Disclaimer: See Chapter One
A/N: Sorry for the delay, real life has been crazy this last month. I also want to give a shout out of thanks to everyone. This story hit over a million views a couple of chapters ago! So, here is the latest chapter of Passageways!
Auror Captain Alastor Moody tromped into his office, sat back heavily in his chair and took out his hip flask. Taking a few gulps he let out a sigh of relief as he leaned back in his chair and put his feet up on the desk. Standing for three hours at the train platform was not his idea of a good way to start the day. But Director Crouch was under pressure from the minister, who in turn was under extreme pressure from concerned parents about the safety of their children.
Being on his feet didn't bother him, dealing with snot nosed little kids on the other hand was something that he found as distasteful as a swig of Skele-Grow. His people were a crack tactical response team, the best of the best, handpicked by him. Being given babysitting duty he felt was frankly beneath their talents. But these were troubling times and he knew that every wand in the Auror Corp would soon be put to the test.
His office door suddenly burst open with a loud bang as someone came running in yelling. Moody tumbled backwards in his chair rolled over and in one sweeping motion pulled his wand from his wrist holster and pointed it at the head of the intruder and shot a curse but at the last minute redirected it at the wall blowing a fist sized hole into it.
"MERLIN'S HAIRY BACKSIDE GILCHRIST! I NEARLY BLASTED YOUR HEAD FROM YOUR SHOULDERS!" Moody roared as he recognized the man who entered as one of his team members. For his part, Gilchrist's face had lost all color as he felt the energy from the curse whizzing by his left ear.
"S-s-sorry captain!" Gilchrist stammered.
"What was all that yelling about?!" Moody barked.
"W-what? O-oh…there is an attack in progress in Knockturn Alley, sir!"
"Death Eaters?" Moody asked walking quickly past the man and into the squad room. He tapped his Auror badge three times which alerted the rest of his team members wherever they may have been that they were to quickly assemble in the briefing room.
"Unknown, sir." Gilchrist responded as he hurried to catch up to his boss.
Thirty seconds later Moody had entered the briefing room as the sounded of running feet approached. The other eight members of Moody's team entered doing last minute adjustments to their body armor and securing their cloaks around their shoulders.
Moody looked at his squad with pride as they waited for the briefing. "Right then!" Moody began. "Gilchrist update the team and be specific and quick about it.
"Y-yes, sir. About three minutes ago one of our assets in Knockturn Alley reported that a fight had broken out in the alley inside of the Green Salamander Tavern. Our asset reports that some men with silver masks were being attacked by men in brown cloaks. There are roughly ten to twelve people involved." Gilchrist reported.
During Gilchrist's report Moody had made a port-key that would take his team two blocks from the Green Salamander. He stood before his team who all surrounded an old combat boot.
"Right, we don't know if we are entering a hot zone, so I want two standard five man diamond formations; alpha team will take right-side of the alley, bravo you will take left. The wingmen, upon arrival cast shields while our front and rear points will immediately scan for hostiles to the front and rear and engage if necessary. Remember, talk to each other; keep your teammates aware of what you see.
"Right, on three…two…one…activate!"
With a swirl of color the ten man Auror response team appeared almost in the center of Knockturn Alley. Though mid-day the alley was blanketed in shadow from the tall and leaning buildings that lined both sides of the alley. The run-down appearance lent an air of creepiness and foreboding that put the team on edge as soon as they appeared.
Shields went up in front and in back of the two teams, the point men looked straight ahead and behind, the center man of each team looked up towards the buildings search for movement and threats from the windows above.
Not detecting an immediate threat, the two formations quickly made their way toward the Green Salamander. Each team member doing their part in scanning their assigned part of the alley. As they came to the final corner before coming into view of the seedy tavern they heard a heavy accented voice distinctly speaking by means of the Sonorus charm.
The two teams halted their forward motion but each team member still focused on their assignments. Talmage, the point man for team alpha peaked the corner taking in the scene in front of him, four men in black robes were in a kneeling position with four silver masks on the ground in front of them. Directly behind them, were six men in brown robes, four of which were pointing a wand at the back of the heads of the kneeling men. One who was speaking and the other acting as lookout.
"Let it be witnessed this day that the Brotherhood will take vengeance upon anyone who does harm to one of their own! For the crime of murdering a member of our order and his family, we sentence these men who call themselves Death Eaters to that end which they extol…death!" The hooded brown cloaked man proclaimed.
Talmage backed away from the corner, and turned to look at Moody and reported what he saw. Moody quickly instructed the two teams to take positions as quickly as possible around the corner and to take cover and flank both sides of the street putting these cloaked individuals and the kneeling Death Eaters in a crossfire.
The two teams waited for Moody's signal to fire stunners at the six brown cloaked individuals. Before Moody could do so, the lookout spotted them out of the corner of his eye and fired a bombarda curse at team Bravo sending chucks of cobblestone flying into the air and alerting his comrades.
The Aurors returned fire quickly, however they were not fast enough to stop what happened next, the man who had been speaking approached the kneeling men, he was being shielded by the lookout as he approached. The man then withdrew a long curved knife from his cloak and immediately slit the throats of the four kneeling men.
The four men collapsed forward as their life's blood spurted from their necks in pulsing streams. The six brown cloaks then concentrated their spells at the buildings the Aurors were taking cover in front of, causing wood, brick and mortar to rain down upon them. The Aurors had to focus on shielding themselves from the falling debris giving the brotherhood assassins time to disaparate.
"FUCK!" Moody roared as the brotherhood members disappeared.
"Bones, Talmalge, Gilchrist, Brooksby! I want a secure crime scene immediately! Wadsworth, Pennington I need witnesses, and I want them now! Shacklebolt, Dawlish, secure the Tavern, it looks like there are more bodies in there. Prescott, I want identities on all the deceased!" Moody barked out.
Moody looked over the scene, the tavern had some minor exterior damage including the shattered windows. It appeared that the major incident occurred inside the building. He walked toward the entrance of the establishment and stopped suddenly at the large crow that was staring down at him on a perch just above the door, it seemed to stare straight into his eyes unblinkingly.
Moody a follower of the old ways bowed slightly and whispered. "My lady." The crow spread it wings and flapped them vigorously and then took flight. Moody watched the crow slowly fly out of sight and only then turning around and entered the Green Salamander.
"Well this day just got a lot more interesting." He mused.
After seeing the others off on the Express, the Potter and Black adults headed off to the various activities they had planned for the day. Harry and Bella who were not taking the train either, returned to Nights End to spend some much needed time alone before meeting with the Hogwarts group in the Room of requirement later that night.
Things had been so chaotic over the last few weeks, that they had not spent any time just being a couple, and Bella was past ready to spend some quality time with her husband. She wasn't a clingy or needy witch, but damn it you can't give a girl a taste of physical intimacy and then cut her off for a week or more! It would be like introducing her to chocolate for the first time and then telling her she couldn't have anymore, it was an extremely foolish if not dangerous thing to do.
The young couple appeared with a near silent pop of displaced air just on the outskirts of the small village of Night's End. They began to make their way through the cobblestone streets of the growing Eveningshade community hand in hand. The air was brisk but with very little wind the January day was comfortable enough to not hurry their way up to the manor.
The midday sun shone brightly over a cloudless sky and had inspired the younger children from the village to build snow forts, snowmen, and a few were even ice-skating on the frozen over pond. All seemed to be in high spirits and their peals of laughter rang through the small community.
Bella glanced at the sparkling eyes of her husband, and had to stop herself from chuckling at the boyish grin of excitement as he spotted a group of children splitting into factions for a snowball fight. Three teams had been chosen and had taken position behind their respective snow-forts. Within moments volleys of snowballs were bombarding each position as the children shouted in delight and yelling encouraging words to their comrades.
Harry was literally bouncing on the balls of his feet watching the mini battle, his grin was large and his eyes were glowing with a yearning to join in. This time Bella did giggle light heartedly at her husband.
"Oh gone on you big goof! I know you're dying to join…go on!" She laughed at his roguish look of glee, with a quick peck on the cheek he ran off and then dived behind one of the snow forts. Harry had chosen the team with the youngest of the participants who were now whooping with joy to have their lord join their team.
Bella looked on fondly at Harry, noticing how much he came alive playing with the children. There hadn't been much time to be carefree lately, not that Harry ever had time to be a child, and it seemed that this was an inspired interlude to bring life back into her husband's eyes.
"He'll make a wonderful father someday." Bella nearly jumped out of her skin, she had been so focused on watching over Harry, that she had not sensed the arrival of the town matriarch, Lilith.
"You can tell by the way he interacts and speaks with them." The ancient lady had continued speaking, as if she hadn't noticed Bella's sudden gasp and jump of surprise.
"Notice how he speaks to them as an equal and gets down to their level when he does. He inspires them and in return they remind him of the joys of youth. He will become a much beloved leader of his people, and that kind of love inspires great loyalty." The wizened woman softly spoke, threading her arm through the much taller Bella's.
"Come inside my lady and have some tea, I'm sure his lordship will be awhile." She smiled knowingly. Bella could only nod as she was pulled into Lilith's small cottage. The two witches sat in two comfy chairs by a large window that looked out on to the square and the ensuing mayhem of the snowball fight.
The cottage was warm and homey, decorated with a mix of various styles of furniture from early Victorian to Edwardian with a bit of French Napoleonic thrown in as well. Handmade doilies were found on tables and the sofa and chairs. There was a large mantelpiece, where several old looking moving photos had been lovingly placed, with warm candles illuminating the subjects in their silver frames.
Above the hearth was an ornate and ancient looking iron age Triskelion with three crows weaved in Celtic knots, symbolizing the Triple Goddess. Above the cottage door, made from a combination of reed and sage hung Brigit's cross, placed there to bless the home and provide protection from evil to all within its walls.
Bella could feel the ambient magic that flowed through Lilith's little cottage, the home literally hummed with power but it was not an uncomfortable feeling nor was it oppressive but felt welcoming and gave one a sense of security. Her home was at the very heart of the village and was the spiritual center for the residence and place of learning for the young and old alike.
Bella, though knowing she was the Lady Eveningshade and considered the matriarch of the family now, knew without doubt that this tiny ancient woman seated next to her was the heart and spiritual soul of the growing Eveningshade clan. She was a teacher, a mentor, and the spiritual leader of the family. And much to Bella's surprise she was okay with that, because she knew she had her own role to play within the family.
"He will become one of the most powerful you know." Lilith said casually.
"Sorry?" Bella asked confused.
"Your husband dear, he has it within him to be one of the most magically powerful lords our clan has seen in centuries."
Bella shifted in her chair to face the tiny woman. "Have you seen this in a vision?" Bella asked.
Lilith chuckled lightly and replied never taking her eyes of Harry, who was wandlessly levitating a dozen snowballs before banishing them toward one of the fortified snow-forts getting cheers from his teammates.
"No, no vision child. I do not need to see the future to see and feel the potential of your husband. Not only has he been touched by the Goddess but he has barely scratched the surface of the power that he will one day wield. Great and terrible will be the magic at his command. But at this moment…" She paused and sighed heavily.
"…He is at his most vulnerable and most dangerous." Lilith frowned slightly, her gaze still on the young lord.
Bella turned to look at her husband who had the largest smile she had ever seen on his young face. Turning back to Lilith she asked. "I don't understand, why do you believe Harry is vulnerable and dangerous?"
Lilith sighed and took a sip of her tea, closing her eyes and relished the warmth of the liquid as it made its way down her throat. "You are a daughter of House Black, and from the time you could walk and talk you have been taught to control your feelings, your emotions, to never show weakness." She began.
"You've mastered the art of indifference, never allowing the taunting of an enemy to make you act impulsively. Neither do you allow sentiment to rule you. You are in control of your emotions and therefore have better control of your magical responses. And, though from a dark family, your aura and your leanings are more toward the gray. Neither side has sway over you. You are balanced. You are in essence the perfect Eveningshade; but the power of our family magic is a blessing and a curse." Lilith told her with a slight pursing of her lips.
"A blessing and a curse? Balanced? What is it you're trying to tell me?" Bella asked curiously.
"It is a precarious balance that we must keep, Bella, we are not a people of the light, neither are we a people of the darkness, yet we have the bloodline of both. We are the bastard children of the two…we are a sacrilege, a heresy, our bloodline and the magic that binds us is ancient, and in the eternal fight between good and evil, we are forced because of our dual bloodline to remain neutral, lest we lose our magic or worse…be destroyed by violating the magic that bound us in the beginning." Lilith replied.
"Um…okay, but what does this have to do with Harry's emotions and him being dangerous?" Bella asked confused with the direction of the conversation.
"Harry has not had the same upbringing that you have; he had no proper upbringing at all." She growled.
"He has never been taught how to control or conceal his emotions. His views on light and dark, prejudiced by those who wished to manipulate him and use him for their own purposes. He is at a volatile point in his life where he will set his path for light, dark, or gray. He must remain in the gray Bella, if he is to survive…if we are to survive as a people.
"It has only been since he took up his lordship that the true power of House Eveningshade has begun to assert itself. The power of the family, you see, comes from our lord's blood, and because our forefathers' blood accepted Harry's blood when it mingled with theirs in the Eveningshade chalice, the family magic proclaimed him the new lord.
"Abilities that had lay dormant for a century are now manifesting in all those of our bloodline. You see, there is a symbiotic connections with the magical blood that runs through his veins, our lord's veins, and the rest of the clan.
"Many years ago Harry's great-great-grandfather, Gaius Eveningshade, believed that there was a conspiracy by dark wizards to weaken our House, this being in the early 1800's, it turned out to be much worse than he or any of us could ever have imagined. He confessed his fears to someone he thought a friend and ally, this friend played on his emotions for his family and his fears and convinced him that the only way to assure his family's survival against these evil men was to purge himself of his darker half.
"So to make sure our family was at its strongest he decided that he would try and purge our dark blood by some arcane ritual this "friend" had suggested. He was convinced that by being pure light he would strengthen us so that we would be able to withstand our enemies' assaults.
"He was wrong. It weakened us, and led to the damnable 1810 extermination of our people. It was folly on his part to believe that he could purge our blood. Unbeknownst to him the ritual was meant for human magicals only, and we are not completely human. Like Veela, Dryads, and satyrs we are a blended people.
"The attempted purge violated are neutrality and resulted in the loss of our lord's magic, and in turn our family magic went dormant. We were in a weakened state when our merciless enemies attacked, and the strike was surgical in its precision, ruthless and perfectly timed. It was a massacre.
"Those who survived scattered and hid their true heritage for fear of being discovered and killed. Harry's great-great grandfather loved his people immensely, but he made the mistake of forgetting our nature, and allowed irrational feelings to cloud his reason and so he attempted to remove a part of our soul.
"Harry cannot let his emotions sway him in the way Gaius did. The danger is that Harry allows his emotions to rule him, and he needs to be able to rule them. And you my lady, are the perfect witch to guide him, you and Dorea who he has developed quite an affection for and an absolute trust."
Bella returned her attention to her husband who was laughing loudly as the snowball fight had turned into a game of pile on his lordship. Young boys and girls were wrestling around with Harry who was underneath a pile of the giggling and smiling children.
Bella sighed heavily as she watched her husband. "It is those demonstrative feelings that has endeared him to me so much, Lilith. There was little to know physical affection in my family and very little outward emotion. It is why I love him so much; he shows his feelings and emotions. His gentle caresses, his warm hugs, and tender kisses, and by the goddess his eyes! So full of deep emotions that I sometimes become weak in the knees. I don't want him to lose that Lilith." Bella replied, shaking her head.
Lilith gazed at her lord warmly before speaking. "Don't miss understand me my lady, emotions are not a bad thing and being so demonstrative toward others like these children, is as heartwarming as it appears. What I speak of, is not a suppression of his emotions, but firm control."
"It feels odd not to have Bella here with us." Narcissa commented to the others in their compartment on the Hogwarts Express.
"Yeah a bit." Andromeda replied staring at the passing scenery outside the window. "But we'll see her tonight after the feast in the Room of Requirement."
"So will you and Narcissa stay in the ROR the rest of the year?" Sirius asked.
"Yeah, it's too dangerous for us in the Slytherin dungeon right now, what with Voldemort upset that your dad is no longer making financial contributions to his Purist movement, and with Rudy Lestrange being his eyes and ears at Hogwarts, not to mention that Bella has escaped his grasp it will be best for us not to be anywhere near him."
"Then we should blind him then." Lily stated matter-of-factly.
All eyes turned toward the redhead who appeared to be reading another one of the Eveningshade journals of a distant relative.
"Blind him?" James asked a bit confused.
"It's obvious isn't it?" Lily closed her book and looked up at the others and rolled her eyes. "We take away Voldemort's eyes in the school."
"I see where you are going with this Lily, but he would just be replaced by another." Andromeda replied shaking her head at what Lily was suggesting.
"Then we make such an example out of Rudy that no one would want to take his place." She replied with a wicked glint in her eyes.
"I've been reading some of my family history during their time as mercenaries for the Roman Army." She stated patting the book on her lap.
"So, what about it?" Sirius asked.
"Have you ever wonder how Rome was able to conquer and control the territories the invaded?" She asked.
"You mean like 'Divide and Conquer'?" Remus asked.
"Partially, but they also instilled terror in the hearts and minds of the people. So much so that many tribes and villages never resisted. When the Romans went into a new territory they would utterly destroy the first village they would come to, slaughter every man, woman and child, and then display their bodies on pikes or crosses.
"Word would spread to the other neighboring villages, and rather than meet the same fate as the first they would submit to the Romans. But the Romans, like Remus suggested, also used the tactic of divide and conquer as well. The Romans would make deals with some tribes, promising then expanded territory if they helped defeat other tribes in the area. The two tactics were quite successful." Lily stated confidently.
"So are you suggesting that we take out everyone in Slytherin House?" Sirius snickered until Andromeda and Narcissa growled at him.
"NO, I am not suggesting we take out Slytherin House!" Lily replied quickly. "Just its leadership." she shrugged.
"Kill the Lestranges?" Narcissa asked with interest.
"We don't need to kill them to take them out." Andromeda replied curtly.
"Pity." Narcissa whispered, but they all heard her. Sirius and James chuckled and Remus looked uncomfortable with the whole conversation. Andromeda just shook her head in exasperation.
"They are one of the thirteen." Lily replied evenly. "What's to say that they don't meet with some unfortunate accidents?"
"Lily, I think you've been reading too many of those violent journals." Andromeda commented concernedly.
The proprietor of the Green Salamander was a former prison guard at Azkaban prison, he had been fired from his job when it was discovered he had been taking certain liberties with the female inmates against their will. He was not only fired but stripped of his pension as well, he was then summarily drummed out of the Auror Corp in disgrace.
Willem Wickerman was a large man at 6'5" and tipped the scales at nearly twenty-two stones. His once thick red hair had faded to a thin sickly yellow as he approached the age of sixty-two. He had a deep loathing of the Ministry and especially anyone in law enforcement. His uncle had left him the Green Salamander in his will, being the only other living relative he had left after the Great War.
So it was no surprise at the sneer plastered on his face when Moody entered his place of business with two other Aurors. He was already in a foul mood with the near destruction of his tavern at the hands of those brotherhood arses and the three dead bodies in varying states of completeness. But now he had these gobshites in here poking around, no doubt to make him out to be the cause of the troubles.
He should have known that by allowing these Death Eater pukes his tavern for their meetings would one day lead to trouble. But the money to allow them to hold there gatherings here was too good to pass up.
The two men glared at each other with distaste clearly written on both their faces. Moody had conducted the investigation that led to Wickerman's dismissal and dishonorable release from the Aurors. Wickerman was never tried for his offenses, Director Crouch wanted to avoid a scandal within his department so it was all handled quietly. Moody felt though that the bastard should have been tried and then tossed into the very prison that he had guarded, and let it be known to the man.
"Had quite the donnybrook here didn't ya?" Moody smirked at the man.
"Sod off, Moody! I have no inclination to talk to you!" Wickerman said stubbornly.
Moody chuckled sardonically. "Sod off is it? Well let's just see what we have here? Hmm, looks like three corpses to go along with the four outside, may have been the cooking but I doubt it. Spell damage everywhere, Death Eater masks. You do know that Death Eaters have been classified as terrorist, Wicky?"
"I'm not associated with that lot! And don't call me Wicky!" Wickerman spat.
"So you say, but here they are, in your little establishment. I'd call that harboring wouldn't you?"
"You're a right bastard!"
"So I've been told." Moody replied nonplussed. "So let's see now, that's harboring, aiding and abetting, possible direct involvement."
"I told you I have nothing to do with that lot!" Wickerman roared again, his fists clenching and unclenching.
Moody shook his head and smirked. "Looks like I gonna have to shut you down, Wicky."
"WHAT! You can't do that! I had nothing to do with them or their deaths!"
"NO? Then perhaps you can tell me what the hell happened here?! And you know what I'm talking about! I want details. I want names. I want to know of every terroristic bastard that has walked in here in the last six months!"
"I'm no snitch!" He replied.
"Your choice." Moody stated giving him a punitive stare.
The tavern owner pulled his hand down his face hard and shook his head feeling the claustrophobic sensation of being caught between a rock and a hard place. It wasn't much, but his tavern was all that he had left, but if he cooperated with Moody and the Ministry he would most likely feel the displeasure of Voldemort and his shock troops, then again the Ministry could confiscate his tavern and he would have nothing anyway.
Wickerman sighed heavily as he made his decision. "Look, I'll tell you what I know about the meetings the Death Eaters have been having here, but I was down in the cellar when the attack happened. I heard spell fire and then shouting. When I got back upstairs those men in brown cloaks were dragging those for men out."
"Do you know who they were?" Moody asked.
"The brown cloaks? No. Just something about some brotherhood, they did mention something about Borgin though. My waitress was here during the entire thing, you should ask her." He replied, jerking his head toward a rather plain looking witch.
"Captain Moody sir?"
"What do you have to report Bones?" Moody asked his young protégé.
"The Ministry coroner has taken possession of the deceased and is preparing to port-key the lot back to the Ministry morgue." Amelia Bones reported.
"Anyone of note?" He asked.
Amelia knew he was asking if there were any elites of wizarding society among the dead. "No one of any political significance, but we did find Thomas Rockwood among the dead, I believe his brother is Augustus Rockwood who works in the Department of Mysteries."
Moody recognized the name, he knew Augustus Rockwood was a traitor and a spy for Voldemort according to Harry's memories, however he did not know that his brother had been one as well.
"Very well, that'll be all Bones, continue coordinating with Coroner's office. I want every scrap of evidence they find on those bodies tagged and evaluated. Maybe will get lucky and find some important intelligence. Also, tell Shacklebolt I want memories from everyone who saw those brown cloaks, if we can identify who they were it'll go a long way to tracking them down." Moody ordered.
"Yes sir!" Amelia answered crisply.
Moody then walked to the waitress that Wickerman had pointed out. She was sitting in a chair, her face pale, eyes wide, her hands were shaking in her lap. 'Shock' Moody told himself. Hopefully he'll be able to get something useful from the catatonic looking woman but it wasn't looking good.
"Miss, I'm captain Alastor Moody, I need to ask you a few questions." He began.
The dark haired woman turned her head toward Moody's voice, with a scared and surprised look on her face. She did not respond and looked like she would start screaming at any moment. Moody pulled up a chair and sat down in front of the frightened woman.
"I'm not going to hurt you miss, I just need to know what you heard and saw. Can you do that for me miss…"
"Excuse me?" Moody asked.
"It's S-Snape, Mrs. Snape. Use to be Prince, Eileen Prince." The woman told him softly.
"Old family name, Prince." Moody stated.
Eileen nodded. "There all gone now." She whispered.
"Who?" Moody asked.
"My parent's and two brothers. They died fighting Grindelwald. I'm the last of my family." She said sniffling.
"Snape…Snape. That's not a name I'm familiar with. Halfblood?" Moody asked the woman who seemed to be calming down a bit.
"He-he's a muggle. I had no dowry for a pureblood family to take interest in me, and my family was not wealthy." She looked down. Moody didn't know if it was out of embarrassment or shame.
Moody nodded and then decided to change the obvious uncomfortable topic. "Eileen, can you tell me what happened here?"
She nodded. "Brynn Cadfael and six others came in as they always do, they seem to be in a good mood. I-I heard them talking about being rewarded for making the traitors pay. One of them mentioned the Borgins by name." She looked down again twisting her hands in her apron.
"M-Mary Borgin was a f-friend of mine." Eileen commented.
"My condolences. Were all these men Death Eaters?" Moody asked getting to the point.
Eileen nodded. "They really like that name." She replied flatly, her eyes shifting left to right.
"So they were enjoying themselves, and then what happened?" Moody asked her?
"Well I noticed two men dressed in brown cloaks with their hoods up come in and walk to the left far corner of the tavern, about a minute or two and two more came in dressed the same way and went to the opposite of the bar, then the last two came in. They made brief eye contact with the other four who nodded toward the table in the middle of the room where the seven Death Eaters were sitting.
"Then everything happened so fast, the last two men to enter drew their wands and fired blasting curses point blank at the back of the heads of two of the Death Eaters. I-it was…horrific, there was b-blood and…everywhere.
"The explosion of the two Death Eaters sent a piece of bone I think into the head of a third who didn't move afterwards. Three of the others didn't stand a chance they were hit with stunning spells from two sides. But one managed to throw up a shield and then dived behind the bar. There was an exchange of spells, but six against one…he didn't stand a chance. Not sure what they hit him with but he let out a scream the likes that I've never heard.
"The brown cloaked men then levitated all four out into the middle of the street, woke them and then forced them to kneel on the ground. Then one of them let off a cannon blast from his wand and called for people to bear witness, it was about then that you and your people then showed up." She sighed sitting back in the chair and rubbed her face tiredly with both hands.
"If you'll indulge me a little bit longer Eileen. Did you happen to see the faces of any of the men in the brown cloaks?"
"Yes, during the exchange of spells three of the men's face were exposed." She replied.
"Did you recognize any of them?" He asked.
"No, I'm sorry. I didn't recognize any of them." She shook her head disappointed that she couldn't be more help.
"That's quite alright, Eileen." He told her. "Do you mind if I get your memories of the incident. It'll help our investigation."
"I-I guess, but you'll have to extract it. I'm afraid I was never that magically talented, though I was pretty good at potions." She replied with a shrug.
"I can do that for you. I just need you to bring the incident forward in your thoughts, and I'll do the rest." He told her gently.
Eileen Snape pulled the painful images to the fore of her thoughts. She gave a slight nod to Moody who touched her temple with the tip of his wand and slowly pulled a gossamer strand of memory from her mind and immediately put it in a glass vial he pulled from his robes.
"Thank you Eileen, if there is anything else you can think of, whether about the brown cloaks or the Death Eaters you come see me alright?" Moody told her. She nodded that she would.
As Moody got up he wandered back outside, and looked at the puddle of blood that had pooled from the murdered Death Eaters. He then glanced back over his shoulder to look one more time at the Green Salamander. "They hit back faster than I thought." He mused, thinking of the Brotherhood of the Fox. "The ball is back in Voldemort's court now. I'm sure this is gonna get a hell of a lot more bloody."
A thoroughly soaked Harry was walking toward Lilith's cottage with a contented smile on his face. The children also beginning to head back to their own respective homes, all were exhausted but chatting animatedly in excitement with each other.
"My lord! My lord!" A small girl was running toward Harry. Harry turned as the small girl approached. She looked shyly at him and was fidgeting just a bit. Harry knelt down so that he was close to eye level with her.
"What can I do for you Maggie?" He asked the eight year old little blonde who had been on his team. She suddenly gave him a kiss on the cheek, blushing madly she quickly turned and ran for home. Harry watched her as she ran off and smiled to himself.
"Do I have competition for your affections my lord?" Bella asked playfully as she appeared behind him with a widely smiling Lilith at her side.
"Oh, umm…" Harry began, blushing slightly.
"How could any girl resist such an articulate man?" Bella chuckled.
"What can I say, Shakespeare watch out!" Harry managed to say. "But if you're feeling neglected I could give you a big hug." He replied playfully waggling his eyebrows as he opened his arms and quickly approached her.
"Harry you're soaked!" She protested trying to quickly back away.
"You know you want one!" Harry grinned evilly.
"Harry…Harry!" Harry launched himself at Bella, causing both to get tangled in each other's limbs as they tumbled into the snow.
Harry began to pepper her face and neck with kisses as his fingers sought out those more ticklish spots he knew she had. Bella kicked and thrashed as she began to laugh uncontrollably. They rolled over and over each other, each trying to gain the advantage.
With a final heave, Harry managed to pin her down on her back on the soft snow. His face hovered just above hers, his body lying on top of hers in just the right position to be deliciously intimate. Their smiling faces glowed red from the cold and their playful exertions. Their green eyes locked on to the others as their breath calmed but deepened.
The moment was very intimate and incredibly exciting. Harry slowly leaned forward tilting his head slightly and closing his eyes. Bella instinctually tilted her head in the opposite way, her eyes closing as well. Their lips met tenderly but filled with that emotion that only lovers can truly feel. The kiss seemed to stretch on and on until they slowly parted.
"Take me to bed Harry, and I mean now!" Bella spoke huskily.
Harry didn't need to be told twice, taking a firmer hold of her, he apparated them both back to their bedroom at Eveningshade Manor from their horizontal position.
"Well, I guess no goodbye then?" Lilith commented to the now empty square with a smirk. "Children these days have no sense of etiquette." She chuckled as she returned to her cottage.
A cloaked man in expensive Acromantula silk robes made his way into the lobby of Gringotts Bank. He was followed by two other men who were obviously not in the same economic or social class as the first man. They passed by the many tellers who were all busy either with customers, counting gold, or otherwise glaring menacingly.
The man with his entourage turned left as they passed the teller counters and entered a set of large double doors, seated at a desk was a secretary who raised an eyebrow in curiosity at the three men.
"What is it that you want wizards?" The goblin asked, not quite succeeding in keeping the contempt out of his voice."
"I'm here to see Riptorn, the director of Genealogy and Inheritance." The well-dressed wizard replied.
"And who may I ask is making the request?" The goblin asked.
"Pollux Black and the potential lords of two Ancient and Noble houses once thought extinct!" Pollux smiled predatorily.
A/N: A little bit of everything in this chapter including some foreshadowing of things to come. Thank you all for the many wonderful and helpful reviews! Please let me know what you thought of this chapter with a review, critique or a comment. And an advanced Happy St. Patrick's Day! Slainte agus Erin Go Bragh!