PHOENIX and DRAGON: Through the World Gate
Gwydion glanced down the hallway towards the drawing room where the adults were still negotiating the terms for Neville's change of custody. "Can we go to the Library and talk? There's a lot you don't know, and I think you deserve an explanation."
"What's going on?" Neville asked as he led the twins down the hallway and opened one side of a large double door. "We can talk here."
The twins followed Neville into the Library, their jaws dropping in awe as they saw the vast collection of books. It was a large room, at least thirty feet long, by probably twenty feet wide. Ornate walnut bookcases covered all but two walls of the large room, reaching up to the high ceiling, and tall ladders with wheels on the bottom hung on polished brass rails, allowing access to the upper most shelves. There was a black marble fireplace with more book cases on each side on the wall to the right, and a tall window at the end of the room opposite the door, luxurious blue velvet draperies framing a view of a darkened garden, white flowers glowing under the light of the nearly full moon. Several tables with chairs were set down the center of the room.
"Wow," Gavin whispered, "This is a lot bigger than Sirius's library." He wandered over to the nearest bookcase and ran his fingers across the books in wonder. "It's a lot cleaner too."
"Those can wait, Gavin," Gwydion reminded quietly. He sighed when his brother just nodded and pulled a book out to look at. "Now, Gavin," he frowned as his twin ignored him, then walked over and took his brothers elbow, guiding him to where a group of wingback chairs sat around a low table facing the fireplace and pushing him into one. "Sit."
"Uhm huh," Gavin mumbled, still flipping through the book as he dropped onto the chair.
"Please excuse my brother, he really likes books," Gwydion said apologetically as he gently took the book from his brother's hands and set it on the table. "We've got a lot to explain to you, and some of it might be difficult for you to accept." Gwydion began his story, helped occasionally by Gavin.
"But I don't understand," Neville said quite awhile later, frowning as he picked at a loose thread on his house robe. "Why would you want m…m…me to stay with you," he stuttered finally, a wondering expression on his face. "I'm n…n..nothing special…and…you're Harry Potter!"
"Albus Dumbledore wants to control you, because of a prophecy. Just like he tried to control me," Gwydion glanced at Gavin, asking silently if he should tell the boy how Dumbledore wanted to use him. "It supposedly said that either you or I would have the power to defeat Voldemort."
Neville flinched when the elfling said the name of the dreaded Dark Lord. "As far as the wizarding world knows, Harry Potter is gone, probably dead, and you're the only other person the prophecy could apply to, so Dumbledore wants to control you, so he can have more power."
Gavin nodded at his brother's explanation. "He's already after the Potter vaults… and if something were to happen to your grandmother, since your parents aren't competent to take charge of everything, as your guardian he would have control of the Longbottom vaults as well."
"But I'm barely a wizard! How can he think I'll be able to kill Vo…Vol…He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named!" Neville jumped from his chair and started pacing back and forth mumbling to himself. "I'm almost a squib! How am I supposed to kill the strongest Dark Lord in hundreds of years!" Gavin and Gwydion exchanged glances and then stood, catching the distraught boy by the arms and pulling him into a hug.
"Neville…we don't know if the prophecy is true, since we haven't heard it, but Dumbledore and Voldemort believe it is," Gavin paused as Neville jerked in fear and gasped at the Dark Lord's name. "Get over it! It's just a name!" He waited until Neville relaxed and then continued, "We're going to make sure you're trained and can stay out of Dumbledore's control."
All three boys turned towards the door as it opened, allowing Sirius to step through. "Come on back to the parlor, we've come up with a plan."
"Neville! Come away from there," Augusta commanded impatiently, pulling her grandson reluctantly away from the display of racing brooms in the front window of Quality Quiddich Supply. "We have an appointment with Madam Malkin, and I don't wish to be late for the fitting." She turned and strode briskly towards the robe shop, the stuffed vulture on her hat nodding importantly with each step.
Sudden screams erupted behind her and she spun, gasping as she saw a tall man in a long black cloak holding a struggling Neville against his chest, one hand covering the boy's mouth. A hood hid the man's face, the dark shadow adding to his sinister appearance.
"No! Let him go!" She shouted, struggling to pull her wand out of her large red purse. "Let him go I said, you ruffian!" A rotund wizard in a green cloak attempted to draw his wand, and a second black cloaked man stepped forward from out of an alcove.
"Stupify!" A red spell shot out, dropping the portly wizard to the ground and causing chaos in the crowded alley as people screamed and tried to escape.
"Stupify!" Augusta yelled as she finally grasped her wand, striking the second attacker in the side, sending him to the ground a few feet from the man holding a frantically struggling Neville. She stepped closer and immediately cast another curse at her grandson's attacker. "Stupify!"
Her spell missed, hitting a frightened bystander and sending her into a bin of discount quills set near the door of the stationery store, spilling them across the cobblestones. Screams rang out as people tried to dodge the flying curses.
Augusta got a chance to cast again as the crowd momentarily parted, allowing her to aim at the man she had stupified previously. "Incarcerous!"
"Protego!" A third black cloaked man was revealed as he moved from hiding and cast a quick shield to protect the downed man from the binding spell. Another stupify spell flew from his wand, arching down the alley to strike an auror approaching from the direction of the apothecary in the chest, stunning him as he struggled to get through the panicking crowd.
"Ennervate!" The second man was back on his feet, raising his wand to return to the fight after the man holding Neville revived him. "Confringo!" A display of books in front of Flourish and Blott's exploded, sending bits of paper and shredded books across the screaming crowd. Augusta dodged into the doorway of the bookstore and cast again.
"Stupify!" Augusta shouted frantically, her wand pointed at the man holding Neville. The black cloaked man twisted in an attempt to dodge, and Neville nearly pulled loose, stopped at the last moment by the stunner his abductor quickly cast, hitting her grandson on the back. The hooded man grabbed the boy and threw him over his shoulder.
"Neville!" she shouted desperately, "Stupify! Stupify!" But only the second spell even came close to one of the attackers, stunning two shoppers as they fled instead. A return spell from one of the men jerked her wand out of her hands, sending it flying away from her. The kidnappers stepped closer together and reached out to touch the arm of the man holding Neville.
"Nooooo!" Augusta collapsed to the ground, tears streaming down her face as she saw her grandson about to disappear. "Neville…."
"Stupify!" One of the men turned and cast a final spell, and everything went dark for the Longbottom matron.
"Activate!" Then all three men were gone as the portkey took effect, taking a stunned Neville with them.
"That went well," Remus stated wearily, pulling the black cloak off and draping it over his arm as he watched Sirius settle an unconscious Neville onto the bed in one of the guest rooms on the second floor of number 12 Grimauld Place. "Now we can add kidnapping to your charge of escaping from prison."
Sirius shrugged, and then rubbed his bruised shoulder. "What's the worst they can do to me…send me back?"
Myrddin sighed as he came into the bedroom and set a vial of mild painkiller on the nightstand. "I would think them more likely to have you instantly kissed, Sirius." He removed Neville's twisted cloak, took the boy's shoes off, and laid a light blanket across him to guard against the chill in the room. "We'd be the ones thrown into a cell in Azkaban, if we weren't kissed right alongside you."
"Yes, your probably right," Sirius admitted reluctantly as he walked over to the fireplace and cast a quick incendio to light it. "But they'd have to prove it was us first, and it would be rather difficult since nobody could see us to identify us, and we all used untraceable wands."
Reminded, Myrddin and Remus handed their borrowed wands back to Sirius and he slid them into his cloak along with the one he'd been using, intending to return the extra wands to the cabinet he'd found them in later.
"Should we wake him up, or just let him sleep it off?" Remus pulled his real wand out and held it up questioningly.
"Wake him up," Gavin answered as he entered the room carrying a tray with several cups, and pot of tea. Gwydion followed with a plate of warm ginger biscuits. "We'll stay with him and explain everything." Gavin gestured for the three men to leave as he set the tray on the bedside table. "He doesn't know you, so he won't be as frightened if it's just us here when he wakes up."
Remus ushered the others out, then shot a quiet 'ennervate' at the unconscious boy as he stepped out, closing the door just as Neville started to stir.
"Hey, Neville," Gavin said quietly, watching as Neville opened his eyes groggily and looked around the room. "How do you feel? Do you hurt anywhere?"
"Wh…where am I," the brown haired boy stuttered, fear and confusion on his face as he shakily sat up with Gwydion's help. "Wh…what happened?"
"You're at Sirius's house," Gavin explained soothingly as he added several spoons of sugar to a cup of tea then held it out to Neville. "Our plan worked almost perfectly."
"What do you mean?" Neville asked as he automatically reached out and took the cup, taking a sip as he tried to understand what had happened. "You kidnapped me? Is my Gran alright?"
Gwydion smiled reassuringly as he handed Neville a biscuit to go with the tea. "Yes, Sirius grabbed you, and Remus and Grandfather stupified a couple people and blew stuff up to cause a panic and make it look real. You weren't supposed to get stunned, but your grandmother is quite ferocious and reacted faster than we had expected, and you struggled pretty hard too so Sirius had to stun you to keep you from getting away."
"Impressive fight you put up too," Gavin commented with a smile. "Sirius has a nice set of your teeth prints in his hand and he was limping from where you kicked him." Neville blushed at the praise and raised his cup to hide his reddened cheeks.
"I stayed for a few minutes to make sure your Gran was alright," Gwydion reassured Neville with a grin as he remembered the aftermath of the abduction. "The auror's had already woke her up and were already speaking with her when I left Diagon Alley; she was giving them a really hard time about the lack of security and their incompetence. It was funny watching them get scolded for not arriving faster."
"She was quite upset with them," Gavin explained around a mouthful of biscuit, "and I'm sure she will be angry with us later, since we'd told her we would take you a couple hours from now, when you were on your way out of the alley, instead of while you were going in. I know it wasn't what we'd planned to do, but we heard that Dumbledore had just called for another vote in the Wizengamot and we were afraid the Prophecy Act would pass this time, since Madam Longbottom wouldn't be there to fight it. We had to hurry and get you before he could."
"Besides," Gwydion grinned mischievously at Neville, "we thought both of you would react more naturally if you didn't expect it."
Neville nodded hesitantly in agreement. "Gran will be worried though…," he said with a frown.
"We've already sent our house elf with a message letting her know the plan worked. He'll make sure she knows you weren't harmed, and he'll pick up your trunk," Gwydion assured him as he held the plate of ginger biscuits out, urging Neville to take another one. "The sugar will help you if you've got a headache from being stunned, and I've got a potion if it doesn't."
A soft knock on the door caught their attention, and Gavin raised his eyebrow at Neville when he looked at it with wide eyes. "It's your room," he said quietly when Neville didn't respond. "Should I answer the door?"
"Ye…yes," Neville replied finally, squaring his shoulders and setting his cup down on the tray with a click. "Yes, please answer the door," he said firmly. "Tell them to come in." Today was the start of his new life and he was determined to face his fears for once instead of hiding behind his grandmother's skirts.
The Daily Prophet sold out all of its issues for the next several days.
LONGBOTTOM SCION ABDUCTED FROM DIAGON ALLEY!
Yesterday, Neville Longbottom, heir to the Longbottom Lordship, was torn from the very arms of his distinguished grandmother, Wizengamot member Augusta Longbottom, in a daring daylight attack in the middle of Diagon Alley. Witnesses said that three cloaked men shot numerous dark curses at bystanders before apparently portkeying away with the young boy.
Brody Boggsworth, age 67, was stunned and sustained minor injuries. "I tried to fight them off to save the poor boy, but they were too much for me," he is quoted as saying. Eldina Tackle, age 45, was stunned and thrown into a display of quills belonging to Handle's Stationery and Writing Supplies. The quills were a total loss. Several others were also injured but declined comment.
The Auror's apparently have no clue as to who perpetrated this cowardly attack, but leading Ministry officials have sworn to investigate.
Longbottom Matron calls for more effort in search (See page 2)
Sirius Black spotted in Birmingham! (See page 2)
Tragic story of Frank and Alice Longbottom (See page 3)
Auror numbers decrease in peacetime (See page 4)
PROPHECY CHILD STILL MISSING!
Recent news from the Ministry of Magic suggests that young Neville Longbottom may be the subject of a prophecy, as witness the recent attempts by the Wizengamot to pass the Tutela Pro Thema Oraculum, or Prophecy Protection Act, which would have removed him from the custody of his family in order to protect him, attempts lead by Albus Dumbledore, Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot.
Is Neville Longbottom the Prophecy Child, as Albus Dumbledore now claims? What of Harry Potter, previously renowned as the Boy-Who-Lived, also missing from his abusive muggle relatives home and presumed dead, a home Albus Dumbledore placed him in? Reliable sources tell us that Potter also fulfilled the terms of the partial prophecy Dumbledore has revealed.
No clues in Longbottom abduction, anxious Grandmother tearfully pleads for his release (See page 2)
Sirius Black spotted in Bristol (See page 2)
Harry Potter presumed dead, search officially ends (See page 3)
Mystery Man still missing from St. Mungo's (See page 4)
WIZENGAMOT CALLS FOR FULL PROPHECY TO BE REVEALED!
The Wizengamot met today in a special session to pressure Albus Dumbledore to reveal the full prophecy pertaining to the fates of the heirs of two of the Wizarding worlds most distinguished families. Harry Potter, heir and last member of the most Ancient and Noble Potter family, known to all as The-Boy-Who-Lived, and Neville Longbottom, the last remaining heir of the Longbottom dynasty, are suspected to be the subjects of this prophecy, along with He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named.
Experts at the Ministry of Magic have been consulted as to the contents of this mysterious prophecy, but no answers were forthcoming. Doesn't the Wizarding world deserve to know? What are they hiding?
Search for Neville Longbottom continues (See page 2)
Sirius Black sighting in Manchester pub revealed to be hoax, search continues for fugitive (See page 2)
Harry Potter's tragic life (See page 3)
Wizengamot votes to change banking rules, Goblins claim treaty violation – threaten lockdown (See page 4)