Between the Lines


Summary: Harry and Hermione travel alone now, unaccompanied by Ron. Sparks fly, words are said, and friends become … more than friends. HPHG

Disclaimer: Though I borrow the characters and details from The Deathly Hallows, all the parts that seem off and non-canon are truly my ideas.

Author's Note:

Thank you to all those who've read and reviewed my story. After re-reading it time and time again in hopes of getting inspired to keep writing, I realized it is super cheesy, the sex scenes are embarrassing to read, and that sometimes I was grasping at straws for continuity and plot. Nevertheless, it is still my favorite fanfiction and I do intend to complete it.

Thank you to a few reviewers, especially dattebayo-san and Kenzie Marie for asking if I would finally continue the story. It's been a year and half, if not more, since I last wrote a chapter for this story, so excuse my writing if it's not up to my previous standards.

IMPORTANT: I am looking for a beta for this story. Please PM if you're interested. Actually, I'm not even sure what the policy is for beta readers anymore, so PM me if you know how it goes.

I don't have much else to say, except thank you again and please review. Enjoy!

I get lost in the night so high I don't want to come down

To face the loss of the good thing that I've found

In the dark of the night I could hear you calling my name

With the hardest of hearts I still feel full of pain

So I drink and I smoke and I ask you if you're ever around

Even though it was me who drove us right in the ground

Kings of Leon - Revelry


Harry watched the slivers of the morning sun rise in the distance. After insisting that Hermione go to bed, he lay down beside her, hoping sleep would come easily. Unfortunately, it hadn't.

Every time he closed his eyes, he could see Voldemort's sickly pale face. His revolting cackle permeated the room until Harry could no longer hear the waves on the beach or the little sounds Hermione made in her sleep.

Hermione lay on her side, in the tiny bed, facing him. Her right hand was curled beneath her head while the other lay somewhere beneath the blanket. She was frowning. Was she having a nightmare?

Harry's head felt heavy. He wore fatigue like a jacket. He desperately wanted to sleep, but it evaded him.

So instead, he watched her. He memorized every curve of her face. He traced the lines of her lips, the bridge of her nose, and her eyes. She really was a beautiful woman. Was she always this way or had he been blinded by their friendship for so many years?

He didn't know much of her past lovers, but she knew all of his. She knew about his crushes, his awful first date, his wet first kiss, and his flailing relationship with Ginny Weasley. She knew him, but sometimes he felt that he was barely skimming the surface of her essence.

Who was her first crush? Had she gone on dates with any other boys at Hogwarts? Did she keep in contact with Krum after the Tri-Wizard Tournament? Krum was at Bill and Fleur's wedding. Did they dance together and catch up on old times? How far had she gone with Ron, if at all? Did she still have feelings for Ron?

Questions flooded his mind, but this time, he welcomed them, but only because they were about her. He knew her when she was just a young girl with bushy hair and slightly bucktoothed teeth. The woman who lay next to him was more than that memory.

She wasn't the most gorgeous woman he'd ever set his eyes on, but she was better than any dream girl he could ever conjure up. She was better, because she was real… and she was his, at least for the time being.

The sunlight was filling the room now. The lazy blue haze of morning crept through the window. The seagulls were raising an alarm.

Another sleepless night for Harry Potter. Is that how you plan to kill me, Voldemort? Break me down until I can't get back up? Chip away at me until I crumble to my knees?

Harry waited for an answer. The seagulls screamed. Overcome with a combination of fatigue and restlessness, Harry climbed out of bed and walked out of the small cottage. Fleur was already awake and setting up breakfast for her guests. She greeted him on his way out to the cliff overlooking the ocean. The cliff was his fortress of solitude. He didn't invite anyone to the cliff, not even Hermione.

He needed time and space to simply be Harry, not Harry Potter the Chosen One. He needed to be alone, if not mentally at least physically. Voldemort was always hanging around, always trying to embrace him like a disease-ridden blanket, but Harry kept the monster at bay for everyone's sake.

Ron was having a pleasant dream about being home with his family. Fred and George were in the corner of the living room, giving him the strangest looks. Ron had a feeling he needed to be extra careful about where he sat and what he touched at the table. Ginny was sitting with Harry on the ratty couch. They seemed to be arguing over something. Hermione was standing with Bill, talking about some topic that was beyond his knowledge. Charlie and Percy were missing, as always. His mum was flying around his dad, fixing his robes and stuffing breakfast underneath his nose. There was something soothing about the scene. Unfortunately, the comfortable feeling of home was suddenly interrupted by an awful noise that sounded like a row of crows crying in cacophony.

Ron woke up immediately. He nearly jumped out of bed. When he realized where he was, he felt a ball of disappointment grow in the pit of his stomach. The dream felt so real. He was home with the people he loved. He was warm and happy in the dream, but now, in the world of reality, he was cold and alone. Pretending the disappointment was merely hunger, he carefully got out of bed and went to the kitchen.

Luna was sitting with Fleur and Bill. The married couple stared at the blonde girl with curious expressions. Luna was probably telling them a story her father made up about invisible creatures that ate your socks when you weren't looking or something along those lines.

"Good morning," Ron greeted. Fleur and Bill smiled, looking a little relieved.

"Good morning, Ron. You look well," Luna commented.

"Thanks, Luna. I feel loads better. Where is everyone else?"

Luna was on the cusp of replying before Bill interjected. "Griphook, the goblin, is in bed. Goblins are proud creatures. I don't really like dealing with them. Mr. Ollivander is resting upstairs. He's weak. Don't exactly know where Hermione is, but Fleur says Harry went off by himself this morning."

He's gone.

"What do you mean, he went off by himself? Is he coming back? Was he carrying a small, purple bag?" Ron was panicking. Did they leave him behind? He made Harry promise not to leave without him.

"Relax. He just went for a walk on the beach. He'll be back. Come eat breakfast. You look hungry." As if on cue, Ron's stomach rumbled. He chuckled nervously before taking a seat next to Luna.

Unfortunately, his fear of getting left behind by his best friends wouldn't go away. The fear sat behind his ribcage, just below his heart. The three of them were connected by years of trials and tribulations, and even sometimes romance. He and Harry were as close as wizards can be. Sometimes, and he guessed even subconsciously, he saw Harry as another brother, though he didn't sport the trademark flaming Weasley hair.

His friendship with Hermione was a bit more complicated. For the first few years of their friendship, Ron always thought Hermione was an annoying know-it-all and overall bore. She was always nagging at them to not do this or that, or go study. She proved to be useful when he slacked off on an assignment though.

Ron didn't know what changed or when it happened, but all of a sudden, he started looking at her differently. It was like growing a new set of eyes, when he started noticing her as something more than a friend. She started filling out her jumper and her hips flared out in those tight Muggle denim she preferred wearing over baggy robes. He wanted to throw daggers at any wizard at Hogwarts who dare stare at her for too long, starting with that creep Cormac McLaggen. He got deathly jealous when Viktor Krum, the Quidditch player he adored in the most manly way possible, started sniffing around Hermione, following her around the castle like a lost puppy. Having been her friend for so long, he felt it odd to jump into a relationship right after, so he waited for her to make a move. Unfortunately, at the same time, Lavender Brown developed an obsession over him and made a couple moves on him. Being a sane, growing young wizard, he welcomed the physical contact, but the magic lasted for only so long. He barely saw Hermione when Lavender came around; when he did, she looked upset. He knew what he had to do, but he couldn't face her. He was scared she changed her mind. Oh, how wrong he was then.

She was all he could think of, after he stormed out of the tent that night. When he travelled aimlessly from pub to pub, he dreamed of her. Eventually, somehow, she led him back to where he needed to be, but everything had changed.

He thought what the locket showed him was a nightmare, but he didn't realize until later that it was his new reality. The locket attacked him with his insecurities. He saw Harry and Hermione kissing passionately, naked as the day they were born. They were perfect together.

"Least loved, always, by the mother who craved a daughter … Least loved, now, by the girl who prefers your friend … Second best, always, eternally overshadowed…"

Though it was mostly the locket's doing, the anger and fear he felt was all his own. He was angry because Harry had thrown him under a bus and stolen his girl, the one thing he knew was his for the taking. He was also scared because it felt right, as if it was meant to happen. He was scared because they were embarking on a new adventure without him. They were leaving him behind, without as much as a goodbye. They were discovering themselves while he was discovering loneliness.

If he hadn't stormed out, would things be this way? Would he be the one holding her at night? Would he be the lucky wizard waking up to her smile? He used to have dreams involving her. In his dreams, he married Hermione and had children with her. He dreamed they were all together at Platform 9 ¾. Their children were heading off to school, even though in reality, he was still in school himself. He dreamed an entire lifetime with her, but now that everything had changed, the dreams vanished in an instant.

He hadn't given Harry his blessing to continue pursuing Hermione, but he didn't stop him either. In spite of the bitterness he tried to hide, he treasured their friendship more than his feelings. Sure, it hurt to see them together. Sure, he still wished he was the bloke holding her hand and kissing her lips. Sure, some part of him still hated Harry for his treacherous move. However, he'd rather be alone with them, then alone by himself. Having grown up surrounded by so many people all the time, he was used to having company. Now that was ripped from his hands, he no longer felt the warmth and comfort he was so accustomed to.

"Good morning," a soft voice called out. Ron was pulled away from his thoughts. Hermione was awake. She stood awkwardly in the kitchen doorway.

"Good morning, Hermione," Luna greeted back. Ron merely stared at Hermione. Fleur and Bill noticed the tension rising in the room so they excused themselves.

Ron and Hermione ate their breakfast silently. Luna was unaware of the tension and carried the conversation. They finished their breakfast and dropped their dirty dishes and utensils in the sink.

Ron was ready to crawl back to his room to escape the awkwardness, but Hermione stopped him. He held his breath for a second. She grabbed his hand and asked him to meet her outside.

"We need to talk."

"Okay," he mumbled back.

"Excuse us," Hermione said politely to Luna, who walked away with her normal dazed expression.

Ron followed Hermione out of the cottage. They walked to the sandy shore of the beach. Those pesky birds that woke him up were performing drills in the sky.

"I feel like I owe you an apology, but we both know I'm not the one who should be saying sorry," she started.

"I know, I know."

"Everything's different now, Ron, and I hope you understand."

"I really don't, Hermione, to be honest."

You were supposed to be mine.

"Ron, you knew how I felt about you for a while. I waited for you. I really did."

"I know that, Hermione."

Couldn't you have waited a little longer?

"When you left, I was a mess. Harry was a mess too. You abandoned us. You betrayed us. We were… are your friends, Ron."

"I know that as well! What is the point of this conversation, Hermione? What is this talk trying to accomplish? I hope you know I already feel like the scum of the earth. No need to keep reminding me that I am."

"The point is I don't need your approval on who I can and cannot be with, Ronald Weasley! And neither does Harry. I know you disapprove of what's going on between Harry and I right now. It's only natural. You don't have to accept it right away, but can you at least try to?"

"I am trying, Hermione. I'm still here, aren't I? Do you ever think of how I feel when you're with him? It hurts me to see you together. It's like getting crucio'd repeatedly."

Ron cringed. Perhaps those weren't the perfect choice of words.

"We can't help it, Ron. This is how things are now. Please don't try to change or ruin it."

A long silence followed her request. Ron stared at the waves so he didn't have to look her in the eye.

"You know, I used to have dreams about us," he confessed. "I dreamt that we were married and had kids."

"Please stop. I don't want to hear any of this."

"Did you dream of us, too? I know you must have. Don't lie to me, Hermione."

"I'm going to ask you this once, and only once. This… thing… is beyond you, me, and Harry. We have to stick together, even though we don't all agree with what's going on. Dumbledore asked us to go on this journey, but it will only work if we stay together. You already know what happens when we split up."

Ron remembered her painful howls vibrating off the walls of the Malfoy Manor's dungeon.

"You almost died," Ron whispered.

"Yes, I did. I love you, Ron, as one of the closest friends I've ever had. It almost killed me when we lost you. A part of me will never forgive you for what you did to Harry and I. It was low of you. But that doesn't mean we… err… I still don't care about you. I do, but not in the same way as before."

Hermione grabbed both of Ron's hands. She looked up at him, pleading for something he couldn't give her - freedom. He looked down at their hands. He imagined, in a different situation, this would be romantic. Unfortunately, this was a tragedy for him. He untangled his hands from hers.

"I'd never leave you two… but you have to promise that you won't leave me behind."

"We would never do that. Ron, I promise that we'll always be the Golden Trio."

"Thank you. So uhh… what do we do now?"

Hermione paused before answering, "We're going to say goodbye to everyone and move on. Bill said he'll take care of Luna and the others. We're leaving tonight."

"Where are we going?"

"I'm not entirely sure yet. I'm waiting on Harry to make up his mind. He thinks he's found another Horcrux. Yesterday, Bill showed him a copy of The Daily Prophet. The Ministry is framing Harry for a robbery from the Black family's vault at Gringrotts. Someone knows what we're up to. We've got to be even more careful now."

"Okay. And one last thing… I'm sorry, Hermione, for what I've done. Everything."

"I know, Ron. We know."

She hugged him lightly. He barely felt the pressure of her arms and then she let go.

That signaled the end of their "talk." Ron followed her back to the cottage. He felt lighter, for some reason. Some of the weight was lifted off his shoulders, but he couldn't ignore the fact that that was the end of any romantic relationship he had with Hermione.

He lost her, but now he had to let her go.

He knew this would be difficult, but there was no way around it. He just hoped he could keep his cool long enough to survive.

Harry was on his way back to the cottage, when he saw Ron and Hermione holding hands on the beach. She was staring up at Ron and saying something Harry could not decipher. Ron pulled away from her. He was frowning. He looked like someone just told him summer vacation was cancelled.

Deciding it was best to wait for Hermione to explain what just happened, because she always did, Harry walked towards the cottage. He had better things to do, such as figure out exactly where they'd be going off to tonight.

When he walked into the cottage, he was greeted by the familiar face of Remus Lupin.

"Harry! Just the person I needed to talk to. Come join Fleur, Bill and I." Fleur jumped out of her seat to grab breakfast for Harry. He thanked her and then focused his attention on Remus, whose presence almost always meant Order business.

"I'm sure you read yesterday's paper, Harry."

"Yes, Bill showed me the article. I must have been sleepwalking."

"No offense, Harry, but you look like death right now. I hardly doubt you've gotten sleep. If this robbery has anything to do with the mission Dumbledore sent you on, you have to let us know."

"I can't tell you much, because I don't know that much about the robbery. All I can say is something valuable, something that we need, has been stolen, but not by me."

"Of course, you didn't steal it, Harry. Lucius Malfoy did. The Ministry is only covering up his robbery because he is an Ministry employee and known Death Eater. It's easier to blame you for the crime. They have been, for the past few months."


At this moment, Hermione and Ron shuffled into the cottage.

"What's going on?" Hermione asked.

"Ah, even better now that you are all here. I've been informed by the Order that Lucius Malfoy stole something of value from the Black's vault. I've also been told that he is willing to hand it over to you, but for a price."

"What does he want?" Harry asked.

Could it be? Is Lucius really going to just hand over a Horcrux? There has to be a catch…

"He wants his son back," Remus answered.

"But we don't bloody know where Malfoy is," Ron commented.

"Ah, yes, that is true. The Order is currently detaining the young Malfoy as a prisoner of war. Don't be alarmed - he isn't being harmed. Not that harshly, anyways."

"Malfoy Senior is going to give us a Horc… I mean, he's swapping his son for some stolen goods?" Ron stammered. Harry and Hermione caught his slip of the tongue.

Remus watched their expressions curiously and continued, saying, "Essentially, yes, but we have to make sure it's worth the trade. Something tells me it is."

"Where is this deal going down?" Harry asked. "We were actually planning on leaving tonight to continue on the mission."

"The Order will escort you to the location we've decided is safest for the transaction. If the deal is made, we will trade the boy for whatever Lucius is offering. You must not stray from us at all. We will keep you safe. We believe that Lucius will be alone, but we're taking extra precautions. What you do after is of your own will, but please, be careful. Do you understand?"

Harry, Hermione, and Ron nodded.

Hermione finally spoke up, asking, "How safe can this be? If the Order knows Lucius Malfoy stole the Black family heirloom, wouldn't Voldemort also know? I don't think he'd be very happy if one of his minions was helping our side. It sounds strange."

"Ah, yes, that's a smart observation, Hermione. Our source informed us that Lucius has departed from his home with no intention of returning. We can only assume he is fleeing the country. That's why he wants his son back. He wants to escape with the last of his Pureblood family line. A desperate man is a dangerous man, but if what he is offering is of any help to your mission, the Order is willing to take the risk. Anything for you, Harry."

"How do we know if this isn't just another trap waiting to happen?" Harry asked.

"We don't, Harry, but we are prepared for the possible repercussions. The strongest and most experienced members of the Order will be with you tonight. Unfortunately, I have to be on my way now, but I suggest you lot rest, especially you Harry. Bring whatever you need. You won't be returning back to this cottage tonight. Its location has been compromised. Everyone will be evacuating and moving to a new safe house."

"Thank you, Remus. We appreciate all of the Order's help."

Remus raised his wand to disapparate, but changed his mind for a split second.

"Oh, and Harry, just thought you'd like to know the name of your godson. Tonks and I found out the sex of our baby a few days ago and we decided to name him 'Teddy' … Ted Lupin officially," Remus announced with the brightest smile and proudest expression on his face.

"A boy! How wonderful! Isn't that amazing news, Harry?" Hermione exclaimed.

"I'm off. See you all soon! Seeing as this may be appropriate for tonight's festivities, I'd like to say, in memory of one of the greatest wizards I was privileged to ever fight alongside, constant vigilance!" Remus disapparated immediately, leaving only a puff of gray smoke in his midst.

"Nice, Harry," Ron commented, with a lopsided smile.

"Thanks, Ron. But Remus is right - I need sleep. I'm going to bed. Hermione, can you wake me up later? Could you gather our stuff as well? We need to be ready to be on our feet tonight. I'm not sure how this deal will end up."

"Of course, Harry. Go to bed. Ron and I will get everything ready."

Harry dragged his feet back to the room and collapsed on the bed. The blankets were warm to the touch. He embraced the warmth. Luckily, he fell sound asleep.

My godson. Teddy Lupin.

A couple hours later…

The wizard drew the hood of his black cloak over his brittle blonde hair. An owl arrived at the abandoned house he used for hiding from the snatchers and his master. The owl held a roll of parchment with its talons and a bronze coin in its beak. The parchment's contents were magically concealed, but with a swish of a wand he stole off another Death Eater, its true message revealed itself.


We have your son. The owl is carrying a Port Key. Use it and come to us. Come alone. If you fail to follow our instructions, we will inform the Ministry of your location and you will never see your son's face again.

We will not protect you from your master, if he chooses to make an appearance. You are alone in this.

Bring the heirloom. This note will self-destruct in thirty seconds.


As warned, the parchment disintegrated in Lucius's hands. The spell stung his grimy hands, but he ignored the slight pain. He was almost finished. He would collect his son and together, they would escape with their lives, just as Narcissa asked him.

The night the Dark Lord executed his wife, he floated her body to their bedroom and commanded the house elves to clean and prepare her for her funeral ceremony. Distraught, he escaped to his study with an intention to drink every drop of Firewhiskey he had in stock. He flung papers off the desk and threw the antique lamp sitting in the corner of his lavish desk against the wall. A bottle of ink spilled, staining his fingers. He cursed and bent down to the ground to pick up a piece of parchment to clean off the black mess. Had he a wand, he would have set everything on fire, but the Dark Lord confiscated it some time ago.

When he stood back up, he observed the mess on his desk. The ink had crawled everywhere, creating a splatter save for one spot. The ink flowed around a rectangular shape that he later discovered was a magicked letter.

The letter was addressed to him. It was written in the familiar feminine cursive his wife liked to use for party invitations. His eyes flew over the words on the piece of parchment. The letter started with this message: "I'm sorry Lucius…"

In two pages, his wife described her love for him and their son. She said she was proud to have raised such a handsome and smart wizard who was the spitting image of his father. However, though she loved and supported her husband, she did not agree with his decisions, especially concerning the Dark Lord.

"When he disappeared after the first Dark War, I was relieved. I thought that maybe we would have a shot at a long and happy life together. When we had Draco, I was ecstatic. However, once our son went to Hogwarts and the suspicion that the Dark Lord was returning reached the Ministry, I was scared for us all. When the Dark Lord did return, at least physically, and took over our lives, I knew I had to make sure at least Draco would come out alive. He is too young to die this way. I love him too much."

Though Draco wrote to him constantly throughout his Hogwarts years, his messages usually only conveyed something about a classmate he didn't like. At a dinner party, Lucius overheard his friends' comments, whose sons also went to Hogwarts and were also members of the Slytherin house, that Draco's trademark phrase was, "My father will hear about this."

Draco adored him for his power, but as Draco grew up and realized his father's power was limited, he drew away from him. The letters stopped coming. His son stopped communicating with him altogether, but the owls came for Narcissa. Draco was always his mother's son. That much was true.

"When the Dark Lord ordered Draco to take on the mission of leading the Death Eaters into Hogwarts and killing his headmaster, I had to do something to make sure he came out alive. I went to Severus and pleaded for him to help our son. Bellatrix followed me. She kept saying the Dark Lord would have my head, but I didn't care. I had to make sure Draco would survive. And he did. But that night scarred him. He changed. Death does that to people."

The letter shook in his hands. He could barely read the last few paragraphs, knowing that this would be the last he would ever hear from her.

"If anything should happen, if I don't make it, I ask that you take your son and flee. Leave. Don't fight. Survive and live out the years of your lives. If for any reason the Dark Lord takes your life and I survive, I will do the same. If the Potter boy does the impossible and defeats the Dark Lord, I ask that you wait a few years and come back to my grave, if I don't survive. Bring Draco with you. I want us to be a family again."

The letter ended there. He immediately emptied the contents of his Firewhiskey bottle. After throwing the bottle away, he stumbled out of his study and down the halls of his home. He didn't return to his bedroom. He didn't want to see his dead wife. Instead, he found his way to the gardens, where the obscene albino peacock resided.

He vomited into a rosebush until white liquid dripped from his lips. He collapsed onto the grass, sprawled like a child forming a snow angel, and watched the night sky twirl like a kaleidoscope.

He closed his eyes, hoping he would pass out. When he opened them, he was staring into the disapproving face of Severus Snape.

"Pull yourself together, Lucius. You're acting like a heartsick fool."

"My wife just died, Severus. Leave me be."

"Yes, I know. Bellatrix informed me of the unfortunate news."

"Go back to your castle, Headmaster. I need time to think."

"Your son is missing. Did you know that?"

"Of course I know Draco's missing. Potter's crew took him away when they escaped."

"You must find him. Narcissa would want you to."

Lucius's eyes widened. Did she inform Severus of her plans?

"Yes, Lucius, I know about the letter. It was my idea. When Draco failed to kill Albus Dumbledore that one night, I stepped in and did the deed. After his death, Narcissa approached me a second time. She said Draco was tied up in the Dark Lord's plans. He couldn't escape, so she asked me to make sure he did."

"Why does she trust you so, Severus?"

"Because I'm wizard enough to make decisions when I need to. Plus, I've watched over your son for the past few years. There's a reason she preferred he go to Hogwarts and not abroad. She knew I would protect him, which I did and still continue to do."

"What do I do, Severus? I need to find my son."

"I have an idea… but you must do something for me first."

"What is it? I will do anything."

"There's an heirloom in the Black's vault that is of great importance. I want you to gain access to the vault and steal it for me."

"Why don't I just ask Bellatrix? She's the… the sole owner of the vault now."

"She must not know about this! If she does, you will never see your son again."

"Okay. Okay! I will steal this heirloom for you. What does it look like?"

Severus proceeded to describe the unique heirloom.

"When you get your hands on it, I want you to contact Kingsley Shacklebolt, an Auror known to be a member of the Order of the Phoenix, the organization fighting the Dark Lord's rise. Tell him that you have something of great importance to Harry Potter. Tell him you want your son in return."

"Do they have Draco? The Order?"

"They most likely do. They're your only hope to fulfill your wife's dying wish. Give them the cup and take back your son. Once you have Draco, flee. Go to the farthest place you can imagine. Hide or else he'll come after you both."

"… Will you be there to ensure they give me back my son?"

"Merlin, Lucius, I've already helped you enough. I can't hold your hand throughout this process. Mess up and you jeopardize Draco's life."

"Thank you, Severus. Thank you." Lucius was on his knees, clasping his hands as if praying.

"Get up, Lucius. Compose yourself. You have so much to do. Make a mistake and I won't be there to help you fix it. This is your mission."

With that final warning, Severus walked away. His black cloak billowed behind him. Lucius did not see him again.

After Lucius buried his wife, he started to plot. He disarmed Peter Pettigrew in order to steal a wand. As for the heirloom at Gringrotts, he decided to avoid the path of Polyjuice Potion and acting as an imposter. He travelled down to the vaults of Gringrotts many times, for personal reasons and business. He knew there would be spells and enchantments that would remove the effects of the potion.

Through threats and dark spells, he got the number of the Black's vault. He went to Gringrotts, pretending to withdraw coins from his vault. When the goblin turned his head to maneuver the trolley, he placed an Imperio spell on him.

The goblin led him to the Black's vault and opened the lock. He told the goblin to wait while he retrieved the heirloom. The cup lay on the highest shelf in the vault, but using a variety of spells, he was able to get his hands on it. He guessed the enchantments that Bellatrix placed on her vault, one being this nasty curse that would drown him in gold.

The goblin led him back to the ground floor of the bank. During the ride back up, he shrunk the heirloom and placed an anti-detection spell on it. Lucius was sweating like that half-giant buffoon who taught at Hogwarts on a hot Indian summer day by the time they came back to right floor. Before he walked out of the bank, he lifted the Imperio curse on the goblin and obliviated him for good measure.

After the robbery, he contacted the proper Auror, just as Severus instructed him to do. He didn't return to his mansion. Instead he apparated to the most obscure wizarding town he could think of, and hid in the abandoned house he luckily found while walking through the landscape. He made sure to look over his shoulder ever so often, just in case snatchers were on his tail. He also lifted his sleeve to make sure the mark wasn't turning dark. That was always a warning that the burning sensation would follow soon after. He couldn't be called by the Dark Lord now.

He waited in the house for hours until finally, the note had arrived. Lucius reached over towards the owl's beak, being careful not to get nipped when the creature dropped the Portkey in his hand. The owl flew away after finishing its delivery.

Lucius held the bronze coin in his hand, waiting for it to be activated. An inscription appeared on the coin, revealing his name and the time. Soon after, he felt the familiar pull of travelling through Portkey. He landed on his knees, wherever he was.

"Nice of you to join us, Lucius. We were thinking you wanted us to babysit your son a little longer."

Lucius lifted his head and met the gaze of Remus Lupin and two other wizards whose faces he recognized. The two other wizards held Draco by both arms. He was unconscious and bloody. Lucius, alerted by the sight of his son, stood up and brandished his stolen wand.

"Give me my son, Lupin."

"Give us the goods, Lucius."


Harry Potter's voice rang out. The raven-haired boy appeared suddenly, flanked by the Weasley boy and the muggleborn.

"Now it's a party. Feel like dancing in the moonlight, Lucius?" Remus mocked.

Lucius stood his ground. He truly was alone.