Harry murmured in his sleep. Visions of Voldemort’s beady red eyes filled his dreams. Flopping onto his back, his breath hitched and he screamed into his sleep. From time to time, Harry dreamt of the night he vanquished Voldemort. Harry was the first wizard to use an unforgivable and not be arrested for it. Crying softly again, Harry rolled over on the bed until he met the edge. With a loud and hard ‘thump’ he was woken from his dream.
Glancing around wildly, Harry deduced that he was lying on the floor with his leg tangled and suspended in the air by his bed sheets. Muttering a silent oath, he struggled with the grey sheets and freed his leg. Pulling himself back onto the bed, he sighed heavily as he glanced at the alarm clock. Three A.M. and there was no hope of getting any more sleep now. Hastily, he reached over to the night stand and grabbed his wand. Maybe that spell Hermione had suggested would help him sleep.
Wand at the ready, he tried to remember the movement. Was it one flick, then swoosh or was it two flicks, one swoosh and a snap?
“Oh what use is it,” he grumbled moodily.
Once again reaching over to the night stand, he grabbed his glasses. Placing them on the bridge of his nose, he got out of bed.
Passing the second bedroom in the flat, Harry could clearly hear the uneven snores of his roommate. Harry smiled to himself as he opened the refrigerator. Making a quick inventory of the contents within, he pulled out the carton of milk. A minute later he had pulled a box of cereal and a bowl from the cabinets near the sink.
Settling down at the small table in the breakfast nook, Harry poured himself a bowl of cereal. He sniffed the milk before pouring and deduced it to be three days old at most. As he began to dig into the soggy breakfast, his eyes scanned the newspaper laid across the table. The papers were still focused on the latest jailbreak at Azkaban prison. Lucius Malfoy had been arrested three months earlier and had now escaped.
Harry had been at work that day when the guards from Azkaban called the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Alastor Moody had sought out Harry and pulled him aside, telling him every detail before stating that he was strictly forbidden to go searching for Malfoy on his own. After all, Lucius was out to find Harry and it wasn’t because they were old friends. Harry was the very reason why Lucius had been caught the night that Voldemort was vanquished.
If it weren’t for Ron, Harry would have been subordinate and done the very thing that Moody had warned him not to do. Harry had been adamant about finding Malfoy. Ron had been forced to body bind Harry in order to stop him.
Harry smiled at the memory now. Ron had tried to overpower Harry with brute force and that didn’t work. The red headed bloke had the advantage of height, but Harry was thicker in chest because he had been working out. Ron had apologized after cursing Harry, and promised that they would find Malfoy together.
Suddenly remembering the entire spell Hermione had suggested, Harry twisted his wrist and flicked it twice. “Doss.”
Ron stirred in his sleep and groaned as he rolled over in bed. The sun was beating down through the slats in the shades, temporarily blinding him and he sightlessly wiped at the corner of his mouth where drool dribbled down his chin. Tossing his hand out to the night table, he hit the alarm clock and muted the exasperating beeping. Rolling out of the bed, he yawned and stretched his arms up above his head. Walking out to the kitchen, he pulled the refrigerator door open. After rubbing his eyes, he stared into the nearly empty refrigerator. Where was the bloody milk? Closing the door, he checked the counter to see if he had left it out the night before.
A bubbling sound drew his attention to the breakfast nook, where Harry was face first asleep in a bowl of half eaten cereal. “There’s the milk.” Ron grinned. Pulling out a bowl and spoon, he made his way over to the table.
Sitting down, he tried not to laugh at Harry. It really was a pitiful sight. Pulling the milk away from Harry’s hand, he poured himself a bowl of cereal.
Harry stirred and pulled his head out of the bowl. He looked around in bewilderment. Milk dripped down the side of his face and made small dripping sounds as it hit the table.
“Having trouble sleeping?” Ron asked amicably as he began to eat.
Sloppily wiping at his face with his hand, Harry replied, “I didn’t think it would work.”
“What would,” Ron asked as he watched Harry clean himself off.
Harry shook his head, before standing up and placing the bowl in the sink. “It was just something Hermione showed me. I’m going to shower up.”
“Hurry up, we’ve got to get to work early today or Moody will kill us,” Ron replied.
Murmuring a snort of acquiescence over his shoulder, Harry closed the bathroom door behind him.
Once at work the pair settled comfortably into their office cubicles. Judging by the size of the pile growing on his desk, Harry was behind on paperwork. Pulling a few reports off of the stack, Harry began to fill them out.
“I see you’ve finally decided to fill something out,” Moody grumbled as he approached Ron’s and Harry’s cubicles.
Harry glanced up from the sheets replying, “It’s not my favourite part of the job.”
Moody shifted his gaze over to Ron who was writing furiously on a piece of parchment. He was also trying to cover the paper with his other arm. “What do you have there, a love letter?”
Ron’s face turned a crimson red as he stuttered, “It’s none of your business.”
Smiling, Moody shifted his weight from one leg to the other and leaned against the frame of the door. “That’s fine, but tonight the two of you have to go out and survey Azkaban prison. It seems that another prisoner has broken out this morning.”
“Are the Dementors on holiday?” Ron smirked as he began to roll up the parchment.
“They might as well be. If you haven’t noticed, those nitwit protestors for WWR have been fighting for their removal.” Moody gave the boys an angry stare. “And just who do those nitwits think will watch over the criminals in Azkaban? I don’t bloody well plan on it.”
“Ah good ole’ Witches & Wizards Rights supporters,” Harry laughed cynically. “They’ve no idea that these people deserve what their getting. All they know is that it’s inhumane.”
“Right, well, in the meantime we’re to figure out the leak in the security there,” Moody replied. He gave Harry a look before stating, “Be on your best guard boys. I’m in no mood to lose a good soldier. You leave by eight.” With that, Moody turned and left their office.
Harry leaned back in his chair and contemplated the look he had received from Moody. Deciding that he’d better get a move on his paperwork, he leaned back toward his desk. Just as he began to fill out another form, there was a knock on the partition.
As he looked up he was surprised to see Gypsy standing in the doorway. “Oh, hello Gypsy.”
“Good afternoon Harry, did Moody assign you to Azkaban yet?” she asked. She nodded her head at Ron in hello.
“Yes, we’re going to leave by eight tonight for stealth,” Harry answered.
“Oh great, do you two want to have dinner before we go?” she asked.
Ron shook his head. “Sorry, we’ve got plans all ready.”
“We do?” Harry asked baffled. He looked over to Ron for an explanation.
“Hermione sent me an owl this morning asking to meet her for dinner and she asked for you to come as well,” Ron answered. He looked up to Gypsy and shrugged. “Sorry, but we’ll meet you here at eight if you would like.”
“Oh,” she murmured. “That’s fine then. I’ll just see you later.” She disappeared from the doorway.
Narrowing his gaze at Ron, Harry asked, “Did Hermione really ask?”
Ron shrugged his shoulders. “Sort of, but anyway you don’t want to hang out with Gypsy off hours.”
“Why is that?” Harry asked as he got up from his desk. He scanned the hallway to see if anyone was in earshot.
Ron pulled for some excuse. “She’s a co-worker and we don’t want to get involved with her unless it’s work related. I’ve heard some things.”
Harry leaned against his desk, with a brow furrowed. “What kinds of things?”
Ron turned red and uneasily answered, “She’s a harlot.”
Harry would have laughed, if it weren’t for the fact that Ron had just insulted Gypsy. Harry couldn’t understand why anyone would say that about her. Besides, Harry liked her. “Don’t start rumours Ron.”
Ron looked flabbergasted. “Do you think I would ever start something like that? Honestly, Harry, I’m only repeating what I’ve heard.”
“Well don’t,” Harry snapped.
Ron gave Harry a sharp look before getting up and collecting his things. “You’re in a right mood, so I’ll just be going. I’ll see you at the Three Broomsticks at seven.” He left Harry alone with the growing stack of overdue paperwork.
Seven o’clock drew around faster than Harry had expected. He had worked his way through three quarters of the stack of folders in the hours he had been working, and there was no more time to do any more. No matter, the pile would get just as bad again in a week’s time. Pulling on his cloak, he Disapparated to the Three Broomsticks. He found Hermione and Ron’s table, and sat down with a weary sigh.
“Hello, Harry,” Hermione smiled as he pulled his cloak off.
Harry smiled back at her. “Hello, Hermione.”
“Ron told me that the two of you are going out to Azkaban to see how the convicts are escaping,” she commented in a low tone.
“Yeah, that’s two jailbreaks within the month and we’re sure the two are related,” Harry answered.
A waitress came over then and took their orders. Soon after, the conversation picked up again.
“Will you be visiting the Burrow this weekend?” Hermione asked pointedly.
Harry looked over the rim of his butterbeer at her. “I don’t see why not.”
Hermione smiled at him and continued, “Good, because Ginny is coming home this weekend and Molly wants to celebrate her return.”
Ron gave Hermione a piercing glare. She had promised she wouldn’t bring Ginny up tonight. “It’s nothing big,” he managed to say.
“Oh please, I think it’s fascinating. You know she spent nearly a year with Nicholas Flamel apprenticing under him. Isn’t that something?” She looked over to Harry for a response.
“That’s very interesting,” Harry answered stiffly. Thinking of Flamel reminded him of the Sorcerer’s stone, which was the beginning of everything that seemed to go wrong in his life. Even worse, thinking of Ginny made him very uncomfortable since he still had unsettled feelings about her.
“I’ve spoken to her several times already. She told me she’s planning to open an apothecary here in Hogsmeade. She’s talked with the owner of the building next door to the post office. I’m sure she’ll settle there, since there’s a nice garden out front.” Hermione rattled on.
“That’s all very interesting, but our food is coming,” Ron stated bluntly. The waitress was returning with a tray of food.
Hermione gave Ron a withering look. “Well, either way it’ll be nice to have Ginny around again.”
The conversation died off as they all began to eat their meals. Harry was just about finished with his food when Ron and Hermione began to talk again.
“You know, I think we’re really getting a breakthrough on that tracking spell. I’m sure that in a few weeks it will be ready to be used.” Hermione began explaining to Ron the new spell her department was formulating. She worked in the Development of Spells Research department within the ministry.
After taking a swig of his butterbeer, Ron congratulated her. “That’s wonderful Hermione. I’m sure you’ll get it soon enough and imagine the good that will come from it.”
“Yeah, we can finally track the prisoners at Azkaban,” Harry intoned.
Hermione glanced down at her watch and sighed. “It’s nearly eight and you two should get going.”
Ron leaned over and kissed her on the forehead affectionately. “I’ll see you later.”
“Be careful,” she replied to him before kissing him on the cheek. She looked warily over to Harry and repeated, “Be careful.”
“We will,” Harry replied.
After paying for dinner, the two popped back into headquarters. Gypsy was waiting for them in their office. She sat on top of Harry’s desk, bouncing her leg up and down.
“Ready?” Harry asked as he gave her a quick look over.
She nodded and pulled her broom out of the corner she had put it in. Harry and Ron grabbed theirs as well before they took off.
Once off the mainland the three flew at a lower altitude. It was a long journey to Azkaban prison. Looking up into the sky Harry noted the dark rolling clouds they passed under.
“It’s going to rain,” Harry yelled over the whipping wind.
“What?” Ron yelled back as he tried to ride closer to Harry.
Gypsy tightened her hands on the handle of her broom and veered toward Ron. “He said it’s going to rain.”
Just after she had said it, the rain began to fall from the sky. Harry wished he had worn goggles now, because the rain was splashing against his glasses making it impossible to see. Gypsy noticed him wipe at his face and came closer. Pointing her wand dangerously close to his face, she yelled something into the wind that Harry couldn’t quite make out. With a flash, his glasses were dry and reflecting the rain. He murmured his thanks and continued to look forward.
They had miles of ocean ahead of them and Azkaban wasn’t in sight yet. Harry dipped down toward the ferocious waves and began to fly along the surface of the water. With spectacular timing, he would run along the curl of the wave and then fly out and over. He continued to do this rhythmic dance with the waves underneath him.
“What is he doing?” Ron yelled over to Gypsy.
“I think he’s just having fun,” Gypsy yelled back as she wiped her wet hair out of her face. Normally, her hair was a dirty blond colour, but as soaked as she was at the moment, it looked light brown.
Harry flew back up smiling and shook himself out, reminding Ron of Sirius in his Animagus form and making him cry out in alarm as more water rushed into his face. “Quit it Harry!”
“There it is,” Gypsy pointed out. Not too far ahead of them was the small island that housed nearly a hundred deadly and dangerous witches and wizards.
Flying up to the prison, they kept a safe distance away. Harry sat up on his broom and assumed leadership of the trio. “Gypsy, I want you to observe the west wing. Ron, fly east and monitor the north walls. I’ll check out the east wing. If either of you have any problems, send up green sparks.”
Without another word, Harry swooped off to the right and neared the walls of the prison. Already he could feel the cold chill of the Dementors. Concentrating hard, Harry dredged up a good feeling and drifted lower toward the island. The icy darkness worsened with every foot he dropped.
“Think something happy,” he urged himself.
Without warning, Ginny’s face appeared in the back of Harry’s mind. She was smiling at him and held her hand out to him. It was graduation day and Harry could hear everyone congratulating him in the background.
Not realizing it, Harry had drifted down to the walls of the prison. A major crack in the stonework came into view as he peered through the rain. Urging himself forward, he could see that the crack was roughly the size of a small elf door. It was just big enough for a man to get through. Raising his wand to repair the break, Harry was taken by surprise by a Dementor that slipped out. It must have sensed him out there and thought he was a prisoner escaping.
The black feeling of despair consumed Harry faster than he had expected. Losing hold of his broom, he plummeted toward the rocky cliff of the island. Without thinking, Harry sent a green flare into the sky and then pointed his wand at the Dementor that was stalking him.
“Expecto Patronum!” he yelled into the whipping rain and wind.
A silvery wisp slipped out of his wand and Harry knew it wasn’t enough. Trying to pull back the memory of Ginny congratulating him, he repeated the spell and this time the full figure of a stag erupted from the end of his wand.
The Dementor cried out and retreated. Harry knew that wasn’t the end of it and at least three more would appear within moments. Rolling onto his side, Harry spotted his broom a few yards away. It was precariously balanced on a rock over the water. Forcing himself up, Harry made a run for the broom.
Just as he had predicted, another three Dementors appeared and the black sinking feeling overwhelmed him once more. The Dementors descended upon him and Harry fell just a foot from his broom, barely conscious from their draining effects
“Expecto Patronum!” A voice yelled a few feet away, but Harry couldn’t see Ron. All he saw was a large lion shooting toward him.
The dark feeling that had washed over him mere seconds ago was gone and Harry could breathe again. He reached for his broom and pulled it towards himself. He mounted and weakly navigated away from the prison.
“Harry, are you all right?” Gypsy cried out as she darted toward him. Reaching out, she grabbed the handle of his broom and pulled him over toward her. “You’re bleeding,” she gasped as she noticed the tear in his robes.
“There’s a hole in the east wall,” Harry replied shakily.
Gypsy shook her head. “Don’t worry about that, Ron will take care of it.” She looked down at Ron who was fighting back the three Dementors that had pursued Harry. She called out to him, “There’s a crack in the wall down there!”
Ron nodded his head in acquiescence before diving down toward the prison walls. With a flick of his wand the wall was repaired and he rejoined Harry and Gypsy in the air.
“Is he all right?” Ron asked.
“He’s bleeding heavily, but I think he’ll be fine,” Gypsy answered.
Harry numbly took hold of his broomstick and steered away from her. “I can make it back.”
Gypsy nodded and let go of his broom. Ron flew up on his left side and gave him a look over.
“Let’s get back before it begins to thunder,” Harry stated firmly.