So this is where the story really goes into high gear! I've taken a couple of risks with this chapter, some big things happen... some good, some bad, hopefully the bad ones won't go down too badly!


Chapter Twelve: Six Days of Christmas

Day One:

Luna Lovegood, The Lovegood Household, 13th December.

"Dad" Luna said, "Dad!" Luna said again, "Dad! Somebody stole all our dirigible plums" Luna said, her face unusually expressive.

"Sorry Luna, I fell asleep. Have you checked round the back of the house? Last time you thought they'd been stolen they just grew out floated over there." Her father Xenophilius replied cooly.

"I have.. I knew I should have put the sign back up!" Luna said, scolding herself.

"What's the time?" He asked, Luna turned to face the clock.

"11" Luna replied, her father's eyes widened.

"I'm late! I'm late for an appointment with some Quibbler enthuasiasts, The Quibbler has a wonderful opportunity to be sponsored by The Blibbering Humdinger Assosciation, they lead in investigating strange creatures you know?" He said. Luna smiled, she always enjoyed hearign that some people believed what she did.

"That sounds wonderful Dad, you better go" Luna replied, dreamily walking out of the room & continuing her search for her beloved plums.

Day Two: Hermione Granger, The Granger Household, 14th December.

"Hermione, you aren't visiting your friends for Christmas because it's about time we spent some time together... as a family!" Hermione's mother said, conscious of the fact that they had not spent much time together with Hermione being back at Hogwarts, only recently returning them to the family home after removing them from harms way months earlier.

"Fine... I can go after christmas though?" Hermione asked, she always felt like a child around her parents.

"Of course darling, just not for Christmas." She said, ending the discussion. Hermione raised herself off of the sofa, then walked upstairs in a slight mood. She entered her bedroom & her mood instantly worsened, she noticed the diary laying on her bedside table. The same diary that happened to be a horcrux, still containing a tiny piece of Voldemort's soul. She cringed whenever she had to look at it, knowing what lay inside it but her home was protected, there was no danger... right?

Day Three: Harry Potter, The Weasley Household, 20th December.

Harry was sitting next to Ginny on the sofa, normally he would be holding her hand, or possibly even kissing her, yet this circumstance was slightly different. The entire Weasley family plus extra relatives (Fleur) were sitting around the fire, admiring the newly decorated Christmas tree Mrs Weasley had spent most of the day decorating with Ginny.

"It looks vonderful!" Fleur declared, gushing at the silver tinsel & intricately painted baubels, yet looking ever so slightly confused at the family ornaments she had no clue about.

"Yes, yes it does if I say so myself" Molly replied, smiling at her family, who were now tucking in to all sort of food such as mince pies & small snacks. To Molly it already felt like christmas, but it was still days away.

Day Four: Neville Longbottom, The Longbottom Household, 22nd December.

Neville was just starting to wake up when he heard his Gran calling him, "Coming!" Neville shouted as he stirred out of bed.

"Neville, please move that foul defaced cup out of the kitchen, I'm trying to cook and just knowing what's in there is making my stomach churn. Breakfast?" Neville's grandmother asked, "I'm fine" Neville replied, he walked back upstairs, successfully navigating his way past the 'hidden' christmas presents. Neville laughed to himself as he returned to bed.

"Bloody horcrux" Neville said, placing it at the bottom of his wardrobe, hidden under some folded shirts. He hated the horcrux, knowing what was inside it terrified him to the point he could not sleep some nights, for an irrational fear that Voldemort would sweep out of his wardrobe and make fun of him in his pyjamas.

Day Five: Vladimir Shay, 11 Length's Drive, 23rd December.

"Tomorrow we make our move" Vladimir said, "Tomorrow the assault begins." He continued. "I will personally deal with Potter & his 'family'" Shay said, the malice in his voice clear. "Neale, you will go to Granger's, Tonge, you to the Lovegood's home and Reece to Longbottom's. You have your instructions, you will kill everyone in the home, then take the horcrux. The spells have been removed, it was at great personal cost but I have managed to ensure that The Ministry nor those protected know, now prepare yourselves... for tomorrow, we strike."

Day Six: Luna & Xenophilius Lovegood, The Diadem, 24th December.

"Luna, would you just go outside and bring in the paper, I forgot to bring it in this morning." Xenophilius said, opening the door with his wand from the chair he was in.

"Sure" Luna replied, bouncing out of the house and swiping the paper off of the ground, it was pitch black but Luna could still see it was The Daily Prophet, she tutted to herself, disappointed in her father's choice of newspaper. She heard a quiet crack, yet it was too dark to see, she merely returned inside, assuming the noise was a small animal.

"Thankyou my Luna" Xeno said as Luna returned with the paper in hand, dropping it next to him on the table he sat close to.

"I can't belive you're reading that, you'd be much better off reading your own publication than that mess... it's all unbelievable!" Luna said, it was strange for Luna to say such a word as unbelievable, as many things she said were just that. Her Father did not reply, for he could hear footsteps up the garden path, something which was uncommon.

"Luna be quiet" He said, Luna stopped in her tracks and turned to the door, she could hear the noises too. "Your wand Luna, draw your wand" Xeno said, as he drew his own. Suddenly, the door flew open, two Death Eaters stepping through, instantly stunning Xeno.

"No!" Luna shouted, sending both Death Eaters flying straight back through the door with a suddent burst from her wand. She ran upstairs as the duo recovered, grabbing the Diadem and shoving it inside her small bag she had strapped around her. " Dad! Dad! Wake up Dad!" She shouted, shaking him repeatedly.

"Time to hand it over little girl" They said, approaching Luna fast.

"No!" She shouted, "Stupefy!" she sent a stunning spell at one, knocking him through the window, out cold.

"Crucio!" The other one shouted, the red spell shot through Luna like static, sending her reeling to the floor, pulling at her own hair because the pain was so intense. "Confringo" Luna screamed amongst the pain-related ones, sending the man flying through a wall, simultaneously making a crater in the floor where the spell had hit. Xeno began to stir, but as Luna approached pushed her away.

"Go my Luna, I'll only slow you down" He said, urging Luna to flee.

"I can't, can't leave you!" She replied, tears forming in her eyes.

"Go!" he shouted, Luna turned to her father once more before she apparated away, she didn't smile, didn't cry, just one last look.

Day Six: Harry Potter, The Ring, 24th December.

The Weasley family were laying their presents under the Christmas tree as a small patronus flitted into the home. It was a small cat, it looked like it should have been grey, with piercing blue eyes.

"We have been attacked..." echoed the voice of Neville's gran, "Neville has escaped, he should be with you soon, I hope" the patronus said, before disappearing completely. They heard a crack just outside, the door flew open, instead of Neville, it was Luna.

"We were attacked in our own home!" Luna shouted, running in. "I've got the horcrux, but I think they took Dad!" Luna said, crying as she spoke. Ginny ran forward to comfort Luna, joined by Fleur.

"Neville!" Ron exclaimed, followed by Harry who both ran to greet their friend, who still had his horcrux too.

"Wait!" Mr Weasley said among the furore, "What about Hermione?" He asked. "Isn't she looking after one of these horcruxes?" Mr Weasley continued, Harry's head began to spin, Hermione was alone...

Day Six: Hermione Granger, The Diary, 24th December.

Hermione was returning from the local shops, she had only been sent out to collect some granules for their traditional lunch on Christmas Eve. Of course it was for Hermione & her parents, but it was still like a big family event, even though it was the usual trio. She continued down the road to her house, but stopped just short of the gate to get in as she saw her front door was blown off of its hinges.

"Oh no..." Hermione said, drawing her wand, feeling a sudden rush of blood. She walked into her house, it was dark & dim, the winter nights were unkind, darkness would always fall quickly around this time. "Mum? Dad?" Hermione said, walking into the living room; the sight she saw, the way she saw her parents, would change her forever.

"Oh my god... Mum! Dad!" She shouted, running into the living room, her Mother was sprawled on the floor, she had been hit by a killing curse. Her father however, was not so lucky.

"Dad.. oh my god Dad" Hermione said, crouching next to her Father, who was still alive, but only barely. "Dad... what happened?" Hermione screeched.

"They came... they took that book, the diary" He said, Hermione began to cry, her warm tears falling on her Father's favourite blue jumper.

"I'm so sorry" She said, crying fiercely.

"It's okay..." He said, cuts & bruises all over him. "Go Hermione" He said, "Go to your friends, they'll need you more than I do, I'm going" He said.

"No... No, I can save you!" She said, "I'll save you!" She shouted, crying more.

"It's too late, you made us so proud" He said, quivering at the pain he was feeling. Hermione lay her head on his chest, whispering hundreds of apologies to her slowly dying Father.

"Go Hermione" He said once more, before his head lolled back, mouth open, eyes open.

"Oh Dad..." Hermione said, "Dad" Hermione repeated, crying. She stood up calmly, then walked over to the phone.

"Hello? I need an ambulance, there's been a horrific accident... Some men came to the house on Northhampton Way, number 17. There's been three murders, they took the daughter's body though... I don't know what they'll do" Hermione said, she knew this was the way it had to be. She clicked the phone down, went upstairs to pack some last minute things, then disappeared into the night.

Day Six: Harry Potter, The Diadem, The Ring, The Cup.

"HARRY!" Hermione screamed as she apparated into The Burrow. She collapsed onto the floor in floods of tears.

"Oh god, Hermione what happened?" Ron shouted, running towards her, pulling her into his arms.

"Mum & Dad.. they're... d-d-d-dead." Hermione said, quivering more and more with each word. Mrs Weasley buried her face in Mr Weasley's arms, shocked at the news, unsure of how to react. George bowed his head, Fleur clasped her hands to her mouth & grabbed hold of Bill in shock.

"Who did it?" Harry asked, "Were they Death Eaters?".

"Yes" Hermione said, "They took the horcrux" Hermione replied, "I'm so sorry" Hermione continued.

"Don't be" Ginny said, stroking Hermione's hair. "I'm so, so sorry" Ginny continued, kissing Hermione on the forehead.

"It'll be ok..." Ron said, kissing Hermione quickly.

"No it won't" Hermione said, "I failed" Hermione replied.

"Then it's all the more reason we should keep fighting" Harry said, holding Hermione's face in his hands as he too began to cry. Before they had any more time to grieve or fret, a humungous fire ripped through the nearest window, almost killing everyone in the room if it wasn't for Mr Weasley's isntant shield charm.

"Everyone out!" Bill shouted, ushering everyone out of The Burrow and into the front garden.

"POTTER!" Shay shouted, sending a killing curse straight at him, it was subsequently blocked by Mrs Weasley, who cast a some rubble in the way, sending it rebounding back at one of Shay's own. "You'll regret that old woman" He said, swaggering forward.

"Not before you do!" Ron shouted, sending a stunning spell at Shay, who was now joined by at least five Death Eaters, who instantly engaged in duels with Ginny, Luna, Neville, Mrs Weasley, Mr Weasley, Bill, Fleur & George.

"It's time to pay!" Hermione shouted, sending (for the first time in her life) a killing curse at him, which he instantly dodged.

"You're a gifted witch, Ms Granger" Shay said, taunting her further as her spells whipped & cracked around him.

"Hermione, let us help!" Harry said, as Hermione tore away from him & Ron, following Shay further from the heat of battle.

"No! This is my fight!" She shouted, the two fighting fiercely to the death. Shay smirked though, he disarmed Hermione, then grabbed her round the throat, disapparating as he did.

"HERMIONE! NO!" Ron shouted, running forward. Harry turned round to call for help, yet all the Death Eaters were gone, Hermione was gone.