dysonrules: (Default)
Posting this to LJ because I feel like it...  Note: This takes place after Goblet of Fire, but the whole graveyard fiasco didn't happen and Cedric is alive.  He's not in the story.  He's just not dead.

Bad Medicine
Chapter One
            Draco was bored. After listening to the dimwitted bickering of Crabbe and Goyle all morning, he considered turning them into something spineless and slimy in order to silence them. They were great for backup in a confrontation, but as conversationalists they left much to be desired. Rather than hex them, he yelled at them to bugger off for the afternoon and stalked off to be alone. Hogwarts was rife with places for solitary reflection, but today most of the prime spots were taken, largely due to the dreadful pouring rain outside.
            The dungeon was even darker and gloomier than usual and Draco was already in a bad mood, so he took to the ever-changing stairs and headed for higher climes. A half hour of aimless wandering led him to a long, deserted corridor lined with huge gothic windows. He peered out of one and discovered a marvelous view of the lake, or it would have been if he could have seen more than a quarter of it due to the misty rain. Water poured down the glass in rivulets. He rested his forehead against the glass, feeling more than bored. He couldn’t quite put a name to what he was feeling, but it wasn’t good.
            He pushed himself away from the window and noted several dark alcoves arranged along the opposite wall, interspersed with dark wooden doors that led who-knew-where? The alcoves had potential, as they were stuffed with large stone statues of various creatures. Directly across from him reared a huge lion, nearly triple life size. Draco sneered. No Gryffindor lions for him today, thank you very much. He walked to the next alcove. A hippogriff. Screw that. Stupid beasts. The third statue was more promising. A manticore. Its human face growled from a lion-like mane and the stinger poised over its head looked ready to strike. Draco could relate. He gripped a leonine paw and hoisted himself up into the alcove. He slipped behind the creature and searched briefly for concealed doors, which were quite often hidden in alcoves around Hogwarts. If one existed here, it was too well concealed for a casual search and a quick Alohomora.
            The scorpion-like tail was perfectly curled to provide a relaxing perch. Draco sat down and leaned his head and shoulders back against the curve of the tail. He twirled his wand and wondered if he should practice his transfiguration spells for class tomorrow, but the required spells were ridiculously easy. His mother had been teaching him transfiguration since he was five.
            He tapped his wand idly against a thigh and looked beyond the statue’s head to the long windows. He wished the bloody depressing rain would stop. He’d much rather be outside on his broom practicing Quidditch than moping here in an abandoned hallway.
            Quick footsteps approached. Perhaps not so abandoned. Draco sat up and flattened himself against the manticore’s back. He peered out after making sure he was fully hidden in the shadows of the alcove.
            The footsteps belonged to Hermione Granger. Draco sneered. Granger! What did she want up here? A square wooden box locomotored behind her, floating easily in her wake. He wondered what she was up to. Probably sneaking around on some errand or another for Potter or Weasley. He was actually surprised to see her alone. Normally the three of them clung together for protection like baby lemurs. The only time Granger was ever alone was when she was in the library with her face buried in a book. Likely her little trunk was full of books and she was looking for a private place to read.
            She strode purposefully past Draco’s hiding place without pausing and continued to a door two alcoves beyond his. She entered with her box and shut the door firmly. Draco waited to see if Potter and the Weasel would show up, but finally climbed out of his alcove. He briefly regretted not hexing her when she walked by. She could have done with the tail of a jackass or ears of a fruit bat. He grinned and then grimaced; realizing if he’d hexed her she likely would have turned him into a sea slug or something worse. The little mudblood was good with a wand, more’s the pity.
            He walked quietly to the door through which she’d disappeared. He didn’t sneak, because Malfoys did not sneak, but he did walk quietly enough that his footsteps would not be heard.   He cast a whispered Silencio on the door, though he hadn’t heard it make any noise when Granger had opened it. He flipped the latch and peered inside.
            He saw a huge, mostly dark room with a ceiling that seemed miles overhead. A single glass window in the ceiling admitted sparse light in a square pattern on the center of the empty floor. The room looked devoid of both furnishings and occupants.
            He slipped inside and let the door shut silently behind him. He wondered if another door exited the room. Likely, since Granger had disappeared. He was about to cross the room when a strange cacophony made him clap his hands to his ears.
            What in hell was that strange racket? He nearly asked the question aloud and was glad he did not when Hermione stepped into the square of light. He shrank back instinctively, but it was far too dark near the door for her to notice him.
            After that brief moment of panic, he froze and frankly gaped at her, as staggered as if she had stunned him with her wand.
dysonrules: (Default)
Posting this to LJ because I feel like it...  Note: This takes place after Goblet of Fire, but the whole graveyard fiasco didn't happen and Cedric is alive.  He's not in the story.  He's just not dead.

Bad Medicine
Chapter One
            Draco was bored. After listening to the dimwitted bickering of Crabbe and Goyle all morning, he considered turning them into something spineless and slimy in order to silence them. They were great for backup in a confrontation, but as conversationalists they left much to be desired. Rather than hex them, he yelled at them to bugger off for the afternoon and stalked off to be alone. Hogwarts was rife with places for solitary reflection, but today most of the prime spots were taken, largely due to the dreadful pouring rain outside.
            The dungeon was even darker and gloomier than usual and Draco was already in a bad mood, so he took to the ever-changing stairs and headed for higher climes. A half hour of aimless wandering led him to a long, deserted corridor lined with huge gothic windows. He peered out of one and discovered a marvelous view of the lake, or it would have been if he could have seen more than a quarter of it due to the misty rain. Water poured down the glass in rivulets. He rested his forehead against the glass, feeling more than bored. He couldn’t quite put a name to what he was feeling, but it wasn’t good.
            He pushed himself away from the window and noted several dark alcoves arranged along the opposite wall, interspersed with dark wooden doors that led who-knew-where? The alcoves had potential, as they were stuffed with large stone statues of various creatures. Directly across from him reared a huge lion, nearly triple life size. Draco sneered. No Gryffindor lions for him today, thank you very much. He walked to the next alcove. A hippogriff. Screw that. Stupid beasts. The third statue was more promising. A manticore. Its human face growled from a lion-like mane and the stinger poised over its head looked ready to strike. Draco could relate. He gripped a leonine paw and hoisted himself up into the alcove. He slipped behind the creature and searched briefly for concealed doors, which were quite often hidden in alcoves around Hogwarts. If one existed here, it was too well concealed for a casual search and a quick Alohomora.
            The scorpion-like tail was perfectly curled to provide a relaxing perch. Draco sat down and leaned his head and shoulders back against the curve of the tail. He twirled his wand and wondered if he should practice his transfiguration spells for class tomorrow, but the required spells were ridiculously easy. His mother had been teaching him transfiguration since he was five.
            He tapped his wand idly against a thigh and looked beyond the statue’s head to the long windows. He wished the bloody depressing rain would stop. He’d much rather be outside on his broom practicing Quidditch than moping here in an abandoned hallway.
            Quick footsteps approached. Perhaps not so abandoned. Draco sat up and flattened himself against the manticore’s back. He peered out after making sure he was fully hidden in the shadows of the alcove.
            The footsteps belonged to Hermione Granger. Draco sneered. Granger! What did she want up here? A square wooden box locomotored behind her, floating easily in her wake. He wondered what she was up to. Probably sneaking around on some errand or another for Potter or Weasley. He was actually surprised to see her alone. Normally the three of them clung together for protection like baby lemurs. The only time Granger was ever alone was when she was in the library with her face buried in a book. Likely her little trunk was full of books and she was looking for a private place to read.
            She strode purposefully past Draco’s hiding place without pausing and continued to a door two alcoves beyond his. She entered with her box and shut the door firmly. Draco waited to see if Potter and the Weasel would show up, but finally climbed out of his alcove. He briefly regretted not hexing her when she walked by. She could have done with the tail of a jackass or ears of a fruit bat. He grinned and then grimaced; realizing if he’d hexed her she likely would have turned him into a sea slug or something worse. The little mudblood was good with a wand, more’s the pity.
            He walked quietly to the door through which she’d disappeared. He didn’t sneak, because Malfoys did not sneak, but he did walk quietly enough that his footsteps would not be heard.   He cast a whispered Silencio on the door, though he hadn’t heard it make any noise when Granger had opened it. He flipped the latch and peered inside.
            He saw a huge, mostly dark room with a ceiling that seemed miles overhead. A single glass window in the ceiling admitted sparse light in a square pattern on the center of the empty floor. The room looked devoid of both furnishings and occupants.
            He slipped inside and let the door shut silently behind him. He wondered if another door exited the room. Likely, since Granger had disappeared. He was about to cross the room when a strange cacophony made him clap his hands to his ears.
            What in hell was that strange racket? He nearly asked the question aloud and was glad he did not when Hermione stepped into the square of light. He shrank back instinctively, but it was far too dark near the door for her to notice him.
            After that brief moment of panic, he froze and frankly gaped at her, as staggered as if she had stunned him with her wand.
dysonrules: (Default)

Chapter Forty One – Grave News

 

            Draco was bored out of his mind by the time Snape arrived.  The Muggle girl had been right—Stonehenge or not, they were rocks.  They were only interesting for about twelve minutes.

            Snape walked out from among the stones and Draco assumed he had boldly Apparated somewhere close by.  He was surprised to see Snape in Muggle clothing.  Snape wore black trousers similar to Draco's, and a high-necked black shirt with long sleeves.  The outfit looked far too warm for the balmy summer day, but Snape was probably immune to discomfort.

            Snape's eyes flitted from person to person as he approached Draco, alert for anything.  There was no recognition in his eyes when his gaze passed over Neville and Luna.  Hermione and Ron were out of sight.

            “You're looking well, Draco,” Snape said with something that vaguely resembled a smile.

            “I'm doing all right,” Draco replied.  “Better than I was trapped in my room at Malfoy Manor, at any rate.”  He followed Snape's lead by scanning the area, alert for Death Eaters or other potential danger.

            “Your mother asked me to bring you a message.”

            “How is she?” Draco asked quickly.  Snape grimaced.

            “As well as can be expected.”

            “And Father?”

            “The same.”  Snape jerked his head sharply.  “There are too many Muggles here.  Walk with me.”

            Snape turned and Draco flicked a glance at Hermione, barely visible now in the shadow of one of the stones.  He shrugged and followed Snape.  As soon as they were out of sight of onlookers, Snape turned, gripped Draco's shoulder, and Disapparated them.

            Draco staggered a bit when they arrived at their new destination.  After a moment of disorientation, he realized they were on a pier.  He scowled at Snape.

            “You could have bloody warned me before taking me through like that,” he snapped.  Snape shrugged.

            “You should know by now you can trust me, Draco.  This place is away from prying eyes and Muggles.”

            A sound made them start and they realized a man was walking down the pier toward them.  He carried a fishing pole and tackle box.

            “You were saying?” Draco said blandly.

            The man approached and Draco saw he was a rather old, somewhat pudgy gentleman in a flannel shirt.

            “Hey, lads!  Where did ye come from?  Thought I 'ad the place all to meself today, I did.  You 'ere fer the fishin'?”  As he approached, he seemed to notice they carried no gear at all.  His brows beetled down.  “Now, ye ain't them damn environmental types, are ye?”

            When the man was three meters away, Snape pulled out his wand and downed him with a single blast of green light.  He looked around carefully to make certain the man had been alone.  There were no others signs of life along the barren coast.

            “Damnable Mudbloods,” Snape growled.  “They multiply like rabbits.  You cannot go anywhere without running into a nest of them.  Too bad Voldemort was lying about exterminating them.”  He laughed sharply.  “Or not lying, exactly.  He just plans to exterminate the rest of us, as well.  The bloody half-blood freak.”

            Draco was taken aback.  He'd never heard Snape spew such pureblood venom before, and decided it would be a bad idea to mention Snape's own half-blood ancestry.  He tried to ignore the fallen Muggle, as Snape did when he walked casually farther down the pier toward the water.

            “The Dark Lord is keeping a close eye on your parents, especially in light of the curious disappearances of four Death Eaters, recently.  You wouldn't know anything about that, I suppose?”

            Snape's black eyes glinted with merriment.  Draco was well aware of Snape's ability as a Legilimens, but he didn't get the impression Snape was using it.

            “Which four?” Draco asked casually.

            “It doesn't matter.  I can't stay long.  I've left Goyle and Avery in a stupor and I must get back in time to modify their memories.  I've come to warn you, although there is a limit to what I am allowed to say.  You know he's placed his version of the Fidelius Curse upon us.”

            “Where are my parents?”

            “That, of course, is one of those closely guarded secrets.  I can tell you, however, that he plans to attack the Ministry of Magic.”

            “When?  And why is that knowledge not protected by the Charm?”

            “Within the next few days.  The Dark Lord did not bother to silence us because too many Death Eaters are aware of the plot.  What they do not know is that the attack is merely a diversion.  The Dark Lord does not care if it succeeds or not.”

            “A diversion for what?”

            The Galleon on his chest suddenly grew hot.  Draco wondered if it would be possible to send a message without touching the coin.  Then again, he was touching it with his skin…

            I'm fine, he sent to Hermione.  I'll be right back.

            “It's difficult to answer direct questions, Draco,” Snape said and Malfoy had to backtrack his thoughts for a moment.  The Ministry attack… a diversion.  “Instead, perhaps you should ask yourself what the Dark Lord wants.”

            The words brought back Draco's conversation with his father.  Voldemort wanted the Ministry of Magic crushed.  And Hogwarts.

dysonrules: (Default)

Chapter Forty – Draco’s Fan Club

 

            Draco was mortified.  “That’s low, even by the Dark Lord’s standards.”

            “I suspected it last time we were here,” Hermione said.  “It looked as if the soil had been disturbed somewhat recently.  I didn’t want Harry to know, for obvious reasons.”

            “How the hell are we going to get it out of there?”

            Ron was watching them both.  His complexion was ashen.

            “What are you talking about?” Neville asked in confusion.

            Hermione looked at him gravely.  “We think there is something buried in Lily Potter’s grave that is important to Voldemort.  Something we need to retrieve and destroy.”

            Neville was aghast.  “But, that’s… that’s sick!”

            Hermione nodded.  “Quite his style, though.  It would amuse Voldemort to defile the grave of the woman who brought his worst enemy into the world.  Especially if you consider the effect it would have on Harry.”

            “Are you positive about this?” Draco asked.  For reply, Hermione cast a spell.  A glowing webwork of lines hovered over the grave and disappeared into the ground.  Draco swore lightly.

            “What is it?” Ron asked.

            “Some sort of warding.”  Hermione passed her hand through a glowing line with no effect.  “It won’t be triggered by surface movement, but I bet the minute we try moving the dirt we’ll be surrounded by Death Eaters.  Or Voldemort himself.”

            “What if we approached it from a different angle?” Draco suggested.  “Like we did at the Riddle house?”

            Hermione looked around.  “You mean dig beyond the ward lines and then angle toward the grave?”

            He nodded.

            “The wards likely extend all the way around the coffin.  That would be a lot of digging, too.  I’d rather break the spell.”

            “Can you?” Ron asked.

            “I think so.  It would be similar to the working we did with… with the Cup.  Contain and dissipate.”

            “We can’t do it now.”

            “Of course not.  We haven’t the time, for one thing.  Nor are we prepared.  We’ll have to come back.”

            “When?”

            “Better sooner than later, but we’ll have to do so without alerting Harry, or the Order of the Phoenix.  Neville can stand in for Harry.  Since Luna hates to Apparate, she can stay behind and keep an eye on Harry.  Tonight is too soon—we need to gather supplies and I need to research these wards.”

            “You know there will be other traps in place, as well,” Draco commented.  She nodded.

            “We’ll have to be prepared for anything.”

            “All right then,” Draco said.  “Let’s concentrate on the meeting with Snape.  I’m not sure I want him to know I’ve been making nice with Harry Potter.  As you said, we have no grasp of his motives.  His hatred of The Boy Who Lived has always seemed genuine.”

            “The four of us will hang back, out of sight.  You can signal if you need us.”  Hermione touched the coin on her chest.  Draco shook his head.

            “If it is a trap, there will be Death Eaters hanging about, as well.  It’s too bad we didn’t think to use Polyjuice Potion—you could all impersonate Muggles.”

            “Maybe we can, anyway.  Enough to pass cursory inspection, that is.  How many Death Eaters can recognize us on sight?  Except for Lucius Malfoy, none of them has more than a passing acquaintance with any of us.”

            Ron laughed shortly.  “Yeah, passing over several blasts from a wand while they were trying to kill us.”

            “Exactly.  Now, how did you swap hair colors with Harry?  That will be a good start.”

            Draco spent the next forty minutes playing hairdresser, and having far too much fun with it, he admitted to himself.  They tried several hair colors on Hermione and finally settled on platinum blonde.  She worked on straightening it while Draco moved on to Luna.  Draco had to conjure a mirror for her so she could admire her new mouse-brown hair streaked with pink and violet.

            “Are you sure Muggles do this to their hair?” Draco asked Hermione dubiously.

            “She won’t draw a second glance,” Hermione assured him.  Neville was given a similar treatment with hair a vibrant shade of lime green that Hermione teased into wild spikes.  She transfigured his clothing into black leather with silver studs.  Longbottom was mortified, but utterly unrecognizable.  Luna giggled at him.

            “You two look a pair,” Hermione commented.  She gave Luna a short black shirt overlaid with black organza and fishnet stockings.  A hot pink tank top was covered with a long black jacket.  Luna admired herself in the mirror from every angle.

            Then it was Ron’s turn.  He and Draco glared at each other.

            “Too bad we can’t get rid of Weasley’s freckles.  We could shave him bald and it would still be obvious he’s a Weasley.”

            “Maybe we can get rid of them,” Hermione said thoughtfully.

            Ron looked worried.  “What are you going to do?” he asked nervously.

            “Don’t worry, it’s just makeup.”

            She produced a small round case and proceeded to powder Weasley’s face—which wasn’t easy since he squirmed like an eight-year-old the entire time.  Draco marveled at the bickering the two exchanged.  How could Weasley even think to be romantic toward Hermione?  She acted more like his mum than a girlfriend.

            “It bloody stinks!” Ron protested.

            “I don’t care if it’s Eau de Skunk, it’s working.  Or would be if you’d hold still.”

            “How long can this take?  You’ve been over my nose six times.”

            “Well, you have a lot of freckles there!”

            “If I wrinkle my nose, my whole face will crack.”

            “Then don’t wrinkle your nose, dimwit.”

            “Don’t call me dimwit.  Gaaah!  You got some in my mouth!  It tastes awful!”

            “If you would shut up, you wouldn’t get it in your mouth.  Now hold still!”

            “How do you girls wear this crap?  It’s horrid.”

            Hermione sighed in exasperation, but finally finished and looked at her handiwork with a grin at Draco.

            “Not bad,” he admitted and tapped Weasley on the head with his wand.  A bit harder than warranted, perhaps.  Weasley glared.  His hair turned pitch black.  “For some reason, he still looks like a Weasel.”

            Hermione conjured some gel and slicked Ron’s hair straight back.  Then she turned his clothing into a black Muggle suit and tie.  She giggled at the outcome.

            “That’s better.  You look like a young funeral home director.  Or a used car salesman.”

            Draco and Ron looked at each other in incomprehension, but neither asked.  It was enough that Ron was no longer identifiable.  Neither was Hermione.  With her hair straightened, it now hung far below her waist.  She made a stunning blonde.  She had changed her clothing into a short, pale green dress with a high waist and delicate pink flowers.  White sandals covered her feet.  She topped the outfit with a white jacket to hold her wand.  She wouldn’t have looked out of place at one of his mother’s garden parties, except that no witch would ever be caught dead in a skirt that short.

            “What about you, Malfoy?” Ron asked.   Draco shook his head.

            “Why bother?  I don’t want Snape scrutinizing every face looking for me.  If it’s to be a trap, I’d rather be the bait than the catch.”

            “How are we going to Apparate to Stonehenge in broad daylight?  Popping out of nowhere is certain to give the Muggles a fright and send the Ministry seeking our blood.”

            “It doesn’t help that the damned place is on a bloody flat, barren plain.”

            “There are a few trees, though.  Do you recall?  A rather long walk, granted, but we have time.”

            Draco sighed.  “No help for it.  Weasley, have you been there?”

            Ron nodded.  “Yeah.  I think I remember the trees, too.  I can get there.”

            “Longbottom?”

            “It’s been too long.  I barely recall the stones.”

            “I’ll take you through, then.  Hermione can take the flibbertigibbet.  Shall we?”

            

dysonrules: (Default)

Chapter Forty – Draco’s Fan Club

 

            Draco was mortified.  “That’s low, even by the Dark Lord’s standards.”

            “I suspected it last time we were here,” Hermione said.  “It looked as if the soil had been disturbed somewhat recently.  I didn’t want Harry to know, for obvious reasons.”

            “How the hell are we going to get it out of there?”

            Ron was watching them both.  His complexion was ashen.

            “What are you talking about?” Neville asked in confusion.

            Hermione looked at him gravely.  “We think there is something buried in Lily Potter’s grave that is important to Voldemort.  Something we need to retrieve and destroy.”

            Neville was aghast.  “But, that’s… that’s sick!”

            Hermione nodded.  “Quite his style, though.  It would amuse Voldemort to defile the grave of the woman who brought his worst enemy into the world.  Especially if you consider the effect it would have on Harry.”

            “Are you positive about this?” Draco asked.  For reply, Hermione cast a spell.  A glowing webwork of lines hovered over the grave and disappeared into the ground.  Draco swore lightly.

            “What is it?” Ron asked.

            “Some sort of warding.”  Hermione passed her hand through a glowing line with no effect.  “It won’t be triggered by surface movement, but I bet the minute we try moving the dirt we’ll be surrounded by Death Eaters.  Or Voldemort himself.”

            “What if we approached it from a different angle?” Draco suggested.  “Like we did at the Riddle house?”

            Hermione looked around.  “You mean dig beyond the ward lines and then angle toward the grave?”

            He nodded.

            “The wards likely extend all the way around the coffin.  That would be a lot of digging, too.  I’d rather break the spell.”

            “Can you?” Ron asked.

            “I think so.  It would be similar to the working we did with… with the Cup.  Contain and dissipate.”

            “We can’t do it now.”

            “Of course not.  We haven’t the time, for one thing.  Nor are we prepared.  We’ll have to come back.”

            “When?”

            “Better sooner than later, but we’ll have to do so without alerting Harry, or the Order of the Phoenix.  Neville can stand in for Harry.  Since Luna hates to Apparate, she can stay behind and keep an eye on Harry.  Tonight is too soon—we need to gather supplies and I need to research these wards.”

            “You know there will be other traps in place, as well,” Draco commented.  She nodded.

            “We’ll have to be prepared for anything.”

            “All right then,” Draco said.  “Let’s concentrate on the meeting with Snape.  I’m not sure I want him to know I’ve been making nice with Harry Potter.  As you said, we have no grasp of his motives.  His hatred of The Boy Who Lived has always seemed genuine.”

            “The four of us will hang back, out of sight.  You can signal if you need us.”  Hermione touched the coin on her chest.  Draco shook his head.

            “If it is a trap, there will be Death Eaters hanging about, as well.  It’s too bad we didn’t think to use Polyjuice Potion—you could all impersonate Muggles.”

            “Maybe we can, anyway.  Enough to pass cursory inspection, that is.  How many Death Eaters can recognize us on sight?  Except for Lucius Malfoy, none of them has more than a passing acquaintance with any of us.”

            Ron laughed shortly.  “Yeah, passing over several blasts from a wand while they were trying to kill us.”

            “Exactly.  Now, how did you swap hair colors with Harry?  That will be a good start.”

            Draco spent the next forty minutes playing hairdresser, and having far too much fun with it, he admitted to himself.  They tried several hair colors on Hermione and finally settled on platinum blonde.  She worked on straightening it while Draco moved on to Luna.  Draco had to conjure a mirror for her so she could admire her new mouse-brown hair streaked with pink and violet.

            “Are you sure Muggles do this to their hair?” Draco asked Hermione dubiously.

            “She won’t draw a second glance,” Hermione assured him.  Neville was given a similar treatment with hair a vibrant shade of lime green that Hermione teased into wild spikes.  She transfigured his clothing into black leather with silver studs.  Longbottom was mortified, but utterly unrecognizable.  Luna giggled at him.

            “You two look a pair,” Hermione commented.  She gave Luna a short black shirt overlaid with black organza and fishnet stockings.  A hot pink tank top was covered with a long black jacket.  Luna admired herself in the mirror from every angle.

            Then it was Ron’s turn.  He and Draco glared at each other.

            “Too bad we can’t get rid of Weasley’s freckles.  We could shave him bald and it would still be obvious he’s a Weasley.”

            “Maybe we can get rid of them,” Hermione said thoughtfully.

            Ron looked worried.  “What are you going to do?” he asked nervously.

            “Don’t worry, it’s just makeup.”

            She produced a small round case and proceeded to powder Weasley’s face—which wasn’t easy since he squirmed like an eight-year-old the entire time.  Draco marveled at the bickering the two exchanged.  How could Weasley even think to be romantic toward Hermione?  She acted more like his mum than a girlfriend.

            “It bloody stinks!” Ron protested.

            “I don’t care if it’s Eau de Skunk, it’s working.  Or would be if you’d hold still.”

            “How long can this take?  You’ve been over my nose six times.”

            “Well, you have a lot of freckles there!”

            “If I wrinkle my nose, my whole face will crack.”

            “Then don’t wrinkle your nose, dimwit.”

            “Don’t call me dimwit.  Gaaah!  You got some in my mouth!  It tastes awful!”

            “If you would shut up, you wouldn’t get it in your mouth.  Now hold still!”

            “How do you girls wear this crap?  It’s horrid.”

            Hermione sighed in exasperation, but finally finished and looked at her handiwork with a grin at Draco.

            “Not bad,” he admitted and tapped Weasley on the head with his wand.  A bit harder than warranted, perhaps.  Weasley glared.  His hair turned pitch black.  “For some reason, he still looks like a Weasel.”

            Hermione conjured some gel and slicked Ron’s hair straight back.  Then she turned his clothing into a black Muggle suit and tie.  She giggled at the outcome.

            “That’s better.  You look like a young funeral home director.  Or a used car salesman.”

            Draco and Ron looked at each other in incomprehension, but neither asked.  It was enough that Ron was no longer identifiable.  Neither was Hermione.  With her hair straightened, it now hung far below her waist.  She made a stunning blonde.  She had changed her clothing into a short, pale green dress with a high waist and delicate pink flowers.  White sandals covered her feet.  She topped the outfit with a white jacket to hold her wand.  She wouldn’t have looked out of place at one of his mother’s garden parties, except that no witch would ever be caught dead in a skirt that short.

            “What about you, Malfoy?” Ron asked.   Draco shook his head.

            “Why bother?  I don’t want Snape scrutinizing every face looking for me.  If it’s to be a trap, I’d rather be the bait than the catch.”

            “How are we going to Apparate to Stonehenge in broad daylight?  Popping out of nowhere is certain to give the Muggles a fright and send the Ministry seeking our blood.”

            “It doesn’t help that the damned place is on a bloody flat, barren plain.”

            “There are a few trees, though.  Do you recall?  A rather long walk, granted, but we have time.”

            Draco sighed.  “No help for it.  Weasley, have you been there?”

            Ron nodded.  “Yeah.  I think I remember the trees, too.  I can get there.”

            “Longbottom?”

            “It’s been too long.  I barely recall the stones.”

            “I’ll take you through, then.  Hermione can take the flibbertigibbet.  Shall we?”

            

dysonrules: (Default)

Chapter Thirty Four – Morning Visit

 

            Ron was waiting for her, as expected.  She sighed, wanting nothing more than to go and collapse on her bed and stare aimlessly at the ceiling.  The stress of the past few days was taking its toll.

            “We need to talk,” Ron said, confirming her suspicions.

            “Where do you want to go?” she asked in resignation.

            Astronomy Tower?”

            The haunt of stargazing lovers and hopeful romantics?  She thought not.

            “If you don’t mind, I’ve climbed enough stairs today to put me halfway up the Eiger.  I’d prefer a lower elevation.”

            He sighed, but nodded.

            “The Charms classroom?  It’s empty.  And maybe I can show you that bubble charm that Fred and George invented.”

            She acquiesced and they went downstairs in uncomfortable silence.  Once in the classroom, she quickly went to the windows and stared out at the growing darkness.  She wondered how long it would be before Draco awakened.  As if her thoughts had broached the subject, Ron blurted, “What’s between you and Malfoy?”

            “What do you mean?” she asked evasively.  She didn’t want to talk about Draco at all, especially when she hadn’t even sorted out her own mind when it came to the perplexing Slytherin.

            “You know what I mean.  You were bloody well frantic to rush off and save him.  I’ve hardly seen you at all since you brought him here.  Damn it, you were ready to leap off Gryffindor Tower on Harry’s broom to go after him!  What the hell is going on?”

            “There is nothing ‘going on,’ as you put it.  It’s just that I’ve seen a different side of Malfoy in the past few days and he’s… I don’t know… redeemed himself.  I’m certainly not going to let him be tortured if I can stop it.”

            Her excuse sounded a trifle lame even to her own ears.  She had been ready to ride Harry’s broom off the Tower.  She would have gone through the forest alone, if need be.  The thought of Greyback marring Draco’s beautiful flesh—she shuddered.  If she had seen that in the Scrying pool, she probably would have run straight into the forest without waiting for Harry or bothering with a broom.  The knowledge made her sigh and lean her forehead against the glass.

            Damn it.  Maybe there wasn’t anything ‘going on’ between her and Malfoy.  But it was possible that she wanted there to be.  She longed to be beside him right now, sitting with him and brushing his hair back from his forehead—whether silver or black.  She wanted to be there when his devastating grey eyes opened, to see if they would light up with that same sensual glow she remembered…

            “Can you even hear me?” Ron demanded and she realized he’d asked her a question.  Probably more than once.  She pushed herself away from the window and cleared her throat.

            “I’m sorry.  Did you say something?”

            He glared daggers at her.  “Were you just thinking about Malfoy?” he snapped.  She couldn’t stop herself from flushing guiltily.  Ron shook his head in disgust and threw up his hands.  “Why do I even try?”

dysonrules: (Default)

Chapter Thirty Four – Morning Visit

 

            Ron was waiting for her, as expected.  She sighed, wanting nothing more than to go and collapse on her bed and stare aimlessly at the ceiling.  The stress of the past few days was taking its toll.

            “We need to talk,” Ron said, confirming her suspicions.

            “Where do you want to go?” she asked in resignation.

            Astronomy Tower?”

            The haunt of stargazing lovers and hopeful romantics?  She thought not.

            “If you don’t mind, I’ve climbed enough stairs today to put me halfway up the Eiger.  I’d prefer a lower elevation.”

            He sighed, but nodded.

            “The Charms classroom?  It’s empty.  And maybe I can show you that bubble charm that Fred and George invented.”

            She acquiesced and they went downstairs in uncomfortable silence.  Once in the classroom, she quickly went to the windows and stared out at the growing darkness.  She wondered how long it would be before Draco awakened.  As if her thoughts had broached the subject, Ron blurted, “What’s between you and Malfoy?”

            “What do you mean?” she asked evasively.  She didn’t want to talk about Draco at all, especially when she hadn’t even sorted out her own mind when it came to the perplexing Slytherin.

            “You know what I mean.  You were bloody well frantic to rush off and save him.  I’ve hardly seen you at all since you brought him here.  Damn it, you were ready to leap off Gryffindor Tower on Harry’s broom to go after him!  What the hell is going on?”

            “There is nothing ‘going on,’ as you put it.  It’s just that I’ve seen a different side of Malfoy in the past few days and he’s… I don’t know… redeemed himself.  I’m certainly not going to let him be tortured if I can stop it.”

            Her excuse sounded a trifle lame even to her own ears.  She had been ready to ride Harry’s broom off the Tower.  She would have gone through the forest alone, if need be.  The thought of Greyback marring Draco’s beautiful flesh—she shuddered.  If she had seen that in the Scrying pool, she probably would have run straight into the forest without waiting for Harry or bothering with a broom.  The knowledge made her sigh and lean her forehead against the glass.

            Damn it.  Maybe there wasn’t anything ‘going on’ between her and Malfoy.  But it was possible that she wanted there to be.  She longed to be beside him right now, sitting with him and brushing his hair back from his forehead—whether silver or black.  She wanted to be there when his devastating grey eyes opened, to see if they would light up with that same sensual glow she remembered…

            “Can you even hear me?” Ron demanded and she realized he’d asked her a question.  Probably more than once.  She pushed herself away from the window and cleared her throat.

            “I’m sorry.  Did you say something?”

            He glared daggers at her.  “Were you just thinking about Malfoy?” he snapped.  She couldn’t stop herself from flushing guiltily.  Ron shook his head in disgust and threw up his hands.  “Why do I even try?”

dysonrules: (Default)

Thanks to tweeledani's suggestion, since Fiction Alley is not working at the moment, here are the latest two chapters!

 

Chapter Thirty Three – Borrowed Luck

 

            Hermione and Harry were caught running from Firenze’s room.  Hermione’s heart sank, but she had known they were in trouble the minute Harry had run into Aberforth.  Unfortunately, they were confronted by a formidable group:  Rufus Scrimjeour, McGonagall, Moody, Percy Weasley, and Jack Williamson.

            “You see?” McGonagall said after a shocked look at Harry’s altered appearance.  “Here is Mr. Potter, now.  His guardians suggested he stay with Hermione, who is here doing some research for me during the break.  I am sponsoring her.”  Harry looked at Hermione, who was amazed at McGonagall’s flawless ability to lie like a trooper.

            Scrimjeour’s jaw worked and he seemed personally affronted by Harry’s platinum hair.

            “Succumbing to fads, Potter?  I would think you, of all people, would maintain a more serious demeanor.”

            Harry shrugged.  “I thought you and the Ministry had Voldemort under control.  You don’t need me at all, right?  I thought I might join a band or something.”

            Jack snorted a laugh that he covered with a muted cough.  Hermione had no patience for verbal skirmishes when Draco was in the forest being tortured.

            “Professor, I need to talk with you.  It’s very urgent,” she said quietly after sidling to McGonagall’s side.

            “Why were you at St. Mungo’s today?” Scrimjeour demanded.  “And who was that with you?”

            “I was visiting a friend,” Harry snapped.  “Frankly, I wasn’t aware that I needed permission from the Ministry prior to visiting the hospital.  I’ll be sure to schedule my next injury.”

            “How dare you speak to the Minister that way?  Don’t be cheeky, Potter, we’re only trying to help you,” Percy said disapprovingly.

            “I don’t really feel it necessary to be followed around by the Ministry,” Harry snarled.

            “Professor, please,” Hermione begged.  McGonagall gave her a severe look, obviously still annoyed at Harry’s departure.  Hermione, realizing it might take forever to extract themselves from the group, suddenly clapped a hand to her stomach.

            “I don’t feel very well,” she said shakily.  She bolted for the stairs, sending a mental apology to Harry for deserting him while she tried to think of a way to remove him, also.  She ran all the way to the Gryffindor common room and had to pause, gasping, while she clutched at a stitch in her side.  The wizarding world was in severe need of elevators.

dysonrules: (Default)

Thanks to tweeledani's suggestion, since Fiction Alley is not working at the moment, here are the latest two chapters!

 

Chapter Thirty Three – Borrowed Luck

 

            Hermione and Harry were caught running from Firenze’s room.  Hermione’s heart sank, but she had known they were in trouble the minute Harry had run into Aberforth.  Unfortunately, they were confronted by a formidable group:  Rufus Scrimjeour, McGonagall, Moody, Percy Weasley, and Jack Williamson.

            “You see?” McGonagall said after a shocked look at Harry’s altered appearance.  “Here is Mr. Potter, now.  His guardians suggested he stay with Hermione, who is here doing some research for me during the break.  I am sponsoring her.”  Harry looked at Hermione, who was amazed at McGonagall’s flawless ability to lie like a trooper.

            Scrimjeour’s jaw worked and he seemed personally affronted by Harry’s platinum hair.

            “Succumbing to fads, Potter?  I would think you, of all people, would maintain a more serious demeanor.”

            Harry shrugged.  “I thought you and the Ministry had Voldemort under control.  You don’t need me at all, right?  I thought I might join a band or something.”

            Jack snorted a laugh that he covered with a muted cough.  Hermione had no patience for verbal skirmishes when Draco was in the forest being tortured.

            “Professor, I need to talk with you.  It’s very urgent,” she said quietly after sidling to McGonagall’s side.

            “Why were you at St. Mungo’s today?” Scrimjeour demanded.  “And who was that with you?”

            “I was visiting a friend,” Harry snapped.  “Frankly, I wasn’t aware that I needed permission from the Ministry prior to visiting the hospital.  I’ll be sure to schedule my next injury.”

            “How dare you speak to the Minister that way?  Don’t be cheeky, Potter, we’re only trying to help you,” Percy said disapprovingly.

            “I don’t really feel it necessary to be followed around by the Ministry,” Harry snarled.

            “Professor, please,” Hermione begged.  McGonagall gave her a severe look, obviously still annoyed at Harry’s departure.  Hermione, realizing it might take forever to extract themselves from the group, suddenly clapped a hand to her stomach.

            “I don’t feel very well,” she said shakily.  She bolted for the stairs, sending a mental apology to Harry for deserting him while she tried to think of a way to remove him, also.  She ran all the way to the Gryffindor common room and had to pause, gasping, while she clutched at a stitch in her side.  The wizarding world was in severe need of elevators.

dysonrules: (Default)
Do to a fabulous suggestion, I decided to start posting this novel here, especially since Fiction Alley seems to be stuck at uploading Chapter 33 at the moment...

Anyway, this is my version of Harry Potter Book Seven. Enjoy!

Chapter One - Draco

Draco stood at the edge of the pond in the gathering twilight, staring impassively at the dark water. How easy it would be. How tempting to walk into the brackish depths, to stride unthinkingly onward as the water rose past knees, hips, and chest. To walk until the liquid death closed over his head and filled nose and lungs and finally choked the last life-sustaining breath from his body and with it the excess of emotion that had plagued Draco for the past few weeks. It was a satisfying image.
It was not fear of death that stayed his footsteps. He had recently come to acknowledge that there were, indeed, worse things than death. Rather, it was the thought of actually stepping forward into the stagnant pond. The thick mud would suck at his black boots; the green slime near the edge would cling to his white shirt and waterlogged reeds would catch on his legs…
His face, expressionless until that moment, twitched briefly as his lip curled into a pale shadow of his usual sneer of disgust.
Draco Malfoy. Saved by fastidiousness.
A small sound behind him betrayed the presence of one of his watchers. Any suicide attempt would likely be foiled by the minion, anyway. Draco was never quite out of sight or earshot of at least one of them. The lack of trust in Voldemort’s band of merry men was appalling.
Draco’s dismal shot at humor was buried by another onslaught of despair. The events he had set in motion had grown into a tidal wave of horror he could never have imagined. If only he had taken the time to foresee the consequences of his actions… He simply hadn’t thought beyond his mission. What would he have done differently? In truth, he’d never really expected to succeed.
“If you wish to save your father’s life, you will find a way to kill Dumbledore,” Voldemort had ordered. Well, Draco had certainly found a way. A ludicrous plan that should never have worked—would never have worked but for Snape’s timely (untimely?) arrival.
Draco, Draco, you are not a killer. The words still rang in his mind. The words of a dying man, one whose wisdom Draco had never acknowledged. The words beset him for days as he sought to either deny or accept them.
Draco’s features were once more still as carved marble, giving no hint as to the torment of his thoughts.
The truth will set you free. Hah. The truth will bind you in iron chains and drag you to the depths of hell. The truth was agony. Draco’s eyes glittered. He had become quite the philosopher, recently. All the pesky ideals he hadn’t spared a moment’s consideration for in the past seventeen years had come to haunt him like a host of demons. Draco’s foundations had been shaken to the core by a few simple words, a burst of green light, and an avalanche of events that followed.
Draco’s watchdog coughed lightly behind him—a signal of the man’s desire to escape the growing chill and return to Malfoy Manor to partake of the food and drink that had once belonged to Draco’s family.
You can rot out here with me, Draco thought bitterly. His mind returned, for the thousandth time, to events after the fateful evening on the Hogwarts tower.
Dumbledore’s words, Snape’s killing curse, the frantic race for the front gates—and Harry, of course—why hadn’t he been there to save his mentor? He’d always played the hero before. Draco had expected to confront his little nemesis and although there had been fighting in the room below the tower, it had been too little, too late. Harry’s race after Snape and Draco had been fruitless, although Draco later had time to ponder how Harry had known to pursue Snape. Two brooms on the tower, and Dumbledore so weak he could barely stand. Where was Harry? Had he gone for help? He would have passed Draco on his way down the steps. It made no sense. Draco pushed the mystery aside. Harry must have been below. But the two brooms disturbed Draco.
They had escaped with only one casualty. Without the Death Eaters, Draco and Snape would never have left the tower alive, which had likely been Voldemort’s plan all along. Draco thought it very likely that the Dark Lord had never expected Draco to succeed in his plot. It had been intended as a distraction and nothing more. A little mission ending in Draco’s death at the hand of Dumbledore, an act that would have brought a cartload of guilt to the old wizard and a severe case of punishing grief to Lucius and Narcissa. No matter how the scene played out, it was win win win for old Voldemort.
Snape’s actions had given Snake Face quite the boost. The former Potions Master was now in high favor. Voldemort was in such high spirits he hadn’t even killed Draco for failing his mission, apparently since the outcome had been satisfying. Azkaban Prison was now empty since the revolt of the dementors, who now roamed the countryside willy-nilly sucking the life force from any witch or wizard not strong enough to fend them off. Perforce, Lucius had been released and had gladly turned over Malfoy Manor to Voldemort and his henchmen. It was the least he could do, after all. The Ministry had searched Draco’s home thoroughly after Lucius’s escape from Azkaban, but Voldemort’s band had been hiding elsewhere until the Ministry cleared out. Occasional watchers still dropped by, but they were easily overtaken by Voldemort, who now had several sets of Imperiused eyes in the Ministry.
The days following Dumbledore’s death were chaotic. Apparating to a ramshackle, drafty house; delivering the news to Voldemort; the Death Eaters celebrating long into the night; and the continuation of Draco’s torment—an endless barrage of questions from Voldemort. Draco shuddered at the memory of the repulsive snakelike eyes burning across the table from him…

Too tired and sickened for subterfuge, he recounted the events at Hogwarts. The Room of Requirement, the Vanishing Cabinet, and the flight through the halls. Finally, he detailed the events on the tower, although he left out much of his conversation with Dumbledore and tried to block it from his own consciousness.
Draco, Draco, you are not a killer.
Voldemort’s subhuman face cracked into a cold grin when Draco finished. Draco expected that to be the end of it. He half-expected a muttered Avada Kedavra and goodbye, Draco. What he didn’t anticipate were Voldemort’s next words as the evil wizard sat back in his chair and steepled long, bone-white fingers before him.
“Now, Draco,” he hissed in a rasping voice that conjured images of dark creatures scurrying over rotting corpses, “Tell me everything you know about Harry Potter and his friends. Every single detail, no matter how small and insignificant.”
As he racked his brain, Draco was surprised at how little he knew. The three Gryffindors had afflicted Draco for six long years and he barely knew a thing about them.
“Harry Potter lives in London during the summer. It’s rumored he hates his Muggle relatives. He never goes home during breaks or holidays. His family never sends letters or packages.” It was strange, but until he uttered the words, Draco had never considered how horribly lonely it would be to have such a family. Draco’s mother regularly sent letters and packages with sweets and trinkets. Even his father wrote on occasion. Draco continued, “Sometimes he stays with the Weasleys—they took him to the Quidditch World Cup. He plays Seeker for the Gryffindor Quidditch Team.” Draco scowled at the memory and forced the words out. “He flies well.”
Voldemort’s slit of a mouth ricked slightly.
“Better than you, eh?”
Draco’s face flamed. “Better than me,” he spat. He took a deep breath and plunged onward. “He flies well, but he’s none too sharp. He constantly sticks his nose where it doesn’t belong, but he wouldn’t get anywhere without Granger, his little Mudblood girlfriend.”
“Tell me about her.”
Draco’s jaw clenched at the memory of Hermione Granger. He remembered her audacity—punching him like a common Muggle instead of using her wand. That had been unexpected.
“She’s Muggle-born. Lives with both Muggle parents when she’s not four feet from Potter’s side. I don’t know where. She’s very smart and very competent. Without her, I doubt Potter could find his way out from under a robe. She always has her head in a book and has likely been through every tome in the library twice over. She’s excellent at Potions and can perform most spells on her first try. Snape hates her as much as I do, although I’m not sure why. She also spends a lot of time at the Weasley’s. I used to think she was Harry’s girlfriend, but I’ve never seen any sign of romantic attachment between the three of them. Granger often fights with Ron Weasley—the other member of their little trio—and they have gone days without speaking to each other.”
Voldemort said nothing, so Draco moved on to Ron. “Weasley is the oddball of the group. He’s dirt poor and has to resent Potter because of that. It’s rumored that Potter has a vault full of gold at Gringott’s that he never uses because he doesn’t want his little weasel friend to feel bad.” Draco sneered briefly. “Although it hasn’t stopped him from acquiring the best brooms available for Quidditch. Weasley would likely fail all his classes but for Granger. I’m sure he hates her sometimes for being smarter than him, and better at everything. Except flying. Granger is appalling on a broom. It seems to be the only thing she can’t do. Weasley, of course, lives in a place called The Burrow—aptly named since they live there like a pack of rabbits. Too many of them to account for, nearly. The father works at the Ministry of Magic in one of the Muggle-loving departments.”
“Arthur,” Voldemort hissed. “Yes, I remember the blood-traitor and his shrewish little wife, Molly. Tell me about their children.”
“Well, Bill Weasley works at Gringott’s—I only know that because Theo spotted him there before school started. Charlie works in Romania with dragons—common knowledge since the Tri-Wizard Tournament last year. The Weasley clan visited him there once when they scraped up some extra cash. It was in the Daily Prophet.”
Voldemort nodded impatiently
“Percy is a sycophant at the Ministry of Magic. None of the Weasleys seem to like him much. The twins—Fred and George—spend all of their time at their joke shop in Diagon Alley. The youngest is Ginny. She’s Harry Potter’s new girlfriend, if the gossip is correct.”
Voldemort’s slit eyes narrowed at that. Draco felt gleeful malice emanating from the wizard and felt a distinct sense of foreboding.
“That’s all I know,” Draco finished hoarsely. He was suddenly ice cold.
“You may go, Draco,” Voldemort said softly. His glittering eyes let Draco know he was lucky to walk out at all. Snape entered as Draco went out, but the former Potions Master spared him barely a glance. The door shut and Draco sagged against the jamb, dizzy and nauseous. His hands shook.
Though he did not intend to eavesdrop, Draco could hear clearly as Voldemort questioned Snape, who knew more, oh so much more, than Draco would have dreamed.
Hermione Granger lived in Caerphilly off St. Christopher’s Drive. Her parents worked at a small clinic near the mall. She had three Muggle friends that lived within walking distance of her house and she spent quite a lot of time with them during the summer, visiting the mall and wandering about Caerphilly Castle. Her parents took several weeks of vacation during the summer and when Hermione did not accompany them, she stayed at the Burrow with the Weasleys.
Harry Potter lived at Number 4 Privet Drive in Little Whinging, Surrey, which Voldemort apparently already knew. While there, he was also untouchable unless he was out wandering the neighborhood, as shown by the dementor attack the previous year. Members of the Order of the Phoenix guarded him almost constantly and would be doing so for a certainty after Dumbledore’s death.
The Weasleys were hosting a wedding for Bill and Fleur Delacour in the late summer and the entire Order would be in attendance, as well as Harry Potter and friends. However, since the Order knew that Snape knew about the wedding (and would disclose it to Voldemort), they would likely revise both time and location. They would not, however, be smart enough to cancel the happy occasion and it was simply too perfect not to plan some sort of attack. Snape already had a few ideas that he would share with the Dark Lord when the occasion approached.
They discussed plans for raiding the headquarters of the Order, even though it was still protected by Dumbledore’s wretched Fidelius Charm, which meant that although Snape could get there, he could not divulge its location. They discussed a number of methods for circumventing the charm.
Voldemort was cackling happily by the end of his conversation with Snape. Draco quietly left to find a bed, where he would sink into fitful sleep full of dark dreams.

Draco sighed and turned away from the dark pond as the minion approached. Who was it this time? Not Fenrir Greyback, thank God, since he always looked at Draco as though he were a tasty midnight snack. Greyback was easily the foulest creature Draco had ever known. He lived only to inflict pain, kill, and eat.
It was Goyle. He looked remarkably like his son; huge and dim. He currently wore a hangdog expression common to most of the Death Eaters when they were not in the presence of Voldemort.
“Why you standing out here all alone, Draco?” Goyle asked.
“Sorry, I get a bit bored with adult conversation,” Draco replied, cultivating his image of non-threatening youth.
“Yeah, too bad Gregory can’t be here. His mum took him to a safe place where the Ministry can’t get hold of him.”
Draco nodded and kept his expression passive, although rage flared briefly behind his eyes. All of the wives and children had been hidden away, safe from Ministry officials, and—though unspoken—safe from Voldemort. All but Draco and Narcissa. They were both kept close at hand in order to keep Lucius in line. It sickened Draco to see his strong, proud father grovel before the Dark Lord. They all did it, though. Voldemort got a kick out of using the Cruciatus Curse at random moments.
Without further conversation, Draco marched resolutely back to Malfoy Manor.

Most of the Death Eaters were lounging around the dining room table. Antonin Dolohov leaned back in his chair; his booted feet were propped on the mahogany tabletop. Draco glared at him, but said nothing. Dolohov grinned as Draco took a seat on the other side of the table. Lucius was not so complacent when he stalked in moments later.
“This table has been in my family for generations, Antonin. Go home and treat your own belongings like trash, if you will.”
Dolohov removed his feet after a pause just long enough to be insolent. Draco’s mother and Bellatrix LeStrange followed Lucius, trailed by Bella’s husband and brother-in-law. Narcissa sat next to Draco and her hand squeezed his shoulder affectionately as she passed behind his chair.
“Hello, Draco, dear,” Bellatrix greeted as she sat on his other side. Draco smiled briefly and looked at her askance. She had been in Azkaban Prison nearly Draco’s entire life. A mad light shone in her eyes and she seemed to contain a restless energy. Rodolphus, her dead-eyed husband, sat beside her. He always acted as though Draco did not exist, which was better than having those dead-fish eyes actually looking at him. Uncle Rod was quite the guy. Crazy aunt, freaky uncle. Great family you have there, mum. Three house-elves appeared and began to serve the meal.
Draco looked dispassionately at the rest of the Death Eaters as Lucius sat at the head of the table. To the right of his father sat Derek Crabbe and Gerald Goyle. Dolohov was next to Goyle. Then came the Loon Twins: Alecto and Amycus Carrow. They had never been imprisoned in Azkaban, apparently, but were unhinged all the same. Then Titus Mulciber, who was just as vicious as Bellatrix, but in a quieter fashion. Next came Nott and McNair, regular visitors to the Malfoy household.
Opposite his father sat the one they called Lars. He was a huge blond brute of a man. Strangely, he wore an infectious smile most of the time. He drank like an Irish sailor. Across from McNair sat Rookwood, Martin Jugson, and Albert Avery. Draco only knew them by sight. His mother sat next to Avery, then Draco, Bellatrix, Rodolphus, and Rabastan LeStrange. Nearly all present and accounted for. Except for Fenrir Greyback, Wormtail, Travers, Yaxley, and Snape. And Voldemort, of course, though he never ate with the Death Eaters. Draco wondered if he ate at all. There was also a huge pack of underlings hand-picked by the Death Eaters that patrolled the grounds and ran errands.
Wormtail strode into the room when they had nearly finished eating, halting all limited conversations. He scooped up a joint of fowl from the tabletop and ripped off a chunk.
“The Dark Lord has a mission,” he said. Bits of food dribbled from his lips. He sauntered around the table and leaned over Draco, who recoiled in disgust. Wormtail snatched up Draco’s nearly untouched wine goblet. He took a loud gulp and slopped some of the contents on Draco’s shoulder in the process. He slammed the goblet down with a sigh of pleasure and gripped Draco’s same shoulder with his silvered hand.
“You get to go, my boy. Hopefully you’ll do better than your last mission.”
Narcissa leaped to her feet, knocking her chair backward.
“No!” she cried. “He’s just—“ She silenced herself at Draco’s cold expression and then continued more quietly. “He’s barely of age. Send someone else.”
“The Dark Lord commands it,” Wormtail said gleefully and squeezed. Draco gave no sign of pain, though agony lanced through his shoulder from the metal grip.
“None of their sons are in harm’s way!” Narcissa yelled and gestured at the other Death Eaters. “Why Draco?”
“Now, now, Narcissa, the Dark Lord likes Draco. He has faith in him, he does.” Wormtail’s grip thankfully loosened. “Besides, he won’t be going alone. Crabbe, Goyle, Mulciber, Jugson, and Avery will go with him. He’ll be safe enough.”
“What’s the mission?” Narcissa asked tightly.
“Just a little jaunt to Caerphilly to kill a couple of Muggles. Easy job.”
Bellatrix laughed. “Calm down, Narcissa. It’ll be fun for Draco. Get him out of this dreary house for awhile.”
“Draco is not a killer,” Narcissa said so quietly that they barely heard her. The words jolted Draco—an unexpected echo of Dumbledore.
Bella snorted. “They’re just Muggles. And he’s got to learn. Let him grow up, Cissy.”
Narcissa retrieved her chair and sank into it. Her face was paste-white and she looked accusingly at Lucius, who was expressionless. His father said nothing. Draco had noticed the growing chasm between his parents—another thing he could lay at Voldemort’s feet.
“Who are the Muggles?” Draco asked, even though he already knew.
“Their name is Granger,” Wormtail said and laughed heartily.

Draco gratefully entered his room and shut the door. His headache had grown to epic proportion and his shoulder ached from Pettigrew’s grasp. Draco had solitude for maybe thirty minutes, thanks to his rigid policy of taking nightly baths. The water was already in the tub, steaming hot and lightly scented. After his bath, the door would be unceremoniously kicked open and one of the minions would sprawl on the cot that had been set up near the door, in order to guard Draco while he slept. To keep him prisoner.
His brows drew down over silver eyes for only a moment before he walked decisively to his writing desk and picked up a quill. He scrawled a hurried message, sanded it, folded it, and tucked it into a pocket.
“Cully!” he called softly. With a small pop, the house-elf appeared at Draco’s side.
“Yes, Master?” the creature whined as it bowed nearly to the floor.
“Get into the bath and pretend to be me until I tell you otherwise,” he ordered. Cully looked dubiously at the water, but climbed in obediently, wincing at the heat of the liquid. Draco liked his baths hot. Cully splashed a bit, pretending to wash. Draco nodded, satisfied, and stepped into the wardrobe to lessen the noise of Disapparating.
He appeared in the middle of St. Christopher’s Drive in Caerphilly. It was extremely dangerous to Apparate blind—he could have ended up in a tree or half-jammed into a Muggle automobile. Thankfully, the street was nearly deserted and he hurried to the sidewalk. His luck held as he spotted an old woman walking her ratlike dog. Draco conjured a small bouquet of flowers.
“Excuse me, Madam,” he said politely. “Can you tell me which house belongs to the Grangers? I’ve only been here once and I’m afraid I’ve quite lost my way.”
The old woman sized him up carefully while her little dog sniffed at Draco’s pant leg. He repressed the urge to kick the animal into the street. The only woman finally cackled.
“Well, aren’t you the handsome one? Didn’t think the Granger’s little bookworm daughter had it in her to snag a catch like you.”
Draco’s polite smile was becoming strained. The old woman pointed.
“Right there, laddie. The house with the wisteria arbor. I don’t think they’re home, though.”
“That’s fine. Hermione told me to wait if she wasn’t there.” The name sounded odd on Draco’s lips. He had always thought of her as “Granger.”
He strode to the house and threw the flowers behind a bush. After making sure the old woman was out of sight, he cast Alohomora on the door and went inside. As the old woman had suspected, the place was empty. Draco ignored the neat kitchen and living room and made his way up the stairs. On the next level, the first door he opened revealed what was obviously Hermione’s room.
Draco paused to look around curiously. There were books everywhere, of course. Three huge bookshelves had been crowded into the room, but they overflowed onto desk, end table, and even the floor. Unmoving posters lined the walls and above the bed was a tasteful painting of a Highland landscape. Her bedding was dark lavender without ruffles and the furnishings were solid oak. But for the books, everything was neatly organized. Unwillingly, Draco found little to fault with the room.
A tiny pop from below startled him and a voice called, “Who’s there? Show yourself!”
Draco smiled slightly. Leave it to Granger to have come up with some sort of warning spell. Triggered by the use of magic? Or merely the presence of a wizard? Draco placed his note on the desk and Disapparated as Hermione pounded up the stairs.

He appeared back in his wardrobe and climbed out with a quick glance at his mantle clock. Barely twenty minutes had passed.
“You may depart. Do not speak of this to anyone, ever,” he said to Cully, who groveled appropriately and vanished. Draco tore his clothing off, dunked his head in the cooling tub, and wrapped himself in a dressing gown minutes before the door was yanked open by Nott.
“’Night, Draco,” Nott grunted as he settled onto the cot. Draco climbed into his own feather bed and thought about his trip to Caerphilly. He still wasn’t sure why he’d done it, but it felt good to take control of his life, even if only for a short time. He was tired of being Voldemort’s puppet. Too bad it was Granger he’d had to help out, though…

The rest can be found here: http://www.fictionalley.org/authors/cheryl_dyson/

May 2015

S M T W T F S
     12
3456789
1011121314 1516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31      

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 21st, 2017 02:34 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios