AN: I'm sure some of you will be questioning whether Harrison and Daphne will still get together after this chapter and the answer is YES. They'll be together soon in fact. Thank you for all the nice reviews and PMs, they encourage me to keep writing! Please read and review :)
13 February 9:45pm
Red and orange flames twisted together to form a snake that slithered in the air. More flames twisted in the air, and joined together to make a phoenix that flew around the snake while it writhed and hissed. The crackling flames were quiet, but to Harrison sounded like bomb blasts. He flicked his wrist and both the snake and phoenix exploded into dozens of tiny wisps that sizzled out with a light hiss.
"After all these years," a low voice said, "the control you possess over your magic still amazes me."
Harrison glanced at Barty Crouch Jr, as the man sat down in the plush leather chair to his right. Harrison leaned back, allowing his body to relax into the sofa and stared up at the ceiling.
"You aren't going to ask why I've come to your house in the middle of the night without an invitation?" Harrison asked. He counted the diamonds on the chandelier — thirteen. "Why I'm not at Hogwarts tucked safely away in my bed?" Harrison didn't bother trying to hide the agitation in his voice.
"You wouldn't have come if you didn't need to," Barty said, his tone inquisitive.
"I was never this person," Harrison began, "the kind of person who allowed themselves to be controlled by their emotions." He sat up and looked at Barty who watched him with shrewd concern.
"Fleur," Barty guessed correctly. Harrison had told him what had transpired shortly after the New Year. Barty had been furious at Viktor, and concerned that Fleur could no longer be trusted. "She still isn't speaking to you?" His voice was tight.
"She's speaking to me," Harrison's lips fell into a hard line, "but she won't say more than a sentence at a time." His eyes once again fell on the fire place. "It's been nearly a month, and she still hasn't moved on." His right hand balled into a fist. "I have too many things to worry about. Theo's death is still…" Harrison trailed off and shook his head. "I've been having to keep a close eye on Viktor. The aurors at school are watching everyone, especially us Slytherins, through a microscope. Father has been sending me twice the amount of study materials as usual."
Harrison stopped talking and stood up. He walked over to the mantle and looked at the painting that hung above it. A dark forest, trees that reached up and out of reach of the frame stood out in stark contrast against the gilded frame. The trees rustled from within the portrait and every so often something would dart across the bottom, ruffling the leaves on the ground.
"I don't have the time to deal with Fleur's mood swings," Harrison continued. "I care for her, Barty. I've never felt this way before, but I've realized that she'll never be ok with the things that come along with dating the son of the Dark Lord." He shoved his hands into the pockets of his robe. "But I can't change how I feel."
Harrison fell silent and neither of them spoke for ten minutes.
"Why did you come here, Harrison?" Barty asked. "Why did you come to me and not Lucius or Rodolphus?"
Harrison knew what Barty was really asking. Why did he come to a single man, a man who unlike Severus, who was also single, had never been in love.
"Is it possible, Barty?" Harrison asked.
Harrison could see it in Barty's eyes, the understanding and pity. Harrison hated pity more than almost anything else in the world. He spun around and walked towards a small table that was covered in random objects. He picked up a silver hourglass, florescent green sand slowly fell to the bottom, glinting like stars all the while.
"You're the son of the Dark Lord," Barty said with emphatic respect. "From the moment you became Harrison Riddle your life became Lord Voldemort's. One day, sooner than you can imagine, you will stand by his side, as the world falls to their knees before him." Harrison could hear the unadulterated joy in his voice. "You will be more than just a powerful wizard. You will be a king — a God."
Harrison set the hourglass down and slowly turned towards Barty.
"You will have more responsibility than should be expected of a dozen wizards," Barty continued, "let alone one. That power, mixed with your wealth and looks, will make girls willing to curse off their right arm to be with you."
The joy in Barty's eyes dimmed as he continued. "But you will never be able to give yourself over to anyone completely. You can't afford to. Love Harrison, makes people weak. You know that's why your father never married. You know that's why the inner circle, myself included, were in shock when we were introduced to you. We never thought the Dark Lord would voluntarily inflict himself with a weakness. For love was the biggest weakness in the Dark Lord's eyes." Barty smiled. "But he does love you, Harrison, and that is something I never thought was possible."
"Then why can't I have a weakness?" Harrison asked. His words sounded childish to his own ears.
"Fleur's reaction when she found out what you had done was disgust," Barty reminded him. "Do you not think that's how most girls would react?"
"Daphne and Cass didn't," Harrison said. "Jenna, Pansy, and Tracey, they got a good laugh."
Barty looked at him sharply. "They were raised like you," Barty pointed out. "Most children, even the children of Death Eaters aren't raised that way. They're sheltered from the pain and horrors, from the truth, until they're older. And when they do learn the truth…it's different from having learned it as a child, not quite so jarring."
Harrison bit his tongue, and the taste of copper filled his mouth.
"They'll want you to change," Barty said. "Fleur, and every girl that comes after her. They'll want to be the one to change you. To make you into something you aren't. To make you their happily ever after." Barty's eyes darkened. "You're no one's happily ever after, Harrison. You can't be."
"So I'm just supposed to be alone forever?" Harrison asked. "A celibate wizard until the day I die?"
"Love and pleasure are two different things," Barty said. "You're the son of Lord Voldemort. You can take what it is you desire."
Harrison sighed. "I thought that Fleur understood."
"She can't possibly," Barty said. "No one can."
Barty walked towards Harrison, and stopped in front of him. "Your feelings for Fleur, they feel real now, but that supposed love you feel is merely attraction. One day, that attraction will fade, and you'll be left with nothing but power. That power is what's real."
Harrison locked eyes with Barty and in that moment he felt his heart constrict, like Nagini had wrapped herself around it.
13 February 11:30pm
Fleur tapped her finger against the surface of the Black Lake. The water felt like ice and a shiver ran down her spine. She pulled her fur coat tight against her body, and looked out across the water. The moon was nearly full and shone down onto the dark waters like a spotlight.
Fleur sniffled in the cold air as her mind spun around in circles. It had been nearly a month since Harrison had shocked her with his horrible actions. Fleur had known who his father is, and she had known what Harrison was capable of, but what he had done to Ginny went too far. All Fleur could think about were the thousands of innocent veela who had been raped or forced into marriages over the centuries and it made bile rise in her throat. She hadn't thought that Harrison would go that far.
Fleur wrapped her arms around her stomach. She wasn't this girl. Her entire life she had faced people wanting to fall over themselves for her, and girls hating her for her looks. She had developed tough skin, and the words, and actions, of others had ceased to bother her. But Harrison was different. His words, his opinions, his very being, could cut through her with ease. She hated it.
A hand on her shoulder caused her to jump up and spin around, nearly sending her flying into the Black Lake.
"Daphne," Fleur said in shock, her hand flew up to her chest and her eyes went wide. "What are you doing out here?"
"I couldn't sleep," Daphne answered. She eyed Fleur, and the look made her shiver. "Why are you out here?"
"I was thinking," Fleur admitted.
"Harrison," Daphne stated, as if she could read her thoughts.
Fleur remained silent.
"If you aren't going to forgive him," Daphne said quietly, her words barely audible above the wind, "you need to let him go."
Fleur felt as though she had been slapped. Many scenarios had ran through her head over the past four weeks, and the one of her breaking up with Harrison made her feel queasy.
"I love him," Fleur said forcefully.
"If you loved him, you wouldn't have spent the past month ignoring him and treating him as though he did something wrong," Daphne said coldly.
"He did do something wrong," Fleur said, shocked that Daphne could be so cold. "What he did to Ginny…" Fleur shook her head.
"He's the son of the Dark Lord," Daphne said. "Do you expect him to sit around all day writing you sonnets?"
Fleur flushed at her mocking tone. "What he did—"
"Harrison did what needed to be done," Daphne said. "It's a simple fact. Harrison will always do what needs to be done. No matter the cost."
Fleur continued to shake her head, as if she couldn't comprehend what Daphne was saying.
"You know it's the truth," Daphne said. "You've always known."
Fleur's throat constricted, and it felt like she was trying to swallow a quaffle.
"I know he's better than that," Fleur said.
"Better than that?" Daphne asked. Fleur could see the anger dancing in her blue eyes. "Someone is getting too comfortable on their pedestal."
Fleur felt angry and insulted at her words, but Daphne held a hand up to forestall her from speaking.
"You never had a problem with the things that went on before," Daphne said. "You had no problem with Viktor seducing Ginny." Daphne pulled her collar up over her neck. "Why are you so upset now? Because it was Harrison's idea?"
Fleur didn't answer, because Daphne's words were true. Fleur knew that Voldemort was a cruel monster, but she hadn't known that Harrison was the same. She had thought that Harrison had a good heart. That beneath the insults, hexes, and love for dark magic, there lied a good person. But could someone with a good heart do what he did?
Daphne's beautiful face twisted in disgust. She looked at Fleur who looked away. Fleur didn't so much as glance in her direction as Daphne walked away, but she could hear her feet crunching on the snow. The sound quiet in reality, but to Fleur sounded like one explosion after another.
Another shiver ran down Fleur's spine, but this time it wasn't from the cold.
14 February 8:00am
Fleur looked out the window, and watched as laughing Hogwarts students made their way down the winding path that led to Hogsmeade. She subconsciously smoothed down her red silk robes as she watched couples walk hand in hand. Her stomach twisted.
"Fleur," Harrison said.
Fleur spun around, took a step backwards and bumped into the window. The sound reverberated around the empty stairwell. The cold from the window seeped through her thin robes as she took in his appearance.
Over the past few weeks, Harrison had looked to be in a perpetual state of annoyance, bordering on extreme agitation. Although Fleur knew to most people he merely looked indifferent, but she had grown to know all of his looks in the time they'd been together. Now though, Fleur thought he looked resolute and confident — the way he normally did, and it bothered her.
"Harrison," Fleur said, her voice sounded breathy. "You came."
"You told Cass that you wanted to speak to me," Harrison said. His indifferent tone cut through her like a knife.
"I've missed you," Fleur said. For a moment she thought she saw a flash of regret in Harrison's eyes, but it was gone in a second, as if it had never been there at all. "Can we talk?"
"Talk," Harrison said.
"Harrison, why are you acting like this?" Fleur asked.
"Why am I acting like this?" Harrison asked. "Why have you been ignoring me for a month? Why are you acting as if you weren't full aware of who I was when you got into bed with me."
Fleur flinched and her cheeks tinged pink. "Harrison, I love you. I just needed time."
Harrison stared at Fleur, and she could see it in his eyes, he was battling with himself. She took a step towards him.
"You don't have to be your father," Fleur said quietly. "You can change."
The moment the words left her mouth she knew she had made a mistake. Harrison's eyes flared with anger, and his shoulders tensed. Before Fleur knew what was happening, Harrison had spun her around and his body had pushed hers into the window. Fleur's hands were shoved against the window, one of Harrison's pressed them roughly onto the cool glass. His other hand had dug roughly into her hip.
"Harrison," Fleur said. She couldn't keep the tremor from her voice.
"You say you love me," Harrison said lowly.
She could feel his breath on her ear. Fleur's breath came out in shallow gasps as she looked down at the Hogwarts gate, a few students still trickled out towards Hogsmeade. Harrison's fingers dug further into her hip, and she tried to move away, but he was much stronger than her.
"If you loved me," Harrison said, "you wouldn't want me to change."
"Harrison, this isn't you. I know it isn't," Fleur said quietly.
"I'm the son of Lord Voldemort," Harrison said. "This is me. It's always been me." A tear slid down Fleur's cheek. "You thought you could change me? Make me into some storybook hero?" Harrison's hand moved from her hip, and slid into her robes. Fleur made a strangled sound when his fingers moved into the waistband of her skirt. "If this was a story Fleur, I'd be the villain." Harrison's fingers glided into her underwear and Fleur tried to push away.
"Harrison," Fleur said, her tone begging. "Stop trying to make me hate you."
Fleur felt Harrison freeze for what seemed like an eternity, but was only a few seconds, before his fingers thrust inside of her. Fleur felt a sting as he twisted his hand, and more tears fell down her cheeks.
"Tell me to stop, Fleur," Harrison said, "and I will."
Fleur's body had begun to shake, and not just from the fear she felt. Her mind was a mess of emotions, as disgust, lust, love, hate, and pity coursed through her. She knew that Harrison had feelings for her, no matter what he said. She knew that Harrison wanted her to end things. To make her the bad guy in their relationship, so their end wasn't his fault. For her to hate him so much that there would never be a possibility that they could be together.
Harrison began to thrust his fingers in faster, and Fleur leaned her head against the cool glass. She hated who Harrison had become — what he was capable of. But she loved him. She didn't know if she could ever looked past what he had done, but shouldn't she try?
"Harrison," Fleur said breathlessly, "stop."
Harrison stopped, and immediately took a step back. Fleur continued to lean against the window for a minute before she turned around to face him. Harrison's face was completely blank.
Fleur took a step towards Harrison, and raised her hand to his cheek. Harrison's eyes didn't soften, and his face didn't even register that she was touching him. The look he was giving her hurt more than words could say. Fleur knew that if it didn't work out today, in this moment, it never would.
Fleur crashed her lips onto's Harrison's, as her hands fumbled to take off her clothes. Harrison responded enthusiastically, his hand twisted in her blonde hair. Fleur yanked open her shirt, not caring that she sent the buttons scattering down the stone steps. She gasped when Harrison pushed her naked body against the window.
Harrison's breathing began to slow down, and he took a step back from Fleur. The veela, light headed no doubt from her orgasm, lost her balance and stumbled, crashing into the window and sliding to the ground. Fleur looked up at him, and he could see the hope shine in her eyes.
Harrison zipped up his trousers and ran a hand through his mussed up hair. As he looked at Fleur he knew that Barty had been right — she had wanted to change him. He knew what she was thinking, that she had won, that he would sweep her into his arms, and they'd go back to being a fun loving couple. That her love could soften him. It was a fact he should've known long ago, but was too blinded by her pretty face, killer body, and the way she made him feel. She was a weakness that he couldn't afford.
Harrison couldn't deny that he cared for Fleur. That he didn't want to see her in pain. That they would make decent enough friends. But he knew that he would never be able to be around her without craving to be with her.
Harrison's eyes roamed over her naked body, as Fleur managed to get herself back to her feet. Harrison could feel himself getting hard as images of all the things they'd done together floated into his mind. He forced himself to look at her face.
"Goodbye, Fleur," Harrison said. His voice resolute.
Fleur's face crumpled, and pain filled her eyes.
"Harrison, please," Fleur begged. "I love you."
Harrison continued to walk down the stairs, even as Fleur shouted his name.
Once again, Fleur slid to the floor. Sobs racked her body, and she pulled her knees to her chest. She didn't care that she was naked. She didn't care that someone could walk by at any moment. All she cared about was that the one person who had looked at her like she was a human being, and not a piece of meat, had left her.
Fleur's body shook as she began to pound the large concrete step she sat on, her palms bright red.
14 February 10am
The quaint village of Hogsmeade was coated in a thin layer of soft white snow. For the first time in weeks, the sun was shining and it sparkled off the snow which created a diamond like effect. Ginny squinted against the glare as she dug her hands into the pockets of her blue jacket.
Ginny didn't know why she was so nervous. She had met Viktor's friends before, and no matter what Ron told her, they had seemed nice. She had told Viktor that she was fine to meet them alone, and he had seemed slightly hesitant, but had in the end encouraged her to go and have fun.
"Ginny!" A voice shouted from the distance.
Ginny turned around and saw Daphne smiling at her. Ginny grinned in response, even as a wave of inferiority floated through her. Daphne was drop dead gorgeous, and as she walked towards Ginny in a pair of form fitting jeans and pink sweater that was much tighter in the chest area than Ginny's, heads turned to watch her walk past.
"I'm so glad you decided to come," Daphne said.
Daphne surprised Ginny by pulling her into a hug, which she returned slightly stiff, and Ginny got a whiff of her rose perfume.
"Thanks for inviting me," Ginny said. When they pulled apart, she asked. "Where are the others?"
"Change of plans," Daphne said. "We've decided to go to The Three Broomsticks instead." She smiled again, showing off perfect teeth, that Ginny would swear were whiter than the fresh snow. "I hope you don't mind."
Ginny laughed and found herself becoming relaxed. "Not at all."
Two hours later, Ginny stumbled out of the Three Broomsticks laughing harder than she had in recent memory. Her cheeks hurt from smiling so much, and she felt like a fool for ever feeling nervous. Daphne, Cass, Pansy, Tracey, Jenna, and Luna had been extremely kind, intelligent, and funny.
"Did he really do that?" Ginny asked between bouts of laughter.
"He did!" Pansy said. "You should have seen Draco's face afterwards."
"Oh, Merlin," Ginny said.
"What the hell?"
Ginny stopped as if some unseen force was holding her back as the voice registered in her mind. Ron, Dean, and Seamus were standing in front of them, bags of candy in each of their hands.
"What are you doing with them?" Ron demanded.
The anger and disgust on Ron's face momentarily made Ginny at a loss for words. Ron had been furious at her relationship with Viktor, but she had never seen him look so angry. His face was redder than his hair and his eyes were bulging out of their sockets. Ginny heard several cracks as Ron closed his fists and the candy in his bag was crushed.
"Dating Krum isn't bad enough for you?" Ron asked.
"That's enough, Weasley," Daphne said. Her beautiful voice turned dark. "Ginny can spend her time with whoever she likes."
Daphne laid a hand on Ginny's shoulder, and Ginny felt a wave of gratitude. She found her voice as Ron opened his mouth to no doubt say something rude.
"Leave me alone, Ron," Ginny said.
Ron reared back his head. "You can't possibly be picking them over your own brother?"
"I'm not picking anyone over you Ron," Ginny snapped. "You're making it out that I am, the same way you did it to Fred, George, and Percy." Ginny didn't think it was possible for Ron's face to turn more red, but it did. "They're my friends, and if you can't accept that than that's your problem, not mine." Ginny crossed her arms angrily over her chest. "Don't you dare try to blame it on me."
"Mum and dad—"
"Don't bring them into this!" Ginny shouted. "Mum and dad didn't say I couldn't date Viktor, and they wouldn't say that I can't be friends with Slytherins. They have nothing to do with this. You have nothing to do with this. This is my life, Ron. If you want to be a part of it then knock it off!"
Ron looked as though she had tried to hit him with the killing curse. Ginny felt bad, but she was tired of Ron giving her a hard time about who she chose to date and befriend. Ron had always had a temper, and a hatred for everything he deemed inappropriate or dark, which half the time was in reality neither of those things.
It angered and hurt Ginny that Ron didn't trust her to make her own decisions. She loved Viktor, and he loved her. Viktor's friends were nice to her, so why shouldn't she be nice in return? Ron had it in his head that all Slytherins were evil, but that was a ridiculous belief. Daphne, and the rest of the Slytherins that Ginny had begun to spend time with seemed like good people, and she couldn't believe that any of them would sympathize with You-Know-Who or his Death Eaters. After all, Theo had been one of their best friends, and he had died at the hands of Death Eaters. To Ginny, it was cruel to say that his friends were junior Death Eaters, and completely wrong.
"Mate, come on," Seamus said. "Not here."
Ginny could see a tick in Ron's jaw.
"I hope you know what you're doing," Ron said.
Ginny didn't say a word as her brother walked away, his friends whispering to him as they went.
14 February 8pm
Moody grunted, announcing his displeasure towards Thomas Davies and Ezekiel Smith. It had been a month since the two aurors had infiltrated the Death Eaters and they hadn't learn anything of value.
"Are you truly surprised, Alastor?" Kingsley asked, exasperation leaked into his deep voice. "Voldemort is many things, but stupid isn't one of them. Did you truly believe that he would simply trust them after one month of service?"
"Of course not," Moody barked, insulted. "But I expected them to use some ingenuity and find out something — anything. They've come to us again with nothing." He slammed his hand against the wooden table. "We're fighting a war here, and we have nothing to use. Nothing!"
"We aren't exactly invited to their weekly lunches," Ezekiel muttered.
Kingsley frowned. "Weekly lunches?"
"Every Monday the inner circle meets for lunch at Malfoy Manor," Ezekiel said.
Moody frowned, his scar pulled tight against his jaw. His good eye narrowed. Severus had never mentioned weekly lunches. He glanced towards the doorway where a disillusioned Dumbledore stood.
"And you didn't tell us this before?" Moody growled.
"It didn't seem important," Thomas said.
"Everything is important," Moody snapped.
"Is Voldemort there?" Kingsley asked into the tense room.
Kingsley's tone made Moody glance quickly at him. His good eye narrowed further.
"No," Thomas answered.
Kingsley sighed. "I have an idea, but I don't like it."
Moody's frown turned into a grin. "Care to share?"
"Polyjuice potion," Kingsley said.
"It just might work," Moody said, as he leaned against his staff. "We couldn't use polyjuice ourselves besides the wards at Malfoy Manor would know our dark marks weren't real." He looked at the two aurors. "But your dark marks would be real."
Thomas and Ezekiel wore twin expressions of horror, even as both of them subconsciously reached for their dark marks.
"If they find out we're dead," Thomas said. "Worse than dead."
"You both signed up for this willingly," Moody said.
Thomas' right eye twitched.
"I wanted to make a difference," Ezekiel said. "Help people."
"By doing this you'll be helping more people than you could ever know," Moody said.
Moody frowned in concentration. It was a risky mission, but it could be extremely rewarding. The reward definitely outweighed the risk. In his mind he imagined the inner circle, or at least those he was aware of, and discarded those like Bellatrix, who they wouldn't stand a chance of impersonating. He smiled.
"Barty Crouch Jr," Moody said. "The man's mood is mercurial to say the least. You've said so yourselves that on the few time you've seem him he's acted differently on each occasion."
"They would need to study him," Kingsley said. "We can't send them in there if they don't stand a solid chance."
Moody ignored the incredulous looks the two aurors were giving them. They knew what they had signed up for. Did Moody want to send them into the proverbial lions den? No. But they needed an advantage if they were going to win this war.
Moody tapped his cane against the ground. "You have until June to study Crouch. His mannerism, his speech patterns, the way he interacts with others. Whichever one of you is more believable will go in."
"That's all?" Thomas asked.
"It's four months too long," Moody said. "A storm is brewing, boys. We may not have enough information, but we know enough to know that he has something big planned for this summer, and we need to find out what it is." He looked at each man in turn. "Four months is all we can afford."
After Ezekiel and Thomas had left, Dumbledore stepped forward and canceled the disillusionment charm that shielded him from view. Moody didn't give him the chance to say anything before he barked.
"Why didn't Severus tell us about these weekly lunches?" Moody asked.
Dumbledore looked sharply at Moody. "We must not jump to the conclusion that Severus knew about them, Alastor." Moody looked at him in disbelief. "I will speak with Severus. If he did know than I am sure he had a good reason for withholding the information."
Moody barked a condescending laugh. "You still trust him?"
"With my life," Dumbledore answered.
Kingsley cleared his throat. "Do you think what we are doing is wise?"
Dumbledore stroked his long white beard before allowing his hand to fall to his side.
"I fear, Kingsley, that we don't have a choice," Dumbledore said.
Kingsley made a sound of frustration. "You say that this is all for the greater good, Albus. But is it really? You know what they had to do to get marked? Torture, Albus! Torture. How is this all for the greater good? When this is over, what will be left of them? We allowed this to happen. What will be left of us?"
Dumbledore sighed. He didn't like any of it anymore than Kingsley did, but it had to be done. Every life was precious, but if one person, or twelve, had to die so that millions could live… It was necessary. Unfortunate, but necessary.
"If we do nothing, Kingsley," Dumbledore said, "nothing will be left at all. No man, woman, or child. Nothing."
"I still don't like it," Kingsley said.
Kingsley stood up and walked towards the floo.
5 March 6:45am
Ministry of Magic Still Has No Answers
by Rita Skeeter
My Dear Readers,
It has been two months since two dozen men and women were murdered from within the 'safety' of The Ministry of Magic. Dozens of people from the Minister of Magic down have looked into this atrocity, and yet no one can say for certain just how someone was able to bypass the Ministry's heightened security to kill the detained Ministry employees.
"We have yet to ascertain how the perpetrator or perpetrators entered the interrogation rooms," Amelia Bones, head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, said during a conference yesterday evening. "However, I can assure the people of Britain that myself, along with the entire Department of Magical Law Enforcement, are doing everything in our power to uncover how they gained entry to prevent another incident like this occurring."
Madame Bones referred to the slaughter of two dozen citizens of Britain as an 'incident.' I for one think that what happened was far too heinous to be classified as a mere incident. I am fed up with the Ministry of Magic failing at every turn, and thinking that by adding an extra auror or two the people of Britain will be placated. I for one will NOT stand for this. The Ministry of Magic needs to do more than throw platitudes our way. They need to protect the people of Britain, or those in charge need to step down and give their roles to people who will.
Tonks threw her copy of the Daily Prophet down in disgust. The auror department was short handed and under constant stress as it was, they didn't need people like Rita Skeeter to make it worse.
Tonks scowled as she threw floor powder into her fire place and stepped inside.
"Ministry of Magic," Tonks said.
Tonks felt a pull in her stomach and her vision went blurry. After a moment she stepped out and into the atrium of the Ministry of Magic. She immediately knew that something was different as loud voices assaulted her ears.
"The entire Ministry is scum!" An angry voice shouted.
"Who's next?" A woman screamed. "Our children?"
"Down with Fudge!"
Tonks was in shock. In all the time she'd worked at the Ministry she'd never seen a protest of this size. There looked to be over one hundred witches and wizards gathered in the atrium. Some carried signs that bore pictures of Minister Fudge and Madame Bones with giant x's going through them. Others merely shouted at the aurors who were holding them back from going further into the Ministry.
"Don't touch me!" A protestor shouted at an auror.
"You need to move," the auror said forcefully.
"I have a right to be here!" The protestor responded. His face mere inches from the aurors.
Tonks ran over to break them up.
"Davies, what's going on here?" Tonks asked Thomas Davies when she separated him from the protestor.
"These people showed up twenty minutes ago," Thomas said through gritted teeth. "More people arrive every few minutes. They read the Daily Prophet this morning."
Tonks grimaced at his words. She could hear the fireplaces around the atrium flare to life, and dozens more protestors joined the crowd.
"Down with Fudge!"
"Can't you people do anything right?"
"You're worse than You-Know-Who!"
Tonks felt a wave of annoyance. She wanted to yell at all of these people that they were doing the best they could. That aurors had lost their lives too. That they should all go home. But there were no laws against protesting as long as they didn't go beyond the atrium and didn't become violent.
"I'm going to go up to the department," Tonks told Davies. "See if there's anything I can do to help."
Davies nodded, his face grim. Tonks quickly walked towards the elevators, the shouting and harsh words echoed in her ears, and a feeling of unease grew in her stomach.
14 March 8am
Viktor forced a smile while Ginny told him about the previous evening.
"Daphne was hilarious!" Ginny said, in a tone that implied you had to have been there to understand.
Viktor nodded along, but Ginny's words began to blur together. The more time Ginny spent with Harrison's friends, the more worried Viktor felt. He saw the smirks Cass, Blaise, Harrison, and the rest of them would shoot him when no-one else was looking. They taunted him with their looks worse than they ever could with words. And Leo. Viktor saw red whenever he thought about Leo. It made him sick to his stomach to think about him touching Ginny.
He had spent week after week thinking about how he could save Ginny from the Dark Lord, but he didn't even know why he needed her in the first place.
"Are you ok?"
"Vat?" Viktor asked, a slightly dazed look on his face.
"Are you ok?" Ginny asked, concern wrinkled her brow.
Viktor smiled, touched by the great care she always showed for him. He reached out and grabbed her hand.
"Keep talking," Viktor said.
Ginny grinned, and more words poured out of her mouth.
18 March 3am
It took Harrison a few minutes to realize that he had been reading the same sentence from the advanced dark potions book his father had sent him over and over again. Harrison closed the book, ran his hand down the red dragon-hide cover and pushed it away.
Harrison hadn't slept properly in weeks. He spent most nights pouring over books and articles, only going to sleep an hour before he had to wake up. He ran a hand through his hair.
It would be easy for him to say that he couldn't sleep because he missed Fleur, but that wasn't the case. Yes, he missed her when it was late at night and he wanted someone to physically be with, but he didn't miss her. Being apart from her for all this time made him see that he was less in love with Fleur than with the idea of her. Had he cared deeply for her? Yes. Had he truly loved her? No.
Although the site of her walking around Hogwarts alone, the subject of many stares and whispers made him feel a twinge of pity for her. And he couldn't deny that the hurt and angry stares she gave him made him wish he had ended things differently. She had been a huge part of his life, if only for less than a year, and he had cared for her. But he had learned over the past few weeks that they had never been meant to be.
But missing Fleur in his bed wasn't what kept him up. He had a feeling that he was missing something. That there was something staring him right in the face and he didn't see it. Something big was coming, and he had the uneasy feeling that he should know what it was.
18 March 3:15am
Luna awoke from a deep sleep to find that her silk sheets were drenched in sweat. She pushed her comforter away and looked down at her nightgown that was stuck to her body. Luna grimaced and lumbered out of bed, and down the hall into the third year Ravenclaw girls bathroom. She stripped off her nightgown and froze as her eyes caught site of her reflection in the mirror.
Luna's entire body was covered in red and blue bruises. Her collarbone was completely purple, and her arms looked as though someone had attacked them with a beaters bat. Luna gently touched her hip where a ghastly bruise stood out darker than the rest, and flinched as pain seared through her body.
"Bloody hell," Luna muttered.
Luna was used to her visions causing her physical pain, but she never woke up with injuries without remembering the vision behind them. She frowned as she walked towards her medical bag and dug around for healing ointment.
Luna unscrewed the lid and began to slather her body with the thick white paste. The entire time her frown continued to deepen, and her eyes shone with worry. She had the feeling that something bad was going to happen and that she should know what it was.
AN: Please review :) I'd like to know what you all liked and didn't, as well as what you're looking forward to seeing!
I'm VERY excited for the coming chapters, BIG things are going to begin happening :)