Wings! by Spenser Hemmingway
Summary: “To sleep--perchance to dream, ay, there’s the rub; for in that sleep of death what dreams may come?” For Ginny, the answer to Hamlet’s question may finally be answered. For a small child, the answer must be avoided at all costs. For a loving mother and grandmother, the answer is the key to her family’s future. For someone from another future, a valuable opportunity has presented itself. Naturally, all of it leads to yet another story for our favorite inept carpenter. By the way, yes folks--Zu Zu Bailey’s teacher was correct.
Categories: Alternate Universe, Girl Talk Challenge (2010-3), Girl Talk Challenge (2010-3)
Wings! by Spenser Hemmingway
Chapter 1: Wings!Author's Notes:
By Spenser Hemmingway
It is no doubt possible to fly–but first you must know how
to dance like an angel–Friedrich Nietzsche
“Make way! Coming through! Injured girl here!” Sometimes you just have to forgo good manners, even in a crowded infirmary. “Move! I said…oh…Doctor Kildare. We…uhm…”
“Hemmingway what happened? What did you do to her? Ben…I need you in here…now! Bring her into the examining room…over to the table.”
“James, what’s the problem here? Oh bloody…”
“Literally,” I heard Luna softly say from just behind me. She wasn’t making a joke, but rather had to just be trying to deal with the same fear I felt rising up myself.
“Spenser, what did you do?” Doctor Casey asked this time. Okay, technically Healers aren’t doctors (that being a Muggle title), but the really good ones are still called that at times, and they seem to appreciate it. “Hemmingway…you better not have been attempting to use power tools around this child! Hold on! This is young Lily Potter.”
“I’m glad the Healers know us by name,” the ten-year-old said in a weak yet giggling voice, which belied the pain she must have felt just then. Her left leg was badly broken, and her right shoulder and side severely lacerated. The side of her head was purple and puffy. With the blood she’d lost, I was amazed the girl was still conscious. “Is the broom all right?”
“Broom!” Casey and Kildare shouted at me together. Naturally, I felt about two feet high just then.
Casey, mumbling something about our first-aid efforts, moved to further stem the blood flow, starting with the head wound, while Kildare gently repositioned the leg. This caused Lily to wince in momentary agony, but, as the bone was magically set then, relief and even a slight smile replaced it. She was most definitely Ginny and Harry’s daughter. Lily hadn’t screamed, or even whimpered. The Healers worked on in silence for another ten minutes, mending and cleaning her up, until I finally felt it was time to explain what had happened that afternoon.
“Uhm…Harry and Ginny Potter are in France at their sons’ exhibition Quidditch game. We’ve sent our bulldog Winston to fetch them home.”
“Quidditch? Ah yes, I’ve seen young James Potter play Seeker at one of the school games last fall,” Kildare admitted with an admiring nod.
He continued to work though, brandishing his wand the way a Muggle surgeon might a delicate medical instrument. Hogsmeade was seriously blessed to have not just one, but two such brilliant men setting up shop in our village. The only real problem was that they had apparently become rivals with each other for Madame Pomfrey’s affections.
“That’s right. Their other son Albus takes after his Uncles Fred and George though, and our daughter Jennifer takes after Albie,” Luna added. Her voice expressed the increased calm she had to be starting to feel. I saw she was grinning now as well.
“Luni…I don’t think Jenny would appreciate your telling anyone that,” I whispered. Even if it is true, I didn’t add.
“I just meant that they are both such wonderful Beaters.” Luna chocked her head to one side and smiled at me the way she does. The woman knew I knew what she really meant. “Anyway, Lily was staying with us this week, so she could study for her Magical Geography examination this Friday. She’ll be beginning her first year at Hogwarts in September. It really is important for her to come in with the best possible grades don’t you think? I’ve been tutoring Lily with her prepatories for Magical Beasties, but I haven’t been able to find a decent textbook. None of them seem to have a chapter on Brazilian saber tooth bumble-bunnies.”
The Healers both stopped working for a moment and could just stare at her with wide eyes and gaping mouths. Lily giggled again, which made me feel a bit better still. The men’s reaction to Luna was typical, and as always, amusing. I was one of the few who recognized how she occasionally said such things on purpose just to have a little fun with them.
“Imagine that. I would have thought that your fat stalker’s grandfather would have included one in his own book.” Sorry people–alternative universe. Rolf Scamander definitely doesn’t get the girl in this version. “As I was saying though, Lily here was staying at our cottage for a few days. Uhm…we didn’t know she had appropriated…”
“Borrowed Uncle Spenser.”
“…borrowed a brand new high-performance racing broom from her father’s workshop. Lily took a break from the books, went outside about an hour ago, and then proceeded, in turn, to break the broom, some trees, the side of the house…”
“As well as a fair portion of her young body,” Kildare interjected, fixing me with yet another accusing stare.” Even if it hadn’t involved my personal curse where carpenter tools are concerned, Luna and I had still been responsible.
“I don’t understand what happened. I used to fly Mum’s old Wind-Duster with my dad all the time. She told me it was one of the fastest brooms on the planet.”
“Lily, her broom was seriously modified for you and your brothers to have some fun with after your mom received her special Christmas present–-her Whirl-Whip XF. I’m sorry kiddo, but your folks would never let you risk your necks on the real thing at your age.” I hated to tell her this, even if she probably knew already. It was like telling a child the truth about…about how game show hosts weren’t real people.
Lily nodded in understanding however. She was a very intelligent young lady…except where mach two brooms were concerned. Just like her parents and siblings, flying was her passion, and it had clouded her judgment this time.
“I suppose I did mess up, didn’t I? So much for getting our deposit back. Mum and Dad are going to…”
Lily’s yawn interrupted her train of thought. It also got the attention of both Healers. Ben Casey lit his wand-tip, examined her now-drooping eyes, and then stepped away to confer with Kildare for almost a full minute before motioning for Luna and me to join them. I was suddenly scared again.
“Spenser, Luna, I want you to listen very carefully,” Casey began. “The girl’s other injuries were easy enough to treat. She’ll be sore for a few days, but we’ve given her a blood replenishing potion and seen to her leg. It’s as good as new. Fortunately, children seem to mend much, much more quickly than forty-ish Wizards trying to utilize a miter saw.”
“But…?” Luna countered before I could.
“The head injury concerns us greatly,” Kildare continued. “You can see how sleepy she’s become. It will be a few hours before we will be able to apply a monitoring mist to examine her brain, but, most certainly, she has a mild concussion. Listen very carefully,” he repeated, “Lily cannot be allowed to fall asleep. We have a private room upstairs with a comfortable bed, but regardless, she must not be allowed to sleep yet. Do you understand? Can you help us keep her awake say…until sunset?”
I was so frightened just then that I couldn’t will my hands to stop shaking. I knew what I had to do though. Luna whispered support in my ear, gave me a quick kiss on the cheek, but then excused herself after thanking the Healers. Kildare moved off to prepare the guestroom and Casey to summon an attendant to help me move the girl. I walked over to Lily, took and squeezed her hand, and gave her my best reassuring smile. The kid knew better.
“I really am broken, aren’t I?”
“It’s okay. You’re under warrantee still.”
“Where did Aunt Luni go?”
I had to laugh despite myself. “You know…you’re the only other person she or I allow to use her special nickname. I hope you realize what a privilege that is? She’s run home for a robe and some clean clothes for you. We need to stick around for a while still, and…I need to keep you from falling asleep.”
“How are…you going…to do that? I’m…so…sleepy now.” Lily’s eyelids closed then, but I was about to open them wide.
“Well, if you’re up to another one of my stories, I think it’s finally time for me to tell you about how I met your grandmother Lily Evans Potter–the woman you were named for.” I was right. This Lily’s eyes and mouth were instantly open. “I think I’ll also tell you about the day she and your mother met each other.”
All right now. I know you’ve read or heard my other stories about your folks’ encounters with special–-shall we say celestial–-visitors over time. I’m going to ask you to believe all of them. Even your dad’s nice Muggle biographer writes about his get-together with a still dead Professor Dumbledore during the final battle at Hogwarts. Yes, I do understand that things happened a lot differently in our universe, but I also remember how you still thought it was an excellent book. My point is…we’ve had our share of meetings with guardian angels over the years. I remember that a favorite story of yours was how the angel Clarence and his partner took your folks to Bedford Falls to meet George Bailey and a certain Old Man Potter.
These folks, I guess I can call them that, have looked over our shoulders, taught, advised…run interference for us. Usually it was simply a whisper in the ear, so to speak, but at other times, they would actually yank us through time and even to other realities. Have I ever told you about the day, just to teach us about the realities of combat, we were taken to the Korea War–complete with sound effects. I haven’t? Well…it was great. Your dad got to meet Colonel Sherman Potter at his M*A*S*H unit, and… Hmm…? No, that’s a story for another time.
Let’s see… I need to preface this by explaining that we’re not talking about real angels here–-seraphim and cherubim and such. Those are quite a bit different. What I’m referring to, in this case, is how sometimes, when good people pass over, they are given the opportunity to go back to work looking after us poor saps. They’re clearly why I haven’t cut off an arm…yet…or driven a nail through my hand…again. The wings and halos? Those are pure Hollywood, and just for show on those rare occasions where they allow themselves to be seen. They’re sort of like their bona fides–like a policeman’s badge and donuts. We expect to see them, and the angels oblige us.
Now this story actually begins just after the final battle at the school. As I said, ours here was quite a bit different than the end of Deathly Hallows. A great many more people survived ours, like Dobby and your Uncle Remus and Aunt Dora. You know, your Grandma Molly was not at all amused when your mom suggested to the lady author that one of her brothers should lose an ear and another be killed outright in her book. It was revenge for any number of their pranks over the years.
Moving on–-it was an early evening in late spring. This particular night, I was up in the Astronomy Tower hiding from your Aunt Luna. Don’t laugh kiddo. Things were complicated back then still. Anyway, I sensed the angel’s presence there before I saw her. There was a warm pleasant feeling washing over me as if all was suddenly right in the world. What’s more, I somehow knew who it was. We’d met before I suddenly decided. I slowly turned from the rail to look at her, and to confirm the picture that had played in my mind just a second earlier.
The girl stood maybe five ten or eleven, slender, terminally pretty with blazing red hair, countless freckles, and deep brown eyes accentuated by her glasses. Hmm…? I have no idea why she would need them. Maybe Heaven doesn’t have a decent vision plan. My visitor did have those requisite wings, but she was kind enough to do without the harp they probably issued her. The only drawback in this picture before me was the rather frumpy-looking dress she was wearing.
“Hello Lily.” How do I know her name? “I’m sorry, but chartreuse is not your color.”
Don’t get ahead of me here. No, this angel wasn’t your grandmother. She was…well, she was you, or at least another you. It’s that infinite realities/alternative universes thing again. Believe it or not, in some timelines Rolf isn’t a balding nudist with brown teeth. Just go with the plot here and trust me. I will say that, in a half-dozen or so years, your dad is going to need to invest in a very good shotgun for when the boys come around. What? Oh, he already… Hmm…?
“Yes, I know. It is awful, isn’t it? I was in a hurry coming down, and I borrowed this dress from Joan of Arc. The girl’s taste in clothes is atrocious.”
“That probably explains why she stuck to suits of armor, and probably fireproof evening gowns now.” I decided to come right to the point. “What can I do for you this evening?”
The angel took several seconds, apparently studying me for some reason. You know how you get when your curiosity is piqued. You tuck your head, maybe tilt it a tad, and squint just a bit as if you’re not even wearing your glasses. That’s how you…I mean she was just then. The sun had long set by this time, and I was a bit cold from a slight breeze coming at the Tower. Angel Lily didn’t seem to notice. Finally, she did speak however.
“I need your help Spenser.” I opened my mouth to say something, but she continued before I could. “Do you know why…how you’ve won the war against Voldemort?”
“Yeah, sure. It’s because we’re so very much prettier than any of them were.” Lily smiled at my words, and, to be honest, in the case of your mom and aunts, mine was an extremely accurate observation. “Seriously, I think I know what you’re asking. You already know the answer too, but you need to hear me say it for some reason. You’ve somehow let me know who you are, but not where you came from. I’m going to assume here that things were much bloodier in your version. Ah, I’m right.” I had no more idea about how I knew the angel wasn’t from our timeline than I did about why she was there asking me such obvious questions. “The abridged edition–we were able to prepare, we were ready, and, most importantly, your mom was right there with your dad at the end. Now, what can I do for you?”
In lieu of an answer, another figure appeared beside Lily. It was your grandmother Lily this time. I know what you’re going to say here. It’s going to be fun telling this story with multiple Lilys to keep track of. Trust me, I’ll think of something.
This new one hadn’t inherited the Weasley freckles and brown eyes–they were green like your dad’s, but with better vision than the two of you acquired. Other than that, you two were pretty much identical. See, I told you you’re going to be beautiful–even more beautiful that is. Ah…right…there was one other thing. This Lily didn’t have her wings yet. I had a suspicion then that that was where I was coming in.
“Spenser, in exchange for a good story, one which no one will ever believe, I’d like you to escort my grandmother to a number of moments in my mother’s life. She will help, advise…maybe train your Ginny for what is to come. We need to help her win my father’s heart as well as the war here.”
“Uhm…ladies, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but mission accomplish on both fronts. Voldy-locks is dead now, and my favorite couple is just that. They were curled up together in the Gryffindor Tower the last time I checked. Maybe we could concentrate on getting Luni together with Neville. What’s so funny? Hey, I’m allowed to call her that in private, but the last person I heard using it other than me found themselves with mashed potato underwear. Also, I spell it L-u-n-i.”
“I’m sorry…it’s just… You’ll see. As to your other question, your happy ending here is simply because you and Grandmother were obviously successful.”
“Huh? I don’t think I understand. If you’ve already written the past, then just look at what you did for any directions. Why would you need human assistance…and why mine? Can’t you just use, you know, The Stuff?”
“I haven’t earned my wings yet,” the older Lily explained. “You know Ginny well enough to point out those times when I can do the most good. No, even those of us who have their wings are not all-knowing. Only The Boss is, and he likes to delegate. Why you? We’ve been told that yours is a very good perspective. Why am I even bothering? Won’t everything work out well in the end regardless? I’m sure it would have, but perhaps, in part, it was because of my intervention that it did so well here. Besides, I would very much like to get to know my future daughter-in-law.”
I nodded, but then I stepped away and moved back to the Tower’s railing. There were just too many questions. Why did angels really need my help? Why was my perspective so important? Why did they give a tinker’s Sickle about my being able to write another story? Most importantly, why was I so comfortable with the whole situation? I’ll tell you Lily, it was all as much a mystery to me that night as magic must have first been to your dad when he was your age.
“Harry and Ginny marry huh? Well, of course they do,” I said, turning back to face them. “I’ll help you Lily…you Lily I mean,” I clarified, pointing to your grandmother.
“Thank you,” she softly said, but she was staring at the other you now. “You do realize that I’m not really your grandmother?” she asked her. “You are of another timeline, and my Lily won’t be born for several more years.”
“I…know. You are however a Lily Potter…Lily Evans Potter. Someday you will both understand what I’m initiating here today.”
Your counterpart was gone before we could ask for clarification of what she’d told us. Lily (your grandmother) continued for her.
“It will be fine young man. Oh Joseph…Joseph. We’re ready. He’s our supervisor Spenser, and we’ll require his assistance. I believe we’re ready for our first transition, which is to…?”
“Well ma’am…why don’t we visit the day I met Ginny.”
“Where are we?” Grandma Lily asked. I couldn’t answer before she spotted Ginny laid out on what was left of a broken cot, and in as bad of physical shape as you are now kiddo, but without the Healers. “What’s happened to her?” Lily asked, moving to help.
“We came here when the Floo chimney we were entering was struck by lightning. We were all injured, but Ginny especially so.”
Lily hadn’t noticed how she had just run straight through a groggy Ron propped up beside his sleeping sister. Obviously, he couldn’t see or hear us in our current form. I was reminded of Scrooge’s visits with the Christmas ghosts. The problem was that we had no way to wake Ginny just then without Ron’s help while in we were in that state. The Healer explained to you why sleep can be bad with a concussion. Lily seemed to comprehend this finally. I expected her to start shouting for Joseph’s help. Instead, something remarkable happened next. Ginny sat bolt upright, and then jumped to her feet…leaving her body behind.
“Great heavens! What just happened?” Ginny appropriately asked. “Am I…dead?”
“That’s a very good question.” Your mom couldn’t hear me though. I knew then that I was just an observer on this ride.
“That’s a very good question,” Lily echoed, and this time Ginny reacted…almost jumped in fact. “Hello. I’m Lily. You’re Ginny Weasley, aren’t you?” She already knew this but must have thought formal introductions important.
“Yes…yes I am. Do I know you? Did you bring us here?”
“I’m afraid the answer to both questions is no. The people…angels I work with are not so…accident prone. My, my, your brother’s leg doesn’t look at all right.”
“Did you say angels? I…I believe you. I don’t understand why, but I do believe you. I must be dead then. Can…you help my brother and Harry?”
“Hey, what about me?” She still couldn’t hear me.
“I have a bit of experience now with being dead, and I don’t believe you are, at least not yet, but we need to wake you up and quickly Ginny. Where’s my Harry dear?”
“…and Spenser,” I added, but Lily didn’t.
“He and our new American friend went for help. Your Harry? Do you know him?”
Lily laughed then, and it was soft, and it was wonderful, just the way your dad’s is. The woman reached out and laid a hand on Ginny’s shoulder. The eleven-year-old smiled back, and so did her corporeal form on the cot. She was going to be all right.
“Ginny, you’re going to awaken in just a moment. You won’t remember me, but I’d very much like to come visit you again one day, if only in your sleep–maybe for a little girl talk.”
“I…think I’d like that ma’am.”
“Good…very good. Ginny, may I ask you something very personal?”
“I suppose so. Who are you ma’am?” The girl’s form was slowly drifting back to her body now.
“Do you care for my son…for Harry?”
“Harry’s your…? Oh…uhm. Yes, I do Mrs. Potter, very much, but it’s probably just a silly crush.” Ginny was at the cot again and sat down on its edge.
“It isn’t, but it will be some time before you realize this. Your subconscious is guiding you now Ginny. It speaks only the truth. Believe your voice. Trust it, and please trust me.”
Ginny smiled again, and nodded, but was then pulled back into her body. Her eyes shot open and her head jerked back, causing her to call out in pain. Ron woke to this, and he himself called out as he painfully moved toward her. They would keep each other awake now. All would be fine, and I told Lily this.
“Where to next Spenser?”
“Indiana Jones’ worst nightmare.”
I had never been inside the Chamber of Secrets, so I was as startled by our arrival as Lily was. For some reason, time was frozen. Harry stood there with Gryffindor’s sword in his hand driving it into the giant serpent. It was the last moment of the basilisk’s life. Off to one side lay Ginny…and standing over herself again as well. The diary Horcrux had not yet been destroyed. The girl was still unconscious. Lily moved to meet her.
“Hello again Ginny. I…must admit that this is exceptionally dramatic. That is an extremely large snake, isn’t it?”
“Hello again Mrs. Potter. What exactly is happening here?”
Lily took the girl’s hands and looked long and hard into her eyes before responding. “I’m afraid it’s one of many battles that are ahead of you now dear girl. You see, that is the Wizard Voldemort standing over there with my son’s wand.” Ginny looked in the direction Lily had indicated, seeing the teenage Tom Riddle for the first time. Panic flashed into her eyes, but only for a brief moment. “No Ginny, he is most certainly not dead.”
“How?” was all Ginny could manage to whisper.
Lily moved away from Ginny and toward Harry. She seemed to be studying him now, but fully aware of how the girl had followed.
“What would you learn from what is happening here Ginny?”
“Harry is fighting that thing alone,” she replied without hesitation. “Why would he come here alone?”
“Ron was with him until they were separated. Their friend Hermione is still in the infirmary. You were the victim here. Still, you are quite correct. Harry never wants to risk others’ lives, does he? He lost James and me. He will lose others before the end as well. There will be no avoiding it, but there is the opportunity to seriously minimize it.”
Lily turned and took Ginny’s hands again. “I think you know now that you’re in love with my son. No, it’s not a crush anymore, but not something you’ll understand for a long while yet either. Harry will be the stronger with you by his side Ginny. You must never forget it. His friends as well must be there. A thrown fist is more powerful than a single poked finger, no matter the circumstances. Remember that Ginny. It is your first lesson. Hold it close to you and kindle it as you will your feelings for Harry.”
Time began to move for the Chamber again. That had to be our cue from Lily’s supervisor. The three of us watched as the situation unfolded. As Harry finally struck the diary with the fang, Ginny began to be pulled back to her body.
“Ginny,” Lily quickly called out, “you won’t remember me again, but you will retain the lesson. Trust Harry; trust yourself; trust your feelings.”
We saw Ginny nod in understanding, but a heartbeat later her surreal form was gone, and a stunned physical girl came awake. I thought I saw something akin to confusion in her eyes, as if trying to remember the aspects of her dream. I suppose she was. Glancing over to your grandmother, I noted something there as well–uncertainty.
“They’re so young and so innocent. Am I doing the right thing?” I mean, I’m sending my own son into battle.”
“A battle he wins, remember? Anyway, you’ve already done what you’re going to do…if you understand what that means. So, what do you think of your daughter-in-law?”
“Ginny’s…special. It seems all Potter men have a real preference for redhead girls.”
“Really? Just how many girls is that? Wait…was your mother-in-law…?
“James’ mother had hair as red as mine, or Ginny’s, or Lily’s…and James’ grandmother, and great grandmother, and so on.”
We were both laughing hard when I told her where we were going next.
We didn’t arrive where I intended. I was about to start shouting for that Joseph guy when Lily decided to clarify matters.
“We’re in Ginny’s dreams. It’s the night after Harry and Ginny’s famous kiss. The one you told me about.”
“Ah nuts! I missed it again!” Lily wasn’t listening. She was walking about the large room, examining all the training equipment that was assembled there. It exactly matched… “Whoa, this is the Room of Requirement. Luni described it to me. Harry taught Defense Against the Dark Arts here his fifth year.”
“She really lets you call her that?”
“Hey, it’s a musical play on a beautiful name. I only use it in an affectionate context. She’s my best friend. It’s no different than Ginny for Ginevra, or Harry for…Harold…Henry? Which is…? Wait one; are we in the right place here? This isn’t the type of dreamscape a pretty girl usually conjures up after an incredible kiss like they had.”
“No, it isn’t. Joseph? What? Oh, I see. Well that explains everything. Thank you, Joseph.”
“Okay–-it may explain everything, but not to me. I need it for the story, remember?”
“I beg your pardon. Joseph has manipulated the dream for teaching purposes. It will be all right. I promise we’ll give Harry and her a nice walk by the lake after we leave. Ah, and here she is now. Good evening Ginny.”
Ginny emerged from behind a sparring dummy, as startled as we were by the place. After the scene in the Common Room earlier, this was most decidedly not what she wanted when she went to sleep that night. I had to feel for her. I stepped out of the way allowing Lily to get to work.
“I’m sorry for the distraction dear, but I think we need to talk again. I understand that today was quite wonderful for you.”
“Yes, it was. Your son is…”
“A wonderful kisser? Yes, he inherited that from James…along with his shaggy hair. Tell me about this place Ginny. You trained here?”
“Yes, we did ma’am.”
“Please call me Lily.”
“I’d…thank you…Lily. Yes, Harry taught all of us here when that Umbridge woman wouldn’t. We called ourselves Dumbledore’s Army. I learned so much. I’m alive today because of his lessons.”
“Are you? I’ve heard about your battle at the Ministry. You lost our friend Sirius there though, didn’t you?”
“We…I don’t understand.” Ginny suddenly had a hurt look, which instantly turned into a defensive expression. “We did our best.”
“Each of you did your best. That’s admirable, but it can also be disastrous. Joseph!” The Room immediately changed form into what looked to be a military training facility. Several men were dressed in black, milling about with automatic firearms. The goggles, laser tag vests, and blank adapters confirmed the scenario. Tied to chairs in the center of the room were the three simulated hostages. “Please watch Ginny. None of them will see or hear us now.” Lily looked in my direction, giving me a quick apologetic grin for my continued exclusion. “Let me point out that each of these men is a crack shot, experienced soldier, and proficient in the martial arts. Watch.”
From three different points on the walls, the plywood was blown in, instantly followed by groups of four in separate fire teams. The terrorists opened fire, but they were clearly not working to coordinate their actions. The military teams moved as if a single body, laying down covering fire which had the bad guys on the defensive within seconds. In turn, one team would support the next, almost guaranteeing successful and far safer action. Twice terrorists tried individual flanking actions, utilizing large packing crates for cover, but one-at-a-time (no matter how good) against so many was just too overwhelming. The fight was over in twenty seconds. The training officer seemed disappointed that they had taken even that long.
Ginny’s eyes were wide at the lesson and remained so even when we found ourselves in a sunny spring meadow I recognized as being near the Burrow. In the distance I could see a dark-haired boy leaning against the family’s willow tree, no doubt awaiting the arrival of a pretty redhead. Hmm…and I had two of them with me with whom he’d love to spend some time.
“What did you learn Ginny?” Lily asked. Again, the girl didn’t hesitate with her answer.
“It is good to be a proficient dueler, but an army is a team. The Death Eaters at the Ministry didn’t fight the correct way either, but we need to be better than they are.” Ginny paused and looked in Dream Harry’s direction for four or five seconds before continuing. “Harry and I are a team as well now, aren’t we? I always seem to know where he is…what he’s thinking. It’s wonderful when we play Quidditch. It’s even more wonderful when we’re off together somewhere alone. Is it always going to be so nice?”
“No Ginny,” Lily finally told her. “There will be sad times, and hard times for you ahead. There will be days where you’ll carry the weight of the world on your shoulders because of my son. You know he’s worth it. Again, trust your feelings…always.”
The world spun about suddenly, but I somehow kept to my feet. We were still in the meadow, but the sun had shifted. Had we moved forward in time again? I next noticed that Lily wasn’t with me any longer. On a hunch, I ran toward the willow tree, half expecting to find a sleeping Ginny beneath it. I was partially correct. Ginny was there, but she was awake and with your Aunt Hermione. Both were crying and holding each other closely.
“That stupid, noble git! I’m sorry Hermione; I’ve been bending your ear for half an hour just telling you how much I love him and how scared I am for him.” Ginny pulled away from your aunt then. Her face was tear-streaked, but she was smiling as well. I was more at sea than ever. Where was the angel? “Please tell me again how you hit Ron with the shovel to make him say he loved you…and may I borrow it for Harry.”
They both laughed at that.
“I’d rather hear some more about this strange dream you had. You said it was about Harry and his mother?” This got my attention. Did Ginny remember her dreamscape this time? “Start from the beginning.”
“There isn’t much to tell Hermione. I laid down for a short nap just before you arrived. I don’t know why I was so tired. I seem to be so much more since Harry broke up with me at Dumbledore’s funeral. In the dream, I was playing Quidditch with all our friends, but we weren’t in the air, or even on brooms. You were there too in the game.” That remark caused Aunt Hermione to lift her eyebrows. “We were incredible. The Death Eaters…I mean the other team couldn’t lay a finger on us. Harry and I directed our team’s fire and didn’t lose a single person.”
“What do you mean by your team’s fire?”
“Did I say that? I must have meant…I don’t know what I mean. It was all so blurry. The next thing I remember was standing right here in this field with Harry. His mother was with us, holding both our hands and telling us what to do. ‘Trust your feelings,’ she told us. ‘You love Harry, and he loves you. Don’t be so stubborn!’ Then she gently Gibbs-slapped us up the sides of our heads, but she was laughing too. What does it mean?”
“You know that already Ginny. You’re Ginevra Molly Weasley, and just as Mrs. Potter told you in the dream, you love Harry. That and being patient with him are all that matter.”
I suddenly felt a hand on my shoulder. I knew it was Lily. “Are you sure you still need me? You called this scene without any input,” I rightly pointed out.
“I still need you to see this project to its conclusion Spenser. It’s time for the grand culmination!”
In the twinkle of an eye, I found myself in still another field…no, a large well-maintained yard, but late at night. Lily was again gone, but I could almost feel her presence nearby. Wasn’t that how angels worked? Harry and Ginny were an arm’s length ahead of me, on the wood line and in a classic defensive posture. Lily was showing me that Ginny had graduated.
“Harry, the Muggle with the rifle is at ten o’clock. I’d estimate thirty yards inside the trees. We over-watch each other, move half that distance, and then lay down suppressive magic until Maggie’s team can come about.”
“Right. A fan-wave of Zapfzz stun bolts should do it. I recommend a circular path right. I don’t suppose you have any fireworks do you Gin?”
“A Weasley without a flash bomb in her pocket? Perish the thought old boy,” your mom told him in a laughing voice. She was clearly having great fun.
The two were running then. There was another shot, but, even if the Muggle gunman had a night scope, he had little chance against the pair. Both were amazed with their own proficiency, but, for some reason, not with the other’s. Arriving at their arranged position, they heard one final rifle crack, but knew it was directed toward the other team. Ginny let loose the oversize firecracker. The pair was wise enough to avert their eyes, saving their own night vision. Two minutes later, all four Magics were at the sniper’s site without a single scratch between them. The gunman had gone, but they later learned he had paid with his life for his failure.
Walking back to the large house where they were staying that June, Harry and Ginny couldn’t stop commenting on and complimenting each other for their great success. I barely noticed when Lily joined me on the walk.
“Where did you learn all of that Ginny? You were brilliant!”
“I’m not really sure Harry. I don’t know. I guess your natural talent is just rubbing off on me.”
“You’ve been coaching her in her sleep quite a bit, haven’t you Lily?” I asked then.
“I have, but, I’m sorry, without you there. We’ve had a number of visits now in fact. There have also been a few encouraging conversations as well about my thick-headed son.”
“I don’t suppose your husband James has been busy with Harry at the same time?”
“Hmm…maybe. Maybe several of our associates have been visiting people in their sleep. No, not you Spenser. You weren’t involved in the final battle, and you were much more valuable defending and helping the wounded that day. I don’t believe you’ll need any help in your romantic life either if you’ll just shut up and kiss the girl, you big idiot.”
“Huh? What girl? No, never mind. Are we ready to go now?”
“Just one more minute please.”
Our couple had held up, allowing the others to continue to the house without them. Harry put a hand on each of Ginny’s shoulders, and stared into her eyes, lit up by the three-quarter moon.
“You told me a couple days ago that you already knew what I was going to say to you, and that I knew what you would say to me as well.” She nodded. “Well I’ll say it aloud anyway. I am in love with you. I have been for a long time and everyone knew it but me. I know you love me too, and tonight I was stronger because I could feel you inside me. I can’t promise we won’t lose each other in this fight, but I know that I’m dead inside without you with me. Ginny, if you think you can put up with someone like me for a while, I’d…”
“Harry…shut up and kiss me you idiot!” And he did.
“Very good,” Lily whispered, apparently forgetting how the lovebirds couldn’t hear us. “One more stop now.”
“Where have you brought me Lily? Whose home is this?”
“Harry and Ginny’s actually, or rather it will be one of them along with Grimmauld Place. It’s in your future, so I can’t give you too many details. To preserve history, you won’t remember any of this…any of our fieldtrip in fact until after the corresponding time has passed. Even we have rules.”
“I guess I understand. Who’s that with Harry there?”
“Spenser, let me tell you something. When I first looked down on Ginny, sitting alone in the Gryffindor Common Room after the breakup, trying to decide if Harry really fancied her more than he could tell her then, do you know what I felt? I felt very, very proud. That’s right, as strange as it seems. I didn’t tell you, but I actually visited her in her dreams for the first time that night, and then my son as well. It was as clear as a summer day how they felt about each other. They were crazy in love with one another. I was proud because I knew they would persevere. Neither needed a lesson in it–just the right nudge, and perhaps a better chance to survive your fight unscathed.”
“I think I understand. No, I don’t.” I was scratching my head, and the angel was laughing at my confusion.
“Come with me, there is someone I want you to meet,” she said then, as we stepped off toward the bedroom door in front of us. “No, not her. The woman with Harry is their midwife.”
Everything was explained when Ginny emerged from that room, holding a tiny newborn and accompanied by the other Lily. Mother and child must have been asleep and coming to us in a dream state again.
“Grandmother, Spenser, I would very much like you to meet…me, or this universe’s version of me. Yes, I definitely was a beautiful baby, even if I do say so myself.” It was my turn to laugh.
“Hi Ginny; I guess you can see me this time–congratulations. I look forward to doing this again someday, but in solid form. Okay, one more time Lily; why did you need me along? I love babies and all, and I appreciate the story I’m getting, but what good is that?”
“Ah yes–-what good is that? One day you’ll understand.”
The next thing I knew I was back in the Astronomy Tower on my breezy spring evening. From all about me, but, from unseen bells, I could hear soft chiming. My host for the evening had earned her wings.
“Is your story true Uncle Spenser…really, really true?”
“It’s as true as anything I’ve ever written kiddo. What? Don’t look at me that way. Your face will stick like that. I’ll tell you what Lily, my story is as true as it needed to be. You stayed awake, and looky there, the sun is setting.”
Lily slowly turned her head toward the room’s small window, and her soft breathing told me that she would soon be out cold if the Healer would now allow it. I heard him come up from behind me and move to the bed. A quick examination utilizing a monitoring mist and a lit wand, a nod and a smile, and I knew my adopted niece was going to be fine. I stepped over and gave the girl a gentle kiss on the uninjured portion of her forehead, but also noted how she was already asleep.
I followed Kildare out, and then back downstairs, entering the waiting area from one door just as Harry and Ginny did from another. They must have made record time coming back from France after the dog found them. Luna and little Winston (toting an enormous reward bone) were there as well.
“She’ll be fine,” Doctor Kildare told everyone before the question could be asked. “Your friend here did an excellent job of keeping her awake while we reduced the swelling from the concussion.”
Harry and I locked eyes. A slight nod was his show of appreciation. The fire in his eyes was the only commentary on my babysitting skills. Then it was gone.
“Harry is going to find a better way to secure his workshop and those brooms before we take another trip,” Ginny told everyone. That was all that would be said for the time being I realized, and Harry gave me a sheepish grin then to confirm it.
“May we see her for a moment now?” he asked and placed a protective arm around Ginny as they followed the Healer back upstairs.
I was tired suddenly. I was as tired as little Lily must be. I took a seat on the bench by the front window, and a second later Luna joined me there. For any number of minutes, we just stared in silence across the dimly lit room.
“Tell me something Luna,” I finally asked. “Why have you always allowed me to call you Luni?” I didn’t need to look over to somehow know she was grinning at me.
“That’s easy silly. I love the way you smile at me whenever you use the name, and the way you get so angry whenever someone else does. Either way, you’re telling me you care about me.”
It was just the thing I needed to hear just then. It was my turn to grin. I kissed her cheek and stood up.
“I think you should wait for Harry and Ginny,” I suggested. “Uhm…for some reason though I need to zip over to The Three Broomsticks for just a minute.”
Luna seemed to understand, which was certainly strange, because I didn’t. I let myself out of the Healer office, and then took off at a full run across the village, stopping only when I reached the tavern’s door.
Being midweek, there was far less than a capacity crowd, which was just the way I wanted it. I took a table in a far corner and motioned for the barmaid to join me there. I had been talking for hours earlier. I was in desperate need of something cool to drink.
“Evenin’ luv. What’ll be tonight?”
“Good evening. I’d like something wet…very wet please. It’s Matilda, isn’t it?”
She was gone and back in less than a minute, depositing a tall pewter cup on the table in front of me. My mouth felt as if I’d swallowed half of Death Valley after reciting to Lily the long story. I greedily grabbed the mug and tried to down it in one gulp. I came close to spitting it out again and across the room.
“Feldercarb! That’s not water, its…I’m not sure what it is!” I looked around for the server, but she was nowhere to be seen. In fact, the entire tavern was now empty except for me and the two Lilys seated across from me.
“It’s Burundian Kowtowing Ale Spenser,” the freckled Lily with glasses explained. “Our associate Metatron, is very fond of it, at least when he’s off duty.”
“Go ahead and ask us again,” Grandmother Lily said then.
“I don’t need to.” It was suddenly so clear to me. I knew why this angel had taken me with her years earlier. I knew why I had been privy to her lessons with Ginny. It was all for today. “You needed me to keep our Lily awake until the danger from the concussion passed this evening. Only a whiz bang story such as yours could do it with such a small girl. Still, couldn’t you have just protected her when she was on the broom, or better yet kept her off it in the first place?”
“We’re not meant to run your lives for you, and you don’t want us to. My granddaughter is a very strong-willed young lady. Aren’t you dear?” The other Lily just gave her a shy, embarrassed smile in lieu of a real reply. “So is her mother. Spenser, when we helped Ginny and Harry, it was by teaching, advising, mentoring, and more than anything, just listening. We can’t fight your battles for you; we can’t force you to fall in love with just the right person; we can’t just make all life simple and easy. We help all of you. We don’t pull you along by the nose.”
I wasn’t sure I understood it all, but maybe I wasn’t meant to. I had no doubt that as soon as I wrote the story down, I’d forget all that happened again…or at least enough to know how it had all been true. Ginny hadn’t needed to remember meeting Harry’s mom, just the lessons she’d been given about the war and about a stubborn, noble git both of them loved. I stood up, laid down a couple Knuts for the ale, and started to leave.
“I see you did earn your wings Lily,” I said, pausing there. “They’re very nice.”
“Spenser, there you are. Harry and Ginny are outside waiting. Lily will be staying with the Healers tonight, so I invited them to our cottage for supper. Are you ready?”
Luna, not waiting for a reply, ducked back out to join our friends. I followed but stopped again at the front window to watch her with Harry and Ginny there. I didn’t miss how Harry’s mother had joined me.
“That’s my girl…and that’s my boy,” she said, mimicking Spencer Tracy’s famous movie line. Great actor, but he spelled his first name funny.
“And oh, what a job you’ve taken up,” I whispered back.
A/N: The Spencer Tracy line is from the 1943 film A Guy Named Joe, remade by Steven Spielberg as Always in 1989 with Richard Dreyfuss. My apologies and thanks to the creators of Doctor Kildare and Ben Casey, two classic medical dramas. I also referenced Alan Rickman’s (Professor Snape) role as another angel, Metatron, from the 1999 film Dogma. Yes, Clarence, Joseph and Zu Zu Bailey are from It’s a Wonderful Life: “Look Daddy. Teacher says every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.”
Thank you very much for reading–Eric B.
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