The Sugar Quill
Author: Miss Snuffles (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Captive  Chapter: Kidnapped
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CAPTIVE

 

 

CAPTIVE

by Miss Snuffles

 

Disclaimer:  Unfortunately, I am not J.K. Rowling, nor do I own any part of the WB, Scholastic, or Bloomsbury.  If I did, do you think I would be writing fan fiction?  Okay, I probably would, on an island in the sun with the highest speed Internet access available, and have a heard of 100 beautiful horses.  As such, I am just a lowly student who drives a 1990 car and was just blessed with wireless.  Whoohoo!

 

A/N:  As always, thanks to Elanor Gamgee, my beta, who made sure I didn’t sound like a sappy romance novel.  And to Ginny, who is always my muse.

 

 

Chapter One

“Kidnapped”

 

“Ennervate.”

 

Darkness.

 

I—

 

Cold.  Cold stone walls.

 

I don’t—

 

Drip.  The faint drip of water.  Not close, but not far.  It was clammy.  Cold, damp, clammy. 

 

I don’t feel—

 

Ache.  Pain.  She hurt.  It was dark, cold stone walls, the sound of dripping water.  Goosebumps on her skin.  The hard stone floor beneath her, the chill of it seeping into her aching bones. 

 

I don’t feel that—

 

Dark, cold, wet, hurt.  So familiar.  The heaviness.  The chill.  Something moved.  A rat?  No, too big to be a rat.  How could something move when it was so cold?  She had to see, had to know, but it hurt.  It hurt in this cold, wet place. 

 

I don’t feel that way—

 

Tom!”

 

An icy jolt, a cold that she had only felt once, six years ago, jerked through her body.  Her eyes flew open.  She twisted excruciatingly around, her fearful eyes fastening on the figure moving through the shadows.  Images flashed before her in a swirling myriad. 

 

Harry—hunched witch—starry night—Hagrid’s cabin—Stupefy!—blackness—   

 

“Tom—” she whispered, fighting the rush of fear with practiced reasoning.  She was dreaming.  She’d had this dream before.  Dark, cold chamber.  Cloaked figure in the black shadows.  She could fight these dreams now, fight them and awake with a serene acceptance.  At breakfast she would quietly tell Harry of her victory, and he would smile warmly as he always did.  He never tired of it.

 

Harry.

 

I don’t feel that way about you.

 

Green eyes, fierce, dark.  The hunched-back witch.  The starry night sky, the silver grass.  Hagrid’s Cabin.  The shout.  The blackness.

 

It wasn’t a dream.

 

Ginny sucked in a gasping breath, her stomach and heart turning to ice as she stared at the moving, hunched figure skulking in the blackness just beyond.  She wasn’t dreaming.  She was in a chamber.  She’d been Stunned.  She wasn’t in the Chamber of Secrets, and that wasn’t Tom Riddle lurking, ready to take her soul.

 

“Ah—”  It was a high cough of uncertainty.  Ginny stared, her heart caught between erratically pounding in her chest and simply stopping.  The figure moved closer, skittishly, as if fearing an attack.  In the inky glum, she could discern a lumpy sort of man in ill-fitting, tattered robes.  As he shuffled towards her, a dim, weak yellow light seeped through the blackness, and glinted off his hand.

 

It was silver.  Even in the poor light, it emanated a malevolent luster that caused Ginny to shrink back from the otherwise unthreatening man. 

 

“Scabbers.”  Ginny shuddered, staring up at the bald, diminished man staring down at her, a look of perpetual panic and fear pressed into his pale face.  She couldn’t hide her contempt, anger, and revulsion.  She’d never seen Peter Pettigrew before.

 

Pettigrew said nothing, but shuffled and hoisted a small, dingy bucket closer to Ginny.  She tried to shrink away, pressing against the cold, damp stone wall, and he hesitated, his dark, beady eyes shining wetly in the pale murky light.

 

“Y-you m-must—you must d-dr-drink,” he said in a tremulous, frightened voice that echoed strangely in the chill.  He dipped a small cup into the bucket, making tiny, sloshing noises that seemed to converse with the steady, distant drip of water. Trembling, Pettigrew offered the cup to Ginny. 

 

Nothing registered, nothing but the icy, painful presence of the wall at her back, the ache in her bones, and the overwhelming fear taking hold.  She was kidnapped, captured by Death Eaters.  Here was Ron’s pet rat, Scabbers, the one who had slept on her pillow when Ron had unconsciously kicked him off the bed, the one who had betrayed Harry’s parents, framed Sirius Black, and had taken Harry’s blood to resurrect Voldemort.

 

“Drink, please,” said Pettigrew in his tiny, pleading voice.  “It will help, Ginny—”

 

“Don’t call me that!” she shrieked.

 

Pettigrew flinched, and Ginny sucked in another deep breath.  She was trembling, shaking uncontrollably, and it wasn’t from the cold penetrating her body. 

 

“You—you rat—” she hissed, gasping with each syllable.  “How—how?—”

 

“I—” Pettigrew began, but then he closed his thin mouth and shook his head.  Something passed across his rat-like face, but he ducked his head into the darkness.  “You must drink . . . to keep your strength up,” he said softly, sympathetically.  Without meeting her furious, wild gaze, he rested the cup on the floor beside her and withdrew into the darkness.  She heard a door open and close with a quiet but heavy groan, and then the solid, final clamp of an iron lock.  The faintest sound of a spell floated back through the glum.

 

Silence pressed in.

 

Then Ginny’s breath came in short, loud gasps that pounced off the stone.  Panic and fear gripped her, seeming to shut out the weak, stained light hovering somewhere behind all the blackness.  The desperate need to stay calm and think rationally slipped away the moment she tried to assert herself.  The ache in her bones from being Stunned, the swirling images of her last memories, and the piercing cold wrapped around her like a serpent ready to strike.  Serpents . . . Tom Riddle . . .Harry . . .

 

Her frantic gasps elevated to racking sobs.  The cup of water was knocked over, and cold water splashed onto her leg.  It ran warmly and soothingly against her freezing thigh, trickling like a small, thin stream down her leg.  No, not a stream.  A snake.  It slithered against her gooseflesh skin, deceptively soothing.

 

Ginny let out a cry and rolled away, scraping her cheek against the rough stone.  Physical, stinging pain sliced through the overwhelming panic that had seized her.  She sobbed and felt the welcome of warm tears falling down her cheeks, trailing slowly but steadily down her chin and neck. 

 

My dressing gown, she thought suddenly.  My dressing gown is gone.

 

That was why it was so cold.  Her nightgown was thin cotton.  Her arms were bare.  Her winter gown had shredded by a new kitten, and she’d had no choice but to wear her summer gown.

 

Shivering, she hugged herself, curling up into a small ball against the wall.  The hysteria was fading.  She wasn’t sobbing or convulsing. 

 

“Oh, Harry,” she whispered into the murky chamber.  She squeezed her eyes shut to ward off a deep agony that was swimming to the surface.  Silent tears poured freely down her cheeks, pooling under her head onto the stone floor.  Her grazed cheek burned, but she didn’t care.  All she could see, feel, were those burning green eyes, the faint brush of his breath as he muttered with such quiet ferocity and determination what she had always believed true, but dared hope not.

 

How long had it been?  Hours?  Days?  The memory was her last and felt excruciatingly fresh.  The cold darkness seemed to freeze the moment, welcome it, and torture her with it.

 

*

 

It wasn’t late, but it felt late.  The common room seemed to empty so much more quickly than before.  Ginny sighed as she gazed around the at the squashy chairs and sofas, the blazing fireplace, and the few students doing homework, sitting by the fire reading, or talking in somber, quiet tones.  She thought wistfully of the days when Fred and George had  filled the circular Gryffindor Tower with loud bangs and raucous laughter.  Or when three games of Exploding Snap would erupt simultaneously and fill the room with smoke.  Or all-night celebrations when Gryffindor steamrollered another House in Quidditch—

 

Another sigh echoed Ginny’s, and she turned away from the nearly empty, cheerless common room and gazed at Harry, Ron, and Hermione.  Ron had fallen asleep with his head buried in the crook of his arm, the other arm stretched across his enormous essay, hand still clenched around his quill dipped in the almost empty ink bottle.  Hermione was blinking blearily at her own Ancient Runes project, completely unaware of an unconscious Ron.

 

Only Harry seemed to be awake, but his homework was the least completed.  Ginny had been aware of his restlessness all night, but had made no comment except for an understanding, small smile every now and then.  Instead of smiling, however reluctantly, back as he usually did, he only frowned and turned his troubled gaze elsewhere.  He seemed particularly moody and worried tonight, the furrow of his brow deeper than usual.  Yet Ginny could detect what exactly it was now. She’d grown accustomed to his moods, and could usually decipher his thoughts almost before he could.  Not that he was aware of this.

 

She could never confess to Harry how much she’d studied him over the years.

 

Yet she had a feeling, and it gnawed away at her all night.  All day.

 

Even as Harry ducked his head and pretended to look up a reference in his History of Magic text, Ginny felt her stomach twist nauseatingly.  Her quill started to tremble again, causing her neat, careful penmanship to scraggle.  She tried to breathe normally and keep her blood from racing to her head, but it was difficult.  Subconsciously, her fingertips touched her lips, where she’d felt his almost twenty-four hours ago.

 

Harry set down his quill.  “Ginny,” he said quietly, a strained gravelly tone.

 

She jerked, her heart hammering against her chest.  He was looking at her, and then away.  He had been doing that all day, but it wasn’t giving her thrills as it had before when he had grown nervous around her.  A deep sense of foreboding wrapped around her thundering heart as he raked a hand through his jet black hair.

 

“I—I have to talk to you.”  Harry spoke quietly, so quietly that Ginny wouldn’t have heard him if not for the decisive, determined shortness of his words.

 

She nodded, unable to speak as Harry stood up and edged towards one of the empty corners of the common room.  No one noticed as Ginny shakily rose from her chair, not even Hermione, who was muttering incoherently to herself.  Somehow she reached Harry.

 

“Ginny.”  He was refusing to completely meet her gaze, and seemed to be collecting himself.  Ginny felt as if someone had opened a window to let in the chilly first of November air. 

 

“Harry,” she said before she realized she’d opened her mouth. “Tell me what’s wrong.”  She instinctively reached for his hands, which she’d held and squeezed before, but he moved them nervously out of her reach.  “Harry?”

 

He finally met her gaze, and she gasped inaudibly.  Those brilliant green eyes that always managed to betray Harry’s carefully guarded expressions burned fiercely with something Ginny had never witnessed before.  She shrank back, almost with fear, but quickly collected herself.  This was Harry.  He’d been her friend for three years now.  And he’d kissed her last night.

 

“Ginny,” he said quietly, calculatingly steady.  “I need to talk to you about . . . about last night.”  There.  Something else flicked behind those broiling depths.  His voice hitched slightly. 

 

Ginny felt her chest constrict, but her heart seemed to fight it.  Harry didn’t move his gaze, but continued to stare down at her determinedly.

 

“It was a mistake.”

 

Mistake?

 

“I didn’t mean—I—honestly—it was an accident.  I don’t know what came over me.”

 

What?

 

Ginny heard the words perfectly, but they weren’t registering.  It was as if her ears had detached themselves from her brain.  She stared disbelievingly at Harry, yet deep down, amongst the rising emotion, she understood perfectly.  Had always understood, had always known.

 

“Ginny,” Harry said, a desperate rasp coming into his intensely low voice.  “I’m really sorry—I just—I don’t—It was a mistake.  I must of have too much butterbeer or something.  Please, let’s—can we just forget it ever happened?”

 

“You . . . kissed me . . .” she heard herself say faintly.

 

“I . . . I know.”

 

“But you didn’t mean it.”

 

“I—yes.”

 

A distant roaring . . . Ginny felt dizzy and lightheaded.  Harry seemed to sway sickeningly before her, as if on a tossing sea.  He was gazing at her desperately, fearfully.  Guilt was written plainly across his pale but flushed face.  Guilt for having kissed her last night.  For brushing his lips at the corner of her mouth, hesitating, and then slowly meeting her own perfectly still lips . . .

 

“Right,” she choked.  “Right.  An accident.”

 

“Yes,” said Harry slowly, deliberately, as if analyzing the small word.  “An accident.  Please, let’s forget about it.”

 

“You don’t . . .you don’t . . .” She couldn’t make herself say it.  Didn’t want to see it in his beautiful eyes, or watch his mouth, the mouth she’d finally felt against hers, move carefully to form the words.

 

“No.”  It was raspy, husky, incredibly low and reverberating through her core.  “No, Ginny, I don’t . . . I don’t feel that way about . . . about you.”

 

“I don’t believe you,” she almost sobbed.  She didn’t think he heard her, but he breathed in sharply, causing her to look up at him.  He could never lie to her face, never look her directly in the eye and lie.  “Look at me, Harry,” she said quietly, determinedly, matching his own gaze.  “Look at me and say it.”

 

Harry opened his mouth, but no sound came out.  Ginny felt triumph and relief rush through her, making her knees shake, but then that ferocity overwhelmed the violent swirl of indeterminable emotions in his gaze, and she felt an icy cold hand clamp over her heart.

 

“Ginny.”  He was looking directly into her eyes, into her soul.  Leaving no doubt. “I don’t feel that way about you.  You are my friend.”

 

It was final.  Ginny had spent six years of her life knowing Harry Potter would never love her, but there had been hope.  In his gazes before he realized she had noticed.  She must have imagined it.  Somehow, she was able to rectify herself before complete and utter collapse.

 

“I see.”

 

“I’m sorry, Ginny.”  And he sounded sorry.  Indescribably sorry.

 

“I know.”  So he knew how she felt, knew how deeply she loved him.  And yet he couldn’t love her back.  Not more than as a friend.

 

“Are you—are you all right?”  He couldn’t hide his concern or guilt.  She could almost feel his impulse to embrace her, comfort her, but could not because he’d just inflicted the deepest, cruelest injury upon her.  And it was hurting him.  “Ginny?”

 

“Please, Harry,” she somehow managed to choke out.  “I just need to be alone.”

 

He nodded wordlessly.  She sensed him nodding, watched the faintest twitch of his robes as he shifted.  Then he moved away, back towards the table.  She watched his retreating back.  Hermione was asleep now, too, her mass of wild curls spreading all over the table.  It seemed as if fiery ribbons had been woven into the mass, and Ginny realized with detached amusement that Ron’s head had been devoured by his girlfriend’s curls.

 

Harry slowly, mechanically gathered his books.  He turned towards the spiraling staircase, but caught Ginny’s gaze.  From across the common room she could read the intense, fiery pain in his gaze, but then an emotionless mask fell over him, and he turned abruptly. 

 

She watched him disappear up the stairs.

 

With a sharp gasp, she whirled around and went out the portrait hole.

 

*

 

 

 

 

//
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