Disclaimer: I wish.
AN: Sorry about the wait, there really is no excuse for the long update span as at one point life caught up and I totally forgot I had this chapter completed until I was going through my hard drive. So I apologise again, as for the next chapter it has been started for quite a while but again life happened and I lost inspiration for a while, so hopefully that can start coming along again. Hope you enjoy the chappie and thanks to 99.9% of reviewers. They really do keep me motivated. As for the 0.01% if you don't like it don't read it and don't flame if you can't provide constructive criticism.
And whoops just realised another cliff hanger, one you probably won't like :)
Original AN: I never realised it would be so hard to write a chapter the morning after pub crawl, but you can't choose when inspiration hits. I couldn't remember what floor the kitchen was located on so I just made it up, sorry. But, to make it all better not only is this a really long chapter but it also signals the beginning of the end of the story. I think there will only be two or three more chapters after this one and then it is done. Hope you enjoy!
Chapter 15: Taking back the city
Az was tense. Zack had assured him that they would be held up for an hour and a half. That was what Lydecker had promised but Az didn't trust Lydecker as far as he could throw him; which would be pretty far. When Zack had informed them who his inside source was Az was the only one who had had any real objections. The others all trusted Zack unwaveringly, except Max and Alec. But Max had witnessed Lydecker's change of heart and Alec, well, he didn't care either way. None of them had had their lives ripped apart and destroyed because of him. Of course that hadn't prevented Zack from forcing him into doing this. You wanted this he said, you're the only one who can do this he said. Az growled. What pissed him off the most though was that Zack was right; he was the one who wanted to chase Manticore out of Hogwarts and he was the only one who could walk into Hogwarts without arousing suspicion from either its ordinary or transgenic inhabitants while his clone was otherwise engaged.
Az sighed and relaxed himself, this part of the plan was vital, if they weren't able to identify the watch points of the reinforcements then he wouldn't be able to pull off the plan. He ran his hand through his long hair, making it messier than he previously had it. It was just his luck that it had grown back a few days ago, he had fallen asleep with a crew cut that was just beginning to grow out and woke up with his normal messy hair. At least he didn't have to wear a wig, they made his scalp itch like something crazy despite his ability to ignore and deal with such physical sensations. Shaking his thoughts out of his head he stepped out of the forbidden forest and began walking around the lake, making his entrance as inconspicuous as possible. He couldn't help but feel a wave of happiness flow through him as he stared up at Hogwarts, his first home. The only place he had been treated like a human, the only place he had a chance to be normal. But that time was over he reminded himself. A smile crossed his face. No longer would he hide and try to ignore his darker side. He opened the door and stepped into the main foyer with a renewed confidence and the hope that everyone would be able to forgive him.
"Hi Harry. It's nice to see you're back and safe."
"Er...hi Luna," Az said scratching the back of his head in worry. "Not sure what you're talking about though. It's not like I left or anything."
"Are you sure about that?"
Az narrowed his eyes, "I don't think you should be making accusations like that out in the open, do you?"
A smile graced Luna's lips maker her seem more spaced out than before. "There's no need to worry the Greek beasts eyes aren't watching at the moment."
Az tensed, Luna's ability to sense things unnerved him to no end, especially now when everything lay in the balance.
"Luna...Oh hi Harry."
Az's eyes widened, "Neville. Hi. Um, how are you?" Out of everyone to meet during his recon it had to be Neville. He could feel the guilt of killing his father creep into his heart and knew that he couldn't hide the pity that shone through his eyes.
"I'm good. Aren't you supposed to be in a meeting with Lydecker at the moment?" Neville asked, the accusation and resentment clear in his tone.
Az laughed awkwardly, "Ha, funny you should say something about that. I was just heading about to head there but I forgot something in the dorms and well I kinda forgot the password." A plan was quickly forming in his head.
Neville's eyes narrowed, "It's dragons breath. What are you doing in the entrance when Lydecker's office is on the fifth floor and the tower on the seventh?"
"Sleeping. Look I gotta go. Lydecker's gonna be annoyed as it is that I'm late. Bye. Thanks for the password by the way." Az ran away leaving Luna waving behind him and Neville looking of suspiciously.
"It was nice to see Harry again wasn't it Neville," Luna said wistfully. "I hope we'll get to see him again soon."
Neville sighed, "I don't get you sometimes Luna. What do you think is up with Harry? He seemed a bit flustered; it's the most normal that I've seen him in ages. Not only that, but for once he wasn't with Brin. Strange."
Luna just shrugged, "I'm sure we'll see him again soon enough. But whether he'll stay is yet to be seen. He yearns for acceptance but even if he gets it, the beast will probably prevent him from staying."
Neville blinked in confusion, "Sure Luna, whatever you say. Now what do you think about sneaking into the kitchens and getting some snacks with me before tea?"
Luna just nodded her head in approval. Neville lead Luna through the corridors and up the stairs heading towards the third floor where the entrance to the kitchen was located. Stepping off the stairs to the third floor Neville looked up in surprise, "Harry! Brin!"
Harry stared at Neville blankly, "Hi Neville."
"I thought you were going to see Lydecker."
"We just came from there. He just wanted to ask if we wanted to take more of a teaching role in Defence."
"Ah, but we –" Neville was cut off by Luna slapping her hand across his mouth to stop him from talking.
"We were just going to the kitchen. Did you want to join us?"
Brin looked at them both, her eyes searching for something. "No thank you. We're not hungry. Have fun."
When the two were out of earshot Luna pulled her hand from Neville's mouth.
"What was that for?" He ground out, rubbing his sore mouth.
"We have to keep Harry safe."
"But we saw him go towards the dorm just minutes ago and –" He stopped when he saw Luna's eyes. They were the clearest he had ever seen them.
"Trust me. Do not mention this to anyone. Harry must've gone straight to Lydecker so he didn't get in trouble and that was him coming from his office, okay."
Neville just nodded. If Luna thought it was important than he wouldn't mention it. Besides she was probably right. Too bad his heart didn't believe him.
Az made his way up to the seventh floor as quickly as possible, avoiding as many people as possible. He didn't want or need a repeat of what happened in the entrance. Reaching the Fat Lady he said the password and rushed into the dorm room only shouting a quick hello to those who were in the common room. He dived under his bed and his hands searched for the floorboard he had ripped up in order to hide his valuable possessions. Finding what he was looking for he pulled it out and replaced the piece of wood. Slipping out, he carefully folded the piece of parchment and tucked in into the inside of his robes. He ran down the stairs once more and left before anyone could stop and talk to him. Flying through the portrait he didn't stop to hear the Fat Lady's protests of how youth today had no manners or respect. He didn't know why he rushed. Something felt wrong and he wanted to get out of the castle as soon as possible. The phone is his pocket vibrated and he pulled to a stop. Searching the fourth floor he checked to see if anybody was coming. When he saw no one he pulled it out and pressed answer. Something had to be wrong if Zack was calling.
"Az get out of there right now! Lydecker couldn't hold your twin or Brin any longer and they're walking around. If any one sees you, we're through."
"I know. I'll be out in a minute. I've got all the info we need. See you soon."
Az didn't wait to get an answer before he hung up. "Shit. Shit. Double shit. Why does this always have to happen to me?"
He knew there was no way he was going to be able to leave through the front entrance. It was too likely that someone would see both him and his twin in a short space of time or worse his twin or one of the reinforcements would see him. Focusing around him he checked if there were any signs of the transgenics watching over the place. A sigh of relief escaped his lips when he realised that not only had he not been seen by his twin or Brin on the way but that the corridor was free from people and transgenics alike.
"An hour and a half he said. That's the last time I trust that backstabbers promise."
He moved to the window next and checked the grounds. He was lucky that most people were in classes or other rooms at the moment studying. He jumped onto the window sill and readied himself to jump. He wasn't overly worried about the fall as he had landed from higher ones before. Thankfully cats always landed on their feet. Taking a breath he pushed himself out of the window. Air rushed around him as gravity took control and pushed him towards the ground. He pulled his body up so he would land correctly and not hurt himself. He landed with a thump, his knees only jarring slightly. He took one last look around to check no one had seen and blurred towards the forest. Happy that he had successfully completed his assignment without raising too much suspicion.
Draco noticed Potter before he saw him. Potter had a look of intense concentration on his face and after how he had been treating him lately Draco was loathe seeing him when no one else was around. Quickly seeing a room to his right he ducked into it. He kept the door slightly ajar in order to keep an eye on the corridor and placed a notice-me-not charm on it. He tensed when he heard Potter stop, scared that he had been noticed. However, when Potter started talking his eyebrows furrowed in confusion. He couldn't see anyone else in the corridor with Potter.
"I know. I'll be out in a minute. I've got all the info we need. See you soon."
Draco frowned as Harry pulled something away from his ear. It's looked like a muggle electronic thingy. However, Draco was sure they didn't work in Hogwarts. He wasn't sure what was going on.
"Shit. Shit. Double shit. Why does this always have to happen to me?"
Draco raised his eyebrows at that. He had never heard Potter swear like that before. More than that everything that Potter said was confusing and didn't seem to fit. He watched silently as Potter searched the corridor seemingly searching for something or someone. Content with his assessment he turned to the window and opened it, once again searching. Draco had a feeling he was checking that the coast was clear.
"An hour and a half he said. That's the last time I trust that backstabbers promise." Draco raised an eyebrow at that comment. Who was a backstabber? Why did he have an hour and a half?
He stifled a gasp when he saw Potter jump onto the window sill and jump out the window. He couldn't help himself as he ran out of the room and peered outside of the window. It wasn't that he cared whether Potter lived or died but there was some sick fascination in seeing his suicide attempt. But Potter didn't crash into the ground; he landed perfectly on his feet almost like a cat. Draco couldn't believe it, there was no way that Potter could've jumped and not hurt himself in the progress. He continued to watch as Potter ran away faster than he thought was possible. He turned his back to the window and slid down to the floor his hands rubbing his eyes. It had to be an illusion; there was no way that what he had just witnessed was real. He got up again and closed the window. He didn't like Potter and he didn't care what Potter did, so he was going to ignore the experience had ever happened. Besides if he ignored it, he could forget it and then in his mind it wouldn't have happened.
Harry and Brin filed into the Transfiguration classroom behind their classmates and the Slytherins took their usual seat at the back of the room.
"Now class, today we will be completing the next step in your animagus training. You have completed the animus revealo potion in Professor Snapes' class and today you will take it in order to see what your shape could be. Remember everyone has an animal but not many will have the power and the ability to transform into it. Please come up the front and grab your potion." Professor McGonagall informed the class. As they stood up and moved to the front of the room to grab their potions she waved her wand and banished the desks and chairs to the sides of the room.
"Once you have your potion please find a spare spot on the floor where there is enough room and take a seat. I will stand at the front of the class and note down everyone's animal when they are found. Everyone close your eyes. Ready, yes. You may now drink your potion."
Harry quickly downed the potion as soon as the Professor said he could. At first he didn't feel anything but soon noticed a presence in his mind and body, probing. Sweat broke out on his forehead as his nerves began to tingle become more and more painful. He could feel magic swirl around outside his body and in his mind's eye shapes started to form. First he saw a feline, its tail whipping about it dangerously in anger. It was soon followed by a shark, its jaws gnashing violently. It didn't stop there though and several other shapes took form behind them, none of them were clear though. The feline and the shark turned their heads towards him as if they could sense his presence in their domain. He screwed his eyes shut harder, the pain now tearing through his nerves with every breath. He felt the probe enter the space his consciousness was currently residing and the animals were bathed in light. The feline and shark charged at him and he moved into a fighting position. They were fast and were upon him before he realised what was happening. They jumped and he tensed ready to throw them off but he doubled over in pain as they passed into him. He felt like he was being ripped apart from the inside, as if the feline and the shark were trying to escape. He could feel his physical body twitch and shake in pain and couldn't help but let a whimper escape his lips. He should have known something would go wrong with the potion. It was designed to show a person's inner animal but in him the inner animal was a little more real and connected to his physical body than should be. The potion was trying to force his inner animal to project itself as an image around him but in order for his inner animal to escape it would have to remove itself from his body. White spots began creeping across his vision as he wrapped his arms around himself trying to lessen the pain. It soon became too much for him and he felt the potion come up as he vomited it out of his system before allowing himself to succumb to unconsciousness.
Brin knew something was wrong as soon as she downed the potion. She felt it course through her body trying to find something that wasn't there. Her magic had been given to her by a serum that Manticore had created. 485 had been lucky. His body already carried the genes necessary to do magic so all Manticore had to do was temporarily awaken them. Her body had no such genes and as such the serum she was given contained a fake set of genes that allowed her to use magic. But they could only take so much and her body was not equipped to have this type of magic flow through her. She could feel the potion searching her genes for her animal and was sucking up her magic in an attempt to enable her body enough power to reach them and use them. She could feel sweat drip down her face and her body tense in pain. She couldn't hold out much longer. Her mind's eye was filled with swirling magic pulling and tugging at her and a feline stepped out of the light. Other dark shapes moved behind trying to escape from the tornado of light. The feline ran towards her but stopped short. It sniffed her and pushed its nose closer as if testing something. Its nose touched her skin and Brin let out a cry of pain as the light faded and darkness took over her mind.
Professor McGonagall scanned the class as she waited for the first results to come through. Surprisingly Neville was one of the first ones to have his shape revealed. A golden Labrador materialised in front of him and sniffed him before touching his forehead and dissipating. Minerva smiled; the form fit the boy perfectly with his loyal manner. He opened his eyes and smiled widely.
"Come up here Mr Longbottom and grab a piece of chocolate while we wait for the others to finish. Congratulations on finding your form so fast."
"Thank you Professor."
Minerva returned to the class and was pleased to find several more students with apparitions of their animals in front of them. Ron was faced with a proud red fox who seemed content to run rings around him until Ron seemed to gain control in his mind and the small creature licked his hand and disappeared. Hermione had a look of intense concentration on her face as she tried to gain control of her form. A wolf was circling her body a few times before sitting in front of her and stared at her intently trying to judge her worthiness. Finally it snorted and shook its head, stepping up to the girl it curled up into her lap and vanished. Like the others Draco had his eyebrows knitted in confusion and concentration. He had let his proud facade fall and looked more vulnerable than anybody had ever seen him. His magic swirled in front of him constantly changing form as if it couldn't decide what best suited Draco. McGonagall frowned at this, the confusion his magic was showing was directly linked to who Draco knew and felt he was. Something was confusing the boy and he wasn't sure what or who he was and wanted to be. The struggle finally came to an end and the magic fell into a form. In front of Draco stood a stallion, proud and tall. It searched the room before lowering its head and nuzzled the boys neck dissipating as it did so. Motioning the students who had finished to the front of the room and towards the chocolate she scanned the rest of the room and let her eyes fall on Harry. She had been sure he would be one of the first to finish especially with such talented parents. Her brows knitted together. Harry's magic was swirling around him chaotically, sweat beaded on his face and he was shaking. His magic pulled close to him before yanking itself back again almost as if it was trying to rip his form out of his body. It was rapidly changing shapes, all of them were clear but they moved too fast to identify them. There were two that stuck out the most a feline of some sort and a shark. The magic split and the two forms looked at each other before combining into a human form and charging at Harry. As it moved towards him shadows of the feline and shark pulled away from the form and ran behind it. They ran and jumped at the boy entering him again. Harry snapped open his eyes and vomited on the floor before falling backwards unconscious. Ron, Hermione and Neville screamed his name before running towards him. A thump pulled McGonagall's eyes from the boy towards Brin who had also fainted.
"Mr Weasley and Miss Granger please take Mr Potter to the Hospital Wing. Mr Longbottom and Mr Malfoy please take Miss Stevens to the wing."
Draco and Neville looked towards Brin in surprise before moving to pick her up and follow Ron and Hermione to the Infirmary. McGonagall looked at her notes and crossed Brin's name off the list and placed a question mark next to Harry's. She had never seen anyone have the same reactions that those two had. She frowned. Odd. Very odd.
The Order quietened down as Dumbledore raised his hand. They were all curious as to why they had been called. They weren't scheduled to meet for another week.
"Thank you all for coming. I'm sure you're wondering why you have been called but there have been several incidents lately that need to be addressed as soon as possible. I get the feeling that things have been set in motion. Hogwarts has been tense lately; she can feel the storm brewing and knows that it will pour at her doors."
"What does that mean Albus? Is it You-Know-Who?" Molly asked worriedly.
"I'm afraid that I don't know. It's just a feeling but I am positive that it isn't Voldemort as Severus can contest to."
Everyone turned their heads towards Snape who just shook his head in agreement with Dumbledore.
"The Dark Lord is being very careful about handing out information about his plans but I can assure you that they will not come to fruition any time soon. He's planning something big and he doesn't want anything to go wrong."
"Thank you Severus. First, I would like Remus to talk."
Remus cleared his throat and began, "Tonks and I were patrolling Diagon Ally on the weekend and we came across two strange...people. They were teenagers and obviously should've been at school. One of them had short dark hair and was wearing dark glasses, while the other had lighter hair and blue eyes. The dark haired one didn't seem overly impressed by his companion; he was the one that caught my attention. He was staring at me and appeared to be extremely tense. When he noticed I saw him he quickly turned away and spoke to his friend.
I was receiving weird feelings from them. The werewolf in me is normally an alpha but I could feel him submit to these two teens. He knew they weren't a threat but he also knew they outranked him. At this point I wasn't sure if they were werewolves or not so I ignored the wolf and thought of them as a threat.
The light haired boy scoffed down the rest of the ice cream he was eating and grabbed his friend by his arm, claiming it was time to pick up some robes. I veered towards the boys and made sure I bumped into one of them, the dark haired one. He was very polite and moved on very quickly but it was enough for me to get their scents. They weren't werewolves but they weren't human either. I could smell power, danger and longing. They smelt familiar, one more than the other, like I've met him before. He smelt like...I can't put my hand on it but I felt like I knew him and knew he wasn't a threat.
We visited Madam Malkin's later that afternoon and asked if they had bought anything. She commented on what such lovely boys they were and informed us they had bought eight black hooded battle robes all in different measurements."
The room was silent; everyone wondering what two teenagers would need eight different sized battle robes for.
"Thank you Remus. I know we don't have much of a description of them but keep an eye out. If they're not human I want to know what they are and if they pose a threat to anyone. Now we have more news on Mr Potter. Minerva you first please."
"Today in class the sixth years took the animus revealo potion to reveal their inner animal –"
"I bet Harry was some kind of stag just like his father or maybe something majestic like a lion. He is in Gryffindor after all." Sirius put in.
"Do you mind Sirius, I'm trying to report," McGonagall said tersely enjoying the blush of embarrassment that crept across his cheeks.
"As I was saying before I was interrupted. An animal form will reveal itself even if a person does not have the ability to become an animagus. I've never seen anybody have such an adverse reaction to the potion once in my teaching career. In fact there shouldn't be an adverse reaction at all. To have two in one day is against the odds. It was Mr Potter and Miss Stevens. I don't know how to explain it. I didn't see Miss Stevens original reaction and only noticed something was wrong when I heard her faint. I was too busy watching Mr Potter, he appeared to be in a lot of pain. His magic could not decide what to land on and continued to change rapidly. There were two shapes that continuously came up though, a feline and a shark. They eventually settled into two separate forms before coming together into a humanoid shape. It moved towards the boy and the feline and shark separated from the main form and followed behind it. When they re-entered his body he vomited and fainted. He is still unconscious in the hospital wing."
Everyone turned to Sirius to see his reaction to the news. "Is he going to be okay?" He ground out.
Dumbledore answered for McGonnagall, "I do believe he will be."
Sirius just nodded his head in understanding, "I'm not going to be able to see him am I?"
"I'm sorry my boy."
"Just...what's next." Sirius managed to get out his knuckles white from clutching the tables edge.
"Finally I would like Severus to speak. First I must mention that I do not approve of his actions and I have already reprimanded him for it. So please do not interrupt him during his report or abuse him after the meeting. I will be severely disappointed in anyone that does so. Severus if you please."
"Last week I lost my patience with the boy's secrecy and decided to give him a detention. I got him to clean cauldrons and while he was busy with that I cast legilimens on him." Snape paused, his brows coming together as he tried to remember what he had seen.
"I – The memories are hazy. I was Potter, looking at a picture of Potter. While we were both Potter I knew we weren't the same as if...There were words as well, they flashed – "
DESERTER, COWARD, SNAKE, TRAITOR, PLAGUE, RAT, KILL. DESERTER, COWARD, SNAKE, TRAITOR, PLAGUE, RAT, KILL. DESERTER, COWARD, SNAKE, TRAITOR, PLAGUE, RAT, KILL.
Snape clutched his head in pain as the words ripped through his mind.
"Severus are you okay?" Dumbledore asked in worry.
Snape lifted his head and just looked at him blankly, "I'm fine Albus."
There was an awkward silence as everyone waited for Snape to continue but he seemed to be waiting for someone else to talk.
"Severus will you please continue your story."
Snape blinked, "What - ? I don't remember."
Sirius jumped up and hit the table and yelled, "First you violate his trust by going into his head and now you refuse to tell us what you saw. Tell me Snivillus, what did you see in Harry's head?"
DESERTER, COWARD, SNAKE, TRAITOR, PLAGUE, RAT, KILL.
"Deserter, coward, snake, traitor, plague, rat, kill." Snape murmured under his breath, head cocked to the side. He shook his head.
"I told you, you stupid mutt that I don't remember. If I did I would tell you. I was thrown from him mind after that anyway and I sent back to his common room."
Sirius huffed and stormed to the fire place and chucked in some floo powder before storming home.
"I'll go after him." Remus said warily, his eyes lying on Snape for a second longer before he left. He was sure he had been the only one to see Snape's eyes go blank and hear him mummer those words.
Dumbledore sighed in defeat, "That is all for tonight, I believe. Again thank you for coming."
No one said anything as they stood up and left. Everyone knew that Sirius had a temper but they had never seen him react so strongly before. He had been crazed. Something important had happened and no one knew what it was.
Sirius sat at the kitchen table nursing a bottle of fire whiskey. Remus had tried to lighten his mood after the Order meeting earlier in the morning but Sirius had heard what Snape had said and there was nothing that was going to make him happy.
"Deserter, coward, snake, traitor, plague, rat, kill. Reindocrination." He mumbled. Snape had seen a memory of Harry being reindoctrinated. No wonder he couldn't clearly remember what he had seen in Harry's head. In a way Snape had also received the same reindoctrination that he had viewed but to a much lesser extent. Sirius estimated that it might last a few weeks but no permanent damage would be done to Snape's mind.
Sirius jumped as he felt something buzz in his pocket. His heart began beating faster. There was only a handful of people who had his number and none of them he wanted to hear from. Pulling out his mobile he checked the caller ID. Amos White.
"Shit...Hello Amos. What do you want?"
"Hello to you too Sirius. I take it you're not too happy to hear from me."
"What do you think?" Sirius snapped back.
"I'm hurt, really I am, but I didn't call to have a heart to heart. I'm sure you've heard about the current situation here in America. Well, it's migrated to England and as the head of the clean up team I'm ordering you to exterminate any transgenics on sight."
"You can't make me do that!" Sirius hissed. "How do you know that I'm gonna meet any of them to begin with?"
"Because one of them is one of the original escapees and he was recently recaptured at Hogwarts."
Sirius was speechless, so if Harry wasn't Harry who was he. "I left because I wanted nothing more to do with you guys and I refuse to kill for you again because you have lost Sandeman's pets."
"Sirius you will do what we ask or you will regret it," Amos threatened.
"Is that a threat? Well, let me return the gift. I will not hunt any of those transgenics and if you dare try to hurt me or my godson I will not hesitate to kill you. Got that?"
"I'm disappointed in you Sirius. This was your chance to redeem yourself and you've given it up." Amos left it at that and hung up.
Sirius chucked the phone at the wall and watched on in pleasure as it broke. He had never been privy to a lot of what went on among the familiars but he like everyone had heard of Sandeman. Sandeman had turned rogue and created a new, unnatural version of the familiars without permission. What had taken them hundreds of years to breed into human genes was done in a fraction of the time. Admittedly he had not been happy about it either but he had been young and stupid and didn't want anybody else to take the position of superior species. But that had all changed when he had gone to Hogwarts and met James, Remus, Lily and even Peter. He found a side of life that moved passed racial superiority and by the end of his seventh year he had cut all ties not only from his family but from the familiars as well. He had tried so hard to forget about his past and that side of him that when it had waltzed back into his life as a baby he didn't recognise it or refused to. Now he had lost his godson, and he might never see him again. The person masquerading as Harry didn't count either. But some transgenics had made their way to England and there were very few who had the ability to or would want to do that. He hoped he was correct in his assumption that Harry was returning to them soon.
Remus stepped around the corner and leaned against the door arms crossed on his chest.
"Are you going to tell me about it?"
"He's coming back Remus. He's really coming back. He won't be the same and he might not be able to stay but he's coming back."
"Who is Sirius?" Remus asked confused, "And who are you going to kill?"
Sirius just smiled wanly and stood up. "You'll see. I would tell you but then I'd have to kill you." With that he picked up the pieces of his phone and walked out the door, leaving behind an even more confused Remus.
Lydecker wiped the sleep from his eyes and yawned. He had been sitting in the hospital wing ever since Harry and Brin had fallen unconscious in Transfiguration earlier that day. He was worried. No one knew what had happened or why and that's what worried him the most. The nurse had said that it wasn't serious and that there shouldn't be any lasting damage. But they weren't taking into account that the two teenagers lying unconscious in the beds weren't normal, by wizard or human standards. How the potion affected them could be a lot more serious than they realised. He had already given Brin another injection of what had been dubbed liquid magic. He had figured by the account of what had happened that the potion had needed more magic than Brin possessed and had taken all that she had had. Harry on the other hand he wasn't sure of. 483 was born to magic parents, his twins were just clones born to surrogates and as such the genes that had been isolated as those that allowed someone to use magic lay dormant. Manticore had managed to find a way to awaken the gene but only for short periods of time but it varied. He had the serum that would awaken the gene again but he couldn't administer it unless it had gone dormant again, the consequences would be undesirable to say the least.
Lydecker looked up as he heard the sheets on the bed rustle. Harry sat up and shook his head.
Lydecker sighed. The boys mind was a bit rattled but it shouldn't last too long he hoped. Either way as long as the charade held for another few days all would be good. He didn't believe that the conditioning could be broken that easily, it was after all the best and most advanced in the world.
"State your designation and current alias."
"X5-485...H-I cannot remember, sir."
"It's Harry Potter and don't worry about it. You were in an accident and your memories will be scrambled for a short while. If it has not corrected itself by the end of tomorrow I want you to tell me. Until then you are to stay in here and talk as little as possible. People are sure to get suspicious if you start acting like you don't know who you are."
"Pick up that wand on the side table and say lumos. If everything is okay it should light up." Lydecker ordered as he began prepping the magic serum, barely registering Harry saying the spell. He sighed when the wand stayed dormant. "Head down."
Harry lowered his head without complaint, sitting as still as a statue while Lydecker pushed the hair at the nape of his neck up, exposing his barcode. He felt a prick as Lydecker inserted the needle in the centre of his barcode and injected the serum.
"It'll take a short while for the serum to do its job, so don't try to perform any magic for at least an hour but for the rest of the day would be ideal."
Lydecker moved away from Harry knowing that the transgenic would do nothing and say nothing for the rest of the day. He leaned over Brin and checked her eyes, happy to see that she was awakening. Ten minutes later her eyes fluttered open and she slowly pushed herself into a sitting position.
"State your Designation and alias."
"Good soldier. How are your memories?"
Brin blinked stupidly, "They are a bit jumbled, Sir. Am I required to see PsyOps?"
"No," Lydecker answered. "They should right themselves soon enough but until then you are not to leave this room and talk as little as possible. If you are still having trouble by the end of tomorrow you are to come straight to me. Do you understand?"
"Good. I have work to do and some reports to write. Bye."
Neville shifted uncomfortably as the members of the DA slowly filtered into the room of requirement. He had asked Hermione to call the meeting for him as he was unable to set a time and date through his coin. She had been suspicious at first, especially when he asked if she could block the call to Harry's coin. It had taken awhile but he had eventually convinced her to do it, under the promise that he would explain it all to her after the meeting. So, he stood here now in front of all the members wondering what had possessed him to think about doing this. A feeling, a niggling feeling that had been eating at him for three days. It was coming and when it came everything was going to change. He shook his head to clear his thoughts. He wanted to think he was paranoid, that he was just making things up. But his instincts were telling him that Harry had something to do with this and lately where Harry was concerned anything could happen; including instant transportation within Hogwarts boundaries. Of course when he had asked Madam Pince for books of instant transportation all she could provide him with was information on apparition and that Hermione had informed him was impossible due to the wards. What he wanted, what he felt like he needed to do was to make sure the students, at least some of the students, could take charge and help the others if things went bad. That was why he had called the DA, he was going to make them ready, he was going to make sure that by the end of the meeting today they wouldn't be afraid to stand up and fight if need be. How, he wasn't sure. A cough by Hermione brought him out of his thoughts.
"W-Well, th-thank you, for coming at such sh-short notice," he said.
"Where's Harry?" Ginny asked.
"Well-" Neville was cut off as everyone else started asking questions about Harry and where he was and what was wrong with him and what had happened in Tranfiguration. Neville rubbed his temples as a headache started to form.
"Shut up and listen!" Neville smiled gratefully to Ron as he lowered his voice. "Neville called us here today, so if he doesn't want Harry here than it's his choice whether or not he tells us why. If he decides not to then don't hassle him and deal with it."
"Thanks Ron," Neville said as everyone grew quiet. "As I was saying I called you here today because – because something is about to happen. I don't know what, or why, or how. I just get this feeling. I just want you to be ready for it. Look I know you're used to listening to Harry but I just know that whatever is coming has to do with him." He took a breath and looked at their faces, knowing what they were thinking. "No, I don't think it involves You-Kno-Vo-Voldmort. I think it's something else. That's why I didn't invite him here. All of you have noticed that Harry hasn't been Harry lately and I don't know if we can trust him to tell us what is going on or if he knows anything about it. So, please trust me."
Silence followed Neville's speech before a cheer broke out and everyone followed in agreement.
"Tell us what to do!" Someone called out.
Neville smiled with confidence, "Well..."
Neville sat down after the meeting was finished exhausted. It had taken them most of the day but he was confident that everyone knew what they had to do if something did happen.
"Well done Neville, you did a good job," Hermione said beaming.
"It was all thanks to you guys. If you hadn't helped with all the planning I wouldn't have been able to do it."
They lapsed into a comfortable silence as they relaxed. Luna sat at the window humming a soft tune. It flowed over Neville, Hermione and Ron, filling their heads with words that weren't sung yet to them they were clear as day.
Ring around the castle, manticore comes a bounding. Cats leave the hide and live to fight for freedom in morning. Ring around the garden, manticore comes a hunting. Two are one and one are two when they meet as the moon is falling.
"Hey, Nev. You owe us an explanation."
Luna cut off suddenly as Hermione talked to Neville. "You're not meant to tell Neville."
"Sorry Luna but I have to. They're his friends as well and I promised if they helped with the DA."
Luna spun around and sat back down near the window humming her tune again but more aggressively. This time it hurt their ears refusing to let them know its secrets.
"Neville?" Hermione asked worriedly.
Neville sighed, "Yeah, right. Three days ago Luna and I ran into Harry in the entrance hall. I don't think he was all too happy to see us though. He was meant to be in a meeting with Lydecker and Brin but apparently he was running a little late and had forgotten something in the dorm. Funny thing is though he had also forgotten the password. He has never forgotten a password ever. Anyway he ran off pretty quickly after that. We left after that to get food from the kitchens and we bumped into him again, this time with Brin. He said they had got out of the meeting early but there was no way that was possible we had just seen him minutes ago. Luna, Luna made me promise not to tell anyone. That's when I began to get this feeling. Something is about to happen and everything is going to change."
No one could say anything after that. There was nothing to say. So they just sat there and mulled over their own thoughts, listening to Luna's song wishing that it would let them back in again.
Draco flopped down on his bed, running his hand through his hair and shuddered. What he had seen and done tonight was wrong. Ever since he could remember his father had been preaching to him about the importance of being a pure blood and how anyone less than a pure blood wizard was to be despised and hated. Half breeds and mudbloods did not belong in the wizarding world and only made it weak by spreading their impure blood. He had taken it all in and trusted everything his father had said. He had been a child and his dad was his hero, all he wanted to do was make him proud. Then he had started telling him about the Dark Lord and how he had had high aspirations for the wizarding world. Lucius had created an image of a just saviour who would save the wizarding world from itself and Draco had trusted him, placing the Dark Lord on a pedestal and making him an idol. When he had first seen Potter he had hated him. How dare he have killed his idol! But Draco had soon realised that if he could get Potter close to his side he could get him when he least expected it. He hadn't planned on Potter befriending the Weasels and turning down his bid for friendship. He put his anger into his father's training and quickly became competent at the dark arts.
It wasn't until the end of fourth year that things began to change. The return of the Dark Lord had signalled changes within the Malfoy household. Lucius would often come home late at night spattered with blood and other nights he would return looking half dead. When Draco had questioned him about this, Lucius had replied that those who could not follow the Dark Lord's orders deserved to be punished. Draco hadn't liked this but he dutifully kept his mouth shut. The situation began getting worse as the years went on and his father continued to tailor him to be a Death Eather. Draco had begun to wonder what kind of leader the Dark Lord was if he punished his followers for any slight transgression. Not to mention that as purebloods they shouldn't have had to put up with it.
Draco's first meeting with the Dark Lord had been the clincher. There was no way he was going bow down to anyone, even the self-proclaimed Dark Lord. It went against everything his father had taught him, and yet Lucius bowed before him like some pitiful, powerless mudblood. So Draco made a promise to never place himself at someone else's mercy, to have to bow before them. He had hoped he would have more time to figure out how he was going to get out of this mess. But things had been accelerated tonight when he had been forced to help torture and watch the murder of a family of mudbloods. It was meant to be an initiation of sorts, so that the Dark Lord knew he was worthy of carrying his mark. Draco had only found himself feeling sick. As much as ne didn't like mudbloods, he didn't want to kill them.
Draco took a breath and shifted to lay on his side. He would just have to resign himself to being the Dark Lords' servant. There was no other option he could see. Yes, he could go to Dumbledore but then he would be indebted to the old coot. He sighed and let his eyes drift shut as he fell asleep. He would make a decision by the weekend's end, either way he was a wanted man.
Az landed on his feet as he jumped down the last few boulders of the mountain overlooking Hogwarts and Hogsmade. He and his siblings had set up camp in a cave, the same cave that Sirius had hidden in during Az's third and fourth years. Az had found markings on the wall where Sirius had counted the days. There were even old chicken bones and editions of the Prophet; the back wall had stories and photos of Az stuck to it. There had been another page, separated from the others, it was the article about the Weasleys using their winnings to go to Egypt. The picture of the family was covered with marks pointing at Scabbers the rat, proclaiming that it was Pettigrew and that he had to die. Az had pulled down the pages and hid them in his bag knowing that if he took the time to read through them properly he would get nostalgic and wouldn't be able to leave his old life, his old friends behind.
Az dropped the plastic bag he was holding and knelt down. The bag crinkled loudly in his ears as he finetuned his hearing so that no one could come up behind him unawares. His hands clamped down on a small cardboard box and he pulled it out. Az scrunched his nose in disgust, he hated contact lenses. He hated covering the one feature that was identifiable as Lily Evens-Potter, that between all the DNA manipulations he was still a real person, with a real family. Peeling back the covering he slid the lens out of the solution and placed it in his eyes, blinking to move them into the correct position. He blinked again as he placed the second lens in. Pulling out a mirror and foundation case, he made sure his eyes were completely blue before covering his scar with the concealer. Finally he pulled out a simple black robe and, a blue and silver scarf. While the chill wind didn't faze him, the robe and scarf identified him as a Hogwarts student. Hopefully no one looked closely enough to realise they didn't recognise the mysterious Ravenclaw student.
Az slid the bag behind a rock and stood up. Looking up he focused on the area around the cave. Like he suspected he could see no trace of a living being. It also meant that Zack had yet to notice that he had slipped away. The leader had gone security nazi on the group after Az's last recon mission to the castle a few days ago and had forbidden any of them to leave the hideout except for watch duty. He had managed to get the Saturday day shift, it seemed that even transgenics didn't like to work weekends, at least those who had lived free didn't. Furthermore, he had been lucky enough to be paired with Alec. His blasé nature had allowed Az to leave his post with the promise that he would cover for him. Az looked at his watch; an hour had passed since he had left his post. He estimated he had at least another two hours before someone else found out he had slipped away. He lifted his hand and moved to comb his hand though his hair. His hand stopped as it was met with a close crop rather than his usual messy mop. He sighed and clenched his fists at his sides in frustration both from that annoying ordinary habit he couldn't seem to kick and that he had forgotten the impromptu cut he had given himself earlier for his disguise. Lucky for him it would be grown out by tomorrow morning. Pulling himself out of his reverie Az took a deep breath and entered Hogsmade.
Az strode confidently through Hogsmade, scanning the crowd as he went. He knew there would be no transgenics patrolling the town. He had finally swallowed his pride and contacted Lydecker who had promised him that he would keep them occupied for the day. Not that Az completely trusted him after the screw up at Hogwarts the other day that almost ended with him running into his twin. He couldn't shake the feeling that he was an outsider looking in as he watched the students in the street laughing and talking loudly, none of them glanced at him twice or greeted him. In a way it saddened him, but he had always known once Manticore entered his life again he wouldn't be able to return to the life of Harry Potter, Boy-Who-Lived. He chuckled darkly at that thought causing those near him to glare at him suspiciously. He hadn't even been normal in the wizarding world but he had found some sense of normality, friends, family. That was why he mused he could never slip back into it and act as if nothing happened. Harry Potter for the most part had been a lie, a facade to hide who he really was, the loathing he had felt for what he was. But that part of his life would always be a part of him and the people who he cared for would always be a part of his life, no matter how things turned out.
Az came to a stop in front of the Three Broomsticks and entered. He cringed slightly as his ears were assaulted by the heightened sounds of students and glassware. He switched hearing, his shoulders sagging in relief as the sound dimmed. Reaching the bar he bought a Butterbeer and took a seat in the corner of the room where he could see everyone in the room and anyone entering or leaving the bar. He took a sip of the drink and scanned the crowd, his eyes lingering on a table in the centre of the room. Ron and Hermione sat at it, accompanied by Ginny, Neville and Luna. A sad smile appeared at the sight of his two best friends, which he hadn't seen for months. He was glad they were happily talking and laughing, he hoped he could join them again someday. Az's face quickly turned to a scowl and he growled as an unsuspecting third year Hufflepuff stepping in front of him.
The Hufflepuff yelped in fright at the hostility suddenly aimed at them and quickly moved out of Az's way. Az cussed violently earning a few nasty glares from some older patrons sitting nearby. He only glared back at them. He knew he could cuss like a sailor; it's what happened when you grew up around soldiers and scientists. He stood up quickly and pushed thru the crowd to get to the door. The brief distraction had allowed his target to disappear and if Az didn't find them then the whole trip would be for nothing.
Az backed up as he spotted a flash of blonde hair among a throng of people five feet in front of him. Focusing on the person he identified it as his target: Draco Malfoy. Az tailed the Slytherin until he came to a stop at the fence surrounding the Shrieking Shack. The blonde leaned against the fence, letting his barriers fall in the solidarity of the moment. Az double checked the surroundings to make sure no one would see what was about to happen; thankfully everyone avoided going near the shack. When Az was sure there was no one around he made his way towards Draco, coming up behind the boy to avoid detection.
"Sorry, this is gonna hurt a little," he breathed out quietly before pinching a nerve in Draco's neck, knocking him out cold. Catching the boy as he fell, Az easily lifted him over his shoulder and jumped the fence making his way towards the shack.
Draco groaned as he begun to regain consciousness, thankful his eyes were met with semi-darkness. He lifted himself up from the mattress only to drop back down from the stiffness in his neck. He startled. Where was he? The last thing he remembered was staring out to the Shrieking Shack, a pain in his neck and then...nothing, he was waking up here, wherever here was. At least he knew he hadn't been taken by Death Eaters, they wouldn't have put him on a mattress, no matter how lumpy. He tried lifting himself up again, only to fail once more.
"I wouldn't try that just yet. Rub your neck, it should loosen up the muscle and alleviate the soreness a little."
Draco knitted his eyebrows together at the familiar voice, for some reason he couldn't remember who it belonged to. Not having any other option he followed the voices instructions. As soon as his fingers began kneading the sore spot on his neck he felt the ache ebb way. He tried to sit up once more, discovering he was now able to hold himself up.
"Sorry 'bout that, I got you a bit harder than I'd planned. You wanna drink?" The stranger held up a bottle of Butterbeer, "I hope you don't mind but I left to get a few while you were out of it."
Draco shook his head in response.
"Good, because I don't give a damn either way."
Draco stared at the boy in front of him; he was sitting casually on the window sill sipping a Butterbeer, he was clad in a pair of baggy jeans and a tight fitting grey t-shirt, a black robe and Ravenclaw scarf lay draped over a chair. Draco let out a breath of relief, the boy wasn't exactly the Death Eater type.
"Where am I?" Draco croaked out.
The stranger gave a short laugh and turned to look at him in the eyes, "What, don't you recognise this place? You're lying in a bed in the Shrieking Shack Malfoy."
Draco frowned at that. The boy knew his name, but he was sure he had never seen the blue eyed Ravenclaw before. His eyes widened as his brain caught up with him, the boy had an American accent. The only people on Hogwarts with that accent was Stevens and Lydecker. "Who are you?" He asked huskily, his Quidditch reflexes the only thing that managed to stop a bottle of Butterbeer from hitting him in the head.
"Drink," the stranger said. "I would've been disappointed if you had managed to figure out who I was. I did get trained by the best after all. Give me a minute."
Draco watched as the boy moved, cringing as he stuck his fingers into his eyes and pinched. He placed whatever he pulled out into a small container he took out of his pocket. He then grabbed a tissue and rubbed his forehead.
"Recognise me now blondie?"
Draco narrowed his eyes at the strangers change in appearance and accent. He felt stupid for not recognising who it was sooner, after all a change in accent, eye colour and hair style hardly changed his appearance.
"Yo, Malfoy, don't dwell on it too much, I am after all one of the best in the world."
"Potter. What have you done!"
"Tsk tsk Malfoy, I didn't think it was becoming of a pureblood to lose his temper." Az moved forward a smirk on his lips, it quickly faded as he watched Malfoy flinch back slightly in fright. "He's done a right old job on you hasn't he. Ha, who would've guessed I would actually want to thank the bastard for something."
"What-Who are you talking about, Potter?"
"Just an acquaintance..."
"So why the change and deception? Did you do something to get grounded by that girlfriend of yours?" Draco sneered and watched the boys face darken.
"Don't worry my hair'll be back before you know it and I won't remember a thing. You could say that the disguise was to avoid detection from her...among others. Enough about me, the reason I'm here is because of you. I know we haven't exactly been chummy in the past but I do know you don't want to be a DE."
Draco stiffened, "How do you know I'm not already one, just waiting for the chance to kill you."
Az tapped the scar on his forehead, "I know because this let me see the whole fiasco that happened two nights ago, besides an AK wouldn't do you much good unless you wanted to tickle me to death."
Draco opened his mouth to retort.
"I'm not saying you couldn't do it or the attempt would be so pitiful it was laughable, it just wouldn't work...it's the same reason I can't use a glamour." Az shrugged matter-of-factly. "Anyway, the clock's moving forward and I'm running out of time. What are you going to do about it? Tommy Boy that is."
Draco looked at him blankly mouth slightly ajar.
Az sighed, "Close your mouth. What are you going to do about You-Bloody-Know-Who?"
"I'm not sure."
"Well," Az began as he sat down and picked up the Butterbeer he had left on the sill." You've got three options as far as I can see. The first is out of the question as you've already shown you don't want to take the Dark Mark. The second option is only slightly better and one I'm sure you want to avoid as much as possible. Going to Dumbledore about this probably won't put you in a spot you want to be in, so that's out. Finally, your best option lies with me. No matter what you think you know about my allegiance, I am the Swiss, neutral. With me you get some of the best protection around and best of all there are no strings attached, no hidden agendas. A you help me and I help you kind of alliance. What's it to be Draco A, B or C?"
Draco raised an eyebrow, "You just called me by my first name?"
Az shrugged, "If we're to become friends than I should call you by your first name. Besides I'm not playing the part of Golden Boy now am I? I don't care what house you're in or who your family is."
"How do I know I can trust you? Everyone knows you've changed this year but not why. How did you jump out of a fourth floor corridor window last week and not die?"
Az stiffened, "You saw that did you?" He sighed as Draco nodded. "And here I thought I had done a half decent job of not getting caught. First Neville and Luna, then you. I really have lost my touch. Have you told anyone?" Draco shook his head in a negative. "Good. Look I can't tell you what has been happening or why but you will find out soon enough. I swear to you that my offer stands good. Protection, no strings, the works. I will not break it. So, what's your choice?"
Draco stared at the boy in front of him, thinking about his choice. Po-Harry had been right, there was no way he wanted to take the Dark Mark but Dumbledore was also a manipulative old fool. It helped that for once he was not scared of Harry. Yes he gave off a dangerous aura but Draco knew it was not aimed at him. The Dark Lord didn't stand a chance against the boy in front of him. He'd made his choice but...
"Why? Why me? Why do you want us to become allies?"
Az smirked, "Because I can recognise power when I see it. You're full of potential Draco and I want that on my side. I also need someone on the inside that I can trust and for some reason you're it. I know you'll give it to me straight up and you won't go gossiping."
Draco nodded, "I choose to side with you Harry."
Az smiled, "Good, good. First I have a favour to ask," he handed Draco a piece of paper. "I need you to make sure everyone is at dinner that day. Anyone not in the hall...well, let's just say they don't want to be roaming the halls. Next, onto the last bit of business." Az handed the blonde a galleon and a mobile. "I know you don't know how to use the phone but just to make it easy to call me just press the button with the green phone on it. It's to keep in contact with me. However, you are not to use it unless for an emergency. I want you to give me a call when the time and date on that coin changes, so don't spend it and keep it on you at all times. Don't worry about magical interference as it has been taken care of. I know it sounds weird getting you to call me when we could just meet but I need you to promise that under no circumstances will you talk to me. A, I won't remember this conversation, B, I won't exactly be myself and C, it would put a lot of people in jeopardy."
"Thank you Harry," Draco said putting the items in his pocket.
"No probs Dra-," Az stopped halfway through as his phone vibrated in his pocket. Pulling it out he checked caller ID. "So nazi boy, finally noticed I was missing." He answered, "Yeah Zack..." Az winced as the voice from the other end yelled at him. "Yeah yeah I know, I'm a bad boy, blah blah, can't follow orders, blah blah, putting everyone in danger, yadda yadda. Look can we do this after I get back? Bye"
Az ended the call and looked over to Draco who was looking at him curiously.
"Well, that was his highness so I better get going before he decides to drag me back by the ear. Will you be ok?"
"Yeah, I'll be fine. I guess you're not going to tell me who the person on the other end was?"
Az smiled and rummaged through his pockets for his lenses and concealer. "No can do sorry, but you'll find out soon enough I'm sure." Throwing on his robe and scarf Az moved to jump out the window. "Remember don't talk to me in school. By the way be careful on your way down, the fifth step is unstable. Gotta blaze."
Draco ran to the window and watched as Az ran towards Hogsmade. He could feel a headache forming from the amount of information he had received. He knew there was something he should have picked up on but for the life of him he couldn't work it out.
"Does he not know how to use a door anymore?" He whispered in disbelief.
Az returned to the hideout to find Alec leaning against the entrance wall.
Alec whistled "Boss boy is not happy with you."
"Tell me something I don't know," Az retorted.
Alec just shrugged and followed him into the cave, the sound of the others talking echoed down the tunnel. So much for laying low. They entered the main cavern, their return bringing instant silence. When the occupants were sure they were not in danger they continued with what they had been doing; watching Jondy model and twirl about in the robes they had bought from Diagon Alley.
"How do I look Az?" She asked.
"Like a murdering psychopath," Jondy laughed and gave one last twirl before taking off the disguise.
Az looked towards Zack who was giving him a piercing stare. "Look Zack, I'm not going to apologise for what I did. Besides I checked that no transgenics were in the area and no one recognised me. No harm done."
Zack frowned, "It was stupid. You risked all our lives by doing what you did, but I'm not your jailer and as you said no harm done."
Az smirked, "Max told you to say that didn't she. Going soft in your old age are you?"
"Damn right I told him," Max said smacking the back of his head. "It's your past we're messing with here so if you wanna jeopardise that, than that's your choice."
Zack coughed, drawing everyone's attention from the current conversation. "Now that everyone's here we need to discuss how this is gonna go down." He pulled up a map and begun pointing at it. "According to Az's magic map we know transgenics are stationed in these three locations with a fourth stationed here during meal times. I think we're all agreed on taking out our twins?" After a nod from everyone he continued, "Az, you know where you'll attack, Alec will be with you to take out Brin. Max will be close by dealing with our clones and Lydecker. Jondy and Syl, you'll go to the left and meet your clones here. Zane and Krit, you'll head right towards this point. Try to keep up the disguises because that will be one of the easiest ways to tell ourselves apart, when you meet up with the others state your name and designation, and your secret word. We all clear? Good, now we train."
Draco startled at the feeling of something heating up in his pocket. He scanned the class, seeing that they were engrossed in their arithmacy exercises he pulled out the object. He cocked an eyebrow when he found the coin Harry had given to him. He had kept his promise and had stayed away from him, which was easier than expected as the boy had been acting even stranger lately. Harry would zone out at times and come back forgetting who and where he was.
"Professor Hector, may I go? I'm not feeling too good."
"Yes you may Mr Malfoy. Before you go remember complete the chapter for homework."
Draco nodded and slung his bag over his shoulder, exiting the classroom.
Draco sat on his bed in the sixth year Slytherin boys' dormitory staring at the phone in his hands. He had learnt about them in Muggle Studies but had never seen a real one. Harry told him that it would work, which went against everything that he knew and had learnt; elektrisity was not able to work at Hogwarts due to the saturation of magic. How had Harry managed to get it to work? Not even some of the wizarding world's greatest minds had been able to find a way around it. Draco mused, either Harry was bloody brilliant or he had been extremely lucky...or he had found out from someone else. Draco sighed, there was no point putting off what he and to do. He flipped open the phone and pressed dial.
Draco frowned confused, "Umm Harry, I can't hit you, you are nowhere near me..."
Az sighed on the other end, "I meant what's the DL, you know why are you calling."
"Ah-Oh right," Draco stopped at the sound of voices in the background asking someone called Az who he was talking to. Harry yelled at the other end telling them not too kindly to shut up.
"Sorry about that Draco."
"Who is Az?" Draco questioned.
Harry was silent for a few seconds, "Just someone from my past. Look, I'm kinda busy, what is it you're after?"
"You told me to call you when the coin changed."
"Right, I didn't expect it would change for another few days. Anyway, an hour after the time on the coin changes go to the fifth floor corridor. Half way down stop and think about Neville, Hermione, Ron and Luna. Don't talk! A door will appear, enter it and they should be on the other side. I know you don't like them but they will be able to get you into contact with someone who can help you when I can't."
Draco was annoyed, "Who is it that they can get to help me?"
Draco breathed deeply, he entered this alliance with Harry willingly, no matter how much he hated them he would trust him. "Okay, I will. Anything else?"
"Yes. Get them to help you have everyone in the Great Hall on the date on that piece of paper."
"What's going to happen Harry?"
Draco could hear laughter from the other end of the line, reminding him of the evil conspiratory laughs of the evil villains from those old muggle films. He shook his head; he had been spending far too much time in Muggle Studies. "Harry?"
"Just know that Hogwarts will never be the same again...Bye Draco." Draco closed the phone and shivered. Harry's voice has scared him; the way that he had said that Hogwarts will never be the same, well, Draco believed every word he said and he felt sorry for whoever was at the receiving end of those laughs.
Draco stopped in front of the spot where Harry had said that the Room of Requirement would appear. He had followed the instructions by walking in front of the wall three times thinking of Harry's friends but still nothing had appeared. He was staring to get tired of waiting and allowed a gasp to escape when a door materialised in front of him. He hesitated before pushing open the door a little and peering inside. On the floor he could see Weasley, Granger and Longbottom, while the Lovegood girl sat on the window humming. The noise washed over him and he closed his eyes as it turned into words.
Wee little kitty cat, runs through the grounds, upstairs downstairs fighting himself, don't try to stop him, fighting for his freedom, Hide little children in your beds? For witching hour comes
"Malfoy!" Draco snapped his eyes open and plastered a glare on his face. The song had stopped as soon as Weasley opened his mouth.
"What are you doing here Malfoy? What do you want?"
Malfoy opened the door and stepped in closing it behind him. "Believe me Weasley I wouldn't talk to you if I didn't have to but we have a mutual friend who said you could help me."
"Harry sent you for the grim didn't he?" Luna said still staring out the window. "If Harry sent you, then we'll help."
"What? Yes. No. H-How did you know Harry sent me? There was definitely no grim involved in the deal." Draco said.
"The clouds told me and they definitely tell me he said to send you to the grim. I'm sure Mr Black will be happy to help if he knows Harry sent you."
"O-k. Like I said Potter sent me to get help from you. He said that you'll be able to get me into contact with Sirus Black who would be able to help me."
Weasley looked furious, "He told you that did you? Why would Harry tell a dirty Death Eater like you that we would help?"
"Because I'm not a Death Eater and I don't want to be one!" Draco yelled back before he looked away in anger at having spilled his secret to them.
"We'll help," Luna quipped in. "Besides Harry will want to remember again won't he."
The others in the room looked at her blankly.
"I suppose he doesn't want the other to find out about this so no telling Harry about Harry's plan," Luna giggled. "It would ruin the fun and mean that Harry can never be Harry again."
Draco blinked, "Yeah, what she said."
"I'm not sure what just happened here but if Harry told you to come to us and if Luna agrees...then I guess we have no choice but to help you." Hermione said tentatively.
"I'm with Hermione. That and Luna can be damn scary when we don't do as she tells us to." Neville agreed.
Ron still looked angry and was refusing to look away; he finally snapped his head to the side, "Fine."
Hermione stepped forward and handed Draco a piece of paper she had just written on. "Here is how to get into contact with Sirius."
Draco gritted his teeth, "Thank you Her-Granger. There was one more thing," Draco pulled out the piece of paper Harry had given him. "Harry wants us to make sure everyone is in the Great Hall on that date for dinner. He said anyone not there will be in danger but I have no idea what for."
Luna giggled again, "fun, fun, fun, freedom."
"Sure we'll help you with it. I don't need to tell you that if you betray us you will regret it," Hermione threatened.
"I know." Draco turned around and begun to leave. "Harry said no one was to talk to him about ir because he won't remember and it'll put people in danger. So don't go running to him, asking if I can be trusted or not, ok." With that he walked out to wait for his next set of instructions.
Az took one final look at himself in the mirror and sighed. He was nervous. It was time to show the world who he was and to blow Manticore out of the shadows of the closet. No more would they be the world's dirty secret, no more would that clone of his masquerade as him anymore.
"You ready Az?" Max asked coming up behind him and placing a hand on his shoulder.
"I will be." Az ruffled his hair and moved his fringe away from his forehead, bearing his scar.
"Let's go." He spun around and headed to the head of the cave. He didn't stop to look to see if anyone else was following as he exited and begun jumping down the mountain. He stopped at the base and waited at the rest landed before he jumped onto the roof of the nearest Hogsmade house and ran across the rooves. Az could feel his heart pounding and the adrenaline course though his veins. He lived for the hunt and tonight he would hunt and come out the victor. A feral grin formed across his face. The sun was beginning to set and if everything was going as planned everyone would be down in the Great Hall having tea right now. The rooftops came to the end but Az's rhythm didn't change. He landed on the ground and blurred.
The scenery went past without Az really seeing it. It was bad of him to do it but he knew the others would alert him if any danger appeared. He couldn't get his mind off what was about to happen. The shit was about to hit the fan, big time. He smirked; the wizarding world wouldn't know what hit them. And best of all he didn't have to play golden boy anymore and Sirius could finally be free. Az pulled to a stop in front of the entrance to Hogwarts, staring up for what he knew to be the last time at its wooden door and stone gargoyles. Those creepy little stone imps still gave him the creeps, he was almost positive that Dumbledore used them as sentries and if that was the case...He turned to the others and made quick gestures with his hands, all replied positively. He pulled the hood up on his cloak, hearing the rustles of the others doing the same. Az pushed open the door as quietly as possible as moved in, the others following behind just as silently. When all of them were inside they quickly moved into formation.
"Let's do this," Az whispered knowing that all the others heard. He brought his foot up and kicked the door to the Great Hall, enjoying the slamming noise it made. He moved the forward into the hall. The screaming started.