Hard to believe that this is the last chapter of the second story! So excited, if a little sad that it has come to an end
Chapter 34: Beginning
Harry pushed the last of his clothes into his trunk and squashed the lid down. He sighed and leant against the wood. While he had needed to pack his things it had taken more energy than he had expected it to, even if he had been able to use magic.
With his trunk packed Harry headed back to the Hospital Wing; where he had spent the last three days, waiting for Yugi to wake up.
It hadn't been until this morning that the bright eyed boy had been able to drag himself out of the black pit he had slipped into and grace them with his cheery smile.
Harry pushed open the door to the Hospital Wing. He was greeted by the Weasley's and half the Order of the Phoenix. Hagrid was standing in one corner, Lupin and Tonks sitting side by side on one of the spare beds, McGonagall and the Weasley's were sitting in chairs surrounding Yugi's bed. The elf was asleep again, resting curled up in the crook of Yami's arm. The Shade was starting to look tired again, his eyelids drooping slightly over his sharp eyes.
Harry smiled at everyone weakly. Hermione and Luna were perched on the pair of chairs between the two beds. Harry dropped unceremoniously onto Yugi's bed and accepted the tiny elf from his Shade guardian. This close Harry could sense that Yugi was better, much better and this made Harry's hopes rise.
"Potter, we need to discuss your travel arrangements." McGonagall said. Everyone turned to watch them. Harry just waited; several of the people present had tried to talk them into revealing the mission Dumbledore had left them. It had only stopped when Yami had informed everyone that the next person to ask would be used to fill his reserves, completely. It was an effective threat; Harry had barely been approached in the last three days.
The discussion was delayed as Yugi muttered softly and woke. Everyone leant in. Harry smiled down at him. "Hey, feeling better?" He asked gently.
Yugi blinked a couple of times, giving his eyes a moment to refocus and adjust to the light in the room. Then he smiled faintly and nodded. He then frowned slightly and blinked at everyone in confusion.
Harry hadn't been able to explain anything to him when he had woken up this morning, he hadn't been awake long enough. Yugi seemed a bit more alert this time so Harry told him what had happened in the last few days, carefully excluding anything about the Horcruxes. Yugi cried when Harry told him about Dumbledore. Harry hugged him gently and watched as Mrs Weasley's eyes filled tears as well. Everyone was still very sombre. Harry gave Yugi a few more moments to compose himself.
"You were saying Professor?" Harry asked carefully.
McGonagall looked down at Yugi who had wiped his red-rimmed eyes on his sleeve and was now watching everyone. Harry could also feel the reassuring chill emanating off of Yami who was still seated on the bed behind him. "Yes, well we think it would be best if you returned to your Aunt and Uncles house until you turn seventeen."
Harry nodded. He had been expecting this. "Then what?" He asked.
"Someone will come and get you and take you to a safe house. The larger consideration is what you are to do Yami." Everyone shifted their attention to the Shade leaning back into the pillows behind Harry.
Yami eyes opened slowly. "I will go with Harry and Yugi back to the non-magical part of the city, I need to replenish my reserves and that is the best place to do it. You will need to remove the anti-Shade spells around their home. I do not have the strength to cross them."
McGonagall nodded calmly. "I can also remove the spells from the Express and at King's Cross."
Yami nodded, "When you come to take Harry and Yugi to this safe house send a warning. I will put up boundary spells which will warn me of any approaching magical human and I will not be able to tell the difference between you and Death Eaters. I will attack anyone who crosses the spells. As for going to the safe house, I will go with them. I am a far better protector than anything you can offer."
Lupin stirred, "What happens if Voldemort perfects these anti-Shade spelled cloaks that he had the other night, then you will be of no help." Yami hissed, but Lupin continued. "I have to admit that having a Shade guarding Harry is probably the best protection that we could give him, but Voldemort has now got a way to protect his Death Eaters from you."
Yami sniffed irritably. "If I had my way I would take Harry and Yugi to the nearest elfin village and leave them there, but Dumbledore left Harry a task. That task must be completed." Yami gave a sly smile. "And you have not yet seen all of my skills werewolf." Harry smiled. Yami was talking about the earth magic. The Order still didn't know about it and its uses. It was probably their biggest advantage over Voldemort, nothing he came up with could possibly compete with it.
Mrs Weasley frowned. "That is a thought, what about the elves." She looked down at Yugi, who had been utterly still and silent during the exchange. "Would your people be willing to help us?"
Yugi shook his head and flicked his eyes to Yami. Yami spoke for him, the message passed mentally. "The elves will not fight unless it is their last resort. We will send them a warning to be ready, but do not expect their aid until the last possible moment."
The little party broke up soon after that. Harry was still sleeping in the Hospital Wing to stay close to Yugi; he settled onto his bed and closed his eyes. They would be leaving in the morning, and Harry didn't quite know what to expect.
Yami watched his sleeping elf and human. He waited a few more minutes until he was sure that they were actually asleep. Yami moved into a corner, they wouldn't be coming back to Hogwarts next year and Yami found himself a little reluctant to abandon his network of darkings.
It had taken a bit of convincing, but finally Yugi had agreed that having the little shadows along with them next year could be helpful. Yami had done a few calculations and come up with twelve as the magic number. That way he could have eight with him, a fairly standard number for a Shade as strong as him, and then one each to stay with his three humans and Yugi. That way he could keep an eye on them even if he had to leave them for a time.
He spent the rest of the night using up a lot of his remaining energy imprinting the darkings. When he finally settled down to rest it was nearly morning.
Yami started the journey back to London in shadow form. He told the humans it was to allow him to move as undetected as possible, the truth was that it was to save as much energy as he could. Thankfully the atmosphere on the train was of generalised low level fear, allowing Yami a slow inrush of energy.
Harry had been plying Yugi with as much energy as he could, as a result Yugi was recovering fast, but Harry was left rather drained. As such the two of them spent the first half of the journey asleep.
Ginny had just left, leaving Ron sitting opposite the sleeping Harry, Hermione next to him. Yami sighed; it was time to break one of the only laws his people had. He drew slowly into human form and shook Harry slightly. The young human woke with a start. "Are we there?" He asked sleepily. His voice woke Yugi; the elf yawned and smiled around at everyone.
Yami found himself smiling back. "I need to talk to you all. I have something to give you."
They all turned to focus on him. Yami reached back and locked the door with a wisp of magic at the same time calling all the darkings up from the shadows under the seats. The tiny shadows came in a flood. Harry's eyes widened as they focused on the shadows, Yami knew that he could see them as separate individual spots of darkness. Hermione and Ron were just waiting, obviously assuming that they were a part of Yami, or one of his spells.
Yami allowed a darking to coil on his palm. It wrapped itself around him, tugging on the magic which formed his body. "This is a darking." He paused and struggled as his nature, his knowledge of what was right and law fought to keep him silent. This was far more important, and well worth the revelation of the darkings. Besides he trusted these three humans.
Yugi frowned, but didn't help. He knew that this was something Yami had to do alone. "I am sorry." The humans all blinked at his apology. "This is a Shade secret, I should not be telling you this, but you need to know." He paused again and allowed his magic to settle with his newly realised morals. "Darkings are a little like miniature Shades." Yami started, pausing as Ron balked. "But instead of feeding on human emotion, they feed on magic. You have seen them around the school, but passed them off as me, or my magic. These are my spy network." Yami added quickly.
Hermione gasped and clapped a hand to her mouth, "But can't people see them?"
Yami shook his head. "Humans do not even know they exist, anti-Shade spells camnot keep them out and dementors do not care about them. Darkings are in all consideration no more important than magic itself. In fact they are more than likely the reason that spells break down over time. Darkings eat the magic away."
Hermione frowned. "Why haven't Shades used them to break down the anti-Shade spells?"
Yami grumbled softly, this was not supposed to be a question and answer session. "Darkings are not the most intelligent creatures. It is difficult to get them to understand something, and unless you can point to a spell directly getting them to consume a particular piece of magic is nearly impossible. Besides it would take a lot of darkings a long time to destroy the anti-Shade spells. But this is not the important part." Yami paused as a group of students walked past their door. Once they had disappeared he continued. "I am going to give you each one, that way I can keep track of you all."
Ron looked at Yami's palmful of shadow. "So if we keep one of these with us, then you can find us no matter where we are?"
Yami nodded. "As I have explained with the spy network, it is not very specific, but one darking can lead me to another. They can contact each other over any distance." Hermione opened her mouth so Yami cut off her question. "Before you ask, I do not know how they do it."
Yami sent off each of the four darkings he had selected and the tiny creatures began to investigate their new friends. Yami blocked out the quiet chatter of the darkings 'talking' amongst themselves. Hermione had gone very still. "Can we talk to them?" She asked carefully.
Yami smirked. "Not unless you speak Shade. If you are in trouble, tell them Stupefy. I've taught them to send me a message if you should say that." Yami leant back into the seat. It had taken him all night to teach his dakings that. He was glad to note that the moment he had said Stupefy the darkings had each called out to his own that the word had been said. So it would definitely work so long as the darkings didn't foget.
Ron had tried to grab his and the little shadow skittered out of reach and then vanished under Ron's shirt. Yami knew Ron wouldn't be able to feel the darking, but he still thrashed around in an amusing way. Finally Ron gave up and looked over at Yami. "Do we have to feed them?"
Yami shook his head and looked at Yugi. The elf had used a tweak of magic and had coerced his darking into a black headband which now held his long golden fringe out of his eyes. Harry had just allowed the darking to vanish under his clothes and was watching Yami with tired eyes. "They eat magic, they will just pick at your spells or the spells around you."
Harry's eye went wide in alarm. "That could put us in a lot of danger." He said.
Yami shook his head again. "No, like I said, darkings are everywhere. The magic that these eat will not even be noticed."
Further conversation was interrupted as the train arrived in London with a loud whistle.
Yami dissolved into his shadows again. The darkings were apparently alright with staying with the humans and tucked themselves into the pockets which held their wands. Yugi's darking remained as a headband and seemed to be completely content with its position. Yami hoped it didn't draw questions.
Harry stepped through the barrier into the muggle part of the station. He paused, Yugi was seated on the trolley and Yami was nearby watching. He could feel the faintest shift in his jeans pocket where the darking was.
Had it only been a year ago that he had made the same trip back to the Dursley's. Last year he had lost Sirius, now Dumbledore was gone. Harry felt as though he was slowly losing everyone. Moody and Lupin were following him, the Weasley's had departed after bidding him goodbye and Hermione had gone to find her parents.
Harry began to look around for his uncle; he had sent a letter telling him when to pick Harry and Yugi up from the station. Harry knew that things could go two ways at this point. Either his uncle would be furious and blast him with abuse or, and this was more likely; he would decide to ignore Harry completely.
There was a ripple of beckoning shadows from ahead and Harry hurried after Yami. The Shade led them to Uncle Vernon who was looking down at Yugi with undisguised disgust. He turned and walked off without a word.
Ignored. Harry smiled to himself and nodded towards Lupin and Moody who were watching from a distance. Harry knew that the Order were mad at him, he had still refused to tell them anything about Dumbledore's mission and with Yami on his side again there was nothing that they could do to get him to tell them.
Yugi whistled at him, he was watching Uncle Vernon walk off. Harry put his weight behind the trolley and hurried after his uncle. So this summer was going to be about the same as the last. Hooray.
So we reach the end of another story. Part two is finished. Part three is still in the planning stage. I'm hoping to start writing it in the next week or so. However in an odd backwards fashion, I write more when I am at uni than I do when I am on holidays. So you probably won't see the next one until into the New Year sometime. Ah well, I'll get there.
I would really like to finish my Sherlock story before I start doing any regular updating of the final, otherwise danger threatens, as it is Harry was looking a little shaky towards the end. That shouldn't take me too long though.
A special thank you to YankeeSamson and Hanzo of the Salamander for their serial reviewing of 'The Path of Shadows'. To everyone else, thank you for reading, reviewing and favouriting and I hope to see you all again for the final instalment. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone.
p.s: The Triqual is called 'A Shadow's Dark Heart', not sure if I mentioned that. Keep an eye out!