Harry didn’t quite remember how he had woken up, or even more confusing, how he was standing on both feet…walking. Opening his eyes he saw nothing, realising he was blindfolded. Reacting, he tried to stop, momentarily digging his feet into the soft rug beneath his feet until the person holding his arm clenched it and pushed him forward again. Harry groaned, his knees threatening to give out when a sudden bout of dizziness overcame him. His feet found cold stone now, and coming to almost a complete stop, his body automatically tried to sit down. Another harsh push kept him going.
Twisting his head around, he tried to rub the blindfold off against his shoulder, his attempt earning him a smack across the face. Gasping, he reacted violently, kicking out at the person who restrained him, his foot finding contact with their leg. There was a sharp yell of frustration, and he was roughly pushed up against a wall, a swift punch to the middle of his back ensuring he didn’t move.
“What are you doing?” Harry asked roughly, tugging at his hands and realising they were secured behind his back. This was different, so different to what he had so far experienced that he could no longer anticipate what was coming next. That, and the continued complete loss of vision, had him ready to panic.
There was a sharp pain in his side, and a moment later he realised it was the tip of Malfoy’s wand. He gasped, the wand digging in hard and painfully, and he tried unsuccessfully to wriggle away.
“Alright!” he gasped in defeat, going still despite the pain in his side. If he could just properly catch his breath… “Alright, I’ll behave!”
Malfoy released him from the wall and pushed at him, leading him to keep walking, his wand still pressed painfully against Harry’s side. Harry fumbled up a large flight of stairs and down what seemed like a hallway, the stone floor changing to thick plush carpet as he was steered sharply to his right. This room too was cold, and he could smell what seemed like an unused fireplace, somewhere to his right he deduced. It was strange how the loss of his eyesight made his other sense so much more attuned, and the moment his feet touched a new cold flooring, he could feel grout and tiles beneath his feet.
He shivered, knowing that he had entered a bathroom of some sorts. A brief moment of terror struck him, and he froze in his tracks, suddenly fully aware of what was going to happen. It was ridiculous, he knew that, but he could distinctly smell the cold water that he had been led towards, despite not being able to see it. For a moment it seemed like it was calling to him, offering him the generous drink that he so desperately needed. There was a loud drip, the sound echoing through the room.
“No,” Harry groaned to himself, trying to pull away from Malfoy to rub off his blindfold. He had to see it, had to know what was coming.
Malfoy made quite the fuss, taking Harry by his arms and hauling him in the direction he wanted. Harry struggled spectacularly, feeling the edge of the bathtub hitting his knees, and brought his foot up and pushed hard against the edge. The movement nearly sent them both down, Malfoy only just maintaining his footing long enough to push back. Harry’s knees hit the edge of the tub painfully, and he was pinned there in that position, Malfoy standing behind him and not allowing him to move.
There was a long silence, and Harry could hear nothing except his own loud gasps for breath. He shivered, still sensing the water right in front of him, knowing exactly what was going to happen.
“I don’t know anything,” he said quietly, trying to keep his voice even. Thinking rationally, he knew he should keep talking, keep Malfoy’s attention long enough to distract from what he wanted to do next. “I don’t know where that goblet is.”
Malfoy put his hand into Harry’s hair, clenching painfully and pushing him forward a little. “Liar.”
“It’s true!” Harry said desperately, beginning to feel the effects of his exhaustion and injury. “I really don’t know. They’ll have either destroyed it by now, or have stashed it somewhere safe. It won’t be with them anymore.”
“Why would they want to destroy it?”
Harry faltered, briefly not understanding. He realised the stupidity of what he had said, and quickly tried to recover. “Why wouldn’t they?” he rushed to say, feeling Malfoy push him further over the tub of water. Again he wished for the blindfold to be removed. “It would piss You-Know-Who right off.”
Malfoy seemed to consider this for a long moment, Harry praying that his words hadn’t gotten them into too much trouble. He didn’t need Malfoy asking too many questions.
“Enough,” Malfoy said simply, retightening his grip on Harry and raising his wand.
He roughly pushed Harry over the edge of the tub, overpowering his struggles and forcing him into the frigid cold water. Clenching his teeth, Harry gasped in pain, the cold water penetrating his skin and reaching his very bone. The tub was deeper that he expected, and with his hands behind his back there was nothing Harry could do to stop Malfoy, who pushed him down to his knees. The water lapped around the bottom of Harry’s ribs, making each breath come in a strained gasp. He shivered, trying to bring back warmth to his body, and in a moment of desperation he tried to stand up again.
Malfoy was swearing, feeling how cold the water was on his own hands, and he too momentarily recoiled, allowing Harry a brief moment of struggle before he brought him back under control. Harry panted for breath, the words let me out caught in the back of his throat. Fearing he might actually say them, he clenched his jaw together and focused on breathing through the discomfort.
“You say you don’t know where your friends are,” Malfoy began, trailing off and waiting for an answer.
Harry hesitated, taking a long breath. He couldn’t speak, and so nodded instead.
“In that case, what did you want with that goblet?” Malfoy asked.
“It’s like I said,” Harry struggled to say. “We knew it would piss him off.”
“It’s an awful lot of trouble you went to,” Malfoy rebuked him, his tone making Harry want to vomit. “There are any number of stunts that would piss off the Dark Lord.”
“Why break into Gringotts?” he asked. “Why a goblet?”
Harry considered this, knowing what would happen if he didn’t give an answer. “It was special to him.”
“The Dark Lord, sentimental? I can’t see that.”
“How did you happen to know it would be in Phineas Nigellus’ vault?’
Lowering his head, Harry began to panic. He wasn’t sure how to answer that….how had he known the goblet was in that vault? Breaking into the Ministry felt like centuries ago…had they really done that? He opened his mouth, ready to blame Dumbledore, who seemed to know everything, but stopped at the last second. That would open up a whole avenue of questioning that he didn’t want to pursue.
“What was that?” Malfoy demanded.
Harry shivered violently, breathing heavily as he tried to think. “We didn’t know what we were looking for, I guess. Anything of his would have been fine, as long as we could nick it.”
“Draco said you were quite specific with your instructions,” Malfoy countered, and Harry could hear the smirk in his tone. “Said you were after a golden goblet, with the Hufflepuff crest on it. What is the significance of that?”
He couldn’t answer. Talking had already got him in trouble, had already left him backed into a corner. Biting his lip, Harry steeled himself for what was to come. The wait was excruciating, perhaps even more so than the act itself, for when Malfoy finally clenched his hair and pushed him under the water, it was a relief. Still defiant, Harry refused to struggle, holding his breath and trying to think of something else. He couldn’t concentrate long enough to think of something else, even of Ginny who normally provided such relief to him. Instead he focused on ensuring he didn’t move, on holding his breath for as long as he had to.
Malfoy held him under forcefully, unrelenting in his quest for answers, and he quickly grew impatient with Harry’s refusal to struggle. Harry’s determination waned quickly, a sharp pain in the palm of his hands making him thrash about. It was a Stinging Hex, a strong one at that, and though he clenched his hands tightly, the pain did not ease. Still trying to maintain control, Harry felt another sharp pain in the crook of his elbows, and could not bend them far enough to relieve it. He succumbed all too quickly, his chest and throat burning with the need to inhale while his head clouded over. Panicking, he thrashed around and tried to push against Malfoy’s hands, but there was no release for him.
It was a lifetime before Malfoy pulled Harry back above water, and he coughed violently, expelling water that he had accidentally tried to breathe in. He gasped each breath gratefully, his whole body shaking as he tried to get enough air, feeling as though there was still none. Opening his eyes beneath the blindfold, Harry could see from the bottom of it, and noticing this Malfoy hastened to tighten it.
“Don’t want me looking at you?” Harry managed to gasp, mocking him.
“Why a goblet that once belonged to Helga Hufflepuff?”
“I never said it was hers,” Harry muttered, clenching his hand into a fist. The pain from the Stinging hexes remained. “I never said anything about Hufflepuff.”
That remark earned him another bout under the water, and it wasn’t until he thought he might finally pass out that Malfoy released him. Coughing loudly, he focused on holding his head above the water, on bringing up the water that now had the distinct taste of blood in it. He twisted, trying to alleviate the Stinging hex on the base of his neck, which had proved to be his undoing again. Malfoy slapped his cheek a few times, trying to rouse him properly. Harry could hear him calling to him, trying to get his attention, and it was a minute or so before he could hear him properly.
“What is the significance of the Hufflepuff house?” Malfoy asked again. “Is it something to do with the Sword of Gryffindor? Is that why Weasley stole it?”
Harry shook his head vehemently, trying to speak but finding his voice restricted. Coughing again, he brought up more water that he had tried to inhale. At least he wouldn’t be dehydrated anymore. Malfoy was still speaking, but Harry couldn’t answer even if he wanted to, completely devoid of his voice. He was pushed back under the water, and couldn’t even struggle, passing out almost immediately. When he was next aware, he was laying on the tiled floor, expelling water from his mouth as someone pounded against his back.
Blinking rapidly, Harry realised that the blindfold had been removed, and the light in the bathroom was practically blinding. His vision adjusting, Harry turned his head as he continued coughing, settling as his lungs began to fill with desperately needed air. Laying on the tiles, Harry listened as Malfoy yelled at someone furiously, telling them to leave immediately. When he saw Draco hovering in the doorway, Harry felt completely detached from reality, wondering what was going on. There was more yelling from both of them now, and Lucius got to his feet and slammed the door on his son.
Malfoy allowed him a few blissful moments of peace before he was hauled upright by his hands, still bound behind his back. He was placed back into the cold water, but for now there was no more interrogation. The hand clenched in his hair mercifully held his head out of the water, because he certainly couldn’t manage it himself. Spending the next few minutes alternating between coughing and trying to catch his breath, Harry prayed for relief from this torture. He wanted it to end, the pleading words still in the back of his throat, and surely if he uttered them it would be all over. He had no breath to utter them even if he really wanted to, but Malfoy seemed to pay no attention to this. He was talking once again, shaking Harry and slapping his face to rouse him.
“Stop!” Harry managed to choke out, surprising Malfoy who immediately stilled. “I don’t know what you want!”
“Why Hufflepuff?” Malfoy shouted in his ear, casting another Stinging hex, this time behind Harry’s knee. “Why Gryffindor?”
Harry shook his head, gasping for breath and preparing to speak again. “Don’t know…” he lied uselessly.
With a short growl, Malfoy pushed him back under the water, and Harry struggled with determination, unaware of the events that would soon unfold around him.
The baby’s cries echoed around the dark house, piercing the night and awakening Ginny again. Groaning, she tucked her head under her pillow and tried to block it out, realising that Tonks had forgotten the Silencing charm around the guest room again. The cries continued, and through the thin walls she could hear Tonks rousing from her sleep…her soft voice soothing the cries a few moments later.
Awake now, Ginny pulled her head out from under the pillow and assessed just how warm the room felt, and how far away her newly acquired Weird Sisters dressing gown was. Like the rest of her current clothing, it was borrowed, and the dressing gown was old and perfectly worn in. There was something about new dressing gowns that Ginny didn’t quite trust, the material too soft and perfect. At this, she thought of her Mum’s dressing gown, which over the years had battled more than its fair share of messy children and spilt tea. Like hers, Tonks’ dressing gown was perfect. Ginny had made it clear that it wasn’t going to be returned.
Tucking the blankets around herself, Ginny leaned out of her bed and reached for the gown on the floor, grinning in triumph when she snagged the tie and dragged it over. She and her brothers had long ago perfected the art of transitioning from a warm bed into a dressing gown, acquiring as little cold air as possible, although the April weather had begun to significantly warm. Slipping on her borrowed slippers, which incidentally were not going to be returned either, Ginny slipped her unused wand into the pocket and approached the door, opening it and stepping into the short hallway.
Just like the night before, Remus was not home tonight, out somewhere doing whatever it is the Order did these days. She knew Tonks got somewhat lonely without her husband with her, especially now that she had the baby to contend with, and so Ginny slipped directly across the hallway to the main bedroom, whose door was open.
“Come in,” Tonks said before she had knocked.
Entering, Ginny smiled at the scene before her. Tonks sat on the edge of her bed, reaching into the small crib that now housed Teddy. Coming closer, Ginny could see him sucking on Tonks’ finger, his own tiny fingers clenching and unclenching into little fists. Mimicking his mother’s natural colour, his hair was now so blonde that Ginny could hardly see it against his scalp. Now looking at Tonks properly, Ginny frowned.
“Why are you still dressed?” Ginny asked, indicating to her attire. She was still fully clothed, having not changed into pyjamas despite the early hours of the morning. Her bed had not been slept in.
She shrugged noncommittally, picking up Teddy when he spat out of finger and began to cry again. “Could you pass his blanket, please?” Pulling aside her shirt, she carefully brought Teddy to her breast, sighing in frustration when he refused to latch on. She soothed him quietly for a few moments, and the relief was evident in her shoulders when he finally began to nurse.
“Thanks,” she said, taking the blanket and tucking it around Teddy. Shifting on the bed, she leant up against her pillows and looked at Ginny in concern. “Sorry I let him wake you.”
“It’s alright,” Ginny smiled, settling herself on the bed beside her. Teddy’s flailing foot dislodged the edge of the blanket, and she carefully tucked it back in. “You worried about Remus?”
Tonks hesitated at this, biting her bottom lip before nodding slowly. Ginny shifted uncomfortably, feeling the tension that Tonks was trying to hide from her. Things had been strange the last two days, and she knew that something was wrong, though even eavesdropping was ruled out with a newborn in the house. They sat in silence for a little while, Ginny laying down and watching Teddy nurse, still surprised by how much he had grown since his birth a week ago. Shuddering at this, Ginny crossed her legs, recalling the long hours Tonks had spent in labour before finally delivering.
Laughing, Tonks turned to Ginny and smiled. “I know what you’re thinking about.”
“Eugh,” Ginny shuddered, sitting up. “I don’t ever want to see something like that again.”
“Understandable, I think Remus quite agrees with you,” she smiled, looking down at Ted and stroking his head. “I will admit, delivering him in the bathtub was not in my plans.”
“Oh, but doing it standing up was planned all along?” she countered.
They both laughed at this, making Teddy pull away and begin to cry. Their laughter turned into oohs and ahs as Tonks hastened to settle him again, eventually putting him over her shoulder and patting his back. There was a loud squelch accompanied by a familiar smell, and Ginny hastened to cover her nose with the collar of her dressing gown.
“You want this?” Tonks laughed at her, laying him down on the bed and checking his nappy. She wasted no time changing it the Muggle way, and a few moments later Teddy was happily nursing again, complete with a clean nappy.
“Clearly he was making more room,” Ginny commented, laying back down.
Tonks nodded, stroking his scalp again before resting back against the pillows again. “Don’t let me fall asleep,” she instructed, checking her watch. She looked nervous again, and raised her head a little to look out into the hallway.
“What’s wrong?” Ginny asked, following her gaze. Quickly she checked Tonks’ watch, seeing that it was well past one in the morning.
“Why do you think something’s wrong?”
Ginny shrugged, unsure of what to say. “You look worried…more than usual,” she added.
“I’ve aged ten years in the last week,” she joked, but the smile didn’t quite reach her eyes, and this did nothing to reassure Ginny.
Knowing that Tonks would tell her when she wanted to, Ginny settled into a more comfortable position and closed her eyes, determined to keep Tonks company if she insisted on staying up through the night. She was dreaming pleasantly when she awoke abruptly, feeling the bed shift beneath her. Surprised, Ginny sat bolt upright, watching as Tonks stood outside the door in the hallway, her expression torn. Teddy was in her arms, being rocked back to sleep.
“That feral cat is back, ripping up my garden again,” Tonks said quickly, turning around to Ginny. Hastily she came back into the room, lumping Teddy into Ginny’s arms as she withdrew her wand. “Stay in here, please. Put Ted back to sleep.”
“O-Okay,” Ginny muttered, taking Teddy and hastening to jump to her feet. Already he was fussing, missing his mother.
“Stay in here,” Tonks repeated, marching back out and closing the door.
Her heart was pounding now, her arms shaking nervously as she held Teddy, settling her body into what seemed to be a soothing sway. Thankfully he settled quickly, sucking on the back of his hand noisily as his eyes began to drift shut. Not exactly ignoring Tonks’ instructions, Ginny approached the bedroom door and put her ear against it, grateful that the walls were thin. She mentally cursed Teddy and his noisy sucking, unable to hear much of what was going on in the rest of the small house. She knew for certain that Tonks was lying.
Turning away from the door, Ginny took a big risk, rearranging the bedding before carefully placing Ted back into his crib. Careful not to move his head too much, she kept her hand on his chest and gently rubbed, smoothing the blanket across his lower half. Again he settled quickly, soothing himself with his hand. He kicked against the edge of the small crib, and Ginny very slowly removed her hand and backed away, wanting to cheer when he remained quiet. She slipped back over towards the door, turning the door handle painfully slowly before pulling it open slightly. She couldn’t see round the door to the other end of the hallway, but now could hear two distinct voices coming from the open kitchen and living areas.
She froze, recognising one voice as Tonks and the other as Snape. She listened intently, not hearing signs of danger or an argument, and was preparing herself to step out into the hallway when Teddy began to cry again. Suppressing her groan of frustration she hastily went back to him, trying to soothe him without having to pick him up, but he quickly made his indignation clear. Picking him up again, she rested him against her shoulder and pulled the blanket back around him, and he quieted instantly. She slipped back to the slightly ajar door and kept listening, hearing an edge of panic in Tonks voice.
“Ginny!” Tonks called out, making her jump.
Ginny hesitated, wondering whether it was safe to bring Teddy out, knowing that he wouldn’t be content to be put back down so suddenly. Tonks called out again, and steeling herself, Ginny pulled the blanket to cover Teddy’s head and stepped out into the hallway.
“Tonks?” she said quietly, coming down the hallway. “What’s wrong?”
“Go and get me a blanket,” she instructed loudly, even before Ginny had reached the end of the hallway. “Get the one off my bed.”
Ginny listened intently for a moment, hearing loud and laboured coughs coming from the kitchen. Was Snape injured? Was that why he was here? Had he come for help? A hundred different questions ran through Ginny’s mind as she followed her instructions, placing Teddy back into his crib again and putting his hand back to his mouth. He cried unhappily, his fists flailing and his face screwed up, but she knew he would be fine. Tearing the blanket off Tonks’ bed Ginny rushed back down the hallway, bundling the blanket up in her arms.
“Here,” she said, bursting into the kitchen and stopping in her tracks.
Someone lay on his side in the middle of the kitchen floor, his body convulsing with each horrible sounding cough. Tonks was crouched by him, one hand on his chest, the other holding her wand against the middle of his back. Ginny froze, instantly recognising who the person was.
“Harry?” she asked quietly, looking at him in shock.
Tonks looked up at her, giving a short nod. “Bring the blanket over.”
Ginny nodded, looking past Snape who stood in the corner with his arms folded, but she paid him little attention. “Tonks, what’s happened?”
“Wait,” Tonks put her hand up, stopping Ginny from spreading the blanket. “Just let me get these off.” She turned her wand to Harry’s jeans, tearing the material and pulling them off, leaving him in just his trunks. Waving Ginny over, Tonks helped her spread the blanket over Harry’s body, who was now shivering. Standing up again, Ginny looked at the discarded jeans, seeing that the material was soaking wet.
“What happened?” Ginny demanded.
Tonks ignored her, turning back to Harry who was coughing again. Tilting his head back a little, she placed her wand in the centre of his back, and a moment later his whole body convulsed, vomiting water that Tonks quickly cleared. She whispered to him encouragingly, but her expression conveyed deep concern.
“He’s unresponsive,” she said, raising her head and addressing Snape. “He’s not responding to any stimuli at all.”
Snape came closer, making Ginny want to jump in front of him and defend Harry.
“Five minutes ago he wasn’t breathing,” he commented, showing uncharacteristic concern. Ginny was completely baffled.
“How long was he without air?”
Snape considered this. “A minute or so, no more than three, I made sure of that,” he replied, peering over Harry. “I was rather heavy handed with his revival, his chest will be quite sore when he wakes.”
“Will that be long?”
“Difficult to say, he’s been without sleep for quite some time,” he answered, coming to crouch beside Tonks. He lifted the blanket and carefully moved Harry’s legs, revealing a long wound on the inside of his thigh. “There’s infection, I’ve already got a treatment brewing.”
“Did that get the femoral?”
“On assessment alone, I’d say yes. Malfoy at least did the courtesy of not allowing him to exsanguinate.”
Tonks nodded, pulling the blanket back over Harry and tucking it around him. He coughed again, and she turned her attention back to this, helping him expel as much water as possible. Watching this, Ginny didn’t want to consider what he had been through.
“I’ll return before sunrise,” Snape announced, getting to his feet. “I’ll bring everything he needs…we’ll have to rouse him best we can to ingest the potions, but for now he needs to stay comfortable and warm.”
“I understand,” Tonks nodded, looking up only at the last minute before Snape left. “Thank you, Severus.”
Ginny watched as he left, breathing a sigh of relief when they were finally alone again. “Tonks, what the hell is going on?” she demanded, moving to take Snape’s place by Harry’s side. “What happened to him? Are Ron and Hermione alright?”
“They’re fine,” she replied, shining the light from her wand over Harry’s face. “Everything’s alright now.”
“Here,” Tonks began, taking Ginny’s hand as she pulled back the blanket. She placed her hand against Harry’s torso, just below his ribs. “Can you feel him breathing?”
“Yes,” Ginny said, feeling the slow rise and fall of his chest. His skin felt cold and wet to the touch.
“Stay here with him,” she instructed, tilting Harry’s head back before getting to her feet. “Keep his head like that, and don’t move your hand. If he stops breathing, call out right away.”
“W-Where are you going?” Ginny stammered. “He needs help!”
Tonks disappeared down the hallway, and Ginny relaxed a little as she heard her fumbling around in the bathroom cabinet. Turning back to Harry, she used her free hand to push his hair off his face, cradling his head and holding it still as he began to cough again. It sounded harsh, painful even, his whole body convulsing as he expelled the water from his chest, and there was nothing Ginny could do but awkwardly mop it up with her one available hand. Her heart skipped a beat as Harry settled, his chest remaining still for the longest time before he took a breath again. She didn’t look up when Tonks returned, unable to look away from Harry. His eyes were still closed, and she longed for him to open them and assure her that he would be alright.
“He’s still coughing,” Ginny said when Tonks came back to her side, carefully arranging the supplies she had brought.
“That’s good,” Tonks said quietly, opening a small jar of salve. “Is he still breathing alright?”
“Yes,” she replied uncertainly, readjusting her hand against his chest. The movement brought about warm blood beneath her fingers, and she stilled, remembering the injuries he bore.
Tonks gave a short nod, smoothing the salve across Harry’s swollen wrist to soothe the broken skin, carefully arranging and straightening his arm across her lap. She made an effective splint from an old magazine and the bandages, looking at it in satisfaction before placing it back by Harry’s side.
“Why can’t you just heal it?” Ginny asked, her frustration growing.
“It’s too late,” Tonks explained, turning her attention back to the salve, spreading it over Harry’s other wrist and the back of his hand. “It could heal incorrectly. He’ll have to wait a few days for the swelling to subside.”
Ginny went quiet, not knowing what to say. She could still hear Teddy in the other room, sobbing every now and again, echoing what Ginny was feeling inside. Again she smoothed Harry’s hair back from his face, tucking the blanket firmly around his shoulders.
“So what do we do now?”
“There’s nothing we can do,” Tonks said after a long moment of consideration. “He just needs to rest, we’ll wake him when Severus returns.”
At this remark, a question burned on the tip of Ginny’s tongue, but she suppressed it for now. “Should we move him?” she asked, looking at Harry again. The kitchen floor couldn’t be very accommodating for recovery. “We could put him in my bed.”
“Yes, but not right now,” Tonks agreed, sitting down against the kitchen cupboard, her face showing nothing but utter relief. “We’ll wait for Remus to return…he shouldn’t be long tonight.”
Ginny nodded, sitting down properly also, but staying right by Harry’s side. Her hand was still on his chest, and she took careful note of each rise and fall. “You knew he was in trouble, didn’t you.”
“Yes, we did,” she confirmed, closing her eyes. “Ron and Hermione came to see us the other day. Said something went wrong, that Harry had been caught. He’s been gone since Monday afternoon.”
“Oh,” Ginny said, calculating the length of time.
“We weren’t expecting him so soon,” Tonks admitted, looking at her watch. “Severus only confirmed his whereabouts a few hours ago…Remus is still rounding up the Order for a rescue.”
Ginny took a deep breath, wondering how to ask her next question. “Tonks, I’m so confused. Why do you trust Snape so much? Why would he help Harry?”
“It’s a tentative trust,” she explained, opening her eyes and looking at Ginny imperatively. “But he’s proven himself time and time again…despite what happened to Albus. Do you remember, when Hogwarts was taken over? Snape helped you then, did he?”
“Yes, he did,” Ginny nodded slowly. She hadn’t thought about that night for a very long time, when Snape had appeared out of nowhere and taken down the men threatening she and Harry. “And he helped me when I stole the sword…he protected me.”
Tonks nodded. “He helped me too…when we rescued Harry last August, he actually caught me, but he let me go. Could have taken me straight to You-Know-Who, but he let me walk away. He’s been helping Harry too, or so he says…Harry doesn’t know.”
Ginny’s head was spinning, and she turned back to Harry for clarity. “Does this mean he’s still a double agent?”
“I don’t know…I don’t know what to think.”
At this, Harry began to cough again, though no more water was expelled from his chest. He shifted, trying to move onto his front, and Tonks quickly came back over to him. Taking his shoulder and hip, she carefully rolled him back onto his side, readjusting the blankets and ensuring Ginny’s hand remained in place. His eyes flickered open for a moment, brilliantly bloodshot and sore, but he closed them again, leaving Ginny with bitter disappointment.
It was little more than an hour before Remus returned, Kingsley and Mad-Eye close in tow, and their surprise to see Harry unconscious on the kitchen floor was evident. With Harry safe, Mad-Eye left to call off the rescue being organised, leaving Remus and Kingsley to take Harry into the spare room. Tonks has changed the sheets, and he certainly looked more comfortable now, still lying on his side while Remus conjured a comfortable chair to sit by his bed. With a mug of tea in his hand, he sat by Harry’s side and watched over him, insisting to Ginny that she get some rest.
Trying not to scoff at Remus, Ginny took the now discarded blanket from the kitchen and lay down on the other side of the bed behind Harry. She wanted to be close by him, to hear him breathing and make sure he didn’t stop. She fell asleep for a little while, and when she awoke she sat bolt upright, seeing Remus sitting beside Harry on the bed, his hand smoothing back his hair.
“Is he awake?” she whispered, leaning over and trying to look at Harry’s face.
Remus shook his head. “He roused for a little while, but it wasn’t long. He’s sleeping again.”
Disappointed, Ginny lay back down. She wanted to reach out and hold him, to snuggle into his chest and make him feel safe, but she knew he must be in pain, even in sleep. As promised, Snape returned before dawn, Tonks allowing him into the guest room where Remus and Ginny still waited by Harry’s side. With him he had a small bag, from which he produced three flasks of potion and a jar of shiny golden salve. Ginny was still confused as ever, still feeling like she needed to protect Harry when Remus and Snape pulled back the blankets, not wasting any time.
Getting up from the bed, Ginny stayed out of the way as Snape set to work, smoothing the salve over the wound on Harry’s leg. Working quickly, he smeared it across Harry’s back, muttering under his breath as he used his wand to knit together the wounds as best he could. The golden coloured salve must be precious, for in the few minutes it took to complete Harry’s wounds were looking better than even Madam Pomfrey had managed.
Satisfied, Snape turned his attention to the three flasks of potion. “A third of a measure each, at least every six hours until it’s finished,” he instructed Remus, folding his arms and moving towards the corner of the room. “You’ll need to rouse him now.”
“I understand,” Remus said, glancing at Ginny uncomfortably as he began to measure quantities from each flask. “Will you stay?”
“For now,” Snape said slowly. “But I suspect my presence will only agitate him…he’ll recall my involvement for certain.”
“Ginny,” Tonks said quietly, appearing in the doorway and surprising Ginny. With an apologetic look on her face, she tried to wave Ginny towards the door.
Ginny shook her head in dismay. She wasn’t going to leave. She wanted to be there when Harry woke. Tonks seemed to sigh, steeling herself before entering the room and taking Ginny by the arm.
“Tonks!” she whispered, reluctantly allowing her to steer her out of the room. “I can do this, I want to be with him.”
“He doesn’t need an audience,” Tonks insisted, ushering her down the hallway and into the kitchen. “They’re going to wake him.”
“Yeah, I know!”
“He’s going to be upset,” Tonks said firmly, making Ginny feel that the conversation was already over. “He’ll be confused and scared, and he won’t want you to see him like that.”
Ginny sat down at the kitchen table, knowing that Tonks was being realistic. Together they sat down and waited, drinking tea as they listened to the occasional sound of Remus talking. Ginny’s stomach clenched, hearing the distress in Remus’ voice as he apparently tried to soothe Harry, and Ginny was grateful that Tonks had made her leave. Not even five minutes later, Snape made a quick exit, his face displaying quiet distress as he gave Tonks a short nod and left. Thinking they must be done now, Ginny made to stand up until she heard Remus still talking.
Hesitating, Ginny hovered between sitting and standing before making her decision and getting to her feet. She ignored Tonks as she went back down the hallway and stood outside the open door to where Harry was, listening intently. Remus was talking quietly, his voice calm and gentle as he tried to coax Harry into drinking the potions that had been prepared. Hovering in the hallway, Ginny listened as Harry gave a harsh cough, while Remus encouraged him to keep going. There was silence for a few long moments, and she could hear the sound of a glass being put down, of Remus’ chair scraping across the floorboards.
Pushing the door open slowly, Ginny looked in, relieved to see that Harry was back in bed, lying on his side. Remus looked up at her and nodded, inviting her back in. She came round to Harry’s side of the bed, her heart leaping when she saw that his eyes were open. They looked red and sore, and though he looked at her, it seemed like he couldn’t really see her. Closing his eyes, Harry swallowed heavily before opening them again, glancing to Remus and trying to say something.
“Don’t talk,” Remus said quietly, carefully taking Harry’s heavily bandaged arm as he tried to raise it. He lay it back down on the bed beside him, and Ginny tried not to feel the grimace of pain he gave.
Wanting to do something useful, Ginny carefully sat herself down in the space on the edge of the bed, taking Harry’s good hand in hers. He was looking at her again, but his eyes drifted open and closed as he tried to stay awake, the make better sense of what was going on.
“Go back to sleep,” she said quietly, rubbing the back of his hand and readjusting the blankets. “You’ll feel better soon.”
It was another minute or so before Harry closed his eyes fully, finally falling asleep again. Feeling tired herself, Ginny resumed her place on the other side of the bed, pulling her own blanket over her body as she snuggled up to Harry’s back, trying to keep him warm even with the blankets between them. With Remus staying awake to watch over Harry, Ginny too went back to sleep.
A/N Hey again readers, thanks for the reviews. Glad to know that you are enjoying the chapters especially at the moment. Hang in there, more action to come, and please leave your thoughts in a review for me. The time it takes to review is minute compared to the time it takes to write a chapter. Thanks to my readers and me betas.
Write a Review Chasing The Inevitable: Chapter 42 The Redemption of Snape