I can't believe I had forgotten about this story! I woke up this morning and thought, I feel like writing a chapter to that, and this chapter was fully formed in my head within minutes. I had a writer's block with this story, and my planning went out of the window. So I am glad I am back on track with it now. I've only just realised how good this plot is, and I really appreciate my early note-taking all those months ago. This, admittedly, is a short chapter, just to see if people out there still like it. Please review, I want to be sure I am getting readers, and more importantly fans!
- CHAPTER FOUR -
An Unwelcome Visitor
Silently the two brooms descended from the darkening sky and landed gently upon the cracked pavement. Harry stepped off his broom with ease, turning to see Hermione awkwardly clamber off the back of Ron's broom. She almost fell over before Harry grabbed her arm.
"Four hours," she said weakly as she straightened, "Four hours."
"I wasn't sure whether we turned left after Sheffield or not," said Harry pointedly, as though this was an acceptable mistake.
"I'm sure we passed Manchester twice," said Ron with a shiver.
It was a warm summer night, but the fast flying high in the sparse clouds was enough to chill anybody.
"Let's just get inside," murmured Harry as he picked up his broom and hurried down the dark road. The street looked just as unwelcoming as ever. The rows of houses stood dully with their grimy windows blocking view inside. Rubbish spilled down several steps, and a tabby cat was pawing at a can interestedly.
Harry stopped in front of number thirteen, turning to Ron and Hermione who had hurried after him. "Do you remember what to do?"
"Yes, yes," said Hermione impatiently, glancing around her nervously.
"All right," said Harry, after catching Ron's nod. He looked back up at the house and concentrated very hard on the words he had remembered so long ago. And then, a house squeezed itself into place in-between number eleven and number thirteen. Silently and with no disturbance to the surrounding inhabitants. Making his way up the steps, Harry drew his wand, doing what Lupin had done over a year ago when he first came to Grimmauld Place. He tapped the chipped black paint on the front of the door and it unlocked quietly.
Harry felt relieved, he feared it might have somehow sealed it against him, or Kreacher had done something wicked before he left for Hogwarts. "I don't know if she's gone," whispered Harry as he pressed inside, "So don't make much noise." He briefly turned, casting over all of them, "Apericorpus," and a trickle of warmth came over him as the Disillusionment Charm lifted.
The trio quietly crept into the house, Ron closing the door behind their entry. They had only gone a few steps into the dingy, dark entrance hall when Hermione gave a loud, "Harry!"
Harry wheeled upon her with a hiss, but he released there was no shrieking and noise bellowing through the hall. Hermione was pointing at the wall, and as Harry turned, he saw that Mrs. Black's portrait was still stuck against the wall, but she appeared to have walked out of it.
Harry straightened from Hermione, staring at the portrait. "Where's she gone?"
"Who cares?" muttered Ron.
"Ron, it is very important!" hissed Hermione, "If she's had a new portrait made, think about where it could be! Think of the information she knows about the Order!"
"She doesn't know much," began Harry quietly, "She's been stuck here behind the curtain, hasn't she? When – " but Harry couldn't continue, he had fallen silent as he heard a rustle of noise coming from the downstairs kitchen. There was a creak and quiet footsteps.
Harry looked round, staring at his friends who looked as worried as he. He raised a hand, indicating for silence, even though none of them had spoken. He raised his wand, Ron and Hermione following suit. Dark as it may be, Harry felt his way towards the small stone staircase into the basement, his a hand lightly gripping the peeling wallpapered wall for better direction. He quickly hid himself around the corner, peering through the crack in the partly opened door to see a figure bustling around the kitchen, gathering items. Harry quickly looked to his friends, signalling that he would make the first move.
"Petrificus Totalus!" Harry exclaimed as he dived into the kitchen. His spell hit the figure square in the back who only managed a weak gasp of surprise before he fell onto his front. Items tumbled out of his frozen arms with a clatter. Harry scrambled towards the body, grabbing the back of the person's cloak and rolling them over with his wand ready.
Droopy, bloodshot eyes stared up at him; long straggly locks of ginger hair fell untidily against the stone floor of the kitchen.
"Mundungus!" cried Hermione in surprise as she ran into the kitchen with Ron, "Aren't you supposed to be in Azkaban?"
Harry gave Mundungus a dark look before he waved his wand slowly, "Petrificus Solvo," muttered Harry as he stood up, standing back to allow Mundungus to shakily get to his feet. He was a squat man, with bandy legs and his baggy doleful eyes peered round at the three.
"I was," mumbled Mundungus, rubbing his unshaven chin slowly, "but I told 'em I was in the Order, an' that I was only doin' me 'onest duty – "
" – an' they let me go under conditions."
"Conditions that you didn't do anything illegal?" asked Hermione, shrewdly observing the items he had dropped to the floor.
"Yeah, well," mumbled Mundungus.
Harry looked down at the items now scattered over the kitchen floor. "That's Sirius's stuff!" shot Harry, "Couldn't carry it all out last year, could you, so now you're back for more!"
Mundungus backed away a little, with the air of a man who wanted to be gone, "Yeah, well," he repeated.
But Harry was incensed, he grabbed Mundungus by the neck of his robes and pressed him up against the kitchen wall forcefully, ignoring Hermione's shrill cry. "That's Sirius's stuff! My stuff! You're breaking and entering, this is no longer Headquarters for the Order!"
"Harry, please – " said Hermione quietly as her eyes flicked nervously between them.
"Surprised you're not at Hogwarts, yet, digging through Dumbledore's stuff!"
"Now, come on, 'Arry – "
"Turns out your pockets!" snarled Harry as he brought his face closer, receiving an unpleasant waft of alcohol and old tobacco. When Mundungus seemed unwilling to cooperate Harry brought his wand upon him once more, "Petrificus Totalus!" and Mundungus was suddenly stood straight against the wall, unmoving. Harry, following Mrs Weasley's example many years ago began pointing at many parts of Mundungus' clothed form. "Accio! Accio! Accio!" Items flew out of his pockets, cups, cutlery, snuffboxes, jewellery. They were all gathered on the floor, and Harry continued to search out each place of his body until he was satisfied. "Petrificus Solvo."
Mundungus relaxed against the wall with a quiet gasp, giving Harry a glare through his bloodshot eyes. "Let's hope you're this ruthless 'gainst You-Know-'Oo" And with a crack he disappeared.
Petrificus Solvo - Petrificare (latin; to make into stone) Solvi (latin; release)
Apericoprus - Aperio (latin; reveal) Corpus (latin; body)