Chapter 7 : Go Home
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Ginny stared at her hands. She’d been watching them shake ever so slightly for the past twenty minutes. It seemed strange that she would have no control over her own body.
Ever since the press had shown up on their front lawn something inside her felt like it had broken or gone missing. The disappearance, the fact the she was just plain gone, it all seemed so real now to Ginny. Her baby, her youngest child and only daughter hadn’t come home in two days.
There was no possible way she could lie to herself any longer. Lily wasn’t merely staying out late with friends or even lying about a boyfriend. She was gone. Really and truly missing.
A sob wracked her thin frame as the reality of the situation set in. Tears streamed down her face. She didn’t even have the strength to roll over and bury her face in her pillow the way she had for months after Fred had been killed.
The pain she was feeling was incomparable to anything she’d felt before in the Chamber of Secrets or at Hogwarts or even during the War. Everything seemed suddenly trivial.
There was a hole in her that seemed to encompass everything. The hole seemed so large that it obliterated everything else.
“Oh Gin, honey.” Hermione had been awakened by the sound of Ginny’s sobs. She had fallen asleep in a chair in her friend’s room the night before. She got up from the chair stiffly and curled up beside Ginny on the bed. “Let it all out, sweetheart. Let it all out.”
Ginny accepted the support from Hermione, but it wasn’t something her best friend was able to understand. No one could feel the way she felt.
“Gin, please talk to me,” Hermione begged as she looked on her friend and sister in law with pity. She didn’t know what to say to the other woman.
Ginny’s red hair was limp and greasy as she hadn’t taken a shower since Lily had gone missing. She was still wearing the dressing gown she’d put on the morning she’d leaned of Lily’s disappearance.
It hadn’t even occurred to her to change clothes, let alone bathe.
Hermione stroked her friend’s hair while she sobbed. Ginny had always seemed so strong, even in their years at Hogwarts. She had been Ron’s younger sister, but even then she had stood up and fought with them even at fifteen.
Now she seemed broken as though the only thing she could do was lie there and sob. Hermione wished someone else was around to help, but Harry and Ron were both out, Merlin knew where, and Molly was downstairs cleaning after warning most of her brothers to give her some space.
Briefly Hermione considered getting her mother in law to come help, but she couldn’t bear to leave Ginny on her own. Besides, even if she wasn’t the best with comforting, she could at least try. This was her best friend after all.
“Gin, you know you can talk to me about anything,” she said as she rubbed her comfortingly. “Just tell me what you’re feeling.” Talking often helped when either of them were upset about small things and Hermione only hoped the same would hold true for this. She knew she couldn’t really help her friend, but it was the best she could offer.
Ginny only shook her head. There wasn’t anything to say. Words didn’t fit what she was feeling now and no matter how hard Hermione tried she couldn’t possibly even begin to understand.
Slowly the sobs subsided and Ginny lay shaking on her bed, Hermione still stroking her hair. The age difference between the two which had all but disappeared over the last twenty years seemed to widen once more as Hermione treated her like a young child.
“Gin,” Hermione murmured. She didn’t have anything else to say. All words were meaningless. The more she tried to understand what Ginny was going through the harder it became. She attempted to imagine if something had happened to Rose or Hugo, but she couldn’t allow her thoughts to go there. Her family, her children, was the most important thing in the world to her and she was sure the same rang true for Ginny.
“Whatever you need,” she whispered into her friend’s ear, lightly rocking her back and forth. “Anything you need.”
It was an empty promise Ginny knew. The only thing she wanted was her daughter back and her family happy the way they had been only a few days before. Now everything was different, and none of it good.
She rolled on her side and turned away from Hermione. It wasn’t any good to know her friend was there when she had no idea what she was there for.
Hermione drew in her breath slowly. She didn’t know what to do anymore. She and Ginny had always had a close, easy relationship. Now it had all changed.
A light cough drew Hermione’s attention to the door. Molly Weasley stood there, her eyes soft as she took in the scene before her. “Is she sleeping?” She asked softly. Hermione shook her head.
Molly gestured for her daughter in law to join her in the hallway. “You go on downstairs. You deserve a break.” Hermione shot one last glance at Ginny, regretting abandoning her, but nodded at Molly’s words and took a few steps away.
Molly closed the door behind and joined her daughter. “You don’t have to say a word, sweetheart,” she said.
“Mum,” Ginny choked out, wrapping her arms around her mother’s neck. That was the only word she said as she let her eyes dry on her mother’s shoulder.
“Shh, baby, shh,” Mrs. Weasley murmured. When Ginny had stopped shaking, Molly pulled her daughter’s hands from around her neck. “You’re going to have to face this,” she said. “You have a husband and two other children who are hurting just as much as you are.”
Ginny rubbed her eyes as she stared at her mother in fear. “I can’t,” she said, her voice raspy.
“Of course you can’t today,” Molly said. “Not tomorrow, maybe not even this week. But you’re going to have to be strong for them at some point. And I’ll be right beside you all the way.” Ginny didn’t nod or acknowledge that she would ever leave her room again, but she rested her head on her mother’s shoulder.
Harry slammed his fist on the Minister’s desk. He’d been up all night tracking leads in the Auror’s office until Penglaze had banished him. “You’ve got to be joking!”
“Harry-” the Minister began, but Harry wouldn’t let him speak.
“This is my daughter! My Lily! I need to be involved! You can’t just cut me out of the investigation!” His face had turned a deep red in anger and his emerald green eyes were glaring fiercely.
“Enough, Potter. I happen to agree with Penglaze here. You’re too close to this investigation.” The Minister kept a cool gaze on Harry, knowing that he was one of the most powerful wizards in the country. He could rally the citizens to replace him if he ever desired.
“No one else will care like I do,” Harry protested. He had to stay involved, for Lily’s sake. There were only six people assigned to search for her and each day she was gone the chances dwindled. They needed every bit of help they could get, especially with the incompetent hit wizards and the Auror who was barely of age.
“You’ve physically threatened Draco Malfoy, insulted the best team of hit wizards the Ministry has to offer, and broken several laws by going through the Auror’s evidence,” the Minister said drily.
“It was necessary!”
Penglaze coughed from the corner and Harry shot him a nasty glare. If he got thrown off the case because of Penglaze’s utter incompetence he wouldn’t rest until the man got fired. After his daughter was found, of course.
“Potter, don’t argue with us. You’re a good man and you were one of the best Aurors our office had, but you cannot be a part of this any longer,” Penglaze said.
Harry turned to the Minister. “Please sir,” he said, pleading with the man for any kind of support. “We need to find her.”
The Minister shook his head. “Go home and be with your family,” he said. “I’m sure they miss you.”
“And my daughter misses being safe.” Harry stormed out of the office and almost ran into Ron on the other side of the door.
“Not good, mate?” He asked, jogging to keep up with his friend.
“They want me out of the Ministry,” Harry said. “The Minister told me to ‘go home’ and ‘wait with my family’.” He scowled even more ferociously and Ron nearly took a step away from him.
“Maybe- Maybe he’s right,” Ron ventured. He didn’t want to turn his best friend’s anger on himself, but he was one of the few people Harry would listen to. “You’ve hardly seen Ginny since this whole thing began and you look like crap since you’ve been awake for days.”
“I won’t sleep until my daughter is home safe!” Harry roared.
Everyone in the office they were walking through quieted instantly and turned to stare at the famous Harry Potter who looked as though he was having a mental breakdown. “Alright Harry, just cool it, okay?” Ron said, glancing around nervously.
“You try ‘cooling it’ when your daughter’s missing and no one seems to be bothered by it!” He responded in anger.
Ron nodded his head emphatically. “I know mate, but maybe we should just stop by your house. Don’t you want to check on Al, at least? Talk to him?”
“You’re right. Maybe he knows something more,” Harry said thoughtfully. He headed off toward the floo station. It was impossible to simply apparate out of the Ministry ever since the second war, something Harry had fought for at the time, but now found annoying to no end.
“Not exactly what I meant,” Ron muttered as he followed behind Harry.
They appeared in the living room of the Potter residence, startling Hermione into dropping her tea. “What the-” She said as the two men fell into her kitchen. “Where have you been?”
“The Ministry,” Ron said vaguely. He didn’t think she’d approve of the measures they’d taken, especially storming into Malfoy Manor the way they had. She didn’t understand that sometimes these extreme measures were necessary. “Mate, you want to try changing your robes while you’re here?” He asked.
Harry ignored him. “Have any of the Aurors been by?” He demanded to know.
“Yes, one stopped in late last night after Ginny and the kids were asleep. Why?” Harry eyed her. “What?” Hermione asked again.
“Did they say anything? Any new leads or new information or suspects or anything?”
Hermione looked at Ron, almost a bit scared. “No, they didn’t say anything like that. They actually wanted to speak to James, but he wasn’t here so I directed them to his flat. What’s going on?”
Harry just shook his head so Ron answered. “The Minister and Head Auror cut him off from any new information about Lily’s disappearance. They don’t want him involved.”
“Involved?” Hermione asked, confused. “What’s so bad about that?”
“There may have been a few incidents,” Ron said after a pause. He shot a look at Harry and didn’t continue. Loyalty to his best friend was trumping loyalty to his wife at that particular moment.
“What incidents?” She asked. When neither man answered she put her hands on her hips. “Ronald Bilius Weasley, Harold James Potter, tell me about the incidents this minute!”
Ron cowered before her. He never could stand up to his wife when she spoke to him like that. Finally Harry answered. “We went to Malfoy’s and I punched him in the face and then I spent all night in the Auror offices, alright? That answer your question?”
“Harry! That’s assault, not to mention breaking several laws!” Hermione looked utterly horrified. “I know you’re upset over Lily, but you can’t take it out on people like that.”
“Don’t try to tell me what I’m feeling, Hermione!” Harry shouted. “You have no idea what it’s like for me, so just sod off!”
“Hey! Don’t talk to her like that!” Ron shouted as Harry stormed off.
Hermione placed her hand on Ron’s arm to quiet him. “It’s okay. He was right. I can’t even begin to imagine what he’s going through. If something ever happened to Rose or Hugo-” Her voice caught on Hugo’s name and Ron pulled her into a hug.
“They’re both fine. They’re both upstairs still asleep.”
Hermione nodded, but she let out a soft cry into her husband’s robes. When she realized what was off about them, she couldn’t help but laugh a little. “Merlin, you stink.”
Ron sniffed at his robes and smiled. “I haven’t had a chance to change into anything else. You think I could borrow one of Harry’s robes?”
“Come on. I’ll use an enlarging charm on it for you.”
A/N: More adults! It's strange to write them because I've never really done adult characters before, at least not to the extent that they are here. If you've got any comments/criticism on them that's always welcome! :)
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