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Chapter Twenty-Three

In a small stronghold in the plains south of Prague, Harry and Ginny sat in their lonely cell day in and day out.  Their life in captivity was no better than that of their friends.  In some respects, it was worse.  They did have each other for company, which was a great comfort to them.  They also didn't have to endure the hard labour or atrocious sights of a concentration camp.  They did, however, have to endure something worse.  Physical and mental torture.  From the first kick the Dark Lord sent Harry's way, their lives had been going gradually downhill.  Each had to put up with a different type of punishment, though, and for different reasons.

Harry, being the main thorn in Grindelwald's side, was subjected to torture carried out, for obvious reasons, by Muggle methods.  The pain had been caused by repeated kicking, punching and cutting.  Grindelwald's followers were merciless, taking our all of their rage on the sixteen year old boy.  As he sat in the cell in the middle of April, he was seriously malnourished, and sported substantial injuries.  Four of his ribs were broken, and had been for weeks.  He had a dislocated collar bone, which his tormentors took great pleasure in squeezing, causing him to black out in pain.  His body has riddled with burns and knife cuts, some half healed, some fresh and bleeding.  The worst, though, was an area on his back where he had first been whipped, and then had large strips of skin peeled off.  It hurt the most out of everything, as the damp, moist cell had made the wound infected.  He couldn't bear to lie on his back, and his broken ribs hindered him from getting comfortable on his front.

Ginny hadn't been affected as badly physically.  She was seriously malnourished and had a fever that had Harry rather concerned, but other than that she was fairly unharmed.  For her, Grindelwald had decided on a different sort of torture.  Every day, she was chained to the wall, held upright, with her head in an iron Muggle contraption aimed at keeping her from looking in any direction but forwards.  She would then have to witness Harry's torture, unable to look away and unable to stop it.  She did have one option, though.  When Grindelwald had realised Harry wasn't going to tell him anything about the Order, or join his forces, he had made an offer to Ginny.  If she told him everything she knew about the opposition, such as their strengths and weaknesses, he would stop having Harry tortured.  She was faced with the anguish of deciding between helping her friend, and keeping the Order's secrets.  She knew she could tell them, despite the spell Harry had placed on everyone to prevent leaks, if she could use magic for a minute to break the spell.  However, when she tried to tell them that, they rightly assumed that she would take the opportunity to escape.  

Every night, when they were left alone, Harry would tell Ginny to hold on, not to bow to their wishes, no matter what.  A few times she had pleaded with him to allow her to save him from the endless pain, but every time he told her he was fine, and how disappointed he would be if she gave in to them.  He told her he wasn't worth it.  She disagreed, but out of respect for him agreed to remain silent.

One night, after a particularly bad beating, Harry had been delirious for several hours.  When his mind finally cleared, he looked up at Ginny, who was sitting at his head, brushing his battered cheek with her soft hand.  He smiled up at her, and the corners of her mouth twitched.

“ Hey.”

“ Hey.  How long have I been out?”

“ A few hours, from what I can gather.  Simbi and Nirah went out hunting.  They promised to try and bring us another apple while they're in the garden.”

Over the last few weeks, the two snakes had been invaluable as spies.  They had given the captives a fair idea of the overall layout of the complex from their exploration, which Harry and Ginny had committed to memory incase they ever got the chance to escape.  They figured they could get out quicker if they knew where they were going.

“ Harry, I'm scared.”

“ I know, Gin, but we have to be strong.  I'm sure Dumbledore will find us.”

“ Will the McGonagalls be able to help at all?  They're spies; surely they know where the base is.”

“ They don't.  Grindelwald is very conscious of safety.  Only his inner circle knows where this place is.  From what Janus and Julianne told me before the battle, they receive an owl 24 hours in advance telling where the meeting will be.  It's in a different place every time, so he can never be traced back to his headquarters.”

“ So, there's no hope there.  I wonder how `Mione and Ron are getting on.”

“ I'm sure they're fine…”

“ Harry, they're in a Polish concentration camp, how can you say that they'll be fine.”

“ Well, they can't be any worse off than us.  Even if they're dead, they're in a better position.”

“ Don't say that, Harry.”

“ Sorry.”

Harry was broken off by a coughing fit.  Since the last beating, Harry felt as if another rib had been broken.  He had been having trouble breathing, and as he coughed, blood started to appear on his hand.  Looking down for a minute at the sight, he then looked up into Ginny's scared eyes.

“ Don't you leave me, Harry.  You're the only thing keeping me going.  If you die, I'll be all alone.  I can't live with that.  Please, for me, hold on.  We're going to get out of here, you know.  We'll see Minh and Eustace, and go back to Hogwarts and the elven world.  You still haven't taken me there.  Don't give up hope, Harry.  Stay with me.  We'll be going home, too.  Back to our own time, where you can see Sirius and Remus, and all the Weasleys…”

“ Ginny, I can't take much more of this…”


Harry closed his eyes and let his head rest against the cold stone floor.  The next thing he knew, soft lips were pressing on his.  His eyes flew open and he looked up into the emotional face of his redheaded companion.

“ You can't leave me, Harry.  I love you too much to let you go.”

Harry was shocked by her declaration.  He knew Ginny used to have a crush on him, but he never realised that it went this far.  He thought about his feelings for his best friend's sister before giving his reply.

“ Ginny, I can't right now.  I have too much on my mind, and I'm just getting over `Tea.  Please don't do this to me.”

Ginny immediately began to blush, and tears filled her eyes.  Harry grabbed her hand and pulled her next to him as she started to get up.  He turned to face her as best he could, cupping her chin and forcing her eyes to meet his.

“ I'm not rejecting you, Gin.  What you said…it means a lot, it really does.  I have…feelings for you, too.  But I'm still mourning, and I'm not quite ready to move on.  If you can wait, I'm sure we could be together in the future.”

“ Oh, Harry, I understand.  I'd wait a thousand years for you, and it would be worth every minute.  I love you, and I always will.  If you need time, I'll give you as long as you need.”

“ Thank you, Gin.”

Harry closed his eyes, and wrapped his arms around the gaunt girl, pulling her close and taking comfort in her presence.


May 20th 1944 was officially the worst day in Harry Potter's life.  The guards had come in at 6am to find the pair in a comforting embrace.  Unfortunately, Grindelwald was there personally to witness the attempts to break the Boy-Who-Lived.  With a kick to his bruised ribcage, Harry was pulled from the comfort of oblivion to be faced with the grinning face of the Dark Lord.

“ Well, well, it would appear our dear Mr. Evans has a weakness.  Take the girl away.”

Two of his followers stepped forward and pulled the sleeping girl roughly from Harry's embrace.  She woke up immediately and reached out to the suffering boy, but he was just too far away.

“ Take her to another cell.  Let's see if a period of separation can break either of them.”

Ginny was dragged kicking and screaming out of the room and down the corridor, her yells fading to silence as the heavy door of Harry's cell was once again closed.  The Dark Lord looked down at the distressed boy, a smirk on his face.

“ I see you've grown rather fond of her.  I'll make you an offer.  I'll leave you alone for one week, give you chance to think.  Then I'll come back and give you a choice.  Unless you want to take me up on my offer right now, that is.  All I want is your loyalty.  You are a powerful Dark wizard, Harry.  You could be great, if only you will join me.”

“ Never,” came the wheezing reply from the injured boy.

“ So be it.  Happy healing, Mr. Evans.  I'll see you in a week.”

With that the wizards departed, leaving Harry alone in the empty cell, tears streaming from his eyes.

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