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The Road Home by Harry_Potter_Mom
Chapter 18 : What My Heart Needs...
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 24


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“What does your heart tell you?”

“My heart needs proof,” she whispered.

Harry kissed her gently and left her to watch the children from the window as he set about getting what she needed… proof.





Chapter 18 – What My Heart Needs

Nyah ran from the den, eager to get away from the pain tearing through her heart. Turning the corner, she nearly tripped as her blanket caught on a kitchen chair. She burst through the back door, commanding the wind to follow as they met the open air.  Not bothering to stop and close the door, Nyah simply ran, not caring where her feet took her.

Rose called to her, but the small voice was lost on the breeze as Nyah continued past. Her breath became more erratic and her body begged her to stop. Finally, her palm came to rest on the old tree near the pond, its rough bark digging into her skin as the weight of her world rested there.

The slowly setting sun burned her eyes and she blamed it for the tears running down her cheeks. Why did I come here? She screamed inside her head, throwing the blanket in anger. She doesn’t want me… probably never did. Nyah’s nails were digging at the tree as her head began to throb. She doesn’t want me… She doesn’t want me… played over and over in her head as she sat defeated on the ground with the blanket nearby.

The soft grass caressed her bare legs, as the breeze wrapped soothingly around her. Nyah became aware of the tingling sensation creeping its way into her toes and fingers. The ache in her head was still present, but her mind was becoming clearer as she found herself internally searching for the pieces of magic hidden within. Sensing the tugging sensation near her stomach, Nyah smiled at the small accomplishment. The tingling continued, filling the void left from the healers spell to block her magic. The wind whipped about and the leaves danced, as though rejoicing with her. Nyah felt the warmth return and with a large sigh, the breeze calmed. She closed her eyes and turned her attention to the sounds of children laughing, as the noise slowly drowned out the pulsing rhythm in her head.

Small, cool hands found their way to Nyah’s face as familiar pools of blue calmed her sadness with their smile. “Hello…” his little voice came in a sing-song way, causing an unexpected smile on Nyah’s lips.

She gave a tired laugh as Hugo crawled onto her lap, chatting away. Nyah listened without actually hearing him, but nodded and raised her brows as he talked, feigning interest. The longer his one-way dialogue went, the more animated he became, until finally he was up on his feet pretending he was playing something called “Quidditch”. Nyah gathered from his description, that it had something to do with brooms and balls, and instead of asking too many questions she simply said, “Wow” or “Really?” until he exhausted the conversation.

Hugo laid down on the soft grass, staring up at clouds, as he absentmindedly toyed with the strap on Nyah’s sandal. “Hey, look! There’s a bunny,” he said pointing to the clouds as they traveled by. “And there’s a calipitter!”

Nyah laughed as she corrected him, “It’s caterpillar silly.”

“That’s what I said – calipitter,” he argued, rolling his eyes at the sky, “ and there’s a chicken, and… I’m hungry.”

“You’re always hungry.”

“But this time, I’m really, really hungry… I haven’t eaten all day!”

“You had breakfast with me before I left this morning! And I’m certain you had lunch here and probably…”

“No, those don’t count… it was forever ago! I know where Grandma hides the cookies from Grandpa, come on!” Hugo beckoned, trying to pull her to her feet.

Just then, a small burst of light shone in the trees across the pond. Nyah squinted, shielding her eyes against the sun, trying to see into the small grove. She shifted away from Hugo and moved to get up.

“What are you doing?” he asked, mimicking her with his hand on his forehead.

Scowling a bit, she said, “I thought I saw something…. in the trees.” 

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The small bedroom was quiet as Ginny was lost again in thoughts of Nina. More and more memories flooded her mind as she watched the children run and play in the fading light of the Burrow, her eyes drawn to the small dark-haired girl sitting near the pond.

A knock broke her concentration as Hermione’s voice carried through, “May I come in?” She didn’t wait for an answer and slowly opened the door, peeking in for an invitation. With a small smile, Ginny motioned her inside while an uncomfortable tension settled in the room, as though an unspoken argument had begun.

Finally, with a large sigh, Hermione spoke up, looking directly at Ginny, “Listen, I’m sorry you had to hear it like that – downstairs – but time is running out. Her birthday is…”

Ginny turned sharply and put her hand in the air, “I know, Hermione! I know when her birthday is… You don’t need to remind me!” She crossed her arms and walked to the small chair in the corner, staring at it as though it held all the answers she was looking for. After a few moments of tensioned silence, Ginny meekly asked, “Why? Why didn’t you tell me all of this the other day at the cottage? This was supposed to be a celebration…”

“And it still can be,” Hermione retorted, taking a step towards Ginny as angry tears were held in her eyes by sheer force, “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you everything. I didn’t want to hurt you by giving you wrong information! And do you honestly think that you would have believed me then any more than you do now? There was no proof until today.”

“What? The – the owl? The blanket? That’s not proof Hermione, and you know that!” she yelled. Ginny began pacing, wrapping her arms tightly around her waist.

She walked back to the window as Harry made his way towards the tree… and to Nyah… 

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“Hello,” a warm voice called out from just behind the giant oak. Nyah’s stomach did an enormous flip as she turned towards the sound… there, standing casually, his shoulder leaning against the tree was the man Nyah knew from her dream. He was much taller than she expected, and his jeans and tee-shirt were far different than the stiff suits Mr. Stewart always wore.

Instantly, Nyah’s mind flashed fragments of memories; being carried to bed, beautiful green eyes, laughter, piggyback rides, and lightning… Snapshots – scattered pieces really – memories that had been hidden away years before.

Hugo gave the man a high-five and ran off to play again, leaving Nyah and the dark-haired man in silence. She studied him; how his hair looked like it had been blown about in the wind, the way the sun danced across his glasses making it almost impossible to see his eyes properly, and the small smile that rested on his lips as he looked at her.

Nyah became acutely aware of her own mess of hair, and she tried futilely to make it smooth out a bit, her fingers getting caught on tangle after tangle in the process. She cursed under her breath as she extracted her hands from her hair, a bit embarrassed. A small laugh escaped her lips, as she imagined what Mrs. Stewart would say about her unkempt appearance.

“Something funny?” he asked, shifting his weight a bit.

Looking out over the tall grass, she smiled and said, “Oh, I was just thinking about Mother’s reaction to my hair and clothing. She would have a fit on me and take the brush to my backside as well as my hair.”

Glancing over his shoulder to the house, he started to explain, “Don’t worry about Ginny… she doesn’t care whether your hair is…” He stopped mid-sentence as Nyah looked back at him rather confused. Realizing his mistake, he added, “Ah, you mean the woman who helped raise you….. that mother.” Harry sat and leaned back against the tree, only just beginning to realize how difficult this conversation would be.

Nyah slowly crept around, coming to stop as her sandals met his trainers. “Ginny?” she asked, her voice threatening to fail her. “The woman from my dreams – there in the house,” as she motioned towards the Burrow, “her name… her name is Ginny? My mum is – is Ginny?”

A large smile appeared on his face as he patted the ground next to him. Nyah took a seat on the ground to his left, shifting slightly to be able to watch his face. With a large sigh, he whispered, “Yes, Ginny… Ginny is your mum’s name.”

An explosion of emotions was set off within Nyah at one name… Ginny. Warmth spread throughout her body as though the setting sun was consuming her. Her mind ran over the years of calling for her Mum, especially during her dreams, and she wondered if Ginny ever called for her…

“So if that’s Ginny – my Mum – then you must be… um…,” Nyah stalled, biting her bottom lip a bit as she looked to the initials carved into the tree above his head, “Harry – you’re Harry.”

He nodded and gently reached out to her tangled hair with a sad smile on his face. “Your hair hasn’t changed a bit. I’m afraid you get that from me,” he said, pointing to his own head. Harry reached down and took her hand in his, allowing the years of self-torment to dissolve. He studied each of her small fingers, remembering the counting games they played when she was little. His gaze met the scar just below her left knee where she fell in the driveway to meet him right after her first birthday; he had scooped her up as she cried and bled all over his shirt. But it was her eyes that washed away any remaining doubt… it was like looking into Ginny’s… they were identical.

Harry was overwhelmed with the thought that after all these years… after all the pain… that maybe, things could be set right, and he could finally find the courage to do something he hadn’t been able to in nearly seven years… forgive himself. As he held her cheek in his hand, he whispered, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t protect you that night in the car. I’m sorry we didn’t find you sooner… and I’m so sorry that I missed watching you grow up.”

Nyah’s eyes were brimming with tears as Harry apologized, but answered with a smile saying, “I’m not quite done growing up yet.”

Not taking his eyes off of her, he added, “I want to know everything, but first, I’d like to hear about the dream you had today on the train.” A darkness came about his face as he continued, “I want to find who did this to you… to us – all of us – and make sure it doesn’t happen again. I won’t let them hurt you again…”

With those words, Harry took his daughter into his arms, holding her as he did all those years ago. Nyah hugged him fiercely, the tears freely falling onto his shirt, lost in this wonderful moment with her dad. He whispered all the things she’d ever hoped to hear “Everything’s going to be fine” and “I’ve missed you” while they sat under the tree.

The pair sat and talked for another hour, and the Burrow quietly rejoiced at the reunion as they watched from the windows. Nyah confided in her dad about the dreams, the fragments of memories, and the items from the bag she took from the manor. He was most interested in the broken wand, and suggested that they go have a look at it together.

As they began their slow walk hand-in-hand back to the Burrow, harder questions came up. “Why doesn’t Ginny want me?” Nyah asked her dad, looking away to avoid his eyes. “Did I do something wrong?”

Harry stopped near the garden shed and knelt down in front of his daughter, bringing her face slightly higher than his own. “No, you did nothing wrong. Ginny – your mum – she’s just… well… she’s hidden away all the pain and sadness she felt when we lost you. It may take a bit to get used to really having you here with us again. But don’t worry – she’ll come around, and when she does, she’ll never let you out of her sight!”

“Hermione told me the same thing,” Nyah answered softly. A smile crept across her face as a whisper left her lips, “Lightning.”

“What? Where?” Harry asked, glancing to the darkened sky.

Nyah’s hand went to his forehead brushing aside a lock of hair as she smiled. “Lightning… I remember why I love lightening. Anna thought I was crazy,” she said, tracing the familiar scar on her father’s face, “lightning.” 

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“If you move one more time, I’ll kill you myself and go it alone,” Draco spat at his companion.

The large, burly Death Eater shifted uncomfortably in the brush near the grove of trees. “Well, if your bloody father hadn’t insisted on me wearing these bloody robes again, I wouldn’t have to move so much,” Nott responded, his face turning red as he spoke. “Besides… someone needed to come and babysit you, considering what happened last time you tried to get her back.” A smug grin crept across his scarred, round face as he turned back towards the Burrow.

“As unexpected as her magic was,” Draco countered, “at least I didn’t run out the door screaming like a girl.”

Nott turned again to Draco, ready to continue the argument as the sun caught on his glasses, sending a beam of light to the air. A hand shot up to his face and the glasses were jerked off in one swoop. The two men sank even lower in the grass, as they watched a figure walk towards Nyah.

“Potter,” whispered Draco.

“Lucius said nothing about going up against Potter,” Nott said worriedly, inching his way back. “I told you, just like I told him – this is crazy. They found her – Potter is there – it’s over!”

Draco turned to stare intently at the man beside him, who was now profusely sweating. “We will finish this, as ordered. Father isn’t listening to reason, not that he ever did.”

“And then what?” asked Nott. “Is he just going to let her sit at the Mansion? What use is she now? It makes no sense Draco – you know that! What’s so special about her anyway?”

As loudly as he could without drawing attention to their hiding spot, Draco again raised his voice, “Enough! You have no idea the plans that were laid for this years before Father ever brought you in. Go – I’ll do it myself!”

Draco watched, unmoving, as the father and daughter became reacquainted, their occasional union of laughter reaching the trees. Envy spread through him and consumed his thoughts, making his mission a little easier. Choosing between his wife and his father had not been easy, but Lucius’ threats had made it a clear choice.

The sun had set even further in the sky when Harry and Nyah finally moved towards the Burrow, leaving Draco and Nott ready to make their advance. With quite a bit of effort, Nott extracted himself from the rather odd position he had been sitting in by grabbing the nearby fence, as well as Draco’s leg, to pull himself up. Once to his feet and catching his breath, Nott seized Draco’s arm and demanded, “Give me one good reason to walk towards this run-down shack to retrieve that little girl.”

Refusing to even look at the older man, Draco simply said, “Either you go, or I kill you… your choice.” And if I return empty-handed, my son dies by my father's hand… Draco pushed the thought out of his head as he placed the Disillusionment Charm on himself and Nott. They inched their way through the tall grass, moving so as not to give away their position. They moved slowly past the pond, as Draco continued to devise a plan to separate the child from her family. Just then, he stepped on something soft. Glancing at his foot, Draco was relieved and inspired when he saw a blanket lying on the hard earth… and not just any blanket… but the blanket that he had been blasted clean through with the ‘Obliviate’ spell all those years before.

Glancing around once more, Draco slowly pulled the blanket near him as the Disillusionment Charm penetrated the knitted yarn, concealing it from view.

A voice nearby whispered, “What are you doing with that old thing?”

“This ‘old thing’,” Draco huffed, “is exactly the bait we need.” Turning back towards the trees, a plan formed in his mind. “Come on… we don’t need to go and get her… she will come to us.” Draco reached the trees and hung the blanket on the smallest branch in the front, in plain site of the Burrow.

Nott’s footsteps could be seen sinking into the decaying leaves as he stood nearby. “Now what?” he asked in Draco’s general direction.

“Now… we wait.” 

                          ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“Ready?” Harry asked, taking his daughter’s hand.

Nyah felt her hand tingle as it was lost – protected within her father’s much larger hand. She wished she could curl up in his arms and never move – to always feel this wonderful – this safe.

As they approached the house, Nyah’s confidence abandoned her and she lingered outside the Burrow door. Everything she ever wanted was just inside that door… a family, home, love, and most of all, her Mum. But doubt and fear held her prisoner. What if they don’t want me? Nyah thought, her head looking to the ground as she felt her hand slip away from her dad’s.

“Wait,” Nyah exclaimed, searching her mind for an excuse to postpone walking back through that door.

“What is it?” Harry asked, drawing her chin up to force her gaze to his.

“Uh… I – I need to… um,” stuttered Nyah, looking about the yard, “my blanket! I forgot it.” She pulled back, putting a distance between herself and the Burrow. “I’ll just get it,” she said, turning and walking slowly towards the pond.

Harry looked to the upstairs window as Ginny leaned out, her face filled with questions and worry. Turning back to Nyah, he called, “I’ll just be in the inside when you’re ready.” Harry paused to watch her feet drag the ground as she was obviously in no real hurry.

Ginny could no longer contain the tears as her hands slid up to cover her face. She tucked the Extendable Ears into her pocket and turned towards the door – pieces of Harry and Nyah’s conversation running through her head.

She thinks I don’t want her, Ginny thought, reaching for the doorknob. How can I tell her… how can I explain… this piece of me that’s been missing all these years. “No!” Ginny said out loud, nearly startling herself, “She’s dead – gone… this is not my daughter. It can’t be…” The small ‘click’ of the door closing seemed to ignite a swell in the noise downstairs as the family began carrying items outside to the table for dinner. Ginny’s feet seemed disconnected from the rest of her body, falling heavy on the spiral steps leading downstairs. Her mind was completely focused on Nyah’s conversation and barely took notice as James and Albus sped by her, heading for Uncle Ron’s old room to avoid helping with dinner.

Finally reaching the bottom step, Ginny looked as the rooms of the Burrow overflowed with family. Kids of nearly every age were playing and running about while the men carried out the items for dinner, and the women were calling out orders to whomever was unfortunate enough to be standing close by. But someone was missing… she always was… Nina, Ginny thought, tears once again stinging her eyes.

Molly was at the sink washing strawberries, while Hermione was lecturing Hugo about not eating before supper as she confiscated a cookie from his hand. Fleur and her daughters gracefully maneuvered the busy room holding trays of food, while Angelina tried to herd the children outside.

“Coming dear?” Molly called to her daughter, hoping to coax her outside to the fresh air.

Ginny motioned to the den and mouthed over the noise, “I’ll be just there.” She watched Harry place Lily onto the chair next to Teddy before she disappeared around the corner towards the den. The room was dark and quiet, but with a small flick of her wand and whispered, “Lumos,” the candles responded by flooding the room with light.

She walked towards the blackboard Hermione had conjured and analyzed the timeline that was presented. Nina’s name had been added, as was the information from Nyah’s dream. “It’s still not enough,” Ginny whispered.

“What more do you need, sweetheart?”

Ginny set her hands on her hips as she studied the board. Shaking her head, she answered, “I don’t know… but something.”

“You should talk to her,” Harry said, pausing to pick up the silver snitch from the table where Hermione had placed it. “Do you remember when I gave you this?” he asked, tossing it in the air.

The snitch felt light in her fingertips as she caught it midair. “Of course I remember,” she said, turning the snitch over in her hands finding the engraving ‘I belong to only you’. “You proposed to me with this. I thought you had gone blooming mad, giving me a snitch instead of a ring, but then…”

“But then,” Harry interjected as he took the snitch from her hands and held it to her lips. “Ginny, will you marry me?”

She cocked her head to the side and rolled her eyes. “Harry, stop. This is not the time…”

“Ginny,” he insisted, “it was made for you, and you alone can open it… if it’s really her. Now, say it.”

The lights sparkled in her eyes, as she whispered to the snitch, “Yes Harry… I’ll marry you.”

A small ‘click’ was heard as the snitch opened, the spell still complete after 12 years.

“It’s empty,” Ginny whispered, disappointment in her voice.

“Not empty, Ginny… it holds what you’ve been looking for,” Harry said, closing the halves once again. “Proof.”

Still unsure, Ginny glanced at the remaining treasures, finally settling on the wand. “Okay, what about this?” she said, holding up the broken piece, “this does not belong to any of us. How do you explain that?”

“I was hoping to take it by the Ministry and have Kingsley take a look at it, or go see Ollivander. Perhaps he’d recognize it. I don’t know that there’s enough left to perform the “Prior Incantato” but I suppose we could try.”

Ginny shook her head in agreement, pulling out her wand. “Prior Incantato” rang through the room as the broken wand shivered. A small stream of white smoke was slowly released from the wand and began to form.

“What is it?” Harry asked, moving his head from side-to-side, hoping to get a better image.

Ginny gasped as the shadow finally took shape. Her voice trembled as she said, “It’s her… it’s Nyah – I mean Nina, Harry. Look!”

Harry wrapped his arms around Ginny as they watched the sputtering image of their daughter being hit with the “Geminio Corporis” spell, while an unmoving duplicate of her appeared, lifeless, on the ground. The wand grew still and the image dissipated, leaving the couple clinging to one another.

“It’s like watching her die all over again,” Ginny sobbed, the painful past rushing to haunt her again. “I don’t want to do that again… I can’t.”

Harry pulled her tighter to him, as his tears fell onto her hair. “Shhh… This is different. She’s home and she’s safe.”

Ginny looked into his eyes, still tormented, “But why, Harry? It still makes no sense! Why would someone do that, and…” Ginny’s face went still, as a chill settled over her. She looked around the room. “Do you hear that?” she asked, pulling away from Harry, listening to the silence.

“Hear what?” Harry asked, straining to hear something other than the noise of the family outside. “I don’t...” he began, as Ginny placed her hands over his mouth gently.

Fear sprang up in her eyes and she began walking around the table, heading for the door. “Harry… Harry, something’s wrong!” She spun around and looked at him. “Where are the children?”

Throwing his hands into the air, Harry shook his head, responding to his nearly frantic wife, “Outside… they’re outside, with Molly and Arthur.” Harry ran after her as she bolted through the door, “Ginny, wait! What’s wrong?” Catching her arm, he demanded to know, “What is it?”

She was nearly hysterical as she called for James and Albus at the stairs. The two boys appeared suddenly near the top of the steps. Not waiting for anything more than to see them, Ginny whispered, “Lily” as she ran for the kitchen door.

Harry was at her heels, still trying to figure out what was going on. He had never seen her so afraid… not awake anyway. Once outside, Harry pulled her aside while the family looked on, curious why Ginny was so distraught.

“Harry… something’s wrong… like in my nightmares, but I’m awake!” she cried, looking to her Mum and back to Harry.

Molly moved to join Ginny and Harry as Hermione stood up and simply asked, “Where’s Nyah?”

All color went out of Ginny’s face as a scream ripped through the breeze.

“Nyah!” Ginny screamed, running towards the pond, Harry at her side. All doubt aside, Ginny knew her daughter’s cry; she could feel it erupt within her heart reigniting all of the love she had hidden away.

Just past the oak tree, two Death Eaters appeared near the old fence, Nyah between them struggling to get away. Anger replaced fear in Ginny’s eyes as she drew her wand and yelled, “Immobulus!” sending the large Death Eater to the ground.

Harry and Charlie were near the open field, just inside the apparition line of the Burrow. They were firing off spells but none were hitting the other Death Eater. Charlie ducked as green sparks flew by his head, just missing him.

Nyah was still struggling, but was unable to get away. Ginny watched in horror as the Death Eater dragged her just beyond the fence post and turned on the spot with a loud ‘pop.’ At that moment, everything went dark as Ginny slumped to the ground… 







Author's Notes:  A huge thanks goes out to ~Mitch~ for the suggestion about the 'calipitter'.  To all of my lovely reviewers, and my friends at eHPf... thank you for traveling this road with me.  We're nearly there...

I'd love to know what you think... please leave me a review in the box below.  I respond to each one!  You can also contact me on my author's page on HPFF.  I look forward to talking to you!  :-)

~


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