~ Chapter Two ~
As Harry entered the room the scenery changed suddenly. He'd gone from a room of stark white marble to one of shocking red. Red for an ex-Gryffindor wasn't such an odd sight. Over the seven years of schooling he'd become used to the numerous shades of red on every drapery, pillow and carpet space available in the dorm. This however was even far too much for him. Going down the stairs had been his only option at the time but now he was beginning to rethink everything. After all, when a Gryffindor became scared it generally was a good sign to run.
Something about the dining room (or at least that's what he assumed it was meant to be) screamed malevolence. The dining table and chairs were made from a pale white yet the table runner and the chair material were a very strange shade of red. Cutlery was done in delicate silver as were the plates and the chandelier above the table. It screamed of elegance and finery making him curious as to who exactly was behind all of this. The room gave Harry chills and he hadn't even met his host yet.
Of course the one piece on the table that stood out even from the numerous petals decorated along the edges was the fountain. Harry knew well that any type of fountain placed on a wizard or witches table meant a time for celebration. He'd taken to learning all he could about his father's family and pureblood tradition once he'd finished Hogwarts with Narcissa's help. She had instructed him in everything from etiquette to celebrations and even politics though that was mostly Lucius' area of expertise.
What type of celebration Harry currently found himself in he could only guess. However with the runes stitched into the robe he was wearing and the placement of everything within the room he would have to go with something entirely ancient. He'd learnt the modern rituals but Narcissa had informed him there were many more kept hidden within the eldest families. A ritual as ancient as this couldn't mean anything good for him.
Slowly edging towards the table, he glanced around the room. As far as he could see, he was on the first floor of a two storey mansion with no way out from his current location. The only other route to take was the one he'd used to enter and that certainly wasn't an option. It would be too easy to pin him in that room at last out here he had room to move around.
Looking up he noticed a balcony ran around the outside edge of the second story with numerous hallways leading away from it. If he could figure out how to get up there that would be his way out.
Nearing the fountain, Harry couldn't help but feel there was something unusual about it immediately. Small white balls floated along the surface in the unsurprisingly red liquid. Then and there Harry wanted nothing more than to run as fast and as far away as possible.
It was an eye, a human eye.
Withholding a scream, Harry stumbled into a chair. Everything macabre jumped out at him. The dining table and chairs were clearly made from human bone. Between the rose petals were various human organs curled delicately with much consideration. The red liquid within the fountain was blood most likely human as well.
He'd seen what he originally wanted to see. No one wanted to wake after being kidnapped and imagine they were in a horror fest with a mass murderer. They wanted it to be some simple person they could easily foil and escape. Maybe they would get arrested depending on how well they give up information on the kidnapping. Harry had desperately wanted all of those things. Now the illusion was fading fast and leaving him quite terrified.
What was he meant to do in a situation like this? Despite what many people had wanted, he had chosen not to become an Auror. The life of killing and capturing the remaining Death Eaters hadn't been as appealing after the war. Ron had become one if anything just to do something Harry refused. No, he'd chosen to become a researcher in the Department of Mysteries. Most of his life was spent reading books and observing artefacts. This was just too close for comfort. He'd taken the job to avoid these situations not walk right into them!
His insides froze. The voice was weak but he'd heard someone. Someone had spoken his name. His kidnapper knew him well enough to use his first name. Quite honestly Harry didn't want to turn around and see who this was. Curiosity be damned, he'd had kidnappers before but this person was just psychotic. Normal attempted kidnappers just wanted to meet him have a photo taken with him. This was taking things too far.
Yet he knew that this confrontation was just waiting to happen. Eventually it would have occurred he'd just wished that maybe he could have had some time to accustom himself to the entire situation. At least then he would be able to handle anything thrown at him. With a shaky breath, Harry turned himself around and gaped at the sight before him.
Dean wasn't entirely certain what to expect when he'd entered Peverell Manor. Sure there was the possibility of running into some scary witch that could potentially erase their memory and send them on their merry way but this… this was something else entirely.
The elegance of the Manor was breathtaking. It was clean. Not a speck of dust or a spider's web could be seen in any nook or cranny. The white marble gleamed beneath the soft candle light which was the only light available to them as the windows remained bordered up. Who hadn't heard of electricity in this age?
Yet what really got them were the portraits on the walls. They moved.
They moved. They spoke to each other and to them. They walked between portraits. They were everything but still. Neither Dean nor Sam could find an explanation for this so they ignored it or at least tried to. These particular portraits were rather pushy when it came to attempting to gain their attention. It was quite obvious that they desired something Dean and Sam could give them. However they ignored it and continued further into the house.
Luckily for them the hallway they were following hadn't branched out yet. It would have been rather difficult if they were constantly guessing where to turn next. These old mansions tended to have numerous hallways and different turns to get to different areas. They were basically giant mazes that humans lived in.
On second thought…
"Don't you think it's slightly suspicious that this hallway hasn't branched off yet?" Sam enquired.
Dean nodded but didn't reply. The hallways were somehow being affected by the witches. It wasn't an easy thing to come to terms with especially since they were walking down them as if they were nothing. This situation was steadily making him uncomfortable and he couldn't shake the feeling they were walking into something they would regret later. Yet that wasn't the most disconcerting thing Dean was dealing with. The portraits were staring again.
"Ok, what is with the creepy hoodoo portraits?!" he demanded pointing his gun in their direction.
The portrait closest to him, a beautiful girl in an eighteenth century style cream dress laughed merrily at him. Obviously they were some kind of joke to the portraits.
"Do you not know what we are, hunters?"
Sam and Dean shared a glance. She made it sound like the most obvious thing on Earth. To her it probably was but they had nothing to go on except for the scary ass witches likely waiting for them deeper in the Manor. Without prompting she continued.
"We are the portraits of the deceased members of the Peverell Family."
The other portraits smiled in agreement some reciting what Sam assumed was the family motto. Much to Dean's horror, Sam became curious. While Dean may have simply enjoyed killing the creatures Sam liked to know everything there was to know about them for future reference. However he had to admit the book they kept on all of their past encounters was rather useful.
"How are you moving like that?"
It was Sam's first question and the portraits had obviously been expecting it.
"When we die a bit of our magic is left behind in the world. The magic can either enter our portraits if we have them commissioned or they can create something small like a flower or a muggleborn. Mostly however they enter our portraits and animate them as we once were. We retain our knowledge and personality however we can't use or magic any longer."
In all honesty it was remarkably fascinating. Dean had never heard it in his life. But then his mind went back to that creepy little girl that killed her family and continued to do so through the family portrait. She'd only been about eight but still, not cool.
"You can't leave those frames can you?" he accused.
There wasn't anything wrong with checking however Dean felt rather silly when they all laughed at him.
"Of course we can't dear boy, not that a few haven't attempted to do so. Our magic is tied to the portrait. Should we try to leave out magic fizzles and dies out and our portraits become still." Another informed him.
At least that settled that belief. Sam was probably taking notes so he could add it to the book later so he didn't have to worry over remembering his embarrassing moment.
"However this isn't the time for idle chit chat. There is someone you need to meet."
The elder woman was clearly told to bring them to this person. She had an air of importance about her that led them to believe she didn't enjoy being kept waiting. However Dean and Sam cast each other an uncertain glance. Sure the portraits were nice enough but that didn't mean they wanted to help them or meet more of them. Yet if it got them closer to the target they weren't about to complain.
The "person" they apparently had to meet was another portrait. He looked to be in his late forties with greying hair and a cheery smile. This certainly hadn't been who they expected. Honestly they had expected the portraits to lead them directly into a trap and have to fight their way out of yet another hunt gone wrong. They should just have started to learn to expect the unexpected in their line of work.
"A pair of hunters in Peverell Manor, I never thought I'd see the day…" the man smiled.
Dean and Same felt at ease in his presence. That wasn't any easy thing to come by in their line of work. As it was the only people they trusted any would be Bobby, Ellen and Joe. Winchesters weren't renowned for their trust.
"My name is Ignotus Peverell and I need your help."
Sam quickly nudged his brother.
"Ignotus Peverell was the youngest brother and one of the last to carry the Peverell name." he whispered.
Ignotius merely nodded.
"Indeed I was the last to carry the name but not as you may have suspected to carry the bloodline."
"What's the difference?" Dean enquired.
"He had children." Sam jumped in.
"My, my, he's a smart one." Ignotus encouraged. "Your brother is correct. I had a son who also had many children after him and my line continued under another name. My eldest brother, Antioch, was the same."
Dean frowned hadn't there been three brothers? He remembered Sam going on about three of them being the last Peverell's by name but the blood living on in the other descendants. Had he been mistaken? Just as he doubted himself Sam jumped in.
"But the second brother didn't?"
Ignotus' expression fell. They could tell there was a rather tragic story to go with that expression and hoped that he didn't begin to waffle on. Really, they didn't have time for any of that. In the beginning they'd just planned to kill the witches and go. This hadn't been a part of any plan but now they were working with it.
"No Cadmu's wife died before they could have children and he followed pining away after her and the love he could never have."
Dean was hesitant to look at Sam. During the first few months they'd begun hunting together Sam had been that way after Jess. He'd barely slept or ate and everything seemed to remind him of her. Thankfully he'd managed to get past that stage with some help buy others. However none of this explained what they were doing here.
"Why is this so important?" Dean asked.
He wasn't going to remain unless there was a rather good explanation to all of this.
"My many-times grandson is here." Ignotus explained. "He needs your help."
Dean grimaced. If this guy's grandson was the reason behind all the torturous screams and the witchcraft then they wouldn't be helping him at all. Instead they would be ending his life right before their eyes. Sam, light hearted that he was, had a different idea.
"What can we do to help?"
It was cautious but Dean almost wished he hadn't said it at all as Ignotus answered.
"Antioch's many-times grandson kidnapped my own from his him in England. I do not know the specifics but he's not here of his own free will and no one knows where he's been taken. Others can't simple stumble upon this place. You have to know what is inside and an approximate area to even get close. The pair of you was extremely lucky. Anyone else that comes near has their mind erased by the wards before they can even enter."
Sam was frowning more than likely attempting to understand this idea of wards. They had come across wards before however they had a physical form. The Devil's Trap had a precise location in which to place it so theoretically this memory ward also had a location even if it were in a place they couldn't see. Dean just didn't care much for it now that it wasn't a concern.
"We came here because of the witch nothing else." He started to explain. "We risked entering knowing that likely our minds would be erased by magic mumbo jumbo, even walked down the hallway of weird. Now you're asking us to risk our lives again to save a witch that more than likely we'll hunt anyway."
Ignotus frowned. Dean stood his ground. If the portrait didn't like what he'd said he would just have to manoeuvre around it. The portrait would need a really good argument to get him to help this witch child.
"The two within this manor aren't the usual witches you face every day." Ignotus explained.
This one sentence had their immediate attention.
"The ones you face have made deals with demons as you well know. Our family however, and others like us, never have made a deal with demons. The gifts we have been blessed with originated somewhere else which is why the magic remains in the next generation of children unlike that of the demon deals. No one knows how this happened or even why, but it is a genetic trait that can be dormant in one person and active in the next. I'm certain if we had some of your scientists working on it then we would know with certainty however our equivalent spends most of its time researching things less important."
"Wait, you're saying there is more than one type of witch?" Dean spluttered.
Ignotus nodded wisely. Sam's mind was in overdrive. How was that even possible? They'd never run into another type of witch during their hunts. It had only ever been demon deals. However he could understand why the other type wouldn't want to be recognized what with the Salem Witch Trials. That time wouldn't have been very safe for any of them.
"If there is more than one type why wouldn't we still take them out if given the chance?" Dean continued.
"My family's type of magic isn't taken from anything. We don't sacrifice children or use blood in any ritual. There are rituals we do but they involve celebrating life. Life is sacred to us and each child that comes into the wonderful world that we've separated from normal people is celebrated. They go to school and learn our craft. We have rules and laws governing us that wouldn't make sense to you but are treasured by us. My grandson wouldn't break them he's too much of a saviour to do so." Ignotus laughed.
"Antioch's grandson is another matter entirely. He is of both. He was born in our world and raised in the normal world like many of the children that come to us are. However there was something wrong with him and as he grew it only managed to get worse. He made a deal with a demon when he was little before he knew anything and yet because of his unique situation the rules that applied didn't with him. He twisted himself even more. Whatever history that is between them is deep and has led to this. Please don't take it out on Harry."
Sam and Dean traded looks. Honestly with everything that was happening how could they just ignore it? If Harry was innocent then they would save him. It was ridiculous to forego this person when they knew he was in trouble. Besides if they did save him they could get many answers from him that they didn't have.
"So his name is Harry?" Dean asked.
"Yes, his name is Harry, Harry James Potter."
Harry acted before any shock he was feeling could set in. He ran. Long strides took him forward. Determination drove him and yet there was this lingering fear in the back of his mind that couldn't be easily pushed aside. It felt like he was hurrying towards his death once again in the Forbidden Forest. Facing hundreds of Death Eaters and simply waiting… waiting for the end to come. Time was nearing and it wasn't looking good for him or Draco.
Stopping before Draco, Harry couldn't help but release a shaky breath. Horror crossed his face as the reality of his situation finally hit home. This kidnapper wasn't playing around. They knew exactly where to hit him and how. Using his friends in such a manner was a ploy to get him distraught before the eventual meeting.
"Draco…" he whispered.
Harry couldn't help but stare. His once rival had seen better days.
Draco was hanging from a candelabra attached to the dining room wall (unsurprisingly again a vicious shade of red). It skewered him directly through the stomach. The wound wasn't enough to kill him instantly. Instead he was left to linger in pain. His breathing was laboured and he moaned with every intake. Harry had never witnessed anything like this before even during the second war.
Ron had told him a few stories from his Auror work but it didn't even compare. Since the end of the war nothing like this had occurred. And if it was then it was being covered up rather well. That was unlikely though. Department of Mysteries personnel always knew what was happening within every section of the Ministry.
"I'll get you down Draco, you won't die here." Harry cried.
Really his words were more for his own benefit. He was certain they helped Draco just not as much as it did him. Harry was lost, he was confused and he was about to watch his best friend die. This certainly wasn't the best day of his life. How could he escape, return home and tell Narcissa that he'd been forced to watch Draco die? There was no way he was prepared for that to happen.
Looking around him Harry, noticed that the candelabra had numerous spikes around the edges like an arrow head. It made it easy for pushing things onto the spikes but near impossible to remove them again. If only he had his wand, Harry moaned, then he could easily get Draco down. Without it he was lost. There was nothing he could do especially since he didn't trust in his own abilities. Wandless magic wasn't always stable enough for delicate procedures.
"Merlin, what do I do?" he muttered.
Blood was beginning to ooze out of Draco's mouth signalling that the end was nearing. Harry managed to get a good look at the back of the brace which as luck would have it was a loose. He began working on it immediately. There was a chance he could get Draco down. That had to be better than where he was currently. If only his hands would stop shaking.
"Harry…" Draco spluttered through the blood.
"That's right Draco," Harry sobbed, "it's Harry. Don't worry we'll figure something out. I'll get you down."
His hands shook desperately as he attempted to get the candelabra unattached. The screws just wouldn't loosen no matter what he attempted and he was loath to leave Draco for even a second to have a further look around the room. He just couldn't bring himself to look at what was likely to face him next. It might not be death but it wasn't likely to be any good either way.
Blood was dribbling down his mouth now. He coughed and Harry felt it splatter onto him and sobbed. This wasn't working! He needed something to work. Why couldn't he save his friend?
"Don't speak Draco, don't speak. Just save your energy please."
"I'm not leaving without you."
Harry raised his voice hoping to get it through to them both. He needed Draco to stop speaking for a second so he could think. He just needed time to think but there wasn't any time. Why wasn't there any time?
Draco kept speaking even though Harry had practically begged and screamed at him to stop. He wasn't making any sense but Harry could tell that he wanted Harry to leave him where he was probably sensing his death draw near. Harry however wasn't ready to let him go. If Draco died then he would be left alone there. He wouldn't have anyone to turn to and he wouldn't have anyone to reassure him. Tell him that it would be alright even if it wasn't.
Stumbling over words as Harry attempted to free him; Draco took his final breath and whispered a single word. Harry froze, his heart racing. It was the name of his kidnapper and Draco's killer. He was definitely in trouble.
Hope you enjoyed the chapter. This probably won't be updated as often as I'd like but it isn't abandonded.