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com LEGACIES: The Grim by The Dark Lord Nedved

View Online Format: Novel Chapters: 30 Word Count: 178,079 Status: COMPLETED Rating: Mature Warnings: Strong Language, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Strong Violence, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme Genres: Romance, Action, Angst Characters: Draco, Ginny, Harry, Cho, Dumbledore, Hermione, James, Neville, OC, Oliver Wood, Remus Lupin, Ron, Snape, Fred/George, Tonks, Luna, Seamus, Pansy Pairings: Harry/Hermione First Published: 04/27/2005 Last Chapter: 02/12/2006 Last Updated: 02/12/2006 Summary: Every few millenia, there will be select individuals that put a mark on the course of history. This is the ongoing tale of the Magi who was prophesized to have the Power the Dark Lord knows not. Set in the Seventh year, Harry Potter is no longer "The Boy Who Lived", he is becoming a living legend. Continues from The Sword of Gryffindor. FINAL CHAPTER 30 Posted 08-02-2006!!

Chapter 1: Seventeen [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

CHAPTER 1: Seventeen ** The sun was in its mid afternoon glory and the home crowd was loving every moment of Madrid s record breaking heat wave. The atmosphere was intimidating, the air thick with the sort of fervor only national pride could bring.

Espaa! ... Espaa! ... ESPAA! England was getting a solid thumping, and the home supporters were reveling in the stands, the wine was flowing, the women were dancing vigorously to the Latin beat of the drums. Most of the male wizards had abandoned any sense of decorum, and were arm in arm around the shoulders, jumping in time to the chanting of the capacity filled stadium. The youngest player on the losing side didn t need one of Trelawny s cryptic premonitions to realize that things were not looking good. Oliver Wood was crumbling under the constant pressure. Amy and Cho weren t even getting close to the Spanish Goalkeeper and what in bloody hell were those beaters doing anyway? Where was the defense? Damn! And here he thought playing for Lionheart was fast paced. This was unbelievable! Goddamit Potter! You better save our asses, and better do it soon, YOU HEAR ME!? We re getting creamed- WATCH OUT! Oliver Wood- their captain; and inspirational keeper- screamed, pointing behind him. Harry didn t need to be told twice. Without hesitation he let himself fall over to his right, releasing his grip on the broom handle. Locking his legs at the ankles, he went into the Daredevil Sloth Roll as not one, but two bludgers zipped past him, one from eleven o clock and the other from nine o clock,one taking a big chunk out of his cape as it narrowly missed his back. Harry could feel the tug on his English Quidditch Robes, and was extremely happy they were top drawer; any other uniform would have dragged him along with that bludger. As he heard the English faithful whoop at his little bit of acrobatics, the Spanish commentator babbled away in high speed gibberish: ..Enrique pasa el quaffel a Ramon, Ramon tira muy rapido- regresalo a Enrique- Enrique pasa a Chavez- Chavez carrerarse debajo de los beaters de la Inglaterra- Torce a la derecha! Ingleses lo perseguin !! As the quaffle jumped from one red-and gold clad player to another, the Spaniards began to sing as their home team sliced and diced through the comparatively poor English defense. ..OL, OL~ OL~ OL ~! Harry was hard enough time seeing the snitch as it was, a bludger had gotten him a bit earlier, and his right cheekbone was swollen almost double in size. The numbing pain would be insignificant compared to what he would feel if they lost this game, against this opponent, on especially this day. They were so close! Today had started off so well .

** Wake up mate! You ve got a huge day today. C mon- c mon, grab your gear, we ve got to hurry!

Ron! Could you be any more immature? It s barely eight o clock, and they had practice all of yesterday! He s tired! Hermione, that was yesterday. This is today. He has to be there for two, and a match to play at four! Which means- he has only six hours to floo over to the stadium and Which means, Hermione cut in, He has more than enough time. Now if you ll excuse me, I think my boyfriend deserves a kiss. Aw come off it! Ron lamented, watching Hermione step into the bedroom. Harry was seemingly still sound asleep, buried beneath thick blankets. Hermione crawled on top of the bed. Quidditch is more important! And at least wait until I leave for crying out loud! Ron added as he grumbled out of the room, a reluctant grin on his face. After all that his mate has been through, a little pampering was probably the best thing for him right now. But damn, today was the semi-finals! And the two top seeds were going at it! Ron took out the squad list. He frowned at the almost perfect statistics the opposition had. Hah! No one was better than Harry. Not even Vicky. So this Spaniard- Enrique Vasquez- humph. He had nothing on England s Lions. He ll see. When he overheard a mixture of girlish laughter and a deeper chuckle of a masculine voice he almost retched in disgust. It was still strange to see or hear them- make out. Putting that aside; he smiled- today s your day Harry, make the most of it. Hermione knew he was awake, and just pretending to be sleeping. With a flourish Hermione pounced on the figure underneath the covers. She couldn t have wished for a better response when Harry The Boy Who Lived Potter screamed like a little girl. Ow! It s a leg y know? And you re knee is right on it! I know. Hermione giggled. She crawled on top of him, the thick blankets still between them. Harry pulled it high up over his head, making it difficult for Hermione to see him. Hermione smacked his bottom with a solid right palm, and Harry had no choice but to retaliate. Whipping off the cover, he wrapped her up in it, hugging her close. He pinned her against his bed in Sirius old room, and smiled into her eyes. Is that the sort of treatment I get on my birthday? he joked, rubbing his backside. I thought that was for when I was being naughty. Hermione blushed. She had remembered the one and only time she hit him like that before, and at that moment they were being very naughty indeed. Maybe you were. But I wanted to wake you. It s a very important matter. Harry s happy face fell a bit, it was evident that he was very nervous. Spain is the toughest under twenty-one squad on paper, and so far, they demolished Scotland, Russia, and even Bulgaria by whopping margins. And he knew personally that Victor Krum couldn t make the difference on the day. They were dominant, and seemingly, unstoppable. His teammates were to meet and depart for the Spanish Quidditch stadium this afternoon. Playing against them would be their biggest game, and the toughest. They were nigh

invincible. And it was rumored when they were on home turf- utterly merciless. Yeah- the gameafraid. Harry said softly. He had to admit, he was kind of

No, it s nothing about quidditch, she said softly. She smiled softly, and wrapped her hands around his neck. With a tut-tut, she tenderly brushed aside the lock of hair that always managed to obscure his left eye. Pulling his head low to hers, she gave him a sweet kiss- giving him her all in that intimate gesture. Happy Birthday, Harry. At that moment, Harry didn t think he could have wished for a better gift than being loved by the girl in his arms.

** That was earlier. At this present moment, he wished he could have like maybe one hundred and fifty more points for his team, and maybe some sort of repellant charm on Oliver s hoops because it felt that every time Spain got the quaffle, it was an automatic goal. And the new and improved international Snitches were a tad bit faster, and his coach just so happened to remember that minor detail - just before their first game against Iceland, also; Harry himself realized only after nearly two hours of searching -that the new Golden Snitch had the ability to hide from their pursuers- a.k.a. the Sneaky Snitch as the EQA* affectionately named their experimental prototype. *European Quidditch Association Encourages more team effort my ass! Harry swore aloud as he remembered the explanation given to the players on such short notice. He had to admit a lot of the work now centered around the chasers keeping a high scoring rate, and not depending on star seekers to finish the game too early. Please the crowds they said. Make some more money for the confectionary stands and vendors. Harry hauled himself right side up on his broom. He harrumphed loudly as he resumed his hunting. In the corner of his eye he saw a huge Gryffindor flag in the crowd amongst the England supporters in the guests half of the stands, and a very energetic red haired boy thumping the drums in time to the chanting. Ron Weasley had his face painted white, with a huge red cross coming down the center of his nose and across his cheeks, screaming as he led the chorus: LI- ONS!! LI- ONS!! LIONS!! LIONS!!

Harry grinned, but as he zoomed past something caught his eye- it was Hermione, and she had on Luna s Lion Hat. That was unexpected at least, but what was more alarming was what she was wearing. It was international quidditch gear- And not just any quidditch gear . He had seen her wear that once before- after all it belonged to him- it was the same uniform she fought in at the battle of King s Crown. And with that realization -another flashback raced through his memory, and once again he felt that

strange feeling of looking through someone else s eyes. But this time, he was looking at the proud looming figure of Lord Voldemort: You are powerful so great Potter knew what he had Divine Summoner, indeed, my dear. If I had only known your abilities were seems worthless in comparison. That fool Dumbledore never right under his nose. A pity. Next time I encounter a I would be prepared. Farewell young one .

The bright green light of the killing curse flashed behind his eyes, and Harry immediately snapped out of that intense dream- only to realize he was going to crash directly into the seventh row of the stands. FUCK! He was going so fast- he had to be quick- Yanking back as hard as possible, he taxed the braking charm for all its worth as he braced for the upcoming impact. The people had scattered away from the crash point- most of them trampling over each other to get out of the way but it was a tough break for him. He wasn t going to stop in time! Thinking lightning fast, he decided he would just have to burst through the wooden bleachers. With a muttered curse under his breath, his eyes blazed afire and he summoned the Infernus Inciendo! The benches exploded into shards of wood and Harry braced himself as he crashed headfirst into the flames. *************** CHOQUE! The spaniard commentator screamed. The Spaniards were the first to react, they heard collision and usually at these high speeds, a collision was pretty nasty. POTTER no no no no, no -Urgente- Los Medicos!! he cried. The crowd had gone silent after a loud oooh , waiting to see what had really happened. The referee blasted his whistle, and the game suddenly came to a halt, everyone was looking in the direction of the crowd disturbance Hermione!! Holy ssshii- Ron screamed, pointing at the smoldering hole in the bleachers. Did you see that? He asked frantically. Hermione did not answer him- she was stuck in some sort of trance. The outrageous lion hat had fallen off when she sprung to her feet- Harry was too good of a flier to crash. But as she said it- she realized that the reason why he crashed because he had seen her- and something about her had distracted him. And feeling a darker presence in her mind, she knew exactly what made him lose concentration. Voldemort. Out of nowhere, she had felt it, the distinct memory of him using the Avada Kedavra curse on her- during their occlumency battle. And if that s what Harry had feltHermione? Hermione! Did you just see that? Harry exploded into the stands! We ve got to see if he s okay! Ron screamed. Colin Creevey and his brother were also nearby, but only Dennis was not at all worried about it. He threw some more popcorn into his mouth. Calm down. He s tough. Probably the most powerful wizard ever. He said nonchalantly, a faint smile on his lips. Ron shot a sideways glance at

him. Quit the hero worship, Dennis- can t you see he s hurt? Ron said offhandedly. Blimey, sometimes I think you young uns believe he s superman or something Dennis said nothing, but simply leaned back in his chair, slurping noisily on his guards enough so why drink. No need to get all worked up. He saw what he did to those on his last day at Hogwarts. And he saw him take out a dude strong to challenge Dumbledore. Harry was the man. Granger s not worriedare you? he countered. Look- he pointed at her.

Ron looked over to his best friend: Dennis was right. There was a strange expression on her face, but it wasn t worry. It was more like- confusion. Hermione? You okay? He knows, ********** Harry was thrown off the broomstick as he crashed through framing of the rafters. He fell hard- rolling numerous times before he finally extinguished himself of the fire. His body was unscathed from his own Infernus flames, but his uniform was burnt black. As he lay there in a heap, coughing up ash and dirt; Harry swore loudly- Christ that hurt. Trying to figure out what was causing that piercing sensation in his left arm Harry looked down at himself. UGH- that s not a pretty sight. Pulling out a particularly sharp piece of wood out of his forearm was definitely something in his don t do this at home books. It needed attention, but right now, he couldn t abandon his team. Taking a second to catch himselfhe took hold and bit down hard on his padded glove- then yanked hard. Some teeth-marks and a brand-new wound later- Harry spent a second to thank the higher power that was manipulating the tides of chance and writing his personal diary of fate- even though they really couldn t give him a break. Having a horrible vision during his biggest quidditch match ever was bad. Crashing into those benches at full speed was also very bad. Surviving that crash with only a nasty cut was good. His broomstick was also perfectly fine- that was also good. Harry grinned in his classic triumphant smile. He coughed again, hard. Sometimes, he believed that the curse scar on his forehead was something more than just a killing spell gone horribly wrong, it really was some sort of bad luck/ good luck talisman. All of these years, the ridiculous risks he took, the scandalous escapades he embarked on, the numerous battles he fought through and lived to tell the tale- if a quidditch accident had killed him, he would never rest peacefully. Laughing at the weirdness of it all; he had one thing to thank whoever was looking out for him for- at least he could still play. Harry got up quickly, brushed off the ash and dust of his uniform, and grabbed his broomstick. In a fluid movement he mounted and darted back out unto the pitch. ********** He knows ? Knows what? go mental this time? Ron asked, completely baffled. Did she really She said simply. Ron was now even more confused.

About me. About Voldemort- about- arhg- forget about it! She grumbled, shaking her head. Ron was the last person to understand anything sometimes . But even so, if there was one thing he could be, it was persistent. V-Voldemort? Ron began to panic now. couldn t finish, his tongue was tied. Yes, Voldemort. We dueled- and and... Ron s face was turning a deathly You- Volde- Volde-..? he

Dueled? WHEN? WHERE? HOW? HE S DEAD! white.

That night we dueled on the psychic plane you see...it was the Occlumency- she began to explain to him. At the same time, something was happening down at the other end of the stadium. The referee was going to investigate the situation when a blur of red, white and brown zipped out of the hole like a bee out of a hive. Harry zoomed back out into the field, only to realize that everyone else was down at the crash siteobviously checking to see what happened to him. When the English faithful saw Harry emerge, a loud cheer went up and Dennis Creevey gave a relieved Ron a smug look. I told you he wouldhe began. Ron cut him off.

Keep it, junior. I m watching the game. He replied, dismissing any further conversation on how worried he was for Harry. But Dennis had a point- he chuckled to himself, even though it was highly embarrassing to show such concern. Argh! His mother was rubbing off on him. He should ve known Harry wouldn t let something as trivial as a high- speed, head-on crash into the burning stands at the biggest quidditch match for the summer stop him. For Harry, it was just another day at the office. Ron sat back down, and folded his arms- completely forgetting that Hermione was in a state, sitting numbly in the chair on his right. Ron forgot about the previous topic of conversation and was now re-absorbed into the game. Come on lads! Get a move on- we ve got a game to win! ************** Kenna Rossilini was sitting quietly in the stands, looking affectionately upwards at England s seeker. She hardly knew anything about quidditch, except that it looked very dangerous. In fact, she really did not want to come, but she had missed seeing him, so she eventually came along. It was interesting, at least, and very fast paced. But- all these men, sweaty men, were assaulting her senses. She turned up her nose at the pot-bellied streaker who just ran past the lowest tier, holding Spain s flag as a cape around his shoulders. She did laugh when a woman (who she assumed was his wife) chased him down and transfigured him into a huge bullfrog. Did you see that? Very funny- it was! to her. she nudged the person sitting next

I m watching the game, came the short reply, direct, and with an air of hateful arrogance.

Oh lighten it, you are so serious now of these days offhandedly. He appeared not to have even heard her.

Kenna said

It s lighten up and maybe you ll be serious too if you were locked up in Azkaban and left to rot ... Draco? Is something wrong? She asked. Draco was the only person wearing black today, and in full mage s cloak as well. Kenna thought he might be really insane. It was unbearably hot. She was wearing shorts and a daring red top, a top- she noticed- had the desired effect on most of the male specimens around, and maybe one or two of the women as well. But to be in a thick hood and cloak in this heat was a bit overboard. When he suddenly leaned forward with rapt interest she looked to see what had gotten his attention. What- what is it? had stopped. she asked. Looking in the sky, she noticed the players

Potter has gone and crashed himself into the stands. He smirked, but it was not that which captured his fancy. Something else had bothered him. It was the mudblood .it felt as if she was reaching out and trying to contact himWow! Is that where he crashed? I hope he is OK ! she pointed at where the fire that had erupted. Draco cursed under his breath. So much for blood is thicker than water . You ve got strange look- you feeling okay? she enquired. Ever since the incident with the train he was somehow feeling a strange presence sometimes peep in his head at random intervals. He was sure it had something to do with Hermione. Draco had a very serious expression under that hood for a fraction of a section, and Kenna had spotted it. In a flash it was gone and Draco laughed as he saw the referee use a water spell to douse the flames. Using the fire to weaken the stands was a good idea. Draco mused to himself. Once again he turned serious. But he was distracted by something else. I ve seen this sort of thing happen beforeWhat sort of thing? she probed. Draco leaned back and laced his fingers behind his head, talking indirectly to her. When he crashes during a quidditch game- it s either one of two things. Dementors are tickling in his knickers, or something serious just happened. C mon, he said to her, grabbing her by the elbow as he got up. What is this about? along. she said, reluctantly allowing herself to be dragged

Something happened to Granger. Her? That bitch! How do you know that?! What do you have to do with her?! she demanded. Draco did not even bother answering. Sometimes Kenna thought she could control him like all the other blokes. Her little tricks would not work on him. He looked down at his leg. The last time he saw her, his leg was broken in many places. The last time he saw her, she had delved into his mind, and with a few words had healed him right up. Now

that was some scary as hell inside his skull and damned at the same instant he felt it had something to do with

shit. Who was to say she wouldn t have went him to hell instead? Potter had lost control her presence reaching out to his mind. And if Voldemort . she said, trying to stall him

Don t you want to see the end of the game? from leaving.

The golden boy is going to play the hero and win the game, he sighed. It s so predictable- and I refuse to watch him do it again, and again, and again. It s frustrating. He grumbled. You re jealous! she squealed. Draco thought about it for a moment. he said calmly.

I was. A long time ago. We are above such matters now, So what changed ? Aren t you two rivals anymore?

We ve got an unsaid contest going on, actually, but he doesn t know it yet. Kenna eyes sparkled at that comment. Really? What?

A body count. Draco smiled evilly. And he s in the lead. Twenty five to eleven. But have no fear, it s only now started, and this is one contest I m going to win. What s a body count ?

Draco laughed. Some things were better left unsaid. His mirth was short lived though. Over the chanting of the Spanish supporters came a tremendous roar, immediately followed by the commentator s frantic shouting: Qu golazo! Potter coge el Snitch! Inglaterra gana el jeugo! POTTER LO HA HECHO the commentator screamed. Draco grumbled. For once, could he not be the fucking hero?

************* Author's note: Legacies: The Grim is back!

Chapter 2: Promises [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

** CHAPTER 2: Promises**

This place is so

exotic.

Harry smiled at that comment. The last time he was in Madrid he was just passing through, running away from it all. Everywhere was foreign and cold to him. Memories were a strange thing. It made the simplest of comments turn into something deep, and thought-provoking. This place is so...exotic. A different language, different locale- at the time, that didn t matter . Back then, Hermione was lying on the hospital bed, on the very brink of death; and all because of him. That vision cut to the bone, and deep in his gut, he knew that her father was right. You would be the end of her! That one comment was like the embodiment of everything he felt building up over the years. That was almost a year ago to this day. Presently, Hermione was holding his hand, and both of them were enjoying their first real date . It was two days after the match, and they were having dinner on the balcony of a trendy restaurant. They had a spectacular view, and Harry had to admit that under these circumstances Madrid was a sight to behold. The city lights flickered over the vast landscape, and the zipping lights of vehicles on the freeway created an effect that breathed life into the metropolis below. The atmosphere was balmy and warm, and Hermione was gorgeous, elegantly casual in a form-fitting dress. The dinner was perfect, and they decided to spend a little time just being together, and looking at the spectacular view. His coach had organized everything, sort of as a birthday present and bonus for the smashing display. Harry was clueless about these sort of things. He never went to a nice restaurant, and the only time he did go to a restaurant was his first day by Hermioneand it just so happened that his aunt and uncle were coincidentally going to eat there as well, spoiling his appetite. To top it off, he got into a fight with Dudley. He remembered that he felt really out of place in an old t-shirt and jeans, while everyone else was nicely dressed. So, he decided to go and asked some of his more experienced teammates give him pointers on what sort of clothes to wear and table etiquette. It would be the last time he would do something as stupid as that.

****

Umm.. hey guys, said Harry. He was hoping to bring his little problem to them as discreetly as possible. Richardson gave him a nasty look. Somehow he had found out before Harry had a chance to tell them. You lucky bugger. How come I didn t get an all expense dinner at a fancy shmancy restaurant? Come on, give him a break. He did win the game and it was his birthday to boot Oliver Wood reprimanded his beater. What s up Harry? Harry felt kind of guilty that only he got a dinner courtesy of the coaching staff. He didn t want the others to feel that he had special treatment. Uh- maybe I shouldn t bother you guys Harry trailed off. It already

felt like a bad idea Come on, spill it! Oliver encouraged him. Harry sighed.

Only if you don t laugh. We promise. mustaches.

Already the other guys were snickering behind their

Umm I need some pointers. So.. I want it to be special, and not to disappoint Hermione. I treated her horribly for the past year, And um...any tips on what I should wear...and what fork to useAs soon as he said it, all the guys began to break out in raucous laughter. It was embarrassing to say the least. They laughed so hard at him that his face burned red, and he wished he could have slugged each and every one of them. Amy sauntered across, curious about what was all the ruckas about. Cho followed shortly after. What the hell is wrong with you? Amy barked. She realized only Harry was not laughing, and looking pretty embarrassed. Harry- why are they getting on like such idiots? Cantonma sputtered, trying to hold in his mirth. Potter- ha ha here needs..um.. pointers for his date.. I could give him pointers...but it has nothing to do with dinner... he laughed. Maybe you should write poetry and sing love songs too-! guffawed. Richardson

Harry, mate that would have been the last thing I would ever have imagined you to ask .Lordy- Oliver teased. Forget it! Harry spat, and stormed out. Cho and Amy felt for him, and ran to catch up. Harry, don t mind them. I think what you re trying to do for Hermione is sweet. She really did have a rough time last year, Cho consoled him, touching him on his arm. If only Ron tried to do something like that for me, I would appreciate it. So don t you go and listen to those prats. Maybe a little romance is what she needs. Chang s right, Amy said. Harry turned. Go where? Let s go.

Shopping, of course! She replied with gusto. How many times does a girl get to dress up Harry potter? Come on Cho, let s go and make him sexy for his date! And with that, they each wrapped an arm around his elbows and dragged him out of the hotel. Harry grimaced. Shopping- He hated shopping! Later that night Harry had to admit the look on Hermione s face when he picked her up was worth it. She was absolutely awestruck. She half expected a baggy jeans and t-shirt, or no-nonsense Auror robes. Harry looked there was no other word- handsome! Hi, Harry said, a bit nervous. He had on dark navy slacks, and a

matching vest and jacket to accompany it. His hair was actually neat- how in the world did he do that? and he wore a pair of classy shoes instead of his favourite horntail boots. Hi... Hermione breathed, she still could not believe it. When Harry presented her with a single rose from behind his back she could swear she felt a tear run down her cheek. Even the fact that there was a Ministry SUV s as their ride instead of Harry s motorbike was a nice touch. Harry really tried hard to make this a memorable night, and it showed. She felt really special, because as far as she knew, Harry never really went all out like this for anyone. Hermione accepted the flower, and laid her hand gently on the crook of his elbow. Harry grinned inwardly- YES! Mission One- The Pickup- Accomplished!! Cho and Amy s plan was working well, so far. From here on; it was just to keep things simple, and not to mess up. Now what he needed to do was compliment her. Being careful so that he didn't spoil the mood, he chose his words carefully: Um- You look very pretty. As soon as it came out, he realized it sounded pretty tame. Hermione glanced at him, and he thought that maybe she thought the same, but his worries were quelled when she smiled up at him, and said a soft Thank you. Harry grinned in spite of himself. He didn t screw up- yet. That was good. She really was beautiful, and not only in her physical appearance. Her inner beauty shone through, and everyone in her presence could sense it. He was so lucky, and he needed to really begin appreciating her more. How many guys could say that their girlfriend will do anything to save their life? Putting those deeper thoughts aside, he focused enjoying the night, and treating her nice for a change.

****

Harry Huh?

Harry? Harry snapped out of his memory.

You seemed lost for a second. Anyway, as I was saying, the Spanish wizards used a lot of their culture in their magic- I mean- music, dancing, that sort of thing. I think that s why their team was so strong, the chanting and singing may have been a hidden spell used to drive their team on, make them faster, more accurate. What do you think? Yeah- maybe you re right. Ron said something about when they were on home turf they had a winning streak for a long whileExactly. I read somewhere that not all magic was done by a single wizard. I mean, there obviously must be some sort of spells that only a large number of people could do at a time- and where else other than a stadium would you get a large number of people wanting the same thing? Harry smiled at her. Here they were, in the afterglow of dinner, and

already her mind instinctively went back to academics and the lore of magic. Right now, he wanted to enjoy life as normally as possible, without these wizard pressures on him. Just live for the moment. He squeezed her hand affectionately. Hermione paused, and glanced down at their entwined fingers. Hmm? What was that for? Harry was looking at her strangely, a sort of wistful expression on her face. This may sound strange, but I needed to ask you. Did you ever think we would be together? Wow. Now that was a change of topic. Hermione thought for a second, her mind racing. Should she tell him? Or bluff it off? I m not sure. I loved you guys to death, but I couldn t say that I knew before hand that I would choose you. I remember before the tri wizard competition Krum asked me if you were my girlfriend. I had found it strange he asked me that. As far as I know, he never asked Ron the same thing. Then it was the whole crush on Cho fiasco. She really got angry when I said I had to meet you for the DA meeting. She seemed a bit jealous in fact. I just wanted to know, was there something going on between us ever since then? Hermione sighed. Her feelings were so volatile at the time. Books were her passion in life. When she began to have mixed feelings it was hard. When neither of her friends asked her to the dance, she inwardly thought that she wasn t pretty enough, or wasn t considered a girl in their eyes. When Ron miraculously realized that she was a girl, and could just go with one of them , irked her to say the least. They thought of her as second rate! Harry didn t even think about her at the time. I m not sure. I did admire you, I thought you were a hero. Ha. Some hero I turned out to be. Harry mused, looking at the calluses on his right hand. Flashes of the dead raced across his memory, and his eyes began to glow. Do not forget our purpose...young Potter Harry? Hermione touched his arm, and the images vanished, his eyes reverting to normal. He stared at his hand again, that gnawing feeling building up inside. Solidus power simmered beneath the surface, and Harry had to mentally calm himself. That voice . Harry, is something wrong? she asked again, a bit more concerned this time. Harry put on a nice smile and looked into her eyes. No- nothing. I did feel something for you back then, but I guess I thought you were off limits. Something about you made me feel calmer, more at peace. I don t know if that was really a turning point, but after the department of mysteries, knowing that you came with me even though you had doubts, sealed it. Somehow, I knew that my feelings ran deeper and now I m glad that we made it this far. I want to make you happy, and if I could do

that everyday, I d be happy too. Hermione smiled. His choice of words was strange, but the meaning behind them was what really mattered. Their love was initially based on a strong friendship, and the desire to be happy together, no matter the circumstances. Was this what love is? She knew he would do anything for her, and she would do the same for him. They proved it over the years. But aside from that, Harry confided in her, and trusted her implicitly with his life. For the boy prophesised to defeat the Dark Lord, that was a heavy burden to carry, after all, his life was constantly in peril. Maybe, maybe, tonight, we could make a promise, What s that? No matter what happens, we ll promise that we ll try and make each other happy, and look out for each other, even though we may be far apart. No matter what. That sounds like a reasonable request. After all, it was the least he could do. I promise. ************ At the beginning of August, one woman was marching briskly through in the relatively empty halls of the Lionheart Order of Sorcery. She needed to have a quick word with one of the professors. When she reached her destination, she didn t even bother to knock and allowed herself in. Mr. Lebeau, why aren t your potions working? Madame Diggory was furious. Potter is supposed to forget about his prior life, not go back and play Quidditch! What s going on? She slammed this month s Quidditch Monthly on the Potions master s desk. He looked at her in mild curiosity, raising his eyes from the paper he was marking before being so rudely interrupted. Well, madame minister, you did tell me not to overdo it, and I did tell you it would take some time. I have stopped all of his incoming mail, and while he is here at Lionheart, he seems quite content not to hear from anyone, so the potions are working- to an extent. At this rate- I would be old and grey by the time he is ready! Sherry Diggory cursed. I swore on my husband s grave that I would rid this world of the filth- and behold- some extremely powerful wizard goes and breaks out the most dangerous criminals on the planet! Oh? And I thought the Daily Prophet said it was a hurricane, snickered. Lebeau And with that, they sealed it with a kiss. she ventured.

You know damn well that hurricanes could never form in such cold waters. And don t quote that ridiculous statement about we have this under control , either. The dementors of Azkaban were the only true way of imprisoning a wizard, and now some one has gone and destroyed their natural habitat. That s why we need Potter! To deal with these sort of wizards! The more we allow him to run about is the more people that are going to be killed by these lunatic criminals! I don t want to see his face on the cover of Quidditch Monthly! I want to see his name in our

Unmentionables Hit squad! He should be my weapon- not some sort of celebrity! 'My weapon?' the potions master thought. Lebeau looked into her fierce eyes with a tinge of mistrust.. Madame, he is still a young man. What has he done to make you hate him so? He was beginning to worry about her. Do not mind that. When he returns, I want to see improvement. Do you want to see another incident like what happened to the Hogwarts Express? No Madame, he answered fearfully. His daughter was on that train

Did you know that he single-handedly fought off the attackers? His power is extraordinary. And he hasn t even learnt the more powerful spells at Lionheart yet. I want him molded, and in my control before he is the age of twenty years. Is that understood? Yes, Madame Minister. And with that, she stormed out of his office. Lebeau was happy to see her go. Anything you say, Madame Minister he mocked spitefully after she left, the animosity dripping in his tone. You want it, you got it. *********** Many miles away, at the outskirts of Surrey, England there was another sort of meeting going on. Dursley! Your project was inspected and looked pretty good- for an English. Now, are you ready to detonate? McMahon asked the beefy lad. Sure, it works, I tell you. Cut that cocky attitude, we don t suffer arrogance ere. Now- go on- blow it up. He indicated at the old car in the middle of the dump. Don t mess this up, laddie. You got a lot of potential. Dudley held the home- made remote control in his shaking hands- praying to god that it worked. He didn t want to be the only English- and incompetent- guy here. The only respect he got from these guys was that he could slug it barehanded like the rest of them. If he wanted to do what he need to do, he had to prove that he could go all the way. With a deep breath, he extended the antennae and pressed the button. For a long while nothing happened. He was beginning to get scared now. They loved any excuse to toughen up someone. Well, Dursley , it seemsBefore he could continue, there was a deafening boom, and the car exploded into a large fireball. Most of the guys ducked reflexively, and covered their ears from the ringing in their head. Dudley crouched low, his hands clamped at the side of his head. With the reflection of fire in his eyes, he knew that the first step was taken.

Told you it would work,

he said quietly, a smug smile on his face.

Blimey, McMahon said. All right lads; let s clear out before the police arrive. Next week! Everyone dispersed their separate ways, and Dudley ran off back through the back streets to catch the bus back into Little Whinging. He never felt that sort of rush, it was absolutely the most intense feeling. He had done that. With his own two hands, he built the bomb, and the detonator, and destroyed that old car. Dudley congratulated himself as he boarded the bus. He would have his revenge. ************ The summer was very hectic for Harry. The first leg of the under-twenty European championship final was a week away, and he still had some scrolls of parchment to write up on for Infiltration class at Lionheart. He spent most of his time at the training grounds, then afterwards maybe meet up with Ron and the gang at Weasley s Wizarding Wheezes. After that, he would head home to Grimmauld place for some deserved rest and a bit of homework. He was feeling pretty anxious about the next few weeks- there was the Quidditch final- and he was going to begin Apparation lessons with Hermione and most of the people from his year at school. As he barely got a chance to see them or talk to them since he left, it felt like a re-union of some sort. Funny thing is, it felt like he was gone for such a long time- he could barely remember some of the more interesting moments in between them. Strange. As he pushed in the key for the invisible entrance to Sirius place, he felt his medallion ebb slightly in power. Dumbledore and the others were here. He felt a bit nervous, were they having an impromptu meeting? Hello? he called out into his own house as he closed the door behind him. A few of the overhead chandeliers were on, someone was definitely here. Professor? Come, come Harry, we re in the drawing room. So it was Professor Dumbledore. I wonder who else is hereWhen he entered the drawing room, he stopped short. The room was filled with wizards, some he recognized, many he did not. Who were all these people? What s going on? Harry enquired, looking at all the faces staring back at him. Harry, we need to have a talk. It s about Draco Malfoy.

*************

Chapter 3: The Seal Of The Infernus [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

** CHAPTER 3: The Seal of the Infernus**

Sometimes, Harry wished he could just crawl inside a hole and disappear. Now was such a time. Especially when the entire Order of the Phoenix were breathing down on his neck, their faces grim with the nature of business at hand. M-Malfoy? Harry sputtered. If they had found out about what he had done to Azkaban . Yes indeed, Dumbledore pulled on his beard, his brow creased in thought. With a wave of his hand, a cushy armchair appeared at his side. Without preamble, he immediately took his seat. Care for a seat? Professor Dumbledore offered. Harry shook his head slowly, he liked the bit of distance between him and some of the most powerful wizards on the planet, especially when none of them were smiling. No thanks, I m p-pretty good here, if it s okay with you, Harry said shakily. Dumbledore shrugged, and glanced over at Nymphadora Tonks. Well this may take a while, so maybe you would like to sit, her face weary. Tonks added,

What was it with them? He didn t feel like sitting! That s allHarry looked at her in the eyes, and she smiled nervously back at him. Maybe , to put everyone at ease, he should do as asked. He sighed loudly, then grabbed a seat, dragging it roughly over the carpet so that it was facing the professor closely. There. I m sitting. Can you guys tell me what this is all about? he asked in a strained, yet polite tone. After the incident at the Hogwarts express, something about what young Malfoy said made me realize that he was definitely in control and knew what he was doing. Things are becoming, how should I say it...complicated, said Dumbledore. Since the attack, the Order members, including myself, have carried out investigations as to what happened to him after defeating Voldemort on New Year s Day. As you may recall, your injuries were quite severe . They were? Harry looked back at the professor for a second- then it clicked. In the lab, with that scientist- What was his name again? Yes, of course I remember, did remember or not. Harry answered, not quite too confident if he

Draco also was seriously injured. He was stunned unconscious, still under the Imperious curse, and then Voldemort was defeated shortly afterwards-

inflicting a severe trauma known as Lobotomia. Lobotomia? Harry asked, not knowing what that meant. Tonks stepped forward and cleared her throat. When a curse, or strong hypnosis, or any type of mind enhancement spell is disengaged by violent death of the spellcaster. Mind Alteration- a very strong and very sensitive area of magic- is extremely hard to master, Tonks said, her eyes dipped low. Indeed, Occlumency and Leglimency are branches of mind alteration- so are telepathy and telekinesis. And when taken to the extreme also is the area of magic used for the foundation of the Imperius curse. Remember the difficulties you had in learning with Professor Snape? The headaches? Imagine that pain tenfold- that is what happens when someone is forcefully ripped out from under that level of mind control. In many cases it may be so severe that the chances of survival are next to none. Dumbledore leaned forward to make this next point clear. We have a task that we may need you to help us with- but, you must agree to it before we tell you more details. Too much information may be more detrimental than helpful right now. I need you to trust me. Will you do it? Harry looked back squarely into his headmaster s face. Now this what they meant about being part of the order was not all heroics and bravery. Mrs Weasley harped on all about the dangers and responsibilities and so forth, but now that he was on the spot, Harry had the feeling that maybe he was too young for this. His heart picked up pace, and he could feel the clamminess of sweat trickling down his back. This was a matter of trust, and he knew, deep down, that he was being tested. Feeling cornered and treated a bit unfairly- after all- he did do the impossible and defeated Voldemort- he took a deep breath and called upon his wits to make the decision, not his gut feeling that was telling him one thing: DON T DO IT! DON T DO IT! TELL HIM NO! I will do it. Everyone breathed a collective sigh of relief, and Dumbledore relaxed a bit, but just barely. Very well. Here are the details: After the battle at the train, we realized that Draco was acting under his own free will. Your friend Ron Weasley inadvertently attacked him- and surprisingly, Draco did not slaughter him on the spot as retaliation. As you found out earlier, all of the students at Hogwarts had their memories slightly modified to forget everything about him. Thinking he was one of the rogue escapees from Azkaban, Ron immediately tried to dispatch of him using a very dangerous spell. If Voldemort was still somehow possessing him- such actions would not go without consequences. And- when I tried to delve into his mind to exorcise any remnants of the Imperius curse- there were only haunts of Voldemort s presence, but all in all, Malfoy was quite sane and in control, yet wanted me very much dead. This, I found to be quite strange. For what purpose, other than Voldemort s lingering hatred, would he want me dead? I gathered that this was deeper than what meets the eye. Harry soaked it all in, was Malfoy really out to kill the headmaster? Or was it something else

Our intelligence gathering specialists, Tonks- she nodded at mention of her name Percy Harry sneered at the mention of his nameJulie-Ann and Joseph Harry looked across to where two unfamiliar adults stood, their faces half concealed by large scarves wrapped around their nose and mouths ...have obtained vital clues about his circumstances. After being subjected to the Chamber of Iralem, Hargreaves, one of the more shady scientists at the Ministry of Magic, experimented on Malfoy, then covered it all up by sending him to Azkaban. Harry put on a fake shocked expression. He knew all of this of course, but didn t really tell anyone, except Hermione. Now, it may or may not have been a mistake to try and neutralize his Infernus ability, but one thing is certain, I never gave any instructions for him to be sent to that horrible place. This- I fear, is the reason he wants me killed. Maybe he thinks that I am responsible for his imprisonment. It may be destiny that young master Malfoy and I are to cross wands again, but I do not want any more violence or blood to be shed. So this is what you have to do: It s a recruiting mission. Harry froze- they wanted him to recruit Draco?! Ha! Fat chance. What? said Harry, still not believing it. Remus stepped forward and stooped to speak softly next to him. Listen, this may be the only real solution to our predicament. Our last contact with Draco was a sighting in Madrid, presumably for the Quidditch match. Oh by the way- smashing job Harry! Remus said. Yes! Good show lad, cheers! Aye- fine catch it was ! one piped from the crowd.

said another. an

Oh that reminds me, my daughter asked me to get an autograph... elderly wizard said.

Er thanks. Harry cut them off. Leave the niceties for when he was feeling in a nice mood. Now was not the time. Dumbledore cleared his throat loudly, and everybody simmered down, remembering the reason why they were here. Now as I was saying your first mission for the Order will be a difficult one- or it may not, it depends on how you use your wits. Remember Harry, most battles are won before even throwing the first blow. Its up here he tapped his templethat decides the outcome. Dumbledore steeped his fingers under his nose, and gave Harry a piercing stare. So what do I do? Harry asked, his nerves slowly changing from being apprehensive and uncertain, and now transformed into a battle-tense tingling. He s been through hell and back before, Harry was confident that he would succeed. Or at least he hoped so. Watch over him. Get him to join the ranks at Lionheart, and do what you two have always done ... Compete. Strive to be the best, and in turn, he will strive to better you. All you need to do Harry, is get him to sign up

at the Auror Academy. From there, we will always be able to monitor him, and I daresay he won t do anything rash and dangerous if he knows you are nearby. Harry s spirit rose at those last words. Dumbledore and the others thought of him highly enough to handle Draco. Maybe that was just the encouragement he needed. Truthfully, it didn t seem all that hard. So basically all I have to do is get him to apply, and just keep an eye on him, right? Dumbledore hesitated, but smiled and nodded reassuringly. more questions? Yeah. What happens if he doesn t want to co-operate? Everyone turned deathly silent at those words. Harry felt the sudden drop in levity, and a serious air settled like a mist around the wizards crammed into the room. Dumbledore s eyes turned stone cold, and he said softly, Let us cross that hurdle, if and when it comes to pass. Don t worry, you ll be all right. We trust you. They locked eyes for a second, and Harry knew instinctively what may happen if he failed. For yet another time in this ongoing rivalry, one of them will have to give their best to save the other s life. The last time they met he had nearly killed Draco. Hopefully, the git didn t hold anything against him. Maybe this won t be as easy as he thought, Harry told himself. Draco definitely was a wild card if left unchecked. A rogue Slytherin was bad enough as it is. A rogue Slytherin who controlled the Infernus was even worse. Now was not the time for self-doubts. With a release of pent up breath, Harry nodded, and Dumbledore placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder. Very well. Talk to him, man to man. You never know, he may surprise you in his response. The Headmaster rose from his chair, and the Order of the Phoenix filed out quietly out of the room. Tonks was the last to go, and waited until everyone left before she approached him. Hey, she said, smiling. Exactly. Any

Hey, Harry replied wearily. He was suddenly feeling under a lot of pressure. Slowly, she tiptoed a bit and kissed him on his cheek. Harry didn t expect that. Huh? Harry belated birthday, Harry, she said, and presented him with a gift-wrapped parcel. Go on, open it! she encouraged him, and Harry took it from her hands. He tore them open, and opened a neatly wrapped package. They were books. One was a diary of some sort, covered in a classic leather with a masculine look and feel to it, the other was 'The Greatest Wizards through the Ages' - a book about legendary tales of wizards throughout time, and finally, a strange muggle paperback book. On the cover read: How to be a Good Godfather . Harry frowned. The other two books he could understand but this ? I hope you ll read that one before the end of this year. Harry was even more confused. What did you give me this for? I m not

anyone s godfa . He stopped halfway through the sentence, understanding slowly dawning on his face. His eyes darted to the book cover, then to Tonks blushing face, then to her stomach. She was pregnant? Holy when did that happen?! On behalf of myself and Remus, we d love for you to be our baby s Godfather, she said softly, looking up into his eyes. Harry could not believe it. They wanted him to be their baby s godfather? He just turned seventeen! He didn t know what to say. After seeing the hopeful expression shine through her eyes, he immediately knew exactly what to say. The tiredness that was beginning to swamp him disappeared and he smiled and gave her a warm embrace. I d be honoured, Nymphadora ************* This is it. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! WELCOME TO THE FINALS OF THE EUROPEAN UNDER TWENTY ONE QUIDDITCH CUP! Harry stood at the exit of the tunnel leading to the Quidditch Pitch. His captain, Oliver Wood, was at his side, and in that fleeting moment of intense emotion he felt the exact same butterflies of his first year at Hogwarts. He couldn t believe he made it this far, through all the escapades, through all the brushes with death, he just could not believe that he was here; standing on this spot. This was another crowning point in his life. If someone had told him before his eleventh birthday that he was destined to become someone important he would have maybe slunk away into his cupboard and cried. His life meant nothing before Hogwarts. AND NOW ..FOR THE VISITING TEAM, IRELAND! I BRING YOU JANSEN! IBRAHIM!- THOMPSON!- KELSING!- HUHGES! AAAAAND HARTE!! POLLOCK!-

The away supporters roared their appreciation of their championship contenders, they were extremely confident that their nation could get a brace of Trophies two years apart. They already had the World Cup from two years back, now it was time to come into the limelight. his reservoir of magic warm closed his eyes against the bathed in the sun s glory. Mom Dad this is for you All right Harry? said Oliver Wood .Harry remained silent, his eyes still closed, his fist clenching once as the crowd began to chant: LIONS! LIONS! Harry? LLIONS!! for their next generation of Quidditch stars Goosebumps rose on Harry s arms, and he felt to the euphoria coursing through him now. He brilliant sunshine, tilting his face to be

Harry reopened his eyes, and looked straight ahead, his excitement written all over his face. This was his dream. This was his time. Nothing else mattered right now, he was in his element, and now he was invincible. There was no fear. With a twinkle in his eye, and an even, steady voice, he answered his teammate. Never better, mate. Never better. Lets do this! ENGLAND! PLEASE GIVE A ROUND OF APPLAUSE FOR OUR NATIONAL TEAM! IT HAS BEEN TWENY FOUR YEARS SINCE THE BATTLE OF BERLIN, AND NOW IT HAS COME BACK FULL CIRCLE!! WITH A RECORD OF 5-2-0 AND FOUR HUNDRED AND TEN ACCUMULATIVE POINT DIFFERENTIAL PLEASE WELCOME YOUR ENGLISH LIONS! WITH CAPTAIN OLIVER WOOD, BEATERS- RICHARDSON AND MORRISON, CHASERS- CHANG, GRAMBLE AND JEMSON! The players darted off unto the pitch when their respective names were called, and in that split before his name was called, he felt a presence laugh in the back of his mind. It was more of a bark than a real laugh and he knew exactly who it was. Do me proud, Harry... AAAND- POTTER!! Harry mounted instantly and zoomed off unto the pitch. He still could not believe it- this feeling of being watched by everyone, thousands of faces contorted in national pride. How the mere announcement of his name could make all these people scream at the top of their lungs he would never know. His blood surged through his veins as he felt the cacophony of voices create a roaring sound, a sound that he knew he would remember to the last of his days. There was nothing like it- that feeling of hearing your name being chanted from so many voices. He didn t know if he should be flattered or embarrassed, all he knew that there were a LOT of people here, and they were counting on him. And with that- the whistle blew, and the match was on. *********** Draco, why you always do that? He glanced across to his sister, but did not answer her, turning his face forward again such that his hood was blocking any view of his face. After a few moments of silence he answered softly. Do what? This what you are doing now. It is so ..ahh..creepy don t you feel ahh happy? No no no.. excited? Draco smiled underneath his hood. He had to admit the Quidditch atmosphere was giving him memories of the good old days of Hogwarts, but it didn t feel the same when he was not actively competing against him. Watch the game. He dismissed her quite bluntly.

You re no fun. I will be going down a few chairs. She spotted some of her year four-into-five classmates a bit further down. Look, the guy with the camera and his little brother. She just loved to tease them. Be back in a bit! Kenna walked down to where Dennis and Colin Creevey were sitting, right in front of Marrietta and that Luna girl. Dennis had nearly all of her classes, and she found him to be such a cute little boy. As heads turned and catcalls followed her down the main stairs she ignored them all, smiling to herself. She wore a tighter than skin white jeans, and a read halter top. She may be Italian, but when in England, do as the English do. Hi, she breathed, as she sat in the empty seat next to Dennis. Colin turned at her voice, and his eyes noticeably widened. Dennis glanced across at her, and turned his attention back to the match, trying not to notice how gorgeous she really was. The older Creevey brother smiled and greeted her. Hi! he said enthusiastically. Enjoying the match?

Very. She smiled back, looking across Dennis to talk to Colin. Suddenly there was a roar of appreciation from the visitors and the English simmered down a bit. Ireland had scored again, and it was now 60- 10. Aahh- no. Ireland in the lead, yes? She asked, turning her head slightly to look directly at Dennis, who was beginning to feel quite heated so close to this particular girl. Dennis? How are you? she asked, straightening a crease on the shoulder of his supporters jersey. Dennis gulped. I m fine, he answered. Eh- How are you doing? he asked, trying to make small talk. It s soo hot in here. Don t you think? she fanned herself, a sexy sheen appearing just below her collarbone. Christ that was so clich, but from her it s damn sexy . um- I have a soda, if you want to share keep his eyes off of her. Whoo boy he offered, trying his best to

Thank you, she said, taking the large cup out of his hands. When she placed her lips around the straw Colin and Dennis jaws dropped a few inches. She returned the drink to him, and Colin absentmindedly took it, his eyes never leaving her lips. When it slipped right out of his hands and fell at his feet Kenna giggled and Colin burned red. Thinking off himself as a clumsy git, he mentally smacked his head a couple times with his palm. Stupid! You Idiot! You want to be the next DA instructor and do something as clumsy as this in front of her?! Get your act together, Colin! At this rate, you ll never be as strong as Harry! Harry would have totally ignored her and not fall for her tricks! Just watch the game and forget about her. Colin shook his head in self disgust. Kenna turned around to chat with some of the other Ravenclaw girls. She laughed with some of them about some thing or the other, and then looked further down the aisle at the red haired girl who was watching her intently. Another of the Weasley gang: what was her name? Ginny? With an

expression of extreme malice, Kenna looked directly at her. Their eyes locked, and both broke eye contact at the same time. She had no love for any of Granger s friends. Well, maybe except Dennis, he was so cute! ************ Harry zipped around the Irish hoops, frantically searching for the Sneaky Snitch as they so affectionately named it. This match was far less intimidating than the semifinals against Spain, but there was the extra factor that he had to consider. They had a solid core team, the best goalkeeper on paper, and as the rankings had it, the second best seeker to Viktor Krum. Spain s seeker was not their main strike force; it was the combination of their superb defense and their trademark unusual dual bludger attack. Combined with two of the fastest chasers from Diablos QC, Spain had nearly the complete package. Ireland were more experienced, and they drafted their World Cup winning coach to take charge for their under twenty one team. In addition to all of that, Harte, their seeker, was absolutely top drawer. Harry had a fight on his hands. ************ Okay Hermione, Ron said in a clear do-you-understand-me? tone. not, and I repeat- DO NOT- do this Divine Summoning thing again. Do

her.

Hermione sighed. Ron, I didn t do it on purpose. I felt Draco nearby, and something...something about him- triggered that memory. I told you before- It wasn t my fault! Hermione looked exasperated. Ron s attention was already back on the game, and Hermione grumbled about how he had such a one-track mind. Ginny? What is it? Hermione looked over at her, and by the expression on her face, Hermione knew that something had irritated Rossilini. Why does she always have to do that to Dennis? Ginny snarled. He such a good hearted guy. And I think he has a crush on her. She just turns him on and leaves him hanging. Hermione s eyes narrowed on Kenna Rossilini. She never knew how it felt to be the center of attention during Hogwarts, well except the Yule Ball, but she found it unfair how one girl could command so much influence over boys. If not for the time when she delved into her mind, Hermione may not have believed that there was such a thing such as a magical ability to seduce men. Trying not to think about Harry s little escapade with her, she left Ginny to grumble by herself. She just hoped that Harry would be okay, one crash was enough for the summer. ************* After nearly an hour of toe-to-toe competition between the teams, Draco felt the medallion of the Order of The Phoenix warm slightly against his chest. Potter was getting agitated. That is good. Soon this will be over, and he ll be able to have a few words. Something was still not right about this whole messed up situation. He needed to know what really happened to him for those months that he couldn t remember. And how in the world could he fly? The moment he saw Dumbledore he felt a presence enter his mind, and it magic surged through to him, making him much more powerful than he had ever felt before. His back had produced a new Infernus tattoo, the

symbol of an 8th tier Summoner. Compared to being only a second level Summoner two years ago, that was a remarkable increase. And he knew in his gut Harry was hiding something from him. For some reason, he was the hardest person to get into contact with these days. Not that he tried overly hard, but there were potholes in his memory that he needed filled. With a sigh, he slowly got up from his seat and ambled down the stairs to get his sister. The match would be over soon, and he needed her help to get past the security without causing too much of a ruckas. Sometimes she was good for things like that. He approached silently behind her, and she was speaking huskily to one of those bratty Gryffindors. He overheard the last snippets of her conversation before putting it to a stop. your eyes, Dennis... they are really nice, you know that? Come on, He ordered. Kenna almost jumped out of her seat. Her brother knew how to sneak up on people all right. Don t scare me like that! Dennis looked up at the stranger dressed in a thick black cloak and hood, his face barely discernible underneath the shadows. Squinting, he peered hard to make out the face. Who is that? he asked Kenna. Oh, don t mind him. He s just my brother, she said light heartedly.

You have a brother? Colin asked incredulously. Draco stiffened. First Weasley, now this little mudblood? What was this, some sort of epidemic? This was getting ridiculous. He pulled back his hood. You don t know who I am? Should I ? Colin asked, looking quizzically at his face. Dennis looked intently at his face, and recognition dawned immediately. YOU! Dennis screamed, jumping to his feet. YOU RE THE ONE WHO ATTACKED THE PROFESSOR! In a flash he drew his wand, and had it pointed directly under his chin. STUPE-! He didn t get a chance to finish. Draco backhanded the wand out of his grasp without much of an effort. It fell on Luna s lap in the row behind, the girls' eyes shot up at him, slowly realizing that a fight was going to start. They were a bit frozen at first- but senses. No one was going to attack a fellow it! In the blink of an eye, everyone in the was standing up, all of their wands trained eventually came to their DA member and get away with vicinity who went to Hogwarts on the guy in the dark robes.

Draco s expression did not change an inch. He stood there completely surrounded by enraged students, who on the drop of a pin, would stun him into oblivion. Watch it mister, Is it? Colin warned. That s my brother you re messing with.

Draco asked politely, his face completely neutral.

Yes it is, he replied. And we were trained by the best! motioning towards all his fellow DA members. Do you know who I am? Draco asked.

he added,

No, neither do I care. He retorted. Luna was trying to get a good look at his face, her wand dropping ever so slightly as recognition dawned. Wait- wasn t that Draco nonchalantly lifted his hand straight out to the Quidditch Pitch, his irritation growing. Most of the students snickered, waiting to see what this idiot was going to do without a wand. Draco s lips twitched into a fraction of a smile, then he immediately clenched his fist. Flames suddenly burst into life from the grass of the pitch, engulfing the entire field with a weird pattern of towering flames. The crowd screamed at the sudden miracle, then began to panic. The referee was first in the sky to notice the inferno below, and blew on the whistle with all of his breath. The game came to a halt, all of the players slowly coming to a stop high above the roaring flames. Everyone watched at the horrifying scene of the inferno, wandering what in Merlin s name was going on. People started to run out of the stands as fear of another Dark Wizard attack washed over the stupefied crowd, while others simply stood in their seats marveling at the awesome display of power. The commentator immediately tried to quell the forthcoming stampede. PANIC! PLEASE STAY CALM! PLEASE STAY CALM! DO NOT PANIC! I REPEAT, DO NOT Colin and the others gawked down on the pitch, how in hell? By the time they caught their senses and turned back to face the stranger, he was already at the bottom of the rows, heading down the exit with a reluctant Kenna in tow. Dennis was still trembling as he stood there, his pupils dilated in fear. That guy could do that, and he, an ordinary kid, tried to Stun him? He just thanked god he was alive, with nothing more than an injured pride as the consequences of his foolhardy challenge. And here he thought he was cut out to teach DA classes. He slumped back down into his seat, his eyes fixed on the spot where Kenna and her brother just disappeared from view. He had a lot to learn. ************ The Order of the Phoenix was at the stadium until late into the night, searching for clues as to the source of this incident. They had arrived immediately after Ministry Police contacted Tonks and Arthur Weasley, and helped with the evacuation. The match had been cancelled, and the competition would not continue in fear of another terrorist attack. Those flames were extremely potent, and if it were directed at the stands, it would have been a disaster. Harry Potter was sitting on the highest tier of the stands, his head in his hands. It was so close, he could picture himself holding the Champions cup high above his head, and imagining what how proud his parents would be of him. He had a lot riding on this day, but now it was taken away forever. Still dressed in his Quidditch robes, he pulled back his long hair through padded gloves. When would this end? There were no closer to finding out who did this than when they had started hours ago. The most plausible cause was some sort of sabotage, if it were an attack, the perpetrators would not have planted Hades

Fireworks under the grounds, they would have placed them under the bleachers. This sort of investigative work was not cut out for him, he ll let Dumbledore and the others handle thisWait- was that? He peered down unto the burnt grounds, -yes- there definitely was a distinct pattern. He could not have noticed it on the pitch itself, but from his vantage point he could see it at a better perspective. PROFESSOR ! he shouted. Come here- take a look at this! Dumbledore looked up at him from the little group talking on the field. What is it, Harry? Harry still did not get how Dumbledore could throw his voice without shouting. It was a neat trick. Tell me if you recognize this symbol I m seeing here! It s weird though! Harry shouted back down. The next instant Dumbledore apparated next to Harry, and looked down at the burnt field. I had my suspicions, but it is definitely confirmed now. Harry, you must make haste on your task. I fear that this is far more important than we realized. What do you mean? That, Dumbledore pointed at the symbol engraved into the ground- Is the seal of the Infernus. I must warn the others. And with that, he disapparated. Harry swore loudly, balling his fists in his hair. Draco, you stupid git. You ruined the match, and now pissed off the Order of the Phoenix. He got up, and shook his head in annoyance. He better get cracking on getting him into Lionheart. The things he had to do for that idiot . *************

Chapter 4: The Demon Within [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

** CHAPTER 4: The Demon Within**

Humph. Maybe this wasn t such a good idea. Draco Malfoy was at the bottom of a cliff, his face dripping with perspiration. He knew it won t be easy, but he had to get this done, one way or the other. Yesterday, he vowed he would unleash the power he felt brimming just below the surface, the same power he used against Dumbledore when they dueled. Making sure he had no easy way out, he decided to force himself to do it. Bright and early that fateful morning, he set out with

only one thing in his possession: a rope. His wand he left behind. Using the rope to scale down the impossible cliff face, he set foot on the desolate bank of the cold Atlantic, then, after an hour of deep contemplation, he burnt the rope using his summoning power. The only way out, was to fly back to the top. After nearly two days of trying, he just couldn t make it happen. What was the matter with him? He definitely flew a few months back, he could remember the incredible rush, it was the most exciting thing he had ever felt in his life. Now, after two days without food or water, he was really beginning to get worried. He just couldn t do it. Fuck you Draco, you better do this, or you are a dead man. He got off of his ass, and swore under his breath. Craning his neck, he focused on his goal: the top of the cliff looming high above. He was dehydrated, and with every failed attempt, he felt his strength fading. Was he going to die here? A slow, and agonizing death? He snorted in derision. At least this would be the most original suicide ever. He looked about him, the crashing of the waves on the craggy rocks further out, the desolate cliff face that stretched for what seemed like an eternity. One more time . He closed his eyes, and concentrated. Flames spouted from his fingertips, slowly engulfing both forearms. A heartbeat later, a ring of fire circled around his feet- creating yet another o pattern to accompany the dozens of his other failed attempts. He was getting frustrated. What he really needed was motivation. For some strange reason, his dire circumstances were not enough. It dawned on him that whether he lived or died was not as important to him anymore. He dug deep, thinking what really was his inspiration, and what was the meaning of his existence. He was already rich, his parents were avenged, and Voldemort was no more. What was it he desired more than anything else? And then it clicked: Power. His destiny was to be the strongest. And right now, that title did not belong to him. His thoughts raced back to the beginning of the summer, and the last time he saw Potter: Do not challenge the Phoenix wizard Albus Dumbledore. Prepare for the eternal sleep. At that precise moment, Draco had never felt that sort of fear before. That voice it still ran chills down his spine any time he heard it. What in the world had happened to the golden boy? With a newfound source of motivation, he froze the memory of Harry wielding the Sword of Gryffindor high above him, just on the brink of sending him to hell. Even if it took him years, he would never allow himself to be in such a position again. And with that vow, he felt a high voice creep into the back of his mind: .very well, young Malfoy, I will lend you some of my strength price for a

What the ? Draco lost all concentration. That voice- Was he going insane?! He opened his eyes, and nearly had a heart attack. There was nothing below his feet! Looking down, he could not believe his eyes.The ground was so far below him, the huge boulders in the sea looked more like crumbs off of a half eaten cookie. The intense wind buffeted against him, and in a split second he realized he was either suffering from dementia and lack of water, or he really was miles high above ground. ...do not disappoint me, young Malfoy, after all I did give you some help. This is what you wanted, am I not correct? SHUT UP! Draco screamed at the voice, his hands flailing as he fell to his doom. ha ha ha.. You re going to die. Do something! Draco commanded himself. Adrenaline pumped through him, if he didn t learn how to fly now, he was going to splat like a ripe tomato. With a full-bodied scream, he summoned all of the power at his disposal, desperately letting it loose with an intense burst of magic. ************ A week before the reopening of the school term Hermione was on her way to the Ministry of Magic along with most of their other friends going into year seven. They had all agreed to meet at Diagon Alley at Weasley s Wizarding Wheezes, then all of them would hitch a ride with the Knight Bus to do their first Apparation lesson. The bus was filled with seventeen year old and over wizards, most of them laughing and bubbling with excitement. Only two boys were not as excited, one had a slightly depressed expression on his freckled covered face, the other had a look of deep contemplation. Hermione could have guessed what Ron s problem was, but for Harry, she couldn t really tell. Something was perpetually bothering him. Ron, what s wrong? she asked, trying to find a way to subtly ask Harry what was bothering him without being too direct. It s.. it s..-nothing. Harry glanced up at him, but did not respond. He folded his arms, and stared at a spot just between his knees. Hermione is doing it again You can tell me, she coaxed. Hermione felt sort of bad bringing this up, but she wanted Harry to open up to her some more. If she could get Ron talking, maybe Harry would too She graduated, and got the scholarship she wanted. Ron sighed- Cho was no longer at Hogwarts. Hermione did not see how this getting a scholarship

was bad news, so she prodded on. And..? I only got to be with her for like- a year. And now she s already moving on. He glanced at Harry. Harry did not even seem much interested in what they were saying. That was fine with him, anyway. Ever since the train attack, he just couldn t see eye to eye with him anymore. Certain references to their past seem to fly completely over his head, and the conversation was usually strained, at best. Oh... Hermione said, touching Ron s hand. You ll work things out, surely... Ron thought about that for a second. It s not the distance that he was worried about. Cho was gorgeous, talented, and a key part of the English under twenty-one Quidditch team. All the guys at Lionheart would be all over her. He glanced again at the back of Harry s head, You better look out for her Ron would never say it out loud, but he hoped that Harry would tell him if Cho was going to leave him, or had an eye on another guy. His trust in girls had forever changed when Hermione and Harry got together behind his back. Even though he had gotten over it, it still irked him a bit that he himself was not with Hermione. Yeah, I guess, said Ron. He leaned back against the back of the bus, his legs stretched out on the bed they were sitting on. Hermione was on his right, and Harry was quietly brooding on the left, idly twirling his wand between his fingers. Ron elbowed him in his side. Why the long face? Hermione waited with baited breath, for some reason Harry responded to Ron better. Was it because he thought she worried about him too much? Or was it because he didn t want her to know? Harry continued twirling his wand between his fingers, not even turning to look at them as he answered: Remember the Quidditch finals? Yeah, how can we forget? That went down in the history books as the first ever cancellation of a finals it s a bit stupid, reallyHow so? said Harry.

Come on, the bloke who booby trapped the place isn t going to be so thick as to try it again, I mean- the security would obviously be looking out for himBooby traps, you say? Harry said in an even tone. He snickered at the both of them. That s what they thought? Yeah. I mean, the show must go on, right? Are we going to let these terror- wits tell us when we can and can t play Quidditch? Out of their bloody mind are they? The ministry should have rescheduled the game! Ron added. Ron, it s terrorists - and I think its better to be safe than sorry. Until they catch whoever did it, it s best not to have such a big event to give them an opportunity to strike again. Right Harry? Yeah, it would be a good idea to catch him first.

But on the other hand, that was the Quidditch finals! It was so close- we had nearly won! Now it was all for nothing Ron argued, watching the wand a bit more intently now. Harry did not bother to remind him that Ireland was kicking their asses. Ron broke off from the conversation, looking at the wand dancing almost with a life of it s own around Harry s fingers. Strange- it s moving differently now Both of them looked at Harry, who was staring outside at the muggle cars zipping past them. He sighed, then ran both hands through his hair. It took a moment for both of them to realize he wasn t holding it anymore, and it was spinning on it s own accord. Hermione s eyes widened a bit. Wandless magic? How-? Ron sputtered, his finger pointing at Harry s wand. Hermione looked at

How? said Harry. That s what I have to figure out. him. What was he talking about?

Mate look...you re- Ron said, a bit befuddled at the wand doing somersaults then rotating in an orbital manner. Harry rambled on, oblivious to his friends staring at his wand. Dumbledore just loves to pull a stunt like this huh? We know who he is, and believe me, that wasn t a booby trap- Harry grumbled, and the wand fell lifelessly to the bed. Was that the Solidus thing again? But usually you re all charged up and stuff Ron asked in bewilderment. Harry looked at them- wait- they were talking on two completely different levels. What are you talking about? Harry asked. He followed Ron s gaze to the wand on the bed, and realized that they had never seen him do wandless magic before. He smiled, that s why Drill Sergeant Jacobsen had him lifting huge blocks of ice while doing pushups for nearly two months straight. It was supposed to be punishment after they thought that he had skipped classes for a whole week, when in fact he was recuperating form using the Reducto Ultima spell to destroy the gates of Azkaban. Controlling a wand was nothing. No Ron, that s not the Solidus thing . Can t you tell the difference? Harry, you know how to do wandless magic? Hermione asked. Harry looked across to her in bewilderment. Of course. I told you that in the letter didn t I? he asked quizzically. Nooo...what letter? she asked. She did not get a single letter from him since he joined Lionheart. I sent you a letter about it, didn t I? Now that he thought about it, he really couldn t remember if he sent one or not. Strange . If you did, I never got it. But aside from that, what else can you do without your wand? Um a few spells...you know, nothing important.

That jolted something in Ron s memory. Didn t Fred and George let slip that Harry could channel absorbed magic without his wand? Something about blasting the Aurors through the walls of Hogwarts SO THAT S HOW YOU DID IT!! THE BIG HOLE AND THE AURORS AND STUFF! CRIKEY!

YOU GOT TO SHOW ME!! Ron screamed. Harry was glad on the change of subject. He really didn t have the slightest clue how Malfoy would react to him when he told him about Lionheart. He totally forgot that wandless magic was a myth to most wizards. Well he was a S.T.A.R. division trainee at the Auror Academy, so he got a few perks, and some hidden techniques as well. Oh, okay- you know the cool spell Dumbledore does to summon the food? I could do a scaled down version of that. Ron, what you brought for lunch? Harry asked. Um, Shepherd pie, and macaroni salad uh and some apple juice? he offered tentatively. Ron gulped in apprehension. If Harry screwed up with his lunch Harry closed his eyes for a second, then after a few moments of concentration, waved his hand palm down over the bed he was sitting on. The food appeared before their eyes, warmed and ready to eat on a plate. Wow wicked! Ron said. Damn, he was feeling hungry already. me that one, mate. Got to show

Hermione was watching the demonstration carefully, using her Occlumens in combination with her Divine summoning power to gauge the level of Harry s magic quota in doing that spell. She had her suspicions, but now she was sure of it. That 'bit of concentration' and asking Ron about his lunch was quite unnecessary. She had seen when Harry stole a glance at Ron's knapsack, therefore knew the distance he would have to make it manifest on the bed. It didn't matter if it were spaghetti and meatballs or a bag of gold, all that was required was distance, and an idea of the physical dimensions. Harry wasn t even using one tenth of his magic ability to do that spell. He definitely was holding back on them, and it saddened her to know that he still felt the need to keep secrets. Her temper rose almost immediately. She had enough of the sneaking around. Harry. I think it s about time you really trusted us, demanded Hermione. Ron was just about to put a forkful of his lunch into his mouth when he froze halfway, looking at her if she had completely lost it. Wha? Ron said in confusion. Hermione was glaring at Harry. Ron s mouth was gaping at her, utterly clueless. Hermione knew that there was something really serious going on, and just to prove a point, she picked up the plate and hauled it down the aisle with all of her strength. Ron barely had chance to move before it was sent flying through the air. OH NO!! His precious lunch! Just as he was about to scream, Watch out! to Stan Shunpike, the plate froze. Ron looked at the other students around, no one even realized there was pieces of food hanging suspended in the air, the plate inches from the conductor s head. As far as he knew, no one used a spell to stop it. What are you trying to prove, Hermione? came a cool and even voice from Ron s left. Harry didn t even flinch, but his palm was tilted at an angle in the general vicinity of the plate. Ron couldn t believe it! Hermione really did lose her mind this time! Harry, you ve been so distant lately. What s wrong with you? I remember

when we were a team, and we all shared our thoughts and feelings with each other! Nowadays you go off into your own little world, and I have to BEG to even have a conversation with you! You never write, you come and go as you please, and you keep holding all these secrets from us! This- she pointed at the floating food, is a prime example. I know that this is child s play to you. It s not even that important, yet you keep it a secret. Answer me this, could you stop this bus without using your wand? Harry glared at her. Yes. Mate, you could do that? I mean, without the

Ron s jaw dropped again. charm and stuff?

I ve stopped using that now. Why? Ron asked. It was the coolest thing!

It s dangerous. Well, so what? It s not like you re going to kill someone- Ron tried to shut his mouth, but it was too late. As soon as he said it he regretted even mentioning it. Harry looked away, his expression clouded. I m sorry, I didn t mean it that way Harry could feel unshed tears trying to break free. What hurt was that Ron even had to take back those words. It s not like you re going to kill someone... Whoever said the truth hurts- definitely knew what he was talking about. Closing his eyes, he remembered his solemn vow, a promise he made to himself at Sirius one year memorial: I.. have done things that I wish to forget. But I can t forget. So I will bury this sword as a symbol that from now on, my strength will be my own, and from the love of those around me. How could he expect these people to love him if they couldn t trust him? Hermione was right. He should be completely open with them. Hermione...I you re right. Absolutely right. I have been hiding things from you guys. Something has been bothering me lately. The Order of the Phoenix have given me a dangerous first mission- I have been ordered to recruit Draco Malfoy into Lionheart, and make sure he doesn t do anything stupid. Like destroy it, for instance, he added as an afterthought. Holy shit, said Ron. Destroy it? Ron blanched. Got to be a really powerful wizard to do that I mean, Lionheart is like five times bigger than Hogwarts, isn t it? Oh, and by the way, who is Draco? He was the one who set the stadium on fire, wasn t he? softly. Ron s head swung across to her. He WHAT???!!! Yeah. Wait, what you re saying he s the guy who controls the fire? Didn t he also attack Dumbledore at the train? But he should be a piece of cake- you got him good that time. Hermione asked

Yeah

Harry sighed. He nearly killed him, in fact.

So why the long face? This shouldn t be too hard If I don t succeed, or Draco doesn t want to co-operate I think the order may want me to nullify him. Ron and Hermione went silent. It s not easy you know, this Order business, the prophecy, the sword- All of that. I ah Sometimes, I get these urges and hear things, like voices Harry was abruptly cut off when Ron raised his palm. Whoa- easy there mate. Don t need to set the cuckoo clock just yet. Stop fooling around, you re scaring the shit out of me. Harry glared at his best friend for a second, then put on an easy smile. He cursed himself -he couldn t believe he almost let that slip! Ha! Got you there didn t I? Harry laughed. Ron joined in, and both of them pointed at each other in a You got me! gesture. Hermione did not even crack into a smile. She could see straight through that forced smile of his. Her eyes narrowed at the both of them. That was it. That was the sort of honest-to-God response she wanted to hear from him. Harry had to confide in her, and tell her his problems. The only time she ever got Harry to truly be open with her was after Neville died. He had stayed silent for nearly three days before she attempted to use the Leglimens spell on him. He had totally broken down, and told her what he felt inside. Just now, he was about to let his emotions out, but Ron had stopped him before he got a chance to finish. Harry had to let someone in, before it was too late. Oy! We re here! The Ministry of Magic! It ll be sixty knuts- the lot o ye! Come on come on, get a move on -can t wait for bloody Christmas! Stan Shunpike ordered. Let s go. We re here. Said Harry, any trace of humour gone. Hermione followed meekly behind, hoping that she would be able to have a private word with him. ************ In an abandoned suburb house in Little Whinging, two men were captivated by the projection on the wall. So what do we do know? Macnair asked. Rodulphus Lestrange was looking at the recording of the Battle of King s Crown. They had broken into the Minister of Magic s office and created a duplicate copy, and were now analyzing the enemy. Macnair wasn t too thrilled to be looking at this. In fact, he had to sit down by the time he heard Snape s final scream to stop the involuntary shaking in his legs. That boy was not human. Well it seems we are blessed to be alive and well today, Lestrange said evenly. He flexed his wand arm, remembering distinctively when Potter

broke it. That was the last thing he had remembered of that night. must be a sign.

This

A sign? A sign to quit our regular day job and disappear, I hope. Macnair could only hope Lestrange had come to his senses. He kept his mouth shut, watching on screen as the Lord Voldemort burned before his very eyes. A sign? Macnair asked.

But of course. This is our calling. This would be the ultimate challenge! We have survived to do what must be done! Rodulphus was getting more enthusiastic by the second. Macnair hated it when he saw a man dangle on the threads of insanity. What else to expect from a man who claimed that Azkaban was his favourite vacation spot? Calling? Yes! We must do unto others, what they have done unto us. Well, do unto him that is, he added, pointing at Harry. If we cannot kill him, we must kill everyone else around him. Don t you think that's only fair? Hmm? Eye for an eye? Macnair definitely did not think that, but he nodded dutifully all the same. If Potter found out who ochestrated it, he ll hunt as down for sure. But for time being, he would accept Lestrange s ridiculous notion. He was very powerful wizard. There was a thin line between insanity and genius, and he was the first person Macnair knew that kept hopping back and forth over that line. Even though Bella was a crazy bitch, at least she was predictable. Her husband was a completely different kettle of fish. AHA! But first! We ll need a guinea pig. Someone who could do our work for us, and keep those nasty eyes away from our direction! Rodulphus clapped his hands once in glee, and ushered Macnair in front of a crystal ball. Macnair turned to look at him directly. Guinea pig? Was he reading his mind, or did Rodulphus actually have a plan, a feasible plan? Maybe...just maybe.. Here will be our subject! Our main chess piece! Our knight in shining armour! BEHOLD! Lestrange announced, pointing at the crystal ball. Macnair frowned, what was this? A joke? Maybe he should stop second-guessing his comrade s insanity. He definitely had lost his mind. This was a muggle! A muggle boy? Macnair asked, looking at the beefy teenager strolling into the boxing gym. Ah but just not any muggle, my dear friend, Lestrange said softly, putting an arm around his shoulder. This is an opponent who Potter cannot kill. This is his only last blood relative . a diamond in the rough, so to say. Macnair stared at the young man. He was pretty tough looking, but other than that, there was nothing extraordinary about him. Lestrange smiled evilly. Believe me, he is our trump card . ************* Draco! You got a letter! Kenna Malfoy shouted cheerfully up the stairs. At that moment, she was baking cookies for the both of them. Draco was in such a good mood ever since he came back from his little trip. She

couldn t believe the vast improvement! Throw it away, came his arrogant voice from the master bedroom. Kenna smiled, for him, that was being such a sweetheart compared to before. He really neded that little holiday! ~But guess who-its-frooomm~? she sang back to him, teasing him to ask for the name. A few moments later her older brother strolled down the stairs, wrapped in a ridiculously expensive sleeping robe. He took the rolled up parchment from her fingers. Wait- whose snow white owl was she petting so adoringly? Couldn t be Opening the parchment he began to read the unfamiliar writing: Dearest Malfoy, The only way you re going to find out what really happened to you is to be at the Lionheart Order of Sorcery on the first day of the new term. Walk with a quill, because you are going to have to sign up. You hear me? Oh and one more thing, you ve yet to beat me at Quidditch. Here s your lucky chance, you Loser! Hardy-har-har. With hugs and kisses! -Harry. Draco laughed at Potter s comeback letter. Shit, he even put the same with hugs and kisses ending. He needed that laugh; it was something he had not done in a long time. He re-read it as he walked up to his room. Interesting. An Auror eh? This could be the start of a very interesting year .

**************** Authors Note: remember to drop a line! I hope you are liking the reposting- I'm telling you, losing all of these fics and re-doing the formatting is time consuming- but for you guys, I hadda show the love! Respect!

Chapter 5: Hogwarts' Finest [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

**CHAPTER 5: Hogwarts

Finest**

Harry did not think this Apparation the third class of the week, and he Most of the other Hogwarts students instructor at the Ministry of Magic

business would be so tricky. This was still was not able to move an inch. have gotten the hang of it, their knew what she was doing. But for some

reason, he just couldn t do the damn thing. He cursed softly under his breath. Everyone was watching him, and he knew that a lot of them were snickering behind his back. Hermione had a puzzled expression on her face, and Ron was quite befuddled. Ron had tried to show him the easy way to do it, after all, Fred and George taught him how to apparate, and therefore on the first day of class was the only one to get their provisional permit. In another month, all of them would have to return and do an exam and apparate over a substantial distance, reappearing in a certain target area. Their instructor, Ms Hutchinson was watching Harry closely, knowing that there was something differentt about him. After a whole week and no improvement she decided to tell him to return another time to have a crack at it again, instead of forcing himself now. Her instincts were telling her that something was not right about this. Okay, Harry, take it easy, some people take a bit more time to get used to it, Ms Hutchinson told him soothingly. Maybe you can come back next week, when you re a bit more relaxed. You seem tense, she added. Harry did not respond. He was tense these past few days. Malfoy had mailed him back, saying that he would come to Lionheart just to prove that he could beat him in Quidditch. Knowing the first part of his mission was complete gave him a bit of relief, but on the other hand, the real task had now begun. Draco may not know it, but in the Order s bingo book, he was classified as an S class threat, and was not to be underestimated. Harry did not particularly like the sound of that: S class threat ? What the hell? No, I can do it, Harry gritted through his teeth, his eyes closed tightly. He couldn t believe it- all the magic he has learnt, all the impossibly hard techniques he s mastered, but after days of trying he couldn t even apparate?? It perplexed him. Why was it so difficult? For wizards, this was a routine spell, but here he was, on the last day before the school term began, and still could not do the short jump to the target area twenty feet away. I ll make special reservation for you next week, Harry. Don t force it, said Ms Hutchinson, getting a bit more worried. What was that tingling feeling in the air? I can do it, Harry said again. Hermione was looking at him intently, something was happening to Harry. She frowned, and came across to his Ron was leaning on the wall, lounging with the other seventh years. He didn t want to, but he was feeling pretty good about himself. Here he was: watching Harry struggle to do something he could do ever since last summer. It felt like he finally got one up on his best mate. Sometimes it wasn t fair how Harry was able to do everything so effortlessly. At least, Ron knew he was better at doing something other than chess. He continued talking with Luna and Seamus as they quarrelled about the second half of the Quidditch season. Harry s Lionheart strikers were high up in the table, four spots below Krum s first place Lionheart United. The Tornadoes were having a great season, and were the main title contenders to Lionheart United. Ron s gaze fell on Hermione, who was now clutching Harry s sleeve urgently.

side.

Harry, listen, maybe you should listen to her you can come back another time, please? she said softly, her eyes filled with concern. He ignored her as well, his eyes clenched tightly. Now that she was so close, she could feel the pulsing energy of the Solidus Charm building up inside of him. Harry, stop! Hermione shouted. Ron dashed forward, something was happeningBefore he even knew it, he had fallen down in the middle of an open field, alongside all of the other seventh years. Everyone was either face down or flat on their back, and Ron took a moment to realize what had happened. A heartbeat ago, they were in the Department of Magical Transport training facility. Now, he was looking at setting sun falling behind the hills of a vast rolling field. Someone screamed at the shock of it all and a large flock of white birds suddenly took off into the sky, disturbed by the sudden appearance of so many intruders in their resting zone. Harry alone was standing, looking utterly lost. What the ? Ron exclaimed. The others were slowly getting up, all of them just as clueless to what has happened. Harry! I warned you! Hermione scolded, sitting up in the poppy field. What you were trying wasn t apparation, it was-Teleportation, Ms Hutchinson finished in awe. Dark magic such as this was outlawed since the days of the founders- the most useful tool kidnappers used during the Goblin Wars. How was he able to do this? Harry looked at both of them, completely lost. What did they just say? Teleportation? he asked. Ms Huchinson approached him carefully, writing down the time, date, and location of her magical compass. It read:

5:00 P.M. Friday 31st August 1997 Current location: Stockbury Hill, England. Target Location: M.O.M. London, England. Total Distance: 81 Kilometres due South South-West Target Distance: 20 metres due East north east.

There was a look of astonishment on her face, and her eyes darted back up to Harry. Harry was freaking out- and tried his best to look at what she was frantically scribbling down on her notepad. She quickly hid her notes, and cleared her throat. I m sorry Mr Potter, but this ..um incident is serious business. It will have to be reported, and I m afraid that there will be a review to determine if you would be allowed to continue apparation lessons. But- it was a mistake- honest! he sputtered. She gave him a look through her beady eyes, not believing one word he said. Just be grateful that everyone seems to be okay, and we didn t end up in

another time or worse yet, a different reality. Ms Hutchinson looked at him strangely, and Hermione bit her lip in worry. EVERYONE! The instructor called out. Please wait while I head back to the Ministry to get a Portkey License for you lot. Do NOT and, let me make this clear, do NOT wander off, or your provisional permits will be revoked and you will not be allowed to retake the exam, she said in a stern voice. Everyone went dead silent. Be back in a few minutes! she added cheerfully, and with that, she Dissaparated with a crack! Hermione wrapped her arms around Harry, giving him all of her support. She read up on Teleportation in the Ancient Tome of Sorcery the book she found by Salazar Slytherin. It was all piecing together now. The signs were there, from the sudden and dramatic increase of magical ability- the mood swings, the memory lapses and most importantly, the few times he told her that he was hearing a voice- a voice she herself had heard once- that day, at Sirius one year memorial. Harry had just given back Gryffindor s sword to Albus Dumbledore- then, out of nowhere, she had heard it in her headthat strange voice Harry used whenever he was in his trance state: Fool. Our work is not yet done. Harry just stood there, his expression one of deep contemplation. He was still trying to comprehend what happened ere. It was just like when he was going to the Dursleys at the end of year five, when the apparated the lot of them and the car to the house. He thought that was some unexplainable mishap, but now that he had done it again, he began to worry. He cursed softly, looking at all of the faces staring apprehensively at him. He hated this! Hermione, what is happening to me? he asked in frustration, holding her closely. His life felt so out of control . Shh... It s okay, Harry, we ll sort this out together, she consoled him, looking about at the vast expanse of untamed land. She held on to him tightly, and decided that there was no other way: As soon as she got back to school, she will need to have a word with Professor Dumbledore. Someone had to help him, and her Occlumens training was not enough to solve this problem. Hermione was suspecting it all along, but it felt that her suspicions had more weight than she realized. The headmaster needed to be informed that Harry was slowly, but surely, being possessed. *************** On the Sunday before the opening of the new school year, the entire Order of the Phoenix was congregated in the Room of Requirement. They were all summoned to this very important meeting by their founder, and headmaster of Hogwarts: Albus Dumbledore. All were seated around a large conference table, their expressions dead serious with the matter at hand. Sean Creevey, one of the survivors of the battle of King s Crown, and also their shadow man from the Ministry s Unmentionables Auror squadron, was

giving his report. The destruction of Azkaban has the Minister of Magic and the entire community on edge. We have all been working day in, day out to get to the bottom of this mystery. The mere fact that Azkaban was destroyed is a dilemma that no one has ever predicted, far less thought possible. The entire fleet of Aurors, including us: the Unmentionables are doing all we can, but from the evidence gathered, the pattern of destruction is consistent with the blast area of the most powerful spell- the Reducto Ultima. He paused, looking at all the wizards present. Which now leads us to believe that there are wizards other than Professor Dumbledore and a handful of other S Class magi alive, and unaccounted for. This may be a problem, depending which way he or she swings. Professor? What is your take on this? Indeed this may be a problem, Albus Dumbledore nodded. It is imperative that we are prepared for this possible threat, alongside the difficult task of helping the re-capture of the escapees. We must find more clues to whoever this Dark wizard may be. Also- I fear this is tied in to the group who attacked the train at the end of the previous school term. The Followers as they called themselves, are also another problem to be solved. Because of the attack; the new Hogwarts express will be heavily guarded on the journey to and from King s cross. Even though the escort has already been decided by the Ministry; I personally am going to ensure that all of my students arrive safely. Amelia, any news of the escapees themselves? Dumbledore asked Madame Bones, a witch who worked alongside the Legislative division of the Wizengamot. From our records, there are quite a few of Voldemort s men who may have been alive at the time of the escape. B ranked Death Eaters Macnair, and Rodulphus Lestrange: who- get this- has been in and out of Azkaban numerous times, which is saying something. There has only been one person to escape from Azkaban: Sirius Black. But this man, Lestrange, has never really broken out . Hear this, he was released on claims he was under Voldemort s Imperius curse, recaptured after the Department of Mysteries Incident, then sub sequentially escaped a few months later on transit to execution by the Veil of the Unknown. That was the second time he has gotten away. Then he was recaptured once again by Auror Trainee Harry Potter and Ministry employee Arthur Weasley on New year s Day of this year, then, she laughed grimly at this: now is again at large due to the fall of Azkaban. In and out of Azkaban three- count em, three times. Slippery as a fish that one . Dumbledore pursed his lips. He remembered young Lestrange s and Sirius rivalry in Hogwarts. For some reason, Sirius was the only one to get detention when they were caught fighting. Rodulphus, on the other hand, usually got off. Not a particularly gifted student, Rodulphus Lestrange was a master at deceptive and manipulative magic. His penchant for the impossible was also a knack he excelled at, give him something that was supposedly never been attempted before and he will do it. Was it possible that somehow he was able to destroy Azkaban from the inside out? A Possession spell to enlist aid from the outside, maybe? Dumbledore pondered on this new train of thought: destroying Azkaban was supposedly impossible, and he seriously doubted Lestrange was the one who pulled it off . We need to continue recruiting more members, Professor, Mr Weasley

added. The Ministry and by doing so, our given us a shortlist pulled out a roll of

is stretching out its resources in this mass manhunteffectiveness is cut almost to half. Lionheart has of promising graduates from this past year. He parchment.

Bill Weasley cleared his throat. Oh, and on a brighter side of things, Harry seems to have settled nicely into Lionheart. This is good news, his instructors Jeremy Kingsley and Jacobsen have high hopes for the lad. But you may recall, Professor, he was once considered a liability by most of the Order. Actually, at one time it appeared that he was on the verge of self destruction- remember what he did to our guys from the ministry earlier this year Sean Creevey objected, still not totally confident of someone so young being inducted into the Order of the Phoenix. That was different, he was provoked into fighting! exclaimed Tonks.

That doesn t matter, Tonks. The magic absorption technique he used is pretty difficult to pull off- and I doubt Ulrich Ferdinand would have exaggerated another Auror added. Dumbledore put his fingertips together and inhaled a deep breath. It was true: Harry was becoming more and more unstable as the year passed on. Professor, Remus intervened. Do you think that he would be able to keep Malfoy under control? Putting them together in the same place may backfire on us. Maybe we should have handled this ourselves Remus, my friend, this may come as a shock, but it is already beyond our control. Young Malfoy s Infernus ability has rapidly multiplied upon itself, and even I may not be able to defeat him if it came down to a duel. I believe giving him direction and purpose would be the best course of action. Hunting him down would only result in more bloodshed. Who knows? Maybe he will apply himself diligently to his studies. There s something more than meets the eye about Draco, and I daresay Harry is our only hope in keeping him under control . *************** On the beginning of the new term at Lionheart Order of Sorcery, one young man was sweating profusely. Things were not turning out the way it supposed too. What was he to do know? The gaffer was already taking roll. MULCIBER, Ryans! Shit. He was late. HUGHES, Martin! Was he really coming? KELSING, Lillian! Dammit Malfoy! You better show up! HANES, James! Harry was seething. He should have been here almost half an hour ago. He just hoped that Draco did not do something stupid like throw away his

letter, or worse, thought that it was a prank. It was meant to goad him, yes- but it was still intended to be quite serious. Hopefully, he wasn t too thick and dim-witted just to laugh it off. HARRISON, Russell! His name was going to before Draco s on the was a bit funny about that he could be just be called next. And he was the last one on the list S.T.A.R. division shortlist. Drill Sergeant Jacobsen the time. If you were late, you would soon find out a friendly as an ingrown hair embedded deep into the

anus. If Draco didn t show up now, he definitely was going to have a rough year. POTTER, Harry! Harry acknowledged the roll call, nodding at Drill Sergeant Jacobsen. He may be disagreeable at times, but all in all, he was a just and fair man. Psst Harry someone whispered in his ear. Harry jumped- then turned to look at the girl next to him. How in the world does she do that? A few seconds before, there was only a tall wizard on his right. Where did she come from? Fleur! Harry smiled as he gave her a brief hug. me, how you could sneak up on people like that. Never cease to amaze

I got in! I got in! she whispered excitedly. Finally, I can make daddy proud Harry grinned. She may be a bit forward, but they had become pretty good friends over the past few months. Fleur had more to her than met the eye. Hell, anyone smitten with Draco Malfoy had to have something special about her. DELACOUR, Fleur! said Jacobsen. He scanned the crowd, and made eye contact with her. She smiled at him, and Harry was not surprised when the instructor blushed slightly. He stifled a laugh. Jacobsen quickly looked down at his roll of parchment and the list of names there. He focused low down the page, did a quick head check of the Auror trainees in front of him, and frowned. One is missing. Where is he checked the name again- Malfoy, Draco? He glared at the lot. Well? Anyone here knows where this bloke is? Suddenly, the great entrance doors of the Lionheart Order of Sorcery flung open and slammed against the walls with a tremendous BANG. Everyone peered down the vast hall at the figure silhouetted in the morning sunlight. Murmurs of annoyance began to rise from those wizards who bustled about, hurrying to get to the respective classes. Who was this person who dared cause such commotion in the Auror academy? What the fuck ? Jacobsen grumbled, immediately now in a bad mood. Who the hell is that? Everyone turned to face at the young man dressed in black wizard robes, his swagger and attitude screaming arrogance and a big fuck you to whoever didn t like his grandiose entrance. Fleur was all starry eyed, and Harry shook his head in bewilderment. He looked at Draco s face, and shook his head in annoyance.

Draco, you dumb git. You just had to be the center of attention don t you Draco Malfoy strode towards the main security desk, signed his name with a flourish, then marched straight to where Harry Potter and the others were standing. Jacobsen s jaw dropped with the utter irreverence of it all. How dare he barge into his main hall and create a scene! Come here! Who the hell are you? Jacobsen threatened.

Malfoy. Draco Malfoy, he bowed his head gallantly, mocking the older man. And who, dare I ask- may you be? he countered, looking directly into Jacobsen s face. The two wizards glared at each other, and amazingly, Jacobsen s face broke into a slow grin. You got spunk. Very good. You got attitude, that s also good. he said. But, I already don t like you. You got that, you little fuck? he whispered. In an instant his face reverted back to its regular stony expression and he screamed into his face. NOW GET YOUR ASS BACK IN LINE! AND DON T YOU EVER, AND I REPEAT, EVER QUESTION ME AGAIN! Yes, sir! Draco said, a twinkle in his eye. As he turned he caught sight of Potter, and the girl next to him. When his back was turned completely to Jacobsen, he snapped his fingers softly under the cover of his expensive cloak. Harry frowned as he saw him do it, what was that about? Draco made his way across to Harry, and both of them for a moment just stared at each other. Harry s battle instincts began to take over, and his heart began to race. The air was heavy with tension, both young men jaw muscles tightening in animosity. Their eyes bored into each other, and all time stopped, their eyes locked in a battle of wills. What was Draco going to do? Was he about to start something right here, right now? Harry surreptitiously put his hand in his pocket, his fingers closing around his Phoenix core wand.. Potter. Malfoy. They glared at each other, their faces dead serious. I have something to say. Harry just raised an eyebrow. I hope that loud-mouth has some strong sphincter muscles- because I secretly hexed him with a Diarrhoea curse. Huh? said Harry, completely lost. Draco smiled evilly.

Well Potter, you noticed when I snapped my fingers didn t you? That was a little greeting present for our esteemed teacher. I created a diversion so I could get close enough without raising his suspicions. The stupid mudblood, Draco added with a sneer. You know him? said Harry, his interest piqued.

My, my, it seems that you catch on quicker than usual. My old man told me about him. He did that same little trick to my father back when they were studying in Lionheart together. Alas, he never got a chance to repay the favour. A son must carry on the family torch of his father, isn't that so? Give it a few seconds. Draco grinned. He got into line, and folded his arms. Draco did not even seem to notice that the girl on either side of Harry was frequently glancing in his direction. While Jacobsen was barking out names, Draco sized up the splendour of the halls of Lionheart s Order of Sorcery. He looked at Harry straight in the eye. Ah, so it boils down to this, expression blank. his voice all business once again, his

Boils down to what? asked Harry. He was thinking about what Malfoy just said: A son must carry on the family torch of his father... Suddenly, Jacobsen broke off the roll call, and sweat began to bead on forehead. Harry s eyes widened as face began to burn red, his posture going rigid. Without warning, Master Jacobsen dashed off in the direction of the bathrooms. Draco smirked knowingly. Harry began to laugh. The group dispersed, and both of them walked off, followed by a very nervous Fleur Delacour. Harry glanced back at her, but she was walking behind them timidly. Quite out of character for her (in Harry s opinion). What do you mean? Harry asked again after Draco failed to answer. finest.

Yes, Potter. Destiny you and me: it is the return of Hogwarts

*****************

Chapter 6: Second Best [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

**CHAPTER 6: Second Best**

To our first years, Welcome! To our returning students Welcome back! You know how it goes, there is a time for talk, but it is not now. Tuck in! Professor Dumbledore said. Hermione, Ron and Ginny were seated at the Gryffindor table, their faces not as happy as they usually were at the first day of school. To all of the students, the trip on the new Hogwarts Express was a strained one, the memories of their last and almost fatal journey still fresh in their

minds. Almost fifty Ministry security wizards were stationed in and outside the train, some riding on broomsticks the entire journey. Professor Dumbledore himself was seated with Remus Lupin in one of the compartments, and never once did they lower their guard. Not the sort of atmosphere they were accustomed to. So! When s the first DA class going to be? Colin Creevey asked immediately, leaning across Ginny to ask Ron. His eyes sparkled, and his enthusiasm could have made Ron sick. Truth be told, Ron was not feeling the DA classes ever since the end of last term, when he saw Harry nearly snuff out that Draco person. Ever since Harry s sixteenth birthday, he felt as if he was in a war, or expecting to be attacked any other day. The train ride this morning was proof of that. No one knew what would happen next, now that those escapees were on the loose. Ron pursed his lips in thought. Was he good enough to train these guys outside of their normal Defense Against the Dark Arts classes? Or rather was he mentally prepared to continue? He thought hard. At first, he thought it would have been more of a cool thing to learn from Harry, but now he realized that it was dead serious, and Harry was the only one of them who knew the pressure of being in mortal danger, all of his life he was marked for death. Now that he had his fair share of battles, it dawned on him that these were not games, and those that he instructed would eventually rely on his expertise to save their lives if the need arose. I don t know, Colin, he said somberly. Maybe we could just have a meeting this week just to get everyone together and agree on a schedule! Colin suggested. Hermione was eating her food quickly; she wanted to tell the Professor about Harry as soon as possible. Right now, that was all that was important. Ron s expression was grim, but she would have to talk to him later about the DA classes. Ron, what s wrong mate? Seamus asked. Dean and Lavender glanced at their red haired prefect, a bit surprised that he had barely touched his heaping pile of food on his plate. Well, I m looking at it like this. There are wizards out there powerful enough to take on Dumbledore, and destroy Azkaban. And the guy who really knows about these things has been unceremoniously kicked out of school, Ron sighed. So far, we ve just being playing kid s games compared to those caliber of wizards, do our little bouts of playing wizard really matter in the real world? Hermione looked up at Ron. What was he trying to say? He didn t want to continue with the classes anymore? So? Harry s our age, if he could hold his own, so can we! protested. Colin

You have no idea what Harry is capable of, Colin. Fred and George told me that taking out those Aurors was more a game to him than anything else. It s almost ridiculous how much magic he has learnt I just. ..I m not sure if I really am the right one to continue teaching you guys. I mean, I thought it was cool at first, but I now realize that next to Harry, I m

just kidding myself. At this Hermione told him in a firm voice: Don t be daft Ron if it weren t for you none of us would be here today- What about facing Voldemort? And remember earlier this summer?! I thought you handled both very well, considering the odds! I definitely believe that you should continue the classes!! Yeah right, Hermione. You re only saying that cause you re my friend. I m worthless. I couldn t even help the Professor when they were fighting. I was frozen to the spot. Harry was the one who did anything worthwhile. It s like we weren t even a major factor. Can t say I blame them, after all, we re just novices in comparison, Ron lamented. Ron I am not just saying that! It s true! Hermione began, but Ron ignored her, and started eating his food. The feast went on, and the Gryffindor table remained in a taut silence. When the school had finished eating, Dumbledore rose to give his speech. Hermione looked up at him attentively, while Ron simply propped his head up with the heel of his wrist, and was lost in his thoughts. He caught snippets of Professor Dumbledore s speech, something about reminding students that the Forbidden forest was self-explanatory, and need not be stressed upon, and that Mr. Filch has kindly requested the removal of the regurgitating hex placed on his toilet bowl, amongst other commonplace things. His speech turned towards the escapees on the loose, and explained that all should be on the lookout for any strange happenings in the near future. .Henceforth, I fear, we may have some rough times ahead. But for now, let us remind ourselves that true strength comes from within, and together, our combined efforts will overcome any obstacle. All the students believed this to be the end of the speech, but Professor Dumbledore raised his arms gesturing for them to remain in their seats. His face broke into a large smile. I have a particular school announcement this year, and a very special one at that. It has been a long while since the Minister of Magic has given the Merit of Valor to one of our students - and I believe that this is an opportune time to present it to a very brave and worthy individual Everyone began to whisper loudly. The Merit Of Valor?? . Hermione zoned into the headmaster, understanding alighting on her face. Ron groanedHarry wasn t even here, yet he was being awarded. Just another reminder to show how insignificant he felt compared to him nowadays This award goes out to a very special young man, who also happens to be our newly appointed Head Boy. Not only that, but time and time again, he has proven to be a fearless and true protector of all the students of Hogwarts School of witchcraft and WizardryRon s ears perked- Head Boy? He fingered his prefect s badge. That means it couldn t be Harry I kindly ask Mr. Ronald Weasley to come forward and be recognized! Professor Dumbledore announced, and waved his wand over the staff table. A golden plaque appeared on the white tablecloth, a Gryffindor Lion proudly emblazed on the smooth polished surface. Please put your hands together in appreciation of this exceptional young man! The teachers erupted in applause, shortly followed by the majority of the shocked students who

didn t see that one coming. He looked across to his sister, who was beaming with pride, her hands coming together with such fervour that it appeared to be a blur. Come on! Go get up there!! Hermione screamed over the din, pointing to where Dumbledore beckoned him. He rose slowly to his feet, and amazingly, all of the other students did too, awarding him a standing ovation. Ron blushed furiously, making his face almost as red as his hair- it finally dawned on him that everyone was clapping for him. His pulse raced in his ears, and the tremendous din felt as if it were coming from far away. He proceeded numbly to the front of the hall, his footsteps felt as if lead was bound to his ankles. Is this for real? Or was he dreaming? Professor Dumbledore came around the table, and took his hand in a firm handshake. Ron looked eye to eye with the younger version of his Headmaster, and stammered: Uh..what this is for me? For bravery and composure in the face of danger, and the sharpness of mind to command all of the houses in a united effort against a common foe, it is my duty, and also my pleasure to present you with this award. For protecting all of my dear students on the train, and risking your life for the safety of others, I- Albus Dumbledore, thank you on behalf of the entire staff and all of the parents who have mailed me, heaping praise for your selfless actions. This is what we try to inspire in all of our students, the determination to help those who in need, and the fortitude to do so, even if we ourselves do not believe in our own abilities. That is the mark of a true Gryffindor! At that moment, Ron remembered what Harry said about Neville the day he left: We should honour his life by never taking for granted that, even though we may be scared, even though we thought that we were powerless to stop those who would hurt us, those who would try and harm those we love, we should never give up. Neville fought for us, he fought bravely, and his life was not taken in vain. Ron did not know what to say as he numbly shook his hand, taking the cool golden plaque in the other. The applause grew even more feverish, and Ron slowly looked at all the faces clapping him on, yet still he couldn t believe it. Professor Dumbledore gave him a fatherly hug, and said in a lower tone of voice. Well done Ron, I am very proud of you. Your family is also extremely proud of you and I daresay a certain Hermione Granger is ecstatic about this as well Ron glanced at her, and Hermione was clapping so hard he swore that she would need to do the anti-swelling charm to treat the sting. Her face was aglow with pride, and he could swear he saw two tears rolling down her cheeks. Ron still couldn t believe what was happening. But her expression said is all. After nearly seven years, the girl who he admired and looked up to finally believed in him, and with a conviction. I can t believe it! Hermione is proud of me!

And with that feeling of euphoria, he finally grinned, and lifted his award for all to see. The Gryffindors raised their enthusiasm another notch, and Ron slowly went back to his seat. Hermione wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged him so tightly he thought it would break. Hermione, take it easy- you re starting to behave like my mother! he said, blushing furiously. Ron- do you really know what this means? Not only are you a head boywhich is a great accomplishment- you re Order of Merlin third class: a Knight of the Magi! Imagine how good that would look on your record for when you leave Hogwarts! Ooh- I m so jealous! The ministry must really think highly of you, Sir Ron, she added with a twist. Ron beamed. Sir Ron? You know, I could get used to the sound of that, he said with a chuckle. Hermione laughed. It was due time that others recognized Ron as the good person he is. ************ Lord Ash was in William Hargreaves secret lab, both of them looking at the bodies floating in the numerous Chambers of Iralem positioned alongside the wall of their hidden laboratory. Excellent, excellent! The second tier of their Elemency has been infused successfully, correct? Lord Ash asked his right hand man. His former student, Draco Malfoy, was exceptionally gifted; no wonder the Dark Lord wanted him. But, a good teacher will create a good student, and that is what Lucius Malfoy s last request was it not? He remembered when he visited him in his final days, jailed and humiliated by the Ministry of Magic. Ash- I have given you generous amounts of money, alongside my respect and loyalty over the years. Make him worthy of the Malfoy Empire. I want my son to be the strongest. Train him well. Do not fail me, old friend. Ash laughed at the memory. The fool. His son was a snob and a weakling. But, on the other hand, his rare and immense Infernus ability was quite useful, if he could harness its power. When the muggle lover Dumbledore brought him unconscious and helpless at the beginning of the year to Hargreaves he couldn t believe his good luck.. He would finally be able to Siphon out his natural power without fear of the consequences. Now, he was looking at the fruit of his labour. Four ordinary wizards, volunteers slowly being powered by the Chamber of Iralem s magic empowerment properties. Soon, he will have four knights of the Apocalypse: two Infernus Elementals- one Terra Magi- and finally, a Torrentia magi: Fire, Earth, and Air Summoners. He laughed again to himself, much to Hargreaves unease. Four Elementals: more than enough to crush anyone who opposes him, even that fool Dumbledore and young Potter. It was just a matter of time . *********** Harry was in Counter Offensive Duelling class or C.O.D. for short, taking notes feverishly as Kingsley rambled on about the use of simple

spells in advanced dueling techniques. His hand was scribbling furiously, he had completely forgot to get the Quick-notes Quill, and his essay quill was just not cutting it. Plus, the increasing amount of counter and counter counter spells were heaping to make his little shorthand notes into one long, confusing, roll of parchment. Harry s feather quill danced and trembled as he tried desperately to keep pace with the lecturer. .and using the Disarming charm is meaningless against those who have done any sort of training in the Ama No Batonnairre magic style. The first properties of Wand less magic trains us how to manipulate small objects. Which in turn means that for a skilled magi, the Expelliarmus hex can be countered with a simple summoning charm. Henceforth, by using a conjunction of the Disarming hex plus the Vanishing Charm a more effective spell is learnt: the Disengagement Jinx. It is called this because it is used to permanently stop a wizard in his tracks, without directly attacking him. However, the counter for this Disengagement hex is also quite simple and it only takes another quadratic of four simple spells . Psst! Potter! Potter! Draco was beginning to irritate him greatly these past few days. Without stopping to look up, he ignored the blond haired boy who slid unto the bench next to him. Draco grinned as he watched Harry in his good student mode. Not even bothering to stop his momentum, Draco accidentally bumped his elbow with his, causing Harry to make a large line across his notes. Harry cursed, and he involuntarily ignited his quill. For some reason, whenever this git was around, his little Summoning power seemed to constantly trigger of in the worst of circumstances. Still can t control that properly, Potter? Maybe I should stick a hazard sign on you so that you don t interact with anything remotely flammable. Look at this, he said, giving Harry today s edition of The Prophet. You re little Weasel friend is on the front page: how does it feel to once again be second best? I ll be damned if I ever call that loser Sir Weasley, he added with contempt. What are you on about? Harry said, his eyes scanning the front page. Yep, sure as he said, Ron has been awarded the Merit of Valor, which made him a Knight in the British Wizarding community. He couldn t believe it! He never even got his Merit of Valor last year, well he couldn t really blame anyone- Cornelius Fudge was under one of the Death Eater s Imperius Curse, so it didn t really count anyway. Harry pursed his lips as he read the article. What s the matter, Potter? Don t tell me you re jealous Jealous? Hah! Why should I be jealous? He s my friend! Even to himself it sounded fake. Oh by the way, Potter- I think you should watch your back, Draco chuckled, his tone dropping a notch. He nudged Harry with his elbow again, and indicated with a little tilt of his head at the current S.T.A.R. trainee division squad leader, Ryan Mulciber. There seems to be a growing interest in your daily routines and movements recently from a certain Death Eater s nephew. I'd look out for him. Heard he s really good. I overheard that only a few high ranked officials know anything about what

happened to those wannabe Death Eaters who attacked the train- quite a rep your building as dark wizard hunterI am NOT a dark wizard hunter! Harry said through gritted teeth, remembering when Remus blew up with him during the summer: Dammit Harry! Don t you see? He was a hunter! Not much unlike the hunters that came after you- the only exception was that he was human! Solidus was a murderer, and that - tha- that sword killed legions! Harry was brought back to the present. I I didn t know what else to do at the time, so I had to use the sword! he defended himself. Right, said Draco, and evil smile on his face. By the wayDraco paused for effect. Whatever did happen to that little toy of yours? You know, the one you use to make paper dolls out of people and stuffThat triggered a response from Harry. He said in a very quiet voice, Don t ever speak about that again. You hear me Malfoy? Draco leaned in even closer and taunted him. ~Oooo~ is the big bad doggy going to bite me? I m scared Potter, I really am Harry s fingers curled into a ball and all the lighted torches and chandeliers extinguished immediately, casting the room in pitch darkness. Jeremy Kingsley stopped in the middle of his lecture. What is going on? he queried aloud.

Do not mock us. The voice echoed once in the room, and after a few seconds of strained silence the lights re-ignited. Who said that? Who s there? Everyone, on the alert! said Jeremy Kingsley, pulling out his sneakascope. When it remained dormant, he frowned. There definitely was an aura of Dark and powerful magic just now. Who spoke in that voice? Okay, guys, we ll call that quits for today. I want a report on my desk by next week of all the ways to safely nullify a target without inflicting any physical damage. Enjoy the weekend. The class got up, and exited into the large hallways, eager to find the nearest watering hole. Draco slapped Harry on his shoulder, and congratulated him. That s more the spirit. I hate seeing you so goody-goody and studious. Oh, by the way, your previous left-overs says Hi! She says she hasn t even gotten a chance to see you, and she wants you to meet her in the pub after classes. And no, I won t tell you that she s looking very much forward to the after party, and what she s going to do to you whole night long here? What are you on about? Cho? Harry ignored his last remarks. She s

Ah, it does seem that you have gotten sharper ever since having to think for yourself, instead of relying on that mudb- he cleared his throat, I mean, beautiful woman of yours, he said in mock apology. Harry didn t know what irritated him more, hearing Draco insult Hermione or calling her beautiful. He felt like slugging him either way. Potter, you know something? said Draco as they walked down to the pub just off the campus shopping center. It seems that anytime I meet with the lesser wizards

from our alma mater that they have no clue that I am their superior. Imagine this, she walked straight up to me and introduced herself, saying she knew that I was a rookie in your precious S.T.A.R. division. This is beginning to greatly infuriate me, Potter. A rookie ? She dares to call me a rookie? And even worse, they don t remember my name. You said you had answers, and I want them, now. You have some nerve, Malfoy. You show Cho some respect, or else! Is that a threat? Draco smiled. This is getting interesting.

Consider it an unfriendly warning. Don t underestimate me, Draco. I don t need a sword to kick your ass, and you re welcome to have a go at me any day. Just remember I m the fucking boy-who lived- and you re just another Slytherin. Just one more name to cross off the list. Harry snapped his fingers in finality. So now what you could do is shut up, and go and get me a drink. Harry sat down at the furthest table from the entrance, now in a foul and cranky mood. Draco laughed heartily, and Harry lips twitched fractionally in a smile. By god I love it, Potter. You re a sick fucker you know that? What s your poison? he offered, and Harry just glared at him. I want a milk. No wait- make that a chocolate milk. And be quick about it. He ordered, his face dead serious. Draco laughed again and strolled away mumbling something about fuckers who were too dangerous for their own good wanting strong bones and pearly white teeth Harry rest his head back against the wall, closing his eyes for a fraction as he let out a deep breath. If he had to be around Malfoy seventy five percent of the time, he better show him from the start who was in charge here. Well?! a voice from the seat directly across from him. Harry s eyes flashed open, and before he even knew it, he was fully aroused and lusting after the girl in front of him. Fleur Delacour had somehow appeared on the stool opposite, looking sexy as hell. How in the hell does she sneak up on him like that? Well...er...well what? Did you tell asked Harry.

im about moi? Does he think I m bountiful?

Beautiful, you mean, corrected Harry. He looked at her, easily filling out her very tight top. She definitely was 'bountiful', alright. Oui Oui, be-you-ty-ful!? she whispered leaning across the table to talk to him softly. Harry had to forcefully avert his eyes from dipping too low. All the girls want him, well and you too of course, but I know you ve got Hermy-own ninny, she explained before quickly reverting back to the subject. Is he single? Hermione, he stressed, And yes, there is no woman for him. Harry snickered, he meant that literally. So he iz fair game! I think he is quite sexy- in that dangerous way, non? she queried. Harry really did not want to be hearing about how sexy dangerous that fool was. He shrugged. ooh- ooh- here he comes vite!

How is my

air?

It s perfect," Harry sighed. Let's see how Malfoy takes to her shall we? The boy in question came up to their table, sneering at her. You again? Potter, I know every goddamn woman in the world wants your cock, but one ex girlfriend is enough. Why is she here? he asked aloud, not even caring that she could hear every word he said. Fleur was immediately hurt. Harry s face softened. He knew what unrequited emotions felt like. Fleur is a good friend of mine, and if you want to sit at this table, you will kindly be courteous to her. Draco stiffened, Harry did not usually speak to him on a level footing, and so for him to request something politely must mean that she indeed was a friend of his. He glanced across at Fleur, who was staring determinedly at a spot over Harry s right shoulder. Pardon my rudeness, madame. My name is Draco Malfoy, and I am pleased to make your acquaintance, he bowed his head slightly towards her. She smiled, and nodded in return. Draco took another stool, and gave Harry his chocolate milk. He scooted his seat so that both men had their backs to the wall, and stared stonily at Fleur Delacour. Recognition dawned, and he almost felt bad about talking like that in front of her. Almost. Now I know why you re so familiar. You took care of me when I was injured, correct? Oui! So you do remember! I do now. I would like to thank you for your expertise and your efforts. I will not forget it again, he said in a business-like maner. Fleur beamed. Harry wasn t so sure what to make of this. He never really heard Malfoy talk nicely to anyone but his sister. Draco took a sip of his drink. Harry mentally noted that his drink was ridiculously expensive. At that moment he could see Cho in the crowd, apparently looking for them. Hey! Cho! Over here! he called out to her. Cho turned, and saw them and smiled. She walked over, and took a seat next to Fleur. Harry noticed that a lot of male heads turned as she sat down. The two young men were quite aware that they were sitting with the hottest rookie debutants at Lionheart, and instinctively they knew they just made a lot of potential enemies. The girls, on the other hand, had no clue to the amount of attention they were attracting, and smiled at each other, but it never quite reached their eyes. Hi, said Cho. She folded her hands on her lap. Fleur responded, taking a sip from her straw.

Ello,

Draco grunted. Hey! I didn t even know you got in! So what are you majoring in? said

Harry. Oh, I think I m going to branch into Healing with the option of Law. Sounds strange, but this way I could please everyone, myself included. What are you doing here? Auror Squadron? Um- sorta. I m in Special Tactics and Rescue- S.T.A.R. division. It s a bit different I would say, Harry responded. Oh, and Draco was it? Thanks for relaying the message unto Harry here. So What about you? What are you studying? Draco was once again a bit irritated. Why didn t they remember him? I m the same as him, he said simply. Wow, who would have thought that the two youngest guys here would be specialists? You should be proud of yourself, Harry. Have you written Hermione as yet? Ron told me she worries about you. Draco stiffened. He hated being categorized, even by age. Oh, and have you seen today s Prophet? Ron s being awarded the merit of Valor! I always thought he had something more about him than meets the eye, that s why I adore him. She paused at Harry s expression. What is it- aren t you happy for him? Yeah! It s great! Why won t I be happy for him? Harry asked, trying his best to keep his voice neutral. Draco snickered next to him and Harry kicked him under the table for good measure. No , no no .I know you d be happy for him! It s just that I thought maybe I better just drop it er-

I ll tell you what s bothering him. He s jealous and his murder voice just scared the shit out of Kingsley. I, on the other hand, thought it was classic. Harry stiffened. He hated Draco s patronizing, even if it were trueespecially when it was true. Wat is e talking about, Harry? Fleur asked him, both girls wearing a quizzical expression. Cho s eyes darted between Harry and Fleur. Cho frowned slightly. Who was Fleur to ask him personal questions? She was looking at him as if she knew him intimately. Was the article in the Quidditch monthly letting on more than just speculation- was there something deeper between Fleur and Harry? I have no clue what he s talking about. Harry took his wand out of his pocket secretly and hexed Malfoy underneath the table, making his shoes tighten painfully on his feet. What the fuck are you trying to pull, Malfoy? he whispered sideways so that the girls could not hear. He felt immense satisfaction when Draco began to squirm. Aright aright! Quit it! My toes- goddamit Potter! Stop! he mumbled under his breath, grimacing as he ducked his head to hide his expression. Harry stopped his shrinking charm, and smiled warmly to the girls. My esteemed friend here has seen too many horror flicks. The lights went out during class, must just have been magical interference, or a draft. That s

all. He just likes to exaggerate. Fleur and Cho were not at all convinced. They took a few more drinks, making small talk that never seemed to flow naturally after Draco had that little crack about murder . Harry was trying his best to lighten the mood, but to no avail. When Cho finally got up and told them she had to go and study, Harry also got up to make good on his escape. Fleur, Draco and Harry got up, paid their tab, and escorted the two girls back to their dorm houses. On the way back, Draco pulled Harry one side. Listen - some crazy stuff happened to me this year, and I want some answers. I ve heard that you had trouble apparating- and I know the reason. My Infernus instructor- a man called Angelo Dorius Ash- showed me what was the problem. If you help me, I ll help you learn to control the Infernus so that you d be able to do your exam and get your permit. In return, I want to know what in Slytherin s name the reason behind Dumbledore having me tortured me into near paralysis then trying to kill me. From what I know, I don t think he likes me, but Azkaban is a bit much, don t you think, Potter? Harry s eyes narrowed. Did I stutter, Potter? anything? You said a man named Ash trained you? Draco smirked. What does that have to do with

Okay. You say you will show me how to apparate, and I will tell you what you need to know. Deal? Harry extended his hand automatically. The only thing on his mind was that if he didn t learn how to apparate, he wouldn t be able to visit Hermione until he got another set of wheels, which he doubted he would do, or left for end of term holidays. Malfoy looked at the outstretched hand, and remembered all the way back in the first year: when he had offered his hand to Potter, who had without a second thought turned him down. Time to return the favour. Put that down, Potter. I won t shake your hand. But if we agree on this, I will show you, once you come straight with me. Harry could live with that. He put his hand back in his pocket. Whatever. Here s the deal: there s a man in the ministry called Hargreaves- and guess what, he works for this Ash guy, who we ve only heard of by name. Other than that, we have no clue as to who he is, but you say he is your instructor, right? Was. Continue, Draco nodded.

Now get this straight, first and foremost- Dumbledore did not send you to Azkaban. This Hargreaves guy was the one who gave the order, and from what Fleur told me, some men kidnapped you and sent you there- all wearing Obliviator uniforms. Hargreaves has some influence, and probably got those guys to put you on that one way trip to Dementor paradise. Potter, you are not making any sense. Harry cursed in frustration. My instructor is a faithful friend of my father s, and Hargreaves is my

family doctor, as well as a close business adviser to my father. He was one of the many prominent officials who helped rebuild my house after my parents were murdered. I have known them all my life. What you speak of is preposterous. It is the old fool who wants me dead, but I will kill him first. Yeah? Believe what you want, but I am telling you the truth. I personally heard them talking, and saw them use the Chamber of Iralem at full power to basically cripple you! I was there. That girl who you so rudely insulted Fleur- fought off the Obliviator squad while she was taking care of you and came all the way to Hogwarts, then Lionheart; to find me after you were abducted. And do you know what for? To get me to help you, you worthless piece of dragon dung! She put everything into finding out where you disappeared to, and for months she infiltrated different ministry officials homes looking for clues. I should have beaten you senseless then and there at the bar when you behaved like such a complete asshole! She deserves better than you, but I ll just let her have to find out that for herself won t I? Harry s temper rose almost to boiling point. Is this true? YES! Harry exclaimed.

Well, I must have a little conversation with Mr. William Hargreaves and Mr. Angelo Ash, don t I? Draco said, his face deadly serious. No, not yet. We ll do this the proper way. Now listen to me very carefully, do you still want to attack Albus Dumbledore? I have no reason to now. The true culprits are revealed. I will not tolerate any betrayal to the Malfoy family honour. Harry let out a breath he didn t even know he was holding. A sort of relief washed over him, and his tension that was accumulating ever since he was ordered to watch Malfoy evaporated. Do you still have the medallion of Sirius Black? Harry asked. Yes, Draco said softly, this was his mother s parting gift, and he treasured it greatly. We will go to the Order of the Phoenix, and you will tell them what you have told me. From there, we will get to the bottom of this mystery. Draco snorted. Whatever.

Remember this, Malfoy. From now on, we do things by the book. No more running off and doing shit. If you do, we may have cause to come after you. Consider this a friendly warning. Draco shrugged in indifference. Enough chit chat. Get some sleep, Potter, your lessons begin at promptly four o clock in the morning, Draco ordered, walking off. Lessons? What lessons? Apparation, Potter. The deal is the deal. I also do not tolerate tardiness. I expect you to be on time. Do not make me wait or I will be much displeased. Draco walked back to the nicer, very expensive condos on

campus. Fuck you, Malfoy. Harry grinned. Stupid asshole. But at least he would be able to visit Hermione. He made his way back to his tiny bedroom, and after undressing, plopped down on his bed. All in all, things were going quite peachy. But in the back of his mind, Draco s words still haunted How does it feel to be second best to your weasel friend, Potter? Damn it all.

him.

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Chapter 7: Questions and Answers [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

** CHAPTER 7: Questions and Answers**

You re late. Shut up. Harry grumbled, the fall chill biting through the old clothes Draco had told him to put on. Damn it, he said, rubbing his palms together. Why do I have to wear rags? Do not question me, Potter, Draco said in such a perfect imitation of Snape Harry had to wonder it was a Slytherin habit to be as obnoxious as possible. You ll see soon enough. What did you say about the summoning ability making it difficult to apparate? Harry knew that it had to be something in particular to give him all of this trouble. At least now he would be able to finally discern what is going on- if Draco knew what he was doing. Which he doubted very much. I want you to create ten flames at the tips of your fingers. Starting from very small and then increasing in size from the right thumb all the way to the left little finger. Huh? said Harry.

Do I need to write it down? No, that would be worse. Your reading skills, I ve heard, is abysmal in comparison to your listening skills. Draco looked down the length of his nose at Harry, who was already beginning to feel his eye starting to twitch in annoyance. Draco snickered, and with a flourish, brought out both hands from behind his back, a small flame sitting on top each finger, each increasing in size from right to left. It disturbingly resembled something like a candelabra made out of petrified human hands in Sirius house. Harry studied the demonstration. Didn t look

all that hard. Okay..let s try this.. Harry tried to do the technique, but instead of neat little flames lighting individually, one or two flames combined together to make a bigger fire, some were at varying heights and intensities, while his left ring finger didn t even produce one. Harry frowned. This is harder than it looks. Just as I thought. No talent whatsoever, you re just pure dumb luck. Tell me again Potter, who taught you to use the Infernus ability? Was it Dumbledore? If so, that old geezer is more senile than I thought. Harry extinguished his hands, his temper rising another notch. He could not fathom how one person could agitate him so. Hell, he was only here for three minutes and already he wanted to slug him. No one.

What do you mean, no one? Draco snarled. Don t be doltish. Someone had to show you- the igniting of the paper, then wood, then living plants- the whole nine yards. Harry shook his head in denial. Are you trying to tell me one day you just of the Infernus? Draco asked, stupefied. upped and became a Summoner

Well, remember when you were stupid enough to slap my woman and we fought- for some reason I could have used it since then, Harry explained. Well, that's what he thought had happened. You were able to draw it out then for the first time? Preposterous! laughed in disbelief. he

Even though he found it highly entertaining that Harry would deny having an instructor, his memories took him back to something his own mentor once said; could this mean that the old man Ash was true? Did Potter actually siphon some of my ability without me knowing? Draco inwardly shuddered at the thought, hiding his apprehension behind his forced laughter. But, he distinctively remembered that during all the times they fought together, or whenever they were in close proximity, his Infernus ability was amplified, while Potter s temper was far more volatile than usual. Draco had dismissed the story his tutor had told him; former tutor- that is; the stupid children bedtime tale told to gullible young wizards and witchesof the Second Coming . According to him, the story stated that one daythe true successors to the noblest Magi lines would re-unite- and either become Legends in their own right, or tear asunder the whole magical world. He knew that one half of it was true: Voldemort did indeed have wizards at his mercy until this man defeated him. However, that was only one half of the equation- Potter and the Dark Lord never re-united , so therefore the legend could never apply to those two. Voldemort may have been the heir to Slytherin, and Potter here may, just may have the bloodline of Gryffindor, but it still did not add up. Maybe the Legend was just that, maybe it was just a tale, and nothing more. Draco froze when a high voice in his mind contradicted him.

Believe what you want young Malfoy the legend exists What the? It was that strange voice again. Could it be-? Harry looked at Draco s sudden change in expression; one second ago he was laughing at him, now he seemed to have completely zoned off for a moment there. Harry cleared his throat loudly to get his attention. Whatever. What is that about anyway? Harry indicated the flames on the tips of Draco s fingers. Draco gave him a horrified look, but quickly hid it away. Composing himself, Malfoy smirked again, which was beginning to annoy the hell out of him. Control. The thing about being an elemental is that it alters nature s essence around you. Anything that interacts with your specific summoning ability in the vicinity will always be under your radar . As I am a seventh tier master of the Infernus, I sense all fires and sources of heat within a specific distance. A Terra-magi will have control over the soil and earth, while a Torrentia Magi will have control over the sky and weather patterns. Demonic Summoners sense all dead spirits, while Divine Summoners detect life forces and the magic potential in all nearby wizards. For example, using the third tier Wall of Fire Summon -Inciendo ar Ramsfaritar- will draw upon your own reservoir of energy, while a more powerful summon may borrow powers from elsewhere. The Eruptus Volcano summon will use your personal ability, including the raw energy from the magma flowing deep under the earth s surface. Following, Potter? Harry had to admit; Draco may not be as dumb as he thought he was. He nodded, waiting for him to continue. Good. If you do not control the Infernus properly, you will not be able to apparate, because Apparation is linked with the very essence of Magic to make oneself Disappear, then reappear in a certain area. If your summoning power is not under control, it will interfere with the element of nature you harness, Draco smirked at Potter s quizzical expression. Oh by the way, that would be Fire- I know you are not the brightest torch of the lot, just reminding you Don t- Harry began, his irritation growing by the second. Draco cut him off, arrogantly clearing his throat. Ahem! Do not interrupt me again, Potter. As I was saying, if you cannot control it, the Infernus will cause a disturbance with the magic flow around you. In other words, if you can t shut down or control to a very specific degree the delicate tri- balance between your personal magic aura, nature, and the magic flow of the elements, you will not be able to Apparate. That s is why you must learn to do the Fingertip Scale- when that level of mastery is reached, you would be ready. Draco twitched his fingers, and one by one, the tiny fires extinguished from his fingers. Which bring us to this- the time of morning. Yeah. Why are we here at this ungodly hour? inferior, especially to this git. Harry hated feeling

I have come to realize that predawn is the time where the Infernus is at it s weakest; while at Midday it is at it s strongest. The colder you feel, the less difficult it would be nullify it. Which is why I have told you to wear rags, which I must say Potter, looks like your normal attire.

Even for your standards, what self respecting wizard wears clothes like that? he eyed Harry s faded Transformers t-shirt and a dirty sweat pants. Throw those away. You are painful to look at. Harry didn t give a damn what he wore. Draco laughed softly, and then waved his hand in a dismissal gesture. Anyway, now is the best time to train. Begin. Draco walked off, yawning widely. Hey, where the hell are you going? Harry shot at him. And with that,

To sleep. You will inform me of your progress during the coming weeks, Potter. Weeks? Did Malfoy just say weeks??! Harry fumed as he watched Draco saunter off back to his apartment. Gritting his teeth in determination, he vowed he would master it in a single week. No way was he going to have Malfoy look down at him as if he were some little novice trainee. Not a snowball s chance in hell.

**************

Weeks later, as September rolled into October, it still wouldn t happen. The days passed in a haze of constant fatigue for Harry. First, there was a magical drain on him as his training sessions were much harder than he had expected. Waking up early each morning for the first week was not so hard. Then, he was optimistic that everything would go smoothly, and this little apparation problem would be resolved as soon as possible. Harry trudged along the halls to his first class, his hood preventing anyone from getting a really good look at him. He was quite frustrated. Everything would go smoothly Hah! Yeah right . He sat down, and slowly tuned out as Ulrich Ferdinand s deep voice permeated through the room. He gazed at the open book on his desk and sunk into his private thoughts. He opened and closed his right hand, feeling like a complete moron. How could Draco make it look so easy? He sent a hateful stare to the blond boy on the other side of class. Draco waved back to him, tiny flames dancing at the tips of his left hand. Malfoy was laughing at him all the while, and Harry knew it. A whole six weeks had passed, and it grated at Harry how he had to beg for any sort of hints, only to be shot down with another sneer and some useless comment like Maybe I should buy you a rattle and pacifier as well, Potter That stupid finger scale was driving him nuts. There had to be a secret to it that Draco was not telling him. Creating a big fire was easy compared to creating ten little ones, and Harry struggled every morning to get it done. He was so engrossed in trying to master the fine control in his Infernus ability that everything else seemed to have taken a back seat, including the reason why he was trying so hard-he wanted to be able to apparate to visit Hermione. Feeling utterly drained and exhausted in this morning class he began dozing off once again, catching little snippets of the Engagement lecture he was supposed to be taking notes on. and when it comes to Vampires and other fanged sentient beings- their main drive to exist is to feed on prey. The underlying factor of their

psyche belongs on the nature for blood, be it muggle, wizard, or otherwise . AndHarry propped his head on his hand, trying not to drop his head on the desk as he continued staring at a single crack on the wall . - keep in mind that they rather use hostages as a strategy than face you outright. So, over the next few monthsHis eyelids were feeling quite heavy . -and in the Psyche Class we will be studying the intricacies of dealing with that factor- the hostage situation, and the various Special Tactics and Rescue used in our this Auror division. Keep in mind that any time you are on mission: the S.T.A.R. Elite think outside of the norm, and complete the mission at all costs . He frowned. Someone caught the corner of his eye at the back of the class. Ulrich Ferdinand stopped his pacing, watching Potter drool all over himself at the back of the class. Hmph -He never liked that boy. He had a grudging respect for his raw ability, but his attitude- he couldn t stand it! Ferdinand did not tolerate disrespect or a lack of attention in his class. He scowled, his animosity aimed directly at the youngest student in the back row. Everyone turned, and some began to snicker as a line of drool began to roll down Harry s chin. Draco looked over his shoulder, and grinned. He knew Ulrich had a personal grudge against the golden boy, and also knew for a fact that the big dark skinned wizard was a hit firsttalk later sort of guy . He leaned back in his chair, and prepared himself for the little show. Ferdinand continued in a deliberate voice, picking up his wand from the table. and as we pride ourselves on being the Elite, we never, EVER fall asleep on our watch! He pointed his wand at Harry, ready to hex him awake with a tasty Shocking Spell. A dark voice spoke in Harry s head, interrupting him from running through fields of poppies, arms outstretched, skipping along in slow motion directly into a girl with bushy brown hairYou are under attack ! His eyes flashed open. A bolt of blue magic sparked from Ferdinand s wand, heading straight towards Harry seat. The whole classroom reflexively jumped back. Draco laughed. What was this man- insane? Does he not know what Potter can do? Crack! Ferdinand s curse split the wooden chair into two, but obviously, had not hit his target. Professor, said a voice from behind Ferdinand. I do believe that was a good attempt, but, surely you didn t think you d hit me with that, now did you? Harry asked politely, sitting on top of the teacher s desk, his legs crossed. Harry got off the table, yawning widely. Interesting spell. He told his Tactical instructor, nodding at his broken chair. Looked like it might have smarted a bit, he noted, standing right next to the big man, a heavy set man nearly twice his size and weight. Ferdinand kept his wand held tensely in his grasp, a bead of sweat forming on his forehead. They both stood quite still, surveying the damaged chair that smoked slightly at the edges

Shit... he breathed softly, not even daring to face young Potter. Was he going to do him in? Harry leaned in sideways, blocking his voice with the back of his hand. I apologize for falling asleep in your class, but I ll let you in on a little secret- do not try that again, Harry said very quietly. H-How dare you!? threatening me? Ulrich stammered, his face going red. Are you

No, Harry smiled. He drew his wand, and Ferdinand gulped. Pointing it lazily to his seat, Harry muttered the fixing charm. Reparo. The pieces began to jump back into place, and after a few seconds, the chair was once again whole. But I would appreciate it if you didn t try to hex me while I slept. Accio! His bag zoomed into his hand, and he left the class without another word. Walking through the empty halls leading to the cafeteria to grab a coffee, he contemplated on what had happened a few seconds before. He thought that he had put that inner voice to rest when he returned Gryffindor s Sword. However, that was the second time in nearly four months he had felt Solidus presence still lingering inside. He cursed softly. Now he had done it. He just hoped that Lionheart did not do a Madame Diggory and kick him the fuck out. But there was one thing he was happy about. After all the time wasted in training, he had done it as pure dumb luck. His Teleportation was controlled, and strong enough to get past the anti apparition wards Lionheart was Cloaked under as well. Finally! Forget that stupid fingertip scale. If Teleportation worked for him- he ll just have to fool the Ministry when he did his Apparation exam. He will have to make it seem that he was doing it the right way- Disappearing and Reappearing at the target location. It would have to be perfect- he didn t want to make the mistake and transport the invigilator again, like when he tried over the summer. Once he could control the specific range of making a Portkey out of himself and immediate personal space, his self-teleportation should be good enough to trick them. Or at least he hoped so. *************** Hermione, I told Cho to tell him to check his mail, just as you asked. I think it s bloody hell piggish of Harry to ignore you just like that. I oughtta give him a piece of my mind, Ron grumbled. Ron, I really think something s wrong with this whole situation. It s not like Harry to act this way, Hermione explained, but did not explain further. Telling Ron that she thought Harry was being possessed was probably not a wise move until Dumbledore came back. That was also a dilemma, since the first week of school he has not been in Hogwarts. And this sort of information about her suspicions of Harry s condition was not something she could simply put in a letter. What if someone intercepted it? She desperately wanted someone to talk to about it. It tore at her. She trusted Ron, but when it came to this; she just didn t know how he would take it.

What has it been? Three months? It s nearly the bloody end of October and no one s heard from him. Cho mentions him once in a while, but other than that- it s like he s forgotten all about us! Ron countered, growing quite annoyed with the whole situation. What if- Hermione started, a thought popping into her head. Ron, listen: when all three of us hung out in Madrid for the Quidditch games, did you think that he was acting kind of strange? You know, things that he should have remembered he didn t and things he shouldn t know he does? Remember how he said Persues daughter was also called Hermione? And that she also had a knack for books? What do you mean? That Harry actually read Hogwarts: A History? snickered. What was she on about? Ron

No Ron, Persues isn t even mentioned in that book. And as you mention that- Have you started it yet? She crossed her arms. Ron dodged her glare. Procrastinating till the very end, Mr. Weasley? Ron poked her in her chest. And by the way- it s Sir Weasley to you young lady, he teased. Hermione slapped him on his arm playfully as they crossed into the Gryffindor common room. She sat down on the well-worn couch and took off her knapsack. She began to dig into it, both arms somehow disappearing all the way up to the shoulder as she peered into the opening. Ron raised an eyebrow in curiosity. What the? I m talking about names and places that just seem to jump into our conversation: references to a past the Harry certainly did not experience, Hermione explained, her frustration growing as she could not find what she was looking for. Where is that book? she grumbled, her head almost totally inside her bag. Uh- Hermione fall right in. Ron said uneasily. If she continued at this rate- she ll

She groaned in frustration, and turned the bag upside down, jerking on it to let everything out: quills, rolls of parchment- new and used, a extra set of Gryffindor robes, her potion s coveralls, text books, library books, a compact, a purse, toothbrush and toothpaste, a calendar, a full sized globe, some knitted elf hats, a small mirror, a brush that definitely seen better days, more scrolls, a stuffed toy rat for Crookshanks, a candy wrapper (or two), the marauder s map ( Hey! That should have been mine! ) a bottle of vitamins, some * ahem * feminine products (which she quickly vanished from view) and finally, two large tomes that landed with a tremendous THUD on the carpet floor. Travel light, do we? Ron ventured, looking at the heaping pile of paraphernalia on the ground. Look. in this book: The Rise in brief passing that Solidus never mentioned Persues other know about his daughter being books as well? and Fall of Godric Gryffindor It says here and Persues were childhood friends. It has than this little excerpt. How does Harry called Hermione, and she had a knack for

Beats me. But so what? He knows, that s not a crime, Ron plopped down next to her, looking over her shoulder at the book.

Don t you think it s strange he would recall that piece of information as if he knew her personally, yet not remember something trivial: take for instance he completely forgot that you were a Cannons fan and that Dean was a soccer fan. I remember recently, can t exactly pinpoint when- he straight flat out told me that he saw a West Ham game and that I should tell you to back a better club- because they stink. And he said Ron . When I looked at him funny- he s like Yeah. Tell Ron, Do not back West Ham. They are terrible. End quote. Hermione gave him a knowing look. Ron looked utterly scandalous. Me? Me!? I have no clue what soccer really is by the way- or footy- or whatever it s called. I don t understand how Dean could have those boring still pictures on his wall- and why would he think that I m a fan? He s known for ages that my favourite I know, I know. Don t you see? Something is wrong with that place. I think they may be drugging him, or something Drugging him? Isn t that a bit too much? Ron really thought Hermione was the one losing it these days. Maybe but he acts so strange. Remember he thought he told us about his wandless magic bit? And remember when I blew him up with the Quidditch Monthly photo with Fleur and also for not sending any mail to me for the whole semester? On the way to the ministry for the first Apparation class he had the gall to tell me he wrote me a letter, when he obviously did not! But he seems to think he did, as if he forgot about it all. In fact, he seems to have a lot of glitches in his memory . she trailed off sadly. Saying it out loud, it sounded far more serious than when she kept it bottled to herself. Why don t you go and tell Dumbledore? Ron said wisely, seeing her forlorn expression. Ron did not think it was really such a big deal, hellhe forgot things a lot too. But Hermione was really worried, so maybe to put ease to her fears she should go and tell him. I thought of that, and I want to, but he s not here No, check it out- he s back. I saw him come this afternoon with some official-looking people from Lionheart, I think. They walked right up to the school with him after we left Hagrid s class. Looked mighty concerned about something too. Three guesses as to what, or more specifically, who... said Ron. Hermione ignored that last. Really? He s back? ************* A half an hour later Hermione was in the headmaster s office, nervously twitching her fingers as she told him that she definitely thought that Harry was not himself lately. Dumbledore had stayed unnaturally silent for a few seconds or so, then summoned his pensieve to his desk, taking out strands of memories and storing them for perusal at a later date. Hmmm, said Dumbledore, pulling on his beard. He still missed his old white one. He finished his memory dump, and sent the bowl with the and with that, she ran out of the room.

swirling memories back into his cupboard. Hermione, I m glad you came and told me this. It is a mystery that needs some immediate attention. However, to possess another wizard, that wizard needs to be alive, and in frequent contact with his victim. Pertaining to the increase in magical ability that Harry has demonstrated- it is understood that he indeed inherits the bloodline of Gryffindor, which makes sense if the prophecy is true: he wields the Power the Dark Lord knows not. I m sure he will mature and learn to harness his magic. Give it some time, he is young still, and emerging abilities will cause him to behave erratically. Speaking of which- I want you to look at this. These are the test results for Harry, as well as Draco Malfoy in the W.O.W. assessment, or the Weighing of the Wizard examination. Based on these results, you are eligible for different vocations. It seems that those two are quite extraordinary to say the least. Hermione took both results scores eagerly, and compared them side-by-side.

**

Name: POTTER, Harry. D.O.B: 1980/07/31 Division: Auror Department: Specialist, S.T.A.R. Elite MAGIC MAGIC MAGIC MAGIC MAGIC MENTAL MENTAL MENTAL MENTAL MENTAL POWER: 114 TECHNIQUE: 73 DENSITY: 89 ACCURACY: 90 STAMINA: 77 POWER: 93 DEFENSE: 97 ATTACK: 60 STAMINA: 55 AGGRESSION: 45 POWER: 78 DEFENSE: 80 ATTACK: 66 STAMINA: 74 AGGRESSION: 98

PHYSICAL PHYSICAL PHYSICAL PHYSICAL PHYSICAL WAND WAND WAND WAND

INCANTATION: 100 TECHNIQUE: 97 COMPATABILITY: 93 RELIABILITY: 95 AGGRESSIVE AGGRESSIVE AGGRESSIVE AGGRESSIVE ABILITY: 133 TECHNIQUE: 85 KNOWLEDGE: 97 EXPERIENCE: 97

OVERALL OVERALL OVERALL OVERALL

OVERALL DEFENSIVE ABILITY: 95 OVERALL DEFENSIVE TECHNIQUE: 77

OVERALL DEFENSIVE RESISTANCE: 97 OVERALL DEFENSIVE EXPERIENCE: 87 TOTAL OFFENSIVE : 103% TOTAL DEFENSIVE : 90% MAGICAL PROWESS: 193 RANK: ** Hermione eyes grew huge? Harry was S class wizard? But he was only seventeen! She then looked at Malfoy s results. S Class Paladin

** Name: MALFOY, Draco D.O.B. : 1980/02/29 Division: Auror Department: Specialist, S.T.A.R. Elite MAGIC MAGIC MAGIC MAGIC MAGIC MENTAL MENTAL MENTAL MENTAL MENTAL POWER: 98 TECHNIQUE: 76 DENSITY: 98 ACCURACY: 87 STAMINA: 125 POWER: 98 DEFENSE: 56 ATTACK:60 STAMINA: 140 AGGRESSION: 70 POWER: 65 DEFENSE: 65 ATTACK: 70 STAMINA: 78 AGGRESSION: 87

PHYSICAL PHYSICAL PHYSICAL PHYSICAL PHYSICAL WAND WAND WAND WAND

INCANTATION: 97 TECHNIQUE: 87 COMPATABILITY: 95 RELIABILITY: 99 AGGRESSIVE AGGRESSIVE AGGRESSIVE AGGRESSIVE ABILITY: 78 TECHNIQUE: 77 KNOWLEDGE: 100 EXPERIENCE: 100

OVERALL OVERALL OVERALL OVERALL

OVERALL DEFENSIVE ABILITY: 89 OVERALL DEFENSIVE TECHNIQUE: 70 OVERALL DEFENSIVE RESISTANCE: 65

OVERALL DEFENSIVE EXPERIENCE: 72 TOTAL OFFENSIVE : 89% TOTAL DEFENSIVE : 74% MAGICAL PROWESS: 163 RANK: ** Hermione s blood turned cold. Draco was this powerful? How did that happen?! She knew Harry had a lot on his mind over the summer, and now she knew why. Draco was almost as strong as Harry was! She looked in the Headmaster s face. He also did not like how this was turning out. The highlighted grades are what the Lionheart examiners are worried about. Jeremy Kingsley contacted me while I was away on business for the Order, and demanded some of my time. Demanded: I must stress upon the use of that word. This is quite astonishing, I must say, Dumbledore noted, his tone heavy. What is? The highest score available is supposed to be one hundred. Oh. Hermione looked down at the results, trying to comprehend what really was on this paper. What about the Paladin and the Sorceror thing? And the Magical prowess is what? she enquired, looking at the ridiculously high scores. This was unreal. That is the crux of the matter: The Paladin rank is the noble type of wizard: one who is gifted in Spellcasting, Shields, and Dueling. Harry has inherited some of Gryffindor s power, and is generally a good sort of bloke. Dumbledore s eyes twinkled. That, in combination with his own natural power can explain his incredible score. Young Malfoy on the other hand, should not be so gifted; even so, his score is also high above the mark. A Sorceror is one who is gifted in Curses, Summoning and Metaphysical Attacks. This is what has the Order, including myself, worried. The Infernus is a gift, yes, but even so, that does not come into play unless he has found a way to tap into that branch of summoning power to amplify his Magic quota. If this is the case, he is a very real and dangerous threat. Could you remember your score? Yes. But, I must remind you, I did not enter Lionheart at seventeen years. I trained very hard after my years at Hogwarts, and then decided to go and enroll. At twenty three, my score was 172 and I was categorized as an A class Conjurer. Conjurer? Hermione questioned. A Class Sorcerer

One who is gifted in Manipulating objects, and also has an excellent sense of Luck and Timing. Gifted in the arts of Perception, Occlumens and the Illusionary techniques. I see. Hermione once again peered at Malfoy s results sheet. Is this bad? I mean, Draco being so powerful an all. Didn t he set the stadium on fire? Hermione asked, her heart beginning to race. Fortunately for us, Harry has mailed me and said that Mr. Malfoy no longer harbours malicious intentions towards me. In fact, now he wants two other men to take my place: Ministry healer William Hargreaves and a mysterious man named Ash. As far as we can tell, their slates are clean. For the past few weeks we have been doing investigations, but somehow cannot link those two to any real evidence of their role in any wrongdoing. Inside, Hermione felt devastated. Harry had mailed the headmaster? But We are trying to contact these two men for questioning, but our attempts have been futile. Very busy men, if their excuses mean anything, he continued. I think a bit more of persuaHe forgot all about me? Dumbledore opened his mouth to continue, but on seeing her face, he quickly changed his mind. She tried to remain calm, but all she felt was going back into her room and cry. Hermione, are you all right? No. I m going to bed. Without another word she left his office.

Chapter 8: Hermione Granger...solemnly swears that she is up to no good? [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

**CHAPTER 8: Hermione Granger... Solemnly swears she is up to no good?**

Harry was in a much better mood over the next couple of weeks. He was slowly but surely getting his Infernus ability under tighter control, and now could apparate without too much difficulty. Whistling merrily as he went for lunch at the cafeteria, none other than Cho Chang intercepted his path, effectively blocking him. You have some nerve, you know that Harry? Huh?

Look, I know you ve got things going on- but can you explain to me why you haven t mailed Hermione? Ron is furious on her behalf and now I am too! You should be ashamed of yourself! Cho scolded. Dammit! How could he forget? ErNope! No excuses! I m going to sit down and watch you write her and tell her all the sweet nothings she wants to hear and it better be good or by Merlin s beard you ll feel my wrath! AndMy wrath ? Who says these things any more? Even so, Harry couldn t explain this peculiar amnesia. How was it that he kept forgetting? Good thing Cho was around. Sure. Cho broke off suddenly. Was she hearing correctly? Did he just agree to what she was saying? Well anyway, that s a good start. Um- okay. Let s go. Harry nodded, and they both went into the cafeteria together. ************ Hermione, would you please calm down a bit? I am supposed to survive these classes y know! Ron exclaimed, narrowly dodging a tasty Reductor curse. His shield just barely glanced that off course. Looking at the huge crack in the wall, he was really glad that did not connect. Hermione was facing him square on, her wand still smoking slightly as the seventh years did their advanced dueled exercises in the DA classes. Ron had a bad inkling about this. Hermione needed to release the pent up frustration she s been habouring. And with her knack of knowing exactly which spell would counter the opponent s attack it was becoming quite clear that she would win this round. She had a vast arsenal of spells at her disposal. Ron smiled in reluctant admiration. She was damn good, and if she was really serious, could be an excellent combatant. And with this Divine Summoning ability- her potential had no limits. They squared off again, Ron s preferred dueling technique that of the Nordic wizards of old, his wand held horizontally in front of him, his body twisted so that his other arm was hidden from view, ready to use any sort of hidden weapon he may be carrying. Hermione steadied herself, and entered into the Apollo Dueling stance, her wand held directly in front, her free hand clenched in a fist behind her left ear. Harry mate, I m gonna hope you survive when Hermione visits over the holidays. She ll have her nut when she sees you. I m sorry Ron, she breathed, her temper subsiding. She wasn t up to dueling today. It s just she trailed off. She lowered her wand. Ron frowned; this moping wasn t like Hermione. He knew she missed him a lot, but even so, in the middle of battle you can t just begin to feel sorry for yourself. Expelliarmus, Ron said lazily. Hermione started, but by the time she realized what was going on, her wand was already in Ron s hand. Hermione, you ve got to focus. I m sure he s okay, you just have to bear with him

for a bitEasy for you to say. You and Cho correspond regularly. You don t know how this feels- this sort of she trailed off, and sighed in frustration. I m positive everything will be okay, Ron encouraged, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. His words were optimistic, but in reality he had no clue what was going in his best mate s head. What the hell was Harry doing? They left the room of requirement after the session, Ron kept his arm around her as he consoled Hermione all the way back to the common room. Harry, you better come good this time ************* Two weeks later, Ron and Hermione were at the Gryffindor table having breakfast. It was a bleak morning, the skies grey with the upcoming winter. Seventh year was tough on him, he had all this work to do, a quidditch team to captain, a DA class to teach, head boy responsibilities, and this weird feeling of becoming a wizarding celebrity almost overnight. Sometimes he still couldn t believe it. All those years ago, when Ron saw the Mirror of Eriseed he had hoped to be the Quidditch Captain, and be just as successful as his older brothers Bill and Charlie. Now that he had reached that point in life, it all felt, empty. His best mate was no longer around everyday to share the jokes, to talk about teachers behind their backs, and to give the school a sense of balance. After all- he was the Boy who lived, and he gave hope to those who didn t have, and was a source of inspiration for those who didn t believe in themselves. Ron fingered his prefect s badge absently, his mind thinking of all the times that Harry did what needed to be done, and was never once credited for it. And the one time that they thought that the Ministry was actually going to recognize his efforts, it all turned out to be a Death Eater trap, resulting in the one of the worst terror attacks ever. It wasn t fair. He was a nobody, yet here he was, head Boy, Gryffindor Captain, and Knight of the Magi, complete with the Merit of Valour. A merit that should really be Harry s He looked across to Hermione, and she ate through her breakfast half-heartedly, her spirits down. Ron felt sorry for her, she s done so much for everyone, yet she was the one with this burden to carry. He was about to say something, but a loud shriek pierced the relative quiet of breakfast. The high-pitched squawk came from a majestic hawk that swooped low, a medium sized package clutched in his talons. Hunter! Kenna Rossilini cried. Come here boy, she coaxed him. I wonder what Draco wants to send to me? she said excitedly, holding her hands open for the package. Everyone paused, and Hermione froze at the sound of his name. The bird ignored Kenna, and flew directly to Hermione, releasing the package above her head. She caught it, both eyebrows raised. Perplexed, she read the note to the addressee it was indeed for her. The hawk swooped out of the hall, the incident over just as quick as it had started. Kenna was absolutely astounded, and her eyes narrowed at Granger.

"Oooh- that bitch! What does Draco have to do with her?" Taking out one of Weasley s Wizarding Wheezes Extendable ears, she jinxed it to snake low under the tables and creep up underneath the Gryffindor table. Her eyes focused on the back of Ron s flaming hair as he scooted over to see what it was. Are you sure you want to open it? I mean, it could be something dangerous- like Death s Snare or somethingNo. It feels like, clothes or something. Soft Hermione responded, turning the neatly wrapped package over and over as she inspected it. opening it. I m

Wait! Probably it ll be better if we did this somewhere safe- how about the Prefect s lounge? Good idea, Hermione agreed. If we hurry, we could check it before Flitwick s class. Come on, said Hermione and they both hurried out of the hall. Kenna reeled back in her extendable ears, and took out another of those wacky twins inventions: the Skeeter Bug. She didn t understand what was the reference to calling it that, but basically it was a little sticky button that if placed on someone s clothes will transmit sounds back to the receiver. Very good tool used to pry information secretly. She smiled, and picked up her books. She had to head them off quickly. Springing to her feet she followed the two Gryffindors out of the hall. Ron and Hermione made their way up the moving staircases only to stop short when they heard a girlish scream from a little lower down. Help! I m stuck! Ron turned, and there a few levels down, Kenna Rossilini Malfoy was clutching her knee, her calf sunken into the trick step that everyone knew to avoid. Ron did the gallant thing and volunteered to help her. Hermione made a face. Oh come on, she grumbled. Boys and pretty faces! She prided herself on being fair, but to that particular individual, it was possible to reach a higher level than Umbridge in the I loathe that bitch department. Come on Hermione, we re prefects, he mocked her in the same exact tone she always used on him. He made his way back down the steps and helped Kenna out of her little fix. Thank you, she breathed holding unto his bicep as he helped her regain her balance. Just look out next time, he said with a friendly enough smile. He still didn t trust her, but she no longer intimidated him. Kenna returned the smile and made her way to Transfiguration. Ron looked at her appreciatively as she sauntered off. Damn. That is one hot beeyaRon! Hermione snapped him out of it. He caught himself and raced back up the steps. See? That wasn t so hard, Ron said as he and Hermione continued towards the prefect s lodge. Weren t you the one harping on about House unity

and such? he smiled at her, knowing fully well that those two hated each other s guts with a passion. Let s just check out this parcel, shall we? She cut him off irritably. At a seemingly blank piece of wall they walked right through it and were in a small common room of sorts. The prefect s lunge was where they had their prefect meetings, and scheduled patrol rosters for the term. The plus side to it was that only prefects could enter, or if invited by one. Kenna doubled back and trailed them secretly, her finger keeping the receiver in place in her ear. Bugging Ron was much simpler than she expected. It was coming a bit fuzzy, but when she got around this next wall and it should clear up- yes! It s clear now! She kneeled behind a suit of armour, and listened in. - Hey- it s Harry s invisibility cloak- and what s this? Quick n easy Polyjuice Potion? Check it out! It cuts down brewing time in half -Wicked! I wonder what it s all about? What s written on the parchment? How the hell did Draco get this cloak- Quick open it! Ron, wait no don t grab- Sshh- no wait- it s from...it s from.. It s from who?! I can t believe it. It s from Harry! You ve got to be kidding! Why would Harry use Draco s hawk? Tell me what it says! It s a letter! All right, he says: Dear Hermione- and Ron if you re there, I know I have been a real jerk about not mailing you and all, but get this: this time I know something s up and it s not all my fault. I can t give you all the details right now, but I ll trim it down to the basics until I find another more secure way to contact you. I m actually sneaking Malfoy s eagle to you, and he will be pissed if he catches us- oh by the way Cho says hi! She s right next to me by the way, and on the lookout. I would have to fill you in more about the weird things later; this bird is getting impatient. I don t trust Lionheart s owls, I m worried about Hedwig, she seems in a complete daze recently, so this fellow here is all I ve got. Here s the scoop: I m looking at the broom closet in the post office and I just found out that none of your mail has reached my inbox here at Lionheart. It s been stashed away, alongside a couple from Remustons of fan mail, and incessant flyers from some stupid Quidditch Sex Toy Company sending me job offers to market the latest Rocket Jockstrap, some nutter thinks I m really going to wear that. Anyway- I think there s something deeper going on in this school, because every time I remember to write you and head to the post to drop it off- I get the sudden inclination to go elsewhere. Cho had to drag me here, literally. I kept telling her I had to go to the bathroom but as soon as I got in the place, the inkle to tinkle vanished. Strange huh? Like they intentionally don t want me to send any mail. May sound bang out of order, but stranger things have happened. Remember the Goblet of Fire? Those were the days huh? I ll have Fleur poke around and see what she could find out. She s good at that stuff.

Honey, I ve missed you. Oh, and you too, Hermione. Okay okay! I m kidding! Right. Got scared for a second, what he said next to herself. Ron breathed in relief. Hermione kept

Hermione I love you, (Hermione smiled warmly at this) and wish I could take back all the days I ve made you sad. I m sorry, I really am. I m under tight scrutiny these days, I can t leave Lionheart because I m on probation. A little mishap in my Tactics class with good old Ferdinand, but hopefully Kingsley would get me off for Christmas. But before that, Viktor is throwing his 21st bash and he told me to invite you guys as well ( I would have done it anyway) . The only thing is, it s on campus and it falls on the second-to-last Friday of the semester. Hermione, I know this may not sound like your regular law-abiding Harry (she laughed at that statement) but you ve got to come! And you too Ron! Damn, I miss you guys. Fleur, Cho and I came up with a plan, and by golly, we think it just might work! Erm I always wanted to say that.

So here it is: 1. You two are head boy and girl. From what I heard, that didn t stop the other years head boy and girl from skiving. Actually, if you two didn t come I ll be sure disappointed in you. Percy was the only one who failed to do something remotely like this. Sorry mate, but your brother is a killjoy. 2. Hermione, you ve got the maruder s map, and now my invisibility cloak. We ve got to find someone to sub for the both of you while you re gonethat s what the Polyjuice Potion is for. On the day, I m going to have to sneak in two trustworthy individuals to hold down the fort until Saturday afternoon. Don t worry, I m working on it as we speak. It s going to be a blast. 3. Then, you got to use the secret passage by the bust on the fourth floor. I think the one into Honeydukes may be the best choice of routes. I ve learnt the Replication spell, but it s not the best to cover up my absence for long. I m going to create an illusionary me, leave it here, and pick you guys up at Hogsmeade. Oh yeah! Guess what? I can apparate now! No more stupid fingertip scale. (I ll fill you in on that later) 4. Don t leave me hanging, Hermione. Just think of it as another of our little adventures . And ask Ron how to activate the Map if you don t know. Comes in quite handy. I have to go. I think Draco s coming. Bye. Ps. Hermione I love you. -Harry.

Hermione, this is wild!

Ron . Don t tell me you re even considering not going! This is going to be err what is it those yanks say? Oh yeah- Off the hook! But, we re prefectsOh, come off it! You only live once! I don t think thaOh no. Kenna listened even harder during the suspenseful intermission. What happened? She jumped when the deep voice jumped back through the earpiece. Oh shit! What? Hermione, we re late for class! Kenna had barely a half second to make herself as small as possible, crouching low behind the only cover in the hall. Ron and Hermione raced past, their book bags bouncing haphazardly as both of them sprinted to the stairs. Kenna giggled, made a mental note to mail Draco, and another to order a brand new outfit. After all, how often was it that she would be able to see Harry? She had to be the hottest girl at the party. ************* Over the next week Ron was meticulously tending to the Quick n easy Polyjuice potion. Instead of a whole month, it took only two weeks, which gave him a week of slack if something did happen to go wrong. Things were pretty normal (and boring) in Hogwarts without Harry, it just wasn t the same anymore. He still needed to persuade Hermione about this whole sneaking out thing, but in the end he ll know she ll go for it. Harry meant too much to her. Right now she was fighting with herself. Either risk the trouble (which made it even more fun) or be a bore and stay and miss out on seeing him again. Fight all she wanted, she ll be there. He knew her too well. He was grinning wickedly as he stirred the potion into to it s natural vomit texture when the ominous creaking of the front door to Myrtle s bathroom nearly made him jump and spill everything. Who s there? he demanded, his secret concoction safe in the furthest corner of the haunted bathroom. It s me, came a familiar voice. he teased.

Hermione? What, had a change of heart?

No I uh- um just came to check and see that you weren t having any difficulties- that s all... she added hesitatingly. She approached him slowly, trying to eye the simmering potion behind him. It s under control, he said proudly, displaying it for her to see. there s extra, just in case-" he pointed to another cauldron in the opposite corner. And

Oh. Good, she said with a sigh of relief. Ron grinned. Hermione had let that slip.

What are you gonna get for Vicky?

he baited.

It's 'Viktor', and maybe a shirt or something- you know, nothing too personalAHA! So you are going! Ron laughed. out on the eau de Harry. Knew you couldn t risk missing

Hermione laughed it off, but inside, her insides were tumbling. Was she really doing this? Was she, little miss Know-it-all going to intentionally premeditate a delinquent strategy and aid and abet in breaking the rules? What if she got caught? If she did, she couldn t live with herself Er- I m thinking about it. Good. Come on, that potion is safe where it is. Let s go and make those Slytherins scrub toilets or something, said Ron, grabbing his knapsack and heading to the door. Ron! Yeah yeah, I know, don t abuse it - but on the other hand, I think they ve been getting pretty rowdy these days, time to make them toe the line- Ron chuckled as they left for night patrol. ************* As the weeks passed and the day of Viktor Krum s party came closer, Hermione was more worrisome than ever. She still couldn t believe she was going through with this. When the day actually came, she was strung tight like high-tension wire. As she dressed for class she dreaded that any moment Dumbledore was going to jump out of the shadows and expel her in front of everyone, then curse her into oblivion until she promised never ever to be naughty again. Did she say naughty? Me? Naughty? She was going insane. She couldn t do this!! That is until another letter came supper. This time both Ron and Hermione were so excited that they didn t even realize that a blonde girl was watching them very closely, her extendable ear slowly creeping underneath the Gryffindor table. Hermione and Ron leaned close, whispering Harry s instructions. Okay This is it. Your replacements are on the way. They are best suited for this mission, and will hold the responsibilities of being the head Girl and Boy with utmost respect. Ron, you know how it s done- tell Hermione how to activate the map- and you should see them coming from the hidden passage number three exiting into the Ravenclaw hallway. Rendezvous at precisely 6.30, which by judging by wind speed, altitude, eagle wingspan and the amount of ridiculously huge droppings this blasted animal does in a day, this here letter should be reaching you with about fifteen minutes to spare, give or take. Shrink your clothes, put them in your bags, and have the Polyjuice Potion ready. Ron, Cho told me that you made two separate concoctions? Good thinking. Put in your individual strands of hair into each and carry it down to the meeting place. I will meet you outside Honeydukes. Godspeed.

Umm, Ron, who exactly are our replacements ? she asked him as they raced up to their dorms, a doubtful expression on her face. Ron snickered. Well, er, I don t know, actually. But don t you want to see Harry? he added hastily. Yeah she said softly, but live once! Ron said as he bounded into the boys room. the girl s staircase, her heart pounding. She took out planned to wear, and settled down on the bed. She and placed hem in her knapsack, alongside all the other

Come on, you only Hermione walked up the outfit she had shrunk the clothes

things she would need, like toothbrush, hairspray, and makeup. When she returned to the common room, Ron was as hyperactive as a five year old at Christmas. Jeez! You took ages! Ron said. Hermione just stared. She barely took two minutes, if so much! Let s go! They made their way back down to the Ravenclaw hallway. Well, Hermione, you hold the map, Harry left it with you, so say the magic words! Hermione opened the map, and took out her wand. I, Hermione Granger, solemnly swear that I am up to no good. Messrs Moony, Padfoot, Prongs and Wormtail greet Miss Granger, and wishes her a happy hunting trip! Also, on a side note from Messr Prongs, he wishes to express his heartfelt gratitude in saving his son s life. Let the secrets of Hogwarts be your fancy, and the adventures of a lifetime be your joy! Hermione did not know what to say as the intricate blueprints of Hogwarts School of witchcraft and wizardry was now revealed in its entirety. She peered hard at the two dots labeled Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley , and the two dots that were racing underground. Two very familiar names Oh No Hermione gasped. You got to be kidding me! Them! As prefects? This is a disaster! Before they knew it, the hidden panel opened and two large figures emerged. Oy mateys! Sorry for the delay-But the cap n wanted to have a word! Hermione really was beginning to have serious doubts about this whole thing. She covered her face in hopelessness. It s going to be a blast- no need for introductionsBut we are- the indomitable duoForge and Gred Weasley-

-at your service, as per orders! It s ruddy brilliant to be back! Now where s my badge-ickle Ronnikins? Hermione groaned, while Ron looked slightly pale. Harry, what in bloody hell are you thinking? Come on kiddies- chop chop! Give us the juice, and a strand of your hair! Got s to get cracking or else you ll be late! Both of them plucked a little bit of hair from their heads, and dropped it into the two separate flasks. In the shadows, a young blonde girl was watching very carefully, her eyes narrowed on what they were doing. The two tall read heads drank a gulp of the potion, their eyes twinkling. As soon as they swallowed, they both slammed the unbreakable flasks on the base of the huge bust. BBUuuurp! Hermione wrinkled her nose in disgust, but soon enough both of them began to look quite sick, and their skin and flesh began to bubble. Kenna drew a shocked breath. What was happening to them? In front of her very eyes, the two boys shrank a bit, one into a much shorter person, the other into a gangly youth. Everyone paused, dumbfounded to say the least. WellFron said to Ron, that s that. Enjoy!

Granger, I must admit, I feel a sudden up rise in intellectual fortitude budding from within as we speak. The twins took a look at each other, then the real McCoys, then broke out in laughter. Ciao! Both of the twins ran down the hall. Ron and Hermione were still a bit shell shocked, but they did not waste another moment and entered the secret passageway leading to Honeydukes. When they were out of earshot George slowed down, and beckoned his brother over. Hey, Harry won t know, and it s just a peek. Check it out! Hermio-George whispered. Fron came closer and peek down his brother s now baggy shirt. Wow. You would have never guessed, huh? Now George, show her body some respect! Remember our good mate Harry would do us both in, the way he s going Fron said, his tone a bit off kilter. He wasn't sure if that last was a joke or not. You know what? I never thought I d say this, but I think he may already be unto us. Damn, I m going to have to change into girl s clothes with my eyes closed. Speaking about that, remember that bet we lost to Clearwater and Angelina? Never thought Percy s type would dare try that betYeah, don t remind me, Fron shuddered. Filch spots us. ************* Back at the Ravenclaw den, Kenna crept out of the shadows quietly, making sure no one was around. Without any second thought, she took up the flask of potion that had Hermione s hair. She had once envied her for having Harry- now she could actually become her! Grinning ear to ear, she Let s hurry, before good ol

pocketed the flask and raced back into her common room. Draco should be coming on Stormcloud anytime now to pick her up, she had to get her things and meet him on the quidditch pitch soon. Tonight, she had it all planned, down to the last detail. She thought that the love potion would be the ideal compliment in combination with her talent over guys, but now with this it was a done deal! Harry- Tonight I m going to make you my first!

*************

Chapter 9: Sex, Lies and Polyjuice [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

**CHAPTER 9: Sex, Lies and Polyjuice** Professor Karkaroff, don t you think Krum would try to stop us? Ryan Mucliber asked his former headmaster. He was stuffing his S.T.A.R dueling robes with the special potions he would need for tonight. Nonsense! Karkaroff cut him off. Comraderie is a farce in the face of death. Have you ever seen Viktor do anything remotely heroic? the gravely voice retorted. Look at it this way, inadvertently he has helped us. He has drawn the boy out into the open with this ridiculous party of his, hasn t he? I thought he had what it takes. But it turns out he s just another spoilt brat, Karkaroff continued A pity. He had a lot of potential. Look at him now- flunking classes and desperately hanging on to a quidditch scholarship. Shameful. Ryan Mulciber snorted. Indeed, this may be his one chance to have a go at Potter. First his uncle, and now his eldest brother were defeated by that so-called prodigy. Ever since he had laid eyes on him in Hogwarts back at the Tri Wizard Tournament, he instinctively loathed him. Now, the snot nosed brat was actually in Lionheart, an achievement he worked and sweated years for to accomplish. What was even worse, he was also in his Specialist division, and taking most of the spotlight he, the best in his class, head boy in school, and also touted to be the next great Sorcerer-class Duelist out of Durmstrang. He just could not stand it. His once great family, now decimated and torn apart from the two wars, haunted him every night. He didn t care whom Potter was- or how good he was rumored to be. As the last Mulciber, he feared no man, muggle or wizard. His family motto was based on the simple philosophy: There are those who are worthy, and those who are not. As of tonight, Potter was no longer worthy to live. He double-checked his armaments. It shouldn t be that difficult- after

all, the kid was new to the world of real spells and assassination techniques. Hogwarts taught nothing of importance when it came to Wizarding battles, and if his previous Headmaster was correct- the source of his power was the sword, which he knew for a fact he did not have in possession. Even so, he asked again, just to be on the safe side. Are you sure, positively sure, that he no longer wields the weapon? asked. Ryan

I have it on very good word, from no other than one of the Dark Lord s lieutenants, Rodulohus Lestrange. His knack for gathering information is second to none, Karkaroff boasted, his expression confident. Very well. I ask for your leave- my deceased will not roam the nether without atonement. With my own two hands- Mulciber pulled his hood over his brow, his stance defiant. -I will avenge. Clasping his hands together he muttered an incantation, Devominar leiscente. His body faded, then he transfigured into a dark mist, and dispersed into the night air. Karkaroff watched him leave, then blew out a deep breath. He cursed himself, and Rodulphus Lestrange for misleading young Mulciber. Lestrange wanted Potter observed, but testing his patience by sending a man barely into his twenties was more like suicide. Balling his hands into fists- he felt ashamed. Ashamed because all of his life he was a coward. If a boy such as Mucliber could have the courage to face the one who conquered the Dark Lord, he deserves to at least have reinforcements. With a grim expression on his face, he conjured his old mask, and slowly his ordinary robes transformed into that of the feared Death eater.. Even if it costs his life, he decided then and there- that he will pay homage to a great wizard, and battle in the name of Lord Voldemort. His student will not die alone. ************* Ron, are you sure this is the right way? Hermione asked nervously as she held on to his hand, crouching halfway as they ran through the underground tunnels. Ron s wand was glowing, and Hermione felt as if her thighs were going to scream in protest anytime now. It felt as if they had been running forever! Just- a- few m-metres more...huff he panted, his gangly frame almost bent double. Hermione tried to keep up, her brow becoming damp with sweat. Finally, there was an ascent, which emerged into a small cavern with a drop ladder and a trapdoor leading to Honeydukes sweet shop. Come closer, Hermione, he ordered, and took out Harry s invisibility cloak from her knapsack. Draping it over him, he climbed the ladder, pushing open the trapdoor slowly. Good, looks like no one s around- you can come up, he whispered, and climbed up into the stock room. Hermione followed soon after, her eyes adjusting a bit to the dark now that Ron turned off his Lumos charm. There was still activity outside; shadows were playing under the crack of the

door leading to the shop itself. Watch out for thatas if on cue Hermione bumped into something that felt like a jar half full of some sweets- Bottle! Ron warned. Time slowed down as the jar tipped over, Hermione s eyes opening wide as it precariously balanced on the edge of the shelfCatch it! she breathed- her composure already lost. Ron did the first thing that came to mind- he did the Sloth grip roll- without a broom, and flung himself upside down at her feet, his long arms stretching, his shoulder hitting the ground with a muffled thud. Not expecting the speed at which he moved, Hermione tripped over his long frame and fell over. Ron felt the jarring impact of her even with that paralyzing blow caught the jar of Bertie Botts quickly curled up into a ball. his shoulder in concern. knee into the Weasley s family jewels, but nearly taking him out, he successfully Every Flavour Beans. He swooned, and Hermione clumsily got to her feet, shaking

Goodness! I m sorry- so so sorry! Are you okay? Nope he squeaked, his face blue in pain.

Wait- I think I can try something- I ve never got a chance to do this intentionally before- hold on Hermione paused, closed her eyes, and took a deep breath. She put her palms on Ron s face, and whispered, Leglimens! She delved into his mind, and felt the moderate amount of potential magic stored there. Digging deeper, she focused on his physical being, and on the pain that was radiating in waves from the land down under. Her lips moved in an unsaid incantation, and Ron felt the pain ebbing slowly away. Hermione? Hermione? calling her. What happened? she awoke suddenly, hearing Ron s concerned voice

she queried. Why was she lying down? said Ron. You okay?

You...blacked out, or something,

I m okay- I think she said uncertainly. Strange- she healed up Harry from far worse injuries- how come she did not black out then? Let s get some light shall we? Instead of creeping around in the darkLumos! he whispered. His wand glowed warmly, then began to dim until it was almost nonexistent. Ron looked at his wand with a puzzled expression. What the-? Lumos! he said again, but this time, his wand extinguished completely. Huh? What s wrong with my wand? Ron asked, very much lost. Hermione quickly put two and two together. Using her newly blossoming Divine Summoning ability, she probed her surroundings. She could sense herself, a nice orange glow enveloping her- ah yes, the shop owner, a fainter yellowish glow. On the other hand, Ron, who was so close, emitted a very weak aura. Maybe she had inadvertently drained his magic in order to heal up his slight injury- and probably passed out from not having enough juice to draw upon. Um- don t worry- I ll do it. Lumos! she said, pointing her wand. Ron was still foolishly whipping his wand about, trying his hardest to get a

reaction. Hermione hesitated; she didn t want to tell him exactly what had happened. It s just a side-effect of the healing spell, you ll be back up to full magic quota in a few minutes, okay? Ron shrugged, and both of them disappeared under the invisibility cloak. Sneaking past the clueless old man, Ron and Hermione exited the door-(Hermione wisely using the Immobilus spell which kept the bell above the door still) and once again were out in the fresh night air. Taking off the Invisibility cloak, Hermione finally felt the adrenaline of breaking the rules catching up to her- They did it! They were halfway there! And Harry was Oy! She turned, and made him out in the shadows. She grinned; even though he was looking a bit more menacing than she was accustomed to. He emerged from the alleyway, dressed in a full mage s hood and the Cloak of the Order of the Phoenix. Hermione wasn t sure why, but initially she felt apprehension in approaching him. Harry drew back his hood, and the little uneasiness she had vanished. Harry was Harry- and in her eyes, he was more handsome than ever. Harry! she greeted him, and rushed forward to give him a hug. Harry hugged her back, and spun her around full circle. Hermione screamed with the sudden movement, and felt utterly winded when he set her back down. Shit- you nearly frightened the hell out of me- sneaking around in that...that getup.. Ron finished lamely. He eyed the ominous robe and hood. What- is it supposed to be the latest thing ? Whatever happened to, well, jeans and t-shirt? Well, they re training us to be as professional as possible, and it s drilled into me now to wear this in public. Anyway - it s just a robe, Harry said in explanation, dusting a bit of lint off the long sleeve. How have you been doing? Hermione asked him, looking at his face. She automatically moved a lock of hair that fell over his right eye. Ah not again- why doesn t he cut his hair? Terrible, he sighed. Hermione looked concerned, but he slowly smiled at her, taking her close in his arms. I ve missed you a lot, he said softly. He dipped his head to meet her lips, but Ron broke it offAw, come on, at least get a room or somethingRon lamented. Jeez-

Harry smiled, and then ignored him anyway. He kissed her, and Hermione felt her insides once again feel that pre-emptive warmth whenever they were about to make love. It was amazing how his kiss alone could do that to her Ahem! Can we get going now? Ron intervened, after watching with a sort of sick fascination/repulsion of them making out in the middle of the street. Their lips broke apart- but the lovey-dovey look was definitely still there in their eyes. So what- we all Apparate to Lionheart? What s the plan? Er- yeah- sorta. Um...actually- well ..Erm. he fidgeted, and then looked at Hermione apprehensively. Hermione put her hands on her hips, giving him

a glare. What are you thinking of? Well, we can t exactly apparate into Lionheart- its similar to Hogwartsthere s a tight security blanket around the campus. But- he trailed off. But what? Ron asked.

I can- er get us there in a close- well similar fashion- a roundabout way so that the ministry won t detect me- he grinned mischievously, digging inside of his robes. The Essence of Muriad, Harry announced, taking out a small potion flask. At Hermione s scared look, he smiled again. Don t worry Hermione, I only need a tiny sip to nullify any emotional signature that they could track me with- the ministry won t be able to tell what s going on- it s okay! he gave her a wink. Hermione didn t like that idea one bit- that was a Dark Arts Potion! Harry- she protested. Harry took out the little stopper- and before she could stop him, put the vial to his lips and took a small sip. As he swallowed, a cold wind blew down the main street of Hogsmeade. Ron didn t know if it was just the chill of winter, but that draft gave him the woolies. He looked at Harry- and into his eyes. The warmth and emotion that was there a few heartbeats ago was gone- and his eyes were clouded with a vague emptiness. Harry closed his eyes, and took a hold of both of their wrists. Ron wasn t expecting that- and instinctively tried to pull away. Hermione felt that strange sensation again, as if the time and space around them was closing around them, each breaths becoming more difficultOh no! Was he going to The next instant she was swirling through dimensions, rapid-fire images shot past of the flames of a thousand hells- accompanied by screams of the damned We re here. My little room is on the third floor- Harry announced. Ron and Hermione opened their eyes, looking at their unfamiliar surroundings. This was a very strange place. Come on- he said, already walking to the entrance of the multistoried building. That was quick, Ron beamed- quickly following Harry a few paces behind. Hermione! Coming or staying? he laughed over his shoulder, not even realizing she was petrified to the spot. Harry ignored them as he tapped his wand on the door to the building. It opened easily, and the two boys entered. Hermione! Harry s voice called back at her. Hurry up. She caught herself, and hastily followed them. She hurried up to Ron s side, taking his hand urgently. Ron did you feel that? Hermione whispered fearfully.

Hell yeah I felt that- first I was in Hogsmeade- the next thing I m here. Plus- no portkey or floo aftereffects. That s what I call traveling in style! No- I meant when he teleported us- the screams the fire...! That was the

scariest thing she had ever experienced. Uhh...what in the bloody hell are you talking about Hermione? his eyes narrowing on her. You saw something? Yes! said Hermione. Didn t you? said Ron,

Finite! they heard Harry tell someone further ahead. Ron paid no heed to it- but Hermione felt something- a replica of Harry s aura like a shadow of his true self disappear. Ron distracted her when he nudged her to move along. No. Get it together- you ve gone absolutely nutter, he sad. We re here to party, not to go mental on visions Ron gave her a look. Harry- what the bloody hell mate? Wait up! He raced up the last flight of stairs and followed him around the corner in the hall, pulling Hermione along by her hand. They entered his little dormitory- and Hermione froze on spot. The first thing she saw was a pair of long shapely legs disappearing underneath a very short skirt. The woman was bent over at the waist as she dug deep into the fridge of the tiny kitchenette. Ron was dumbstruck to say the least. Ooh- Harry vere is zat last butterbeer?! I kept it ere last night, even put my name on it! she grumbled to the general vicinity of the bathroom door. Fleur? Ron gulped. She stood up straight, utterly surprised to see the two of them standing there, and smiled a little smile as she saw their hands still interconnected. Smiling, she welcomed them as if she owned the place. Ron could not take his eyes off of her. Obviously she was already dressed for the party. She was wearing a backless glittering top, her blonde hair falling in bouncy curls around her face and that short skirt was definitely a killer piece of apparel. A dainty pair of heels further augmented her ridiculously long legs, and Ron had to check himself when she caught him staring at her teasing neckline. Ello Ello! Come in come in- ave a seat! she offered, but to her chagrin, the only seats present were Harry s bed, and the chair at his study desk, which was completely covered with a couple of jeans, a tactical vest, and a shirt that suspiciously looked as if someone had spilt some alcohol on it. Hermione took in everything at once, the quills, the new pair of shoes poking out underneath his bed, his firebolt mounted on some hooks high up on the wall above a poster of Genevieve (a witch pop star) that she knew once belonged to Seamus. Two odd sides of socks and some dirty laundry was at the bottom of a clothes hamper in the corner, alongside his trusty Horntail boots. There were few empty bottles of Fire whisky and some Coca Cola tins on the little breakfast table in the center of the kitchenette, complete with two empty boxes of delivery food. She noted that it was two boxes, and not one. It was a typical male pigsty, but what had her peeved was Fleur s obvious familiarity with this room. She folded her arms defensively. Harry? she said imperiusly. he called back from the bathroom.

Yes, dear?

What is she doing here? Who? Fleur!

she asked suspiciously.

Er- I think she mentioned something about a butterbeer? he said offhandedly. Oh- and Fleur, if you really are there- take out that shirt for me- y know, the one I like- he shouted back as he turned on the shower. Hermione blanched- didn t he even close his bathroom door fully when she was in his room? Arry- you spilt ze firewhiskey on it last night remember? Also- you aven t washed it as yet as I recall refining you to do- Fleur responded, eyeing the soiled shirt on the back of the chair. Reminding, Harry corrected. Right you are- well the other one then, check in the second shelf- Harry said. Hermione was watching Fleur, envy burning in her eyes. She was about to strangle her any minute now. Iz on the first shelf, Harry! That s where shirts go, remember? Oh, and I made somezing to eat when you come out, eef you are ungry- Fleur tut-tutted and took out a snazzy looking dark blue shirt, inspecting it for any signs of disrepute. Seeing none, she laid it out on his bed for him to use. Hermione didn t know the feeling that was coming over her- it felt as if she were a guest in a stranger s house, and his wife was preparing for him to go out. The sad thing is, she was technically his wife, and this, this french floozy was just some other womanHarry! Did you go and pick them upCho burst into the room, also already dressed for the party. Oh! Hi Hermione! Ron- oh my god- it s been so long! she scooted over and hugged him about the waist. Delacour- has he changed s yet? That s him taking a bath right now right? Did you tell him that he s out of shampoo? Hermione just stared. How did they know he s out of shampoo? What was going on between them? Oui, I told Harry! in! im. But he refuses to remember anything zese daysI got the shampoo- I m coming

Cho shouted through the doorway.

Sure, he shouted. Just hand it over the curtain will ya? Before Cho got a chance to open the door, Hermione politely stopped her. I ll do it, thank you, she said stiffly. It finally dawned on Cho that she was offering to go inside his bathroom while Harry was bathing; right in front of his woman. She blushed and immediately gave it to her. Hermione spun on her heel, opened the door and slammed it shut behind her. Who s that? came a voice from behind the shower curtain. Steam was rising up from the stall and Hermione could smell the scent of soap. It s me, your girlfriend ? Hermione gritted between teeth.

Oh-okay- you have the shampoo? I always keep forgetting to pick it up at the store- hand it here- he stuck out his arm around the curtain. Hermione grabbed a handful, and whipped the whole shower curtain back.

Harry froze, his eyes closed to prevent soap getting in his eyes. he asked irritably.

What?

Oh no you don t mister- she scolded. Fleur acts like she lives here, while Cho is out getting your groceries? What in bloody hell is going on? Harry rinsed his eyes with water. Uh- Hermione? They re friends. They look out for me from time to time. It s nothing to worry about, he said simply. Hermione shot daggers through her eyes, but she couldn t stay mad at him for long. His long hair was plastered to his face, and even though he was still on the skinny side, he had definitely added definition to the little muscle that he had, making him look leaner, and tougher. If you re going to be inside her, you might as well join me, he offered with a smile. Join you? What was he thinking? There were people in the next room!

Yeah. Take off your clothes, let down your hair, and join me. Harry- our friends are right outside! she admonished him.

Easily remedied." He threw his voice out the door, "Er- CHO! Didn t you want to show Ron your little flat? Maybe the three of you could head over to your place. I ll meet you at Viktor s in a hour ! Kicking us out mate? Ron exclaimed before being muffled by Cho s palm. Cho manhandled him out the door. Fleur followed soon after. We ll see you two lovebirds then! Cho replied. There was a satisfying click of the door being closed, and all that was left was the sound of the shower spray. See? Come herehe ordered softly.

Hermione bit her lip, she didn t know what it was- but she could be angry as hell at him one second, the next all she wanted to do was be close to him. Against her better judgment, she began to take off her Hogwarts uniform. Harry grinned wolfishly- and made space for her in his little bathroom stall. Hermione looked into his eyes- how could he have changed so much? From a nervous little boy without a clue- to a confident young man who through circumstance became one of the most powerful wizards on the planet- well according to Dumbledore and Lionheart. And to top it all, she loved him with all of her heart, yet with each passing day, he felt more and more distant to her. But underneath all the cockiness and his faults, she knew Harry was the one for her, and there can be no one else. So when they embraced skin to skin under the shower, she sighed and lay her head on his shoulder, slowly rubbing his back under her hands. She traced the huge scar of the hunter s slash up his back, and felt her emotions run even deeper. Right at this moment she was contented, and it was all worth it. Even though he did not know it, just by being here her boyfriend had made good on his promise. Just holding him was enough. All the days that he made her sad faded to the back of her mind, and all she could think of was this precise moment. Raising her face up to him, she kissed him tenderly. Harry I ve missed

you so much- it hurts. I- I- love you..okay? I know, he replied, and kissed her again. She closed her eyes, and let his lips trail down the side of her water soaked face- and rest against the pulse of her neck. Tilting her head to the side, she gave him easier access, all the while threading her fingers through his thick hair. She felt the faint hairs of his beard graze her throat and his hands wrapped around her, one resting in the middle of her back, the other possessively caressing her backside. Hermione he breathed against her, once again tasting her skin. Hermione closed her eyes as sensations engulfed her, pressed against each other ,her temperature soaring. He was soapy and wet, and Hermione once again ran her hands up his back and over his shoulders. How could she ever have doubts about coming to see him? He was her drug, and for him, she would do anything. Anything. Before she even realized what was happening, his hands were caressing the back of her thighs, and with a fluid motion he lifted her up, jamming her against the cool bathroom tile. Hermione s eyes closed with that glorious sensation, and moaned softly under her breath. Harry s whole body tensed, and she could feel his muscles working in tandem as they made love. She locked her ankles behind him, and held on for dear life. Her eyelids closed, and her lips parted, her breath coming in gentle puffs on his face. Knowing that she was safe in his arms, she let go of all her self doubts and fears. Her confidence in him fuelled Harry, and he whispered sweet nothings lovingly into her ear as the warm water cascaded on them. Ohh- yes she moaned, pulling her bottom lip down with her index finger, looking up at him through her hair which was plastered down her face. Their eyes locked, and Hermione smiled seductively at him. Harry had never seen that expression before- that expression of being totally dominated, and loving every moment of it. The tendons in Harry s neck and shoulders were visibly pronounced, and Hermione slid her hand over his chest and took a firm hold of his shoulder. Hermione's short nails were digging in his back mercilessly, and his skin was beginning to smart with the intense pressure as they made love. Their lips locked at the precise moment as her sexual release culminated with his own. He leant against her heavily, his body squeezing her against the tiles. Harry felt her smooth thighs slide down from around his legs, and the tenseness in his back ebb away. They looked into each other s eyes, knowing that no matter what happened, they were each other's first true love. It was a bond that Harry knew he would never forget- and would treasure till the end of his days. In the afterglow of their passionate session in the shower, they just stood under the water, their arms wrapped around each other in the afterglow. Harry? Yeah? Do we still have to go the party? she asked with a soft laugh. Right

now, she was in heaven. Now, that is the question isn t it? he replied, laughter in his eyes. Er- I think its best if we at least made an appearance, he stepped back, and felt a slight spasm in his back. He grinned at the niggling pain- it still did not register that was the most intense it had ever been. You know- I ve always wanted to do this- he began, and stretched behind her, taking the soap from the wall. She looked at him, confusion written in her face. Without warning, Harry began to bathe her, his hands exploring every curve and niche of her body. It was done almost reverently, his eyes taking in every detail. Hermione did not know what to say- all she knew that she loved this man with all her heart, and would never leave him. ************ A bit late, aren t they? It was nearly eleven o clock, nearly two hours later than Harry said they would arrive. He thought his brothers could throw a party, but next to Krum- their parties felt like a tea party. At the moment, Ron and his girlfriend was propped up against the bar, Cho s backside nestled firmly on him as they rocked slowly to the music, both with drinks in their hands. Ron peered over the congested crowd. Krum himself was still surly and duck footed- but when he did have a bashment- he was completely different. The place was packed, and the amount of skin on display was enough for Cho to elbow him a couple times well in case his eye wandered too far. Harry s been like that quite a lot lately. He never shows up on time, except for Quidditch and Ferdninand s class. Says he can t afford to cause any more trouble with him Won t you look at that! Ron exclaimed. Blimey, Fleur is all over that Draco person- and he s enjoying himself to say the least. Ron frowned as he say Delacour tiptoe to whisper something in his hear, and watched with a sick fascination as the young man broke into a slow smile. As if a light bulb had just been switched on- memories of Draco from Hogwarts began to pop back into his head. Realizing for the first time who he really was and the connections to their past, he froze still. Cho! Holy fuck! I remember him now! That s why Harry was so apprehensive during the holidays! Those two were sworn nemesis, rivals since day one! He s the one who did in Moody! Who are you talking about? in the corner. Draco? Cho asked immediately, looking at the couple

Yes! Does Fleur know how dangerous he really is? Yeah- she does. a right next to them. isn t she? Cho and manner. I could say familiar voice shouted over the blaring music from Completely a basket case when it comes to Malfoy Ron spun about, Ron looking at Hermione in a peculiar the same about you...Hermione..

Harry! Finally! I thought you weren t going to show up! Ron exclaimed, looking at both Harry and Hermione. How come I didn t see you come in?

Invisibility cloak- didn t want to make a scene, Harry shrugged, indicating the little purse Hermione had. I shrunk it just now. Smashing party isn t it? he announced, his arm around his woman s waist. Hermione was looking a bit nervous- fidgeting on the spot as she saw some of the outfits and behaviour of a few of the girls there. It wasn t even midnight and the craziness had already started. She smiled up at both of them, and Cho s and her eyes connected. Cho immediately deduced what just happened, and Hermione blushed furiously. Well, I guess we have to make up for lost time don t we? He bent low and said in Hermione s ear- What do you want to drink? Just a soda, thanks, she replied. Harry tut-tutted, but obliged her as he turned to the bar. A beer and a soda, he said to the pretty bartender. She nodded, then froze as she reached for the drinks. Her eyes widened, and recognition dawned on her face. Oh my GOD! You re Harry- Harry Potter! Harry smiled, but it was a strained one. Yeah, er- that s me, he admitted almost reluctantly. The bartender eyed him up and down, then the girl standing next to him. Hermione was still facing the crowd, but Harry could tell that the bargirl was mentally sliding a knife between her ribs. Hermione was in all white tonight, a simple form fitting top with two delicate straps running over her shoulder- and a skintight white jeans. The girl looked away from her, and returned her attention back to Harry, a smile on her face. Hi! I m Jinelle! she said, offering her hand. Harry took it, and smiled. Nice to meet you Jinelle, he grinned.

She leant in closer and held his neck close so she could whisper in his ear, I m just doing a little favour for Viktor tonite, I m manning the bar until midnight- come by and see me later over there, she pointed across the pub at the opposite corner- that s where my friends are. Uh- okay, Harry said hesitantly. The girl produced the drinks, and Harry turned back to his girlfriend. Here you areWho is she? Jinelle, Hermione asked immediately.

he replied.

Another friend of yours? No, I just met her he said innocently.

Oh, she sniffed. Folding her arms across her chest, she took a sip of her drink. Harry sighed. He scanned the crowd, and diligently began to drain his drink. ************ Kenna Rossilini was at Draco s side, almost completely unrecognizable. She had charmed her hair so that it was jet black, and had a stylish pair of light blue shades on. Her eyes focused on the two on the opposite side of

the party. Finally! She thought that they would never come! Her plan was in motion, but she had to be patient. Her prey was none other than Harry Potter, and from the glances and looks some of the girls here were giving him, she wasn t the only one who wanted to get in his pants. Draco, she said, touching his hand. She smiled, obviously this Fleur person was making a bit of headway. Her arms lay on his shoulders, and she was rotating her hips suggestively against him. Other than the fact that Draco once or twice said something in her ear, it did not even seem that he realized there was a very pretty girl dancing up on him. His eyes were focused on the trio across the room. He bent low to hear what his sister had to say. Lookshe pointed.

Yeah, I see them. Let s go and say hi! she said.

In a moment, Draco said, once again scanning the crowd. He was keeping an eye out for some dodgy individuals, one of them being his squad captain, Ryan Mulciber. As far as he knew, Krum and Mulciber were close friends. Why wasn t he here as yet? Kenna nodded, and told Fleur the same thing. The two girls liked each other on first introduction, even though the age difference was nearly five years. Fleur was almost twenty-one, while Kenna was sixteen. Doesn t your brother like to dance? Fleur asked jokingly. Kenna laughed. Turning around so that her backside nestled against him the two girls began to talk. Draco just allowed her to grind against him, a drink in his hand, his eyes narrowed on the girl in white. His gut instinct was telling him that Potter should not have brought his woman here. It was not safe. ************ As the night went on, more alcohol flowed, and Ron, Harry and Hermione were beginning to loosen up some more. Hermione was smiling and laughing a lot, and Ron had his two top buttons unloosed, his long sleeved shirt rolled up to the elbow. The two couples had switched partners for a couple of dances, and Hermione no longer felt threatened by the other girls in the party. Harry was a guy being a guy, and she was just a bit over paranoid. Right now the Dj was playing some dancehall, the slow pounding rhythm making them dance more suggestively. Hermione watched on as a couple of the girls in the center bent over at the waist and grinded against their respective boyfriends. At the moment Cho was dancing with Harry, who she had never seen so relaxed and ..well happy. She frowned, was that his eight drink? She had lost count after her own senses dulled after the third drink. Drinking was not on her preferred things to do, but Ron and Harry had conned her into the first two. The third one she had taken voluntarily. In fact- she needed to pee. Hermione walked off, only to be pulled short by Ron. going? Where are you

The bathroom- back in a second, Allright- I ll tell Harry

she said.

Hermione stalked through the crowd, crossing the packed room to get to the bathrooms. Another girl stopped her, this time a girl that looked vaguely familiar. Hi, she said. Hermione said uncertainly.

Hello?

When you go back over there, tell Harry Jinelle says to come and check her, okay? the other girl said blatantly. Hermione s face immediately soured. Sure, she lied. She d be damned if she let this skank get anywhere near him. Continuing on, she grumbled under her breath. Was she always like this? This- possessive? She pushed open the door, and went inside the ladies room. Afterwards, as she peered into the mirror to reapply a bit of her lipstick, her head began to swim. Feeling woozy, she leant heavily against the counter. She knew her limits, and three drinks were not it. Her vision blurred. This ..was not..normal alcohol The door opened behind her, and a young girl with shades entered, a smug grin on her face. Hello, Hermione, said a thick Italian accent. The dark haired girl took off her shades, smiling proudly. You! she managed to croak before she fainted.

************ Harry was on his twelfth or, maybe sixteenth drink he wasn t too sure which one. Some anonymous girl was dancing on him, telling him all the things she would do to him if she got the chance. Ron and Cho were in a corner, making out in the darkness. This girl was vaguely familiar- he thought she was in his Medical class, or was it the other branch subjectFlora and Fauna class? Hermione came back walking through the crowd, and watched the pair. With only a look, the other girl let go of Harry and went away. Hermione immediately took her place, and wrapped her arms around his neck. Where whe- you went off to? Harry slurred.

The bathroom, her voice returned, although sounding a bit different. Harry thought it was own bad head making it sound strange. Her pelvis nestled flush against him, and she began to move slowly in time with the music, her intentions obvious. Harry smiled, and held unto the curve of her hips. He rocked back on the bar, and lether dance against him, her lips slightly parted as she listened to dancehall artist Patra claim that she was Queen of the Pack . Hermione, you learn quicklyhe noted, watching her obvious improvement in her wining skills. Hey, cool shades, Harry said, taking them from the

top of head and putting them on. He now felt completely ridiculous)

cool

(even though he looked

You re a good teacher, she said huskily, her lips brushing his ear. Something clicked, that felt like how Kenna used to whisper to him. He pushed back that notion to the back of his head, and continued to dance with her, even more uncoordinated under the influence of alcohol. He couldn t dance very well in the first place, and he definitely wasn t a good teacher. Whatever. She planted a soft kiss at the base of his throat, and his temperature skyrocketed. Her lips met his in a deep kiss, and his mind was immediately blanked of anything else except her. Hermione smiled wickedly at him, and took his hand and led him to a more secluded corner. Her hands lifted the edge of his shirt, and began to caress his bare skin underneath, her arms around his waist. They kissed again, and Kenna felt all of his magic potential infuse her peculiar talent, amplifying it almost double fold. Let s get out of hereshe said softly, her breath mint fresh.

Okay- he agreed. As he led her out, something came to him- Hermione s breath was smelling of alcohol. Oh well, maybe she brushed her teeth in the bathroomPotter! a voice called him. He turned.

Draco. What do you want? he said irritably. He was going to have sex now, dammit. Hermione shifted uncomfortably. Er-, have you..erOut with it! Haveyouseenmysister? Draco asked quickly, his face tinted with worry. Harry never saw Draco like this- was he actually caring for someone else? Kenna? She s here? Harry said surprisingly. Draco looked uneasy. Harry s expression soured.

Her hair is dyed black, that s why you may not recognize her. Actually, I think she was right under your nose and you didn t notice her. I doubt she was pleased. Harry stumbled, and leant heavily on Hermione. She grunted. Drunk, Potter? No, Harry slurred. If I see her, I ll tell youHermione s backside. Draco looked almost offended. Harry idly caressed

I knew you love to strut, but don t do that in front of me, Draco ordered. Well get out of my face then, Harry countered, letting Hermione go and getting all in his personal space. Don t go telling me what to do! Harry swayed with that last, losing any sort of venom behind those words. Draco smirked. He pushed Harry s forehead with his index finger, and if it weren t for Hermione steadying him, he would have fallen flat on his back. Granger, get this drunkard home and make sure he doesn t do something stupid, like get into a fight. Especially not with me.

Okay Draco, she replied instantly. Draco walked off, and as he was entering the pub, he caught unto something that just happened. Did Granger just obey him and called him ************** There he is, Mulciber said. Three of his old mates from Durmstrang were with him, all of them on top of the building opposite the pub. He s drunk, which should make our job easier. Do not hurt the woman. Let s go. Harry and Kenna stumbled along the open field between the Pub and his dorms, her arm around his waist. She was struggling to control him, this man was strong! Harry was telling her all sorts of nonsense, and Kenna frowned at the situation she got herself in. She did not want it to be like this- he was completely drunk. But on the other hand, she did now a spell that could be used in conjunction with with fresh squeezed juice that could sober him up at his place. Hopefully he could make it that farshe did not know where it is. Hermione- this is a beautiful night isn t it? I think I could spend the whole- whole night just staring up. Stars Kenna looked up- it was indeed a beautiful night. Harry suddenly plopped down on the ground, and laid back in the dewy grass, his arms splayed wide. Harry! she said. He grinned, and pulled her down on top of him, and kissed her. His hands were everywhere, and Kenna allowed him to do as he wished. His hands came up underneath her top, and caressed her. Rolling over so that he was on top, he began to fondle her while kissing her down his neck. Slowly, as if a voice was echoing from a distance far away- a warning went off in his head. You Harry continued his drunken fondlingare under Kenna screamed as four men gradually appeared out of a dark mist. Harry moved in relative slow motion. He tried to react, pushing up on his armsOnly to be dealt a heavy kick in his ribs. attack! Harry doubled over from the pain, coughing hard as the other three materialized out of the mist. What the fuck?! He almost didn t see the next blow coming, aimed directly at his face. He ducked reflexively, but was not fast enough. The dragon hide boot caught him flush at the back of his head. He pitched forward, and landed face first in the grass. Kenna screamed hysterically, until one fo the others did the only thing that came to his mind and backhanded her viciously. He pounced on her, placing his knee on her sternum, a forearm against her neck, the other hand covering her mouth. Draco ?

Shut up. You hear me?

he said dangerously.

You could kick the shit out of Potter all you want. Doesn t matter to me, a voice said lazily behind them. All four men spun around. Draco Malfoy was walking towards them lazily, his hands in his pockets. Better get out of here, fast. You re making a bad move- Mulciber said from behind the scarf that covered his nose and mouth. But, once you touch my family- we have a very serious problem, Draco growled, his expression livid. Let her go. Or else you will be first. What the fuck am I hearing? the thug asked incredulously. Just to prove a point, he increased the pressure on her neck. In a flash Draco sped off the ground, a trail of fire in his wake. There was a blur of robes, then a sickening crack as he connected with the one holding down his sister. Her assailant flew some metres across from the crushing impact, and rolled about four times before he came to a halt, clearly unconscious, or dead, Harry didn t know which. What he did know that Draco called Hermione his family, and that couldn t be... Unless? Kenna? he croaked. She turned, and nodded, tears running down her face. He groaned, and tried to curse his stupidity, but coughed instead. He gingerly felt his side- one of his ribs were defintely broken. Suddenly, Harry felt his eyes beginning to burn with the Infernus. He looked up, and Draco was hovering three feet above the ground, his eyes on fire. Oh shitthis was bad Draco smiled evilly. He was itching for a fight a while now. for you. Your lives are mine. ********** Lestrange was peering through his crystal ball, monitoring the events as they played out. Karakaroff did well, hexing his student with the Omnispell. Now he could easily see Potter s level of strength. Instead, he has now learnt of the whereabouts of the Elemental. Something was perplexing him- something about the aura, the stance, the attitude, something about the boy was very familiar. He amplified the audio on his crystal ball. Sonorous, he incanted, pointing his wand. This is it for you. Your lives are mine. Macnair! Come quickly! I want you to hear this! he shouted. Macnair apparated the short distance from the room upstairs. What is it? he said. Rodulphus played back the voice- the tone ...the inflection, there was no doubt about it. No- it can t beAh, but indeed it is my friend. Our late master has planned for all contingencies, even his death. The Lord Voldemort lives on through the boy. We must pay him homage, he grinned. Macnair peered at the boy in the crystal ball. Now he knew why he devoted his life to the Dark Lord. Even after his death, his master was a genius. This is it

**********

Author s note- Whew- halfway through! That didn't take so long did it? The fic is coming along- no fear- I m going to try and post in bigger groups of chapters, so hold on to your hats- I have not abandoned this story! Big shout out to Electric Aurora! peace!

Chapter 10: Duel to the Death! [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

**CHAPTER 10: Duel to the Death!**

Oh no Harry was still kneeling on all fours, trying to force lungs. No matter what, he couldn t allow Draco to lose murder these guys. It was part of his duty towards the his actions. Closing his eyes, he decided that he will he learnt the other day. oxygen into his it and mindlessly Order to monitor use that new spell

He what the...he could fly?! one of Mulciber s men drew his wand, and pointed it directly at Draco. Draco did no even glance in his direction. He had eyes only for the man who stood in the center of his two comrades, hovering menacingly over the girl who was crying on the ground. He was wearing a bulky robe- obviously he had some sort of armour underneath, and a thick blood red scarf was wrapped around the lower half of his face, revealing only a pair of eyes. Was it a death eater? No- couldn t be. They never revealed their identities, or showed any form uniformity that linked them to a group other than Voldemort. So what? Kill him! AvadaHarry s eyes whipped up. Draco s lips moved in a whispered incantation, and the thug s wand instantly burst into flames. AAAAH! he screamed. Oh fuck! My HAND! he fell on the ground, desperately hitting it with his robe to put out the flames. The last flunky looked at his comrade, then the blond boy hovering ominously above them, and paled visibly underneath his hood. He dropped his wand instantly, fearing the same would happen to him. Draco barely paid them any attention, his eyes never leaving the leader. Help! The flames won t out! Gravis! My hand! the maimed man screamed again, holding his wrist in agony as the flames kept re-igniting on his arm. Oh for heavens sake- Gravis, get him out of here I can t stand weaklings. If Morrigan is alive, I will see about him, Mulciber said irritably. He looked at the body crumpled in a heap some distance away. Waste of my

time. He turned his back on Draco and pushed his frozen mate into action. Obviously, Gravis was too petrified to move on his own. He waved his wand, and a dark mist enveloped his two comrades, and they vanished into the night. Draco let them leave. Cocky, aren t you? Draco Malfoy said from a few feet in the air. If he got him talking a bit more, maybe he ll find out the reason behind this little skirmish between him and Potter. For some reason, he could sense this man was different This is embarrassing to say the least, Mucliber grumbled, indicating his pathetic comrades. He would have to severe all ties with them. Worthless. Draco grinned. And you aren t an embarrassment ? Kicking a man when he s down- if you wanted Potter, why didn t you face him head on? Draco asked politely. Mulciber glared at him floating all high and mighty, and quickly formulated his plan. Enough talk! Mulciber said. He flicked his hand, and two small orbs fell underneath Draco. Draco raised an eyebrowImpedimentia! Mulciber screamed, and Draco took the brunt of the stopping spell to the chest. He was thrown back forcefully- hitting the ground like a ton of bricks. The fire surrounding his wrists extinguished, and Draco reeled back, the pain shooting up from his spine, coursing through his body in waves. Now that was new. How the fuck did he get caught with that? Without another thought he got back up to his feet, breathing hard. Draco frowned as he looked across to his right. Potter was still in the same position, clutching his side, moaning like a spoilt child. Who are you? Draco bellowed, his face incredulous. No wand technique, no hand movements, nothing to indicate that he performed a spell other than the words from his mouth. Where the hell did that hex come from? He kicked himself mentally. That was no excuse for being careless. What were they trying to drill into him in every lesson at Lionheart? Never underestimate your opponent. First rule of the elite. Doesn t matter- know that I have no grudge against you Malfoy. You determined your own fate- Crucio! This time Draco was prepared, and propelled himself high into the air, avoiding the curse. As he reached a respectable height, he suddenly convulsed, feeling his muscles cramp with pain. His Infernus Ability shut down from the direct attack to his nervous system, rendering him momentarily powerless. As he fell to the earth, he cursed. Even thought it was now too late- he recognized those two capsules. He now remembered how this was possible: they were Augmentation Orbs- devices used to channel magic in all directions, responding only to the intensity of the magic spell in their owner s voice. It cancelled the need for accuracy, but also had its drawbacks. There was a limited range, and was no good against multiple opponents. Paralyzed, he tried to brace himself as he fell from the sky. Silently, he fell hard unto the ground, definitely breaking some bones as he collided with the unforgiving earth.

Thud! Fighting through the pain as he lay motionless, he analyzed his predicament. How could this have happened? Only two spells- and he was out of it- defeated at the hands of this mysterious wizard. Still in shocktrying to think in between the waves of red and black flashes, Draco knew that he was going to die. Elbow and right forearm broken, dislocated shoulder and severe whiplash to the neck. Severely damaged rib cage on his right side along with maybe a broken hip. He felt as if half of his body had suddenly gone numb- and the other half was screaming in agony. The Cruciatus never hurt like this- this pain was multiplied by real damage. His opponent laughed, mocking him in his victory. What goes up, must come down- has no one ever told you that? Mulciber sauntered over, and looked into his face. Draco eyes closed slowly - now he was blacking out. He couldn t believe it- here he was, beaten so easily. Mulciber turned his back on him and strode over to Potter, who was unnaturally repeating his moaning and groaning actions. Don t- turn your b- back on ME! Before Draco succumbed to the pain and blacked out, he screamed a defiant Infernus Summon, INCIENDO AR CHARISTAR! Immediately, Mucliber was totally engulfed in flames, but surprisingly, he laughed once again. Calmly digging into his robe he pulled out a potions flask. Before Draco s very own eyes, his flames ebbed away from Mulciber, leaving him unscathed, his robes not with even a speck of dust on them. Who the fuck is he? You depend too highly on your natural gift, Mucliber said nonchalantly. Of course I planned for this scenario. Waving your little finger-tip flames during class to goad Potter .that was rich. I know both of you possess the Infernus, so I spent nearly a whole year devising a prototype potion to counter Elemental fire. It seems that my project has worked magnificently, Mulciber chuckled. Good effort, Malfoy. I ll drink some more just in case Potter here is stupid enough to try something similar. I ll deal with you in a second. Y-You re Mul..MulciberAt your service, Ryan Mulciber gave Draco a mock bow, and with that, Draco passed out . Mulciber walked over to Harry and with a negligible kick, he turned him flat on his back. He frowned at Harry s pathetic wheezing. Are you the same person? Do you lay at my feet without even putting up a fight? Mulciber said scornfully. Oh well- makes it so much easier. He drew his wand. ************* Hey, where did the others go? little snogging session. Ron asked Cho as they came back from their

I hic don t know Hmm maybe you should check the girls boys , said Ron. bathrooms, and I ll check the

Right, Cho answered, then hiccupped again. Ron marched his way across the crowd, and was about to enter the men s bathrooms when someone pulled him short. Ave you seen Draco? Or little Kenna? Fleur asked him. Ron jumped in a delayed drunk reaction. Where did she come from? No. Something clicked. Kenna? Kenna Rossilini? incredulously. She s here? Ron asked

Oui, did you not see her? She was right next to you talking to ze bartender guy- I zink she bought you guys a rounds of drinks, non? Don t you remember? Kenna- Rossilini- bought- us, who she absolutely hates, a round of drinks?! Ron exclaimed. Without another word he dashed into the men s room. Fleur followed him, wanting to know what was going on. Harry? Harry?! he shouted, ducking low to see if there were anyone in the stalls. The bathroom was empty except for them. Shit- she s one sly individual if I ever met one- Ron explained, dashing back out into the party. Fleur grabbed his hand as he hauled off into the crowd, looking for him. What do you mean? She seems nice! Fleur retorted. Kenna was a new friend of hers, and she wouldn t have Ron spouting bad things about her. Ron didn t care whose drink he spilled, or whose boots he stepped on, he had to look out for Hermione and Harry. Within seconds, Cho ran straight back out to him. RON! Look- I found this! she screamed, showing him what she had in her hands. Ron paled. In her right, was an empty vial marked with a H . He recognized it immediately- it had contained Hermione s polyjuice potion. In her left hand was Kenna s little outfit and a shimmering cloth. Ron instinctively knew what that was- Harry s invisibility cloak. And look, Cho said, pulling out Hermione s purse from underneath it. She looked at the girl holding his hand in a tight grip, only now realizing that Ron had someone in tow. Delacour! Do you know where Hermione and Harry are? Where did you find zat? Fleur asked her, eyeing the flask suspiciously. Kenna said something about ze contents of that bottle making her dreams come trueWHAT?! Ron shouted in the middle of the dance floor. Everyone looked at him strangely. He made his way to the ladies bathroom- the two girls following him quickly. He barged in the door and immediately took in his surroundings. The first thing he noticed was the open lipstick on the counter. He picked it up, and inspected it: same colour as Hermione's. His eyes narrowed as spotted a fishy looking puddle of liquid. He bent low, looking at it closely. It was definitely vomit- and he sure knew what that smelt like. Fred and George made him test too many puking pastilles to

count. Well, Kenna has polymorphed into Hermione, that s for sure, you re holding her clothes. She then searched her purse, found the invisibility cloak, and cancelled the shrinking spell. Most likely she covered Hermione with it right here in the bathroom. He pointed at the corner. She obviously wasn t feeling well, and threw up sometime later. He indicated the little puddle of vomit. So we have the cloak, the bottle, the purse, Kenna s clothes, but no Hermione. Let s go look for her at the dorm. Maybe she woke up and went to stop them. Stop them from what? bathroom. Fleur asked suspiciously as they ran out the

Kenna wants Harry. Badly. She ll stop at nothing, even go as far as impersonating his girlfriend! Come on, hurry! Ron ordered. They ran around the building and unto the large field. Ron froze as he peered there- on the other side- someone was falling from the sky. Stop! he ordered the girls. What the bloody hell is that? he whispered. There were some people there- a girl in all white- a man walking towards the fallen personSuddenly- the scene was highlighted in an eerie orange glow as the mystery figure instantly caught on fire. It illuminated the entire field, and Ron could distinctively make out a girl in white crying! That had to be Hermione- er- Kenna! So the other guy on the ground was Harry! But who was the man on fire? Harry s in trouble- lets go! he cried, and the three of them drew their wands, running to the fight. Ron watched in amazement as the flames subsided, and everything went dark again. Shh...quiet you guys- he hasn t seen us yet. We could have the upper hand if we sneak upWithout warning, a deep voice shouted and there was a brilliant flash of green magic. AVADA KEDAVRA! Get down! He ordered, grabbing the two girls as he dove to the ground. The green light illuminated the mystery wizard as he brandished the wand, and Ron couldn t believe itNO Jesus Christ NOOO! he screamed. He jumped to his feet, not even caring that he was rushing in blindly towards the dark wizard. That guy just did him in! ************* That was far too easy. Mulciber felt no satisfaction from killing Harry Potter. Where was this legendary power? Where was this over hyped magic ability? Where the fuck was his goddamned spine? The body crumpled lifeless to the ground, the young girl screaming even harder as she watched the life drain out of him. Oh shut up, Mulciber said, and idly flicked his wand. Stupefy!

Pathetic- he began, only to be distracted by a loud yell from behind him. He turned, and raised an eyebrow as some tall youth charged down at

him, his wand held out in front of him. The fool. How is he even going to get close to hitting me if his wand keeps jumping around like that? He shook his head in disdain. Another weakling, he sighed, pointing his wand lazily at the earth in front of him. It began to ripple, then eventually stretch forward into the running boy s path. I LL KILL YOU! Ron screamed, his eyes full of hatred. Who was this guy? How could he have killed my best mate so easily - Whoa! His next footstep disappeared into the ground and he fell straight into it, sinking in the earth like quicksand. What the? Ron screamed, struggling to get out. He began to slowly sink into the earth, his arms and legs caught in the soil. His wand was already trapped, and he felt the grass now tickling his neck. Shit- if he didn t get out, he was going to suffocate! Yes, I m sure. Mucliber said evenly as he strolled across to him. He stooped low in front of him. Ah. So you must be the infamous Ron Weasley. I heard of your exploits in the Daily Prophet. Knight of the Magi huh? Mulciber asked seriously. He looked at Ron s predicament and snickered. What does that really mean nowadays? First the Elemental, then Potter, and now you? Defeated all too easy, if I say so myself- AAACK! Ryan Mulciber was grabbed by the scruff of his neck, and thrown bodily some ten feet away. Ron s eyes bulged; no it couldn t be- I just saw him die! Sorry about the scare mate, Harry slurred. It s harder to run in a straight line when you re completely pissed fuck that kick hurt... Harry rubbed the back of his head. Mucliber scrambled to his feet- and then looked behind him at the corpse still on the ground. Harry Potter s corpse to be exact. He was dumbstruck. Did he not he just kill this man? Unless You used the Cloning spell? When did- how the !? Mulciber bellowed, his face incredulous.

Harry laid his palm flat on the ground in front of Ron, and muttered an incantation. Prior incante reversium! The quicksand spell was nullified, and Ron felt his body being slowly pushed out the ground. Harry got to his feet a bit woozy- his head still spinning. He faced the mysterious wizard. Simple. The instant Draco had your attention, I did it, Harry said. He limped a bit closer, holding his side. I laid still, using the Disillusionment hex to camouflage into the grass. He waved his hand negligibly to the corpse on the ground. Finite! What do you want to do? Kill me? Harry laughed. Suddenly, he stopped abruptly and his expression darkened. You better take a number and get in line, motherfucker. Mulciber laughed. I knew you couldn t be killed so easily. I expect nothing less from the man who defeated Lord Voldemort. Mulciber tilted his head in recognition of his enemy. He steadied himself as he got to his feet, then spoke in a clear voice. I challenge you to a duel. Harry raised his eyebrows. An honorable sort? You know who I am, yet you

still challenge me? I will give you only one chance to take back your words and surrender. What say you? Never! Mulciber retorted.

Very well. I accept your challenge, Harry said lightly. He pointed at his hidden face. If you go by the code of the duelist, you will first tell me your name. Mulciber hesitated, thinking about it for a second. Slowly, and purposefully, he unwrapped the scarf from his face. Pulling back his hood, Harry s brow creased in recognition. I am Ryan Mulciber, son of Gregoradis, brother of Roman, and nephew to Delenger, both of who you murdered. Mulciber? Harry said. Neville was the one who fought the Dragonrider that time, not him. You ve got the wrong man, I didn t do it. Lies! Mulciber spat. I know who you are! My brother and my uncle died by that weapon of yours! Roman was skewered through the back the day of the mission against the Hogwarts train! You killed him in a cowardly fashion. I know, I buried them personally His voice grew harder, and he said in an accusatory voice. Do you not even have the honour to remember your victims?! At this Harry felt a surging anger rising within him. Straightening up, he opened his mouth to speak, but the words that came out were not his own. "Many have fallen from my blade. Our honour lies not with criminals. Your kin does not matter to us." Ron froze- who the fuck was that speaking? Harry? Harry s posture suddenly changed, and Ron noticed the difference. A few moments ago Harry was standing straight, now he was once again holding his side carefully, his balance wavering. You bastard! Mulciber screamed. AVADA KEDAVRA! he shouted. Harry narrowly avoided the green jet of magic, but Ron suddenly felt weak, his heart skipped a beat, and inevitably his eyes closed. Harry looked back; the blast was nowhere close to him, yet Ron passed out. Crap! He had to get Ron out of here. He dug in his pockets for his wand... Oh No! Wait- he didn t have it! Where was it? Oh shit! On the toilet tank in his dorm! Oh well, guess I ll just have to work a bit harder, that s all Harry inched back, and kicked Ron s head none to softly with his heel. Ron! Wake up! Ron s eyes opened groggily. Mom? Izzat you? I need you to get up and tell Cho and Fleur to get the authorities- go now! he ordered. Ron half stumbled, half scrambled and limped back to relative safety. Harry s eyes never left Mulciber s, and Harry knew not to underestimate this man. He was ranked the best at Durmstrang, which meant that he also had something special about him. After all, something had to be extraordinary if Kingsley selected him as S.T.A.R. Elite trainee captain. Harry had to admit, he was slightly impressed. Usually, Death eaters loved to keep the offensive, but this man was analyzing him- and not attacking blindly. That Killing Curse was more of a wild swing than a real attempt

to finish this quickly. He must have realized that conventional spells may work on Draco, but he wasn t a Duelist like he was. Draco was Sorcererclass, and specialized in indirect curses and hexes. Harry grinned in anticipation. His forte, on the other hand, was Dueling, Shields, and Spell casting. And recently, on the side, he was branching out into the more subtle aspect of magic Illusionary techniques. Ryan Mulciber began to walk in a large arc, slowly circling Harry. Harry did likewise- the two young men moved in tandem, each eyeing the other for a mistake. Harry knew this may be close- he did not have his wand, and he only knew a few wandless magic spells. Use my strength. Harry shut his eyes, trying to once again force down that voice- and suddenly realized his mistake. Mulciber had tricked him, and led him into the range of the Augmentation Orbs. Before Harry could react to the two small objects at his feet, Mulciber had already begun his incantationusing the Disengagement Hex. Expellairmus ache disapparium! Harry smiled, this was a stroke of luck. When nothing flew out of his hand, Mulciber swore. He did not have his wand- and I wasted my one good chance of a sneak attack on him! Nice try- Harry said, and began to charge him head on. Racing towards him, he began the hand movements needed for the Repulsion hex. With his right hand, he kept his index and middle finger straight, and then curled his little finger and ring finger inwards. Completing the spell, he clasped his right together with his left palm in a clapping motion. Everte Statum! Protego! Mulciber put up his shield at the last possible moment. Harry was expecting that, which is why he used the Repulsion hex instead of a direct curse. The spell hit the shield, and Mulciber was thrown off balance as the strong force pushed against it- trying to repel him from Harry s charge. Without hesitation, Harry raced in on him, and tackled him rugby style physically breaking through his shield. There was a sound of a plane of glass shattering as Harry penetrated his defenses, catching him flush in the gut. Forcing him into the ground, he took a fistful of hair in his left hand. In a fluent motion he sunk his right into Mulciber face, then immediately afterwards connected him a paralyzing blow with his knee into his side, knowing exactly where to hit for most damage. As he heard the satisfying sound of a soft pop he knew he had gotten him back for his own broken rib. There was a sound of laughter behind him, and Harry screamed as he felt the Cruciatus sear through his back. How did Never tell your secrets to the enemy, Potter. When you shut your eyes, I myself used the Clone spell, and hid myself. Mulciber was completely gloating now, his wand trained on Harry s back. Harry collapsed on top of Mulciber s clone, pain racking through his body. Even through it all, these bad guy types failed to realize that to really win, it is better to kill first, then gloat after. Faking the scream more than warranted, he allowed Mulciber to come closer. Resting his palm flat on the soft earth, he muttered a spell- Prior Incantetem Rescusitarius Incante!

The ground below Mulciber s feet reverted into quicksand, and Mulciber watched in horror was his own Quicksand spell swallowed him, inevitably taking him deep into the earth. Harry rolled over, panting hard. Mulciber s eyes opened wide in panic, straining his neck to keep his face above the unforgiving earth. Harry rolled over on his back, fighting off the dizziness associated with the aftereffects of the Cruciatus Curse. Next time take your own advice, and don t show me your secrets either. As he watched Mulciber s sinking body twitch and strain against the sinking soil, a sick joy began to creep up on him. Fascinating. It pleasured him to watch him die. After a few seconds had passed in that trance state- Harry caught himself. What was he doing? His conscience took over him, only to be quickly snuffed out once again by that strange voice. He should never have challenged us. As I said, our work is not done. One more dark wizard that has been disposed of NO! Harry screamed, and raced over to the sand pit. Prior Incante Reversium! he cried, placing his hands on the soil. "Prior Incante Reversium!" he screamed again, tears beginning to flow. The ground finally regurgitated Mulciber, but soil was already leaking out of his nose, mouth and ears. It was too late- He was already dead. No! Not again... Harry pounded his fist into the ground. Even with wine, women and song in your blood, your talent is extraordinary. I have not seen such a complete domination of a duel in a long while, Potter. Harry stiffened, that voice was vaguely familiar. He turned his head, and saw a lone figure standing behind Draco s still form, the unmistakable hood of a Death Eater covering his head. His back was turned towards him, and from his stance, it was evident he was holding someone against their will. But I believe that his death should not go unpunished. An eye for an eye, I believe? He turned slowly, and Harry s blood ran cold. Hermione was held in his clutches, wearing nothing but her underwear. Harry glanced at the still form of Kenna, it all made sense now- she was wearing his girlfriend s clothes. Two Hermiones! Jesus Christ, how could he have let this happen? If you dare harm her- Harry warned him darkly, I ll .I ll off. He couldn t willingly say it. he trailed

You ll do what? the Death Eater taunted. Holding her firmly, he drew the tip of his wand lightly down her cheek, drawing blood as it went. Harry began to see red as Hermione whimpered in his grasp, squirming away from the edge of his wand. Using the tip of his finger, he wiped the blood and sucked on it sadistically. . Harry don t Hermione whispered, fear running through her body.

Let her go. Now. And why should I do that? She s gorgeous, isn t she? he drawled appreciatively. Harry s memories raced back to the last time she was in the clutches of a Death Eater. HAH! POTTER! WON T WANT TO HURT HER NOW WOULD WE? MY GOD, SHE S GORGEOUS ISN T SHE? WE LL MAKE SURE SHE BLEEDS!

At this- Harry s eyes began to burn fiercely, and all light disappeared. What is this magic? Karkaroff said, looking around in amazement. What happened to the starlight? He peered into the darkness, and began to cold sweat when he saw two slits of pulsing blue power emanate from a pair of eyes. Macnair Harry growled, his eyes murderous. I swear it on my parents grave...I will KILL YOU!" Ooh, those are truly strong words, and quite an ahem- impressive glare. But alas, you will have to tell him when you see him, Karkaroff laughed softly, then looked at the corpse of Ryan Mulciber, sand leaking out of his mouth. His stomach churned. Another casualty brought about by his cowardice. It ends tonight. He clenched Hermione even tighter, her blood running freely down her face. I will avenge my student. One way or the other ***************

Chapter 11: The Grim [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

**CHAPTER 11: The Grim** ** Ron- aren t we going to help them? Cho screamed as they watched the Death Eater and Harry face off. Ron was still feeling the after-effects of Mulciber s near miss Avada Kedavra. He was still out of breath and near faint from that powerful incantation. Harry said, he took a second to steady himselfsaid...call for help- authorities- he panted. But what about helping im now? Fleur countered. Harry.. h-he

Fleur, you ve never seen Harry fight haven t you? We ll only be in his way plus- that guy took out Draco- and Draco took out both Dumbledore and Moody! I rushed in there and nearly got myself killed! Twice! We ll be slaughtered! Cho and Fleur paled. Are you sure he s going to be okay? Who are they?

Dunno- but we better get the professor- or whoever s any good around here- Ron said, his eyes dilated with adrenaline. He turned widely on the spot, as if a magical phone booth would suddenly appear marked with Need Dumbledore? Call here! Hope as he might, that wasn t going to happen. Shit- I need to think up something! Er- well.. What? Cho hesitated.

barked Ron. She

Most of the instructors here...kind of...er- scared of Harry, explained.

Scared? Why?

Ron asked, totally confused.

Because he blew up half the exam building in his test- it s rumoured he could do the Reducto Ultima curse- Cho explained. Ron froze. Did he just hear what he thought he heard? Images of Dumbledore trying his best to destroy Malfoy s Meteor Summon last year came to mind. The entire Order of the Phoenix were amazed at the intensity of Dumbledore s Ultimate Destruction spell. Harry could do that? Right now, he s under probation. He s not supposed to be out of his dorm that s why I think he uses the invisibility cloak and the Clone technique to cover his tracks Cho continued. Well, we still have to tell someone! Where s the nearest Floo fire? Ron asked. Itz in ze main all, all ze way on ze other side of campus- by the time we get there, it may be too late Fleur said dejectedly. I hope Harry saves Draco she said, watching on in desperation. Ron quickly analyzed the situation. It looks like the only re-enforcements on call were himself, Cho and Fleur. do this ourselves! Dammit to hell! We ll just have to

************** Do you enjoy this sensation? Karkaroff taunted. The feeling that you are helpless, and that I decide whether this girl lives or dies? Karkaroff pointed the tip of his wand underneath her chin, eyeing Harry smugly. So young, so beautiful, it would be a shame wouldn t it? I could do it easily you know- maybe I ll just dispense with the theatrics and ... he trailed off dangerously. Harry s eyes burned with power, his broken rib and the after effects of the Cruciatus curse completely forgotten. What were his options? Was he fast enough? Could he get there in time? He instinctively ran through all the wandless techniques he had: Summoning Charm - nope, no good Replusion Hex neither, Levitation -what was he going to do? Lift them into the sky? Absorption? The Death eater wasn t trying to stun him- that made no sense. Magical Clone nah- won t work twice. Disillusionment hex? No good eitherwas he to run and hide like a coward? The Infernus was too risky, he could hurt her instead of him. In the space of a heartbeat, all the possible outcomes raced through his mind. Frustratingly, all of them came to one conclusion: without his wand, he couldn t retaliate without her getting killed or he himself inflicting damage upon Hermione. A little soft voice popped into his head: If we only had the sword Don t think of that cursed weapon right now! he corrected himself. He needed a plan. There must be a way! Trying his best, he racked his brain and thought back to his Tactics Class. Remember, in a hostage situation, there are two main reasons why the aggressor has a captive. One: as a bargaining tool or Two: as bait. If the

enemy wanted the captive dead, they would already be. Use negotiation skills. Find out their purpose. Harry put his arms up in surrender. What do you want? If you want revenge for this man, let her go, you can kill me instead. I won t run. His eyes bored into the tiny pupils underneath the Death Eater mask. He needed more time! Harry! Hermione screamed, shocked.

But two is better than one! I could kill her, then kill you! Karkaroff boasted. Secretly, Harry knew he was getting cocky. Good. Keep them talking. An idea clicked- Hermione was here! And how did she get here? He teleported them here! And what was Hermione excellent at? Occlumency! He had a plan. Is that so? Harry enquired. He had to get Hermione s attention. Using his own mediocre Leglimens training, he tried to reach out to her, calling her name: Hermione..? Hermione! It wasn t under the best circumstances, but he had to try. Of course! Karkaroff said. His eyes connected with hers, and he felt her presence touch his mind. Hermione, when I give the signal, duck! Trust me!

If you kill her- I ll make sure you join him, Harry growled. Doing this spell under pressure would take a lot out of him. He may not be able to do this twice. He saw her slight nod of understanding. Ask your master Voldemort if you don t believe me Harry challenged. Gradually, he felt the area around him constrict, and his breathing became laboured. His vision swirled about him, coming closer and closer to a point just in front of his nose. His timing had to be perfect, his judgment had to also be spot on. He never tried this under this sort of pressure, neither this level of intoxication. His mind worked furiously, and he had to relax. Concentrate!- about twenty feet forward three fight high Well maybe you should be first! wand at Harry. AVADA KEDAVRA! Karkaroff countered, and pointed his

Now! Harry shouted mentally as well as physically. As the green bolt of magic shot towards him, Harry disappeared, the time and space around him sucked into a dimensional portal. Hermione suddenly threw herself down to the grown, almost taking her captive down with her. In that split second when Karkaroff was unbalanced and his wand was pointing at Harry- a figure rematerialized out of nowhere, hurtling towards him feet first. Wha-? Karkaroff exclaimed just before Harry connected with an improvised jump kick, combining Teleportation and just dumb luck to connect solidly with a vicious kick to the face. Hermione felt, more than saw, a figure fall past her head, then suddenly the grip on her was gone, and she fell roughly to her hands and knees. There was the sound of someone hitting the ground hard, then the muffled sound of Harry falling into a cat-like crouch. Hermione glanced behind her. Harry slowly rose to a standing position, the Death Eater struggling to get up from that blow.

Interesting, Karkaroff laughed. He got up, and readied himself to duel. Combining teleportation with an attack? Not a new concept, however, only true Dark wizards could master that advanced magic. I underestimated you, dear boy! You haven t seen anything yet. Harry said evenly. Oh ho- but neither have you! and with that he vanished, reappearing right behind Harry. Before Harry could react, Karkaroff had already attacked, using a close range, wide-angle spell. Laceratia! Harry tried to move out of the way, but Karkaroff chose his spell welland he couldn t dodge it as easily as a bolt of magic. His back was ripped open as if hit by a Cat-O-Nine tails, and he screamed in agony, falling flat on his face. He automatically reached for his back to soothe the pain, only to feel welts of skin bloodied and raw. Harry! Hermione screamed, diving towards him as his back exploded in lines of blood. Karkaroff laughed, clearly victorious. Don t flatter yourself. You are not the only one who can do precise teleportation. How did you expect me to get from inside the pub to out here without being seen? And now for the grand Finale- Karkaroff loomed over the both of them- triumph in his gaze. What he did not expect was for the young girl to shield his body with her own, he eyes staring defiantly back at him. As he glared at her through his mask, something strange was happening, and he took an involuntary step back. Her eyes were beginning to glow, and soon after began pulsing a startling bright lightLeave him alone! she screamed, and Karkaroff was inexplicably thrown back by an unseen force. A figure began to materialize in the darkness, an apparition that shimmered faintly over the grass. Hermione s lips moved of their own accord, her hands and fingers moving in an ancient Divine Summoning ritual. The apparition soon began to intensify in its luminance, and a graceful beautiful woman in sparkling white robes emerged, her huge feather wings opening majestically. It levitated higher into the sky, and Hermione began to physically radiate a soft white light. When the Angel s enormous wings reached its total wingspan, it began to sing a soft, calming hymn.

Alma sara namisteed . Vifo alla sara enmisteed !

(*translation: I come to offer aid unto the broken . hear my voice and reawaken!) The light intensified, and then the angel was gone in a blinding flash. Karkaroff faltered under intense magic, blocking his eyes from the spell. WHO ARE YOU? he bellowed, looking incredulously at the young woman. When he opened his eyes, he saw Hermione laying quietly on the ground, out

cold. Standing behind her, looking murderous; was Harry Potter. His wounds were slowly being healed, while his shirt was in tatters over his back. He looked at Hermione s still form. She shouldn t have done that- it was too much of a strain on her! Hermione! Harry wanted nothing more to pick her up and escape, but she was directly in between the both of them. But deep inside, he could not let this man get away with what he had done. He saw the thin line of the Death Eater s slice along her cheek, and his blood once again came to a boil. You really fucked up this time do you know who you are dealing with? My my- quite the arrogant one aren t we? Karkaroff snarled. Don t push it boy- I know of your connection with the sword, without it you are NOTHING! Waving his wand dramatically, he procured a very complex spell, his incantations coming out so fast it sounded like gibberish to Harry s untrained ear. Asi salinta charing massier salizar astian immeliance roujier triallantus Serpentus! he recited, and instantly a serpent shot out of his wand. Harry jumped back. What was he doing? He remembered Malfoy using a similar spell the first time they duelled, what was he trying to pull? Behold! Slytherin s favourite pet, the renowned Serpent God: Shalingini! he screamed, and Harry watched on in shock. The serpent multiplied itself in size so quickly by the time fell on the ground in front of Hermione, it s tail was five feet in diameter, the torso double that and it s Cobra like head was looming high over him, nearly two stories high. What the hell? Harry screamed as he peered up into it s ebony eyes. Eyes that displayed a certain degree of intelligence . Karkaroff laughed. Amazing isn t he? This is a Bloodline ability- his care has been passed on from generations to generation! He is forever loyal to the Karkaroff family! So you re Karkaroff then, I ll remember that, Harry mumbled beneath his breath. He thought the basilisk was big, but compared to this monster; it was no comparison. The snake s massive jaw opened and it hissed loudly, seemingly heralding it s arrival. [ More like living in slavery- how much longer do I have to suffer these fools? ] The snake eyed Harry dangerously; it s tongue tasting the air in front of him. [ Whoa- an enormous magic potential I sense, maybe I will feed well tonight! ] Harry did a double take. What did you say? he hissed.

Karkaroff eyes bulged. Was Potter talking to the snake god itself? Shalingini s lifelike expression changed, contemplating the young human far below. [ I have been enslaved since the lowly beastmaster that served under my master, Salazar, stole me away from his noble house. I have been cursed with obeying their families bidding ever since. Who are you, mortal? How do you speak my tongue? ] Shalingini asked.

I m Harry, Harry Potter. Always have been able to I guess. So you say that you were held against your will, huh? Harry asked the huge snake. Shalingini! What are you doing? Kill him! [ Greetings, Harry Potter. I am Shalingini of the Amazonian Zoloms. Oh, and will you please tell him to shut up?] Sure... Harry agreed. LISTEN.. Shalingini here says to keep quiet! Harry told Karkaroff. Karkaroff s face blanched. What was going on? [ There s a presence I sense about you. You are familiar to me, you are the youngling of Godric Gryffindor am I not correct? I sense that you were once close to my former master s son, Marvolo Slytherin. How are you still alive after all this time?] Harry made a non-committal shrug, and hissed again in Parseltongue, using his hands to gesticulate. Um- long story. Listen to this- your current master has done my girlfriend and I an injustice. If you allow me to defeat him, I will set you free. You have my word. Shalingini! What are you waiting for? Sink your fangs into him! Karkaroff screamed, watching the private conversation unfold before him. [ Freedom? It has been thousands of years since I was free. Very well, young Harry Potter. I will not stop you.] Shalingini bowed his huge head in a slight bow, and with a speed that was incredible for such a large animal slithered away from the battle. So much for your trump card, Karkaroff, What did you do?! he bellowed. said Harry, smirking.

I just made him an offer he couldn t refuse, Harry grinned. Out of the corner of his eye, he realized that the battle had taken him almost the full length of the field, and he was not too far away from his dorm house. It was still tough- it was almost fifty metres away, plus there was at least two floors and one room in between, but he thought that he could pull it off. Raising his hand in the general direction of his third floor apartment he screamed his incantation: ACCIO WAND! Karkaroff laughed at the ridiculous notion of summoning a wand barehanded, until a second later it arrowed out through the window on the third floor, changed direction a few times, and sped directly towards Harry. "How did you? No, that's impossible!" Are you ready? Harry asked, twirling his wand in between his fingers. With a slow, deliberate point of his wand, he incanted in that strange voice. MORBIDUS PATRONUM! Karkaroff instinctively put up a shield.

What in the world is that ? It wasn t any patronus I had ever heard of Karkarroff thought. When the figure did take form, he came to a conclusion that no matter what transpired, this was the night he was destined to die. No...It can t be it does not exist! he faltered, petrified to the spot. Harry crouched low, and gave the huge black dog an affectionate scratch behind its ears. The Grim growled menacingly, it s eyes glowing in the night darkness. GET IT AWAY FROM ME!! Repent, Karkaroff, and the father may show you mercy. I will not! Harry whispered to him, and the mythical being growled louder, and took off after Karkaroff. He instinctively tried to run, but by the time he turned around, the huge paws of the Grim were on his back, forcing him to the ground. He spun over, trying his best to fend off the mauling animal. The huge beast began to snap and rip apart his flailing arms a horrible scream piercing the night air. Lights began to come on from various apartments, and people tried to peer out into the darkness as the blood curdling cries travelled on the winter chill air. After a few seconds, the screams stopped, and Karkaroff laid still, his Death eater s mask lying on the ground next to his face. The ground vibrated with the movement of something heavy and agile slithering across to Harry. The huge snake coiled its body, and bowed its head so that its nose was almost reaching the ground. [ You have kept your word, young Harry. My freedom will not go unappreciated. You and your bloodline will be able to summon me whenever necessary. This is the incantation: 'Serpentus Patronum'. Fare thee well, young warrior.] The snake magically buried itself into the earth, and was gone without a trace. Harry did not even give it another thought. He went directly over to Hermione, and took her into his arms. Her breathing was shallow, and all Harry could feel inside was guilt. He looked about him, there were bodies everywhere- Hermione, Karkaroff, Mulciber, Malfoy, Mulciber s mate Kenna.. This is a disaster. What had he done? Harry- Christ almighty man! Are you okay? Is she okay? What happened to Karkaroff? Ron came panting over. I'm sorry . Harry whispered softly as he touched Hermione s face. The blood was still warm on his fingertips. His thoughts raced back to their date in Madrid, and the promise they had made to each other.

No matter what happens, we ll promise that we ll try and make each other happy, and look out for each other, even though we may be far apart. No matter what.

Hermione kept her end of the promise all right. But could he say the same thing about himself? His eyes began to tear up as he heard Ron question him.

We were coming in to help, then we saw this huge snake- and I don t know man- that scared the shit out of me! Ron panted. He inched a couple steps over to the dead Death eater. Holy I saw him him screaming and flapping around as if he was being mauled, then then-nothing, he just stopped. What happened to him? Did you use the Ron gulped, Killing Curse? No. Well, what the hell happened?! It looks like he- he was scared to death! Ron exclaimed, nudging the dead man with his boot. There were no physical signs of violence. His mouth hung open in a gaping scream. Well, there you have it, Harry said, still not looking up at him. With steel in his voice, he picked Hermione up in his arms and walked towards his dorm room. He was literally scared to death. How did you do that? Ron asked seriously. Harry did not turn around, but paused significantly at the stairs leading to the entrance. I command the Grim.

***********

Chapter 12: Crossroads [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

** Chapter 12:Crossroads**

Harry silently carried Hermione to his dorm. Right now, he was so distraught that he felt almost numb to the point where that nothing else mattered. With careful deliberation he navigated the steps to the third floor, ignoring the pieces of mortar and plaster littered on the ground from the bullet holes created in the walls by summoning his wand. The other Lionheart students who were awoken by the sudden appearance of holes in their walls froze as Harry walked past, giving him a clear path as he carried the scantily clad woman solemnly down the halls. No one said a word, but some pointed in awe at them as they passed, their faces cringing at the nine nasty slashes across Harry s back. Harry paused in front of his locked door, strangely intrigued by this latest obstacle. With a silent movement of his lips, the whole door trembled, then unceremoniously fell over with a muffled thud unto the old pair of boots he took off before he went to shower. Looking at it with a serene expression, it levitated out of the way, and allowed him to pass. The one or two brave enough to tiptoe behind him to see what had really happened only caught a glimpse of him before the door levitated back into place and shut itself with a decisive click.

Very gently he laid Hermione on his bed, watching her with tears beginning to form in his eyes. Taking out his wand, he administered a simple healing charm used for minor injuries and cuts. With a trembling hand, he delicately passed the tip over her cut face. His wand glowed softly, and the healing spell slowly but surely closed up the wound, leaving a very faint scar line. It was barely visible, only a slightly lighter color tone than her normal complexion, but to him, it was as different as night is to day. He traced the line with his index finger, it was such a dramatic change in his eyes, he had studied her face so much and memorized every detail that he felt he knew each and every freckle on her face. His eyes inspected her body, and he saw the ugly pressure marks of Karkaroff s arm gripping her across her neck and collarbone. It was discoloured, and Harry s hate boiled even further. Hermione He didn t know what to do, or how to fully understand what had just happened. Only what was in front of him made any sense. Hermione was in his bed, unconscious. On her face was a faint scar that might never even heal. She was stripped down to almost nothing, grass stains on her hands, knees, and elbows. HARRY! someone screamed from outside. DRACO IS SEVERELY INJURED! We need your help! HARRY!! What were they- invalids? He didn t care about Draco. He didn t give a flying fuck if the world was going to end. Hermione once again had to pay for his stupidity, and he didn t know how to deal with it anymore. This time it was close. Much too close, in fact. Every time he thought things were going fine, this happens. Was it only hours before they had shared themselves with each other in this very room? Was it only this evening he had hugged her and spun her about in Hogsmeade? How could one fucking day end so horribly?! The battle adrenaline was still pumping through his veins, making his hand open and close in a nervous twitch, and he began to shake. His knee jumped uncontrollably, and he had to pound on it a few times to try and make it stop. Taking a deep breath, he composed himself, and wiped his eyes. This was his mess, time to go and clean it up. Silently, he got up, and opened the door. Everyone from the dorm house was outside his door, talking animatedly then abruptly fell silent as the door swung open. Hey...Harry? What happened? You okay? Who is she? Who are those people outside? Is she dead? Harry ignored them all and stalked back downstairs. The door to his room shut firmly behind him, apparently on its own accord. The other students

began to follow him down, but Harry stopped suddenly, and stiffened. Without even looking back, he spoke in a low, monotone voice. Get away from me. They did not need to be told twice. Harry continued down the steps and calmly opened the door that led outside. Fleur was crouched near to Draco, her face almost flush against the grass as she tried to talk to him. Ron and Cho were hovering nearby, looking very out of place in their party outfits amongst the dead littered around on the ground. Jesus- Ron started, his face pale. Adrenaline was pumping through him like wildfire and right now finding words to communicate was difficult. H-Harry, what you said about about, about, well about what killed him, well how he died, well I mean I know how he was killed, but er Shut the fuck up Ron, he spat. Fleur! Get away from him. Cho, contact S.T.A.R. master Jeremy Kingsley and Head Healer Frederick Smethwyck. They would want the details of how these three died. Cordon the immediate area using the Illusion wards. Remember how to activate them? She nodded. Good. After, put them all in separate stasis charms until the M.A.R.S specialists arrive. Harry did not even break stride as he went over to Kenna, nonchalantly stepping over Karkaroff s still corpse in the process. Enervate! Kenna stirred. Huh? she mumbled, fluttering her eyes. she asked groggily. Get up, Rossilini, grip on her arm. What the- Harry? Izzat you?

he ordered, and hauled her to her feet with a steel

Ow! That hurts! she protested, trying to tug away. Harry said nothing and made his way over to Fleur, who had immediately sprung up and backed away from Draco as he approached. Harry spent a moment looking at Draco s still form, and the strange angles his limbs were making. Draco! Kenna screamed, trying to rush down to him. Harry restrained her easily, not even realizing that his grip was strong enough to really hurt her. She tried to fight him off, but Harry glared at her, and she quieted down. Malfoy! he shouted. Wake up! he ordered. Draco stirred, but did not open his eyes. Harry cursed. Wingardium Lleviosa! he incanted, pointing his wand at his still form. Out of the corner of his eye he saw someone skirting around, wringing his hands. Ron, stop acting like a little girl and get a hold of yourself. They are already dead-and it was I who killed them. Happy? he said nastily, giving Ron a scathing look. They would have done the same to you in an instant. Remember that. Let s go. Harry stormed off, dragging Kenna along in one arm and levitating Draco behind him. Fleur, I am taking them back to Hogwarts. Tell whoever asks I will be back for my report in the morning. What am I supposed to do until zen? she asked irritably.

Go wish Viktor happy fucking birthday for me, then go and practice some spells or something, and maybe afterwards you could go do your nails for all I care. Hey mate- that s going a bit too far, she was just trying to help! said angrily as Fleur s expression turned from shock to hurt. Harry turned, his eyes narrowed in disgust. Ron

You! As for you Ron, I- I don t know what to say, he spat. He spun around, going back upstairs. Just Just shut up and follow me. I don t want to talk right now. And what if I don t want to follow you ? Ron said defiantly.

You re going back now whether you like it or not. If you don t, I ll show you what real wizards are made of, instead of strutting around pretending to be one, Harry said evenly, not breaking stride. Ron opened his mouth to retaliate, but then changed his mind. What irked him the most was that Harry had a right to be angry. Wasn t he supposed to be a Knight of the magi? How much good did that do when the time actually came? He remembered what that Mulciber guy told him when he was neck deep in the earth : Ah. So you must be the infamous Ron Weasley. I heard of your exploits in the Prophet. Knight of the Magi huh? What does that really mean nowadays? Stifling his fury, Ron obediently did as he was told and trudged behind them. He silently was glad that Cho didn t see Harry tell him off. He was ashamed enough as it was by his inability to do a damn thing. When the Hogwarts party arrived in his room, Harry laid Draco on the cluttered floor and grabbed some spare robes and stuffed them in his Quidditch bag, not even looking at any of them. How are we getting back? Kenna asked hesitantly. Harry finally looked at her- she was slowly reverting back to her normal self, half of her hair was blonde while the other was still brown like Hermione s. You know, I never should have met you. I would have been a much happier person if I had left you to die on that farm, he said emotionlessly. Ron and Kenna gasped, they did not expect Harry to say such cruel words. Ron felt he deserved what he got, but to directly hurt her like that- Harry had gone too far! You bastard! he shouted, and charged Harry head on. In a flash Ron was thrown up against the wall, his windpipe constricting as a strong force gripped him about his neck. Ron dropped his wand, gasping for breath as his head bent awkwardly where the wall met the ceiling. Harry continued his packing, angrily stuffing the Cloak of the order of the Phoenix into the bag. When it failed to fit, he cursed again and threw it out carelessly, unconsciously stepping on it as he went back over to Hermione s side. He checked her breathing once again, and placed his fingers on her pulse. With a negligible flick of his wrist, he released the Levitation spell and Neck Binding jinx on Ron. Ron fell to the ground, coughing painfully. Harry stepped over, looking down at his once best friend. Ron, your skills are pathetic. When you live up to the name that your Order of Merlin Third Class gives you, maybe then you can challenge me again. For now, it d be best to leave your precious plaque on a shelf where it belongs. Ron glared up at him, his hatred burning in his eyes. Harry just snorted in derision, and turned his back on him. Ron would have loved to sock him with his back turned, but he slowly felt the room constrict in around him,

his vision getting blurryAAWWOOOOOOGGAA! AAWWOOOOOOGAA! The blaring wails of an alarm were ringing through the castle, but Harry paid it no attention. They were all now in front the main steps of Hogwarts Witchcraft and Wizardry, Hermione and Draco floating behind him. Ron got up off the ground, clutching his sore windpipe. Draco s kid sister, however, was still in shock- looking about her in awe. Harry wasted no time and began banging on the huge front doors. After the second rap of his knuckles, the second and third floor windows shattered in a cacophony of broken stained glass. Harry looked up, immediately using his Shield Charm to protect his entire group from the raining splinters. Kenna screamed as a whole army of suits of amour jumped down from the floors above, landing with the soft clangs of agile warriors. Two marched in front of them and crossed their spears, effectively blocking his path. The rest surrounded them, their weapons held at the ready. The gargoyles on the numerous towers came alive, circling far above in the early morning sunrise. Harry calculated the odds, and knew that if it came down to it, this would be an extremely tedious fight, a fight he did not want to start. One of the smarter looking gargoyles swooped down, and perched itself on top of the massive oaken doors. Harry raised an eyebrow in speculation. HALT! Who are you? State your purpose immediately! Dumbledore s voice through one of the gargoyles. came Professor I have two he stated.

Hullo Professor, long time no hear, Harry replied dryly. injured who needs Madame Pompfrey s attention immediately,

Two injured? there was a pause as the gargoyle seemed to be deliberating something. Your voice sounds familiar- Harry? Is it you? Yes. Will you please remove your guards? teeth. Harry asked through gritted

How did you get past the apparition field? Dumbledore s voice returned out of the gargoyle, the steel army still blocking their path. Can we discuss this afterwards, sir? the rise. Harry s temper was once again on

Before Harry realized that someone had snuck up on him from behind, Dumbledore was calmly taking off an invisibility cloak- his wand at the ready. It really is youDumbledore mused. I was worried for a secondthought it was a Dark Wizard that managed to breach the castle grounds. At this, Ron gave Harry a significant look. I m sorry Hermione, he tied to everything professor, but Draco Malfoy is seriously injured, as well as Harry said, his voice strangely quiet. Taking another breath, keep composed. She really needs your help. I will tell you after they are in the hospital wing, Harry pleaded.

I will take them at once- Dumbledore agreed, and he returned Ron s look with a slight nod. Allow me, Dumbledore said, and he tapped his wand on the door. There was the sound of cogs and gears turning, locks and bolts

snapping open. He pushed open the door, and dug into his robes, taking out his trusty put-outer. He pointed it in succession to the main chandeliers, and shortly afterwards the main hall was dimly lit with the glow of a few fires. Harry, we will discuss this, but first let us get them some attention. An hour later, after Hermione and Draco were hospitalized, the current Defense Against the Dark arts teacher, Remus Lupin, their resident groundskeeper, Hagrid, newly appointed Transfiguration teacher, Nymphadora Tonks, and Professor Dumbledore were all in the headmaster s office, listening quietly to the events of that night. It was evident that they were not pleased. Not pleased at all. It was foolish of you to take them, Harry. Do you know what could have happened? Remus said, his tone dangerously quiet. Harry did not respond. He studied all of their reactions: Hagrid had his eyes averted, not sure if he wanted to say something or not, Tonks was watching Remus uncertainly, her legs crossed as she sat down with a worried expression on her face, and the headmaster had his fingers steeped in front of his mouth, his gaze resting squarely on Harry. Remus, as usual, was pacing up and down. Full moon was drawing near, Harry could tell by his agitation and restlessness. Harry himself was standing by his lonesome, just in front of the exit. He didn t know all of this was going to happen! were just going to a party! Tonks interjected. They

Harry would have loved to hug Tonks for the support, but inside he knew Remus was correct. He should not have brought them. Remus gave her a look, and she quieted her arguments. Dumbledore cleared his throat, and stood up behind his desk, pulling his short dark beard regally. I must inform you, as part of the specialist Auror squadron at Lionheart, your name is automatically put on a figurative hit list. Both your father and godfather were admitted into the program, and almost immediately they were put into peril. It is widely known that the strongest and most gifted wizards are drafted there, therefore, making excellent targets for the Dark Wizards hoping to achieve notoriety. Voldemort was not the only wizard who wanted them dead, Dumbledore explained. But in your case, he continued, Your name is already world renowned. It is not by chance this wizard wanted to challenge you; there are many who are still loyal to the Dark Lord. This is something that you must always take into consideration, and keep your guard up at all times. So what you re saying that there is no way to stop this? angrily. Harry said

Hah! The only way to stop this is if you could wipe the face of evil off the entire planet . Remus said in a mock tone. Harry, you have to be more careful! You may be able to protect yourself, but your friends are not as gifted as you! And furthermore

The day that I left here, I swore that I will protect everyone from Voldemort, no matter how many times he resurrects, no matter how many years it takes. I still hold to that. You think I will sit idly by and watch anyone hurt her? Do you think that I cannot protect those that I care about? Harry countered softly. No I m not saying that, butRemus replied.

Good. Harry and Remus had a moment of an intense stare down. Harry broke eye contact first. I hate to be rude, but I want to see her before I return to Lionheart. I will have to report to my superiors immediately thank you for you help, professor, he nodded at Dumbledore. Hagrid, Tonks, Remus, he nodded in farewell, and turned out the door. Professor- Harry has changed, Hagrid said simply. Professor Dumbledore said nothing, just simply stared at the door which Harry just left. Moments later, Harry s footsteps rang through the abandoned halls leading to the Hospital wing. Everything was jumbled into his head, from memories of his first years here, all the way to the present day. The pockets and skips along the way were giving him a headache. Why weren t his memories in order? Why could he remember things that he certainly did not experience? This place brought back so much good times, but unfortunately it was scattered about, and he couldn t seem to decipher why it was a task for him to make the right turns to get to the hospital wing. After all, as Malfoy once said that it was a shock to see him not swooning over his scar and spending the majority of his time inside of there. When he eventually did find it, Madame Pompfrey was checking up on her. How is she? he asked quietly. Madame Pompfrey looked across at him, and at the subtle, and not-so-subtle changes in his face. She s stabilized, but it will take her a few days She has used a significant amount of magical power uncontrolled burst, and her body is now paying for complication, but I already treated her twice with to eventually wake up. in a single it. It s a peculiar this strange condition.

Hopefully, she ll be back to full speed in a few weeks, but her magic will be shaky at best for a few more months. If you want, you can spend a little time with her. There s coffee and some eats on the table- Ron was here earlier and he had Dobby bring him some she pointed at the little table in a waiting area, not telling Harry that Ron was deliberately avoiding him. Harry looked at her face, and the tubes running into her mouth and the magical needle sticking into her arm just above the elbow. Tenderly, he caressed her hair away from her face. He took her hand into his, and stared at her for hours, the numbness inside slowly being replaced by remorse, and guilt. When the sun was fully up and the sunlight crept into the room, he knew it was inevitably time to leave. Harry got up, and softly kissed her on her lips. I ll come back, I promise. Get well soon. And with that, he got up and left the room. He trudged past the next door, feeling as if the weight of the world was on his shoulders. Draco was already half awake, his body bandaged so intensively that half of him was wrapped in magical healing linen, his right arm and leg suspended at an angle by a permanent levitation ward. Harry looked at him as he walked passed, and Draco s

uncovered eye followed him slowly as he crossed his area of vision. Potter, he croaked softly.

Harry paused, and turned back to enter his room, standing wearily at the foot of the bed. Yeah? Is Kenna safe? he mumbled.

Yeah, she s fine. Good a-and what about Mucliber and his men? Dead. Draco chuckled so softly Harry initially thought he was having a hard time to breathe. T-they they were supposed to be mine Harry looked at Draco s current condition. There was an awkward silence between the two young men and Draco s smile faded as Harry s face crumpled in defeat. Next time you can have all you want, Harry said sadly. I have too much on my conscience. Get some rest. I ll see you back at school Draco had no more witty comments as his once hated enemy- and now comrade, walked off. He noticed that Harry s back was crisscrossed with fresh wounds; all of them still red and caked up with dried blood. Draco s good eye narrowed on him as he exited. Damn, what happened to you after I was taken out? ******************* At midday that fateful Saturday, Harry stood in the middle of courtroom ten, a single spotlight on his beaten and battered body. He was bombarded with questions the entire morning in a crash Ministry hearing specifically designed to question the military elite. He just wished it to be over as soon as possible. The facts were deliberated and picked apart since he was summoned, and finally the repercussions were being announced by the council head. "Mr Harry James Potter, you have presented before this council the events that happened on Friday the thirteenth of December 1998. Are your statements the complete truth?" the speaker asked him. Yes, they are. You claimed to have been attacked by S.T.A.R. Elite trainee captain Ryan Mulciber and the previous headmaster of Durmstrang Wizarding Institute, Igor Karkaroff? You also state to have single handedly defeated both, killing them in the process? It was in self defense, Harry re-iterated for the umpteenth time. He wished he could see the face of the woman who was questioning him. It sounded familiar, but the booming echo of the Sonorous spell made it hard to distinguish. He also did not see the reason for his wrists to be shackled to the ground like if he were a prisoner, but that did not really

matter to him. These chains could not hold him down if he really wanted to escape. Very well. We accept your tale of events, and are grateful for your proficiency in nullifying the threat to our Auror institute. It is remarkable that you have defeated both the top wizard student of N.E.W.T standard in 1994 and his instructor, a skilled S class sorcerer with the ability to rival that of Albus Dumbledore and Madame Maxine of Beauxbatons. Your talent at only seventeen is extraordinary. No one could defeat Albus Dumbledore, Harry said loyally. The speaker tilted her head as a memory came back to her. Speaking about that, why did you not inform us that Draco Malfoy is the man in the recordings of the battle of King s crown of the previous year? The incident in which He-who-must-not-be-named was defeated? That doesn t matter with his acceptance into Lionheart, does it? Harry countered. He had the money, and he applied. He did his exam, and was placed in the Auror trainee division. Nothing out of the ordinary. Now he knew who this is. The Minister of Magic herself was the one heading this questioning. The Ministry wishes to have all potential dangers well investigated before accepting such an individual. He was accepted on a very strong request from the Order of the Phoenix. We chose to accept him on these terms, not the fact that he is a Summoner of the Infernus. That applies double to me then, I can summon the Infernus also. Does it make a difference for me being an Auror? Harry asked nonchalantly. He is a gifted wizard, and a fierce and loyal comrade. Excuse me, can you repeat that? Did you say that you control the element of Fire as well? Yes, I did. There were a few murmured whispers amongst the council body, some more pronounced than others. Harry got the general impression that there were genuinely surprised. That is an interesting fact. This knowledge has apparently surfaced at the most opportune time, she said thoughtfully. Clearing her throat, her tone was once again was all business. As a member of the S.T.A.R Elite, you are required to complete more dangerous tasks than regular Aurors. You do understand this aspect of your profession, correct? Harry laughed. Dangerous tasks? Wow, sounds new and exciting, mocked in a dry tone. Harry

Some of the council members chuckled in response. Harry could have sworn he saw Sherry Diggory smile underneath the thick shadows of the higher tiers of the courtroom. In the days of old, prestige was based on the skill of a wizard, which was measured by the number of duels he has survived. In these new times, those barbaric methods have been done away with, but the underlying values will forever remain. Your record is exemplary, one defeat in twenty-one

duels, ahem; twenty-three as of last night. In addition to the defeat of Dragons, dementors, and other vile creatures, your repertoire is astonishing. The facts do not lie, Harry. By these medical records of Hogwarts and the W.O.W assessment you have taken last year, it is clear that you are indeed gifted in the arts of war. Allow me to let you in on a little secret, Harry, she said casually, and Harry was positive he recognized her voice. The Weighing of the Wizard assessment not only grades the three spells you have completed in the exam, but it is a way of deducing the amount of Duels and magic experience that particular wand has with it s wielder. Over time and battles, it becomes an extension of your person, and integrates itself to attune to your abilities. When the compatibility rating has reached over ninety percent, the wandless magic techniques are now open to be explored. Harry listened carefully. That was why his wandless spells were coming easier and easier- his score was a perfect one hundred percent. Hell, it saved his neck last night. It seems that from since the age of eleven, your only defeat has been against the wizard Hunters of the attack in Italy. Amazing. There was a momentary pause where she conferred the documents in front of her with the two other figures on the left and right of her. We do not need any more proof or credentials to make our decision, she said, confidence booming from her voice. From here on out, you will head the S.T.A.R Elite division as their captain and Field Commander. You will receive orders solely from Auror Division Master Jeremy Kingsley, or myself; Sherry Diggory, and are expected to take the initiative to plan and execute shadow missions for the British Ministry of Magic. However, this will not be public information. As far as the ordinary community knows, you are still a trainee, and attend Lionheart as a student completing his degree in the Auror division. Do you accept this position? Er- I guess, Harry said uncertainly. Shadow Missions?

Excellent! Well, it is settled. Congratulations, Mr. Potter. You will proceed to the Unspeakable Division for a brief rundown of your responsibilities- and the scheduling for your extra training sessions. Your name will be raised to class B security clearance, and will be registered to use the Unforgivable Curses once your training is complete. Oh, and pertaining to your finances, please meet with Mr. Youri Llewellyn in the Payroll department to create your Ministry salary account. Have a good day. And with that, his bonds were released, and the council filed out of the door on the highest tier. For a few stunned seconds he stood stock still, his mind reeling. It finally dawned on him and he realized the mess he had just gotten himself into. But one thing kept repeating itself over and over in his mind, even though Remus said it in jest: Ha! The only way to stop this is if you could wipe the face of evil off the entire planet... He knew that was impossible, but there had to be a way to keep Hermione safe. And if it took him years to find it, he vowed she would not be taken

captive again. ****************** Remus, I will need your assistance, Dumbledore interrupted in the middle of his breakfast on the next day, bright and early Sunday morning. He immediately put down his forkful of pancakes and looked up at his mentor. What is it? We must find another Divine Summoner immediately, beckoning him up to his office. Why? Remus asked as he followed him up the stairs. Dumbledore said,

We need someone to train Miss Granger, it is imperative she learns the Exorcism spell as soon as possible, Dumbledore answered as they entered his private office. He opened the fourth drawer quickly, producing an old scroll. Laying it on his desk, he unrolled the aged parchment delicately. On it were a list of names of recognized Summoners that passed through the school since record. It was painfully short. Exorcism? Who is it? Who has been possessed? Remus asked warily.

She was indeed correct, Dumbledore sighed. The fact that he could use the Teleportus spell to infiltrate the grounds was a definite sign. Remember, the magic used to create a portkey has been restricted to only certain Ministry-approved Aurors, and teleportation is the self-embodiment of that objective magic. Essentially, it is creating a portkey of oneself and the surrounding time and space... But that aspect of spell casting has only been accessible to Dark magic users, that s why it is illegal Remus finished, understanding dawning. Precisely. There is a darker presence inside of Harry, and with each passing duel, it becomes a stronger influence on him. We must exorcise Solidus Gryffindor, before it consumes him entirely...

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Chapter 13: The S.T.A.R. Elite [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

**CHAPTER 13: The Star Elite**

Harry spoke to absolutely no one for the next seven days. The last week of classes consisted of getting ready in the morning, donning his

invisibility cloak on his way to class, arriving late so that he could take a seat at the back to avoid unwanted attention, and first to leaveputting back on his cloak as he left. Inevitably, Fleur and Cho sought him out on the Friday before Christmas, knocking on his door almost fearfully. Arry? Came Fleur s voice softly through the door. She knocked again and was about to call out when it opened, Harry filling up the doorway. He looked stonily at the both of them. Yes? Can we speak to you? Cho asked, her voice trembling. Harry thought about it for a second, and then allowed them entry. They closed the door behind them, and entered his tiny room. Harry leaned up against the little breakfast counter defensively, crossing his arms as he eyed the both of them. Cho had just come from her med practicals; she still had on her Healer s robes, while Fleur had already changed from her S.T.A.R. trainee combat robes. What is this about? Harry cut to the chase.

Why have you been avoiding us? Right now you should talk it out, not keep it bottled in. We re here for you, Cho said earnestly, and Fleur nodded in agreement. Harry just glared at them. It's not so simple, and I really don't want to talk about it." Well, if you talk to us, we may be able to understand . Understand? Harry raised an eyebrow. He begin to chuckle, he could not believe it. Here they were, two girls who knew nothing, trying to understand . This is not something you could figure out, or rationalise, he replied. "What happened Friday isn't anything new, this is my life, and these wounds are real..." Harry unbuttoned his shirt, opening it to reveal a huge white bandage wrapped around his torso. Fleur and Cho gasped. On his right side above his bandaged rib there was the faint tell-tale bruise suffered from the Reductor curse a few years ago, scars peppered his left shoulder and arm. In between the more obvious injuries, were the regular ones - a line here, a depression there, remnants of all the battles he has survived. Pulling his shirt back on, he refused to show him the Hunter s scar and the newly inflicted Lacerations on his back that were still taking a while to heal. Right now, Hermione is once again up in the hospital at Hogwarts, and I don t know what to do anymore. All of these scars combined can t compare to how much it hurts me when I have to see her like that. These attacks aren t coincidences: they know she means a lot to me they re not stupid, so now I ve got to find a way to keep her safe, and until then, it s best if you also keep your distance. Oh- that s so noble of you Harry- just simply shut out everyone, is that it? Cho countered. Do you think that is really going to help? Now is the time that you need someone to talk to, you need your friends! And for Christ s sake, we re here for you! Harry just stared at them for a moment, Cho s words penetrating the personal barrier he tried to set up

around him. His memories went back to Neville, and the day he had sworn allegiance to him. It was after his first DA meeting back in his pitifully short sixth year: Harry was leaving after packing up, but Neville stopped him to stay for a moment. "Hey Neville, something you wanted to ask?" Not really ask, I- had to tell you something - it's kinda personal, so don't laugh okay? Harry knew that Neville was stronger than he looked, but was a bit taken back that Neville felt that this was serious enough to wait for a private moment, yet was cautious enough to ask for him not to laugh. Not that he would, of course. You don t how much it means to me now that she s really dead. The moment I saw her that night, I knew that I had to do it for them, y know; my mum and dad. When we dueled, I couldn t do it myself- I tried, but she was way better, and stronger. She got me with the Cruciatus curse, so I begged for her to kill me instead - but she said she had to finish her job . I was helpless and she could have killed me then and there so easily. Even though I was nearly blacking out, I was scared when she took up Hermione and Ginny, and deep down, knew that she was going to use them for something bad. I hated that feeling, that someone was going to be hurt because I couldn t do something about it. From now on, I m going to train really hard, and I ll get better! From now on, you have my word, I ll have your back! I mean that! And with that, Neville offered his hand to shake. His dedication had impressed Harry, and they clasped their hands in a strong bond of loyalty. As soon as Neville left, Harry had the horrible feeling that was a mistake. **

Unfortunately, Neville died a few weeks later trying to save Hermione. He kept his word though, Neville had fought as if possessed that night at Hogsmeade. He died a hero, but his death still weighed heavily on Harry. Cho was his first kiss, he will always have a tender spot in his heart for her. Right now, what he did not want was another hostage candidate getting too close to him. Same thing went for Fleur. That pledge of loyalty was like signing a death warrant. Cedric had said it, Sirius had shown it, and now Hermione was once again caught in the crossfire. It was getting closer every time, for now, it was better he stayed away. I appreciate it Cho, I really do. But this is way over your head. Someday you ll understand that in this life, there are things that is better left alone. His eyes turned cold. Softly, he continued: And then,

there are certain things that must be done. What are you talking about? Harry lifted two objects, a slim folder with the Ministry of Magic official stamp on it, the other a thick, well-worn tome covered in black leviathan hide. On it was inscribed a pentagram encircled by a red circle, the demonic symbol eerily burning on the cover. Fleur strained her eyes, and made out the faint letters A-z-k-a-b-a-n on it, though written in a weird and almost unrecognisable script. I ve been given the position of S.T.A.R. Field Commander, he dropped the Ministry folder on his desk. In a week, I m meeting with my new squadron, so I m just checking up their profiles. Hopefully we ll make a difference, a real difference. I ll be doing a three week boot camp with them; then come the new year we re going to start hunting down the Azkaban escapees in earnest, he dropped the much heavier book with a thud on the table, a strange hissing noise seeped out from the yellowed pages. Cho and Fleur involuntarily moved closer to each other in apprehension, and inched away from the cursed volume. Harry did not even realize their discomfort. So right now, there s a lot on my mind, and it d be best if you just drop this I want to be your friend thing . You re kidding, right? Cho asked, eyeing the scary symbol. Harry shook his head slightly. Fleur was watching Harry carefully. She knew when he was serious. No. But, y-you re younger than me! You aren t really doing this are you? It s ridiculous! Cho protested, denial written all over her face. Well, the ministry doesn t think so. Neither do I, softly. Arry, what about Hermione? Fleur asked sadly. I ll talk to her, Harry said simply. I m happy you came to check up on me, but I think you two should go, he smiled briefly at the both of them. Have a Merry Christmas. Harry said softly, and turned his back on them. Harry responded

****************** Deep in the Department of Mysteries were doors that no regular ministry official could open, far less know about. One of these doors housed one of the Ministry s many secrets in their ambiguous and shadowy Unspeakable division: The S.T.A.R Elite offices. In it were three sole occupants, hastily brought back after a long time apart. It wasn t the most joyous reunion. As usual, the ones in charge found it funny to keep them waiting. Who do you think our new commander is going to be? Things have been dead around here without Mad Eye. Can t believe it s taken them a whole year to re-instate us . Sol DeFontaine said irritably. He pulled out his trusty cigar, and lighted it on the tip of his wand. He had to admit he was nervous. It s been a while since he met a really tough wizard, well tough

in his biased opinion. Have no clue, answered a deep gravely voice. It better be worth comin out on Christmas Eve for, though. Diggory said we ll start a new campaign come the next ear, Steven Warshire replied, folding his arms underneath his cloak. I m all for killin some criminal scum. It s been a while, eh Lestrange? he continued, giving the sole woman present a mischievous There s only person who I m really interested in killing, and he shares my last name. Other than that, the others are just bonuses, came a sultry voice from underneath a large hood. Rodulphus seems as slippery as ever, this time I m not going to let him escape, she said with steel in her voice. Drop that whole revenge thing won t you? It's so melodramatic, I'd be better off watching a sappy romantic movie on the box home, Sol countered, smirking. Aye, an a box of napkins to wipe away the painWarshire added with a snort. Rebecca, you ve got to let it go, you ain t getting any younger, and maybe a good breedin will help ya Another word, Warshire, and there will be two men on my list, she said icily. Let s all be professionals and wait on Kingsley and whoever this person is to arrive. Then we could easily get him killed on the first mission and the Ministry would realize that one of us, specifically- me, should head this division, instead of some nauseas bureaucrat who knows nothing about duelling. No one could replace Alastor, no one she said sadly. Aww...and the Award for best dramatic performance goes to- TA DA! he swept his hand dramatically Rebecca Lestrange! (sometimes accredited as Rebecca Moody) for her brilliant portrayal of a Duellist Gone Emotional in No one loves me - Volume 4! With a grand flourish Sol produced a silver statuette out of his wand and caught it out of midair. It was an intricately detailed figurine depicting a tragic image of a young girl with her tiny, balled fists rubbing the tears from her eyes. Steven, if you ll do the honours? he said solemnly. With utter reverence, Warshire took the award and presented Rebecca with it. She glared at them venomously. Mock my father once again, and you ll regret it, I swear! a passion. she said with

wink.

Just because he took you away from that family doesn t make him your father. For crying out loud- he basically dumped you in Lionheart as soon as you left Hogwarts! Stop living in his shadow, live your own life and go get married or something and start a family! I heard your friend Tonks has something baking in the oven already. Don t be left behind, what are you waiting for? You re of ripe young age! Sol argued good-naturedly. Aye, with a body like that, my wife would kill me if she knew who I worked with. She may even forget the fact that I never told er what I really do for a living. Warshire gave her an appreciative look. I may look old, but I ve got it where it counts. Sure you don t want to take up my offer? he added lecherously.

I rather sleep with a dog than touch you! eyes. You two are disgusting old men! Hey, come on, forty one ain t that old

she countered, fire in her Warshire said jokingly.

Tell her, Steven- we re basically in our prime! Our sexual prowess is legendary! That s why you won't admit what you d really enjoy is a good roll in the hayAt that moment the door to the office opened. Two men walked in, one with the near all knowing expression seemingly forever set in place, the other a mysterious figure who walked silently behind, his face covered entirely by the shadows cast by his thick hood. The three specialists recognized Jeremy Kingsley immediately, but came up short with any clue to who this guy was. He seemed to be on the slight side though, and instinctively Sol and Warshire snorted in derision. Ah, I see you are all here. Good, sorry for the delay, I forgot to tell our new commander where it was. I apologize, Kingsley said light-heartedly. At that, Rebecca s eyes narrowed. This guy didn t know where it was? That means he has never worked in the department of mysteries before Well, we re all here. Does Mr. Mysterious care to tell us who he is? Sol asked, all laughter gone without a trace. He puffed his cigar, scowling menacingly at him. Warshire folded his arms defensively, and cursed under his breath. Already he didn t like him. Rebecca, on the other hand, wasn t so sure what to make of his first impression. There was something very dangerous about this man . Harry stepped forward, and pulled back his hood. Kingsley cleared his throat, and announced a bit hesitantly, This here is your new commander: Harry James Potter. You gotta be fucking me! Sol grumbled unbelievingly. Warshire remained silent, but his expression said it all- he looked absolutely murderous. Rebecca on the other hand was shocked speechless. Tonks had told him he was to be their child s godfather, and even to that she had told her good friend that he was too young. Now here he was, standing before them in the flesh. Harry looked at each of them in turn, sizing them up. Sol was the big, aggressive sort, his physical presence nearly dominated the whole room. He was a good-looking fellow, most probably late thirties into early forties, his face covered in a thick stubble. Sandy blond hair was trimmed short to the scalp, and the cigar balanced precariously on the edge of his lips, but he spoke with an ease that Harry instinctively knew he was a chain smoker, and his cigar would never ever fall to the floor. Turning his eyes down a bit to the shorter, older looking bloke, Steven Warshire was every bit as his profile described: tough, squat, and dangerous-looking. He eyed Harry with such intensity that if he were a lesser wizard, Harry may have cringed. He raised an eyebrow lazily at Warshire, dismissing his unsaid threat without much thought. Finally, he inspected the last member, a young woman in her mid to late twenties. Harry did not know if she was

gorgeous, but she definitely was mysterious. Her face was cast in shadow, and also halfway covered by a large blood red scarf. It wrapped once or twice around her neck, completely covering her chin and mouth and partially blocking the end of a cute small nose. Her eyes were a dark shade of violet, quite an unusual colour in Harry s opinion, and the lone lamp above cast deep shadows under her hood, so that her hair colour could not be deciphered. Under her billowing cloak she wore a practical combat robe, not too tight, but close fitting enough for Harry to notice that she kept herself in great shape. This is good, Jeremy. Really funny. This is what you bring us here for? A joke? Warshire spat. I could squash him in my right hand, Sol added scornfully. Just as Jeremy and the two men began to bicker, Harry silently stepped forward, taking out his wand slowly, holding it by the tip with only his thumb and forefinger. Kingsley, you say these are hardened wizards, right? I could hurt them a little and they won t cry would they? Harry smiled slightly. Jeremy just looked at him, and a smile tugged at his lips, but not enough to fully materialize. He stepped back, letting Harry take the floor. You know my name. I won t need to introduce myself. You see this here? Phoenix core, nine and three quarter inch length. He slowly and deliberately laid it on the nearest flat surface, a small desk with only a potted plant on it. There, I am defenceless. If one of you could put a scratch or burn on my person in any way, I ll walk out of this room right now. What the hell? Are you shitting us? Sol said dangerously.

It would be my pleasureWarshire said darkly, both of them drawing their wands. Jeremy had to concentrate on using his Far Seeing ability to actually figure out what happened next. As Sol s wand came to bear, Harry seemed to have sped up beyond human capability. In a flash his cloak of the Order of the phoenix was whipped off, and flung at Warshire. Sol hesitated, but before he could respond Harry took a quick step forward, pivoting on his heel. Ducking low, he span from behind the dark cloak, his left hand grabbing Sol's outstretched wrist with a loud smack. Darting beneath the bigger man's arm, he took a two handed grip on his hand and sidestepped, wringing his wrist counter clockwise and locking the man's arm behind him. With a quick kick to the back of his legs, Sol was brought to his knees. Wrenching his arm up, Harry stamped hard on between his shoulder blades, forcing the much larger man to kiss the floor. Harry glanced at the others, and swiped Sol s wand out of his grasp, pointing it at Warshire before he had a chance to throw the magic-resistant cloak off of him. With a little flick, Harry had him lined up before Warshire could even aim. Expelliarmus, he said lazily, and Warshire s wand flew up into the air. Pointing his wand at the tossed object, he took control of it and snapped his wrist downwards. The wand arrowed down straight and true at Rebecca, who was trying to get a clear shot from behind Warshire. It never materialized- Warshire s wand connected directly with her wand hand with a sharp crack! Her thumb broken, she had no choice but to reflexively drop her weapon as pain shot up her arm. With another little sweep of his Sol s wand, Harry incanted a very simple spell, one he recently found out would

work on multiple targets at the same timeSilencio. Both of them immediately grew hoarse, failing to summon their wand using wandless magic. Rebecca's eyes opened wide above her red scarf, her disbelief evident on her face. Realising that they were in no position to continue, the both of them took an involuntary step back, Warshire's fist clenching in fury. Harry felt Sol on the ground trying to struggle free, so he accommodated him by putting a lot more force in the opposite direction that his arm should be able to twist, keeping his foot planted firmly on his back. Sol pounded the carpet with his free arm, fighting the urge to groan in pain. A little flick of his wand later, Harry summoned al of their wands to levitate in front of him, a small smile on his lips. Are these what you want? he asked coolly, grabbing them all in his hand. The three of you have lost your primary weapon, and are now silenced. If this were a real duel, you'd all be dead. The two of you can step over there, he indicated with a tilt of his head, twitching his hand in separate directions. You, he said to the man on the ground. Out that cigar, Harry smirked. Aww, what the hell, why not? "Please," he added sarcastically. Fuck you! Sol cursed, his face flush red with humiliation as Harry added more pressure unto his already aching shoulder. He groaned as he felt it almost ready to pop out. Damn it all to hell!! Who the fuck is this kid?! Fine, I ll make you do it then- Inciendo! he said darkly, and the tip of Sol s cigar combusted in a large ball of fire. The fire raced up the length, and Sol panicked. He began to vigorously try and out it against the carpet, the butt clutched in his teeth. After some intense neck and teeth work, he managed to save his face from being scorched. Now, to make things fair, we can have another round. This time I would face you equally, and use my own wand, and return these three to you. What say you guys? he asked lightly. Warshire stood still, his face turning a deeper shade of purple by the second. Rebecca was watching him incredulously, favouring her injured hand. Sol just cursed once again, still unable to move with Potter s foot squarely in the centre of his back. Jeremy Kingsley smiled, pride beaming at all angles. No one?" Harry tsk tsked. "Right. Seeing as that I have neither a burn nor scratch on me, it seems that I am allowed to stay. He released Sol DeFontaine, and incanted the counter spell for the Silencing jinx. He handed each their wands, (Sol having to use his left arm to take it instead) and with a faint wave of his hand his wand jumped back into his palm and his cloak that was deceptively used as a weapon wrapped back around his shoulders, clasping itself at the front of his collarbone. For now, let us forget these little pleasantries, and get down to business. We have a lot of work to do. With a newfound respect for their new commander, they all took the folders handed out to them, warily watching Harry s expression. He sat down at the table, and opened the huge book with all of Azkaban s prisoner records. As the meeting wore on and Harry relayed his goals for the upcoming campaign, Rebecca smiled secretly underneath her blood red scarf, even though her

thumb was still throbbing with pain. Tonks, you've gone absolutely nutter.... but you couldn t have picked a more perfect person as your child s future protector.....

******************** Do you think he ll come Ginny? Hermione asked her red haired friend. Hermione had went home a week early, leaving the Monday after Krum s party, telling her parents she wasn t feeling well and pleaded homesickness. Her parents were more than ecstatic to have her home early, but Hermione really wanted to spend some time with them for the Christmas, and then meet up with Ron and the others for Christmas dinner at the Burrow. She knew her parents wouldn t want her anywhere near Harry so Hermione simply told them that he went off to study and they weren t seeing each other anymore. It made things easier when she asked to leave on Christmas Eve to go by her friends Ron and Ginny. Her parents were reluctant, but Mr and Mrs Weasley had visited them that same evening, and helped persuade them to let Hermione come over for the holiday. Er- yeah..I guess... Ginny said, she wasn t sure herself. And if Harry did, that may not be a good idea right now. Outside, she heard the telltale cracks and miniature explosions of mock duelling. Ron was at it again . What is that? Hermione asked her as she also picked up on the sounds wafting up through the window. She stood up to look outside, but all she could see was a few flashes and trails of smoke coming from the small wood at the back of the Weasley property. She plopped back down on Ginny s bed. Ever since the beginning of this week Ron has been begging Charlie and Bill to duel with him. Even when they re not around, he s in there twenty-four seven, training. I think he feels he has something to prove, Ginny said absently. Something to prove? What do you mean? Hermione asked.

You didn t know? Of course you wouldn t, you were a bit under the weather that weekend. When you guys came back Fred and George found Ron crying. And I m telling you one thing, Ron may whine a lot, but he never cries. Obviously Fred and George knew something went horribly wrong, and boy were they furious when Ron told them what happened. Why? What happened? Harry called Ron a useless coward. You don t know how much that hurt him. So we re actually not really on talking terms with him right now Coward? Why would he do that to Ron? Harry doesn t mean that! You ve got to understand Hermione, Ron always looked up to him, even though they were always best mates. When Dumbledore gave him that award and everyone was cheering him on was probably the best day of his life But when he was nearly killed twice that night and Harry had to save his neck both times, Ron knew what he told him was true. Even though he has

done so much for all of us against Voldemort and on the train, Ron thinks that his Merit of Valor is nothing more than shit. Harry humiliated him in front of Fleur and Kenna, and told him that he had a lot to learn before he even thought about challenging him. Hermione, I honestly don t know about Harry being the guy he always was right now he s so creepy. Hermione creased her brow in thought. That was Solidus knew it. Harry wouldn t do such a thing, would he? influence- she

Outside, at that same moment, Ron was breathing hard, he was facing his brother Charlie in a mock duel, both using dampening spells on their wands to reduce direct damage done by the curses and jinxes. It has been nearly a week since Charlie, Bill, Fred and George were rotating duelling with him, and his progress was improving ever so little day by day. Sweat was running down his face, and he was quite dizzy. Too many hits from numerous spells were taking its toll over the week, and now he felt spent. Maybe he should give it a rest. Telling his brother he was done for the while, he trekked deeper into the wood to find his favourite spot. He lay flat on his back, his arms splayed wide on the chilly grass. He slowly drifted off into a troubled dream, one that took him back nearly four years. He could see it as clear as it was happening before his eyes. This was back in his first divination class, and Ron was trying to decipher what it was he saw in Harry s tealeaves. At this point in the dream, Trelawney had snatched it out of his hands, and was now scrutinizing what was at the bottom. ** O-oh oh, what is it that you see Weasley? Quick- tell me tell me! Professor Trelawney asked him, shuffling over. Everyone was staring, transfixed at Professor Trelawney as she gave the cup a final turn, gasped, then screamed. Everyone jumped at her sudden reaction. What is it Professor? he heard Dean Thomas say. She backed away, her jewelled fingers pressing unto her chest, her eyes wide with fear. My dear, you have the Grim! she breathed hoarsely, her eyes magnified tenfold through her glasses. Both Ron and Harry looked at each other, their faces baffled. Ron noted that in this dream, Harry s face was kinder, more in touch with everything around, but now The what? asked Harry.

The Grim, my dear, the Grim! cried Professor Trelawney, hysterical to the point that her voice was screeching. The giant, spectral dog that haunts churchyards! It is an omen- the worst omen- of death! Ron looked over at Harry to share in a good laugh, but the Harry he once was no longer looking back at him. This Harry's face was twisted into an evil grin, his eyes aglow with a pulsing blue energy. Ron s whole world shrank into nothingness, and Harry s shadowed face loomed down at him,

taking up his whole range of vision- the outline of a huge black dog slowly superimposing on his features And at that point in time, Trelawney began to vigorously lick his face. ** The morning sunlight was shining through the trees, and blared red against his shut eyelids. The licking, however, had not stopped. Ooh Ron! Look look! Charlie bought him as my Christmas gift! He s adorable isn t he?! Ginny screamed from above. Ron opened his eyes, face to face with the unblinking eyes of a black dog. He yelled, and shoved it off of him. GET IT AWAY! he cried, springing up to his feet. Ginny and Hermione looked at him skeptically. Ron took some deep breaths, and the tiny little puppy ran away, and Ginny scooped him up lovingly in her arms. Both girls looked at him quizzically, and Ron stared hard at the tiny ball of black fur snuggled up at Ginny s bosom. What s wrong? Hermione asked him, completely taken by surprise. you sleep outside in the cold? Come inside, mum wants you to wash and get ready for Christmas breakfast, Ginny said offhandedly, already turning to leave. Ron looked at Hermione strangely, and shook his head, not bothering to say anything. He stalked off inside, leaving Hermione to wonder what was it that really happened after she passed out. ****************** On the morning of New years, Remus and Dumbledore were finalizing their plans. Cross-referencing the short list of Summoners through the history of Hogwarts, they found a family tree that may have a strain of the Divine Summoning ability hidden within their lineage. It was a very slim chance, but they had to investigate any sort of possibility on a fully-fledged Wizard or Witch who could train Hermione. Only she was close enough emotionally with Harry to make it possible, and; only she could control him, just in case Harry (or Solidus) was uncooperative. As they were about to exit in their traveling robes out of the main hall, Firenze the Centaur called out to them, his hooves clopping loudly on the ancient floor. Albus Dumbledore, a word, if you may. Dumbledore and Remus paused, and turned towards Firenze. Firenze beckoned them to his Divination lair, his tail swishing majestically as he turned back into the corridor. Remus and Dumbledore entered, and were enraptured in the artificial setting that was set up for him a couple years back. The stars are showing the signs. It is time, Albus, the prophecy that has been heralded from before even our own formidable history. One of the two Why did

strongest wizards has finally emerged, and if the other joins him in battle, they will set this earth asunder with the second Great War, one that could rival the first battle that split the four founders into strife. It is dawning upon us. Who are you talking about? ever. Remus asked, his heart beating faster than

The Bloodline of Gryffindor has now his first followers, and soon many more will follow. And who is this other wizard, Firenze? Dumbledore asked.

It is impossible to tell at present. Let it be known that once these two unite, there will be an age of war, and deaths will be rampant over the following years. I have seen the events coming to life since seven years ago, and now the smoke patterns are conclusive. One half of the prophecy has already come to pass all that is left is for the bloodline of Slytherin to join him. The bloodline of Slytherin? Remus questioned. announced, his confusion increasing. Voldemort is dead, he

Indeed, is there another we do not know about? Dumbledore mused. Firenze peered at the wafts of smoke produced from burning the Mutroot tree bark. There is one- but his lineage is not pure. Dumbledore heed my words, before seven full turns of the moon, the quest for the Holy Person must be complete, or else you will fail. He means the Divine Summoner, Remus said automatically. Seven turns, that would mean the end of July- Remus looked up quickly at Dumbledore. Indeed, Harry s eighteenth birthday." Dumbledore bowed his head towards the wise centaur. "Firenze, our time is short. We must take our leave. Fare well, and wish us Godspeed, said Dumbledore. Both Wizards left in a swirl of robes, and a few moments later, the hallway doors opened and then bolted closed to mark their leave. Firenze looked up at the stars above, and secretly wished against what they were telling him. It had already begun. ******************** Kingsley, your men are good, but I will request one other. He is still rough, and I will need to work with him on his wand capabilities, but he will be an extremely useful asset, Harry said as he leant against the bar at Kingsley s house. Harry had popped in after making the right enquires to the certain Muggle Relations officers he had to contact over the Christmas holidays. His work had him already making several new contacts, and it took a bit of convincing to persuade them on his high security level to obtain certain information. Finding that his youthful appearance did nothing but hinder him, he took on the uniform of the Unspeakables who worked in the Department of Mysteries, wearing a blood red scarf around his face and a black hood over his brow wherever he went. Flashing his security level parchment was no longer met with weird expressions and unwanted questions. Plus, the anonymity suited his purposes well.

Oh? And who is it you will like to have drafted into the team? Kingsley asked, pouring Harry another drink. Harry took it up, and swirled it in his glass. He smiled over the edge of the slightly smoking liquid. I want the Summoner- Draco Malfoy.

***************

Chapter 14: Another Day At the Office [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

**Chapter 14: Another Day at the Office**

Harry sat alone in Sirius old study, the candlelight flickering over his tired face. He was busy doing his seemingly never-ending research, his fatigued eyes staring hard at the book in front of him. Sleep avoided him these days, ever since the incident at the Lionheart Order of Sorcery. Every time he shut his eyes, images of his previous classmate and squad leader Ryan Mucliber, swam before him, and most of those dreams ended with his body sinking slowly, inevitably into the earth. The horrible thing was, every time he saw him die, he would get up with a stupid grin on his face, the back of his eyes burning fiercely with the hidden power of Solidus charm. The same went for Karkaroff that feeling of triumph, that once again the wicked men had opposed him, and once again he had succeeded in ridding the world of another piece of filth. Henceforth, he only went to sleep after using an Insomnia combating potion that allowed him to have a dreamless night s rest. However, this potion could not stop the constant fatigue and mental strain that kept hounding him during the day. With a few days to kill, he kept himself busy by learning as much new spells as possible. Having finished going through a few of the spell books, he began reading up on some of the personal diaries and manuscripts of the Black s infamous family history. It was just as his godfather had said- utterly depressing and morbid- the tales of wickedness that the past inhabitants of this house had done. The fire that crackled warmly in the hearth suddenly blazed alive, the amber and red flames turning green. Harry frowned, only the Order and one other who knew of his home residence. Expecting Dumbledore to be the one contacting him, his eyes narrowed as Jeremy Kingsley s head floated in the fire. Potter! We got a slight situation, he said, seeing Harry seated amongst the semi-rolled up scrolls and books piled up on the desk in the corner. Harry got up quickly, and kneeled on one knee in front of the hearth. What? What has happened? Harry asked anxiously.

It s not that something has happened , it s more like a change in plans, Kingsley explained. Madame Diggory has requested the services of you and your division. Dumbledore and Remus Lupin have left word a couple days ago that they would not be able to escort the Hogwart s Express at the beginning of the new term, and has asked for a full contingent of Aurors to go in their stead. However, Sherry knows that her regular Auror squadron may not be sufficient- well, considering what you did to them a year ago I don t particularly blame her- and has asked for my Elite to handle it. Don t you think sending a tactical team to do escort duty a bit, ermuch? Harry questioned. He could already picture DeFontaine cursing fluently at the mere thought of it. You have a point, but I think it s still a pretty good idea, this could be a good chance to assess how you guys work as a team- as well show the public at large that our new Minister of Magic is focusing her main priority as keeping the children safe. And weren t you telling me about the Malfoy wizard, didn t you say he s still at Hogwarts recuperating? Might as well kill two birds with one stone, you can bring him back to London for his briefing, and he also needs to register with the Ministry payroll department as well Kingsley broke off, is eyes narrowing on Harry. I was there at your hearing, I know what he s capable of. I m trusting you on this Potter- if he s half as bad as his father, he can t be trusted, Kingsley warned. Don t worry. We have a certain understanding, Kingsley contemplated for a second. Harry reassured him.

I trust you, Potter. Have your men at King s Cross at nine sharp- time to earn our pay. I ll tell the regulars* to expect you fourDon t bother, the four of us will be enough, Harry said simply. Instead, tell them to investigate the recent break in at Plexor s Potions Inc. I heard large amounts of Veritaserum were stolen? I think that may be a lead into this Briddings character we ve heard about. He might be the link to a crime ring that has been forcing some wizards to give them their Gringott s account numbers Harry explained, already planning tomorrow s escort mission. Kingsley looked at him strangely, and then broke into a small smile. I got to hand it to you, Harry. Your confidence is amazing. You sure left an impression on the others the other day, Kingsley commented. I ve actually heard that DeFontaine and Warshire went to the dueling range and had a go at each other, practicing and sharpening up on their skills. No one has ever taken them before, and without a wand to bootYeah? Well- er thanks, I think, Harry said offhandedly. Speaking about them, I was going through their profiles again after meeting them- why is it that Rebecca s age is marked unknown and family none ? Rodulphus Lestrange is on the top tier; a rank S criminal on our fugitive list; she definitely has a brother aliveWell, her age- it s off record as my favour to her, Kingsley laughed. She didn t want the new commander, namely you, to think less of her skills because of her age. She s quite the prodigy, never you mind, but still she doesn t want the whole world to know she s only twenty four, going on twenty-five. And concerning Rodulphus Lestrange- don t mention

that name in front of her. She wants to nothing more than to kill him. There was a silent pause. Oh- Harry soaked in that piece of information. he blurted out. She s only twenty-four?

Tomorrow, then, nine a.m. Kingsley dodged his question, and swiftly ended the conversation. Full dress, Potter- tell your men the same. You guys are the Elite, keep that in the back of your mind always. And with that, Kingsley disappeared from the fires. Yeah, as if I m going to forget he mumbled as he picked up the box of Floo powder and threw some in the flames. Warshire residence, 37 Periwinkle Avenue, Leeds! (*regulars- normal Aurors) ******************** Ron, now remember what we discussed! Molly Weasley had just kissed her last son on his cheek. Ron had to bend slightly as she tiptoed to reach. Goodbye my son, I am so proud of you, she said softly, fixing his collar affectionately. Bye mum, Ron answered somberly, giving her one last hug. His father came up to him next, and gave his son a manly handshake. Dad, thanks, Ron said sincerely. Anytime, son, Arthur Weasley looked up at his Ron, his height a couple inches over six feet. Never sell yourself short. Remember that. I will, Ron replied, releasing his father s hand. He followed the others unto the train, his single suitcase levitating behind him. With a flick of his wand, it packed itself neatly into the overhead compartment. This would be his last trip to Hogwarts on the train as a student. He felt almost nostalgic, remembering his first time on it, nervously asking a dark haired boy if he could sit with him in the only relatively empty compartment available. Soon afterwards a bushy haired girl asked them if they had seen a stray toad. He smiled at the memory: that was the beginning of a camaraderie that was already stuff of legend. He thought it would last forever. How could he have been so wrong? ******************* DeFontaine- is that the last of them? Harry asked quietly. It took Sol a lot of effort not to jump. He muttered his reply, taking another puff on his cigar and speaking out the side of his mouth. Yeah-the tall red haired guy just boarded. He made sure he was absolutely the last one. I m assuming he s the head boy, and Gryffindor by the looks of it. What about the train staff- you checked em out? said Sol. The fact that Harry had snuck up behind him disturbed him a bit, but nothing that Potter did surprised him anymore. He was kind of getting used to the

surprises. Yeah- the new driver is clean, as well as the snacks woman. Warshire told me he checked the train; everything seems to be all clear. All right- you and Lestrange will be inside, Warshire would take point on his broomstickI will be on top, just in case. We ll rotate posts every so often- let s go, Harry nodded at the three adults who stood apart from all the other parents wishing their children a safe trip, some waving at the bright faces of their young ones. You heard the man, DeFontaine said, and he and Rebecca boarded. Warshire disappeared into the crowd, and was gone. Harry took a deep breath. He considered using an Occlumency spell, but hiding was not one of his strong points. Hermione was much better than he was, and it will be futile to even try and stay incognito. As the train slowly took off, Harry walked over to the edge of the platform and jumped on the last carriage, climbing up the service ladder. Just as he predicted, as soon as he was in range Hermione had detected him. ******************* Creevy- you and Pollock will man the first year carriages, Mariana- will you please put that down? Hermione ordered, her prefect s roster parchment in her hands. Worthington, don t do that, you re a prefect now, please refrain from- she gasped, suddenly distracted- Harry! Ron eyed her. What? he hissed. Just then the door opened on their prefect's meeting. One large man accompanied by a woman waltzed in. Don t mind us, carry on, carry on, DeFontaine smiled, his cigar in the corner of his mouth. Ginny looked absolutely smitten. Luna simply stared, but did not react. Hermione bristled; as the daughter of a dentist, she hated smoking in any form or manner. Just passing through, he said lightly, and he and the woman walked up the crowded corridor. Hermione, however, was not pleased, not one bit. Who are you? she asked, standing directly in their path. They both wore deep blue uniforms, their outfits accented by black trimmings. A large cloak draped over their shoulders and was held together by a gold ring in the front. Sol s hood was back, the scarf he wore was jet black, and thrown lazily once around his neck and disappeared underneath his cloak. The woman however, was a different matter entirely. Half of her face was hidden beneath her blood red scarf, and her hood prevented anybody who wasn t directly in front of her to look into those startling violet eyes. Ain t none o your concern little lady, we re just doing our job, Sol smiled charmingly, his voice rumbling with his deep foreign accent. There was a bit of a titter amongst the girls, all excepting one. Hermione scowled. Well it s my job to know what s going on in this train, these children have been left in my care by none other that Professor Dumbledore- well seeing as there is no Auror escort this time. Are you two new professors? she challenged.

Hermione! Ginny stage whispered, trying to shut her up. Hermione ignored her. DeFontaine scowled. Well see here little miss lady, I don t have to answer to you- or- anyone here for that matterPardon his rudeness, Lestrange cut him off, pulling back her hood and removing her scarf. We are members of the S.T.A.R. division, and will be your security escort to Hogwarts. There is no reason to worry, she said reassuringly. Now that she had spoken, it was the guys turn to do a double take. Her shiny black hair was pulled tight into a bun, accentuating her striking features. Ron s jaw actually dropped a few centimeters. Her eyes were fierce, and her face was unadorned with any make up whatsoever, but she was definitely sexy. Hermione shifted her attention towards her. Ah- someone with a bit of intellect and manners! I m sorry, I m Hermione Granger, Head girl of Hogwarts- and you are? Hermione asked, offering her hand. Rebecca just smiled, but shook her head, not taking it. I m sorry miss Granger, but protect you. So this is the This is Potter s girlfriend? tension in the air. Hermione we re not here to make friends. We re here to young woman Tonks has been telling me about. The two women sized up each other, a sudden broke the silence.

S.T.A.R. division you say? How many of you are on the train? Hermione asked, her voice strangely neutral. Then it had to be! He was on this train! There are four of us. That s all?! Pansy Parkinson laughed. You ve got to be joking!

Don t push it, missy, Sol warned. At that, Pansy immediately quieted down. Hermione almost forgot that he was there, her concentration solely on the woman a few inches taller than her. Is Harry Potter on your team? Hermione blurted out without realizing what she said. Ron fidgeted uncomfortably, but listened closely for their response. Both stiffened, and Sol looked at her strangely. That s none of your business, he? he answered automatically. Hermione countered. Where is

Don t deny it, I can sense him nearby,

For crying out loud- if you knew why askwas cut off.

Sol argued, but once again

He s on top. And there is one other flying ahead of the train, Rebecca responded. Seeing that Sol and Granger were almost ready to physical butt heads, she decided on cutting it out at the bud. Excuse us, we have some work to do, Rebecca said stonily, and she and DeFontaine continued with their head count in the next carriage. Hermione watched them leave, now irritated. She looked up at the ceiling in speculation. He was on top the train? ******************* A few hours into the journey, Harry was still on top of the train, lost in

his thoughts. Using the Densify weight alteration spell, he was pacing slowly up and down the train. What was he going to say to her when he went down? Sorry I almost got you killed again? or maybe, HI! How was your Christmas? Sorry I couldn t come when you were sick, I have been busy with work... Nah- maybe he should just walk up to her and say: Oh, about Ron, I m jealous of his perfect life, so I m sorry I insulted him and I just wanted you to know that I killed a couple more people on our last date and wish we could do it again sometime He paced up and down against the buffeting winds, his mind in turmoil. If things were different, he would have been on this train, heading off to school for the last time just like all the others. If things were different, he wouldn t even be wearing these robes, or wouldn t have this heavy cloak on his back. If things were different, he d be playing Quidditch alongside his best mates and laughing about how Malfoy could never come close to beating him. If things were different, he could be inside that train right now, sneaking in a quick snogging session with his girlfriend. If only things were diffCOMMANDER! A voice shouted through the roaring wind. Harry snapped out of it, and looked at Warshire. What is it? he shouted at the broomstick rider flying next to him. Warshire s robes were nearly drenched and spotted with large flakes of snow. Some miles ahead- there s something strange. There s an intense snow-storm a bit down, and one person is waiting, just standing in the middle of the tracks- didn t see me though. It s completely covered with ice on the curve right after the bridge. At this speed, this train is going straight off that cliff! We should tell the others, all fifteen years in this gig and I ain t seen anything of the sort- blasted freezing I am. Harry peered at the sky. It was a beautiful clear afternoon, except for that strange patch of gray lurking a ways down. He looked through his omnoculars, zooming in on the intense clouds that seemed to hover directly over the tracks. Take this- Harry ordered, handing him the omnoculars. I m going to tell the driver stop this train, then we re going to investigate what s going on. It may take some time to bring this to a stop, so give me a warning if there s any change- Harry raced to the edge of the last carriage and jumped down on the service entry with a loud BANG, his tripled weight making it echo loudly inside the compartment. Using the counter-charm to remove the spell, he opened the door and walked in. With purpose he began to stride down the carriage cars one after the other, ignoring the astounded looks of the students calling his name. Harry? Luna called him.

Hey! Potter! Is that you??! before they could call him twice, he was already out the door and making his way forward. Told you so didn t I? Dennis Creevey told his new girlfriend from

Hufflepuff, Amy Fairweather. That s him- he s Harry Potter. Remember I told you I thought I spotted him at the station? Yeahshe replied hesitantly.

Check it out- those aren t ordinary robes- he s with the other two here. They re the fucking elite! Dennis roared in vociferous triumph, his mad cackle making everyone else look at him as if he were completely insane. MUHAHAHAHAH! Okay Dennis, calm down, He s super cool! Amy said, her pinks red with embarrassment.

Dennis laughed evilly.

Whatever you say, Dennis, whatever you say, she said. One thing was strange though, why was everyone looking out the compartments down the aisle? Was he really that big of a deal? ************* Harry paced down the main corridor, looking for his two other teammates. Sol and Rebecca met him at the second compartment down from the conductor s, their faces dead serious. Harry didn t even need to ask. We ve seen it- there s something strange going on with the weather up ahead. We got to stop the train, DeFontaine said. Harry nodded. So what s the problem? Why are we still moving? he demanded.

There is no longer a train driver. He disappeared. And to prevent hijacking, the controls are charmed so that only he can control the brakes, Rebecca said directly. Who s brilliant idea was that? Diggory s, Sol cursed again. Harry said irritably.

Should ve known, Harry said. Just then he felt someone s eyes on him. He turned, and there she was, standing still at the entrance to the carriage, staring at him. Hermione, he said, not knowing what to do. This was awkward to say the least. He fidgeted a bit, his mind racing through all the things he could say. Harry? What s going on? Why are you dressed like that? Oh- she paused. You re in the S.T.A.R division? When did this happen? she asked. I ll explain everything in a while. Right now I have to stop this train, Harry said simply, and brushed past her. Tell everyone to secure themselves, er- hold onto something. Rebecca just nodded automatically, but when no one was looking she mouthed to Sol: 'Stop the train??' Sol shrugged, and followed him compartment. Hermione went over to the P.A. system in the and flicked her wand at it. The lights blinked on and she handset. Not too sure what was really going on, she spoke strong voice. out the first carriage took the in a clear,

Everyone, p-please take your seats, and secure your belongings, she announced. Looking through the open door, she could see that no one was taking her seriously, students were still throwing things at each other, and a Slytherin boy just chased down a shrieking girl with two antlers coming out of her head. This is not a drill, I repeat, this is not a drill! Please stay calm. We are not in danger, I repeatAt the word danger everyone on the train froze- knowing all too well what happened last year. The antlers girl looked back up at her, petrified to the spot. The Slytherin boy miscalculated his next step and tripped on his robes, falling flat on his face. Numerous heads leaned out in the corridor, uneasy expressions eyeing her warily. Hermione gulped. Er- hi The Aurors have everything under control, it s going to be okay! she tried to placate them. That definitely did not help matters. Pandemonium ensued before Ron grabbed the handset. JUST SHUT UP AND SIT DOWN! he roared into the mouthpiece. The kids immediately went back to their seats. Er, thank you. Um, Enjoy the rest of the trip she added lamely. Ron dashed past her up the aisle, and went to the foremost compartment to look out in front. He came back a moment later, his battle face on. I just saw him climb back on top of the train- Now he s zoomed ahead on a broomstick. What s going on, Hermione? There s a funny spot of weather in the distance, there wasn t anything about isolated snowstorms in the Prophet today was there? Not that I know of- Harry said something about stopping the train . She ran back up to the front carriage, and look out the window. Yeah- there he was flying on a broomstick, almost a speck against the gray backdrop. The weather was indeed acting strangely. Suddenly she felt a chill drafting through the windows, even though only a few minutes back the day was quite pleasant. She could barely see him land on the bridge further down, the same bridge that Dumbledore had fought Malfoy on. What was this sensation, was it dj vu? Warshire, what s the situation? DeFontaine shouted out the window. Warshire was stooping low on top of the train, his clothes almost frozen solid. Potter s gone down there- said he had to stop the train! down. We re to stay here and protect the kids! he shouted back

Fuck! He can t stop this train by himself! Who does he think he is, Superman? Sol screamed back Those were his orders! Warshire shouted back, his face bitten by the stinging snow. Sol and Rebecca exchanged looks, but did not argue. They raced back up front to see what was happening. ********************

Harry planted his feet firmly on the icy rails of the train tracks. The cold was gnawing at him- this was no ordinary snowstorm. There was definitely magic behind this, and the person controlling it was nearby, somewhere inside the heart of this phenomenon. The train was still a few hundred metres in the distance, the white steam condensing nearly as soon as it escaped, moisture freezing on the front face of the engine. He was really wondering if he could pull this off. Animation, Locomotion and controlling objects were Dumbledore s forte; he could have done this quite easily. However, his specialty was in shields, offensive spells and dueling. Harry took a deep breath, now realizing how long the train actually was. Hell, it was nearing sixteen carriages! Could he actually do this? Inching his right foot forward, he drew his wand, clenching his other fist slightly above and behind his head, shifting his stance into the Apollo Dueling position. Using a channeling technique, he deliberately summoned his magic potential to the tip of his wand. Protego maximus, Immobilus exertimus..protego maximus.. Immobilus exertimus . He drew his breath and released it in a shout, whipping his wand forwardArresto momentum! Hermione and the others lurched forward, the train slowing down dramatically. The reduction in speed was short lived though; the spell did not catch fully. It kept moving, the momentum pushing it inevitably along. Rebecca s eyes opened wide. At this distance, he had enough power to actually do that?! she said, completely astonished. Sol said nothing, but stared hard out the window. Hermione focused on the tiny object in the distance. She had to tell him it wasn t working! But he was so far . Taking out her wand, she pointed it in his general direction. Leglimens! Harry was watching the train closely, his eyes watering through the blistering cold. Was it slowing down? No . Harry! Can you hear me? It s not stopping! Try it again! The voice blared in his head so loudly he flinched. It was uncanny how she could directly talk to him like that. With Snape it was more rushed images than anything else. With Hermione, he could actually picture her telling him the words. Hmm. Wasn t stopping? Well he ll just have to try harder, won t he? Protego maximus, Immobilus exertimus..protego maximus.. Immobilus exertimus! Once again magic surged up from his chest, racing up his arm and glowed brightly at the top of his wand. With a mighty yell, he screamed as he cracked his wand like a whip- ARRESTO MOMENTUM! This time, the train visibly bucked, and Hermione and the others fell over, grabbing onto something to stop falling flat on their face. There

were audible screams as students tumbled into each other and a horrible screeching noise came from below as the wheels grinded against the now slick tracks. Harry saw in the distance sparks flying from the rails, but the train wasn t slowing down fast enough. Hermione, tell everyone that it s going to get rough! What the? So what the hell does he call this? she spoke out aloud. Ron and Sol watched her as if she had gone mad. Spinning about, she grabbed the handset for the P.A. system once more. Everyone! Hold on as TIGHT as you can! Harry is trying to help us out! Don t worry! There seemed to be a murmur traveling down the train as the students soaked in that piece of information. Suddenly, an almost frozen Steven Warshire burst into the front compartment. What the fuck is he doing? Is he trying to kill me? If I didn t use that sticking spell I would have flown straight off! Sol, Becky, we got trouble. There s someone controlling that Snow storm, we may need to back him up if there s troubleARRESTO MOMENTUM!! came another shout.

SHIT! Sol cursed. The train lurched again, once again throwing them off balance. They all held on tightly to something sturdy, but the train skidded dangerously along the tracks, the icy rails threatening to derail them completely. Got a bit of a wollop, the lad has, eh Becky? unnecessarily. Call me that again, Warshire, and I llIf he keeps this up, we ll run over him, Ron muttered seriously as he balanced himself. Hermione watched him warily. He said that as if that was nothing important. Sol reached up and grabbed the front of Warshire s robes, his temper building. What the fuck do you mean controlling the Snow storm ? I have never heard of a spell like that! Sol argued, cursing once again in frustration. Yeah? Well me neither. But I saw her, she s right here on the omnoculars: take a look he offered it to Sol. Rebecca grabbed it first and put it to her eyes. What on earth? she questioned what she was seeing right before her eyes. Sol reached to grab it from her, and put it to his face. He was running back the recording a few minutes, trying to locate the person in the storm. There was another distinctive shout- and all of them braced for the impact, but the sudden skidding and lurching was a bit late in coming. After what seemed like nothing was going to happen, there was an deafening BANG! The front section jumped off the rails, this new attempt ten times stronger than before. The entire train rocked violently, the lights flickering off and on numerous times, and students once again screamed in fear. All five of them yelled as they bounced around the control carriage then tumbled haphazardly to the floor. After a few seconds of recuperating Warshire said

from painful whiplash, the party in the front carriage realized that they were indeed coming to a final halt. Warshire found himself on top of Rebecca Lestrange, a stupid grin on his face. He looked lovingly into her deep purple eyes. What I wouldn t give him off. he began, a wicked smile on his face. She shoved

There are kids about! Plus you are married! Where s your professionalism? she snarled between gritted teeth. Sol ignored them, and was the first to look outside. Guys, would you look at that- Sol breathed, his breath caught. Hermione shot up and looked outside. The whole engine was derailed, the nose of the Hogwarts express pointing at nearly a forty-five degree angle. There was something moving, a massive shadow was playing on the side of the train. Hermione was the first to scream. A huge snake, bigger than any she has ever seen, was lodged in front of the train, the top of its head braced against the steam engine. Its powerful body was zigzagging between the uprights of the bridge support, wedging itself firmly in place. Harry s wand was smoking, his entire body almost covered in snow. She peered at Harry, there was a pulsing light in his eyes, visible even though he was still fifty metres away. Hermione wanted to race outside, but Ron held her back. Are you crazy? Do you see the size of that snake?! He raced alongside the huge snake, jumping on top of his patterned body to clear where he could not pass. After clambering up the winding six-foot-high torso a couple of times, he came up at the front of the train where Shalingini s nose was almost touching the tracks. The large ebony eyes were fierce in their determination, and dark red blood oozed down from the top of his head. Are you all right, Shalingini? Harry asked the huge beast, patting his nose. Sorry about that, he apologized. [ No apologies are necessary, young Harry. It is but a mere scratch. I am happy to have helped save lives, instead of take them away. But for now, I must rest. I will be waiting for when next you need my assistance, noble master. Fare thee well. ] And with that, the huge snake set back down the engine gently unto the tracks. Harry grimaced at the large wound on the top of Shalingini s head, but the snake merely winked at him. Harry bowed his head in respect, and the snake slithered off the bridge, diving into the water far below with a tremendous splash. The Snake God disappeared under the waters, and was gone. The blood slowly vanished, and Harry inspected the train. There was a huge dent in the center of the engine; but fortunately, it was only superficial damage. Without further ado he boarded the train, his cloak covered with snow. There was a loud roar and a round of applause at his efforts, but Harry ignored it, and went directly to the front. We re dealing with an unknown Elemental. It s very likely she s a Torrentia Magi. DeFontaine, Warshire, you are to begin producing as many Portkeys as you can. You have the head count? he nodded. Excellent, work

out the maths and start making them, about twelve per portkey should do it. Any sign of trouble, you are to take them to safety, starting with the youngest students as priority then go up. Lestrange, come with me. Your expertise is in Assassination? Here's the plan: circle from the backusing whatever means necessary. Here- he offered her his Cloak of the Order of the Phoenix. It ll help keep you warm. Do not attack until I finish negotiate with her, or give the signal. What about you? she asked, donning it around her already heavy cloak. The other two were still staring at him, quite dumbstruck by that Snake. Don t worry about me, I ve endured worse. Harry gave the two men an irritated look. Is there anything else? he snapped. Get to it. Aye, Commander, and they hustled back down the train. Ron s eyes grew huge. Was he actually ordering them around? Harry jumped out the closest window, immediately followed by Rebecca Lestrange. She incanted a spell under her breath, then rapped the wand on top of her head. In a matter of seconds, she had camouflaged completely into her surroundings using the Disillusionment hex. Harry trotted off into the fierce snow, his wand shining brightly with his Lumos spell. Ron watched him run off, silently soaking it all in. The train, the snake, those Auror guys, everything. What was he really trying to prove? All that training he had done over the holidays- useless. He glanced at the wand in his hand. Did it make any sense? Will he ever get as strong as him? *************** Harry s footsteps crunched against the hard packed snow under his feet. Just a little more, and he should be able to see the person. His cheeks stung against the biting hailstones raining down on him. This was one hell of a magical spell. Who could be conjuring this? You like it, don t you? a female voice called from in front of him. Harry squinted, and made out the form of a woman in the middle of the train tracks. Who are you? he screamed, his body slowly going numb. she said

I am one of the chosen four. You will call me Lady Andromeda, haughtily.

What are you doing here, Andromeda? Harry bellowed against the howling wind. What do you want with that train? We want the Fire Summoner back- and, she said sweetly.

The Fire-? He s not on that train, why in hell did you set this trap? Do you know how many lives you could have taken? Harry asked her, using his wand to see through the whirling snow. We know he s not on the train, but our initial plan was already set in motion. There was a secondary objective here, I was also ordered to test your ability Harry, isn t that obvious? she laughed at him.

Who ordered you? Was it Logan Ash?

Harry asked, even though he could take a good guess.

My my, on our toes aren t we? Lady Andromeda asked. Why did you put yourself in peril for the train? Why didn t you fight me head on? You knew I was here. Face me like a true man. I solemnly vowed to protect everyone on that train. They come first, Harry declared. In this storm, Rebecca would have no clue if he gave her a signal or not. This plan wasn t going as well as he thought it would. He would have to face her alone. Give yourself up, you have failed. Do not make me hurt you. Hurt me? she giggled. Quite the hero, aren t we? Jacqueline laughed. Very well, you can die a hero- With another giggle she clapped her hands once and shouted an incantation. Torrentius Llumos Maximus! There was a blinding flash from the clouds above and Harry had barely enough time to throw up a shield spell. The next instant he was flat on his back- he felt as if his whole body had been run through with a tremendous source of electricity. He screamed uncontrollably, his body jumping and shaking like a fish out of water. For a brief moment, he thought he had died and came back to life, so intense was the moment in time. That was the most powerful spell he has ever succumbed to. His vision had gone completely black, and his eardrums felt as if they had burst. With his last conscious thought, he knew that this time he had more than his met match. Back in the train Ron and Hermione were peering into the thick snow blanketing everything in sight. There was a flash of lightning, and Hermione bolted straight, almost jumping out of her robes. Harry! Hermione gasped. Ron- he s in there! And he s hurt! Ron looked skeptically at that icy cold hell. He weighed his options. Should he do the smart thing and stay here, and wait for the evacuation, or do something brave and stupid like actually head in there He took one look at Hermione s face and knew that there never really was any choice to begin with. Come on, let s go, he said, and both of them opened the window and jumped down into the blizzard. ****************

Chapter 15: Confessions [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

**CHAPTER 15: Confessions**

Rebecca Lestrange was gasping on all fours, her vision a red haze of

colour. She gritted her teeth through the pain, desperately trying to nullify the effects of that incredible spell. Her limbs shook uncontrollably, and no matter what she did, she couldn't consciously move her hand towards her fallen wand. It was a surprise she could fight it so long, feeling her whole body shutting down with each passing heartbeat. Desperately fighting unconsciousness in the numbing cold, it was nigh impossible to counter act the paralysis of that near miss Lightning strike. Her elbows gave way, and her head fell face down into the freezing snow. Rebecca couldn't really comprehend this sensation. She was about to die; she knew it. Her senses weren t responding as they should, soon she would black out; then ultimately freeze to death. There was one good thing about all of this though. Harry had taken the hit directly. Which meant; at least this time, she would die alongside her Commander on the battlefield. Having already been denied the honour once, if this really was her fate, she would have it no other way. With a slight smile on her lips, she succumbed to the blissful dark. ....So much for their debut mission as the spanking new S.T.A.R. Elite .

Ron and Hermione were huddled together, not even straying an arm s length away. The snow was so think, if they lost contact for even a second; it was a high possibility that they would be separated. Hermione was at the moment transfiguring their handkerchiefs into huge bearskin coats to wear while they trudged knee deep in snow. After a few minutes of walking, Hermione suddenly grabbed Ron s arm. Ron! she whispered urgently. Her eyes drifted halfway closed. I can sense them! Harry s in a bad way, but he s alive- there s a very powerful aura around the other person, she squinted her eyes. It s almost blinding white- But I can see her! Her? Ron gulped. A chick is doing this?

Yeah, she doesn t know we re here though- maybe we can catch her by surprise! I won t be able to split my attention between doing this and using my wand- her fingers groped down his side and grabbed his hand. You ll need to do it! We may only have on shot at this. Listen carefully, what s your most powerful spell? she asked him, muttering incantations under her breath. Ron felt a slow warmth creeping up where she touched, and gradually he could actually feel Hermione channeling her magic through him. Er I know the second tier Reductor curse, I ll say that is my strongest spell! he whispered, feeling quite funny as this strange magic coursed through him. I will give you the target, all you got to do is aim, she said softly, her free hand held out in front of them, her fingers dancing in the cold wind. Aim at what? I can t see a damn thing! Ron said, bringing his wand to bear. Ron was about to question her again when suddenly his vision penetrated the icy gloom. There, in his minds eye, he could see both of them, Harry on the ground, and a young woman walking up to him.

Hermione ? this?

he breathed.

What is this you re doing? How am I seeing

Just do it Ronald! Quickly! Hermione said, her breathing becoming more laboured by the second. This ..is hard to ..k-keep up! Ron nodded, and took aim. It was really far, could he hit her at this distance? His arm technique had to be perfect, whipping his wand forward a bit to high or a bit too low will miss her by a good margin, plus it will give away their position. Ron instinctively knew he couldn t second-guess himself now, so he took a deep breath and drew back his wand. Feeling the magic race up from his chest and coil up inside of his arm, he let loose his spell. REDUCTO MAXIMA! he screamed, snapping his arm forward. In his minds eye, he could see a flash of energy coursing through the magic-laden snowfall and hailstones, piercing like an arrow through the thick downpour. A heartbeat later, he saw his curse connect, and the figure toppled over, the intensity of her magic aura halving almost immediately. He laughed in triumph. We did it!! he hugged Hermione reflexively, only to realize that she was very unsteady on her feet. Hermione!? he said, shaking her slightly. She tried to focus, her eyes zeroing on his. come on- Enervate! he said, pointing his wand at her. Her eyes brightened, and she caught herself. Taking a moment to recognize her surroundings, she turned vaguely in Harry s direction. Come on! she ordered, taking his hand and running into the snow.

Hermione- I got her, she s gotta be knocked out if not all broken up inside! That was the second tier Reductor curse! Don t panic! he tried to explain. That spell was largely diminished by going through this storm, she responded, Plus, it s not over yet, why is it still snowing? We ve got to get him out! Ron nodded, and ignited his wand with his Lumos spell. Hand in hand, they sloshed through the snow as they trekked deeper into the heart of the blizzard ****************** Harry was coming to, his eyes opening slowly as the icy cold penetrated into his skin. For a moment, it puzzled him that he was actually alive. There was a wheezing sound near his feet, someone was nearby, and they were also stirring awake. He had to make sure that he was first- or else his little life extension could be cut short before he had a chance to enjoy it. The problem was, he was too frozen to even move. Concentrate Potter. We did this before. Don't fucking whine- JUST DO IT! With a newfound determination, he forced a spark of fire to burn behind his eyes. Pushing his magic to the limit, he began to draw upon the sun s energy to ignite his own Infernus summoning power. Slowly, but surely, his eyes came alive, flames flaring out the sides. His face immediately warmed

up, and his mouth muscles were once again able to move. With another quick incantation, his hands ignited, then his arms, the flames now running up his back and shoulders, then completely covering his body. He lay there, his body encased in fire as he felt life-giving warmth return. All this while Lady Andromeda was also recovering from the watered down Reductor curse, slowly getting to her feet. Both adversaries rose at the same time, and now that she was near, he could vaguely recognize her face. She was there in Hogwarts during his fourth year- one of the Beauxbatons hopefuls to enter the Tri-Wizard tournament. Harry distinctively remembered her crying when she wasn t picked. You picked the wrong person to start a fight with, Harry growled. Right now, he was quite angry about that Lightning strike. If it weren t for his shield, he would have been toasted. He wasn't taking any more chances with her. Harry closed his eyes briefly, and when they reopened, they were pulsing brightly. His hair came alive, and fortified strength flooded back into him. Andromeda suddenly felt something strange in the air, a heavy, foreboding presence, and her entire body became charged with this ominous magic. The pores on her arms raised noticeably and her eyes widened: What in the world? She straightened reflexively, only for her abdominal muscles to scream in protest. They were so badly damaged, it felt as if each and every tendon was strained to the brink of tearing apart. You- are you- you re a summoner as well? she gasped, wrapping her arms around her badly damaged midsection. She had never felt pain associated with this degree of physical damage before. Clutching her stomach, she wavered on her feet, right on the verge of tears. She couldn't even concentrate to summon a spell. After all of the months of experimenting, all the torturous weeks in the Chamber of Iralem she had endured to achieve this power- was for nought. Here she was, a stupid rookie, beaten on her first mission for Lord Ash. Why did her life take such a horrible turn? Trying her best to save face, she wobbled on her feet- the harsh reality of her situation sinking in. In hindsight, did she honestly believe that she could kill the man who defeated He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named? Her Ultimate killing spell was created at the speed of light! Logan told her it was unblockable, and a far more efficient killing spell than the Avada Kedavra! How could he have survived that attack? Was he immortal? No, it couldn't be- the person she confronted ten minutes ago was the same boy from the quidditch matches. However, this being that stood before her was something completely different. Who, or what- are you? Tell me! Silence. With a quick forward movement, Harry sunk his left fist deep into her ruptured stomach. With a painful cry she crumpled, and fell against him. Harry avoided her and easily stepped out of the way as Andromeda dropped face first into the melting snow. Turning her head shakily to the side, her eyes met his eerily glowing ones, and a wave of sheer panic overwhelmed her. She pathetically clawed through the snow, trying to put

as much distance as possible between them. Harry strode purposefully after her and with the underside of his boot, he kicked her over unto her back. Mercilessly he placed a the sole of his foot against her throat, squashing any hope of escape. Surveying her petite frame from his high vantage point, he looked down at her haughtily down the length of his noseeffectively claiming his victory. Excellent, young Potter. Yet another Dark wizard conquered... Her angelic face was now twisted in agony, and when she spoke again, blood trickled out the side of her lips Please I..I- I don t want to die... she croaked, looking fearfully up at him. Harry s face seemed to have softened, and a few moments later he relaxed, removing his foot from her neck. What is your real name, girl? Jac-Jacqueline she said hoarsely.

You beg for your life, yet you were willing to slay all these innocents. You are worse scum than the cold-hearted killers. They, at least, rather choose death instead of your pathetic groveling. However, because you are still young, Jacqueline, I will show favour upon you, and let you live. Stupefy . Her eyes went blank for a moment, then soon after passed out cold. The snow gradually stopped, and the thick storm clouds dispersed shortly afterwards. Pointing his wand at the still figure of Rebecca Lestrange who lay motionless a short distance behind him, he brought her body to his feet using the Summoning Charm. Placing her next to Jacqueline, Harry once again pointed his wand and levitated the both of them together. Ron and Hermione were deathly still, watching that little conversation unfold with a trace of genuine fear in their eyes. Harry, Hermione said anxiously. He approached, and gave her a brief one-handed hug. He released her quickly, glancing once in Ron s direction. There was a moment of recognition in his eyes, and Harry gave him the slightest nod of thanks. Come on, we could still make it before supper if we get this train back on schedule, he said light-heartedly. Too light-heartedly in Ron's opinion. Hermione wanted to question him, but Ron once again held her Hermione, give him a second, Ron said softly. Don t talk to him right now, he s in that mood of his . Hermione nodded, and both of them slowly trudged back to the train. They saw Harry hand over the Ice witch to Warshire, who immediately conjured manacles and silenced her just to be sure, while DeFontaine took Rebecca into his arms and darted inside. Harry paused in front of the derailed engine. He stood there for a moment or two, pointed his wand, and amazingly, lifted the entire thing off the tracks. With careful precision, he dropped it with a loud CLANG back unto the rails, making sure that the tracks were once again in line.

back.

Come on, you two, he said nonchalantly. Don t be worried, this is what we are here to do. It's just another day at the office, and with another shaky smile, he entered the train. ****************** Rebecca Lestrange opened her eyes slowly; a fearful Sol DeFontaine and Steven Warshire hovering like two mother hens over her. That was a close one, eh Becky? Warshire smiled. Rebecca felt so beaten up she let that one slide. She took in her surroundings; she was back on the train. And as she blinked once or twice to get her bearings she realized that it was moving steadily once again. Her eyes alighted on the young woman on the other bed, encased in a faintly glowing stasis charm. What happened? What about the commander? Is he alive?! she asked, quickly trying to sit up. As she did so, both legs cramped so painfully she let out a yelp of pain. Both strapping men began to coo over her once again. Lay still, Lestrange, the rejuvenation Potion will take some time to work. Yeah, Potter is okay. It was a fucking good thing he went easy on us- eh, Warshire? Aye, Warshire agreed.

'Went easy'? As far as she remembered, he totally humiliated all of them in front of Kingsley himself. She also distinctly remembered the two men going to the pub and getting plastered that night to forget all about it. She, on the other hand, had a bit of self-searching to do that night. After all the grueling training, all the hard nights of practice- plus the many missions she completed as a specialist for the Department of Mysteries; all of it came crashing down in those few minutes. Was she really that weak? Or was the Potter boy on a completely different level? What do you mean, easy on you? Rebecca asked, still wincing in pain.

When he dragged you and the Elemental witch in and saw all of us still here, he got pretty fucking angry. You should have seen it, Becky- he was livid. He wanted all of us gone from here the moment something went wrong. He didn t care that the girl was defeated or not. He wanted the kids miles away from here the moment he didn t immediately resolve the situation, Where is he now? Rebecca asked. Warshire said.

He s on top, blowing off some steam, Sol answered, pointing at the roof. Remind me not to get on his PMS side ever again, he joked. I m going to talk to him, Rebecca said, and got up.

Hey, it s your funeral. Don t say we didn t warn you, Warshire responded, chomping down on a chocolate frog. He laughed again, and Rebecca left the medical compartment, heading to the access ladder on the

last carriage. ***************** Commander? she called out to him, her hair flying loose in the wind. He did not initially respond. Harry? What is it, Lestrange? he said coolly. she said cheerfully, sitting down Harry said softly, not looking at

I rather you call me Rebecca, cross-legged next to him.

Lestrange is your last name isn t it? her. I hate that name. So? Harry said. long time ago.

I hate being the boy who lived, but I got over that a

Did you? Did you really? What is it you want, agent Lestrange? downwards. Harry spat. Rebecca pointed

Why don t you talk to them? Aren t they your friends? I m working right now. Is your work more important than your friends? Were you not in the middle of a combat situation a couple of hours ago? Do you think I could just go and have some fun and chat merrily when these things just happen out of nowhere? Do you think that this is what I like to do? Brood and stay away from everyone? Harry s temper was on the rise. You could have fooled me. Isn t that exactly what you are doing? Yeah, I guess I am aren t I? Well maybe I do like to do this! That s my business! But that doesn t answer what it is you want from me, he snarled. I wanted to check on you. Look- he held out his hands and inspected his arms and the back of his knuckles. Not a scratch. I m fine. Come off it, Potter. You were struck by lightning. You should be dead. I nearly died. And I wasn t anywhere close to it. That wasn t real lightning. That was magic-created lightning. There s a difference. You love being difficult don t you? There s someone down there who would love to spend a moment with you, and you re just being stubborn, Rebecca said evenly. I take it you ve met Hermione Harry sighed. How is she taking all of

this? I m not sure. Why don t you ask her yourself? I m scared to see the look in her face. I tried to cover it up, but she saw it. Saw what? What happens when I start to fight. What do you mean? Rebecca enquired.

Has it ever occurred to you why I am now your Field commander? Did you ever question Kingsley about it? A soldier is a tool used for war. We don t question orders, Rebecca replied automatically. Spoken like a true puppet," Harry laughed scornfully. "When we head back to London, ask Kingsley to show you why I am your new field commander. Let him explain why all these attacks seem to home in to me. Then come back and ask me what you want to know. Oh spare me with the cryptic speech. Just cut out the bloody riddles and open your damn mouth and speak English. My reputation has multiplied unto itself over the years. Right now, I could go and live in a cave underwater and I ll still have to watch my back. Did you hear what that girl said before she tried to kill me? No Their main target was not the train, neither any of the students on it. Do you know what they wanted? They wanted Malfoy, but as he s not here, they decided to go ahead and test my abilities . Of all the stupid reasons to try and kill a few hundred kids, it was to see if I really had any abilities ! Same thing happened to me in Italy once. Then Karkaroff the other day. And you know what happened to those people? I wiped them off the face of the planet- easily. Do you know how that feels? Well not really, she responded. Being efficient is a bonus in this line of work. But that doesn t explain why you won t talk to Hermione. Harry froze. Did she not hear what he just said? So now you re on her side? Well yeah, it s better than being on yours! Fuck you, then. Oh that s so grown up of you, angst ridden like this. she smirked. You re cute when you re all

You have a strange perception of things for someone who was nearly killed a little while ago Hey, sometimes it happens. We re all okay now aren t we? playfully with her elbow. she nudged him

This time Harry looked at her slowly, his expression incredulous. insane.

You re

It runs in the family she sighed dramatically. They both sat there for a short while, letting the breeze tug at their robes during the comfortable silence. You know, I ve heard that saying all the time, but I never really thought about it. My father had a knack for getting in trouble. Including this uncontrollable mop of hair and some skill at quidditch; it seems that I have taken up that troublemaker trait and multiplied it tenfold. Must just be my dumb luck to also be cursed from the most powerful dark wizard of our time , he said sarcastically, using his fingers to make inverted commas. There was another long, silent pause. So, do you really think I should go down and talk to her? quietly. he asked

Absolutely! And for the first time in a long while, Rebecca Lestrange genuinely smiled. Harry looked at her face, and without even realizing, he smiled back. ****************** Down in the cabins the entire talk was about what had happened with the whole ice queen thing. Stories grew fast and tales scaled mountains with the numerous exaggerations that kept piling up on one another. The back door to the train opened again, and both Harry and Rebecca came inside. Harry came up to Sol and Warshire, and shook each of their hands briefly. Good job guys, forget the little scene earlier. I lost my cool. Already forgotten, come and grab a drink with us after. We re going to the Hogshead for a round, Warshire offered. Had a rough first day huh? We know exactly how you feel. We also had a rough day with our first babysitting mission, Sol added with a smirk. Yeah. Still, you guys kept your heads on through everything, I blew up at the first little thing. I ll check you back on that offer. Later, then, he nodded, then walked off. He could have sworn he heard Sol chuckle under his breath- Facing a storm queen in a blizzard is a little thing for our new cap n! Can t wait to see what he thinks is a big thing . He ignored that last comment as he trudged down the corridor. He walked steadily to the regular compartment he was accustomed to sitting in, and froze outside the doorway, still not wanting to face her. However, he forgot that he couldn't really procrastinate with being indecisive. The moment he came down, it was inevitable she knew he was there. Come in, Harry, you can t hide from us, especially me. Harry had to admit, he was being a coward. Almost grudgingly, he opened the doorway. Hey. Hey, Luna answered. Ron, Ginny and Hermione failed to answer. They were

watching his uniform. Harry, you didn t tell me you were now S.T.A.R. elite. I thought you were still training, Hermione said quizzically. He s not just in it, he s the Commander, temper flared again. Shut up, Ron, he said angrily. Ron said scathingly. Harry s

Don t tell me to shut up, Harry, Ron retorted, his whole body tensing. Ginny shot Harry a nasty look. Luna looked mildly interested, looking over the latest Quibbler. Her eyes returned to the magazine, but she pointed with one hand at something on the back of his robes. You're bleeding, she said airily, her eyes still on the magazine. Ginny gasped as she saw the dark wet streaks across his back . "Shit, oh no, they reopened," he grumbled softly, reaching around to touch the raw whip lashes. He flinched at the contact, but only after a few seconds the pain began to ease. What the? He looked over to Hermione, who now was suddenly looking very much in a daze. Huh? Oh no- the Leglimency spell- she was still doing it! Get out! he shouted mentally and Hermione snapped awake. Touching his back again, he flinched as the pain came back- she had stopped the healing. Hermione... can I have a word with you? Harry knew she was doing it on purpose; she was really stubborn sometimes, even though he was trying his best to look out for her. Hermione bit her lip guiltily. We can talk here, she said hesitantly. Harry raised an eyebrow. With a huff, she looked up at him- she knew he wasn t in a mood to argue. She got up reluctantly but nearly toppled back down the moment she got to her feet. Ginny braced her up, and Hermione shakily followed him out. He led them both into the control room, his hand running though his hair in frustration. Hermione, you ve got to stop this healing spell you do. I don t need it. I heal pretty fine by myself. If I can assist, why shouldn t I? Isn t that what people who love each other do- help one other? Hermione you get very sick when you try this, and you know that. I would have treated them myself. Stop being the tough guy, it hurt a lot and you know it! Harry sighed. That doesn t justify you being sent into a coma! A coma? I was asleep for a few days! That isn t a coma! That s not the point! Don t fight my battles! This is not what I wanted for you- I wanted you away from the danger, not getting into the thick of it! she countered.

Oh please- What about today-would you rather Ron and I have left you to die? she spat. I can take care of myself! Fine then! Fine! They fumed at each other for a few seconds. Harry couldn t believe he was actually arguing with her. He wanted to have a nice relaxed conversation, maybe talk about the holidays, his new job, everything. So much for that. Hermione folded her arms and refused to look at him. Where were you at Christmas??! Hermione screamed suddenly. Harry avoided her hurt expression, rubbing the back of his head guiltily. I- I was busy. Hermione cried. he said stubbornly.

Busy? Busy with what? Work. Don t you lie to me Harry. I m not lying, Harry lied. You re lying. I m an occlumens. I can tell, remember? So? Harry argued. Hermione was the first one to be rational about the whole thing. Harry- this- this bickering, this is not us. What happened after after I passed out that night? well,

Noth- he began, but Hermione gave him a fierce look. You don t want to know, and I don t want to tell you. Yes I do! You won t want to hear this, I m telling you Try meshe dared.

Okay, here it is- I summoned the Grim and scared Karkaroff to death. Happy? Harry spat. Hermione was dumbstruck. She definitely wasn t expecting that. That s why Ron was so so- edgy Christmas morning- that little black puppy Hermione had to really let that soak in. Choosing her words carefully, she began to talk slowly and clearly as if it would make proper sense if spoken that way. Harry, what you re telling my is that you summoned the Omen of death, and made it kill Karkaroff Yes. You re serious, aren t you? Hermione had to ask this once again. No, I m bluffing you Hermione, Harry said sarcastically. He groaned in

frustration.

Do you think I will lie about something like this?

Harry, what you re talking about is using death itself as a weapon. You do realize what it is you re saying right? Hermione asked again, her facial expression changing. Harry looked at her face, and it showed more than words could ever say. It almost ate him up inside, that expression. Hermione was scared of him. It had to be. She never looked at him that way before- just like how Ron had looked after he told him how he killed Karkaroff. I need some air. I ll talk to you later, he said abruptly and left the carriage. Hermione chased after him into the next one but as Harry opened the exiting door he slammed it shut behind him with a flick of his wrist. Hermione tried to open it, but the door was magically locked. Taking out her wand, she pointed it towards the handle. Alohomora! It clicked obediently and she opened it, only to see Harry s legs disappear up the service ladder all the way at the end of the train. Harry sat alone once again on the train, grabbing the roots his hair with both hands. He knew she would ask him about that night. Why couldn't she have just left it alone? Right now his love life was crumbling all about him. She could never ever look at him the same way. He pulled on his hair, trying to force himself to think. What was he going to do? He needed to find a way to make everything all right again. Running his hands through his overlong hair he cursed fluently, unconsciously picking up Sol s bad habit. He should have never listened to Rebecca! Fuckin hell!

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Chapter 16: Shades of Grey [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

**CHAPTER 16: Shades Of Grey** It was late. Where the hell did you disappear to, Lestrange? himself. Macnair grumbled to

He sat there in the small house in Surrey, sipping on coffee and watching out the window. His headsman axe was propped against the wall, the blade glinting in the twilight sunset. He had sharpened it relentlessly the whole day, so much that the magical weapon cut straight through his flint stone, nearly severing his hand in two. Finally giving it up, he put aside his blade, then summoned the kettle of coffee towards him. This feeling disturbed him. He had never come close to cutting himself before. Why was Rodulphus sudden disappearance affecting him so? Without warning the door opened and Rodulphus Lestrange strode in, his

cloak drenched and spotted with snow. Macnair almost jumped, but he recovered swiftly. Finally. Went on a skiing trip? snow on his shoulders. Macnair asked, raising an eyebrow at the

Ooh- I went out for a bit. Had a blast actually, Lestrange ran a hand through his wet hair, shaking his head like a drenched dog. As normally as if he were now coming back from another tedious day at the office, he hung up his Death Eater s cloak and placed his mask on the counter, opening the magic cooler box to take out a Cristal Fire Heineken blend. What? For the whole day? Oh- I think a couple years is good enough for Bella. I need a new wife. I went bride shopping today, and guess who I saw? In fact, guess two people I saw today that I was definitely not expecting to see! Lestrange grinned, cracking open his drink with a pop! Enlighten me. Knowing his weapon well, he hefted it with one hand, twirling it about his wrist as he flung it into the corner. It bounced once on the tip of the handle, flipped over, and secured itself with the blade sunk deep into wooden wall. Nice! Rodulphus commended his skill. Come on- take a guess. I m sure you ll get it on your first shot- Rodulphus eyes glinted merrily. That obsessive look was one Macnair had seen many times before. Potter?! Macnair hissed.

You are correct! Not only Potter, but also dear sister, my lovely Becky, as well Lestrange laughed, slapping his thigh in mirth as he drained his first swig. Without warning, he swung his boot, and kicked up Macnair s axe into the air. Macnair froze as it did a couple somersaults in the small room. He bowled over his chair in his haste to avoid the deadly flipping edge. What the fuck- WATCH IT! he shouted as the huge weapon came arcing down. With almost a lazy air, Rodulphus dug into his robes and pulled out a rosy apple. Sitting down abruptly, he slammed the apple down on the table with a flourish, holding it between his thumb and middle finger. The huge blade arced straight down and cut the apple exactly in two- the handle still quivering as the razor sharp edge lodged into the thick wood. Macnair s eyes bulged in amazement and near horror. This man couldn t be serious Rodulphus bit into one of the halves, absolutely relishing the juiciness of his freshly cut apple. He grinned, and threw the other half to Macnair.

Come, sit, and hear my tale. Have a seat, my dear chap, and prepare to be enlightened of my day. Macnair took his seat warily, and bit into the apple. He had to admit, it was delicious. However, having a conversation with a huge axe bisecting the table was a bit absurd. Now, as I was saying, I decided to go bride shopping today. Thinking the best place would obviously be at Hogwarts, I decided to kidnap the train driver and use some of this- out of nowhere he produced a bottle of Quick n Easy

Polyjuice potion from his sleeve. Ho hum, I put the good man into a little sleepy sleep, transform and then- minding my own business (I was now taking my morning coffee_- when, guess what? Out of the fucking blue none other than Harry Potter himself approaches me. And look at this- he s already in some special Auror division to boot! Rodulphus cackled again, chomping down merrily on his half of an apple. Macnair s eyes grew huge. You re serious?

So we sit down there for about say, fifteen minutes, talking about the new train and he asks me some questions about some trivial nonsense. I sidetracked him by keep asking for his autograph for my daughter, and he eventually got irritated by all the Quidditch talk- Rodulphus laughed again. -The fool. He shakes my hand before I board the train, shouting the last call for Hogwarts, (as I presumed that s all what the conductor s job consists of) there s nothing much to do, really. You mean to tell me you sat and had a conversation with him? Macnair asked incredulously. Shook his hand? Rodulphus just cackled once more. Sure, he offered it, so I took it! Anyhow, a few minutes later my dear sister, you remember her, fine body, gorgeous eyes, banging hips- the works- Macnair cringed at his mate s blatant sexual overtures towards his sister. This man had absolutely no scruples. -Steps in, looking quite the Elite with her red scarf and cloak. Daddy would have been proud. And remember Steve and Sol? Old man Moody s two hit men? They were there as well; apparently they ve grown soft since Moody forcibly retired. Rodulphus snickered at his own little joke. However, I digress. Moving merrily along, I scoped out the young prospects. Quite delectable- this year s crop. Oh- which reminds me- I saw your little mudblood fetish - what was her name? Granger was it? Looking very much the grown up now that you mention it, she and her little squeaky red haired friend. Now, that s where the good part comes in- there s this fine looking bitch, I mean witch- she s fit and ripe for the picking. She has the- what shall I say? The air of royalty about her, the essence of woman, the blossoming fruit of youth, a wand tucked behind her ear, the temperament of an angel and the smile of a horny she devil Macnair laughed. Who is she?

A girl named Luna Lovegood. Even her name has a ring to it- I can see it now, Luna Lestrange fine fitting for a new bride and one to bear me many children . Rodulphus sighed. Well, why isn t she here? I m sure you could have taken herI could, but I forgot to tell you that Ash mentioned something about a new elemental popping up sometime- but alas, when I was on the train I remembered a bit too late that he had a little surprise for Dumbledore that same day. What he did not take into consideration was the fact that instead of Dumbledore - Potter himself was escorting the train. With him around I knew that things were going to get hectic, so I made a wise retreat. As expected, he took matters into his own hands. I tried to tell Logan time and again, but does he listen? The fool. That boy is impossibly hard to kill, sort of like me. Rodulphus leant forward suddenly, his tone dead serious. I believe that s quite a few times I have mentioned his

name in a sitting haven t I? We really need to do something about him. How goes the muggle? The Depression spell is taking a long time. Too much adrenaline from the bombs he s been blowing up I must say. The Dursley boy is not nearly demented enough to approach openly on this matter. I think we should use the emotion nullifying potion- the Essence of Muriad, Macnair advised. Bah! That takes out the fun- he will be like a dumb robot. That is not what we want. We want him brimming full of hate. Only then can he face his dear cousin head on and be victorious. Rodulphus thought for a second. I know what we ll do. Kill his father. Get some of Potter s hair and use the remainder of my Polyjuice brew- should have some in the fridge. Make sure he sees you do it in broad daylight, and make sure that you pull of a convincing job portraying a revenge-driven nephew. Kill his father? My pleasure . but if it is to be convincing, what about getting Potter s hair? You expect me to simply ask him for some? Hmmmm Rodulphus leaned back, propping up his boots on the table. He thought for a moment. Excellent plan, Macnair. Ask him- If not, well just come back alive so that we won t miss that tennis date we have scheduled this weekend. I can t believe we lost three times in succession! Rodulphus face turned dead serious. He dramatically jumped to his feet, his eyes alive with a demonic fervor. He slammed his hand down on the table and the coffee kettle began to boil as his magic accumulated to a fever pitch. I AM GOING TO BEAT THOSE TWO MUGGLES IN DOUBLES FAIR AND SQUARE EVEN IF IT S THE LAST FUCKING THING I DO! IN VOLDEMORT S NAME, THIS I SWEAR!! After a few seconds of the lights flickering and cupboard doors banging open and slamming shut, he calmly took back his seat. Which reminds me, I have to work on my backstrokeLestrange rubbed a kink in his shoulder, practicing a mock tennis swing. By the way- Potter has taken Igor s Snake God Summoning spell. Don t ask me how, but he did. Oh- and one more thing, do me a favor: we need some more apples, Rodulphus reminded him, chomping down on the remaining piece in his hand. Er- I ll go run down and get them now. Macnair gulped in trepidation, these outbursts were highly dangerous, and any mention of apples reminded him of the guy he exploded a while back. He got to his feet carefully grabbed his jacket then left the house, heading down to the nearest grocery. However, he was definitely making sure he kept an eye on Lestrange until was way clear of his killing radius. ******************** Harry spent the rest of the journey laying flat on his back on top of the train, his fingers locked behind his head. By the time they reached Hogsmeade, night had already fallen. Sol and the others were overseeing the boarding of the threstral carriages up to Hogwarts, but Harry wanted a bit more time to himself. When the student traffic dwindled to only a few,

he reversed the Densify spell and jumped down to the platform. Commander, what about the prisoner? side. Rebecca Lestrange came up to his

Use the Disillusionment hex and take her to the dungeons in Hogwarts. There s a wizard there that I will need to speak with, Harry replied. Rebecca looked at him closely; he once again retreated into his personal shell. Obviously the talk did not go well. What about miss Granger? Harry stiffened. Well What about her? she said hesitantly.

How did it go?

We have work to do. Let s go, Harry said abruptly. Warshire, you and DeFontaine escort her- we ll take these last two carriages. Remember, she s not to be seen. Harry strode off to one of the remaining carriages, his head full of turmoil. Rebecca followed him in, and only when he opened the door and both of them were about to enter did he realize that it was not empty. He stopped abruptly, Rebecca bumping into him from behind. What is it? she asked, looking over his shoulder. Hermione was sitting in the carriage, obviously waiting for him. The two women s eyes touched, and there was a mutual challenge between them. Lestrange smiled secretly. She loved challenges. Hey, Hermione said softly to Harry. Come on, it s getting dark, she beckoned him inside. Harry got in, and to his surprise Rebecca came in after him. He scooted over, and both women flanked his sides. With a soft click, Rebecca shut the door and the carriage began to move steadily up to Hogwarts. Thanks for saving one for us, Rebecca said, indicating the carriage. Hermione nodded briefly, she couldn t tell if the auror was sincere or not, but she really wanted a little time alone with him. Her presence surely put a wrench in those plans. She hated when Harry got into this mood. He closed himself up, and allowed no one in. They rode silently for half of the journey, Rebecca looking fixedly out of the window, Harry staring forward, and Hermione shooting worried looks at him from time to time. After the unbearable tense silence, Rebecca decided to break the deadlock. So, Hermione- I heard you have a talent for Occlumency and Divine summoning I hear? You did? Who told you that? ignored the both of them. Hermione looked at Harry crossly. Harry

Tonks did. She s a friend of mine. You know she s having her first baby in June?- Harry s the godfather, she said as a matter of fact. As soon as did, she knew she had made a mistake. Hermione twisted so she was facing Harry directly, and he had no choice but to look at her. Saying she was a tad irritated was an understatement. Harry, they asked you to be their baby s godfather? First this new job, then a huge Snake spell, now this? Anything else you d like to tell me?

she hissed. Not really, Harry said softly.

Not really? What sort of answer is that? she demanded. Harry just dipped his eyes a bit, and looked out the window. Rebecca was finding it difficult not to feel sorry for him. He s had a rough day Hermione, leave him alone, Rebecca said lightly. Excuse me, I don t want to sound rude, but who are you? Hermione glared at her. My name is Rebecca, she smiled, offering her hand. Hermione took it and shook it once in a businesslike manner. If Harry was paying any attention, he would have seen the sparks fly. Instead he leant forward to look out the window to make sure that the other carriage was following them. Hermione folded her arms and huffed, not looking at either of them. Rebecca only smiled a knowing smile, innocently scrutinizing her hands. Deciding to zone out for a while, Harry laid his head back and closed his eyes. Finally the carriage stopped inside of Hogwarts grounds, and all three of them filed out. All right, Harry? Hagrid beamed. Harry did not even seem to hear him, or notice him for that matter. He walked briskly towards DeFontaine, nodding at the levitating person behind him. I want her treated as soon as we re inside. First, owl Kingsley and give him the report. While you do that, he looked at Rebecca meaningfully, I have a proposition to make, and after that, I m leaving the prisoner in your hands: Warshire, you ll conduct the interrogation. Use Veritaserum, the Cruciatus, whatever it takes, get the information she knows on a man named Logan Ash. Lestrange, in your post ask him when Professor Dumbledore and Professor Lupin are to return, I will need to speak with them about these new elementals emerging he cut himself off. Harry? Hermione walked up behind him, trying her best not to seem too bothersome. The male Aurors gave her a don t disturb us look but dare not say anything just in case they ticked their temperamental leader off. There was a tense moment when the two men expected Harry to brush her off, but on the other hand; the two girls expected him to give her his undivided attention. Hermione s eyes shifted nervously. However, the battle was already won before it began. Harry ran his hands through his hair and nodded at his teammates. Without further instructions they made their way into the castle. Er- hey, Harry said, now that the two of them were alone. She seemed to be expecting something. He didn t know what to say to her. Everything was so bizarre. Hermione smiled, took his hand in hers, and began to walk up the slope to the castle doors. Her hand felt warm and alive, so small and feminine in his. The night was on them, and Hermione slowed her pace so that it felt more like a leisurely stroll in the dark. Harry kicked a pebble along as they walked, trying his best not to let things get to him. Hermione stayed quiet, but took his arm in between hers, resting her head on his shoulder

as they walked. I missed you. Harry said nothing, but gave the top of her head a glance. I was really looking forward to spending Christmas with you, softly. I...I know that. It just wasn t possible at the time. Are you really their boss? she laughed softly. she said

No, I m their Squad Captain. There are two people on top of me. Oh really? Who is that? Diggory and Kingsley. she asked. There was another few steps of silence. Hermione asked

Harry, if I were to give you an order, will you listen? softly. What is it? I want you to trust me, Just like I trust you. I trust you!

she said, the emotion evident in her voice.

he said immediately,

Do you, do you really? Harry thought back to that conversation he had with Lestrange top the train: I hate being the boy who lived, but I got over that a long time ago. Hermione had replied in the same exact way as she did, as if he was only saying that but didn t really mean it. Did he really trust Hermione? I do. Well, I want to let you know that you haven t been displaying that trust recently. Trust me to be your confidant. Trust me to be your friend. Trust me as I trust you to protect all of us. Harry, can t you see? We re no longer kids anymore. Things are different, we were best friends, but now we re also lovers. We re a couple now. I want to make you happy, and I won t just leave you because things are shaky in the world around us. I don t want to be shut out and pushed on the side- that s what hurts the most. Don t put me through that again. It s not so easyOh bosh! Yes it is! Just open your mouth when you feel to talk, that s all. When you need me, I will always be here. Harry once again went silent. He had a huge question to ask her, but he needed to know something first. Do you believe in fate? Destiny? Well, if you re talking about the divination aspect, of course not. But I do think things happen for a reason.

What if I were to tell you that I am afraid every day, every night? Afraid of what? Of losing you. Of not knowing when another psycho is going to come after us. If I m going to live through the next day. Or If something is going to happen to Ron, or Ginny, or any of our friends for that matter. Hermione, I don t sleep at night anymore. I have to knock myself out with a sleeping draught. It s a scary feeling. I know it s scary, but we can t let fear rule us. Yeah, some people can say that... Why do you say that? My life is different. I m not fooling myself into thinking that The Boy who lived can be normal . Can t you see? This- he gestured at his robes, then the both of them togetheris not normal- I can t lead a quiet life- I tried. It s either one of two choices- face the dangers- be alert to what s around me, or..or.. he trailed off. He paused, and looked deep into her eyes. But I want something more than that for you, something more than the sleepless nights, something more than the constant paranoia. Hermione, I want you to enjoy living and keep the ugly matters for those who are well, y know- er, trained for this type of thing. Dumbledore gave me some really good advice when I left Hogwarts he paused, his last day clear in his tangled memories. Sometimes, a bit of self-sacrifice, can make the whole world of difference. Coming back to the present, he shoved his hands in his pockets. At the time I didn t really understand, but I sorta do now. Hermione listened to him. She thought for a second, and then gave him that smile of hers that he always adored and could never resist. I don t care about all of that. I want to be with you, she said firmly. Hermionehe began.

Shhh, she placed her finger against his lips. It s settled. She cuddled up closer on his arm, and began walking once again. Harry sighed. Did she ever listen to reason? ************** Well, well, well, if it isn t Specialist Potter, Draco smirked. He was still in the hospital wing, sweating profusely as he did his leg exercises. To what may I owe the- hff -honour? Harry stood in the doorway, watching Malfoy struggle to extend his leg. To his surprise, Fleur was also here, trying her best to help him condition himself once again. Draco s face was red with exertion as he gripped the handles of his chair. Fleur kept very quiet, not even making eye contact with Harry.

How are you feeling? Harry asked. What the bloody hell do you mean by that? I feel on top of the world, after all it was only Cruciatus damage alongside a couple snapped ribs, a broken hip and multiple breaks in this fucking leg, Draco grimaced as he once again extended his knee. Still charming as ever, I see... Harry said under his breath. He knew how physical damage could change a man s way of thinking. Mortality was a serious thing. But that outburst was uncalled for. You re lucky hff I can t walk right now, Potter. If I could I ll get off this chair and shove this- he grabbed an apple on his bedside table right up your arse! Really? How so? Harry enquired.

Don t you play hff innocent with me- you told Kenna you wished you left her to die?! ..And..? Harry said coolly.

You think that's funny don't you? You heartless bastard -I ll kill you! Draco hissed venomously. You will kill me? Harry asked seriously. Strong words for someone who was beaten so thoroughly and currently a crippleFuck you! Don t you dare mock me!! Just you wait! Draco shouted, his neck tendons straining with the pan of trying to extend his knee again. Well, while I wait, I m here to give you an opportunity of a lifetime. I want you on my team. When you re ready to act like a grown man instead of a little pussy come talk to me, Harry turned slowly, making to leave. Oh, and another thing- Don t threaten me. Ever. You hear me? You go rot in hellAnd tell your sister don t come near, or touch Hermione ever again. If she does, I m coming after you- and I won t be nice. Remember that, Malfoy, he turned to leave. As if I m scared of you... Draco challenged.

Draco, don t get im angry, please, jus let it go... Fleur said softly, still not looking at Harry. She was feeling very uncomfortable right now. Harry was almost out the door when Draco opened his mouth again. Shut up- don t presume to tell me what to do, you French slutfroze in mid-stride. What did you just call her? Harry

Harry asked softly, not even turning around.

You heard me- I didn t stutter- she s a slut! Harry walked slowly towards his chair, looking at him with utter repulsion. Even though your power is extraordinary- he drew his arm, and split second later he backhanded Draco with a resounding Smack! Draco fell

out of his chair, momentarily stunned. Fleur gasped audibly, her hands covering her mouth. -You re still nowhere a match for me, Malfoy. I warned you once before- don t talk to her like that, Harry said softly. Draco looked at him as if he had gone mad. His face instantly turned white with rage and the Infernus power erupted, his eyes immediately bursting into flames. Clenching his fists, both arms ignited, and Draco shot off towards Harry like a rocket. With only a soft incantation, Draco was flung across the room by a strong invisible hand. His damaged leg collided against a flower vase, shattering it as he flew across four beds. Fleur screamed again as she ducked reflexively from the flying shards of ceramic. Harry had his arm extended, his fingers gripping an invisible object in his hand. Draco slammed high up the wall, his face going blue with the pressure choking him. His eyes bulged with shock. Both of us know how it feels to lose loved ones to Voldemort. To say such things to someone who cares about you, you re a fucking bastard, and this time I m am really going to kick the shit out of you Harry growled. Draco clawed desperately at the invisible grip on his neck. He was being lifted in small increments as Harry increased the magic binding him. The two men faced each other across the room, their eyes locked in a battle of wills. Harry eyes narrowed, and he clenched his Neck Choking Jinx even tighter, his fingers closing in a crushing grip. Harry STOP IT! STOP IT! Fleur screamed, trying to pull down his arm desperately. Looking at her as if he suddenly realized that they were not alone, he snorted, and released the spell. Get it one of a heap, to him, together Malfoy, you re pathetic. I thought you told me you were Hogwarts Finest ? Harry chuckled. Draco dropped to the ground in panting hard on the floor as he gasped for air. Fleur ran across and cradled his head in her lap. she ordered. GET AWAY FROM HIM!

GET OUT!

Elementals are after you they re real dangerous. I was almost killed today- if you want to be prepared, better join my ranks. I m giving you the week to decide. Er- if not, well, you can probably just go back to being a trainee . Fleur, see him for who he really is- and believe me, he doesn t get any nicer than this. Please, just leave she sobbed, holding Draco close. With a soft humph , Harry did exactly that. ***************** Late that night, in a room above the Three Broomsticks, the nightmares that accompanied him every time he set foot into Hogsmeade were stronger than ever. MACNAIR..RELEASE HER! HAH! POTTER! WON T WANT TO HURT HER NOW WOULD WE? MY GOD SHE S GORGEOUS ISN T SHE? WE LL MAKE SURE SHE BLEEDS!

He woke up with a start. The cycle never ends. Each time this dream returned, he would wake up just before Macnair throws Wormtail as bait. He had to. If he didn t he would enjoy it even more, reliving the experience of having his revenge on the one who betrayed his parents. Why fight this, Potter? It is in your blood Just a dream, just a dream... Harry kept telling himself, but he felt Solidus contradict him with laughter. Oh, so is that it? I am just a dream? Very well then More laughter. Harry gripped his hair, trying his best to rid himself of this stupid voice, pulling on his scalp as if he could physically rip him out. He sat up in bed, and took a glass of water from the pitcher. He couldn t sleep. Right now what he needed was a stiff drink. Throwing on a plain white t-shirt and the trousers of his uniform, he groggily got out of bed. As he walked past the mirror, he froze. Someone else was looking back at him. Peering at it again, there definitely was an impression of something other than his reflection looking back at him. He came closer, his mirror image doing the same. Slowly, the reflection broke into a smile- and a crucifix shaped scar slowly materialized on the side of his face, semi-covering his right eye. He brought his hand up to touch the spot, The mirror exploded in a shower of glass and his reflection jumped out at him, grabbing him about his neck. With a lethal ferocity, it forced its thumbs against his adams apple, preventing him from screaming for helpNO! he breathed hoarsely, and woke up with a start. Looking at the empty glass and full pitcher, he decided to pour himself a glass of water. Thinking back to his intense dream, he decided against that. He couldn t sleep anymore. What time was it? Looking at the clock on the wall, it read minutes to three. He needed a drink. Throwing on a plain white t-shirt and the trousers of his uniform, he hastily ran out the room, not even chancing looking at the mirror that sat innocently on top the dresser. He entered the pub downstairs, and immediately sat himself down and ordered Iced Cristal Vodka. Taking a sip, he peered into the crystalline surface of the drink. It sparkled and glittered, like a bag of diamonds. Harry continued this pattern, sipping his drink alone in stages, and staring absentmindedly into the frosted mug for another four drinks. His head was slowly relaxing, and his senses were slowly going out of focus. Hey Potter, take it easy. Keep this up and you ll be worse than Fletcher, Rebecca came and sat next to him. Huh? Fletcher? Who s that? he slurred.

You never met him? Strange. I m sure Tonks mentioned him now and again being at Order HQ.. Rebecca, why are you here? Harry cut her off, looking at her closely underneath her traveling hood. I ve been up whole night, filling in my diary. I saw when you entered,

and guessed you wanted to be alone. It s funny, actually... What s so funny? Around this time, it s mostly seedier folk come in here to drink, you know, borderline criminals and petty thieves. They took one look at you and now she nodded to the empty bar. They ve dwindled away one by one, trying not to make it obvious. You re right- you do have a reputation, well around here that is. Hardy harHarry said dryly. Feels good to be loved...

Well, you saved me the trouble of getting rid of this guy- y know, cocky, tough guy type who thinks that because I m sitting alone I want male company between my legs- so, um thanks. Er- you re welcome, Harry said absentmindedly, once again draining the dregs of his drink and motioning for another. Hey, you shouldn t do that. You re still a bit young aren t you? How did th-the interrogation go? No luck. Ash has chosen a secret keeper- and Jacqueline s memories don t allow her to release any information. I couldn t bear to watch, Warshire really gets into it. Good. She caused us a lot of trouble. I m still not all there after that spell- things are pretty up fucked right nowYou mean fucked up. Yeah. I finished my entry a while ago, but since you sat there for so long staring into your drinks I had sudden, well, artistic inspiration. Want to see? Harry tore his eyes away from his glass- and slowly turned his head directly towards her, his focus slightly off. He stared at her face, trying to discern whom it was he was speaking to. Rebecca was caught off guard; he was staring at her. Her breath caught, and she immediately fell for his brilliant green eyes. Well? Let s see, then. The spell was broken, and she smoothly covered up the weird moment by opening the back of her diary. She flipped a few pages of some abandoned attempts, then came to rest on a completed drawing. Harry looked at it, frowned, then looked at it closer, his nose almost touching the pages. Rebecca chuckled. That s me, Harry said, a bit confused.

Of course! I just told you that you sat still long enough for me to draw a portrait! she scolded him. Oh- right. I forgot.

How could you- oh forget it... she sighed. Harry was still looking intently at the picture. Rebecca wasn't so sure if what she was doing was a smart move. The only person who ever saw any of her art was Rodulphus, and that was when she was still very young, and looked up to her brother with almost hero worship. Why did she feel compelled to show Harry now? She waited with baited breath for his impression of it. It s good. Well, is frighteningly life-like. I didn t know you like todraw, er like could draw like this- Harry mumbled, swaying dangerously close, almost falling flat into the book. Rebecca smiled sadly. You don t know much about me she said softly, averting her eyes. Harry was completely clueless to the sensitive nature of the topic. You have a point, he laughed.

The bartender came up to the both of them- looking pretty worn out. Listen, I know it says open all night, but for crying out loud- it s almost six o clock. Lady, take your man back upstairs- tell him lay off the booze too, but don t tell Rosmerta I said that He s not my man , Rebecca corrected at once.

Oh? Is that right? Who is he then? You don t know? He s Harry Potter. You gotta be taking the mickey! The bartender looked closely at the boy underneath the mop of dark unkempt hair and past the faint stubble. Well I ll be- it really is you! But he isn t old enough to drink- what is he doing here anyway? Just take the money, and forget the questions- Harry slammed some galleons on the bar. Lestrange, let s go and with that, Harry fell right out the chair with a dull thud. **************** Harry woke up to a beautiful morning, the sunlight filtering through the blinds. His eyes were closed, but the sunshine blared red against his eyelids. A shadow crossed the light, -there was a hand going towards his neck! Quick as a snake, his hand darted out and caught the wrist in a unbreakable grip. Ow! What the hell! came a feminine voice. Harry s eyes opened, and hovering over him was Rebecca, her arm captured in his grasp. Sorry, Harry murmured. What-?

You re burning up. You had a pretty bad fever, looks like that Lightning attack plus the blistering cold did leave some after effects. Did you finish the rejuvenation potion? Harry shook his head. Allright, but what about the fever draught? You took some of that right? Again he shook his head. Murtlap? Tylenol? Anything? she enquired. No. I didn t take anything. Rebecca s eyes widened. Are you crazy? You could have died from that fever! Looking for an early retirement? she laughed. Harry just realized

something. Where are my clothes? he asked.

They were filthy- I sent them to clean. The house elf has to do it the muggle way- those robes are pretty spell resistant. Harry peeked under the sheets and groaned. As he thought, naked like the day he was born. Grumbling, he wrapped the sheet around his waist and got up to go to the bathroom. As he was taking his morning leak, something dawned on him. What time is it? Eleven o clock. So I was only out for a few hours then. More like two days and a couple hours. Harry finished, and slowly washed his hands. Are you saying that today is Wednesday? Harry asked cautiously. He braced for impact. Yes. Ah shit he cursed. The others?

They are back in London. Don t worry- the Ministry is handling the elemental from now on. Didn t they ask as to my whereabouts? I reported that you were incapacitated and needed rest. You did survive a lightning strike, or have you forgotten? Right Anyhow, now that you re up- I have a few messages for you. Dumbledore and Lupin have an important errand, and Pompfrey is now deputy Headmistress. Charlie Weasley is substitute DADA teacher for the while as well Uh-huh, Harry was brushing his teeth.

Diggory also sends her regards and congratulations on a job well doneWhatever, Harry spat out the toothpaste.

Kingsley has a lead on AshThat s good news, Harry was rinsing out his mouth.

Malfoy and Delacour have left Hogwarts and are now back at LionheartKingsley said Malfoy approached him on joining the ELITEHmmph... stupid motherfuHarry snorted as he washed his face.

And er, Hermione passed by and got kind of upset. I don t think she likes me. Harry stopped suddenly. What? Told me she felt that you were sick, so came to help. I told her I had

the situation under control. You told her what! ? He burst back into the room. Harry was a bit taken back when he only now realized that Rebecca had on simple muggle clothesa camouflage shorts and a sleeveless denim shirt. Maybe not exactly in style , but he had never seen her so...dressed down before. Of course! Would I just allow her to waltz in when you don t have any clothes on? she looked at him aghast. She s my girlfriend! That s not the point! She should be in school. Rebecca said in a firm, authoritative manner. Skipping classes to come into Hogsmeade was against the rules as far as I remember. Jesus H. Christ Anyhow, back on track- we have a mission already lined up. As soon as you re up to it- we re to locate the Veil of the Unknown. It was stolen a couple years back from the Department of Mysteries. The M.A.R.S. department thinks they can somehow use it to drain the magic potential of wizards, and they need it to finish build a permanent replacement facility for Azkaban. The jailhouses are getting almost full with the petty crooks, but when we start hunting down the big fish in earnest it would be child s play for them to break out. Harry knew exactly where it was. That fateful night- his first duel to the death with his nemesis. How the Dark Lord had captured the Order, Hermione s sacrificial Resurrection spell- everything. Painful memories, those were. He felt anger once again build up inside, something that he realized was happening quite frequently these days. Voldemort- he whispered under his breath. What was that? Nothing. Oh, I treated the Lacaratia wounds on your back. You should be fine now. Harry felt uneasy. She tended to him while he was naked the whole time. Now that s three women to this date who saw him naked, well the only three people to have ever seen him naked. One was a scheming enchantress, the next his first true love; and now his squad mate: Rebecca Lestrange. He looked at her carefully, trying to figure her out. Is this coincidence? Only Kenna and Hermione saw him in the buff, and now both had a huge impact on his life. In his gut, he didn t think this pattern was set in stone. Either way she was an enigma. Already they are comrades in arms, and now drinking buddies. Well- what he could vaguely remember of their little time in the bar. He looked out for her, and in return, she looked out for him. It was part of the job. The real question was, what role was she to play in this topsy-turvy world he lived in.

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Chapter 17: Pureblood Secrets [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

**CHAPTER 17: Pureblood Secrets

Barely a few months into the year and Harry wished that he could go on holiday. His job was stressful to say the least. It took him nearly two whole weeks to fully recuperate from that Lightning Strike and his fever. Right now he wished he could visit his girlfriend. She would fix him up in no time- he had to admit her summoning ability did come in handy sometimes. However, work came first, and they needed to help the M.A.R.S. specialists retrieve the Veil of the Unknown. Are you sure about this? Kingsley asked as they walked down the halls of the Department of Mysteries. Harry walked alongside him, his head covered, his face halfway hidden behind a thick blood red scarf. Definitely. You re a strange one, Potter. According to Dumbledore, he could be one of the most destructive wizards alive, plus he s a Malfoy. Not the best combination, considering he s going to have carte blanche on the use of the Unforgivable Curses in combat He already knows how to use them. Oh really? Well then, what makes you think he can be trusted? asked in amazement. Kingsley

Because he owes me his life, Harry said in dark finality, and walked inside the S.T.A.R. Elite offices. Sol, Warshire and Lestrange were seated at the small circular table, thick smoke from Sol s cigar and lighter puffs coming from Warshire s pipe engulfing the room, the swirling patterns clearly visible under the lone lamplight. There were galleons, knuts and sickles stacked in front of them, and each were holding a hand of cards. Malfoy was in the mix, his infamous sneer set in place. Considering the number of chips he had in front of him, he had every reason to smile. It seems that he was winning. Harry raised an eyebrowgambling huh? I fold, Lestrange said in defeat. Warshire? Sol? Two

Warshire was sweating, his eyes giving away what his face did not. pair-

yet?

Ha! Straight flush! Sol announced- fanning his cards on the table. He grinned out the corner of his mouth. Well boy, has your luck run out Malfoy leant forward, his eyes surveying his cards. Nope. Royal flush, he said calmly, laying his cards down easily. I win. Never bet against a Malfoy- you re going to lose, he said haughtily, summoning the pile of money in the center of the table with a flick of his wand. So it seems our esteemed commander finally decides to grace us with his presence. Well, Potter? Any more great excuses for being late this time? The other wizards looked at him incredulously, wondering if he had gone mad. Harry smiled easily, and ignored his insult. I see you have met our latest rookie, Draco Malfoy, he said in a backhanded greeting to his team. Moving on- you know that the Ministry wants us to retrieve the Veil of the Unknown. Fortunately, we- he indicated himself and Draco- have a good idea where it is. There was a nod at this comment. Unfortunately, we may also have a slight problem. What s that? Sol enquired, frowning.

We have to fly past Azkaban prison- and according to the M.A.R.S. specialists; rogue dementors have been spawning there. The ward that contained them to Azkaban has been breached, and there is no longer any way to keep them in line...so...er we- Harry trailed off. We what? Rebecca asked him.

We will have- um have to do some remedial training. How good are your Patronus Charms? There might be some trouble Harry asked hesitantly. He knew they would not appreciate this sort of question. Come on! That s nothing to do! Warshire exclaimed. Potter, what do you take us for- amateurs? Harry... them. Sol asked angrily.

Kingsley whispered, knowing that he had inadvertently offended

Don t underestimate the situation. If Potter here says there may be trouble, then rest assured, it s worse than we think, Draco said, his face hidden underneath the shadow of his hood. The last time he told me there was trouble- Voldemort had risen from the dead, we got into a fight with an Ice Dragon, he was nearly tortured to death- and Dumbledore and Moody were killed. There was a bit of nervous shuffling around the table. Rebecca visibly flinched when he reminded that her mentor and father figure was dead. She was the first to open her mouth in indignation. Really? And pray tell; how did they die? As if you would now she asked in a mocking tone. Who was this brat to talk about such matters? Well actually, Lestrange, I am the one who killed them, coolly. Draco countered

There was a deafening silence afterwards. It took a few seconds for Rebecca to really register that piece of information. She stared at him

incredulously, her eyes opening wide. Harry groaned inwardly. Malfoy, why the fuck do you always have to open your mouth like that? spat. Kingsley, is this true? be heard. he

she asked so softly that her voice could barely

Er- Yes, but listen to me Rebecca-REBECCA! His Far seeing ability gave him a glimpse of the next two seconds. From the way her legs shifted, she was getting ready to pounce- NO! Quick as panther, Rebecca pounced off the seat of her chair, a sleek assassin s knife in her hands. With the grace of a trained professional, she took one step in the only uncluttered spot on the table and dove towards Draco. Draco just sat there, that trademark smirk never leaving his face. Without any emotional response, he incinerated the two closest legs of the table. The table collapsed under her weight and Rebecca fell clumsily face first at his feet. Before she could spring to action Draco stood up on her knife hand, applying pressure as he put his entire weight on it. Rebecca was in an awkward position, her back arcing as her bottom half was still angled on the broken table. Without much ado, he took the exotic assassin s knife from her grasp, twirling it around his fingers. Care to try again? Draco smiled charmingly at her. Warshire and Sol DeFontaine were at their feet in a thrice, their faces contorted with fury. Their wands were drawn, and trained on his face. Get off her! NOW! Warshire threatened. Draco raised an eyebrow at them in mock query, as if being ordered by a five year old. He looked at Harry for a moment, and Harry nodded slightly. Very well, he said more to Harry than the two men. He released her, spun the blade once again in his palm, flipping it so that the handle faced the Auror. I believe this is yours? he said gallantly, as if he had just retrieved her fallen handkerchief. That s enough Malfoy. Lestrange, never let your emotions take over in any given situation- You," Kingsley pointed at Draco. "I d like to talk to you, privately. Malfoy winked at her, and silently exited behind Kingsley. Sol and Warshire came to her side, helping her to get back to her feet. She snapped at the both of them, and untangled herself from the paraphernalia fallen from the table and her thick travelling cloak. Let me be. I can stand on my own two feet, she snarled, her pride taking another beating. Once again she felt so humiliated. Keeping her eyes averted, she tried her best to keep her emotion out of her voice. Commander, you knew how I felt about Alastor, yet you brought the person who killed him in our unit?! I m sorry. This must be hard for you, but there are factors here I- er, have to deal with. I also want the most talented wizards in our squad. He can be a real bastard, but he can be relied upon. His natural ability will be quite an asset. Did you hear what I just said?! HE KILLED HIM! Voldemort was the one who killed him. Malfoy was just the puppet Harry

said softly. Would you rather someone that dangerous to be on your side or on the opposing side? This way- we at least can be guaranteed that Ash will not be able to manipulate him. Rebecca was opening her mouth to argue when Kingsley and Malfoy came back inside. She reluctantly held her tongue and just stood there, seething in rage. Lestrange- you know the rules: attacking a fellow Ministry agent is serious business. You will report to my office after this briefing. If you want to have a go- do it on the duelling range and pay the Healers with your own personal funding. Reparo, Kingsley pointed his wand at the broken table, and it was restored to it s previous state. Harry silently noted that Kingsley was way better than he thought- that spell was very complex, even though it appeared he just used a simple fixing charm. With that one spell, he conjured the legs, attached them in place and reversed the physics of everything that fell, so that the cards and money were back exactly the way they were. It seemed that he reversed time. Very interesting piece of spell work there Okay Ladies and gentlemen, now that we ve gotten familiar- Kingsley cleared his throat, Potter here says he knows where the Veil is. So without further ado Er- right. We need to get past Azkaban rock to get to a small island, called Siren s Rock. At that location there is an abandoned fortress, and in the center of the courtyard the Veil should still be there but even if it isn t, that s the only lead so They waited expectantly for him to continue. I ll need correct descriptions of your Patronuses, and experience in using themum, your past

89

Ha! I repelled four Dementors at the same time with my Patronus charm! Sol announced. It s a Hawk! I remember the time well, it was back in Easy, DeFontaine, let s not get back into that story again . grumbled. Cocky bastard he said under his breath. What did you say? Sol asked. Warshire

Nothing. Ahem- I used to ward the prisoners in transit to Azkaban- er once the two Dementors went wild and I zapped em without much trouble. Dementors haven t really bothered me, but I can hold my own. We had one as a... pet, Rebecca said flatly, her eyes never leaving Draco s arrogant face. I am accustomed to getting rid of pesky annoyances ever since I was small. Oh yes I forgot about that. Lovely family you had, eh Becky? Draco smirked. Tell me, how is my dear Great Uncle Cygnus going? Are you still Daddy s little girl ? How dare you! You little, stinking, snot nosed brat-! Care to repeat that? Snot nose wha-?" he smirked. Draco raised an eyebrow. "How s your hand feeling? he asked smugly, noticing that she was rubbing where the grips of his boots left an impression.

That s enough Dracostrike one.

Harry warned.

Leave her alone. Consider that

Ooh- I m so sorry, Commander. Miss Lestrange, please allow me to apologize... Draco replied in his most sincere voice- When mudbloods fly!! He laughed at Rebecca s red face. He could barely keep it in. Was she about to explode? Kingsley groaned. He said in a soft stage whisper to Harry- You re definitely sure about him? Harry wished he could have taken back his words now. But his mission for the Order was top priority. He had to keep monitoring him! Er- Harry responded. Sometimes, I m not sure if he ever listens he mumbled to himself. He strode across to Draco, grabbed the front of his robes purposefully and took him aside. Draco smirked, letting himself be manhandled without much restraint. He laughed softly once again. Listen MalfoyHarry began. Draco cut him off with a knowing grin.

Have a soft spot for Lady Rebecca, do we, Potter? Draco chuckled. His cocky attitude vanished, and his tone dropped dramatically. You know nothing about her, stop defending her as if she s all innocent and sweet. Harry s grip loosened a bit. What are you talking abouThe Lestranges were the second richest pureblood family- well after ours, of course, and the Dark Lord s most versatile servants. And also unlike my family, they had absolutely no sort of dignity, or scruples whatsoever. Mad Eye couldn t save the brothers, they were in far too deep and perverted, but he managed to salvage what he could of sweet, innocent Rebecca. Well, what he could after a year of- er-sexual advances. You do know what I mean, don t you- Draco winked sadistically My god Harry whispered, and slowly let him go. He didn t know

Horrible," Draco chuckled, enjoying Potter's expression. "All of them excelled in finding new ways to murder, her included. Assassins by nature. That s why Voldemort favoured them. Ruthless and sadistic without boundaries after all, if they had no qualms about-" (he cleared his throat) "-their own bloodThat s enoughHarry said his temper rising.

My, my, you sure are protective, I wonder why? Oh, and Potter- I saw your mudblood crying her eyes out as I walked into Hogsmeade to catch the Lionheart train the other day. Did something happen? Should I tell Weaselby that the path is clear and she's fair game? That s none of your business! again, hissing in his face. Harry grabbed the front of his uniform

I don t see why all the fuss, who would want to trade delectable Hermione Granger for the Death Eaters' whore anyway- he nodded towards Rebecca. SHUT UP!! Harry screamed, and without warning the walls of the room erupted in fire. The whole office became one huge inferno- and all of them

were trapped inside. Harry s eyes slowly began to glow, his face contorting in rage. YOU JUST KEEP YOUR FUCKING MOUTH SHUT, YOU HEAR ME MALFOY? ! The flames had now reached the ceiling. No problem, Malfoy agreed, an amused expression on his face as he surveyed the flames. The Incinerator curse- excellent, excellent! Your progress has been in leaps and bounds, Draco noticed. However, you wouldn t want them to burn to death now, do we? Finite! Draco murmured, a fire sparking in his pupils. A wave of his hand later, and the flames were gone, leaving only soot-covered walls as proof they all weren t going mad. Now, if you don t mind, I am quite fond of my new uniform, so please, let go of me, Draco said haughtily. Harry angrily let him go, shoving him against the wall. He took a deep breath, and felt embarrassed at the astonished looks the others were giving him. Malfoy, you know what, you re the only person on this earth who can get me this angryThat s why you love me don t you? Draco said cheekily.

One of these days, we are going to settle this- Harry growled, his fists clenching. He took a glance at their audience, and forcibly calmed himself down. "Anytime you're ready- " Draco grinned. But it is not today- we have work to do. Let s go. door, effectively bringing the meeting to an end. He turned towards the

What about the Patronus training? Rebecca asked sourly- utterly clueless about their topic of conversation. Harry looked at her with deeper eyes. She looked broken almost to the point of tears. Firstly, to find out that her new team-mate killed the one person who ever cared about her, and now she was going to be severely penalized for doing what he himself would have done in her position. If Pettigrew or Bellatrix Lestrange were to gloat directly to his face what they had done, he too would not have hesitated to kill them on the spot. Ah, but young Potter, you have done so already! Harry cursed under his breath. He was not going insane. Taking another deep breath he slowly relaxed, trying his best to quell this violent streak he had whenever Draco opened his mouth, and he took a moment to collect his head. Forget it. I ll take care of the Dementors. Get some rest people, we leave tomorrow, he threw over his shoulder as he stormed out the near burnt down room. Kingsley and Lestrange went a separate direction afterwards, and Draco sauntered out behind them, whistling a merry tune. Sol and Warshire were still a bit shell shocked. What the fuck are they feeding these kids nowadays? Sol cursed, letting loose a long whistle as both men surveyed the damage. If it s the Hogwarts food, I m sending my little Mary-Sue to Beauxbatons (he remembered the Ice witch) ...Scratch that- most likely Durmstrang. Warshire grumbled.

Right - she ll be eleven come May- getting her school letter sometime soon I take it? He clasped a hand on his shoulder. Steven, my old friend, you are getting old, he said good-naturedly. Cork it, DeFontaine ******************

The S.T.A.R. Elite were assembled on the rocky coastline, looking at the misty and looming sea tumble over and over, the breaking waves lapping softly against the pebbly beach. The stinging wind pulled at their robes, and all of them shifted their scarves as high as it could go across their nose. This could get sticky. I am giving you guys mission priority. No matter what, on this job, we re to stay alive first, retrieve the Veil second. I ll need to know what your corporal Patronuses look like. Mine is a Hawk, I have a Ram Sol announced. Warshire added.

A winged Horse... Rebecca added quietly. Harry raised an eyebrow, impressed. Draco leant up on his broomstick, a twinkle in his eye. Harry looked at him in turn. I ve seen your Patronus, Potter. I want to keep mine as a surprise. Don t worry, you ll know it when you see it Draco said coolly. Harry shrugged, and once again turned to the sea. We re punching straight through, full speed. If we could outrun them- the better it will be for us. When we reach our objective, we ll set up our portkey zone for the others. On first sign of fear, do it. You d be surprised how quickly a few hundred Dementors could take over. There was a nervous shuffling of feet, and some involuntary steps on the pebbly shore. A-a few hundred ? Warshire whispered.

Commander, have you lost your mind? How do you expect the five of us to get through that? Rebecca questioned, her temper once again on the rise. Don t worry, as I said yesterday, I ll handle it. But for extra precaution- just be ready to conjure yours. Let s go- and with that, he took to the air. Show off, Draco laughed, and shot up after him without hesitation. Encouraged by his confidence, the others also mounted, and shot over the gray skies. As they drew closer to Azkaban, the atmosphere became heavier, the seas more turbulent and dark. There was a permanent area of darkness sitting on top of the horizon, hovering where the Azkaban Prison sat, broken and useless. There was a huge crater boring along the ground, the gates of Azkaban utterly demolished and a large portion of the main structure reduced to rubble, the remainder barely standing on badly

cracked stone and mortar. Harry s eyes opened wide. He had done that? Commander! Lestrange shouted- she had felt it first. Soon everyone else felt the pull, and their wands were out and in full force. Wait untilHarry shouted, but it was too late. Rebecca shouted.

Expecto Patronum! Expecto-

Warshire began. screamed Sol.

Expecto Patronum!

-PATRONUM! Warshire finished conjuring his, and three shining figures shot off, a Hawk, a Ram with huge curved horns, and finally a Pegasus, it s wings opening wide. Draco shook his head. It was too soon. Come on! Harry said, knowing that he really should have done the extra training. They conjured it too soon- they re going to have to make a break for it. He could not gauge how long their Patronus will last against the oncoming swarm. The Dementors floated up from Azkaban like a hive of angry bees, swirling about each other in the twos and threes. A few dozen viciously went after the three Patronuses. After a valiant fight, all three were quickly vanquished. We need them to escort us- not attack! Draco shouted at the others who in fact were looking pretty shell-shocked. The fear was written on all of their faces and they slowed down dramatically. We-we can t go there- we ll be killed! Warshire screamed. My wife...my two princesses...no..no..leave them alone AAAAA! Harry turned at the scream, and cursed loudly when he saw Warshire fall from his broom. Watch out-! Harry screamed, zooming back past Draco as he dove to catch Warshire. MALFOY- STALL THEM! Draco grinned, and brought up his happiest memory. His happiest moment was when Fleur gave him her virginity- and proclaimed her love for him. No one ever really loved him before. This was a first. Maybe he really should treat her better. EXPECTO PATRONUM! he screamed, his eyes ablaze as he borrowed extra magical ability from his Summoning ability. His wand charged, and a blinding flash erupted from the tip. Harry was in the motion of catching Warshire when an incredible light shone from behind and above him. He turned, squinting his eyes What the? he stammered.

A huge Dragon, approximately the same size as Macnair s gigantic Ice Leviathon filled the sky. The sheer luminance of it was enough to make Harry shield his eyes. It flapped its enormous wings once, twice, hovering like a huge god over minuscule insects. Draco s arms ignited in fire, a flash of flame created a halo underneath his feet and he shot up into the sky, directly behind his Patronus charm.

Catch, Draco ordered, and he threw his broomstick at stared in awe as it fell through the sky, falling into hands. Draco hovered high in the sky, his eyes burning dragon mocked his stance, and both of them drew back a their arms as they summoned a mighty breathFFFWWWWWOOOOOOMMM!!

DeFontaine. Rebecca Sol s waiting with power. The bit, spreading

Draco's chest expanded as he blew out a breath of hot air, his Patronus multiplying it tenfold. It mimicked him perfectly, an intense stream of fire poured through the mouth of the dragon and blasted the Dementors in waves, the bright golden flames shooting forth in an incredible surge of pure magical energy. Ennervate! Harry incanted, pointing his wand at Warshire s limp form. He woke up slowly, but Harry could tell he was still seeing his nightmare images. The fear was creeping up on him as well, and he needed to keep them moving or else they all would suffer the same fate. Draco was good, he had to admit, but even he had to rely on his Sword and the Grim to help him defeat all of these dementors. He didn t know how long Draco could fend them off. He grabbed Warshire by his scarf, and shouted into his dazed eyes. Hold on to your broomstick! Aye cap n, he said wearily. Harry hauled him up on tow as he sat limply on his broomstick, and handed him over to Lestrange and DeFontaine. LISTEN! Both of you take a hold of him. Follow me as fast as you can, and keep in close distance of my Patronus, all right?! Draco and I are going to create a path. We re making a run for it! Jesus Rebecca whispered, flabbergasted at the tremendous display of power. Harry looked at her terror-stricken face. Her knuckles were white on the handle of her broomstick, her arms visibly shaking with the effort not to scream in fear. She was going to crack anytime now from the Dementors influence- he knew it. He zoomed in front of her immediately. He took her face in between his palms, forcing her to look at him. Rebecca, listen to me. We re going to make it- I won t let anyone on my team die, he said forcefully- his green eyes boring into her violet ones. "Do you trust me?" She nodded shakily, and tried to smile. Her hand came up and tenderly covered his, and at that moment Harry felt a sudden urge to protect this women who was seven years his senior. Letting her go- he raced up to Draco s side. He looked at him sceptically, since when did he have all this power? Trying to show off huh? Harry growled, his face ready for battle. Good. We re gunning it through. Like your Patronus by the way- he closed his eyes for a second, and when they reopened, they were pulsing once again with Solidus power. EXPECTO PATRONUM! And as he had done once before- the clouds above parted, and a ray of light shone down from the heavens, the luminance rivalling even that of Draco s dragon. A huge stag charged down from the heavens, riding down on the beam of light. It came to a slow halt at his side, prancing it s feet restlessly as it began to trot slowly around them in a tight circle.

Harry's cloak billowed behind him, and his long hair came alive with magic. He pointed his wand directly at the swarm, ready to do battle. Right through the heartTaking a firm hold on his broomstick he charged forth, and the five of them shot through the sky. The dragon flew a bit over head, while Harry s Patronus led the charge. Dementors whipped in around from above and below them, and any one that came too close were on the receiving end of his father s Prongs or a deadly blast of Patronus Fire. Draco encased himself inside the huge body of his Dragon, his arms held stiffly to his sides as he screamed past overhead, creating a path for the others. DeFontaine and Rebecca just ducked their head in grim determination behind the glowing Stag, fighting off the suicidal impulses and wishing to God that it could be over soon. After what felt like two weeks but lasted barely two minutes, they were out the worst of it. Rebecca squinted her eyes, expecting to be blinded once again, but was astonished to see both Patronus charms barely alight, and the two wizards looking much worse for wear. .G-give...the ...me the broomstickHarry ordered, trying his best not to pass out. She did as he was told, and Harry flew up slowly towards Draco, who, not surprisingly, looked almost dead in the air. Take thisHarry said, and Draco took hold, seating himself once again. As soon as he did, he nearly passed out- and Harry had to shake him awake before he toppled over into the sea. Whatever you do, don t fall off Ch-ockoHuh? Harry asked. Harry warned him.

Choco- chocolate Right! How could he forget- and he did remember to bring some for this very same purpose. Herehe gave him a piece. Rebecca, eat some of the chocolate- he ordered, but she was already eating and also trying to coax Warshire to take some. I m fine- it s you three I m worried about she responded as her hood fell back against the buffeting wind, revealing her long tresses of dark purple hair. You hear that? It sounds like singing It s so beautiful Sol DeFontaine said dreamily. Harry also heard it, and so did Draco- whose eyes opened groggily, his face on the brink of exhaustion. Harry felt another sort of tugging, one deep in his loins, and a dangerous magic penetrating his senses. Potter, Draco croaked. What did you say this place was called ? he asked, blinking his eyes hard as if he couldn t believe them. Harry turned his gaze, and wished he hadn t. Far below, there was a small reef of craggy rocks, and on the largest one three women were singing, harps in their hands, their skin aglow in the dim light. They were completely naked, long silver locks of hair danced of their own will around their heads, and perfectly shaped legs disappeared from the thigh down in the

light green water. Siren s Rock Rebecca breathed, once again ready for battle. The men were already entranced. This looked like trouble. Just then, she began to understand the lyrics of their song.

Come all, and take refuge in our watery paradise You four brave warriors are privy to our special blend of sugar and spice. Lie with us and let us three comfort your weary limb, For we exist to satisfy your darkest fantasies, and each and every whim. To you our supple bodies do we three generously offer The heralded Four Horsemen: Warshire, DeFontaine, Malfoy and Potter. For when you are done, and we are one You will be ours and your souls will never take to another

Harry! Don t! Rebecca shouted desperately, but it was too late. Already captured by their spell, the four men in her team descended on their broomsticks and alighted on the rocky reef. They couldn t even hear her. Sirens were powerful magical creatures, and highly resistant to magic. Taking a couple seconds to formulate a plan, she came to only one conclusion. There wasn t enough time to make a plan. Drawing her blade, she shot down after them just as the three women took hold of her men, and led them underwater. Hmph. One against three- sounds familiar- more like Potter s odds. Dismounting from her broom, she alighted on the rocks. Conjuring a bubble-head charm- she held her wand in one hand and her assassin s blade in the other as she dove in. She had to be decisive, four lives hung in the balance. She laughed softly. Well, maybe three- she wouldn t mind if one of them- a certain blonde fellow- didn t make it. ***************** Dumbledore and Remus Lupin were dressed in muggle camouflage, the top buttons of their gear unbuttoned, Dumbledore s long hair pulled back in a ponytail. Remus had a machete, a flask of water, a bag of supplies, his wand, and some Brazilian money. Three men were guiding them, their faces young but from the way they held their machine guns, they were well versed in the arts of killing. He never expected to be in this position, far less in this part of the world. The Amazon was a beautiful place, if you harboured no fear against man-eating predators and predator eating men. Remus gulped. He was a wizard, but knew enough that even wizards weren t immune to bullets. Dumbledore looked as relaxed as ever, sitting down quite comfortably in the small double engine boat. The sound of their boat was the only man made sound for miles, the various forms of wildlife making this place come alive even more than the Forbidden Forest. [ You say you know of our Shaman, Albus Dumbledore? And how do you know of us? You are a very brave man,] one of the armed men asked him. [ So they say. Yes, I knew him, quite a good friend he was

actually Interesting place for him to have settled down.] responded in fluent Portuguese.

Dumbledore

The three men laughed. [You claim to have befriended our Shaman? We should kill you for your insolence. He is much older than you!] [ Appearances can be deceiving. ] Dumbledore smiled calmly.

[ Really? Well if you claim to know him- show me some of your powers! ] [ I thought you d never ask.] Dumbledore nodded at his traveling companion. Remus, hold on. [Please shut off your engine, I will make the trip easier and much more pleasant.] Dumbledore took out his wand, and rapped it against the side of the boat. It slowly rose out of the water, floating on an invisible cushion. [Just tell me when to turn- and please remain calm-] One of them men seemed to be contemplating jumping out of the boat completely. [Ready?] With another flick of his wand, the boat shot off smoothly over the water, crossing speeds usually meant for a racetrack. In no time at all, they came to their destination, a village in the heart of the Amazon. Remus and Dumbledore alighted unto the small pier. There was a reception committee waiting for them, all of them armed with automatic weapons. Put that down Riki. You too, Jason. Everyone, lower your weapons. We are amongst friends, a voice said from behind the crowd. He parted down the middle, and came to forefront. His sparkling eyes were a direct contradiction to his weathered complexion, his once pale skin now permanently tanned by life in the jungle. However, he was without a doubt, a wizard. A suspicious looking walking stick made of a gnarled wood was held in his hand, and his robes were amazingly clean considered the soil was quite muddy. Dumbledore- is that you? he laughed. Well it goes to show you that when we went phoenix seeking all those decades ago it wasn t just for the novelty of it! Fawkes was a loyal phoenix, and I still miss him. Dumbledore greeted, and both of them clasped each other in a welcoming embrace. This is here is my friend, Remus Lupin. A pleasure, my good man. Now pray tell, what brings you to my humble abode? We have a situation. Come, where can we sit and chat? Dumbledore asked.

Pardon my rudeness, come come- let us go to my place. What is it you will be drinking? We must charge up before the feast! Feast? Remus asked.

Of course, only the best for an old friend! And a friend of my friend is also my comrade! We re a family here! Still the party-loving man I see. I m glad things have not changed too much, Dumbledore smiled.

Of course! What else can you expect from Randalf Ravenclaw? **************

Chapter 18: Heirs To The Founders [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Author's note: The brand SpAnKiNg new chapter of the Grim- first time on HpFF! To those who recognise, holla at yo boy! Respect!

**CHAPTER 18: Heirs to the Founders** Harry and Draco were being pulled deeper down into this strange seawater, seawater that they could somehow breathe and glittered with the miniscule lights of thousands of glowing micro organisms. The siren leading them down was the most beautiful creature he had ever seen and her voice stripped him of all his troubles. Songs of love promising an eternity of blissful nights and nothing to do days were swimming in his head, and the smooth skin of her naked body and flowing hair enticed him even further. Potter, can t you do something? side. Draco s voice bubbled over from the left

Nope. Not a goddamn thing, Harry bubbled, his eyes roaming on his captive s voluptuous body as her legs kicked continuously behind her, drawing them down to what seemed to be an underground cave. You ve been caught too deep. I thought I was, but even I know we won t last long after they had their way with us. Potter, we re going to be the patrons of the most expensive whorehouse, and I m not talking in monetary values, you understand?! Draco grumbled back, bubbles escaping his mouth. That does seem to be the problem, doesn t it? But she s worth it-, Harry said, eagerly kicking alongside her as she dragged them each by their wrist. Draco wanted to resist, but for some strange reason, he couldn t give himself the inclination to do something about it. The Sirens had them under a very powerful Lust spell, and only he, (as he was a heartless bastard anyway) could still even consider the option of wanting to say no. However, his body was not listening to his commands. He couldn t draw his wand, neither could he use the Infernus underwater. All he could try was to snap Potter out of it. This is like the Imperius curse on our cocks, Potter. You are supposed to be our Commander! If you want to do something heroic, now will be a good time! Draco shouted, bubbles furiously escaping his mouth. The Imperius on our what? Harry looked at Draco with a serious expression. Draco almost blew out a sigh of relief until he continued:

Sounds kinky! I like the sound of thaton his face.

Harry finished, a devilish grin

Draco sighed and looked at the two other men in front of them, each being taken by the other sirens. He couldn t expect any help there, both of them were in a more helpless situation than Potter and himself, after all, they were being dragged along limply, totally bereft of free will. At least Potter still had enough wits about himself to carry a conversation. Turning his head to look behind them, he saw Lestrange swimming furiously behind them, with what seemed to be an upside-down fishbowl on her head. At the rate these sirens glided through the water, it appeared that no mere mortal could really catch up. He doubted a weakling such as Rebecca Lestrange could really save them all. ... So much for his debut mission in the spanking new S.T.A.R. ***************** Back in Hogwarts Ron was in his Care of Dangerous magical creatures alongside his project partner, Pansy Parkinson. Their baby Chimera was growing up quite well, despite its parents constantly bickering. Even through all their arguments, Ron and Pansy took a liking to their young charge, it s fur delicately soft on his hide, and it s three tails bobbing enthusiastically anytime it saw them approach. The face was that of a tiger, but the tiny protruding horns from its year and a half old head truly distinguished it as a magical creature. In a few months, the wings should begin protruding from the shoulder blades, magical wings that could fold seamlessly into the hide. Dangerous creatures if wild and untamed, but highly intelligent and compassionate to those in it s favour, with a knack of good judgment on character. When Ron heard that, he almost scoffed. If Pansy was what a Chimaera would consider a person with a good character , he wanted nothing to do with it. Hermione was watching them bicker the whole time they were walking him back to its pen on the other side of the lake, their voices growing in indignation with each step they took. It was your turn to concoct the brewing potion, two thirds Strengthening and one-third Calming drought! What s the argument about? You only order me around all the time! We never agreed that this time was my turn! You just declared it! Pansy barked back. What? Are you bonkers? It s understood that we each take turns! Do you want Alfie to die? How could you say such a thing!? Pansy was immediately hurt. more about him than you ever will! Ha! Well where is the potion then, if you care so much? I ll get around to it, just don t rush me and boss me around! Just remember to be quick about it, he s supposed to be four and a half I care Elite .

feet before exam time- six stone and with silver mane. Right now it s looking like his mane is still dirt brown- it should have lightened by now But his eyes are so adorable- look, he winked at me! He loves me more than you, you tall slave driver! Pansy spat. Don t forgetLook, it s the Granger mudb-er- I mean, your friend Pansy self-corrected quickly. Before she could have laughed at him without fear of repercussions. Now he she wasn t so sure. Ron really wasn t all show, the last DADA classes he totally routed everyone else in the dueling practices. And the mock battle between him and the delicious Professor Charlie was quite impressive. Not saying that he was impressive, she meant, well, really meant the duel, that is Ron turned around and saw Hermione waiting for him at Hagrid s hut. Ron gave Pansy the leash, mumbled a goodbye, and left without any more quarrel. He walked back across to her, and she fell into step beside him as they walked up the hill. Do you think that I can t fight for myself? do you think Harry is overreacting? she asked Ron suddenly. Or

Pssh I don t know what to think of Harry anymore, but I know you can definitely hold your own, you proved it time and time again. I m going to do more research and training on my summoning ability. It takes so much out of me that I feel so up and down lately and that Rebecca woman is not helping matters, she added sadly. What? Why? She refused to allow me to treat him the other week, I mean; she wouldn t even let me inside! It s as if she was hogging him to herselfWhat did Harry say about this? Ron asked.

Well, he couldn t, really. Remember when I went to HogsmeadeDisappeared, you mean, Ron interjected.

This was important! I felt that presence again, all the way up in the Transfiguration tower! Solidus Gryffindor was keeping him alive for that whole time- But she just didn t want to understand! I couldn t really tell her the whole story, but I needed to see him! Hermione cried. Now he s gone to who knows where and yet another piece of the real Harry is gone Ron s eyes narrowed. So you re saying that you re absolutely sure he is being possessedYes! I m positive- I need to get some more information on this Re-incarnation spell Solidus somehow left behind. Dumbledore has also mysteriously disappeared, and from the books I ve researched, there aren t many leads, just the fact that it needs a physical object to contain the host s essenceThe Sword of Gryffindor- that has to be it! Ron said.

Exactly. All of this began with that sword- now look what it has done to him. Ron, what if, what if something bad happens to him? What if I can t figure out a way? I don t know, let s cross that bridge when it comes, okay? You ve never let us down before, come to think about it, you ve saved all of us when we needed it most, hell, even more than once! I believe in you, Ron said softly, putting her arm around her shoulders. Everything will be all right, trust me. Yeah, you re right. If I try and force the answers out of nowhere, I ll probably go crazy. Come on, let s finish that Charms essay- but remember, study group is at seven sharp. Be there. Okay okay...I hear you, Ron complained good-naturedly. I ll be there, it s a promise. As they both walked to their common room, Hermione remembered that promise both she and Harry made together in Spain. No matter what happens, we ll promise that we ll try and make each other happy, and look out for each other, even though we may be far apart. No matter what. Somehow, their present predicament was cancelling out any optimism she had of that promise being kept. *******************

Re-incarnate Possession, you say? Randalf Ravenclaw said in wonder. Are you sure? I never heard of such a thing! Dumbledore had taken nearly the whole evening to explain the events of the past seven years of Harry s life. This- boy, you speak about, he is indeed talented. A first of many things- youngest quidditch, tri-wizard champion, member of the Order- and now, commander of the S.T.A.R. Elite: Harry Potter is the Boy who Lived. It seems he is much more than just that. I presume Voldemort s brief possession curse a few years ago has broken the barrier of the Divine Protection his mother has given him while young . This is very complex, Albus, Ravenclaw said heavily. I -er, I don t know if I should We did not travel across the Atlantic for nought, we need your help! Dumbledore said urgently. Remus was the only other person privy to this conversation. The desperation in his voice was disturbing. Albus Dumbledore rarely was one to panic, or feel threatened. Yes, I know. I I ...need to tell you something Albus. You have spoken about a deduction from the analysis of the stars- er, the Centaur, Firenze; was it? And he said : One of the two strongest wizards has finally emerged, and if the other joins him in battle, they will set this earth asunder with the second Great War, one that could rival the first battle that split the four founders into strife? Ravenclaw sighed heavily, as if the weight of the world was slowly being released from his shoulders. He is indeed correct. What do you mean? Dumbledore asked.

This prophecy is not something that is new to me, Albus, Randalf said with a heavy heart. Even through all of our decades of correspondence,

you have kept my true last name secret, and not told anyone of my true lineage. I know it appeared as the coward s way out, leaving Hogwarts and leading a reclusive muggle life- but it was more than that. Like Potter, my life has been outlined by a dire prophecy. Even the emergence of Voldemort could not change my mind to re-enter the wizarding world. The renowned seer at the time- the Blind Witch Genevieve knew my secret, and on the day of our Graduation, she approached me on the grounds. I broke into the Department of Mysteries two years afterwards and retrieved my orb, he got up, and opened a small dark chest, producing a slightly glowing orb. You broke into the Ministry of Magic? nineteen? Remus asked incredulously. At

Hmph. Don t sound so alarmed, didn t your Potter boy do the same at fifteen, and faced down grown murderers to boot? It was nothing, he shrugged. This is what she told me: You, the heir of Rowenna Ravenclaw, have shown the potential to be one of the four chosen. On precisely this day- I have been cursed to die- but not before the prophecy of millennia must be revealed. It has been foretold that once the two greatest of allies- yet now the most vicious of nemesis: Gryffindor and Slytherin, will reunite as brothers in arms on the field of blood and sand. Secrets of hidden lineage will be exposed, and the Goddess of Nature shall be raped of her bounty, bringing forth once again those who call upon the Earth, Air, Fire and Water as their allies. Out of the ashes, a Phoenix will re-awaken, and will shine the torch of light through the darkness. Do not shy away his words, Randalf the Wise, for only the heirs of Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff could prevent the Second Fall of the age of wizards. From all corners of the globe there will be four signs- The Life Giving Circle, The Staff of Knowledge, The Sword of Death, and finally The Reign of Fire. I will give you some help, Randalf. No matter how dire or how important the situation, you are not to engage yourself in wizarding matters until the true time has come. Future generations of our kind will cease to exist if you are fallen before your time. You must live as a secret until what I have told you comes to bear, and by then you will be already have acquired the Staff of Knowledge, and will guide the wielder of the Halo of Life in her mission against the Dark Sons of Magic. My time is no longer mine: Farewell . And then she died right there, on the spot, standing her own two feet. It was horrible- seeing her face turn grey and lifeless, and within a matter of seconds, her body had turned to dust and she blew away with the wind. That s when I came back into the main hall during the graduation dance, and told you I had to go. It was the most terrifying day of my life, to leave everything behind. You were like a brother to me, Albus. And you to me. Your disappearance was indeed a shock to all of us... It was kinda fun at first, running away- I was a wild one back then. But after the years passed, the loneliness crept in. I needed to be able to socialize with other wizards, instead of secretly using my magic in the

muggle world. That s when I mailed you for the first time. I remember it well- I had just graduated as a Charms Specialist in the Auror division at Lionheart. You would have excelled there, Randy, Dumbledore said solemnly. The pieces came together now the new prophecy Firenze mentioned was indeed true, but now that he knew of it in more detail, he realized how much of this was happening right under his nose, but he had failed to catch on. How much time did they have? When you owled me about Cassandra Trelawny ordering you to search for the Phoenix- I knew this for sure this prophecy wasn t any fluke. That s why I helped you thenframe? Tell me Randalf, Not that I know of Do you know anything about Divine Summoning? Dumbledore asked. Dumbledore interrupted. Did she give you a time

Not much. I just know that it s extremely rare- only the most talented magi are prone to any substantial spell casting in that field. Well that is no longer in question. The person we are talking about is extremely talented, even rivals me at the age of seventeen in the arts of Occlumency and Leglimency. Remus- it was so obvious- Helga Hufflepuff; who was herself not of pure lineage- one who also was compassionate to those she found not treated equally, and wished for the well being and benefit of all, her heir walks among us. Hermione? Remus breathed, comprehension dawning on his face. He looked at the innocuous walking cane at Randalf s side. It was now all so clearHermione controlled the Halo of Life, Harry was the heir of Gryffindor, and commanded his sword- Randalf had the Staff and was a direct descendent of Rowenna Ravenclaw. And as for the other wizard, the missing link: Draco Malfoy was a summoner of the Infernus or in other words- the Reign of Fire! And the other wizard is Malfoy Indeed, Dumbledore said darkly, pulling on his beard.

Professor! Do you know what this means? What have we done? We pushed those two together, and now both of them are training together in the Auror division! The prophecy says that they will reunite as brothers in arms on the field of blood and sand . Are we too late?" Huh? What do you mean? Randalf said.

The two strongest are now known, as well as the ones who could stop this oncoming Armageddon. Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy are the heralded ones, while you- Dumbledore looked at his childhood friend solemnly - And a muggle-born girl at my school, Hermione Granger, are the ones to stop them. Solidus Gryffindor must be exorcised before Harry turns eighteen in July, or else all we have fought for will be for nothing. ****************

Rebecca Lestrange swam as fast as she could, watching in desperation as the Sea Veela took her men further and further away. The water was almost impossible to peer through, the viscousity thicker than usual. What was this spell? Putting the obstacles to the back of her mind, she dredged on without thought, only wanting to do her team proud. Harry had told her something that Alastor had once told her, and it touched her deeply that he, merely a young man at seventeen would have the place of mind and maturity so far beyond his years. I won t let anyone on my team die . If he could dedicate himself to others like that, then she will give her life for the cause as well. She would rescue them, no matter what. With a newfound fervour, she swam deeper into the murky depths of the underwater caves. Entering the large hole she last saw them enter, she swam for almost a minute in almost pitch-black darkness until she saw a bright light shimmering at the surface far above. Swimming determinedly towards the light, she chose to remain just under the surface until she could assess the situation. Point me, she ordered her wand, letting it guide her to her teammates. It aimed straight ahead, into that light above the surface. She broke the surface of the water, and took a quick look at her surroundings. It appeared that she was transported into a hidden palace; where white marble tiles and extravagant statues dominated throughout the sparse and spotless dcor. The seawater splashed harmlessly against the cool tiles of the bottom step of a wide stairway leading to an entrance. Rebecca Lestrange climbed out, and removed the bubblehead charm. Rapping her wand on herself, she disappeared into the background as the Disillusionment hex put her into her silent killing mode. Drawing her assassin s blade, she entered the building silently, the only sign of her presence the wet footsteps trailing behind her. ************** Sister, another female has dared enter our sanctuary, Anna said.

Yes, I have sensed her since she set foot inside. Who wants to do it? Hannah responded Wait- I think she habours feelings for the dark haired one- the one who we cannot see inside. There is something strange about him, a dual personality resides in him Anna mused. What are you saying? Anne interjected.

Maybe we could use her to break him he is not ready for the sacrificial mating as yet. I want all of his power, so he must release his hold on it. Anna explained. I volunteer to capture her, but I shall claim the spoils as well offered. Hannah

I want the blonde one- Anne declared. He is the coldest out of those four, I will make love to him until he gives his soul to me willingly. I

love the challenge. Well girls, this is it. I will take the raven -haired one- Anne the blond, and Hannah the woman and the two others. Remember we don t want to have to split anyone down the middle, it proved to make intercourse quite messy. So let s not quarrel this time, okay? Anna reasoned. Agreed. Sounds fair. Time to feed girls, bon apetit! The three Sirens giggled, and raced back to the main room, where each of the four men were chained unto the sparkling white floor, their limbs spread in a large X while beautiful slave girls fed them grapes, fruits and wine. On sight of their three masters, the enslaved women averted their eyes and immediately left the main love chamber. Don t you think the Irish slave looked at us too intently? Maybe she needs another session. She is fresh is she not? We need new stock, the muggle ships have been avoiding here for a long while now. Our last meal was from some of those Azkaban men, whose magic was so low that it wasn t even worth the swim to the surface. Ooh- remember Rodulphus? He was special, extraordinary. He was the first and only man to escape our clutches- If it were possible, I ll bed him for free. What a guy! She has reached the inner court. I will be back, Hannah said. Anne and Annah approached the two young men, both of them following their progress through glazed eyes. Let me go Draco said hoarsely, his brow covered in perspiration.

You are the resilient one, aren t you? Why can t you be more accepting like your friend over there? Anne said, straddling him and unbuttoning the clasp of his cloak. My my, young, fresh meat! How old are you, young warrior? Fuck you.. Draco forced through gritted teeth. Anne smiled seductively, pulling his bottom lip with the tip of her finger. Now, now- I ll ask nicely once again old are you? she said in dulcet tones, How

S-s-s even..teen.. Draco said unwillingly as his cloak and scar went sailing over her head. He forced his eyes shut, but the weight of her pressed against him was impossible to ignore. If he gave up now, there was no chance for any of them. He was probably the only one who could resist I HAVE HER! Hannah exclaimed- Rebecca Lestrange levitating in front of her, noticeably twitching as she tried to fight off the binding spell on her. It was so simple actuallyAVADA KEDAVRE! came a shout from a seemingly blank stretch of wall, a bright green flash shooting straight the Hannah. It caught her flush in

the chest- she screamed in agony, transforming into a disgusting multi-tentacle monster with the face of a woman, writhing and twitching until she collapsed in an inked filled puddle, slithering around in a squid like form. Just as Rebecca was about to curse another, Anne shrieked loudly, falling Rebecca with only the power of her voice. Rebecca screamed and her Clone spell disappeared instantly as she clasped both hands over her ears as she fell to the ground. I can t fail now, the Commander and the team needs me! Rebecca get up, even if you must endure the pain and go deaf- do so willingly and get the job done! Even through the piercing noise, Rebecca got up, her legs trembling. Shakily, she drew her blade once again, and ran off balance to the closest one, blood dripping out her ears. In the next instant, the other Siren disappeared and reappeared behind her. Anne grabbed her by her hair, yanking back on it with ferocity. Rebecca fell hard, the wind knocked out of her. Without warning, chains emerged from hidden compartments in the floor, wrapping around her wrists and ankles in a blink of an eye. Oh- so you thought you could enter our haven and challenge us? Anna, how is she? Anne looked at the pulsating mass of slimy tentacles and dark green body of their fallen sister. She s hurt badly, forced into reverting to our true form. How dare she! Let s kill her now! Anna said vehemently. No, no no, I rather we allow her men folk to watch her suffer first. With cool precision Anne took Rebecca s knife and slit open the front of her robes and tunic from neck to crotch. Another few precision cuts and Rebecca s uniform lay in neatly diced rags about her. Interesting. This is a hunter s weapon? Anne mused, watching the deadly curve of the blade. Excellent, whatever self regenerating spells you mortals use will not work against wounds inflicted by this masterpiece of a weapon. What s a pretty girl like you doing with such a horrible thing? she asked sweetly, then proceeded to gently probe her forearm with it until the tip pierced the skin. Rebecca s eyes grew wide as she felt the edge cut her skin, drawing a large pearl of blood. Wha-t what are you going to do to me? she asked fearfully.

I am going to cut you up, nice and slow, each one a little bigger than the last. Look here- you see-, this cut is barely a pinprick. Unfortunately for you, there is a lot of skin on a human body, and I have a lot of time to indulge in my fantasies. Here we goOnce again she prodded her skin, piercing the soft flesh a bit deeper this time. Rebecca tried to remain calm, but her heart was beating so fast she began to panic. My, your body is perfect. So smooth, such flawless skin, the pinnacle of youth. Oh I was young once as well, she said lightly, prodding her skin once more. How long do you think you will last, beautiful one? Rebecca sucked in her breath as she felt this one sink into her ribs. She would not scream, neither cry.

Brave sort aren t you? Again, deeper and larger this time, in her right shoulder. Rebecca would not show any signs of fear. She will endure until she figured out a waySister! Kill her! You do not know the fine arts of torture- the anticipation makes it so much sweeter, again, on the meet of her thigh, drawing the blade two centimetres down. Rebecca gasped, her skin clammy. You- you re going to die! She hissed vehemently at her captor.

Your strongest magic spell is only enough to injure. You mere mortals cannot slay us. Again she inserted the blade, this time in her bicep. And again- her stomach, and again here and again there, until the accumulative little cuts were slowly making a pattern on her skin, and each and every one was worse than the one before. Her whole being burned and screamed in protest as the sting multiplied tenfold with each new cut. She thought she could hold out, but after a half an hour had passed and her body was peppered with slices, her tears were running freely and she was begging her to stop. Please, no more she said through the haze of pain. She was covered in her own blood, pain shooting up at every nerve ending. The pain was bearable, but the thought of this lasting well into the night and the next day would drive her insane. You want a break? Very well- I will mate with your man in front of your face, and suck out his life force, making me younger, and more desirable than before! Then afterwards, I ll have my way with you. Enjoy the show darling You whore monster. Even if you kill me, I will haunt you and kill you in your sleep! Rebecca cursed her. Nothing you do will be able to kill me. We fear only death itself, and you, my bleeding one, is not him, Anne said smugly. Rebecca looked at her strangely, then at Potter, who was now in the same dazed stupor as the rest of them, totally enraptured in their spell. Didn t the report say that Karkaroff was scared to death by unnatural magic? She knew that Potter was many things- but could it be? She had to wake him up! Harry! she screamed. HARRY! she screamed again. No response. What could she expect, he didn t respond to her scream for the past ten minutes. Racking her brain- she remembered an offhand joke about Lucius Malfoy talking to her brother about trying to get the Sirens to join the dark lord. It s like the Imperius curse on your cock or so the legend goes. Would make a blast as a party joke huh? The Imperious Curse huh? Well the one way to counter it was a sudden spike in pain. She had a plan a desperate plan considering the odds, but she had no choice. She focused on Draco Malfoy, his sneering face, and his callous

attitude towards how he killed Alastor. Her Alastor, the only one who ever loved her, and the only person who she referred to as father . Summoning all of her hate, she drew her breath, and shouted in their general direction: CRUCIO! Both Sirens turned about at the deep sounds, watching her quizzically. At first, there was a baffled look on their face, but a second later, the brightly lit palace went dark, and the temperature rose dramatically. There were the sounds of popping chains, and the shuffling of two pairs of feet. About time, Draco s voice growled, two spots of flame hovering against the darkness. Lestrange, next time, use your head. Potter, what s the call? You or me? Harry was watching the bloodied mess that was Rebecca Lestrange. Inside, he felt a rising turmoil. There was a force stronger than him gaining ground on his soul. Both men stood to their full height, watching the Sirens slink away in fear. Who is the one who did that to her? Stand forward and reveal yourself. No sister, don t! Anna said fearfully. You . It can t no

What are you? the other asked in fearful curiosity. - It is you! How are you still alive?

I am not surprised you remember me. After all- I was the one who destroyed your heathen woman clan and their ungodly ways. I should never have left you three alive. No matterHarry took one step forward, and grabbed her fist. This time, die by your own hand he forced the blade clutched in her grasp into her own chest- the anti magical weapon sinking deep into her heart. No! Why are you doing this? Draco took an involuntary step back. The siren died right there on the spot, her eyes going blank as she crumpled at his feet. Pulling out the blade, he wiped it clean on her skin. Anna was frozen to the spot, not daring to move. Harry walked passed her without further notice, and stooped near to Rebecca Lestrange. Drawing his wand, he tapped the chains binding her, and covered her with his cloak of the Order of the Phoenix. Free the others, he ordered to no one in particular. Anna nervously waved her fingers, and the chains disappeared. Come- we are leaving, he ordered Draco and the other men, cradling Rebecca in his arms. Her blood was soaking into his cloak, and he looked down at her numerous injuries. Draco Malfoy helped the two other men to their feet, and Harry closed his eyes for a second. The room felt as if it was closing in around them. Draco s breathing became laboured- then suddenly he felt a strong pull from behind his navel. He tumbled to his knees, they were back on the top of Siren s rock, their broomsticks still there where they left them. Harry closed his eyes briefly, and when they reopened, they were back to normal. There it isthe island fort off Siren s rock. We need to set up our Portkey station, and get her some attention as soon as possible. She s passed out. The

teleportation took too much out of her. Draco just stared at Harry, his expression blank. He came up close to him, and said in his ear: Bloody hell, Potter! How can you be so, normal about this? Don t you feel anything? Harry just looked at Rebecca, another person who had to pay for stupidity. He should have prepared his team better. Now the two were severely traumatized, and she was physically incapacitated magical wounds. They would not be easily treated. Hopefully, he able to get Hermione to help. his others by anti would be

I- I just leave it alone, Malfoy. We have a job to do. Let me handle my own problems, Harry said softly. You need to check that out. It s getting scarier every time, Harry nodded to get him off his back Draco said.

When we set up base, return here with a proper Deafening Hex and destroy this entire rock. Use your Volcano spell. Harry tapped his foot on the stone beneath his feet. Come on, I need to get her to St. Mungo s. DeFontaine, Warshire, don t worry, you ll be home soon.

*************** Author's note: I shall be continuing with the never before seen chapter and posting it soon. After a short hiatus, Nedved is back in business. Respect!

Chapter 19: The Dark Sons of Magic [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

**CHAPTER 19: The Dark Sons of Magic**

Do you feel it? Feel what? Harry responded.

The Veil s power. Draco s memories shot back to two years ago- when he had come here to face Voldemort. It was damn close that night, he continued, walking alongside him through the halls of the abandoned fortress. The main hall was just as he remembered, weeds sprouting through the cracks in the floor, a missing block here and there in the wallsrusted suits of armour and cannon barrels left scattered about to rot; a medieval graveyard. Harry remembered far too well what happened that fateful night on his

sixteenth birthday. The Avada kedavra the flash of green- the paralyzing effect on his heart...Voldemort had won. If it weren t for Hermione and the Halo I actually died that night. It was more than just 'close' Yeah. I still have nightmares about this place. Come on- Harry said tersely, changing topic. The mid-afternoon sun peeked through the square windows high on the wall, and dust floated through the air as the two men marched towards the internal center courtyard. With each passing step- the whispers of lost souls echoed into their heads, encouraging them to revel in their torment of the damned. Draco hesitated. Harry took a few more strides before he realized something was wrong. What? I can...hear them Yeah. So can I. Come on, Harry said a bit irritably.

..Yes, young Malfoy you can hear them. So did I and with a little bit of my assistance...the power of the dead can also be yours Got a bad feeling about this, Draco muttered, ignoring the voice of the Lord Voldemort whispering to him. He was not going insane. Since when do we ever have the easy stuff to do? Quit stalling- let s check it out, that s what we re here for. Harry pushed open the door to the main courtyard- the sunlight streaming directly into this face. He shaded his eyes from the sun, squinting as they slowly readjusted to the difference in light. There, just as it was that horrific night two years ago- stood the Veil of the Unknown , apparently unaffected by the conditions. An image flashed before him- Voldemort, welcoming him and Malfoy, his arms splayed high as he displayed his prized captives- the entire Order of the Phoenix, floating high above the Veil. Look- this is where I used the Eruptus summon, Draco peered down into a whole about six feet in diameter- it s bottomless depth giving the impression of a pathway to hell. He grinned. Oh, and there s your signature, he pointed. Harry looked at the huge crater near the wall, about twenty-five feet wide and about ten feet deep. Rubble was spewed about in huge blocks of stone and mortar, grass already sprouting from the soil underneath. This is where they had settled their first duel to the death. Harry walked over to the edge of the crater, and peered down. At the bottom was a gasha gash that he knew would fit the blade of Gryffindor perfectly. It was the hole left from where he had sent Voldemort to his doom; piercing him right through his chest. Harry began to laugh. Draco looked at him incredulously. What s so funny? Draco demanded. Had Potter completely lost it? This was where he defeated Voldemort! I sent him to hell once. I would never have thought that they would spit him back out, Harry said solemnly. Not even a whole year later- he came

back to life. Is he immortal? Is he really, and finally, dead? Harry asked himself, looking pensively at the bottom of the crater. Draco was about to respond when a voice stopped him. ha ha ha ha.. He scrunched his eyes, and took a deep breath. He was not going insane. Of course, Draco said easily, knocking him once on the forehead. Harry flinched; watching him as if he was going crazy to even think about, far less actually touch him. No scar, golden boy. Do I need to spell it out for you? He is dead. Am I?.. Yeah- I know... Harry began, absently kicking a rock into the hole. It s just he seemed unstoppable for all those years, almost invincible. The Avada kedavra curse rebounded unto him, yet he didn t die. What do you do when not even death itself can stop such a man? Seventeen years Malfoy he returned from the dead three times already. I don t know, I feel ...uneasy. Draco just scoffed at him. Do you see what s behind us? It s the fucking Veil of Death! Of course you ll feel uneasy- that s the Ministry s gallows! Draco folded his arms and sneered. Hmph. For the S.T.A.R. Elite...you re not so smart, you know that, Potter? Harry ignored him, his hair blowing in the wind as he peered into the crater. He s right. He s not immortal. No one is. So are we ready? Do we set up the Portkey station? Not yet. Give me a fire- I ve got to talk to someone. Let us confirm our findings to Kingsley. Draco nodded, and summoned forth a fire to burn merrily in the stones of the rubble. Harry dug in his pouch, and produced a small parcel. Untying it, he threw some of the green floo powder into the flames. Ministry of Magic- Auror Division! brightly. he commanded, and the flames sparked

Welcome to the Ministry of Magic. Please give your authorization code for direct Auror Services, said the female voice belonging to the Ministry building. S.T.A.R. Elite Commander Potter, Class 2 clearance. Code 5-5-6-7-9-3. Patch me in to Kingsley, Harry said in a clear voice. Very well, Commander. Please hold. Draco tapped his shoe impatiently as the flames danced aimlessly for a few seconds. Why do we need to call him? Draco asked irritably. All we have to do is set up the Portkey station, and get the fuck out of here. Harry didn t even turn his head as he responded in a soft voice. I want to ask a favour of the ministry. What s tha- Draco began, but was cut off by the head appearing in the fires. Kingsley here. Potter, what is the status? the flames. Kingsley s head appeared in

We have our Objective- the Veil is here. As for the structure itself, it is somewhat run down, but the building s foundation is still good. It ll serve well as a replacement detention center. Good. Where are the others? They need medical attention, three have suffered injuries. Kingsley said. Harry s face dropped a bit. Harry began, his voice dropping. All

I ll send a unit right away- Kingsley began. No, Wait- I ..I need a favour, Harry cut him off. There s no need for them to come here. Just send the M.A.R.S. officials and the Ergomancers* to set up shop here for the moment. The medical unit is not required, You don t need a healer unit? So what do you want?

sir.

I d like an escort for Miss Hermione Granger to St Mungo s. Please owl Deputy Headmistress Pompfrey and tell her that I ll need her student for a few days to treat one of ours. Wait a moment. Granger ? Hermione Granger? Why do we need her?

She has a unique healing ability- she controls magic dealing with the essence of life. She s a Divine Summoner.. A Divine Summoner, you say? Kingsley asked, impressed.

I ll need . I ll need a full battalion to accompany me to Hogwarts A full Battalion? Kingsley asked, amazed. Forty-two Aurors? Why? Is there danger? Kingsley was astounded, his eyes opening wide. I m not taking any chances. It seems that Voldemort s men have targeted her. Unfortunately, I cannot protect her by myself in my present condition, Harry confessed. Facing the Dementors and being under the Siren s spell for so long had him feeling completely drained. Not to mention Solidus presence creating a persistent fatigue in his mind. I m sending Malfoy here to deal with the immediate threat to well er... anyone who comes near here, and then he will oversee the setting up of the Portkey stations- he looked across to him meaningfully. Draco nodded, a bit disgruntled- that meant he was stuck here for a few more days at least. But he knew why Harry was doing this. He felt personally responsible for his teammates conditions, and felt compelled to make sure that they were seen after. I will transport Warshire, DeFontaine and Lestrange to St. Mungo s. After that, tell your men to report to me at the Ministry of Magic. Kingsley frowned at that piece of information, but eventually nodded. If Harry said he thought she was a target and he could not protect her at the moment, he ll trust his instincts. Done. There was another moment s silence. Kingsley was studying Harry s expression. Something was seriously wrong. Potter, what happened to them? Kingsley asked softly. Sir, ah- severe Dementor trauma and an hour long duration of Siren s Curse on Sol and Steven. Rebecca is in a bad way. She lost a significant amount of blood and definitely nerve damage. All three are in temporary stasis wards for the time being. Sol and Steven are not too badly off, but

Agent Lestrange is in critical condition. How did it happen? She was physically tortured. Another tense silence ensued. I see. I ll get your escort for you. Harry nodded briefly, Kingsley s cool demeanor cutting him to the core. For some reason, Harry wanted to apologise, even though they were all professionals and knew the risks every time they went on the job. But, in both missions under his command, Rebecca was almost killed. Harry knew the Auror Division Master had an almost fatherly connection with her since Alastor died, but never was allowed to show it due to the nature of the profession. Harry didn t know what to say. ErHarry began. Kingsley s face darkened.

She knew the risks. I ll expect your report by Thursday, he said, cutting the conversation short. Harry ran his hands through his hair as the flames died down. Fuck, Harry cursed, rubbing his face with his hand. Draco once again surveyed the Veil of the Unknown, his blond hair whipping in front of his face as grey clouds brewed high above. He looked up to the sky. A storm was coming. If she used her head, she would have known that she would have a better chance in defeating them if she got us freed first. Lestrange rushed in there like an idiot, blasting away without a planMalfoy, Harry said in a warning tone. She jeopardized her safety for ours. Be grateful you are alive. Just go- and burn it down, the whole fucking reef. I don t care how you do it. When you return, I m leaving you in charge here. Archibald Silas is the main Ergomancer from the Unmentionable division- he ll begin the preparations when he reaches. He s the man in charge of lingering Curses and Blight Casualties at St. Mungo s. Tell him that the M.A.R.S. team will come and discuss the drawing up of the plans for the new detention facility. You re going back to London, then. Yes, Harry said tiredly.

What about the muggle slaves? Draco asked, probing the waters. Harry thought about it for a few seconds. Rescue who you can. It will be difficult to infiltrate again, though. Harry s brow creased at the memory of what they did to Rebecca. He couldn t possibly forgive them. Forget that. Your priority is to destroy Siren s rock. If there is resistance, take no prisoners, Harry said reluctantly. Now you re talking my language, Draco grinned, and took off on his broom. Harry watched him go, his shoulders feeling heavy with the amount of responsibilities weighing on him. Picking up an oddly shaped rock, he pulled out his wand and rapped it, creating the first point of the Portkey station.

Portus! There. All he needed to do now was to go back to London and create other point of the initial loop. From there on, the M.A.R.S. team would be able to produce a substantial network of Portkeys and Floo Fires. He was dead tired, almost on the verge of collapse. The adrenaline had long since worn off, and now he was on his last legs. Walking back out of the abandoned fort, he approached the three remaining members of his team. All were glowing in a hazy blue cocoon, each in their own medical stasis field. Levitating them all into arms reach, Harry took up a sharp rock and encircled the three bodies on the floor of the outer courtyard. Using his little circle as an average, he began his Teleportation spell. Crouching low, he closed his eyes, feeling the circle constrict around him. Sensing the proximity of the three unconscious bodies next to him- he felt his magic spike, then breathing became difficult. The air around him imploded, and they were gone.

*Ergomancer- Sorcerer specializing in Magical Biology and Long term Spell wards. Notorious for their ability to Siphon out magic from deluded criminals. *********************** On the other side of the world, three powerful wizards were having a grand feast. The one seated in the middle took a moment from chewing on his food, contemplating his next move carefully. We leave tonight, Albus, Randalf Ravenclaw said discreetly, tilting back another gulp from his mug. The village festival was in full swing, and Randalf, Remus and Professir Dumbledore were seated at the middle of the long dining table, watching on with rapt interest at the dance show on display. The dancers moved on cue to the huge drums of the Amazon, the huge bonfire setting aglow the lithe bodies of the young men and women who flipped and twirled on their hands in their age old mixture of dance and martial arts. Music rang through the jungle village, and Remus Lupin was completely blown away by the agility of these people and their love for dance and song. He grinned, taking another sip of his drink. Turning to his left, he saw something flash between the two wizards next to him, and deduced that they had agreed on their departure time. Under cover of the quarter moon is the best time. When the wine and food is nearing its completion, we will leave by the south west exit. Agreed. Will you say goodbye to them? Albus asked, nodding at the men and women who Randalf considered his family. He shook his head. You know me, not a very good one at saying goodbyes... Randalf chuckled.

You ll come back, don t worry. Remus encouraged. Randalf looked at him amusedly. I doubt it. But who knows Oh, and another thing Dumbledore-

What is it? What do you think of flying coach? What? By jet? Remus said. Randalf chuckled.

If you speak of using the airplanes, I have never had the experience of doing so, Dumbledore mused, his eyes twinkling. Well, I totally failed my apparation exam way back when, so guess coach it is! Ravenclaw laughed, and once again attacked his food, eating and drinking to his hearts delight. Come, the time for departure is not nowlet us eat, and let me say goodbye to Brazil in the proper way, by celebrating its people! he laughed, and clapped as the combatants flipped and kicked at each other, their dance totally in sync to the beat of the drums. ********************** She stood there alone, unafraid. His presence was unmistakable, even at this far distance. Now that he was back to full strength, she could feel his magic potential screaming at her. She could not believe how foolish she and her sisters were, trying to capture one such as him. And the frightening thing about it, he wasn t even the strongest one in their group. He hovered there, looking down at her with an almost pitiful expression. Anne knew that only her words would spare her tonight. Wait. I knew you d come back. Are you here to finish what he has started? It depends. Depends on what, m'lord? Draco grinned. That was a good response. The sole survivor of the three sirens knew when she was beaten. When he arrived here and saw her wearing a long cloak he knew that she was aware of his purpose. He alighted on Siren s Rock, his cloak buffeting in the wind. Pulling back his long blonde hair, he draped the hood of his Combat robes over his head. On your next choice. Do you wish to live, or do you want to die? Kiss the ring on my finger, and swear your allegiance to me. Anna curtsied, and knelt down on the sharp stones on Siren s rock, her head bowed low. She took his hand, and kissed the ring on his middle finger. I swear loyalty to you, m'lord. Will you show leniency and spare my Give me your right arm, Draco commanded. Be grateful. I have chosen you to be the first of many, Draco said, eyeing her deceptive beauty. Staring into her baby blue eyes, Draco s eyes burned as the Infernus came to life. There was a small trail of smoke, and a sudden intake of breath as Anna hissed in pain. An ugly red blotch appeared on her forearm, and she looked down at it. There was a dark outline of an indecipherable symbol, a new

life?

tattoo burnt into her skin. It was a lopsided seven-pointed star with a flame symbol in the heart of it. What is it? She asked fearfully.

It is the seal of the Infernus. When I summon you, you are to come immediately. If you value your life, do not stay here. Draco ordered, turning his back to her. Where am I to go? I cannot apparate! she pleaded.

Well, start swimming, he said calmly, raising his arms to the sky. Outstretching his fingers to the sun, he breathed in deeply, drawing magic from the very air around him. The ocean wind disappeared, the waves unnaturally still as the ambient temperature skyrocketed. His fingers began to glow red, then both arms ignited in fire. Slowly harnessing the power of the sun, he brought his palms down together in prayer. Inciendo Eruptus Maxima! The ground beneath Anna s feet began to tremble, then shake violently. Draco stood there motionless, his eyes closed as he felt magic swirling all about him. The waves began to crash into each other as underwater tremors disrupted the natural flow of the tides. His hood blew off from his head, the dark cloak splaying wide with the unnatural magic. Anna froze as she watched the blonde man s hair come alive, his arms ablaze as the earthquake grew stronger and stronger. Without any more encouragement, she jumped into the sea and began to swim away. Draco grabbed his broomstick and took off into the sky, heading back towards the desolate island fort. Minutes later, as Draco descended; the whole top of the underwater mountain blew off with an ear bursting explosion, spewing molten lava miles into the air. The entire sky turned red, and Draco grinned as the black snow began to fall. The thick smoke danced in the sky, casting the afternoon into a hellish red haze. Draco stared up at the towering fountain of molten rock, reveling in its ferocity. Beautiful. ********************** It was nightfall back in London. Harry was walking the streets wearily, the cloak of the Order of the Phoenix folded in two and draped over his arm. To the untrained eye, his appearance was as almost neat and immaculate as if it were the beginning of the day. His combat trousers were tucked neatly into his Dragonhide boots, and the few wrinkles on his tunic were barely visible. However, in the darkness of night, he could not be easily recognised behind the thick scarf around his neck, and his unruly black hair blocked off a good look at his face. His eyes were hollow from exhaustion, the sickly pallor on his skin a telltale sign of fatigue. Only a few blocks separated St Mungo s from the Ministry of Magic, and even that felt like miles. After teleporting the four of them over such a large distance, he wanted to pass out. Sol and

Steven were already being treated, but Rebecca Lestrange was a completely different matter. They already had her in a Murtlap tank, floating limply in the healing liquid. He would go to the office, and crash there for tonight. Come tomorrow, he ll head back to Hogwarts.

******************* Albus Dumbledore gripped the armrests tightly, his nervousness causing the lights to flicker once or twice. Remus couldn t help but smile. Professor, are you okay? Why yes, I m fine, for landing. Dumbledore smiled, his knuckles white as they went in Remus snickered.

You re looking kind of pale-

On, it is nothing, Dumbledore gritted through his teeth. Just a bit, speculative of a metal bird three hundred feet in length actually flying.. We re nearly there- look, you see the river? We re back home. And not a moment too soon, eh Randalf. Oh dear, What? Remus grinned. He s still asleep Dumbledore mused.

Indeed. He was infamous for being able to sleep through all of his classes yet still ace every exam. I was quite jealous in my youth. Well, better wake him up. We re here Remus, I just hope we are not too late Dumbledore said, letting his nerves ease as they finally touched ground. He is never going back on one of those things again. ********************** Harry did not sleep well. The calming draught he used to sleep was at Sirius manor, and none were available at the Ministry of magic. He got up from the couch in the Auror lounge, his whole body feeling battered and depleted. By the chill of the morning air, he knew that dawn had not even fully arrived yet. Grabbing another spare uniform and a towel from his locker, he went to the gym to shower and change. After dressing, he looked at the clock on his way out. It cloak, then wrapping his father stepped out into the main hall, Jeremy Kingsley. He never would Atten- HUT! read six thirty. Donning the Ministry s s cloak like a cape around that, he hoping to use the floo fires to contact have expected to see this.

Harry froze, still not believing it. Nearly four hundred men and women were there, neatly lined up in parade ground military formation. All of them were Aurors, and they were divided up into different sections, each having a slightly different insignia and piece of apparel to identify their group from the others. All the Auror division heads were there, Healer Division Captain Frederick Smethwyck; Combat Division Sergeant Warren Jacobsen ( Drill Sergeant Jacobsen as they nicknamed him); The Magical Accidental Reversal Squad ( M.A.R.S.) Captain Phil Abbott; Unmentionables Mystery man (they all wore scarves that covered up to their nose and wore hats that were pulled low over their eyes) Archibald Silas; Hex and Curse Control (H.A.C.K.) Lead investigator Romeo Delacour was also there; Beastmaster Captain Antoine Ulysses and his men were here, and to his even further surprise, Ministry Security Division Commander Ulrich Ferdinand also had his battalion assembled. All of the Division Commanders were standing at attention in front of their respective group, their eyes looking straight ahead, each and every one of their men in full dress uniform. Their parade ground formations were perfect, the military display of power a sharp contrast to the flowery artwork and welcoming decor scattered about in the main hall of the Ministry of Magic. Jeremy Kingsley walked forward to Harry casually, a sleepy expression on his face. Kingsley, what is going on here? Harry whispered, his palms clasped behind his back, trying to hide his nervousness. Well, I just gave an open invitation to the Auror divisions; a little memo stating that the S.TA.R. Commander wanted an escort to accompany him. Seems that a few people were willing, eh? A few? I knew I said I wanted a battalion, but the entire Auror fleet?! Harry hissed softly, his face not giving away that he was indeed still shocked out of his mind. Don t be surprised, the Elite isn t called that for sport. Any one of these guys here would kill for a position in the Special Tactics squadron. Considering that you guys are the most respected division despite your numbers, I don t blame them. These opportunities are few and far between for them. I didn t have the heart to send anyone back to cause inter-department animosity- he waved his arm in the general direction of the assembly- so here you are. I ll leave the nit picking up to you, Kingsley chuckled. Is this a joke? No. It s dead serious. You have the authority to command any, or all, of these divisions at any given time, including the regular police who outnumber the Aurors ten to one. That is what your role is in the time of war- you command the military might of the British Ministry of Magic as their Field commander. And as of now, we are at war with the Azkaban escapees. Diggory wants all of her resources at her disposal at the blink of an eye; she says it s no use having all of these divisions and they don t do anything Kingsley shrugged. Seven divisions, roughly four hundred and sixteen Aurors. And if need be- the Lionheart and Four Leaf

Institutes

graduates could also be drafted in to fight.

Harry let that soak in. And here he thought he needed a favour from Kingsley to assemble an escort. All right, he ll know what he ll do. Clasping the Cloak of the Order of the Phoenix around his Ministry uniform, he strode forward purposefully. He went up to the first Commander, Frederick Smethwyck of the Healer Division. Give me your top five healers. Arch mage class and above. Yes, Commander! Smethwyck saluted him. In a clear voice he called out the five names. Ross! Clearwater! Julien! Emmanuel! Simmons! Two wizards and three witches stepped forward, saluting the Commander as he walked past. Harry nodded, and went over to his combat Drill Instructor. He gave him a grim smile. Commander, it is good to see you. It seems my training has paid off, Jacobsen smiled, congratulating his top student. So it has, Sergeant, so it has. You know my standards. I want ten of your best men. Done- Red team! You heard the man! Get in gear! he barked, and ten out of the forty in his group stepped forward. Harry was pleasantly surprised to see Nymphadora Tonks wearing the squad leader s armband. She smiled back at him. Harry nodded, and then kept walking, his hands clasped behind his back as he inspected the other divisions. Taking three here, two from the next, five from fifth division, and six each from the last two, he finally had his escort. Come with me, he ordered, and the thirty-two Aurors followed him. Three of our comrades have taken serious injury while in combat, and their wounds cannot be healed by conventional magical ways. I know of a specialist healer who will be able to help. We need to retrieve and escort her to St Mungo s and provide twenty four hour security while she is there. So what s the catch, Commander? Lillian Kelsing, a former S.T.A.R. trainee asked. She was now a junior member in Nymphadora s Red combat Unfortunately, she has been targeted by Voldemort s men. During their autopsy Rogue agent Ryan Mulciber as well as the Death Eater Karkaroff were reported to have been hexed with the Omni spell. We must assume that what they saw before their deaths, the enemy also has seen through the use of a Crystall ball. We know some very powerful Dark wizards have been keeping an eye on me, therefore, they may even have knowledge of this incursion. He eyed each of them, silently warning them that they could be under surveillance. They have tried more than once to capture her, so by now they obviously already know her potential. On top of that, apparently a dark wizard named Ash has managed to produce four Elemental Magii, all of whom are extremely dangerous. I personally dueled with one, and was lucky to come out of it alive. Elementals? mean MalfTonks asked, a knowing look on her face. Do you

team.

No- right now Agent Malfoy is leading the operation concerning the construction of the new detention center. This will be a routine escort mission. The enemy is powerful, and I have a suspicion they will try to attack our V.I.P. if she leaves without an escort. That s where we come in. Nymphadora shook her head disbelievingly. Agent Malfoy? When did this happen? Tonks asked, a knowing look on her face. The order wanted him observed, but, he was made a Specialist? That was a bit much Yes, Agent Malfoy. Any more questions? someone asked from the back.

Yeah. Who is this healer person?

A student at Hogwarts, Hermione Granger.

******************** In a small abandoned house in Little Winging, Surrey, a pretty bored wizard got a major source of excitement- like a shock of pure ether to the system. This information had to be perfect! Exceptional timing! He was now thinking about his little newfound bride-to-be, and how he was going to get her. He couldn t let this chance go to waste. Without hesitation, he concocted a plan. Mac! Come and hear this! Macnair! Where are you? he shouted up the stairs. Rodulphus Lestrange was peering avidly into his crystal ball. Oh, how sweet it was! The man in question trudged sleepily down the staircase, yawning widely. He was bareback, and the battle scars he had accumulated over the years he wore proudly, a true supporter of the Dark Lord. He went the distance, and lived to tell the tale. What is it now? I have some interesting information, Rodulphus teased, smiling knowingly at his comrade. He ll play this two ways, and come out with his prize bride. Hopefully Macnair would fall- well, go along with his little plan. Your mudblood fetish, remember her? Macnair s ears immediately perked. Aye, what about her? Macnair invited.

It seems that she is to be escorted from Hogwarts to St Mungo s, it seems that Potter s team, he smiled, Including himself, have been injured and want her to use her strange magic, I am assuming she still has the Halo of Life- to heal them. Macnair assimilated that piece of information, pretty sure where he was going with this. Should we attack? Need you ask? Rodulphus grinned. I remember you promised to and I open

quote: screw her brains out end quote, that night back in Hogsmeade, didn t you? Well, now that Potter is injured, this could be your one good chance at her. A few Regulars? We used to have them for lunch before, and now that Moody isn t around any more, even easier pickings. How s Frosty? You don t meanOf course! How often do muggles get to witness a Dragon in the middle of London? She ll be the excellent diversion, and the shock factor will give us the edge. He peered into the crystal ball again. Utterly clueless, he remarked, laughing at the congregation of aurors speaking to the young man in the Ministry of Magic. I count- er about thirty-something of them. As I said, piece of cake. Heh- well for me that is. I ll have a new bride by the end of the day. Hopefully he will live long enough to spot Potter in the crowd. Rodulphus Lestrange smiled evilly. Hopefully. What is in it for you? Macnair asked, suspicious of this new scheme.

I m just giving a good friend an opportunity to fulfill his fantasies. Won t you do the same for me? Macnair smiled evilly. I don t think so. You have a point, my good friend, Macnair said sarcastically.

Well! It s settled then. Off you go- it s a bit of chill at Greenland. Grab your coat and bring her back- Sweet little miss Granger is waiting. I know you had a lot of fun playing with yourself after you saw Karkaroff with her in his grasp, almost naked (I must add) you sick, old man, Lestrange laughed, smacking his thigh with his palm. Macnair instantly reddened with rage. He wanted nothing more than to kill him right now. But that is all he could do- wish. Now that there was no longer a leash restraining him, Rodulphus Lestrange was probably the most cunning wizard he has ever met. That s why he was highly suspicious of these newfound developments. However, he was getting bored these days, and if he could get his hands on that mudblood, he ll have found himself a new toy to keep him occupied. ***************************

Ah- back at last. It has been what- nearly twelve decades? Or thirteen? Randalf asked his old school friend as they walked into the halls of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Remus and Dumbledore were dead tired. After riding in a rented car with Randalf at the wheel, the winding roads into Scotland felt like the roller coaster ride form hell. It seems the word brake was a foreign to the wily old wizard.

It s just as I remembered! Nothing has changed, not one bit-

And who may this be- whitey white hair and muggle clothes to wear? Peeves the Poltergeist shrieked. He threw a bottle of ink at him, hoping to greet their newcomer with a bit of colour. Randalf simply smiled, and the next instant, the bottle feel lifelessly to the ground, all of the ink dripping down Peeves, even in his phantom form. Peeves shrieked, bawling at his soiled clothes. Never before has a physical object ever interacted with him. He was usually the one doing the 'interacting'. Remus eyes bulged. Ravenclaw was indeed powerful, without a wand or even a spoken incantation; he made that ink cross the threshold of the physical plane to the supernatural, giving Peeves a does of his own medicine. As far as he knew, not even Dumbledore could do that. Ah- the current poltergeist is more of a troublemaker than a real demon isn t he, Albus? Well at least that has changed for the better. Is the Baron still around? He plays a mean game of chess! Yes, he is still here, Dumbledore smiled. Come, I am sure you are tired, let me show you to your quarters, Dumbledore offered. Just then, Hagrid came barging through the door. PROFESSOR! I thought it was you! Good thing you re back, your timing is perfec ! Something s fishy goin on. There s a whole contingent of Aurors coming up the hill. Thought I might give ye a warning! he panted, obviously winded from running non-stop up the slope. A warning? We have nothing to hide- let them come, Dumbledore said easily, snapping his fingers. Their travel bags disappeared, and Dumbledore s and Remus muggle clothes changed back into their usual Headmaster and Teacher s garments. It seems that the students are coming down for breakfast. You are right Hagrid, we did arrive just in time. He s here, Randalf said, his voice deadly serious. Without warning, his muggle shirt and tie changed into the robes of a Grandmaster Magi; the black billowing sleeves and multi-layered cloak draping him impressively, a regal pointed hat completing the look as it manifested on his head. He is coming as we speak, he gritted through his teeth. I knew it would come down to this- but so soon? Dumbledore- are you ready? What are you talking about? Remus asked, uneasy by this sudden feeling of an incredible magic in the air. Don t you remember what I said? stop him The heir of Ravenclaw will be the one to

Wait a moment. We re here to try to prevent Solidus from taking over him, not to kill Harry! Remus contradicted. It would be quicker this wayRandalf, we are not going to attack Harry. Understood? We will try our best to help him, and no matter how long it takes, no matter how difficult it may seem; we will definitely succeed. But for now, do not mention your true purpose here. Let us see what he wants with the school, shall we? Dumbledore smiled. The main hall eventually began to fill with students; most welcoming the Headmaster back, while others noticeably stared at the white-haired man clad in black, tense as if ready for battle.

Kill Harry? Hagrid murmured, looking from one to another. What s going on ere? he asked angrily, his face frowning with suspicion. Professor! So glad to see you re back! said a female voice. Ravenclaw turned, and looked at the owner of that voice. Unconsciously, he took a step back, a bit too stunned too speak. What the? She s no ordinary witch- she has extraordinary magical ability Oh, Miss Granger, I d like you to meet someone. Hermione, this is Randalf, Randalf Ravencl- ahem- Ravenshire. Randy, this is Hermione Granger, head girl of Hogwarts. Good Morning, Mr. Ravenshire, Hermione greeted, offering her hand. Randy took it briefly, shaking her small hand once in a firm handshake. He smiled knowingly. Top of the morning to you, Miss Granger. You won t believe how good it is to finally meet you, he said charmingly, flashing her a smile. Hermione felt honoured that the professor spoke so highly of her. Thank you, will you be staying for a while or just visiting? in a welcoming manner. she asked

I think I might stick around for a bit, Randy said, glancing out of the halfway opened door. He could feel that presence even from a far distance. Potter radiated power like no other he has ever met. This girl also was extremely gifted, but it felt that she had a much tighter control on her abilities than he had. Dumbledore was right- if this was the Divine Summoner ; she was indeed a prodigy. At seventeen, the magic control and knowledge he was detecting from her was incredible. A few seconds into the introduction, Hermione felt something, a familiar presence. She looked immediately to the door, her face brightening considerably. Harry s here! Randy had to admit that he was impressed. She was also able to sense his presence form so far away. That means that both of their Occlumens ability were at such an acute level that detection and analysis were almost second nature to them. Her training was of a much higher level than simply image transfers, mind defense and memory alteration. It was similar to both of them having on a radar and they instinctively knew what caliber of wizard was in their presence, and if she wanted, he knew that she could communicate with each and every one of them. At that moment Ron walked over to them, coming across to talk to Hagrid. Hagrid! I forgot to tell you, how could I be so thick- Alfie needs another shot of Triscellin, but we have to order in some from Romania, Professor Mollineaux said that he didn t have anymore, and couldn t source any at Plexor s Potions, said there was a recent break in and the only way to get more was to order it directly Pardon me, Hagrid. Ron, I would like you to meet someone, Dumbledore interrupted. Ron turned, and looked at the stranger suspiciously. Those robes weren t ordinary robes- this guy was prepared to duel.

Who are you?

Ron blurted out, not even waiting for an introduction.

Randalf Ravenclaw sized up this tall red haired youth, and smiled. This man was the key. He knew he himself would only be the catalyst to set things right, but this boy would ultimately be the deciding factor. True champions were far and few in between. He knew that this particular meeting might one day be written down as a turning point in history, but he ll leave that for future historians. He was not here to use that aspect of the Sight. He was here to prevent the second fall of wizards, and the wizard and witch he had now been introduced to were important pieces in this game of chess. Randalf Ravenclaw smiled knowingly. Call me Randalf. You are Sir Ronald Weasley, one of the few remaining Knights of the Magi. A pleasure, he extended his hand, giving Ron a firm handshake. Ron was momentarily speechless. He smiled hesitantly, shaking his hand vigorously. Uh- yeah, well I guess you know me then. Er- thanks? said Ron. The hall was abuzz with activity now, most pointing and talking about the new wizard with the white hair standing in their midst. Ron looked across to Hermione, who at the moment, looked like she wanted to bolt outside the main hall. He turned and looked at the half-opened door, then back at her, then back again. Are you seeing something that I am not? Harry s here, actually here! Ron asked, puzzled. He s

Hermione explained, a smile brightening her face.

Oh. Joy, Ron said under his breath. He walked towards the door, Hermione at his side. At the bottom of the steps, Ron pulled to a stop. You got to be kidding me. Is that-!? Ron exclaimed. Hermione didn t know what to say. In front of a full battalion of Aurors, a lone wizard was coming up the hill, a dark hood covering his head, his multi-layered cloak covering him from shoulder to boots. A silver medallion hung at the center of his chest, and a Dark Blue scarf was wrapped around his mouth and chin. After a couple minutes of standing there, pretty dumbstruck, Ron and Hermione didn t even notice that quite a few more students had gathered on the steps behind them. The man in front stopped halfway up the ascent to Hogwarts, and the battalion halted immediately, their right boots crunching the stone underfoot in parade ground precision. He turned his head slightly to his left, nodding his head once. Immediately one of his men broke formation and approached the doors to Hogwarts. Dumbledore came forward, and took the rolled parchment from the man. The Auror bowed his head once and wordlessly went back down the hill, stepping back into line. Who is that? one of the Gryffindor third years asked, eyeing the man in front, trying to make out his features underneath his hood. What s going on here- is something wrong? Hannah Abbot asked.

Jeez- something s going down here. That s an Auror battalion-that it is, Seamus added. Wait- isn t that- his eyes bulged.

Albus Dumbledore read the message silently, his brow furrowing in thought. He glanced noticeably at Hermione. Come on up, don t be shy! Dumbledore called out, beckoning him up the hill. Without any more encouragement, Harry walked up the remainder of the way alone. As came up to Professor Dumbledore, Harry bowed slightly in greeting. Thank you for giving me an audience on such short notice. I assume you got the Ministry s owl? No, I m sorry, I only came back a few minutes ago. Madame Pompfrey has taken a much deserved rest this morning. I did not wish to wake her. Dumbledore nodded at the ensemble lower down the hill. Oh, I haven t seen this in a while. Why all the formalities? Dumbledore asked, a twinkle in his eyes. Harry s eyes crinkled in a smile, and without further ado- he raised his hands and pulled back his hood, and tugged down the scarf under his chin. Many of the students gasped in amazement. Harry chuckled softly at Dumbledore s comments. It s good to see you too, Professor, Harry grinned, shaking his hand. Dumbledore frowned slightly, his face full of concern. Hermione noticed it too- Harry looked very ill. Harry made eye contact with her, and both of their eyes locked for a few intense moments. Hermione tried to smile, but she knew something was wrong. His face was a mess, dark circles were underneath his eyes and his skin was looking unhealthy. Hermione could sense that his magical aura was quite low compared to before. Was he sick? Are you well? Dumbledore asked, his brow creasing as he studied his face. Harry nodded, smiling none to convincingly. Come, tell them to come inside. Let us have a little talk about this matter at hand. I m grateful for your time, but pertaining to their comfort- that won t be necessary, they can stay outside. As you wish. Well, I guess we can continue this in my office. Please, follow me. Thank you, Professor. Just give me a moment to tell them what going on. He strode back down the hill, and spoke in a low tone to the same man. After listening to him, the man saluted, and he in turn directed the Aurors to go ahead secure defensive positions on the grounds. After Harry and Dumbledore disappeared back into the castle, one lone Auror smiled. Rodulphus Lestrange chuckled, and pulled down his scarf from around his nose. Looking up at the immense towers of his alma mater, he grinned in anticipation. With all the activity going on, no one will notice just one missing student. He should have enough time to get in and out before anyone knew a damn thing, and by then, it would be too late. Luna oh Luna where are you . ********************

Author's note: Finally, back on track. It's been a while, haven't lost my touch! Please review and tell me what you appreciate it- and thank you to all you wonderful readers patience with me! It's been all uphill, but I can now say and roaring to go! Roar! Lol. Respect!~

hopefully I think. I'd for having that I am back

Chapter 20: Losing Luna Lovegood [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

**CHAPTER 20: Losing Luna Lovegood**

Unknown to everyone except one lone wizard, right here, in this very room, were the ones destined to change the future forever. Randalf Ravenclaw listened quietly as young Harry Potter told Albus Dumbledore, Remus Lupin, Hermione Granger, and himself about this excursion into London. Randalf scowled, he didn t like this one bit. So you re saying Diggory has set in place an array of Anti-Apparation wards in strategic places around the city? Dumbledore asked. Yes- there were too many instances of murders and other vicious acts done to muggles by the escapees recently. And since the bombing incident in Turkey, and the attacks in Oklahoma, Diggory has set in place her own anti- terrorism measures. The field is impenetrable- well, most of the time, Harry explained. Most of the time?? There s a system set up for the quick transport of detainees and convicted criminals. We send 'em off to a temporary detention center via a portkey gap for exactly eleven minutes, at exactly five minutes to seven. And it s a one-way trip- there is no magical access into London, period. So that's why we ve got to do it in the muggle fashiCouldn t you just take her? Randalf interrupted, his tone mildly inquisitive even though his eyes bored at the young man s face. But you managed to penetrate it to transport your colleagues home. His eyes narrowed. What sort of magic do you really possess? Harry turned, really sizing up this unknown wizard. Ravenshire, they said? All right. He didn t particularly like him on first meeting, but this stare he s been giving him gave him the willies. Harry couldn t remember the last time someone s stare gave him the willies. My -er- self portkey spell was inadvertently a test for the M.A.R.S. Division last night- I didn t know about the field per say. When I

breached it- it tripped off a huge chain of events that I had to sort out late into last night. But it was for the better because, I don t knowthey found out the potholes and so on, so they told the Secretary of Defense, Roman Helsinki, that two layers were needed- the first is a magical defense that blocks spells- be it apparation or porting, and a secondary barrier on top of that just in case that is breached. Diggory's taking this on pretty seriously... Typical of her. Who knows? Maybe the real threat is already on the inside Randalf said, a false humour in his voice. He looked once again at Harry, his eyes betraying his easy smile. Harry definitely did not like this man. What about Malfoy? Remus asked.

He s in charge at Sirens Rock for the moment with the initial set up of the new prison facility. In charge ? Dumbledore s eyes rose in mild surprise, something neither Hermione nor Harry had ever seen. Harry frowned slightly, nodding. Yeah, he reinforced. What? What is it?

Harry, I have to commend you on giving him direction and purpose, but even you must realize that Draco is unpredictable at best. Do you trust him? I may not like him, but he s my comrade. We have gotten each other out of a many, well, potentially fatal situations. I trust him, Harry said easily. What does he have to do with this? At this Randalf knew that this was serious. It has been foretold that once the two greatest of allies- yet now the most vicious of nemesis: Gryffindor and Slytherin, will reunite as brothers in arms on the field of blood and sand. He didn t need anymore confirmation of the prophecy than those words from Potter himself. It had begun. Oh, nothing, Dumbledore noted Ravenclaw s hostile behaviour, but did not comment nor indicate that anything was amiss. Well, Hermione, you have agreed to accompany him, and I have heard the reasons. When will you be leaving? Late this afternoon. Our vehicle convoy is stationed at Hogsmeade at the moment because we will be traveling on the road. Four of Nymphadora s team will be on broomsticks using the disillusionment hex when we approach the city outskirts. By the time we reach there, it will be nightfall, and our lookouts in the sky would be quite hard to spot, so we expect minimal muggle detection. Even if there is suspicion, we have our two Obliviator specialists from the Unmentionable squadron to quickly deal with it. Piece of cake. Dumbledore did not smile. Very well, Miss granger, you are excused from classes until you return. There s no hurry. You may go now and pack whatever you need. He nodded, motioning that the meeting was over. Everyone got up to leave, but as they were filtering out, Dumbledore called Harry back.

Potter, a moment, please. Harry, Hermione and Remus paused at the doorway, the way he called him registering as a bit strange. With a few shaky looks, Remus and Hermione left, following Randy who was already nearly at the bottom of the spiral staircase. Harry closed the door behind them, and turned to face his previous Headmaster. Yes? How are you feeling? Dumbledore asked, but in a literal sense. Harry knew better than to lie to him. Not good, sir. You look tired, Harry. Is there a reason why are you running yourself into the ground? What are you trying to prove? Dumbledore asked. Prove?- I- I.. I don t know what you mean. Your purpose, Harry. Something drives you beyond the mere call of duty. What is it? I want. .. Harry s memories raced back to what Remus told him the night of the attack at Lionheart, when Hermione was taken hostage. Hah! The only way to stop this is if you could wipe the face of evil off the entire planet . I want for everyone to be safe. And by that, do you mean Hermione? Yes, her included. You are but one man, Harry. Don t wear yourself out, life is too precious to waste, Dumbledore said. I know that, but .. it s a hard job. I m still getting used to giving out commands, all of it is new to me, Harry sighed. The escapees have been popping up everywhere, we need to get this campaign going. And I will do what I must, for everyone s sake. Something happened to you that night at Lionheart, something very serious, I know. But heed my words; do not make this a personal war. That will only destroy everything you love. Harry listened to his old headmaster, knowing what he was saying was right. If he made this a personal vendetta, he ll have no control left over the circumstances of his life. I understand. What I still fail to fully understand, is the reasoning behind so many Aurors on escort. A smaller, more tightly knit group would have been better in these circumstances. Too many Aurors in one area is going to spark unnecessary attention. Maybe only the both of you would have sufficed. Honestly, I m in no condition to protect her alone. But that is beside the point, everything here sort of ties in with the campaign. In reality,

this is a sting operation that I have been planning ever since I was appointed to this position. Don t you think it s highly suspicious that Voldemort always had one up on us? Too many tactical missions had been botched due to leaked information. Prime example- the abduction of Draco Malfoy and the subsequent stealing of some of his abilities, and the fact that I would be escorting the Hogwarts express earlier this year. Someone in the ministry fed Ash this information and my whereabouts- and now we have a lead with the scientist William Hargreaves, who, not coincidentally, has gone missing. There are others. Ryan Mulciber and Igor Karkaroff were hexed with the Omni curse when we dueled, and we suspect that many more in the ministry have been also been leaking information, knowingly or unknowingly. It s a huge mess of potholes and a lack of confidentiality. I m sure if we can weed out a mole alive, we can interrogate them to find out who are in the higher tiers- the ones masterminding these attacks. Are you meaning to tell me that you expect something to happen? Unfortunately, yes. And you dare take her into it? Dumbledore said quietly.

Oh no- it s not like that, she is definitely needed to help the treatment of my field agent. Lestrange s been cut up severely with a Hunter s blade. No normal magic could help her. This is still an escort mission, but there are plans in motion running at the same time to pinpoint a leak to ensure tighter security within the Ministry as well. You are placing my student into danger, Harry. rising. Dumbledore s temper was

She s my girlfriend as well. I will make sure no harm comes to her. Harry smiled a half smile. There was still more to this situation. We have measures to ensure that she would not be targeted. He began telling Dumbledore of the secret plans. *********************** Love, are you sure about this? I mean- our baby...do you think everything will be okay? Remus asked softly, holding his fianc in his arms. Nymphadora Tonks smiled at him, nodding with a firm conviction. I trust him. Implicitly. Rebecca told me that she once thought we were wrong to ask him to be our child s godfather, well she being the godmother and all, but now she said we made the right choice. Remy, can t you see? Harry will protect him, no matter what happens to us. And if the heir of Gryffindor can t do it, who can? Look at him! Not even two years out of school and he s one of the most respected men in the auror division! You should have seen it this morning, it s obvious that the guys at work have nothing but utmost respect for him, and the funny thing about it, he doesn t even fully understand the influence he has on everyone at the office. Remus frowned, drawing her close. Harry indeed has outdone all expectations, and brought the end to a war, almost single-handedly. His predecessor, Alastor Moody, would be more than proud.

But he couldn t shake that feeling he got whenever he saw him now. That feeling of disaster waiting to happen; the suspense of a ticking time-bomb waiting to explode. Since Firenze first told him of the vague prophecy which was now reinforced by Randalf, things were not sitting well with him. He only hoped Hermione could Yeah, Remus sighed. If the heir of Gryffindor can t do it who can, indeed? he said in tired defeat. Nymphadora gazed into his face, searching for answers to her questions. Something was wrong. What is it? Nothing. It s just that, Harry is so different now. He s definitely not a kid anymore. His childhood is gone forever, and that changes someone for the worse. He s hurting inside, and the only way he deals with it is work and protocol. I ve seen it before. If Hermione wasn t his girlfriend, I think he may have cracked a long time ago. She s more special than we may ever know Yeah, it s tough. That scar he had was more than just a backfired curse, it dominated his life Tonks said sadly. Sometimes, I feel sorry for him. But Remus, he has gotten past that. He knows instinctively that his life is different, and I think now that he s fully aware of his circumstances, he s handling it superbly. He wanted to shake her, and tell her everything: That it s not so simple, that the heir of Gryffindor is actually inside of him, influencing him, and if nothing was done, would eventually take possession of him completely. How he wanted to tell her! Everything right now was at such a crucial state, and the worst part of it was that Harry was prophesized almost over a century ago to emerge as a Dark Son of magic. These were the things plaguing him ever since his trip to Brazil, but he couldn t, under mutual agreement, disclose this information to anyone, not even his wife to be. So it seems, Remus said, looking into her eyes. It hurt him. He wanted no secrets between he and his lover, but this was bigger than the both of them. Everything relied on Hermione and if she could use her special branch of magic to help him. If not Lupin looked up into the sky, feeling the burden of what may happen. James I m sorry Remus- I have to tell you something, Tonks said a bit hesitantly. Harry didn t tell anyone else, well, I think he may be telling Dumbledore as we speak, but that s it. This isn t an ordinary mission. He only told me about it a few minutes after we left Hogsmeade, but that s only because he can trust me. Well, he wrote it down, actually. She took out a piece of paper. The walls have ears, you know, she winked at him. Remus read the paper, not believing it. Such a risky move, so much was at stake had Harry lost his mind? I m going morph into Hermione Granger for this entire escort mission while she s going to be disguised as just another Auror. If there s a rat, we ll know for sure, with me as the bait. Remus face darkened. Harry

actually expected something was going to happen, and was putting the women both of them loved into the middle of it. Randy was right. There were definitely some trying times ahead. ***************************** Luna was coming out of the abandoned armory, having dusted off her knapsack from all the dust. Someone had taken it again, and laid out her books in a path as clues leading her to where it was. A bit more playful than usual, before they just hid it without any sort of reason, but in truth and fact, she was getting tired of those Slytherins. As she exited, she noticed a piece of stationery on the ground, with a big L U N A scrawled on it. Ignoring it, she began to walk back to class. As she walked, there was the sound of rusting paper following her. Ignoring it once again, she continued around the bend. Hearing it still following her, she turned around. As she did so, the letter lay down immediately, sitting innocently on the floor, almost daring her to pick it up. Hmph. She pushed her hair behind her ear, and continued, not glancing back at the paper tiptoeing behind her. Picking up the pace, she trotted down to the next floor, losing her tiny stalker in the process. Running down the steps, she slowed down as something caught her attention. A letter, doubled in size lay on the ground, waiting for her. Stepping over it, she continued once again, hustling to class. However, this one took up pursuit as well. After a few seconds of being chased by a piece of paper she stopped, thinking hard. An idea came to her: instead of running forwards, she began to run backwards, hopping over the paper as she did so. The paper quivered on the ground, but could not follow her anymore. With a small smile she congratulated herself. Ah. She knew it. As she bent the last deserted corridor, someone casually stepped around at the same time, colliding with her. She toppled over, spilling the books from her unclosed knapsack. Hey. her. To those who new her better- that meant something was irritating

Hello, did you get my letter?" a deep voice asked her. "I hate forwards," She replied simply, turning around. "There s something on your shoe. Rodulphus Lestrange smiled, he wasn t going to get caught with that. That s the oldest trick in the book. How this prank worked, when you looked down, a ball of some sort would come flying at your forehead, usually the bigger the better. Having a good day? Sure, she replied, looking intently at his auror boots. Rodulphus found her act quite persuading. They way she was frowning, anyone else would have immediately looked down. But not him- he was better than that.

Why are you here, in the abandoned wing, all by yourself? Rodulphus asked politely, knowing fully well that he orchestrated it. I m not alone. Rodulphus froze. Wait, someone else was here? He looked around, his senses stretching out. Empty. He gave her a quizzical look. Are you sure you re not alone? he asked carefully. She got up to

Of course I m not. You re standing right in front of me. her feet, still looking at his shoe. It was disgusting. Why are you staring at my feet, my fair one? see if she would really try something.

Rodulphus asked, trying to

I prefer to be called Luna instead of Wan . Wan is short for Wanda. My name isn t Wanda. But if by going by that respect, you can call me Lun . Loon? Lestrange asked seriously.

Yes, Lun. Okay, my fair Loon, why are you staring at my feet? still not looking down. Because you have Threstral manure on them, Oh. Is that so? Yes, it is so. Alright, Loon. I ll look down. Don t do anything I won t do. Okay. Whatever. Lestrange looked down, and sure as she said, there was a piece of Threstral Dung on his boots. Waving his hand, the mess disappeared. Expecting her to vanish as soon as he took his eyes off her, he was pleasantly surprised to see Luna was still standing there, looking at some point off his right shoulder, a bit behind him. My name is Rodulphus. You may call me Ralph. Okay, Rodulphus, Luna agreed. he asked again,

she said matter-of-factly.

he asked, still looking at her.

You re beautiful up close, even more beautiful than I imagined. What s an Auror doing in the school? I came here to see you. Well, you saw me. I believe that was your objective, closely at his face. I also wanted to give you this. Luna said, looking Luna changed the topic.

From behind his back Rodulphus took out

a bouquet of flowers. Luna s face did not change, but she accepted them. Aren t you a bit old? Luna asked.

Old?" he laughed. "I'm still in the springtime of life! Oh. Okay. I ve seen you before. You re the Death Eater Rodulphus Lestrange, she said airily. My my, so you do know me. I m flattered. Harry trained us to recognize you guys. So much that helps me. You re far more powerful than I am. I couldn t take you if I tried. I know. Ain t I cool? Apparently. So, what do you want? Do you like the flowers? Yeah. They re nice. Good. Do you want to come with me? Do I have a choice, or is this a trick question? Luna said, her brows rising. Rodulphus studied her. That was only the second different facial expression she portrayed for the whole encounter; other a frown of disgust at the shit on his boots. Knowing who he was and her only reaction was mild curiosity? He loved her already. Do you rather I gave you a choice, or take you anyway without giving you one? he asked. Luna Lovegood studied the man in front of her. Well, I like the flowers, and you need a shave, but you aren t so bad. I don t think I can fight right now anyway. Oh? Why not? Because my wand is in my bag, and it s obvious I will have to put down these nice flowers, empty out my bag, then take out my wand to even try hexing you. Considering you managed to take the uniform of one of the guards, infiltrate Hogwarts, walk through these halls undetected with the Professor, Mr. Randalf Ravenclaw- you know, as in Hogwarts Ravenclaw , Harry Potter, the boy who took out Voldemort, and all those Aurorswithout being intercepted, fighting you just seems to be a dumb idea. She looked at her nails. Ah- this one s growing back. Time to bite. She began to nibble on her little fingernail. Makes sense. I will make you a very happy woman if you come with me. Well, considering I m turning eighteen late this year, I guess dying here and now seems pretty dramatic, so I ll just go along with you without being harmed, if you don t mind. Fine by me. After you, Luna offered, gesturing in front of them.

No, after you. Ladies first.

I insist. No I insist, Rodulphus countered easily.

Very well. She walked ahead. After a few moments of silence, Luna paused. Where did you get these? she asked, smelling the flowers. Oh- a lovely place on third and Michael, there are great bargains around this time. Spring is in the air. I like them. Conjure up a vase for me, so I can put them in water, Luna, just as easily as if she were asking for the time of day. Done- Apparece jugalente. it to her. said

A vase popped out of thin air, and he handed

Thank you- oh, I need some water too. Wait- here s Myrtle s bathroom, I ll just stop in for some. Myrtle? Oh yes! I remember her. I ll come in and say hello. The two of them entered the haunted bathroom hearing the soft wails of the resident ghost. Who gooes theeere? Hello, darling. How are you? Ralphie? Myrtle s eyes opened wide. It is you! She shrieked in glee, floating over to him. Without warning, Rodulphus barked a loud curse, and Myrtle was flung against the bathroom stalls, pinned on the mirror in front of the faucets. He manipulated her so that her arms spread wide, making a large T against the huge mirror. What, what are you doing? how are you doing this? Myrtile cried softly, not comprehending how he was able to manipulate a ghost. Give Dumbledore a message for me. Luna, tell her that you are coming with me on your own free will. Do I have to? Well, if you want if not well don t bother about it. I just wanted to make it seem all villain-like and detestable. But if you re not into it, well, I understand. Oh, sure, no problem. Luna cleared her throat, and put on her most composed and relatively alert face. It didn t do that much good. Professor, if you are seeing this, I just want to let you know that I m all right, and I decided to go with him. He s seems pretty okay, and I m getting bored of school without Harry anyway. So I ll probably just write a letter to Ginny sometime and tell her what s up, and oh-my Transfiguration essay, I left it on your desk. So, well bye for now. I ll call daddy when I get there. Byee! Okay, Myrtlie, this Crucifying Curse will expire in about eight hours and I know you ghosts could change into another shape. When it wears off, just show him exactly what Luna said, you ghosts never forget right? she sniffed.

Um..er..no..we don t alive

really forget..that s..well..for people who are

Excellent! Well, take care now, bye bye then! He waved jovially and opened the door. Luna was staring at the trapped ghost, still not believing it. Rodulphus beckoned her over. Luna? Coming? Yes. She walked meekly towards him. Will you show me how to do it? I ll show you everything I know. ********************** Later that evening, as the ministry battalion made their way down to Hogsmeade, the scout man from Nymphadora s team came back up from the town proper, swooping low on his broomstick. COMMANDER! Travis Bruckenheister from the Unmentionable team has been found dead, sir. What?! Harry said, halting his men. But we came up to Hogwarts with a full account of personnel. What do you mean he s dead ? Apparently, he was murdered via the Killing Curse early this morning and his clothes were stolen. He was only found a few minutes ago, but form the looks of it- he was dead for almost the entire day. Whoever did it, was with us at Hogwarts At that, Harry s blood ran cold. Instinctively he spun around, whipping out his wand. PETRIFICUS TOTALUS! he screamed, aiming at the general direction of his men. All thirty something of them, except he and the scout, were frozen, or those on the outer edges of the group, visibly cramped and fell over, twitching on the ground from being on the fringes of the curse. Some visibly twitched, trying to fight off the spell, while others only stared forward as their commander s magic bound them. Hermione was the first to break free, coughing hard in the center of the group. She caught her balance and glared at him. Harry! What do you think you are doing? she demanded. That is some very powerful magic.

Harry ignored her for a few more seconds, quickly running through the ranks as he examined everyone s faces. He couldn t believe it. Finite, he incanted, finally using the counter spell. Everyone stumbled as they regained full control of their bodies. He covered his mouth with his right hand, contemplating on all the possibilities. How could he have gotten in?! Sir? You okay? We are one short. He s already long gone. Quickly, send a message to Professor Dumble- At that moment, an owl came sweeping down towards Hermione. It was Pigwidgeon. Harry could almost sense what was in it before she even read it. He walked over to her, and read the message at the same time, his heart falling like a stone into his stomach.

Hermione, Myrtle just told us that Luna Lovegood ran away with Rodulphus Lestrange. He was dressed as an Auror and took her from Hogwarts this morning. Mr. Ravenshire and Dumbledore are assembling an Order meeting to execute a rescue mission. Don t tell Harry. Everything bad that happens here seems to revolve around him. I wish you didn t have to go to London. Look out for yourself. Take care. -Ron. *******************************

Author s Note: Sorry for the short lenght of this chapter. I know I promised action, but some more plot and filler has to be set up before the next chapter, which should be highly entertaining. *hint*. There were a lot of questions concerning the Portkey bit. I hope I explained it (well to a degree) in this chapter. I kinda planned this and the next to be one whole long chapter, but I decided against that. Please tell me what you think, hopefuly you won't be terribly angry for the shortness of this one.. Hasta!

Chapter 21: The Battle of London [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Author s note: HBP is over, and despite public opinion, I enjoyed it thoroughly. JKR is a genius. I think the major difference though of book 6 is that the main characters of her story are no longer the golden Trio, but Harry and Voldemort -as we can see by her glossing over how a perfectly good heroine (Hermione) has now become just another sidekick. Oh, and it has nothing to do with the R/Hr ship (before you jump down my throat). It s just that , I think, if Ron and Hermione weren t in this book, it wouldn t have made much a difference to the plot, seeing that they were purely there for the romantic tension and backstabbing going on throughout the year. But I must give credit where it s due, Tom Riddle and Harry s characters were excellent. Oh- and without even knowing it, I have seemingly put two Horcruxes since the beginning of Solidus, and since the beginning of the third installment, another has emerged. Actually, they are pretty obvious, now that i think about it. And now, on to the story...

**CHAPTER 21: The Battle of London** Late that evening, Macnair was soaring high in the clouds, making good

time on his way back from Greenland. Frosty had welcomed him eagerly when he clambered up the icy mountain face early this morning, her huge tail curling and unfurling in a peculiar dragon-habit signifying familiarity. On his approach she maid a high whooping sound from deep in her throat, the dragon equivalent to a cat's purr, and she offered him her huge, frozen snout to pat affectionately. After conjuring and equipping the saddle and bit, Macnair was back on his way to London. The warm blood of the huge dragon was the only thing preventing him from freezing at these high, unforgiving conditions. Whole morning he has been trying to contact Rodulphus using the vibra-crystal, but to no avail. Lestrange better had done his part. This wasn t a one-man show. Meanwhile, on the streets of Little Winging, Surrey, a wizard and a young witch walked past an empty playground, oblivious to the strange looks they were receiving. Rodulphus Lestrange large travelling cloak covering his entirely different case altogether. and her full-length Hogwarts robes, of a movie set. "Where are we going?" Luna asked. Rodulphus pointed ahead. "Not far, we're just going to pick up my stuff at a little place on the next corner. Then we can go to my estate in Wales. I'll give you the grand tour tomorrow," he explained, smiling easily. "Oh- all right. I like Wales. I've been there on holiday looking for the Pugwump Imasceri when I was fourteen." "Did you find any?" Rodulphus asked politely. "No...but," she eyed him sceptically. "You're going to tell me that such a thing doesn't exist, right?" she accused. "Au contraire, my fair Lun," he said dramatically. " I know they exist, in fact, I have recently found a male to line with my prized female. She's in heat, and my staff have been complaining that the magical feedback is giving the food a sour taste. Took me, oh- I'll say about three months to hunt him down." "Really?" she asked, her eyes opening wide. " The gold tipped one or the ruby tipped kind?" she asked, eager for a description. "Ruby tip, I want the offspring to be pure, so I stayed with the smaller breed. Fiona, that s the girl, also is ruby tipped. You should see her claws, exquisite." Luna paused. Somehow, she knew that all along she and her father were right, there were certain species so rare that only a few would know of them. Hmph. So much for Hermione's so called ' know-it-all-ness'. "So they really do exist..." she mumbled. An idea came to her. This man was a feared dark wizard maybe he knew...? walked casually on the pavement, a stolen Auror uniform. Luna was an With the necklace of butterbeer corks the odd couple resembled something out

"What about Heliopaths? Do they exist too?" she blurted out. Rodulphus froze in his tracks, turning to face her. "Who told you about that? Was it Potter?" he asked quietly. "No, he never mentioned anything about them. I-" she began, trying to explain herself. "Oh? He didn't? I thought since that fateful night he would have boasted about them. " "Boasted?" she asked, confused. "Why yes! Are you sure he never mentioned anything? he enquired. After she shook her head, he continued. I ll tell you about it. Nearly two years ago on Old Year's night, there was a fierce battle. Ah- one I will never forget. We had the both of them at our mercy, and yet we lost. How was that possible?- You can ask. I have pondered on this every day during my stay at Azkaban." 'Stay at Azkaban? ' Luna thought. That's funny. "Heliopaths were demons borne from the Infernus Entity. The elements all have a patron magic god that controls the distribution of magic power to select individuals. Draco Malfoy was the one blessed with the natural ability to summon fire,and with my master's help, he summoned eight Heliopaths to aid us in our battle. It was a glorious night, where our puppet was utterly destroying our enemies, one man against the Order. However, the tides turned when our Lord failed to keep Potter imprisoned, and he in turned cold heartedly decimated the chosen prophets of our righteous cause. Your friend Potter is not all that he seems. A more efficient killer I have yet to encounter. Even though it was traumatizing, I can forgive him for that. War is war, and people will die, he said solemnly. But my poor wife, he killed her out of pure hatred. That- I will not forgive, neither forget." "How horrible..."she said. "Harry killed your wife ?" Luna mused, understanding dawning upon her, and feeling sympathy for him well inside. Somehow, she didn't find that hard to believe anymore. Harry was kind of scary these days. Whenever she caught a glimpse of him, like that day on the train, something was missing, or should she say, something that wasn't there before now lingered deep in his eyes. He definitely wasn't the boy she had a crush on in her fourth year. He had scorned her. She hated him for that, but in his presence, she could nothing but feel anguish as she wished for something more than just of acknowledgement or a half hearted wave. She wanted to be special him. The one time she actually did try to express her feelings back do a nod to in the

courthouse after his trial, all he did was laugh. At the time, she was too hurt to react. She swallowed it down, and pretended that nothing ever happened. "No matter. I have mourned her long enough. Come, we are here." Rodulphus opened the door to a quite ordinary flat and ushered her inside. As she

entered, she noted that the place was quite essentials and three exquisite items on the Orbs, one was a regular Crystal ball set in the other was an opaque version with a dark

bare, except for the few kitchen table. There were to an ancient rune bowl, while purple mist swirling inside of

teeth.

it. The last item was a flashing pendant on a long gold chain. Rodulphus immediately picked it and put the pyramid shaped crystal between his

*************** Many miles away, Macnair had stopped at a desolate beach in Northern Ireland for a bit of rest. "Lestrange! Where the hell were you?!" "I paid Hogwarts a visit. You what? Are you mad? Dumbledore is there! Macnair screamed.

So? I got what I went for. What do you want, buddy? Buddy? Macnair couldn t believe this man. He was supposed to have his followers in London! What was he doing all this while? Wait...he mentioned something about a new wife sometime before?

You got her? Jesus Christ man, you re unbelievable. Macnair had to admit he was impressed. What about the men? Have no fear. All are awaiting you at Hyde Park. The mudblood will be yours. As I said, a battalion of Aurors against the best Azkaban has to offer? The odds are highly in your favour. He grinned. He didn t need to tell Macnair that Potter was with them. Rodulphus will let Macnair assume that he was also recuperating at the hospital for a teeny bit longer. If his plan was to work, Macnair needed to be confident. There might be significant losses, but once Macniar got some of his hair, everything will be all right. All he needed to do now was to get them close to each other. Considering that he took into consideration that neither could run away from the ensuing conflict, they definitely will get in each other s face. If and this is a big IF- Macnair could survive so long. Hell, if he managed to get rid of Potter, all the better! But for now, telling him only what he needed to know was sufficient for his purposes. Right now, he had more pressing matters on his mind. It would be exactly eight months, twelve days, four hours and thirty-nine minutes before he could take his new fianc to the chapel for the ceremony and then afterwards to the marriage bed. He looked at his prize bride. It will be worth it. In the meanwhile, he ll just have to make her fall in love with him. ******************

The journey from Hogsmeade to London was long and tedious. Harry had already issued instructions via owl post to notify Travis family what had happened, and one also to the ministry. As he sat there in the eight-seater minivan, he stared outside of the window, thinking- nocontemplating on Lestrange s actions. It just did not make sense. What did he want with Luna Lovegood, and why didn t he make an attempt on the lives any of the Aurors present? It was the strangest thing: Lestrange had the world of opportunity, Harry himself not even suspecting that anything was amiss as they left Hogsmeade. Usually, any sort of malice nearby he could detect using his strange magic . Harry no longer referred to it as Solidus charm, as that name haunted him every time he thought about it. It was almost as if Rodulphus harbored absolutely no evil intentions towards Hogwarts, or any on his team. Why didn t the fact that he had just murdered one of his own trigger a response? How could he have slipped in so easily? Did he kill Travis for fun? Harry came to the conclusion that Rodulphus Lestrange was on a different tier to all the other Dark Wizards he had encountered. His thought patterns obviously did not work in tandem with a conscience, or moral values of any sort. Harry tried to delve into the mind of his new enemy. Lestrange killing Travis was not noted as an event in his psyche, because to him, the main objective was getting a uniform. That is to say, in Rodulphus Lestrange s perspective; killing an Auror was just the same as going to Madame Milkins and ordering a new set of robes. He rest his head against he cool glass of the car window. He still couldn t believe it. Nothing could have prepared him for this sort of enemy: a man who was highly unpredictable, with no clear motive, and no decisive goal. Somehow, his ambitions were achieved without the usual planning and foresight of most tacticians. Random acts of genius mixed with a total detachment to reality were apparently some of Lestrange s trademarks. That, mixed in with a deep knowledge of the Dark arts and a cunning use of espionage, Rodulphus Lestrange has proven to be a very slippery character. Harry frowned. It was no longer a battle of military might, but now a measure of wits. And so far, Lestrange had beaten him at every turn. He wouldn t be surprised, considering the recent events, that Lestrange was the man who sabotaged the Hogwarts express. It fitted the profile. Unexplainable coincidences, which built up to disaster. He had spent the entire train ride thinking on how badly the day had turned out, and how Rebecca nearly died by merely following his orders. Now he felt what Dumbledore felt. His decisions made a heavy impact on other people s lives. Travis was the first casualty. He had to dedicate himself to keeping everyone safe, or this was all a farce. Right now Harry needed a concise plan, something to give him an advantage. What the hell was Lestrange up to? Harry? Hermione whispered, leaning over the seat to talk to him. She was sitting directly behind him in the last row dressed as an auror. Tonks, meanwhile, was sitting next t him, fully disguised as Hermione, muggle clothes and a bright pink jacket to keep out the cold. What is it? IHarry broke off. He had to show confidence, even though right now it was at an all time low. Ron had voiced aloud an opinion that was bothering

him for many years, and Harry felt that the notion was spreading to the Order as well. When he got involved, things usually turned for the worse, instead of the better. When he heard the news of Luna s abduction, he instantly wanted to race back up to Hogwarts and demand to be in on the rescue effort. However, as he learnt in his tactics classes at Lionheart, when circumstances were not in favour for the carrying out of side missions, priorities were to be maintained, or risk failure in both endeavours. Too much had been set in place for him to abandon Rebecca and his S.T.A.R. team. Dumbledore will contact him if needed. What, you can tell me, can t you? Hermione whispered in his ear. Tonks fidgeted uncomfortably next to him. Is it Luna? Yeah, I still can t believe it, Harry admitted. he get past us? Harry muttered. How in the world did

The headmaster will sort it out, don t you worry, Tonks said. We should focus on this, she added, a look of determination on her face. You re right. The quicker we get there, the better. The healers had her for almost a day and a half now, and they say that s far too long to have open wounds untreated. At least they aren t bleeding... Harry sighed. Damn it all. I ve been practicing recently- as well as doing some research. I think I will be able to do it without the averse side effects I usually get, Hermione said confidently. It s simple, when I think about it... Oh? How so? Harry said, turning around slightly in the chair.

The summoning ability I use revolves around Life right? I need to draw magic from a source, and usually as it s a healing spell, I have to use it from my own magic, because draining it from the patient will suck up theirs, causing a reverse effect. Get it? I ll actually make it harder on their recuperation instead of helping them. Harry nodded. He knew that whenever she used her healing ability, it took a toll on her. Tonks turned slightly and looked at her. Hermione found it hard to be talking to an almost exact replica of herself and hearing Tonk s voice. It reminded her of that night at Krum s party, when Rossilini waltzed in the bathroom door. She blinked once, throwing that memory form her mind. So you need to sort of sacrifice yourself to heal? Interesting. That s not really efficient thoughTonks enquired.

Tell me about it, Hermione smiled. However, Malfoy gave me something a long time ago that really makes the difference... she pulled out an object wrapped in a non-descript cloth. Revealing it, the Halo of Life glowed warmly in the van; the magical energy radiating from it almost tangible in the close quarters. The Halo. It s an invaluable treasure, when I came across it in my research and put two and two together, I wondered how Malfoy had gotten it that night. There was one thing that I did remember though. Unlike most treasures, you cannot search for it, it finds you. And luckily, I got it the night when Harry needed it most Hermione said softly, knowing how close she was to losing him forever that night. Harry looked into her eyes, but said nothing. So Tonks trailed offWhat exactly does the Halo do?

It s a channeling object. With it- I can channel magic into the spell, just like using my wand. But if I try to do a Divine Summon without it, I ll just overexert myself with a sudden release of energy, which I ll say, is not much fun. As I so tried to warn her time and time again, Harry added dryly.

You know, you should be more grateful sometimes, Hermione said. Harry said nothing, and looked away, his face tightening. I rather die than you sacrificing yourself for me. Hermione took off the cloth completely, and held it in her palm. It glowed warmly, and Hermione s eyes emitted a faint glow. You see? This is like a magnifying glass, with it, I can pinpoint my magic! She beamed, quite pleased with herself. Harry looked at the digital display on the dash. It read four minutes past three. In the a.m. As in, no proper sleep for nearly three days. And to top it all, he just charged through Azkaban s dementors not twenty-four hours ago. It had better be worth it. He wondered what Draco was doing at this very moment. ********************* Deep in the department of mysteries, in courtroom seven, a lone woman was bound in chains, seated on a straight-backed iron throne. An invisible barrier surrounded her in a tight radius, flickering ever so often as it created a long tube connecting the floor to the ceiling. How long had she been here? It was driving her insane. With no sunlight ever reaching this room, she could not tell how many days had passed. Meals were apparated to her on her lap randomly, and her chains vanished to allow her to eat. The magical field was only six feet in diameter, giving her only enough space to walk around the only thing nearby, that damned throne. Without any way to stretch herself properly to sleep, she had to eventually sit back down in the chair, where the chains would take her prisoner again. Locked inside this tight space in such a big room gave a new meaning to the term Solitary Confinement. Offered no trial, nor visitors, the only contact she had was when she was treated for the injuries to her stomach and lungs , and then escorted here for temporary imprisonment. Jacqueline Ramellie hated her present life. If she could, she would have taken it a few weeks now. She rather do that than go mad, locked down here in the dark, with only a sole beam of light shining directly on top of her. Her immediate family members were just another unfortunate casualties of the war, so she had no one to turn to when she left Beauxbatons. Logan Ash had offered her power to make a difference. Her first mission against the Hogwarts train was a failure, and just as easily as they had recruited her, her comrades had obviously deserted her. She had wildly opposite opinions of Hogwarts from the two times se had been there. One was for the Tri wizard Tournament. The other was immediately after her capture. Unfortunately for her, she was left to the tender mercies of the S.TA.R. team s interrogation specialist, or rather, at the hands of that madman, Steven Warshire. Goosebumps racked her as that horrible night came back to her.

They didn t call him

The Cruciator

for sport.

Approximately two and half months had passed since she saw another living soul. If it weren t for the meals, the transfiguration of the chair into a toilet at periodic intervals, and the cleansing spell that activated ever so often in this tiny prison, she would have thought that they left her to rot. But that was no to be. They were keeping her very much alive. Without any sort of warning, the sole door opened, a silhouette of a man outlined against the faint torchlight of the corridor beyond. Closing the door behind him, the stranger approached, the soft clipping sound of his military grade boots echoing in the vast atrium. The figure stopped just out of the soft circle of light shining from directly on top of her. Good evening. I am Draco Malfoy. I am here to offer you a proposition. Jacqueline recognized the name immediately. You re him. You re really him, aren t you? us these powers. she said in wonder. You gave

It seems so. Rather, it was taken from me. No matter, he said calmly. He took one step closer, and Jacqueline strained her eyes to look into the shadows covering his face. Was it her imagination, or only certain wizards had this uncanny knack to hide their faces so menacingly under their hood? He noticed her attempt to see him. You need proof? he asked. The ambient temperature rose, and two burning pupils glowed red from underneath that unfathomable darkness, staring at her with such intensity that she almost panicked and scampered away, just to get away from this monster. I am the heir to the Infernus. Do not forget that. Your abilities are just an offshoot from my magic. What do you want? she asked, a bit scared now.

I want you to join me. Will you? No, she said immediately.

Very well, he said haughtily. Your execution by the veil of the unknown will be quite unpleasant. Treasure the final few weeks of your life. He turned on his heel, and walked out. Before his third step, she called back to him. Wait. Draco smiled secretly under his hood. What do I have to do? she said in defeat. Draco s smile etched a bit wider before he turned around, a smirk on his handsome features. Excellent. He faced her, igniting his fingers on his right hand, one by one, creating five tiny flames on the tips. Without warning, he shoved his hand right through the barrier, penetrating it s magical properties. The shield dissipated, and Draco stood before her, his fingers back to normal. Jacqueline instinctively knew that this was no ordinary wizard, and far

more powerful than Ash had described. Draco offered her the back of his hand. Kiss the ring on my finger, and swear allegiance to me. After a brief hesitation, Jacqueline Ramellie got to her knees, took his hand into hers, and kissed the ring on his right hand. ************************* Dawn was breaking on London city. Harry Potter had stayed awake the whole night, as did Tonks and the two Aurors in the front seat. Hermione had fallen asleep sometime around four after having an engaging chat twith Tonks about the intricacies of ancient magical objects with the main focus being on Ancient Runes. To Harry, it was all gibberish anyway, as his priority was to maintain a constant vigilance. Ah, Mad Eye- if he were around, he would definitely like to have seen Harry take his words to heart. Every now and again, the two flyers up front would give a brief flash from their wands, indicating that everything was okay. To the untrained eye, it just resembled a huge firefly blipping once every twenty minutes. Harry was glad to see the sun creep over the horizon, relieved that the journey to the city was uneventful and that maybe his previous hunch that there might be an attack on route to London was for naught. Damn, he was hungry. He twisted in his seat, nudging Hermione s knee to wake her up. Hey, hey wake up. What do you want for breakfaAt that moment, everything shot straight to hell. Five vehicles, three muggle cars and two ministry Minivans were thrown up into the air as the ground below them detonated with a strong repulsion force. Harry's jaw dropped, stupefied; as the vehicles bounced up a storey high, tumbling over in midair and crashing awkwardly unto nearby cars, one of them even reaching as far off the road to crush a newspaper stand and a phone booth on the pavement. Hermione woke up immediately to the loud crashing soundbolting upright as her eyes opened wide in terror. The driver swerved hard to the right as one of the vehicles tumbled over a couple of times, coming directly into their path. "WATCH OUT!" Tonks screamed, bracing herself in her chair. The driver did well, banking hard to the left and riding up unto the curb as a few petrified pedestrians screamed in terror, scampering out of the way. "Get out of the way! Coming through!" Joseph Ulfalusi screamed, locking the steering wheel hard in the opposite direction as the van tipped precariously on its side from riding so hard up on the pavement. Out of the corner of his eye, Harry spotted suspicious figures emerging on top of the buildings on either side of the road. Even as their driver struggled to maintain control, Harry mentally prepared himself to handle the adrenaline rush that was bound to come, and to keep his cool. Kingsley's psychology class trained him well for these situations, and tested them using an adrenaline infusion charm to observe how each of the S.T.A.R. trainees would react to given emergencies. Thankfully, Harry had passed the exam with no complications, having the battle experience that few

others had. Opening the equipment backpack next to Hermione, he yanked out his invisibility cloak. "Listen Hermione, we know what to do right?! Ready? I'm going to issue you a calming draught to perform the Occlumens spell." Shoving a small vial at her, Hermione had to grasp it tightly with both hands as their driver navigated the wide sidewalk, wrestling the van to a screeching halt. Uncorking it, she downed it in a single gulp, feeling a wave of tranquility quickly envelop her. "Good?" Harry shouted. "Do it!" The other vans had already stopped a distance behind them, the Aurors fanning out in groups of four and five, sprinting across the road to get cover underneath the recessed doorways of the buildings. Hermione drew her wand, and pointed it at Harry. "Leglimens! " she whispered, and Harry felt the touch of her mind. Closing his eyes, he tried his best to drop his natural defenses, allowing her privy to his thoughts. When he felt the contact firmly establish, he roughly threw the invisibility cloak around her, and yanked open the sliding door. "INCOMING!" Joseph screamed, and he and Howard Pelsy, an auror from the healing division dove low behind the dash. A dark blue post box was hurtling towards them, bouncing crazily as another magical blast took out a large chunk of pavement. The ducked just in time as it crashed into the windscreen, lodging itself into the dashboard and the front seat. Glass sprayed inside of the vehicle, and Hermione screamed, throwing up her hands to cover her face. Harry twisted quickly in his seat, climbing halfway over to shield her from the worst of it. His mantle of the phoenix was peppered with shards of glass as he protected her with his own body. Tonks had dived to the floor, her upper body on the tiny space between Harry's chair and the front seats. Without hesitation, she squirmed out of the van and slid underneath it. "Get her out of here!" she said urgently, and Harry jumped out of the vehicle, reaching out towards the deceptively empty backseat. "Take my hand!" he ordered, pulling her out of the van. Harry ducked down low and sprinted to the nearest building. Pointing his wand he muttered the charm to open the door. "Alohomora!" He shoved her inside. "Remember to keep the mental contact! I'll have no idea where you are unless you "All right!" she replied, fear evident in her voice. " Be careful!" Harry nodded, and ran back out into the fray. ******************* "You're sure she was in the third vehicle?" Emmanuel Evellyn asked on of the men in his team. His subordinate nodded vigorously, the upside down mask on his face making it difficult to really identify who it was. There

do!"

were so many of them here, and the only way to identify each other was by a code sign on their attack robes. By the double stripe on his sleeve, Evellyn knew he was the squad leader of the demolitions team. "The traps worked perfectly sir, the multiple Repulsion mines have caught the enemy unaware. Our insider has identified her to be travelling with the Auror commander, two male aurors, and a female auror. We have seen her exit the vehicle, she's still down there on the corner of James Street and Holden Street, adjacent to the Bakery." "Good. Remember, she is not to be harmed. I want sniper fire concentrated on their commander, and cover fire for our duellists when they go in close. When I give the signal, you are to detonate the other mines to cover our escape, if need be. If possible, we rather just slaughter them right here and now." "Yes sir. Is Lord Macnair on his way?" the demolitions man enquired. "He should be here any minute now to claim his prize..." Evellyn said smugly. "The Followers will be victorious, and our Master will be pleased. We will be in the graces of Lord Lestrange by the end of the day, mark my words." Evellyn laughed as the other man bowed slightly and darted across the rooftops. And if things went well, he would have the privilege of finally being granted status as one of the revered Death Eaters. ****************** "Tonks, where are the others?" Harry asked the Hermione look alike as he darted back to the van. She was huddled behind the vehicle, the two other men flanking her, peeking around the body of the van periodically to assess the situation. "How much of them are there?" he demanded, as a seemingly infinite rain of curses hailed down all around them, except at their position. "Fifty, maybe a hundred, and they've got us pinned. The strange thing is, they aren't shooting at us, though. Seems I'm their real target, well, you know who. She's safe right?" "Yeah- for the while," Harry said, peeking around the edge of the van. It was not looking good, in the crazy smash up of vehicles, his men were pinned down under constant fire, using a desperate shield charm as brave medics raced from one injured group to another. There was mass hysteria as muggles ran away full steam away from the carnage. He looked at where one of the cars had flipped over unto a parked taxi, and grimaced as he saw blood leaking from the driver side door. There were already casualties. Taking out his walkie-talkie, he barked orders to his obliviator sub commander, Lionel Wilkins. "I want all traffic diverted from this block. Use four anti-plotting wards and six forgetful illusions to bluff off any authorities or passers by.

Tell Nilsson and Charles that I want a Deja Vu memory hex on all civilians here- a twelve hour one. It may take that long to round 'em all up and have the M.A.R.S crew get everything back in place. Take Rogers and Richardson to hunt down those that ran. I'm going to tell Kingsley we need re-enforcements. Check the fifth van for the broomsticks. GO!" he shouted. "Harry- they're blocking our exit- we need to help Riley and Summers! They're going after our rear guard as well!" Tonks pointed, as nearly twenty robed figures floated down using the featherweight charm from the surrounding buildings. Harry cursed. They weren't just laying suppressing fire; they were also coming in for the kill. "I'll handle it. Are the escape countermeasures in place?" he asked Joseph. "Yeah- the blinding flash detonators are ready. You just give the word." "All right, I'll give the signal when I'm ready. Tonks, grab some cover, and remember, you're covert, you're not to engage. Joseph, Pelsy, look after her, and keep an eye on that bakery. Our V.I.P. is in there, but to them; Tonks here is their target. Shoot to kill anyone who comes close to either of them, understood?" "Aye, commander." "They won't get anywhere near them." Harry nodded, and activated his shield charm. "Protego!" He darted out into the street in a half crouch, weaving low in between the vehicles. As soon as he was spotted, he cursed loudly as blue, red, and even green bolts of magic sizzled towards him, ricocheting off the cars or simply blasting a hole into them. He ducked behind a heavy two-ton truck, contemplating how he was going to get through all that sniper fire from the rooftops unscathed. Kingsley had warned him against using Dark magic, but right now, they were so greatly outnumbered he didn't care about that. They definitely were targeting him, and wanted him dead. Taking a deep breath, he drew his wand "Replicate! " he incanted, and a fainter version of him split off from his body, slowly gaining substance as the spell intensified. Rapping the top of his head lightly with his wand, he used the Disillusionment hex to disappear into a vague outline of himself. With another flick of his wand, he blew open a fire hydrant nearby, causing the water to spout up high into the air. Using the slight distraction, his clone ran off in one direction, and he followed it after a few seconds of watching it dodge and swerve in an out of the vehicles, retaliating with useless spells. Silently, he began to run lightly towards his comrades at the end of the street. ****************** "Captain," Joseph addressed his squad leader, Nymphadora Tonks. "Is he really as good as they say he is?" Joseph really respected him for

defeating Voldemort, but truthfully, some of the other guys believed that it was sheer luck and the fact that it was destined that Harry was the only one capable of defeating him that he could have done it. But for a boy so young to be part of the S.T.A.R. Elite, that was pushing it. Tonks smiled a knowing smile. "See for yourself," Tonks indicated down the street. "He's gone to help Riley and the others," she pointed. Joseph looked around, but only saw Harry Potter doing a great imitation of a headless chicken as the enemies above rained cursed down on him. Frowning, he realized that some of them were actually hitting him, but nothing was happening. "What is he doing?" he asked. Was he mad? "That's not him. Look!" Tonks pointed at the twenty or so "Followers" that had their rear guard pinned down. A spell shot out from seemingly nowhere, hitting one in the back. wildly for the source of clueless victim, pointed wand and took direct aim As he fell, the one closest to him looked around that sneak attack. Harry got as close behind his his wand at the same height as the Follower's at another.

Another bolt of red magic shot forth as the perplexed Escapee apparently let loose another stunning hex. Bewildered, he looked down at his wand. "It wasn't me- I swear!" "LIAR! I saw it with my own eyes!" "No - I didn't-" another blast of magic, and his accuser was sent reeling back, knocking down two others. The targeted escapee froze, dropping his wand. "Stop! No- " But it was too late, more than a half dozen spells rained on him, and the poor man's chest split open with a spray of blood, the accumulative spells leaving him frozen, stunned, and petrified as he fell to the ground. Harry darted towards another escapee, hexing the one closest to the man's left. Enraged, he too, turned against his own. "They're under the Imperius curse!" he declared, attacking him next. Unable to even protest, they began to duel, while yet another escapee also apparently attacked one of his own, falling him with a single blow. Pandemonium ensued amongst that squadron of Followers, none really able to identify each other under their identical masks. In a matter of nearly thirty seconds, all twenty-something of them were attacking each other, as well as trying to fend of Riley, Summers and a few other aurors. Darting in between the battles, Harry calmly took out the winners of the self-destructive skirmishes with a few well-placed curses. Some miniature explosions and a thick cloud of smoke later, all of the escapees there were accounted for. Harry disengaged the disillusionment jinx and walked quickly out of the smoke, dusting off his sleeve. "All right. That's that. You two, round up these guys in proper binding hexes. I'm going and see what can be down with the guys on top. Radio Nilsson and say that the coast is clear for any evacuation, and to hurry

up with the Deja Vu hex." It took a while for the seven aurors to respond, still not quite believing it. "Er- Y-yes.. "Take the injured to safety, the three of you. You two," he pointed to the two healers in their group- Paul Summers and Roy McGinnis- "Come with me." "Sir, the snipers!" Summers warned him, pointing at the rooftops at the numerous figures crouched low on top the buildings. "Protego!" he incanted, shielding himself. "Aren't you going to defend yourself?" he asked. "Not yet, I'll need to borrow some of their magic. Listen; deflect all stunners aimed at you to my general direction. Only the Stunners, understood?" Harry ordered. "Sir-" "Don't worry. I've done this before. " Well maybe with not so much attackers, but right now, the more stunners, the merrier. They sprinted back up the street, assisting those who were pinned down under fire or needed a levitation spell to take them away for treatment. Harry's clone was fading, and gradually more fire was aimed down at them. As they progressed back up the street, more and more Aurors joined them on as they fought their way back to the front where the majority of their injured were. And as predicted, more and more stunners were directed at Harry as his dummy clone faded away into nothing. "All right, when I give the signal, get as much cover as you can." Holding his wand straight up into the sky, he incanted the absorption technique. "Assimiliar incante! " His wand began to hum audibly, and nearby stunners began to divert to the tip of his wand as if being pulled in by a strong magnet. Using a wandless incantation, he summoned a panel van's sliding door towards him, brandishing it like a shield while it hovered against his forearm. The door adequately deflected minor jinxes, but after a couple of reductor blasts had hit it, it got too hot for him to manoeuvre. However, it was enough. The stunners aimed at him had increased in frequency, and his wand now felt like bursting with all that he absorbed. "Grab some cover!" he ordered, and the Aurors who were trying to counter attack the seemingly endless Followers immediately drew back, engaging an accumulative shield charm. Harry stood alone in the open now, his wand floating in between his palms, rotating on all directional axes faster and faster. "Is he-?" Summers breathed. "Siphoning technique? Looks so-" Greening said speculatively. "But, Christ almighty man, it's so many of them- he'll explode with that amount of stored energy-" another commented. "Hey," an Auror from the Ministry security department laughed. " I was with Ferdinand the day he did this to us at Hogwarts. This is no ordinary

kid..." he pointed as Harry channelled a huge ball of Stunning magic between his palms, moulding it faster and faster until it encased him fully, eating away at the ground and any close objects in its path. In the center, Harry worked furiously, trying to maintain control of his ever-increasing orb of absorbed magic. "You got to have a huge magic reservoir to channel all of that magic, usually, only three or four could be absorbed before it blows up in your face...but he's-" Harry's orb of magic expanded... "Just.." The followers started to realize what was going on, and those on the ground quickly disengaged and ran for cover"Freaking..." Tonks and her two escorts dove underneath the van, taking shelter any way they could. Harry forced his palms together, compressing the nexus of his channelled ball of energy. With a mighty yell, it propelled high into the sky, a huge orb about ten feet in radius of pure Stunning energy. "... talented," he whispered. "Stupefy! " Harry breathed, and the red ball exploded in the sky, shattering windows and rattling the strewn cars on the road. The explosion took out most of the attackers on the roof of the three buildings to his right, and six on his left. Rubble fell as rooftops crumbled, barely holding up their own weight. Numerous robed figures fell limply from their perches on top of the buildings, most of them landing on the ripped apart vehicles littering the road. After a few seconds of catching his breath, Harry signalled for the healers to go and see to their wounded, without fear of attack from above. Nodding to the duelling specialists scattered about, he rallied them to hunt down the remaining Followers who undoubtedly high tailing it on foot.

"I've arranged to set up the deja vu hex, you know it goes, they ll get confused as they ll keep seeing the same streets over and over. Like lab rats- running around in circles. Apprehend them and round them up in the square. I ll go for the others up north. Make sure the shortest route to the Ministry is clear, as well as to St. Mungo s. We don t want any surprises on our way there. All around him blasts from the remainder of the resistance tried in vain to take down some of the aurors as they made their desperate escape, but with a ruthless efficiency, Harry and nine others got them all. After nearly twenty minutes of intense fighting, all that was left to do was to clean up this mess. Walking amongst the rubble, he felt the tiredness of the past few months creeping up on him again. He was damn tired in fact, but for now, work had to be done. He grimaced at some of the injuries suffered by three of his men and some muggles, some severe enough that amputations may be necessary. As he thought about the

field healers, his mind focused don Hermione. Now that the fighting was done, he concentrated on their Occlumens connection. At that moment, Harry sensed her using a powerful spell. What was she doing? Looking around wildly, he tried to picture her location from the source of magic. He spotted her- wait no, that was Tonks. At that moment Tonks was kneeling next to her fallen comrade, administering aid. However as he focused at the scene, he could see another pair of hands holding a glowing object. Hermione was on the battlefield, actually helping the injured! Was she crazy? What the hell Harry grumbled, irritated. What if something was to happen- she was out in the open! As he said it, a warning bell suddenly went of in his head. He heard it first, that horrible sound. The sound of rushing wings, flapping powerfully. Then the smell, then lastly, a chill dropped in the air. The multi-storeyed building nearest to Hermione rumbled then echoed with the sound of something huge hitting it. Looking up to his left, he saw the huge wings of an ice green dragon appear from behind the building. Another powerful tremor shook the ground below their feet as the dragon pounced off the ground, landing on the roof of the six-storey building, resembling a huge lizard perched on top of a high vantage point. Holy fuck!! one of the aurors screamed, his mouth dropping in awe. Hermione stopped her spell, and Tonks and the few other healers turned about, peering high at the enormous ice Dragon. Harry s breath puffed in front of his face as the temperature became terrifyingly cold. The dragon let loose an ear splitting squeal, heralding it s arrival on the battlefield. Harry blocked his ears from the sheer magnitude of that sound, squinting high at the dragon. Oh no There was a spike of mental contact from Hermione, then suddenly the contact vanished. A young auror used the opportunity of the Dragon s arrival to draw her wand and stun Tonks and Hermione in the back. Both women fell on top of the injured, Tonks metamorphosis spell reverting her to her normal self, while the invisibility cloak fell off of Hermione. With a smirk, the young auror levitated Hermione into the air, and Harry froze to the spot not believing it. His eyes riveted on the young woman s face. It was Lillian Kelsing: the same girl who was in the S.T.A.R. trainee class, and now the youngest in Nymphadora s squad. She was the one who asked who their V.I.P. was yesterday morning. He couldn t believe it. They were friends at Lionheart! Macnair cackled at the sight of Hermione floating there in midair, ready for the taking. Pointing his wand, he summoned her towards him. Mobilicorpus! Harry s worst nightmare was coming true. NO! Harry screamed, running full tilt towards Kelsing. Before he even realised it, he was on top of her, his hands gripped around her throat.

It was you! Get off me- she struggled, her hands gripped so tightly around his forearms that she drew blood. Suddenly, the dragon hissed in deeply, and Harry looked up, watching in trepidation as its nostrils flared. Opening it s massive jaws, it spewed frozen breath down the street, encasing everything and everyone in ice. The aurors who tried to run were immediately frozen, while those who desperately put up a shield were encased in a solid sphere of ice. The wounded, the Followers, everything in it s path was immediately frozen as the dragon stretched its neck downwards, spewing another wave of deadly frost. Harry saw the ice forming from down the street, racing towards him and the few nearby who ran for cover inside of the nearest buildings. Watching the deadly cold approaching, he wasted no time and yanked Kelsing to her feet, shoving her inside of a badly damaged ministry van. Sealing it using the Impervius Charm, he locked the door and turned his back on her. Not having enough time to get them to safety, he crouched over Tonks and the injured she was treating, splaying the mantle of the Phoenix over all of them as he summoned the Infernus. Protego! Inciendo Almasier! A domed shield formed over him and those beneath him, then was immediately covered in fire, creating a blazing dome of protection. The Dragon blasted the area until it ran short of breath. With a flourish, Harry cancelled the fire shield and stood up, facing the dragon perched on the building. Macnair sat proudly on his steed as he reeled in Hermione using his wand. He licked his lips. Young Kelsing had done well. So infatuated he was with the girl in his arms, he did not realise that there was still person on the street putting up a fight. MACNAIR! We meet again! Harry bellowed, taunting him. Macnair froze, looking around the massive head of the Dragon. Oh no YOU RE SUPPOSED TO BE IN THE HOSPITAL! Macnair screamed, not believing his eyes. WHY? he questioned himself and his terrible bad luck. Then it clicked. All of this- the Azkaban escapees who adored Lestrange, the dragon, the kidnap attempt, all of it was just a diversion. Lestrange had played him for a fool, using this as an oppurtunity to sneak into Hogwarts. He would have never tried this if he knew Potter was going to be here. Feeling a sort of dread wash over him, he quickly made a decision. He would not run away. He had the advantage. He had his woman, the Dragon, and the higher ground. What could he do from down there? Macnair- I m warning youBRINGS BACK OLD MEMORIES, EH BOY? I THINK WE VE PLAYED THIS OUT BEFORE. THIS TIME I M NOT LETTING HER GO. I swear- if you dare hurt her ..I will not rest until you are dead!

STRONG WORDS! LOOK HERE- without any warning he slapped her across the face, rocking her head to the side. HA! WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO? YOU CAN T TOUCH ME FROM THERE-! Maybe not Potter, but I can, came a voice directly behind him.

Macnair jumped, squinting his eyes at the sun as he peered behind him. Draco Malfoy was hovering in midair, his cloak billowing in wind. Expelliarmus! he shouted, pointing his wand at Macnair. Hermione flew out of his arms, and Draco shot off, diving for her as she fell. The dragon swiped a massive paw at him, but Draco was quick, avoiding the brunt of it as the thumb caught hold of his cloak. The edge of the claw barely grazed him, but it was enough to open up his leg from the calf to the Achilles tendon. Draco screamed in pain, but did not lose concentration on his flying ability. He dove after Hermione, scooping her in his arms, dodging a quick blast of ice as he twirled around a lamppost. His leg was spurting blood by what felt like gallons, making his head swim. He knew he was going to pass out. Gritting his teeth, he aimed for Potter like a kamikaze jet fighter. CATCH! he shouted, dropping her as he careened past. Harry pointed his wand, and lowered her gently as she fell. Draco screamed, and uttered another curse as he fell headlong into the five feet of solid ice covering the street. Igniting his body on fire, he came to a violent crash landing, skidding headfirst for nearly fifteen feet, leaving a long canal of molten ice in his wake. The infernus fires extinguished immediately as he smashed into a frozen vehicle. He lay there, motionless, steam rising from the ice melting all around him. Harry s heart skipped a beat. It couldn t be. Was he dead? DRACO? Harry shouted, his eyes never leaving Macnair s, who was seething with rage. There was an awkward silence where Harry felt that the worse had indeed happened. He looked down at Hermione, looking all heroic in Auror robes, with a large black and blue bruise marring the side of her face. His eyes shot back up to Macnair, hate building up so strongly he found it impossible that Macnair could not feel it. Potter a voice croaked. Harry stiffened. He was alive! Kingsley...s-said.. said you needed re-enforcements? Sorry I m late uhh.. Draco coughed feebly, trying to laugh at his own little joke. He s all yours he said to himself, and with that, he fell unconscious. Harry aid Hermione down carefully, closing his eyes briefly. Standing back to his full height, he re-opened them, burning alive with a pulsing blue light. It has been a long time since we fought. You are the only wizard I have yet to defeat. I congratulate you, Dragonrider. Harry said solemnly. YEAH? WELL I DON T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT YOUR CONGRATULATIONS !! Macnair screamed. IF I CAN T HAVE HER- NO ONE WILL! he declared, a psychotic gleam in his eyes. With a battle yell, he commanded Frosty to take flight, flapping her huge wings majestically so that she bobbed up and down in

midair. Harry stepped away from the injured he was shielding, coming out into the open with deliberate strides. Meanwhile, inside of the storefronts and muggle buildings, the entrapped aurors raced up the stairs to the higher levels to get a better vantage point of the confrontation. Summers and Roy McGinnis were the first up to the second floor, drawing back the curtains as they took sniper positions at strategic points. McGinnis took out his walkie-talkie. Attention all units- do not fire unless you have a crystal clear shot at the rider. That dragon could pulverise the building you are in with one blow, including all the muggles trapped inside. Do not, I repeat: do not attack until you are sure the non-combatants are evacuated. The commander will deal with the situation at hand. Our priority is to get everyone out of here. Summers gave McGinnis a shocked look. Are you sure he can take out that dragon? Summers asked, bewildered.

I was part of the M.A.R.S. division that cleaned up Hogwarts that fateful night over two years ago. Apparently, these two same wizards fought dragons that night, and won. Commander Potter and Agent Malfoy are specialists. They did not achieve their status by fluke. They are the S.T.A.R. elite. Here they go. The scene played out in virtual slow motion. The dragon drew a deep breath hissing as it sucked in the crisp morning air. Many metres away, one lone man stood in a patch of ice, his eyes burning fiercely as he discarded his cloak of his shoulders. Placing one foot in front of the other, he bent his knee slightly, raising his left fist slightly above and behind his head. Closing his eyes to slits, he moved his lips fractionally as he began reciting a spell he had used only twice before. This time, he would not hold back. "Protego Maximus, Reducto exertimus, Protego exertimus, Reducto Maximus Harry whispered, drawing his wand arm back, feeling the magic swell from deep inside, channelling into the tip of his wand. DIE, YOU CURSED BOY!! Macnair screamed, squeezing his legs around Frosty's neck, giving her the signal to attack. The dragon screamed, and it s chest expanded, ready to exhale its icy hell. At the same moment, Harry drew his wand back as far as he could, his recital getting faster, more urgent with it s frequency. Light beginning to emanate from the tip, then dramatically grew brighter and brighter .blinding in it s sheer brilliance, charging to it s full capacity. Before the Dragon had chance to release it s deadly breath, Harry had attacked.

"REDUCTO ULTIMA!!"

In the space of a heartbeat, London city had witnessed what appeared to be the pre-emptive flash of a miniature nuclear explosion. But instead of an immense mushroom cloud of death, the flash faded away, leaving only smoke and destruction in it s path. Macnair, along with his dragon had vaporized into dust. The eighth and ninth floors of the construction site of a new

office building behind had vanished, leaving steel bars ending abruptly in a concave arc consistent with the blast radius of the Ultimate Destruction Spell. The whole street was now covered in a fine red dust, blood and sand mixing and fusing together to create red snow. Harry Potter stood in the midst of the carnage, the only man standing amongst the bodies frozen or littering the ground haphazardly. His entire body was seeping magical energy, his wand still glowing hotly as magic visibly seeped out of his pores. Dropping his wand, he began to hurl violently over his feet, clutching his midsection tightly. Falling to his knees, he accepted the call to the blissful dark and fell headfirst in a pool of ashy water. As the light faded, he could hear a voice laughing at him.

Very good, young Harry. I have chosen well who will continue my legacy. Soon, I will walk this earth again .

***********************

A/n 2: Now you know why I did not want to add the previous chapter to this one. This one was pretty long. I guess it s because I m all Potter crazy once again, since I ve finished book six. Tell me, did you like this chapter? Don t be scared, I appreciate all criticism. Thanks! I m out.

Chapter 22: From the Depths of One s Soul [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

CHAPTER 22: From the Depths of One s Soul

It was dark. Alone in the cell, he sat with his back to the wall, elbows propped on his knees, gripping his thick hair in frustration. There was no light, yet he saw perfectly. The cell was infinitely huge, yet claustrophobic all the same. He was a prisoner in his own conscious. But he was not alone. He wished he could tell the voice to just shut up. Never, in all my years of battles, have I seen a magus with such raw power. Believe me, young Harry; I dedicated my life to hunting down the

evil, and the wicked. I have seen many come and go. However, you have outdone all expectations. I don t want your help, not anymore. Well, my young friend, that is no longer an option. Even though I have been dead for many centuries, all this while I was still waiting, listening out for the call. One day I knew it would come, but I never expected it to be from a whelp of only twelve years. The Basilisk was Salazar s experiment gone horribly wrong, a failed clone of Shalingini; and in the end, he created a mindless instrument for his so called blood cleansing . We met there for the first time, you and I, in Slytherin s secret Potions chamber, an evil place of many horrible things. You were extremely brave to enter. She was in there. My best friend s sister. I had to do something. That was what drew my host to you, young Harry. The Sword of my father hears the cry of all Gryffindors. But it answers only the strong. I am the true heir of Godric Gryffindor, but my blood does not run in you. The Longbottom boy, he holds the purest lineage to my namesake. Yes, I know. He used the sword in its true form before. But he was not as confident. He was not yet ready. I am glad I have chosen you instead. Natural ability, my young friend. Alas, I was a deprived of magic henceforth my work was done by other means, but raw talent is unmistakable. Future generations will know of your name, and speak of it in only hushed tones. Your rise to power has been unparalleled. Your combat ability rivals my own, and together, we are unstoppable. Do not cause more strife between us. You will become more than just an ordinary man. What do you mean? You will become a Legend ***************** The evening sunset streamed through the windows, illuminating the simple bedroom. Harry opened his eyes reluctantly, his eyes burning as they adjusted to the light. He blinked a couple of times in succession to re-orient himself to his surroundings. This was not his bed, neither was it in St. Mungo s or Hogwarts. Where was he? On cue, the door to the front of the room opened, and a young woman walked in. She paused in the doorway, realizing that he was awake. Harry frowned, his vision clearing up slowly as he tried to focus. He rubbed his eyes, still a bit disoriented. I think this is becoming a habit, commander, came a soft voice.

Lestrange? Harry croaked, wondering why his voice was so sore. He sat up in bed, stretching limbs that felt lethargic, unconsciously doing a self-analysis. Other than the fact that his muscles were extremely cold, he felt fine.

Rebecca , please, she asked.

she said with a half smile.

How are you feeling?

Good, I guess, Harry replied. Where am I? he asked, looking around at the various military-related items about. Boots here, uniform there...wait, those were his things! He quickly inspected himself under the covers. Whew, at least he had on clothes this time! My flat, she replied, stepping into the room.

Er- why am I here? Your place is very well hidden, and they needed the bed at St Mungo s, so I offered to look after you. Harry grimaced at what Hermione would think, but even so, was grateful that Rebecca was willing to help. So much for the ministry s health plan I m supposed to have, Harry grumbled. Okay, two- you re all healed up, so I guess Hermione was able to help? Yes, she smiled again. Harry found that a bit weird. She was quite different when she smiled, more...well girl-like. Harry mentally chastised himself. They were in her home, so obviously she ll be more at ease. You ve got quite an interesting witch as a girlfriend, Harry, Rebecca smiled. She sealed my wounds, and helped cure all of the Aurors who were injured as well- all in four days. Very talented, I must admit. She s already a budding celebrity at the ministry it seems Four days? Harry asked. How long was I-?

Today will be the fifth day since you passed out. You are really something, you know that? Rebecca said, looking at him strangely. Harry narrowed his eyes. What do you mean? According to the doctors and Granger, there wasn t anything wrong with you. Not a single scratch- well except fingernail impressions on your forearms that is. The diagnosis said you were, well, just tired and needed to fully recuperate. I ve never heard about five day siesta though... Don t mind her Harry, we were just getting a bit more familiar with each other, weren t we? More laughter. I heard what happened, well what you did. Um Rebecca wrung her fingers together. Harry found it quite uncharacteristic of her to be so nervous. He decided to give her a bit of encouragement. Yeah? I didn t know you would go through all of that- erm for me. I, well you know- thanks for saving me. If it weren t for you- and Miss Granger, I may have been crippled for life. The doctors told me my knife wounds weren t healing, and sooner or later they d get infected. She hesitated, and sat down on the edge of the bed by Harry s feet. Anyway, I don t want to think about it.

I I m glad I could have helped. Harry shrugged, a bit unsure what to say. Rebecca smiled again, and looked into his eyes. Her expression changed slightly as she noticed something. Rebecca took out her wand, pointing it at his face. What about the others- Hey! What are you doing? Harry objected. Hold still- she said, and lighted the tip of her wand. Lumos! I m going to check something- she shone the light directly into his eye. Inspecting one, then the other, she frowned. Harry blinked a few times rapidly, and took a hold of her hand, pinning it on the bed. Okay- quit that out, Lestr- um the others? Rebecca, Harry corrected. What about

Granger sorted them out as well- even that brat, Malfoy. If it were me, I wouldn t have gone through all the trouble for that jerk. Rebecca stared at him intensely now. They say you can do the Reducto Ultima curse? Rebecca s grip tightened around his fingers. I have to ask you: is this really true? Yeah...I can, Harry said cautiously. Rebecca s face creased again in another frown. Pardon me if I m stepping out of line, commander, but you do know that isn t a spell many people can execute, and is rated grade S Cataclysmic magic. And on top of that, that particular curse was only used by Dark Wizards Yeah? Harry countered, abruptly letting her hand go. Dumbledore could do it, and he isn t a Dark Wizard is he? And neither am I! Harry said defensively. Don t bite my head off. I m only voicing concerns that I think some of the bureaucrats in the higher tiers are whispering these days Do you mean Diggory? Harry knew that she didn t really like him.

No, actually, if I didn t know you better; from the way she talks about her Commander ; I would have believed that Jesus himself has come again .She seems hell bent on capturing those escapees, and annihilating all the remaining Death Eaters. Harry snorted derisively in response to that. It s kind of scary the lengths she goes to. But you are the one I m really concerned about, are you sure you re okay? It has been five days you know, and no one could have waken you That point, at least, I agree with the woman. We must cut our recuperation time, Potter. Time waits for no man Yeah, I m fine, Harry said softly, looking at the wand on the bedside table. He thought about Macnair, and how he was getting more and more immune to the violence with each passing duel. And now he was having five day long conversations, with himself. What was happening to him? That s good, because now I have a few questions to ask you. One- why are your eyes now blue? They are?

Yes. They were green the last time I saw you as far as I remember. I don t know, Harry said, looking into the small mirror on the bedside table. I ll ask the healers when I go to do my report. Two- well, this isn t really a question. I m just letting you know that there are some different, er- attitudes towards you know in the office. Some are hailing you as the next Great and can t wait to be in your team again, while others are... well to put it bluntly, scared of you. Scared? Scared?! Why? You took out a dragon with one spell. Isn t that enough? ListenWait- before you go all out on a rant: I am not scared of you. In fact your magical prowess is comforting- Harry froze, a weird expression on his face. Rebecca bit her lip, embarrassed. I mean, well to me, that isHarry raised an eyebrow. As in professionally, you are good- and in my bed Harry s eyes widened as that particular thought was unintentionally picked up by his Occlumens ability. -well, dueling and battles, I mean, the odds were amazinghaving thoughts about my commander? Harry blinked once or twice- but you pulled through, only one muggle casualty, one Auror casualtyyes you are- don t lie to yourself At this, Harry shut his eyes, what the hell was going on here? Why was he hearing her thoughts? Eighty escapees captured, three of them dead and a Death eater eradicated you should feel proud- Becky, you re twenty-four, and never had a boyfriend. What are you waiting for? And he is cute STOP! Harry screamed. Rebecca froze, literally. So did the little clock on the wall, and the curtain that was fluttering in the breeze also came to an immediate standstill. At that moment, his head began to pound furiously- and his vision became blurry. Closing them for a second, he reopened them, and his vision was once again fine. Ah, so that s how using magic instinctively feels, said Harry, his tone of voice going from an extremely low grumble then back to normal. He brought up his arms, inspecting his hands as if he had never seen it before. He stared at the lady in front of her. Beautiful woman, I must say. Harry looked down at his hands again, feeling a different tingling in his fingertips. This, the gift I have been so denied my life, feels wonderful! I wonder? Harry looked at the wand on the bedside table. Picking it up, it felt familiar, yet untrained, but he knew that he could learn quickly. Could it be? I have seen all my peers with this, am I now able to-? Harry grinned, not daring to believe it. Winguardium Lleviosa! my god- am I

The whole room rumbled a bit, then was dormant once more. Wait- they used a technique as well. They called it a swish and a flick? Hmmm Harry inspected the piece of wood, then made the movements needed. Winguardiam Lleviosa! The bed trembled, then rose steadily off the floor a couple inches. Harry grinned wildly as the bed, along with Rebecca, levitated for a few seconds. Get out of my head! The bed dropped dramatically, and Harry had to blink once or twice to catch himself. Jesus Christ- what the hell happened there? Luckily, Rebecca was still frozen. For a moment, raw magic had escaped him, and all of his innate abilities suddenly sprang to action. He wanted answers, so his Occlumens training kicked in. Then he wanted her to stop thinking about what she was thinking, so he cried out. And amazingly, it resulted in him creating a very illegal Time wrapping charm. He had to set this correct. Finite! he incanted, and Time itself in this room returned. Harry had the uncomfortable feeling of disappearing from one spot and back into the bed without realizing that he did not use his legs or apparation to do it. Jumping back in time was very scary. -feel proud of yourself. I , for one, am grateful. And I think I have a schoolgirl crush on someone younger than me how pathetic are we these days Becky? Harry immediately broke eye contact and brought up the imaginary brick walls in his mind, blocking her out. Her voice stopped whispering to him, and his head was clear once more. It was so fast- but he realized why his Teleportation magic was so dangerous. It revolved in creating black holes where distance, matter, time and reality were linked directly from one place to another. If done wrong, as Solidus had just done by skipping out certain constants of physics, he had inadvertently froze time for almost twelve seconds, and could have created a very serious problem. That lapse in concentration, what had caused it? Without warning he yanked up the mirror. His eyes were back to normal, brilliant green. Harry lay back in the bed, looking at the ceiling as Rebecca babbled on. Her voice was comforting though. Usually she was all cold and business like, but now -Arry? Hey, Potter? Listening? There s another thing of some importance. He nodded, even though he did not want to talk right now. That episode- he had completely lost himself, and allowed Solidus to take over for almost twelve seconds. Twelve seconds of being fully possessed. Scary thought. What is it? Harry said, not even looking at her as his thoughts were focused on that episode a few seconds ago. You know, Sherry Diggory has officially become minister just over a year now, well with that Hogsmeade fiasco with Fudge and so on. So her anniversary er- thing is this weekendUh hmm? Harry prodded, thinking that he finally got Macnair for good.

After thinking that, he frowned. How could he consider killing another man as something satisfactory? He was definitely not thinking straight. And to celebrate the first phase of a successful campaign, she s holding a banquet in the S.T.A.R. team s name. Well, she s saying the team , but everyone knows it s because of you Oh really? Harry said dismissively.

Well, obviously you would have to make an appearance. Rebecca Lestrange paused, as if measuring her next few words. It s a ministry thing. Supposed to build inter-department camaraderie and all that. Um- I think we should go. Well, seeing as we re on the same team and so on Harry wasn t paying much attention, and nodded easily without putting much thought into it. Okay. Why not? Rebecca s face was incredulous. A smile spread across her face, and touched his hand. Great. It ll be... Rebecca paused, trying to quell the strange little feeling in her stomach. My god, she couldn t believe she was feeling like this again. She cleared her throat, and tried to regain a semblance of her trademark professionalism. Well, more like tried. relaxing evening in the company of comrades. A

Realizing that Harry still was a bit caught off guard, she hastily made an exit. I er- have to do some grocery shopping. Make yourself at home. Don t mind the cat, he s nasty to everyone. Stay for dinner with me - my treat. Be back in a bit. The store is right down the road. Bathroom s second on left if you want. Don t run away, okay? she laughed. And with that rapid-fire flurry of one-lined sentences, she was out the door and gone. Harry tried to process what happened in the last five minutes- from bad to worse. Slept five days straight from after three days of combat. Inexplicable symptoms of chronic fatigue- so severe it was almost a near comatose condition. Bad, but not unheard of. Gossip about him has evolved: The next Great - or the next Dark Lord ? Funny headline if Ministry opinion was anything to go by. He was accustomed to tall stories about him. Seems a tad bit more serious now, so that was not good. Eighty-three escapees accounted for, and one death eater dead. One Auror and one Muggle killed. Two good guys, gone forever. Two lives lost since he assumed the position. He must do better. Solidus had complete control for twelve seconds, and managed to freeze time doing it. Solidus, a known and feared Dark Wizard hunter, had him, one who could do the Ultima Spell, under his control. Not to mention that he himself had no clue how to manipulate time- this did not look good. Not good at all. Malfoy was right. He couldn t pretend to be ignorant of this anymore.

Something serious was happening to him. He had to keep this quiet and figure out a way, or else people would think that he was going insane. *************** Lillian Kelsing knew that failure came with a cost. Imprisoned on charges of treason, and an impending trial that did not look good in her favour. If she got fifteen years in the new detention center, she ll consider herself lucky. For now, all she could do was hope that Lord Lestrange will show leniency and break her free. From what she heard of the last person captured by the S.TA.R. Elite, Steven Warshire was not a man to cross wills with. At least, being held as a military prisoner, the use of the Cruciatus was disallowed until after her trial. She needed to find a way to escape this temporary jail before that time reached. When the door opened and a young girl walked in as if she wasn t sure what she was doing there in the first place, Lillian had to admit she was surprised. Her eyes narrowed. Who are you? she demanded.

Oh, don t mind that. I m just here to deliver a message, and to come for something. I m supposed to ask you if you do know what this something is, because I don t, Luna said airily, wearing a very non- descript witch s gown. Ralphie says that he will come and rescue you, but you must give him what he wants. Do you have it? Lillian smiled. Rodulphus Lestrange sent this young woman to infiltrate the detention center? She was expecting someone with a bit more experience. Putting that thought to the back of her mind, she looked at the fingernail on her right hand. It was dirty underneath. But this fingernail was her ticket out of here. Carefully, she tore off the end of the nail. Potter s skin, and some dried blood, As per orders. I ve taken extreme care to create a miniature stasis charm around my hand, so it would be fresh enough to suffice. When will milord come? Kelsing asked Luna. When he s good and ready. Is that all you can say? Not really, but I don't feel like having a conversation here. But you will give that disgusting fingernail to me, so I can leave, Luna said imperiously, even though her expression did not change. She opened a tiny pouch. Lillian glared at Luna, but did not object. She placed the fingernail into the bag, and Luna tightened the drawstring. Thank you. Have a nice day, Luna said airily, and exited just as dreamily as she entered. Lillian scowled. She risked her life to get Potter s skin sample for the Polyjuice potion, and this is how she was treated? The girl even had the gall to leave the door open. How the hell did she get in here anyway? Lillian cursed loudly, not caring who heard her. Would Lestrange really free her? Or would she be left her to face trail and be shipped off to Siren s Rock? Feeling deserted, she slumped down in the corner and began to cry.

**************** Back at Hogwarts, the Order of the Phoenix was having another meeting, this one with a heavy air of failure and doubts. Almost two years after the fall of the Voldemort, everything was not as it should be, turmoil was everywhere, the war was nowhere close to being finished. However significant the night of the Battle of King s Crown was in the turn of the tides to the side of the Light, the events of that night had a ripple effect that was now coming to the forefront. The facts were coming together now, and now that the pieces were beginning to fit, Dumbledore knew that if they did not act soon, the prophecy would indeed come to pass. We know what must be done. The question is, can we do it? Dumbledore said grimly to the Order. As of the moment, the answer is no. That is why I have brought us together to welcome to new members to the Order of the Phoenix, who I daresay, have been unofficial members ever since I can remember. Dumbledore smiled at the two youngest at the table. I m sure you know them already, but I will still present them to you never-the-less. Dumbledore cleared his throat. Firstly, allow me to introduce Sir Ronald Weasley, the youngest Knight of the Magi in two centuries; an exceptional tactician bearing the title of Order of Merlin Third class. Impromptu leader of the strike force against Voldemort and his Death Eaters on that fateful night after I was incapacitated by Draco Malfoy. Without him, victory would have eluded us. Ronald nodded solemnly. He knew this had gotten deadly serious. It was all over the news. And being on the inside, all of the media hype was not just hype . It was getting clearer and clearer by the day. And let me introduce you to our youngest ever female member of the Order of the Phoenix, Miss Hermione Granger. Class A Occlumens, and possesses the Magic of Divinity- our trump card in the campaign against Voldemort and his followers. Specialist in metaphysical healing and sensory spells. Please, everyone, listen carefully to what I have to say. Dumbledore took another deep breath and stood up in his chair. It has been happening before our very eyes, yet we were blind to it. The situation is grave, but we still have some time, hope is not yet lost. My old friend, Randalf Ravenclaw- there was an audible gasp around the roomYes, as in the Ravenclaw - has brought before us very dire news. Please, Randy, show them the orb of prophecy. Randalf Ravenclaw rose to his full height and took out a small orb filled with swirling mist and placed it on the center of the table. Even though it was round, it did millimeter, sitting there as solid as a rock. Drawing his his lips fractionally, and it transfigured itself into an walking staff. He rapped the orb softly with the Staff of not move a wand, he moved ancient-looking Knowledge.

The orb s mist began to swirl faster, then emitted a soft light. A figure of an old hag in rags appeared over the table, and everyone drew silent as

she began to speak. You, the heir of Rowenna Ravenclaw, have shown the potential to be one of the four chosen. On precisely this day- I have been cursed to die- but not before the prophecy of millennia must be revealed. It has been foretold that once the two greatest of allies- yet now the most vicious of nemesis: Gryffindor and Slytherin, will reunite as brothers in arms on the field of blood and sand. Secrets of hidden lineage will be exposed, and the Goddess of Nature shall be raped of her bounty, bringing forth once again those who call upon the Earth, Air, Fire and Water as their allies. Out of the ashes, a Phoenix will re-awaken, and will shine the torch of light through the darkness. Do not shy away his words, Randalf the Wise, for only the heirs of Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff could prevent the Second Fall of the age of wizards. From all corners of the globe there will be four signs- The Life Giving Circle, The Staff of Knowledge, The Sword of Death, and finally The Reign of Fire. I will give you some help, Randalf. No matter how dire or how important the situation, you are not to engage yourself in wizarding matters until the true time has come. Future generations of our kind will cease to exist if you are fallen before your time. You must live as a secret until what I have told you comes to bear, and by then you will be already have acquired the Staff of Knowledge, and will guide the wielder of the Halo of Life in her mission against the Dark Sons of Magic. My time is no longer mine: Farewell . At this, everyone except Albus, Remus, Randalf- and Ron, visibly paled. Hermione was the first to voice her opinion. No she whispered, not believing it. For some reason, Ron knew all along that things were not sitting well with Harry. He just wished Hermione didn t have to find out about this the hard way. I m sorry, Hermione, Dumbledore said softly. But, that is why we are here. We want to help them, and stop this oncoming disaster the prophecy warns us against. The Dark Sons of Magic are Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter- two students of Hogwarts who once held nothing but animosity and contempt for the other, now are sworn brothers on the battlefield. Fate has drawn them towards the common goal, and now that they have learned to harness and control their gifts- are now, tragically, very serious threats to our community. Our intelligence has put together a plausible timeline of events ever since Harry s sixteenth birthday. I, on an old man s unfounded faith in reading the signs , gave Harry the Sword of Gryffindor to protect himself against Voldemort. That, I realize, was a dreadful mistake. That weapon is definitely a Horcrux of the renowned Dark Wizard hunter; Solidus Gryffindor. I would have never assumed that it was possible, as he was born without the gift of magic, but he has somehow managed to immortalize himself in the weapon. We believe now, that in times of mortal danger, a hidden piece of Solidus soul keeps Harry alive, even on the brink of

death. In these situations, he consumes a piece of Harry s persona. That is why we have seen a darker, more ruthless side to Harry, and sadly, is gaining ground over the battle for his soul. The Sword of Gryffindor is the Sword of Death mentioned in the prophecy. There is no mistaking it. Harry himself has secretly realized this, and returned the sword to me last year. I have hidden it so that no one else would be able to find it, Dumbledore said in a determined voice. However, in a direct contrast to Harry and his situation, young Miss Granger here wields the Halo of Life- an ancient weapon created by Helga Hufflepuff herself. It disappeared in the first Elven revolt, and thought lost forever. As Miss Granger so recently informed me, this object cannot be found- it finds the host to harness it s power. And as she had so brilliantly displayed this past week- her Healing ability is magnified and effectively put to use on all injuries sustained in London, without the adverse side effects. It just so happens that you and Harry are romantically involved with each other as well, which puts a definite twist in this situationI don t think that s relevantHermione interjected.

Oh ho, but it is very relevant, Miss Granger. It is both and advantage and a disadvantage. For only you have the ability to help him. Me? Yes. In a moment I will explain, but for now, please allow me to follow our course agenda, Dumbledore said. Draco Malfoy controls the Infernus. The magical ability he possesses is not yet fully matured, but when it is, he will be very hard to contain. This is where it gets a bit problematic. Dumbledore clasped his hands behind his back. The Dark Lord has gotten one up on us, again. Every time we think that it is over, it is only beginning. His extensive research on extending life and the Blight dark magic is almost mind-boggling. In that period of time where Draco Malfoy was under Voldemort s Imperius curse, he has managed to do something that is as of now, unheard of. What is it, Professor? Tonks asked, a bit scared now.

He has created a Horcrux with a human being as the host. Whereas possession deals with one host being in control over another, in Malfoy s situation, he cannot be exorcised. Voldemort is now part of him; a miniscule part however, but a part none the less. Even though I have not personally sensed his presence in Draco when we dueled, the prophecy seals all doubts I had before. Slytherin s heir is still alive- but not in the literal sense. Firenze told me at the beginning of the year that the Bloodline of Slytherin is alive, but his blood is not pure. I think that refers to Voldemort being inside of the Malfoy line- an ancient bloodline with a deep heritage for turning to the Dark. Harry- on the other hand, has been influence by the Sword, and fortunately, can be exorcised. That is why Randalf has agreed to help us. Randalf Ravenclaw nodded, and took to his feet. I have come to realize that Potter is like a son to many of youRandalf

looked at most of the adults present, a brother to you, Ron, and a hero to all of us who were terrorized by the acts of Voldemort and his followers. However, the times have changed. What we have here is a choice. The welfare of many future generations will depend on select individuals present at this meeting. I am going to lay the facts out plain and simple. These two wizards are extremely dangerous, and have the potential to be the most powerful magi since Giraux the Grand and Archimedes the Omnipotent of the seventh century. Harry Potter can summon the Grim, and now the Snake God himself, Shalingini. Along with the raw talent to execute the Ultima spell at only seventeen, he has a hidden talent that has only been recognized recently by learned men by examining his father s bloodline. Very powerful, and probably the most dangerous magical gene there is- the Felix Omnimentia; or in other words: the Good Luck/ Bad Luck heritage charm. It is a mixture of extreme luck and excellent timing in dire situations, while on the other hand, the ying and yang effect of it is that terrible tragedy and death surrounds him. In other words, this man is extremely hard to kill, and will win in ninety-seven out of a hundred encounters with an opponent. However, Randalf paused significantlyThose close to him will suffer horrible fates. Miss Granger, only because of your Divine power over the Life force have you been able to survive for so long. I implore you, do not stray too far from the Halo of Life. Keep it with you always. Your life is constantly in peril when you are near him, as we have seen by your near capture at the hands of the Death Eaters last week. Hermione dipped her eyes, feeling her emotions swell up inside. Her heart was breaking, but her courage was holding strong. She will find a way to save him! Draco Malfoy is a Slytherin, and prone to the Dark Arts. I need not say more. Our time is short. We have until July the 31st to purge Solidus Gryffindor from Potter, and to make sure that Draco Malfoy does not aspire to be the next so called Dark Lord. I will do all in my ability to aid our noble cause and help those two young men. But if we fail- he looked at each and every one of them. I will personally stop both of them before it is too late. ******************

Harry- I m home! Rebecca announced, her arms packed with grocery bags as she fought to take the key out of the door. She never had a guy in her place before. She hoped that her cooking skills were as good as Tonks says it was. Fiddling with the keys to take it out of the lock, she turned into her little flat, and hustled to put down the groceries on the table in the foyer. Cooking sometimes really was a great way to relieve her stress; she just hoped that he would like it

Rebecca made her way into the sitting area, only to see a fully dressed Harry sitting at the couch, his eyes boring hard into a piece of parchment that he was reading. A ministry owl was sitting on the back of the sofa, hooting softly as it turned it s brown head to stare balefully at Rebecca. She stopped in her tracks, looking at that serious expression on Harry s face, and wearing the full gear of his ministry uniform. Harry? she said softly, inching into the room. His dark hair was in it s usual mess, covering most of his forehead and making it difficult to look into his face. What is it? Harry covered his eyes with his hand, and wiped the tears at the corner of his eyes. He shouldn t cry, he hated the man, but still- he was his family. And they were dwindling down one by one. I m sorry Rebecca, I m afraid I can t have dinner with you tonight, Harry said solemnly. Something he trailed off. Fuck. He cursed, placing the parchment down on the coffee table. He stood up, and draped the ministry s cloak over his shoulders, then the Mantle of the Phoenix over that like a cape. I have to go. What? Wait- no- at least tell me what s going on! her exuberance slowly dissipate. she begged, feeling

From the news on this parchment, it seems that my uncle was just murdered by a wizard. Because of my position, I was the first to be informed, which is a good thing, Harry cursed again, feeling a mixture of bewilderment and hatred boil inside. What!? No- do they know who did it? her features. She asked, determination etched into

According to this report, it was me. He looked again at the parchment on the table. This is a warrant for my arrest. ******************

Author's note: You like? Or don't like? Let me know! Thanks for reading!

Chapter 23: The Dawning of a New Era [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

**CHAPTER 23: The Dawning of a New Era**

Jeremy Kingsley was in a tight situation. Dolores Umbridge, being part of the Wizengamot, had immediately issued the warrant for Potter s arrest. It had taken him all of his considerable influence to keep it quiet for the moment. As breach of security on this matter was severe enough to be

considered an act of treason, there were only seven wizards who knew of this very grave situation: Minister Sherry Diggory, himself, Dolores Umbridge, Ministry Police officers Henry Vane and Jefferson McClain, Obliviator Specialist Fernando Llewellyn and Prime Secretary Percy Weasley. Seven individuals. This was teetering on the edge of a full-scale disaster. No one, and no one was allowed to divulge this information. Until the facts were clear, this murder investigation was to remain top secret. Dolores Umbridge was the stupid hag to have mentioned informing the remaining ten members of the Wizengamot and even the Minister of Muggle Relations: Scotland Heyman, who would then in turn obviously allow the scandal to be spread to his side business: The Daily Prophet. Politicians: he didn t trust them, not one bit. Right now, the seven who knew of these latest developments were all present in the Minister s office, the sixth floor above ground in the Ministry of Magic. Everyone was extremely tense, that owl had left almost an hour ago. This is an outrage! Umbridge declared. A murderer in the Ministry! If only Cornelius heard of this, I daresay, never before have I seen such bad decision making, a troublemaker the first time I saw him- that Potter! We should have sent our top Aurors for him! What if he just runs away? Sherry Diggory scowled. Mr. Llewellyn cleared his throat. And pray tell, Dolores, who would you send to stop him? He is the commander of our Elite. So are you telling me he is above the law? Absolutely NOT! Sherry Diggory declared. But don t make presumptions as yet, Dolores. We cannot be certain from this evidence alone- she pointed at the frozen television screen- if that person is really Mr. Potter. She took a deep breath, calming her nerves. Diggory had to admit that the camcorder footage was quite incriminating. Discretion is the better part of valour. If I know him as I think I do, he will answer the summons and explain himself. We have faith in him, right, Jeremy? Jeremy Kingsley nodded but said nothing, just merely stared at the blurry image on the screen. Mrs. Diggory pulled Percy aside to have a private word. Percy," she hesitated for a moment. I want Warshire and DeFontaine inside of this room, preferably in invisibility cloaks. Do not tell them the details, all right? No. That is not prudent, advised Kingsley. His peculiar Far Seeing ability gave him a quick insight to what was happening downstairs. Sherry froze, looking at him strangely. Kingsley always had this Knowing expression on his face that she found quite disturbing. Their loyalty lies with Potter. If there is a need for security, we ll need unbiased wizards to handle this situation. However, getting security is the least of our concerns right now. And why is that? Diggory questioned.

Potter is already here, and is not in a good mood. He is walking through the main hall as we speak. And Kingsley paused, closing his eyes for a brief second, recalling his pre-emptive memory. And what? Sherry Diggory ventured.

Dolores, I advise you to be careful what you say. Or better yet, don t say anything at all, he added. Other than that, everything should be fine. ********************** Harry stormed into the Ministry of magic, the receptionist not even getting a chance to ask him where he was heading. Rebecca shadowed him, hastily trying to keep up. As he walked through the inner corridors, an Auror who had accompanied him during the London excursion, Joseph Ulfalusi, greeted him. Commander, Ulfalusi, he said respectfully. Harry nodded in return. Glad you re back.

I wanted to let you know I applied for a transfer into your division. I m currently in the second tier of the Elite training program. You ll give a good word to Kingsley for me, eh? Joseph said cordially. I will, Harry said. You re sure about wanting to join the S.T.A.R division? he asked. All these Aurors knew the type of danger his teammates get into, why would they want to join? Yes, sir! Joseph said immediately. Who wouldn t want to? My comrades have also applied, so the competition is highEr- okay Harry said, trying to get back to matters at hand. He had no time for idle chitchat. I have some business right now, I ll look out for your results. Thank you. Once again, good to have you back, commander. Lestrange, he nodded at her in acknowledgement, and walked off. Harry watched him go, then shook his head in amusement. Told you, Rebecca said knowingly as they went towards the inner elevator. These guys here really respect you now, that day in London has the whole Ministry fired up. Expect some serious ass kissing in the next couple of weeks- she said grimly. Harry said nothing. They entered the elevator, and the doors closed behind them. Good evening, welcome to the ministry of magic. Please state your destination floor, said the building s soft female voice. Nerves began to gnaw at him all of a sudden, his stomach feeling queasy as he stared at the blank metal doors, watching his diffused reflection in the shiny metal. All he saw was the bulky outline of a hooded figure, and a glinting piece of metal against his chest. Standing on his right, Rebecca Lestrange s reflection was smaller; the female proportions of her slim figure a direct contrast to the two heavy layers of cloaks he wore. The first thought that came to his mind as he looked at the reflection was that of one of a Lord with his Lady at his sideHarry? Yeah. Rebecca said, bringing him out of his thoughts. Harry cleared his throat. You okay?

Minister of Magic s office, level six.

Please state your name and clearance code for direct access. Harry was getting more irritated by the second. He didn t know why, but this voice was beginning to annoy him. S.T.A.R. Elite Commander Potter, Class 2 clearance. Code 5-5-6-7-9-3, rattled off automatically, nerves twisting in his stomach even more. Good Evening, Commander. Access granted. Can we get this elevator moving now? hands through his hair. he asked irritably, running his I ll prove to on his elbow. she came along. him feel better. he

Harry, it s going to be okay, trust me. I m your alibi, them that it wasn t you, Rebecca said, putting her hand Harry said nothing, but glanced once at her. He was glad Without him consciously knowing it, her support did make

I guess. Er thanks for coming, Rebecca, he admitted. She smiled, but did not respond. The elevator ride came to a smooth halt, and Harry exited unto the top floor. The main lobby to the Minister s office was empty except for the two guards at the door to Mrs. Diggory s office. Commander, one of them greeted. This is a surprise. How fares it?

Fine, Harry grumbled, eyeing them as he walked forward. To his surprise, the same man who welcomed him put his arm out, blocking his passage. Harry paused, looking at this obstruction incredulously. For reasons unknown, that gesture got him very angry. Weapons, please, the guard said cordially, not seeing his teammate s aghast expression. Harry looked directly into the guard s face, his eyes narrowing dangerously. What did you say? Harry asked, his temper rising almost to boiling point. He turned to face the man directly. Let me pass, he ordered, his tone deadly soft. The other guard hastily stepped across and took his mate a bit to the side. Ho ho- don t mind him commander, he s just playing. Kind of a running joke around here he said in a hasty apology. Please- he indicated to the door further ahead. Go ahead. B-b-but, the other man got an elbow in his ribs comeback. Hey! What the of the Elite entered the stammered as Harry and Rebecca walked past. He to keep quiet and had to stow away any sort of hell? he complained as soon as the two members office and were out of earshot. You don t want to get on his bad

Are you crazy? his comrade hissed. side, believe me. Oh

and why not? I m not afraid of him!

Can t you see what s happening? The way things are going, it ll be better if we remained in his good graces. You never know what may happen in the future. You re delusional, his mate said angrily.

Whatever. Let s just say you owe me one ************** Good evening Commander, Agent Lestrange. Mrs. Diggory said in a practiced, even tone. Please, have a seat. Madame Minister, Harry responded. Rebecca muttered a soft good evening , and both of them took seats in front of the Minister s desk. Harry surveyed everyone in the room, his eyes resting for a moment on Dolores Umbridge, who had on the same repulsive sweet smile he hated when they were in detention. You! he hissed. What are you doing here? Harry demanded. And good evening to you as well, Harry, Umbridge replied in a tone reserved for pre-teenagers. I trust that you will be hem hemaccommodating us by answering the few questions we have for you? You have some nerve, Harry uttered, tensing his right hand, which still bore faint lines of his scarring he received a few years back. Commander, please, the matters at hand, Mrs Diggory intruded. Without further ado, I would like to show you a video recording taken from a young man living on number 15, Privet Drive. Only afterwards, will we ask questions. It was caught on tape? Rebecca blurted.

Yes. Our obliviator on duty, Mr. Llewlyn here, has already dealt with the boy s memory. However, after we have finished viewing the footage, only then I will explain in detail the Ministry s procedure in such an occurrence. Your mere presence here reassures us that you have nothing to hide, and for that alone, I am relieved. Harry, I want to stress that we are on your side, but this is something we must do. Mrs Diggory pressed the play button on the video player. The television flickered twice, and then the footage began to roll. First, it was focused on a bike stunt that another young man was attempting. Suddenly, there was a scream coming from off-screen. The camera swung to the left, and then dipped, ducking low as the boy apparently hid behind a parked car, filming from behind cover of the vehicle s bonnet. A young man was standing in the driveway opposite, his wand was pointed high at the bulky figure, nearly four storeys in the sky. He was laughing raucously as Vernon Dursley screamed and pleaded for his life. There was another person in the picture; Dudley Dursley was trapped within the family vehicle. He pounded against the glass, but it was obvious he could not get the vehicle to let him out. Some indecipherable words came out of the assailants as Vernon rose higher and higher into the sky, his limbs flailing wildly in protest. Without much more theatrics, the young wizard released the levitation spell, and Vernon Dursley fell to his death with a sickening thud, a pool of blood rapidly spreading from his smashed face. Dudley began to rock the car violently, trying to escape, his screams muted inside of the vehicle. The stranger pointed his wand menacingly at

him, but only threaten the trapped boy. With a nudge of his foot to make sure his victim was dead, the unknown wizard turned to walk out to the road, inadvertently giving the camera a good look at his face. Rebecca gasped audibly. There was A moment later, there was a swirl Sherry stopped the video, and the rewinding was the only sound that seconds. no mistaking it. That was Harry s face. of robes, and the murderer was gone. whirring noise of the muggle device could be heard for a very tense few

Harry was utterly stupefied. Who would go through all these lengths to frame him for a murder? And without even realizing it, he knew that it had something to do with Rodulphus Lestrange. He felt it deep down. Once again, an oppressive surge of guilt welled up inside, because he knew that night at King s Crown, he had Lestrange at his mercy, yet he let him live. If onlyCommander, your thoughts? silence. Madame Diggory probed after the ominous

That is not me. I did not kill Vernon Dursley- I swear! Harry said clearly. There was a definite feeling of those words slicing the tension in two, but an air of uneasiness and doubt settled on the nine present like a heavy mist. Harry had to give it to Rodulphus for being a worthy adversary. The Dark Arts, the tool of the enemy, created doubt and inner strife into their victims. Inside, Harry cursed. His opponent was beating him at every turn, so he knew he was dealing with a master. He swore to himself that he will find the culprit behind this. We believe you Harry. Thank you for putting aside our doubts, but for the record, I ll need to check your wand. Percy, Please ask Gemmeil for Mr. Potter s wandHere, Harry took it out, and offered it. There was another uneasy silence and Umbridge s eyes widened in amazement. He-he brought his wand inside of here? What if he did kill him? He could have killed us all! She shrieked in accusation. Harry laid his wand down carefully on the minister s desk, and looked at her, his eyes boring into hers. And, I daresay, you would be the first, Professor Umbridge all of his animosity focused on her beady little eyes. Harry thought,

Umbridge paled. Did- you did you hear...He threatened me! I heard him! He threatened to kill me! Everybody else looked at her as if she went mad. Dolores, Potter hasn t said a word. Are you ill? Kingsley asked. There were murmurs of concern from the others as well, but Umbridge shook her head in horror, staring at Harry as if he were a monster. Her face turned even paler and she took a frightful step back. I think she isn t feeling well, sir. Maybe she needs attention? Harry offered, not even looking at Umbridge. Rebecca fidgeted in the seat next to him, watching Harry closely. How could he be so so nonchalant about this? They had footage of him killing his uncle!

Percy please escort her downstairs. I ll inform you later Dolores on the results of this investigation, so please, I think you need a pick-me-up potion; Percy, check second floor. Percy took Umbridge by the elbow and guided her out the door, Umbridge mumbling words to the tune of Don t let him He ll do us all in as she allowed herself to be taken away. Sherry Diggory watched her leave warily, and when the door closed behind her, she took up Harry s wand. Priori Incantetem! she commanded, and to everyone s horror, the paperweight on her table began to slowly rise off the surface. Harry s heart skipped a beat as everyone watched the small replica of Madame Maxine s carriage float nearly a foot off the tabletop. This, the proof that the last spell he used was the Levitation Charm was damning evidence. Wait! I know what everyone is thinking! Rebecca said immediately, But you have to believe him, I was there the whole time! Harry couldn t have possibly killed his uncle! RebeccaHarry began.

Do not tell untruths. You left your home for approximately half an hour during the time of this recording. You were not there the whole time, Agent Lestrange, Diggory said icily. We had twenty four hour security at your home as the Commander was in a vulnerable state. We do not take matters of security for Ministry personnel lightly. Explain yourself, Potter, Diggory commanded. Look at the tape again. I think I saw a clue that would lead us to the true murderer, Harry said, his brain working furiously. He could be in serious trouble Do not dodge the question, Potter, we have Diggory continued.

The evidence is very damning, I know. But before you accuse me of this murder, I think we should look at the cassette again. Er- when the murderer threatens Dudley in the car. Sherry said nothing, but played over the tape once again, quickly fast forwarding to that particular instant. Harry leaned forward in his chair, staring at the screen. It zoomed into focus on them at a peculiar point wait- look! There it is! On his left ring finger- that is my proof. Sherry paused it, and all present looked a bit more carefully. It was not exactly a complete pardon, but the fact that there was a very dominant wedding band on his left ring finger was good sign. Obviously our man was married, and forgot to take off his ring. Now we can narrow down our search instead of groping in the dark for this impersonator. Potter, you will stay out of this one. I will conduct the investigations personally, Kingsley said calmly. It is ministry procedure for Aurors not to get involved in cases where the deceased is their family. You will not, and I repeat- not get involved. Do I make myself clear? Kingsley asked. Harry was about to argue, but Rebecca put her hand on his forearm in a warning gesture. Harry let out a breath to calm himself down, and nodded. Harry, are you okay? Yes, ma am. Sherry asked him, genuinely concerned.

Sherry Diggory waited for more, but apparently, none was forthcoming. She frowned. Her conscious began to gnaw at her incessantly now. Was it worth it? Was vengeance worth this? Her eyes found his, and she was saddened to see that no sorrow lingered there. Inside, she felt her heart breaking for him, but on the outside, her Ministry persona was as professional as ever. There will be tragic losses in this war. But her ultimate objective depended on this man. She needed Harry, and if he was the one doomed to bear the cross, so be it. Commander, I am very pleased with your contribution to our long term objectives, and never doubted you from the start. I apologize for the, er wording of the post, but it seems that Dolores insisted she pen it herself. Your reputation and actions are irrefutable. Please, do not let this be a main cause of worry. We will apprehend the culprit swiftly, and bring him to justice. What about my cousin? Harry asked. Sherry shuffled a bit uneasily.

Well, unfortunately we cannot alter such vivid and emotional memories right away, tricky business, the delicate nature of this horrible act, but we have made sure that the muggle authorities are treating it as a suicide. Your cousin s basic needs will be taken care of, but right now, we cannot do anything about his emotional situation. In maybe a few years , we could attempt again to modify his thoughts, make the pain more tolerable to bear, we ll find a way. Harry cursed under his breath. As if Dudley needed something so horrible to hate Harry more. Harry balled his fist, both his uncle and aunt dead by the hands of Death Eaters. Instinctively, he knew it had to be Lestrange. The fact that he used a Levitation spell to kill Uncle Vernon and Solidus using a Levitation spell at approximately the same time was the uncanny work of intuitive mastery of the Dark Arts. It fitted the mould, unconceivable coincidences; so obscure and so random, yet when tied together, almost cost him his freedom. Such incredible bad luck would have turned out to be a huge disaster if he hadn t noticed the tiny glint of gold on his hand. If he didn t see that, this was going to be the biggest scandal the Wizarding world has seen in a very long time. Tomorrow s Prophet might have had a headline like this: Azkaban escapees can expect their captor, Harry Potter; to join them in a few days. Details inside! That would have been the best article on him yet. Very well. See to it that he is comfortable, Harry said offhandedly, and Rebecca eyed him, an incredulous look on her face. To her surprise, none of the prominent wizards here found his words rude, or arrogant in any way. It was almost as if they expected him to say something like that. If necessary, contact me if I could assist in any way, Madame Minister. If that s all, I ll be leaving, Harry said, and got up. Without another word, he spun away and headed to the exit, his wand jumping out of Diggory s hand and zooming into his.

Wait, Potter! she invited.

Sherry asked.

Will you be in attendance this weekend?

Er- I guess, Harry said at the door. Kingsley, Llewellyn, Officers, Madame Minister, he nodded. Good evening to you all, he said in farewell. Rebecca? he enquired. She got up, and followed him out the door. Without even knowing it, Kingsley let out a pent up breath. He had told that stupid hag to keep quiet! What in the world was she thinking? Llewllyn, grade two obliviation on Umbridge. Short-term modification of six hours, and immediate Ministry dismissal. When she comes to, tell the Librarian she ll have a new employee come the morning. Nothing is to escape these walls, understood? Right away, sir. Good. You two, I m assigning you to monitor the Dursley boy, round the clock. The muggle police are not to have the slightest inkling that something is amiss. Alternate fourteen hour shifts, the both of you. Aye. Leave it to us. Kingsley nodded, watching the three men leave. He looked to his Commander-in-Chief. We ve got to be careful. More precisely, you ve got to be very, very careful. If he finds out what you did to him at Lionheart I know. Do we have, er- is there anyone, well you know, if something happens and we need somebody to bring him in... He face paled. Anyone at all? No. Maybe Dumbledore...but for now, we don t have anyone capable of forcefully apprehending Potter. For now, he is winning the war for us. Hopefully, we can keep it that way. Kingsley said. Even though he has the potential to turn, I trust him to be a generally good person. Let us not dwell on what the future may hold. Agreed, Sherry said, watching the still image of Harry Potter looking down the length of his wand at the muggle trapped within the car. It bore a frightening similarity to their present predicament. Right now the ministry was in no position to bargain. **************************

The birds were chirping merrily, singing welcoming songs to the new blossoms of spring. In Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a lone magus was scouring through the School Portfolio and Ministry Portfolio of a deceptively talented wizard. What he needed was focus. At six minutes to eight, there was a knock on the door. The white haired wizard looked up from behind the desk, and smiled grimly. He was early. That was a good sign. Enter. Mr. Ravenclaw? You asked for me? Ron Weasley asked.

Sorry to bother you on such a beautiful Saturday morning, but it is

important. Today you begin your training, Training? Ron s ears perked up. said enthusiastically.

Randalf said calmly.

Really? What are we going to do? he

I will train you in the art of Sansferi. Do you know what that is? Randalf asked, getting up from behind his desk. No Ron murmured, idly fingering his wand. Is it a type of spell?

Not exactly, Randalf smiled grimly, But it obviously uses magic, but, only certain types of magic, and it is never a constant practiced technique. It varies from person to person, a constantly evolving skill for everyone who studies its methodologies; so naturally, we will be working together in your training. You have information that I will need , and I have information that you will need. He conjured chalk, and began to write on the board. I have borrowed this class for the time being, but we will not be learning Defence Against the Dark Arts . Sansferi , to put it simply, is the art of finding the weak points of your opponent, and use it to defeat him, no matter the difference in skill level. It s aggressive magic then, Ron said, instantly drawn in. Yes an no. The main emphasis is on strategy, and plotting. I will warn you, Mr. Weasley. I will teach you techniques that I admit are deeply rooted in the Dark arts, but however, these spells are used in conjunction with others to produce a decisive wining strategy, and not to be used indiscriminately. I trust you have the right sensibility to know when it is appropriate, correct? Yes, sir. Very good. Well, the first aspect of Sansferi is believing in your strengths. Tell me the first thing that comes to mind. What is it you are good atChess! Ron answered immediately.

Exactly. I have heard you beat Dumbledore s board when you were only eleven. Quite a feat, I must add. Each piece has a significant importance, some more than others. You know how the pieces move, and what are their weakness and strengths, and what ultimately what you will sacrifice in order to achieve the goal. We will use that aspect in your training. The second aspect is knowing the enemy s weaknesses. There was a muted silence, and Ravenclaw pointedly did not look at Ron. Ron felt the struggle building within, but did not back down. I know his weaknesses. Very good. And the third aspect is where the Dark Arts may come inexploiting his weaknesses. Now, please read this parchment. If you think that it is an unjust request, I will not teach you, but I implore you, do this for those that you care about. Ron approached the desk warily, and unfurled the scroll Ravenclaw handed over to him.

I understand that the mission I embark on is not for selfish desires; neither fame nor glory. The Sansferi Dueling technique would be taught to no other until I have completed my mission, and only then can I pass down the knowledge of these techniques. From master to apprentice, there can be no more than two individuals who know of the practices of the Noble house of Raphael De Rossi Ravenclaw. On this day, I swear to ultimately use these skills only when the lives of many outweigh the life of one, and I will not stop until victory is mine. By signing this, I declare that though I may fall on the battlefield, I will not rest until Justice is met. _________________ Once the heart is pure, and the reasons noble, this technique ensures victory, Ronald. You need not sign this contract as yet. I am just letting you know that once the basics are in, I will train you to be a very powerful magi. The signing of this agreement will be your final test. It means dedicating your life so that one day, you will take another as I have done - to be your student. It is not easy, I warn you, the burden of keeping this ancient art alive, he added, taking back the scroll. But a certain binding must be done before I may begin. If in due course you do not grasp these hidden arts, this spell will erase all memory of your teachings. Ravenclaw tapped his wand on the scroll, then tapped it on each of Ron s shoulders. After it was done, Ron felt a strange feeling of his ears blocking up with a low pressure, then was gone. So, shall we? Ron gulped. Oh, er...I guess. Excellent! Draw your wand, Randalf said majestically. I am going to evaluate how much you know, and henceforth, how much potential you have. He drew his own wand from inside his robes, waving it once in a sweeping gesture. The furniture of the classroom immediately vanished. Well? Come at me with all you got. En garde! ***************** Hermione was in Professor Dumbledore s office also training, but in completely different type of session altogether. What she was trying to do was to penetrate Dumbledore s mental defences. Compared to how easily she could go into Harry s head, Dumbledore was impossible to break down. I can t! She said in defeat after her head began pounding with the effort. She was weary, mentally and physically. I don t know how you do it Professor- this is too much! I understand, Hermione. Why I am pushing you so hard is because Solidus would also do everything in his ability to keep a body, including attack you. Harry is quite formidable, and any sort of lapse in control on his part could be fatal for you. What I have come to realize however, that the very core of his magic is Defense Against the Dark Arts. His repertoire of

magic is limited, but what he does know he applies expertly, giving him a very large advantage in a duel. Attacking someone s mind is basically a Dark Art, however we may try to cover it up. But Harry allows me into his thoughts, he trusts me! I know he does. But unfortunately, I doubt it would be so easy. Dumbledore sat down, and steeped his fingers under his nose, peering at her over the half moon glasses, that he had to admit, made no sense wearing ever since he was resurrected to a younger self nearly two years ago. However, as I said before, the fact that you two are romantically involved is both an advantage and disadvantage. I do not wish to insinuate such sordid conversations, but it cannot be helped. Do you know what Siren s Curse is? I read about it in passing, but as to how it works, no, I do not know the exact fundamentals... Hermione said grudgingly. The Sirens innate magical ability is rooted in the forbidden branch of L amore de homme, or to roughly translate, the Lust of Man. A man s sexual needs is quite a dominant force in the nature of things, and all magic targeting that aspect of human sexuality was outlawed many years ago. To cover their magical ability, the forerunners of the Sirens as we know them now hid their enchantments in their song and dance, generating pleasure for men while filling their pockets with their gold. Over time, gold no longer was as precious to them, so they wanted more. It evolved into capturing the undivided attention of their patrons, then to their bodies, then to their love, and finally, now, to their soul. Dumbledore cleared his throat. Even he, an experienced wizard, felt highly uneasy talking so candidly to his student. But for some reason, he knew that facing the Boy Who Lived in a direct confrontation (even though it was not in the physical sense) would only complicate matters for Hermione, and she would likely fail. She was not good enough to forcefully rip out Solidus essence, and even if she did there was a high probability she may inadvertently kill Harry. He waved his wand, and a slight dusty book dropped unto his desk, moaning seductively in pleasurable pain. Please, read this book about the curse. It will give you some insight to the intricacies tied between the body and soul. All right, I ll read it as soon as I get back. Oh, and Miss Granger, a hint, there is always more than one way to skin a cat. If you need more explanation, please confer with Madame Pompfrey. It would be best if you asked her questions, it would not be proper for me to discuss it with you. Hermione took the book, bade the Professor good day, and exited out the door. On her descent down the spiral staircase, she looked at the cover of the book. At first, she did not believe it. Underneath a bold title written in Greek symbols was beautifully painted artwork of a couple in the throes of sexual passion, the woman s legs wrapped around the man s lower body. Slightly blushing, she shoved the book in her bag, and made her way to the dormitories. When she reached inside the confines of the

girls seventh year bedrooms, she took out the book and began to read. After pouring through almost nine chapters discussing many different types of Love potions, spells, enchantments, hexes, charms, aphrodisiacs and wistful romantic theories, she finally reached the chapter labeled Forbidden Curses and under that, Siren s Curse. It is known during the climax of sexual release, a man s soul is most vulnerable. In that moment of ecstasy, it was believed that Sirens found it is possible to delve in and Possess him completely, which in a literal sense, is to rip his soul out of his body, further enhancing their own beauty and youthful appearance. As we know, a wizard s most valuable possession is his soul. Due to the fact that the passing away of the body is not final to those gifted enough to prolong Life after Death, the importance of keeping one s soul far outweighs the value of their Life. Sirens have mastered the art of defeating even the most powerful magi by simply seducing them, and are henceforth regarded as the most dangerous witches alive. Their mere voice drives a sane man to stupor, and their touch alone means instant seduction. Notoriously greedy, Sirens prefer victims with a high capability for magic, and in return for their soul, will keep their captive in a state of constant euphoria for at least twenty-four hours in continuous sexual intercourse before viciously sucking out their soul. For more information, please refer to The Seductive Dark Arts by Nora Leslie-Willow. Hermione finished reading the chapter, and placed a bookmark to keep the page. Siren s curse did give her a vague idea, but to do what she thought she may have to do bordered on delving deep into the Dark Arts. Hermione thought hard about what Dumbledore said. There is always more than one way to skin a cat. Trying her best to come up with a plan, she drifted off into a troubled afternoon sleep. *********************** Can t fucking stand it mumbled a low voice. The owner of the voice was sitting in his luxurious study, reading the reports from the S.T.A.R. logbook. He wasn t supposed to have access to this, but he did not fear the others, or being removed from his position. He made a duplicate, and was now pouring through the relatively new pages of the Auror Division s Specialists unit. What are you arping about now? Fleur Delacour said, bringing him the Bourbon he requested on an elegant serving tray made out of pure crystal. She placed it down on the low coffee table in front of them, and then made herself comfortable on the love seat, curling up next to Draco Malfoy. somesing wrong? Iz

Draco allowed her to pull at his growing beard, teasingly running a finger down the centre of his chin. He glanced down at her, this woman who had somehow found a way into his life, and surprisingly, gave him a sense of balance. He was destined to become the strongest. But, by reading these reports, the only thing he felt was shame.

Defeated. Defeated, defeated! I hate this! Every time my name is mentioned in this book, it always is followed by was defeated ! Am I fucking weakling? Draco snapped at himself, throwing down the log book unto the ground. He stretched forward to take his drink, making Fleur sit up momentarily. Defeated at the hands of Order, then defeated by Potter, then defeated by Mulciber, now Macnair- it s fucking embarrassing! Potter waves his wand and wipes out a dragon- while I look like a complete moron! Draco, I heard you were quite brave, you rescued miss Hermy-one! You re a hero! All I seem to be is his fucking sidekick! Draco do this, Draco do that. Fuck him! I am part of the E.L.I.T.E. too! Don t be so hard on yourself my luv, you ll always be my hero, Fleur said, kissing him sweetly on his lips. Draco calmed down immediately, and smiled down at her. He looked into her eyes, and, as if seeing her for the first time, a light dawned in his eyes. Do you love me? he asked suddenly. Fleur looked at him strangely. She took a few seconds, but she did answer him honestly. I do. Do you trust me? Draco asked her now, staring into those gorgeous eyes. She nodded, her eyes searching his as well. Yes, Draco, I trust you with my life. Deliberating for a few seconds, Draco smiled, not one of genuine happiness, but closer to a smile of triumphant; finding the piece to a puzzle he was trying to solve. This woman somehow complimented his persona, making him stronger, more in control. His every need she could fulfil, and her information gathering ability was par none. And to top it off, he grew more addicted to her every time they were apart. Without further ado, he got up from the sofa, his future materializing right before his eyes. Fleur Delacour was necessary. So was his younger sister, but she was not yet of age. Both were the final pieces of his initial puzzle, but for completely different reasons. This was the moment. Taking her hand in his, he concentrated hard, and a small cupboard in his room opened, and a tiny box came zooming through the corridors and hallways, descending the wide curved staircase and darting around the extravagant furnishings to zoom into his waiting palm. This was right. He needed to do this. Opening the little box, he pulled out an exquisite diamond ring. Fleur s eyes widened in anticipation, was he really ? Draco Malfoy bowed down to one knee. Fleur began to cry tears of happiness. Little did she know that the young man of eighteen years was embarking on a quest. A quest for greatness. Fleur, will you become my wife? His head was bowed, and he did not look at her in her eye. He stared resolutely at the ground, feeling that this was what he needed to do to become complete. This was the advantage Potter had over him. Yes! Oui! Yes yes! I will! came her voice, shrilly with excitement.

Draco did not find joy in knowing that she was to become his bride. He felt a sense of triumph in his finding the missing element that he needed to succeed. A cruel mockery of sorts, he did not bow to honour his fianc; in his vision, he was being Knighted of his new status. Young and talented, these women he brought about him would be his lieutenants. Annethe Siren, Jacqueline- the Torrentia Summoner, Fluer- the Seductress, and his younger sister, Kenna- the Enchantress These would be his first followers. He could amass armies with these talented witches at his side. Men will either join in his ambition, or perish at his hands. These women have proven they can assume control over any man they encounter. No one will be able to resist. Seeing his vision of the future becoming clearer by the second, he stood to his feet, smiling warmly at his new acquisition. He took her in a hug, her tears wet against the side of his face. His eyes glared red as the Infernus felt his confidence grow, his mission now starting to materialise in the right direction. Scooping his fianc up in his arms, he carried her to the master bedroom upstairs, where he ravaged her with a passion he never felt before, almost on the verge of being barbaric in his ferocity. After they were exhausted form their rough lovemaking and Fleur was contentedly asleep in his arms, a voice spoke to him, almost as clear as if the Dark Lord Voldemort himself was whispering directly in his ear. You are wrong, Master Malfoy. There has been one man who has encountered all of your five, and all of them have tried, each in their own peculiar way, to defeat him. One man, who has thwarted you since you can remember, has thrown aside all attempts of these women to bring him to his knees. You have missed a very important detail, my young apprentice. Harry Potter is more powerful than you think. You disappoint me, Master Malfoy. A Gryffindor taking the title of what is rightfully ours? You will not be revered as a Dark Lord once he is alive. Do not fail me Draco I have helped, you, I have shown you the way. And with that, Draco bolted awake, sweat running down his face. He took a few deep breaths to calm himself down. Reaching over his new fiance s naked body, he turned the amp on to look at the miniature grandfather clock she used on her bedside table. It read 8:42. Getting out of bed, he donned his bedrobe, tying it around his waist. He washed his face in the neighbouring bathroom to eradicate that clammy feeling he got on his skin whenever Voldemort spoke to him. Drying his unblemished face, he returned into the bedroom and arrogantly squeezed Fleur s exposed breast. Hmmm? she said groggily, opening her eyes slightly. She almost screamed. With the light pouring out the bathroom behind him creating deep shadows on his face, she saw only two faint red pupils staring down at her, terrifying her so much that her heart nearly skipped a beat. Blinking a few times, she discarded it as only a part of her imagination. Wake up. We are going out tonight. ********************

Rebecca had to admit she was feeling excited. She couldn t remember the last time she dressed up, or even felt like dressing up. But tonight was a good night as any to go all out. He said he would be here in a little while, and when two minutes past nine reached and he wasn t here as yet she began to worry, even though he did say he was coming for around nine. At exactly six minutes and fourteen seconds past nine, there was a knock on her door. Composing herself and looking in the mirror one last time, she was satisfied that she had did her best and was tastefully appropriate for the occasion. Clearing her throat quietly to make sure she didn t sound to obvious when she greeted him, she made her way out of her bedroom, down the hall, a left by the laundry area, a right by her study, through the kitchen/dining area, past her small lounge and opened the door. Her breath caught. Good night, Harry said easily. Er- ready?

Hi um yes, she said, a bit caught off guard. Harry s outfit was not one she thought he would look good in, but to his credit, he fitted the mould perfectly. Dressed in a dashing suit, Rebecca knew that it was most probably handcrafted in the finest magi s robes from Kurst s in Bulgaria. Hanging in the crook of his arm, folded in two, was his father s cloak, looking clean and in immaculate condition. You look ...nice, she commented, feeling like a silly little girl, which (she mused) she was feeling ever since he dropped her back home after the visit to the Ministry of magic. Four days and a half later, she somehow felt disappointed that he didn t call, or write to her since. What was he doing all this while? Harry smiled. She was absolutely gorgeous in a deep purple witches robe that complimented her dark hair and exotic deep blue eyes, almost on the verge of purple themselves. It hugged her curves and the wrap around her elbows was classy and made one s mind wonder in curiosity to glimpse the fine expanse of her uncovered back. Inwardly, he sighed. He just didn t want to be the focus of attention tonight. Now with Rebecca as his escort, it was inevitable that he would be smack dab in the center of it. You look, er nice too. Come on, let s get this over with, he said, and Rebecca felt a bit disheartened. Obviously he wasn t looking forward to this as she did. She locked the door behind her and both of them went into the small elevator on her apartment building. Inside the elevator Harry once again noticed their reflection, and dipped his eyes. It s a work outing. Don t look at it too seriously he told himself, finally getting the courage to look back the shiny surface of the elevator doors. Even though he ran that mantra through his head, he couldn t deny that he was a man, and she was a beautiful woman. It was hard keeping his thoughts in line. Lord Potter and Lady Lestrange No matter how hard the tried, the constant rumours kept dragging him back to think about the image of the reflection in the elevator a few days ago.

That day, he was fully geared -and in a way, ready to duel for his life. Now he was dressed to go out and socialize, yet still he felt that tonight would also be a battle, a battle of yet another sort, yet a battle nonetheless. As they stepped into the cool spring night, he thought to himself: What would be his challenge tonight? Where s our transportation? Rebecca asked, bewildered. I taxid here. But however, we ll go in a more You ready? Harry asked lazily. What, how? The apparation fieldDon t mind that. I pulled some strings. Ah- exactly 9:15, he mused, checking his watch. Right on time. Here we go, he said, and took her close, his hands resting lightly on her waist. She panicked, wanting to know what was he going to do, when the next thing she knew, they were on the bottom of a flight of wide steps leading to a classic art gallery. There were elegantly dressed wizards, mostly couples, heading up the steps, chatting and greeting other familiar faces as soft ballroom music floated down the smooth steps. Only a few heads turned at their sudden appearance, a couple so distracted with each other that they almost walked right into them. At the last possible second Harry stepped in closer to Rebecca and she took one step backwards as the couple walked steadily on. The man s head was bent low, listening to his companion s urgent whisperings , not even realizing that two people had just appeared out of nowhere right in their path. Rebecca found herself in very close proximity with Harry until he stepped away from her and began to ascend the steps. Regaining her composure she hastened up behind him, hissing in his ear. How did you do that? No one s supposed to be able to get through, admonished. she well, efficient fashion.

I pulled a few strings at the M.A.R.S. division, got myself a two minute opening. Come on, he said offhandedly, not breaking stride. Rebecca frowned. Potter had the M.A.R.S. division breaking strict ministry rules for his convenience? What was going on here? She was about to question him again when they entered the main hall, the doorman looking up intently at them as Harry whispered their names. His eyes flickered once between the both of them in recognition and a wide grin broke out on his heavily lined face. Turning to face inwards, he lifted his hand towards the live band. They dipped their music and everybody turned towards the door to see what was the cause of this interruption. Ladies and Gentlemen, our guest of honour; Lord Potter, and his escortthe beautiful Lady Lestrange has arrived! Please, let the fun begin! the doorman said robustly, making Harry s insides squirm in embarrassment. There were a few flashes of camera lights, and many patrons began to whisper in urgent voices. Harry half-heartedly acknowledged the grandiose introduction and hastily dragged Rebecca away from the main entrance, finding it easier to disappear into the crowd by the cocktail bar.

Well, well, well, if it isn t Lord Potter. Moving on up are we? voice behind him. And with Miss Rebecca to boot.

came a

Harry calmly took a sip of his drink, letting the person stew a while before he responded. He turned slowly, watching Draco Malfoy directly in the eye. Malfoy. Pleasant, as usual. Lady Rebecca, Draco smirked, bowing slightly. It sounds so noble does it? he said sarcastically. Malfoy, your charm is unparalleled, she responded in a mock tone.

Why thank you. Potter, as you re here, I d like you to be first to know, Draco said smugly, drawing Fleur closer to his side. I would like to officially introduce my new fianc, Fleur Delacour. Fleur beamed at Harry and Rebecca her beauty radiating even more magic than usual. The bartender suddenly dropped a glass behind the table, so dumbstruck that he was still pouring the wine all over his hand. Harry looked at the couple closely, looking for a sign of a trick. When he noticed the engagement ring on her finger, he looked back up at them, genuinely shocked. You re serious. It wasn t a question. Draco said,

Now tell me, why would I lie about something like that? quite amused by Harry s expression.

Well, congratulations, Harry said, instinctively offering his hand. Draco took it, and both men shook hands for the first time. There was a moment where time stood still, both men feeling each other s strength by that otherwise routine gesture of camaraderie. A camera flashed at them, and the tension vanished, both of them abruptly letting go. Harry cleared his throat. Well, this was a surprise. Something about Draco was disturbing him . Yes. I think it is time I moved on to bigger, better things. Oh? Harry enquired.

Just you wait, Potter, just you wait, he smirked and gave a playful mock salute to Harry and Rebecca as he and his fianc sauntered off. Harry frowned, what was that last about? What was going to happen? Pardon me m lord, Madame Diggory wishes to have a word with you, someone said on his left. He turned, and remembered the same man who tried to stop him from entering her office not even a few days earlier. Harry frowned again. Why was everyone addressing him as lord ? It was irritating. I ll come over in a bit, Harry dismissed him, not wanting to be anyone s lap dog. Yes, m lord, his breath. the man said as he bowed and backed away. Harry swore under

Hey, is that Sol and Steven? Rebecca remarked, looking across the hall. The two men were in conversation with each other, their respective wives chatting merrily, all of them laughing with drinks in their hands. Steven spotted them, and both men took their better halves to follow them across

the ballroom floor. They came up to the cocktail bar and offered their hands, greeting Harry warmly. Spot on, Cap n! Looking sharp! Sol laughed, clapping him on his shoulder. Steven grinned in approval. Aye, both of you look like a good couple. Before Harry could respond, Warshire introduced him to his wife. Cindy, Harry Potter. Harry, my wife, Cinderella , he said grinning. Cindy took his hand and curtsied. It s a pleasure to meet you, m lord. Harry smiled but inwardly he was getting quite annoyed. Again that phrase! Er- thanks. Nice meeting you too, Harry said a bit too edgily. Sol DeFontaine was on his other side, itching to introduce his wife as well. Sophia- Harry, Harry- Sophia. She s American, Harry shook her offered hand. Sol added unnecessarily.

Tis my pleasure, m lord. She curtsied as well. Harry raised an eyebrow. Right nice to meet royalty in these times. Sol told me a lot about you, she said in a warm accent. And who is your beautiful wife? She asked kindly, looking at Rebecca. I m not his wife, but my name is Rebecca, she corrected.

Pretty name to go along with the face. It nice seeing young people here to liven things up a little, she winked at the both of them. Thank you, Sophia, Harry in his side. Rebecca said, trying not to laugh. Rebecca nudged

Yes, thank you, Harry said, almost forgetting that she was addressing both of them. Harry excused himself to go into the washroom, and tried as covertly as possible to avoid more confrontations. After he had washed his hands, he felt a sudden wave of fatigue stepping over him. They adore you, you know, his voice said from behind him. Harry looked up immediately, and in the mirror, was a reflection of himself, wearing his full Auror uniform and the Cloak of the Order of the Phoenix. How easy it would be to have them fawn over you, do your bidding at your merest wish. His reflection smiled back at him, coming closer so he could se his face. He looked only a few years older, but there was a huge scar that ran down his brow down to the muscle of his cheek. You aren t real, Harry said defiantly. I can stop you.

How is that possible? I am you. You are me. Destiny cannot be denied. You are not my destiny. I don t know who you are. You re just a shadow from days long past. Harry said, not even daring to turn around. A shadow, am I? the reflection laughed. Could a shadow do this? There was a flash of a blade, and all the stalls behind him broke along a ragged line. Harry froze, not believing his eyes, but still, he dared not turn around. His hands began to shake, and sweat began to pour down his face, his eyes dilating with the adrenaline rush preceding a battle.

Oh, you wish to fight? That would be a lose-lose situation. I cannot defeat you, and you cannot defeat me. We are the same. YOU RE A FIGMENT OF MY IMAGINATION! Harry screamed, his eyes blazing alive, glowing a pale blue in the mirror. As he did so, the reflection laughed, his eyes also glowing eerily. The ultimate power resides within you. This voice we both share, commands the Grim. To those who hear it, death awaits. The Animagus Black settled a score with the devil himself. Yes, he has crossed the barrier of the living, but a promise he has made on your father s grave lives on. Even beyond this world- he will protect you. Do not deny destiny, neither do not forget who has gone before. I await the day when you accept your fate, for that day- you will know true power. After that, Harry blacked out, and only when someone began pounding on the door did he wake up from the bathroom floor. HEY, WHAT S GOING ON IN THERE! came a muffled scream. OPEN UP! DON T LET ME HAVE TO USE MY WAND! Hang on... Harry slurred, groggily getting to his feet. With a wave of his wand and a murmuring of lips, all three doors began piecing themselves back together and was once again as good as knew. The cracks in the concrete doorframe where the blade had connected weren t so easy to fix. Not having enough time to dwell on that, he quickly checked himself in the mirror for any thing out of the ordinary. Stepping to the door, he unlocked it and ducked his face as the other man hastily dashed into the stall. Aaaaahhh... he groaned in relief as Harry made a quick exit. Holding that up since half nine- damn, that cocktail is the shit! he said aloud, but Harry was long gone. He made his way through the crowd when the Minister of Magic spotted him. Having made eye contact, he could try and evade her any more than he already had. She excused herself form her conversation with Frederick Smethwyck and made her way towards him. Commander, she greeted. Harry nodded.

Madame Minister,

Come with me, I have two urgent matters to discuss with you. She took him by the crook of his elbow and made her way to a private tearoom off the main hall. Making sure no one saw them, she closed the door behind her and used the privacy charm. Muffliato! Harry, things are a bit hectic. I needed to speak to you, privately. I m listening, Harry said with an air of slight indifference. It was wise of you not to bring Miss Granger to this function. After seeing firsthand what she could do, a lot of interest has been piqued in her abilities. Obviously, I would be ecstatic if she joined Lionheart s

healer division on graduation- Harry frowned- No, wait- don t get the wrong idea, I know that would not be prudent. Her Divine Summoning technique is very rare, and from the whisperings going around, a bounty has been placed for the highest bidder on her capture. Her excursion into London has put her even more in the spotlight. I just wanted you to know firsthand that I am on your side, and her safety is a priority on my agenda. I m glad you told me of this- it has been a serious problem for a while now I have to find a way to always keep an eye on her, it s getting ridiculous these past few years Harry agreed, his anxiety stepping up a notch. Shit! He should have thought of that! Didn t Rebecca say she was almost a celebrity in the ministry? Everyone now knows who she is! And two- there has been some more tragic news I m afraid. The two guards on surveillance of your cousin have been murdered a few hours ago, as well as Arabella Figg. Dudley Dursley is nowhere to be found- and the worst part isThere s more? Harry said, his mind reeling. Mrs. Figg- murdered? Who would do such a thing? Yes- they were killed by muggle means, detonation of an explosive device. A bomb, Harry. A bomb! We have a serial killer on the loose- three wizards in one night. I m just telling you to be careful. But for now, as Kingsley said, don t get involved. Harry shoved his hands in his pants pockets. Did you find out who killed my uncle? Well, to a point, but we are still waiting confirmation. Until proven otherwise, I can safely say it was Rebecca s brother: Rodulphus Lestrange. Harry s heart fell into his stomach. Not again. Even though he had already guessed it to be him, hearing his suspicion confirmed was even worse. This man was making his life a fucking nightmare! I want him dead, you hear me? Harry growled, his face contorting in fury. Diggory paled as she saw the eerie glow in his eyes. She turned away immediately, not able to maintain eye contact with him for too long. What in the world? Who do you think we should send on this mission? hesitantly. Diggory asked a bit

We need someone who knows him to handle it- Harry said with determination. Someone who knows him more intimately, our intelligence bureau can t figure him out, neither can I, Harry cursed again, not even caring he was talking to the most powerful figurehead in the Ministry. So, Agent Lestrange then? Diggory offered. Harry thought a second, then shook his head in a firm denial. No. We need another Slytherin, another like him. Someone who also knows how his brain works. Send Malfoy, I believe he is capable to make sure Lestrange is brought to justice. Imprisonment won t work on him. Malfoy s mission is to be given Code black status- Assassination with no remains. We can t risk any sort of Necromancy either, I wouldn t put it past him.

Yes yes Malfoy does seem to be eager to prove himself, doesn t he? I ll get on it right away, Potter, Diggory said. Wait- Madame Minister- this is between the three of us- do not tell Malfoy I sent the request. Understood? Harry stated. Sherry looked at him strangely, but did not object. She nodded, and left the room. Harry took a few minutes to regain his composure. Masking his features, he left the darkness of the private viewing room. Making his way back to the ballroom floor, he spotted Rebecca standing by herself, exactly where he left her almost twenty minutes ago. Her face brightened as she saw him approach. What took you so long? she asked.

Nothing- just a little problem came up that the Minister wanted dealt with, he said casually. The ballroom floor was congested with couples Waltzing. Dismissing Lestrange as a dead man already, he smiled at her. Lady Rebecca, may I have this dance? he asked, bowing gallantly as he took her hand. She stepped into the circle of his arm, putting her fingers lightly on his shoulder. Without further ado, he swept her off her feet and seamlessly entered the fray. Even though he was laughing at her witty comments and completely enjoying the dance; there was one thing at the forefront of his mind. If Malfoy should fail, he did not care what rules the Ministry had imposed on him, he will hunt down Lestrange and finish this once and for all, even if it took him the rest of his life. *************************** Author's note: Whew! Long! This was pretty hard for me to write, because I had to show the transition of the main characters. Up till now, both young heroes were being controlled by the cards that were dealt, whereas now they're slowly, but surely becoming the players in this new movement of young and upcoming wizards. I hope it came across in a believable fashion. Thanks for your patience, it was along wait, but this chapter wasn't easy. Hope you I liked it, if not- I still would like you to review! Later!

Chapter 24: Lead Us Not Astray... [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

** CHAPTER 24: Lead Us Not Astray...**

A bounty on my girlfriend what next? Harry Potter was sifting through the reports in the S.T.A.R. Elite office , if it could be called that. This was the place he met Sol and the others, the very same office he unwittingly set afire when Malfoy joined a few months later. The paint still bore soot marks where the damage was not totally repaired by Draco s Infernus Counter- spell. All this paperwork . Harry could not concentrate properly while reading these days. English text was somehow now hard to read, as if his vocabulary and grammar usage was slipping from him little by little every day. For that reason alone, he spoke rarely, and only when he had to. Nearly a month had passed since the Ministry function celebrating the first anniversary of the new minister of magic. In her speech she said one of the best decisions she had made was to recall the services of Alastor Moody s squad: the Special Tactics And Rescue Elitist division; Combat Specialist Sol DeFontaine, Interrogation Specialist Steven Warshire, Secret Operative Rebecca Lestrange, the Summoner Draco Malfoy, and himself- the so-called Commander . Harry cursed in frustration. Right now he was having several doubts about his position, and if he really was the right man for the job. Seven wizards and two muggles were already dead since he took the post around five months ago. And there was more. Luna Lovegood abducted, Dudley Dursley missing and wanted in connection with the murder of Arabella Figg as well as Ministry Police officers Henry Vane and Jefferson McLain. His uncle, alongside his aunt, now murdered by that madman Rodulphus Lestrange- who has been very adept at covering his tracks, except of course, the ones he wanted them to find. Harry swore under his breath, running his hands through his shoulder-length hair in frustration. Abducting Luna right under their nose- it was more a slap in the face than anything else. Immobilizing a ghost to relay the message, a very tongue in cheek way of showing that he was proficient in extremely advanced Dark magic. The command of the realm of the supernatural was very tricky business. If Rodulphus could manipulate ghosts, that meant he knew how to command the lost spirits and maybe even the demons that lingered in the limbo area between the physical and the spiritual. Which was a bad thing. And now Harry was kicking himself for bringing upon another very serious situation: good and bad wizards alike wanted to use Hermione s ability, be it to cure a sickly child or on the completely opposite end of the scale, to perform Unholy Revival spells on the dead which would give the deceased a temporary mockery of life- complete with a soul. And the worst thing was, both parties were willing to pay anyone good enough to capture her. After doing some investigation, he realized that Hermione had barely scraped her true potential. As with anything else, there was a dark side

to her branch of the summoning ability. Case in point, when Macnair had stolen the Halo of life- they had used his mother s Divine Protection Charm from his aunt Petunia as a source of magic to resurrect Voldemort from the dead. If they had gotten Hermione as they had originally plannedthey would have probably been able to do much worse than that, maybe resurrect Amagammon or Grindelwald as well, or whoever was the reigning Dark Lord at times long past. Right now, everyone wanted her for her healing abilities. He dreaded the day she left Hogwarts- she ll no longer have Dumbledore and the physical protection of the school to keep her safe. And for some reason, every time they went out together, something bad happened to her. In fact, horrible things happened to everyone who stuck around him too much, or showed any sort of tenderness towards him. It wasn t fair. He wished that this war could be over and done with. He wanted to be happy again. Potter. Kingsley had just entered the room, holding a few scrolls of parchment in his hand. Malfoy has brought back another report on the progress of the detention facility. Head Ergomancer Archibald Silus has completed the Siphoning Wards to control the Veil s power. Magical density down to fifty percent on almost the entire two-mile radius needed. Progress is remarkably quick, don t you think? When will it be nil? Harry asked.

By late this year Siren s Asylum will be fully functional. Harry nodded, remembering when he and Malfoy had stormed recklessly into Voldemort s lair almost two years ago, only to find out that all of their standard magical spells had been nullified. The Dark Lord had found a way to manipulate the Veil such that only he was able to use his wand, while nullifying the entire Order of the Phoenix s ability to do so. If it weren t for the Sword and Hermione s and Draco s summoning ability, they would all have been dead. The scary thing was, Voldemort only needed a month to figure it out. The entire Magical Accident Reverse Squad, including the Ergomancers from the Unmentionable squad needed approximately ten months to accomplish the same feat. And about Rodulphus Lestrange, has Malfoy made any headway? tiredly. Harry asked

I don t know. Malfoy keeps to himself unless he needs to make a report. I m assuming his periodic disappearances have been in search of him, he has been frequenting some places where many of those who secretly favored Voldemort go and drink- but other than that, you ll have to ask him yourself. I ll mention it to him next time I see him, Harry agreed. you ve got there? What is that

Something we ve been waiting a long time for. We ve found William Hargreaves' hidden lab, and finally got a conclusive lead on Ash, Kingsley muttered. He frowned at the parchment. But- Kingsley tapped the paper- there s been a very serious mix-up. What is it? The Summoner girl who we had under detention in the stasis room- we supposedly executed her by the Veil of the unknown nearly a month ago. However, it has come to our attention that she is not Jacqueline Ramellie.

Now that we ve got the magical signature identification ward working, we found that no Elemental magical trace has been found passing through the Veil at that point in time. The dead person is actually a previous Azkaban detainee- Leah Judith-King, a woman posing as a muggle since the mass escape last year. You re telling me we ve had another breach of security? Harry demanded. There was a switch? It seems so. Ramellie is at largeFUCK! Harry snapped. Who was in charge of watching her?!

Archibald Silus- he overseas who comes in and out of Siren s rockKingsley said, his voice contemplative. Wait- he said. Yeah you re thinking what I am aren t you? Harry groused. His military rank can technically be overruled by Malfoy. Do you think ? Harry said dangerously. You tell me. You were the one who said you trusted him countered. Why would Malfoy allow her to escape? Kingsley

I didn t think he allowed her to escape per say. Harry got up abruptly, and grabbed the cloak of the Order of the Phoenix and wrapped it around his Ministry cloak. Pulling the hood of his uniform over his head, he headed towards the door, his face barely visible under the shadows created by the lone lamp flickering in the center of the room. I m going to check something out, before I make wild accusations. When Sol and the others return from the raid in Edinburgh, tell them to report to me. When they arrive, we re going to follow up on Logan Ash s whereabouts. Done. Kingsley agreed. He paused for a fraction of a second, and then opened his mouth. Be careful. Harry paused, nodding once as he left. He couldn t let anyone know, but he had to visit Hermione. Only she would know what to do about his deteriorating condition. ******************** You may not realize it yet, but you re quite talented, Ronald. You just needed some work on technique, Randalf Ravenclaw commended his protg as they practiced in their fourth Saturday training session. Ron was laying flat on his back, his side slightly smoking from the Paralysis Venom curse Randalf had just used on him. His shield took the brunt of it, but the sheer force of his mentor s spell was enough to shatter it and poison him with a paralyzing effect that may well kill him if left unattended. Right now, he couldn t move his left foot as he lay there on the ground. You always...say something like that when I m on...my back- Jeez, this hurts! Ron said as he began incanting the counter spell in his mind. Gradually, he felt the damage ease away and was once again totally mobile.

And as instructed, he conjured the antidote for the poison without even concocting a potion- a neat trick in this Sansferi style, manipulating known objects into a final product just by memorizing formula. The potion flask manifested in his palm, and he took a swig. It tasted horrible, but it beat slaving hours over a cauldron in a dingy dungeon hands down. He just wished he could have shown it off towards Hermione. She ll have her nut. Seven years of potions- for what? Hah! Touching his mended ribs and feeling the antidote immediately taking effect, he grinned. Now we re learning some real magic! Come on, I m going to show you something new today. We ll take a little walk into the woods shall we? Ravenclaw said amicably, already trotting off. Ron pocketed the flask and followed Randalf into the forbidden forest. Feeling much more confident of his abilities even though they only scraped the bare fundamentals of Sansferi he strolled into the usually foreboding darkness of the magical forest. After nearly half an hour of walking, Ravenclaw stopped under a large clearing, looking up at the brilliant afternoon sky. Here s fine, Ravenclaw said simply. Ron looked about, not seeing anything really out of the ordinary other than they were in a clearing devoid of trees. Randalf Ravenclaw abruptly took of his cloak from his shoulders, and with a snap of his fingers, it disappeared. There s a reason why the Ravenclaw clan was known as the thinkers of the time. It s not because of any superior intelligence trait or gene, it s more the fact that we do not do things without weighing the possibilities fully. Tradesmen, Craftsmen, Scholars, Teachers, that is what you may have thought were our favoured professions, which may be true in a sense, but the ultimate test of wits is to be put in a situation where in a split second, a wrong decision may mean the difference of life and death. The Slytherins were cunning in their duels, Hufflepuffs were feared for their extreme persistence and Gryffindors were always noted for their bravery and raw magical ability. However, the Gryffindors had a high mortality rate over the years. And do you know why is that? Ron was a bit taken back. Er...nope...

Because they were too temperamental, too eager to fight. Well, to put it bluntly, a bit too arrogant for their own good. Ravenclaw sat down smoothly, crossing his legs Indian style. He closed his eyes. "The Ravenclaw family were, and still are, strategists. They knew what they were getting into before they entered a duel, and allowed the opponent reveal their weaknesses or flaws by allowing them to attack first. We gave the opponent the impression that we were vulnerable. But isn t that dangerous? What if you don t get another chance? You may well be dead! Ron complained. If your enemy could defeat you with their first attack, you most likely won t survive anyway, even if you attacked first. Their level will be much greater than yours. Would you play your trump card on the first play? The Avada Kedavra curse is very lethal, but unfortunately, it needs a wand, and an audible incantation. It is a line of sight attack, and is quite predicable if used by amateurs. However, very good if you like attack people from behind, as is the Slytherins tendency. Yeah, those cowardly bast-

Don t criticize a technique before you truly understand it. That method of dueling has the highest efficiency rate. You conceal your presence, and attack them when they aren t looking, Ravenclaw said, still not opening his eyes. Oldest trick in the book. I guess Ron agreed.

However, any wizard who can properly defend themselves can detect the murderous intent involved in creating that spell beforehand, even if it s only a fraction of a second- and will realize that someone is sneaking up on them. That way of dispatching an opponent was usually used on lesser wizards. When facing an opponent close to or better than your own ability, that method will have a far lesser chance of being successful. The killing curse is an opportunistic method of dispatching an enemy, nothing more, nothing less. Anyway, back on topic- I think you ll like this Randalf smiled, his eyes still closed. The dirt around Ravenclaw began to twitch, then jump as if there was miniature earthquake beneath his area of personal space. The white shirt he wore faded away, and revealed a pale, aged torso fitting for a fifty year old man, even though Ravenclaw was the same age as the headmaster. But as Ron looked closely, there was the tattoed head of a large bird covering his left shoulder and chest, the elaborate body art expanding backwards over his collarbone and covering a large portion of his back. Listen closely. This spell will be your ultimate objective, and the sign that you have reached an accomplished level of the art of Sansferi, Ravenclaw said calmly as he sat there on the forest floor. What is this? magic. Ron asked, as the very forest around him came alive with

Our opponents, (if it comes down to a battle, mind you) are extremely powerful. We will need to cross the gap in raw ability. Randalf said, his facial expression hardening. Ron squinted at him. Did the tattoo just blink? The air suddenly became very heavy, and small leaves and tiny rocks began to fall upwards into the sky. Ron took a few steps back, feeling an incredible surge of magic encompass the clearing. Birds flew off from the nearby trees as they too sensed that something very important was happening. Harry Potter can summon two mythical beings- the Serpent of Slytherin himself, Shalingini; and the fabled Omen of Death- the Grim. Both of these beings are extremely powerful servants of the Dark Arts. Draco Malfoy controls the magical element of Fire, as you already know. He should not be underestimated. Henceforth, we will also need a trump card to even the odds. That is why I am here. Randalf Ravenclaw brought his hands together, and began his incantation. From the depths of the Tenth tier of Magicke, through the era of the Ten centuries of Drought to the year of eternal fruit, the call of the Raven will be heard- From blood to blood grant me the sight beyond sight- and strength beyond strength- Ravenclaw s eyes snapped open, a deep purple fire blazing in eyes. Dexa Ramnifera !

With him in the epicentre, a ten-sided figure etched itself into the soil, the magical lines glowing purple with an icy cold fire. Ron immediately jumped out of the eerily flaming Decagram. GRIFFYNDO PATRONUM ! the forest. Ravenclaw bellowed, his voice echoing throughout

For a moment, Ron thought nothing was happening. Suddenly, a huge shadow blocked out all the sunlight, accompanied by a huge crashing noise. So abrupt was the tremendous noise Ron jumped a foot of the ground. Feeling that something very big had just appeared he looked up, and then wished he didn t. There was the huge beak of a gigantic black eagle pointing down at the both of them, the head taking up the entire window the clearing made to the sky. Six feet foot long talons were visible through the huge trees it sat perched upon, bending the centuries old fifty-feet tall oaks and mahogany as if they were nothing but young saplings. In a peculiar birdlike habit, the eyes flicked in between Randalf and Ron, it s beak clicking together in sharp movements. [ good afternoon ] a surprisingly gentle feminine voice greeted. [ randalf, who is this ?] Sansa Ferri- meet Ronald Weasley. Hopefully, you ll be getting to know each other quite well. He s my chosen apprentice, Randalf explained. The huge eagle studied Ron, who was halfway hidden behind a tree, peering fearfully at the huge magical creature. [ randy, are you mad he s a gryffindor through and through . it will be more fitting to show him how to summon leo instead ] Sansa said disdainfully. You may not believe it, but he is the Knight of the Order the old books speak about. And to think, they never even had a Knight of anything at that time, far less something called the Order of the Phoenix . It all fits, Sansa[ you mean to tell me the era of Dark Ones . the time has arrived ?] Sansa said in mild surprise. [ I take it you are not mistaken ] Randy shook his head solemnly. In a very human gesture, the huge bird sighed. very well come here boy let me see you ]

Ron looked at the intelligent eyes of the huge eagle and gulped. Squaring his shoulders, he stepped out into the clearing. Sansa peered at him for a moment, then amazingly agile and dexterous for a creature so large; she lowered her head into the clearing. Using her huge beak; she nipped off some of Ron s hair. Ron nearly had a heart attack as he felt a few strands of his hear quickly pulled out of his scalp. The eagle clipped it between the razor sharp edges of her beak, tasting and testing. As she did so, her huge eyes narrowed in recognition. [ pardon me sir ronald you really are one of the two heroes the seers heralded about my rudeness earlier was unacceptable please forgive me ] Randalf smiled grimly. That s more like it. So you will accept him once he has gone through the trials?

[ if he matures the magic potential he harness of course, the heir of gryffindor ]

but what about

I fear he is dead. Neville Longbottom has fallen in battle. This would not be as straightforward as foretold. Sansa frowned at Randalf, as if emphasizing her earlier statement that he had gone mad. She began to argue. [ nonsense! there will be two champions of the light .and there will be the two dark sons of magic that is how it will be and no other way ] Sansa retorted in that wise female voice. [ there needs to be balance ] I know, however, another champion has emerged, and only now do we see that there is yet another twist. I have in my possession the most recent prophecy, one from this century to be precise- the most up to date we ve heard yet. [ pray, do tell ]

Randalf told her of the prophecy given to him since in his teenage years. After he was finished explaining how Gryffindor s heir; Solidus, came into the picture, he continued on. A muggleborn wields the Halo of Life. Her name is Hermione Granger, and she is the deciding factor. [ as you well now, it is not possible for me to laugh like you mortals do but your statement makes my feathers rustle in amusement a muggleborn wielding one of the legendary artifacts ?] No funnier than a Gryffindor summoning the Patron God of all birds- a trait held only by those of Ravenclaw heritage . Randalf mused. [ touch ] Sansa conceded.

And another thing- one of the dark sons, Harry Potter, has ShalinginiRavenclaw stated, but was abruptly cut off by Sansa. [ am I supposed to be frightened ? .shalingini knows not to challenge me ] she said indignantly, feeling insulted. - And can also summon the Grim, Randalf finished. At this, Sansa abruptly shut her beak. She remained quiet, lost in contemplation for a few seconds. [ that being doesn t exist 'tis only a children s tale passed from generation to generation ] she said flatly, denying such a ridiculous statement. It does, Ron said solemnly. I saw it, twice. At first, I thought it was an Animagus named Sirius Black, but recently I found out the truth. It exists, trust me. Sansa studied Ron, and instinctively knew he was not lying. [ well, we have a slight problem ] What? [ we will need the Archangel to aid us in battle... powerful I may be, however, I cannot stop death incarnate .] Sansa said simply. Randalf smiled. Sansa chirped.

Don t worry, our trump card in this game has that covered. Young miss Granger is the first fully fledged Divine Summoner since Florence Nightingale. In fact, at age eighteen, she s quite the magical prodigy and already is revered as the next great witch of this generation. It is our hope that she will succeed in exorcising young Potter. [ indeed? I must meet this extraordinary young woman very well ravenclaw I expect you to be efficient this young man still has a lot of work to do ] Sansa said wisely. [ your magic is shaky, randy too much of peace has weakened you not even fifteen minutes and already I must make my leave farewell young knight when next we meet you will be ready for your mission ] Straightening her neck, the Bird God Sansa Ferri took off in a huge gust of flapping wings. When the dust had settled, Ravenclaw grabbed his cloak and re-materialized his shirt. You ll need to summon her at will to complete your training. Until then, you are bound by magic not to tell a soul about this. Let s head back, Ravenclaw said, his voice faint and his face showing the signs of age. I m tired. These old bones don t work as they used to, he laughed, donning his shirt and robe. Ron walked a few paces behind him, inspecting his wand, wondering how the hell was he supposed to summon something so powerful. Even though he had doubts, he knew he wouldn t give up so easily. I ll definitely get stronger, Harry- just you wait. ******************** The door to the pub opened, and a lone figure stood in the doorway, his cloak covered with snow. The bartender froze, his pallid skin tone and androgenous features of his face clearly indicating that he was caught by surprise. The low hum of murmuring voices came to a standstill as the patrons slowly laid down their mugs, looking intently at this stranger. Some of the more daring individuals had already begun their distinctive transformation of their canines. The robed figure threw back his hood, and glared at the full den of vampires haughtily. Greetings. I am Draco Malfoy. I have come to offer you a proposition. Who amongst you will speak on the behalf of your kind? The whole atmosphere tensed as more and more of the vampires shifted in their seats, some opening their mouths in a blatant display of animosity. Some of them were about to rise from their seats, ready to pounce, when a soft, almost feminine voice spoke up, the command in his voice recognizable at once. Wait, my brethren. There were a few turning of heads in mild annoyance, but for the most part, all the vampires present settled back down grudgingly. Draco tried to discern who was the owner of that voice. After scanning the crowd, he found him, the lone man sitting at the end of the bar, still staring down into his mug. He was the only one who did not move since Draco made his announcement. The young wizard focused his attention on him.

Will you be their spokesperson? Yes. Well, kindly introduce yourself.

Draco asked.

The man got up from the stool, eyeing Draco coldly. He was of slight build, and medium height, his jet-black hair curling at the line of his jaw. Dressed casually in a tweed jacket and leather coat, he did not appear to be anybody of significant importance until you looked into his eyes. The pupils of his eyes were a fathomless black, and Draco could already feel the hypnotic effects pulling at him. I am the vampire Rechaux Lestat. And you, my good sir, do not value your life. Draco grinned, his eyes twinkling. He thought Lestat would have been more, well, impressive- in a way. Oh well. Life was full of disappointments. you consider yourself their representative? I would like to speak ofDraco paused- important matters with you. Oh really? Lestat said, his tone soft. Draco said cordially. Do

Is there somewhere private we may speak?

If it is privacy you want, we can grant it to you. You can have all the solitude you want in your grave. Kill him. Lestat ordered, and the whole pub of vampires pounced, ready for the kill. Malfoy smiled, igniting both hands in fire. Very well, ************* Four minutes later, Malfoy was walking through the smoldering ruins of the mountainside pub, searching for the one he left alive. Making his way over numerous corpses and ashen pieces of wood in the unforgiving snow, he continued his search for a particular individual. Finding him laying face down on top of another corpse, he grinned. Using his boot, he rolled the half-alive body of Rechaux Lestat unto his back. The vampire was severely burned, but Malfoy had made sure that his injuries were not of the fatal kind. He was breathing, but just barely. No matter- vampires were tough. Once they had an ounce of life in them, they ll recuperate to full health in a few weeks. Grabbing the front of his overcoat he hauled him up so that he could talk directly in his face. What are you? Lestat breathed, his eyelids burnt so badly he could not open them further than just a fraction. You may address me as Lord Malfoy, Mr. Lestat. The reason for my presence here still holds. Draco looked around at the carnage around him, the smell of burning flesh and wood raking his nostrils. He smiled scornfully. As you are the only one alive, I assume you will be the one to speak on their behalf once more. Draco sighed, his eyes coming alive. Have it your way.

Return to whatever hell you came out from- Lestat whispered, turning away his face. And don t come back, he added, his limbs hanging limply at his sides. I see. Malfoy reached into his pocket, and retrieved an artist s rendition of a young girl, probably eight or nine years. Quite a lovely home you have. Your daughter is quite beautiful. It will be a shame . The vampire turned his horror struck face towards Draco. Lestat eyed the framed photograph, then back at his tormentor's unlined face. What- have you done to her? Nothing. Draco smiled. As yet.

What do you want from me? Kiss the ring on my finger, and swear allegiance to me. Lestat eyes flickered shiftily. This man does not have even a scratch on him. What sort of being is he? Will my daughter be spared? Lestat said, his voice conceding defeat.

That decision will be entirely up to you, Draco responded. Letting his grip of Lestat go, Draco stood back, awaiting the vampire s response. After an intense inner struggle, Lestat bent on one knee and brushed his lips against the ring on Draco s hand. Lord Malfoy, Lestat acknowledged. I recognize your strength. But let this be a warning- my kind will remember this day. As they should, Draco agreed. Now, tell me what you know of a man you once associated with in Azkaban. A man named Rodulphus Lestrange. I am quite interested in this person. You speak of the one that bends reality to suit his own mind? We do not have dealings with such a demented individual, Lestat shot back. Yet, you will still tell me where he is, or has your daughter become suddenly expendable to you? Draco said softly, clasping his hands behind his back. Lestat bristled. Your ways are frighteningly similar to the one who rose to power two decades ago," Lestat said disdainfully. "Very well, I will send our trackers to find him. Excellent, Draco responded. I will be back in a month s time, and I expect results. Your daughter has my signature on her palm. It will tell me exactly where she is, and how she is feeling, all the time. If in a month s time I do not have the information, know that I will be displeased. Drawing a symbol with his finger on Lestat s right forearm, the seal of the Infernus was branded unto the vampire s skin. Enjoy the rest of your day, Draco said politely. Turning his back on the vampire, he made his way down the steep mountain path disappeared in the thick

snow.

********************** That very same night, Harry secretly stole his way into Hogsmeade, a black

scarf wrapped completely around his face. He was wearing regular wizard s robes, his hood covering his thick black hair. Not even risking leaving a magical trial behind, he had rented a motorbike and driven to the town s outskirts, making sure that no one saw him enter. He had told Hermione to use his cloak to sneak out and meet him at eleven o clock that night at the Lizard Wizard. He just hoped that she got his owl post in time. Taking a seat in the furthest table from the door, he motioned the bartender for a firewhiskey. He hated this drink, but did not want to order something untoward to attract attention. The bartender nodded, and pointed his wand at the glass three quarter way full of the smoking liquid. The drink materialized soundlessly on Harry s table, and Harry wrapped his fingers around it, staring into the amber liquid. He checked the time. It read fifteen minutes to elevpsst. Harry jumped. Staring directly in front of him, he saw nothing. Now he knew that he was really going mad. It s me, the voice said again. Harry relaxed, apparently staring into open space. Now he knew how that felt like. She was sitting right in front of him, and he didn t know a thing. Her Occlumens ability has gotten even better, he remarked to himself. Do you think we can talk here? she whispered. Harry shook his head slightly. Taking a small sip of his drink, he took out the fare and left it on the table. Getting up casually, he walked out of the door, instinctively knowing that Hermione was following him. When they were a respectable distance down the road, Hermione began to remove the cloak, but Harry stopped her. No. Keep it on until I say, in her direction. Why? I want absolutely no one to spot you- I sense that there are wizards nearby, and if I could sense them, they can sense us. I rather someone just sees a lone stranger walking than a couple, even if they re only mildly curious, Harry explained softly, even though he was very worried. Every time they got together something bad happened. And now that she was on a black market list for her services, some unlucky bloke may even try and kidnap her. And he knew what eventually happened to any idiot who dared to try cross his path. Right now, he wanted no reason to have to lose his temper in a fight. Therefore, total anonymity was the best choice as a precaution. So, where are we going? I need to talk to you, and I think the best place right now is by the rock overlooking the Hogsmeade lake, you know, the place we went to last year. Harry said softly, not even turning to look

Oh, Hermione stated, her footsteps crunching softly on the cobblestones. After a minute of silence, Hermione simply stepped closer, and took his hand in hers. By doing so, she felt his magical ability literally screaming at her, so volatile was his control over his potential. The last time they saw each other, he was dead on his feet, yet he managed to lead the aurors to victory. Now that he was fully recuperated, she could feel magic seeping from him in waves. And that scared her. Before, she thought Randalf and Dumbledore were exaggerating on the dark potential Harry and Malfoy had. Now that her eys were opened, she knew they were right. If she couldn t save him, who knows what may happen in the future? You can take it off now, Harry said as they entered the little wood leading to the lake. Hermione took off his invisibility cloak, and Harry looked at her closely. She wore a plain black sweater and jeans, blending in seamless with the night. However, her face was more beautiful than ever. He wished he could just sit down and stare at her whole night. Harry- I was so happy when I got your mail. I understand why you told me to sneak out and keep it secret- you have enemies. I know that. But- we can still make time to see each other, she offered. Er- I ll try, Hermione. I ve got a lot going on in the ministry, with Luna s abduction and my cousin murdering three wizards. It s just, I- I.. I can t risk being close to you. I cant stand it. Why does this keep happening to me? To us? What? You what, Harry? Hermione prodded.

You know that spell you do, the one that sort of sends me back to square one, inhibits my magic, can you do it again? Except, like, a hundred times stronger? Harry asked.

You mean the Occlumency spell? What is it, are you having troubles sleeping with the nightmares again? Yeah, sorta. That and I m having ..well... daymares.. uncertainly. Harry said

Day mares? Hermione repeated. She began to feel very nervous, because she knew what he was talking about, yet did not have the confidence to really tell him that his soul was in danger of being lost. She was too scared to tell herself that, in fact. All she knew was that she had to stop it, before the Order turned on one of their own. No matter what, she just couldn t see anyone trying to attack Harry for the greater good . It just did not compute in her mind. I see myself- like...years into the future, and I have a huge scar on my face in the mirrors sometimes. Usually it would be just a flash or something, but now it talks back to me, and is..well..real it can damage things in the real world, it could talk...well I can talk, well you know I can talk, but not I, it s me, in the future, talking back to me- but it s not me, it s not my future, it s Solidus speaking, and I th-th-think I m losing my mind.

There was a stretch of silence for a few seconds, where Hermione s eyes just searched his own. Harry s eyes were haunting, there was something missing, something eh should have, but it was not there anymore. She didn t know what to say. Instead she took him in her arms and hugged him. Oh Harry- I m here for you. Always will, she said softly, burying her face into his robes. We'll help you, I swear. I ll make everything better. Potter, do not listen to her. She will only make you weak, and helpless. True strength comes from within, your own flesh, your own spirit. Cut loose these emotional ties, that path leads to misery. Harry scrunched his eyes, and hugged her even more tightly. Can you do it? Can you do the spell? Hermione knew about the spell he was referring to- the spell she used to seal his mind and nullify the effects of magical injuries, but she could not do that now. He was in perfect health. There was nothing to fix. Only something deep inside to destroy. Yes, I can, but I will need some time to prepare, she said, bending the truth a bit. Her research on Siren s curse was taking some more time. It was one of the hardest choices she would have to make, but according to the books she read- there were two ways to modify one s soul. Either you split it and find a host, or basically extract it out- effectively killing the host, as the Dementors do. However, there was a way. In the moment of true sexual exhilaration, the human soul is at it s most vulnerable state. The sirens used that way to extract the highest soul density from their victims. If she could do something similar, except only take out Solidus presence from inside of Harry using her Divine Summoning ability, he may be saved. But she couldn t risk it now, she needed to prepare herself properly. If done wrong, Harry could well die in her arms. I know, I m counting on you, Harry said softly. He peered into her face, and kissed her softly on the lips. His eyes held hers, and he tried valiantly to hold back tears. His life was falling apart before his very eyes. How could he have allowed this to happen? She would no longer be safe. Her name was all over the Daily Prophet. Threatening letters were intercepted by secretive ministry wards placed at the owlery, on behalf on Madame Diggory herself. They did not want her to realize the sort of danger she was in, not as yet. Thinking back on it, he weighed the choice he took. Was Rebecca s condition worth risking the lives of a civilian student- his girlfriend for? Was there no other way than to take her into London even though he knew that there was a leak in the ministry? Did he really believe he was strong enough to protect her no matter what happened? But you are, young Potter. You are but if you try to stop me...she will eventually die.. SHUT UP! shock. Harry screamed suddenly, Hermione jumping back from him in

Harry? What is it? I- I don t know, he panted, rubbing the corners of his eyes with this thumb and forefinger. When he reopened them, his eyes were now slightly glowing blue. Don t worry about me. I just have a slight headache. I ll just go get a potion whipped up. I m fine. No, you re not, Hermione reprimanded. Harry said quietly, peering

Did you hear me, woman? I said I am fine, down at her.

Harry..? she ventured. Maybe we should go to the professor, come on, he ll help you, she offered, reaching her hand out towards himHermione! Stay back! Get away from here! Don t touch me, I know what you are! Harry retorted, bracing himself further away from her. Begone, woman, he said, and pulled out his wand, pointing it at her. Harry? Don t you dare hurt her! There was a slight uncertainty in his eyes, then Harry awkwardly fell unto his hands and knees, panting heavily. Hermione immediately bent to make sure he was okay. He was sweating profusely, even though a second ago he was perfectly dry. As sweat dripped off his nose, Harry formed a fist into the loose soil under his palm. Not again! And not when he was around her! That was too close...way too close I.. Harry puffed, trying to catch back his breath. I have to get away from here he wheezed, turning over flat on his back. He gripped the center of his chest painfully, squeezing over his heart. The pain came on like direct adrenaline shots to his heart, making it beat faster and faster. Hermione! he looked desperately towards her. G-get back.. He needed he needed A release. His eyes began to glow, and the last thing Hermione knew was the sound of trees nearby vaporizing into dust. ****************** She s awake, professor, came Madame Pompfrey s voice. Hermione s eyes fluttered opened, instantly recognizing the familiar setting of Hogwarts hospital wing. Huh? What happened? adrenaline. Hermione shot up in bed, her pupils wide with Madame Pompfrey said as she left.

I ll leave you two alone,

Miss Granger, are you feeling all right? Yes-

Dumbledore asked solemnly.

Did Randalf not warn you explicitly to stay away from him? cut her off abruptly, a fierce look in his eyes. But I-

Dumbledore

Here, come look at this- Dumbledore ordered, motioning towards the window. Hermione got out of bed, and took the little telescope from Dumbledore s hand. Look there, behind Hogsmeade what do you see? I see the lakeshe froze. Oh no Dumbledore asked.

And what else do you see? Nothing,

Hermione whispered.

And do you know why you can only see the lake and nothing else? Dumbledore questioned her, his tone very angry. Hermione knew the reason, but stayed mute. Harry has inadvertently destroyed the entire wood, including three lakeside lodges using an uncontrolled Reducto Ultima blast. Luckily, there was no one inside of the dwellings at the time. He rounded on her, locking her eyes with his. You are extremely fortunate, Hermione. If he had not somehow protected you at the final moment, all would have been lost! I- I- I m so sorry! she sobbed. Dumbledore turned away from her, his anger radiating in waves. At this stage, being sorry is not enough. You are too valuable to be taking such foolish chances. If things had turned out differently, we would have no chance of saving Harry, and would need to find other means of stopping Solidus from possessing one of the most powerful wizards of our time. I will say this again- you are not to see him until you are ready! Do you understand me? Yes sir, Hermione said softly.

Very well. I trust you do comprehend that this is not a game. Many future lives hang in the balance. Do not forget that. And with those final words, Dumbledore strode out of the hospital wing, leaving Hermione to shed her tears alone.

************************************** Author s note: To you H/hr shippers who feel that I m treating them unfairly, I m just reminding you that this is more of an epic, and not just another romance. There s a method to the mayhem, er sorta. (just kidding, I know what I m doing!) Lol! Anyway, thanks for reading, and stay tuned for the next chapter!

Chapter 25: Rebecca's Promise [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

** CHAPTER 25: Rebecca's Promise **

..I should be dead right now It was pitch dark. Even though he could not see anything, the scents and smells of the outdoors were very familiar to him. And the sound of water nearby, the bite of the chilly breeze, it was all piecing together. As if completing a circuit, all of his senses flicked on one after the other, his eyes finally adjusting to the darkness. Even through all the odds, he was still alive. Harry Potter sat up slowly, surveying his surroundings. All he knew for certain was that he was at the base of a mountain valley, silt and muddy water dried up into a thick layer of dust on his ministry uniform. Water lapped gently at his favourite horntail boots, and looking down, he grimaced as he could feel that there was a nasty infection in his feet. How long was he out of it? Taking out his Ministry enhanced mobile phone to check for the date, he cursed as water seeped out of the plastic housing, rendering it useless. Harry swore loudly, throwing it away. His clothes felt like a nightmare against his skin, and he knew that he looked a complete mess. Dragging himself up on the pebbly bank out of the water s edge, he waved his hand and his boots were thrown off. Harry gasped in shock as a sharp pain ran up his legs and into his spinal cord. He could have sworn some skin also went with the sodden socks that stuck to the inside of the dragon hide boots. Lumos. Hissing painfully, he looked at his ankles, and the nasty colour of his feet. How long had he been drifting in the lake? How come he was still alive? He knew from experience that after he released that tremendous amount of raw magic to do the Ultima curse, he was usually out for at least three to five days. For him to awake now after drifting for who-knows-how-long, relatively unharmed and breathing, was totally mind boggling. He should have died. But, as he thought about it, considering all the adventures and intense battles he has been in and he was not even eighteen as yet, this situation seemd laughable. If anything, he should have been dead ten times over already. Death by drowning seemed so well, ordinary, in a sense. Hell, Bellatrix Lestrange, wait- forget her- even Voldemort himself had cursed him to die, yet both times he survived. Without even realising it, he began to laugh. Softly at first, then it became loud and uninhibited to

the point of being maniacal. Forgetting all about the painful swelling of his feet, he began to laugh; laugh aloud at himself: his fucking suicide job, his failing relationship with Hermione, his frequently increasing spells of completely no self-control; and to top it off- the mere fact that he was losing his mind and was so messed up inside that here he was, in the middle of nowhere in almost complete darkness; laughing about his worthless existence. In his eyes, his whole life was just the funniest thing. The Boy who Lived ; just cannot die. After he had exhausted himself laughing about this latest discovery, he spread his arms and legs in a wide x , creating a disfigured snow angel in the mud and silt deposited on the bank. After a moment of just staring up in the sky, Harry blinked once, and his eyes began to glow. With a stupid grin on his face, he watched as the sickly blue tinge of his toes disappeared, and after a couple of minutes, was completely healed. He sighed. Picking up his prized, but ruined; horntail boots, he looked at his desolate surroundings. Time to go. The air around him was immediately sucked in, then he felt the now familiar yank behind his navel and he was gone. *********** YES! My faithful, how we have come far! Far into the realm of God, far off from this world of mortal flesh and selfish desires! Our moment is near! Behold! Rebecca Lestrange hated these types. She could at least give some credit to wizards who tried to rally the support of other wizards, and form a following to gather around them in mutual respect or perverted admiration, but for a wizard to identify himself as the messiah to muggles was just low. Dressed in a shapeless gown like of cult followers here, she had finally found Terrence convict from Azkaban who single-handedly had Edinburgh to a record high. unsuspecting the other hundreds Almahazar, a s suicide rate up

Sol and Steven were also around, and had already set the anti-apparation wards around the building s perimeter. It was her job as their top marksman, (or markswoman as they teased her), to make it an efficient and quiet kill. However, as it so happens, he was not having any private blessings this evening. Many women had their share of private blessings , although, tragically, it was the last thing they ever did. The strange thing about Almahazar, was that he wasn t a regular wizard by any means. He thrived in the muggle world. He lived for the adoration. He thrived on the ugliness of man. His fetish was trying out all of the most illegal and morally disgusting practices of the modern age, and exploiting it tenfold with his command of magic.

Immigrant slavery, murder, sadomasochistic torture, drugs, child prostitution, even genocide, you name it- he had done it. Now this new gig, being the so-called long awaited Child of God, the second coming of the Christ- had sparked a lot of interest by the Ministry of Magic. But it wasn t so straightforward. They couldn t simply put a warrant for his arrest. The people here adored him, and as far as the muggle authorities were concerned, they couldn t do a damn thing about it. Any sort of public arrest or sudden disappearance would inevitably make him a martyr, and may provoke even more violence. Unfortunately for the authorities on both sides of the magical fence, there was no direct link between him and the countless, and supposedly random, suicides taking the city by storm. Henceforth, since conventional methods were out, Diggory had sent the S.T.A.R. Elite to eliminate him. Rebecca inched a bit further into the crowd, disguised as one of the many followers. Her eyes narrowed in focus. Here they were: in a god-forsaken place in the middle of nowhere; everything was set in place, albeit they were two men short. It didn t bother her that Malfoy was on a Secret Black Op, the less she saw him, the better; but Harry hasn t been seen or heard from for a few days now. Where was he? -This bread represents my body- it shall be given up for youBlah blah blah Rebecca cursed under her breath. The modified Skeeter Bug in her ear needed some work. It felt uncomfortable sticking inside of her ear. Warshire, you make the call. I m good to go. Not yet. And this wine- represents my blood- The hundreds raised their empty wineglasses, and they were immediately filled. How much longer are we going to watch this? I m fifteen feet away. It would be quick. Rebecca spat. Harry s absence was making her quite on edge. I said No , soldier! Warshire crackled in her ear. she hissed.

What are we waiting for?

DeFontaine is still trying to counter-charm the wine. He s going to put everyone here to sleep- but Almahazar s pretty good- hold on while he tries to crack it. Sol will give me the signal if he gets it to work. So sit tight. Affirmative, Rebecca sighed, her fingers closing and opening rhythmically on the handle of her assassin s blade. It took her a few weeks to get accustomed holding it again; after all, this self same weapon was used on her when she was captured. Those three days at St. Mungo s were absolute hell.

..If it weren t for Harry and his girlfriend Suddenly, the person in front of her stumbled, then fell headfirst. All around her, one by one, the cult followers began passing out into a deep slumber. Even before she heard the command, she sprang into action. Go! Sprinting forward, she borrowed the shoulder of the man in front of her and using his massive bulk as leverage, vaulted on top of the stage. Wordlessly, she used her magic to fling away the podium between her and Almahazar. Almahazar, caught off guard, dropped his Holy Grail, the wine spilling all over the smooth tiles. Realizing that his apparation spell wasn t working, he forze in fear as Lestrange charged him head on, a deadly blade glinting in her right hand. But her self-confidence was her undoing. As luck would have it, she stepped directly into the puddle and slipped. Before she knew it, she was sliding feet first towards Almahazar, who had already drawn his wand, and had her lined up. A flash of light later, she was vaulted upside down into the air, her legs flailing wildly under the Levicorpus spell. Shit- she swore, looking into the slightly deranged eyes of Almahazar. Sol and Steven wouldn t be able to make it in time. This was it- she was about to die She clenched her eyes shut, expecting it to be quick. Suddenly, the spell was released, and she fell in a heap. Before her very eyes slashes began to appear across Almahazar s face and arms, blood staining the immaculate white robes he wore. Almahazar fell face forward, his gashed face a mere foot in front of hers. She had seen carnage in her young years before, but this particular curse, in it s sheer intimacy, was even more horrifying up close. Sectumsempra. There was a movement of someone coming out of the shadows on her left, and she couldn t believe her eyes. Almahazar was going into shock, his eyes dilating and tremors racked his body so hard that his teeth rattled. There was a disgusting sound of bowels slackening, and a fetid stench swamped Rebecca s nose. Harry Potter stepped calmly forward, then stooped down, speaking softly in the mutilated man s ear I can stop this. But first, do you know the whereabouts of a man called Rodulphus Lestrange? Yes.. God above yes! Stop th- is...I beg of his mouth. Where? he demanded. he gasped, blood leaking out

W-wales four miles south of Cardiff- his slashed throat released a bubble of blood. Reck-Reckinshire Manor he gurgled, his shredded fingers twitching as they came up to touch the open wounds on his face. Help.. me Lestrange, let s go, Harry said, and walked off the platform. The

M.A.R.S. Division will be here shortly. It seems the Anti-apparition wards worked too well. They need a landmark. er Harry, what- how? Rebecca sputtered, looking at Almahazar gasping for his last breath. Wait- aren t you going to help him? Harry did not even glance back at him. I don t know the counter curse. Rebecca s eyes bulged, but she did not object. Sol and Steven were making their way through the multitudes of sleeping muggles, secretly hesitating coming too close to their squad leader. He did not appear to be in the best of moods right now. With one last pitiful glance at the dying man, she regained her composure and all four of them wordlessly made their way out of the modified warehouse. When they were back out in the deceptively calm afternoon, DeFontaine finally got the nerve to ask what they were all thinking. Where the fuck have you been, Potter? Sol asked, lighting up.

I send you three to deal with one mediocre wizard weeks ago, and you fuck this up. What if she was killed? Harry spat, nodding over his shoulder. Hey! I ll gladly do my job and take the risks! temper rising. Harry ignored her. Rebecca countered, her

Warshire- what were you waiting for? Didn t you know that the water-into-wine spell he uses is poisoned? Did you find a thrill in waiting for the last moment? I didn t want the muggles to see us Your mission was to find him, and then dispatch of him in a timely manner. Don t wait until he s surrounded by potential hostages then act; for Christ s sake. The next time I have to come and clean up your shit- or any of you for that matter- Harry ranted, then suddenly broke himself off. Fuck. Harry swore. Forget it. Just forget it. There was a stony silence as Harry just walked off and ran his hands through his hair, his frustration building in waves. He stalked off a bit further, kicking a bottle idly, as if just by doing that, he could simply put this whole episode behind him. A whole fucking week. Seven days he could not account for. And the moment he steps into the office the following morning he gets a strong feeling that someone is going to die. Someone he knows. He cursed. Since when did he get premonitions like this? And his instincts led him here, to the very spot where it was going to happen. Remembering the reason he exited the building, he outstretched his hand and the plastic coca-cola bottle came zooming into his palm. Right- the M.A.R.S. crew is awaiting confirmation. Pulling out his wand, he rapped it smartly and dropped it. Jeez what a day. Portus! As if on cue, twelve wizards and two witches apparated around the Portkey.

Well, he got half of his premonition right. Someone did die just now. Just not someone he knew. Commander Potter, Sean Creevy acknowledged. They re inside?

Yes. Well it was close. Rebecca could have been killed in action. Fortunately, he knew how to do the porting spell accurately now. And luckily for Warshire and DeFontaine- he was the one doing the killing, instead of that lunatic. If Rebecca had died because of these two men he didn t know what he d do. Have your potions masters fix something up. It s poison mixed with a Sleeping Draught in their blood stream. Hopefully, you have about thirty minutes before they die. Harry nodded grimly. No need to keep the corpse. Vanish him. Well lads, let s get to work, Sean added, and the squad of fourteen entered the building. Warshire stepped forward, his head held high, knowing that the mission was nearly a disaster. Commander, I accept that I was incompetent. If you so wish, I will request to be dismissed in the morning. Request denied, Harry sighed. He looked directly at Rebecca, who was standing apart from everyone, her gaze fixated on a distant point on the horizon. Her arms were wrapped around her torso, her eyes bright with restrained tears. Almahazar s blood was splattered across her face and robes, but she didn t even seem to notice. Without even looking at the three others, she simply walked away. Harry's insides twisted with anguish. It was that close. Just...just...be more careful next time. Okay? I will. Sol, Steven, mission accomplished, Harry said, even though it was understood. I m sure your wives are missing you after your two-week absence. Go on home, Harry said. What about Becky? Sol ventured. Harry looked off in her direction, squinting as the sun dropped lower in the sky. A gust flew past, picking up a cloud of dust in the abandoned factory town. Hell, the whole place felt dead, a desolate place smack dab in the middle of nowhere. I ll give her some time, then probably drop her home. She looks pretty shaken up. Fuck man- you scared the shit out of her. The Sectumsempra curse? Why didn t you just Kedavra his ass and be done with it? Sol argued. I don t know how to do that curse yet, Harry said calmly. Both men stared. You can't be serious, Sol retorted. We ve seen your credentials. I hear there is a freaking lot of land reserved in St. Martin s for dead Death Eaters because of you. What is this shit I m hearing about not being able to do the Killing curse? I don t. Just drop it, okay? Harry complained. Get outta here. Or do you want to stay and help Creevey and the others?? Harry raised an

eyebrow. Fuck this shit, I m off. and with that last bout of profanity, Sol disappeared with a pop. Warshire came closer to Harry, and put a fatherly hand on his shoulder. You re one hell of a soldier. This is what we do, and there s a reason that we re the only ones who can do it. Remember that. A second later, and he was gone as well. Well, only one more to go. For some reason, seeing Rebecca held upside down at her captor s mercy, was too much. Even if Almahazar wasn t a serial paedophile rapist, or didn t create snuff movies with his select Chosen , just attacking Rebecca was enough to end his worthless existence. The world was better off without him anyway. Now it was just to persuade Rebecca that very same thing. For a couple of seconds, Harry simply froze. He had no clue what to do next. Put him in a fight, and it s easy. Put him alone with an emotional woman, and it s a nightmare. Rebecca? What? he called, walking up behind her.

she said, irritated. he said, trying to put as much calm into his

It s okay. We got him, voice. We can

It s not we and you damn well know it, Harry. She turned on him, her eyes red, on the verge of tears. It was you. Always was. ButNo, I don t know what it is about you two, you and Malfoy, but you make us, well me, feel like I'm worthless. How many times have I been just the stupid 'damsel in distress'? Rebecca snapped. I just- I don t know, I feel like I m just not cut out for this... Don t say that, we ve only started working togetherAnd already Malfoy is doing Top secret operations and you have the minister s ear in your pocket. Can t you see, Harry? You don t need us! She indicated the warehouse behind them. Two weeks of infiltration and intelligence gathering, today s the day we execute, and we blew it. I blew it, she said in a self-loathing manner. He had me strung up like a dollso stupid, slipping at the most inopportune momentIt happensI ve never seen you being hung upside down by some half-assed narcissist! Next to you, I feel so- so.. inferior. I always feel, not up to your standard. And that s weird for me, because I thought I was a perfectionist. I thought I was good at my job. You are, it s just sometimes we ve got to deal with the unexpectedRebecca raised her hand, stopping him. I don t even know what to say to you anymore. She cut him off. I m torn between wanting to thank you for saving my life- again- but I also want to

scream at you for making me look like a fool in front of the others. I don t know, Potter, but I think you re just too good at this. Look at you, not one bloody scratch, or sprinkle of blood, or for crying out loud- not even a wrinkle on your robes! She looked down at herself, and the mixture of wine, blood and dirt making her white robes look like a painter s cleanup rag. What are you? Do you have some lucky talisman you wear all the time? Is this- she raised both arms in exasperation- just a piece of cake to you? Harry just stared at her, his face hardening. No. It s not.

Could have fooled me. You pop out of nowhere and nearly dissected him into five pieces. Couldn t have planned it better myself. She said in a mocking tone. Don t you feel anything, Mr. Roboto? Watch your mouth, Rebecca. You don t know a thing about what I ve been through, and the dead that haunt me, he said softly. Remember what I said on the train? I couldn t escape this even if I tried. I decided it s better I just face this head on, instead of running away. If this is what I m good at, well, whatever. Don t make it seem like it s all easy for me to be doing this. I have a lot of shit going on, and this line of work isn t helping me deal with it. So why would you take the job if you re so against it? This whole campaign, war- whatever you call it. I am largely to blame for it even happening. So I swore to Hermione, and everyone on that trainthat I would not stop until they are safe. You to blame? What are you talking about? Rebecca asked, utterly confused. Harry looked at her, and decided then and there he would tell her. But first, he needed an oath of secrecy. Taking of his scarf, he asked for her forearm. She extended it, a puzzled expression on her face. Harry grasped her hand in his, and wrapped the scarf around both of their wrists, gripping her thumb in a firm hold. I m going to tell you something than can cause a lot of trouble if leaked. Will you promise to keep it a secret? Rebecca looked into his green eyes, and nodded. Yes. After I faced Voldemort- Malfoy disappeared. Dumbledore had cast a charm that modified the entire school s memories of him, because he thought that Malfoy was a very dangerous threat. When I found out what he had done , I was pretty angry about it, and wanted a few er, well, select words. As my luck would have it, Diggory kicked me out of school that same day, with the whole Auror fiasco at Hogwarts. Eventually, I found out that Ash had ordered Malfoy to rot in Azkaban. Too bad some overzealous idiot went and destroyed Azkaban, we wouldn t have to see his face- Rebecca broke off; her eyes opening almost double in size. As if a bulb had been switched on, it came to her. The unofficial report stated that damage coincided with the blast radius of the Ultima curse... Oh my god! It was you!

Yes. Malfoy risked everything more than once to save my life, and I was honour bound to rescue him. Unfortunately, I lost control. I used the Essence of Muriad to protect me from the dementors, but at a high cost, I now feel- more well immune to this, the killing, the war. I don t feel it as I used to. He couldn't tell her about his hidden ability. He didn't think he could tell anyone what was really happening to him, not now, maybe not ever. This was close enough to the truth to suffice. I can t believe it, Rebecca said softly, her expression dumbstruck. It really was you.. Potter, you know something right? You just told me you single-handedly destroyed Azkaban. I heard it. From right there- she poked his lip playfully. Who would have thought? The Ministry s finest destroys Azkaban! And lets loose hundreds of lunatics! Rebecca chuckled, but it wasn t one of humour. She just couldn t believe it. This man here was only seventeen. Seventeen. Yeah, funny isn t it? It s also very funny when I have twenty-eight dead haunting me every night. My mistake, twenty-nine. He indicated behind him. You go ahead and laugh, Harry said coldly, calmly unwrapping his scarf around their arms. The spell is set. You re my secret keeper, Lestrange. Remember that. Harry turned away, his heart heavy with his sins. And what made it even worse, he knew there would be more. It was inevitable. Walking back towards the warehouse, he left Lestrange standing by herself, too stunned to speak. Harry- I- she caught up to him, pulling his elbow so that he had to turn around. I m sorry- she said, wrapping her arms around him. Harry just stood there, caught off guard by this impromptu hug. I didn t know- it must have been horrible. So young she rest her head on his shoulder, her arms closely latching unto him beneath his cloak. Rebecca, er- Harry said, awkwardly touching her back. He wasn t too sure how to tell her to let go. Um, you can let go know, I m fine, really. She tilted her head back, her eyes bright with tears. No you re not, she said softly, moving a stray lock of hair away from his temple. I- she trailed off. Slowly, ever so slowly, she placed her lips against his. Harry just stood there, not moving a muscle. What the ? Her lips pressed a bit more meaningfully against him now, her eyes closing as she tasted his skin. When he didn t respond initially, she opened her eyes halfway, searching his uncertain green ones. Pressing a bit closer unto him, she felt uncertainty; desire, reluctance, admiration, and sorrow swell up in her all at the same time. His breath played against her parted lips, and she asked ever so softly, almost pleading: Don t you want me? Those words coursed through Harry- feeling like wildfire. Her touch, her

lips, they way she felt against him was completely exhilarating, but inside he knew his heart belonged to another. However, he could not deny what he felt for this woman. He did want her. Her eyes closed, and her lips parted to be kissed. Harry did the only thing he could. He kissed her. She practically melted against him, her body language screaming submission and desire. Only when his hands rose to touch her face did he feel something wet against his fingertips. That sensation brought him back to reality. Blood. Harry s eyes flashed open, and he abruptly let her go. Rebecca touched where his fingers had grazed her cheek, and lowered her eyes solemnly. No man has ever shown me that he will fight, and will kill another, to protect me. She said softly. By this blood on our fingers, you prove once again that no matter what happened, you were there to save me. I don t think it s fair to expect anything more than camaraderie from you, but I will tell you this: I am forever indebted to you. And that s a promise. She brushed her bloodstained fingertips against his in a fleeting touch, then began to chant, her eyes closed. Bound by blood, never to be broken. To those who rise against us, let there be no quarter given. Arms at the ready, let the trials begin, fate will hold us together, through love and through sin. Harry felt a sharp burn on his fingers and he immediately yanked back his hand. The blood had vanished, and he felt a strange feeling of a soft magical spell running through him. What did you do? he asked vehemently. she stated, making the obvious

I have sworn in my promise through magic, even more obvious. Which means? I have cast a protective charm on you. protection . What? Why? Undo it! Harry ordered.

If you could call a life-debt

Can t. It s a one shot thing. A trait all of my bloodline knows, a single spell that has been inherited throughout generations of my family. You gotta be joking. A Lestrange hereditary charm? Why not? Rebecca teased, smiling at him. ancient this and prophesised that Harry stammered.

I have enough magic charms and going on as it is!

Rebecca sauntered closer towards him, and looked at him defiantly in his eyes. So? and she then quickly pecked him on the lips. Have another! Bye! and with a last wink, she disapparated. Harry cursed in frustration, grabbing handfuls of hair in his hands. Fuck-Fuck- FUCK! jumping and stamping his feet with the last one. What had he just done? And more importantly, what did Rebecca just do?

*******************

Three days later, Harry called an important meeting of the S.T.A.R. Elite at their ministry office. In his hand was a file folder of very important information. In it were updates on the two men on top of their list, Angelo Dorius Ash, otherwise known as Logan Ash, and Rodulphus Orion Lestrange, the man singly responsible for making Harry s life a living nightmare. Alongside Sol, Steven and Rebecca, (who he avoided eye contact with) all of them were waiting for their last member. After fifteen minutes had passed, Draco Malfoy walked in, taking off a heavy black cloak and carefully hanging it up on the coat rack. Without a word, he sat down at the round cards table and rocked back, propping his feet on the flat surface. After a tense silence where everyone was watching him as if he had no manners, or even any sort of respect for the rest of the team, he smirked. What? Expecting me to apologise? Harry clenched his fist in irritation. Draco grinned at him. Please, Lord Potter, you may begin, he announced, offering him the floor in a grand gesture. Even though whatever you say may be irrelevant now anyway, Draco added under his breath. Irrelevant, you say? Harry raised an eyebrow. Unlike you, I ve found out where Lestrange s home isBah! You could have asked Becky here that- Draco countered. Harry looked at him as if Malfoy was talking utter nonsense. He wouldn t be so stupid to be at his parent s house all this while, now would he? Au contraire, my good captain, Draco said calmly. That is the difference between his way of thinking, and you. That is indeed his base of operations. However, for the past few weeks, he has been absent without leave, or so his butler says. I have some more important information, and guess what, it concerns both Ash and Lestrange. I Draco smiled secretively, clearing his throat once again- asked the help about his whereabouts. She seemed willing and able after, er- some minor persuasion, but couldn t give me a place, per say, just something she overheard from the portraits Draco shrugged. And what is that may I ask? Harry said folding his arms.

Both of them are working together and they ve done something very, very sinister indeed. A terrible weapon, something even the Dark Lord himself could not create- Malfoy broke off, looking at each of them in turn. All of them leaned in a fraction, already caught by Draco s report. Draco smiled. After realising that he was intentionally keeping them waiting, Sol slammed his hand on the table. WELL?! Sol shouted. What the fuck is it? Goddammit!

Thought you d never ask. Lestrange was quite a busybody over the course of this year, or so I ve heard. I have from my er he cleared his throat- various sources, that apart from the Doppelganger Imperius curse that he and Antolin Doholov created, he s gone and made something even more efficient; even more ingenious Harry rolled his hands in a keep going manner. Malfoy sighed, as if telling him all of this was too tiresome to really be bothered about. He s created a very powerful spell, something Voldemort proposed but never completed- the Doppelganger Fidelus Curse. It s an offshoot from the generations old War chant our good friend here- he pointed, Becky s family created. But instead of just a one time use to someone they declare worth dying for, Rodulphus and Ash found a way to make one wizard spread it to another, who in turn would spread it to another, and then he to the next and so on- a viral curse- very crafty indeed... Oh my god...no.. magic? Rebecca breathed. He actually altered their bloodline

The catch is, whoever is cursed will wholeheartedly swear allegiance and unwavering loyalty to one man. Yes, you guessed it: her brother. Draco tilted his head haughtily in her direction. It's suposedly even more dangerous than the Imperius curse. Unwavering loyalty: worth dying for, worth killing for. Maybe one in a million chance you d actually find someone with that much determination, now he s actually created a formula to use whenever he wants.. Quite a feat. We ve got to find them- Harry declared. Draco put up his palm, indicating that Harry should take it easy. I ve got that covered too, Draco said as a matter of fact, inspecting his wand nonchalantly. Harry turned, looking at him expectantly. After a quiet moment which lasted nearly five seconds, he simply intertwined his fingers and smiled. Yes? Draco asked in mild curiosity as four pairs of eyes were fixated on his face. OH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! ! STOP FUCKING AROUND ! to explode. It was now Harry s turn

Oh. Right. The Durmstrang Institute is first. Tomorrow night, they re going to be knocking on their front door."Draco smiled. "Hmmm... nearly four hundred strong impressionable minds- already apprentices of the more, should I say- intriguing side of magic to boot... Tell me something, Potter- are these three ready to handle wizards with elemental abilities,

plus Rodulphus himself? He grinned at Rebecca. Oh, by the way Rebecca, wear some non-skid shoes, I hear it s a bit muddy over in Norway these days- don't want anymore, er- slip ups... Watching her go red in the face, Draco laughed and exited the room. I ll be back in the morning. I m going home and have sex, then take some well-deserved rest. Tomorrow will be a long day.

******************** Author's note: Teaser: there will be another fic in this series, but it will not revolve around Harry Potter....*soft evil laugh*

Chapter 26: The Battle of Norway [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

**CHAPTER 26: The Battle of Norway**

Hogwarts was always a beautiful place just before the summer. The grass was full and green, and all the sleeping trees were back in their full splendour, their foliage once again thick and giving much welcomed shade to the students who wished for a bit of piece and quiet outdoors. Rubeus Hagrid was getting ready to go about his morning tasks, grabbing a large bunch of keys to enter the greenhouses on the eastern face of the castle. Fang was as lazy as ever, not even leaving his nap basket to see his master off. Moments before Hagrid's departure, the usually docile dog jumped out of his comfortable bed, and began to bark like mad. "Wha' is it, Fang?" Hagrid grumbled. "Ain't got no time for huntin' today, if tha's wha' yer thinkin'. Hagrid went about his usual business when a soft knock came from his door. Fang was at the door barking in short bursts, as if uncertain if the visitor was a threat or not. Hagrid, trusting his loyal pet s instincts, took out his umbrella, approaching the door cautiously. "Easy boy.." Hagrid said softly, angling towards the window. Drawing back the curtain to peek outside, he couldn't believe his eyes. This was the last person he'd expect to come knocking on his door. Unlatching the lock, he flung the door open wide.

"Luna! Darlin ! Thank goodness! Where 'ave you been? Are you okay? How did you escape? What 'appened to Lestra-" Hagrid cut himself off as he finally realized that there was a man leaning up on the wall of his hut, casually positioned such that he would not have been able to see him from the window. "Ruby, it's been a long time," Rodulphus Lestrange said in greeting, a charming smile on his face. "Surprised?" He added, folding his arms as he crossed his feet casually at his ankles. "YOU!" Hagrid bellowed, drawing his umbrella, but he was too slow. Before he knew it, a spell at hit him straight in between the eyes, and his head buzzed for a moment. "Come on, we've got to get the others," Rodulphus said easily, Hagrid nodding at once. "I have a little surprise for our favourite Auror 'commander', " Rodulphus said jokingly and Hagrid grinned. "Aye, I'm eager to hear what you ve been up to these past few decades. My bow is ready." Hagrid said in a much more refined tone. "Good...good...you'll get your part, never fear." "Can't wait," Hagrid said with comfortable smile on his face. "It's been a while, eh Ralphie?" "Too long my friend, too long." ******************* Harry did not leave the Ministry of Magic since Draco told him of Lestrange s plan. As soon as he told Kingsley of these new developments the entire Auror division and the ministry police division has been in a code red state of emergency. Inter-department owl memos were zooming with a frantic pace, feathers and bird droppings littering the hallways like crazy. Rosco, the ministry house elf, had a right fit when things went haywire and was constantly popping in and out of existence all over the place with his trusty scoop and vanishing bag. Staff and military alike was racing from one corridor to another, a red strobe light pulsing in the ceilings. Harry stared at the reflection as he sat alone on the centre bench in the locker rooms. A flak jacket with numerous pouches covered his dark blue uniform. Brand spanking new basilisk boots, from the self same on he had killed. Very expensive, and given to him by Youri Llewellyn; the mathematical genius/bookworm from payroll as standard issue replacement (even though he knew it was the Minister s personal gift). His wand in one hand, a golden armband with four stars embedded in it in the other. He looked at his reflection through weary eyes. Was he afraid? Was he really ready to do this? The door opened, and Sol poked his head in. He caught Harry looking

pensively at the armband gripped in his fingers. For a moment, neither man said anything. Commander. Yes? They re waiting on you. You ready? I m coming, Harry said tonelessly The door closed with a soft click. War. They were at war, and the enemy has made their intentions known. Even if Malfoy did not warn them, they got post early this morning from Rodulphus himself, stating blatantly what he was going to do. The cocky bastard. Taking a deep breath, he pulled the golden band over his left arm. Securing his wand, he got up and resolutely clasped the Cloak of the Order of the Phoenix around his shoulders, pulling the hood up over his hair. Time to go to work. *****************

The Ministry of Magic s armoury was a large building behind the training base, which was a few miles away from the Lionheart Order of Sorcery. The ten portkey stations were transporting personnel by the sixes and sevens, each arriving every two minutes. Harry Potter walked into the building alongside Sol DeFontaine, Steven Warshire, Rebecca Lestrange and last but not least, Draco Malfoy. After waiting exactly ten minutes, everyone had arrived, including all the division commanders and the minister of magic herself, Sherry Diggory. Harry stood off a bit to the side as the Minister gave the three hundred and seventy six aurors and nearly a thousand police her speech, which was, to his relief, was blessedly short. ..and with these parting words, I ll open up the floor for a word from your field commander. She looked across at Harry, and nodded. Stepping down the podium, she walked regally back to the other politicians and high ranking officials from the ministry of magic and allowed Harry to take the floor. Harry knew this was coming, but that couldn t stop the jitters. The slight lack of circulation from the band strapped on his left bicep was now a physical reminder of his new position, which added even more to his already high strung case of nerves. He knew that this moment would come, one way or the other. It was inevitable. Striding forward, he marched directly in front of the troops on the parade ground, instead of elevating

himself at a higher level than them as the Minister had done previously. Taking out his wand, he incanted the Sonorous spell. I ll get straight to it. I am Commander Potter of the S.T.A.R Elite, and I will be the one spearheading this operation. And yes - to your unsaid question- the same boy who lived . There were a few respectful nods of recognition, but other than that response, no one made a sound. Good. We do not know the enemy s numbers, neither their fighting strength. What we do know is that he has threatened our future generation of wizards, and as a consequence, declared war against us, the strongest military force in Europe. Here are his exact words. opening it like a scroll. Harry took out a rolled parchment,

Tonight Durmstrang will be mine. I expect your forces would try and stop me. Tell your commander that I will show no quarter. Harry let those words soak in for a bit, knowing that Rodulphus arrogance would incense them even further. blatant

He needs not warn us. We do not fear the Death Eater Rodulphus Lestrange. We do not fear anyone who cowardly attacks our children, our families. We do not fear terrorists who lurk in the shadows. His words are meant to anger us. We shall kill him for such insolence. In the corner, Malfoy grinned. Deployment is at 0900 hours, approximately one hour from now. There will be three forces set in place, one at Hogwarts, one at Beauxbatons, with the majority of armed forces at Durmstrang. I will lead the operation in Norway, Warren Jacobsen would command the forces in France, and Jeremy Kingsley would set up defenses in Scotland. Your respective commanders would give you your orders to co-ordinate all of our battle operations. Tonight we will declare that no one, no one could threaten the ones we care about, and live to gloat about it. Tonight, we will show the enemy that our strength is not to be laughed at. Harry s eyes began to glow, much to the disconcertment of those who could see his face directly. And to Lestrange s direct challenge, I say this: we do not expect quarter, neither will we show any. You have your orders. Dismissed. There was a simultaneous crunch of boots of thousands snapping to attention, all of them completing the salute with a sharp movement of the palm facing outwards at their brow. Harry saluted back, and then the soldiers dispersed to their respective units. Harry immediately turned and began to make his way to the weapons depot. Quite a speech, Potter. Getting comfortable being in a position of power, are we? Draco Malfoy congratulated him as he fell into stride on his right. Harry said nothing, his new boots making clicking noises on the well worn floor. Going all out today are we? he added, looking at the full military kit Harry was wearing, complete with the golden band on his arm.

You seem to be taking this quite lightly, Malfoy, at him as they entered the arms depot.

Harry hissed sideways

Come on, Draco said easily. Lances? Flak jacket? he scoffed at the Aurors around them lining up to receive their additional equipment. Why are we even here? We- he gestured between the both of them -don t need this- Draco pulled at Harry s flak jacket with scorn. Protocol, Malfoy. Just take one okay? Harry said, taking two S-12A Battle Lances from the witch at the depot counter. It was a five foot long mahogany staff, polished and embedded with a diamond mesh enchantment to make it nearly indestructible. At both ends were arced twin blades, sleek and concave in its simple design. In the exact center of the shaft was a groove about an inch and a half thick and fourteen inches long. Harry ran his hand over the smooth finish of the weapon. When he was in Lionheart, his first impression of it was a glorified (and deadly looking) tuning fork. After he had seen it in action, it had completely changed his initial skepticism of its practicality. Both young men took up a weapon and after giving it a few hefts to get a feel for it again, they drew their wands and with a semi-familiar ease, snapped their wands into the groove with a satisfying click. Heh- lock and load, Draco grinned, even though this was more of a bother to him. Just another toy, if you ask me, he added as he shouldered his weapon. No one asked, did they? Harry retorted. Rebecca and the others were a bit ahead, waiting for them at the Norway deployment station. The remaining members of the Elite already had their Lances, and so did the five hundred strong that would be in their division. Before Harry could go on to meet them, Draco pulled him back and beckoned him over. now? Harry asked irritably. What is it

Come and see. I think you d like to see this. Malfoy walked behind the depot counter, showing the security goblin his ministry i.d. The goblin nodded in a knowing manner, and Harry frowned as Malfoy led them back into the antechamber behind the store front. Draco approached a high security door leading into yet another sub room. Harry watched carefully as he placed his palm flat on the third block from the right of the doorframe. A soft light emanated from the crack of the door, and it soundlessly slid open. How did you-? Harry started, but Draco just smirked.

Potter, you really don t get it, do you? We re the Elite. Do you understand what that means? There s always something - in any organization, the regular everyday schmuck can t see. Now, if you didn t notice, you are no longer an ordinary schmuck . Carte blanche Draco tapped his I.D. in explanation, then snapped his fingers in the dark room. Harry s eyes widened. In this room were various and numerous weapons of all sizes and types. A twelve foot scythe was the first thing he noticed. It adorned the majority of the wall in front of him, while wands of different size and shape lined the wall on his right in racks, complete with name plates underneath them. A helmet from a medieval knight sat on a

dully glowing suit of armour, a lone spike on the forehead giving an unicorn-esque attribute to the already peculiar item. A ball and chain contraption hung over two mounting hooks above, and a blood-red sash lay furled haphazardly on a pedestal, deceptive in its apparent tranquility. Forget those. Come on, are you blind? Look- Malfoy pointed directly in front of them, on the extreme opposite of the room sat a glass box on a four foot tall pillar. It reminded Harry of a safety box for a very expensive jewel. Coming closer to the light overhead, the contents were no longer lost in the ominous shadows in this secret room. In it were two pieces of wood, something that he would not have marked notable in any way, except that for some reason, he instinctively knew what they were. It was the broken remnants of a wand. Harry s blood ran cold. He didn t need to read the name plaque underneath it to know exactly who its previous master was. After all, it was he who had broken it. Voldemort, Harry whispered, suddenly talking in the same hushed tones that other wizards used when mentioning his name. Yes, the Dark Lord himself. Draco noted. Dragging his eyes away from the destroyed weapon, he motioned Harry over to something that Harry could not have seen from the front of the room. And that s not the only thing of interest here. I think you d remember this? From that very same night of the Battle for King s Crown... Draco showed Harry three swords on that sat on the individual racks. A Japanese parchment was stuck on the glass shelf encasing the weapons. Those were the hunters weapons images run afresh in his mind. Harry noted, feeling those nightmare

I ve picked up a new hobby these days, Draco winked. This is Statham s sword, remember? I m collecting memorabilia of all our battles. And what better than a fallen opponent s weapon to remember our glory days when we re old and grey, eh Potter? Draco said, even though his eyes were on the broken remnants of Voldemort s wand. Harry barely heard him. All he could think of was of once again holding a sword, the exhilaration of wielding such a fine weapon. His eyes began to glow, a sense of poignant loss running through his veins. I want my sword back. Dumbledore will pay for hiding it from me. Well? Go ahead. Take them. Keep what you kill. Yeah- We re the elite, aren t we? Harry said in a far off voice, wanting to take it himself, but strangely enough, also not wanting to want to take it. How do we get them out? Music to my ears, Potter, music to my ears I know a counter jinx. Draco said, and began to disenchant the security box. Pointing his Lance at the glass shelf, the parchment unstuck itself, and vanished with a soft sizzling hiss. The glass barrier slid out of the way, and the weapons floated out towards them. Harry just stood there, as if in a trance,

staring at the dual katana. One thing that our good man Elias forgot when he devised these lances all those centuries ago; no way to trace back the magic! Draco chuckled in triumph. He snatched Statham s blade and sheathed it smoothly into his belt. A thought crossed Harry s mind. Did Draco plan this from the start? C mon, what the fuck? Think we got all day? Take them and let s go, Draco said, walking off. Harry just couldn t well just leave them hanging there. After all, he was the one who defeated the two assassins; so technically, this was more like the spoils of war Nothing wrong with taking spoils, was there? Especially when you ve earned it Taking one in each hand, he felt a surge of lightheaded giddiness envelop him. He tucked both blades into his belt and covered it with his cloak. Waving his hand, he closed the glass shelf and hastened out of the secret room, trying to catch up with Malfoy who had just stepped out of his line of sight. When the door slid shit behind Harry, Draco Malfoy stepped out of the shadow in the corner of the room, a triumphant smile on his face. Quite useful- that replication illusion technique. He felt for his own trick far too easily...ah well, Draco said softly to himself. Procuring one of the Weasleys Wizarding Wheezes bogus wands, he snapped it in two, and began disenchanting the security charm on his true target. ******************** Ron, what do you think is going on? Hermione asked as she peered out of the common room s window. They ve being streaming in whole morningRon had a bad feeling about this. Immediate dismissal of all classes and students were to remain sequestered in either their dormitories or house rooms? Sounds like they were preparing for a battle I don t know, but it looks serious. I think we should put on our medallions, y know, just in case- he said hopefully. Hermione huffed, but did not contradict him. Ever since both of them were inducted into the Order of the Phoenix, Ron was always harping about wearing his medallion, basically wanting to show off. Hermione had adamantly rebuffed him all of the previous times, because Professor Dumbledore had given them instructions only to wear it when absolutely necessary. Hermione secretly thought that he didn t want her to wear it because she would be able to sense Harry s moods even easier, even though he was so far away. She was getting frustrated, because even though she did want to see him again, right now, she had to listen to reason. He was too unpredictable, too volatile, too powerful for her to make mistakes like she did they met last. Once emotions got involved, Harry s inner struggle procured itself into something very dangerous. It was a battle between two extremely determined individuals. Basically, a bomb waiting to explode. But, this was not normal. All of these Aurors on the grounds, and all over

the castle parapets; plus the lack of information from the staff all added up. This definitely was not a drill. She could feel it: something big was going to happen. Ron was right. They should put on the Order s Medallion of Courage. Yeah- I think you re right. Let s go, she said, and both teenagers went up to their respective dormitories. Hermione dug into her trunk, and took out her two most precious possessions, the Halo of Life and the Order s medallion. Draping the chain around her neck she ran back down the stairs to find that Ron was already in the mix, showing Dean and Lavender and some curious six years (namely Creevey and his rag tag group of Harry fans ) his amulet. Look, check it out- if you look closely, you ll see a phoenix- yeah really wicked, plus I can feel nearby order members magic, and there s a slightly heightened protective aura, almost half as good as a Protego charmRon, cut it out. We should go and talk to Professor Lupin and Dumbledore. If they inducted us, we need to step up and play an active role. We need to know what s happening out there. ***************** As soon as Harry ported alongside the others at the steps of Durmstrang Institute, he was amazed at the preparations already in place at just his first glance. Stasis traps were being buried into the grounds at strategic points, and sentry Blast-ended Skrewts ambled diligently alongside the Beastmasters on foot patrol. Glancing upwards, he noted that the Ministry security officers were using combined Levitation Pulleys to hoist large catapults and artillery launchers unto the roof of the ancient fortress-turned school. Before he had a chance to blink, one of the infantry (technically ministry police officer) came forth and snapped his heels to attention. Commander! he saluted. Marcus Schweinsteiger reporting, sir. Rank: Ensign! Man number: Oh-oh-five-seven-three-two-twoHarry scowled. He also was a field soldier, just like the rest of them. It kind of irked him that it just so happened he was also placed in command, and henceforth had to endure all of this commander this and sir that . At ease, Harry said irritably, disliking the rigid ministry salute. What is it? Commander, this is the preliminary defense schematics on the immediate area, and our scouts are doing a quick survey of approximately a three mile radius, sir! Harry opened the schematic. His first impression of it was the marauder s map, except without the names moving all over the place. Yellow x s indicated traps, blue areas indicated patrol paths, a white circle indicated artillery range and red showed the most probable breach zones

that the enemy would use to initiate their attack. What about the lake? Can they come from there as well? Harry asked, knowing that Durmstrang s flagship, the Desceptre; used a magical entry way to transport the students to any other fresh water lake in the world. Got that covered sir, the Whirlpool hex has been deactivated first thing at exactly 0827 hours this morning. But that means that we would not be able to evacuate the students by that manner also, correct? Rebecca questioned. The officer gulped. Rebecca was quite intimidating in her full combat gear, only a pair of violet eyes peeking out of a black scarf covering her nose and chin. Her hood was pulled so low down her brow that you got the weird feeling that you were talking to a phantom. Yes, sir! - I mean, ma am.. What are our escape options? Harry enquired.

Sir yes sir! Er let me check that Marcus flipped a few pages from his clipboard. No portkey exit or entry for approximately thirty six hours. Complete lockdown of all portkey and apparation activity in- he whipped out a complex-looking miniature sundial timepiece -exactly seventeen, sixteen, fifteenAlright, I understand, Harry sighed, stopping his dramatic countdown. So we re the last in then? Affirmative, sir! Non-combatant head count? Auror Joseph Ulfalusi is on it right nowThe full complement of combat units is accounted for? Harry interjected.

Aye sir! Exactly five hundred and twenty seven accounted for- the S.TA.R. Elite squadron being the last team in, sir! What sort of pre-emptive warning systems are in place? When the enemy begins his march, we ll have a twenty minute headstart sir! If the enemy approaches on foot our magic wards will pick him up at a distance of a mile due south and east, while the mountains on the north and west cut down the time to approximately five minutes. However, the rough landscape would make it difficult to move substantial numbers through thereNo. He ll come straight at us, from the front, Draco interjected, a smug smile on his face. While everyone would be expecting a flanking maneuver, he ll do the opposite and simply announce himself, you wait and see. He ll be here- straight up the main meadows facing the front door. This will be the battlefield, I am certain. Warshire, Sol? What do you think? corner of his eye. Harry asked, watching Draco out of the

For such a bold move, he ll have something up his sleeve, he won t go

through all this trouble if he plans to sneak around us, he ll know what he s getting into, and came straigh