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Chapter 12 : Missing
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The clock had already passed midnight when Hermione finally climbed the stairs to the room that she was sharing with Ginny. Ron followed close behind her on his way to his own room. She paused at the doorway to watch him as he continued up the stairs to his room and saw the dejected slump to his shoulders. Harry’s death had hit him especially hard. After all, Ron had been Harry’s very first friend.
Even though she felt horrible, she couldn’t even start to imagine how Ginny must be feeling. Ginny loved Harry not as The Boy Who Lived, but as Harry Potter even if he had broken up with her at Professor Dumbledore’s funeral. He had only done that to keep Ginny safe. She understood his thinking just as Ginny did. She had been very pleased when Ginny talked privately with her later and told her that she would wait until Harry was ready because she loved him that much.
She shut the door softly behind her without bothering to light a candle or her wand as she made her way to Ginny’s bed where she carefully sat down. She didn’t want to wake Ginny up if she was already asleep, but she also had a feeling that Ginny wasn’t really sleeping right now. “Ginny? I just wanted to let you know that I can only try to understand how you’re feeling. I miss him too. Of course, it’s more because he’s my friend rather than my boyfriend but…” She reached over to shake her friend’s shoulder when she didn’t respond at all to her. She was expecting at least a “bugger off” that she would have happily accepted.
Instead of finding Ginny curled up in her bed, she felt that the sheets were flat. “Ginny? Lumos!” her wand tip flared with light and brightly illuminated the entire room. She blinked in complete surprise.
Ginny’s bed was empty.
She quickly scanned the rest of the room and checked under both of their beds just in case Ginny had decided to hide for some reason. She frowned as she considered what to do next. There really wasn’t anywhere else for Ginny to hide in this room without using magic.
Her eyes widened with shock. Ginny had been there when they had arrived on the front porch after leaving Privet Drive. When had Ginny disappeared? She couldn’t remember if she had even seen Ginny since telling everyone the horrible news. She threw open the bedroom door and rushed down the stairs where the others were still talking quietly in hushed voices. She suddenly stopped at the foot of the stairs and frantically looked around her to see if Ginny was sitting with one of her brothers or her parents.
“Hermione?” Mrs. Weasley looked up with worry. “Dear, what’s the matter?” Concern etched her face when she saw the teenager’s panic.
“Ginny… she’s… gone…” Hermione sobbed as she covered her mouth with her hands.
“Gone?” Mrs. Weasley paled at the news.
The room instantly fell silent. Everyone was paying attention to Hermione even as she was trying very hard not to break down crying.
“Gone how?” Fred asked warily. His frown matched the one that had appeared on George’s face.
“She isn’t in her room,” Hermione knew that she was babbling, but she could only shake her head. “I thought that since I hadn’t seen her down here that she’d be there but she isn’t…”
“When was the last time that anyone saw Ginny?” Bill asked as he glanced around at the others in the living room.
Everyone started to talk at the same time as they answered Bill’s question. Their voices grew louder as they tried to talk over the others.
A loud clap stopped the cacophony. They all turned to look at Mr. Weasley in complete disbelief.
“That’s better,” he stated firmly. “Now, why don’t we talk one at a time? Hermione, you go first.”
“The last time that I saw her was when Ron and I told everyone about what happened at Privet Drive and that Harry didn’t make it.” Hermione’s eyes started filling with tears again.
Mr. Weasley pointed to Fred who quickly nodded his head, agreeing with Hermione.
George nodded his agreement before his father could point to him.
Mr. Weasley pointed to his eldest son who frowned while he thought about the events that afternoon. He finally nodded his head. The last time he remembered seeing his sister was while Ron and Hermione were telling them about the Death Eater attack.
Fleur also took a few moments to think when Mr. Weasley pointed to her. “I think that the last time that I saw her was when Ron and Hermione got here.” She thought about her words for another moment before she nodded. “That was the last time that I saw her.”
Mr. Weasley suddenly realized that his youngest son wasn’t in the living room with them. “Where’s Ron?”
“He went up to his room,” Hermione answered him in a wobbly voice. “He continued up the stairs when I went to Ginny’s room.”
“Alright,” he looked at Fred. “Would you please bring your brother here?”
Fred nodded grimly and disappeared with a loud crack. He reappeared with another noisy crack holding a less than amused Ron who was glaring at his older brother.
“That’s enough, Ron,” Mr. Weasley stopped the fight before it could start. “Ron, when was the last time you saw Ginny?”
Ron stared at his father in shock. His eyes were wide with disbelief. “I guess I saw her when we first got here. Why?”
Mr. Weasley rubbed his forehead instead of answering his son. “Does anyone know of any special places that Ginny likes to visit around here?”
Ron didn’t take his eyes off of his father as he answered. “Well, I know of one spot where she usually goes to dream about Harry… why?”
“Because Ginny’s missing,” George replied. He couldn’t help but show his annoyance with his youngest brother. “The last time that anyone appears to have seen her was just after the both of you came here with the news…”
Ron blinked in stunned surprised. “But she was there!”
“Have you seen her since then?” Bill asked him seriously. “Like when Dad got home from the Ministry?”
Ron shook his head slowly as he frantically tried to remember if she’d been there to hear the gloomy news.
“Then we’ll split up and search around here first,” Mr. Weasley stated firmly. “Ron and Hermione, I’d like for you to check the attic. Molly and Fleur, would you check the house? The boys and I will search the grounds outside.”
Ron wasn’t happy about having to search the attic while all of his brothers were outside looking for Ginny. “Why can’t I help you with the search out there?”
“Because you know the attic the best,” Mr. Weasley pointed out patiently. “And Hermione hasn’t been up there yet.”
Ron scowled with annoyance. “Alright, fine.” He waved his hand towards the stairs. “Let’s get going, Hermione. If Ginny’s hiding in the attic, then she’s going to hear about it from me.” He stormed over to the stairs and started stomping up them noisily.
Hermione quickly followed him. She didn’t want to be left behind.
It seemed to take forever for the Weasley family to gather together once again in the brightly lit living room though only at most an hour had passed. Each one of them looked hopefully at the others only to feel the hope fade as they finally had to admit to themselves and to each other that Ginny was simply not in the house or near the house.
Mr. Weasley opened the back door again and he looked out towards the forest that surrounded the edge of their land. He wanted to believe that she was in there somewhere, lost in thought and not realizing that she was scaring her family and friends.
George found her in the clearing.
At first glance, it looked as if she had fallen asleep. Yet he feared the worst when he knelt down next to her because she wasn’t moving. She was far too still. He made himself reach out to feel for her pulse. His breath caught. There would be no help for her.
He sent up a shower of red sparks so that everyone else would know where they were.
George turned around with a heavy heart just as the rest of the family entered the small clearing.
“Ginny? Is she…” Mrs. Weasley broke off when she caught the sorrowful look on George’s face.
George slowly shook his head.
The others closed their eyes and let the pain wash over them.
Hermione clapped her hands over her face and started to cry wordlessly as she fell to her knees.
Mrs. Weasley started to sink to the ground as well, but she was caught by her husband who pulled her close to him.
Mr. Weasley was the only one who was able to find his voice. “What happened? Do you know? Are you able to tell?”
George shook his head grimly again. “I found her like this,” he said heavily. He picked her up and held her gently in his arms. He stood up and started walking towards the house.
Everyone else started to follow him.
Ron and Hermione stayed behind in the small clearing. Both of them were looking at where Ginny had been laying on the ground. She frowned as she took a second look around them. “I don’t understand.”
Bill had also stayed behind to make sure that the two teenagers were safe. He wanted to make sure that neither teenager disappeared. Too many things had gone wrong in the past day that he didn’t want to ignore this feeling. “What’s wrong, Hermione?” he asked.
She pointed to where Ginny had been laying on the ground. “What don’t you see?”
Both Bill and Ron exchanged a confused look before searching the area. Neither of them understood what they were looking for or what was missing.
“What?” Ron finally asked, still very confused.
She rolled her eyes impatiently. “Where’s her wand? It isn’t here.”
Bill shook his head sadly, but stayed where he was. He sighed as he leaned against one of the old trees. “It could have been destroyed by whoever was here or by whatever happened here.” He took a deep breath. “I think it’s time to go now. Mum’s going to be worried if we don’t catch up soon. Come on.” He started to walk slowly back to the house without waiting to see if they would follow.
Ron and Hermione stayed for only a moment longer.
“Her wand isn’t here,” she repeated herself.
“Bill’s right,” Ron told her quietly. “It’s not unheard of for the winner to take the wand or to destroy it. Even as much as I’d really like for all of this to be a joke, I can’t really see Ginny playing this type of trick on us. Do you?”
She didn’t move. Looking around the clearing one more time, she tried to imagine what had been running through Ginny’s mind. She could see why Ginny liked this clearing. A small stream ran through it and there was a magical, other-worldly feel to it. Almost as if a piece of time had gotten lost and held no meaning here. She jumped when Ron put his hand on her shoulder. “I’m so sorry, Ron,” she whispered.
“I know,” Ron clenched his teeth. He didn’t know how much more he could take at this moment. Watching Harry’s death and then seeing Ginny dead wasn’t something that he had even thought would happen this summer. Even with the Second Wizarding War in full swing, he had tried his hardest not to think about those closest to him not surviving. There were already too many people who had already been lost in this war. “Bill’s right. We’d best get inside before Mum has pixies…”
They caught up with Bill who had stopped to examine a flowering shrub when they didn’t immediately follow him.
The three of them got back to the house just in time to see Fleur give a steaming cup to Mrs. Weasley.
Mr. Weasley was still holding her in his arms when the cup fell from her fingers.
Fred caught the cup and its contents with a flick of his wand.
“Dreamless Sleep potion,” George said heavily when he saw their puzzled expressions. “I expect that I’ll be using some myself tonight.”
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this chapter. Thank you very much for your constructive criticism!
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