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Chapter 5 : Terrified
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Oh baby I have been here before
I've seen this room and I've walked this floor
You know I used to live alone before I knew you
After four solid months of being with Ginny every single day, being without her was very unsettling. It didn’t help that Harry had to use Pig to send her letters. Pig, unlike Hedwig, seemed to take twice as long to deliver a letter. But lucky for Harry he had work to keep him occupied, and the Ministry was bursting with things to do.
Harry had always been a man who could handle a lot of things, he always was prepared for the unexpected, but nothing could prepare him for the news he got the last week of October.
Harry had been eating breakfast with Ron, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, George, and Teddy when a shimmering silver tabby cat appeared in the middle of the kitchen. Teddy clapped his hands and laughed. The Patronus looked at Harry and spoke in McGonagall’s voice.
“ Potter, Weasley, you both need to get to the school immediately, you can Floo strait to my office. I have some bad news for you.” The cat vanished in a puff of smoke, which made Teddy squeal in delight and turn his hair silver in imitation.
Harry and Ron stared at each other in shock for a moment; then they both stood up abruptly and headed for the fireplace.
“ We’ll be back ASAP, mum.” Ron said.
“ Arthur, can you tell Kingsley that I’ll be late for work.” Asked Harry. Both Mrs. and Mr. Weasley nodded, looking curious.
“ Were you expecting this?” Mrs. Weasley asked.
“ No.” Harry answered as Ron took a hand full of Floo powder. “ I’m as surprised as you are.”
“ Headmistress’s Office, Hogwarts.” Ron said walking into the green flames. Harry followed, seven years and he still hated using the Floo network, though it wasn’t as bad as Apparting. His head was spinning as he stepped out of the grate into Dumbledore’s office…no, McGonagall’s office now. Minerva McGonagall was sitting in the desk, Luna was sitting in the chair that Harry had occupied more times then he could count.
Right away he knew something was terribly wrong, McGonagall looked extremely troubled and defeated, a look he only seen on her face three times, once when she was afraid that the school would be closed because Ginny was taken into the Chamber of Secrets, once when Dumbledore died, and once last spring during the Battle of Hogwarts. Luna was crying, Harry had never seen Luna cry; it looked very uncharctisic and unsettling.
“ What’s going on?” Harry asked, afraid of the answer.
“ Harry, Ron,” McGonagall started, the use of their first names only made Harry more anxious, she only used surnames when something terrible happened. “ Something happened, with Ginny and Hermione.” Harry’s heart was racing at a thousand miles an hour.
“ What do you mean?!” Ron demanded.
“ W-we think that they were kidnapped,” Luna whispered, all the airiness and mystery in her voice was gone, it was flat and depressed.
“ Kidnapped?” Harry repeated. “ What are you talking about, Luna?”
“ The girls went missing last night,” McGonagall said, “ since they know the passage ways of the school better then anyone other then yourselves and you older brother, we assumed they just left for a while to take a walk around Hogsmeade, or possibly Apparte home for a few hours, however a ransom note arrive a half an hour ago.”
“ I’ve got money.” Harry said quickly, without thinking, “ how ever much they want they can have, just as long as we have the girls back.”
“ They…they don’t want gold.” McGonagall said, sliding the parchment across the desk “ They want you.”
Heart pounding Harry picked up the parchment. We have your little mudblood and blood-traitor; they’re perfectly safe…for now, however unless Harry Potter meets us by three o’clock Sunday afternoon, they won’t be. We’ll know if you bring any other Auror with you and the little girlies will pay for that. Underneath that was an address for a residence a little ways out of Edinburgh.
“ I thought all of the Death Eater’s were in Azkaban.” Ron said.
“ There are some who got off, or were never caught,” McGonagall explained, “ we can’t even be sure it’s even a Death Eater, it could just be another Dark Arts support that’s planning something and doesn’t want Harry in their way.”
Harry felt sick to his stomach; he shouldn’t have ever proposed to Ginny, he shouldn’t have even gotten back together with her. Why did he have to be so selfish?! He stood up suddenly and grabbed the note, “ Ron, go tell your parents what’s going on, if I’m not back in two hours send for back up.”
“ What are you talking about?” Ron asked Anxiously.
“ I have to go after them.” Harry said.
“ Don’t be crazy, Potter,” For some reason Harry felt reassured by the use of his surname again, he couldn’t explain why, “ You’ll be killed.”
“ Maybe,” Harry said, “ But I’ve done crazier things before, and I’m not about to let Ginny and Hermione die because of me.”
“ I’m going with you.” Ron and Luna both said at the same time.
“ The hell you are!” Harry snapped, “ Excuse my language, Professor,” he said quickly; then turned back to his friends, “ they’ll know I didn’t come alone, it could spook them, and I’m not taking any chances.”
“ But you don’t know how many there are,” Ron argued, “ This could be suicide!”
“ Probably is.” Harry admitted calmly, “ but I’ve gone on suicidal missions before, and somehow I’ve gotten lucky, I’m not taking any chances when it comes to Ginny…or Hermione for that matter.”
“ I love Ginny and Hermione too,” argued Ron, “ I’m coming with!”
“ No!” Harry yelled, loosing his temper, then quickly add more calmly, “ Please, Ron, you need to tell your family first, and I need to do this on my own, I’ve faced Voldemort alone before and survived and I don’t think these people could be worst then him.” Ron opened his mouth to object but Harry cut him off, “ If anything happens to either of the girls and I didn’t do everything and anything possible to prevent it I’ll never forgive myself.”
“ But what about you, mate?”
“ I’ll be fine, plus I’d rather die knowing Ginny’s safe then live knowing I hurt her.”
Ron looked at him with a mingled expression of fear, grief, and admiration. “ Two hours.” He said, “ you have two hours and if you’re not back I’m coming after you with the entire Auror department.”
“ Two hours.” Harry repeated, “ I’ll be back by then.” I hope. “ Thank you, Professor.” He said to McGonagall, “ I’ll have the girls back soon.”
“ Good luck, Potter.” She said patting Harry’s arm, he half smiled. He walked quickly out of the office, he didn’t want his friends see him break down. He leaned against a wall and took a few breaths to steady himself, despite his confidence in McGonagall’s office; he was terrified out of his wits. This is what he feared all along, this is why he didn’t want to date Ginny; she was in danger because of him.
He looked around him, he spent the happiest years of his life in this castle; it was his home. But now it was like a strange, cold labyrinth not his home. He remembered as if it was yesterday holding Ginny’s hands in this very corridor, kissing her good-bye before one of his lessons with Dumbledore. Now it was empty except for him, all the students were in their classes happy, health, and carefree. Harry envied them, he had never been carefree, but he would prefer his old life of fear to the terror that gripped him now. He steadied himself and started walking quickly down the corridor to the grand stair case, it had been perfectly since the battle, it looked just like it had a year ago, only now Ginny wasn’t smiling waiting at the other end of it. Harry walked faster; he wanted to get out of the castle as soon as possible. Funny, ironic, how he never before realized how much he relied on Hermione and Ginny to make Hogwarts his home until now that he was in danger of loosing them forever. Which that thought he broke into a dead run, bolting through the deserted castle, desperate to get far enough away to Disapprate. Finally he stumbled off the grounds and fell down on the ground trying to catch his breath. Once he regain his composer he concentrated on the address on the note and with a pop and brief period of near suffocation was in front of a huge Victorian style manor.
Author's note, sorry this is a rather short chapter, the next one will be longer, I promise
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