I'm sorry to those of you reading this! I've been really busy lately and just graduated so I finally have the time to sit down and write. This story is almost done. I'm predicting about 1 or 2 more chapters at the most. I really hope you've enjoyed reading this because I know I enjoy writing this.
Daralis poked her head around the corner. Her blue eyes searched the surroundings for anything or anyone. Seeing nothing, she reached behind her to grab Harry's wrist while gesturing for the others to follow.
"Are you ready for this?" The blonde asked her half-brother. Releasing a deep breath, he nodded. Severus and Lucius both watched as the two siblings paced before a vacant wall.
"I don't mean to interrupt, but exactly what are you…," Draco started. He gasped as a large chamber door revealed itself. Its color matched the wall, the jagged brick jutted out from the flat surface and a large golden handle. Dara paused and turned.
"What's wrong, love?" The potions master asked, resting a hand on her cheek. She gave him a watery smile.
"It's just…what if he's not in there? What if the Dark Lord is simply playing another game?" Her father made his way over, and knelt before her, trapping her smaller hands in his.
"Dara, I don't care if it's a game. If it means we have a chance at getting James back, I'll risk anything. I love him and I love my children. Nothing is more important to me that having us all together." She nodded hesitantly, still unsure what to think.
"Would you like to do the honors?" Harry asked. The young woman gracefully sauntered over, placing her hand over his on the golden handle. Closing her eyes, she pushed the door open.
The door was heavy, but opened to the most inviting room. It wasn't large, nor was it small. The walls had been washed with a warm red, dark mahogany paneling lining the bottom half of the walls carved with ornate designs, and the floors done in a matching tone. In the middle were two three person beige couches and two matching single person arm chairs with a glass coffee table between them all. Underneath the furniture was an area rug in deep shades of red and violet. Lining the bare walls were bookshelves that were over stocked with old hardcovers and tomes on anything in reference to Hogwarts. A large fire place roared to life as they stepped in. The two adults both took seats on the opposite ends of one couch while Draco curled up in one of the single seats.
"So, do we just ask it?" The raven haired savior spoke up. His sister shrugged.
"I'm not quite sure. How about we ask a different question first to see if it is listening?" Lucius began bouncing his leg, a nervous habit he was unaware of.
"Is there someone or something here who can answer our questions?" Harry asked out. At this, a whooshing sound came from the back corner of the room. Daralis opened her hands, allowing a thin novel like book to settle there. Flipping it open, she cocked her head.
"It says, 'To those who find me, seek your answers. Ask me what your heart seeks, but beware the heavy debt of greed.'" The blonde woman swallowed thickly. Were they being greedy? They just wanted their loved one back, to save him from an eternity alone where ever he is.
"So we just ask you? Who are you?" The book's pages flipped wildly. Script danced across another clean page. She read the words aloud as they appeared.
"I am but a soul that hears all and knows all that occurs in the halls of Hogwarts. You tell me who I am." With a laugh, Draco answered.
"Hogwarts itself is talking to us? Even Dumbledore is not aware what goes on. He only knows what the school lets him know." The potions professor chuckled.
"Here, you should ask the question. I know my reasons to save Dad are selfish." Harry gaped as she shoved the book into his hands. Glancing down at it, he furrowed his brows.
"Hogwarts, huh? You wouldn't happen to know where James Potter is trapped, do you?" He asked. The open page burned away. Harry nearly dropped the book at the sudden action.
"Hogwarts indeed. I recall a man by said name, sweet gentleman he is. All those years ago, he was stuck here as punishment. I'm impressed someone finally has come to help him. Your reasons are shady though." Harry sighed.
"I was afraid of that. I've never met my father, but they have. He doesn't deserve this fate of being stranded in the Hogwarts abyss." The book absorbed the words it had written previously and began writing another line.
"Father, is he now? He appears too young to be a father of someone your age, but the resemblance is uncanny. A powerful son he has and a remarkable daughter as well. I shall answer your request, but if only the mate is to ask." The book shot out of his hands, soaring up and over to where Lucius sat. Opening his hands flat, the book floated down and flipped its pages again.
"You want me to ask?" He stared at the book incredulously.
"Love is a very powerful thing. Young Potter over there is living proof." The blonde ran his hands down the hard edges of the book.
"Where is James Potter?" He asked. The book burned another page and flipped back to last page.
"Here and there, but mostly in your heart. Try again." It ordered. The elder Malfoy sneered. He was not about to let some damn sheets of paper stuffed between cardboard give him hell.
"May we be told how to free James?" The book made a noise that sounded almost like a hum. It snapped itself shut and vanished. A heavier tome landed on the coffee table with a loud smack.
"What in Merlin's name is that?" Daralis asked, coming around the table and placing herself between her father and mate. Severus reached out to tap the book, only to recoil as the cover flipped open. Papers began flying wildly out of the book, swirling in the air with magic. Seeing a fleck of shimmering gold, Daralis ran at it, jumping up and down in an attempt to catch whatever is was. Harry also saw the golden object. Copying her actions, he flailed his arms trying to grab the small ball. Lucius blinked in confusion. He felt his own body stand of its own accord. A sudden glare of gold flashed across his vision. Reaching out his hand, palm up, he waited patiently. His daughter ceased her movement, instead sinking back to her feet and walking calmly over to him, grabbing Harry's hand on the way. Dara placed her hand under her father's, palm up as well, silently instructing Harry to do the same. All the paper flying about in the room stopped, falling limp around them. In the center of the room was a small golden sphere with wings, the snitch. Harry gaped at it.
"Please," Lucius begged, tears pricking his molten silver eyes, "I love him so much. Please help us." The snitch soared to them, stopping short and landing in the older man's palm. With a click, the small orb opened, revealing a small emerald heart. He plucked the snitch up and shook it so the small heart fell to his palm.
"Please, don't tell me that is all he is. My love, I miss you so much! I'm so sorry!" He clutched the small gem to his chest as tears fell from his eyes. Daralis slapped a hand over her mouth to muffle her sobs, her mate closing her into his arms. Harry held the empty snitch in his hand. Draco came up and placed a hand on his shoulder before moving towards his father. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the book Lucius had left on the couch burn another page before flipping to a blank one. The raven haired teen ran across the room and picked it up. Zig-zagged lines and random markings covered the page. He noticed the one blob of squiggles and lines lead off to an narrow parallel path that lead to an even smaller blob of squiggles and lines.
"That's Hogwarts and the shrieking shack! That's the passage way that leads to Honeydukes in Hogmeade. Mr. Malfoy, I don't think that is Dad completely, more like a piece of him." The room silenced to stare at the teen.
"Can I take this page?" Harry asked the book. The page ripped itself from its spine and found its way into Severus' hand. He gaped at the paper in bewilderment.
"Potter's right. This is a map of Hogwarts grounds. It leads passed the shrieking shack and into the..." Lucius grabbed the paper.
"The what?" He demanded. The lake. The narrow path ended at the lake. Harry studied the book for a second before asking his next question.
"Is James Potter in the lake?" The book practically hummed as it flipped its pages.
"Technically speaking, yes. Otherwise, no he is not in the lake." Harry furrowed his brows. He wasn't in the lake then...
"Then is James Potter under the lake? Like in a tomb of some sort? " Daralis pushed away from her mate's embrace.
"Like the gem is the key to awakening him, it's not just a jewel, it's actually his heart. We need to give Dad back his heart, is that right Hogwarts?" She suddenly exclaimed. All the pages in the thin novel lit aflame. Harry dropped the book onto the table and watched. Daralis jumped the back of the couch and studied it. She had seen Voldemort's own books do this several times over when he had left. It was like he was talking to his Death Eater's through the text. She braced her weight on the table and waited for the fire to quit. Once there was nothing but ashes, she blew lightly across the glass surface. Lucius stumbled over to his daughter and watched. The ashes flew off of the table, but vanished before they could land on the rug. The blonde woman smiled broadly when she saw what was left.
'Yes,' was spelled out in the remaining ashes. Daralis stood straight up and grabbed Harry's hand. He stood with her and faced the other occupants in the room.
"Father, you know you have to leave this to Harry and me." The man sighed heavily and opened his hand. The tiny emerald heart glimmered in the light. He clutched it once more before dropping it into his daughter's open hand. Severus stormed over.
"No, I'm not letting you do this alone." Daralis turned and offered the heart to her youngest brother. Once he had it tight in his hand, the blonde turned back to her mate. The potions master gripped her wrists tightly like binds, keeping her in place.
"Sev, this isn't like all the other times I've put myself on the line. This is for my father, both of them, and Harry. And even Draco. We're a family whether they like it or not. James is Lucius' mate, and since Narcissa is gone, they can wed. James will become Draco's step-father, as well as Lucius becoming Harry's step-father, and I'll have mine together again. I love you so much Severus, and if you love me, you'll let me go. I will return to you. I would love for you to come along, but, knowing Voldemort, he's guarded it somehow. Harry and I should go because we have direct bloodline connections to him. Please Sev, just understand this. Let me get my father back. Let me complete my family, so we can be officially bonded. Please, just this once, let me go." With a heavy sigh, he dropped his hands to his side. His dark eyes were unreadable as he turned away and plopped down on the couch.
"Go Daralis, bring James back. You better return or—," He was interrupted when lips descended on his own.
"Thank you, love." His mate whispered. She turned back to Harry and grabbed his free hand, intertwining their fingers.
"Ready, Chosen One?" She asked with a grin. Harry laughed aloud.
"Does this mean you're my sidekick now?" Rolling her eyes, she called out her middle brother's name. His blonde head snapped up in her direction.
"I'll be back as soon as I can. Keep him calm and...well if Severus gets out of control, stun him." She winked and pulled Harry out into the hallway. It was well past curfew, not a single person or even teacher out. Dara swung their interlocked hands between them while humming.
"You don't truly believe that it's going to be as easy as it sounds. Finding the passage way, going under the lake, and then just use this, do you?" His sister halted her movement, instead digging in her pocket. She pulled out a small shimmering draw-string pouch.
"Place his heart in here. No one can get in it except me. And Harry, with everything you have been through because of Voldemort, do you truly believe anything will be that simple? I wish it were like that, but we can only hope for the best. With your luck, there will be a basilisk waiting for us. With my luck, there will be Death Eaters. With the infamous Potter luck, Voldemort himself will be there. Do not let your guard down for anything. If I say run, then you run. No questions, just do it. Understand?" He nodded his head furiously. Daralis tied the small bag to a belt loop on her jeans and gestured for them to keep moving. They walked the halls in silence until they reached the statue entrance to the short cut. Jumping inside, they lit their wands and carried on.
"You understand that if Voldemort is there, then this is the end. There will be no second chances, this will be the final battle." Harry gulped. He hadn't seen it that way.
"What if we can't stand up to him, what if we don't make it?" She squeezed his hand reassuringly.
"Harry, trust me. We're Potters and I'm part Malfoy. If there is anything we can do perfectly, it's survive. I have a feeling we'll make it through." He glanced over at his sister from the corner of her eye. She appeared confident and ready to duel. Gripping his wand tightly, they made their way around the first bend. There was still a long distance to travel before they reached the lake.
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