Chapter 1 : He's not dead
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“She’s your sister, go and talk to her James or you’ll be sorry,” I could hear them arguing, well not so much arguing as Grandma Weasley was telling James what to do. I wasn’t sticking around to listen to anyone, not James or mum or Grandma or Aunt Hermione, not no-one. They all thought I was mad anyway. Grandma had all but moved in, even though everyone in the house was of age and me, James and Hugo were all capable of looking after mum.
“What should I say then?” I almost laughed at James but I was too focused, the lock on my door wouldn’t hold for long and I knew they could stop me leaving if they wanted too. A few clothes just about fit into my backpack; along with some other essentials and my muggle money savings so I threw on my favourite red and white hoodie, grabbed my wand, slung my backpack over my right shoulder and climbed down the drainpipe.
Bet James is wishing he hadn’t showed me how to do that now.
As my feet hit the concrete and I started to run I realised living in a muggle village had its advantages sometimes, the first being that that my family couldn’t openly use magic against me, and the second was that the village was surrounded by a forest, which is exactly where I was heading. It seemed fitting that since dad had been sent to a forest. The thick, green trees provided the perfect cover over the darkening sky, even the moon seemed to be on my side as there was no sign of it. I stumbled deeper into the forest; I still needed to work out where in Albania I could travel too without a muggle seeing me. I suppose I could come out in a forest, the forest my dad was sent to.
It wasn’t safe though.
Slowing to a walk I tried to think back to the maps that I had took from the box of his belongings that the ministry had delivered. There was a cross on the map, in a forest just next to the town of Rrëshen. I could risk it, I doubt there would be muggle walking around, and I could fight any danger; well, that’s what my Gryffindor side was telling me.
“Lily?” Crap, that was James and I was out of time. Closing my eyes I spun round and with a pop, I was gone.
My feet hit solid ground and I opened my eyes to take in my surroundings, all I could see were trees, thick, green trees that were packed closely together. It was like a whole different world. There didn’t seem to be anyone around but there was blue in the distance, I didn’t know what but it was something and something might have people so I figured I’d go see if anyone was round and ask if they’d seen my dad.
Because no matter what the ministry said he wasn’t dead, they hadn’t found a body and that was enough hope for me. I set off down towards the houses, almost dancing my way through the forest as I tried to avoid any stray branches or rocks. It was hot, the sun blaring down on my and it didn’t take long for me to remove my hoodie. I should have packed a drink and some food; I knew I wasn’t going to any central tourist location. I battled on though, trying to forget about the thirst in my throat but all I could think about was my family.
The obviously knew I was gone, if James’ call in the forest was anything to go by and I hoped they weren’t worried. That wasn’t likely though; they’d been worried about me ever since the ministry came home and said that dad had died. I never believed it though, they didn’t have any proof and it wasn’t the first time had had been away longer than expected on a mission, and it wasn’t the first time he had been separated. So why should he be dead now? I was the only one who thought this, well the only one who I had talked too. Pretty sure I had a few cousins I hadn’t asked but that was no surprise, there were 12 of us and I didn’t talk to everyone all the time.
I hoped my mum wasn’t too worried, I did feel bad about leaving straight after she thought dad had died but I knew he hadn’t, and I had to prove it. Or at least try. I couldn’t just pretend to think he was dead, he wouldn’t have wanted that and I didn’t. I had to follow my instincts, even if that meant travelling half way around the world just to find out I was wrong.
As I battled through the trees, the blue became larger and I saw that it was a house, or several houses that I could now see. The houses were growing bigger, and I soon came to realise that they weren’t houses like I knew them. They were wooden and painted an array of colours, blues and whites so in the sun they should have shined but there was something dark about them. And I knew that was where it happened; although I didn’t know what it was.
I broke into a sprint, the trees turning into a blur of green and brown and the sun all but forgotten. It took minutes to reach them; the eerie silence surrounded me and as I pushed my hair out of my now red, shiny face, I pulled out my wand and quietly walked up the three steps to the door of one of the houses. It was blue and the paint was peeling but that wasn’t what freaked me out. The door was ajar. Holding out my wand in front of me I’d only just put my hand on the door when a voice called out and I stepped backwards in fright, forgetting about the steps and tumbling to the ground; my wand falling from my grasp.
“Nuk lëvizin!” It was a man’s voice and when I sat up I saw he wasn’t in the house, he was about 5 meters behind me and I quickly felt around for my wand before putting it into my pocket.
“I’m sorry, I don’t understand-“
“Oh you’re English, që shpjegon atë. What do you think you’re doing?” I chose to ignore him; I had a feeling that whatever he’d said wasn’t a compliment.
“Is this your house?” I called as I check my arms and legs over, nothing seemed broken but I’d have a bruise or two on my back. I carefully got to my feet as the man came closer, he had white hair and a white beard and he looked about fifty.
“Ha! You’re not from around here then, nobody’s lived her for years,” he told me before extending his arm. “I’m Ardi, and you are?”
“No, I’m not. I’m Lilly, it’s nice to meet you, are you from around here then?” I asked as I shook his hand and he nodded.
“I live just beyond the trees, in Rrëshen. How did you get here then, you couldn’t have walked from the town?” It was then I noticed a motorbike behind him and I wondered how I hadn’t heard it, this place had been silent.
“Oh, I got a lift, but why did you shout when I went to open the door?” It was an obvious change of subject but Ardi didn’t seem to mind, although he didn’t look happy about the direction the conversation was going either.
“You shouldn’t even be here in these woods, never mind these cabins. Strange things happen around here, they died off a while ago but just as folk started to relax they started back up again,” he frowned and looked like he didn’t want to say anything more but there must have been something in my expression because he walked over to the nearest rock and sat down, and I sat on the ground in front of him. “Well, rumour has it that it all started forty eight years ago, some folks say Halloween, others say Christmas but the one thing everyone agrees on is that it was no human haunting the forest, it was something else. The people who lived in those cabins,” he jerked is head to the cabin I had been trying to enter. “They noticed strange noises, strange shapes outside at night and by the following Christmas, this place was deserted of people, no one ever came back, not even when it all ended after eleven years,” he told me and then stood up. “I’ve told you too much, why don’t you come back with me on my bike and I’ll drop you off at your hotel,” I was already shaking my head before he finished.
“What ended, what happened in those eleven years?” I asked but he shook his head, already next to the motorbike.
“No more, no, last chance to come with me, come on,” but I shook my head and got to my feet.
“I can’t, my dad went missing around here, about a week ago and I need to find out what happened to him. Can you help me?” I pleaded and he sighed but didn’t get up.
“Come back to town, you can ask some of the locals if they’ve seen anything,” I turned my back and went back to the cabins; I needed to look inside them. I wasn’t travelling all this way to not even look inside. The noise of the motorbike reached my ears and I saw smoke as it roared away from me, I frowned before turning away and pushing open the door. Dust fell to the floor, the roof sounded like it was going to fall in.
“Homenum revelio” I whispered but nothing happened so I walked out and turned to the next house I repeated this again, nothing happened. There was about half a dozen houses so I moved on but it wasn’t until the last house, a light green house, where something happened. It wasn’t the normal reaction; it was like a weaker version of that and my mind suddenly came up with all these horrid explanation, each one worse than the last. I stepped forward, my heart had sped up and it took all my will to walk forward.
I had to know, but did I want to?
Everything was silent; the sun was even lowering in the sky, casting shadows across the inside of the house. The house was bare, just basic furniture and plain beige walls. There was no movement and I was beginning to doubt my casting, I had already cast it several times and I had never heard of that happening so maybe I had cast it wrong.
Then I saw it.
The body was slumped against the table, its face was dropped and I wasn’t close enough to recognise any features. Do I walk forward? It could have been a death eater, that’s why her dad had come out here in the first place but what if it was her dad? The person wasn’t dead, and if it was a death eater she didn’t want to wake him but she couldn’t check, she needed to check.
Pointing her wand at the figure she cautiously moved forward and nudged it with her toe, it wasn’t very safe but it was the best she could come up with. The figure slumped sideways, away from me, and its head slumped towards me, and then I saw its face.
“DAD!” I threw myself down onto the floor next to him and placed my hand on his arm, he didn’t react. I got to my feet, pointed my wand at him and as I was about to make him float I heard the sound of the motorbike. Putting my wand back into my pocket I looked at dad once more before running outside and jumping the three steps to the ground.
“I told you not-“
“Come and help, please, he’s hurt” I all but shouted at Ardi as he got off the motorbike and I turned back to the house, now with Ardi on my trail. My feet barley hit the steps as I reached dad and knelt down next to him, placing one of his arms around my shoulder.
“Zotii Madh! Is that a demon?” He asked his face draining of colour as he walked backwards.
“No! It’s my dad, please, you have to help,” I begged but he just stood there, not moving. “Please!” I screamed, finally losing my temper and he seemed to break out of his trance as he slowly walked towards us.
“Fine, but if I get hurt my blood will be on your hands,” he warned but I had not time to listen as he took the other side of my dad and we carried him to the motorbike.
“We won’t all fit,” I said as I pushed dad on the seat, there was only room for one more person, just.
“We’ll it’ll have to be me,” I didn’t argue, just nodded.
“His name’s Harry Potter,” I told him before stepping back.
“I’ll take him to the hospital and you can follow, when you get to Rrëshen ask for Rresheni spital okay?” I nodded and watched as he rode out of sight, lost as quickly as he had come. I started to follow on foot, thanking my lucky stars that the sun wasn’t as high or as hot. I wish I’d been able to apperated but I couldn’t, not in the middle of a town. It was too risky, someone could see me.
I was still walking when the sun disappeared and the moon came out, a cold wind started and I stopped to put my jacket on. The urge to stop and lie down for a bit was strong but I forced myself to keep moving, I didn’t want to leave dad by himself in the hospital. No one was ever really left alone, there was so many of us that there was always someone around, which reminded me that nobody else knew where he was. Looking around, I checked to make sure the place was deserted although I hadn’t seen anyone since Ardi left. Pulling out my wand I used it to send a message to mum using my patronus- it was a rabbit. Hey mum, it’s me Lily. I’ve found dad! We’re in Albania, at the Rresheni hotel, well dad is and I’m on my way there now. See you soon.
I kept walking, my strides getting shorter and my body stooping lower. There were only trees around and the dawn was breaking when I saw buildings and I almost collapsed in relief. There was nobody around but thankfully there was a sign with the words Rresheni spital on it pointing right so I made my way there. I ended up to an alley way but as I came out there was a wide, white building across the street with the words Rresheni spital in big letters on the side. I walked inside but I couldn’t see anyone so I went back outside and took a seat on one of the benches opposite the hospital.
I couldn’t stop my eyes from closing but my mind wouldn’t shut down, the town itself was beautiful and it got me wondering what other countries dad visited; he must have seen some amazing things. He didn’t normally travel to be honest, only if there was some really dangerous stuff somewhere else but he had been to Italy, Germany and he’d took mum to Paris once, when I was little. Mum said it was amazing. I’d hardly been out of the country, only once when we went to Spain on holiday with Uncle Ron, Aunt Hermione, Rose and Hugo. Then, a shadow appeared across my face and I opened my eyes to see Hugo looking down at me.
“Hey, we’ve been worried about you,” Hugo told me and I sat up to see James, Rose and Albus standing behind him.
“Sorry, but I had to go, where is dad?” I asked and he sat down next to me.
“He’s in the hospital with my mum and Aunt Ginny, they think he’s going to be okay,” I nodded and managed to relax now that I knew he was going to be okay. I closed my eyes and the last thing I remember was something like a blanket or a jacket being placed on top of me.
3 months later
“Are you sure you’ll be okay?” Mum asked him for the hundredth time, and it was only half seven in the morning.
“Yes love, I’m only going into the office, all very dull,” he winked at me behind her back and I smiled. It was nice to dad up and about like his normal self. Well, except for the new scar on his head but he was thankful this one was covered by his hair.
“Okay, well I’ll see you tonight,” he nodded before saying goodbye to us both and as he went into the living room to floo to work mum followed him.
“Are you sure-“
“I’ll be fine, I’ll see you tonight, bye Al,” I had to laugh, mum had barely left his side and when he eventually came home she was always hovering around him. Now he was going back to work she didn’t know what to do, so I was taking her out for a bit of shopping, try and take her mind of it. I doubted it would work, once my mum got something into her mind, it was nearly impossible to change it. At least dad would be safe for a while, mum had told him he couldn’t go traveling for a least a year, with work anyway. I think I should suggest a holiday; we could all do with one, not Albania though.
Zotii Madh! means Oh my god!
nuk lëvizin means don’t move
që shpjegon atë means that explains it
Spital means hospital