This chapter was supposed to go up before Christmas last year but I haven't had an internet connection for a very long time. This chapter hasn't really been edited aside from a brief once over to correct some general mistakes and what not so just ignore the errors as I will get to them when I go through this story and edit it properly it should be readable at any rate. So anyway this is it…finally the last chapter! I can't say how very happy I am to have finally reached the end, a little sad that's it's over because it has been a blast writing it and seeing what you guys think of it but I'm also pretty relieved because it means I can finally move on to some other projects. I have an idea for a couple of other HP fics, at least one of which would be of the H/D slash variety since I didn't deliver that for this one, I don't know when I will get around to writing them though if ever, however if anyone is interested their current working titles are 'The Admiration Society' and 'Dead on Arrival'. Both are kind of horror like but not to the degree that this story was. So anyway that's really it, if anyone has any questions or comments that they want responded to send me an email or give me yours and I will do my best to get back to you.
So finally I want to thank everyone who had this story on their alerts list or favourites list as well as those kind souls who so positively reviewed this story. I never expected the success it got and it astounded me so many of you liked it. I would like to respond to you all individually but if I did that then these author notes would be longer than the chapter itself, which wouldn't like very much so instead thank you all so much for the support and your kind words. It was greatly appreciated.
Warnings for this chapter: A little bit of violence, pretty tame really.
Disclaimer: Didn't own when I started writing this and still don't now. Damn.
This chapter in particular was inspired by the songs Room of Angel and Concieved Sorrow, if this fic had a soundtrack these would be the end credit songs.
"I just don't understand."
Sitting across from Hermione and Ron in their quaint little home, Edgar effected an appropriate sympathetic expression even if his current thoughts were reflecting anyting but. (Of course you don't understand you stupid girl.) He thought venomously still in a dismal mood at last nights failure.
In all honesty it wasn't a great surprise that Ron and Hermione didn't fully understand and it could all be blamed on Edgar's efforts, both devious and cruel. After his escape from the Malfoy Manor one of the first things he had done, after tending to his most grievous wounds, was to apparate to Ron and Hermione's cosy dwelling where he had left the pair waiting for him. Knowing that the imperius curse wouldn't hold them forever he had resorted to casting a series of complex memory charms and had drawn upon his rather impressive talents as a legilimens and highly accurate castings of obliviate to subtly modify their memories. He had fabricated a tragic story of Harry's struggle with depression, his various acts of self mutilation (especially highlighting the incident when he had cut into his stomach when staying at their place a few days ago) and his increasing mental instability which had finally led to his running away to parts currently unknown. Considering that Harry had previously suffered depression after the war and had even attempted suicide on one occasion leant a lot of credibility to the false memories that Edgar had planted in the couple's head. He had completely erased any and all mention of the Malfoy's and
anything to do with the haunted manor case, so even if they ever did see through the lies Edgar had fabricated they wouldn't know where to begin looking for their wayward friend. His next stop after this would be to Arthur, the only other person to know anything of the events of the last few weeks. At least he hoped so, if the man had told any of this to his wife, colleagues or other children Edgar would have a lot more work to do than he could currently handle. He was sore and exhausted magically, mentally and physically and wanted nothing more than ten hours sleep. He would have to return to the coven at some point he knew, to explain the devastating loss of Mors Mortis, but he believed they could wait at least a day or two while he rested and regained his strength. If they saw him in such a weakened state they wouldn't hesitate to overthrow his leadership. There was no real loyalty amongst them; Edgar himself was not worried about killing as many of them as nessercery to further his goals. Thinking again of his nice warm bed at home Edgar longed to get this meeting over with, though he knew acting too unconcerned about the whole affair would not endear him towards them. His entire future now rested on himself portraying a convincing picture of concern and grief for Harry, otherwise the story would never stick.
"I wished I could understand this whole affair myself Hermione." Edgar said sadly. "But Harry appears to have decided that it was all too much for him to handle."
"Just to run off like that though!" Ron said shock and a little hint of anger on his face "It doesn't make any damn sense! Why couldn't he come to us?"
"Perhaps he felt he couldn't." Edgar suggested, reaching over and gingerly patting Hermione's hand as the woman visibly fought to contain her tears.
"Why would he feel like that though? Haven't we always been there for him?" Hermione sobbed.
Edgar sighed, this had been going on for nearly an hour now "Unfortunately my dear you cannot help someone if they do not want that help. Perhaps Harry thought himself a burden on us. Or maybe he simply needed some time to work through his troubles by himself. It is often difficult to predict how a troubled mind works. You do remember how hard it was for him after the war don't you?"
Hermione nodded but Ron shook his head "It still doesn't make any sense. He was doing better, why the sudden change now?"
Edgar felt a flash of annoyance. They shouldn't be questioning him so much! With a concentrated effort he slipped quietly into the couples minds and strengthened the false memories he had put there, building it as strong, clear and dominating as his current energy levels would allow him. Oh yes, a nice long rest was definitely in order after this.
"As long as I have known him Harry has always had a tendency towards depression wouldn't you say? It doesn't take much for someone like that to slide back into depression even when they seem to be getting better." Edgar said gently yet firmly enough to stress that his words were absolute truth and not to be questioned. Ron and Hermione stared at him for a moment, and Edgar couldn't fight the sudden nervousness within himself. He didn't have the strength or desire to go back into their minds, he was already stretched to his breaking point, and he found himself nearly praying to any entity he could think of that they would believe him.
"He needs help." Hermione finally said, beside her Ron nodded.
"We need to find him first." Ron said.
Edgar nodded "Of course we do in fact I was going to suggest that we brainstorm a series of possible locations that Harry may go to."
"What about his parent's house?" Ron asked.
"I don't know if that is even still standing." Hermione said "but it's a possibility. He might want to go somewhere familiar or important to him…if he's still in town that is."
"It would be prudent to at least look at the places he may go first before we worry over whether or not he has left town." Edgar advised.
"Well we can go look there first at least." Hermione said gathering her determination "we've been friends for years if he is still here I know we can find him."
"I don't doubt it Hermione." Edgar smiled at her while mentally he was laughing at them both. (Stupid, stupid girl.) He thought gleefully (You'll never find him because he's in the last place anyone would ever think of looking!)
"If you are going to search for Harry, allow me then to go to the ministry to inform your father of the situation. I'm sure he will be able to aid us in our search."
"Maybe we should tell Tonks and Remus too." Ron said "They could help us."
"I daresay they could, I believe they still work at the ministry? I will inform them as well if you would like." Edgar said again forcing a reassuring smile upon his face. "Rest assured Ron, Hermione we will find Harry. That I promise you."
Trying to hide the stiffness and pain in his body Edgar carefully hauled himself out of the couples overstuffed chair. "I will go now, while you search. Let me know if you find anything to allude to his whereabouts."
Hermione stood too and embraced the ex-Auror, when she stepped back she hastily wiped the tears from her eyes.
"Thank you Edgar you've done so much for us."
"My dear, as always, you are most welcome." He made his way towards the front door, the couple trailing after him.
"Try not to loose hope you two, at least not yet." With those comforting, parting words Edgar turned from them so they wouldn't see the smirk tugging at his lips. At least now they would be out of his hair for a while and he had a clear shot at Arthur without interruptions. And once he had rested and healed properly he would return to his coven and they would begin to construct a new Mors Mortis. They had done it right once, they could do it again and probably improve it too. (Harry you silly boy) thought Edgar (You haven't destroyed my plans only delayed them. And next time the first people I come after won't be nameless strangers.) Just before disapparating he chanced a quick look behind him as Ron and Hermione stood in the doorway of their home watching him with solemn, saddened eyes.
(They will be your precious friends.)
One Month Later
She wasn't supposed to be here.
Truth be told no one was supposed to be here though not that many people were genuinely interested enough to want to be here in the first place. The place was abandoned after all, falling apart, slathered in dust and barely worth notice from anyone with half a brain.
But the stories…
The stories this place held were both fascinating and terrifying all at once. She, like many others, had heard of the horrible tale of the fire that erupted here years ago killing the family, servants and house elves that lived there. It was never really explained how it had happened, or why no one had managed to flee the place before the flames reached them. There were some rumours that it had been a murder suicide, with Lucius killing off his entire family and witnesses and setting the fire before killing himself. There were a lot of other rumours as well, each one getting
crazier than the last. In the end it hadn't really mattered, the case had been closed and it had eventually been ruled as an accident by the ministry due to lack of proof to suggest otherwise.
She wasn't quite sure she believed that, but then again her opinion didn't really matter all that much. It wasn't why she was here either. It was the haunting that she was here for. This place was supposed to be haunted by a lot of spirits and she had to admit ghosts were fascinating to her.
She moved carefully about the grand entrance hall, it was so dark that she was weary of tripping and falling. From the sounds of crunching beneath her thick soled boots, she had guessed the floor was covered with broken glass. It would be a nasty thing to fall on if she wasn't careful.
She fiddled with the camera strap wound around her wrist as she gazed into the murky darkness. She hadn't bothered to light up her wand; the camera lens had a special charm on it that gave it great night vision. It was all she really needed for what she was here for. A dare. This had all been a silly dare given to her by her classmates, over a drunken evening at the Three Broomsticks. The dare had been to enter the manor and take photos of the interior to prove that she had been there. A, stupid childish dare, she had been just stupid and childish enough to accept. She was usually far more level headed than this but just this once she had let her friends goading get to her. Besides she was kind of curious as well. Who knew what she might find? She might even get something amazing on camera and that would show them all wouldn't it?
She raised the camera up high enough so she could look through the lens and see the display of the manor on the screen. Being born to a muggle family meant a sound knowledge of muggle technology. This particular digital camera had been a gift from her brother on her birthday. She had slightly modified it with several spells since then so it could exist in the wizarding world.
After her second pass about the foyer she spotted the corridor that lead to the other sections of the house on the ground floor. She didn't quite know where it went but it might be worth checking it out and after all she needed some more good footage and photos to show off when she was done here. Feet crunching through glass, she switched from photo capture to video capture mode and carefully navigated her way into the lengthy corridor.
As she walked deeper into the belly of the great house she noticed something odd. The cameras display screen was changing. It was going from crystal clear colour to grainy and washed out, much like the old silent films she and her brother used to enjoy watching when they were younger. She wondered if the camera was being affected by any stray traces of magic left over in the manor and then immediately dismissed the idea. It had been modified after all to avoid that very problem. She stopped for a minute and played back the video she had taken so far only to come to another problem. The sound was gone. When it started she could clearly hear her soft breaths and faint footsteps as she moved about the entrance hall only for the sound to fade out the further she walked down the corridor until it fell completely silent. This was odd, she was sure the camera wasn't broken. She shook the annoying device a little in general frustration, hoping that it didn't die on her before she could get a decent amount of footage. Staring down at the camera she suddenly noticed something on the screen as it pointed at a wall.
It looked like a shadow on the wall, not her own, as it appeared to be moving while she was standing still. It was moving as if someone else was walking past her, behind her. With a muted gasp she spun around.
There was nothing there.
Then the sound of footsteps began echoing eerily about the manor sounding as if it was coming from behind her yet all around her at the same time. She couldn't pin point an exact source and that made her very nervous, a slight bloom of panic began blossoming in her chest.
Gritting her teeth she forced down that fright and continued onwards.
Eventually the hallway opened out to a rather large kitchen. She thought briefly that her mother would love a kitchen just like this one, with its polished counter tops and wide basin sinks and expensive oven. A massive marble butcher's block sat in the middle an old dull knife resting on its surface. She raised her camera to take a photo, perhaps to show to her mother later, and nearly fainted when she saw the screen.
There were people in the kitchen.
At least six gathered around the impressive butcher's block, heads bent together as if conversing in quiet whispers and just standing there so completely still and quiet it was frightening. Unnatural. It looked evil. Hands shaking she lowered the camera and stared where she saw the figures, except there weren't any there now. Raising the camera again she could see them clearly. Why could only her camera see this?
She must have uttered a slight noise, perhaps a gasp or a choked scream because the figures moved suddenly, at the same time, to slowly turn their heads towards her.
Then the pantry door burst open.
A figure emerged from it, rushing her with a dreadful scream, hands outstretched and reaching for her throat. She screamed and stumbled back but, not before being slammed into with all the force of a runaway freight train. She flew back several feet and slid painfully on her back for several more, still screaming as something she couldn't see clawed at her. She could hear whispering now, dark and vicious though she couldn't understand any of the words spoken. She understood though that she was not welcome here, had made a deadly mistake even coming here. These were not the average run of the mill ghosts she was dealing with, they were out to hurt her perhaps even kill her. She had to get out, now. Stumbling and sobbing she rolled to her feet gaining several more scratches and cuts from the unseen spectre currently assaulting her. It grabbed her hair and tried to drag her back towards to the kitchen. She could hear the other spirits now, shuffling out into the hallway coming after her and hysterical terror drove her to run. She felt her hair tear from her scalp where the ghost had a vice like grip on it but she didn't care nor did she stop as she raced down the hall, the camera clattering against the walls as it danced about the wrist strap, flying widely as she swung her arms. Out of the corner of her eye she could see things, dark shadowy things creeping through the walls and one even appeared out of the floor but she ran straight through it too intent on getting away to try and dodge it.
She raced back into the entrance hall, heart pounding so badly she was surprised she hadn't yet died of fright. Then her foot caught on a gap in the stonework and she tripped and nearly fell catching her balance at the last second. She instinctively glanced down to see what her sneakers had caught.
It was the body of a red haired girl with one badly ruined eye, and she hadn't tripped the corpse had grabbed a hold of her ankle as she tried to pass. It opened its mouth, a great gaping hole unhinged like a python and beared its teeth trying to bite at her ankle. She screamed and thrashed violently until it let go of her only to nearly run headlong into another corpse. It was completely naked and one blue eye shone venomously behind a thick curtain of bedraggled black hair. Behind the female ghost she caught a glimpse of yet another body, head split wide open and carrying an axe
spattered with gore. Frantically she tried to shove the black haired ghost away from her and screamed yet again when it grabbed her arm and bit into it savagely, tearing a large chunk of skin loose. Something metallic flashed in the corner of her eye and it was through pure adrenaline alone that she managed to wretch herself loose as the axe slammed through where she had been standing mere seconds ago.
Clutching her bloodied arm to her chest and sobbing with fright she made for the door, dodging around the male sprit when he made a grab for her. She could hear more noises gathering behind her, the ghosts were intent on giving chase. She passed the staircase and had barely enough time to notice the blonde haired boy sitting on the steps and watching her silently before she practically slammed into the door. It took a few tries to grab and turn the handle but finally she had it swung wide and she was running again. Only to be stopped by a sudden shocking pain in her stomach as she ran into a hauntingly familiar face to the entire wizarding world.
It was him she was sure of it, the green eyes, the black hair, glasses and the famous scar visible behind his fringe. He was wearing dark robes and was gazing at her dispassionately. Choking in shock she glanced down as she felt something warm soaking through her shirt. He had been holding a wicked knife with sharp serrated blade and she had run straight into it. It was buried nearly four to five inches in her flesh and blood was quickly soaking through her shirt and dribbling down her stomach. When she glanced back up at his face he leant towards her and whispered in her ear.
"Are you leaving me again?" Then he pulled the knife out with one smooth jerk and plunged it back in again. Then he did it again, and again, and again.
In shock from the pain she could do barely more than jerk with each stab before her legs were too unstable to support her anymore and she crashed to the ground dimly feeling glass shards biting into her skin.
She lay there gasping and bleeding her life out onto the floor as the souls of the Malfoy manor gathered about her. She could see them clearly now and they stared at her with clinical fascination, as if she was nothing more than a particularly interesting specimen to be studied.
The blonde boy on the staircase now came before her. "You don't get to leave." He said.
"No body gets to leave." A woman ghost said.
"Not you, not us." Said another one.
"I didn't…I don't" she coughed out around the blood in her mouth, wanting to beg for mercy though she knew it was going to be denied. Then he was there again, hands covered in blood and knife gleaming wetly in his hand.
"Harry Potter" she whispered "Please…I can…I can help you, help you all just please."
"Only blood can help us now." Harry hissed. Then they were grabbing at her, pulling her unresisting form across the floor towards to very bowels of the household itself to a death more terrible than she could possibly comprehend. Harry and Draco watched this without emotion and later would listen to her final screams feeling empty and angry and knowing that this wasn't enough. This place was cursed with perpetual bloodlust and the spirits could never settle until that lust had been finally slaked by the one who began it. The cycle of death would continue for any of those unfortunate, bold or stupid enough to enter the manor, they would be made to join the legions of the house of the dead until vengeance was finally theirs. Until then there souls would forever remain tormented and trapped, bound by the horror of their own deaths.
Lying forgotten on the floor the camera's speakers suddenly flooded with sound once more. If anyone could listen closely they would hear the voices of many people, voices barely raised above a whisper grating and cold enough to send shivers down anyone's spine.
"We will wait Edgar…Forever."
The cameras blood speckled screen flickered once, twice then went black.