The Medi-Witch said that you would have died if Harry hadn't intervened."
Ginny gasped as her first memories of the hospital rushed to the front of her mind.
"Where is Harry? Is he all right?" Ginny asked, leaning forward toward her father and sitting up.
Arthur put a hand on her shoulder and gently restrained her, then removed it when he was comfortable that she wasn't trying to get out of bed.
"I don't know, Ginny. He didn't seem very good when we got here. He's in the next room – NO, GINNY! You have to stay here. Ron and the Ministry personnel are with him."
Ginny leaned back in her bed with tears beginning to form in her eyes.
"I have to see him, I need to make sure he's all right," Ginny told her father desperately.
"Ginny," her father began with trepidation, "I'm sure that everything..."
He cut off as a loud roar could be heard from the adjoining room.
"I DON'T CARE. YOU HAVE TO DO SOMETHING OR WE'LL LOSE HIM. I WILL NOT BE THE MINISTER FOR MAGIC THAT LOST HARRY POTTER!"
"Um...see, sweetheart, the Minister himself is...bugger."
Arthur stopped again as Ginny was already out of bed and running for the door.
She rounded the corner and ran right past the startled Aurors, who had not been expecting someone to run from the very next room.
Ginny skidded to a halt and covered her mouth in horror at the scene in front of her.
Harry lay on the bed in front of her, still in his torn and bloody Quidditch robes.
Half a dozen witches and wizards swarmed around him casting spells and charms frantically.
The Minister, her brother Ron, and several other people who Ginny didn't recognize were in the corner arguing loudly.
All of this washed over Ginny and passed by – it was Harry she was focused on. To her mind, all sound and movement ceased in the room. It was just her and Harry.
His body looked beaten and broken. Terrible scars and evidences of wounds ran all over his body, disappearing underneath the sheets that came up to his waist.
Flames and power were seeping from his eyes and his hands, it even looked like some of his hair was on fire, but Ginny couldn't tell for sure.
For the entire time that Ginny had known Harry, including when she had been angry with him, he had always seemed larger than life. Invincibility seemed to follow him; it was impossible not to feel it in his presence.
Now he seemed small, almost ordinary. A young, broken man who had taken on the world, and even though he had won, had clearly paid a terrible price.
Her brother's shout pierced Ginny's reality, and she turned to the group that was in the corner.
"What are you doing here, you're not allowed to be here," Ron said quickly.
"Ron, there is no way in hell I'm leaving," she told him quietly as she turned back toward Harry.
"Miss Weasley, I realize that you and Harry have grown close, but there are Ministry secrets here that need to be protected," the Minister told her firmly as he waved the Aurors in to remove her from the room.
Ginny ignored the Aurors as they approached her from both sides and began walking towards Harry's bed.
"If you're referring to the Mentor spell – I already know all about it."
Ginny reached Harry's side and hesitantly reached out and brushed his face. His power had clearly been burning the medical team as they raced to stabilize him, but for some reason Ginny was unharmed as she began to gently stroke his face, running her finger's lightly across the scars.
"How did you...CLEAR THE ROOM! EVERYONE BUT GINNY AND MYSELF!" the Minister bellowed.
Within moments, the room was clear. The Minister approached and stood next to her as she continued to stroke Harry's face and hair.
"How did you know about that, Ginny? No one knows, not your brother, not even the healers. Only a few of us from the war truly know what happened, so how, Ginny?"
Ginny sighed and turned to face the Minister. "Harry told me."
"Harry...told...you?" Kingsley said with disbelief. "So you WERE the leak!" he finished, his eyes hardening on her face.
"No, I don't believe I was," Ginny told him firmly. "Gwenog asked me and I told her to go to hell."
"Hmph," Kingsley said under his breath. Ginny wasn't sure he believed her, but by Merlin's third cousin's goat, she didn't care.
Ginny turned back toward the Minister. "You know what's happened and you know that they can't help him – don't you?"
Ginny looked at him sharply when he didn't continue. "I'll tell you what I think, Minister. His glamour is down. Harry told me that all of the charms that Dumbledore placed on him had a common anchor."
"Yes," Kingsley murmured, his gaze focused on Harry almost tenderly.
"If his glamour is down, that means the binders are also, and the full power of the Mentor spell is unchecked."
The Minister sighed and looked Ginny again. "I believe you are correct. If you know this much, then you know that no one has ever survived more than a few weeks with that power unleashed – it's a desperate spell used for desperate situations."
Ginny threw her hands up in anger. "If you know, then why aren't you doing something?"
"What would you have me do?" Kingsley snapped, pacing away from Harry's bed and facing the wall. "You can't reverse the spell. It took Dumbledore years to devise the way it worked. I'm not sure what to do."
Ginny was shocked as she saw tears in the Minister's eyes as he turned back toward her.
"Wake him up."
"What? No!" Kingsley shouted. "Keeping him unconscious will give us more time to find...something," he finished weakly. "In every recorded instance, unconsciousness helped the person last longer – to fight the other life force."
"Minister," Ginny began slowly. "With all due respect, those other cases don't apply to Harry. He's been living with this for years now. If anyone has the chance to remember how it feels to control it and keep it in check, it's Harry. If he can't do it himself, then he's already lost."
Ginny closed the distance between them and grasped the Minister's hand. "Just like always, Minister, we have to trust in Harry."
Harry returned to consciousness in fire and agony. He felt the power coursing through him – destroying him from inside his own magic core.
The familiar feeling of Dumbledore's magic, that had lived as an annoyance in the background the past few years, had turned from a pinprick into evisceration that threatened to push him into insanity in the first few seconds of wakefulness.
He felt, rather than heard, a roar that came from deep within. Two magics were fighting for the same body, and the vessel simply wasn't strong enough to contain the battle.
"Harry?" He heard the thought in his own mind, in his own voice, yet knew that it didn't come from him.
"What's happening?" the voice continued.
"Professor?" Harry croaked aloud.
"Did you do it, Harry? Did you destroy Tom?"
"We did it, Professor – all is well and the world is safe."
Harry felt the relief and pride coming from the voice. "I'm so proud of you, Harry – but what has gone wrong?"
"The binders, Professor, they've been destroyed."
"Oh, my boy – I'm so sorry."
"Is there anyway you could help me?"
"Oh, Harry – I don't think so. After all I'm dead. This is just an imprint of my magic. I'll do what I can."
Ginny approached Harry, trying to make sense of the half sentences that were coming from Harry as he lay thrashing on his bed.
"Harry, can you hear me?" she asked her voice quavering.
She reached out to touch him again, but pulled back in fear as his eyes snapped open.
"Miss Weasley – you've grown quite a bit since the last time I saw you," Harry grunted, his head whipping from side to side.
"Harry, I don't understand."
Kingsley approached and put his hand on her shoulder. "Let me try."
"Professor?" he asked.
"I am here...Kingsley...I see that you have ...moved...up since...last we...spoke" Harry said with difficulty.
"Albus," the Minister said reaching down to clasp Harry's hand, then pulling back in shock when his hand was burned by Harry's power.
"Albus, the job is done. The war is over. You have to let go, stop fighting for control or you'll kill Harry."
"I am trying, Kingsley," Harry said. "The magic has instincts all its own, and it wants to live. Try holding your breath until you die, even for a good cause, and you'll have an idea what I am attempting."
"But Albus..." Kingsley started.
"Enough!" Ginny yelled angrily. "I don't care who you are, give me Harry back!" she cried.
Ginny reached down and clasped Harry's hand. The Minister frowned at her when she was unharmed.
Ginny reached forward and stroked Harry's face.
"Harry, I believe in you. You can control this. Remember how it felt – like putting on a pair of old shoes, you told me once.
"Ginny!" Harry gasped, his eyes wide with panic and pain. "Help me, Ginny, please!"
"Harry, I'm here, I'm here!" Ginny sobbed climbing as close to him as she could get without actually being in the bed with him.
Harry closed his eyes as tremors took over his body. "Gin...n...n...n...y...help..."
"Harry, tell me how to help, how can I help?"
Harry's eyes rolled back into his head and his shaking increased.
"Get a Healer in here!" Kingsley shouted out the door in desperation.
Ginny leaned forward and pushed through the blaze of energy surrounding Harry and began kissing him.
Harry's eyes opened, but the shaking continued.
"Ginny, what's going on?"
Ginny pulled back from his face slightly. "Your binders are down – you have to fight, Harry, please fight! No, stay, Harry!" she shouted as he began to slip back into unconsciousness.
She leaned forward and kissed him again.
Again, his eyes opened. "Remember, Harry – just like putting on old shoes, you can do it," she said.
Ginny saw the flicker of understanding register in his eyes through the pain and agony.
This time as he closed his eyes, it seemed to be more in determination than in pain.
Slowly the shaking stopped.
"Harry?" Ginny asked tentatively.
The energy blaze around him began to dissipate. Slowly, flicking, and spiking – but away it went nonetheless.
After several minutes, Harry opened his eyes and smiled. "Ginny," he whispered.
He slowly closed his eyes and was again no longer conscious.
Ginny looked desperately at the Healer who had come in response to the Minister's summons.
"Vitals are steady, the power surges have gone – there are a few minor injuries, but I can heal those."
The healer turned to the Minister. "I'm not sure how, sir, but everything looks normal. I think he is going to be all right."
Harry woke again, this time feeling much better and relaxed compared to the last time he was awake.
He was clearly in hospital in a brightly lit room – and he was alone.
Harry sat up and shook his head, trying to remember what had happened.
His eyes widened slowly, as his conscious mind caught up to the recent events.
He quickly checked his power and realized that his and Dumbledore's magic was in check. The binder was gone, there was no doubt, but all the power was responding naturally.
The magic, all the magic, finally accepted that Harry was in control and submitted to his will.
He smiled and laughed. It was an amazing feeling, and it reminded him of how he felt before the Mentor spell took place – back when his magic was normal and it was just his magic.
He felt a rush of giddiness as he realized that he no longer had to worry about losing control or hurting people around him. He reached down into his magic and tasted it, testing the boundaries of what remained.
He froze in amazement. It was all there, all of it, totally at his command. Harry had been a very powerful wizard and Dumbledore was one of the greatest of his generations. When Dumbledore gave Harry his power, the power the Dark Lord knew not, it made Harry one of the most powerful Wizards to have ever lived.
And now it was fully under his control.
Harry stood up and shakily walked to the small bathroom and looked in the mirror at his scarred face.
With this power he could do anything, ANYTHING!
He focused on his curse scars. He could heal them!
He felt the air around him thicken as his magic burst forth. He felt the room shake and the mirror shattered. Harry was thrown backward and landed in the room on his backside.
He reached up and touched his face. The scars were still there. He was still just a man after all, and even great wizards have their breaking points.
Harry curled into a ball and wept.
Ginny Weasley was angry. Scratch that, she made angry seem like a small irritant. She was furious with that stupid, arrogant, prat...the one she loved.
Ginny relaxed with a sigh, and pushed her oatmeal around her bowl as she sat at the table in her apartment.
Harry had not allowed any visitors except the Minister since he had fully woken up, not even her.
The Aurors enforced the ban with a vengeance. He was one of theirs, in spirit if not in truth, Kingsley had explained to her, and the Aurors would look after their own. Even if Kingsley agreed that Harry was being thick, Harry's wishes would stand.
"Ginny, give him time," Kingsley had pleaded. "He'S scared and embarrassed by what happened. He's also afraid to show his face now. For some reason, glamours aren't working and his scars are visible all the time."
"I don't care!" Ginny had raged at the Minister. "I just want to see him."
So despite being arse over tip in love with him, Ginny found herself back at her flat, watching the MirrorVision as reports came in about Harry' status.
This is a special British League Quidditch Update brought to you by WWN / W3 productions.
Ladies and gentle-wizards, the Ministry of Magic has announced a press conference starting in the next ten minutes to address the fallout from the Championship game between the Holyhead Harpies and the Appleby Arrows. As always, you'll have complete coverage here on MirrorVision. So stay tuned.
Ginny leaned forward unconsciously. No one had told her about a press conference.
We now join the Ministry press conference.
The scene changed from the WWN Logo to a stage where the Minister of Magic and her brother stood facing a horde of reporters. It looked as if there were hundreds of people in attendance, and Ginny immediately became angry with her brother for not letting her know what was happening.
Thank you, everyone, for coming today. As Minister of Magic, I am deeply concerned about the recent events that transpired during the Championship game last week.
I realize that you all have many questions, specifically about Mr Potter, and I realize that the Ministry has been less than forthcoming about Mr Potter all season long.
After much reflection and discussion with Mr Potter, we've decided to answer as many of your questions here today as we can, bearing in mind the need to maintain operational secrecy on any ongoing Ministry classified topics.
First and foremost, I would like to address the criminal attack perpetrated against Ginny Weasley during the Championship game. Yes – I said criminal attack.
Our initial investigation has shown reason to believe that Miss Weasley was intentionally targeted by her own team in order to distract Mr Potter from the Snitch. The Harpies leadership believed that due to Mr Potter's relationship with Miss Weasley, that this would be an effective tactic.
Clearly, they did not intend to injury Miss Weasley as seriously as they did, but we at the Ministry cannot ignore their actions.
And so, it is with a heavy heart that, as Minister of Magic, I decree a lifetime Quidditch Ban for Gwenog Jones and Emmeline Vance. Furthermore, I am instructing the Aurors to investigate them for possible charges of assault and battery. This is truly a sad day for Quidditch fans everywhere.
Now, I would like to address some of the events regarding Mr Potter. As many of you are aware, several years ago, a Dark wizard styling himself as Lord Voldemort regained his body and attempted to take over the Ministry.
I'm sure many of you remember the fear from his first attack and the feeling of uneasiness that we all had knowing that he was back.
It's common knowledge that Harry Potter defeated Voldemort the first time as a child and that Mr Potter also destroyed Voldemort after a series of battles in Hogsmeade and at Hogwarts.
What many of you may not realize is the desperate war that was fought to keep Tom Riddle, aka Voldemort, from taking control. Mr Potter paid a heavy price for our freedom, and when I introduce him in a second I believe the need for his charms on the Quidditch pitch will be obvious.
As to what happened with Miss Weasley, Mr Potter is clearly an exceptionally powerful wizard, and he used his power to heal her from her grievous injuries.
Now, I would like to ask Mr Potter to join me here, but I beg you all to be respectful in your questions.
Ginny blinked as Harry walked out on stage from behind a curtain with his head bowed, looking at his feet. He stopped next to Kingsley and turned, facing the crowd and raising his head. Shocked gasps filled the room and Ginny gripped her spoon tightly until her knuckles hurt. He looked so vulnerable and afraid and was clearly expecting the worst from the press. Ginny wanted to run to him and hold him, but was forced to watch as Harry stood there, naked to the world.
Ginny waited for the bombardment of questions to begin, but strangely, the room was silent.
Ginny heard a ruffling noise, but it was coming from somewhere off screen. Suddenly the MirrorVision screen expanded so that Ginny could now see the entire room and Harry still on stage.
Everyone in the room, all two hundred, was standing silently with heads bowed in respect for Harry.
Slowly, someone in the back began clapping and soon everyone joined in. Ginny watched in awe, tears streaming down her face, as Harry stood silently while the entire country finally acknowledged the debt that they owed him.
After several minutes, the crowed quieted. For the first time in anyone's memory, the Quidditch press corps was afraid to ask a question.
Finally, someone in the back tentatively raised a hand.
"Mr Potter, do you still plan to play in the Quidditch World Cup for the English team, or are you stepping down?"
"At this point, I believe that I will play and will be joining my teammates for practice shortly."
Ginny's head snapped up. Harry was going to still play on the World Cup team?
She half smiled and half snarled as her anger and love for Harry warred within her.
She was on the team. Harry was on team. He couldn't avoid her now.