Chapter 20 : XX. Hero
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So you think you can save her?
Harry ran his fingers on the edge of his desk.
The glow illuminating from the moon was his source of light within the darkness of the Auror department.
It was already eleven in the evening and Harry found himself alone in his cubicle. Silence surrounded him. It gave him the space he desired as he sorted out his mixed-up thoughts.
He had an idea on what happened to Caleb after he left the Auror department.
He could see it clearly.
As he stared blankly at the walls of his cubicle, Harry could picture his hypothesis.
The note was strong evidence that Ginny had been indeed kidnapped. It must have been placed in Caleb’s flat prior to his arrival from the Ministry.
When he first stepped in Caleb’s deserted flat, Harry sensed that a charm had been cast before his arrival. He knew it was a hex; one that can be placed on an unsuspecting victim as a trap. That explained the wreck caused in Caleb’s flat. The suspect must have cast it upon placing the note.
Harry could picture Caleb seeing the note and reading the words written on it. He could envision the fury Caleb must have experienced and the sudden attack of the spell placed upon his home.
He had explanations…
But there were still unanswered questions.
The blood smeared on the wall…
Whose blood was it? Caleb? Or…
Harry felt a lump on his throat. He decided to disregard the latter choice.
Where was Caleb?
Was it possible that he survived the hex in his flat and that he ran afterwards, still searching for Ginny?
And the last questions…
Who on earth would want to kidnap Ginny Weasley?
His head throbbed.
For a moment, Ginny’s face appeared in his head. Her eyes closed and single tear drop cascading down her smooth cheek. Her face when Harry kissed her for the first time in three years.
A painful feeling erupted within him.
Two weeks ago, Ginny leaving him and saying she no longer loved him was the most painful blow in Harry’s life.
Now, the thought of Ginny kidnapped replaced it.
His fist clenched.
Harry racked his brain for the possible suspects behind this. He simply could not figure out anyone who would hold a grudge against the lovable Ginny Weasley.
He trembled at the thought of Ginny being held in captivity. Her hands bound behind her…her captor pulling her hair and sneering at her, taunting her. Her tears running down her face…her voice crying for help.
“No,” Harry murmured, erasing the terrifying thought in his mind.
A small sound broke the silence within the department and startled Harry.
He looked up and saw a figure approaching his cubicle.
Opening his lamp, Harry saw Ron walking towards him.
“What are you doing here this hour of the night?” asked Ron.
Harry wasn’t able to answer right away. His eyes gazed at Ron.
The difference between the Ron he encountered that morning and the Ron that stood opposite him was quite remarkable.
Weariness was painted all over Ron’s freckled face. The glow he had hours ago vanished. His hair was rumpled and Harry could still see evidences of sweat on his temples.
“Where have you been?” asked Harry.
Ron heaved a deep sigh.
“Searching for my sister, of course,” he said, “I haven’t told Mum anything about it. I don’t want to cause panic. We’ve been at Ginny’s flat and searched the whole area.”
“Did you find anything?”
Ron shook his head. “Nothing. Not a single hint of anything. All we know was her flat was trashed. There was no fingerprint or anything reliable at all,” he said.
Harry nodded, “Same scenario at Caleb’s,” he said.
The expression on Ron’s face changed. “Caleb’s? What the-? How? What were you doing there?”
Harry stood up. “I dropped by after you left, hoping I could…apologize to him. But when I got there, the door was open. The place looked as if it was bombed…and there was a smear of blood on his wall,” he said, “And a note.”
“A note? What note?” there was urgency in Ron’s voice.
Harry bit his lip. The mere memory of the note panged his heart.
“There was this piece of parchment lying on the table, nearby the bloodstained wall,” said Harry, “All it said was: So you think you can save her.”
Harry could feel his skin breaking into goosebumps. He shivered at the thought.
“So you think you can save her,” repeated Ron.
“Yes,” said Harry.
Another cold silence.
Harry ran a hand thru his messed up hair. He heaved a frustrated sigh.
“What’s that got to do with Caleb? And his flat being trashed?” asked Ron.
“When I went inside his flat, I felt something odd. The flat…it felt cursed,” said Harry, “I think that curse…when Caleb stepped in his flat, was triggered. It may explain the smear of blood on his wall.”
“So…you reckon the blood is Caleb’s?”
“Exactly,” said Harry, “The suspect must have placed it there as he placed the note.”
“What about the note?”
Harry bit his lip.
“Caleb found it,” he said, “He must’ve found it. When he did…I can only guess that he ran off to look for her…or he was kidnapped by the attacker.”
There was a pause.
The images appearing in Harry’s mind were none too pleasant. He had a bad feeling he would be seeing them in his dreams…or more likely, his nightmares.
“So…Ginny…she really was kidnapped,” concluded Ron.
“Yes,” said Harry.
Ron groaned and sat down on the nearby stool. He buried his face in his hands, despair surrounding him. An unpleasant feeling settled within Harry’s stomach. He felt pity for Ron…who was so happy when he first arrived, only to be greeted by the disappearance of his one and only sister.
Harry approached him and held his shoulder.
“I’m sorry this had to happen, mate,” said Harry, “But we’ll get to the bottom of this…we’ll find Caleb. We’ll find Ginny.”
Ron looked up at him. Harry could see the grief in his eyes…but there was also a spark of hope.
“I hope you’re right, mate,” he said.
“Trust me,” said Harry.
There was silence between them; the sounds of their breathing were the only signs of life in the room. Harry knew the burden Ron was now shouldering for he too was carrying it.
“We’ll find her,” he said, “No matter what it takes.”
“We will,” he said, “C’mon. Let’s go back to my place. Hermione’s waiting.”
Harry’s eyes had difficulty in adjusting to the darkness.
He touched his eyes. He was wore no glasses and yet, despite the darkness, he felt he could see things just fine.
He was quite disoriented for a moment that he failed to realize he was shivering. His skin had broken into goosebumps and his hands were stiff.
“Where am I?” he asked outloud. Was he standing in Ron and Hermione’s dark hallway? If he was, what was he doing, out of bed? Wasn’t he supposed to be resting his already weary body?
Not far from where he was, he heard distinct sobs.
Harry first thought of Hermione.
What could she probably be crying about? Did she and Ron have a row?
He took small steps down the dark hallway. He still found it odd that he could see without his glasses. He walked…yet something bothered him deeply within. He just couldn’t point his finger at it. As he got farther, the sobs grew louder.
It was then he realized it wasn’t Hermione sobbing.
He stopped in his tracks.
He looked around his surroundings once more.
“What the bloody hell?” he murmured.
He turned around. He realized that he wasn’t walking down Ron and Hermione’s hallway. It was some sort of underground tunnel. The sobs he was hearing…he was dead sure they didn’t belong to Hermione.
He felt his heart pick up pace. It was banging wildly against his rib cage. The unease began to build up…
The sobs continued.
He began to walk fast down the dark passage. Though he had no idea who the crying woman was, his instincts told him he must hurry. Before he knew it, he was running. His feet began to accelerate in speed and beads of sweat formed on his forehead. His breathing became heavier as he gulped for oxygen.
Harry had no idea where he was off but he knew he had to be somewhere.
A moment later, he found himself face to face with a wooden door.
He could hear the sobs within the room, opposite the door. In an instant, they became quite familiar to him.
His hands began to shake as he held the bronze knob of the door. His heart continued to pound hard against his chest.
With one swift move, he opened it.
The sight made him freeze.
“No…” he said.
In front of him was Ginny.
Her hands were tied behind her back. Her skin was covered with scratches and fresh wounds. Locks of her flaming red hair were plastered on the skin of her face. Smudges of dirt on every inch of her porcelain skin.
Her appearance wasn’t the sole reason behind Harry’s disturbance.
It was the look in her eyes.
There was such fear in her dark brown eyes as she looked at Harry. Tears began to roll down her cheeks…
“Harry…” she choked.
Harry was still frozen. He longed to run towards her…but his feet were stuck to where he was. He could not move.
“Ginny…” was all he was able to say.
He watched as she looked at him and said the following words tearfully…
And before he could say a word, a jet of green light blasted and hit Ginny Weasley mercilessly straight to her heart.
She gave a small gasp before casting Harry one last look.
One last piercing look…
He saw her eyes close as her lifeless body fell to the dusty ground.
In an instant, Ginny was no more.
Her frail body was drained of its natural color. Her chest no longer moved, the only sign of her breathing. Her flaming red hair covered her motionless face.
She was dead.
The rage and pain burst within, searing Harry’s veins. He was numb and tortured at the same time. His hands balled into fists as he stared, horrified, at Ginny’s corpse.
Tears began to form in his now bloodshot eyes.
It was as if a piece of him was ripped off in an instant.
The fury continued to rage within him. Harry could not take it anymore…
Tears ran down her pale, cold face…
Dead. Forever gone…
He experienced a sudden shaking.
“HARRY! Wake up!”
He opened his eyes.
Darkness surrounded him. His blurred vision could make out a figure hovering above him. He felt a pair of hands holding his shoulders, shaking him.
The jerking sensation…felt so real.
It was all a dream.
“Hermione?” he asked the owner of the voice.
A sudden flash of light forced Harry to shut his eyes once more.
“Wear your glasses,” instructed Hermione, who shoved his glasses on his face.
He moved himself up, straightening his back against the headboard. He felt his head throbbing.
Slowly, Harry opened his eyes.
Hermione was kneeling beside his bed, her face painted with worry. She had turned on the small lap sitting on the table beside him. She handed him a glass of water and her hand found his face, feeling his temperature.
“Thanks,” said Harry as he drank the water gratefully, satisfying his thirst.
“Nightmare?” she asked, then she took his empty glass and handed him a face towel, “Wipe your face. You’re sweating like hell.”
Harry touched his face, and true enough, he was sweating like hell. He also realized that his breathing was somewhat troubled…heavy. He felt like someone who had just ran the marathon or a person chased by a rampaging hippogriff.
He rubbed his forehead.
Hermione had placed her hand on his shoulder.
“What were you dreaming about?” she asked.
“Did I wake you? I’m sorry,” said Harry, evading the question.
“No, not really,” said Hermione, “I was actually up to get a glass of milk when I passed this room and I heard you moaning. I went inside and then I saw you thrashing arounnd. At first, I thought you were having a seizure or something.”
“I was?” he asked, all of a sudden incredibly embarrassed, “I’m sorry for the bother, Hermione. I ruined your decent night’s sleep.”
“It’s alright, Harry. No trouble at all. Now, back to my question,” she said, “What were you dreaming about?”
Harry buried his face in his hands. Dare he remember the tragic image he had just seen?
“It was…it was Ginny, Hermione,” he said, “I dreamt about her.”
He saw Hermione’s eyes widen in alarm.
“What about her?”
He gulped. The words seem stuck in his throat.
Harry bit his lip. He began to shake at the thought once again…that horrendous thought.
“She was dead,” he answered.
He heard Hermione release a small gasp. Her hands covered her mouth.
His hands clenched into fists. The mere thought of a stranger raising a hand to hurt Ginny Weasley caused his blood to boil and his heart to pound faster. Seeing her cold and lifeless on a dusty ground…was hell.
“Harry…it’s…it’s just a dream,” said Hermione, recovering from her shock.
He ran a hand thru his hair. “I know it is,” he said, “But it seemed so real, Hermione. It seemed so…real…”
“Oh Harry, you don’t know that. She can’t be.”
There was a short silence.
“She can’t die…” he muttered, “If she dies…I…I don’t know…”
Harry took a deep breath.
“I wouldn’t know how to live, Hermione.”
Before he knew it, Hermione had wrapped her arms around him.
“Oh, Harry,” she whispered, “Everything’s going to be alright. Everything will turn out right.”
Her hands were soothing him, her fingers lacing his hair. Hermione was rocking him gently.
For a moment, Harry was numb…frozen. His muscles could not move. That small thought had affected him greatly.
“We’ll find her…” said Hermione, and he could hear her sobbing, “She’ll be alright.”
Slowly, Harry found himself laying his head on Hermione’s shoulder.
His weakness began to reveal itself.
He knew. He simply knew.
He could never live properly…if Ginny Weasley no longer existed.
He could live with the fact that Ginny was with Caleb or with any other man. He will continue to breathe even if she gets married and has a family of her own. He can exist even if Ginny decides to erase him from her life…completely.
He can deal with those.
As long as she was alive, he was too.
But if she wasn’t…
Harry didn’t know what would happen.
He was so preoccupied with these thoughts that he failed to notice a single tear roll down his cheeks. He was shaking…his hand holding Hermione’s back as if he was holding unto dear life.
“Oh, Harry,” said Hermione, “Let it out. Let it all out…”
He expected himself to burst into tears, to wail out in desperation…to simply let it all out. But as he stayed in Hermione’s comforting arms, he found himself quiet and still. Yes, he was still shaking…but he wasn’t goin berserk.
The image of a lifeless Ginny kept replaying inside his mind.
He took another deep breath. He clutched her tighter…
“If this doesn’t end well,” he said, “I wouldn’t know what to do anymore.”
“Harry!” sobbed Hermione.
He did not bother to reply anymore as Hermione cried.
It was the truth.
He really wouldn’t know.
“Search for evidence. Anything reliable. Anything.”
Ron’s voice echoed in Harry’s ears as he stood outside of Caleb’s empty flat. He saw that the place looked the same as he had left it days ago: trashed and a complete mess.
Three Aurors had already gone inside with their wands out, searching for any reliable evidence. Ron was still orienting the remaining Aurors to return to Ginny’s flat to re-scan and search once more.
Harry stood there absentmindedly. The rushing of his fellow Aurors in front of him were merely a blur. Nothing much was going on inside his mind as of that moment. Last night’s encounter with Hermione had taken its toll on him. He could still feel Hermione’s tears on his shoulders.
Harry noticed something waving in front of him. Ron’s hand was waving up and down in front of his face.
“Huh?” asked Harry.
“Are you alright?” asked Ron, “You’ve been blank for a while now. Is there something wrong?”
“Er…no, just thinking,” said Harry, hoping his answer would amend his mistake, “Let’s go inside.”
He went ahead of Ron, hoping to escape further questioning. As far as he knew, Ron had no idea of Harry and Hermione’s talk the previous night. He had asked Hermione to not mention it to his best mate; he didn’t want anymore of the drama.
Aurors were scattered inside Caleb’s empty flat. Most of them were performing revealing charms with the hope to discover any evidence. Harry saw that the blood smear was still on the wall and one of the Aurors had the note he had dropped previously. They were running it over their wands.
“The blood on the wall is Caleb’s,” informed Ron, “One of the Auror’s matched it with his hair strand.”
“Uh-huh,” said Harry.
“Think he might’ve put on a fight?” asked Ron. Harry headed to the walls and touched it.
“He might have,” he said, “I’ll be going inside his room. You stay put here, alright, Ron?”
“Of course,” said Ron. As Harry was about to leave, he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned around.
“Mate, are you sure you’re alright?” asked Ron, his forehead creasing, “You’re not yourself today.”
Harry forced a weak smile on his face. “I’m alright, Ron,” he lied, “You should stop worrying about me and worry about your sister instead.”
This statement must have convinced Ron because he released Harry and merely gave him a nod.
“I’ll be in Caleb’s room if you need me,” he told Ron.
He left Ron with the other Aurors and made his way to the bedroom, looking as if he was searching for more evidence when in fact he just wanted to be alone. Looking at all the mess only reminded Harry that Ginny was missing and it gave him an unpleasant feeling in the stomach.
He opened the door and revealed a somewhat nicely kept room. Apparently, Caleb’s bedroom was left untouched during the attack. Everything was in their proper place…or so Harry assumed. Nothing seemed suspicious.
He went inside and closed the door behind him.
There was nothing much in Caleb’s bedroom. Scraps of parchment and Daily Prophets were scattered on the floor. He picked up one of the issues.
‘GINNY WEASLEY RETURNS TO THE HARPIES; HARPIES FANS REJOICE,’ blared the headline of the Prophet he was holding. It was the very same Prophet held in his own hands when Ginny returned after three years. He watched as Ginny zoomed in and out of the frame of the picture. His stomach gave another unpleasant jolt.
He looked down at the other Prophets lying on the floor. He caught a glimpse of one that had his face on the front cover with the headline: POTTER DECLARED HEAD OF AUROR MINISTRY. It was dated three years ago.
Before he could reach for the paper, something caught his eye.
There on Caleb’s desk was a picture of Ginny with a rose on her hair and laughing.
Harry stood up and approached the desk. He took the picture frame, his eyes glued on Ginny’s image.
She was wearing a dress printed with daisies. It was Harry’s favorite dress of hers. She was laughing in the picture, her hands playfully moving. He watched as her, though the black and white picture did not show it, brown eyes twinkled and her white teeth flashed.
For a second, his heart skipped a beat.
It’s been long since he saw Ginny laughed. Not just any laugh though…the kind of laugh she used whenever she was truly joyous.
It was the laugh he was watching at that very moment.
He recalled those magical moments when he would hear her sweet laughter. He remembered spending time with her by the lake at Hogwarts, both of them keeping away from the eyes of their schoolmates. He remembered moments when they would simply fool around with each other: teasing, chasing one another…and her laughter would echo in his ears.
His fingers caressed the precious photograph. Odd as it may sound, it gave Harry small comfort, seeing her soundless laughter. He traced her face with his finger.
“Ginny…” he whispered.
He missed her so much.
A part of him wished dearly that he didn’t kiss her that night. If he hadn’t, Ginny would’ve not probably run away and instead, he’d be seeing more of her. Ginny wouldn’t have any knowledge of his true feelings, yet she would be safe.
He would see her.
The guilt returned to his heart.
He placed the frame down as he felt the heaviness settle inside him. He backed away from the desk and ended up sitting on Caleb’s bed.
He never expected that everything would end this way.
Harry regretted the mistake he had done three years ago. He didn’t know that the consequences of his negligence would come back in a more sever form. If only he hadn’t taken her for granted, if only he had paid more attention to her…
He knew…had he not messed up, Ginny would’ve never left him three years ago. She would’ve never left for Cumbria, meet Caleb and ending up in love. They would’ve never come back to London…and Harry would not have to suffer from all of the horrors.
At the end of the Battle at Hogwarts, Harry figured he was headed into a blissful oblivion. No more Voldemort. No more Death Eaters. No more pain. All he had to look forward to was a beautiful life with Ron, Hermione, Teddy…
But apparently, life had other plans for him.
His thoughts were disrupted by the sound of flapping.
Harry looked up and saw a barn owl standing by the window. At the sight of the bird, he wondered where the post must have come from and who it was for.
He slowly got up from the bed and approached the barn owl.
As he got closer, he spotted an envelope tied to its feet.
“Let me get it,” he gently told the bird as he began to remove its delivery. The moment it was relieved from its package, the owl took flight, leaving Harry by the window.
Harry sensed that something felt odd as he watched the barn owl fly and disappear behind the clouds.
It was then he remembered the post he was holding in his hands.
It felt thick and he flipped it over to reveal the receiver’s name.
Mr. Harry James Potter, it read.
That’s odd, he thought to himself. The mail didn’t look like post from the Ministry. The envelope was worn-looking and the script was unrecognizable.
He began to rip the opening of the envelope, wondering deep inside who on earth would send him a message. When he ripped it open, two things fell out from the envelope. Both landed on the floor.
He knelt down to pick one up. The moment he took it, he flipped it over.
When he did, he froze.
He began to stiffen in sudden shock.
The emerald eyes behind his glasses widened in horror and disbelief.
“No…” the word escaped his lips. He could feel the cold fear rising inside his chest as his gaze was frozen.
He immediately grabbed the piece of parchment that fell on the floor.
He flipped it over and read the words written on the parchment.
His fear became more concrete. His hands began to shake and he became unstable. He trembled.
The door opened all of a sudden.
“Harry, McKinnon and Ross found some smudges in the kitchen. They wanted you to see it yourself-“ Ron was saying when he stopped at the sight of Harry.
“Mate…what’s wrong?” he asked as he stopped by the door, “What’s going on? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
Harry faced Ron. He found himself speechless. He couldn’t utter a single word.
The shock was too much.
Ron slowly approached him.
“What’s that?” asked Ron, pointing at Harry’s hand.
He gulped. Harry’s breathing became uneven.
“It was addressed to me,” he said shortly. He noticed his voice had become wobbly and that he was still shaking.
“What is it?” persisted Ron.
Harry knew that Ron was not going to like the evidence he had just received.
He handed it to Ron, whose eyes widened in the same horror Harry’s had done moments ago.
“Bloody hell…” muttered Ron, looking at Harry in disbelief, “Oh bloody Merlin…is this-?”
Harry nodded his head as he returned his gaze to the evidence.
It was a tattered photograph of a beaten-looking Caleb Andrews.
His hands were bound to the chair where he was seated. Harry and Ron watched as he lolled his head helplessly from side to side, his eyes semi-closed and a piece of cloth tied to his mouth.
“It’s Caleb,” said Harry, “I’m sure of it.”
Ron was peering at the photograph, unable to believe it.
“So…he was kidnapped too,”
“Where is he? He looks bloody terrible,” said Ron, staring at the picture, hoping to recognize the location, “He’s a mess.”
“The worst isn’t over,” Harry said, his voice suddenly trembling, “There’s also this.” His hand did not stop shaking as he handed Ron the parchment. He watched as Ron’s blue eyes ran over the words.
A second later, the look of horror was painted on his face.
“Oh my god…no…” said Ron, “This is...Merlin…”
Harry took the note from Ron’s frozen hands. He re-read it while clutching the rising terror he had inside.
Always the hero
Who never saw it coming at all
Every second wasted,
More blood will be spilled
Are you strong enough to save
The one you love the most?
The handwriting was almost unrecognizable but Harry could feel his heart wrenching in pain.
He knew the note was talking about Ginny.
It explained why she was gone.
“You think it’s…it’s my sister?” asked Ron.
Harry simply nodded his head.
Ron sank down on Caleb’s bead, burying his head inside his hands.
“This can’t be happening,” he said.
Harry remained standing, frozen on the spot. He too, could not believe what was happening.
“Who would want to do this?” asked Ron.
“Why would they want to do this in the first place?” said Harry.
He saw Ron rub his forehead.
“I reckon it’s some ploy to get your attention, mate,” sai Ron, “The note and the photograph…they’re addressed to you.”
Harry took the photograph of Caleb from Ron.
“It may be a ploy…or a warning,” he said.
Ron straigtened up, “A warning?”
“They want something,” finished Harry, “It’s clear…that they want something for me, or better yet, they want me.
Ron asked with disbelief, “But Harry…why would someone want to go after you? Unless they’re some of those crooks we’ve captured years ago…but still. It doesn’t seem…I dunno…Merlin’s beard.”
There was silence.
Harry approached Caleb’s window sill. He gazed at the already gloomy atmosphere outside.
Things were heavier as they seem.
“He knew Ron…whoever this is…he or she knew that Ginny was the person I love the most,” he said, figuring it was useless to lie to Ron about his feelings at the situation, “It was written there. Are you strong enough to save the one you love the most? He knew.”
“So…they used Ginny,”
Harry nodded his head.
“But I don’t get it, mate,” continued Ron, “You said the note…the first one…was found here, in Caleb’s flat. If all of this was meant for you…then why in the devil’s name would the suspect leave the first note here?”
“Probably because the suspect knew that he was Ginny’s boyfriend. Maybe they knew that he too would go after her…and when he did and he got kidnapped, they knew that I would run after both of them,” said Harry, “Double the price, you see.”
He gazed at the leaves of the trees, swaying lazily to the wind.
“Blimey mate,” remarked Ron, “It all seems…plausible. But I really can’t think of anyone who would do that.”
“There are a number of possible suspects, Ron. We fight crime, remember? We make enemies when we do our duty,” said Harry.
Ron bit his lip. “So…this is payback?”
Harry heaved a frustrated sigh.
“Call the others,” he said, not answering Ron’s question, “We’re returning to the Ministry.”
He sensed Ron’s hesitation but Ron followed his orders anyway and was out of the room in a second, leaving Harry with his thoughts.
He knew that he was being placed within danger’s radius.
But when you were Harry Potter,
Danger was nothing new.
Harry ran his gaze over the photograph over and over again. He was trying to analyze the setting of Caleb’s probable location. His eyes went over the murky background towards the wooden chair where Caleb was strapped.
It truly wasn’t a familiar location.
He had the other Aurors run spells over the note they received. Others were running over the files of previous crooks who were recorded to have threatened Harry in the past. Harry had Ron head that procedure of the investigation and as of that moment, there was no progress yet.
Harry was alone in his cubicle, his wand still pointed at the photograph.
He had tried every revealing charm he knew to uncover any evidence, which led to absolutely nothing helpful.
It was already ten o’ clock in the evening and they made no progress.
Frustrated, Harry threw down the photo on his desk and sat down on his chair. He buried his face in his hands.
He was dead tired but his weariness did not disturb him as much as the fact that as of now, Ginny and Caleb were still missing and horrible possibilities kept cropping in his mind. His head was beginning to ache and he knew he needed some sleep. But he couldn’t. He wouldn’t.
I need some space, he thought.
He got up to escape the confinements of his cubicle and of the almost empty Auror department. It bothered him that they weren’t having any leads on the case. They had no firm evidence or any thing that will direct them to Ginny and Caleb’s whereabouts.
His head throbbed once more.
Closing his eyes, Harry willed himself to apparate to the lobby of the Ministry, by the magical fountain.
He sat down on the smooth surface of the fountain, rubbing his forehead, hoping to ease some of the throbbing he was experiencing. He was thankful that the lobby was almost deserted. No one would witness him at his weakest.
The sound of the water flowing behind him somehow had a calming effect. He closed his eyes and continued listening to it. For a moment, everything was quiet…peaceful. He was alone. For a while, nothing bothered him.
The image of her lovely face popped up in his mind.
She was somewhere out there, being held captive by an unknown stranger. It pained him to realize that…he wasn’t able to do anything.
He knew it was hopeless to wallow. It wasn’t going to bring Ginny back. It wouldn’t be able to save her.
All of these…they didn’t make any sense to Harry. Why were they even happening? Was the universe holding a grudge against him?
He opened his eyes and blankly stared at the lobby…when something caught his attention.
That’s odd, he suddenly thought.
Harry got up from where he sat and began approaching a worn-out boot sitting in the middle of the lobby.
“What’s a manky old boot doing in here?” he asked outloud. He began to look around for anyone who was missing a boot. He figured that someone must have left it while hurrying.
He looked around once more. Seeing that nobody appeared to be looking for a lost boot, he decided that he would take it to the Lost and Found station based on the third floor. He’d rather do some small good than wallow.
He picked up that manky old boot
And when he did,
It happened immediately.
The sensation was similar to that of being pulled by a hook behind his navel and moving forward. He was speeding in a howl of wind and he consistently saw spirals of colors. He felt asif he was being jerked into a portal of nothingness.
At that very moment, he knew that the manky old boot-
Was a portkey.
But he realized it too late.
He slammed unto the musty-smelling ground. He was lying, face down, on what felt like grass and dirt. He groaned as he struggled to get up, his muscles aching due to the impact of the fall.
He raised his head, looking around and trying to perceive his new environment, when he realized that he was missing his glasses. He sat up immediately and felt the ground with his hands until he felt the surface of his glasses. Immediately, Harry shoved them unto his face. His vision became better and he began to look around. He hoisted himself up, his muscles still aching.
He was surrounded by overgrown hedges. Darkness hovered above him and there was no person in sight.
“Lumos,” he said, holding out his wand, which began to emit light. He searched for the portkey that brought him there when his attention was suddenly drawn by the single source of light that suddenly lit up not far from where he stood.
He held his wand out towards that direction. He perceived what seemed like an abandoned barn. Though he couldn’t understand, Harry found himself walking towards that barn, wand out and all. His instincts told him he must go…they told him that he would find what he was searching for.
He walked briskly, constantly looking from left to right and being sensitive to his surroundings. He heightened his senses.
The wind blew harshly but Harry made no notice. His senses told him to keep on moving, to never look back. His feet began to walk faster, till he was running. There was a sense of urgency.
He was halfway near, when he saw an image that made him stop. He froze.
The sight made him run faster towards the opening the barn, hoping to confirm his first suspicion.
He stopped and he saw that by the single lit candle, which was the source of light he had seen earlier, there was a body sprawled on the floor. Its back was facing him…
It was a man, no doubt.
A man with blond hair…
He never saw this coming at all.
A/N: Hello! Another done. I hope you haven’t fallen off your rocker or anything and I truly hope that this chapter passed your standards. I would also like to say that this chapter marks the near end of Breakeven. I know it’s a wee bit early but I would like to say that writing this was so much fun and I would miss it when it’s over!
Let me know what you think!
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