Disclaimer: You know the drill by now
AN: Holy tap dancing hell guys, I have no idea how 3 years passed without me updating. I have received so much support from you over all this time. I am just so damn sorry it took me this long to pull my head out of the clouds.
Thank you. Just thank you, everyone. There isn't much more for me to say. You guys are awesome.
I have about 3 or 4 more chapters planned out, hopefully I'll have them up before the end of December now that I have a direction and general ideological set path to follow. Hopefully after 20 pieces of crumpled up paper I am done changing the story line!
True story here: I wrote this chapter 3 times. The first two were hand written and I lost the notebooks that I wrote in, so this is # 3!
"The resounding crack of that many people at once woke nearly the entire complex, except our favorite trio. Thank gods for silencing wards."
It had nearly been 2 months of peace that the dark had never experienced before. Neither side had any plans of attack in the near future.
Minus the disobedient Death Eater "wanna be's" who thought they were helping, but had never been initiated so did not know of the "temporary peace". It was an unforeseen period of rest, and everyone was taking advantage of it.
Zion managed to find himself lounging in the sun in "their" room. The only time they were ever disturbed was by the wayward servants of some insane dark lord.
Oh, wait, Voldemort live in this house, didn't he… Hmm? Well, at least they learned to mind their manners and knock on the door first and wait for the big cat to grant them entry.
A quiet knock on the door managed to catch his attention. Ears twitching in anticipation he wondered who would dare bother his sun bathing hour?
His humans had long been up and gone from the room, so maybe a missive for him to come to wherever they were located? He wondered if it was another idiot trying to provoke him. What would the person on the other side of the door do if he decided to go back to "sleep"? They were becoming a bit more creative each time. He had yet to lose a round of "servant versus cat". The last one had tried setting his tail on fire with a time release spell so he wouldn't be in the room to get him to move…
Lost in his musings about silly humans and their even sillier servants who needed better manners, he missed Tom sneaking into the room. It wasn't until the human had crouched down and was right in front of the cat's face and poking his nose to get his attention did the feline come back down to earth.
Trying to dodge the approaching finger that was returning for another go at his nose, he overstretched and slipped off the ledge he had been oh-so-busy lounging on and landed on his side on the floor with a hefty "thud". The entire motion took 5 seconds, but it felt like so much longer as he kept eye contact with Tom through the whole fall.
Snickering at the black furball's surprised look, Tom received a doleful glare and a big paw right in the face causing him to fall over himself. The feline sent him a look that showed he was silently laughing at the mans ruffle appearance from falling backwards.
Both now situated on the floor and equally embarrassed, Tom tried to regain his bearings. Clearing his throat, Tom put on his most imposing Lucius-like drawl before asking "My friend, we are having a late lunch and wanted to know if you wished to join us?" Barely keeping the laughter out of his voice. He could never imitate the blonde aristocrat without making fun of the stuck up man in some way. It went without mention that the 'us' was referring to their usually group of three.
Nodding, Zion stretched before he began nudging Tom up from the floor. They both shared a small silent laugh as Zion's stomach began to growl in anticipation of food.
The hallways were still just as confusing to Zion as when he had first arrived. It became a point that Sev or Tom would always accompany him to anywhere other than the library as the leopard would always manage to get lost.
It didn't take long into their impromptu stay at Riddle Mansion for the cat to become thoroughly engrossed in mapping out every inch of the library. And to his delight, there were Parseltongue markings in addition to the "human" so he could find his way about.
They had all found it curious, he could read the language of serpents, but not English. After a run of trial-and-error Sev and Zion picked up that it must be because information was "downloaded" to the brain when you encounter human-to-animal transformations. How else do you explain the natural animal instincts that tend to take over the human half from time to time? Most animals may be smart, but they don't have a human brain to process the difference of types of writing and colors.
A small terrace was located on the second story of the library on an offshoot of an office type area. It was charmed to be wonderfully warm ( a perfect 80*) and summer-like, with a bright blue cloudless sky and a very slight breeze no matter what the true conditions were outside at any given season.
It was Zion's favorite place to relax in the entire house. The weather was nice, but his reasoning was mostly because his humans chose it as their preferred location for lunch. It was rare for either to miss a chance to just relax in each others company. They would just sit and have a light lunch. A place without pressure, where they could bask in another persons presence without the day-to-day expectations.
So it was a rather rude surprise to finally reach the top of the elegant spiral stair to the top floor and almost be barreled over by Draco Malfoy. The boy was able to stop at the last minute, buy tripping over his own feet to not run into them, he instead landed in an undignified heap in front of them.
"My lord! It's horrible, I bring devastating news!" The boy gasped. His normal pale complexion was rosy with the obvious exertion of running about for a good while. He must have been searching for Tom for a good 20 minutes as the poor boy was shaking with adrenaline to run from one end of the house to the other.
"Well, get up, lets go and sort you out. Your father will have my head if he finds out you have been running about like a 5 year old searching for me. Whatever happened to Malfoy etiquette?" Tom grimaced, not looking forward to the elder Malfoy's rants of how the boy should act in front of their lord. It had happened on a few occasions, and he was not looking forward to hearing it now. Especially since they had yet to make it to lunch.
"T-th-there's, there is no time!" The boy was practically tripping over himself to get the words out. "The Order of the Pheonix is on it's way HERE. They know the location of your home and are preparing to come through the floo as we speak!" The words were like a lead anvil of tension dropped in the room. Tom froze in mid-step, you could see his mind whirling a thousand miles a minute on what needed to be done.
"All right then, it was only a mater of time. All the spies we ratted out, one of them was sure to spill our location. I wish we would have just eliminated them all, but Sev thought it was a gesture of "goodwill" to allow some of the more trust-worthy ones to continue breathing." His frown was back ten-fold. His words meticulous and planned so not a second was spared. "It was obvious I am being made a fool of."
"But sir, it wasn't any of them!" Draco was fidgeting anxiously, he was speaking, but then shying away from the attention he drew to himself. "Dumbledore cornered me at the school, he destroyed my shields and took the location from my mind. I tried, I really tried to get away, but he was just too fast!" The young man was out of breath and looked like a convicted felon on his was to be "kissed". He was avoiding eye contact like Tom would condemn him then and there for being weaker then Dumbledore.
They had less than 30 minutes before they house would be completely swarmed by Auror's and Order members.
"Thank you Draco, for being honest. But you must know something." He reached for the blonde and placed a hand under his chin and made the boy look at him. "This was NOT your fault. Don't ever think that." With those words he cast a sonorous and yelled that the house was under imminent threat, the Order had found them, everyone needed to grab what they could and "Get out of my god damn house!" in 10 minutes or less.
Draco took off like a bullet as soon as the spell was de-activated. Tom spoke a handful of words that sounded like nonsense and the library was emptied. All that was left was his rooms. Everything else in the house was replaceable or guarded by hexes and booby-traps no one but Tom could by-pass as they required blood.
The return trip down the halls was nothing like the leisurely stroll they had earlier. A race against the clock and certain death if they were caught.
Finally reaching his room, Tom motioned for Zion to "stay put" as the leopard had not been keyed into his rooms wards. The heavy oak double doors creaked open just enough for the man to squeeze through before shutting. The black cat paced in the hallway, wishing to know if Sev was safe, but not wanting to wander off in case he got lost and would be found by the wrong company.
Not two minutes later, to door swung open and Tom came out. Not saying a word, he took off at a fast pace dash down the hall. The feline hot on his heels.
They made it in record time to the main hall. A small crowd of 10 people were left waiting by the fireplace. A green tinge to the flames indicating one more had left. They were fidgeting anxiously, waiting for the flames to clear for the next person to go through. They had approximately 5 minutes left.
The manor was empty of everyone but Tom and Zion when the Order broke through the wards. It was like a sonic-boom in a glass house. Not something you could ignore. He had just waved the last person through the floo and was waiting for it to clear for them to make their escape.
A loud shout could be heard on the other side of the main entrance though the doors before they imploded, both took advantage of the cloud of dust to take cover.
They hid behind the fireplace (which managed to still be structurally intact) when the volley of spells exploded into the hall. 'Gee, what idiots, they can't see, but they still shoot off spells like there is an army waiting to attack them from the other side of the menacing dust cloud' Tom thought. He considered sharing his bit of amusement with his furry companion, buy the cat was not next to him like he expected.
Whirling around, he couldn't see much through the dust and 'lazar show' of spells flying about. But there! A cat shaped shadow, dead center of the floor. What was he thinking!
The shadow was coming back towards him. It looked like Zion was carrying something in his mouth? As he drew nearer it looked like…a pot? The floo powder!
Taking a big chance, Tom ducked out from his hiding place and ran to the cat, grabbing the pot from him and high tailing it back to the fireplace. Throwing in the whole pot, he reached for Zion only to see a sicken looking blood red spell headed right for his face.
Without thinking, the black menace jumped into the spells trajectory. The force of the impact of the spell sent them both into the fire, ass over tea kettle, destroying what was left of the fireplace.