Voldemort still could not be killed. Everyone had to know this. There were still missing two Horcruxes. The last one had been found underneath the house that had been built upon the ruins of his parent's hidden home. It was a small fan that had once belonged to Rowena Ravenclaw. The fan was a pretty little thing, with the obvious colors of blue and silver and tiny little sapphires in the eyes of a silver raven on the handle. He flipped the fan open, trying to ignore the gaping hole in the middle of the dark blue feathers that made up the fan. The fan had screamed when he had pierced a hole in it, destroying that part of Voldemort's soul. He turned it over in his hand, wondering what its past had been and how it had fallen into the hands of Voldemort.
"Why'd you keep that thing?"
Harry turned to see Ginny coming towards him. He said nothing but merely shrugged. "Gives me something to hold onto, I guess," he mumbled finally.
"You've got me," said Ginny quietly, sitting next to him on the ground.
His brow furrowed in confusion and so Ginny took his arm and put it around herself. "I still haven't given up on you," she said.
"We could die tomorrow," said Harry.
"I know," said Ginny. "I've already said that."
It was certainly something to Harry, that they could die the next day. That their closest friends could already be dead. And none of them even the Muggle legal age yet. Why had they been chosen? What was so special? For Harry, it was the scar that had haunted him for seventeen years but what about Ginny? Why had she been dragged into this? There was Ron, of course, his best mate. That's how he met Ginny. But there was something else...
"Ginny, I love you," said Harry, almost inaudibly. That would be it.
"Do you mean that?" asked Ginny, looking up at him. She shook her head. "Of course, it hardly matters if you do or you don't. What are the chances of even living through tomorrow?"
"I don't know," muttered Harry. "But I do love you. Breaking up with you was one of the worst things I've ever done, but I had to. You understand that, right?"
Ginny rolled her eyes. "Here we go again."
"He's already taken so much from me. From everyone. I couldn't let him take you, too," said Harry. "I know you don't want to be protected but I needed you to be."
"Harry, look around you," she snapped, standing up and throwing her arms out. "There's evil everywhere. No one can be protected." She looked back at him, the look in her eyes returning his love. "But love," she said. "That's what evil can't do. Evil's just scared. You-Know-...Voldemort is just scared. His ignorance is why he chooses to destroy Muggles and Muggle-borns. He's afraid because they're different."
Harry stared at her for a moment, before saying, "That is why I love you."
Agnes's mind repeated the sound over and over again. It had started quite some time ago. The dripping, that is. Other than that, there was no sound. Ron and Hermione, completely spent from their days spent on the move, where asleep together somewhere in the corner. They hadn't woken in hours. Maybe they're dead, thought Agnes gloomily. It'd be better than this.
In the small cell with nothing but the darkness and the dripping water to keep her company, Agnes had to wonder if her mind was slowing slipping away, too. She'd been tortured once more since her companions had arrived. Ron and Hermione, of course, not the water and the dark, she thought, almost laughing.
She had no idea how long she'd been confined. The smart thing to have done would have been to count the meals she had been given but the Death Eaters were so cruel that she would not have been surprised if they had forgotten to feed her.
There was a noise from the corner. It sounded like crying. "Hermione?" she asked, her voice cracking from a parched throat.
The sound stopped for a moment. Hermione seemed to be untangling herself from Ron's arms and making her way over to Agnes. It was only when she had nearly tumbled over the other girl that she knew to stop moving. "We're never going to get out of here," whimpered Hermione. "I'll never see my mum or dad again."
"Don't lose your head," said Agnes sharply. You're one to talk, aren't you? "You're the best of brains here. You can figure out a way to-."
"There is no way, I guarantee it," interrupted Hermione. "Not with outside help. Nobody's going to be able to find us here and even if Harry and the others did, they couldn't get past the Death Eaters and You-Know-Who." She sighed heavily and hit her head on the wall behind her with a clunk. "We're stuck."
Remus sat in the musty smelling living room, staring into the fire, watching as it crackled and popped. He was tired. Not only physically, after all, that was nothing new, but emotionally. He just felt so drained. It had been hard ever since Sirius had disappeared in the Department of Mysteries. True, he had fallen in love with Tonks but that, he realized now, was never meant to be. He had just missed loving and being loved, and, of course, Tonks was a wonderful person to fall in love with.
He only looked up when a hand softly touched his shoulder. He looked up into Elle's face and put his hand over hers. She came round to the other side of the couch and sat down next to him. They sat in silence for a few minutes until Remus turned to her and murmured, "I love you."
Tonks entered the room just as this was said and closed the door quietly. "Elle, could you please excuse us for a minute?"
Elle, looking at Remus nervously, nodded and left the room. "This has got to end, Remus," said Tonks, facing the fire instead of her fiance.
"I never meant to hurt you," he said gently. "I really do love you, Tonks."
"Maybe you do," she said, finally turning to him. "But you will never love me the way you love her."
He could not bring himself to tell her anymore lies, so he merely glanced down at his lap. "Consider this the end of our engagement," said Tonks, striding over to him and kissing him rather roughly.
After lingering for a moment, she pulled away and took his hand, pressing something into it. She left the room without a backward glance.
A few minutes later, Elle reentered the room. "You ended it?" she asked guiltily.
"No," said Remus, looking down at the ring in his palm. "She did."
"Dad?" said Fred, entering the kitchen, where he knew his father was reading the paper. "Can I ask you something?"
The aging man looked over his glasses at his son, before lowering his newspaper and removing his spectacles. "What is it, son?"
"Why do you still read that?" asked Fred, reading the headline.
"I like reading the frivolous articles," said Arthur sheepishly. "Gives me some time to forget." He looked quizzically at his son. "But I'm guessing that's not what you wanted to ask."
Fred shook his head and took a seat next to his dad. "When did you know that you loved mom?"
Arthur smiled to himself and leaned back in his chair. "Well, probably the day I saw her stand up to a seventh-year Slytherin who had placed a Jelly-Legs Jinx on her best friend," he said, shaking his head at the memory. "She had him running back to his common room, glancing over his shoulder the entire way."
Fred chuckled slightly and decided not to mention that she was still like that. "How old were you?"
"Seventeen," said Arthur. "She was a year younger." He smiled again. "Moody Molly Prewett," he said, more to himself than his son.
"So love can happen when you're younger?"
"Of course it can," said Arthur, looking surprised. "Look at all the examples you have, Ron and Hermione, Neville and Luna, and yes, even Ginny and Harry. " There was a pause, in which a knowing look appeared on his face. "Why?"
Fred looked down at his hands, suddenly very interested in one of the many scars from his experiments. "I might love someone," he said finally.
"Well, son, love is when you would risk your life for that person," said Arthur simply.
"That's what I'm doing, isn't it?"
As the moonlight poured in his bedroom window, Remus stroked Elle curly hair. The heat from her naked body warmed him in the chilly night. They had gone up to his bedroom after the episode in the living room, knowing that they wouldn't be disturbed. "You're finally going to get your wedding, Elle," murmured Remus, not mentioning the 'if they lived through tomorrow' factor.
Her eyes still closed, she smiled and nodded. "Will Tonks be alright?"
"I think so," said Remus who, after doing a lot of thinking, was no longer worried about his former fiancee. "She's a true Metamorphmagus. She can easily adapt to any situation. She'll find another love."
He smiled down at Elle and kissed her forehead. "She was always a bit too reckless for me," he admitted. "I needed a quieter lifestyle, I guess."
"Don't count your chickens," said Elle. "We've still got tomorrow to get through."