Chapter 23- Repeated Apologies and Awkward Introductions

Ginny woke up and opened her eyes, aware of a dull throbbing in the back of her head. The light that greeted her was just short of too bright, and the ceiling she found herself gazing at was white. ‘Wait a minute… where am I?’

Ginny moved her head from side to side experimentally, wincing at the tightness in her neck. ‘Nope, I’m not dead.’ She lifted her head from the pillow slightly and jumped as she caught sight of the person sitting beside her bed; she’d had no idea anyone was in here. She studied the top of the man’s head- he was bent over the edge of the bed- and that light grip he had on her hand seemed vaguely familiar. And suddenly, Ginny knew who it was.


The man’s head shot up off her hand, and the worry fell off his face. “Ginny, you’re awake!”

Ginny didn’t answer, taking her time to study her former professor. His face was more heavily lined than she remembered from Headquarters that summer, and his light brown hair was very gray. It was his eyes, though, that bothered her the most. Those amber eyes so full of suffering and cares he should never have had to shoulder… she could remember a time when they hadn’t looked like that.

Some of the emotions running through Ginny apparently showed through to her face, because Remus’s brow lowered in concern. “What’s the matter?”

Ginny shook her head, squeezing his hand comfortingly. “Nothing. I’m fine.”

Remus didn’t look like he believed her, but his silent glance around the room caused Ginny to look, too.

“Am I at St. Mungo’s?!”

Remus nodded.


A small smile twitched at the corners of Remus’s mouth. “Your mum about had a heart attack when she saw you collapse back at Headquarters. You father tried to convince her you were just tired, and she started spouting about how she’d just gotten you back, she wasn’t going to take any chances!”

Ginny grinned at the way Remus mimicked her mother’s voice, then grimaced as her head gave a particularly painful throb.

“What can I do?”

Ginny motioned him closer. “Help me sit up. I want something to drink in the worst way.”

Remus stood immediately and placed one hand on Ginny’s back, the other on her stomach. When she nodded, he helped her slowly sit up and lean against the headboard. When she was safely there, he started to remove his hand, then stopped. His fingers moved lightly across her back, and Ginny’s mind reached for the panic button before she realized what he was doing. When she did, she tried to push his arm away.

“Remus, don’t; it’ll be worse for you. Just let it go.”

He just looked at her, and Ginny leaned forward with a sigh. With slightly shaking hands, Remus pulled down the back of Ginny’s nightgown, twitching violently when he saw those four scars that were just beginning to heal. His long fingers ran down those deep furrows, eyes closing involuntarily as he felt the rough, still-raw skin. Gently, Ginny removed his hand and leaned back again.

“Remus.” He didn’t respond, and Ginny spoke more firmly. “Remus, look at me.”

His amber eyes came up to meet hers, and Ginny’s stomach muscles clenched at the fresh anguish there. She spoke slowly and deliberately, willing him to believe her. “It wasn’t your fault. I don’t blame you.”

Remus looked at the ceiling, fighting back the tears that were trying to rise again. “I’m so sorry, Ginny.”

“Remus, we’ve been over this. Please do me the courtesy of believing me when I say I forgive you.”

Remus looked back at her and started to speak, but a knock on the door interrupted him; a bleach blond head appeared in the opening. “Hi.”

Ginny smiled. “Hi.”

Draco stepped all the way into the room, closing the door behind him and looking somewhat awkwardly at Remus. “Do you… are you… I-”

“I know it was you, if that’s what you’re asking.”

Draco nodded and walked forward, holding out his hand. “I believe I treated you rather badly when you were my teacher. I apologize.”

Lupin took his hand, managing to reign in his surprise. “Thank you; I accept.”

Ginny didn’t even bother trying to hide her shock. “Did you hit your head on the way back, too?”

Lupin glanced between them and smiled slightly, nodding toward the bed on the other side of the room. “I think I’m going to go have a chat with him; rumor has it he was bitten by a werewolf, and I think I might be just the person to cheer him up.”

Ginny threw a parting smile at Lupin before turning all her attention to Draco. “What was that?!”


“Oh, don’t play dumb with me, Draco. Why are you being so nice to him?”

Draco took the chair Lupin had vacated and looked very serious. “If we’re going to make this work now that we’re back, we’ll both have to make some serious compromises. I’m going to try to be civil to people I know you care about.”

Ginny rolled her eyes. “You’re so noble, Draco. I don’t know how I’ll ever be worthy of you.”

“Oh, stop.”

“Seriously, though, why were you being so nice to him? I know there’s more than what you just told me.”

Draco shifted a little in his chair, looking distinctly uncomfortable. “There are two people I need you to be at least on speaking terms with if this is going to have any chance of lasting.”

“Okay… who?”

Draco looked to the door, and it opened right on cue. Narcissa Malfoy, looking just as snooty as she had at the Quidditch World Cup, entered the room. She walked slowly to the bed, and Ginny had the distinct impression that she was being measured up and found wanting. After a few moments, Narcissa extended her hand.

“It’s… nice to meet you, Miss Weasley.”

Draco started to open his mouth, looking worried, but Ginny shushed him and shook his mother’s hand shortly. Calmly bending to the trunk that was propped open beside the bed, Ginny drew out the silver frame the Black sisters had given her for Christmas and handed it to Narcissa.

The emotions that flitted across Narcissa’s lovely face as she looked at the moving photograph were somewhat difficult to describe- it was somehow a combination of shock, disbelief, a little anger, and resignation. Finally, she raised her eyes to Ginny’s. “You’re Isendre?”

Ginny nodded, and the barest hint of a smile appeared on Narcissa’s face. “Well, this might work out after all.”

Ginny’s jaw dropped, and Draco quickly shooed his mother out of the room. His next words sobered his girlfriend. “There’s someone else I need you to accept, Ginny. I know that you hate him, and you have good reason to, but if you can’t… he’s just very important to me.”

Ginny bit her lip worriedly, but met Draco’s gaze and nodded. “Alright.”

Draco’s eyes went to the door again, and Ginny closed her eyes momentarily, steeling herself to see his father walk into the room. She’d been gone for a year; he must’ve been released from Azkaban while she was back in time. The door opened, and Ginny opened her eyes again, determined to watch Lucius Malfoy walk through it without flinching.

The person that greeted her vision was most definitely not Lucius Malfoy.
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