Soft, steady rain drops fell outside the comfortable cottage in Devon. The drops fell against the windows, sliding down, creating a hypnotizing rhythm. A petite redhead was lying on her side on the sofa facing the large bay windows at the front of the house. Her garden - the garden that had been subjected to many of her everyday frustrations - was getting drenched in the springtime rain shower. Her lilies and daffodils, her tulips and primroses, pansies and narcissuses were all in full bloom, creating a lovely and relaxing escape from her life. A bench that she had utilized many days sat at the end of the gravel path in a protected alcove.
She let out a soft gasp when a strong kick erupted inside her swollen belly. Her hand mindlessly rubbed the spot, soothing her growing child.
Her mind ran away with her as she brought forth memories of the night James was conceived. Tears sprang to her eyes, blurring her vision, and she wiped them away. She couldn’t think of that right now. Her depression had become so all-consuming lately that if it weren’t for the swift kick in the bladder by her unborn son every few minutes, she would lie in bed all day, every day, for the rest of her life. She needed him. James needed him, but he was gone.
A sob escaped her mouth and she pulled her quilt up over her head, blacking out her surroundings. She didn’t want to think, didn’t want to live right now. She just wanted to escape and be with him, wherever he was.
She rolled over, facing the back of the sofa, the quilt her mother had made for their wedding day still twisted in her hands over her head as she sobbed uncontrollably for her lost love. How was she to go on without him?
“Ginny?” a tentative voice asked. It was quiet and unsure. She felt a warm hand absently rubbing her back and a weight beside her, but she did not answer. She couldn’t breathe, let alone speak.
Hermione pulled her to a sitting position, pulled the blanket from her hands and wrapped her arms around the girl, allowing her to cry on her shoulder. It had become a habitual thing between the two. Hermione always Flooed to Harry and Ginny’s house during her lunch time and seven times out of ten, she found Ginny in this state; sometimes she would be lying on the couch, other times in her bed. Her hand ran comfortingly through the younger woman’s hair and Ginny again prayed for the miracle to bring her husband home.
Hermione strode purposely through the heavily lit corridors at the Ministry for Magic. Her visit with Ginny had once again ripped out her heart and squashed it beneath a shoe. Her sister-in-law was not handling anything well anymore and she worried for her and her baby’s health. Ginny was thin. Abnormally thin. Unhealthily thin for being six months pregnant. The dark smudges under her eyes told Hermione that she wasn’t sleeping well at all.
She took the lift to the Department of International Magic Cooperation, bypassing her own department. She nodded slightly at the receptionist as she stepped out and took a left, knowing where she was headed.
A heavy, wooden door with a golden nameplate told her she was in the right place. She knocked.
Opening the door slowly, she stepped in and walked over to her husband, kissing him thoroughly on the mouth. She could feel his surprise and she pulled away with unshed tears in her eyes.
He pulled her onto his lap and held her closely, not having to ask what was wrong. After comforting Ginny, she always needed to be comforted herself. It was as if she cast all her strength to her sister-in-law, leaving none left for her own use.
She spoke after a few silent minutes. “We have to find him,” she whispered into his shoulder. “She won’t survive. She can’t without him.”
Ron sighed, his fingers weaving through her hair. It was no longer bushy, but had been tamed with the newest daily hair treatment on the market (developed by her old Hogwarts roommate, Lavender). “I know. Tonks and Kingsley have been assigned full time to his case. Every spare minute we have, the Order is looking for him. It’s like he vanished in a puff of smoke. No one has heard anything, no one knows anything and no one has seen anything suspicious. We’re running out of places to look.” He sighed again, ran his free hand over his eyes and looked at her. “Did she say anything today?”
“She didn’t stop crying. I gave her a calming draught before I left.” Hermione blinked and allowed a few tears to slide down her cheeks. Ron brushed them away with the back of his fingers.
Two months after Harry Potter went missing, they had given up saying his sister would be okay. They both knew that his disappearance was killing her slowly and painfully. There was no more of that strong, fiery, independent young woman she had been in Hogwarts. Her life was bound willingly, soulfully to her missing husband.
After Harry had triumphed in the final battle with Voldemort two years after he set out in search of the Horcruxes (with only a severe case of magical exhaustion and some broken bones), they had finally been able to get on with their lives. He had spent a week in the hospital wing of Hogwarts over the summer, avoiding the press that wanted a piece of him. When he was released, he proposed to Ginny at the Burrow in front of her whole family. He even went as far as asking her parents’ permission for her hand before he asked her.
They were married in a small, private ceremony at the Burrow with only family and close friends, fifty people in total. Harry bought a cottage just down the road from the Burrow, keeping Ginny close to her family, and they began their life together.
Two months later, Ginny found out she was pregnant. Hermione remembered the look of pure fascination that seemed to be permanent on her adopted brother’s face. He was jubilant. He had a life and he was making a family, the two things he had always wanted.
After a few months of pure newly-wed bliss, there was an attack on their home and on the Burrow. Charlie, who had been home for the week, and Hestia Jones had been killed in the crossfire of hexes and curses between the Order and the Death Eaters. When things calmed down and everyone could think properly, they checked on Ginny and Harry.
Ginny was found between the two houses, crumpled on the ground. She had been trying to get away and get to the Burrow as Harry had instructed when she was hit. She had spent two days at Saint Mungo’s before she and the baby were released with a clean bill of health. The first person she asked for when she woke later that day was Harry.
Hermione remembered how hard it had been on Mrs Weasley to have to tell her youngest daughter that he was missing.
“We have to find him,” she repeated in a whisper, her forehead resting against his.