Disclaimer: I own nothing. (Yea, like you would believe me if I said I did.)
A/N: Nothing to say but sorry for the long wait. Life got away from me. Just a few more weeks till summer break and updates will be more regular. I hope this chapter makes up for the wait. Read, review, and enjoy! ~Lila
"…I know you heard a lot of talk about various disappointments this evening, and I know you've heard a lot of talk about it in the past, but I want to make this very clear: you, young lady, your person and your existence, have never ever been, not even for a second, included in that list. Do you understand me?" ~Kelly Bishop as Emily in Gilmore Girls
Ron watched Harry try to pull the hair out of his head while Hermione aimed her wand at what used to be a vase. At least, Ron thought that was what it was. He was surprised when Hermione was able to save it after being smashed against the far wall of Harry's office. The thing had shattered into a million pieces. It seemed his best mate was at the same breaking point.
"We're going to find her, mate. We're just missing the obvious." Ron didn't even try to approach him. He had years of experience with keeping George sane. Harry had the same look in his eyes as George on the worst days. Ron tried to keep the rising panic down. Panic wouldn't find Grace.
"I didn't see anything that stood out at that damn ice cream parlor. The whole town didn't even have a single apparition point. Not a single port key. The closest flu that's connected to the network is at the burrow. With the security measures still intact there, the possibility of the woman using it isn't even plausible." Harry's hands were shaking.
Harry started to pace in his office. When he had first been shown the room, his first thought was that it was too much. It was too big. It was too nice. It was too empty. He had tried to request a smaller office just to be laughed at. He was Harry Potter. He deserved the best. He didn't feel like he deserved the best. However, the room now just seemed so small. He felt trapped as if the walls were closing in on him. He was running out of time. He needed more time.
"Harry, I'm going to take Hermione back home to lie down. I'll get George to come in and sit with you." Ron spoke slowly and calmly to Harry. He hated to leave him, but Hermione had only been released from St. Mungo's with strict instructions to make sure she didn't over do anything.
"I'm fine Ronald. Stay with Harry." Hermione tried to look stern but she was getting tired. She never had been the best patient. It was a lost argument. As soon as Ron tugged on her arm slightly, she wobbled. He had her scooped up in his arms before she could argue further. Maybe she would let him baby her just a bit. She was too tired to fight him anyway.
"George, can you Harry-sit while I take Hermione back? I don't like leaving him alone like this." Ron shifted Hermione slightly in his arms more for her comfort than his. He held her like she belonged there.
George nodded and walked towards Harry's office. He didn't have anything to say. He stood in the doorway a moment to take in the scene. Harry was still pacing back and forth with his hands in his hair. The abandoned desk and office chair were large. George's first thought was that the size of the furniture was directed to take up space in the overly large office. Big and expensive was not Harry's style.
George walked slowly toward Harry and stood facing the wall that Harry was pacing beside. This wall was the focal point of the whole room. George had to keep from laughing at the thought that the wall resembled a shrine. It was covered in framed photos, newspaper articles, drawings from kids, letters of thanks, medals, and what George thought was a…no it wouldn't be…Harry would have his chocolate frog card collection in his office.
"Nice office." George stated the obvious as Harry continued to pace. "I didn't know you were this great of a decorator."
"I'm not. Gretchen did all of it." Harry continued to pace. "I'm trying to think George."
"And whom may I ask is Gretchen?" George had never even heard of this girl. He wasn't worried. The way Harry said her name was like she didn't matter. Of course, Harry was focused on quite a large top priority at the moment.
"She's my secretary. Kingsley hired her. He said I needed help organizing everything." Harry continued to pace the length of the room. George looked down and noticed the worn carpet. He let Harry pace.
"So she put all this stuff up? A little obsessive don't you think?" George laughed very lightly. It wasn't exactly the time or place for jokes.
"I would assume so. I don't read much of the stuff besides the letters." Harry stopped with a questioning look on his face. "What are you trying to get at, George?"
"Well, it's just that this stuff goes way back. She's got everything from your birth announcement clear up to the article about how you were selected to speak at the memorial. It's a little creepy." George looked over to see that Harry had stopped pacing. "You alright, Harry?"
Harry ran out to Gretchen's desk in the front room. She was usually seated at her desk before he even arrived to work. Her chair was empty, but there was a post-it stuck to an envelope smack in the middle of her clean desk. He remembered asking her about them before. She said it was a muggle habit she refused to get rid of. She had said something about her mother using them to remember things.
Please consider this an apology.
"What is it?" George stared at a very pale Harry Potter. It was the first time that George had ever seen Harry Potter as someone to be feared.
"It's a resignation letter." Harry crumpled the paper in his very calm hands.
Harry quadrupled checked the address he had written on the bit of parchment in his hand. It looked like a normal house. There were normal flowers in the front. There was a normal clothes line with a forgotten blanket draped across. The grass was cut like a normal lawn. It looked like a normal happy home.
"Just wait until they finish checking for wards Harry. We've got it covered front and back with our own wards being placed to keep her here. The bitch isn't going to get away. Harry? Harry are you listening to me?" Ron was getting worried. He was here to keep Harry from charging in and doing something stupid. He sighed and went after Harry as he stormed towards the house. Hermione was going to kill him.
Harry blocked out the sounds of the fighting in the house as he tore the place apart looking.
"I love him! I know everything about him! SHE doesn't love him like I do."
Harry would let his people do what they do best. He would kill the woman if he looked at her.
"I know how he likes his coffee in the morning. I keep everything nice and neat for Mr. Potter. He loves how I take such good care of his office. SHE doesn't take care of him."
She wasn't in the upstairs of the house. She wasn't on the main floor. That left the basement. Where was the damn door to the basement?
"He was mine. All mine. A little memory charm here and a little slip of potion in his coffee there. He's all mine. No one's but mine."
"Take her to St. Mungo's. She's insane. See if they can get any information out of her." Harry wouldn't panic. He was going to find her. It was with that thought that he heard one of his men yell "down here!"
"SHE didn't deserve to have his little girl. SHE tried to keep her hidden from him. I kept her nice and safe away from cameras. No one's going to hurt my baby. She's my pretty baby. My baby…"
The first thing Harry noticed was that her hair was back to its original color. The second thing he noticed was how black hair didn't make her look anything less like Ginny did when he had found her in the chamber.
"Grace? Baby, can you hear me? Please, Gracie." Harry gently used his wand and unchained the little girl. She had been left in the dark against the cold wall and even colder floor. The woman might be completely mental, but he was having a hard time fighting back dark thoughts. Harry leaned his ear down to her mouth to listen as he felt for a pulse.
"Come on sweetheart. Open your eyes for me. Gracie!" Harry found the small life line in her much too thin wrist. He clung to hope as he pulled the girl in his arms and pulled out an emergency port key to St. Mungo's the wards be damned.
The line for admissions to St. Mungo's was long as usual. Some were calmly waiting in line though they were in the minority. Mother's held tight to children who were screaming that they didn't want to take a potion. Tiny old women scolded their husbands for accidently charming some random body part accidently. Father's rehearsed their sons on what exactly they were and were not to say to their mothers when they got home. It was quite the normal day. Everyone wanted to be next. The line was moving much too slowly. Nothing too out of the ordinary was in the reception room. No one there would soon forget the devastating entrance.
"Somebody help me!" Harry Potter screamed as soon as his feet hit the floor. "She needs help! Please! Somebody help me!"
The line compressed out of line and back away from the war hero as healers came running. The crowd silently watched the scene.
"Let me have her Harry. It's ok. I can't help her until you let me have her."
"Dean, she's mine. She's my little girl. She's my Gracie."
"I know Harry. Let me have her."
"I love her."
"Ginny's going to kill me."
"She will if you don't give her to me."
Harry reluctantly handed the child over to the healer that he called by name. The crowd would never learn the history between the two men, but the trust and desperation in Harry Potter's eyes were clear.
"I didn't know."
"She's going to be fine Harry. Just give me a minute."
The crowd watched as the healer laid the little girl on the floor and scanned his wand over her.
"I have to tell her I'm sorry. I have to let her know it wasn't her fault."
"Come on sweetie. Breathe for me."
"I left her. I left her pregnant! Who does that? She's just a baby, Dean. She must think I hate her."
"That's my girl. Linda, get me some…"
The crowd watched as the tiny thing of a girl started to cough and stir while the healer that had taken charge started issuing orders. The sound of a pin hitting the stone floor could have been heard when a small voice mumbled.
Ginny watched from the doorway of her daughter's room at St. Mungo's as silent tears flooded down her face. Harry was kneeling on the floor by the bed with his hands enfolding one small one. He was whispering softly into her ear.
"It's alright, Ginny. Go sit with them" Molly nudged her daughter slightly towards the empty chair beside Harry. Ginny slowly entered the room, she sat, she watched, and she listened. She listened to the most beautiful sound in the world.
"I love your mother and you so much, Gracie. I love you."
Ginny took in a ragged breath as she gently touched her daughter's I.D. band.
"This needs changed. Her name has never been Weasley. She's a Potter." Ginny just stared at the tiny band that encircled the much too small wrist. "I never meant to hide her from you. I just…I didn't want you to…to feel obligated. But I never…I never wanted her to think…to think that…umph…"
Harry kissed her from right where he was on the floor.
"I love you Gin. Don't cry, love. I'm here… I'm here."