Corinne Potter shifted in her sleep, trying to pull her blankets around her. It was never this cold in her room, her mother and father always made sure that she and her brother slept comfortably. Her pillow was lumpy too, not soft like normal. She reached out and gasped when her hand touched not the smooth wood of her nightstand, but hard, jagged stone.
She sat up quickly, looking around frantically. “Carl!” she pushed at her brother. “Carl wake up!”
“What?” Carl opened his eyes a bit.
Corinne sat back and looked him, tears brimming in her large green orbs. “I want Mummy and Daddy.” She whimpered.
Carl looked around the tiny room they were in; old stones with moss growing over them covered three walls, while bars were across the fourth. He got up and grasped them within his hands. He pulled with all his five year old strength, and as old as the bars were, they didn’t give way.
“Where are we?” Corinne asked, large tears making their way down her face. Carl hugged his sister close to him.
“I don’t know.” He answered. Carl rubbed at his eyes with one hand while keeping hold of his sister with the other. He didn’t want to start crying, he missed his parents too but he knew he had to stay strong for Corinne’s sake.
The two children sat huddled together in the rear of the room, for how long, neither of them knew. It was cold and damp down there, and there was nothing to wrap themselves up in.
“I’m hungry,” Corinne finally broke the silence as she hugged her pitifully growling stomach.
“I am too,” Carl answered. Both of them turned around in surprise as they heard a noise at the front of the cell. The same blond thin man who had taken them from the clearing was standing there with a dirty plate in his hand.
Draco had to suppress a smirk as he heard the girl whimper as he advanced on them. The boy glared up at him as he set the plate down. He hadn’t wanted to give them anything but he did need them alive for the resurrection. There was some stale bread and cheese in the cabinet (most likely from Crabbe and Goyle) and he’d thrown it on an old plate and taken it down to the old dungeons.
“Why are we here?” The boy’s voice cut through the thick air and nearly caused him to drop the plate.
Draco stood back up and glared down at them, malice glittering through his grey eyes. “Never you mind, boy. You’ll find out soon enough.”
The boy set his jaw and Draco thought for a moment that Potter (with brown hair) was looking straight back at him. “I want to know!” he hollered. When Draco offered nothing, Carl rushed forward and kicked him in the shin.
“OW!” Draco cried out, not expecting that. He bared his teeth and the girl let out a terrified cry as her brother shielded her with his body. “You little brat… see if I bloody bring you anything else…” he limped out of the cell, slamming the iron bars shut behind him and locking them again.
“That was really brave, Carl.” Corinne said in a small voice.
“I don’t like him.” Carl replied, still glaring at the bars.
“He gave us food,” Corinne replied, picking up a piece of bread. She was about to put it in her mouth when her eyes widened. “What if he put a curse on it?”
Carl stared down at the food, and then picked up one of the slices of cheese. He put the end gingerly in his mouth and bit off a tiny piece, then chewed and swallowed it down. “I think its okay,” he said after several minutes during which nothing happened.
Corinne nodded and bit into her bread, stale as it was it was still food. They slowly ate what was on the plate, dividing it up equally between the two of them. Carl wanted her to have his last piece of cheese but she knew he was as hungry as her.
“I want to go home,” Corinne said some time later as dark shadows began creeping over the floor. Her lower lip began to tremble dangerously. “I want Mummy and Daddy!”
“Daddy will come for us.” Carl said, his voice more confident than he actually felt. “I know he will.”
Corinne nodded, too tired and upset to argue. The two children sank into each other as the final rays of sunlight disappeared and they were left in darkness.
*** *** ***
Harry Potter sat at his desk, his shirt wrinkled and half unbuttoned, his tie hanging limply around his neck. His eyes were red and weary, not to mention swollen from lack of sleep and sheer utter frustration at the turn his life had taken in the past 24 hours. He choked back a sob at the thought that he might never see his two youngest children again, and pulled as hard as he could on his messy raven hair.
“I’ve got to do something,” he muttered to himself. Digging into his drawer for some parchment, he began writing furiously to various people, each letter asking the same questions.
Ron watched Harry silently from the doorway, his heart aching for both of his best friends. On one hand, he wanted to throttle Harry for his behaviour last night towards Hermione, yet on the other, he understood Harry’s anger. He had been through so much in his life, but it was never enough.
“Harry,” he finally said softly, not wanting to surprise him. Harry’s head shot up regardless as he jumped.
“Ron,” he said, relieved. “Have you… have you heard anything?”
Ron swallowed hard and shook his head. “No,” he answered hoarsely.
Harry nodded as if he expected that answer. “I’m just… writing to some people… they might be able to find my children,” he said.
“Harry,” Ron began. “You need to go home and rest.”
“No.” Harry said flatly.
“Harry, Hermione needs you, and you won’t be able to do anything unless you get some rest.” Ron argued.
“I’m NOT going back there Ron!” Harry shouted.
“Why are you blaming her?” Ron shouted back. “You know this isn’t Hermione’s fault!” He lowered his voice and closed Harry’s office door. “I don’t know how you could say what you said to her last night.”
“It’s none of your business Ron!” Harry snarled back, his hands clenching into fists. Ron crossed his arms over his chest and stared at Harry coldly.
“I don’t know how you have the bloody gall to say that,” Ron said angrily. “I love your children like they’re my own. Lavender and I have always felt that way.”
Harry opened his mouth as if he was going to argue and then shut it again. “You’re right,” he sighed, looking down at his desk. “I’m sorry Ron.”
“I’m not the one you should be apologizing to.” Ron replied. “Harry, she needs you more than anyone right now.”
“I can’t go back.” Harry muttered. “Not until I know something…”
Ron sat heavily in the chair across from his friend. “Harry it could take days before we find out anything.”
“I know,” Harry said quietly and in that moment Ron thought he aged 20 years. “But I can’t stop. I can’t stop.”
*** *** ***
Lavender couldn’t believe the amount of people currently standing in Harry and Hermione’s yard. Reporters, dozens, perhaps even hundreds of them were milling around, most with Quick Quotes quills already sketching out beginnings of stories.
“They’re so bold,” she said to Hermione, who was sitting on the sofa with her arms wrapped around herself as if she was freezing. “Ruddy bastards, knocking on your door and trying to come in through the fire… I have a mind to curse each and every one of them.”
“I don’t want them in here.” Hermione replied, her voice gone hoarse from crying.
“Don’t worry; I’ll make sure they stay outside.” Lavender said as she pulled the curtain across the window and sat down next to her friend.
Hermione nodded numbly as they sat in silence for a little while. “I can’t believe he said that…” she spoke up, making Lavender jump.
“What?” she asked, confused.
“Harry,” Hermione replied, fresh tears springing to her eyes. “How could he blame this on me?”
“Ohhh,” Lavender hugged Hermione tightly. “I’m sure he didn’t mean it, we were all so upset and you know sometimes people say things they don’t mean when they’re angry.”
“I guess,” Hermione didn’t look convinced. “But he never even came back; he hasn’t even tried to owl me…”
“He’s probably with Ron right now, doing what he can to find them.” Lavender said soothingly. “You know that he will, and everything will be fine.” She hoped her voice sounded more confident than she actually felt.
“I just want them all to be here.” Hermione sniffled. “I need my children… and my husband.”
“I know,” Lavender replied, hugging her tighter. A harried knocking came from the front door and she stood up, her blue eyes darkened in anger.
“Not another one!” Hermione leaned back on the sofa with her hand over her eyes.
“I’ll get rid of them this time, Hermione, just wait there.” Lavender strode out to the hallway, intent on setting this reporter in their place. “I have ALREADY told all of you at least FIVE times to leave, you’re not going to get any information!” she shouted as she opened the door.
Caitlyn stood with her mouth open, and Lavender felt ashamed. “Oh sweetie, I’m sorry I thought you were another one of those bleeding reporters.”
“It’s okay…” she said, getting over her shock. “Have you heard anything?” Her long hair was loose from its braid and it hung into her face, which was pale from worry.
“No,” Lavender said sadly as she hugged the younger girl.
“How’s my mum?” Caitlyn wiped at her eyes.
“She’s not doing very well.” Caitlyn nodded as if she had been expecting that. “Listen, let me make some tea, and you go on in there and sit with her, all right?” Lavender said.
Caitlyn nodded again and went down the hallway, into the living room. Her mother was curled up on a corner of the sofa, her hand over her eyes as she muttered to herself.
“Did you get rid of them, Lavender?” Hermione asked.
“It’s me Mum.” Caitlyn answered.
Hermione’s eyes shot open. “Caty…” she held her arms open and Caitlyn flew forward into them. “I’m so glad you’re here.”
“I’m sorry I wasn’t here earlier, I had to be at work, but I got off early and I told them I was taking time off to be here with you.” Caitlyn’s voice was muffled.
“It’s okay, I’m just glad you’re here now.” Hermione hugged her daughter tightly.
Lavender came in with tea for all three of them.
“So Caty, where is that son of mine today?” Lavender asked, trying to keep the conversation away from the topics of Harry and the kidnapping as they all sipped the hot liquid.
“He’s at a Quidditch meeting,” Caitlyn replied. “He said he wanted to take me to dinner tonight, to get my mind off everything, but I’ll stay here with you if you want, Mum.”
“No, no love you go with Blue.” Hermione said. “There’s no reason for you to sit around here and mope.”
“Are you sure?” Caitlyn asked. “I know he won’t mind if I cancel.”
“I’ll stay here with your Mum.” Lavender said. “She’s absolutely right, it’ll do you no good to just sit around here.”
“Well, I guess… if you’re really sure you don’t need me…” Caitlyn looked slightly put out and Hermione reached over and put her arm around her daughter.
“I’ll always need you, love. I just don’t want you wasting your time doing nothing.” Hermione said gently. “And we promise to let you know the moment we find anything out, all right?”
“All right,” Caitlyn agreed, obviously placated by her mother’s words. She hugged Hermione and then Lavender, then left out the back door, not wanting to be haggled by the media that were still camping outside the house.
She still had second thoughts an hour later as she used a spell to pull her long hair up into a complicated twist. Caitlyn felt guilty letting Blue take her out when her brother and sister were most likely in a life threatening situation.
“Hey,” a soft voice in her ear made her jump. Blue wound his arms around her waist and kissed her bare shoulder. “Are you all right?”
“I guess so,” Caitlyn sighed. “I just feel like I should be doing something to help… help my parents, help my brother and sister…”
“Caty, if anyone needs your help they’ll tell you,” Blue said. “And believe me, no one, outside your family at least, wants to know where they are more than I do…”
Caitlyn turned to face him with tears in her eyes. “I’m just so scared…” she began to cry as he pulled her into his arms.
“Shhhh…” he rubbed her back as he tried to soothe her. “Don’t feel guilty Caty, you have no reason to.”
“I know,” she wiped at her eyes. “I just want to see them again, and know if they’re all right.”
“Me too,” Blue answered. He held her close again for a few more minutes. “Look, we don’t have to go out tonight…”
“No… let’s go.” Caitlyn replied surprisingly. “Let’s go… I know if there’s anyone that can keep my mind off this for a little while it’s you.”
“Okay,” he smiled down and kissed her quickly. “Let me go shower up.”
“Okay,” she said and he kissed her again.
*** *** ***
“That was really, really nice, Blue.” Caitlyn said as they climbed the stairs to their flat. He had taken her into Muggle London for dinner and then to a play that had just opened that evening.
“Was it?” he asked as they came to the door. “Good.” He squeezed her hand lightly in his.
“It was really what I needed,” Caitlyn leaned up against him. “Thank you.”
“Anytime.” Blue leaned down and pressed his lips to hers. “I’d do anything for you.”
“I know,” she answered quietly. “I love you.” She raised herself up and kissed him again, letting her lips stay connected to his longer. He grinned down at her as they parted, and caressed her cheek with his thumb.
“Let’s go inside… and maybe go to bed?” His voice was slightly husky in her ear. They went inside and Blue locked the door behind them, then turned to Caitlyn.
“Bed… who needs a bed?”
“Blue…” she leaned back as his mouth came in contact with her neck. Her breathing grew heavy as all thoughts flew out of her head except for the ones of what she wanted her boyfriend to do to her at the moment.
“Ahem…” a voice made them both jump apart and Caitlyn screamed.
“Dad!!!” she shrieked as her father entered the hallway. “What the bloody hell are you doing here?”
“I need a place to stay.” Harry replied.
Blue, whose face was as red as his hair, mumbled something and disappeared down the hallway. Caitlyn faced her father.
“Go home then.” She replied.
“Don’t talk to me like that.” Harry snapped.
“Well you’re being bloody stupid!” Caitlyn said bravely. “You should suck it up, apologise for what you said to Mum, and go home!”
“That is NONE of your concern!” Harry’s voice grew loud in his anger.
“It’s not?” Caitlyn was disbelieving. “You didn’t see how Mum was after you said those things to her. You didn’t see her pass out and have to be carried into the living room. You didn’t have to see her when she woke up and her whole bloody world has fallen apart!” By this time tears were streaming down her face.
Harry looked stricken at her outburst. His jaw opened and shut as his daughter fell back against the wall and began to sob openly. Stepping forward, Harry gathered her into his arms and hugged her tightly. “I’m sorry, Caty…” his voice was choked as he tried hard to contain his own tears.
Caitlyn couldn’t resist as she hugged her father back. Blue stood back and watched, knowing that he shouldn’t intrude on their moment.
“Why did you say those things?” Caitlyn asked in a small voice a little while later.
Harry let out a deep breath. “I don’t know.” He finally answered. Caitlyn pulled back and gave him a look that was just like the ones Hermione had given he and Ron back at Hogwarts when they hadn’t done their homework.
“That’s not a good enough excuse.” She said bluntly.
“I know.” Harry said. They went into the living room and sat down on the sofa. “I was angry… I’m still angry. I needed someone to blame.”
“But you shouldn’t have done that.” Caitlyn replied. “You know as well as I do that Mum wasn’t responsible for any of this.”
“I know that.” Harry said wearily, running his hands through his already wild hair. It scared Caitlyn to see how aged her father had become within a span of a day.
“Will you go to apologise?” she asked quietly.
“I’ll try.” Harry said.
After Caitlyn saw that her father was situated in the guest room, she went down the hall to the bedroom she shared with Blue.
“Hey,” she said softly as she closed the door behind her.
“Everything okay?” he asked.
“Yeah… I think it will be soon.” Caitlyn said as he got up from the bed and hugged her. “Listen… we have a bit of a problem though.”
“What?” Blue asked, his nose buried in her hair.
“Well… my dad… you know… he doesn’t know that you live here.” Caitlyn said. “And I don’t think this is the best time to spring that on him.”
Blue’s jaw dropped for a split second, then he saw the look in her eyes. “Oh… it’s all right.”
“Really?” Caitlyn asked. “You understand?”
“It’s not going to be easy being separated from you, but I’ll manage.” Blue forced a grin on his face.
“You’re the best, you know that?” Caitlyn said as new tears sprang to her eyes.
“I try.” He said, giving her a quick kiss. “That will have to last me awhile, won’t it?”
“I guess just until this all blows over.” She looked up at him. “I’m really sorry Blue, I wish now we’d just told them when you moved in.”
“Don’t worry about it… you need to worry about your family right now.” Blue twisted his fingers into her hair, loosening it from the twist. “I’ll still be here when it’s all over.”
“Okay,” she replied as she kissed him again. “Where will you stay?”
“Probably with Doyle.” He answered as he moved to the closet and grabbed a change of clothes. “I’ll owl you tomorrow then, all right?”
“I’ll walk you out.” She said, tossing her now loosened hair over her shoulder. They silently left the bedroom and went past Harry’s door, which was already dark underneath. “He’s so exhausted.”
“We all are.” Blue replied. Caitlyn opened the front door and he stepped outside. “I’ll owl you for lunch.”
“Okay,” she replied softly and after one more kiss he apparated away.