|SIYE Time:9:23 on 16th May 2021|
Wake Up, Harry
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Story is Complete
Summary: Harry has nightmares--they might be real.
Hitcount: Story Total: 8030
A/N: I wrote this for the recent round of the hpgw_ficafest on LJ (and am finally getting around to adding it here). My challange was to use these lines:
The third night, when my own loud scream
Had waked me from the fiendish dream,
O'ercome with sufferings strange and wild,
I wept as I had been a child.
--"The Pains of Sleep" S.T. Coleridge
I would like to give a big fat thanks to Pirate Ginny for being a super duper last minute beta (as I pushed this until the last minute) and to wvchemteach for being a terrific sounding board for me. This fic was a huge challenge for me because I never write post-Hogwarts ( I find it harder to characterize)--but I'm glad that I took the challenge...I like to try new things :).
Wake Up, Harry
The drip of water resounded, echoing off the dingy walls and triggering a chill that caused Harry’s skin to rise. A cool, damp breeze crawled over his arms, yet he was still sweating: face hot, stomach tight. He knew this place--it held something terrible. But he couldn’t turn away.
He continued on, climbing over great jutted boulders and loose debris as gracefully as possible. His caught his trainer in a crevice and he stumbled forward, landing on his hands hard enough to shock his wrists and scrape his palms. Sucking in a shaky breath, Harry pushed himself up and continued forward.
He was surprised at the clarity of his voice when he whispered for the door to open. He stepped through the archway where the eerie drips and ominous wind grew louder. Harry rubbed his ears.
He was close. His nerves twisted and he clenched his hands, reminding him of the fresh, painful scrapes. He quickened his pace causing little splashes to arise around his footsteps. His perspiration stuck humidly against his body. He hated the damp breeze, the resounding drips from the old pipes and the clop clop clop of his footsteps against the watery stone.
He knew what to anticipate, but it didn’t make his chest feel any lighter nor his eyes any clearer. Ginny’s body was unmoving and her skin white as porcelain. She was beautiful, though deathly still. Deathly still… Panic swelled in Harry’s veins and he rushed over to her side.
“Please don’t be dead…Ginny, please don’t be dead.” Her head lolled sickeningly to the side.
“She won’t wake.”
Emerging seemingly from nowhere, came a tall, bony figure with pale skin stretched tightly against his thin, snake-like face. A grin twisted unnaturally across his hard features so disgustingly that Harry might have wondered if he was actually smiling. Harry glared up at him, tightening his grasp on Ginny’s hand. It clammy and stiff under his sweaty grip.
“It’s a pity for you.” His twisted grin grew. “Now that I’ve used her, it made no sense to keep her, you see.”
Harry’s head pounded painfully and adrenaline buzzed in his ears. Clambering to his feet, he withdrew his wand and pressed it against the spot in between red, slitted eyes. A high pitched laugh bounced off the walls of the chamber and Harry tried not to flinch.
“Why bother?” the cold voice whispered. Harry felt his mouth grow heavy, but he clenched his jaw and gripped his wand more tightly in his slippery hand. “There’s no way to beat me, you ignorant boy.”
“I already have.” Again, Harry was surprised at how calmly the words came out. But, still, Voldemort smiled his horrible, deformed smile; he pointed a bony finger at Ginny’s unmoving figure.
“At her cost.”
Harry’s arm fell to his side limply, his wand slipping out of his sweaty grip as the weight in his mouth returned even more heavily. His throat constricted painfully and he tried to swallow, but the lump in his throat refused to cooperate.
The cold, high laugh echoed in his ears as he dropped to his knees and placed his hand back on to Ginny’s. Only, this time, her hands weren’t cool and clammy, but warm and sticky. He quickly turned his hands over and saw them coated thickly in blood. His stomach churned and he quickly glanced down at Ginny. Her robes were matted in dark red.
“Ginny?” he said hoarsely.
“I told you I took her.”
“Ginny?” he said more frantically, gripping her shoulder. Blood clung to the crevices of his skin, dotting his pores with crimson. Her body lay still. Red streaked across her pale skin and muted freckles. “Please wake up!” His body was hot and stiff, like he was trapped inside himself. His eyes itched. He ran the back of his arm across his eyes and felt the warm, sticky residue that was left behind. He wanted to scream; he was covered in her blood while the cold white figure loomed nearer, saying he stole her…and Harry couldn’t move...
...he thrashed to the side, twisting in his sheets as his eyes snapped open. Grey calmly filtered through the crack in the curtains. The room was still.
“Are you all right?” Ginny’s voice mumbled hoarsely beside him. Harry breathed in heavily, reaching up to push damp fringe from his forehead.
“Yeah,” he exhaled, turning on his side toward her. Even though his t-shirt stuck to his chest and his forehead was coated with drops of sweat, he pulled her toward himself, tucking her into the form of his body. Her stomach moved softly under his hand as she breathed in and out. She gripped his hand with her fingers.
“Let’s sleep close tonight,” he murmured into her ear.
“Of course,” she responded sleepily. Harry fell asleep, reveling in the rhythm of her breathing.
Harry sighed, rubbing the tired sleep from his eyes. Morning had come all too quickly. He rolled over onto his back, letting his arm fall onto Ginny’s side of the bed. He wished he would have woken at the same time she had. Sighing again, Harry pushed himself off the mattress and shuffled to the bathroom, blinking the early morning sting from his eyes.
“Morning,” Ginny murmured as she rubbed a wash cloth over her face. Harry noticed her eyes were red and rimmed with dark circles.
“Morning.” He approached her, running his hand down her hair. “Sleep all right?”
Ginny shrugged and bent toward the sink, splashing water on her face. Her fair skin seemed a little pallid. Harry blinked, instantaneously feeling a panic beating his stomach as red dripped down her face.
“Dammit! Harry, are you gonna just stand there? Get me some toilet paper!” Ginny stood upright, pinching the washcloth against her nose as Harry scrambled for a wad of toilet paper. She quickly deposited the washcloth into Harry’s hands and fell back onto the seat of the toilet. “This might take a while,” she grumbled, her eyes drawn up to the ceiling. Harry looked down at the washcloth in his hands. Ginny’s blood gathered thickly in the center and soaked outward in watery pink patterns. It was disgusting. He threw the washcloth in the sink and sat on the edge of the bathtub.
“You should get ready for work,” Ginny said, slouching against the back of the toilet. Little splatters of red speckled her camisole. He gripped her hand, relieved it was warm underneath his touch.
“So do you. S’all right, Gin. I’ll wait with you.”
Ginny sighed, and motioned for Harry to grab her another wad of toilet paper, trading it with her bloody one. He dumped the wad in the dustbin. His throat grew tight; some of Ginny’s blood streaked across his palm.
“No, you should get ready. Like I said, this might take a while and--and I resigned from work yesterday.” She patted his arm, laying her head back against the wall. “Go.”
“Harry, mate. Are you alive?” Ron snapped his fingers in front of Harry’s eyes, causing him to jump slightly.
“What? Oh, sorry. Did you need something?”
“Are you all right? You seem pretty out of it today.” Harry idly pushed the papers around his desk and stood up to stretch.
“A bit distracted, I suppose.”
“Is this about Ginny?” Ron asked grimly. “She hasn’t been looking well recently, has she?”
Harry looked at Ron sharply. “Yeah… Er, she resigned her job yesterday.”
Ron raised his eyebrows. “Really?” he said walking around to lean on Harry’s desk. “Perhaps she needs to visit a healer.”
“Maybe,” Harry replied. A wave of anxiety tremored through his body and he shook out his hands.
“Are you all right?” Ron repeated, looking at Harry closely. Harry met his eyes, but didn’t say anything. “I’m sure she’s fine,” Ron said firmly, slapping Harry on the back. But Harry didn’t feel so sure.
He heard her scream in the distance, almost swallowed by the expansive sky, which loomed darkly overhead. Harry willed his feet to move faster as they kicked up tiny sprays of dirt on the twisted path. He reached the edge of the forest and plowed through, pushing his way through the branches and furiously lifting his legs over fallen trees and thick brambles. His lungs burned as he pushed onward, but he ignored his ever shortening breath.
The forest thickened as he slowed his pace, peering into the clearing ahead of himself. He saw fast movement, but couldn’t make out the figures. He stepped into the clearing and his lungs all but squeezed shut.
A man, cloaked in dark robes, face concealed, restrained Ginny by the arms. She twisted and kicked at his shins, but he held her fast. Harry reached for his wand as he rushed to her rescue. But nothing was in his robes. He groped frantically, still running onward as threats tumbled from his mouth.
“Touch her one more time… Ginny, keep fighting, he can’t hurt you… Let her go, or--”
The veiled face turned toward him and shoved Ginny to the ground. Harry started toward her, but suddenly was being backed away by the figure. He dipped his hand futilely into the pockets of his robe once more.
“It’s okay, Harry. You don’t need a wand,” Ginny shouted at him from the ground. Momentarily startled, both Harry and the cloaked man turned toward Ginny. Harry expected the man to turn back on him, but he didn’t. He advanced on Ginny, pulling out his wand in the process.
“Run, Ginny!” Harry yelled, sprinting toward the man. But, a foot away from the man and Ginny, his feet stuck in place. He tried to lift them, but they were cemented to the ground.
A shrill scream burst in Harry’s ears. Icy currents coursed through his veins as Ginny writhed and twisted on the forest floor. Tears coated her face, mixed with dirt and she still screamed terribly. Harry strained at his leg muscles, trying to force them from the ground.
“Please…please…” Ginny whimpered.
I’m here, I’m coming! Harry tried to yell, but his voice had disappeared. The man ended the curse and Harry watched helplessly as Ginny curled herself into a ball, rocking back and forth. She lifted her head, her face shimmering in wetness, and stared at Harry. Harry tried to go to her, the muscles in his legs growing even more sore. Ginny crawled toward him, reaching out her hand.
“Help me,” she said, her hands gripping at his legs. Harry tried to reach down and help her up, but his arms stuck to his sides. She turned her head and retched.
I can’t move, I can’t move!
“Why won’t you help me?” A small trail of vomit dribbled down her chin.
Ginny screamed, her hands falling from his legs as she collapsed backward in a twisting heap. An erratic arm collided with his leg. He strained his entire body, her screams engulfed his ears. His arms ached. He reached forward. She flung her body to the side, her arms flailing.
C’mon… He flexed the muscle in his arm, willing it forward, and pried it from his side…
“Bloody Hell, Harry!” Ginny yelled, sitting up in their bed. “That hurt!” She smacked his arm and rubbed at her cheek.
“Merlin, I’m sorry…are you all right?” Harry sat up as well, his hand still tingling from contact with Ginny.
“What were you dreaming about?” She asked quietly, lowering her hand. A pink spot glowed on her cheek.
“D’you need ice or something?”
Ginny frowned, shook her head, and lay back down.
“Gin?” Harry laid down next to her and ran his index finger over the red spot. She sucked in a breath. “I’m sorry,” he whispered.
“I know,” she replied tightly. Harry pressed his face against her neck knowing that he wet her skin a little. “It’s all right, Harry. Let’s sleep close tonight.” Harry nodded against her neck and wrapped his arm around her waist again.
Harry woke up to the sound of Ginny retching from the bathroom. He rolled over onto his stomach, muffling his face and balling his hands against the mattress. She moaned and vomited again. He yelled into his pillow, pushing his fists against the mattress. He heard her sniffing. He rose quickly from bed and padded down to the bathroom; lingering in the doorframe, he stared at her positioned on her knees, bent over the toilet.
“I must be ill,” she said weakly, pushing strands of hair from her forehead.
“When did you first feel sick?” Harry asked quietly, kneeling beside her.
“Dunno. Sometime in the night, I s’pose.”
Harry shivered, and blinked his eyes quickly.
“My whole body hurts,” she moaned, leaning over the mouth of the toilet once more.
“I’m staying with you today,” Harry said firmly, pulling Ginny’s hair from her sticky neck.
“No, you should go to work,” she replied, wiping her mouth on the back of her hand. “I can take care of myself.”
“You should see a healer.”
“I’ll floo Hermione later.”
“I‘ll do it.”
Ginny sighed, shifting from her knees to a sitting position. “I’m sure it’s nothing.”
Or it’s me, Harry thought. “I’ll floo her,” he said, brushing damp strands from Ginny’s forehead.
Ginny shut her eyes, pressing her hand against her eyes. “Fine. All right, then,” she replied.
“Hermione, are you around?” Harry coughed as remnants of floo powder tickled his nose.
“Just a minute,” came her voice from another room. She entered a moment later, looking frazzled to the tips of her hair. “What’s up, Harry?” He could tell she was preoccupied.
“Erm, I was wondering if you’ve talked to Ginny at all lately.”
Hermione sighed, pushing her hair off her face. “Did you two have a fight?”
“No.” Harry’s nose still tickled uncomfortably. “Erm, she isn’t feeling well.” He sniffed and pushed the heel of his hand against the offending nostril. Hermione raised her eyebrows and pulled a chair up to her fireplace.
“Not feeling well, like she’s got a head cold, or--”
“I’m not sure, but she got sick this morning--or last night, and I think you should help her.”
“Is she--” Hermione hesitated, fiddling with her hands in her lap. “Is she sleeping now?” Harry felt his stomach sink as Hermione carefully caught his eye.
“I--er--I think so.” He ran his hand across his eyes.
“Harry, maybe you should talk to Ginny--”
“Will you check on her?” Harry interrupted roughly. Hermione winced and Harry looked away from her. He hadn’t meant to hurt her feelings.
“Of course, I will. I’m just saying that it might do you well to talk to her about how she’s feeling.”
“Don’t you think I have?” Harry sighed.
Hermione smiled weakly and rose from her chair. “I can visit her this afternoon. Do you think she’ll be all right until then?”
“I hope so,” Harry replied.
Ginny lay on top of Harry, her skin sticking against his as he ran his hand down her hair. She muffled a small laugh into his chest as he tickled the small of her back.
“What’d Hermione say?”
Ginny set her cheek against Harry’s chest. “There’s nothing wrong with me.”
“She told me you aren’t sleeping.” Harry continued trailing his fingers up and down her back. She squirmed a little.
“You drive me crazy when you do that.”
“Is it my fault?”
“Of course it is, you know I’m ticklish--”
“No, Gin. I mean, I’m I keeping you up at night.”
She unconsciously touched the tender pink spot on her cheek. “No.”
“I am,” he said plainly, reaching to touch the hurt spot, but he couldn’t let his fingers make contact. Harry let his hand fall down to her shoulder.
“It’s--I’m fine. Harry, don’t worry.” She touched his chin lightly and pushed her thumb against his bottom lip. “Don’t pout at me.”
“I’m worried about you.”
“I’m perfectly healthy,” she smiled, kissing him on the tip of his nose. “Goodnight.”
Harry pulled her toward himself, murmuring a goodnight into her hair.
Harry yawned and slid his arm over to Ginny’s side of the bed. He felt the sheets wrinkle and bunch beneath his arm and he opened his eyes to see she wasn’t there. He stretched and rolled out of bed, stumbling slightly on his way down to the bathroom. The bathroom was also empty, which struck Harry as odd. Thinking she might be eating breakfast, he wandered down to the kitchen. Wind whispered through the slightly open window, disturbing the curtains. A note fluttered on the sill with Ginny’s writing. Be back later. -G.
He couldn’t tell why her absence made him anxious, but a nervous swoop overcame him all the same. Harry set out to find her. Just to be safe.
It was quiet outside their tiny flat. A few people were out enjoying early morning strolls, but save these occasional early risers, the neighborhood slept under a blanket of thick clouds. Harry had to rub his eyes awake. He thought Ginny might have stopped around the corner, in her favorite teashop, where she often went to read.
The teashop had yet to open. Harry rattled the door in frustration and then walked quickly in another direction, his adrenaline leading the way.
He ended up right outside The Leaky Cauldron, though he couldn’t say why--The Leaky Cauldron was miles away from his flat. He pushed through the door and blinked to adjust to the dingy light inside. The room was sparsely occupied, but he suddenly knew he didn’t have time to dwell. Something told him Ginny was at Gringotts. Smiling politely at the bleary-eyed breakfasters, Harry made his way back to the entrance to Diagon Alley. His wand clicked impatiently against the bricks and he all but plowed through the when the opening presented itself. Wizards and Witches were emerging from their beds in larger numbers on the crooked streets, but Harry merely brushed past them and clambered up the steps into the bank. A wrinkly old Goblin eyed Harry grumpily as he approached.
“Is Ginny here?” Harry’s voice hit his throat roughly.
“She doesn’t work here, you know.” The Goblin’s scowl deepened.
“I know--she resigned. But she might need to get her things…or, or maybe finish up some business?”
The Goblin raised his thick eyebrows. “She did resign,” he said carefully, pulling at his chin. Harry stared at the motion. Was he nervous?
“She told me. I’m just trying to find her.”
“She resigned a while ago, before--” the Goblin halted, staring at Harry with a strange expression. Harry backed away.
“Never mind,” Harry said quickly, turning toward the large doors. “She’s probably somewhere else.” But where else, Harry didn’t know. So he Apparrated to The Burrow.
He could hear Mrs. Weasley bustling around inside, humming to herself as dishes clicked and clacked against each other with the accompaniment of running water. He hesitated outside the back door before entering.
“Er, hi, Mrs. Weasley.”
“Harry!” She dropped a dish from her soapy hands and rushed over to him, squeezing him in a tight hug. “So good of you to drop by. Would you like some breakfast?”
Harry shrugged. “I had hoped to eat with Ginny this morning, but she wasn’t there when I woke up this morning.”
Mrs. Weasley paused, looking at Harry closely. “Yes,” she replied, wiping her eye. “I know.”
“You know where she is?”
Mrs. Weasley swallowed and nodded, muttering an incantation to her stove. “Would you like bacon or sausage this morning, Harry?”
“I don’t know where she is,” Harry grumbled, rising from the chair.
“Of course you do,” Mrs. Weasley replied, smoothing her hand over Harry’s head. She stared at him sympathetically, lips pursed and eyes wading in tears. Harry smiled weakly, pulling away from her, and Apparated to his office, thinking Ginny might be with Ron.
“Hey, glad you’re finally here. Would you take a look at this file?” Ron thrust a thick folder under Harry’s nose, but Harry tossed it on his desk.
“I can’t find Ginny.” His voice strained in panic. Ron eyed him warily.
“Did--did you need to see her today?” he asked calmly, though Harry could tell he was concealing nervousness.
“Of course I do!” His voice rose. “I’ve been all over the bloody place and no one will give me a straight answer!”
“I--” Ron faltered and slumped back against his desk. “Fine. Just give me a few minutes and we’ll both go see her.”
Harry fell back in his chair, breathing a sigh of relief as Ron straightened up his desk, shooting Harry infrequent glances.
And Harry and Ron walked through the park, dead leaves crunching beneath their feet and crumbling to a thick dust. The wet and dead leaves mingled and drifted about as the breeze picked up. Harry shivered. He wasn’t sure why, but this park was incredibly familiar.
Hermione stood in the distance, dabbing her eyes and staring at the ground. Ron and Harry approached her and Harry felt Ron’s arm squeeze his shoulder. He turned to stare at Ron in question.
“Here she is,” Ron said hoarsely.
“Here’s Hermione, you mean,” Harry replied tightly. “You do know the difference between your best friend and you sister.”
Hermione looked up at him, sniffing loudly. “No, Harry,” she said, dabbing her eyes again. “He means here.” She gestured to the ground where a smooth stone was embedded in the grass with the name Ginevra Molly Weasley-Potter engraved over the top. Harry’s throat closed.
“She’s gone,” Hermione whispered, backing away from him.
Harry’s head spun, and he fell to his knees, gripping grass in his fists on either side of the grave. She’s gone…she’s gone? How can she be gone?
Tears hotly touched his face. He ground them away, leaving little blades of grass behind. He didn’t want Ron and Hermione to see him weep, but he couldn’t help it. He had cried hard enough to make his ribs sore; he was ashamed and he hated it. He pressed his hand against his glasses, indenting them on his face. It hurt, but felt a little better too.
“She’s in a better place now.” Harry turned his head, seeing the tear tracks down both Ron and Hermione’s faces. He felt his emotions bubble.
“No!” he yelled rising to his feet. “I was just with her last night--talking to her. She wrote me a note this morning! You’re wrong!” His breathing was short and painful.
“I’m sorry, mate. I miss her too.” Harry seized Ron by the shoulders.
“What do you mean?” His grip tightened, but Ron didn’t fight back. “I have to find her,” he said hysterically.
Their sympathetic gazes were maddening--Harry released Ron’s shoulders and broke into a run.
“Harry…” He heard Hermione’s voice fade behind him, but he kept forward, his feet pounding overtop the dead, disintegrating leaves. He willed them to go faster. She’s up ahead, I know she is…
Harry sat straight up in his bed, sweat sticking to the crevices of his body. His throat felt rough from yelling. The sky was dark and he released a relieved breath, turning toward Ginny’s side of the bed. She was gone. He swallowed a lump in his throat and pushed his hand against his fluttering stomach.
It was unnerving, how still the flat was.
He slipped out of bed, pushing the tears off his face as he stumbled down to the bathroom. He heard sounds from behind the door and the knots in his stomach loosened. The door squeaked as he opened it.
“Hey,” Ginny said. She was sitting cross-legged on the tiled floor, staring at a small bottle of liquid. She gestured for Harry to sit by her. “Hermione gave this to me,” she went on, her eyes fixed on the little bottle. The color deepened, as if a jet of ink had squirted into it. Ginny let out a little gasp. “Look, Harry.” She turned to face him, tears spilling down her own cheeks. “I’m pregnant.”
Harry pressed his eyes against her shoulder, embracing her tightly. He could feel dampness trapped between them, but whether it was tears or sweat, Harry wasn’t sure. Ginny’s body was warm against his. And he was going to be a father.
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