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Chapter 3 : Part III
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It wasn’t easy at Grimmauld Place. It was even worse for those few days at Godric’s Hollow, where Harry nearly broke down and cried aloud. A few of the villagers remembered Lily and James, and though few were willing to speak for their fear, one had been their neighbor and a close friend and Harry visited him often.
The wizard told stories of how much his parents truly loved each other and how they took walks often, even in the rain and snow. Harry felt like he was trying to swallow a chunk of ice every time he listened.
But he was drawn to the stories.
At Grimmauld Place he stayed with nearly all of the Weasleys, including Fleur. Hermione, Tonks, and Remus lived there as well. Kingsley Shacklebolt and Alastor Moody often stopped by. It wasn’t a cheery place. Behind the door of peeling paint were dark halls and empty rooms.
But Moth was there. She was allowed to stay only because she knew so much information about Harry’s Pensieve, and Moody was especially wary to let her out of his sight. But she never once mentioned the Pensieve again, for which Harry silently thanked her. Over time the others began to overlook Moth and she fell into the woodwork, staying back with Fleur and Mrs. Weasley, while the others went out.
Most of the time Moth was forgotten or ignored.
Harry remembered she was there.
One evening in early July, Death Eaters found Grimmauld Place. Harry and the others had been sitting at dinner when the door was blasted down and the first killing curse was fired. Fred Weasley was hit before he even knew what was happening. Arthur nearly died trying to save his son, but he couldn’t reach him in time.
In the end, the Order won, if it could have been considered a victory.
They buried Fred in a small cemetery near the Burrow. Molly didn’t speak for days. George’s jokes and sunny disposition ceased abruptly. Half of him had died. The Order trekked on, searching for the last horcruxes.
Harry became obsessed. The death of the Headmaster and visions of Voldemort plagued his sleep without his Pensieve. He dreamed of Moth screaming in pain. He dreamed about Fred. It came to a point where he was unable to sleep.
Early one morning he stumbled down the stairs after two sleepless nights. Mrs. Weasley was helping Fleur with the dishes. She took one look at Harry and gasped. Ron, George and Bill looked up from their scrambled eggs and didn’t hide their looks of worry.
Mrs. Weasley refused to let Harry do anything that day other than rest, and was determined to find one of the last remaining vials of dreamless sleep draught. Harry thought she was using them for her self, to barricade nightmares of Fred’s face as the green light of Avada Kedavera smothered his back.
“You must get some rest, Harry,” said Mrs. Weasley sternly, turning her red eyes back to the dishes. She always looked misty-eyed and once or twice broke down sobbing at the dinner table, when she accidentally set down an extra plate for Fred.
“I know you’re a grown man today and old enough to make your own decisions, but you’re running yourself into the ground.”
A grown man.
Harry vaguely realized that today was the last day of July. His eighteenth birthday.
As if completely ignoring Mrs. Weasley, Fleur wiped her soapy hands on her pale blue dress and whisked over to him.
“’Appy birthday, ‘Arry,” She bent to kiss his cheeks. “I ‘ave sometheenk for you.”
She left the room with light, graceful steps and returned with a box wrapped neatly with argyle paper. Harry stared with annoyance; whether or not he received presents should have been the least of anyone’s concern.
“Go ahead, open eet!” urged Fleur, and tossed Bill a smile.
The room was very quiet.
He warily began to rip the paper. The argyle matched the pale patterns on her dress and he wondered irritably if that was planned. When he removed the lid he lifted out an expensive-looking black sweater.
“I ‘ope you love eet!”
Harry stared dully at it. “Thanks, Fleur, it’s… really nice.”
Mrs. Weasley quickly left, frowning and trying to mask her annoyance by muttering about needing to find a potion for Harry.
Fleur laughed. “But zere ees more!”
She was positively beaming as Harry pulled out a deep red button-up shirt that was entirely too dressy for his liking. A dark pair of jeans was in the very bottom of the box, and Harry began to get the distinct impression that Fleur wanted to play dress-up. He had taken to wearing the same pair of jeans and tattered green t-shirt for the past few weeks.
In fact, Harry didn’t think he had ever even been near any clothing that expensive.
“Thanks,” he repeated.
Fleur smiled widely and kissed his cheeks once more. “You ‘ave been working yourself too ‘ard, ‘Arry. I thought zat a new look might cheer you up!”
The others stared down at their food. Harry couldn’t think of anything to say. He was not a girl. Or maybe he was just the only boy who wasn’t ecstatic about new outfits.
Or maybe, thought Harry bitterly, I haven’t completely forgotten that Fred has been murdered and we still haven’t found Voldemort.
Ten minutes later, after he barely touched his eggs and toast, Harry climbed miserably up the stairs. His eyes were heavy, stinging and itching with need for the sleep that Harry tried desperately to avoid.
“I was just try-eenk to lighten zee mood,” he heard Fleur sniff indignantly as he reached the top stair. “’E is work-eenk ‘eemself to death, Molly!”
Harry closed the creaking door and Fleur’s throaty voice was cut off like a bell that abruptly stopped ringing. Harry sank onto the rickety bed, burying his face in his hands. He stared hard at the old wooden floor, trying to focus on its every wood grain and dust particle. Anything to keep awake.
Fleur’s gifts were set carelessly on his nightstand along with Mrs. Weasley’s dreamless sleep drought. Harry’s green eyes went over to the purple glass bottle once more. What if he just slept for a little while…?
There was a soft rapping on the door and it squeaked open to reveal Moth. Harry’s scratchy eyes never left the dust on the floorboards, but he knew it was she. He felt her protruding eyes on him. Moth took several soft steps to his bed, paused, and sunk down at his side. The skeletal mattress barely sagged under her weight; she was getting thinner these days.
“You really should take that.” She looked at the bottle on the nightstand, littered with messy notes about his parents, Tom Riddle and his victims.
Harry made a grunting noise, ill tempered for being forced to stay at home.
After a moment he felt small, thin fingers brushing through his hair. The dryness in his eyes seemed to multiply; their lids were fighting to keep open. Harry listened to the soft patter of rain on the window and for the first time in months—years, even—began to feel relaxed.
He really was tired. Very tired.
But he couldn’t sleep; not with Voldemort still out there somewhere. Not with the dreams he was having.
It took him a while to realize that it was Moth singing and not some voice inside his head:
through bush, through brier,
over park, over pale,
through flood, through fire,
I do wander every where…”
The song ended with an abrupt, jagged note.
Harry, his voice slurred with sleep, asked, “What was that?”
“It’s from A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” said Moth, looking out the window. Harry didn’t follow. “The play that my siblings and I were named after.”
It was quiet and Harry felt like he was about to doze off…
“It reminds me of you,” said Moth quietly. She hadn’t looked away from the rain-pattered window.
Harry looked up, his feeling of sleepiness ebbing away. At last he said, “Why?”
“The last line.” She met his eyes and sang again, “I do wander every where…”
They looked at each other for a long time, and quiet thunder rolled in the distance.
The next thing Harry knew, his hand was on her jaw and her neck and he was kissing her. She breathed shakily into his mouth and his other hand wound through her thin hair. They were feverish and languishing and he was suddenly over her, their legs were tangled like vines. They were everywhere at once and Harry felt fire ablaze inside of his chest, licking at the walls of every vein and burning him with fervent desperation.
The thunder rolled again, just as softly.
A/N: If you pair the main Harry Potter theme with the song Moth sang, it actually matches very well. That was the 'strange tune' i was talking about. Try it. :P Also, I can't take credit for that song, it was all Bill Shakespeare.
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