Disclaimer: Not mine whatsoever.
I sat up quickly, coughing painfully and loudly, a rattling sound in my chest. It hurt like hell and I placed my hand over my heart as if trying to stop the pain.
I looked towards Hermione and Ron. It looked as if they had fallen asleep holding hands. That made me look down to my waist where Harry's arm had been wrapped around my waist but he was gone. I became frantic because I knew Harry had been thinking about leaving. What if he was gone? What then?
Standing to my feet I swayed slightly, realizing for the first time how tired I was. It became even worse as I moved down the hallway, looking for Harry, feeling dizzy and lightheaded.
I'd have to pretend as if I was okay, for everyone else's sake, especially Harry. He already had so much to worry about without worrying about me also (not that he didn't already do that).
So I had gotten hit. Back at the coffee shop, when Dolohov had fired that expulsion jinx, I had gotten hit. But it could hardly be that serious, seeing as how it had past straight through me, hitting that table (now, that had hurt more than jinx itself).
I was completely and totally fine. . . . Though that didn't explain the continual nauseous feeling I had had since I woke up.
I found Harry in Sirius rooms, which was (unsurprisingly) covered with pictures of Muggle women and Gryffindor banners. Moving to sit down next to Harry on the bed, I saw that he was reading an old letter.
"My mum sent this to him," he explained, handing me an old torn photograph.
Smiling, I looked down at a baby Harry, swooping back and forth on a toy broom in front of someone's legs. "It's good to see you are still as cute as you were then," I told him.
Harry smiled for the first time that morning, but it fell quickly. "I want to go there."
"Godric's Hollow. My parents knew Bathilda Bagshot and – and I can finally, you know, visit them."
We both fell silent for a moment. I gently reached over and took hold of Harry's hand. I could never truly understand how Harry felt. I've had parents, and, as horrible as they were, I've always had them . . . Harry didn't.
"Maybe we can find out more about Dumbledore while we're there," I said, thinking. "He was friends with Bathilda too, wasn't he?"
Harry looked at me. "You're up for it?"
"Definitely," I said.
"Harry!?" Hermione called. "Joey!?"
"We're up here!" Harry called back.
Hermione appeared suddenly in the room, letting go a shaky sigh of relief. "Ron, I found them!" she called.
"Good!" Ron said. "Tell Harry I said he's a git!"
"We thought you had –" Hermione hesitated, biting her lip.
"Nope, still here," Harry said, standing to his feet and pulling me up with him. "Here," he added, handing Hermione the letter as we walked out of the room.
She read it quickly, her eyes flashing across the paper. When she was done, she looked up at Harry with a sad expression. "Harry –" she started.
"Don't say no before you even think about it Hermione," he said. "It could be our only way to learn about Dumbledore and –"
"Harry, you knew Dumbledore better than anyone," Hermione said. "Who cares what anyone else says. Besides, what we need to focus on now is finding and destroying the Horcruxes so you can destroy Voldemort."
"Hey look at this," I said, stopping in front of another door just down the hall from Sirius' room.
The other two, who had been on a verge of an argument, stopped and watched silently as I traced my fingers over the words.
Regulus Arcturus Black.
"Hello cousin," I mumbled softly before turning back to Harry and Hermione.
"R.A.B.," Harry said.
"From the locket," Hermione concluded. She gasped suddenly. "I've just remembered. Follow me."
Harry grabbed my hand again as Hermione led us in the direction of the drawing room. "Remember, Harry, how Mrs. Weasley had us always cleaning the house? Well, I've just remembered there was this locket and we tried to open it but no one could. We ended up throwing it out, but maybe –"
Reaching the drawing room we all began to search, Harry showing me what must have been the fake version of the locket. I'm not sure how long we were up there (Ron eventually came to help), but there was no sign of the locket.
"Who would know?" I asked as I closed a desk drawer. "Is there anyone we could ask to, you know, find out if they knew what happened to the locket?"
Harry, Hermione, and Ron all looked at each other before saying, "Kreacher."
Harry found me later in Regulus' room, where I was gently lifting up a beat-up old Dark Arts book. "I was worried," he said as he moved behind me.
"He really wasn't all that bad of a person when you actually think about it," I said, setting the book down. "I mean, he understood loyalty. He was loyal to his family and then he was loyal to his house-elf because it was loyal to him. Of course, it took him a minute to figure that out but . . . in the end – which is all that really counts sometimes."
I moved to sit down on the bed and Harry followed, wrapping his arm around my waist. I sighed. "It's hard to know that I had had a family who would have possibly understood what I was going through right now and to know that they're gone is even harder."
"Yeah, but you've got friends," Harry said, smiling at me.
"Too true," I said, smiling back. A coughing fit came over me suddenly though and I was forced to turn away before I could actually kiss Harry. It hurt, just like the other times, but after a few deep breaths I was over it.
"Are you alright?" Harry asked, patting his hand gently on my back.
"Yeah," I told him, still struggling for breath. "Yeah, I'm fine."
Harry turned my face towards his. "That's the second fit you've had today. . . . And Hermione said she thought she heard you coughing this morning. Are you sure you're okay?"
As I stared into Harry's bright green eyes, I considered telling him that no I was not alright. On contrary, I was aching all over and I felt nauseous . . . but in those bright green eyes I saw Harry's pain and his worry and – "I'm fine, Harry, I swear."
He didn't look as if he believed me, but he didn't say anything. Instead he leaned forward and pressed a gentle kiss against my lips. "Come on, it's late. We should get some rest. Hopefully Kreacher doesn't come back in the middle of the night."
I closed my eyes as the front door slammed, signaling Remus Lupin's exit from the house and possibly our lives. Beneath my fingers lay this morning's newspaper full of tragedy and destruction. People like Hermione were up for prosecution, Harry was wanted for custody, Death Eaters were posted outside of Grimmuald Place, and now Lupin, our only true adult supporter, was viciously angry with us (or at least with Harry).
The world was falling apart around us.
But thinking about it now – "There really wasn't any other way was there?" I said, interrupting what looked to be a fight between Harry and Hermione. "I mean, think about it; Lupin's wife is about to have a baby and, werewolf or not, he needs to be there for it. I'm sure Tonks will appreciate it in the long run."
"Yes, well –" Hermione said in an angry huff. "I suppose if you want to think of it that way."
Harry sat down at the table, gently taking the newspaper from me though he was still very angry I could see. He read through an article that was, without a doubt, about Dumbledore before flipping through the rest of the newspaper. A small slight smile came to his face. "Look at this," he said, putting the newspaper back down on the table in front of me.
Ron and Hermione gathered around me as I too smiled at the most recent article. It was a picture of me from last summer, of course in the garden of the Manor. I had taken this picture with Draco, though while he had looked proud and smug to be a Malfoy in the full picture, I looked horribly bored and I kept twirling my hair around my finger and rolling my eyes. But the article made me smile more than the actual picture.
Recently, Josephine Dominique Malfoy, daughter of Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy, was kidnapped by none other than the infamous Harry Potter.
"We have no clue as to why that boy would want with our daughter," Lucius Malfoy said. "But we are very worried for her safety, considering the boy's stability."
Rumors were spread, also, about the developing relationship between Josephine and Potter, though those were quickly squashed.
"Josephine has always been one for exploring her boundaries," Mr. Malfoy explained. "She assured us after returning home from school this summer that the rumors were completely fake and that she has no feelings whatsoever for the Potter boy. We are beginning to believe that she broke the fragile boy's heart and that this is the reason that he may have kidnapped our daughter."
A grand reward was recently offered for the return of the Malfoy daughter and the capture of Harry Potter. If you have any clue of their whereabouts, for it is most likely that the two are together, please do not hesitate to contact the Ministry of Magic.
Hermione snorted with laughter as she finished the article. "Wonderful, not only are you wanted for questioning Harry, now you're wanted for kidnapping too."
"Nice picture though," Ron said, grinning.
"Thanks," I replied, smiling. "I would never have thought Lucius was capable of such a story. This is amazing, to say the least."
"Brilliant, actually," Harry said. "Gives Mr. Malfoy a chance to get you back and also get me captured."
"I'm kind of upset that it says recently," Ron said. "Haven't you been missing for over a week now?"
"Yes well, my parents must not have been in much of a hurry," I said. "They're just trying to keep up an appearance by explaining my disappearance. And, seeing all that happened during sixth year, this was the best way to explain it."
There was a loud crack inside the kitchen and Kreacher appeared holding on tightly to Mundungus Fletcher.
"I ain't tellin' ya nuthin'!" the man explained angrily.
Harry grabbed Mundungus by the scruff of his collar and shoved him into a chair, putting his wand into the other man's neck. "You've got a lot of explaining to do Mundungus and you better start now."