Yay, I am back in a country where I can actually understand what people say, and with a renewed fear for needles. Luckily my sister is fine, at least physical. The mental part is always debatable when it comes to my family.
Anyway, I just didn't know what to do with the Road to Heaven, so instead I started with this one. Hope you enjoy it.
Disclaimer: I do not claim ownership of Harry Potter, the character, settings or plots that have been born from the magnificent mind of J.K. Rowling. For those too incompetent to understand words longer than two syllables: I do not own Harry Potter.
In the lowest level of the castle time seemed to be still. It could be because there were no windows and no clock to tell the time apart. Once one stepped down there it was like stepping into an entirely different dimension. And only when you walked up the narrow stairs and through the door you would return to the world of the living. A war could break out and he doubted very much he would notice it as long as he was down there.
Standing among the cauldrons with different states of finished potions a young man stood. His black hair, usually messy and with a tendency to defy gravity, was tied with a simple leather ribbon. His green eyes were narrowed in concentration and the tip of his tongue stuck out between his lips. A slender and pale hand was holding the knife he used to chop the ingredients he had been ordered to prepare.
At the age of sixteen Harry Potter could soon be considered an adult in the Wizarding world, though judging from the form of his face and hands he was build more lithe and petite than most young men at his age usually would be.
When the door to the Potions laboratory was slammed open Harry jumped in surprise. "Scarhead!" Knowing of only one who would call him that and willingly enter the room without fearing the other person who usually residenced there, Harry felt his body relax on its own accord.
He picked up the knife which he had dropped and went back to his precious task. "Draco, is there something you want?" The slightly older blond hesitated in the doorway at the tone of his voice. Then Harry heard the door close, much softer than when it had been opened and then he heard the sound of soft footsteps which carried their owner over to him.
"Don't be like that Harry. I haven't seen you in ages." The blond exclaimed as he jumped to sit on a clean part of the table, so close that his body brushed against Harry's own in the process.
Glancing over at the blond Harry let a small smile grace his face. Draco, as always, was dressed in elegant robes, tonight more than usually. The pale blue robes clung to his body which was fit from many hours of duelling. It could hardly have been more different from Harry's black robe which was well used and seemed to absorb his body.
The shoulder long hair was forced back into a tight ponytail. Quite unlike Harry's own hair not a single stand was out of place. Grey eyes were watching him closely while the blond was smiling, something which not many had been privileged to see. "It is hardly forever. You have spent the last four days at the Greengrass residence, trying to court the youngest daughter, Astoria, with your father's blessing." Harry answered, focussing back on his task.
"Some day Harry, I am going to figure out how you know everything before everyone else. The dark lord has only just given his blessing for our families to be joined, and yet you talk about it, as if it was made public long ago." Draco promised.
Harry winced at his own slip up. As Severus said, he really needed to learn to think before he opened his mouth. One day he would open his mouth around the wrong person and then it would all be over.
He picked up the toad tongues and dumped them in the container. It would be a cold day in hell before Draco figured out his secret, or anyone else. If Harry had a say in it he would make sure that it was never found it. The amount of people who knew his secret was more than enough for him.
"Honestly, Harry." Draco said, waving a finger in front of his face, sounding as if he was a child in need of a scolding. "One would think that you would be a little happier to see me."
Rolling his eyes Harry took a step away from the work table before he swept down in a deep bow. "Honoured Heir Malfoy. This mere squib is grateful for every single second I am able to spend in your presence."
"You are a downright prat, though if you keep acting that way I might just forgive you." Draco said, letting Harry understand that he had avoided offending Draco. Scoffing when Harry did not react to his words Draco continued. "But it doesn't matter right now. What is important is that the party of the year is going on upstairs and yet you can be found here in the cold and dusty dungeon."
While Draco was ranting Harry wrote a label on the container before placing it on the shelf where he knew that Severus would be able to find it when he would need the ingredient. "The fires keep the place warm and I doubt that any dust would dare to set a foot in this place in fear of facing your godfather's wrath." Harry said. Unlike the other times Draco's face did not lit up at the mention of Severus. Resigned Harry already knew that something drastically would have to happen to deter Draco from whatever the blond was hell bend on getting done. However Harry doubted that the castle would start falling down around their ears.
"That is not what I meant, Scarhead. What I meant is that it is our lord's birthday and yet Severus assigned you chores. You are going to miss the firework." Draco said with a pout evident in his voice. "Scourgify."
He clenched and flexed his now clean hands. "Trust you to focus on what is the most important thing. And it is not like I am allowed to attend the Dark Lord's party so Severus is in fact doing me a favour by giving me something to do." Harry replied with a shrug.
When he tried to leave Draco's hand clamped down on his arm, effectively keeping him in place.
Harry turned around to look at Draco. The blond had gotten down from the table and stood towering over him by a whole head, making Harry aware of just how much smaller he was than the wizard."I know that look on your face. Draco, whatever you are plotting, just drop it." Harry warned, recognising the grin Draco spotted.
The blond ignored his protests and started dragging him towards the door. Harry, not wanting to take part in whatever was going to happen, tried to dig his heals in the floor. In response Draco yanked him forward so Harry lost his balance and was forced to stumble after him. "Stop being such a spoil sport Scarhead. I refuse to party the night away while one of my friends is working like a slave right under my feet." The words froze Harry, giving Draco the peace he needed to drag him through the dungeon and up to the lower levels of the castle.
When Harry got a hold of himself they had already left the dungeon behind them. By now he knew that it would be useless to continue his protests. It would only catch others' attention, which was the last thing Harry wished for. Instead he opted for admiring his surroundings.
Hogwarts had once been a school, created by the four founders. While it still had that function since the dark's victory only pureblood children and privileged halfbloods were allowed to study at the school. What happened to the muggleborns, Harry had never been able to figure out.
Not only was it a school but the place was also the home of the dark lord and some of his followers. Even when housing that many people the castle was big enough for it to be easy to find an empty spot where no one would disturb them.
Because of it being the dark lord's birthday the whole castle was decorated in green and silver. As a direct descendant of the great Salazar Slytherin, one of the aforementioned four founders, the dark lord had taken up the title as lord Slytherin in his youth. Harry guessed that it was one of the reasons to why so many of the pureblood families had decided to follow the man and still did.
Even before they came near the Great Hall the sound of music and voices reached his ears. After spending the whole day in the silence of the Potions laboratory it sounded rather overwhelming to Harry.
While walking Draco had shifted his hold so instead of his arm the blond was now grasping his hand. Though keeping his eyes on Draco, as much as he could while keeping his head bowed, Harry was aware that the portraits were watching them. Charms were placed on the portraits to stop them from annoying passerby. Unless one approached them or in case of an emergency they would not be able to speak with others than themselves.
"I think that the Astronomy Tower will do well. It is the highest point here and since the firework is placed on the other side of the lake it'll give us a perfect view of the whole show." At Draco's words Harry allowed himself to smile. He already knew that it would be a spectacular view.
They neared the Great Hall. Because of the many guests visiting tonight the ways they could usually have taken to avoid this place had been blocked with different wards. It stopped people from wandering around and getting into things they had absolutely nothing to do with.
Harry stepped closer to Draco, until he walked as a second shadow behind the wizard. Draco seemed to tense too, as if he had started to doubt his own idea. However if Harry knew one thing about Draco it was that the blond would never go back on something he had decide on. It would be the same as admitting that he was wrong. And a Malfoy never made a mistake. At least they never admitted it openly.
The smell of food reached them, making Harry's stomach rumble. He could distinctly recall that a houseelf had appeared with his lunch but at that time he had been too busy to eat any of it. Even if he went back to get it, the food would undoubtedly already have been removed.
Severus was probably going to kill him for forgetting to eat, again.
Harry grew tense as they rounded the corner and he saw the open double doors to the Great Hall. Instead of the usually four student tables, several round tables had been placed around the room. The Head table, where the headmaster and professors normally sat, was still there. After all the Dark Lord and his most trusted followers could not be expected to eat with those under them.
His body tensed as they passed a large group of purebloods standing next to the door. Seeing that none of them wasted a glance in their direction Harry let out a breath he did not know he had been holding. Perhaps Draco's idea would not turn out as bad as he had expected it would.
"There you are, my dearest little Draky." Both boys tensed at the voice, but for different reasons. Draco, because of the nickname, which, if the slight scowl on his face was anything to go by, was not appreciated. And Harry because he easily recognised the voice. He had really hoped that this would not come true.
Bellatrix Lestrange was the middle of the three Black sisters. With her thick, shiny and dark hair and thin lips and heavily lidded eyes with long eyelashes and a strong jaw it was easy to see, that she had been a Black before her marriage, though Harry could recall that she had not belonged to the main family. As always the witch was dressed in a low cut, black dress which easily showed of her womanly forms. Despite not being interested in the opposite gender he understood why so many found it hard to look away from her. She was also the only woman who had managed to work her way into the inner circle. Rumours had it that she was a deathly force to meet on the battlefield.
The woman was flanked by Rodolphus Lestrange, her husband, and Rabastan Lestrange, his brother. They looked quite opposite each other, despite having the same colouring. Where Rabastan was a quite thin man, his brother was more thickly build. But there was no way to deny that they were closely related. Though that could be said about most purebloods.
If Harry had hoped that they would be there to restrict Bellatrix from doing anything damaging he soon found that it was not the case. From the look of it the two wizards were just as bored as her and wanted something to happen.
It was just Harry's luck that they apparently had decided that he and Draco would make a good distraction.
With a blank face Draco turned around, tugging Harry until the brunet was standing half behind him rather than next to him. "Aunt Bellatrix, uncle Rodolphus and Rabastan. Is there something which I can help you with?" Draco said, his voice not wavering despite the danger they were both aware was hovering over them.
By the gleeful expression on Bellatrix's face Harry assumed that Draco had said just the thing she wanted to hear. "I am not going to complain but there is something missing from the party. There are no muggles to torture." The two men next to her were spotting wicked grins which Harry supposed was no real surprise. He had heard about the hunts and certain forms of entertainments the death eaters enjoyed at parties. "Then I saw you dragging around your little friend there and I decided that an introduction would be in order. The funny thing is that I thought I knew of all the pureblood children at Hogwarts, and yet I do not recall seeing you before."
Knowing what to do, Harry tugged his hand free of Draco's. Stepping around his friend Harry now stood so he was slightly in front of the blond. Swiftly Harry bowed before he straightened his back and met her gaze. "My name is Harry James Potter, madam." Harry watched as several heads turned to look in his direction at his words. Many of them were wearing an expression of disgust when they looked at him.
"A squib." Unlike the others Bellatrix started crackling, her wand appearing in her hand as if by magic. To Harry's great regret so had the two males' and he already knew that it was not to come and help him. "And here I thought that this was going to be a long and boring night and then my icky nephew brings me some entertainment."
Draco didn't come to his defence, as Harry had known he wouldn't do. The Malfoy heir ruled his peers. But among adults where he had yet to prove himself there was nothing the blond could do to get him out of this mess.
Harry forced himself to stand still as the woman slowly circled around him. He could feel her eyes wandering over his body, picking him apart without actually touching him or using any kind of magic. "You are a prime proof on why purebloods should not marry other than our own kind. I remember your father. James Potter was a fool who married a mudblood." Harry clenched his hands but otherwise showed no outwardly reaction to her slur about his parents. It was not like he could do anything to defend himself, not with this many witnesses. "Crucio."
Having already seen the curse come Harry sidestepped it, and it hit the spot where he had been standing just seconds before. It was angled not to hit Draco, otherwise Harry was not sure he would have been able to move out of the way.
Bellatrix seemed not to be the only one surprised that he had managed to avoid her attack. By now they seemed to have gathered rather much attention. Perhaps those pureblood parties really were as boring as he had thought they would be if those people let themselves get distracted by so little.
"Pure luck. You are not going to escape this easily." The witch said while raising her wand. Harry felt his body tense in aspersion. At least she had not figured out why he had managed to duck her curse. He could live with having some dumb luck if that meant he would be able to keep his secret.
"Bellatrix, what is going on here?" Harry looked in the direction of the voice, hoping that he would be warned if the witch tried to do anything. A new trio had arrived and Harry knew that there was much more reason to fear those three than Bellatrix and her family.
To the left was Lucius Malfoy, Draco's father and the head of the Malfoy family. It was rather remarkable to see how similar the two blonds looked. If not for the age difference they could easily have passed for being twins. But the lord Malfoy had had more years to feel home in the power and prestige his family name carried. He was also the one to speak up, since none of his two companions seemed to find the need to speak just yet.
Severus Snape was to the right side. As always the man was dressed in black robes which brought forth his pale parlour. It seemed like not even their lord's birthday could make the man change his way of dressing. He was just as tall as Lucius despite being a few years younger. The long fingers were potions stained and Harry doubted that even a strong Scourgify would help with that. Harry ducked his head instinctively when he met Severus' gaze. From the look in the man's black eyes Harry knew that he was on his own in the matter.
It was the one in the middle, a little behind the two others, which Harry found his gaze wandering to. Even if he had not seen the man' face appear in the newspaper several times, there was only one human in the Wizarding world with red eyes.
Despite being well over seventy the dark lord looked around his late twenties. Even though being a wizard meant you aged slower than a muggle the man's slow aging was famous. The rumours went from being a vampire hybrid to Slytherin having made some ritual involving a demon and a virgin sacrifice.
Harry was not sure what he was supposed to believe but he knew that he had went from the ashes and directly into the fire.
The ones surrounding lowered their heads for the dark lord. Harry swept down in a bow, deeper than the one he had given Draco in mock. He felt several gazes on him and shifted his weight from one foot to another when he stood up again. "My lord, it's just that-"
"Do you really find a party in my honour so boring, Bellatrix?" Voldemort cut in, his deep voice sending shivers down Harry's spine and making the youth frown in confusion. In a situation like this he could understand it if the shivers had originated from fear, however that didn't seem to be the case. But right now he did not have the time to analyse this. The only way Harry could see this turn worse was if a dementor came into the room.
The lady Lestrange kneelt and for once she didn't seem arrogant. More like a puppy which was eager to see what its master would do. "Of course not my lord." She said with a sugar coated voice and looked up at the man through her eyelashes. "Nothing related to you would ever be considered boring. It is just that I found someone who I believed that you would find interesting in meeting."
Harry's body returned to its tense state when the attention was turned back on him. The heavy weight of Severus' gaze and the red eyes resting on him made him feel like a deer caught in headlight. "I do not recognise you, and yet I recall seeing you once or twice around this place. But from the way you are dressed I would say that you are not a student at the school. But are you not too young to attend such an occupation?" Voldemort mused aloud. At the mention of his small build Harry bit back a sharp retort. He reminded himself that it would do him nothing good to attack the unofficial ruler of the Wizarding world.
"My name is Harry Potter, no I am not a student, but I am sixteen years old. Though I am underage it's not why I do not attend those gatherings, sir." Harry added the polite address slightly belated as he remembered who it was he was talking to.
He heard someone snicker, and it would not surprise him if it was Bellatrix. She looked like someone who would feel joy in others' suffering.
Voldemort sensed the tense atmosphere and a smirk painted his face. "Yes, you are the squib child which Severus suddenly showed up with and decided to make his assistant. Tell me Harry, what do you think of living in a magical school when you are unable to perform magic?"
When Harry failed to produce an answer Voldemort continued as if he had not been expecting one at all. He walked forward and only stopped when he was right in front of Harry. Harry had to tilt his head back to be able to look at the man's face, not liking the closeness between them."Perhaps you would rather spend your time elsewhere. I have heard that the dragon tamers in Romania use squibs to clean out the boxes where the sick dragons have been."
Finally finding his voice Harry managed to press the words through his clenched teeth. "No thank you. I am very happy to stay where I am." A headache was approving and he knew that if he kept pushing it aside for long there would be hell to suffer once he got a chance to be on his own. "I might not be able to use magic, but that is not the same as saying that I do not like seeing what others learn." It gave him a link to the world he could have been a part of if not because he had been born without magic.
"This boy is an excellent example on why our kind should not be joined with muggles and others who are unworthy. Despite their different political views the Potters were still powerful and a well known family. But the later generation betrayed our beliefs. The result of this betrayal stands here in front of me." Harry felt the blood rush to his cheeks at the man's words. Yet he managed to keep his tongue. He had a feeling that he would have a hard time with avoiding Voldemort's Crucio if he angered the man. It was not something he wanted to put to a test.
"I am sure that Mr. Potter, like everyone else of his kind, is aware that squibs are not allowed to attend a pureblood party." Lord Malfoy drawled, moving his walking stick so the silver head reflected the light into his eyes.
It gave Harry the excuse he needed to take a step back so that he no longer was standing so close to the dark lord.
Harry let his tongue run over his lips, his mind running wild while trying to come up with something. "I am sure that Mr. Potter is also well aware of what punishment follows when a squib goes against the rules." Lord Malfoy said, speaking as though he was merely reminding the others of what they all knew.
"That is enough Lucius. After all I decided those rules myself and I, unlike certain others, remember them well." The dark lord said, never taking his eyes of Harry.
Harry found himself glancing at Draco. When the three new ones had arrived Draco had stepped aside. The blond was standing among his friends, not meeting Harry's gaze and making no sign of coming to his help.
It hurt to see it. But Harry also knew that it could not be risked. Draco was the son of the dark lord's right hand man. He could not risk being seen taking the side of a squib, especially not against the ruler of their country.
But it didn't mean that his actions hurt any less.
"I apologise many times, sir. It was just that I had heard that there would be firework and I had hoped to see it. My plan was just to find a window to look at it, but all the usual ways were blocked and suddenly I found myself here." The half lie fell smoothly over his lip, not the first one he had made in his life. And Harry knew that it would not be the last.
That is if the dark lord did not decide to kill him as a punishment.
At that though Harry felt the beat of his heart speed up. It felt like his heart was trying to work its way out through his chest, not a feeling he liked, mind you.
"Ickly little squib is feeling lonely? Please my lord, let me have him, I promise I will teach him never to disturb you again." Bellatrix cooed, twirling her wand between her fingers.
"No Bellatrix." Voldemort said, dismissing the witch, who looked positively crestfallen. Harry was split. On one hand it seemed like he did not risk being tortured by the witch. Everyone knew that she liked getting creative with curses ones in a while and Harry felt no need to see how far she would be able to take it.
On the other hand he had no idea what was planned for him.
"Since it is my birthday, I am feeling generously. I will allow you to watch the firework together with us and you will not be punished though you have gone against the law." Harry was about to let out a breath of relief when Voldemort continued speaking. "However, I believe that since you are attending my birthday party, it means that you owe me a gift."
Harry stood as frozen, trying to think of something. His possessions were all back in Severus' chamber and those few he had was not something which he was willing to part with. Before Harry could manage an answer Voldemort seemingly decided to relieve him. "Do not worry about it. But at some time I will require something of you and you will give it to me." Knowing that there was no way out of it Harry bowed his head in submission. He didn't dare to think what the dark lord could want from him but decided to focus on the point that he had managed to get out of this without punishment.
"My lord, I believe that it is time for the firework." Severus finally spoke, looking directly at Harry meanwhile. Harry kept his head bowed and refused to meet the man's eyes.
"Very well." Voldemort nodded. "We will head outside and enjoy the show." The tenseness returned to Harry's body when the man looked directly at him. "Follow with me, Mr. Potter." For some reason there was no malice in the man's voice, though it still was colder than it was when speaking to the magic users around him.
Together with the crowd Harry walked outside. He kept in the back of the group, not wanting to gather more attention than he had already had gotten this night. Harry realised that Draco was trying to catch his gaze, but he refused to look in the blond's direction. Draco's pureblood friends would keep the blond occupied for the rest of the party which meant that Harry would not have to worry about confronting him for now.
They stopped at the stairs to Hogwarts which allowed them a great view over the Black Lake, behind it was the Forbidden Forest where Harry had ventured into through many years.
A sharp sound made Harry return his attention to the clear and dark sky above them. A myriad of colours, mostly silver and green lit of the sky. Harry's eyes grew big as he watched the magical firework. Creatures hunted each other and exploded into a mess of light and colours when they collided. It was a breathtaking sight and certainly something worthy of the dark lord's birthday.
Harry jumped in surprise when a hand clamped around his arm and he had a free hand raised to attack before his mind registered who was touching him. Harry looked up at Severus and gave the man a slight smile. The Potions master looked everything but impressed and with a jerk of his head the man made his intention clear.
As soundless ghosts the two males made their ways up the stairs and back into the castle. Their whole walk to Severus' chambers went in silence. Severus was walking ahead of him but Harry had no doubt that if he tried to run the man would notice it before he even managed to take a step in another direction.
Severus's chamber could be found in the dungeon, close to the Potions laboratory. They entered through the portrait of a dark haired, female vampire, who was mostly naked. It was not exactly that kind of portrait anyone would expect Severus to choose to guard his chambers and therefore it made it just right for the job.
Still not speaking Severus led the way into the living room. The whole place was done in brown and cream, making it look comfortable. Harry knew that most people believed that Severus would be living with dried blood and shackles on the walls and with no fireplace to keep the rooms warm no matter what the time was.
Where they got those ideas from Harry could only wonder about.
"Sit." Harry completed the order without a second thought and sat down on the sofa. Not knowing what else to do with his hands Harry simple folded them in his lap. He knew that when Severus spoke like this it was best to just do as he was told.
Seeing that his charge was not going anywhere Severus took a seat in an armchair which was placed opposite to the sofa Harry sat in. For a long while the Potions master said nothing, but was watching Harry with unblinking black eyes. "May I enquire what the whole purpose with this was? I recall that you came to me today and asked me to make sure that there was no way you would be free tonight, and yet you showed up practically in front of the dark lord. You could have been killed or tortured, and then I would have had to use a dunderhead to prepare those ingredients!"
Harry bit back a wince. It was at least nice to know that Severus had his priorities in order. "Draco decided that it would be a good idea to drag of with me. And after first he has decided on something it is as good as impossible to make him listen to what you say." Harry said, running a hand through his hair and thus messing up the ponytail it had previously been in. Anger was evident in his voice. It would take a good while before he forgave the blond for what he had done.
However it seemed like Severus was not done with ranting at him. "What is the purpose with trying to protect you if you head straight into danger as soon as I take my eyes off of you?"
Tired and feeling his headache grow in intense Harry rubbed his temple. "Sorry. It's just so frustrating. I never know if my actions lead to the things I see or if some outside force fulfils it. If Draco hadn't sought me out tonight, it could all have been avoided."
A rustle made Harry drag his eyes from his lap and back to Severus. He let his hands fall down and offered the man a tired smile though it did little to calm Severus. "The plan would have been perfect if not for my foolish godson's involvement. Few people have access to my laboratories but Draco is the only one who would try and drag you somewhere right under the dark lord's nose." Severus said slowly as he got a faraway look in his eyes. Undoubtedly the man was planning how to talk his godson out of acting like a Gryffindor.
Harry refrained from voicing his current thoughts about Draco. He was already planning several ways to how he could avoid the blond over the next few days. Though it had not been said aloud Harry knew what Severus meant. He had been extremely lucky when he had faced Bellatrix tonight. No one short of the dark lord could stop her from doing as she wanted. Without involvement Harry would probably still be at the party, being tortured to the border of madness.
"I know, I know. But I only knew that I would face Lestange and later there would be firework. It is a little hard to plan anything when I didn't know more." Harry clenched his eyes shut, trying to keep the growing pain at bay. "Somehow when it involves myself those freaking visions make no sense."
The youth managed to open an eye enough to look at the Potions master. "English, do you not recognise your own mother tongue?" He asked through clenched teeth.
Severus stood and walked over to Harry where he pried the boy's eyes open. "Your pupils are expended. How long have you been holding back?" The man asked, letting go of his face before helping him to stand. The boy gave up all attempts to keep standing on his own and leaned against Severus' chest. Severus held him close, not giving him a chance to fall as they walked.
"I think that it started around the time Bellatrix found us. I was more focussed on trying to get out of it alive instead of thinking too much of it." Harry mumbled as they stepped into his room. With a flick of Severus' wand the small room was lit up.
The room was to the r small side, with one window and a stone floor. A small bed occupied the left hand corner farthest from the door with a nightstand next him. There was a dresser in the opposite corner, next to it a small desk with a shelf of books over it. Having been in the room many times before Severus did not even pause as he led Harry over to the bed.
"Imbecile brat. One would think that after so long under my tutelage you would at least have learned enough to take care of yourself." Despite the harsh words Harry grinned at the man while he was being helped down onto the bed.
"You must be going soft, Severus. You forgot to treat me with having to scrub cauldrons for the whole year." Harry mumbled, closing his eyes. As he sank into darkness he felt his robes being changed into what he assumed were nightclothes, done by magic.
He was standing in the middle of a fight, from the looks of it, it was an ambush. The trees made it hard to see where their attackers were hiding. Harry ducked a curse and watched as it hit one of the death eaters. The man fell to the ground as soon as the green beam hit him.
Slowly Harry turned around. He knew that he needed to get as much information as possible so he could deliver it to Severus later on. They were in a forest which Harry did not recognise. From the lack of anything magical, not including the ongoing fight, Harry concluded that they were somewhere muggle. With him were five death eaters, not counting the one who had already fallen. From their plain white masks Harry would say that it were new members, or simply people who had not managed to move up in the ranks.
Turning more Harry felt like he had been hit by a lightning bolt as his eyes fell on the death eater closets to him. Despite the mask and the anonymous black robe Harry only knew of two persons who had that kind of blond hair. Draco had been marked last summer by the dark lord. It wasn't just because of his father's position that the blond had gotten that privilege. The blond was the best dueller among his peers and those older than him.
Currently the blond was dancing out of the curses' way and sending his own back in the direction the others had originated from. Not yet sure of the reason why he was there Harry decided to do the only thing he could – wait.
The answer came not long after that. Horror-struck Harry watched as a green beam came in from the left, heading directly at the Malfoy heir who had not noticed that anything was wrong. Harry stood frozen and watched as the curse stuck Draco in the side. The sounds from the ongoing fighting seemed to disappear as Harry saw Draco fall. The green eyes followed his friend's fall until the body hit the hard ground.
Draco was dead at once.
Harry sat up in the bed with a scream trying to fight its way over his lips. His eyes flickered around until it dawned on him that he was back in his own bedroom and no longer in the forest with all the dead bodies. The light from an enchanted window over his bed told Harry that he had slept.
Cursing under his breath Harry pushed the cover aside and got out of the bed. The headache was gone but Harry felt unsteady on his feet. Determined Harry decided to ignore the slight discomfort. He had far more important matters to take care of.
He found Severus in the living room. The Potions master was seated in the chair he had occupied last night, reading a Potions journal. At Harry's appearance the man took a glance over him before placing the book aside. "Was it as bad as last time?" He asked.
Nodding Harry steadied himself against the wall, keeping an eye on Severus. "Where is Draco?" He finally asked.
Severus' eyes narrowed, quickly catching up on what he was hinting on. "The dark lord assigned him a mission together with another recruit and four from the lower circle. They are supposed to leave soon."
At Severus' words Harry felt himself pale. Ignoring the Potions master's yells Harry dashed out of the quarter, letting the portrait fall in place with a loud smack behind him.
Harry was forced to follow the same part out of the lower level of the castle as he and Draco had walked last night. Though Hogwarts was filled with an unnumbered amount of secret passages, most of the wards from the party were still up. He couldn't risk using one of the passages since the other end might be blocked and Harry was not willing to waste time with having to go back and find another way.
His bare feet hit against the cold stone floor as Harry ran through the castle. Having wasted no time changing he was still dressed in the nightclothes he had fallen asleep in. His hair was hanging loose and flopping around to his movements. He suspected that people ere s too amused by his lack of proper dress to bother stopping him.
Hogwarts was surrounded by wards which came from the founders' time and some had been added through the centuries. Some of those made sure that apparition was impossible to do as long as you were inside the wards. However, when he had taken over, Voldemort had made it so his followers could use portkeys inside the wards, as long as they were not inside the school itself. It made it easier to send his troops away without alerting anyone about it.
To avoid accidents a special area had been marked for those who wished to portkey and that was where he was heading for.
Passing through the castle's door Harry easily located Draco's group. The six death eaters were already standing in a circle and with what he assumed was the portkey in between them. Not wasting any breath on trying to yell at them Harry sprinted forward, quickly covering the yards between them.
The death eaters looked up when they saw him come closer, Harry saw their confusion and slight humour as he made his way over to them.
Reaching the group Harry swiftly grabbed the edge of Draco's sleeve, ignoring the scowl Draco probably was giving him from behind the mask. "You can't go." Harry managed to get out between his gasps for air. Perhaps he had been spending a little too much time down in the dungeon lately.
"Malfoy, did you forget to say goodbye to your little mistress before leaving for the mission?" Harry coloured brightly. He didn't recognise the man right away but it didn't make the insult less annoying.
Before Harry could make a retort to the insult or tell them what was going on he felt a tug in his body and green eyes widened. It seemed like he had run out of time.
His feet hit hard ground and Harry stumbled backwards, forced to let go of Draco's robe as his legs gave out under him. Looking around Harry let out a long string of swear words. They were in a forest and if he was not mistaken then they had portkeyed directly to the place he had seen in his vision. "Potter, what are you doing here?" Draco asked, making no move to help him so Harry had to get on his feet on his own.
Dusting his hands clean in his pants Harry kept glancing around. "I might be mad at you, but it doesn't mean that I want to see you end up dead." By the narrowing of the grey eyes Harry knew that the blond was getting angry.
"Just because Severus has taken you in, it doesn't mean that you can commend people around as you want. Don't forget that you are just a squib." Harry bristled at Draco hissed words as the blond pushed him away.
Regaining his balance Harry glared at Draco. He wanted to pounce the idiot and perhaps get a few good hits in. "It doesn't matter what you believe, Malfoy!" The blond seemed slightly taken aback by Harry's anger, but he refused to calm down. "I tried to warn you, now we have to leave before they come."
"What are you talking about squib." Harry bared his canines at the man he recognised as Walden Macnair, one of Voldemort's older followers and probably also the one who was leading the mission.
"That is what I am trying to tell you. Someone is going to attack us. Activate that dammed portkey and get us away from here before it's too late." Harry was cut off when Macnair grabbed his cuff and lifted him so his feet were no longer touching the ground. Draco stood a little to the side and looked split between helping and just watching. Harry was starting to wonder if it would have been better if he had just decided to not act on the vision. But no, he wasn't angry enough to want the blond idiot dead.
"How did you come to such a knowledge squib? You better not be joking or it will be costly for you."
Macnair let go of him and Harry stumbled a few steps back with a huff. "If I wanted to joke about something, I wouldn't have taken it so far. Believe me, I have no wish about being here, so if you could just activate that twice dammed portkey and take us back, everything will be fine. Then you can come back later to do whatever you have been ordered to."
The way Macnair's eyes narrowed behind the mask made Harry's hackles rose. "If you do not know what this mission is about, then how can you be so sure that we are in danger? How can I know that you did not follow us to join those rebels?" The words made Harry's inside freeze though he outwardly showed no reaction.
"Morgana's tits. Can't you people-" Whatever Harry had planned on saying was cut off when a purple beam flew past them and hit one of the death eaters. The man let out a strangled yell and clutched his arm, where the shoulder seemed to have dislocated.
Harry had tried that enough times to know that it was not a pain free experience.
Almost immediately the death eaters fell into formation.
Harry found himself pushed behind Draco who was firing curses in the general direction of where the first attack had come from. The air was soon filled with colourful lights. Though it was a pretty show Harry didn't doubt that most of the spells were fired with deadly intention.
The tall trees and the close shrubbery hid their attackers effectively. Harry's eyes flickered around, but he was unable to spot anyone. Perhaps they used illusion spells to keep themselves hidden. Silencing charms would be pretty important with the current level of noise. A troll could wander past them and Harry doubted that any of them would hear it.
As in his vision Harry ducked and let a green curse fly over his head. Already knowing that it would have stuck someone Harry was unable to stop himself from turning around and check. The death eater had fallen and the mask had been pushed off, leaving Harry to stare at Macnair's lifeless face.
He would have done well in listening to Harry's warning.
His heart seemed to beat impossible fast as Harry turned his back to the fallen death eater. The blond was moving around constantly, not letting the snow hinder his movements. And no matter how much he moved Draco managed to block those spells which would otherwise have passed him and possible hit Harry in his place.
When Harry saw the green curse come in from left and head straight for Draco, his body reacted instinctively. With long strides he crossed the snow covered ground between them.
Their collusion was not gentle and Harry had enough speed behind him to actually knock Draco off of his feet. As they fell Harry wrapped his arms around Draco's torso, clutching the blond close to him.
They hit the ground with Draco taking the blunt of the fall and Harry lying on top of him, not moving. As Harry lay on top of Draco, listening to the heartbeat through the clothes he became aware of how quiet it had become around them.
Lifting his head enough to look around Harry's eyes widened and he hissed softly under his breath. Bare the dead body not so far away from them all the death eaters were gone, leaving Draco and him behind. They would rather face the dark lord's wrath than staying and fight for the mission.
Draco pushed him away, sending Harry tumbling in the snow. "Incarcerous." Robes flew out from one of their attacker's wand and wrapped themselves securely around the two boys' wrists and ankles.
Harry tested the bonds and found that they were firm and left him with little space to move. He didn't contain his grimace when he pulled against the ropes and felt them cut into his skin. Harry laid still, his body tense and eyes wide opened while he waited to see what would happen. From the looks of it Draco was not much better of.
Four people emerged from behind the surrounding trees. Harry felt his body tense as he looked at them.
One of them was a broad shouldered, tall and black wizard. He was bald and when he came closer Harry could see that he wore a single gold hoop earring. "Check them for wands and weapons." He had a deep and slow voice, and if their circumstances had been different Harry could probably have found it reassuring.
A young woman stepped forth and started shifting through Draco's robe. Why she didn't just use accio Harry could not figure out. He noted that when she moved over to him after having found Draco's wand there was a bouncing in her step. Her eyes were dark and seemed to twinkle, her face was pale and heart shaped and her short spiky hair was purple. Not something Harry would have expected a rebel to have.
After searching through his every pocket the woman turned back to the group and Harry watched in bemusement how her hair turned from purple to bright pink which almost hurt his eyes. "Kingsley, he doesn't have a wand on him."
"Harry has no reason to have a wand, he's a squib." Harry wanted to kick Draco when the blond opened his mouth. He now felt Kingsley Shacklebolt's attention on him and the man stepped over and crouched down in front of Harry.
Even Draco was silent, seemingly having sensed that something was going on. Harry sent the blond a last glare before he shifted his gaze to the man in front of him. "It couldn't be, could it?"
When the man reached out to touch him Harry reacted fast. Despite being bound he managed to move enough forward to let his teeth sink into the man's hand. The taste of blood filled his mouth, making him wince but dig his teeth deeper into the hand.
Hands grabbed his jaw and wrenched his mouth open, so the hand could be freed. The air was kicked out of his lungs when a boot connected to his ribs. Harry tried to blink the tears away which welled up because of the pain.
Between huffs of breath Harry managed to grin. "Beware..I Bite." He spat in attempt to free his mouth from the taste of blood and watched the snow which now had red spots. Shacklebolt stood clutching his bleeding hand, no longer looking as friendly as he had done just moments before.
"We are taking them with us to the camp."
As they were forced onto their feet, which had been freed from ropes, Harry had the feeling that they had just jumped from the ashes and directly into the fire, again. Just like with the situation with Bellatrix.
Next: Harry meet an old face.