Chapter 1 : She's Gone
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The sunlight was streaming through the large bay window at the front of the room. Ginny opened her eyes sleepily and yawned, hardly believing it was already time to wake up. She turned on her side to wake her husband, but was surprised to find that Harry was nowhere in sight.
It was strange for him to wake up before her as usually he would sleep as late as he could. Then she noticed the sheets weren’t at all rumpled, as though he hadn’t come to bed the night before. Ginny pulled on her dress robe and headed down the steps in search of her missing husband.
She found his messy black hair almost immediately, over the back of an easy chair directly across from the front door. Ministry documents were strewn around him and Ginny smiled. He’d probably fallen asleep trying to get some last minute work done for the Minister. “Morning, love,” she said quietly.
To her great surprise, Harry turned his head to meet her gaze. The fatigue was clear on his face. Dark shadows circled his bloodshot eyes and his hair was in worse shape than usual. Ginny frowned, worried about her husband’s appearance. “Harry, what’s wrong?” He just shook his head slowly, as though he couldn’t find the words. “Is it something at the Ministry? Did something happen?”
Harry shook his head again. “She’s gone, Gin,” he said.
“What are you talking about?” Ginny asked. “You’re not making any sense.”
“She’s gone,” Harry repeated and Ginny wanted to shake him. Nothing he said meant anything to her, although she knew it couldn’t be good.
“Who’s gone? Harry, you’re scaring me.” Harry raised his eyes to meet her own and turned back to the door as though willing it to open. Fear gripped Ginny’s heart, making it difficult to breathe. “Tell me!”
“Lily never came home last night.”
The Potter home was bustling with Ministry officials. A team of hit wizards had been assigned the investigation and were scouring the house for any shred of evidence. Harry, Ginny, and Albus, who had been woken when the hit wizards arrived, were relegated to the living room where they sat in silence waiting for the team to finish. “I don’t understand why they’re here,” Harry muttered under his breath, shooting a disgusted look toward the hit wizards.
“They’re just doing their jobs,” Ginny replied. She was trying to stay calm, to be the rock for her family as Albus had hardly spoken a word and Harry wasn’t doing much better.
“They’re hit wizards,” Harry said. “Practically useless in the field. I should have requested they send us Aurors. These buffoons have never dealt with dark wizards before.”
“Harry!” Ginny protested, shocked. She couldn’t believe he would say something like that, just assume that dark wizards had been involved. There was no evidence that it was anymore than Lily spending the night with a friend, no proof of anything suspicious. She didn’t want Harry to put any ideas in her son’s head. He may have been of age, but she didn’t want him worrying needlessly.
She glanced at Al, but he was staring listlessly off into space. It didn’t appear as though his parents’ conversation had even registered to him.
Harry quieted at his wife’s request, but shot another glare at the wizard who was making his way over to them. Stilman White was a younger man in his early thirties, but with enough experience to be appointed the leader of the team. “Mr. Potter,” he said with a solemn expression. “I have a few questions for your family if you have no objections.”
“As I have questions for you,” Harry countered. “Why did they send a hit wizard team instead of the Aurors?”
White blinked at him in surprise. “There’s been absolutely nothing that suggests dark wizard involvement, sir. Unless you have information you haven’t told us-”
Harry let out a bitter laugh. “Therein proving your utter incompetence. My daughter is a good girl. She doesn’t stay out all night or disappear without telling us. My enemies would stop at nothing to hurt me, and that includes taking my daughter.”
“With all due respect, Mr. Potter, I’ve seen this type of reaction before. Most parents want to believe the best of their children, even when the facts say otherwise.” He coughed nervously when Harry fixed him with a piercing, emerald stare. “I just need you and your family to answer a few questions regarding the circumstances of your daughter’s disappearance.”
When Harry opened his mouth to retort, Ginny cut in. “Harry, please.” He looked at his wife’s pleading face for a moment and sighed, gesturing for the wizard to continue.
“Thank you.” White sighed in relief and look over his parchment. “When did you last see your daughter?”
“I already told your colleague everything I know. Why do we have to answer these questions again? Your job is to find my daughter, not interrogate me.”
White looked around for support, but neither Ginny nor Al spoke up for him. “Would you please just answer my questions, Mr. Potter? This is your daughter we’re talking about. Anything you say could help me find her.”
Harry gave a jerky nod and eyed the door, still hoping Lily would come skipping through at any moment. He didn’t even hear White asking him a question. “Excuse me?” He said, looking up at the wizard.
“Please, Mr. Potter,” White said tiredly. “Your cooperation here is crucial. When was the last time you saw your daughter.”
“Yesterday afternoon. She was going out,” Harry said as he rubbed his forehead. “I knew I should have sent Al with her.”
“She was going to a movie,” Ginny added. “I think she was going alone.”
“And that was the last time any of you had contact with her?” He scratched a few notes on a roll of parchment when both Harry and Ginny nodded. “Did she meet up with any friends recently?”
“Just Hugo, I think,” Ginny said. She thought hard, but couldn’t remember Lily spending time with any of her Hogwarts friends since July. “She spent a lot of time with Hugo.”
White jotted down a few more notes and Ginny looked away. She didn’t like to think of someone making these notes about her daughter. “What about a boyfriend?”
“Lily doesn’t have boyfriends,” Harry replied instantly. “She’s too young.”
“Mrs. Potter?” White set down his parchment. “Did you know of any boys your daughter may have dated?”
Ginny shook her head. “I don’t think so. Lily was only fifteen. She listened to us. She really was a good girl.”
“I believe you, Mrs. Potter, but if it’s at all possible she had a boyfriend I need to know. Do you know anything, Albus?” He said this gently, urging the boy to tell him everything he knew, but Al only shrugged. “Are you sure? If Lily had a boyfriend she might be out with him.”
“Really now!” Harry said. “My daughter did not have a boyfriend. Why you refuse to believe the truth, I don’t know, but I can assure you if you continue down this line of questioning my daughter will never be found!”
There was a long pause as Harry stared White down. White tapped his quill on the side of the chair before he asked, “Was your daughter having any troubles? At home or with friends or-”
“She didn’t run away!” Harry shouted, standing from his chair. “I’m telling you my daughter is happy, always smiling, always looking on the bright side of things. She never would have run away!”
He stormed out of the living room leaving Ginny and White staring after him. Ginny stood, placing her knitting on the chair. “I better go after him,” she said quietly. “I apologize. You must understand, he’s distraught over Lily. Normally he would never treat you this way.”
“It’s alright,” White said. “I have a few questions for Albus so you go on ahead.” Albus was staring out the window on the opposite side of the room, refusing to make contact with White. The only thing he’d said all morning was a question to his parents immediately after waking up and seeing the hit wizards.
“Albus? Is there anything you want to tell me? Do you know anything about this?” There was a short pause and then Al shook his head. The movement was so slight White would have missed it had he not been looking right at the boy. “Are you alright?” This time Al shrugged. “Would you look at me for a moment? Please Albus, I’m trying to find your sister.”
Al slowly drew his eyes from the window and gazed directly at White. The boy’s emerald green eyes were an exact replica of his father’s. “Are you going to find her?” He asked, his voice breaking in the middle of the question.
White nodded solemnly, keeping eye contact with the younger boy. “I will do my best, I promise.”
Al shook his head again and returned to staring out the window. “That wasn’t what I asked.”
White waited for several minutes, but it became clear he wasn’t going to get any useful information out of the youngest Potter boy. He briefly wondered where the older one was, but decided he could be questioned at another time.
The Potter family was one of the most obstinate he’d ever had to deal with. Every nugget of information had to be cajoled and pried from their memories. They didn’t seem to want to share anything, especially Harry Potter. He’d dealt with important Ministry officials in the house, but not a celebrity like Harry Potter. It was an experience to say the least.
He began to round up the rest of his team, most of whom had little useful information or even none at all, and decided it was time to take their leave. He would have to come back another day to speak to the Potters or else send another to do it.
It was a tempting idea. White had no desire to speak to Potter again until his daughter was returned home safe and sound, but the news would break to the reporters in the next few days and it would become a feeding frenzy. His boss would have his arse if he found out such an important part of the investigation had been delegated.
No, he was the senior hit wizard and as such the responsibility to ensure this case was handled correctly fell to him. He only hoped Potter turned out to be wrong about his daughter. It was much easier to deal with a domestic issue than abduction. Or worse.
A/N: Hey guys! This is my newest project and I really hope you like it! It isn't anything like I've ever done before. It's my Camp NaNo piece, so yes, at the moment it is mostly unedited, but I plan to get a beta reader and fix all the mistakes and awful stuff. I promise it won't always look like this!
Haha, anyways I hope you like it! Leave me a review and tell me what you think! (I always love getting a few good reviews to start off a new story.)
Many thanks to my lovely beta Richele_xo for fixing it up! She totally rocks! =)