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03 January 2007 @ 11:31 pm
Advent 2006: From Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix  

From Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, chapter twenty-three,
“Christmas on the Closed Ward”

     Once they had had their Christmas lunch, the Weasleys and Harry and Hermione were planning to pay Mr. Weasley another visit, escorted by Mad-Eye and Lupin.  Mundungus turned up in time for Christmas pudding and trifle, having managed to “borrow” a car for the occasion, as the Underground did not run on Christmas Day.  The car, which Harry doubted very much had been taken with the knowledge or consent of its owner, had had a similar Enlargement Spell put upon it as the Weasleys’ old Ford Anglia; although normally proportioned outside, ten people with Mundungus driving were able to fit into it quite comfortably.  Mrs. Weasley hesitated at the point of getting inside; Harry knew her disapproval of Mundungus was battling with her dislike of traveling without magic; finally the cold outside and her children’s pleading triumphed, and she settled herself into the backseat between Fred and Bill with good grace.

     The journey to St Mungo’s was quite quick, as there was very little traffic on the roads.  A small trickle of witches and wizards were creeping furtively up the otherwise deserted street to visit the hospital.  Harry and the others got out of the car, and Mundungus drove off around the corner to wait for them; they strolled casually towards the window where the dummy in green nylon stood, then, one by one, stepped through the glass.

     The reception area looked pleasantly festive: The crystal orbs that illuminated St Mungo’s had been coloured red and gold to become gigantic, glowing Christmas baubles; holly hung around every doorway; and shining white Christmas trees covered in magical snow and icicles glittered in every corner, each one topped with a gleaming gold star.  It was less crowded than the last time they had been there, although halfway across the room Harry found himself shunted aside by a witch with a walnut jammed up her left nostril.

     “Family argument, eh?” smirked the blonde witch behind the desk.  “You’re the third I’ve seen today… Spell Damage, fourth floor…”

     They found Mr. Weasley propped up in bed with the remains of his turkey dinner on a tray on his lap and a rather sheepish expression on his face.

     “Everything all right, Arthur?” asked Mrs. Weasley, after they had all greeted Mr. Weasley and handed over their presents.

     “Fine, fine,” said Mr. Weasley, a little too heartily.  “You — er — haven’t seen Healer Smethwyck, have you?”

     “No,” said Mrs. Weasley suspiciously, “why?”

     “Nothing, nothing,” said Mr. Weasley airily, starting to unwrap his pile of gifts.  “Well, everyone had a good day?  What did you all get for Christmas?  Oh, Harry — this is absolutely wonderful!”

     For he had just opened Harry’s gift of fuse-wire and screwdrivers.  Mrs. Weasley did not seem entirely satisfied with Mr. Weasley’s answer.  As her husband leaned over to shake Harry’s hand, she peered at the bandaging under his nightshirt.

     “Arthur,” she said, with a snap in her voice like a mousetrap, “you’ve had your bandages changed.  Why have you had your bandages changed a day early, Arthur?  They told me they wouldn’t need doing until tomorrow.”

     “What?” said Mr. Weasley, looking rather frightened and pulling the bed covers higher up his chest.  “No, no — it’s nothing — it’s — I —”

     He seemed to deflate under Mrs. Weasley’s piercing gaze.

     “Well — now don’t get upset, Molly, but Augustus Pye had an idea… He’s the Trainee Healer, you know, lovely young chap and very interested in… um… complementary medicine… I mean, some of these old Muggle remedies… well, they’re called stitches, Molly, and they work very well on — on Muggle wounds —”

     Mrs. Weasley let out an ominous noise somewhere between a shriek and a snarl.  Lupin strolled away from the bed and over to the werewolf, who had no visitors and was looking rather wistfully at the crowd around Mr. Weasley; Bill muttered something about getting himself a cup of tea and Fred and George leapt up to accompany him, grinning.

     “Do you mean to tell me,” said Mrs. Weasley, her voice growing louder with every word and apparently unaware that her fellow visitors were scurrying for cover, “that you have been messing about with Muggle remedies?”

     “Not messing about, Molly, dear,” said Mr. Weasley imploringly.  “It was just — just something Pye and I thought we’d try — only, most unfortunately — well, with these particular kinds of wounds — it doesn’t seem to work as well as we’d hoped —”

     “Meaning?

     “Well… well, I don’t know whether you know what — what stitches are?”

     “It sounds as though you’ve been trying to sew your skin back together,” said Mrs. Weasley with a snort of mirthless laughter, “but even you, Arthur, wouldn’t be that stupid —”

     “I fancy a cup of tea, too,” said Harry, jumping to his feet.

     Hermione, Ron, and Ginny almost sprinted to the door with him.  As it swung closed behind them, they heard Mrs. Weasley shriek, “WHAT DO YOU MEAN, THAT’S THE GENERAL IDEA?”

J. K. Rowling (born 1965)

 
 
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