Who Will Fill a Coward's Grave?

Chapter 2 - The Wrong Malfoy

After having an in-depth, honest and frank talk with Hermione's parents, including setting down boundaries of what Emma and Dan thought was acceptable behaviour for a teenage couple temporary living in the same house, Harry had gone and blown it on the first night.

Hermione was currently on his bed, with his head cradled against her unencumbered chest. Since he had both arms wrapped around her, and clinging on for dear life, Harry was certainly aware of just how flimsy the material Hermione's nightdress was constructed from. About the only Granger house rule they had complied with wasn't going to win them any points either. Yes the room door was open but, with Emma and Dan currently standing in it, Harry was ready for the shouting to begin. Then Emma gently spoke.

"My father's favourite recipe for dealing with his little girl after she'd had a nightmare was for us to get up and have some hot chocolate. I know I always felt better after we'd sat and talked it over while sipping from our mugs of chocolatey heaven. I'll go and make some now."

Hearing Emma say the word 'nightmare' saw something click in Harry's head. With a groan he embarrassingly asked a question. "Did I wake everyone?"

Watching his young daughter hold a boy like that was hard for the father in Dan to accept. There was no denying the positive effect Hermione was having on her new boyfriend though, Harry had been shaking like a leaf when he and Emma had first raced into the spare room.

There was also no denying the effect being friends with Harry had on their daughter, her frequent letters and visits home for the last four years always saw his name being fondly mentioned. Both parents were well aware how important Harry was to their daughter. That, and the hint of desperation in Hermione's last letter home, was the reasoning behind them spending so much money on a pair of mobile phones. They were also hoping Hermione would now be able to use hers, and keep in touch with them, when she stayed at her other friend's house.

Trying not to let his discomfort with just how close these two were show, Dan attempted to keep his answer light. "Harry, you probably woke half the street. Are you prone to nightmares?"

Hermione wasn't for letting him go so Harry just answered from where he lay. "Every night since the graveyard. In school I can put up silencing charms so's not to disturb anyone else. We're not allowed to do magic here..."

She was well aware that suffering in silence was her boyfriend's modus operandi but Hermione thought even Harry might be pushing that to extremes here. His screams had torn at her heart, and she was out of her own bed and by his side in seconds. "What about dreamless sleep potion? I'm sure Madam Pomfrey would have given you some."

"It's apparently highly addictive, and only administered to patients under her care."

Harry's screams had terrified Emma and Dan too. What this young man had been forced to endure had left both parents very angry at those supposedly charged with caring for him. "Well Emma will have the hot chocolate on by now, and I don't think any of us are ready to go back to sleep just yet. I'll see you down there."

As Dan was coming back out of his room, after collecting his housecoat, he overheard something that confirmed he and Emma were handling this right.

"Hermione, your parents are awesome. Then again that shouldn't be a surprise - they produced you."

Both teens soon joined the adults, just as Emma was filling four mugs with hot chocolatey beverage. It was the company though, albeit aided by the soothing drink, that saw Harry open up.

"We'd just defeated the final obstacle, an Acromantula. I was injured and the cup was just sitting there. I told Cedric to take the cup, end the bloody tournament, but he wouldn't. It was my idea to share, to cement a Hogwarts victory - and it got him murdered."

Though still sipping from his mug, fat tears were currently running unnoticed down Harry's cheeks. Hermione was desperate to throw her arms around him but her mother had signalled not to. Getting Harry talking about this was an important first step.

Dan then tried to get Harry to look at the situation from a different angle. "Harry, you seem to be blaming yourself for offering to share the cup with Cedric. What would have happened if he had followed your first suggestion, if Cedric had taken the cup to end the tournament?"

Now understanding what her parents were doing, Hermione sat quietly as Harry carefully pondered that question before answering. "He would still have been taken to the graveyard. Either murdered right away, or forced to take part in the ritual and then murdered. I only escaped because my wand is a brother to Voldemort's. Cedric didn't have that advantage, he wouldn't have escaped."

Pleased with the way this was going, Dan tried to nudge Harry along a bit further. "It would seem the only way Cedric would have survived was if you had reached the cup first..." Harry shaking his head at this rather confused the three Grangers, that was until he offered an explanation.

"I was going to reach the cup first. Cedric though hadn't seen the Acromantula. If I had grabbed the cup it would have been on him, and I wouldn't have been there to help. A fourteen foot venomous spider is no picnic, it took both of us working together to deal with it."

Emma needed the comfort of her hot chocolate, and her husband's arm slipping around her, after discovering just what an Acromantula was. Emma was terrified of spiders. How Harry had stood and faced that monster she would never know.

Resting her head on Harry's shoulder, Hermione now tried to reassure her boyfriend that he couldn't have done any more that night - and was in no way responsible for Cedric's murder. "You saved Cedric when Victor had him under the cruciatus, saved him again from the Acromantula. The only other thing you could have done was claim the cup for yourself when Cedric offered, something we both know you could never do."

Silence then prevailed before Dan started collecting the now empty mugs, giving them a quick rinse in the sink before popping them in the dishwasher to await being joined by the breakfast dishes. As they all began to make their way back to bed, Dan was thinking it would be a late breakfast.

That proposed long lie in was ruined by the door being knocked at just after seven. A still tired Dan was pulling his housecoat on while making his way down the stairs, his mood didn't improve any when he discovered who was knocking on his door.

"Good morning, Mr Granger. You may remember me, I'm Professor McGonagall from your daughter's school. Sorry to disturb you but could I have a few words with Miss Granger?"

After inviting the witch in, Dan had barely closed the door before he started looking for answers. "I must ask why you're getting us out of bed, during the school holidays too?"

"One of our students, a friend of Hermione's, has gone missing. I wanted to ask your daughter if she'd heard from him."

"What of the boy's family? How did he go missing?"

Emma joined Dan as Minerva wondered at this woman's rather strange question. "His family are saying they don't know where he is..."

Dan cut her off there. "They're telling the truth. I bet they didn't mention that they threw Harry out of their car - then drove away and left him in the middle of London."

Minerva was gobsmacked at hearing that, and then jumped to the obvious conclusion. "You know where Harry is?"

The situation was just too funny at that point, Dan simply had to smile. "He's actually standing right behind you..."

Spinning around, Minerva spotted her pyjama clad target - with a similarly attired Miss Granger holding his arm. "Mister Potter, do you realise the trouble you've caused?"

Before Harry could say anything in his defence, McGonagall had a face full of an angry Emma Granger.

"Don't you dare shout at Harry in my house. This is summer and they're not in Hogwarts, you have no authority here. Even in Hogwarts you haven't been able to keep him safe. Forcing a fourteen year old boy to face a dragon is insane. Making him do so for your entertainment is just barbaric. I don't believe for one second there wasn't a method available where Harry didn't need to take part in that tournament, otherwise you people should be jailed for allowing such a dangerous object as that fiery goblet within miles of a school full of children."

She was then joined by Dan, whose words might have been delivered a touch calmer but there was no mistaking the anger lurking just below the surface.

"That is just one of many incidents we have heard of where Hogwarts failed Harry. It also leads us to believe you are here with the sole intention of returning Harry to the Dursleys."

"Dumbledore says…"

That barely hidden anger now surfaced as Dan exploded at McGonagall. "I don't give a shit what your school's headmaster says, that's not going to be happening. What the Dursleys did to Harry, abandoning him like that, is a criminal offence. If your headmaster pushes this issue, we will contact the police and press charges against the Dursleys. We will also contact social services with our concern about Harry's welfare while he's living there, we will not let this matter go. These Dursleys couldn't stand up to even the most basic questioning concerning their supposed care of Harry, then your whole house of cards will come tumbling down. The only thing holding us back is that Harry is currently safe, and involving the authorities could see him moved to a temporary foster home - something none of us wants to see happen."

Shuddering at that possible scenario, Minerva tried to explain the advantages of Harry returning to his relatives. "There are protections at Privet Drive, we also have people watching out for him…"

Both Grangers had been prepared for this line of defence. "We understand these protections - wards - can be placed around any premises and are willing to allow them here. We are also willing to allow these people you deem essential to Harry's safety onto our property. Harry returning to the Dursleys is simply not going to happen - not without dire consequences."

Before Minerva could again parrot Dumbledore's wishes, Emma cut across her. "If this should reach our courts, they would certainly take Harrys wishes into account. Have you even asked Harry what he wants to do?"

This had everyone looking in his direction, Harry wasn't shy about offering his opinion.

"I am never going back to Privet Drive. They've gradually gotten worse and I'm not in the mood to put up with it anymore. Things would be far worse than my summer spent there after second year, and somehow I don't think the Minister would be so forgiving if they triggered another bout of accidental magic. I have been invited to stay here, that's what I want to do. I've also been invited to spend some time at the Burrow, I'd like to do that later in the summer too."

Knowing Harry would be well looked after there, and also that their daughter would want to accompany him, Emma made an offer that she hoped would please everyone - everyone that mattered to her that is.

"How about you stay here until your birthday, then spend August with your friend Ron? I know you can fly your broom there, something that you can't do here."

Harry's wide smile provided its own answer, and saw Dan once more addressing McGonagall directly. "That seems like the basis of a plan to me. Neither Harry nor Hermione will be anywhere near places like Diagon Alley, they'll restrict their movements to purely non magical areas. We're quite happy to allow any protective measures you deem necessary to be placed around our home during Harry's stay. We all want to keep Harry safe but I don't think that can be accomplished by basically imprisoning him at the Dursleys for the entire summer. If that is still the only option you're offering, then you have a fight on your hands."

In the face of such strong, and well argued, resistance, Minerva was left with no option but to attempt a dignified retreat. It was hard to fight for something you didn't really believe in, and she'd never really supported Harry having to live with the Dursleys. Albus had championed that cause and Minerva was quite happy to let him deal with this mess. Some of her frustration boiled over though as she spoke with Harry.

"I'll pass your wishes, reasoning and threats onto Headmaster Dumbledore. What he'll do next is anyone's guess, but you can be sure he'll be in touch. I can only hope nothing untoward comes of your shenanigans, Mister Potter..."

Minerva once more found herself being faced down by an angry Granger parent, only this time it was Dan. "Never mind trying to guilt trip Harry around to your point of view, he's already suffering nightmares from that tournament you forced him to compete in. Harry has made us aware of the risks we face, but let me ask you this. How much danger is Hermione in? What protection is there for her? Where are the warnings to other non magical parents about this new danger?"

"The Minister of Magic won't allow..."

A raging Emma jumped all over Minerva's excuse. "Playing politics with children's lives is despicable. Then again, when you use one as bait in that abomination you called a tournament, I suppose we shouldn't be surprised. I thought we were sending Hermione to Hogwarts for an education? None of the stuff we heard last night from these two was mentioned by you when introducing us to magic - and that bloody school of yours."

Dan then took over to close proceedings. "You've heard what we have to say, the next move is yours to make. I think it's time you now left."

Minerva was escorted out the door and quickly found herself standing in the street. It was an angry McGonagall who left the Grangers. That she couldn't refute anything they'd said to her just made Minerva even angrier. She would be having words with Albus soon.

Harry was staring at Hermione's parents with something resembling awe. "That was brilliant! I've never seen anyone stand up to McGonagall before. Not only that, you left her unable to answer any of the things you threw at her. Dumbledore won't let this go though..."

Dan just shrugged his shoulders. "If this Dumbledore has better answers, we'll listen. If he has a better plan, we'll talk about it. If he comes into our house and starts making demands, he'll be asked to leave too."

Standing with Hermione by his side, Harry's respect for her parents climbed another couple of notches. For the first time ever, he actually felt as if he had people on his side. While the Weasleys certainly cared for him, they would never take his part in any argument with McGonagall or Dumbledore. Sirius fell into a somewhat similar bracket. As an escaped prisoner, he wasn't able to offer Harry much in the way of parental support.

Harry was starting to believe he just might be staying at Hermione's, before heading for the Burrow. Now that would be a perfect summer.

-oOoOo-

On arrival at the Burrow, Minerva walked in on a frantic Molly berating Albus through the Floo. Things quickly changed when Minerva announced she'd found Harry, Albus' head immediately withdrew as he then stepped out of the Burrow fireplace only a moment later.

He headed straight for his deputy. "Well done, Minerva. Where is Harry?" Albus was looking around, expecting to see Harry in the room.

"He's at the Grangers…"

This saw Ron explode, though mostly with relief. "I told you he'd be with Hermione, and there was nothing to worry about."

Albus ignored this outburst, focusing solely on his deputy. "Am I to assume Mister Potter is still at the Grangers?"

Here was a target Minerva could unleash her anger on, and she did. "Those Dursleys threw Harry out of their car, before driving away and leaving the boy. Even mentioning returning Harry there had both Granger parents shouting at me."

"Nevertheless..."

Albus never got to say anymore as Minerva was now in his face. Her finger poking Dumbledore in the chest to emphasise each point she made. "The Grangers made it perfectly clear to me I had no authority in their home, practically threw me out. The also made it clear the Dursleys are not fit guardians for Mister Potter, something you and I have argued about since you left him there."

She continued with her rant, not giving Albus a chance to interrupt. "If we try to return Mister Potter to their care, the Grangers will contact the muggle authorities regarding the Dursleys' treatment of him. Abandoning him like that is apparently against their laws, leading to a lot of other questions being asked of them."

She wasn't sure if this news had Albus taking a step back, or whether it was an extra hard poke in his ribs from her that forced the issue. Either way, Minerva still had more to say.

"I was informed that, should this reach the muggle courts, Mister Potter's opinion on where he stays will be asked. Harry quickly confirmed that the Dursleys was no longer an option for him. He has been invited to stay at the Grangers, and also by Molly, that is how he wants to spend his summer."

Including the Burrow in the mix immediately had all the Weasleys on board with that option, leaving Dumbledore as possibly the only voice against. Minerva then battered down any reasons Albus had left for denying Harry his wishes.

"It would seem both teens have made the Grangers aware of the current state of our world. While being as unhappy as us about the situation, they were livid at the ministry cover up currently in place. They will allow warding of their home, and allow order members access as they guard Harry. Having spoken to these people, I can practically guarantee they are not bluffing about contacting the muggle authorities over this. With the way Fudge has been acting lately, word of this reaching the Ministry could be disastrous. Harry spending the summer staying with his two best friends will raise no eyebrows, a Ministerial custody case is something we all want to avoid."

That last point of Minerva's was like being stabbed with an icy dagger. Albus was well aware Cornelius would grasp any chance to exert some control over Harry Potter with both hands. Once the muggle authorities became involved, there was no way to ensure that news did not reach ears they didn't want to hear it. The Ministry gaining even a whiff of that would be a disaster. He would not only lose his influence on Harry, but most of the recently reformed order as well. Minerva and Molly were two of Albus' staunchest supporters, yet both clearly disagreed with any plans to try to place Harry with the Dursleys. The boy's godfather would certainly hold the same opinion, possibly losing what remained of the order - and also their meeting place.

That the blood wards had fallen at Privet Drive meant any wards he raised there could just as easily be erected anywhere else. Albus was already thinking what he could gain from Harry, and squeeze out by way of gratitude, by allowing the boy to spend the summer where he wanted. None of that showed on Albus' face as he though over what was being proposed here.

"There would need to be restrictions placed on their movements..."

Again Minerva was ready for him. "The Grangers had already thought of that, promising that neither Harry nor Hermione would be anywhere near magical areas. They also proposed Harry staying with them until his birthday, before he then spent the rest of the summer here."

While slightly disappointed at missing Harry's birthday, Molly was more than happy to have him staying here for all of August. She wasn't shy in expressing her opinion to Albus as well.

With nothing to lose by allowing these concessions, and plenty to gain, Albus' mind was already decided. He didn't broadcast his decision however, preferring to take his own time.

"I will return to Hogwarts and think this over. I will let you, and Mister Potter, know my decision later."

The headmaster had barely stepped back through the floo when the Burrow resounded to the sound of cheering. The thought of Harry staying at the Burrow for a month was something all of them felt like celebrating.

Minerva may have been on the wrong side of a verbal roasting this morning at the Grangers but, after getting most of her temper out on Dumbledore, she could clearly see the Grangers justification for everything they said. Better than that, Minerva was certain Dumbledore could too.

She had stated loudly and forcefully that the Dursleys were the worst type of muggles, and that Harry Potter shouldn't be left there. Nothing she had seen or heard in all the years since that night had changed Minerva's opinion on the matter. The Grangers obviously prepared to stand up to anyone on Harry's behalf restored her faith that there were good people out there. One only had to look at their daughter to know the Grangers were good people.

-oOoOo-

Dinner in Crawley was thrown into chaos when they received a very unusual visitor. To be fair, a Phoenix appearing from a ball of fire above any dinner table in Britain would probably draw the same reaction. Harry, being well acquainted with Fawkes, soon had everything back under control.

"Hello Fawkes, great to see you again. Is that a message from the headmaster?"

Dropping the parchment from his beak into Harry's lap before singing something that probably meant yes - to anyone who understood Phoenix, Fawkes revelled in being the centre of attention.

As Harry began to read the note, Hermione was telling her parents just who, and what Fawkes was - though this was also her first meeting of the wonderful bird.

Harry then let out a yell that was every bit as happy as the tune Fawkes was singing. "Dumbledore says I can stay here. There will be a guard we won't see outside tonight, and he will be here tomorrow to put up wards - if that's okay with you?"

The pleading look Harry sent in Dan and Emma's direction would melt hearts a lot harder than theres.

"Of course it's okay, Harry. It was after all our idea. Now we can start to plan for what you two want to do for the rest of the holidays."

Harry could only stare at Emma, it took a moment for him to actually respond. "Ma'am, just allowing me to stay here is more than enough for me. I would hate to cause you any trouble..."

"You're no trouble, Harry, and I've told you it's Emma. We always try and spend time with Hermione, doing things as a family. We'll just include you in what we do..."

Only Hermione understood the effect those simple words had on Harry, her boyfriend was almost in tears as she moved to hug him.

"This is normal, Harry. The way the Dursleys treated you certainly wasn't. While it might stick in my craw that they could get away with it, getting you away from them is far more important to me than any revenge on them."

Hermione's arms around him allowed Harry to get his emotions back under control. He smiled at his girlfriend before talking to Fawkes. "Can you tell Professor Dumbledore that will be fine."

With a clear nod of his head, Fawkes once more was a ball of flame before disappearing.

After everyone had settled back down, Dan had a question that was nagging at him. "If you couldn't receive mail this summer, how is it the headmaster is allowed to send you a note?"

Hermione was quick to answer. "Phoenixes can't be traced or intercepted. Fawkes is possibly the safest way to pass a message that there is."

Shaking his head, Dan gave a voice to what was troubling him. "So the headmaster has a totally secure magical way of passing messages, yet still wanted to keep Harry isolated. You and Ron could have sent Harry letters via Hogwarts, with that bird delivering and collecting letters from Harry - say once a week."

Both teens were sitting open mouthed at Dan's observation, while Emma mentally placed another item on the list of things they wanted to discuss with Dumbledore when he came to erect their wards tomorrow.

-oOoOo-

Harry awoke with a start, his hand automatically reaching to the bedside table for his wand. With that comforting rod of holly held tightly in his hand, Harry then attempted to assess the situation he now found himself in. Heart racing, rapid breathing and sweating profusely were all signs he recognised - another nightmare. Since he was currently still alone in his room, Harry was left to surmise that at least this time he'd woken before making any noise - and broadcasting the fact he'd had another nightmare to everyone else.

Knowing from experience he wouldn't be able to go back to sleep for a while, and wanting to escape a room he currently found stifling, Harry put on his housecoat - popping his wand in the pocket - and headed downstairs. Opening the French doors and stepping into the back garden, Harry instantly felt better as the night air's cooling embrace chased away the last clinging remnants of the nightmare. Making his way to the rose-covered pergola with the bench seat, Harry suddenly remembered the guard who was supposed to be out here.

"If anyone is sitting on this seat, I'm about to sit on your lap." Whispering that made Harry chuckle, though the bench proved to be empty. Harry could only have been sitting staring at the stars for ten minutes when a pop of someone apparating into the garden disturbed the still of the night, and once more saw his wand clasped in his hand.

Harry clearly heard two distinct voices and recognised both of them. He didn't need to wonder for long why there were now two Malfoys in the Grangers' back garden, they were here for Hermione. While Harry was currently well hidden, with Draco and Lucius obviously unaware he was even at Hermione's, that was soon going to have to change. There was no way either of these blond bastards were getting their hands on Hermione, far less dragging her away to their master. Harry would do whatever he needed to, protecting Hermione was his main priority here.

Using his contacts at the ministry, and dropping a little gold into some greedy palms, meant discovering where the mudblood lived was child's play to the wealthy blond pureblood. Lucius was left wondering if bringing Draco along was a mistake however, his son was currently quivering with excitement. Remembering well the elation he himself had felt when accompanying his father on their first muggle hunt, it would appear Draco was a Malfoy through and through.

Wishing there was someone else he could have trusted to help him with this critical task, Lucius quietly reminded his son why they were here - and what was at stake. "I need you to concentrate, there is no room for mistakes tonight. Dragging the mudblood bitch to our master should see the Malfoy name once more be the most prominent amongst his supporters. We need to quickly take care of her parents and then get her out of here."

"I understand, father. I can do this." What his father didn't understand, because Draco had never told anyone the mudblood had physically hit him, was tonight was the night Draco Malfoy took his revenge. Yes they needed the mudblood alive but her parents were a different matter. Draco intended to kill them both, preferably with the mudblood watching. They would then drag the broken bitch to their master, who would surely reward them before making her suffer so much more.

Discovering what happened to Granger would surely destroy Potter, making this one of the greatest nights of Draco's life. He was like a coiled spring, desperate to get his often dreamed-of revenge underway.

Dan, a light sleeper, had heard the door into the back garden opening. Glancing out their bedroom window, he spotted Harry heading for the rose bench. Standing watching for a few moments, Dan was drawn out of his thoughts by a gentle tap on their bedroom door. Opening that door, he discovered an agitated Hermione standing there.

"Dad, I thought I heard someone moving about. Looking in Harry's room, he's not there…"

"Harry's fine, he's just stepped into the back garden. I get the impression he doesn't sleep too well, even without the nightmares."

Although there was only the dim hall nightlight providing illumination, Dan could clearly see the relief on his daughter's face at hearing Harry was just in their garden. "Oh thank goodness. I'll go and get my housecoat…"

"I'll go out and see how he is. I'm sure he would like some hot chocolate though, and since you're already up…"

Hermione just smiled at how skilfully she'd been manoeuvred from being alone under the stars with her boyfriend to making hot chocolate for that same boyfriend - and her father. "Okay dad."

Chuckling at his own ingenuity, a smiling Dan made his way down the stairs. He heard mumblings coming from the back garden and assumed Harry must be chatting with the posted guard. Dan wasn't prepared for the two figures in the dark cloaks he practically walked into, with the taller one wearing a mask.

"Who the hell are you, and what are you doing on my property?"

Spotting both Malfoys raising their wands, Harry knew he was all out of options - he had to take immediate action. There was not one shred of doubt in his mind that Dan was currently in deadly danger. Harry had to put the senior Malfoy down, and then deal with Draco. Any other choice could see them all dead. With absolutely no sign of this supposed guard, Harry's choice of spell reflected the danger they were all in. A powerful piercing curse slammed into Lucius' back, punching right through his torso and bursting out his chest.

Time seemed to slow for Draco, and the rest of the world simply disappeared, as he savoured his moment. Having this muggle scream from the torture curse was an option Draco would have liked to experience, those loud screams however would have woken the entire neighbourhood. Clearly annunciating his chosen curse, Draco put all the hate he had for this man's daughter into his spell. The green curse left his wand and struck true, the muggle was so close there was no way he could have missed.

The delicious surprise on this muggle's face as he dropped to the ground dead would live with Draco for the rest of his life, the splattering of blood confused him though. The killing curse wasn't supposed to cause any wounds. Then Draco noticed his father drop to his knees - his blood pumping out between his fingers.

Lucius was trying to use his hands to staunch the flow of blood from a terrible chest wound. It was an effort the experienced Death Eater knew was futile as his vision began to grey.

Knowing someone else had to be responsible for this attack on his father, Draco's gaze finally locked onto the last person he expected to see here. As his dying father joined Granger's on the grass, Draco screamed 'Potter' while bringing his wand to bare.

After witnessing Draco's cold blooded murder of Dan, Harry wasn't exactly in a forgiving mood. While Draco was screaming his name, another piercing curse was already leaving a raging Harry's wand. The curse hit Draco in the mouth, instantly punching up through his palate and scrambling his brains. Draco dropped like a puppet who'd had his strings cut, dead before he hit the grass.

Hermione had almost made it to the kitchen when she heard her father verbally challenging someone. She was mentally remonstrating with herself for the fact that her wand was still up in her room when a hated voice she knew well changed her life forever. Hearing that disgusting curse cast, and seeing the green flash momentarily illuminating through the windows, Hermione also recognised the silhouette of who the curse had hit. Losing all sense of anything other than getting to her father, she raced for the open doors - arriving just as a dead Draco dropped to the ground.

That was no compensation for Hermione, an agonising wail seemed to come from her very soul as she threw herself at the body of the man who had been her rock since the day she was born. Alerted by all the noise, Emma was only seconds behind her daughter in arriving at the horrific scene. Her reactions were even more distraught than Hermione's.

A numb Harry stood helplessly staring at the macabre scene before him. His heart was breaking, but not because he had just killed two people. That he couldn't save Dan was already eating away at him. Watching the two weeping women hold Dan's body, Harry also felt something shift inside him. Harry knew he would personally fill the entire back garden with bodies, rather than let anything else happen to the now mourning Emma and Hermione.

Apart from taking action the instant he discovered what the Malfoys were here to attempt, Harry was struggling to think what else he could have done. There was no doubt in his mind Lucius was the more dangerous of the pair of Malfoys. Had he targeted Draco first, Lucius could have then overpowered him - and would just as surely have killed everyone in the house.

A pop of apparition from behind had Harry spinning around and his wand spitting out another piercing curse the instant he didn't recognise the wizard.

Mundungus Fletcher froze at the horrific scene he'd just apparated into, that was until a very powerful spell slammed into him. That wasn't quite true though, the spell impacted on the bag of goods he had been clutching to his chest while apparating. The impact of the spell then lifted Dung clear off his feet, before he hit the ground with a thud.

Struggling for breath, he found himself faced with an enraged boy-who-lived. The point of Harry's wand was glowing with the next spell before Dung managed to gasp a few words out. "Order, Dumbledore, your protection…"

Dung thought he must have said something wrong because the boy almost attacked him before gaining some control.

"Protection? Where the fuck were you?"

Getting his breath back, he was able to answer in a little more detail this time. "A bit of business came up…"

Dung found himself being dragged to his feet by this enraged teenager.

"Get Dumbledore. Tell him the Malfoys came looking for Hermione, they murdered her father and I killed both of them."

Dung wasn't too happy about being ordered about by a teenager, he wasn't about to argue that fact with this one however. Harry had apparently killed both Malfoys, their bodies lying there lending credence to his claim, with only luck seeing the name Mundungus Fletcher not joining those of the recently deceased. He also couldn't wait to get out of here as the aurors were certain to show up soon. He nodded before Harry released his hold, allowing Dung to disapparate away.

Moving back over to protect both Granger ladies, Hermione proved she'd been listening to what he'd just said. While a crying Emma was cradling Dan's head on her lap, Hermione was clinging to both her parents. She managed to get a question out between her sobs.

"They were here for me?"

This family had taken him in, and now one of them was dead - leaving the other two devastated. The magnitude of that had Harry struggling to speak himself. "I should have been quicker, I'm so sorry…"

Harry now broke into sobs too, leading to Hermione pulling him down beside her parents. She also had another question for him. "How do you know?"

Crying on her shoulder, he was eventually able to get the words out. "I heard them discussing it. Dan and Emma were to be dealt with, you they were taking to Voldemort. I was moving into a position where I could do something when your dad walked right into them. I took out Lucius first but it was Draco who murdered Dan. I killed the wrong Malfoy first…"

Multiple pops of apparition stopped their conversation, help had arrived far too late for any of them.