Disclaimer: I own nothing Harry Potter related.
I sat next to Joey's bed, my chin propped up on my fists.
I should have known something was wrong. I knew something was wrong. But she wouldn't say anything because she was worried about me.
Merlin, how could have let it get this far?
Madam Pomfrey explained that the Expulso spell, though it had passed through her, had done more damage than it would have had it hit her straight on. While we were running around in the forests of England, Joey had been slowly dying, which explained the coughing and dizzy spells.
When she had passed out, soon after Voldemort died, we had rushed her to the hospital wing where Madam Pomfrey had put her on highest priority. She gave her some potion and did her best to heal her from the outside but she said it was up to Joey now.
That had been almost seven months ago.
Joey still hadn't waken up.
We had since moved her into St. Mungo's, hoping they'd be able to help her but it was the same as at Hogwarts.
It was up to Joey to decide when she wanted to wake up.
Malfoy usually came in, every other day. He'd sit on the opposite side of the bed with his head in his hands, look up at Joey and brush hair out of her face before putting his head back in his hands. That would go on for about an hour and half and then a Ministry official would come and get him.
I heard he and his family were on house probation. But Lucius . . . Lucius would be having his appeal soon and if it didn't work out in his favor, that meant fifty years in Azkaban. . . .
On the days when Malfoy wasn't here, his mom came. But she usually just stood in the corner for about an hour and then leave, as if she couldn't stand to be any closer, or at least, couldn't bring herself to be.
I, however, was here everyday from the opening of visitor's time to the closing. Ron and Hermione usually came with, or at least dropped by. Hermione had gone back to school to finish her last year and Ron was helping George out in the shop. He and I both were to start Auror training soon. And so, here I sat, waiting for Joey to wake up.
"It's been a while now, huh?"
I looked up, surprised, to see that Malfoy was talking to me. He had never done that before and I figured it was just better for us both to pretend that the other wasn't here.
"Yeah," I responded, simply, not really knowing what else to say.
We were silent for another moment before Malfoy side, rubbing his hands over his face. "You know, I never gave her much credit before. . . . I never thought she'd be capable of making her own decisions, defending herself, defending other people . . . like those kids she helped get out of Hogwarts. . . . Like you," he added, looking up at me.
"What are you –?"
"Her first day home that summer break after sixth year, Father beat her because she wouldn't give you up, wouldn't tell your secrets. It wasn't because she was with you. He actually figured that was the best thing that could ever happen to the Malfoy family. 'We finally have enough information to get back into the good gracious of the Dark Lord,' he had said. But he hadn't thought that she'd run off, that he might actually be worried when she was gone. I hadn't either."
"Why are you –?"
There was a knock on the door and the Ministry official that always escorted Malfoy here peered through the small window.
"I'm telling you all this," Malfoy said, standing up and straightening his robes, "because I don't want you to take her for granted. I'm not saying that she'll run away from you; she already showed that she trusts you more than the rest of us, which she probably should. I just – I want you to take care of her, Potter."
The official knocked again, more impatient this time.
"Will you take care of her, Potter?" Malfoy asked. "I need to know that you will."
"Of course I will," I said.
He nodded curtly and hurried past, opening up the door. The Ministry official took him by the arm. "Evenin' Mr. Potter," he said, with a little salute.
I nodded and he grinned closing the door behind him.
Sadly, I looked at my watch. It was close to that time again. I pulled on my coat (I still wore Muggle clothes around) and leaned forward, pressing a kiss against Joey's forehead.
"See you," I mumbled. Shoving my hands in my pocket, I turned and headed toward the door.
I stopped and faced her again.
I wasn't even sure if I had heard it, but I moved back towards the bed, taking her hand in mine. "Joey?"
I felt her hand twitch slightly before she rolled onto her side. Her eyes fluttered open and I got to look at those beautiful blue eyes I had fallen in love with.
I laughed, shocked, I think. She smiled at me, moving to sit up, but I stopped her. "You shouldn't try to move to much," I said softly.
"Where –?" she started but she barely had a voice. She coughed but it wasn't nearly as bad as it had been.
"Shh, it's fine. You're in St. Mungo's. Have been for a while."
"I – I don't remember," she said, her voice harsh and low. "I . . . we won. And then – it went dark."
"You were dying," I told her. "But we got you some help just in time. A second longer, Madam Pomfrey said, and it would have been too late."
I smiled. "Seven months, four days, and thirteen hours."
She smiled softly. "Been keeping count?"
"Hard not too."
"You stayed that whole time?"
"I wouldn't leave you, Joey. You didn't leave me."
Her smile widened and for the first time in a long time, I was truly happy.
"You sure you want to do this?" I asked Joey one more time.
She looked up at the gigantic Manor in front of us, taking a deep breath. "I have too."
It was June now, a year since the end of the war. Things were still being fixed, families being reunited.
We had just come from Hermione's graduation, happy to see something go back to normal, as she was, of course, the top of her class. She would be going on to work in the Ministry for the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures and couldn't be more excited.
Ron and I would be starting our training at the end of the year which just left Joey, freely released from the hospital and feeling as if there was something else she needed to finish before moving on to apply for a job at St. Mungo's, in the children's section, instead of teaching Charms like she had thought she wanted to do. She said she liked kids and wanted to help them so she was going to train and study there at the hospital to make up for missing her last year. It would take at least a year and a half but she said it was worth it.
Moving forward, Joey knocked on the door to her old home. She stepped back quickly as her knock resounded through the Manor. "Thank you for coming. I know this will be slightly awkward," she said.
"It's fine," I said.
The door opened, revealing another Ministry official. He nodded at us. "Mr. Potter. Miss Malfoy. We received word of your coming."
He stood back, holding open the door so that we could walk in. "Your family is in the family room, I believe."
I saw Joey visibly hesitate but she stilled her resolve, lifting her head high and leading the way to the 'family room'.
Indeed, they were there, Draco closest to the entrance while his mother sat nursing a cup of tea in a giant armchair and Lucius stood by the window.
The tea cup shattered to the floor as Narcissa jumped from her chair and gathered Joey into her arms. Needless to say, the look on Joey's face was priceless, shocked. But she hugged her mother. Narcissa looked at me over her daughter's head, mouthing the words, "Thank you."
I nodded, giving her a slight smile. She smiled, placing her hands on Joey's face. "I'm so sorry," she said, tears falling from her eyes.
"I know mum, I know," Joey said, smiling slightly.
Joey let go of her mother to move over to her twin, throwing her arms around his neck in a hug. It was obviously something they were both getting used to as it took Malfoy a moment to respond.
"So," Mr. Malfoy said, still staring out the window. "Two years, it's been, and you've decided to come back."
"Sorry if I was too preoccupied trying to help save the Wizarding World from the likes of you Lucius," Joey said, stepping away from her brother. "Oh, and let's not forget spending seven months of those two years in the hospital because of people like you."
"You dare talk to me in that tone?" Mr. Malfoy said, turning towards us. "I am your Father."
"You're not," Joey responded. She was calm surprisingly, standing her ground. "And that's what I've come to tell you today. Mr. Weasley is more of a father to me than you've ever been. My whole life you've told me how I wasn't good enough, how I should have never been born and for a while, I believed it. Until I met people who actually care about me, who actually love me. Oh but you tried, Lucius, tried to break me and you know what? It didn't work. I'm a better person than I ever was and it isn't because of you. It's because of people like the Weasleys, people you've always looked down on because you thought you were better than them. Well you were wrong weren't you? Mr. Weasley isn't the one who's about to spend fifty years in Azkaban."
It was a low blow and she knew it, everyone did, but, truthfully, he deserved it and I think he knew that too.
Joey stepped back and took my hand once more. "I'm leaving now. Mum, Draco, you know where to find me if you need me. I'm not coming back here. And Lucius, I forgive you, you know, even if I shouldn't, even if you're not worth any form of forgiveness. But, despite everything, you are my father in the sense that you raised me. So, goodbye."
She turned and lead me out of the house, taking a deep breath of air.
"Feel better?" I asked.
"So much better," she said, turning to me. "I'm ready to move on with our lives now."
"Our lives?" I asked, joking as I wrapped my arms around her waist.
"Of course. . . ." She grinned, wrapping her arms around my neck. "That is, if you're willing to keep me around for that long."
"Wouldn't have it any other way," I said, grinning back.
We Apparated, leaving behind the memories of the past and going on to the dreams of the future.
A/N: So that's it. It took forever to finish this story but I hope you guys liked it :-). Thanks for reading everyone.
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