Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to Harry Potter, that all belongs to J.K Rowling!
It had been eight weeks, and four days. Harry’s eyes stung. They felt dry, itchy through lack of sleep. He stared down at the table sized map in front of his face. The blocks of green and blue merging into some dizzying blur of destinations.
The roads and rivers became one long line that looked impossible to walk down, the circles marking the Malfoy Manor, the Lestrange Manor and the Riddle house loomed horribly from their own little patches on the parchment.
Harry took his glasses off and rubbed his eyes vigorously. He looked up at Ron and Hermione who sat opposite. Even through his blurred vision he could see that Ron had fallen asleep, his head hanging back and the beginnings of gruff snores leaving his throat.
Hermione tried to stifle a yawn, but failed miserably.
Harry could see, even see without his glasses, that the two of them were beginning to give up hope of finding Luna in one piece, which was, of course, if they found her at all. Not many survived their time of imprisonment with the Death Eaters, and even those who have survived have been too scarred, physically and emotionally, to lead their previous lives the same.
Harry knew that Luna would have changed; he knew she would not be the same, yet he wanted her. Wanted her safe and sound within the confines of the Burrow. Safe within these walls. She wouldn’t ever have to leave again; he would stay with her if she wanted him too. He just wanted to see those eye again, those big bright eyes that could see through any mask. That smile that somehow managed to lift him through any cloud of despair. Perhaps he was just being foolish.
He placed is spectacles back on his nose and stretched his arms up above his head.
‘Maybe... maybe we should go to bed’ he said quietly, and Hermione snapped her puffy eyes up from ‘Location Charms’ by Ebernezzle Caldwick, and shocked Harry with a steely glance. She was perchance, unsure whether she had heard him correctly.
‘Come on, we should all get some sleep, catch up a bit. We’re doing no good now are we’ he crooked his neck from side to side, Hermione smiled as she closed her book and laid it on the arm of her chair.
‘You’re right’ she said softly. She got to her feet and circled her shoulders before she nudged Ron gently on the shoulder. His eyes snapped open quickly and a string of sleepy words escaped his mouth.
‘I was just resting my eyes, I wasn’t sleeping I swear!’
Hermione smirked ‘Come on, we’re going to bed, we can continue in the morning’ she smiled down at him and he brushed a hand through his hair so it stuck up at the back.
‘Oh’ he said, still caught in sleeps grasp ‘Oh, right’ he got up and wrapped an arm around Hermione’s waist. She shrugged him off and glared at him; he looked guilty, but yet could not hide his smile.
‘Night mate’ he said, inaudible through his wide yawn.
‘Good night Harry’ Hermione smiled sweetly. Harry watched them closely as they turned and left the kitchen, he heard Ron’s heavy footsteps on the stairs going towards his room which closed with a loud thump. Hermione walked down the hall towards the study, there was a small scuffle that sounded as if she might have tripped, but her footsteps continued on as if nothing had happened.
Harry rested his forehead on the cold top of the table, and shut his eyes. Letting the sight of the map wash through his head, letting the lines and dots fade away...
... Harry ran up the front path towards the Burrow. Holding his left hand aloof and watching the copious amounts of blood spilling from his palm. He stumbled up the front steps and clamoured his way through the front door.
He had fallen in the road outside Grimmauld Place, it was a silly thing to lose blood over, but he knew Molly would be able to fix him up in second. He had never mastered medical spells himself.
‘Hello?’ he said out loud to the still house.
He kicked the door closed and stumbled to the kitchen. It was empty, there was no one around.
Harry groaned in the silence and walked towards the far cupboard next to the sink. He stood on tip toes, his bloodied hand high above his head, dripping blood onto Molly’s tiled kitchen work surface, the other scrambling on top of the cupboard groping for the first aid box. His fingers curled around the handle, and he pulled it down.
He opened it up and pulled out a thick wad of bandaging, he thought that as long as he stopped the bleeding Molly could fix it up later on.
He unravelled the gauze and began to wrap it around the pulsing gash; he bit his lip hard as the fabric pressed against the exposed flesh.
There was a bump from the ceiling, he stopped wrapping at once and lifted his head towards the sound. Another bump.
‘Hello?’ he said again.
A strange sound followed, like the pings of metal springs when one suddenly coils inside a sofa, or the squeak of a rusty hinge . He thought it strange that such a sound should be coming from above the ceiling, for that was Ginny’s room, and Ginny was supposed to be at the Village with Hermione.
He walked out of the kitchen, bandage wrapping trailing along the floor behind him. He stood at the foot of the stairs and placed his good hand on the ball of the banister.
‘Ginny?’ he called...
His eyes snapped open. He had been dreaming, remembering. He lifted his head slowly to the voice that had sounded so close in his ears.
Ginny was standing by the sink, a glass of water in her hands and standing in tiny bed shorts and a strappy vest. Harry stared at her icily.
‘I didn’t want to wake you’ she said, her cheeks a little hot ‘I came down for a glass of water and you said my name’
Harry fixed his glare on her face so his eyes would not wander down her scantily clad self. He averted his gaze quickly to the map on the table and began to roll it up.
‘A foolish mistake’ he bit dryly ‘I’ll make sure it never happens again’ he stood up and turned away from her. He heard the sudden slam of glass on wood and knew she had smashed her water on the table surface.
‘When is this going to stop!’ she shouted, she sounded close to tears, all the more reason for Harry not to look at her.
‘How many more times can I say I’m sorry? What more do you want me say?!’
He shook his head, and said softly.
‘There’s nothing... nothing you can say’ with that he walked out of the kitchen and towards the stairs.
The sight of Hermione in the hallway suddenly made him jump, she gave him a quick smile as her cheeks flushed and then turned towards the bathroom on the left. He heard the silent call of ‘Night’ before the door closed.
He walked up towards the room Xenophilius was in, he opened the door and looked over the old man. Harry would need to give him his next lot of magical medication soon.
The old man was taking in long, wheezy breaths that sounded as painful as they were loud. His eyelids were fluttering slowly and Harry could see the yellowing whites of his eyes in the dim candlelight on his bedside table.
After a moment he closed the door, and held his back against it.
‘Where are you Luna?’ he whispered to himself, before crossing the hall towards his own bedroom.
Yes, another chapter down my dear readers, and I hope the plot has thickened sufficently enough for you, and your mind is buzzing with lots of lovely questions! I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions! Thank you!!