The Girl in the Tower Chap 17

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Part 3: The Lion and the Tempest

~Chapter Seventeen: The Infinite Sadness~

Harry smiled when he awoke. His eyes remained closed, his dream-fuzzy mind lingering on the night he’d spent with Sara. It had been better that he’d ever imagined, sweet and perfect and emotionally intense. He felt closer to her now, closer on a different level, intimate, entwined and committed. “Sara?” he whispered and snaked his hand across the bed, feeling for her sleeping form in the dimness of dawn. Soft gray light filtered in through the doors as birds chirped in the trees around the lake. He opened his eyes to find the bed empty, his hand resting where she used to be.

A foreboding crept up his spine and he knew she was gone. As he pulled himself up and went for his glasses, a cold iron hand wrapped around his heart.“Sara?”he called to the empty room. His echoing voice met with no reply.

Harry swallowed hard as he pulled on his pajamas and got to his feet. He looked through the doors but didn’t see her on the roof. His second guess was the bathroom, though he didn’t hear the shower running and checked the kitchen on the way, hoping she was making tea.

She wasn’t.

He tried the dressing room next, another of her favorite places, but found it still and lifeless, empty, with most of her things packed in huge suitcases, like Aunt Marge had used, all piled in the middle of the room.

But then they weren’t.

They were gone. Every last one of them.

Harry’s breath caught in his throat as panic gripped him and he ran from the room, threw open the doors and hurried across the roof. “Sara?!” he yelled.“SARA!”

He went to the wall and looked down at the grounds - around the lake - the Quidditch Pitch in the distance, silent and undisturbed. There was no movement anywhere. Even the birds had gone silent.

Harry went back inside. His arms hung at his sides, shoulders slumped. His expression grew despondent, overwhelmed by misery and desperate for someone to tell him it was all a joke. She’d brought her things down to the train and he was just being paranoid. He clung to this idea, desperate for a single thread of hope. Of the fact that she was gone, he was certain.

Harry found his father’s watch where he’d left it on the nightstand, slipped it on, then stood staring down at the unmade bed, wondering what to do. He had to dosomething, after all. Tell Dumbledore. Andfindher.

His eyes happened upon the letter, propped against the candle by her side of the bed. A lavender envelope set atop a larger package, wrapped with brown paper. Harry rounded the bed, took the purple letter in his hands and lowered himself to the coverlet.

Dear Harry,

I write this in the dark and have only a fleeting moment. You’re asleep right now and Ifear you’ll awake to find me here, dressed for a night of flight. If you think I’m a coward, you’re right, but I have my reasons. Escaping is simply something I must do. I’m not leaving you, Harry. Not really.

You once said you would forgive me anything. Can you really? Can you forgive me this? Would you really wait forever? I’m taking my chances, hoping words spoken in love can stand the test of time and I wear the promise you made me on my finger, where it became my promise, too.

I know your first reaction will be to find me, as that’s exactly what I would do if I woke and found you gone. Please, Harry, do not come after me. I need to be alone and deal with things in my own way. I ask you to trust me.

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