This was originally written for the takingitinturns community on LiveJournal.
"And what do you have planned for the night, Ginny?" burbled Luna as we slipped down past the roots of the Whomping Willow and into the passage to Harry's house.
"Don't know." I shivered; it was cool in the tunnel, but the place also gave me the collywobbles.
"Oh, how nice," sighed Luna, lighting her wand. "That probably means lots of sex."
I smiled, because that was Luna, but it was mostly habit. Yeah, sex was probably on the menu, and that was sure to be nice. But what else? What was Harry up to? In the two months since we'd got engaged, it was almost as if we'd spent less time together, instead of more. A lot of that was my NEWTs, of course, and try-outs for the Harpies, which had been amazing.
But now I only had my end-of-year exams, which were always a joke for seventh-years. On Friday, I'd be boarding the Hogwarts Express for the very last time. I was due to start with the Harpies the following Monday—and with the on-going threats by the remnants of the blood-purity fanatics against teams that allowed Muggle-born players (like Harpies legend Gwenog Jones), the Ministry had insisted that all of the training camps be closed, and under tight security. Harry and I weren't going to be seeing much of each other for the next few months. I would have thought that he'd have been as desperate to spend time with me as I was with him. But no: most nights for the previous two weeks, he'd begged off, telling me not to come out to the Shrieking Shack, where we'd been happily shagging in every renovated room in the place for months.
Not that night, though. At dinner that night, as I'd made my way out of the Great Hall past the Auror Cadet table that had been set up by the door, I'd leaned down to kiss him, as I did most meals. Only I may have whispered in his ear several really intriguing things that I wanted to try with him that night, and I might have told him that rope was involved, and I may very well have suggested that if he weren't there when I arrived, he was the one who was going to spend the whole night trussed up like a Christmas goose. He'd shivered and spluttered that that sounded lovely, and that he had something that he needed to finish that night, but he thought he'd be able to be at the Shack by no later than nine that evening.
It was only just gone eight as Luna and I climbed up into the basement of the no-longer Shrieking Shack. Breathing more freely now that we'd cleared the tunnel—I always hated being underground; can you blame me?—I climbed the stairs up to the butler's pantry. "Yeah. Sex. If he's a good boy, I'm going to let him tie me up."
"Oh?" Luna was beaming as we entered the kitchen. "Rolf likes that too. Or rather, he likes to tie me up. I don't know whether he would enjoy tying you up. I shall have to ask him."
I laughed. "You do that!"
"And if Harry is not a good boy?"
"Ah," I answered with a grin, "then I'll have to tie him up."
"Yes. I suppose so." Luna cocked her head. "I must say, however, that Rolf likes that even more than when he gets to tie me up. He is rather fond of being spanked, too, especially if I'm—"
"Luna!" Even in my state of preoccupation, I found myself blushing and laughing. "What happened to my innocent friend!"
She considered very seriously before answering, "I did a lot of research." Then she flashed a blissful smile. "Have fun with the bondage! Oh, and cast Glissare on the ropes. It is just as much fun but does not chafe anywhere nearly as much."
I smiled back, even as my mind continued to worry at Harry's evasions and disappearances. "I'll keep that in mind. Have fun with Rolf." He was waiting for her at the Three Broomsticks. "And be here before six; we don't want to get caught sneaking back in."
"No. It helps that I won't be sleeping at all." She spun and skipped toward the front door and then stopped, plucking something from the door handle. "Acromantula web. How interesting. I wonder what Harry has been doing in the forest."
"Me too," I muttered. The forest?
"No doubt he will explain when he meets you. Have fun!" Luna flitted through the door, leaving the shred of spider silk to waft slowly to the floor.
"No doubt." Luna was already gone. I walked over and picked up the sticky silk; it was matted with dust and leaves. What the hell? Shrugging off my rucksack, I looked about, trying to see any other signs of where Harry might be, of what he might be up to.
Another girl—of course that had been the first thought that my treacherous mind had offered up when he started begging off. Someone less scrawny, maybe, with a more even temper. Bigger tits. Susan? No. Like Harry, she was too busy training to be an Auror, and besides, she was chasing after Terry Boot. Certainly not Hermione, who was down in London quietly cohabiting with my brother (or at least, secretly cohabiting—I couldn't imagine those two doing anything quietly). If it were Luna, he'd have been here by now, and besides, Luna would have told me. She told me everything. Whether I wanted to hear it or not.
Maybe Romilda Vane had got up to her old tricks again. Only I knew for a fact that Harry never ate or drank anything that she'd so much as glanced at without testing it first for traces of magic.
I dropped the spider silk into the rubbish, cast a nostalgic glance at the table, on and under which we had had such fun in days gone by, grabbed my rucksack and stomped up the stairs toward the bedroom. If we were going to play games, I needed to get myself into a better mood, and putting on pretty silken underthings always helped my mood tremendously.
They usually helped put Harry to rights too, for that matter.
I usually have a sense of a room before I enter it. Mum calls it my knack—I call it a survival skill learned from growing up with way too many brothers in way too small a house. I'd always been able to get a feel for what was on the other side of any door.
Not pausing at the door, I entered the master bedroom—I thought of it, very quietly, as our bedroom, though I still spent more nights in my four-poster up in Gryffindor Tower, especially during the previous two weeks. It was empty and quiet, but I knew without knowing why that there was something off as soon as I set foot in the room. I dropped my rucksack to the floor, silky underthings forgotten, and looked about, trying to see what it was that had my pulse racing.
Everything was as neat as a pin—Kreacher always came up from Grimmauld Place to neaten up on school days. The bed was perfectly made, with a white rose in a bud vase on the nightstand. Turning to the wardrobe, I opened the door: Harry's robes were hanging just where they should; the few extras that I'd stowed there were demurely tucked at the back, away from the prying eyes of visiting mothers and headmistresses. Harry's heavy boots were in their place; a tuft of Acromantula silk glimmered on one of the laces.
Chewing on my lip, I meandered around the room. What had set my whiskers vibrating? I walked over to the bed and sat, trying to see what it was that had set me off.
Shaking my head, I started to undo my tie. Clearly I had let my imagination run away with me. Time to get into my silkies in order to be ready for Harry—whether as his defenseless maiden or as his all-powerful mistress remained to be seen.
I undid the top few buttons of my school shirt and threw my tie around the corner post at the head of the bed…
That's when I noticed: the secret compartment in the post was open. I felt inside, and was annoyed to find that it was empty.
Bugger, I thought.
That compartment was one that Harry had shown me once—only once. The afternoon when we first made love, right there on that bed. We'd both been lying there—clinging to each other, to be honest—and he'd asked, "Can I show you something?"
I said something stupid along the lines of, "I thought you already had."
He grinned and we snogged for a bit, and then he said, "You remember the… the wand?"
"The, you know, the Elder Wand."
For a moment I thought that we were talking "The Tale of the Three Brothers," but then I remembered standing in that circle, the morning of the battle, my heart in my mouth, clutching Luna's hand, listening to Harry talk about Voldemort's wand—Dumbledore's wand. Harry's wand. I nodded.
"Well," he said, "I haven't figured out what to do with it yet—how to hide it so that it can't ever hurt anyone again."
I knew that Ron had tried to talk him out of hiding it or destroying it, but I understood why Harry would want to make sure that the Death Stick would never tempt another Dark Lord.
"So," he said, "I've hidden it here." He tapped the corner post three times with his own holly wand and the door had sprung open, revealing the long, pale wand that had caused so much trouble over the centuries. "I… I just thought I should tell you. I haven't told anyone else—not even Ron or Hermione. But someone else should know, in case something happens…."
"Nothing's going to happen, Harry," I said, slamming the little door shut and wrapping myself around him. "That's all done with. No more."
And we'd made love again, and I hadn't given the Elder Wand another thought.
Now it was missing.
What had happened? Had Harry taken it out to the woods to bury it? Had someone broken into the Shrieking Shack and stolen it?
I found that I was standing, my wand in my hand, with no idea how I'd got there.
Where can he be? I thought, looking about frantically. I pulled open the nightstand drawer.
Empty. The Marauder's Map was gone.
Bugger. Bugger. Bugger.
I started to stride toward the door—I figured that if he had the Map, he must be at Hogwarts—when a bright apparition blocked my way: Harry's Patronus, its antlers seeming to fill that whole side of the room. "I need help, Ginny," it said in Harry's voice. "I'm in the Chamber."
I ran through the stag and was back in the tunnel before it occurred to me to think that the Chamber of Secrets was the last place in the world that I ever wanted to be again.