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Chapter 11: Just Maybe
Fred stood up and observed the motionless Ron; he could tell Ron was under a curse. But instead of releasing Ron from his plight, Fred quickly walked passed Ron with his wand held high. He speculated who had found Ron, and why they would bring him here of all places. Heading down the hallway Fred reached the dark living room; a dark figure was draped across his leather couch. Fred walked closer and peered at the sleeping figure; putting down his wand, he snorted.
“Really, falling asleep on the job? If this was a real hold up, the captor should still be awake.” Fred said, projecting his voice so that it was a few times louder than normal. Ginny jerked awake and blinked sleepily at her older brother.
“Whas’it?” Ginny asked blearily. Fred chuckled and flopped down beside her. Groaning loudly she pulled her feet from under his sturdy frame. “Gosh Fred, cut down on those pastries will you?”
“But they are ever so good, and truly I would rather be fat and round for the rest of my days then to never eat one of those deliriously tasty devils,” Fred replied dramatically. Ginny snorted and sat up straight as if she just remembered something.
“Didn’t you see him?” Ginny demanded. The hostility from earlier quickly returned to her face.
“Who, Ron? Of course I did! I tripped over him as I came out of the broom closet.” Fred said, irritation entering his voice. This night was really chalking up for him; the last person he wanted to see was Ron to remind him of earlier.
“Yes Ron you dolt! What is wrong with that picture?” Ginny demanded in exasperation. Fred looked at his sister in amusement.
“That’s all I get? No, ‘Hi Fred, it’s good to see you. Sorry I haven’t found the time to come from my niche in Ireland, but I’m been just so busy with Seamus you know,’” Fred joked, knowing that his dismissive attitude would push her buttons. Ginny huffed angrily as Fred peered at his fingernails as if they were the most interesting things in the world.
“Fred Weasley! This is not the time for your jests; Ron is dead, if that small fact had somehow managed to surpass you. So please, can you explain why he is in your hallway?”
“Maybe cause you cursed the poor bloke and brought him here?” Fred suggested innocently. Upon seeing Ginny’s frustrated look, Fred few serious. “He-“ Fred paused. “He was never dead.”
Missy sat on the hospital bed with the crisp white blankets pulled high up to her chin. The telly was softly humming beside her, but she took no notice of the characters on the screen as they acted out another scene in their life. Her mind was trapped elsewhere. Maybe in the grey area of what happened and what was a hallucination.
When she got back from her escape with Fred, they had been righteously angry with her and she was sure that Fred wasn’t going to get off scot-free. The head lady, the one she liked to called Dragon, had muttered something about kidnapping he should be punished. Though she wasn’t sure what the word meant anymore, it didn’t sound at all agreeable. They had even put a guard by her door, saying that they needed to monitor the people entering her room. Though she was positive that the guard was there to keep her in just as much as it was to keep everyone else out. Stupid hospital security, Missy thought with annoyance. They didn’t want to risk another disaster, though Missy could hardly fathom why, it was only Fred. It wasn’t as if he would have stolen her away forever or anything.
She had been ready to tell him that she remembered. Well, at least, remembered enough so not to be frightened of it. She was still frightened of course, but the fear didn’t come from the things that weren’t understandable as if had been before. No, she was only apprehensive of the things that had transpired in that dark cave. The cave that seemed to have all the answers; yet, it held its secrets within the deepest if its caverns. She had almost ready to spill her guts out to him, but after seeing the look on his face after that kiss on the cheek, she sealed her lips. Never in her life had she seen such sadness, yet certain hardness enter another’s eyes before. Though, unsure if that counted since she could barely remember anything, just a few events she managed to piece together in her head, so how would she know if she had seen that look before?
Missy supposed some things are better kept to oneself. It is her problem and burdening Fred with if didn’t seem fair. He had done enough already. She could hardly imagine him wanting anything to do with a silly girl who didn’t even know who she was. He was so upbeat and spontaneous, everything she felt she wasn’t, though she hardly knew if that were true, it just seemed to fit.
Missy sighed and turned to face to wall. The pure whiteness of it glared back at her; there was not a single scuffmark on it. It was perfection. Something she couldn’t even imagine her life being. She briefly thought that she should turn the light out before she remembered that the Dragon wanted to talk to her still. They were just finishing up filling out some missing patient forms or something. Missy let her thoughts roam back to Fred; they did that a lot lately. She was surprised by what was happening. It felt almost forbidden, like, these feelings inside her had been expected to be for someone else. But expected by whom? That question remained unanswered. Missy shook her head, dismissing the thought. She didn’t know where it had come from. It was as if it drifted out of midair like a piece of dust and had planted itself inside her mind.
It was funny how the heart works. Her logical side was telling her that it wasn’t possible to care for him when she could barely feel herself, but her heart said otherwise. Was it fake then, was she just getting attached to him because he was the first there when she needed someone to lean on? Would it have been the same if that man at the ice cream parlour been in Fred's place?
Missy placed her hands tightly on her head. It was too much to think on, her brain was starting to spin. Plus the way he looked at her when he said goodbye nearly told her that she wasn’t going to see much of him from here on out. So these thoughts, these feelings meant nothing. It felt that his taking her out like he did was a sort of farewell on his part. Maybe that’s what is for what’s best, sometimes things aren’t meant to work out. These things are just placed into a person’s path to make them stronger. Maybe in the whole scheme of things, Fred was only around to help her find herself. Nothing more. Maybe she was meant for something bigger, something much more- just more she thought to herself. Just maybe… But as these thoughts settled she couldn’t help but feel the hollow pit of her stomach seem to grow larger.
Turning back on her back so she could stare at the roof, she started to get annoyed by how long it was taking. Part of her wanted to go to sleep so she could, for a time anyhow, ignore these thoughts that keep flagging her mind. Another part of her knew that no matter how hard she tried, sleep wouldn’t come.
Just then, a business like rap echoed from the door, and a lady with long billowing white robes strode in with a tight frown etched across her features. Her steel hair was cut short to her head and her striking blue eyes would stop any normal person in their shoes. She must have been very pretty in her day, Missy caught herself thinking. Even if she wore that frown, the boys would have been chasing her as if their life depended on it.
She had her sleeves rolled up her elbows and a silver quill tucked behind her right ear. Missy sat up straight in her presence; there was something about her that commanded complete attention.
“How are you feeling?” The Dragon asked, though her tone was brisk and Missy knew it was the last thing she wanted to know.
“I’m fine ma’am,” Missy replied. It felt as if she had to pay the utmost respect to this woman.
“Good,” Missy waited for her to continue. “Do you have any idea what you might have done this evening?” Her voice had turned hard within moments. It was a voice that you didn’t mess with.
“Erm… I just went on a walk with Fred. It isn’t as if he would have kidnapped me, whatever that means. Its just Fred.” Missy said, voicing her earlier opinion.
“But what would happen if it hadn’t been just Fred as you put it. What if it was someone who wishes to harm you?” Missy stopped, she could think of someone who might, but she didn’t know what had happened to him, couldn’t remember if he was still out there somewhere, just bidding his time to get her back. Or if how she escaped had taken him out as well.
Missy let out a little grunt and looked at her fingers uncomfortable.
“Not only that but you could have single handed blown out whole cover! Just look at what you’re wearing, if anyone had seen that…” Missy looked down and noticed what she was talking about. A plastic band was wrapped around her wrist. ‘St. Mungo’s; a hospital for the sick wizard or witch. Patient 2245.’
“The muggles could have found out about his world! All of our precautions would have been breached and we most likely would have been crushed just like they did in Salem!” The Dragon took a deep, calming breath.
“Witch-Burning?” Missy asked her brows creased in thought. The Healer gave her a sharp look.
“How do you know that?”
“I don’t know,” Missy responded quietly. She honestly didn’t know how she remembered or even thought of witch burning it had just come her and it seemed right. The Dragon let out a sigh.
“I know you don’t understand where you came from or how you fit into this world. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be told that you belong to something this extraordinary. But there’s one thing that must be understood. Our secrecy is one a very dangerous edge right now and if one domino accidentally got knocked down it’s outcome could effect the whole world, not just you.”
“But wouldn’t people want to use this ability that we have, for their own use?” Missy said it felt like she was echoing someone else’s words.
“Yes, some would try to exploit us, but a lot would be scared of it I dare say. Scared of things that they don’t understand, maybe even scared enough to try and do something drastic to stop it.”
“Oh,” Missy replied unable to think of anything else to say.
“That’s why you need to promise me that you will never try to sneak out again. The consequences could mean your life.” Missy thought it was a little radical to say her life depended on this, but she let it slide and agreed to be a good girl. She had never really known a reason to randomly break the rules anyway. If you just followed them, usually it would seem as if they weren’t even there. Missy shook her head again, shocked at where these thoughts were coming from. Deep inside she knew that they weren’t new, but had lain dormant in the recesses of her mind only now as if a key had slowly started to unlock a door these thoughts were returning.
“Goodnight.” Missy was startled to see the lady was still here. It had been a few minutes of since either of them had spoken.
“Bye.” Suddenly Missy felt very tired. It might have been the talk or the onslaught of these thoughts; the pieces of whom she is slowly fitting back together. It seemed as if the remembrance of these vague memories drained her of her energy and left her muscles aching. Feeling herself relax she saw the Dragon, though she wasn’t sure if the name was fitting anymore, turn off the telly with a flick of the thing she called a wand and the next thing she knew she was surrounded by darkness. Feeling the familiar heaviness in her head that happens when one is about to fall asleep she let he body sink into the bed. She couldn’t remember a time that it had felt so good. Sensing her body relaxing even more her eyes fluttered a few times before sleep pulled her into its grasp.
Ron, after being released from his curse, sat, leaning against a wall his head in his hands, the remorse of what he done weighed heavily on his shoulders. The three family members had let silence reign after Fred spoke his final words.
Throughout his story, Ginny had moved and was sitting on a chair in the kitchen. Surprisingly, she had remained deathly quiet through Fred’s explanation. It would have almost seem as if she hadn’t taken any of Fred words in except that she kept throwing looks over at the hallway, where Ron had lain. Even now, she couldn’t find any words to say. But, maybe in times like these, there were no words a person could really say to make the past five years go away.
“Oh Ron,” Ginny finally sputtered. Her brown eyes filled with tears as she stood up and quickly made her way across the small flat. Enfolding her arms around her older brother, she kept muttering something about how she had missed him so much.
“I loved her so much,” Ron said hoarsely. Fred, who was still sitting on the couch, held back an angry snarl. But he couldn’t stop his face contorting to a dangerous frown, but Ginny and Ron where too busy to notice Fred’s change.
“If I heard right Ron, Hermione, well she’s not gone!” Ginny said, excitement entering her voice. “You guys get another chance. You’re lucky, not many get that.” Ron nodded.
“But what if she doesn’t remember?” Ron asked, looking at Ginny. Before Ginny could answer, Fred stood up with an angry swear. Ginny and Ron both looked at Fred with surprise. He looked at them, his face contorted with resentment.
“Thirsty,” he muttered before he marched irritably over to the kitchen where he proceeded to pull out a small bottle of firewhiskey and clanged it hard against the counter. Swearing again he opened the bottle and took a long swig of the drink.
Ginny decided to leave Fred to his devices and turned back to Ron.
“She’ll remember Ron, maybe not right away. But when two people share something as strong as it seemed you two had, those feelings can’t simply be erased, it’s something deeper than memory, deeper than anything in this world. No one can take that away.” Ron nodded, but he didn’t look completely convinced. Fred glared at his brother, before controlling his features. It was fair, Fred thought, Ron deserves her. He would never forgive me if I tried to take her away from him.
“I think we should tell them, the Order, I mean,” Ginny said. “And mum.” Ginny looked at her brothers, neither seemed excited over the idea. “Don’t you think Fred?” Fred looked at his sister and tried covering up how sad he felt inside. It wasn’t easy trying to give up someone your heart had let itself get close too.
“Yeah, we probably should.” Fred agreed and took another long drink. Ron nodded as well.
“There are some other things they have to know too, we could go now?” Ginny nodded her agreement. “It’s been far too long, and you guys have had her for six months, I’m surprised nothing’s happened.” Ginny gave him a worried look at those words, but Ron gave her a reassuring smile and stood up. “Ready Freddie-boy?” Fred gave Ron a mock look, but nodded his head as he finished the firewhiskey. Ginny shook her head.
“The Burrow?” Ginny said, and then three pops were heard.
There was a noise in the middle of the night. It was only a quiet one, the sound a mouse might make when he’s scrounging for good. No one should have worried about it, but Missy shot up in her bed in an instant. The sound had come from in front of her closed door. Not quite understanding why her heart was hammering as fast as it was, she tried to settle back down in her bed, reassuring herself that she had merely dreamt it. Only a few moments later though, her heart jumped again. The door was slowly being opened, letting the hall light illuminate her room. Watching as the outline of the doorway get larger and longer, she couldn’t stop her heart pounding. There should have been a shadow, saying someone was there, but by the looks, it was as if a ghost was there. Suddenly one was there, Missy watched out of the corner of her eye as the huge figure blocked out half of the light.
A familiar chill ran up her spine, she opened her mouth to scream, but found that she couldn’t find her voice. It seemed as if just seeing the shadow had paralysed her from head to toe. What was he doing here? Shouldn’t he have been dead? Missy gripped her blanket tighter and told herself that it might not have been true. She couldn’t remember what she did to get away. Though something told her, he should have been gone. Squeezing her eyes shut, she relied on the fact that she couldn’t do anything; she hadn’t been able to before. Where was the guard?
All these thoughts ran through her head before the shadow moved, then as if in slow motion, Missy sensed that he had taken a step into her room. What was it about this presence in her room that rendered her senseless? Her muscles felt so tight that she was sure a drill would be needed to uncoil them.
Slamming her eyes shut, the old child line came to her. If I can’t see you, you’re not there. For some reason, she didn’t think that it would apply here. Missy’s breath got shallower, and she was sure that if she took the chance to look, the stranger would be standing right by her bed, his rank breath breathing rapidly just by looking down at her. Then she heard him, his voice was raspy with neglect, but the effect of it, still had the same result. It was spoken quietly, almost too quietly for her too hear, but she had no doubt what his word was.
Ron, Ginny, and Fred arrived at the Burrow. To their surprise the living room light was still shining into the darkness. Their mum must still be up. They had called a meeting for the Order, but by the time the rest of the people arrived, they’d have time to reveal Ron to her. Linking arms, they pushed the front door open.
“Mum?” Ginny called out.
“Ginny dear, is that you?” Mrs. Weasley said, excitement laced her voice; she hadn’t seen her daughter in a while now.
“Yes mum,” Mrs. Weasley came hurrying around the corner, her warm brown eyes glistening with tears.
“Oh my baby!” Mrs. Weasley started to say, but stopped dead. “Ro-Ronald?” she sputtered out. “What foolishness is this?” Mrs. Weasley didn’t move any closer. Her eyes darted wildly between all three children as if they were playing some horrid joke upon her. Uncomfortable Fred ruffled his copper hair, as if it would lessen the tension that had suddenly entered the room. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to help.
“Mum,” Ron said, his eyes grew misty with tears. “I-” Ron choked; he’d never been very good with words. “I’ve found my way back home.”
“Oh, of course you have,” Mrs. Weasley said after a few moments of indecision. Coming quickly forward, she engulfed Ron in a tight hug, her eyes spilling forth. “I knew you weren’t gone, something told me to keep looking out my window and one night, you’d find your way back. That stupid clock put you on lost instead of dead. I thought it was just fooling with me so I smashed it!” Mrs. Weasley snivelled into Ron’s shoulder. “But it was right all along!” Mrs. Weasley let out a loud howl. Ron patted his mum awkwardly on the back and looked up at Fred and Ginny who were both giving him roguish grins.
Just then, the rest of the Order started showing up. Fred and Ginny quickly hid Ron away, not wanting to start a commotion even before the meeting began.
“So, why are we here?” Tonks asked, blowing a huge, pink bubble from her mouth. They hadn’t needed a serious meeting in a long time; this was news to them. Lupin smiled at his wife, and patted her gently on the leg.
There was silence for a moment. Then Ginny hit Fred on the leg signalling him to expose Ron. Fred glared momentarily at Ginny before he coughed and stood up hastily. Everyone looked shocked to see Fred fronting this whole thing; even George was a little bewildered.
“Um, well this past week, we’ve had erm- an occurrence,” Fred stopped, knowing how stupid and unconvincing he was sounding. But what was he supposed to say? This wasn’t supposed to be funny, so that didn’t help him one bit. “There was someone who we believed to be dead for quite some time now, but it appears now, that he wasn’t.” The people at the table gave Fred an interested but confused look. Mrs. Weasley on the other hand gave a joyful yelp. “When he comes in, please just listen to what he has to say, he may have some information about You-Know-Who’s lair.”
Ron entered then, but no one heeded Fred’s request. There was a huge commotion when they seen him, Tonks tripped over her chair in haste to get to him, Lupin though stayed in his seat, and looked sceptically at the newly risen from the dead. Awkwardly, Ron let Tonks hug him; she was sobbing and lecturing him never to be such a wet blanket again. Ron had to admire how she could be crying, yet sound so demanding at the same time. A few other Order members yelled out their welcome, Ron nodded and quickly sat in the empty seat by Ginny.
“You sure this is him?” Lupin asked sharply looking Fred directly in the eye.
“Yes Lupin, I’m positive.”
“Revealo,” Lupin said. “Just to be sure that in your need for him to be Ron, he didn’t put a blindfold over your eyes.”
When nothing happened at Lupin’s spell, he seemed to settle down, though he still eyed Ron warily. A few minutes after their inquiries of where he’s been, the Order gave Ron their full attention.
“For the last year or so I’ve been tracking this man, he was one of the Death Eaters and I’m positive he was very high ranking. His name is Rolf Sprinestein. He went to Durmstrang as a child, and trust me he is very well adept to the Dark Arts. He’s proven that in the few encounters I’ve had with him.”
“What makes this man so important though?” Tonks asked. “Yeah, I know all Death Eaters that weren’t forced are to be convicted to a lifetime in Azkaban, but is their something special about this one?”
“I’m getting to that,” Ron said, his hand ran through his shaggy hair. “What I’ve been able to gather, in that cave hideout they had. They used their prisoners for something. I’m thinking to generate something, or create some new weapon. Everything was either gone, or destroyed when I was down there so I couldn’t really figure out what was going on.”
“We found these,” Kingsley said, laying on the table the sheets of parchment they had discovered while there. Ron took them and looked over them with a grim look on his face.
“Fake names I’m guessing, probably to keep their operation secret, just in case something happened. Something like the end of Voldemort.” Ron strayed into silence then as he stared at the sheet. “They called her Hestia-” He whispered, it was as if he wasn’t talking to them and maybe he wasn’t. Maybe he was just remembering some far ago memory.
“They called who Hestia?” Lupin ventured. Ron looked up, as if just noticing they were there. His eyes were cloudy and he carried this faraway look in his deep-set brown eyes.
“Hermione,” he whispered. Silence followed Ron’s pronouncement. No one said anything, but everyone was thinking the same thing. It was funny how an event that happened to long ago, the story of it could still have meaning today.
Ron seemed gather his wits again and he looked over the Order with more assertion.
“That girl that you have at St. Mungo’s; the one you call Missy.” Ron stared. The Order nodded, knowing whom he was talking about. “She’s not safe.”
“Why’s that?” Kingsley asked. “St. Mungo’s has top notch security. Plus, I do believe they put a guard by her door because of a certain outing this evening.” Kingsley looked merrily at Fred. Fred blushed a little and looked at his hands.
“Have you ever wondered why she was the only one who survived that hell hole?” Ron asked, his anger flaring up. “Don’t think that everyone is on your side! That man, Rolf, that disgusting piece of filth is still out there, and he is dying to have Hermione back. He’ll do anything, and I mean anything to have her back. Don’t for one-second think that he can’t get into St. Mungo’s undetected. He has power that some only dream of.”
“Okay, wait, slow down and rewind!” Tonks said. “Are you saying that girl is Hermione?”
“Hermione is dead, there was report. Signed by the ministry, her body was found, mangled and destroyed, almost unrecognisable. Only through her dental records could they decipher who it was.” Lupin said. “I had seen the body!” Ron gave a hollow laugh, a haunted, eerie sound drifted across the room. The sound of it drew chills down the spines of the rest of the Order members. They didn’t recognise this side of Ron. Five years had changed him.
“And you believed it? Something as simple as a parchment with the crest of the Minister?” Ron said evocatively. Ron shook his head, still laughing.
“Ron, stop laughing like that!” Ginny hissed at him, she almost looked scared at the mere sound of it. Ron gave her a roguish grin, but complied with her request.
“You wrote it,” Fred said. Ron looked at his brother with amazement, but nodded.
“I had to try to get him to stop looking for her. With her on the death count, maybe he would stop. I think for a time he did, but then that stupid Daily Prophet did a special on her. She was doomed at that point.” A hush fell around the table, the mistakes made with this girl where tolling up.
“So… this means?” George asked slowly, as if he were scared to know.
“It means that it’s not a question of if he gets her, it’s a question of when.”
“You’re very clever you know, very clever indeed,” the man said. He casually sat on the chair with his legs resting on the bed frame. “It’s a shame you weren’t one of us, things might have turned out differently.” She didn’t say anything, not that she could. She was sure he had cast a spell on her, one that cut off her voice. “Yeah, but as it turns out. I’m a little cleverer than you. You thought you killed me. But there is one single thing you overlooked.” The man stopped as if it was pleasing to him to taunt her so.
Missy continued to stare at the roof, trying to ignore the fear that was rolling over her. He had found her; somehow, even though she denied it at times, she knew he was going to. He was impossible to escape from, no matter what happened, he was always one step ahead of you.
“You see, that’s why we wiped your memories clean. If you didn’t know who you were, it would be harder for you to fight us. How can someone who can’t feel themselves know what they are capable of?” He laughed, a wretched, poignant sound washed over her. “But then, that’s why you’re here,” he motioned to the space around him. “Trying to find yourself again? Trust me, you’ll never completely get it back.” She could tell it pleased him at how clever they had constructed their prison. It wasn’t just a prison in the literal sense; they had been a prisoner to their minds as well. They had lost everything they knew, and for what? So, the dark side could try to generate a lost power. Too bad they never found it.
“Well I don’t see the point of dilly dallying any longer. Must be off, much to do tonight.” The chair squeaked loudly as he stood up. Stretching his arms over his head slowly, he cracked each finger in succession. Walking over to her bed, he grinned wickedly down at her. Reaching for his wand, he was about to turn it on her when a large thump was heard outside the door.