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The Hard Life by killthatrat
Chapter 32 : Chapter 32 Remembering Harry
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 29


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Ginny Weasley sat on the windowsill in her bedroom, looking out the open window into the garden below. It was late in the evening, her mother had ordered her to bed hours ago. She wanted so much to sleep, to forget about what was happening for just a moment as she dreamt. But her mind kept wandering, relentlessly taking her back to the harsh reality that surrounded her.

Ginny bowed her head, studying her fingernails in the moonlight for a few moments. She could see the lights on downstairs, through the corner of her eye. The adults were sitting up, probably discussing the failed rescue attempt that they had not even known about. She had been eavesdropping when her family was told. Desperately for her boyfriend’s rescue, the disappointment had hit her like a ton of bricks.

Ginny hated not knowing. She hated being on the outside of everything, gaining information only through carefully planned eavesdropping, even then she couldn’t hear everything that was being said.

"Stupid, bloody git," Ginny muttered savagely to herself as she stood up. "Get’s himself caught, and leaves us to pick up the pieces."

She quietly made her way back over to her bed, nestling herself under the covers as she felt her chest begin to constrict, and her throat tighten. She reached towards her bedside table, being careful not to knock over the Muggle radio her father had given her. She found what she had been looking for, and pulled her arm back under the blanket, looking at the object she had retrieved.

It was a photograph of herself and Harry, taken a few days before his capture, and was truly her favorite. They had spent what seemed like forever sitting under that tree in Harry’s front yard, talking comfortably about anything, in between snog sessions. Hot tears slowly filled her eyes, spilling down her face and onto the pillow as she watched the two people in the picture. She had been sitting in his lap, leaning her head against his shoulder as he fiddled aimlessly with her crimson hair. They had barely spared Tonks a glance, when she had snuck up on them with the camera.

She took a deep, shuddering breath as more tears spilled from her eyes, moistening the pillow as she clutched the picture tightly. Ginny pulled her knees closer to her body, her arms pinned to her side as she sobbed as quietly as she could. She watched as the Harry in the picture gently brushed back her hair, pressing a gentle kiss to her cheek.

*Flash Back*

"Uhhh, OK," Harry muttered absentmindedly, flicking through the small book of riddles and brainteasers.

"What am I? You can take off my skin and I won’t cry, but you will."

Ginny sighed, trying to think of an answer. Her scalp tingled as Harry fiddled with her hair, his callused hands letting her hair fall through their fingers.

"You can take off its skin, and it won’t cry. But you will," Ginny confirmed.

"Yep."

"Err," she muttered to herself, somewhat distracted by Harry’s hand in her hair.

"It’s something you eat," he prompted.

"Uhhh, an onion?" she said offhandedly.

"Got it!" Harry said with a smile. He closed the small book and passed it to his surprised girlfriend. He had found the book in one of Sirius’ unpacked boxes, and had finally found a more interesting use for it. He rested his head against the tree the two were concealed behind, closing his eyes for a moment. He listened as Ginny flicked through the pages of the book, looking for a riddle to give him. Harry turned his head slightly, his jaw resting against Ginny’s forehead as the two sat together in a comfortable silence until Ginny spoke.

"Ok. A man went outside during a storm, and not one hair on his head was wet. How did this happen?"

"He was bald," Harry said simply, wincing as Ginny pinched him painfully on the knee.

"No, you dolt! He was wearing a raincoat!"

"Awww!" Harry said sarcastically. "Well being bald is still a plausible answer."

"No, it’s not," Ginny retorted, flipping through the book again.

"Wait," Harry said with mock seriousness, bringing his hand down to her waist. "How do you think I would look bald?"

"Bloody awful," Ginny said, looking up at him as she smiled.

"Hey," Harry said, bringing his free hand up, touching her cheek gently.

"What?" Ginny replied.

He smiled a little, answering quietly. "Your eyes have a little green in them."

Ginny laughed, smiling back at her boyfriend. "I’ve never noticed that."

"I have," Harry muttered in reply, leaning his head down to kiss her gently. Immediately he felt her lean into the kiss, responding as she twisted around in his embrace. Her arms found their way around him as she deepened their kiss, leaning into his embrace as his hands around her waist tightened. They kissed fiercely before allowing themselves to slow down to a more pleasurable pace.

They broke apart, their foreheads resting against each other momentarily as they each smiled at the other’s flushed face. Suddenly Ginny was kissing him again, her lips pressed against his as her fingers wound their way through his jet black hair. Harry pulled her more firmly against him, his scent filling her nostrils as he did so.

"CONSTANT VIGILANCE POTTER!"

Harry and Ginny broke apart with a yell of shock, springing apart from each other as they saw Mad-Eye standing over them, both of his eyes fixed directly on them.

Realizing the hilarity of the situation Harry burst out laughing, his silly grin erupting again on his face. Ginny turned bright red, putting her face into her hands in embarrassment, having been caught snogging by a high member of the Order.

"What have I said about constant vigilance, Potter?" Mad-Eye bellowed again, as he limped away from them, his wooden leg crunching on the leaves. Just then the front door to Harry’s house opened.

"What in the world?" Sirius exclaimed as he stepped
onto the porch, bewildered by Mad-Eye’s sudden bellowing, at what seemed to be nothing.

Hearing the voice of his godfather Harry cracked up,
laughing even harder, catching Ginny’s mortified eyes as tears of laughter sprung up in his own. He drew in a shuddering breath as Ginny cracked a smile of her own, moving back over to him.

"What if there were Death Eaters watching?" Mad-Eye yelled back at them, one last time as he clunked his way up the steps to meet Sirius. Harry laughed again before forcing himself to take a breath. He slung an arm around Ginny’s shoulder, pulling her down gently with him as he lay on the ground, trying to remain concealed behind the tree. Harry rolled onto his side, propping himself up on his elbow as he looked at his girlfriend’s bright red face.

"I bet Death eaters don’t have this much fun," he said with a final laugh, leaning over to kiss Ginny’s cheek. She looked back up at him mischievously, her embarrassment fading now that it was just the two of them.

"Well then," she said, propping herself up on her own elbow. "Let’s show them how much fun we can have."

Ginny placed her hand on his chest, pushing him back
to the ground as she caught his lips again, neither of them caring who watched on. Up on the porch Sirius chuckled to himself, catching on to what the two teenagers had been up to, right under his nose.

After shaking his head in a mix of amusement and disapproval, Mad-Eye turned around to face Sirius.

“You know, Sirius” Mad-Eye said, his gaze contemplative in the distance, “it’s a good thing Potter moved in with you.”

Sirius turned to him, silently questioning this statement. Catching his look, Mad Eye continued.

"I haven’t seen him this happy or carefree for a long time."

Sirius’s gaze shifted back to what he could see of his partially concealed godson, who had retreated back into his carefree world again, kissing his girlfriend. A smile spread across Sirius’ face as Mad-Eye’s explanation sank in. “Neither have I, Mad-Eye. Neither have I.”

*End Flashback*

Ginny drew in a hearty sniff, tears continuing to spill down her eyes as she cried herself to sleep, still clutching the photo.




Harry was dead on his feet. There was no other way to describe the exhaustion that had plagued him for the last few hours. He had hidden in the garden beside the cottage for what felt like hours, waiting desperately for the Death Eaters to leave in search of him as the strong thunderstorm raged. It was only when he could no longer see the lights of Death Eaters’ wands did he dare leave his sanctuary, running where ever his feet took him as the rain soaked him in minutes, the wind leaving him chilled to the bone.

His bare feet crunched on fallen leaves, stepping over the jagged rocks that lay on the ground. He closed his stinging eyes for a moment, blocking out the blurry surroundings that resulted from his lack of glasses. He felt, and heard a twig break loudly underneath his foot. Harry opened his eyes but had to clench them tightly shut again as dizziness washed over him. Flinging out his arm, he leant against a close by tree, breathing deeply for a moment.

Harry groaned softly as he felt his body act of its own accord, bending at the knees until he almost collapsed. He rested his back against the thick trunk, slowing his breathing as a small breeze rustled the tree’s leaves.

He shivered slightly, gripping his elbows as he felt the still slightly damp clothing from last nights storm, stinging the wounds across his back. Harry didn’t realize it, but he had never looked worse. The blood that had recently dried on his face and body had smeared in the rain, accentuating the deep purple bruises that lingered on his face. The dark circles underneath his eyes had nothing to do with bruising. He had no way of knowing if the cuts in his back had become infected at all, only knowing that they hurt like hell, pain searing across each one as he moved.

Harry opened his eyes slowly, unfolding his arms and stretching his left out in front of him. He looked down at the blurry tattoo, the skin around it was still tinged pink and burning dully. Tracing his finger over it, he felt faintly where the unblemished skin met the tattoo. The more he had looked at it, the more it had sickened him, having such a dark ‘trade mark’ burned into his own flesh. But he didn’t care anymore. He was too tired to care. Exhaustion and hunger had over taken his body, leaving him virtually helpless, but he couldn’t sleep. He could not let himself be caught again. He needed to keep moving.

Suddenly motivated by his thoughts Harry forced himself to his feet, leaning his hand against the tree trunk as he gained his balance, as he tried to clear his head. He opened his eyes, pushing himself away from the tree as he again began to walk, a sharp stabbing pain shooting up his leg for no apparent reason. Instantly the desire to sit down rushed back to him, draining his body and mind of any motivation he had managed to summon. But he forced himself to keep going, to keep on walking.

It was useless. He had no idea where he was, only that he must be a little way out of Little Hangleton. He had no idea where he was going. He had seriously considered Apparating, but the memories of the Apparation lessons had come flooding back to him, to the day when the instructor had warned them never to Apparate when sick, tired or injured. Judging by his current state he covered all three, and had quickly pushed Apparation to the back of his mind, not wanting to end up in Scotland, or Splinched.

Harry’s feet sank slightly into the soft ground, still muddy from last night’s storm. Hunger and thirst stabbed at his body, causing his dizziness and involuntary shaking of his fingers. He tried to ignore it, tried to think of something else. But the pain in his leg quickly became too much, providing a distraction from his thoughts. With a sigh he again sat down, the early morning sun warming the back of his neck.

He leaned back on his hand, tilting his head so that the sun shone on it, warming his face. Harry looked toward the sun for a moment, before closing his eyes against its harsh glare. He was reminded vividly of Ginny’s red hair, the way it sometimes seemed to sparkle in the sunlight. He wondered dimly what she and everybody else were doing, what they had been up to in the last few days.

"Sirius is probably going spare," he muttered to himself, gently rotating his neck in the hopes of relieving some of the pain. Harry sighed softly, remembering the shattered glass of the patio doors. He hoped he hadn’t messed the place up too much.

Harry’s eyes snapped open, his body tense and alert. He sat forward quietly, his emerald eyes scanning his blurred surroundings. His heart pounded in his throat, feeling every pulse throughout his body. He held his breath as he quickly twisted around on the ground, looking through the trees and bushes for what he swore was there.

He had heard something, he was sure of it. Every part of him was telling him to run, to get as far away as possible. Ignoring the urge momentarily, he gently pushed himself up into a half crouching position, looking in the direction that he thought he had heard the noise from. It was then that he saw them.

A tall, cloaked figure in the distance was heading towards him, seemingly unaware of his presence. He saw with a jolt in his heart, a long wand held at the Death Eater’s side.

Harry froze, half standing as his heart pounded and his breaths became erratic, thoughts running through his mind at a million miles per hour. The figure drew closer. Severus Snape was not wearing his hood, or his mask, allowing Harry to recognize him instantly.

As though a switch inside him had been flicked on, his legs began to work, carrying his half crouched figure towards a large bush. His heart pounding with fear he crouched down fully, trying to make himself as small as possible. He hid behind the bush, watching fearfully through the leaves as Snape drew nearer.

Harry closed his eyes, begging the situation to
disappear, begging Snape to leave. He could now hear clearly, the crunch of Snape’s shoes on the forest floor as he walked, and when Harry opened his eyes, Snape had stopped only mere feet away from his hiding place.

All breath seemed to have left Harry’s body as he seriously considered making a run for it. But he knew he could never out run Snape, especially not without a wand. He clenched his jaws together as he stayed stock still, not wanting to rustle the bush he hid behind. He watched as Snape’s black eyes scanned the area around them, his wand held at his side. Slowly Snape turned his head towards Harry, and his cold black eyes locked onto his own.

Immediately Harry felt his body tense up, fearfully anticipating that attack which would surely come. He felt his face pale even more as they held each other’s gaze, for what seemed like an eternity. Then, suddenly, Snape turned away, looking straight ahead of himself as he resumed walking. A trembling and shocked teenager was left behind the bush, watching the Death Eater walk away from his target.


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