A.N.- Sorry it took so long, I had severe writer-block and struggled to come up with inspiration, my friends and girlfriend were of no use either in that department. I cannot recall the many instances where I cannot write a single paragraph and be satisfied. However I am not giving up on this story to reiterate once again and thank you for all those who pm'ed me or have been kind enough to leave reviews. I may not reply to all of them but I do read them and they have been helpful thank you all. Without further ado, here's the next chapter.
P.S.- Additionally, I would like to wish everyone a belated Merry Christmas as well as a Happy New Year. May your goals and wishes come true!
Chapter 25: Divulging Paths
In the opulently decorated Malfoy Manor, Lucius Malfoy sat next to his wife as she recounted on the letters sent to her by their two wondrous sons.
They had just returned from one of those muggle stage performances, what were they called again? Theatre? He was impartial to them but he could never ever say no to his wife who seemed to enjoy them.
Back onto topic as he focused on listening, fell knew, not even Narcissa would know that whenever Elan and Draco would openly talk about every single adventure they went on each year, he would feel proud and…slightly jealous.
His parents were the old fashioned pureblood type and left him with little to no choice in each and every single one of his decisions. Luckily, the one thing they did right was introducing him to Narcissa. Feelings were often not considered in the arranged marriages of his peers, why would it be?
However, his attention shifted from Narcissa as he suddenly felt an unknown presence residing in his home, it was so miniscule that a less discipline wizard would have no doubt missed it. His eyes soon shot up as he suddenly stood up.
"Lu?" Narcissa asked in a concerned tone.
"Stay right here and get the Floo active just in case." He called out as he whipped out his wand while walking out the living room.
Staring at the dark unlit stairwell, the man slowly walked up. Reaching the apex of the stairwell, Lucius noticed the room to his study was left slightly ajar. It had been sealed tight when he had left the manor earlier in the evening. Lightly pushing it, he stepped into the dark room, lit only by the lamp on his desk.
Sitting on the 'guest' chair was a figure that sat straightly in a relative relaxed fashion.
"You know Lucius...it's been a while since I've gotten a challenge through infiltrating such complex wards."
The man with thick dark hair with streaks of silver grey partially covering his left eye said with a smirk as Lucius slowly took his seat across from him.
"Merlin…Antonin…It is you." He breathed.
"In the flesh." Antonin Dolohov made a wave gesture with his hand.
"You're looking well…for a fugitive." Lucius said slowly.
"You know me, the best way to hide something is putting it in plain sight." Antonin replied as he conjured two glasses with his wand while he placed a bottle of amber liquid on the table.
"You felt it too didn't you…it has been increasing since the start of the year." He said as he poured the liquid into the two glasses.
Lucius said nothing as he downed the shot.
"How's the family?" Antonin inquired as he too downed his shot before pouring the two of them another glass.
"Good, I feel as if I died this very moment, I can be happy that I have met Narcissa and raised two sons who are better than I could ever be." Lucius confessed, eyes staring into his glass before he downed it.
"I see." His guest responded before mirroring the action.
"I saw him…yesterday, after going to see Alexandra." Antonin whispered.
"Did he notice you…" Lucius asked quietly, knowing how sensitive the topic of his son was to the man sitting before him. A
humorless laughter was his response. "He's inherited my talent, of course he did."
There was a certain sense of pride in the man's tone.
"The mark is getting clearer…you know what that means don't you, Lucius?" Antonin continued, "He's going to return…one way or another…this year."
All color was drained from Lucius Malfoy's face as he downed another shot. "
I was hoping with every fiber in my body that this day might never come." The blonde haired man said past gritted teeth. "
Despite so, I believe we have one advantage that might just inch us past this situation." Antonin played with the simple silver band around his left hand.
"How?" Lucius' eyes shot up to meet his guests'.
Number 12 Grimmauld Place, Dueling Room
"You're slowing down."
Tonks had to bite down hard on her tongue to prevent herself from complaining about the soreness in her legs and swearing off at him as the object of her irritation fired continuous spells at her from all angles to improve her reaction time and her improvisation abilities.
Her auror practical exam was difficult but this was on another whole new level as she knew her examiner was not holding back one bit.
Yuri was inwardly impressed at the tenacity shown by his 'pupil' as he attempted to get her to slip up by continuously firing spells at her weaker left side.
Flash stepping behind her, he fired a bone breaking hex at the young auror who turned side ways and with her wand raised and deflected it into a nearby wall causing an explosion, taking large chunks of it to fall out.
He stared at her with amusement as Sirius opened the door to the sparring room of his house and his jaw nearly dropped to the floor.
For once in his life, the Sirius Black had no retort available as the chandelier dropped down to the polished granite floor and a loud crash was then ensued.
Outside Number 12 Grimmauld Place
"Do you think he's still mad?" Tonks asked her companion as she and Yuri sat down on a park bench a few blocks away from Number 12 Grimmauld Place.
"He'll get over it." The son of the infamous duelist said with a slight smile on his face.
It was then Nymphadora realized how infectious his smile was, a contrast to his uncaring expression. Granted, her cousin pulling at his hair while surveying the destroyed room was one of the most genuinely funniest moments of her life, it was still nice to see him to smile.
The metamorphmagus then inwardly slapped her head at the thought and promptly cleared her mind of the image of the normally stern young man smiling at her.
"Why did you come back?" She asked slowly.
"A multitude of reasons." Came the cryptic response, which of course caused the Metamorphmagus to turn her head and stare at him hard.
With a sigh the Salem graduate faced her. "I have one end that I need to tie up myself." He responded firmly, all traces of his previous friendliness gone, as if it never happened.
Nymphadora then knew she had waded into dangerous territory as she muttered a quiet sorry.
"What is your father like?" Yuri's sudden question sent electric shocks up her spine as Nymphadora looked at her companion with wide eyes.
After gathering her thoughts, she responded with a fond tone. "My dad is a kind hearted person who always treated people kindly no matter what their blood status was."
After several seconds, Yuri stood up. "I see."
"What about you?" Tonks asked with a hint of composed bravery in her tone.
"My…father...was..." Yuri concentrated as he slowly found words that would fit the description he felt in his heart, "he was a man who blindly obeyed the orders of a psychopath with no regards to who he's hurting…not even his family."
He then started to walk away, leaving the young woman to her own thoughts but seeing the shape of his retreating back disappearing evoked feelings of pain in her chest.
"You are determined to go through with this…without ever letting your son to know about the truth of his mother's death." Lucius asked as he watches his friend down another shot.
"He must never know" Antonin looked up immediately, "the revelation would destroy him…I'm asking, no, I'm begging you Lucius…as my last request…take the knowledge to the grave…please."
"You really are the most selfish person I have ever met." Lucius sighed, rubbing his temple.
"This coming from the man who wanted to fake his death to avoid telling his wife that he had cave in to the Dark Lord's demand." Antonin bit back with a smirk.
"Yuri loathes you…you know." Lucius saw the man flinch a bit at the declaration but could only smile with understanding.
"That's good…he'll need it." The conversation was then over as Lucius watched his friend stand up and tapping on his ring, disappeared right before his eyes still smiling.
At Hogwarts, although the day was still early, the Scotland magical institution was about to hold the traditional Triwizard ball, also known as the Yule Ball that very evening. Both wizards and witches were eagerly anticipating the event as final preparations were being made.
Harry had arrived at the Ravenclaw table early and was surprised as Rina had appeared beside him with a package sent by Sirius before returning to snooze in his room. Deciding to not dress himself in one of those wizard robes, Harry had requested a fitting and stylish black tuxedo for himself.
Tradition could go jump off a cliff, there was no way in hell that he would wear one of those itchy, stiff and asphyxiating dress robes that so many other students seem to be opting to wear for the ball. He felt bad for his godfather having to spend so much time alone but all sympathy was thrown out the window as he read the letter of how much fun he was having at the newly renovated Number 12 Grimmauld Place with huge lively parties.
Classes were cancelled for the special occasion, which was celebrated with much enthusiasm by all students. He had spent most of the day reading on curses, both defensive and offensive in his dormitory. Leaving only for breakfast, lunch and bathroom breaks.
He had to sigh and shake his head as he saw Roger lavished all the attention he got from his female fans while he walked back to his dorm. He spotted Elan and Anna talking intimately as they walked away from the castle and smiled.
As Harry turned a corner into a empty hallway, pain exploded in his head, so intense that he slammed his left shoulder to the wall to prevent himself from dropping to the ground as he clutched his forehead tightly with his right hand.
"Well, well…hello there stranger." A shiver inducing voice froze Harry at the spot, who was speaking? There was no one besides himself in the hallway, no one.
"Quite the festive occasion, wouldn't you agree?" Harry's eyes grown wide as he slowly looked up to find taunting, iridescent red eyes staring back into his.
What made the other man's appearance all the more horrifying were that his pupils were green.
"Ah, we have yet to be formerly introduced to each other have we?" The young man pulled back, all the while smirking as if the punch line of a horrible yet hilarious joke was about to be delivered.
"Hadrian James Potter, at your service." The man dressed in black bowed mockingly.
Harry felt his stomach sink, this had to be a dream, it had to be. He had studied too intensely and had fallen asleep on his desk in the dormitory.
"Sorry big guy, fraid it's no dream." The phantom whistled jovially, as he surveyed the exterior of the Hogwarts castle with his right hand placed horizontally on his forehead.
Turning his head and walking closer to the petrified young man, the red eyed Hadrian was suddenly upon him and before Harry could react, had grabbed him by the throat and had slammed him to the castle wall. Survival instincts shot in as Harry grabbed at the hand that was strangling him.
A big mouth splitting grin stretched across the phantom's lips as it applied more pressure.
"Harry! Harry!" A feminine voice reached his ears and panic erupted in his chest.
"Elena!" He thought as he struggled more forcefully.
"Lookey here, we got ourselves a meddler…I suppose I could have some fun after dealing with you." The phantom smirked at his opponent.
"I'm going to kill you." Harry hissed, his usual calm composing self gone.
"Oh…" The phantom responded with intrigue and pulled him closer, "Just how are you going to do that?"
A smile formed at Harry's lips.
"Like this" He then slammed his head with all the strength he could muster into the phantoms. Harry was then dropped to the floor, gasping to breathe as he scrambled in an unstable fashion to stand up. Upon doing so he quickly got on top of the phantom, his knees pressed forcefully on the thing's forearms as he raised his fist and hearing it giggle beneath him further incensed him as he begin smashing his fists on its face repeatedly.
As he did so, the giggling coming from the thing's mouth escalated into full-blown laughter that seemed to penetrate his brain.
Looking up to the murderous green eyes of the young dark haired man, the phantom chuckled, "Oh, we're going get on just spectacularly…I'll smell you later."
He had no idea how much time had passed as he continued to laid waste on the 'thing' wiggling beneath him. Suddenly as if surfacing into air after being submerged in the depths of an ocean, Harry jerked upwards, face drenched in sweat as he surveyed his surrounding.
Beds neatly lined up perfectly, the aroma of medicine in the air.
"The Hospital Wing." He muttered to himself. Slowly, he wanted to massage his throbbing head but he found his right hand to be saddled with foreign weight. He looked to his right and his eyes softened as he spotted a mop of brown hair and a scent of lilac filled his nose.
"Elena…" He hesitantly prodded the sleeping girl's arm. "Elena…wake up."
"Mmm…ten more minutes, please…" The girl slurred her words. Harry had to smile at the way she was behaving at the moment. In contrast to Fleur, who could capture everyone's attention the second she entered a room with her breathtaking beauty, Elena was a young woman that slowly drew you in without your consent or knowledge. She definitely was no slouch in the looks department, oh no sir! She was the very definition of a classic beauty.
Slowly, he reached out with his free hand and brushed the stray lock of brown hair behind her ear.
"Mhmmm…" Slowly her eyes opened, revealing chocolate hazel eyes that Harry met. Sudden realization hit the young woman as she shot up straight in her seat and noting their entwined hands, a rose colored blush appeared on her cheeks as she released her grip as if burned.
Harry had to admit, to see his normally composed friend so flustered was…adorable.
"You brought me here, didn't you?" Harry asked softly. With her head turned away, Elena cringed and mentally berated herself at her lapse of self-control, what would Harry think of her. She then lowly turned to face him while meeting his inquisitive gaze.
"You seemed to be having a fit…convulsing…" Elena spoke softly.
"Was I?" Harry had no memory of that occurring.
"Yeah…" Elena replied, shoulders shaking, "It was terrible."
"I'm sorry…" She looked up to him, "for scaring you."
She flashed him a uneasy smile. "What are friends for? Couldn't let the great Champion Potter to be seen like that and lose face to the two other schools."
The two shared a laugh. "Harry?..." Elena asked in a quiet tone.
"Yes?" Harry responded. "Let me help…whatever it is you're afflicted with, I can help." She stared at him determinedly.
"What did I do to her?!" Harry thought as panic erupted in his chest, why could he not remember, not a lot of time passed throughout his tussle with that thing.
As her hand reached out towards his, he retracted his hand and he could clearly see the hurt in her eyes at his rejection.
He knew what he had to do, for her sake.
"Stay. Far. Away. From. Me." He uttered in the coldest tone he could muster as he leapt out of the hospital bed and grabbing his school robe, walked out the Hospital Wing as quick as he could, ignoring Madam Pomfrey's calls for him to come back to be examined.
Elena sat silently at her seat, unrestraint tears silently rolled down the young woman's cheek as the matron slowly approached her.
Turning around a corner, Harry stopped in his tracks as he took a deep breath and exhaled. Slumping to the floor back to the wall, he bashed his head back. He had to get to Number 12 Grimmauld Place immediately, Sirius and Yuri would have to know what was happening to him. The Yule Ball, Triwizard Tournament and this year of Hogwarts all became increasingly less significant each second passed him.
Apparently he was experiencing hallucinations, potential possession and a lapse of memory. For the first time in a long while, Harry felt…despair. This was no issue he could best in a physical fight. No, it felt that there was something else inside his body, a parasite that was everywhere and nowhere both at the same time, waiting for an opening to strike when his guard was down.
Halting his steps, Harry placed a hand to the wall to steady himself as his shoulders shook.
Cho Chang prided herself on her rather sharp observant skills, which was why sirens were going off in her head when her best friend entered the Girl's dorm, not wishing to make eye contact with anyone as she moved towards her bed.
"Ladies, would you give us a moment." Cho asked the rest of the girls in the dorm in a incredibly sweet tone which might be odd but her eyes were flashing dangerously. Fortunately, all the female students in Ravenclaw already knew therefore no fuss was made.
Placing her hairbrush aside, the petite girl made her way to Elena's bed and opening the shutter, revealed the brunette cradling herself with her head to her knees.
"Lena, darling." Cho said slowly as she wrapped her arms around the girl, given how much taller the other girl was compared to her was pretty amazing. "What happened?"
No words came out as Elena slowly cried into her shirt and Cho simply patted her back all the while encouraging her to let it all out. As she was able to compose herself, Elena recounted everything from finding Harry in his discerning condition to his sudden change in his attitude towards her as well as the way he told her to stay away from him.
Now, Cho was a rather reasonable and optimistic girl in her own opinion, however hearing Elena caused an irritable scowl to mar her features. She knew Harry obviously had his issues that he refused to talk about and she knew that it was his privacy and thus was content to never ask until he was willing to speak about it. Elena was the same in that regard to the person she admired.
Yes, it was no school secret, let alone house secret that Elena Turpin harbored feelings beyond friendship for the dark haired young man. There was even a pool of when they would finally become a couple however that was another story.
The shorter Ravenclaw knew the revelation of Harry and that Delacour girl had shattered her friend emotionally, even if the brunette had done her best to hide her pain, Cho could see it. However, the situation before her only further to cause feelings of helpless rage as she held her dearest friend.
"Sirius!…Sirius!...Can you hear me?!...Sirius!" A lone figure hunched over in the Room of Requirement shouted loudly at a small portable mirror that he gripped tightly in his unnaturally pale hands.
Several moments, Sirius Black's face appeared only to see his godson's pale, disheveled face.
"Harry…what's going on? You look like you've had a fit." Sirius inquired, all joyousness gone from his tone.
Harry could only smile grimly. "You could say that."
"Have you been to the Hospital Wing? Have Madam Pomfrey check…" Before he could finish, Harry interrupted him.
"It's beyond her."
"What?! What did she say? Is it serious?"
"I ran out before she could take a look at me."
"I can't explain everything right now, I have to get to Number 12 right now!" Harry could now barely contain his hysteria as his body shook.
"Calm down Harry…have you told Fleur?" Harry stopped shaking as his eyes widened.
Fleur had been looking forward to this night ever since it had been announced. What should he do? Would she believe him? Would she even understand? With his head bowed, he said nothing.
"I see…Harry, I may not look like it but I have had consider more experience with regards to relationships…you can take it or leave it…" Harry had never seen his godfather in such a somber mood.
"Tell her, Harry…if you care about her. Be straightforward…be brave." Was that regret he saw that vanished as quickly as it appeared in his godfather's eyes?
"I…" Harry started.
"I'll get the necessary preparations ready, should you decide to leave, someone would be waiting for you near the Central Coutyard…tonight at ten. They'll take you to Homemade where you'll be far outside the barrier Dumbledore's set up."
"I think I can get to Hogsmeade fine by myself." Harry protested, not feeling his current disposition warranted such a reaction. Sirius sighed and his face disappeared as Harry's emerald eyes suddenly met amber irises that seemed to stare through him.
"This is not up to discussion, Hadrian…you might argue that the imposter that placed your name into the Goblet of Fire is…disposed of already but it already proves how Dumbledore has become incompetent of the happenings of his own domain...and your condition ensures that you would not be at 100% readiness…what if you have another attack on your way? Just who might be able to intervene in that case…and would they understand?" Yuri informed him in a tone that gave Harry no room to bargain.
"I could use Rina to teleport me to you directly." Harry argued but quickly faltered as Yuri's lips formed a smirk, it was not one formed from humorous intent.
"I suppose you could but Dumbledore's wards would be able to pick the spike of magical teleportation and would you really risk him questioning you in your current state of mind…from what I hear from Sirius, the old man has been getting paranoid and suspicious about you."
"Fine. Do I get to know who's going to be escorting me?" Harry sighed in defeat.
"You'll know when you get there. Don't worry, you'll be in more than capable hands." Came the cryptic response as Yuri's visage disappeared and replaced by Sirius.
"You needn't worry about getting back here, I think you have more pressing matters at hand to deal with…with a certain quarter-Veela." Harry sighed, knowing exactly when to back off. With that in mind, Sirius gave him one last upbeat smile before his face disappeared.
Exiting the Room of Requirement, Harry returned to his dormitory while noting that he had little time to prepare for the ball. Finishing his shower, he slowly looked up to see his own reflection staring back at him through the bathroom mirror.
Deciding to not worry himself, Harry walked out and taking the tuxedo laid on top of his bed, changed. As Harry reached the entrance hall, his mood seemed to improve a tad as he surveyed the mass of people who were already paired up with their dates or were trying to find said dates.
He quickly found his group of friends, all primped up and ready to go.
"Ah, at last he graces us with his majestic swagger." Roger performed a mock bow as Harry neared them.
"Yes, yes…just how might Hogwarts endure without my superb features…" Harry ran a hand through his hair as some girls close enough to hear him began to giggle and whisper with unconcealed excitement.
With a smirk, Harry added, "and it would seem that someone has set the troll free and made an attempt for it to be just as fair as the fairest of them all…that I cannot allow."
Cedric and Elan could not help it as they openly sniggered as Roger pouted but a pearly white smile soon dashed across his lips.
"It would seem your art in banter has improved, well played." The brunette Ravenclaw fist bumped his best friend, who only rolled his eyes.
"You look well Harry," Cedric shook his friend's hand, "better than at lunch time anyways. Though I must advise that seeing Madam Pomfrey would be beneficial to you."
"I appreciate your mother hen-ing me Ced, but I'm fine at the moment." Harry smiled earnestly while Cedric only nodded with concern.
"Have you seen Fleur today?" Elan asked while giving Harry a brotherly hug.
"No, she has been rather elusive today…I assume it was the same for Anna?" Harry replied.
"Indeed." Elan answered while both of them simultaneously thought, "Women."
The four talked for a while until Harry turned his head to the right and his eyes widened for a split second. S
tanding a few feet away from him was the very definition of perfection incarnate.
Harry met the azure colored eyes of the goddess before him, his breath taken away. Wearing a silver satin long dress with slits running from mid thigh that displayed her long slender, toned legs that seemed to go on forever. The silver diamond necklace that he had given her sparkled around her neck, further accentuating her undeniable presence while her hair was tied into a fashionable bun with two bangs that nicely framed her rosy flushed cheeks.
Harry heard footsteps shuffling behind him and found it comical to see Roger, Elan and Cedric had all stepped away from him while giving him the thumbs up.
"Bonne Soirée, mon 'Arry." Fleur's words brought genuine smile him, the one that he had only ever reserved for her.
"Bonne Soirée, ma fleur." He responded, taking both her smooth delicate hands in his own.
"You look amazing." Harry said, eyes staring serenely into hers. Fleur smiled back as she gave Harry a light chaste kiss to the lips. From the many compliments Fleur has ever heard over the years, never has she ever heard ones uttered so sincerely until she met Harry and she looked forward hearing them from him years to come.
"You do not look too bad yourself…" Fleur glanced at his tuxedo with approval, "you must dress like zat more often."
Harry chuckled. "Well, I might acquiesce to the lady's request should she be able to persuade me." He replied as a wicked smile formed at Fleur's ruby red lips.
"Oh…eez zat a challenge, Monsieur 'Arry?" Fleur responded sultrily, putting a heavier emphasis on her accent.
"So what if it is?" Harry asked, closing the distance between them. Before Fleur could sent a teasing retort of her own back, a certain Transfiguration professor's polite coughing halted the couple.
"Minerva, what can I do for you?" Harry asked, grinning as the Transfiguration professor glared at him.
"While I could deduct points, that would not exactly be a deterrent to the likes of yourself…therefore please follow me." McGonagall turned around while Harry followed, hands interwined with Fleur's as the quarter-Veela tried her best to suppress her laughter of her boyfriend's rather complex relationships with his Transfiguration teacher.
As the two waited, Harry spotted his friends along with their dates walk past them. He had to roll his eyes as Roger made gestures toward him that seem to indicate for him to not mess up. However, Harry and Fleur had to snigger when Roger's date, which to Harry's surprise, was Fleur's close friend Marie who dragged the young Quidditch star away by his ear.
"How did that happen? I thought Marie couldn't stand him." Harry asked Fleur.
"You did not know? Mr. Davies came by ze carriage yesterday and practically asked with one knee on ze ground when we came out for break…it waz quite hilarious, 'e 'ad a rose in 'is mouth when 'e did ze proposing." Fleur grinned.
"Well…he's certainly persistent, I'll give him that." Harry laughed.
"Incredibly so…'e 'as been trying since the notice for the ball was served." Fleur told him which made the dark haired wizard chuckle harder.
"Ah so that's where he disappeared to all those times." He thought.
Soon enough, Viktor Krum and his date arrived and the two Quidditch stars nodded at each other.
The doors to the Great Hall swung open and Harry readied himself as he stepped forward. It was strange to see the usual four house tables gone and replacing them were round tables fit for eight people could sit comfortably. The roof was enchanted to resemble a snowy sky which Harry assumed to be fitting given the occasion. While at the end of Great Hall were the rest of professors along with the headmasters and headmistress of the three institutions.
They were already sitting, Harry being extra cautious as he caught the twinkling eyes of Dumbledore as he cleared his mind. He received a nod that he returned as Harry guided Fleur to his friends and their dates, sitting down in the spots reserved for them, Fleur between Anna Zabini and Harry and Harry between Fleur and Cho Chang.
The petite Asian girl shot him a look that he could not decipher but decided to not dwell on it. As soon as everyone was settle in and all seats were occupied, Dumbledore stood up with a beaming smile addressed everyone.
"Welcome and I wish a Merry Christmas to each one of you! Please, before we begin…eat before we initiate the festivities." With that he sat down.
The students seemed to be confuse but Harry already knew what was required of them as Dumbledore picked up the menu on his plate and said in a very clear tone.
"Pork Chops!" And food appeared on his plate. Soon everyone mirrored the actions of the Hogwarts Headmaster.
Harry scanned over his own menu before saying, "Filet Mignon…medium rare."
Fleur smiled at her boyfriend who had a don't-laugh-it's-a-very-reasonable-request look on his face before she stared at her own plate.
"Magret de Canard." She pronounced and smiled when her food appeared.
"So Roger…" The boy in question blanched at the predatory smile on Harry's face.
"How did you managed to get the fair Madamoiselle Marie to accompany you…last I heard the two were rather antagonistic towards each other."
"I concur with Hadrian's inquiry." Anna Zabini smirked as her designated school annoyance who pulled at his collar nervously.
"Well, boys and girls…it's a rather epic tale filled with drama and heartbreak that started with-" Roger began confidently but before he could continue, Marie cut in.
" 'e waz waiting out by the carriage so often I decided to say yes so 'e won't get sick…eet would be a shame for ze world to see 'ngland's star chaser in such a condition." However, Marie did smile as she saw her date pout like a child who just had his sand castle smashed to pieces.
"Pish posh mi'lady, in contrast to my fair complexion and androgynous looks…I have a fairly strong constitution." Roger flirted back causing Cho and Elan to snort.
"Well, I could swear that I certainly wasn't the one kicked out of the library for incessant sneezing the other day…" Cho placed a thoughtful finger to her cheek while the rest of the group giggled good naturedly while Roger huffed.
As soon as everyone had finished their meal, Dumbledore once again stood up.
"Everyone please rise…" He asked with a twinkling smile and once everyone did so, he waved his wand and about fifty percent of the tables disappeared and as a result left large amounts of space in the middle.
A stage formed from the side where Harry recognized the group known as the "Weird Sisters" were picking up their instruments. Cheers could then be heard but Harry was not amongst them as he rarely dabbled in such trivial matters as ball-room dancing and wizarding music never did pique his interests, you could thank Sirius for that.
Knowing full well that he and Fleur would be opening the dance, he led said silver blonde goddess to the middle. Ignoring all the eyes, whisperings, familiar whistle and especially the cat calling from his male friends, Harry readied himself.
"My my…our Harrikens is all grown up…I'm so proud!" Roger teared up as Cedric placed a comforting arm around his friend's shoulders and gave him a friendly pat.
"Does he know how to dance?" The Hufflepuff asked as his green eyed friend has never once told him about his abilities on the dance floor.
"Believe me, Ced…my mother made sure he knows how to perform beyond all expectations to the day he dies." Elan said in an eerily calm tone that sent shivers down Roger and Cedric's spines.
Fleur felt in her element, usually however being in the arms of her rather dashing black haired partner in his full glory might have caused small butterflies to form in her stomach.
"It'll be fine." Harry flashed her another one of those laidback smiles that she loved so much. It continued to amaze her as to how easily he could assuage her fears, to make her feel invincible to the rest of the world.
The band began a slow tune as predicted as Harry took the lead as they revolved on the floor.
"Where did you learn 'ow to dance?" Fleur asked, ignoring their surroundings completely.
"Ah, mother of a friend of mines…" Harry replied simply, relinquishing the lead to his girlfriend.
"We must dance more often…" Fleur responded, shooting him a pout much to his amusement.
"If that is what the lady desires." Harry replied quietly.
There was no more talking after that as the couple focused solely on each other. As the song came to an end, applause rang out for the opening dancers. To Fleur's surprise, Harry remained where he was, in her arms as the next song was played. The tune had become faster but the both Harry and Fleur adapted flawlessly as the couple were joined by others who were just as eager on the dance floor. Two songs turned into four and after the fifth song, Fleur stopped her date and guided him from the dance floor due to the attention they were getting.
Harry had to face palm as he spotted couples littered across the grounds doing Merlin knows what in the dark.
Quickly he led her towards the lakeside, momentarily surprised as Fleur launched herself at his back and he caught her due to his quick reflexes. Harry could only laugh at the small bouts of childishness from Fleur as he slowed down for the both of them to savor this memory.
Halting as he reached their destination, Harry let Fleur down as the both of them sat down while gazing at the vast lake, illuminated by the bright moonlight. Harry smiled as Fleur sighed while laying her head on his shoulder as she intertwined their arms and hands. Allowing himself a moment of peace, Harry closed his eyes as Fleur hummed an unfamiliar yet soothing tune from under her breath. The two basked in each other's presence until Fleur spoke up, breaking the silence.
"Eez something bothering you, mon 'arry?" She asked, drawing cirlces on his hand with her thumb.
"Why do you ask?" Harry stared straight into the lake.
"I do not know how to say eet but eets a feeling zat I 'ave been getting since we left the Great Hall." Fleur informed him as she gently stroked his cheek.
" 'arry…talk to me, don't push me away…"
"I…" Harry turned to face her, he saw concern and…love in her eyes.
"I…have been getting nightmares…they have been getting stronger lately as well." Harry whispered. Fleur simply held him tighter against her own body.
"I wanted to see Sirius earlier but you were so excited about the ball…I couldn't take that away from you. You deserve better than me bailing out on you like that." Harry continued.
" 'arry." Harry attempted to look away but was pulled back to facing her.
Fleur held his face in her hands, "I wish you could 'ave told me sooner…so I could go away with you." She said in passionate tone and placed a finger to his lips.
"I am 'appy you would do such a thing for me…but not to the expense of yourself." Fleur finished as she leaned close and kissed him with all that she was. The two continued on until oxygen became a concern which forced them to pull away from each other.
"You plan to leave tonight?" Fleur asked to which Harry could only look at her with wide eyes.
"Am I that transparent?" He said, more to himself than to Fleur.
"Non…but eet eez the sort of zing zat you would do." The French woman smiled.
"And you plan to tag along no matter what, I assume?" Harry asked with a resigned smile, already knowing Fleur's response. "Oui."
Returning to the Beauxbatons Carriage where Fleur changed back into her uniform and rejoining Harry, the duo made it to the Central Courtyard where Harry's benefactor would be to meet them. Fleur shivered a bit, wrapping the blue colored scarf around her tightly and smiled as warmth suddenly shot throughout her entire body. She pecked Harry on the cheek to which he smiled.
"Well, well…if it isn't the most popular couple of the century." Both Harry and Fleur froze as they heard that teasing feminine tone. Looking to the tree next to them, they looked up and saw a grinning Ashley Taylor staring at them as she sat comfortably on a lower branch.
Jumping down and landing in front of them with the grace of a cat, the supermodel stood to her full height.
"You." Harry was still in shock as the seemingly simple minded girl approached him with a wide Cheshire smile.
"You're…you're the escort Yuri was talking about?" Harry asked.
"Surprised?" Ashley asked, flipping her hair. She was clad in dark pants as well as a fitting dark top with a dark waist length cloak that seemed to fit her better than anything Harry had see her in.
"I suppose I would be too in your shoes." She giggled and wagged her gloved finger, "If you want to discover the true character of a person, you have only to observe what they are passionate about."
Harry remained silent as the hand he had around Fleur's tightened.
"Well then, I assume you'll be having a plus one?" Ashley, still smiling, motioned towards Fleur who was glaring at her in turn.
"Won't people detect your presence at the ball?..." Harry asked as the grin on the girl's lips widened.
"Ah…that, let's just say I had a little bird take my face on for the night and leave it at that, shall we." The girl clad in dark clothing shrugged unapologetically.
"We've wasted enough time, this way please." The girl responded and started in the direction towards the main gates, skipping in a manner that indicated that she was having a lot of fun. Harry had no choice but to follow her with Fleur closely beside him.
"Ah here we are." Ashley exclaimed as they stopped at the foot of the gate.
"Are you going to unlock it…I don't know who you claim to be but Hogwart's enchantments are nothing to laugh at." Harry said in a neutral tone as the girl just smiled mysteriously. However his eyes widened as Ashley placed a hand on a metallic bar of the gate and walked through it as if it were not even present.
"I don't think it'll be a problem." She said as she phased herself back through the gate and gave a mocking bow at the duo.
" 'ow…C'est impossible." Fleur, too, was at a rare loss of words.
"On the contrary...out there in the vast world are individuals that are capable of things beyond your wildest imaginations." Ashley retorted as her eyes perked up suddenly.
Before anyone could respond, the witch pulled out her wand and shot a sickly yellow beam that disintegrated a large boulder into ash.
"Well well...it looks like we have a peeper"
"Elena?!" Harry said, dumbfounded as said girl, dressed in a body hugging black dress gown with a single strap on her right shoulder, smiled sheepishly at him.
"Friend of yours?" Ashley asked, eyebrow raised.
"Yeah." Harry replied and walked over to the girl while Fleur had a curious expression on her face.
"What are you doing here?" He asked and as a response, Elena socked him hard across the face. "I should be the one asking you that…dipshit."
"I suppose I deserved that one." Harry muttered, rubbing his left cheek while knowing how deep in shit he was, judging by the fact that the proper Lady Elena Turpin was swearing at him.
"…The truth is…"Harry started, "I have not been well since the start of the term and it's not getting any better…please let me finish"
Elena held her tongue as the dark haired young man before her continued, eyes meeting her own.
"I scared you earlier on, lost control and nearly hurt you...I need to deal with this before I could do something that I might never ever forgive myself for." Harry smiled weakly as Elena stared long into his eyes.
"Alright." She whispered as she took his hand into her own. "I'm coming too."
Harry was going to try persuading her that it would be dangerous and that she might get into trouble but knew better than to argue with Elena when her mind was set to something.
"Okay." He sighed with a smile.
"Okay." She smiled back.
The sound of someone clapping slowly then brought the two back to the present as Harry turned to see his guide clapping sarcastically while sitting lackadaisically on a conjured throne that resembled Dumbledore's only more comfortable.
"Drama aside…are we done?" Ashley stood up as the throne she was sitting on dissolved into dust with a flick of her wand.
"We are." Harry responded as the girl nodded. "
Good now, please take my hand…Madomoiselle Delacour…wouldn't want to make you feel jealous by taking your boyfriend's hand…would we?" The mysterious girl stuck out her hand. Fleur accepted it with unease as the girl was deceptively strong and had her hand in a iron clad grasp.
"Now, take Potter's hand and Potter you take miss brunette's hand with your other hand." Harry did as he was told and the girl smirked.
"Now, do not at any point release your grasp until I tell you to..." With that the girl began walking towards the gate, each step increasing the nervousness in the trio behind her. Harry had his eyes closed but nothing, nothing could prevent him from feeling the steel coldness that enveloped his entire body as he passed through the gate. "
Now that wasn't so hard was it?" Ashley's clearly amused voice made him open his eyes. They were on the other side of the gate, his hand still locked with Fleur and Elena's.
"Now that's all done and dusted, we'll need to put some distance between us and the castle…for good measure." Ashley said as she pulled out two small rocks from her belt pouch and throwing them on the ground, whipped her wand and flicked. Harry watched as the rocks turned into two white stallions that began to neigh.
"I hope you know how to ride…miss brunette with me" The girl said as she got onto her horse with no issue and pulled a pale Elena into sitting behind her.
"Actually…" Harry started but before he could continue, another voice spoke.
"Leave zat to me 'arry." Fleur grinned at him and flawlessly got on the second horse. Harry flushed a bit as he caught Elena smiling at him as Fleur pulled him up.
"Huh…never imagine the star of England to be in the bitch seat." Ashley said causing him to blush as the two horses picked up speed and galloped towards the direction of Hogsmeade.
"Where did you learn how to ride a horse?" Harry asked, as Fleur seemed perfectly at ease, arms tightly secured around her waist.
"When I waz younger…our summer home in France haz a stable, Papa thought zat eet would be fun for me and Gabrielle to do something ozzer zan race on brooms."
"I see…any other tricks and talents up your sleeve Madamoiselle…" He asked and was rewarded with a melodius laughter.
"Ah ah ah 'arry…a woman never tells." She responded as Harry chuckled. He could see Elena conversing with Ashley next to them but he was unable to pick out what they were exactly talking about, just that Elena was now blushing for some reason. They stopped near a clearing outside Hogsmeade. They disembarked and Harry watched as Ashley gave her wand another flick and the horses reverted back to the tiny stones from which they had been transfigured from.
"That's some really advanced transfiguration spells you used…" He noted, to which the girl gave yet another mocking bow.
"Why thank you, kind sir!" Came the cryptic response as she began to direct her wand in an intricate and complex pattern while all the same, murmuring under her breath.
This continued for a few seconds until the sound of lightning echoed the ears of anyone near the vicinity as a dark oval framed with blue energy appeared in front of the witch.
"How…how did you...Its…it's a teleportation portal." Elena gasped. "
How astute of you…" Ashley responded.
"Who are you really?" Fleur asked, there was no way by Merlin's beard that this girl was a simple model and normal Beauxbatons seventh year transfer student.
"Does it matter," the girl retorted, "I've helped you get this far…if I wanted to cause any of you harm, I've certainly had ample opportunity."
"How do you know Yuri?" Harry shot his question, the name instantly caused the girl's eye to slightly twitch in annoyance.
"Hmm…though that's not what I would address him as…you'll have to ask him." The girl shrugged and nodded at them to follow her as she backed into the portal and disappeared. Harry scowled but saw no other alternative as he grabbed both Fleur and Elena's hands and followed suit.
As his foot stepped onto solid ground, he immediately recognized his surroundings and realized that he was in one of the many storage rooms of Number 12 Grimmauld Place. With much excitement he opened the door and gestured at Fleur and Elena to follow him. Walking down the hallway and rounding the corner, down the stairs, Harry caught sight of Ashley conversing with a tall young man with amber eyes with dark hair in the living area.
The man caught his gaze as he approached the duo.
"Harry…I hope you enjoyed your trip." Yuri Dolohov smiled. He was dressed in dark pants, a white dress shirt that was untucked, a black vest with a narrow tie that was wrapped loosely around his neck.
"Yuri…It was adequate, thank you." Harry responded, shaking hands with his friend. Fleur felt a bit unnerved as Harry's acquaintance shot her a stare with his cat like eyes. As she predicted, the man like her Harry was completely immune to the Veela allure as he moved his gaze from her to Elena.
"Who might these ladies be?...you did not mention bringing an entourage." Yuri asked, his tone giving nothing away.
"Ah Yuri…" Harry's eyes lit up as he heard his godfather's voice as Sirius appeared from the dining room. "I see you have not been picking up the newspaper recently, the blonde is Ms. Fleur Delacour and our dear Harriken's beloved and the brunette is Ms. Elena Turpin who Harry deeply cares about." Sirius grinned as he managed to fluster the trio.
"Fascinating," Yuri responded, "Shall we proceed as planned?" "I see no reason to not to...they can be trusted" Sirius replied to which Harry merely sent a curious look at the duo.
"Very well." Came the response.
"What about me?" Ashley asked as Yuri gave her a glance.
"Return to your post, for now." He informed the girl who seemed to deflate a tad but nodded.
"Yes sir." She said, placing a fist across her stomach and turned to leave with a crack.
Before Harry could inform the two of his problems, a voice from behind sent chills down his spine.
"Oh, Harry…" He swallowed as he turned around to see a flash of pink before his head was caught in a lock and he was given a knuckle sandwich.
"Ow ow ow Tonks…" Harry bit out as he struggled to pull out of her abnormally strong grasp.
"You bad cousin…no letter or call...did you know how worried I was." Before Harry could apologize, Sirius pulled out a camera and flash. Harry managed to pull out of his cousins death grip and gave the Metamorphmagus a big hug.
"Missed you, Tonks."
"You too shrimp…" Tonks grinned as Harry gave her a pout.
"You gonna introduce me…" Tonks sent a knowing grin at Elena and Fleur who seemed surprised at the young woman's easy going attitude.
"There would be time for that later Nymphadora…" The woman glared at Yuri but said nothing as Harry watched the two with intrigue, normally the Tonks he knew would hex anyone who would dare utter her first name.
"Quite so, come…I assume these ladies would along regardless, pup?" Sirius asked as the two said ladies immediately stood close to Harry. The former Marauder gave a hearty laugh while Yuri only smiled.
"How is dear Gellert doing, my dear?" An aristocratic dressed in an obviously expensive dark suit asked as he sent his white pawn forward. His opponent, a woman no older than mid 30's with ashen grey hair smiled. The two players were playing on an outdoor patio surrounded by flowers of various kinds.
"Where I left him all these years ago, in Nurmengard." The woman responded, moving her black pawn forward as well.
"Hmm…a merciful punishment." The gentlemen said in a thoughtful tone as he moved his knight forward.
"Oh, Nicholas…if one considers being permanently paralyzed from the waist down as well as their core nearly drained of its entirety…" The woman giggled as she moved her bishop and took the black pawn. Nicholas then moved his other knight in response.
"Gellert deviated from our goal and as a consequence paid the price, in the end…he never fully understood my will." The woman said in a faraway tone, "A world under a single rule that would enforce a world without borders…how naïve."
"Oh and if I may be so bold to ask, what exactly was that will you spoke of?" Nicholas asked.
The woman smiled, "Sir Nicholas."
"Why is that we of all humans on the planet are given this ability to perform magic?" The woman picked up the black king piece in her hand.
"That is…a difficult question to answer…why indeed. Truthfully, I do not know…even living as long as I have." Nicholas responded.
"I suppose the truth might never be revealed." The woman replied, returning back to game and moved another piece.
"How's FSF doing?" Nicholas steered the conversation towards another corner.
"Performing towards what it was intended to do…Forces Sans Frontier…a heaven for those who are unwanted, those who are tire of being tools for their governments and a deterrent against those who might threaten to reveal our kind towards the rest of the world." The woman spoke in a fond tone.
"Admirable…" Nicholas commented from the bottom of his heart, the woman was unchanging from her original intentions, which impressed him greatly.
"What of you?" The woman asked, moving another piece and smiled as she took another piece from him.
"Not much as happened since Albus decided to use the fake stone I have given him in an attempts to test the so called Boy-Who-Lived. Both me and Perenelle are grateful for your advice."
The woman nodded and spoke, "And? What happened?"
"The one known as Tom Marvolo Riddle made a move to take it but was foiled by one Hadrian James Potter and not the Boy-Who-Lived." Nicholas moved another piece.
"Interesting…the boy is the Hogwarts representative in the Triwizard Tournament, is he not?" The woman smirked.
"Indeed…" Nicholas spotted the change of expression on his opponent's face and added wearily, "What is exactly humorous about him participating in the tournament?"
"What gave me away?" The woman shot a look at the older man.
"You are unpredictable but I know of your mannerisms, Arianna…" Nicholas responded as the woman pouted.
"I long to see the reaction of my dear brother when he discovers the truth…Hadrian James Potter, the man who sold the world." Arianna Dumbledore's blue eyes twinkled.
Please read and review, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday, happy new year and to those who are travelling, have a safe and fun trip!