"I received a strongly worded owl from Molly Weasley this morning. She has given me permission to attempt to teach her sons." Narcissa had caught up with Harry in the hallway. "I am still waiting for a note from Ms. Granger. I'll see you and my dragon promptly after dinner regardless."
"Yes, mum." Harry smiled at her. "Mione will be there I'm sure. You'll be impressed. You have my word."
"We shall see." She answered wearily. "I'm off to speak with Albus about getting a few volumes from the manor. Where is Draco? What do you two have planned for the day?" She looked around for her son.
"He's in the library with Hermione and Ron doing research. I'm...wandering." Harry stopped walking, running his hand through his hair. "I've had my nose in a book for hours and it's not even lunch. I just needed some air."
"Harry this is stressful for all of you. If you ever need to talk, my door is always open to you. You know that don't you?" The woman rubbed the back of his head, placing a soft kiss on his temple.
"Yes Ma'am. I'll be alright, just need to get my head around...well...everything." He did not want to talk, that much was clear.
"Very well, ponder away. I'll see you tonight for lessons." She squeezed his hand before quickly bustling away.
HHH HHH HHH
Harry made his way back to the safety of the dungeons. He assured himself that he would return to the library after lunch. He didn't like having to research his foes. He much preferred it when someone simply told him which way to aim his wand.
He stopped outside of the potions classroom, hearing muffled voices in a heated argument. Harry crept to the door, easing it open ever so slightly.
"Severus see reason!" It was Sirius. "We don't even know when they'll come back. They could already be for all we know! If you go charging in there and the three of them..."
"I am well aware of the possibilities Black." Snape's tone was smooth. "However seeing as how it is my property, I will come and go as I see fit. You do remember that they are all, or were dead. I am not..."
"You were killed before any of them. So if you're point is that you are the stronger wizard, you're falling short!" Lupin had joined in. "Think of Harry! What would it do to him if you were captured?"
"Do not question my concern for Harry!" Severus growled suddenly. Harry shrank away from the door. He was still uncomfortable with his bond mate's temper. "He is precisely why I must go, he, my Godson, the rest of those snot-nosed saviors, there might be information in the Snape library that could help all of us."
"Dumbledore has forbidden any missions to retrieve texts from properties that Death-eaters frequent. Our library..."
"Is not complete and you know that Sirius." Snape had softened a bit. "There are darker books that are not available at Hogwarts and for good reason. But now is time for them..."
Harry cleared his throat as he entered the room. "I wouldn't happen to get a say in all of this would I? I'm only fighting off the end of the world with everyone that I love, after all."
"Harry..." Severus's eyes gleamed at the appearance of his bond mate. He hadn't had the chance to speak with him since the night before.
"Of course you do. Maybe you'll be able to talk some sense into him." Sirius threw his hands in the air.
"He wants to go charging into Snape Manor when Albus has already told us that the information that we might obtain isn't worth the risk of capture. We have no way of knowing who's been brought back yet. Even if they haven't been. Voldemort and his followers..."
"Are a bit like yesterday's 'Prophet' aren't they? I mean we have bigger problems." Harry moved to stand beside Severus, taking his hand gently. "Albus is going to tell Narcissa no as well isn't he? Do you really think you'll find more information there?"
Snape felt warm at the contact of his fingers with Harry's. "He is and I do. Malfoy Manor as well. Dark wizards keep dark texts Harry. We are not finding what we need in the information we have here. I know that I alone have many one of a kind manuscripts that could be useful. I won't be so foolish as to promise results but what else am I doing?" He pressed his lips to Harry's forehead.
"Sirius please go with him. You disobey the Headmaster at every turn. Trust me, I've been reading the books in the restricted section, Hermione has access to Dumbledore's personal library, we're coming up empty handed." Harry begged. "If the two of you go, even if you run into trouble you'll be able to get out of it..."
"I'll join you Severus." A light voice issued from the door.
"Cissy." Snape greeted her. "You were met with resistance I presume."
"Blasted old fool." She snapped, her high heels clicked on the cobblestone as she walked towards the group. "Getting into my manor is a multi-wizard task, Snape Manor should be easier. The Dark Lord never favored it. As it seems I have been forbidden a trip to my own home I would be more that happy to accompany you old friend." She nodded to Severus.
"I would be pleased to have you." He smiled.
"Ugh so be it!" Sirius tossed himself to his feet. "We'll go against the will of the strongest wizard of our time, I can't very well let you two go running off, if something happened neither Harry nor Draco would forgive me." He rubbed his eyes.
"Splendid. We'll leave after dinner. If you'll excuse me I must go tell Draco I'll be gone for a day or so. Harry, dear?" Narcissa wrapped her arm around his shoulder, pulling him close.
"Please continue practicing spells that I have already taught you, yes? Perhaps you can bring the others up to speed."
"You got it. Watch out for these two will you? They have a history of dying on me." Harry chuckled lightheartedly.
"Of course dear. Remus would you be so kind as to watch out for the boys while we're away?" She looked to the werewolf.
"And perhaps lie to the Headmaster?" Lupin grinned, his arms wrapped around the waist of his husband.
"I think I would feel more comfortable with the term 'misguide' but, yes, if you wouldn't mind." She hadn't released Harry.
"Will do Mrs. Malfoy but, you'll owe me breakfast." Remus nodded in agreement and pulled Sirius out of the classroom.
"See you tonight Severus." Narcissa pointed at Snape before leaving.
Harry turned to his fiance. "Promise you'll be as safe as you can?"
"I always am." His silky voice was indignant.
"Liar." Harry placed his arms around Snape, laying his head on a hard chest.
"Harry are you alright? I hadn't gotten around to speaking with you after..."
"Yes. I...just...there's so much...please come back safely." He stuttered.
Severus eyed his suspiciously. "Are you physically...or otherwise hurt?"
"Not at all. It's just tough...balancing everything."
"Which one of us is lying?" He raised an eyebrow.
"Fine. I got mad at you last night. I was laying there, in our beautiful bedroom and I remembered the last time I was in it and I got really upset with you and now I feel guilty about it because you're running into Merlin knows what to help me but, I'm still kinda pissed about it to be honest. Then I think who am I to be upset with you when I went to sleep with another man last night and I...fucking apocalypse." He huffed and rolled his eyes.
"Harry, it is perfectly acceptable for you to get upset with me. I get unspeakably livid with you from time to time. We've both done things to contribute to our current situation. I caused you physical harm. I would hope that you wouldn't simply let that go without second thought. In the future please discuss your feelings with me." Severus caught Harry's eyes with his own. "Are you alright with our...activities last night? Did I hurt you?"
"Yes that was all wonderful." Harry blushed. "and of course you didn't hurt me. It was just...after we were done. I just got upset is all."
"You do know how fond of you I am, don't you?" Severus rubbed Harry's reddened cheek with his fingertips.
Harry turned his head so that his lips met his bonded's palm. "I do." He promised as he closed his eyes.
"I love you Severus. Even when I do things that you don't approve of, I always love you."
"As I love you Harry." Snape kissed him lightly before pulling him to his feet. "We'll be home tomorrow night at the latest. Do try not to worry."
"Take your watch." Harry answered firmly. Severus did not answer, instead he produced the pocket watch from his breast pocket. Harry hugged him quickly before darting out of the door. Snape set about gathering his things.
His lungs burned as he tore through the castle. Harry felt as though he was being torn in two, with both concern for Severus's well-being and an overwhelming urge to seek comfort and support that he knew his plan would find in Draco. He forced his feelings down, knowing that, for right now, he must only focus on getting to the library.
HHH HHH HHH
"Did mum find you?" Harry was breathless as he braced himself against a table in the library.
Draco smirked at him. "You look awful. Where did you run from? And yes she did. She's perfectly capable of defending herself. I know Severus would never let..."
"Did she tell you that Dumbledore won't let her go to your manor? That you have books that could be useful instead of this garbage?" Potter slammed his lover's book closed.
Hermione grumbled at the mistreatment of the text. "She forget to mention it." Malfoy spat sarcastically. "Why would he..."
"Come with me." Harry whispered. "Mione, Ron would you please take a break."
Ron was on his feet instantly. "Sure mate, anything to get away from these books." Harry ushered Ron into the hallway, Draco and Hermione close on his heels.
"Ron could you get the twins and meet us in the room of requirement? Quickly." Harry begged his friend.
"Yeah, just give me a few minutes. Everything alright?"
"Yeah, yeah everything is...just meet us there alright?" The redhead was quickly gone. Harry spun around and started walking towards the room or requirement.
"Harry what are we doing?" Hermione demanded. "My research..."
"Is useless Mione and you know it. Please just come with me? I don't want to talk here." Harry looked around wearily. The girl kept her further comments under her breath.
"I'm not sure if you're sexy or creepy when you're being all dark and cryptic." Draco took Harry's hand.
"Try paranoid..." Hermione grumbled.
Harry squeezed Draco's hand. "I'll explain everything. I promise." He ducked into the room of requirement. He found that today it had furnished them with several plush sofas. The troop of Weasley's entered shortly after them. Harry had curled up in Draco's lap on the couch.
"Our fearless leader, the cuddle bug." Fred jested as he took a seat. George laughed and fell into soft pillows.
"Harry would you mind explaining now?" Hermione tapped her foot impatiently.
"Severus, Sirius and Narcissa are traveling to Snape Manor to retrieve books that could actually help us..."
"Just like the ones that currently reside in my Manor's library that Dumbledore won't allow Mother to access." Draco growled slightly.
"Exactly and that's why I've brought us all here. Drac, can you get through the wards on Malfoy Manor?" Harry questioned seriously.
Draco stared at him as if he had something terribly offensive. "Of course." He scoffed.
"Ok, So Albus is kinda right. It isn't safe for mum to go, she can be killed or hurt but the six of us..." Harry was cut off.
"Are oh so pleasantly immortal?" George sat up, a smile on his face.
"Even if some of us didn't come by it honestly." Fred joked, playfully kicking Malfoy's leg.
"You want us to break into Malfoy Manor? For books?" Ron gulped.
"Against Dumbledore's wishes?" Hermione folded her arms over her chest.
"Hermione you've been in those books for a week. Even you'll admit that we're getting nowhere. I know that Dumbledore is just trying to protect everyone but, now isn't the time to play it safe. We got along alright while he was away. I say we can do this." Harry spoke with conviction.
"Got along fine?" She laughed. "You helped one prisoner escape, no offense Draco, and killed another. You spent a month in..."
"The cabin!" Draco exclaimed. "I was going to do it later but I suppose...Harry, love, what if I use my tattoo to portkey everyone to the cabin? I can give them the mark and use my bracelet to get everyone back here? The spells are old and strong, they should sneak around any protection Dumbledore has up since they're slightly..."
"Crazy ancient forgotten dark magic that Hermione found when she was creeping off campus while Dumbledore was gone?" Harry laughed at the girl, patting her knee. "That's bloody brilliant. See? I knew there was a reason I loved you."
"You love me for countless reasons." He kissed his boyfriend. "That way if we do run into any trouble at Malfoy Manor everyone has a way to get out quickly. We won't have to worry about Hogwarts until we're done and ready to come home...everyone can kill us then."
"The cabin? The one where you two crazy kids discovered your forbidden love?" Fred questioned.
"Why did I ever give you that spell?" Hermione sighed.
"Yes, my cabin. Mione made a spell that creates a permanent portkey to it. It's in tattoo form..." He held up his wrist. "You touch it, think of the cabin and it takes you there. It'll take me ten minutes and then all of us will always have a fail-safe, a sure way of getting out of danger. One rule, you can never take anyone else there. I didn't want to tell anyone where it was but this is more important. We need a place of our own. Harry and I would never much like to open our home to all of you for that very purpose."
"Is everyone alright with this plan?" Harry asked.
Ron nodded. "Mum's going to have our heads when she sees the marks but it is a good plan. We have enough power to get into the manor. The portkey is a sure way out. Mione we need those books, the defensive spells alone..."
"Fine." She huffed. "I suppose you're all right. I'm getting nowhere. Between Draco's and Sev's books I'll have to come up with something."
"You know us...anything for a thrill." George stood.
"Us first." Fred jumped over Harry to stand by Draco. "New tats. Will they match? We'll be like a gang." He smirked.
"I can take two at a time." Draco sounded sure. "Harry you'll stay here and I'll bring us back using the bracelet."
"Alright baby. Hey, I left by sweatshirt there the other night, will you grab it for me?" Harry kissed Malfoy without standing.
"Absolutely, see you in a few." Draco held out his wrist for the twins to touch, when he placed his fingers on his mark the three of them disappeared in silence.
"That was flawless." Hermione smiled at herself. "I love that spell." She grinned proudly.
"You really are an amazing witch Mione. We wouldn't have a chance to win this without your help." Harry pulled his friend closer to him on the couch.
"How are you doing with...everything?" She looked to him with concern. "I noticed that tensions haven't really calmed down with Draco and Severus. But, Sev did say today that you called on him last night. That's good right...I mean...except for Draco..."
"You talked to Severus?" Harry seemed surprised.
"Yes. I do frequently. Ever since...Marius...I check on him. He lets me help him brew. He's my friend Harry." Her tone was resolute.
Harry felt a strange appreciation towards his friend. The thought did cross his mind that Hermione probably had a better idea of how Sev was faring at the moment than Harry did, sadness and guilt pulled at his stomach. "I'm not arguing. He needs a friend. Sometimes I fear he's in short supply. Everything is... well honestly I try not to think of it all. It's messy. There is so much going on. But, it is getting sorted out...slowly."
He bit his lip when Draco and the twins reappeared. Hermione stared at him, sympathy filled her eyes as Harry's bright smile took over his face at the sight of the blonde.
"Any problems?" Harry was on his feet.
"None at all. The spells are brilliant Granger." Draco wrapped himself around his lover and grinned at the girl.
"Check out the fresh ink." Fred held his arm up proudly.
Ron grumbled. "Oy...Mum is going to obliterate us."
"Come on you two. Harry we have to travel by broom. The wards will be easier to get through if we don't apperate. Get the twins into the forest? We'll take off from there."
"I'll have your broom. Give us some time before you come back. It'll take some time to get out there without being noticed." Harry kissed him softly and walked towards the door. The twins followed closely behind.
HHH HHH HHH
The air seemed to darken steadily the closer the group traveled to Malfoy Manor. Draco used he keen Seeker skills to ride close to Harry. "I'm going to bring us down in the forest. Can Granger land?" He looked back at the girl, the nose of her borrowed broom shook steadily.
"Ron will get her down. No wards on the forest?" Harry was nervous. He had no idea what they were heading into.
"Not where we're going." Malfoy reached out to squeeze his lover's hand. "I'll keep you safe Harry, the others as well."
Harry took a sharp intake of air as the stared at the large towers of the Gothic chateau that were coming into view on the horizon. He had been in the manor, seeing an aerial view made it even more daunting.
It seemed only slightly smaller than the Hogwarts Castle. The manicured lawns came into view as Draco took them into a hard left, leading to the forest.
"Home sweet home?" Harry questioned, swallowing hard.
"Not quite." He grinned. "You're my home Harry."
It was moments like these that caused so much of Harry's confliction. Both of his lovers never failed to express just how deeply they loved in. It was in these moments, where Harry should be joyous and smitten, that he hated himself the most. He did not acknowledge Draco's comment. "It's bloody huge." He kept his eyes trained on the Manor.
"Malfoy Millions. It wasn't earned. It means nothing." His face was hard. "Will you go bring up the tail? I want everyone landed safely."
Harry nodded, dropping his speed. He fell to the back of the group and couldn't help a chuckle when
Hermione fell face first onto the forest floor upon landing. "It's such a foul mode of transportation." She complained.
"Yeah if you have no clue what you're doing." Fred helped her up. "We're on the grounds. How are we getting in?"
Malfoy hadn't dismounted his broom. "If I come back, easily. If I don't...well I don't have a contingency plan."
Potter looked up alarmed. "What are you talking about?"
"Mum unwarded a chimney into one of the guest rooms for just this reason. It's a straight shot down. I'll fly in, wait a few minutes, if no one rushes me Father didn't catch it and I'll lead the rest of you in." His hand touched Potter's cheek. "If I don't come back..."
"No." Harry pulled the blonde close to him. "Look at the perimeter. There are guards. Someone is in there. I'm going with you. Fred, George and Ron are good on their brooms. They can follow us in. Hermione can ride with them. I still have my DA coin, as does Mione. I'll signal them if it's safe. You aren't going alone."
"Absolutely not Potter. If he caught the ward we'll be captured in minutes. You are not coming with me."
"Where are the books?" Harry ignored him. Draco looked annoyed. The link commanded an answer.
"A study, not the library. It's 11 doors down on the left from the room we're entering. There's a wall full of dark texts." He threw his hand over his mouth. "I didn't want to tell you that! Stop it Harry! You promised."
"I know I did." Harry kissed him softly. "But, you wouldn't have told me if I didn't use the link. Hermione did you hear him?"
"Yes, 11 doors down on the left. What's the plan?" The was a coldness to the girl.
"Ron you stay with Hermione at all times. Get the books. Fred and George it's just like a match. You keep them safe. As soon as they're done you activate your portkeys and get to the cabin, yeah?"
"Of course." The Weasley's answered.
"We'll get them out mate." George promised.
"If we can't handle a few Death-eaters we're a sham of an army." Fred smiled sadly.
"What about you two?" Ron's voice was grave.
"Lucius is not stupid. I'd bet my galleons that he caught the hole in the wards. We'll keep them busy while you get in. You leave us, do you understand? They'll want us. They won't be expecting you guys. We'll get in, if everything is fine we'll go with you, if not, we'll go the other way. It won't matter. Mione when your coin sends you the signal you go in. We'll get to the cabin as soon as we can. You will leave us and you will get the texts. That is the plan." His voice was hard.
Hermione was the only one who did not show fear. "You're immortal." She whispered. Harry nodded, glad that she understood.
"Exactly. They can't kill us and if we're captured, we'll get out as soon as we both can. Hermione is top priority. She can get the most information from the books. Get her out. I wouldn't ask if it wasn't the only way. Does everyone understand their role?"
The redhead's nodded solemnly. "Of course Mate, Our resident bookworm will get out, You have our word." Fred swore.
"No. No fucking way." Draco was angry. "Harry you are not going with me. There is no reason..."
Harry sighed. He placed his arm around Malfoy's waist and placed a soft kiss on his forehead. "It's an order Drac." He answered quietly, so that the others might not hear him.
The blonde looked as though he was going to try and argue. "I won't let you go it alone. This is the plan. It is the way we're doing it. Now, let's go. You lead the way."
"This isn't right Harry. I don't want you hurt." Draco said with conviction.
"It's the only way this is happening. Come on, it's getting dark. This is our window.'" Harry looked back at his friends. They were ready. One way or another, this was going to work.
Malfoy's expression was angry as he mounted his broom. Harry had promised not to use the link in this way. His body seemed to disobey every thought that was screaming through his mind. "The chimney is on the far right tower. You have to trust me that you'll make it. We're going full speed straight down. Count to seven as soon as you hit the rim, when you get to seven pull your broom up ninety degrees. You must do this exactly as I've told you."
"Ok. Got it. Count to seven, ninety degrees." Harry repeated anxiously.
"See you lot inside. Remember 11 doors down. There was a false shelf at the top of the bookcase. Check it. There might still be volumes in there. Some of the texts...they'll put up a fight. Start at the bottom. If my father is inside...well, he'll hear the books towards the top." Malfoy seemed full of sorrow. "If any of you are hurt... I'll never..."
"They can't touch us Draco." Fred smiled.
Draco nodded and ascended into the sky. Harry didn't look towards the group as he followed. The wind was cold and smelled sweet. Harry allowed himself a small moment of peace as he closed his eyes, savoring the wind.
Malfoy navigated the towers easily. They sailed over the guards without notice. Harry watched carefully as his lover gained height. He smiled at Harry before leading his broom into a nose dive into a large chimney. How did he know that there would be no fire at the bottom? Harry gulped.
He steadied his hands around his broomstick as he took deep breaths. "Alright girl. We can do this." He spoke to the broom. Potter ignored his nerves and pointed the nose of his broom down, speeding towards a black hole.
He didn't allow himself fear as he was engulfed by darkness. His thoughts were a rush. The cold stone was mere inches from tearing his skin. 3...4...5...6...7. Harry was terrified. He did as he had been instructed and pulled the nose of his broom up. He soon found himself hovering, midair, in a posh guest sweet. Draco leaned against the four poster bed, a grin planted firmly on his face.
"You're white as a ghost Potter." Malfoy sneered.
"That's a fucking death trap. Are you sure Mum doesn't want to kill you?" Harry looked back at the fireplace.
"Don't be a ponce. It's not so hard." Draco pulled Harry into a deep kiss. He pushed their bodies closer. Harry found himself incapable of controlling his actions. He twisted his hand in blonde hair, strengthening the embrace. "I'm so fucking angry with you." Draco growled into Harry's mouth.
"You know as well as I do that your father was alerted as soon as we hit the wards. You lied when you said you could get through the wards. He changed them."
"They change on their own." Draco admitted. "I knew I could get you in safely and you'd be able to leave..."
"With you as the cost?" Harry hugged him close. "I don't think so."
Draco touched his face. "I love you. Whatever he says is a lie. Please remember that."
"I love you." Harry promised. "We're headed into the snake pit aren't we?"
"Yes and I had planned to go alone if you recall..."
"Never. You'll never be alone again." Harry kissed him strongly. "Where is your room? Can we make it?" He joked, his voice husky.
"I'm afraid not." The stiff frame of Lucius Malfoy appeared in the doorway.
Harry quickly squeezed the coin in his pocket. "5 minutes." He whispered, turning his head away from the older Malfoy.
"Father." Draco stood proud. He did not let go of Harry, choosing instead, to pull him closer.
"Draco." His father nodded. "It is so good to see you home. Come away from that...boy." He selected his words carefully.
"No chance." Draco answered.
"I'm giving you one chance son. You may leave him and accept the appropriate punishment for your actions. If you foolishly choose otherwise, I fear your fate will be the same as his." The older man seemed emotionless.
"I'll stick with him I think." Draco raised his chin.
"It's true then? You've bed a Potter?" He spat with disgust.
"Blood magic actually. The Commander's Link." Draco lifted his sleeve as he spoke, revealing the ruins in place of the Dark Mark.
"Sorry Daddy Dearest." Harry smirked. His fingers twitched around his wand.
"You're bound young man. We all know that. To the repugnant Severus Snape no less." He leered.
"And linked as it turns out, to your son..."
"I'm sure Mum would send her regards. How she loves Harry..." Draco smiled.
"Foolish woman. Never has had any sense." The man spoke vehemently.
"So Lucius, how do you want to do this?" Draco questioned. "You could just let us get what we came for, then again you haven't gotten a chance to use that cane lately." He stood defiantly between Harry and his father.
"You gave up claim to anything in this house when you chose such an abomination." The man growled.
Draco held his posture as broad as possible in an attempt to askew as much of Harry as he could from his Father's view.
"You can't possibly think that you're stronger than us." Harry laughed lightly. "Alright fine. We can do it this way." His wand shot a spray of light, missing Lucius by mere inches as the man threw himself to the side. Draco swiftly pulled Harry to the ground next to the bed.
"We have to get him away from here." Harry panted, his eyes searched for an escape route.
Draco fired several spells over the bed, ducking to miss a ball of red that scorched the wall in landed on. "Trust me?" He asked quickly.
"Always." Potter nodded.
"Good. Start firing." Harry couldn't think as Draco stood quickly, hurling the mattress over the other side of the bed. The older man was taken by surprise and knocked to his stomach. Draco pulled Harry towards the door. The blonde shot various spells at his Father. Harry was not surprised to hear the killing curse amongst them. It did not meet its target.
The boys turned right out of the bedroom and tore down a corridor. Harry heard Lucius's angered bellow roar down the hall. Draco shoved all of his weight towards Harry, praying his calculations were correct. He felt the heat of a green streak wiz past his face as they both fell from a balcony. Harry couldn't think. They were tumbling through thin air. This was a terrible plan.
They landed hard, but not as rough as they could have. Harry quickly noted the remains of a green velvet sofa strewn under them. "You threw me off of a balcony!" Harry accused as Draco forced him into a small walkway, away from a poorly aimed ray of light.
"Shut up and move!" Malfoy snapped. They were in a small kitchen. "Through there!" He pointed to a doorway opposite them. He turned back to see if his Father had come into view. He was stopped abruptly when he ran into Harry's firm back.
"Uh...Drac..." Harry chuckled nervously. "Bella's back."
Draco didn't want to hear that. He swung his head to see what his lover was staring at. "Fuck me." Malfoy whispered. Directly in their path stood his aunt, very much alive.
"I don't think we have that kind of time." Potter deadpanned.
HHH HHH HHH
"Get off of me this instant!" Hermione pushed at George, who had flown in behind her and Ron. They're landing had not been smooth. "We have to go!"
She didn't wait for any of them as she headed towards the door. She eased her head out to see if their path was clear. "This way." She took a few steps to the left.
"Hermione listen to that." Ron nodded at the commotion to the right. "We have to go help..."
"No!" She snapped. "We are following the plan. They'll be fine. You heard Harry. We get the books and we go to the cabin to wait."
"Mione it's Harry..."
"I do not have time for this Ronald! Neither does Harry. I'm going." She began to run, counting the doors as she went.
"Has she always been this evil mate?" Fred kept pace with his brothers, wondering if they shouldn't go to Harry and Draco's aide.
"It's a rather new development." Ron grimaced.
Hermione shot them a deathly glare when she reached her destination. The door was locked. The boys gaped as she wordlessly blew it off of it's hinges. "I am not evil!" Granger barked, tossing two bags to the twins. "I'm just not deviating from the plan. Think of everyone we're going to be coming up against. We will not have time to run and help each other out of every scuffle. That's precisely why we have plans. It's why we split up..." She stopped speaking to take in the enormous wall of books. The shelf was at least ten feet wide and twelve feet tall.
"Oh my..." She gasped.
"How do we know what to take?" George questioned.
"We take all of it. The bags are bottomless. You two start bottom left, we'll take right, and for the love of Merlin...hurry!" They began frantically shoving books in their bags. All of them stopped momentarily to stare wide-eyed at Hermione's approach.
She opened her bag on the floor and flicked her wand. The volumes neatly flew off of the shelf and fell single file into her bag. She forced herself not to look at the titles. There would be time for her to be awestruck later. "Don't watch me, get to work!" She yelled, not breaking her spell.
"You aren't saying any words!" Ron accused. "Where did you even learn a spell like that?"
"In a book! Really Ronald, we're fighting a war! You could take some initiative and learn spells that aren't in our textbooks." She nervously looked towards the top of the shelves. She was packing books as quickly as the three boys combined. Her spell didn't break as she turned away, looking for a way to get to the top to check for a hidden shelf. Her magic snatched a book from their grasp on several occasions. The girl tensely tapped her foot and bit her bottom lip. She walked to the door to make sure that they were still in the clear and returned when she was sure that they were. They had 3/4's of the books emptied.
Hermione picked a quill up off of a desk and placed it of the floor, soon it was transfigured into a ladder, which she quickly climbed.
"See? That was two spells at once!" Ron muttered.
"Do shut up." Granger rolled her eyes. "Hidden shelf...hidden shelf..." She whispered, she was looking at books with eyes, books with teeth, one that appeared to be perpetually engulfed in flames. One volume stung her as her fingertips grazed it. "I will throw you in the fireplace. Don't think that I wont." She warned. "The life and death of Walton Tribidoux. I've read about you Mr. Tribidoux, while fascinating you are useless to me right now. Sting me again and you're a goner."
"She's talking to a book." Fred laughed.
"She's completely off her rocker." Ron sighed.
"Alright stop." Hermione ordered when there were only two shelves of books remaining. "Close your bags, shrink them and put them in your pockets. Fred, George, check the door. Ron...can you hold a silencing spell around the room?"
"I've been in a bed next to my best friend for seven years...of course I can hold a silencing spell." He laughed and elbowed his brother, who flashed a smile and wiggled his eyebrows at the girl.
"Disgusting." She ignored them, throwing a fifth bag to the floor for the more volatile texts. She chose to float them down individually, paying no mind to the grunts and howls some of them gave in protest. Draco had been right, if it weren't for the silencing spell anyone in the manor would have been able to hear the howling. She had one shelf clear and half of another when a commotion broke out behind her.
"What do we have here?" Rodolphus Lestrange had his wand pointed, the twins were on guard, backing towards Hermione and Ron. "Stealing books are we? You're the little mudblood that caused the death of my dear wife. I'm so pleased to have her back." He sneered.
Hermione didn't turn around fully, continuing to pack her research material. "Don't get used to it." She said flippantly. "I'll get her again before long. Boys don't fire any spells. We can't risk being heard." Granger warned.
"I think I'll give you to her. She'll like that. She hasn't been the same." The man was closing in on them. Hermione watched the vibrations of the perimeter of the silencing spell. He was almost inside.
"She was completely cracked before I cursed her, don't fool yourself." Hermione finally turned to face the man. "Why would you even want her back? Everyone knows the loon is in love with Voldemort." She leaned her elbows on a run of the ladder casually.
"Mione while hearing your scary banter is fun and all, we kinda need a plan." Fred held his wand firm.
"There's three of us. We can stop him." He looked to his brothers and smirked.
"Oh, he's not going anywhere." Her voice was low. Two more steps. She only needed him to take two more steps.
"I'm not afraid of a bunch of children!" Lestrange scoffed. "I'm quite enjoying our little chat. Why do you think you're all still standing?"
Hermione smirked at him. "The better question is, why are you?" She barely moved as a jet of green light erupted from the tip of her wand. It hit the man in the chest. He crumpled to the floor without a sound. She looked at him for a short moment before turning back to the bookcase. "Aha! Hidden shelf." Granger looked at the rare volumes that had been well hidden.
"Was that...?" George's draw dropped.
"Is he...?" Fred nudged the man with the toe of his boot. "Guess so." He shrugged.
Ron had much more of a reaction. "Hermione! He's dead!" He screamed.
"That's what Avada Kadarva does Ron." She stated simply as she packed the last book. She hopped off of the ladder and shrunk her two bags, placing them in her pocket.
"You killed him! We could have just stunned him! I didn't even know The Killing Curse could be issued wordlessly...you can't just kill people!" The man yelled at his girlfriend.
"Why? So he could be on the battlefield killing Neville or Luna or Bill? He's out of the way now. We're done here. We need to go." She looked down at the tattoo on her wrist.
"You...Hermione...you killed a man..." Ron stuttered.
"It's the Apocalypse!" Hermione lost her temper. "Do you still not have any idea what that means? When this is over I won't even remember him because I'll have killed so many others. Grow up Ron! Not everyone we love is immortal and I'll be damned if I'm going to lose them to someone I had the chance to stop. Now, we're going." With that she touched her wrist and disappeared silently.
"She's right baby brother." George patted his shoulder. "Terrifying but right. Lets get out of here before we have anymore visitors." Ron was speechless as the three of them vanished from the study.
HHH HHH HHH
Harry opened his eyes groggily. Bella had stunned him. He lifted his head frantically. "Drac?" He searched the cell in the dungeons. He was shackled, spread eagle, to the wall. Damn the luck.
"Thank Merlin!" Draco's voice came from Harry's left. He was on the wall that ran the length of their cell. "You've been out for an hour! I was worried!"
"Damn she is strong." Potter joked. "Are you alright? What happened? Can you reach your wrist?"
"No I can't. I'm fine. Father got me from behind when I tried to catch you. I think everyone got out alright. Bella's husband was found dead in the study..." He seemed slightly shocked.
Harry couldn't help a chuckle. "I wonder who did that."
"Who indeed?" Lucius's sickening drawl was accompanied by several torches flaring to life on the walls. "Where are my books?" He seated himself on a stool in between the boys.
"Have you tried retracing your steps? I find that useful sometimes when I've lost something." Harry grinned.
The man moved quickly, his cane coming into contact across Draco's knees. A pained hiss escaped his lips. "Haven't changed a bit eh dad?" The blonde sniggered.
"You won't let go of this twisted perversion son, so I'll just use it to my advantage." He hand coiled in Potter's dark hair, his fist swiftly landed in his gut. Harry grunted and coughed.
"Stop it! I will kill you old man. You know that don't you?" Draco snarled.
"Not before I drain the life out of your little boyfriend and if you still find yourself less the cooperative I'll gift you to Marius when he returns."
Harry hid his surprise. He didn't know that they couldn't be killed. This would be interesting.
"Father of the year aren't you Lucius?" Harry spat in the man's face. The cane came down hard across his chest several times.
"Do not tempt me boy. The Dark Lord wants you alive but, accidents do happen." He took several steps towards his son. "How is my dear wife? I really must pay her a visit."
"You'll never get to her." Draco swore. "She's stronger than you regardless."
"Tell me Draco how did you get out of your confinement at Hogwarts? Let's catch up." He smiled.
"Well, you know I was walking around one night and I just thought 'you know who I haven't seen for awhile? Draco.' It was love at first sight really." Harry smirked.
"A whirlwind romance really." Draco stared at his lover. "Got ourselves linked and than all shacked up. It's been a wonderful winter."
"I'm quite impressed your Godfather hasn't killed you, I'll admit. What nasty little favors do you have to do for him to get to take young Harry here out to play?" His long finger traced Harry's cheek. Draco closed his eyes, his fists balled painfully tighter.
"Much unlike my paternal half I am willing to pay for my mistakes." Draco growled. "My time with Severus will come. I accept that."
"Having a little Gryffindor inside of you really is...rubbing off. I could tell you stories about our dear Sevi that would chill your blood..."
"Murder, lying, fucking? Yeah I've seen it all." Harry answered nonchalantly. "Mathias, Regulus, Frank, blah blah blah. You know what else I've seen? Your son's memories. You are a disgusting human being. I quite think I might dance on your grave."
"You'll never get the chance." Malfoy Sr threatened. "You think Draco some kind of saint? Did he mention that we placed him in the castle specifically to get to you? Or how he begged his way into Marius's bed?"
"Drac, tell the truth now, were you going to kill me?" Harry's voice mocked.
"Never love, fuck you perhaps..." He was silenced with a swift punch to his face. He cocked a grin as he spit blood and teeth onto the floor.
"You know that is the only time I've seen you beg..." Potter mused. "Do you remember that time in the shower?" Harry carried on the very personal conversation.
"You were such a tease! Who could help but to plead with you to..." Draco caught on to the plan.
"Enough! You were raised better than to offer yourself up to such trash!" Lucius stormed.
"Oh but Father, he's so...talented." The boy winked at his lover.
"Don't worry Mr. Malfoy I always make sure that your son is very well taken care of. He is such a prize after all. Every night that I curl up in his arms, well I cannot help but to thank you. If you hadn't brought him back to Hogwarts I never would have gotten this chance. This really is all of your doing." Harry sneered.
"I am ever so grateful Father."
"You know when I'm most grateful Draco?" The Gryffindor forced a laugh, not eager for what was to come.
"When is that dear?" Malfoy's voice was sickeningly sweet.
"When you bottom. Merlin the sight of your ass in the air...Mmm" Harry moaned. As expected punches began assaulting his face and stomach. He tried to not make a sound. He didn't want for Draco to hear his pain. The other boy was busy screaming for his father to stop.
"Father! Please! Don't hurt him! Please...hit me! Gods please!" Draco frantically pulled at his chains. His body contorted at odd angles in his fight with the steel restraints.
"Crucio!" His Father's voice echoed through the dungeons. Harry fell under the curse instantly. He tried to stay lucid despite the immense torture. The dungeons had no dampening spells placed on them. They'd be able to use magic. Harry focused on his magic, drawing strength from his boyfriend. He felt an odd surge. Draco's eyes hadn't left him. As soon as it started it was over. The pain was gone. Harry lifted his head with a smile. They were too strong for Crucio to stay in place when they were together.
"What the..." Lucius took a step back.
"Too strong..." Bella sang. "The boys are playing with old magic Lucy. Old...old...old..." She muttered as she entered the cell. Her walk was broken dance. "Someone killed my husband." She pouted. "Do you know who that might have been?" She grabbed Draco's chin.
"Don't touch me." He yanked his head away. "You cracked old bat."
"You fell a little short on that one." Harry looked into the man's angered eyes. "Wanna try something else?"
"Never tell...shhh...secrets..." Bellatrix glided over to Harry. "Time for the cane. These two broke your magic. It's not nice to break things."
"Bella what are you talking about?" Lucius's voice softened.
"Too strong...two is better than one...that's cheating, it is..."
"You brats can fight off magic with your link." He answered himself. "Very well. I have other methods. Bella, dear...would you like to help me collect a few things?" He offered his hand to his sister in law.
"Treasure hunt...lots to do..." She answered. He seemed to understood here. They began walking out of the cell. He stopped a few feet past his son and stopped.
The slender man carefully took several backwards steps until he was in front of his son. "I wouldn't want to play favorites." His grin was frightening. Before Harry could think the black cane rained blows on his lover's chest and abdomen. The sound of the metal tearing flesh seemed too loud. Draco did not cry out, even when his knees gave way and he slumped over in agony.
Harry couldn't hear his own threats as he screamed. He watched helplessly as blood began to drip around Draco's feet. The flurry of hits tattered the boys shirt. Lucius stopped as quickly as he started.
"That should do for now." He seemed unaffected and satisfied. He tossed a smirk towards Harry and left the room.
"Drac..." Harry whispered painfully.
"Yes love?" Draco coughed.
"Are you alright?"
"Just another Friday at Malfoy Manor Harry, nothing to worry about." He hid his distress. "What the hell are you thinking? Provoking him like that? I can't see him hurt you love...I just...can't." There was sadness in his tone.
"Eventually he'll take at least one of us down to hit us. I heal faster I want it to be me. Then we can get out of here." Harry said quietly.
"We're already here, hold off a little bit. We know Bella is back and Marius is not. Maybe we can find out which of our new friends have already made their return."
"No." Harry ordered. "You can't heal...it's not worth it."
"Harry please listen to me. Just let me try. I've followed your lead through this whole thing. This is valuable information and he can't help but brag. It shouldn't take me long to get it out of him. He'll still want to beat us within an inch of our lives in a few hours." His voice was stern.
Harry thought for a moment. "...OK." He conceded. "But if he lays into you too much I'm going to shift the focus to me. I'll be all healed up in a few hours, you're already looking at a week."
"...bloody savior complex..."
"Did he really send you to get close to me?" Potter hushed into the darkness.
"I told you everything he said is a lie." Draco countered, dropping his head. "Be a good boy and play dead when he comes back in. Let me try and talk to him."
"Yes Dear." Harry joked. He hated this plan. He had to allow Draco some control after how he'd handled things in the forest. It was his father, he must know what he was doing.
HHH HHH HHH
"It's nearly Midnight." Ron spoke for the first time in hours. Hermione hadn't mentioned anything she had done at the manor. She had busied herself with research as soon as they had arrived at the cabin.
"Yes?" She looked up from her book.
"They aren't here yet. We should go back. Something is wrong." Ron was on his feet. The twins slept on the couches.
"Ron Harry was very specific. We're to wait here for him." She responded, turning back to her book. She was worried but, would not allow it to show. She reminded herself every few minutes that her friends were immortal. Harry had a lot of battle time clocked and he knew what he was doing. They would arrive as soon as they were able.
"It's Harry, Hermione! We help him, it's what we do. You killed someone without even blinking! You're magic is out of control. Do you even care that they aren't here? Are you even human anymore?!" The angry man yanked the book out of his girlfriend's hands.
She stared up at him. She hid the tears that threatened her eyes. "Sometimes I don't know." She whispered. "Of course I care...if they have them...I know what they're doing to them...He told us to leave..."
"Since when is he the boss?"
"Since we started fighting the end of the world!" Hermione argued. "Give me my book. I don't want to talk about this anymore. I don't particularly want to talk to you." She snatched her book and returned to her reading, turning her back.
"That works out well doesn't it? I can't look at you right now." Ron turned and slammed the front door as he left. He needed some air. He didn't see Hermione begin to cry quietly.
HHH HHH HHH
Harry hadn't moved in the twenty minutes Lucius had been in their cell. He appeared unconscious. Draco had successfully lured his father into a conversation after a few punches.
"Is he out?" Draco gestured to his lover.
"Quite. Not as strong as you thought, is he?" Malfoy Sr seemed happy.
"No one ever is." Draco shrugged. "The light side is not nearly as fun as I thought it would be."
"You're not well suited for it. You are just like me Draco. You'll never be a good man. It just isn't in you."
"Perhaps you're right. I got so caught up in everything. I thought I was in love, I've grown bored of it all and now with the link...I don't know how to get out of it dad. Potter can command me now, everything I do is because he wishes it... there's nothing I can do..." He feigned despair.
"The Dark Lord could put an end to it. I'm almost sure that he would spare your life. I could have you by my side once again, as it should be. Our side grows more powerful everyday Son." He was hopeful.
"Marius will kill me as soon as he hears that I'm here." Draco shook his head.
"Not if The Dark Lord forbade it. Marius hasn't been returned to us quite yet. Bella was an early exception. The army he's gathering...it's truly awe inspiring."
"He's been able to recruit than?" Draco prodded. "Eastern Europe?"
"Better. You wouldn't believe who our Manor will be hosting in the coming months. In her right mind your mother would have been so proud. Right now Voldemort is gathering Grindelwald, in a few weeks he'll be traveling to Russia." Draco almost felt pity at how quickly the man was opening up to his son, how lonely he must be.
"Rasputin? I heard Potter and his little friends whispering about it." He did his best to fake a sneer.
"Yes. Draco take your punishment and come home. You could aide in the searches, you've always been good with research, such a bright boy. We have some others to locate and then they too will be resurrected, can you believe it?" He had stepped closer to his son, smiling proudly.
"Hardly." The look in Draco's eyes changed. "Can you Harry?"
"What I can't believe is how quickly he fell for that act." Harry's head rose. "You're never getting your son back Lucius. He's mine. How could you honestly believe that he'd want to be by your side? You're a vile, cruel, heartless man."
"You..." Lucius began to shake with rage.
"I ordered your son to get information out of you? Afraid so." Harry's smacked back into the stone walls as Malfoy's fists smashed into his face. He felt his nose break. He tasted blood.
"Stop! I did it on my own! He told me not to but, you're just so easy to manipulate, so desperate for love..." Draco goaded his father. "I can't believe Voldemort tells you anything." He leered.
The roar that issued from the older man echoed throughout the dungeons. Draco felt his body being lifted and then thrown, landing at Harry's feet. The cane whipped into his back with more fury than ever before. A boot landed strong kicks into his ribs, he couldn't help but scream out as he felt several of them crack.
"You worthless child! You're weak! Neither of you will ever see the outside of these walls again! You will serve at the feet of who's coming and you will suffer!" The man was blinded by anger. Draco wrapped his arms around his stomach, attempting to move himself between Harry and his father, noticing that his father's cane was meeting his lover's beautiful face.
Harry thought quickly. If Draco could be killed he would be dead by now. "Drac!" He screamed. "Use your Valentine's day present! Stand, let's go!" They had one chance to make this work. If they failed, Lucius would never give them another chance.
Draco's world slowed. The plan formed in his head. He took a deep breath and pressed the bracelet to his lips, instantly feeling his power swell. He ignored all of the stabbing pains and forced himself to his feet, throwing himself around Harry. He looked back at his father before touching his wrist. Lucius found himself pummeling air. The boys could not hear his ear piercing wail.
HHH HHH HHH
Harry and Draco landed in a heap on the cabin floor. Hermione was at their side instantly. The sun crept, just so, through the windows, signaling dusk.
"Oh my god!" The girl separated them, placing both of them on their backs, next to each other. "Help me!" She screamed to the sleeping brothers.
"We're both here." Harry assured himself. He coughed and rolled onto his side. "Fred, potions, Draco's bedroom, top shelf of his wardrobe." The man ran off quickly.
Draco wasn't moving. "Hermione can I give him some of my power to heal him quicker? Lucius...he was going to kill him..." Harry couldn't believe it.
"Yes. Just focus on him in your core. Force magic into him. Command him to heal. It's going to leave you weaker..."
"I'm fine. I look worse than it is..." He closed his eyes, doing as Hermione had instructed him. He heard Fred and George pouring potions into Draco's mouth. The snapping of bones resetting themselves made his stomach turn.
"Look at them! I told you we should have gone back!" Ron thundered. "This is your fault!"
"Ron shut up!" Hermione screeched.
"It was Lucius." Harry growled. "I told you to leave us. That is exactly what I expected you to do." Harry felt his power drain, feeding Draco.
"Skele-grow, blood replenishing, general healing and a pain potion." Fred tossed the empty vials to the side. "He's starting to come to."
Harry felt Draco's hand grab his own. "That's enough love, stop transferring magic." Malfoy's voice was husky. "I'm alright. We got out." He promised his lover.
Harry kissed him abruptly. "That was a terrible plan! He wanted you dead!"
"Got the info didn't I? Thanks to you I'll live to fight another day and someday soon kill that repugnant man for laying a hand on my boyfriend."
"Yes, of all the things he's done that's definitely why you should kill him." Harry laughed, pulling Draco close to him. "Can we pack these books up and get back to the castle? Maybe we'll be lucky and no one's noticed our absence."
"Of course mate." George began loading the books into a bag. "Take him home. We can all apperate and come find us when you've gotten some rest." Harry nodded in appreciation.
"Alright baby, hang on. I'll get us home." They boys disappeared with a slight pop.
HHH HHH HHH
Draco hugged Harry tightly when they appeared before the castle. "You look like hell. I am so sorry. When I saw him doing that to you I..."
"Shhh. We got out. We got what we went for, plus some. You were brilliant." Harry assured him as they made there way up to the door that led into the dungeons. It was close to lunch time. Everyone would be in the great hall. "We might be in the clear." Harry looked around hopefully when they reached the door to their rooms that they shared with Sirius and Lupin.
Draco kissed him deeply, opening the door. "I pray that we are, after a night like that all I want is to take you to bed and sleep for days..." He stopped when fear flashed through Harry's eyes.
"Young man when I'm done with the two of you you're not only going to wish for sleep, you're going to wish you were dead." Narcissa's sharp voice bit directly behind him.
"Do I want to turn around?" Draco whispered.
"Definitely not." Harry answered. He stared into the angry and weary faces of his godfathers, his fiance and one very enraged Narcissa Malfoy.