“What?” Harry’s head popped in to the fire, the dancing flames licking his messy black hair.
“Did you know about this?” Lavender asked holding up the folded letter.
“What is it?” Harry asked, a bewildered expression on his face.
“What does it look like?”
“A letter,” Harry said seeing the format it was written in.
“Who do you think sent it?” Tears started to roll down her face and she did her best to hide them from Harry.
Noticing the tears he decided not to push it, “So, Hermione has a boyfriend. Why should I care about one of her love letters?”
“Well, if this is a boyfriend I’m not envious.”
“Why should you be? I mean, you’ve got Dean.”
Lavender blushed. She didn’t know that Harry knew about her and Dean. “That’s not what I’m talking about. I mean, she does have a boyfriend, but this isn’t it.”
“Hermione’s cheating on him? Never would’ve thought Hermione would cheat on someone.”
“Harry, don’t be stupid. This letter was meant for you.”
Harry furrowed his eyebrows. “What’s Lavender getting at?” he asked himself. “Why’s it for me?”
“Here,” Lavender said, tossing the letter to Harry. Tears still falling across her cheeks, “I’m going to tell Bob.” Lavender stalked out of the room and Harry heard the slamming of the door.
Harry pulled out of the fire and sat on the soft couch. He opened the letter and read, still not seeing the point to why Lavender was sobbing.
Only once he finished, read again, again, and read once more did Harry chose to get off the sofa. His mouth still hung open, but, shaking off the fact that Hermione had just been kidnapped by Voldemort, he went to talk to Ron.
“Ron?” he asked when Ron’s red hair appeared in the flames.
“I’m going to make this quick,” Harry pulled in a deep breath and added, “Hermione’s been abducted.”
“By aliens? Or was it by books, that would explain a lot.”
“Ron, stop kidding around, this is serious,” Harry said in a sharp tone, “She’s been kidnapped by Voldemort.”
Ron winced at the name, but decided to over look it. “She’s been WHAT!!! Why?” he said, starting off angry then confused.
“I don’t know. You’ve got to help me find her!”
Ron face crept into a grin. “You still like her,” he said slyly.
“Ron, DON’T change the SUBJECT!” Harry yelled. Then added, “And no I don’t.”
“She’s our best friend, Ron. Are you going to help or not?”
“Fine. Jesus, you get mad easily,” Ron said sighing. He stepped out of the fire, fully materialized in front of Harry. His hair was still flame-red, his face was still covered in freckles, but somehow, this didn’t seem like Ron.
“Okay, here’s the letter,” Harry said handing it to Ron.
“Yeah, so how exactly are we supposed to find them?”
“I have an idea of where they might be.”
“And where is it?”
“In fourth year when the cup had been changed into a portkey it brought me to this cemetery. I was tied to a gravestone and it was where Voldemort’s dad was buried. The house is in Albania I know, but I just don’t know where.”
“Okay, that’s specific,” Ron said sarcastically.
“Well, we know what country it is, so that narrows it down. Plus, Albania’s a really small country. We should be able to find it.”
“Harry, I don’t mean to disappoint you but…this seems rather impossible. And we only have three months. How the hell are we supposed to find them by then!”
“Well, we should start by not wasting time!” Harry said, his tone rising slightly, “Now go get your broom and wand.”
“What about some…”
“We’ll get new clothes in Muggle shops. We want to blend in.”
Ron apparated to his own home and Harry sat down on the sofa once more. What was he getting himself into? How was he going to get Hermione back safely? He decided he would think about that later. For now he went up to gather his broom and wand also.
“So, we’re going to The Riddle House?” Ron asked holding a map in his hands.
Ron looked down at the map, which was significantly out of the ordinary. It had three dots, one black, one red, and one blue. The black dot told them their destination, the red dot was Ron, and the blue dot was Harry. Currently, Harry and Ron were just sitting on the paper, not moving or anything. Then again, so was the black dot.
“Let’s go,” he said, gathering his courage. Their brooms rose higher and higher, they were going to wait until they were above the clouds to start moving forward. Soon they were passing through a clear mist of clouds, and then they saw the orange and yellow rays of the morning sun coming towards them against the pink sky.
It looked like the perfect thing to paint. Below them was a sea of mauve-colored clouds, in front of them was the pink-tinged sky, behind them you could see the dark sky fading away, and before them was the marvelous, bright yellow and orange rays of the morning sunshine.
Warmth spread through Harry’s body, he looked over at Ron, who nodded. They tugged in a breath and raced forward.
Harry’s broom was much faster than Ron’s so he slowed down a bit. To him it was as slow as a snail, to Ron it was as fast as the speed of light. Ron pointed towards the southeast and they turned to head in that direction. He didn’t know why, but he almost knew that they would be going there. Like a magnetic force was pulling him to Hermione…and Voldemort.
“Why am I going to find Hermione? Surely her boyfriend could do it,” Harry thought, he felt a speck of jealousy flow through him, but shrugged it off.
“Harry? You okay?” he heard Ron call. Harry broke from his thoughts and realized that Ron was at least fifty feet ahead of him. Then he saw that he was going at the speed of a walking feather against a breeze, a very stubborn feather at that. “What’s on your mind?”
“Nothing,” Harry said as he sped up to Ron.
“Fine, Harry. If you don’t want to say, but you can tell me you know.”
“Nothing, really.” Harry smiled and then looked at Ron seriously again. “So, where are we?”
“Um,” Ron pulled the map out from his pocket, “At the speed we’re going we should be right over the English Channel.”
“Well, let’s take a look.” The two dove down several meters and were shrouded once again in the clouds. Below they saw another magnificent site. The deep blue ocean covered in an icy blue mist with small shadows creeping under the surface. They lowered their brooms several hundred feet more and let the water lap them. Harry had the urge to jump from his broom and dive straight into the cool water.
“Do you hear something?” Ron asked him while they were enjoying the feeling of the cool liquid. Harry turned to him and heard it too. It was like the roar of an engine. They looked behind them and both pairs of eyes, blue and green, widened.
They both turned in opposite directions to avoid the ship. Harry looked at it, it was huge. He felt as if the iron sides were going to fall on him. He considered flying higher, but that was out of the question. It could be a Muggle liner and he might need to stay out of sight. As long as no one looked over the side he should be fine.
But Harry did decide to fly up a little higher, just enough to see the name. “S.S. Badger?” Harry said to himself quietly. “Sounds like something a Muggle…” But Harry’s thoughts were interrupted by scream above him. “Shit!” He looked up and there, along with about fifteen other people were staring right back at him. “Definitely Muggle boat.”
Harry stared at them strangely. Apparently he had broken up a costume party because everyone was in strange clothes. A woman wearing a princess dress had fainted; a man with a king’s outfit was helping her. There was a man in a cowboy outfit and next to him another man wearing what seriously reminded Harry of a mandrake.
The man dressed as a cowboy was clearly experienced as a rodeo clown. He flung down a lasso and, before Harry knew what was going on, the rope snapped around his body, tightening and causing him to let go of the broom as he was violently jerked up.
Harry watched in dismay as his broom flop into the ocean and pop back up, floating away behind the moving ship. He thought of Apparating, but he couldn’t do that. He would leave Ron behind and, even worse, he would take the Muggle with him. No, he would have to sit it out before he could go. He would have to hope that Ron would come get him.
Meanwhile, Ron was in a similar predicament. He couldn’t go up, what if it was a Muggle ship? He had to wait it out, hopefully he wouldn’t be spotted. Ron stayed low, not risking the fly upward. He was so close to the water that his face couldn’t have drowned in it if he moved just an inch lower. His clothes were already drenched in cold, salty water that if he bothered to fully maneuver into the water he would sink to the bottom.
Ron shivered, but kept to the water. He felt like he had leaned to far over a boat’s edge and the wake was hitting him. But he couldn’t move. At best, if someone did look over the edge they would think he was a dolphin or something. As long as they didn’t try to fish for him.
Concentrating too hard on not being seen, Ron didn’t feel the piece of paper slip out of his pocket and into the open water. He didn’t see the white parchment tear from the water pushing against it. He didn’t see the blue dot move onto the ship and out of site.
Ron stopped, letting the liner pass by slowly, hoping that when it was fully past no one would bother looking behind it as they hadn’t looked towards him. They didn’t. The ship moved onwards without anyone seeing him. “Okay Harry, it’s safe now,” when there was no answer Ron looked around, “Harry?”
He looked back at the ship, “Uh-oh.”