The Lion, The Wolf, and the Wizarding World
A/N: Thanks to my reviewers for the lovely notes and helpful hints. I am slightly unsure how Ginny should really sound since she has so few lines in canon. Any assistance you can render would be appreciated. All other questions posed will be answered within the course of the story, including Lupin being able bodied and active in wolf form on the night of a full moon, how the Death Eaters managed to get into Harry's room before Harry's friends arrived, and what their orders were and what Voldemort's purpose in sending them was. Always feel free to mention any mistakes I've made. Thanks for the Surry/Surrey tip. I knew that once upon a time, but forgot it while I was writing the first chapter. So thanks a bunch. Simple errors like that are embarrassing.
Chapter Two: Deadly Plans
In the darkness of a cold, damp dungeon, several figures dressed in black robes and white face masks awaited the return of two of their own. The straw strewn across the stone floor helped to quiet the sounds of the anxious fidgeting of many feet, while the pacing of their leader left everyone there afraid for his very life. No one spoke, and the silence seemed to echo off the gray stone walls hung with various instruments of torture. A single captive slumped against a corner within a cell, staring blankly through the blackened bars at nothing in particular, trying with all his might not to bring any attention to himself. His thoughts centered on the two companions that had left his cell not twenty minutes ago, and whose fates were bound to be worse than death itself should the plans of the Dark Lord come to fruition.
Lord Voldemort continued his pacing, stopping from time to time to glance out the only window in the dungeon, a small hole barely half a meter wide. Presently, the evil wizard's face brightened eerily at the sight of a gray fox with silver eyes pushing its way through the window and into the dungeon. He was promptly followed by a black crow. As the two settled themselves in front of the Dark Lord, he viewed them sternly and asked impatiently, "Well? What news?"
Two popping noises sounded and the grey fox was replaced by a blond boy of no more than seventeen, while the crow became a tall greasy haired man in his mid to late thirties whose dangerously flashing dark eyes would have frightened anyone but the skeletal man in front of him.
"All has gone according to plan so far," The older man reported. "Potter and his friend were caught dead on with the spell at close range and will be recovering in hospital for at least a week. Our decoys have been taken captive by those pitiful remnants of the Order."
"Which Order members were present tonight, Severus?" the Dark Lord asked silkily.
"Minerva McGonagall, Nymphadora Tonks, and Remus Lupin, my Lord," Severus Snape replied with a hint of uncertainty in his voice.
"Remus Lupin, the werewolf? Is there not a full moon tonight?"
"Yes, my Lord," Snape replied, his voice full of trepidation. "It seems he has discovered a new Wolfsbane potion of some kind. I am not certain what changes were made to the potion, but he seems to be able to move about coherently as though in an animagus form, completely in control of his faculties."
"And who among the Order members that you knew had such skill with potions as to best even you, Severus? I should like to persuade them to join me if I can."
"None of them had any such skill. It must be someone outside of the Order, or a new member, my Lord," Snape replied, sounding very much like he would rather skin the culprit alive than assist in converting him to their cause.
"I'll tell you who it was," the younger wizard said gleefully, seeing his chance for an ounce of limelight. "It was those Weasley twins, I'd bet my life on it. Those two can do just about anything with the right ingredients and a steady wand!"
"Bet your life, would you, young Malfoy? Well, then, since you are so eager to prove yourself to me, I have a new assignment for you." Draco Malfoy suddenly paled to match the grey stone walls, realizing that not only had he spoken out of turn, but placed himself in harm's way by a mere slip of the tongue. Hadn't his father taught him better? He cringed as he awaited the Dark Lord's pronouncement of his new mission.
"You, young Malfoy, shall find these Weasleys and take stock of everything they are able to do, where and how they do it, and whether there is hope of bringing them to us. Take the rat with you. He should make good company. If they cannot be persuaded to join with us, then their skills cannot be allowed to be used against us. You will report to me on your findings before taking any action either for or against them. Do you understand your mission, young Malfoy?"
"Yes, my Lord," the blond boy bowed low in submission and quickly took his place among the other Death Eaters, suddenly eager to disappear. He knew he'd gotten himself into hot water this time. Not as bad as having been commanded to kill the Headmaster – that had been the worst moment of his life, staring down his own wand at a prone Albus Dumbledore and suddenly losing his nerve. If it hadn't been for Snape…still, the man had stolen his glory that day. The fact he'd also saved his life barely dimmed the fire of jealousy he felt towards his former teacher. Stiffening his resolve, he determined that this mission would be different. This time, no one would get in his way, not even that worthless waist of a wand, Wormtail. He knew no Weasley would ever join the Dark Lord. Eventually, he would kill the lot of them, and do the world a favor for being rid of such vermin while gaining the status he felt he deserved being the only son of the great Lucius Malfoy. An evil smile crept onto his face as the Dark Lord addressed the assembly at large.
"Well, my faithful followers, it seems everything is going according to plan. Nott, Crabbe, and Goyle, you have your orders. It is time for you to proceed. Bella, you and your husband will see to the remainder and delegate as you have seen fit. Report to me if any delegations have changed since your last report. Narcissa, my sweet, I would like you to come with me now. I have a special assignment for you, my girl." The Dark Lord and Narcissa Malfoy exited the chamber together, and the rest began to apparate out until the room was quiet and none but Draco and the prisoner remained.
"Well," Malfoy taunted the prisoner, "It seems you were wrong about your friends. They fell right into our trap. Have you any more predictions of doom for me, Gryffindor?"
"Go to hell, Malfoy," the prisoner replied without looking at his tormentor.
"Or what, Longbottom?" Malfoy spat. "You'll trip over me? You're as worthless as the rest of those thick headed Gryffindors. If the Dark Lord didn't have a better way in mind to do it, I'd have disposed of you already."
"You and your Dark Lord will come to ruin, mark my words, Malfoy. Harry will defeat him, and then where will you be? In Azkaban, that's where, if I don't find you first and kill you."
"As if you could do anything to me," Malfoy boasted. "You just keep dreaming your foolish dreams. The Dark Lord will have Potter in a small burlap bag before the week is out. And you, well…that would be telling. Goodbye and good riddance, Longbottom." Draco hitched up his cloak and pulled out his wand, giving a satisfied smirk when Neville flinched at the sight of it, and quickly apparated away.
"Many great and terrible truths were first the stuff of foolish dreams," Neville whispered into the darkness when his final captor had finally gone. He sighed resignedly and wished his friends better luck than he'd had so far this summer. It seemed they were going to need it.