Wand, Knife and Silence
Wanda: (shoots canons in every direction, one of which hits Lucius Malfoy) I'm freeeeee! Free of final exams! Free of summatives! Free of high school! And I'm finally updating Wand, Knife and Silence, because I'm finally exactly sure of where I'm going with this story! I feel like George RR Martin, realizing my story was a lot longer then I expected it to be. Some set up, then a violent battle! I do not own Harry Potter.
Chapter 12: St Mugos
Molly Weasley was walking down the streets of Hogsmeade, trying to decide how the handle her wayward daughter.
She worried after her daughter's first year. Her youngest child was her pride and joy, the daughter she wanted most after six sons. So when she received the news that Ginny had been possessed and nearly died (and worse, according to Albus Dumbledore) before she even turned twelve, she had been terrified and more cautious about her safety. She checked up on her, told her who to be wary of, even allowed her to remain friends with the Slytherin in hopes that the girl would protect Ginny from her nastier classmates.
By the time her fourth year rolled around, Ginny was squirming for independence. Molly had been reluctant at first, seeing as teenagers weren't the most forward thinking individuals you would ever meet, but Arthur convinced her that Ginny deserved a little free reign despite the trouble she was often roped into, citing that they couldn't look after her forever.
So for a while, Molly was lenient. Even as she and Daphne Greengrass became increasingly prolific in the era of dangerous-things-that-happen-at-Hogwarts, Molly was willing to give her daughter her space, feeling that she had been a bit controlling before.
And then the girl befriended an assassin.
The last few letters she had received from Ron made it clear that Ginny was starting to put herself in danger with the new stunts she was pulling, and it had become time for Molly to step in and bring some order back to her children's lives.
If she was honest with herself, she would admit that she had been dreading the conversation she intended to address on this off day, because despite all her efforts, Ginny had developed a very fierce defence of her decisions and wasn't kind to those who questioned her judgement. Her girl was the world to her, but she had a vicious temper, and she was not one to take lightly with people interfering with her decisions. Molly knew that this was likely going to deteriorate into a shouting match that would send the rest of the students scurrying for cover, but she was determined to get through to her youngest child before she got herself hurt.
In those ways, Molly admitted that she had been similar when she was Ginny's age, but some of Ginny's choices she didn't think were something a girl her age was capable of making appropriately. Especially when it came to adult lines of work such as manipulation and assassination.
The town itself had recovered from the trauma of the werewolf attack, but there was an unease to the air here as in many other places now that open war was declared. It was sad to see the usually happy place so quiet, but Molly wasn't focusing on that right now.
No, she was trying to decide how to handle her wayward daughter. Her daughter, who had decided it would be a good idea to befriend the Zabini brothers.
It wasn't as if Molly wasn't lenient on Ginny, allowing her as many things as their low ranking and little money would allow. Girls her age tended to be wild, Molly knew this from her own childhood, back when she had been Molly Prewitt. Before the family fortune was lost, she had spent many evenings going to parties and dancing with anyone who would look her way.
But she had to reign herself in before she got hurt.
She had allowed her to be friends with Daphne Greengrass despite many misgivings over the blonde girl. True, the Slytherin proved not to be the bad influence that Molly feared she could be, and her father had offered the Weasley's money from time to time when their financial situation came up. Daphne was a good friend to Ginny, standing by her when dangerous things happened.
Hermione Granger was also a good friend, despite initially being aggressive towards her youngest son Ronald. The muggleborn helped Ginny in her studies and was fairly level headed, providing logic in moments where Ginny's temper was at its worst.
But the new acquisitions were where she was drawing the line.
No, Molly was not prepared to accept that Ginny was hanging out with a pair of assassins. They were killers, for Merlin's sake! Killers before they even got out of school!
No, assassins were a cruel and devious bunch who should not exist in any decent society. Especially not the sons of Samantha Zabini.
Everyone in the Order knew about the Zabini's occupation. It was an open secret in their home country and had been so when Samantha had elected to remain in Britain and fight alongside her friends Lily and Sirius. Assassins generally weren't people you felt inclined to welcome home for dinner, because they could be paid to put a knife in your back at a moments notice. They answered to pay and nothing else, having no concept of honour, compassion or decency. They were a cruel, backstabbing people, magical or muggle.
Samantha Zabini hadn't been much of an exception, even before Rita Skeeter started talking about her less then admirable past. Molly remembered working with the girl back during the first war, and the wariness that everyone treated her with. Samantha never followed the order that Dumbledore gave them to kill as few as their enemies as possible; the woman was used to having blood on her hands. She probably held anything less in contempt as weakness.
That was even before you got into her habit of marrying, and then murdering, her husbands. She had been married several times and all those men met mysterious ends, most of their property reverting to her after their demise. Molly worried for Sirius, wondering if he would end up joining that list since the woman had returned to Britian.
How had the woman been allowed to adopt Harry Potter legally? She had literally kidnapped him right off his relative's steps! Kidnapped and brainwashed to her nefarious ends, no doubt. Someone like her wasn't going to raise a saviour, just a weapon. Molly hoped that given time Harry would be able to turn back into the boy he once was meant to be, with a little help from the Order and some normal, moral friends at Hogwarts.
Her blood son Blaise had frightened her son Ronald on various occasions, each time when he had attempted to warn Ginny away from the brothers. Her children's marginalization of her youngest son was another point of worry; she had been implying for years that they should be treating him better.
Molly sighed. This was going to be a long day.
At St Mugos
Draco's eyes fluttered open for the first time in a few days. He saw a white ceiling, and for a moment he wondered if he had passed on. It certainly felt possible; he could remember the pain clear as day. He had been backing one of the werewolves towards a corner in order to bring him down. He had gotten that one, but some it its packmates must have gotten up behind him without his supersensory charm picking them up thanks to the pandemonium within the school walls. His last thought before the pain had overwhelmed him was hope that Astoria had gotten away safely, before his every sense was blinded by agony and the venom of the werewolves.
After a moment, however, it became clear to him that he was in St Mugos. So, he wasn't dead yet. Draco wondered what was allowing him to cheat death. First his father's imprisonment, then meeting Lord Voldemort, then spending an entire year under the man's control... he should have died many times by now. Was it just luck that separated him from someone like Cedric Diggory?
A long time ago – well, it wasn't that long, but it felt like a different lifetime now – Draco would have put it down to his blood. A pureblood wizard would have been able to cheat death, survive when some puny half blood or muggleborn would have died. But now he saw that it wasn't like that. It was only luck that saved him in Lord Voldemort's presence when others, like Cedric, had been murdered without a second thought.
Draco would always regret that he hadn't seen Voldemort for who he was before he got a personal taste of the man's madness. If he could have gone back to the beginning of his life at Hogwarts and change everything he had done, he would have.
"Malfoy, finally awake are you?" A voice floated from somewhere on his right. Not a nurse, it was younger then him, and welcomingly familiar. "Welcome back to the world of the living. Even if it doesn't feel like it."
These words were followed by rough coughing, and Draco finally identified the source of the voice. Graham Pritchard. "Especially if it doesn't feel like it," The younger Slytherin amended.
With some effort, Draco pushed himself into a sitting position as the world came into focus. He was in the emergency ward at St Mugos, the one designated for younger wizards who had sustained serious injury.
Right. The werewolves.
"At least it sounds like you're in one piece,"He said dryly.
"I am as much as you are," Graham responded. "Well, a little better then you were. I woke up around yesterday. You'd hardly budged since we'd gotten here."
"Couple of days. You don't really notice when you're focused on the burning, scorching agony of open werewolf scars." Graham snarked. The kid had a sarcastic remark for everything.
Draco could remember splashes of the pain from the wounds he'd gotten. Heart pounding, he wondered if he'd been bitten directly – but the worst pain he remembered was on his face and his chest.
He reached up with one hand, a gulped. He traced the scars that slid down one side of his face. He didn't need a mirror to know they were prominent, though his eyesight was mercifully undamaged.
"They said those were permanent." Draco looked to the right. Graham was sitting upright, storm grey hair and eyes unchanged. However, the older boy could see the start of a scar at the other student's neck. Graham gave a dry, ironic chuckle. "It was because we had to wait before treatment. Gave it time to sink in."
Draco stared down at his hands. He almost asked for a mirror, but his stomach twisted up at the idea. "Are we..."
He couldn't even finish the question. He knew that he would and could do it again to keep Astoria safe. He knew he'd rather be here then her.
Merlin, what was his mother going to say when she saw him? Had she already seen him, and fled in disgust now that her only child, born of a loveless but political marriage, was tainted and ruined?
His father...Draco grimaced. His father would never look at him again, though he wasn't sure if he really cared about that at this point.
"Almost." Graham replied bitterly. Draco knew that Graham had enough to loose if his family decided he'd been ruined. His cousin and his mother were the closest he had. "The full moon was officially yesterday, so we won't be sprouting fur and claws once a month. But we will go berserk at the drop of a hat when the full moon gets close. Lucky us."
Draco placed his head in his hand. It could have been worse, but even just a shadow of a curse was a death sentence to their previous lives.
Neither boy said anything for a long minute.
"Do you know what happened afterwards?" Draco asked eventually, desperate for something else to focus on, and for information of what happened after his world went dark.
He had vague memories of being in extreme pain, worried faces...Granger had been there, of all people, trying to help him...Potter and Greengrass's voices drifted past his memory...he thought he'd seen Tori, but maybe that was his mind trying to ease him into the next life...
"Want the good news or the bad news?" Graham asked.
"Well, the good news is that most of the wolves are dead, and casualties were at a minimum. Heard the nurses talking about it. Didn't recognize any names of those lost." Graham said. "Bloody useless 'protection'. I should have known after first year that the school's 'safety measures' were bloody useless."
"The bad news?" Draco asked, dreading the answer.
"Well, aside from the fact we're half freaks now, Amelia Bones is in charge. This wouldn't be a bad thing in and of itself but it means the two of us can count on Death Eaters or Aurors bearing down on us in the near future and demanding our alliance."
"Bloody hell," Draco swore. He tried to move, and winced. His entire body was stiff and still in pain; if he had to jump up and duel he wouldn't make it far.
"Bones has declared war," Graham said with the sort of calmness that only a truly desensitized child would possess. He was fourteen, but often sounded much older with the way he looked at the world and acted under dangerous circumstances. "We're purebloods, and connected to the original war whether we like it or not. Our best bet is that the Aurors will get here first. If they don't..."
He left the sentence hanging. Draco didn't need him to finish to get the picture.
"The Death Eaters will kill us rather then let us walk away from Riddle's service." He summerised. "Or Imperious us and drag us along regardless."
Sobbing broke out on his left, interrupting their brooding.
Draco turned in surprise and saw a blonde Gryffindor girl – Lavander, her name was Lavander – curled up and crying in fear. When she lifted her head and looked at him and Graham, Draco saw that her face had been badly scarred. She could still see, at least, but her once beautiful face was now frightening to look upon.
"Hey," Draco began uncertainly, "Lavander right?"
"Y-Yes?" She whimpered. "We're doomed, aren't we? I don't want to die. I don't want to be a Death Eater!"
She buried her face in the sheets and began to cry in earnest. Draco wasn't sure what to say; he had never said much to Lavander before he had gotten a dose of reality that had been very friendly. He had known through observation that the girl was a flighty party girl and not much of a fighter. The incident had likely traumatized her.
The Death Eaters wouldn't spare her either if they came upon her. Doubly so since she was a half blood. Draco rooted around for a way to comfort her without inflaming her fears when his younger classmate spoke up again.
"Stop your whimpering, Brown!" Graham snapped. "That won't do any bloody good, especially if there are Death Eaters coming."
Draco gave Graham a warning look, but the boy's eyes had hardened. He was watching the blonde girl with a hawklike look, daring her to respond.
Lavander, maybe out of shock, stopped sobbing at once. She lifted her head again and stared at Graham, looking startled and a bit apprehensive.
"But I'm scared," She whispered.
"Of course you are," Graham said. "But what could would crying do? Don't waste your energy. You'll be needing it."
Lavander stared at Graham for longer, pulling her legs towards her chest. "What difference would it make?" She whispered, plainly terrified. "The Death Eaters will kill us! They're strong, they hurt Katie and they sent the wolves."
"And?" Graham replied. "We drove the wolves back. Katie Bell escaped them, and so did some of the other girls they were keeping locked up. Voldemort's been back for nearly a year, and tell me – what has he really accomplished?"
"Graham..." Draco muttered, not quite sure what he was hearing. Graham often used sarcasm or contempt as a shield to hide any concerns or emotions he thought would weaken him, but to say that about Voldemort...what was he planning?
"I saw you before," Graham continued. "You stood up to Fenrir Greyback to protect your friend. He's killed plenty of seasoned hit wizards and you're still with us. The grunts he'd send for recruitment work are much less intimidating. How's this different?"
"He tore my face off!" Lavander whispered. "I thought I was going to die."
"You still held him off." Graham retorted. "The fact you could hold him at all ranks you above a good number of Voldemort's grunts! What would have happened if you had done nothing?"
Lavander flinched as though struck. "Parvati..." She whispered.
"She'd be here instead of you," Graham finished for her, raising an eyebrow. "And that would be if she had been lucky. You know how much Fenrir liked underage girls."
"Graham..." Draco began. He could tell that Graham was trying to get Lavander to shake off her fear, but his attitude could be counterproductive. Then he started to think...
Voldemort had killed, and terrorized, but he hadn't gained any more ground then he already had by the time he revealed himself to the world at the end of his fifth year at Hogwarts. Draco would have almost thought he was waiting for something, but waiting for what? He could have just attacked the Ministry directly, Merlin knew that Fudge wouldn't have been ready for it, hell his sleepers probably could have replaced very high ranking people in the government!
Waiting had allowed the Zabinis to show up. Then his sleepers had been killed, then the wolves had been driven out of Hogwarts with minimum casualties. Graham was right about that.
"Then what's stopping you now?" Graham demanded. "Fight for your right to live! Fight for your friend's right to live! I know I will! I'm sick of this life, waiting to see who will make the first move and get us killed in the resulting chaos."
For a moment, Lavander kept staring at Graham like he'd grown a second head.
Then, slowly, she nodded and sat up straight. Rubbing her eyes with one hand, she looked around between Draco and Graham. She looked at the door and then the windows to see if anyone was listening.
"O-Okay." She said timidly, before taking a deep breath to steady her nerves. Graham nodded approvingly. "Y-You're right. But how would we-"
All the lights in St Mugo's went out. In the distance, Draco heard a crashing noise.
"That's our cue," He said grimly.
"What are our orders, Missus Lestrange?" One of the grunt ranked Death Eaters asked in a gravelly voice.
Bellatrix Lestrange stared into the entrance of St Mugo's with a demented grin on her face. "Take control of the hospital. As many hostages as possible. Kill those who resist. And ... find those moon-touched students."
"Why the students?"
"The curse will make them excellent footsoldiers." Bellatrix responded, her lips twisting further into a dark parody of a smile. "And in any case, Lucius owes the master for his repeated failures. He'll pay for it through his son."
The Death Eater nodded and hurried away, not wanting to stay too close to the infamous Lestrange for any longer then he had to. Bellatrix looked up at St. Mugos, smirking. It was the biggest hospital in Britian; attacking and claiming it would be a strong blow to morale and a step in their favour. She was tired of seeing these idiots fail her master.
Voldemort was growing increasingly enraged by the lack of results. Bellatrix preferred her master when he was pleased, and she would not fail him the way these weak-willed ponces had. She was not going to mince words to keep a foot in the door of the Ministry like Malfoy. No, she was loyal to Voldemort, pure and true, and she was going to prove it.
"Graham, do you have your wand?" Draco asked, forcing himself to remain calm. He couldn't see Lavander's face in the darkness, but he was willing to bet she was ready to panic, and they couldn't afford that right now.
"I have it."
The new voice sent Draco scrambling to his feet, staring into the darkness. After a moment, a bright light filled the room, and once his eyes had readjusted, Draco looked incredulously at the visitor.
"Zabini?" He asked. Harry gave him a lopsided grin, before tossing him his wand. A second later, he'd handed over Graham's and Lavenders as well. "How did you-?"
"-know this was coming?" Harry suggested. He smirked and shrugged slightly. "Oh, I have my sources. Besides, Moldyshorts must be getting pretty pissy that he hasn't gotten anything for the dramatic move he made last week."
Lavender nervously walked over to the older boy. Graham stood next to Draco, eyeing Harry with an intensity and something resembling apprehension. Draco knew that Graham prided himself on his ability to understand people, but Harry's behavior had been so all over the map since his arrival that Graham struggled to pinpoint what his thought process might be. He leaned on that skill, so Zabini's presence made him nervous.
A great shout came from outside; Draco realized it was a Sonorus charm. "This is the DMLE! Surrender or you will be fired upon!"
"And I brought guests." Harry added with a flourish. "Of course, the people already inside will have to be dealt with. Care to join me?"
Lavender looked nervously at him. "I..."
"Don't worry," Harry said. His casual smile had been replaced with a slightly feral smirk. "You'll be alright. Save your concern for the Death Eaters."
"There will be at least a dozen of them inside," Graham said dubiously. "If You-Know-Who wants results, he'll have sent some of his stronger supporters. They'll be dangerous."
"Oh, Pritchard! Have a little faith!" Harry said with a mock hurt tone. There were footsteps from the hall; before Draco could even choose a spell Harry turned slightly to the right and threw a knife. It hit the Death Eater square in the neck just as he turned the corner. The man dropped like a stone.
Harry looked back at them and said, "They'll have to do better then that if they want to take me out."
The alarms had been ringing ever since the call for help had been given. The Hogwarts students had been moved to waiting areas in the Ministry after the deaths of Parkinson and Nott directly on the heels of the werewolf assault. Some of the students had tried to leave but anyone under the age of seventeen was being held back. Colin Creevy was particularly put out at this.
Sirius had already vanished into the Floo to go fight the Death Eaters, and Daphne and Ginny were raring to go after him.
"Ginerva Weasley! You are not going out into a dangerous war zone!"
Ginny froze and then let out a long groan. Daphne turned around to see Molly Weasley making her way over to the two of them, coming from the direction of the Hogsmeade floo.
"You better go ahead, Daph," Ginny said through gritted teeth. "This conversation is going to get messy."
"Will you be alright?" Daphne asked.
Ginny groaned. "I'll be perfectly fine, it's you I'm worried about. Try and find Harry or Blaise, and be careful. I'll try and catch up with you."
"It's time my mother learned once and for all that I'm capable of making my own informed decisions for my future," Was Ginny's strained response. "Go ahead, Daph. I know you want to fight them personally."
Daphne glanced at the Floo. She did want to go, but she hadn't been planning on going without Ginny.
"Go," Ginny urged. "I'll be right behind you."
Again, I'm sorry it took a ridiculously long time to get this out, but I got submerged in work and this story kind of ran away from me. I've revised the ending nearly four times by now! But now that I know exactly what I'm doing, updates shall begin again!
Read and Review please!