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Chasing The Inevitable by killthatrat
Chapter 21 : Chapter 21 Parting
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 8


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A/N Please forgive the long wait! The next chapter is nearly done, and hopefully I can keep spitting them out quickly to keep you all interested!

Things have been pretty slow for our characters in recent chapters, rest assured the excitement and drama is coming soon!

Thanks for reading, and please help me keep writing for you by leaving me a review.

killtherat

It was still dark when Ginny awoke, the gaps in the curtains giving no indication that morning was near. So comfortable lying in the warm bed next to Harry, she didn’t want to get up, but the pressing need to go to the bathroom was going to win. Procrastinating for a moment longer she rolled over and glanced through the dark at Harry, who lay on his side facing away from her.

She could tell he was dreaming. His uneven breaths and clenched hands gave him away every night, and she hoped his nightmare would reach its conclusion quickly. Almost every night he would startle her from her sleep as he suddenly sat up in the bed beside her, clenching the sheets in his fists as he recalled where he really was, that everything was okay. Most of the time she could coax him back to sleep, but other times he leapt from the bed before she was even fully awake, pacing back and forth around the tent as he rubbed his scar absently. On one occasion she had awoken to the sound of him being sick in the bathroom, so worked up from his nightmare, and she knew it must have been awful. For his sake she pretended she was still sleeping when he eventually returned to her side.

Wanting to stroke his hair, Ginny wished he would tell her what he dreamt about every night.

Finally, she pulled herself away from him, throwing back the blankets and slipping out of her bed before she could put it off any longer. Shivering, she tiptoed around the dark room and carefully opened the door, suspiciously looking out into the dimly lit hallway for Aunty Muriel’s cat. She hated the thing with a vengeance, and it hated her just as much, and surely he was out there somewhere, just waiting for her to emerge unprepared. Taking a cautious step outside she suddenly realised just how cold she was, ducking back into the room to find Harry’s socks. With the light from the hallway shining in she could see he had rolled over in his sleep, his arm flung across the bed to where she had been, as though he were searching for her.

Ginny found his socks and pulled them on, slipping back out and tiptoeing through the hallway to the bathroom, the ceiling candles illuminating as soon as she stepped in. Sitting on the icy cold toilet seat, she wished she were back at the Burrow. Somehow it never grew very cold inside. Was it the work of a handy charm, or was it simply the happiness and love that kept them all warm? Either way it didn’t matter, she was already sick of being on the run, sick of doing nothing, of just waiting around for some sign of life from the outside world.

Suddenly, she thought of Harry again, of his firm insistence that she couldn’t stay with him forever. She understood where he was coming from, that he didn’t want her to get hurt, that he loved her, but it didn’t stop her hating him for it. Only a little of course, but she definitely hated him for what he had asked her to do. Never before had she stood down from a fight, from a challenge. Did he even consider what it would mean to her if he got hurt? She felt the same way about him, and an ever growing part of her wanted them to simply stay in hiding forever, where they could at least be safe with each other, but she knew that would never happen. As much as she didn’t normally back down from a fight, neither did Harry.

Turning on the tap she allowed the cold water to go down the drain, waiting for it to grow warm before she washed her hands. Looking at herself in the mirror she decided she definitely needed some more sleep. With a slight frown she turned off the tap and took a step back, standing on the tip of her toes to see her whole body in the mirror as she lifted up her pyjamas to observe herself. She had definitely lost weight over the past month, they all had, but she hadn’t quite noticed just how much until now. Her ribs and hip bones were certainly more defined, not jutting out but still more visible than they should be, and the full thighs that she normally hated had shrunk also. The long cut on her thigh was dark red in colour, healing well. With a short sigh she bent back over the sink and took a long drink from the tap, wondering what Harry had been thinking of her last night as his hands travelled everywhere over her body.

Shaking her head, Ginny reasoned with herself. She may have lost weight, but at least she didn’t look scarily thin as Harry once had. She supposed that over a week without proper food would do that the average person, but when Harry had returned to Grimmauld Place last August, she swore she could see every bone in his arms and shoulders, every tendon jutting out as he moved. His ribs and hips must have looked even worse, but she couldn’t be quite sure of that, not with the way she could hardly touch him. His blatant rejection of her touch still stung her to this day, and even though she tried to understand what was going on inside him, his rejection hurt then as much as it had last night.

With that thought Ginny dried her hands and left the bathroom, checking left and right for any sign of the cat before slipping back down the hallway. Her heart sank as she slipped back into bed beside Harry, hearing his unsteady breaths and feeling his shaking hands. Taking his outstretched hand she held it firmly, rubbing his arm back and forth as his eyes slowly fluttered open, his breathing slowing a little. Blinking slowly he cast his eyes on her and breathed out, relaxing back into his pillow.

“Did I wake you?” he asked softly, looking at her shoulder instead of her face.

“I was already up,” she answered honestly, sitting up a little and kissing his cheek.

Pulling his hand from hers he made to slip it around her shoulder, to pull her body close to his chest the way he did every night, but this time she stopped him. Ignoring the hurt look he bore she reached out her hand and pulled him to her instead, slipping her arm around his shoulder as he rested his head on hers. His response was reluctant at best, yet he followed her direction and moved so that he was comfortable, slipping his hand under her night dress and rubbing the warm flesh of her stomach before holding her tightly. Ginny understood what he was thinking, what he was feeling. He preferred it around the other way, to hold her instead of being held, but she was determined to comfort him for once instead of making him do it himself.

His body was heavy as he lay against her, but not enough to cause discomfort, and she brought her free hand up to trail her fingers through his hair. The motion helped him relax a little, his firm hold on her waist lessening as he slowly succumbed to sleep, his breath hot against her neck. When he finally fell asleep Ginny breathed a sigh of relief, her hand coming to rest on the back of his head as she too tried to fall asleep, satisfied that Harry would sleep through until the morning.

Wondering exactly what time it was she looked for her watch, annoyed when she remembered it was upstairs. Very carefully she pushed back the blanket and pulled Harry’s hand from under her dress, seeing from his watch that it was just past three thirty in the morning. Letting it fall back across her stomach, Ginny traced the skull and snake tattoo on his arm, wondering exactly how often it burned when Voldemort called his Death Eaters together. Harry was quite good at hiding the random bursts of pain, not wanting to upset her, or Ron and Hermione for that matter. He couldn’t seem to understand that none of it mattered to her. She didn’t care that he bore the Dark Mark, or that his body and mind would be forever scarred by what had happened. Something like that didn’t matter when you loved someone unconditionally.

Moving from his forearm Ginny ran her hand up to his shoulder, easily feeling his protruding shoulder blades through his pyjamas, and as she moved her hand lower she could feel his ribs just as easily. Guiltily she realised this was the first time in weeks she had looked at Harry without lust filled eyes, the first time she had truly taken note of his declining weight, and earlier that night had been no exception. She blushed furiously as she thought of the way he had touched her, and the familiar ache between her legs returned with a vengeance as she remembered the way he had rejected her final advance at the last minute.

Stroking his hair again, Ginny wished he didn’t have so much self-control, that he could let loose and give in to his desires. She was certain that he wanted to have sex just as much as she did, he was a guy after all, but she couldn’t understand why he had so blatantly rejected her. It was more than the fact that her mother was asleep upstairs, or that they were staying at Muriel’s, she could tell something more serious was holding him back. In her heart, Ginny knew it was the fear he felt that so often held them apart, the fear that kept her at arm’s length their entire relationship. After the ordeal he had been through in August it was understandable that he didn’t want anyone close enough to hurt him again, but that had been three months ago. Surely by now he knew that her intentions were only to love him, not to hurt him.

Shaking her head to herself, Ginny reminded herself to be patient. If she waited for the right time to strike, she could encourage Harry to do practically anything. With this thought, she tucked the blanket around the both of them and closed her eyes and tried to sleep, but it felt like no time at all passed when the bedroom door opened slowly, Ron wearily poking his head inside and waking her up. “Harry…mate…get up…” he mumbled, rubbing his eyes as Ginny tried to make herself as small as possible, to no use. Seeing his sister in Harry’s bed again, his eyes widened and he was instantly awake, bursting forward and pulling off the blankets with a flourish. “What are you doing in here?”

“I was sleeping!” she hissed in response, thankful that Harry had made her put her pyjamas back on. “Shit, Ron! Now you’ve woken him up,” she added as he sat up in protest.

“Yeah, piss off, Ron!” Harry grumbled, grabbing the blanket and pulling it back up.

Ginny tried not to laugh at him as he lay back down beside her, slinging his arm back across her waist before closing his eyes. Looking back at her brother, she fixed a suitably affronted glare on her face. “Go away, we’re trying to sleep.”

Ron’s mouth opened in a gape, unsure of how to respond. He had never mentioned the way Harry shared her bed in the tent, although she supposed being alone in a room was a lot more than her protective brother could handle. With good reason.

“Just…get up, would you?” he managed to choke out, looking from her to Harry, and back again. “Mum wants us for breakfast.”

“Go away,” she muttered again, rolling onto her side and tucking herself up against the warmth of Harry’s body.

The door closed, engulfing them back into darkness as Harry sighed loudly against her neck. “Is he gone?” he yawned.

“Yes,” she replied tersely.

“What time is it?”

“Early…” she answered, picking up his hand and looking at his watch. “Geez, it’s nearly seven.”

Harry groaned in response, pulling the blankets tight around them and settling back against her. Slipping his outstretched hand under her dress again his fingers trailed up and down her searing hot skin, sending delightful shivers down her spine. Responding quickly Ginny kissed him hard, pushing back his hair to reveal his lightning bolt scar, her hand trailing down the trace the stitches on his jaw and neck. “Your lips are cold,” she commented, now kissing him chastely.

“Ah huh,” he said in distraction.

Sighing against his lips Ginny ran her hand around the back of his neck, clenching her fingers in the ends of his hair and noted how long it was getting. She knew he hated it, constantly brushing it off his face and behind his ears in frustrations. If she thought he would let her, she would offer to cut it for him.

“I don’t want to get up,” she muttered, glancing at the bedroom door in annoyance. “It’s too cold.”

Harry groaned in reply, putting his arm around her properly and shuffling even closer to her. There was no space between them now, and she could feel the rise and fall of his chest against hers as he whispered into her neck. “Then don’t….stay here.”

Keeping her face passive Ginny smiled on the inside. She loved it when he said things like that to her, reminding her of his love without actually saying the words. “I love you too.”

With a content smile Harry opened his eyes and looked at her, breathing in slowly as he sealed his lips around hers in a kiss. Enjoying it for a moment she kissed him back, soon deepening it with a flick of her tongue against his lips. As though she had flicked a switch inside of him, Harry groaned in approval and returned her gesture eagerly, pushing her onto her back and laying against her.

His touch was completely intoxicating, and Ginny had little control over where her hands went or what they did. Not that either of them minded of course. She stopped paying attention to their surroundings, focusing only on his heavy body against hers, and she clutched at his hips to hold him close. Without warning he abruptly pulled away and lay back down beside her, looking at the bedroom door in concern.

“What?” she asked, frustrated by the sudden loss of contact.

Harry sighed. “Everyone’s up already…” he muttered in disappointment, although Ginny could see a hint of relief in his eyes.

At these words she followed his gaze and sat up in the bed, listening to the soft voices outside in the corridor, her mother preparing to serve breakfast in the dining room. She cursed under her breath as she lay back down beside Harry, taking his hand in hers and trying to kiss him again.

He dodged her kiss and sat up, his discomfort obvious as he looked from her to the door. “You should probably go,” he began uncomfortably, clenching the sheets in his fist. “Your mum will catch you in here.”

“Let her,” she teased daringly, following him upright and stealing the kiss she wanted. She didn’t allow him to pull away, ignoring his urgent hands that pushed against her shoulders and deepening the kiss instead. As she knew he would, it wasn’t long before he gave into her whim, pulling her closer rather than pushing her away, returning her kiss with equal desperation. The fact that they would be together for a little longer was not as comforting as she had first thought, it was only drawing out their separation even longer, making it harder.

There was an obtrusive knock at the bedroom door, and they sprung apart as if burned. She scrambled to sit atop of the blankets as her mother slowly opened the door and peeked inside, frowning as she looked at the two of them. She glared at Ginny in disappointment before turning to Harry, her face softening as it always did.

“Harry, it’s time to get up. Breakfast is ready,” she informed him sweetly before turning back to her daughter. “You too, Ginevra.”

Noting the use of her full name she nodded in obedience, watching as her mother left the room, but she did not relax completely. Sixteen years of her mother’s watchful eye told Ginny that she would be waiting for her outside in the hallway. Stifling a nervous laugh Ginny turned back to Harry, smiling grimly at his wide and surprised eyes.

“Merlin…” he began in awe, keeping his voice low. “I can’t believe you’re still in one piece, I thought she was going to spit venom at you.”

“Give her time,” she remarked, leaning over and kissing him sweetly, holding on longer than necessary with her mother waiting outside.

She didn’t wait for him to respond. Standing up from the bed she stretched her arms high above her head and ran her fingers through her hair as she left the room, attempting to tame it before her mother could get a clear look at her in the light. As she suspected her mother awaited her in the hallway, and as soon as she closed the door behind her she got straight to the point.

“How long have you been in there, Ginevra?” she demanded in a low voice.

“Just a few minutes,” she lied, averting her eyes as she walked down the hall towards the stairs. “I was waking him up.”

“Don’t tell me fibs, young lady. How long were you in his bed for?”

“It wasn’t like that,” she lied again. Halfway up the stairs Ginny gasped in shock as she felt a familiar pain in the back of her ankle, stumbling on the step as she turned around to see her mother holding her wand towards her. “Mum! Stop with the stinging hexes, geez!” Though only ever strong enough to get their attention, Ginny hated the stinging hexes her mother had often used on she and her brothers during childhood, but there was no denying that it worked.

“Tell me the truth,” she continued without regret, lowering her wand and rising to stand on the same step as her daughter. “How long were you in his bed?”

Ginny opened her mouth with a smart reply, but faltered at the last minute. With her hands on her hips and her formidable glare, she could tell that her mother really meant business. She sighed before answering. “He-he had a nightmare,” she said, not completely lying. “It was really bad, mum, what was I supposed to do?”

“Stay in your own bed! If he wanted company, he could have woken your father or I. There was no need for you in his bed.”

Withholding her scoff of disagreement Ginny was temporarily speechless, unsure of what to say to defend herself. She knew her mother had good reason to keep her and Harry apart during the night, reasons which they had demonstrated already, but she wouldn’t stand for being scolded like a child for being in love.

“Sorry, Mum. I won’t do it again,” she promised with no intention of keeping to it. It was enough for her mother to hear.

She blinked in surprise, not expecting an apology so quickly. “Well, that’s alright then,” she began uncertainly, hastily turning back into mothering mode. “But you stay out of his bed from now on. That poor boy has enough on his plate without you putting thoughts and ideas into his head. Now go and get dressed.”

Accepting her dismissal Ginny took off up the stairs, giggling at the thought of putting ideas and thoughts into Harry’s head. He was not the innocent schoolboy her mother liked to see him as, he knew exactly what he had been doing to her last night, and exactly what he wanted. If only he wasn’t so skittish about the idea of going the whole way, last night may have been very different for both of them.

Her bedroom was empty when she slipped inside to get dressed, the bed carefully made by Hermione when she had awoken. Shaking her head to herself Ginny forced all desirable thoughts of Harry far out of her mind and focused on finding something warm to wear, knowing they would be leaving again soon. Once dressed she gathered all her things on the end of the bed to pack into Hermione’s bag, and took a deep breath before going downstairs to face her family.

Upon entering the dining room her eyes automatically seeked out Harry, who was already dressed and eating, sitting on the far side of the table beside Ron. He looked up at her when she entered, a red blush rising in his normally pale cheeks as he averted his eyes, looking back at his breakfast. She too blushed as she sat down at the table, suddenly feeling quite awkward, her tongue feeling as though it were swelling in her mouth, rendering her speechless. Catching Harry’s eye a few moments later she smiled at him and unconsciously bit her lip, her heart skipping a beat at the way his jaw went slack before he collected himself and looked away.

Her mother sat down beside her, forcing her to focus her attention elsewhere. All was forgiven in her mother’s eyes, and Ginny couldn’t help but begin to miss her already. Slipping her arm under the table she grasped her mother’s hand in her own, knowing the dread that she was feeling.

“It’s going to be okay, Mum,” she whispered. “He’s going to take good care of me.”

She smiled, turning to her and kissing her on the cheek. “I know, my darling. But that knowledge doesn’t make this any easier.”

Ginny sighed, still holding her mum’s hand beneath the table and glancing across at Harry, who avoided her gaze again. She knew this was going to be a long day.

 


Cramped beside him in the small bunk bed, Ginny slept soundly in Harry’s arms, undisturbed by the sharp nightmare that had awoken him a few minutes ago. Settling himself back against her Harry tried to go back to sleep, but his mind felt too awake to relax, his heart still beating a little too fast to relax his body. Touching Ginny’s hair Harry thought of how sad she looked that morning when they had left her parents in Scotland, unable to forget the torn look upon her face as she was forced to choose between her family and him, not that her choice was hard as she constantly reminded him.

The tent was unusually sombre that day, each of the occupants unsure of exactly what to say to each other after leaving Scotland, and Harry gave a short sigh as he thought of the brief conversation he had with Ron as soon as they set up the tent.

“We’re gonna taken Ginny to stay with Bill and Fleur,” he explained as they sorted through the new assortment of food Mrs Weasley had given them. “Gotta wait at least a week before we go, give Dad enough time to talk to them. Should be alright though he reckons, Bill and Fleur are pretty safe where they are.”

“Where is that?”

“Not sure, really,” Ron admitted, smiling as he came across a jar full of fresh biscuits. “Wicked….somewhere near Tinworth, some cottage on the beach or something.”

“How long do you think they’ll let us stay?” Harry asked, already thinking of a plan. He wondered exactly how much Bill could tell them about getting into Gringotts. Specifically, the Lestrange vault.

“As long as we like,” Ron raised his eye brows. “We’re family, remember? I don’t think Mum really realises that we won’t stay though….but she’s hoping.”

Nothing more was said on the subject, his mind reeling at the thought of finally leaving Ginny behind. Now with a specific time and place, the loneliness had already started creeping back to him, and he was grateful that Ron had enough thought to nick the abandoned bottles of Ogden’s Firewhiskey from Muriel’s cabinets. Harry got the feeling they would come in very useful over the next few months, if they lasted that long.

Ginny was awake. Turning around in his arms she looked at him through sleepy eyes, a hand coming up to stroke his face. “Why aren’t you asleep?” she asked, already knowing the answer.

“Just woke up, that’s all.”

“You want to talk about it?”

Harry raised his eyebrows at her, still not understanding why she persisted with that question. “Yeah, sure, you can paint my nails while we’re at it.”

Chuckling at his response Ginny propped herself up on her elbow to see him better, and he took the opportunity to kiss her. Pulling her close again he didn’t want to let her go, feeling his loneliness fading away already. He couldn’t protest as her hand moved down his side to cup him through his pyjamas, mimicking what she had done last night, and there was nothing he could do except groan against her lips. Responding quickly he slipped his hand under her pyjama top to cup her breast, touching her gently, trying to memorise how she felt and the way she broke away from his lips to kiss his throat.

He knew exactly what she was doing, that she was reminding him of exactly what she wanted, of what he refused to give her, and thought she had a high chance of changing his mind if she kept up like this. For a moment Harry was almost relieved when Ron cleared his throat from the bed opposite them, immediately grateful for the thick blanket that hid the exact location of their hands. Ginny sighed against his neck, but didn’t remove her hand as she lay back down beside him, rubbing firmly before she tried to slip inside his pyjamas.

“Stop it,” Harry groaned softly, grabbing her hand before she could go any further. “I know what you’re doing.”

“Is it working, then?” she whispered.

“No,” he lied firmly, trying to resist the urge to touch her again. Taking a deep breath to collect himself he sat up, brushing her hair back off her face. “Go back to sleep.”

“Where are you going?”

“I’ll keep Hermione company, it’s almost time to swap anyway.”

“Why do you always have to keep watch out there?” she demanded in a whisper, sitting up to face him. “Why can’t Ron have his turn for once?”

“He won’t stay awake, he’s had too much pain potion,” Harry reasoned, giving her a short kiss. “Go back to sleep, I’ll see you in the morning.”

Not allowing her time to respond Harry quickly slipped out of the warm bed, putting on his shoes and socks before searching for his discarded jacket. He glanced over at Ron who was watching him with narrowed eyes, and he quickly looked away as he left the warmth and security of the tent. It was cold outside again, but almost bearable without the bone chilling breeze that usually swept through the trees of where they had settled for the time being. Hermione smiled up at him from the ground, throwing half of her blanket across his knees as he sat down.

“You’re early,” she commented, shifting to be nearer him. “It’s not even one.”

“I know…you can go inside if you want.”

“That’s okay. I’ll keep you company.”

As it had been all day, they found they had little to talk about other than the Weasleys, yet it didn’t stop Hermione bringing them up again. “Ron said we’re taking Ginny to Bill and Fleur’s.”

“Ah huh.”

“That ought to be nice,” she remarked cheerfully, trying to improve Harry’s sombre mood. “Sleeping in a proper bed again.”

“Yeah,” he agreed shortly.

There was a long pause. “Well anyway, I was thinking….maybe we could talk to Bill about Gringotts…”

“Yeah, I was thinking that too.”

“You said he saw exactly what Lestrange put in her vault, right?”

“Sort of,” Harry shrugged, trying to recall the conversation between he and Sirius when he had first discovered the connection. His heart jumped into his throat when the tent flap to his left fluttered as though someone had opened it, but he ignored it and turned back to Hermione. “I doubt Bill was there, but I think he managed to get a look at the records anyway.”

“Well, at least we should find out if it’s anything worth pursuing, rather than somehow getting inside and finding it was just a plain old goblet!”

“Yeah, that would be disappointing.”

“Disappointing? It would be a bit more than that, managing to break into Gringotts, only to find nothing.”

Harry chuckled at this thought, turning to Hermione with a frown. “I can’t believe we’re even thinking about that…breaking into Gringotts. It seems a bit extreme.”

“Compared to hunting down Horcruxes and trying to kill off You-Know-Who? Gringotts ought to be a walk in the park.”

“When you put it like that…” They laughed to themselves for a moment. “…speaking of Horcruxes though….say for instance we do find one…what are supposed to do with it now that we don’t have any more Basilisk venom.”

“Actually, I’m glad you mentioned that.”

“You don’t have any fangs in that bag of yours, do you?”

“No, Harry, of course not, that would be extremely dangerous if you were to put your hand inside. What I meant is…I’ve been doing some reading.”

“Of course you have,” he chuckled as Hermione produced a large book from under the blanket, flicking through the pages until she came to the centre of the book.

With a short grunt she heaved the heavy book onto Harry’s knees, lighting her wand and shining it on the pages. “I think I know what to do….have a read of that.”

Looking down at the page, the small text was only a dark blur that he had no chance of reading without his glasses. “Hermione, I have no idea what that says.”

“It says,” she began, without even skipping a beat. “That the sword of Godric Gryffindor is Goblin made!”

“Yeah…so?”

Hermione glared at him, sighing and shaking her head. “Harry, didn’t you ever once pay attention to Professor Binns when we learnt about the Goblin Rebellion? Even once?”

“What kind of question is that?” Harry asked in outrage. “No.”

“Well you should have,” she berated him. “Thank God you’ve got me. A big issue during the rebellion was Wand Legislation, but the issue of ownership and payment among wizards and goblins is really what-”

“Give me the short version.”

“Well, I just thought,” Hermione continued, obviously affronted. “A bit of the history behind Goblin made-”

“Hermione…”

“Alright! The sword of Gryffindor is goblin made.”

“You said that already.”

She rolled her eyes at him wearily. “Anything that is goblin made usually possesses unique and valuable qualities, magical protection and abilities that wizards could never create themselves. It requires a special kind of magic known only to goblins, although I suppose some of the more powerful wizards like Dumbledore would have accomplished such magic if he put his mind to it…”

“So what’s so special about this sword?” Harry asked patiently, growing intrigued. He could see where Hermione was going with this.

Smiling at his interest, Hermione continued in satisfaction. “Look here,” she indicated to the book again, momentarily forgetting that he couldn’t see. “It says, ‘The Sword of Gryffindor is a goblin-made sword that was owned by the famed wizard, Godric Gryffindor, one of the four founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Being goblin-made, it has qualities found only in goblin-made artefacts, such as the power to imbibe only that which strengthens it, and to repel dirt and other mundane substances.”

Harry frowned, praying that his train of thought was correct. “Does that mean…the Basilisk venom?”

“Yes, basilisk venom would make it stronger. It can destroy a Horcrux, I’m certain of it!”

“Whoa,” he muttered to himself, looking at the book in spite of himself as this revelation set in. “That’s….really convenient.”

“Hmm, well, not really,” Hermione mused in contrast. “It would be far more convenient if it were to amazingly turn up at our very feet. Otherwise it’s not really much use to us.”

“How so?” Harry demanded in confusion.

“Well…it’s in the Headmasters office at Hogwarts…Merlin only knows who’s taken that position, or if the sword is even still there. We’d have a better chance going into the Chamber of Secrets again…although this time it’s Ron’s turn.”

“Talk about being a buzz kill,” he muttered in annoyance, disappointed by her reasoning. “At least we’ve got another option, right? That’s better than nothing.”

“Yes,” she conceded, heaving the book off his knees and back into her lap. “You’re right, it’s better than nothing.”

Turning around to look over his shoulder Harry listened very carefully, hearing raised voices from inside the tent. He felt no sense of alarm or danger, only curiosity as he wondered what Ron and Ginny could be fighting about at this time of the night, and so aggressively. Moving closer to the tent flap Harry pulled it open slightly to listen.

“I was just getting a drink, Ron!”

“You have to sulk around the flap to get a drink? Bull shit, you were eavesdropping on them!”

“Was not!”

“What did they say?” Ron demanded angrily. “What were they talking about?”

“I wouldn’t know, I wasn’t listening!” Ginny yelled back just as loudly, and the creaking of mattress springs told Harry she had gone back to her bed.

Harry groaned, turning back to Hermione with a sour look. “I think Ginny was eavesdropping on us.”

“Oh,” she began softly, her expression growing worried. “I wonder how much she heard.”

There was a loud smash of breaking glass and more raised voices, and he almost rose to his feet to go inside and intervene, but he stayed exactly where he was.

“Should we go in?” Hermione asked warily, following Harry’s gaze.

Harry shook his head and turned back to her again, getting comfortable under the blanket. “And risk getting caught in the cross-fire? They’ll be alright.”

Hermione laughed to herself, her brown eyes twinkling in the light from her wand as she took Harry’s hand underneath the blanket and squeezed, resting her head on his shoulder. “I’m so tired…I think I could fall asleep right here.”

“Better than in there,” he laughed in reply, putting his arm around her and preparing himself for a long night on watch, grateful for her company.

 

 

 

 

 


 
 


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