I have a quidditch game tomorrow, she thought to herself.
She’d worked herself to the bone the past few weeks in practise, but what if she missed the game?
I hate the smell of Mungo’s, she decided irrationally. Too clean – too sterile.
Why are people so hasty to move about? She asked, shaking her head.
‘Miss Weasley,’ a soft voice drifted up through her thoughts.
It sounded familiar, sounded comforting – but the pain in her heart amplified when she tried to think of a reason why. She also felt a warm hand holding hers – its form strange, deformed even.
‘Ginny,’ came another.
These people are so insistent, she thought, scowling – she couldn’t know if her face actually responded; it felt rather numb. And wet, she added. Why is it wet?
‘Ginny?’ she recognised that one – Dean. ‘Ginny, come back to us.’
I am with you, silly, she thought trying to force out a chuckle. Where else could I be?
‘Where is he?’ a completely foreign voice drifted up. ‘What happened?’
Chatty, these ones, Ginny thought again, trying to scowl.
‘We don’t know – I’ve been banned from the case along with Mrs Potter,’
She didn’t like that voice – it reminded her of the bullies back at Hogwarts.
‘Why won’t she speak to us?’ the comforting voice said again – her heart clenched.
‘None of us know what happened’ she felt that voice vibrate through the hand she was holding – Hermione.
‘Can’t they give her a sedative or something?’ Dean asked. ‘She’s not even responding to her closest family.’
‘That could suppress her feelings even further,’ the one that reminded her of the bullies said softly.
‘She’s already suppressing them!’ Hermione snapped. ‘She’s gone completely catatonic!’
People, please – calm down. She tried to chip in – she suddenly realised that the
burning she started to feel in her chest was from the lack of breath. What is going on?
‘Why is she so pale all of a sudden?’ The comforting one asked in alarm.
‘She’s not breathing!’ Hermione exclaimed loudly.
She felt her eyes blink and then she realised that she’d been looking straight at the wall for the past few minutes – her blurred vision was interrupted by a man’s figure kneeling down in front of her.
Draco, she realised suddenly – her lungs were burning, black spots were dancing across her field of vision and everything seemed too bright.
“Ginny,” he said with authority. “You need to take a breath.”
Her eyes widened, but she nodded.
Her chest rose and fell once, and then she was gasping for air as if she’d been running.
“Good,” Draco said with a smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes, both of which were showing signs of panic.
“Water,” her mouth said without her authorization.
“Of course,” he said with a warm smile. Then he was gone, and he was back just as quickly, handing her a glass of water.
She tried to reach it, but both of her hands were occupied – she glanced sideways to see Hermione on her right and Dean on her left.
Her body seemed to recoil at the sight of him – though she couldn’t seem to think why. Her hand pulled free from his grasp, and she turned back to Draco to accept the water. She took a small mouthful, adoring the coolness of the water on the blazing walls of her throat and suddenly realised that her right hand was cramping.
Upon investigating this, she saw that she was crushing Hermione’s hand – she promptly loosened her grip. Hermione realised this, but in turn she gripped tighter with a reassuring smile.
“Ginny,” Draco said, immediately gaining her attention. “Could you please tell me what happened tonight?”
She felt her chest constrict, and her heartbeat speed up, but she couldn’t tell why she was so stressed out. “I guess I must’ve fallen off my broom at Quidditch practise?” she chuckled, the sound hollow and brassy.
Draco shared a look with Hermione while Ginny took another sip of water – her eye was caught by a familiar looking man, her heart clenched again. He was pacing and looking at his muddy shoes.
“Do you think she was hit with a memory charm?” Hermione asked immediately.
“Mr Potter?” Draco asked the pacing man immediately.
“We only found traces of some defensive spells, and possibly an unforgivable -”
“The Cruciatus?” Dean asked.
“We’re not sure,” he answered.
A flash of green blinded Ginny momentarily and she flung her arms out as if to shove someone out of the way. Draco started as her glass crashed into the floor.
A blur of red hair crashed into the Mr Potter – why wouldn’t her chest stop aching!?
“He’s not responding, James,” she moaned, he gripped her tightly as she sobbed.
Ginny turned to Hermione, who was eyeing her carefully. “Who’s not responding?”
“You have to at least remember something,” Hermione pleaded, her eyes were betraying feelings she was trying to force back.
“I told you -” Ginny chuckled. “Quidditch -”
Only – she wasn’t so sure if it was Quidditch anymore. Her wand arm was stiff, and her head was aching – Signs that she’d been in a duel.
“Hermione – did I -”
“Harry’s dead, Ginny,” Dean said stiffly from her other side.
The entire sitting area went deathly silent but for Mrs Potter’s subdued sobbing.
Before Ginny could ask who that was, however, Draco was launching himself at Dean and the two were in a tangle on the floor.
There was a loud whooshing sound, and the two were separated instantly. Mr Potter stood with his wand out and his eyes cold. “None of that,” was all he said – he didn’t have to say that he was talking about speaking of Harry’s death as well as the fighting. “We’ll go and see if we can find anything out.” He led Lily quickly away.
“Mr Potter’s right,” Hermione said quickly and she cast a quick glance at Draco, who was wiping his furious tears away.
“I’ll go and hear about a sedative for her,” he said emotionlessly. “She’s not helping anyone in this state.” He walked past the group quickly and was gone.
“I think it’d be best if you leave too, Dean,” Hermione added quickly.
“She needs me -” he roared, but was interrupted.
“I know,” Hermione agreed cynically. “She needs you to leave. Now.”
He was still for a moment, looking at Ginny for help he knew wouldn’t be coming. He then followed Draco’s example and stormed out of the little waiting area.
Ginny’s head was throbbing and irritation was bubbling up inside of her – why were all of her memories so inconsistent?
“Hermione, what happened?” she pleaded. “Did I hurt someone?”
“Don’t you remember anything?”
“I told you – I must’ve been at quidditch practise -”
“You weren’t, Gin,” Hermione said softly. “You were at the burrow, Harry was with you-”
Ginny couldn’t help but hear the sadness weaved through Hermione’s voice. “Who is Harry?!” she burst out, starting Hermione in her seat.
“I suppose your mind has shut the memories out that would otherwise be torturing you right now -” Hermione decided, more to herself that anyone else. “I once read that our minds have the ability to do that – to protect us from any psychological damage -”
“Hermione!” Ginny snapped. “Who the hell is Harry!?”
Hermione was still for a moment, wondering how to break the news to the girl she considered a sister. How could she not cause her any pain? “He was your neighbour, Gin,” she said softly. “After you and Dean broke up – you and Harry became closer.”
Ginny didn’t respond. Her eyes blinked slowly and a frown was etched into her forehead. She rested her head on her hand, rubbing over her eyes with her free hand.
“Mr and Mrs Potter are his parents,” Hermione added. “I’d say that he looks a lot like his father, if that helps?”
“I can’t -” Ginny said in frustration. There should be truth in Hermione’s words. That would at least explain why Mr Potter seemed so familiar to her.
“A werewolf was after him,” Hermione continued. “You came to the Burrow and had a row with Dean – we were inside when we heard screaming from outside.”
Goosebumps spread over Ginny’s arms – it seemed her body was recalling the story, even though her mind could not. Hot tears rolled over her cheeks.
“I’m sorry,” she said sincerely and jumped out of her seat. She ran until she found a seemingly empty room and there she closed the door and locked herself in.
It seemed as though she’d found her way into one of the older parts of Mungo’s – disused by the look of things.
The lights were turned off and the air smelled stale – she wiped her eyes frantically and sniffed.
“They’re lying,” she decided. “I don’t have a boyfriend named Harry.”
“My dear, talking to yourself – though thoroughly entertaining to behold – won’t help your current situation,” a calm voice said from across the room.
It seemed her body had had enough scares that day, because she didn’t even flinch when the man’s voice interrupted the silence in the room.
She laughed cynically. “I’m already a loony,” she burst out. “Talking to myself was the obvious next step.”
There was a stirring of robes and the sound of some furniture being moved. When she looked around, she saw the silhouette of a man sitting in a chair on the far side of the room, whilst a chair that was facing him seemed to have been placed there for her.
She instructed her body to move, though the process was much harder than it was supposed to be – her limbs felt heavy and oversized and her feet dragged against the floor. Once she had fallen down into her seat, she felt drained.
They sat in silence for a long while – her breathing heavily and him patiently sitting with his hands intertwined.
“I’m perfectly fine, you know,” she said suddenly – sounding anything but. “They’re trying to make me think that I’m mad, that’s all.”
“I see,” he replied simply. “And are you?” he asked. “Mad, I mean,”
“I – no... I don’t think so?” she half-asked. “It’s like I’ve forgotten everything that’s happened to me over the last few months – something happened and – now...”
He sat with the patience of someone that had long since made his peace with the world, and nodded. “You say you can’t remember anything?” he asked quietly.
She thought for a minute before answering. “A green flash that seems a bit out of place,” she surmised. “And that’s all, I suppose.” A shiver ran down her spine again – she knew that something was wrong.
Remus Lupin sat forwards slowly, as if in great pain and a he saw her eyes focus on him.
“Professor Lupin!” she exclaimed.
The man smiled a smile that didn’t reach his face.
“Why’re you down here?” she asked.
He looked past her, to the door – thinking of his godson that seemed to be... no, he couldn’t even think it.
“Old age can compromise even the strongest of bodies,” he lied.
She nodded, pretending not to notice the hesitation in his answer.
“I’ve heard of cases like yours -” he said suddenly, trying to change the subjects. “Our mind has the ability to shut out things that could be too much for us to process at once,” he explained.
“How do you know that I’ve been through something that could do that to me?” she asked, unsettled by his extreme tranquillity.
He gestured at her appearance. “Call it intuition,” he chuckled.
She crossed her arms and legs, as if to shield herself from his gaze. “Can you fix it?” she asked quickly.
He nodded slowly. “Theoretically -” he began. “I could enter your mind and try to break through the mental barrier,”
“But?” she prompted.
“The pain your mind has decided to keep from you – you’ll have to face all of that at once,” he said with a slight shrug. “Not even to mention that it’s illegal.”
She fell back into her chair. “So I’m a hopeless amnesiac until I man-up enough for me to remember.”
“Hold on, now,” he said with a fond smile. “I said that I could do it theoretically – that means that it is possible,”
“I know,” she said slowly. “I have a basic understanding of the English language -”
“Ginny,” he said dismissively. “Someone with more experience would be able to do it without shattering the barriers – then we can help Harry.”
She tutted. “Old age, huh?”
He shrugged. “He’s fighting for his life Ginny -”
“Dean told me that he was already dead -” her chest constricted painfully.
“No!” he burst out suddenly. “He’s fine,”
“I know the feeling,” she muttered bitterly.
“What was that?” he asked.
“Nothing,” she lied. “Who’s going to fix me?” she asked quickly, realising how lifeless her voice seemed for the first time.
“I’m going to ask Dumbledore to perform Ligilimency on you – thereby entering your memories.”
“But you told me that that was illegal?” she asked.
“Not if you agree to it.” he answered immediately.
She thought it over. Was she going to allow Albus Dumbledore access to her memories? Her private thoughts?
“Fine,” she agreed. “Anything to not feel as if I’m trying to remember a dream I had.”
He felt his mind merge with hers, and then he was surrounded by the blurred outlines of a memory starting to form. It didn’t, however, completely take form – instead, it repeatedly distorted beyond any recognition, flickering a strange red colour.
He focused on his presence in the middle of her thoughts and willed the clouds of thick fog to materialise.
Once he recovered from the shock of the strength of her own will to keep the memory hidden, he tried again – this time feeling the barrier give way – then suddenly he was being pulled in...
James stood with his arms limply by his side – a numb feeling coursing through his veins.
After Molly took Lily to get a cup of tea, he’d finally been able to have his own breakdown – but it didn’t come. He stood there – looking through the window of the room his son had been in for the last two days.
The Healers had charmed him to stay alive artificially, but since that kind of magic was remarkably difficult to sustain, they had moved him to a floor with more magically able personnel – to be able to recast the charm every few hours. Seeing as the cures to all of the common curses were running out – they’d started to suspect the Killing Curse.
He was trained to move on when tragedy struck – sure, tragedy was easy to overcome. You take a breath, survey the area for possible threats towards your person – and move on. You could always come back for a body – it’s not like it was going anywhere.
This, though – this surpassed any feeling he’d ever had to feel.
He’d lost his parents, and that had been painful. Lily had lost her parents – that had been hard.
Now – he didn’t know how to... what to do... It was like his emotions had been switched off.
“James,” he heard and slowly turned his head towards his best friend – who had dark circles under his eyes and dirty hair.
“Two days,” James said – his voice sounding hoarse and awkward from disuse.
Sirius stepped forward and pulled him into a hug.
“What are you doing?!” James snarled and tried to push him backwards. “Sirius –Back off!!”
But Sirius was steadfast; he kept his arms locked around James until he went slack in them.
“H-he’s -” James’ voice cracked.
“I know,” Sirius said – fighting his urge to crumble with James. God knows he’d loved that boy like he was his own. “I know, James.”
Hermione Granger stomped her foot in frustration and stowed her wand away – abandoning her attempt to break through the shield charm. “Ginny! Drop the shield charm! We can’t get out of the house!” she pleaded from inside the house.
Ginevra Weasley shook her head and looked in front of her – starting when she saw a ghostly figure just beyond the boundary of her shield.
“Yes, Ginny,” the werewolf said maliciously. “Drop the shield charm.”
“No!” She replied and flicked her wand at the house.
The surprise on her face was evident when every door and window shut, when her aim had obviously been to only close the kitchen door. It was then that he focused on his surroundings. He found himself a distance away from the girl – she was glancing worriedly at Harry who was struggling to get back to his feet.
He recognised the setting as Molly and Arthur Weasley’s backyard – it was starting to get dark.
He’d heard of charms this strong – with the ability to block not only magical attacks, but physical advances as well – but he’d never been able to cast one himself, neither had he been privileged enough to see one in action. Her magic seemed to be amplified beyond even her own belief.
“Gin,” he heard Harry say shakily. “G-get inside,”
“I said NO!” she burst out, her wand was being held ready to block any additional offensive spells in spite of the remarkably strong magic she was exuding.
“Well, that’s a shame,” the werewolf said whimsically, running his hand over the barely-visible barrier. “I guess I’ll just burn down the house with your family inside.”
Albus wondered how it was even possible for him to be this close to the house with the high-grade security the burrow had been given. Though, judging by the strength of his Cruciatus Curse that Harry seemed to be struggling to recover from – the wolf was an adversary they’d underestimated completely.
“Harry – you need to get up,” she said, sounding a bit winded – the shielding magic was taking its toll on her physical energy. “Please – I can’t defend everyone by myself -”
“Then don’t defend me,” Harry said weakly as he finally stood himself upright. “Get your family and leave -”
“N-no,” she hissed.
“Ginny, it’s okay -”
“I’m not leaving you alone!” she burst out. Her momentary burst of energy expanded the charm exponentially – though she dropped to her knees a second later.
“Young love,” Skorponok sighed mockingly. “It’ll be the death of you.”
He pointed his wand at Ginny and shot a ball of light at the pair. Though the shot was ricocheted off the shield which rippled menacingly, Dumbledore saw the fatigue on the girl’s face worsen.
“I’m sorry about this,” Harry said suddenly, pointing his wand at Ginny. “But I’m not letting you get hurt – Expelliarmus,” he commanded and her wand flew into his hand.
“No!” she moaned weakly.
The shield charm dropped immediately – Skorponok smiled vehemently and lifted his wand arm in their direction, but it seemed Harry was much faster than he was. Ginny’s body relaxed on the floor.
After a quick flurry of wand-movement, Harry disarmed the wolf and bound him tightly with ropes from his wand.
“You should have thought about attacking me -” that was when Harry’s words were cut off by a sharp impact on the back of his head. He dropped to the floor, unconscious.
“Well done,” Skorponok chuckled. “Now, undo my bindings.”
Ginny picked up her wand and did so.
“Now – kill him.”
Dumbledore clenched his teeth as the green flash of light followed a mumbling of words.
“You will remember nothing of this man – nothing of me,”
“Nothing,” she murmured.
“Excellent -” For the second time that night ropes flew and incarcerated the wolf, though the new ropes seemed to be teeming with life, as they kept tightening themselves, until he lost consciousness a minute later.
James Potter came running up to the couple – Ginny staring blankly at the lifeless form of Harry.
Albus shook his head and forced the memory back into a shapeless form – it responded and dissolved faster than memories usually did, sealing itself once again.
Her mind didn’t want to remember, that much was clear and Albus knew that, if he’d had the choice, he wouldn’t want to either.
Remus watched as Dumbledore’s eyes came back into focus and Ginny’s clenched fists relaxed.
“And?” he asked immediately. “Tell me you can fix it!”
But Albus remained silent – infuriatingly so. He conjured a glass of water and drank deeply. It seemed the portraits had abandoned all efforts of trying to seem asleep, as they sat rapt and upright in their respective frames.
“Professor, please -”
“Remus,” Dumbledore answered calmly, though his hands were trembling ever so slightly. “Forgive me -”
Dumbledore’s wand appeared out of nowhere and Remus felt the joints in his arms and legs lock up from a very strong petrifying spell. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see a sleeping Ginny follow his example.
“What’re you doing!?” he burst out, outraged.
“The forms of your closest friends’ animagus forms are?” he asked.
“You think that I’m Imperioused?!” Remus snapped.
“Answer the question,” Albus said, rising from his chair. Remus could feel the power vibrating in the air around the older professor.
“James turns into a stag and Sirius in a large black dog,” he said quickly.
Albus stood silently for a second, then nodded and Remus felt control returning to his limbs.
“I have reason to believe that Ms Weasley was exposed to the Imperious Curse on the night of Harry’s attack,” Albus explained.
“You were able to access the memory, then?” Remus asked as if he were parched and asking for water.
“Remus -” the professor began, and he could see hope draining from the other man’s eyes.
“I’m right in assuming that more than one of the unforgivable curses were used, then?” he responded.
“All three, in fact,” Dumbledore said quietly. “If, indeed I am correct – Ginny Weasley is still under the influence of the werewolf’s imperious curse – heaven knows that would explain quite a few things.”
“He really is dead, then?” Remus asked – flinching as he spoke. “Skorponok killed him?”
“I’m afraid that, because of the curse she was subjected to, Ms Weasley was the one to administer the final curse – she was instructed to do so, thus her intentions were clear and the spell proved to be fatal.”
Remus’ head dropped into his hands and his shoulders slumped. Albus gazed out of his window, allowing the other man a little privacy. He sat, instead, thinking of the enormous strength the girl showed that night – her unparalleled magic.
Wait, he thought suddenly. The one unforgivable curse that a person can ward off and we’re led to believe that the girl was too weak to do so? After the amazing power she demonstrated?
“I’ll go to Mungo’s and give them the news, then -”
“Please allow me another moment, Remus,” Dumbledore said quietly. “There is another possibility.”
Remus fell back down into his seat – not having the strength to ask.
A moment later, Albus was surrounded by the thick fog once again. This time, though, rather than trying to relive the memories, he focused on finding the girl’s personality.
He found her in her dream, standing on a rock in the middle of an unsteady ocean.
“Ginny,” he said calmly, announcing his presence.
“Professor,” she nodded, wiping away at her tears. “You’ll have to forgive me – I’m not usually this... emotional,” she spat the word as if it tasted horrible in her mouth.
“You’ve been afflicted -”
“Imperious Curse?” she asked, finishing his train of thought.
“And now Harry’s going to die because they all think that he’s been cursed -”
“But you did curse him,” he said sternly. “Seeing as you were under the Imperious -”
“I didn’t mean to,” she chuckled, though it sounded as if her sobbing was about to overcome her. “He told me to... and I just thought – NO,”
A weight lifted off of his shoulders. “I will inform the hospital immediately -”
“Wait – you’re real?” she asked quickly and the scene changed. The sea became still and the clouds dispersed. “Professor – hurry!”
“I’ll repair the damage to your mind as soon as I return,” he promised and he was gone.
“He hasn’t been responding to any of our treatments, Mr Potter,” the Healer said.
James nodded and sniffed quickly. “I’ve spoken to my family -” he felt his lip quiver. “We don’t want him to suffer any more.”
The healer and the nurse beside him nodded. “We’ll give you all a moment to say goodbye.”
So everyone made turns to walk into the room and say goodbyes to Harry – The Weasleys went in, and Molly came out with tears streaming down her face, while Hermione held Ron’s hand tightly.
Draco walked into the room slowly – dreading what he was about to do with every fibre in his being.
“Hey, Pothead,” he said with a half-smile which faded when he saw how pale his friend was.
“I just wanted to thank you,” he continued, grabbing onto the rails of the bed for support. “For being a friend to me – even though I wasn’t always the kind of guy people wanted to be associated with.”
“I remember that first time we met in Madam Malkin’s,” he chuckled. “I remember you were bickering with Sirius about which house you’d be sorted into – and you said that you didn’t care which house you’d be in, as long as I wasn’t in it!”
He bit his lip and wiped his nose quickly. “I’ll always be grateful to that stupid hat – because it gave me the brother I’d always wanted.”
“I want you to know that I’ll see to it that your parents are taken care of – and Ginny, if you want,”
“I’ll miss you, mate,” he said quickly and rushed his way to the door and down the hall, away from peering eyes.
He’d lost family members in his life – grandparents and great-grandparents. Though, they’d never been the loving type of people. Now, losing the only thing he’d relied on for support and friendship.
A harsh breath escaped his body.
He couldn’t lose it now – he had a promise he had to uphold. Harry deserved at least that.
In his blind rush to escape his sadness, Draco failed to see a blur of Purple robes and pointy shoes rush back towards the room.
As Albus approached the room he saw Lily and James Potter in an embrace – he couldn’t imagine the pain they were going through.
“Professor?” came Sirius’ voice.
“Mr Black,” Albus acknowledged. “If you’ll excuse me.”
Sirius watched as he entered Harry’s room – he approached the bed and pulled out his wand.
Harry started choking.
He waved his wand again and the choking subsided.
Dumbledore's long beard twitched and Sirius knew everything would be okay.
Hi guys! And Girls (viva feminism and all that)!
So, a very emotional chapter for me, this one. I struggled to encompass all of the emotion that I wanted to, as well as piecing the chapter together, so please forgive me if it seems a little jumbled! I wanted it to feel that way, because of all of the confusion flying around! :-P
Please leave me a review and tell me what you thought!
All my love,