Be My Eyes
Planning and Plotting
Hermione realized that she must have fallen asleep when she discovered herself waking up; sunlight streaming in through her partially opened blinds.
Groaning and dropping her pillow over her face, the girl attempted to figure out why it felt as though she'd hardly gotten any sleep. But just as she was beginning to doze off again (and probably accidentally suffocate under her pillow) she jerked awake, wild curls flying every which way.
Malfoy! What had happened? Was he all right? What was she doing in her bed? How did she get there? She moved to toss the covers aside and leap to her feet, but instead found herself tangled up in the sheets and a second later fell face first on the floor.
Mumbling curses at the blankets, she untangled herself hastily and stumbled towards the door. Only to crash into Harry, who was just entering the room, and fall again.
"I am so sorry, Hermione," he apologized, offering a hand to help her off the floor she was getting rather acquainted to.
"What happened?" she asked, taking the offered hand and pulling herself quickly to her feet once more. "Do you know what is going on with Malfoy?"
As she paused to catch her breath she took in the dark circles beneath Harry's eyes that his glasses couldn't even cover, and the haggard look to his face. "Harry, are you feeling all right?" she asked, placing a hand on his forehead. "You don't look so well."
"Couldn't sleep," he muttered, gently swatting her hand away. "Looks like you couldn't either."
"I don't even remember falling asleep to be honest," she said sheepishly. "Professor Snape came and gave Malfoy a blood replenishing potion and I sat there for a while… next thing I know I woke up in here. Did I sleep late?"
Harry shook his head. "It's only seven now. Mrs. Weasley isn't letting anyone in the room and she said she'd brief us on how he's doing during breakfast. She's been cooking the last half hour, so you'd better be hungry," he said, managing a weak grin.
She gave one back. "I am hungry… come on, the sooner we get down there the sooner we find out what's going on."
The two entered the Order's kitchen to find Ron already at the table and stuffing his face with scrambled eggs and sausages. He looked nearly as bad as Harry and as she felt, his eyes red rimmed and his skin paler than normal. Ginny was next to him, clutching the bunny rabbit from last night and half-heartedly picking at her toast.
The twins were there as well, strangely not cracking jokes or smiling, but looking rather grim and exchanging knowing glances over pieces of toast saturated with jam. Snape was at the end of the table, stewing over a cup of coffee. And Molly was over the stove, feverishly turning out more eggs and a plate of pancakes.
Taking seats next to Ron, Harry and Hermione helped themselves to some of the breakfast spread and sat quietly. Lupin came into the kitchen a few minutes later and joined Snape with a cup of coffee, but also a stack of pancakes and a tower of sausage and bacon.
Once satisfied that everyone had enough food, Molly turned off the stove and sat down next to George. Arthur was still at the hospital, but now just simply recovering from the curse, as well as Moody who was expected to be released later that afternoon.
"How's Malfoy?" Hermione blurted out, effectively stopping the silence at the table.
Surprisingly, it was Snape who spoke. Then again, Hermione had seen enough surprises from the potions master in the last twelve hours then she had in her entire life, so she almost half-expected it.
"He's stabilized for the moment," he said quietly, his voice raspy instead of oily. Like he'd been crying. And as he looked at them out of the curtain of his hair, it was clear he had been, eyes red rimmed and cheeks somewhat blotchy. "The blood is letting him continue to live, but without the cure he will die very shortly; the wound is too serious to even last three days. He has until tomorrow night at the latest."
"Which is why we've decided it's necessary to obtain the Sword of Mauvais as soon as we can," Lupin said gravely. "Not only will it save Malfoy's life, it will also get a very deadly weapon out of the hands of the Death Eaters."
"Besides our recon mission to retrieve the sword, we have another problem on our hands as well," Snape said. "Tonks informed us last night that there is a raid planned for tonight and for once we actually know the location. It is imperative that we prevent any civilian casualties tonight, especially a couple and their son."
"Sorry for arriving late," shouted a voice from the hall, hurried footsteps sounding and then the kitchen door bursting open to reveal Kingsley Shacklebolt, dark circles under his eyes as well, which appeared to be the toll for entering the kitchen. "I was trying to figure out how many aurors we had on hand for tonight."
"Perhaps you had best explain the details now that you're here," said Molly. "I believe Tonks sent you a debriefing by owl; we only received a short version- the poor girl is so worn out."
Shacklebolt gave a regal nod of his dark head, and ignoring the breakfast, got straight to the point. "Tonks overheard a conversation between Lucius Malfoy and Peter Pettigrew concerning an attack they plan to launch at Privet Drive."
Harry gasped and his whole attention focused on the auror instead of his breakfast.
"For those who are somehow out of the loop, Privet Drive is where Harry's only remaining relatives are living. We believe that they will be the main targets of the attack, not so much as a psychological tactic, but because their home offers Harry protection due to the blood of Petunia Dursley. If the Death Eaters manage to kill her off, Harry will be in even greater danger.
"Tonks also told me about the situation concerning Draco Malfoy. As unfortunate as it is, we cannot bring in any aurors from the ministry, as this is not official ministry business. However, it would be inhumane to not even attempt to retrieve it, so undercover that is what the Order will be doing.
"The only problem, and it is quite a major one, is our lack of manpower. Many of the aurors and volunteers are either dead or in the hospital. We don't have nearly enough to cover all of Privet Drive and its surrounding streets should the fighting spread that far, as well as return to the Malfoy's manor."
"How many do we have?" Remus asked.
"About twenty aurors from England," Shacklebolt sighed. "We will get a few from surrounding areas, but many are still cleaning up and patrolling their own territories; Privet Drive isn't that huge of a place and more Death Eaters could be sent somewhere else. But we're not counting on it. To give you an estimate of how short handed we are, there are normally a minimum of one hundred and fifty aurors at the raids. We're not even at fifteen percent.
"Which is why I've come up with an alternate plan," he said. "The Death Eaters will not arrive till later at night, we're assuming around midnight. If we can, we want to evacuate all of the citizens living on Privet Drive and the surrounding area without them being aware of why, and then we can plan an ambush. With extra traps set up and no muggles to worry about it will be a lot easier."
"How exactly do you plan to persuade them to leave?" Hermione asked. "They're bound to be very suspicious what with all the news reports saying to stay indoors due to all the murders."
Kingsley nodded. "We considered that. Harry, that's where you come in." The emerald-eyed boy raised a questioning eyebrow. "We will be taking you down to Privet Drive in about an hour to talk to your relatives. You will inform them that there is a huge party, and there will be one, and that they need to attend if they value their lives. You're free to explain the situation about the Death Eaters in as much detail as you see fit. They in turn will pass the message along to the street and other neighbors."
"And what exactly is the party for?" Hermione asked, cutting Harry off before he could protest. "So late at night you can't expect many people with children to want to go."
"The party is being held on a cruise ship and will be out for the entire weekend. The ship is actually one of our own the ministry owns and we've been converting it all morning to hide all traces of magic. The reason that they have all been invited is that when they participated in the census that happened in their area just a month ago, which is true if I'm not mistaken," Shacklebolt said, watching as Harry gave a curt nod, "they were given a number by the census bureau; a lottery number if you will. Somehow, as they aren't all dense enough to believe they won, they all received the same number and instead of having many winners of different numbers, the census bureau just awarded the vacation to all of them."
"And the wait?" the Gryffindor know-it-all prompted.
"The bureau was in disagreement and wondered if they should redo the drawing. So there was only a short time. We're certain that there will be a few muggles who do not wish to attend, and we will deal with them all accordingly through the use of memory charms as we evacuate them from the premises. The Dursleys knew of this first as the census bureau called them and asked them to relay the message; they didn't have the time to call every house."
"It seems logical," said Molly. "But will the Dursleys agree to it?"
Everyone turned to Harry for an answer. He only gave a weak shrug. "Dunno. Since they lean towards hating me I'm doubting they'll even believe me."
"We have a back-up then," Shacklebolt said. "One of your neighbors, Arabella Figg, is a squib and she can always sound the alarm if need be. It would be best if you could still convince your relatives though, Harry, as I'm sure they have more influence than a single older woman."
"And what about Malfoy during all of this?" Ginny asked quietly.
"That's where the Order is going to come in," the black auror said. "Myself and Remus will all be at Privet Drive during the raid and Snape will remain here to look after Draco Malfoy."
"What about us?" the twins demanded in unison. Now that they were official members of the Order they expected to be treated as such, although they still were 'babied' the most being the youngest.
Kingsley held up a hand. "As I was saying, the three of us along with the other aurors and a few volunteers will be reporting to Privet Drive. The two of you and Tonks will be going on the recon mission to the Malfoy's house. I am trusting you realize how serious this mission is. Tonks is going as she knows the layout of the house the best, and I am sending the two of you as you work well together as a team and you're good at thinking on your feet.
"You'll be doing a lot of that as we don't know what the situation will be exactly when you arrive. Lucius will be on guard due to his son's disappearance and he may or may not have the sword on his person. In any case, security will be heightened. Your best bet is to retrieve the sword tonight, relying on the hope that Lucius attends the raid and leaves the sword behind. Even if he does that, I'm sure he'll have plenty of curses and traps set to protect it. You'll need to disarm the traps and get back here immediately with the sword.
"We've learned through Tonks that the communication mirror does not work due to the magical interference. So we are relying that the three of you will be all right and not need further assistance. Should a situation arise where your lives are in danger, then you will all have a portkey to return back. I hate to forfeit a mission, but we're not willing to risk your lives on the off chance that the cure has already been used and the Malfoy boy is beyond help. You will depart for the manor at seven tonight so you can get in before the raid and have time to scout out the sword. Is that clear?"
"Yes sir," they said together, faces solemn but determined. "We should go get ready," said George.
"Never know when some of our supplies might come in handy," said Fred. Still looking unnaturally grim, the two exited the kitchen to go pack and prepare for their mission.
"What about us?" Ron asked, "Do we get to do anything?"
Shacklebolt shook his head. "Other than Harry, the rest of you will remain here. You are all still too young to join the Order and I will not see any of you put in danger.
"Hurry and go get dressed, Harry. We're leaving at eight." That said, Shacklebolt left the kitchen to retreat to elsewhere in the house, leaving tension and worry behind.
"How is he?" Fred asked quietly, entering Draco's room where Tonks sat hunched over the prone form, her hand tightly clutching one of his.
The auror, normally bursting with energy, cast listless eyes at the identical duo. She had refused to leave Draco's side the entire night and she was beyond exhausted with worry. Draco looked even worse than she. After realizing that nothing was going to staunch Draco's injury, they had placed him on a plastic picnic table cover so that it was easy to clean. He still had a mound of bandages wrapped around his stomach and a good deal on his hands. His skin was still extremely pale, but thankfully no longer death white thanks to the blood potions.
A cloth still lie over his eyes and a cooling rag rested on his head, messy bangs shoved aside. Every few seconds he'd give a little twitch and a barely audible moan would pass between his lips.
"Better than last night," she said hoarsely, gulping down a glass of water on the nightstand. "Snape's potions were a lifesaver, literally," she said, managing a weak grin. "But without that sword…"
"That's why we're here," George said. "The three of us are supposed to infiltrate Malfoy's house and get the sword. Tonight if possible; it's our best window."
"Which means," said Fred, gently prying Tonks' hand from Draco's, "that you really need to get some rest. Mum has a huge breakfast downstairs and after that you need to go to bed. We're leaving around seven tonight."
"But-" she started to protest.
"No buts," George said, sounding more like Molly Weasley then he'd care to admit. "We'll stay here until someone else comes up from breakfast. You really need to get some rest though. Otherwise this mission isn't going to go so well."
Heaving a sigh she got to her feet, cracking her back and a ghost of a smile appeared on her face as the twins both winced.
"-when backs pop," Fred finished for his other.
Giving Draco a soft squeeze on his shoulder and smiling as best as she could at the two redheads, Tonks exited the room and a few seconds later her footfalls could be heard on the stairs.
The twins had missed all of the action last night; having had one of their experiments blow up in their face and leave them sound asleep until about six that morning. They had been filled in by Molly and had popped in to see their 'enemy' only to find Tonks crying and Snape of all people trying to comfort her. They'd beat a hasty retreat.
Now though, they had all the time in the world until someone came upstairs to relieve them. "Blimey," George whispered, pointing at the pale boy's wrists, the marks clearly visible. "He actually…?"
Fred just shook his head and stared at what he could see of the boy's face. It was the exact opposite of how he had always pictured Malfoy. Lips that were normally pulled back in a sneer were now slack and incredibly pale. His eyes, always filled with fire and pride were hidden, most likely only showing pain. He had always stood so tall and now he was nearly curled in on himself, shuddering in pain.
This was not Malfoy.
This was an imposter, a fake, of someone who should never look so defeated and so broken. And despite how much they hated Malfoy, the twins hated this fraud even more. And they would do whatever was in their power to bring back the Malfoy they had always loathed.
Harry shifted uncomfortably in his new 'body' as he walked down the street of Privet Drive, hands casually in his pockets. The Order was taking no chances that the Death Eaters might have a spy on lookout for Harry, so they had him go in disguise.
It would be best, Shacklebolt had said, if he could imitate someone the Death Eaters wouldn't suspect at all. So, one hair plucked from a pair of socks he never wore and a gulp of Polyjuice potion later (kindly provided by Snape) Harry resembled Dudley Dursley.
Despite understanding the necessity of the mission, Harry wasn't too keen on visiting his relatives. He really didn't want to face the barbed words and loathsome stares. And if one of them mentioned any word about Sirius…
He soon found himself marching up the drive of the Dursley's house and he made a beeline for the front door, thankful it was unlocked as he suspected it would be, and he let himself in and closed it firmly behind him.
The Polyjuice potion would be wearing off in just a little bit; he'd been in that form for nearly an hour already and he was glad the time limit was almost met. However, it wasn't quite soon enough as Harry's current mirror image walked around the corner, stared, and then started screaming.
"Diddy-kins, what's wrong?" Petunia cried, running in from the kitchen. The color vanished from her face as she too saw the second Dudley.
"It's me, Harry," Harry said, raising his voice to be heard above the screaming. "Just calm down!"
By now, Vernon had come running as well, and Harry found himself in déjà vu as the three of them stared at him in fright and panic, despite the fact he looked like their son.
Fortunately, as he had to be having a stroke of luck about now, the effects began to wear off and in a few seconds the real Harry Potter stood in front of them.
"What is the meaning of this?" roared Vernon, so angry his neck and face were turning red. "How dare you-"
"Look, I don't want to be here either," Harry cut in, scowling back with as much fervor. "But in order to save your lives and everyone else here I had to."
Vernon looked about ready to rave again but Petunia put a hand on her husband's arm and met Harry's steely gaze with her own. "Does this have to deal with those attacks?"
He gave a stiff nod. "The Order found out that all of the Death Eaters will be attacking Privet Drive and possibly surrounding streets tonight."
"Death Eaters?" Vernon snorted. "What is that, some petty gang?"
Ignoring his uncle Harry continued, "So we're trying to get everyone out of the area. I have here," he said, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a wad of papers, "tickets for everyone on the surrounding streets to go on a cruise ship for the entire weekend, starting today. There really is a cruise ship so you don't have to worry about that. Not that you would," he scowled. "You got them from the census bureau, they randomly awarded lottery numbers and they were going to draw several for a couple of winners. However, they messed up and everyone in this area had the same number.
"So, any questions? Great? I'll just go and get out of your lives now."
"You expect us to believe this?" Vernon laughed, chuckling like he'd heard the best joke. "Death munchers? Your bloody magic people," he said, quoting the magic with his hands, "have been attacking us?"
"You can't expect us to get everyone to believe us," Petunia sniffed, looking sternly down her nose. "Don't be ridiculous, why would they ever attack Privet Drive? They've always aimed for larger places. That is, assuming that these Death Eaters are behind all of the attacks."
"Fine, believe me or not. I don't care," Harry said, anger and a sense of hurt that they wouldn't listen in his voice. "You'll just die and so will everyone else. Even the wards on this house won't protect you. They're coming for you first anyways because they think you're important to me. What a laugh. So sit here and die. Let everyone else. I tried to warn you."
He turned and prepared to storm from the house, disguise or no, when Dudley's voice stopped him. He wasn't even talking to Harry, but what he said rooted the other boy to the ground.
"Mum…I think we should listen to him." (1)
"What kind of spell did you put him under?" growled Vernon, raising his beefy fists in Harry's direction.
"I'm serious," Dudley said, stepping in front of Harry to block him from his father. "We've been nothing but gits to him his entire life… And he's here trying to save ours even though he owes us nothing. The least we can do is listen."
"Dudley…" Harry said, disbelief and yet a sliver of hope waving in the single word.
The large blond turned to his cousin. "Harry… I'm sorry," he said, not meeting the bright emerald eyes. "I've been a horrible cousin. A horrible person. And I hope someday you'll forgive me. Now though, you'd better leave so we can go get ready."
"Thanks, Dudley," Harry said quietly, and giving one last incredulous look at his relatives, he downed another gulp of Polyjuice potion and vanished out the door.
Maybe, for once, everything would turn out all right.
And not even two years later… hehe, oopsies. Anyways, please take this chapter as a peace offering. As I've said before, this is probably my least favorite of all of my HP fics so it tends to get shoved to the side a bit. I'll try to get the next update out sooner then this one.
Not a lot of action this chapter, but some very necessary plot outlines. I want Fred and George to play a larger role so the Order has split into three groups. You'll have to just wait and see what happens. The only thing I'm promising is neither twin dies xD Because I don't think I can do that (again).
Thanks so much for everyone's reviews for the last chapter. I know there were a lot of you wanting to read this, so I'm hoping a lot of you will stop and give me your comments. They'd be very much appreciated (it's because one reviewer actually PMed me asking for me to please update that I wrote this) and keep me motivated.
On another note, Black is Our World was just updated and is feeling a little lonely… maybe if you like this you'd like to try that fic and give it your comments as well? Thanks!