Harry held Ginny's hand in the waiting room of St. Mungo's. Her skin was so cold, he couldn't believe she wasn't shivering. Fred's face was strangely unreadable. He kept glancing at Hermione, who was pacing the room so quickly it was a wonder she wasn't out of breath. She kept wringing her hands and whispering under her breath. Harry tried to quiet her unease.

"'Mione, there's a bookshelf over here." Harry pulled a book that contained photographs of house elves dressed as flowers, insects, and furry woodland creatures. He knew from experience that the best way to distract Hermione was to make her angry. He set it casually on the shelf as she turned to face him.

"Oh. I hadn't noticed." Her voice was quite small. She looked more terrified than Harry had ever seen her. Knowing that Hermione, of all people, had overlooked the presence of books elevated his own sense of anxiety. He met Ginny's eye. She waited a few moments before speaking, stretching as she did so.

"Hermione, will you come with me to get a cup of tea? I get lost in here by myself." Ginny's acting was beautiful. Hermione eyed her suspiciously, nonetheless.

"Why can't Harry or Fred take you?" She asked. Harry tensed slightly.

"Well, Harry attracts an awful lot of attention. If he's seen by the wrong person, the room will be packed with reporters in two minutes. " Harry tried not to smile too much. She was brilliant, the thought, as she continued. "As for this bugger, he'll get me lost intentionally. Probably lock me in a broom cupboard." Fred smiled softly at Ginny from behind Hermione. It seemed Fred hadn't been insulted by Ginny in awhile either. Hermione considered her carefully, hesitant to take the bait.

"I should stay here..in case something…in case they know anything." Weakness replaced suspicion in her soft features. She'd never been fragile, except when it came to Ron. Harry had rarely seen her cry that it wasn't about him. He stood.

"Go with Gin. I could use a cup as well. Fred?" He nodded. "The Healers said it would be hours. If anything happens, I'll send my Patronus." Hermione looked slightly mollified.

"Alright. Some biscuits might be nice." She gathered her small bag from the chair it was resting on.

The two young women walked into the corridor and to the magical elevator. They didn't speak for a long while.

"Did you hear Luna is coming back?" Ginny tried. "Word has it she's to receive some sort of award. She found evidence of some prehistoric thing that could be the ancestor of one of those mad things she used to talk about." Hermione snorted involuntarily.

"Don't tell me, she found fossilized wrackspurts in the head of pterodactyl? " Ginny chuckled good-naturedly.

"Probably." Hermione sighed in response. "You know, 'Mione, everything will work out. Ron's a fighter. He has to be. He managed to snatch you from the clutches of Cormac McLaggen."

"Yes, and you've no idea how difficult it was for him. I imagine I'd have run away with Grawp if it got me away from that slime." Ginny laughed. It still sounded strange, even to herself.

After getting the tea, Ginny and Hermione made their way back toward the waiting room, silent once more. A clatter behind them announced a stretcher being pushed quickly down the hallway. Several Mediwizards were trying to control the bleeding of a witch who seemed to have lost most of her skin. Hermione's face screwed up in disgust. Ginny recognized one of the junior healers as Katie Bell.

"What happened?" She asked, trying to keep pace. Katie just looked back at her with wide eyes. A voice sounded behind them.

"Never you mind, dear. Those old, wealthy families have so much gold…they just can't seem to stay on the right side of a potato peeler. They'll fix her right up, I imagine." Ginny looked at her mother with a combination of disgust and shock.

"Mum, who was that? " she asked warily.

"Bellatrix Lestrange." Molly snarled slightly as she said the name. Ginny saw for the first time that Evvie was clinging to her Grandmother's hand. Hermione was as white as a sheet.

"Sweetheart, did you see what happened to that lady?" Hermione's voice quavered a bit. Evvie put on a very serious face.

"No, Mummy, but Grandma says that that is why you never play with knives. That Strange lady must not have listened very well." Ginny noticed the very Hermione-ish way she said it. Hermione glanced back at Molly before being dragged down the hall to the elevator by her daughter.

"Mum, please don't tell me you took a peeler to Bellatrix Lestrange." Ginny looked at her mother, whose eyes were wild.

"All right, dear."

"What happened?" Ginny asked again, trembling a bit.

"We'll discuss it once everyone is together." Molly answered. Ginny was having difficulty closing her mouth. "I won't lose any more of you." She finished, pulling her small, plump form to its full height. "No more."


Sooo…here's a short one, just so you know I haven't abandoned you.