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 Harry Potter and the Hunt

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PostSubject: Re: Harry Potter and the Hunt   Wed 04 Mar 2009, 6:40 pm

The Hunt

Chapter 33

Firebolt Three Thousand

Remus apparated into the Weasley family’s yard just moments before Fred and George appeared, each carrying two large packages under an arm and a large plywood with what looked to be padding attached to one side in the other arm. The boy’s apparated nearer to the door than he had and propped the boards against the wall of the Burrow and stepped into the kitchen just in front of him. They started talking as soon as they appeared so they had not noticed him and were quite surprised when he knocked at the back door just seconds after they had entered. He had taken a closer look at the boards and noticed that each of them had three holes spaced evenly along each side and a hole centered along the top and the bottom edge of each one. A picture formed in his mind as he let himself in when George waved an arm telling him to come on in.

When Remus walked in, he followed the twins into the large family room just as Percy asked if they had remembered to get enough line in which to bundle the boards together. Both twins stopped talking at once and looked at each other and then pointed to each other. After a moments hesitation, they both sang out in unison “Nope.”

Percy shook his head and muttered to himself “If you want something done right…,” but he trailed off before he finished.

“Boys are you planning to do what I think you are?” asked Remus as soon as he could get a word in.

“Yep,” Fred said, “We’re gonna make a Harry sandwich and fly him off.”

“Fred that’s not funny!” Hermione barked as she and Ron came trotting down the stairs fully dressed and ready to leave.

“Hey, what do you have there?” Ron asked as he noticed the packages.

“This one’s yours lil' bro, catch. And Hermione…, catch” Fred tossed the two packages at them.

Ron began to rip open his package knowing what it might be from the shape of its wrappings while Hermione took the last few steps down the stairs before she opened hers.

The whole room stood to look when a loud thud sounded above the din of voices all chatting at once, to see Ron sliding the rest of the way down the steps on his bottom holding a Firebolt Three Thousand in his hands and a look on his face that contained a healthy measure of daze, awe, and shock.

“Th, th, this is a Fir-Fire-Firebolt Three Three Thou-Thousand!” he sputtered still setting on his bottom at the foot of the steps where he had finally stopped. “And its, it's mine?” His face took on a look of thorough amazement and awe as his eyebrows started climbing up his forehead and stopped finally almost at the top of his head. A hand was sliding down the broom in a near caress.

Bill had already arrived before the Ron and Hermione had and he was looking at his with great appreciation while Percy and Hermione unwrapped theirs in a matter-of-fact business like way. Remus was also looking at the brooms in an appreciative way himself.

“Would anyone care to explain the plan to me then?” Remus asked as he rounded a wing backed chair so that he could take a seat.

“Well,” Fred began, “Its Percy’s plan actually so Perc, why don’t you explain while we gather up some things.”

Percy began to lay out the plans so that Bill and Remus as well as Ron, knew what was to happen. Remus was to apparate to Hogwarts and escort Madame Pomfrey to where Harry was, While He, the twins, Bill, Ron, and Hermione were to follow Hedwig with the two cushions boards to where Harry was. Once there they were going to place Harry on one of the boards, cover him with the other, and then tie him in between so that he remained flat and stable then they were going to tie Harry and the boards to the brooms and fly him back. It was a relatively simple plan.

As Remus listened, he nodded to himself as he pictured the events as Percy explained them in detail. When Percy finished he looked thoughtful for only a moment and then spoke aloud as if critiquing what he had just heard. “Simple, easy, he’ll stay immobilized, I don’t see why it shouldn’t work so when are you off then?”

“Fred and I have to go back to the shop to get some line and I do suggest that you all practice a bit on these brooms while we’re gone.” said George as he himself got ready to leave. As he was donning his cloak again, Ron was still setting on his bottom holding his broom as if he might break it.

“Hermione would you help your husband, I think he’s left us already.”

Hermione just looked at him before saying, “George, let him have his moment. I don’t think he realizes its real yet.”

She smirked and the whole room burst out in laughter as Ron looked about him, goggled eyed at the eruption of noise that rose up around him. Hermione leaned over and touched his shoulder and said very tenderly, “Ronald dear, would you like to ride it?”

Ron looked up only for a second but long enough to say “C-can I, I mean can I ride it, really?”

Hermione gave him that look of handling a small child and said very softly “Of course you can dear, just be very careful for mummie when you do. Okay dear?”

Both of the twins had clamped hands tightly over their mouths trying to suppress the ton of mirth that was threatening to escape from their mouths and Bill looked as if he were about to bite a hole in his jaw to keep from laughing himself. But Percy, who had finally allowed himself relax around the family, had curled up into a tiny ball that was quivering in the silent laughter, and his face had turned a bright red but nothing escaped from his lips, not one sound.

Hermione had to help Ron to his feet as he held his broom reverently, never taking his eyes away from it, and led him to the practice field while the others followed out leaving the twins to go back to Diagon Alley to get the things they had forgotten. The list did grow a bit longer after Remus made a few more suggestions that they had lacked in the planning, but overall, he was impressed by the simplicity of the scheme. As Remus donned his cloak, The twins apparated directly from the living room, while Bill and Percy followed Lupin out, each carrying their new Broom with them. They had decided on leaving just as soon as the twins could return.

When Molly arrived back to the Burrow all she could see were flashes of blur flying in and around the practice field. Hermione was the first to spot her and zoomed downward breaking just at the very last moment, but for the Firebolt Three Thousand, the stop was just as soft as if walking to a stop.

“My dear!” exclaimed Molly. “Where did you ever get such a broom?”

Hermione’s face was flushed from the excitement of riding such a strong and fast, a very fast, broom. She ordinarily did not like to ride brooms but this one, she liked. “The boys bought each of us one Mum, and we’re leaving to fetch Harry home as soon as they return from getting a few more supplies that they left out."

Molly gasped and clasped a hand to her breast. She had been so anxious that no one was thinking how to rescue Harry, that she had been visiting people that she knew who could and would help as soon as the word was given, though everyone in the family thought her to be out shopping so as not to dwell of Harry so much.

As she and Hermione watched the other flyers, a sudden thought occurred to her and turning to Hermione she asked “Where is Molly?”

“She’s with Harry at the moment. I sent her ahead with Dobby so that she may see her Uncle Harry.”

A tear edged itself to the corner of her eye but she held on. Now that she knew where Harry was, she wanted Molly to see him just once, just in case, she couldn’t bring herself to think beyond that. It had occurred to her that she might have sent her only child into danger but she also knew that Dobby would whisk her away before anything could pose a threat to her daughter and she had made Dobby promise to do so. She herself had promised not to fret about it, but deep down she did worry. She worried that this might be the first and only time her daughter would have the chance to know Harry and she worried just because a mother worries for her baby, though Molly could hardly be called a baby anymore, she was her baby.

She waited for her Mother-in-law to say something about her letting Molly go to Merlin only knes where, and on her own too, even if Dobby was with her, but Molly had said nothing. When Hermione looked her way, the elder Molly wore a look of knowing but masked it quickly.

“Dobby does dote on the child doesn’t he?”

It was her way of saying that she understood how Hermione felt and to let her young daughter-in-law know that she too trusted the House Elf, if only just this much, and with her only grandchild that spoke volumes.

“Hermione, if the Weasley clan means to fly straight there and back, I think you and I might want to prepare a few invigorating drafts for along the way. And maybe a few pepper up potions might be a good idea too.” She smiled as she said these things and took Hermione’s hand to lead her into the kitchen. She really wanted to have a few words of her own to be given to Harry, something a mother might tell one of her children that might be frightened and hurt, and after all she did feel that Harry was one of her kids.

Chapter 33 Continued

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PostSubject: Re: Harry Potter and the Hunt   Wed 04 Mar 2009, 6:40 pm

The Hunt

Chapter 33 continued

Firebolt Three Thousand

Harry plied little Molly with questions about how the family was doing and bit his lip several times to prevent his laughing as she would screw her face up to think of how to answer some of the more interesting bits. That rock that laid under him had positively grown into a small boulder but it was worth the pain to laugh again. When she told him of Percy coming home, Harry did sigh and muttered under his breath “So the Git got smart finally.”

Molly didn’t hear him as she went right on telling Harry about her Uncle Remus and Auntie Tonks which caused Harry’s eyebrows to climb in disbelief. Well he could believe it, when he saw it happen. Harry had discovered very quickly that Molly seemed to know a lot more of what was happening around the Burrow than maybe people might think. He was grinning again and the muscles in his face reminded him of how long it’s been since he last used them to smile let alone grin, but Molly was worth that discomfort and that small continent that had bored itself into his chest. He listened to everything that she had to say and was grateful that when she was talking she would lay down on her stomach with her head cupped in her hands so he could see her face. She looked so much like Ginny had.

When he looked at her it was as if he was looking at Ginny all over again. It should have made him remember the day when he was so full of himself that he only saw her when it was to late to save her, but all he could remember was her face, her voice, their first kiss, and how big of a Git he was not to realize how he had felt about her until it was too late. As he looked and listened, he was amazed that he had no regrets, well he did regret that he was a little slow in the uptake, actually he was amazed that she ever waited for him for so long.

A thought came to him while Molly was telling him about playing S’poding Snaps, that he had not even gotten angry. Every time he thought about Ginny and that day, he hated himself for not being there to protect her but not now, not today. Molly reminded him of her, she looked like her and yet all he could do was laugh and smile as he had done those short months that he and Ginny had had together and he promised Molly that when he got well and took care of another small matter, he would play S’poding Snaps with her anytime she wanted which made her clap her hands and giggle, which she seemed to do a lot. There was something about her that just made him feel good and warm all over.

Dobby sat scrunched up in the corner of the small tent, it was really only made for one person and yet there were three inside of it, glowing as his Master had finally found something that he had lost. He was there after Ginny was killed, and he remembered that day all to well himself. It was like a light had been turned off deep inside of Harry and now it shown brightly. Time was drawing near for him to take Missy Molly back to the Burrow but he couldn’t bring himself to do that just yet. Miss Hermione was very clear in her instructions and most very clear with her dire consequences should he fail. He remembered a time when threats would roll right off of him but now, coming from a family such as Master Harry was friends with, carried much weight and meaning with him. Laying a hand on Harry’s brow and smoothing his hair back, he murmured in a soft but squeaking voice, “Missy Molly, its time we go.” There was regret in his voice, he didn’t want to take her away from Harry's side but he did have his obligations too. He had asked Harry if he wanted Dobby to return after delivering Missy Molly safely home, But Harry told him that it wasn’t necessary, that he was tired and wanted to sleep.

Molly scooted back around and Dobby took her up into his arms and snapped his fingers right there inside the tent. Harry heard the pop and he thought he heard the thud when his heart sank. Now that Molly was gone the painful memories welled up inside of him and he wanted to scream, he wanted to rage, he wanted to get up and finish this business and go back to his meadow, to Ginny’s Meadow. He had made his decision about that place. There was nothing left for him in London anymore and he wanted the peace and serenity that his dream had promised, even if it was without her.

Fred and George appeared just outside their home, each with an armload of small packages and coils of rope hung over their arms and they called into the house for everyone to get ready as they themselves dropped their loads onto the table outside. While George opened the parcels, Fred ran inside to gather up a couple of packs to carry what they had brought with them. Ron appeared still holding his broom a little less gingerly but still very carefully followed by Bill and Percy.

“Where’s Hermione?” George asked as everyone gathered around him.

“She’s inside with mum.” Bill replied quickly.

“Her and mum are just finishing bottling a few potions to carry along.” Percy added as George began to hand out eye goggles to everyone.

“We’ll need these if we’re to go full speed all the way there.” George was explaining as the two Weasley women filed out of the house just in front of Fred who was holding the door open for them.

As Fred neared the group, he tossed a back pack to his brother and looked over to Ron and shook his head and said “Hermione I think you might want to think of a good divorce Lawyer if he keeps that up very much longer.”

Molly looked sharply at him and he shrugged his shoulders and said “Right then, if someone wants to give Ron a little knock on the head to wake him up, Remus says it’d be best if our Lil’ Bro here puts a disillusionment charm on us so we won’t be seen.”

Hermione leaned over and whispered into Ron’s ear which caused him to turn a shade of crimson and to clear his throat rather loudly before he said “Right. Right then, well let’s be about it then shall we?”

Hermione turned to Molly and winked causing Molly to blush herself. It took Ron only a few moments to tap each one on the head with his wand and himself and then they mounted their brooms. Molly stepped back and watched as they all slowly blended into the background. Calling out her well wishes for their success, she returned to the kitchen just in time to see her grand daughter and Dobby appear.

“Grandma Molly, I saw Uncle Harry!” Molly said as she rushed forward and leapt into her grandmothers outstretched arms to give her a tight hug.

“Your mummy and daddy just left to go fetch Uncle Harry back so it’s just us girls. So what do you say, shall I teach you how to make Crookshanks turn blue or a nice shade of green this time?”

Dobby covered his eyes and uttered a very silent groan. “Poor Masters Fred and George.” And he left to alert Winky that the plans are well underway.

Chapter 33 Completed

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PostSubject: Re: Harry Potter and the Hunt   Fri 06 Mar 2009, 11:48 pm

The Hunt

Chapter 34


Snape moved a fraction of a second before Lucius finished the incantation, throwing himself to the left and at the same time casting a shield charm to give himself the extra moment needed to draw out the wand that he kept hidden within his cloak. Lucius turned to follow Snape’s movement while Draco stood rooted in disbelief as fear gripped him momentarily. In the mere seconds Draco stood rooted, his father casually flicked several more spells off at Snape forcing him to stay low to the ground and unable to cast a spell to defend himself. Lucius stood in the wide open like a man possessed; snarling and licking his lips as he cast another spell that glanced off the cave wall causing splinters of rock to shower down on the position Snape had just left.

“Thought you have a go at my wife did you?” Lucius roared as he flicked another spell off in the direction Snape had moved again.

Draco watched where he stood, as what his father rantings began to coalesce in his mind to form a picture telling him the ghastly story of what his father was thinking, and why he was here. Suddenly, and without thinking any further, he raised his own wand and pointed it at his father and without qualm, spoke the incantation “Incarcerous.”

Golden ropes flew from the tip of his wand toward his father and began wrapping themselves around him as Draco spoke his second spell still pointing his wand at Lucius “Expelliarmis.”

As the ropes continued to bind Lucius, his wand flew from his hand landing at Snape’s feet just as he stepped into view from his hiding. Lucius turned his head and glared towards his son, and in his usual calm and chilling tone of voice; which meant imminent danger he asked “What is the meaning of this Draco? Loose me so that I may finish and then you and I will discuss matters when this is done.”

Draco walked around so that he could face his father never taking his wand from him, he was in control of himself now though his face was still drained white from the shock of his father’s sudden attack but he was in control.

A movement seen from the corner of his eye attracted his attention and his wand.

“Stay where you are Severus!”

Draco was amazed that his voice remained level and he moved himself once again to position both his father and Snape where he could see either of them without having to look away from the other.

“Yes father,” his voice still calm and level, “What is the meaning of this? What is this rubbish about mother?”

Draco stood waiting for his answer and this time, his mind was completely blank, void of any thought or emotion, nothing that Snape could get to take advantage of; if given the chance. An eyebrow lifted as he waited for his fathers answer yet Lucius only glared contemptuously towards Snape unwilling to speak. He was used to giving the orders and his command would be obeyed so he ordered once again.

“Loose me Draco, I say loose me now!”

Snape stood watching the pair warily. Uncertain which way Draco was leaning towards. He dared not move nor speak. He had taught Draco all to well and for a second time, he admired his handiwork as he noted Draco’s composure. He did notice that Draco had frozen only for a few seconds and he would deal with that later but for now he need only to remain where he stood and hope that his young charge would not act to prematurely, time was not yet to his advantage, and the stage had not been set yet, the Great Lord was not present. A trickle of sweat rolled down Snape’s cheek as a muscle twitched in his jaw. “Not yet,”

Draco had leaned on Snape’s mind for the advantage should he need to react but that was all the he felt of Snape.

Why does Severus want me to wait? Draco thought to himself as he waited for his father’s answer, but Lucius remained tight lipped.

Speaking softly yet firmly Snape broke the silence that fell between them, chancing Draco’s reaction as he firmly controlled the arena. “Draco, might I suggest a holding cell until your father is willing to speak of this madness he froths.”

Lucius only glared. His eyes hardened to a point that could penetrate the cave walls if he continued his stare.

“See to it!” Draco’s voice was a harsh command and as Snape moved he thought to himself If those eyes could kill…,

He masked a startled look when he noticed that Snape held a wand that he had not seen him holding before, and made a mental note to remember that in the future.

Oh yes. He told himself, There will be a future, you and I.

Draco merely glanced as Snape immobilized Lucius using the mobilicorpus charm to maneuver his father down the dark corridor that led deeper into the cavern, as he turned on his heel to head off to his favorite ledge where he liked to be when he wanted to be left alone. He had not even noticed that Snape had followed his command without hesitation.

“He will be strong enough, I think” muttered Grindelwald as he watched the scene from its beginning as it played out in front of his eyes. “The time draws near, when this young man and I must meet. Curious, what he will do with his father?”

Staring at Draco’s back as he left the area Grindelwald’s lightly tapped at his chin as he waited patiently hidden away in the darkness of a recess for Draco to disappear before he himself apparated to his chamber to prepare for the nights meeting with his lieutenants of the Dragoons. It was near the time to reopen the Forbidding and resurrect the time of faerie to reshape the lands.

Draco took the outside path along the steep mountain wall that led to his ledge all the while replaying the events that had just taken place. “He’s gone mad!” Draco shouted to the winds as he labored up a particularly steep trail. “He’s done something to mother and I can sense it from within.”

A scowl etched itself across his face as he tried to reason out what his father might have done. A list formed in his head of the various things he knew Lucius may have done but murder was not amongst the things he imagined. His mother and father had always been close in private, tender on most private occasions even.

“She must be doing a thing for the Dark Lord.” He reasoned. “A thing that cannot be said, that’s why father avoids the question.”

A smile swept the scowl from his features and as he neared his destination, he had reasoned further that the Dark Lord must have ordered Snape’s execution. Draco pounded a fist into his hand with delight

“Perhaps father will allow me to do the honors.”

A wave of elation swept through him and his smile turned into a lurid sneer as he imagined the look on Severus’s face when he himself, would pronounce judgment and execution with his father looking on in approval. A bounce entered into his step as he kicked a stone from his path. The image in his head showed the Malfoy’s standing not only at the Dark Lord’s right hand but his left as well and just a step downward in front of him stood Draco too. Draco kicked another stone along the path.

They Weasley’s were several miles away from the burrow when Fred held up a hand to signal a stop. As they gathered around hovering in a circle Fred spoke loudly so that everyone could hear him. “I’ll be back in a mo’, Forgot something.”

Bill looked around him noting the packs and the boards along with the line that they would use to tie everything up and looked quizzically at his brother who replied with just one word.


Percy clapped a hand to his forehead in disbelief. Hedwig was to lead them back to Harry. Fred returned a most ingratiating and yet innocent of smiles and shrugged before he darted off at top speed making him look like one very long and stretched out blur. Hermione couldn’t help but to giggle at the expression Fred had given which represented the classical “oops,” that the twins were infamously noted for, during their Hogwarts reign of Pranksters Extraordinaire. It didn’t help her any as she watched Ron as he was petting his broomstick, still very much awe struck and quite possibly in shock over riding a Firebolt Three Thousand much less owning one..

Chapter 34 Continued

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PostSubject: Re: Harry Potter and the Hunt   Fri 06 Mar 2009, 11:49 pm

The Hunt

Chapter 34 continued


The wait was very short, and in moments a white streak was seen heading their way followed by Fred. Hedwig did not slow but continued on past them. Ron braced himself for the lurch as he leaned into his broom expecting a jolt of speed when he turned to follow but fell deeper in love and awe of his new broom when there was none yet the broom jetted off in the direction Hedwig was flying. As Fred zoomed up to George he leaned over and the two brothers were locked shoulder to shoulder with Fred talking into George’s ear.

“Mum’s the one been teaching Molly those jinxes!”

George pulled away startled and then leaned back to reply “I thought it was you doing it.”

“And I thought it was you.” Fred retorted and then they both nearly fell off their brooms in a fit of laughter that caused everyone to look askance at them and Bill shook his head not wanting to see or hear what they may have just dreamt up. Percy himself deigned a moment of panic as he just knew who their first test subject would be because he too knew all too well what happened when the twins put their heads together and laughed.

The plan was to follow Hedwig and land only when she landed, rest only if she rested, but otherwise fly straight through. Percy had thought the flying time through and figured that without jinxing Hedwig, it would perhaps take as long as two days to reach Harry, judging from how bedraggled Hedwig looked the first time she arrived and how long it took her when Remus had jinxed her the second time. He had figured on one day to rest once there and to ensure that Harry could be encased comfortably inside the two padded boards and then they would fly at top speed on the return trip home, well to Hogwarts, and that should be a little less that one whole day. He had left instructions for Dobby to wait two days and then return to Harry but he was beginning to think that that might have been somewhat silly because Remus seldom left Harry’s side and when he did so, Dobby was always sent immediately back to Harry so he was not left alone. It puzzled him but something in the back of his head told him that Dobby needed to know when to be at Hogwarts but he didn’t know why.

The Weasley’s flew for hours before Hedwig angled downwards towards a small green covered island. What looked to be quite small from above, actually turned out to be quite large with snow capped mountains and several broad cities that rapidly spread out far and wide as they neared the land mass. Hermione thought that she had recognized the shape of the island from a World Atlas She had familiarized herself with many years ago; when she first looked downward and nearly named the land when they had finally landed. Hedwig flittered around and hooted several times and took to wing once again but she flew no higher than to tree top level.

Bill raked a hand through his hair as he watched her fly off and looking to the others he said with a grin “I think she was telling us its lunch time. Either that or a brief rest stop.”

“Or both” one of twins said happily as Fred was rummaging through his pack and George was settling himself down of the ground.

Ron had finally found his tongue as he cornered Hermione and was eagerly telling her the most intimate details of the Firebolt Three Thousand. “I tell you, it can go from zero to sixty in just over two seconds and a full league which is about four miles, in just half a minute. And its breaking limit…,”

Ron let out a low whistle which Hermione assumed that it meant something close to a wow. She could remember just three times he had been this awed and this excited. The first time was when she said “Yes,” after he took nearly an hour to stammer out a “Will you marry me,” the second time, was when she said “I do,” and the third time was when he held Molly in his arms for the very first time. She was proud of him and he really stood out on his own once they moved into their own home. Well it really was Harry’s, but he had left it to them for their very own, to use. But sometimes when he really wanted something that meant a lot to him, he was like a child when he finally got it and she treasured those moments.

Hedwig returned with a small field mouse clutched in her claws and ripped into it before turning to look at the party that was staring at her. She hooted once and then hopped off with it in her beak to eat in privacy.

“I guess Harry taught her some manners.” George remarked to Hermione’s look that she had worn on her face as she watched Hedwig.

“Don’t be silly George. Hedwig has always been well behaved and well mannered. Maybe Harry let her eat with him and she just realized that she wasn’t with him.” She tried to look approvingly when she spoke but George only nodded; he had not missed the look of disgust that crossed her face when Hedwig first ripped into the mouse.

It became apparent after awhile that Hedwig intended for them to rest where they were because she had hopped back into the group and after several hoots she tucked her beak under a wing and promptly went to sleep.

Bill and Percy had closed their heads together and were having a quiet chat about Ministry doings and Percy had actually admitted that Scrimgouer as good a Minister as ever, did handle the Voldemort fiasco rather badly when it came to Harry, and Bill did agree that he thought that the Minister had handled Voldemort’s end rather skillfully if not with some finesse. Yet, Percy had his points on that. Fred and George had finally come to some agreement on something that must have dealt with their business dealings because Hermione overhead a firm “Agreed,” coming form the both of them. Ron had settled his head into her lap while she sat with her back propped against a tree. There was one thing she could say good about the Firebolt Three Thousand that Ron had not thought to mention, her bum was not the least bit sore, and for that she was thankful. Very thankful.

It was already dark when Hedwig nipped at each of the Weasley’s hands to waken them. It was a soft nip yet sufficient enough to wake them and it took only minutes to gather their things and to repack some of the items that had been left out before they were once again, high in the sky and well on their way. After Hedwig placed them on the right course she altered her speed so that she was soon abreast of Bills broom and then she angled inward and landed lightly on the broomstick and pecked at his hand and looked straight forward. It didn’t take Bill long to understand what she wanted and he looked over his shoulder and yelled out, loud enough so that all could hear, “Maximum speed on three, two, one…, go!”

All six of them leaned lower over their broom sticks and as one, became a blur as they leapt to the Firebolt’s top speed. Bill had taken a hand and pulled Hedwig in closer to his body. He didn’t need to do that as Hedwig’s own grip on the broom handle was solid enough but it was instinct for him.

Grandma Molly had just laid her granddaughter down for her nap after teaching her two more spells and a charm to exacerbate her parents further, when Fleur entered into the kitchen with Gabrielle in hand. Gabrielle was Fleur’s younger sister and was old enough to start at Hogwarts the next school year. Bill had talked Fleur into allowing Gabrielle to attend at least the first year at Hogwarts to see if she would like it and if not, then she could return to France and attend Beauxbatons as did Fleur.

“Where is Bill?” she asked as Molly straightened her skirts and causing her to stop and ask “Bill didn’t tell you? The kids left this morning to fetch Harry back and I don’t expect them for at least three more days.”

Fleur turned to her younger sister and spoke quickly. “Gabrielle, take our things to our room and freshen up, Momma Weasley and I need to talk quietly.”

Gabrielle gather up hers and Fleur’s bags without word but Molly snatched her up first with a great hug and a warm welcome which Gabrielle returned and then let her go.

Fleur had already turned to the sink to start a pot of tea but was too eager to hear the news so she flicked her wand and allowed the tea and the cups to organized themselves onto a tray and float over to the kitchen table as she and Molly settled down. Molly tried to keep the excitement from her voice as she relayed the past few days’ events and to Fleur’s surprise Molly hugged her tightly when she said that it had been Percy who mastered the plan and went with them.

Molly knew who had mastered the plan to get Percy to come home, but she would never let on that she knew everything that happened under her roof. After all, when you have raised the twins, you learned to know what happens at the Burrow before it happens. Molly watched as Fleur’s eyebrows climbed up her forehead as she told her of the startling discovery that little Molly could speak to most animals. When she had finished with that news; Fleur asked in almost a whisper “Is she a Parsel Mouth?”

Molly’s lip firmed and she shook her head and said with a sigh “We don’t know, but Harry is a Parsel Mouth and he’s just as fine a man I’ve ever known except for my Arthur, and of course Albus Dumbledore. He was a Parsel Mouth too.”

Fleur gasped at this news. She had never known about Harry and his ability, and never would have ever suspected Dumbledore of being a Parsel Mouth either.

The two women sat drinking their tea and chatting away for the rest of the afternoon. After Molly had brought Fleur up to date on the Weasley workings, the talk shifted over to the planning of Lupin’s and Tonks’ wedding. All though they had not yet set a firm date for the wedding ceremony, Molly and Fleur talked and planned as if things should be happening within the week. Just as the conversation turned back to discussing Harry once again and with whom he was following, though they did not know for sure what it was or who it was he was after, little Molly entered into the kitchen rubbing the sleep from her eyes and announced that she was hungry. She had not noticed that Fleur had returned yet. Molly turned in her chair and lifted little Molly to her lap and regretted doing so because as she did, little Molly took her hands away from her eyes and shrieked with glee at the sight of Fleur setting there.

She squirmed away from the elder Molly to worm her way into Fleur’s outstretched arms and excitedly began to ask if she had brought “Gabi-elle” with her.

Chapter 34 Completed

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PostSubject: Re: Harry Potter and the Hunt   Fri 06 Mar 2009, 11:51 pm

The Hunt

Chapter 35


McGonagal sat at her desk rubbing her temples to relieve the strain from her eyes as she read the reports that had been coming in from around the world; all reporting quiet and no unrest but each offering that there was “a feeling,” that something was amiss yet they had no clue to go on other than “a feeling.” To each separate person, it meant nothing, yet what Minerva saw was a pattern and something indeed was amiss. Even in England, since the fall of Lord Voldemort, the wizarding world here seemed happier than she could remember and here too, there was no unrest yet she felt unrest within her own bones. Leaning back in her chair, she tried to remember what it was that caused her to review that one memory just a week earlier but couldn’t place a finger as to why she did.

With Remus discovering where Harry was; and that he was in dire need, she had assumed control of the Order as well as the heading of Hogwarts, and she insisted on continuing to teach the NEWT level Transfiguration classes too, Minerva felt spent. Muttering to herself about how Albus was able to do all of these things himself and still have time to entertain his hobbies, she over heard a chuckling from the portrait which hung on the wall directly behind and just above her head. Dumbledore spoke with a hint of amusement in his voice.

“I had a most splendidly accomplished Deputy Head Mistress who oversaw the day to day operation of this most amazing school to aide me Minerva.”

She turned with a very audible harrumph just in time to catch a twinkling in his eye’s as he smiled down at her. But he continued on once he had her attention. “And a most excellent staff that followed her direction and aided her as well.”

What was really bothering her was that there was nothing that she could do to help Harry and she felt she should be on top of that as well and yet, the work load between the school and the Order of the Pheonix was crushing her. Hearing his voice was soothing and his words comforted her when Albus told her that she was doing exactly what she needed to be doing, Harry was important, and the best man for the job had already taken that position, he was talking about Remus, who did keep Minerva updated almost daily and Horace, most admirably headed up the teaching staff and kept her informed as to the schools needs, Hagrid still shepherded the first years as he had always done in the past, and Professor Flitwick still saw to the schools various events and holidays and after hiring Stan shunpike as care taker…, Albus continued to list everything that Minerva had been doing until she saw that her fatigue and frustrations were truly only her worry over Harry and his safety.

She was just about to make a scathing retort when Albus chided her for being an “overly watchful Grandmother to Harry,” when her office door opened and in walked both Horace Slughorn, her Deputy head Master and Remus Lupin. They had met at the entrance to the Head Mistress’s office and were in deep discussion as they entered her office. Horace had just come in to make his nightly reports and Remus, to update McGonagal on what was happening with Harry before he left to be with him. After hearing what Remus had to say, Remus excused himself to leave the two administrators to discuss the schools business.

After discussing the schools business, Minerva hefted the stack of reports that were meant for the Order and eyed Horace weighing him before she handed them to him for his opinion. Horace leafed through the sheaf of papers making odd comments to himself and then stood asking if he could take them with him to sort through at his leisure which meant he wanted to check with his contacts that he had helped along the way over the years, to see if they held the same feelings. Minerva gave him a dignified look that spoke loudly enough for Horace to tap the papers in his hand and with a light smile; he said encouragingly “I’ll have some answers for you within the week if that’s soon enough.” Not waiting for his dismissal Horace left the office but before he closed the door behind him he looked back inside and said “The boy will be alright Minerva. I’m sure of it.”

Slughorn closed the door behind him leaving Minerva alone in her office and allowed the revolving stairs to take him back down through the tower all the while comparing Harry’s potion skills to that of his mother Lily Potter’s. Harry had turned out to be a most exceptional potioneer during his sixth and seventh years and with some additional tutoring could have quite possibly been certified as a Potions Master, but Horace did not know that Harry had had a little help from his Advanced Potions book back then. Pushing Harry from his memory, Horace had wanted to discuss a strange rumor that one of his foreign contacts had brought to him during one of his varied Slugclub parties that he held throughout the year for his special students. Harry had been a member of this club at one time. His thoughts kept drifting back to Harry for some reason. Possibly because he felt this information is what Harry might need to aid him.

A most ancient wizarding society known as the Dragoons had been revived or at least that was the talk that he had heard. Having never heard of this society before, it took some time to find any information that spoke of it. It had originated in the ancient time of faerie collecting practioners of the darkest of magics and was lead by a Black Druid. A Druid so dark, and his crimes so great, it was said that he had poisoned the Crystree, that the ancient powers hunted him down and sentenced him into the Forbidding. It was thought that he was the creator of the Horcrux Spell but Horace found no proof of, nor any tangible evidence that it was true. Exiting the stairwell, Slughorn wondered if he should have passed along that information to McGonagal. She did look strained to the limit just then.

“Hmm, probably best that I did not say anything at the moment.”

A first year looked at him quizzically, as Horace didn’t realize that he had spoken out loud. Slughorn acknowledged the young student with a warm smile and then began whistling a popular new tune by the Weird Sister’s, as he strode down the hall heading for the dungeons for his next class. He’d speak to Minerva later about what he had learned, and he had hoped that by then he would know what this Forbidding was.

The Potions dungeon had not changed in the years that Slughorn had taken over as Hogwarts Potions Master yet Slughorn often thought that he should add some of his personal touches and perhaps lighten the classroom up a bit yet he never could seem to get about doing the task. Entering into the glumly lit room filled with tables in the back of the classroom and rows of tables and benches in the front where the students listened to his lectures before retreating to the rear of the classroom to practice their potions, Horace sat behind his desk and unlocked a bottom drawer. Pulling the drawer open, he withdrew the book he had been reading. It was about the Dragoons. Tapping the book cover with a finger, the word Dragoon began to stir up an old memory. He had heard the word once before. Just once, a very long time ago when he was a student. He looked again at the book and noted that he had missed a spot on the ancient cover when he had to cover it with a restorative potion before he could really open it to read. When he first opened the book a part of its cover crumbled in his fingers. Had Madame Pince known just how old the book was, he perhaps would not have been able to remove it from the schools Library, but he had it now. Another word from the book kept drawing at him as well. The Forbidding. It sounded as if it…, the thought wouldn’t come to him. Glancing at the clock that hung on the wall near the door, Slughorn sighed and replaced the book into the bottom desk drawer and locked it once again just as his fifth years began to file into the classroom.

Chapter 35 Continued

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PostSubject: Re: Harry Potter and the Hunt   Fri 06 Mar 2009, 11:51 pm

The Hunt

Chapter 35 continued


Striding to his lectern, he realized that he couldn’t take his mind away from his problem which was where had he heard those two words before, and with out looking, he pointed his wand to the black board and the name of four potions began to appear.

“Alright, alright let’s settle down. On the board behind me you will find the names of four different potions. I want you to break off into teams and prepare these four potions. You will find that these are quite commonly found on your OWL’s. You have two hours today to complete them. You should be able to finish with just time to spare so let’s get cracking.”

As he turned back to his desk a fifth year girl asked “Professor, are we to bottle and label them to be turned in then?”

Slughorn merely pointed his wand to the blackboard and the words “Bottle and label your potions for grading. Leave them at your tables to be collected after class. Do not forget to place your names on the bottles.”

The same young girl replied with a “Thank you sir,” and the class set about to making the first potion of the list while Slughorn sat down once again behind his desk and closed his eyes.

Retreating back into his memory, he searched for that conversation or that book he had read so long ago that spoke of the Forbidding and of Dragoons. The scraping of chairs startled him back into the present as the students began to file outside of the class and a quick glance to the back of the room showed him small vials and bottles lined up in neat rows at the ends of each table for his ease in collecting them. He was still no closer into remembering what it was he sought after; nor why it seemed so important for him to know but something was tugging at him to remember what it was. He had a dark feeling that it would be very important and that they already knew what this information meant. A sense of dread nearly overwhelmed him as he sat back down at his desk still staring out into the classroom, still filled with students preparing the potions that he had listed on the blackboard. He had not realized that his next class had already arrived.

McGonagal still sat in her office trying to sort through her own thoughts on the reports she allowed Professor Slughorn to take with him, trying to form the pattern that she had seen in her mind, trying to make sense of it yet there was something missing in which she tried vainly to put into place. Something that was left unsaid filled her with a dread she had not felt since her teen years here at Hogwarts. It frustrated her because she felt deep down that she should know what her feeling meant.

The reports all said nearly the same things, all is well and there is no unrest, but…, she bit her lip in frustration thinking that perhaps she was looking to far into what the Potter boy had said while viewing the memory in her pensieve. Voldemort was only a minion, but Grindelwald had only been loose for just a short time. He had not the chance yet to reform his armies nor could Potter have known about him as he was still Argus Filch when Harry had left and yet, Harry was either searching for him or for Severus and the Malfoy boy. Surely he was seeking Voldemort’s master and by Lupin’s report he was already nearby. A shudder ran through her as she thought of Potter having to face another Dark Lord again but Filch…, Grindelwald was still weak. Dumbledore did say that it would take quite some for him to regain his full strength and the memory charm Albus had placed on him…, surely it was not a weak one.

Why did Albus refuse to talk anymore of this? She wondered, except that Albus remained silent more often than not and when asked of this subject. He refused to say anymore of it than what he had already said in front of her and Remus. Looking at her clock that sat at the edge of her desk, she made a vexed sound as she was going to be late for the Advanced Transfiguration class that she still insisted on teaching herself. Rising from her chair she turned momentarily to Albus’s portrait that hung on the wall directly behind and just above her chair and gave it one of her sternest looks that usually prompted most students to confess to things that they had not yet done, but Dumbledore appeared to be dozing once again.

The Gargoyle leapt aside as the door opened to let McGonagal exit out of the stairway that would have led back up to her office, to allow her to pass by and then promptly took his place again to guard the entrance. Dumbledore waited until he knew that she was well away before he opened his eyes and called for a conference of the eldest ex-Headmasters. Several of them still had portraits hanging on various walls, in hallways and in offices of Ministry’s of Magic located in Europe and were asked to visit with their old counterparts to get their opinions of what they had just heard. He also asked them to learn what they could of a society known as the Dragoons. None of ex-headmasters in the portraits surrounding him asked any questions of him, but left immediately upon his instructions. If what he feared was about to happen he would need to know now. Was Grindelwald preparing to open the Forbidding once again? And if so, whom or what was he attempting to release?

The Weasley’s had been flying for nearly eight hours at top speed when Hedwig suddenly left her perch on Bill’s broomstick causing Bill and the others to pull up sharply as they watched her plummet downward before regaining her wing. Turning to follow her, the others noted that they were over a mountainous region and as they aimed downward, the blackness of the night made the terrain look ominous. She took them well away from a triple peaked formation at the top of the mountain side before descending further downward into the blackness that covered the area. As they drew nearer to the ground, each of them noticed with some relief that the blackness that looked so looming from above was actually a thick forest below them and Hedwig was leading them to a wide open area that appeared to be flat. As they circled around once again, Bill noted a small lake that bordered what looked to be a spacious meadow and pointed downward for the others to see.

Hedwig reached the end of the meadow and turned back once again and this time it was plain to see that she meant to land near the shoreline that fringed the lake area, and so the Weasleys took her cue and aimed for their landing too. Once on the ground Hedwig went straight for the lakes edge and began to drink deeply from its waters while the others looked around in the darkness.

“Is this where Harry is?”

One of the twins asked as they others stood awed in what little they could see from the dark.

“I don’t think so.” Hermione replied “But I expect that we’re closer than we think."

Bill was just coming up from the lake when he called out to the others that the water was as fresh as he had ever tasted before which caused the others to head down to the water for a drink of their own.

After a few moments, Hedwig took to the air again and hooted after them and circled until all six Wheasleys took to their brooms once again and this time, they flew slowly and at tree top level until they reached a point where Hedwig took them down into the trees until they reached a very small clearing forcing them to come to a hover before setting down.

Ron began looking around immediately as did the others, but Hermione kept her eye on Hedwig as she hopped towards a bush and then disappeared completely. She grinned as she realized that Harry was directly in front of them and his tent had been covered by his invisibility cloak. Poking her head inside, she held a finger to her lips when she saw Remus sitting beside Harry. Lupin smiled brightly at her but he kept his quiet while Hermione motioned to the others.

Chapter 35 Completed

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PostSubject: Re: Harry Potter and the Hunt   Fri 06 Mar 2009, 11:55 pm

The Hunt

Chapter 36

Weep for Harry

Hermione sat herself to deliver a cheery “Hi ya, Harry,” with a broad smile painted across her face but when she saw him laying there motionless all that came out was a tremulous “Oh, Harry.”

She fought to keep the weeping from her voice and failed miserably. Wiping tear stained cheeks with the back of her hand, she felt a nudge from behind her to move further in; but it was Lupin who saved her by telling the others that were still outside that it was a muggle type tent and with three full grown people already inside there was no more room so they would need to wait their turn. Moving so Hermione could place herself in front of Harry, Remus spoke in her ear saying that he was going back to Hogwarts to bring Madame Pomfrey back and to alert Dobby to stand ready. He knew that Dobby would be needed to help with the preparations of moving Harry.

Hermione bent to kiss Harry’s cheek but stopped short of doing so, afraid to touch him fearing that she might cause further injury and nearly jumped when Harry said “What took you so long? I’ve been waiting for ages.”

He had a wry grin on his face when he spoke.

“Oh Harry, do you hurt, is there anything I can get you, How did you get yourself in this, this mess?”

The questions came pouring out from her mouth but Harry answered them any way and in the order in which she had asked them. “Yes, no, I’ll tell you later.”

Gingerly, she brushed his hair from his forehead knowing that it would do no good but she felt that she needed to do something for him. Her weeping had subsided but the tears so flowed. Harry only blinked at her. He hated to see her cry and he hated it worse to see her powerless but then she suddenly straightened up and while dabbing at his forehead with the edge of her cloak she very matter of factly told him that he just had to get well so she could kill him for missing her wedding and raised a fist to punch him but stopped and looked at her up raised fist and said, “Yes, well that will have to wait now won’t it?” The two of them started to laugh though Harry’s held little mirth.

Ron had managed to work his way into the tent just as Hermione’s fist was being raised and stopped. Gaping at what he was seeing, Ron started to call out and then he realized what Hermione was doing as she and Harry began to laugh. Harry was unable to see Ron as he was still under the petrification curse modified as it was so that he could still talk. Harry heard several other voices still outside that were now arguing or rather very vocally encouraging him and Hermione to hurry up so they could also come inside the thent to see Harry.

Ron pulled out his wand and over his shoulder yelled out “Hang on I’ve an idea.”

Aiming his wand at the bottom seam of Harry’s tent he cast a spell and a very fine blue jet of light sprang from its tip as Ron began to cut along the edges. When Harry saw what he was doing he said “Ron no, wait a minute.” but he was too late.

The tent collapsed over the top of them.

“Oh, Ron,” was all that Hermione could say as she sat in front of Harry with the top of the tent draping over her head as well as Ron's and Harry's too.

Ron’s face reddened but then he shrugged his shoulders and said very plaintively and matter of factly, “Well it had to be done sometime sooner or late.”

As they pulled the top piece of the tent away from them, the others who were still standing outside what was left of the tent, were hiding their chuckles but a pop sobered them up as Dobby appeared followed by Madame Pomfrey and Remus.

Percy stepped forward once he saw the two and explained to Poppy what they intended and the twins produced the boards lined with foam cushion on one side of each of them. Poppy listened to their plan nodding her head with approval before she knelt to look over Harry before they proceeded. When she gave the approval and consent for them to start; it was Dobby who insisted on providing the hover charm that would lift Harry upwards so the first board could be placed underneath him. When that was done, he lowered Harry so gently onto the soft cushion that no one actually seen when he began to lower Harry until he was already flattening the cushion.

Poppy knelt once again to look Harry over and asked if he felt any discomfort other than what he was already feeling and when he asked if they could find his rock that he had been laying on for these past several days, as he had became rather fond of it being that they were practically attached to each other, she pronounced him ready to travel but after looking at the six Weasleys She said that no one would be traveling until the next day. Hoots coming from underneath the tent brought everyone’s attention around to the discarded portion of the tent that was still hidden under the cloak and the twins dropped to their knees and started to feel around until they felt the fabric. Pulling it off, Hedwig sat looking at them with ruffled feathers and a glare to her eyes that demanded an immediate apology which no one thought to give her as she hopped her way towards Harry and promptly hopped up next to him as if to nuzzle his cheek.

It was agreed that they would spend the night there and get an early start in the morning so Poppy produced two bottles of potions from her bag. One was a sleeping draft to give to Harry so that he would sleep during the flight and the other was an invigorating draft that she insisted the Weasleys drink before taking off. She added that she did not want them stopping along the way to rest because Harry may not survive any jarring. Hedwig would fly back with them so she could alert them of their arrival at Hogwarts. Someone needed to be there to catch Harry’s pallet so that it would not land on the ground and jar him.

Percy nodded his head thoughtfully as he had not thought out that part completely through. Dobby insisted on staying to stand guard through the night for the group and Remus said he would stay as well. Bill pulled Lupin off to the side and spoke to him quietly about going home and spending at least that much time with Tonks. He reminded him that he had not spent more than fifteen minutes with her since they had found Harry, and he did look far worse than the mornings after his furry adventures. Lupin only agreed after Bill promised him that there would be no campfires or loud noises throughout the night. When Bill asked why there were to be no campfires and such, all Remus would say to him is that he would have to ask Harry, and only if Harry wanted to tell them. Remus intended to at least keep a part of his promise to Harry.

Madame Pomfrey asked the twins to show her what the other board was for and they quickly laid it across Harry’s back and explained to her that they intended to tie the boards together to keep Harry as flat and as immobile as possible, and it was her turn to nod in approval with what was being suggested. Once again she gave them her instructions and then extended her arm to Remus who took it into his hand and they apparated together.

The twins where talking at length with Harry after they removed the top board and brought him up to date with their business adventures. When they told him about their expansions into other countries Harry let out a long and low whistle and said, “So does your Mum still disapprove then?”

“Nope, not in the least little bit.” Fred replied very candidly. George picked up the telling by telling Harry that they had tried to buy her a new home but she refused to leave the Burrow. When they told Harry that they had been making deposits into his account at Gringotts; Harry tried to argue with them but they insisted that he had been a full partner since the day he had insisted on them taking his Tri-Wizard Tournament prize money as their start up loan. When Harry asked about Lee Jordan, who had been their partner in crime all through Hogwarts, they nodded their heads and said that he did work for them and was handsomely paid but he wasn’t a partner in the business. Lee served as their Finance Manager and then Fred lowered his voice and told Harry that once Hermione graduated this Muggle University and retained her Solicitor’s License, they were going to offer her a job as their full time Legal Consultant and Solicitor. Harry grinned at them and if he could have moveed, he would have applauded their success. He couldn’t think of anyone better to have succeeded other than Ron and the twins.

Ron and Hermione took another turn at visiting Harry and brought him up to date on their family and Harry was ecstatic when he heard that Ron was now a fully qualified Auror but he was really eager to hear more about Missy Molly. Hermione beamed when Harry recanted his visit with her, and how smart she was, and the three of them laughed again when Harry told them that Molly was going to fix him right up by using the “Pisky” spell. Hermione almost doubled over when Harry described the look on Molly’s face when she examined the tip of her wand when nothing came out of it. When Ron yawned, Hermione said that they should find a place to sleep for the night and let Harry get his rest too but Ron wanted to tell Harry about his new broom. The look on her face told Ron that that could wait for another day and with that, Hermione leaned over and kissed Harry on the cheek and said hers and Ron’s good nights and they left Harry to be alone.

Bill and Percy took their place in line to have a chat with Harry that evening and when Harry saw Percy sitting there His face tightened a bit but Percy immediately launched into an apology to Harry. Harry’s face began to relax as Percy explained himself and for what seemed like the twentieth time, asked Harry to forgive him for his pomposity and his arrogance. Not once did Percy try to defend his actions or those of the Ministry’s and when Harry’s eye’s turned to Bill’s, Bill gave the slightest of nods to Harry. Percy finally stopped apologizing when Harry got a chance to tell him that amongst friends and family there was nothing to apologize for. After that, Percy left Bill to speak with Harry alone and it was Bill that brought Harry up to date with everything else, the Weasley’s, Harry’s finances, Lupin and Tonks, and finally, with the Order.

Chapter 36 Continued

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PostSubject: Re: Harry Potter and the Hunt   Fri 06 Mar 2009, 11:56 pm

The Hunt

Chapter 36 continued

Weep for Harry

Harry remained quiet while Bill spoke of what they knew and when the talk came around to Filch, Harry’s eyebrow’s rose in disbelief. He had his own questions to ask which Bill readily answered for him until in turn they both began to yawn suggesting that it was time to end their chat for the night which had already grown into the late hours. When Bill finally left Harry, Hedwig nestled herself right up against Harry’s cheek and then turned her head as if to keep watch for the night though Dobby had already taken that position himself several hours earlier.

Dobby sat watching in the dark, his back leaning against a tall dark evergreen that stood slightly uphill from where the Weasleys had settled themselves down for the night and just to the right of his master. An excitement boiled itself deep within him tonight yet, he held onto his patience, loosely; but still enough to control his anticipation of his master finally getting to leave here. His Elvin magic felt the evil that lay just mere miles away and it was in that direction that he settled his gaze. The more he looked up the mountain side the more something most ancient burned deep inside of him. It was a warrior’s stance he had taken without even noticing himself rising from his cross legged sitting. His features took on a far off gaze as he looked into the night avoiding the normal night’s noise and filtering in sounds that did not belong. His hands itched for the bow or the sword; they felt naked without these things. A faint aura caused him to turn his head towards Harry’s slumbering body and he nodded once to the sight before his eyes. James and Lily had taken their nightly vigilance over Harry as well. Lily turned to look at Dobby and nodded to an Elven warrior as she saw Dobby standing there in the night six feet tall and dressed in a shimmering mail shirt. In her eyes, she saw an Elven warrior from the first age of time rather than a small wrinkled, pointed eared, long nosed, and wide eyed House Elf. She saw Dobby as he truly should have been, A High Captain of the Elven Guard standing his watch.

Dobby stood tall in the night, peering upwards towards the mountain's peaks and he wondered how he had gotten here. House Elf to the Greatest Wizard he had ever known except of course for Albus Dumbledore, on loan to one of the finest wizarding families he had ever known, protector and guardian to a child who in his opinion, was destined to be as great as his Master if not more so. He smiled inside his mouth with that thought as his face maintained his vigilance over the campsite.

A strong voice inside his head spoke levelly and steady “I would lay my life down should they live on for another day.” His blood nearly boiled with that oath yet it felt rightfully said, and his features took on a fiercer look and his stance became more ready for violence should there be any need.

Morning broke early for this area and the first light of the day found the Weasley’s wiping sleep from their eye’s and slowly standing up to work sore muscles that had knotted in the night from the lack of blankets and bedding. Just another small slight in their plan but no one seemed any the worse for this small over sight. Dobby still stood in his stance when he was called to bring water for the morning’s tea for which he promptly disappeared and re-appeared with a teapot filled with water. Bill started a small fire and took the pot from Dobby's hand when the rest of the Weasley’s announced that they were going to fly back to the lake they had seen the night before for a quick wash. While the tea brewed Bill sifted through their packs and managed to put together a small breakfast for the group once they returned. The tea was ready before anyone returned and to Dobby’s great shock Bill offered him a hot cup to drink which he took eagerly and yet was uncertain if he should take such liberties with his Masters.

“Drink up Dobby we have much to do before we get started.” Bill looked at his watch and grimaced at the time. It was nearly six in the morning and it would take at least ten hours of flying straight through to reach Hogwarts. They would have to wait nearly two more hours before they could leave so that they could arrive in the twilight hours of their home time.

Gathering up all of their packs and making sure that nothing was being left behind including Harry’s Invisibility Cloak, Bill waited for the rest of his family to return before handing Dobby all of their belongings to take with him as he was going to return first to fetch Remus and Madame Pomfrey back to where they were as per Madame Pomfrey's instructions from the night before. When all was done, Dobby was nearly hidden amidst a stack of back packs and other oddments which belonged to Harry and the Weasleys when he apparated home to begin his own preparations. Harry called Bill to his side, he had to tell Bill that they must avoid the Mountain peaks at all cost preferably far enough out of sight of the mountain peaks as possible, but he would not explain why.

Remus and Madame Pomfrey arrived just as Harry exacted Bill’s promise to avoid being in sight of the mountain peaks, and Harry’s removal became a matter of moments. Fred and George placed themselves next to Harry while Madame Pomfrey fed him his sleeping draft after which Harry smacked his lips and between a mixture of a wwry grimace, a smile, and choking, he announced that it tasted every bit as good as he remembered. After a few more moments, Poppy gave her permission for the boys to close Harry up and then she supervised the two boards being tied together and then to satisfy herself, she pointed her wand and incanted the words “Incarcerous.” Golden strands of rope zoomed from the tip of her wand and wrapped completely around the boards from side to side and then top to bottom as the six Weasley’s lined their brooms three to a side, and took lengths of rope and tied Harry‘s caisson to their brooms.

Poppy took the invigorating drafts that she had given Hermione the night before and made sure that they each drank a full gulps worth before she stood back with Remus and watched them slowly rise together taking up the slack in the rope until Harry was nearly a foot off the ground. Remus stopped them and tapped his wand against the caisson which made each rope to either shortened itself or lengthened itself until Harry was perfectly level and about six feet underneath them and then he gave them the signal to go.

Working as one, the six Weasleys hovered for a short moment and then slowly began lifting straight up into the air until Harry was just above the trees and then slowly started to fly Southward, down and away from the mountain top staying just above the tops of the trees until Bill could no longer see the peaks of the mountain and then he slowly turned them Eastward and began to climb higher and higher. Hedwig flew onto Bill’s broomstick and once again took her perch just in front of him. There was no need for her to lead the way this time round.

Bill looked at his watch and their detour ate up the time he thought they would have to sit and wait and he smiled. Looking around him at the others, each of them had either a smile or a grin pasted on their faces and yet no one was speaking. He also noted with great relief that each of them had their goggles firmly in place and their cloaks tied tightly about themselves, Hermione had even braided her hair up and had it neatly tucked under her cloak. Once they had reached an altitude that he felt safe to fly at, he shouted over his shoulders, “Full speed on three, two one, and Go!"

All six of them leaned forward on their brooms in unison and as one, they bolted off in a single blur. They would have to fly at top speed this way for eleven hours without stopping before they would reach Hogwarts. Bill’s face had set itself with determination and he knew that each of the others had done the same without even looking to see.

Remus and Poppy stepped back as the Weasley’s slowly drifted upward and watched as they turned south together and slowly edged out of sight staying just above the tree tops. Poppy looked down at her feet to gather her bag up while Remus looked around the campsite and gathered up what remained of Harry’s tent. Poppy stood waiting while Lupin took one final walk through the campsite satisfying himself that everything had been cleared away before he took her arm and together they apparated back to Hogwarts to begin the long wait for Harry’s safe return.

High up on the mountains peak Draco stood on his favorite shelf pacing once again at his fathers reluctance to tell him where or what his mother was doing and why she had not come with him. As he looked out and down the mountain side he saw a dark speck flying low above the trees heading southward and he followed it until it left his sight. He didn’t care what it was and from this distance it had no shape but he watched it with interest.

He had just come up from the cell in which his father was being kept and was sickened by his father’s ranting. It made no sense to him as he listened to how many different ways Lucius wanted to kill Snape. Draco felt like that at times but what would make his father so angry that he would lose his composure and control is what bothered him the most. He was certain that Narcissa was following the Dark Lord’s instructions and that was why she wasn’t here now but something about his father’s avoidance in answering his questions made him doubt once again if that were true.

There was something, a feeling of dread that surrounded him when he met his father this morning. Something that Snape had taught him about how people act and react, their mannerisms, and their body language that caused him to suspect that his father had done something to his mother. His anger at his father’s refusal to speak of her festered deep inside of him and Draco was allowing it to build. For some reason he did not yet know why, he needed his anger to swell up and envelope him for the next meeting.

Snape had disappeared once again and that added to his anger. Draco did not like being left alone, not knowing what was happening but he also knew that when the time was right Severus would tell him what was happening. He had been this way several times over the last four years but this time he seemed worried or anxious, or perhaps both. and with his father appearing as he did ,it seemed to complicate matters more so than ever before. He was alone so why can’t he just apparate home to see his mother just once?

“Foolishness is what it is. The manor will be watched.” Draco spoke the words aloud as he slammed a fist into his hand. “My hands are tied and I cannot breathe for myself!” Draco’s fury was burning now as he shouted to a carrion bird that flew overhead. “Father the next we meet, you will tell me what I want to know, I swear it!” The bird circled but paid no heed to Draco’s shouts of anger.

Chapter 36 Completed

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PostSubject: Re: Harry Potter and the Hunt   Fri 06 Mar 2009, 11:58 pm

The Hunt

Chapter 37

Not a Care

Severus had woken early; dressed, and then breakfasted alone in his chamber. Mulling over yesterdays events, taking each step apart and viewing each nuance of what had happened and what was said by Lucius Malfoy, he steepled his fingers and laid his head against them forming conclusions and casting them aside rejecting what they displayed in his mind. He had absorbed himself in what Lucius was hinting at and the accusations that he had all but made vocal yet nothing made sense to him. One thing that he was most certain of was that his one time friend was ranting and had been delusional.

A Confundus Charm perhaps? There had not been enough time to see if a charm or spell had been cast upon him and he dared not confront Lucius just yet. Not until he had more information to go by.

The chamber that Snape had chosen was simple and austere with only a simple ladder backed chair, a table on which to write and dine on, and an oil filled lamp which provided most of the light that now lit his room. A wash basin sat on a wooden pedestal at the far corner of the chamber and a old fashioned wardrobe covered the opposite wall. Severus was sitting at his table with his elbows propped on top of the table for nearly an hour now and he had still come no closer to what had possessed Lucius to do as he had done. Suddenly he stood and crossed the room to his cloak which was hanging from a peg that had been driven into the stone wall and went to a hidden pocket where he always kept a spare wand hidden in case of emergencies, and withdrew a rolled up note, opened it and read it again.


I hope this note finds both you and Draco well. I bear ill tidings today. I have just learned that our Dark Lord, our Master, has been defeated by Harry Potter. I do not know the details nor when this happened, but I know it to be the truth. Bellatrix and the others have devised a plan to rescue Lucius inside a fortnight. Please make all haste wherever you are; to the Fortress of old. There, Lucius and I will meet with you and our son. You are a good man and I know that Lucius will honor you for the aid you have given his son. You have been a trusted friend and a trusted ally. Please continue Draco’s education.

Narcissa Malfoy

Severus crumbled up the note as he realized what piece of information he had overlooked. Narcissa was coming to meet them with Lucius which meant that something had occurred along the way. A wry smile crossed his pale skinned face as another piece slipped into position. Bellatrix, when Narcissa stole into the night many years earlier, was disparate. She did not want Narcissa to come to him, was she being boastful perhaps? Narcissa knew where he stood with their Master yet Bellatrix seemed upset by that. Was she jealous that she did not stand at the Master’s right hand anymore? Was she envious enough to…, did she plot, did she whisper in Lucius’s ear?

“Ahh, yes that is what Bellatrix is best at.”

A smile crossed his face as a vision crossed his mind’s eye. Snape leaned back in his chair as he poured over this train of thought. Abruptly he stood and crossed the chamber once again and snatched his cloak from its peg and opened the door to his room and stalked out.

Making his way towards the ledge that he knew Draco to favor, he worked the steps through his mind once again and with what little evidence he had, it fit into a picture. Severus rounded two corners and took the pathways that led upward until he finally found himself stepping out onto an empty ledge just as the sun began to rise. Draco did not know that Snape knew where he retreated to most days but Snape also felt that a young man needed a place to go to be alone when troubled; so he never made mentioned that he did know of this ledge and he knew of the two paths that led from it as well. Looking at each of the paths and studying them intensely Severus decided on one and began to trek downward along the side of the mountain wall until he came to a narrow opening that led around a corner and stopped. Noting a small alcove, he peered inside of it and smiled. Someone had indeed spent at least one night in here.

Taking long quick strides Snape worked his way further down the pathway for nearly an hour. The morning’s air held a chill in the wind that blew softly and yet it still could be called a breeze as he surveyed a scene on the path that told a story to his eyes. He was sweating from the exertion of coming down the side of the mountain as quickly as he did yet he drew his cloak tighter about himself as he began looking more intently to the sides of the path. A bush came into view that looked as if someone had pushed through it so he left the path and followed the broken bramble until he came upon a mound that lay in a small heap. Severus knelt down and turned the heap over to see the still wide eyed look of Narcissa Malfoy’s face. It was not a look of horror that had fixed itself upon her face as Snape gazed upon her. It was a look of surprise, of sorrow, and of pity. How she could have placed those emotions into just one frozen moment eluded him.


Water poured from the tip of his wand as Snape washed her face clean of the dirt that had embedded itself into her pale skin and then turned his attention to her hands. He showed no emotion nor entertained any thoughts while doing so. Narcissa was of no concern to him, none. Without hurry, he straightened her cloak and wiped the excess dirt away from her clothes and then straightened her limbs pushing a shoe back onto her foot while doing so. Her wand was laying a few feet away from her so he leaned over and took her wand into his hand wiping the dirt from it before placing the wand inside her cloak and then arranged her cloak once more. His face remained placid while he did what he did, there was no show of emotion, he had no reason to care…, and she was of no concern to him. Lifting her head, he combed his fingers through her pale blond hair raking bits of bramble and debris from her hair and wiping away any dirt that had found its way into her beautiful white blond hair, he then laid her back down and sat back on his haunches. He wondered just what she had supposedly done to deserve what had happened here. What lies did Bellatrix speak? He sat with her for a long while occasionally arranging her hair or her clothes. Occasionally cleaning away dirt from her body or from her clothes that he had not seen before. He showed no emotion no concern…, none.

Snape squatted there on his haunches looking down upon the lifeless body and pictured the dignity that Narcissa had once carried with her as if it were a badge. He had admired her for many years. He admired the strength of character that marked her as a person who did what they said they would do and he admired her for her strength in magic too. Narcissa was a Mistress of Potions in her own right and her death was a loss that could not be shared. He admired greatness with skill, and Narcissa owned a deftness, with potions that equaled his. She might have risen high within the ranks of the Death Eaters yet she gave up her position when Draco was born and devoted her life to his being. A scowl crossed his face as he thought of the wasted efforts of the boy yet she doted on Draco and the devotion had to be admired whether or not it was misplaced. Her qualities came to him unbidden and unordered yet he showed no emotion towards her. She intrigued him, and that intrigue is what caused him to remain close to her. She could have been a formidable woman had she not given everything up to raise her son, she might have even risen higher than he or Lucius had she not removed herself.

Snape reached down and grasped her hands and pulled the body to a setting position before pulling her up into his arms. He had decided to bring her with him until he could deliver her to Draco’s care. He might not have cared but he would not keep this from Draco should his own plans work out. He had no idea why he was doing this, nor why he felt the need to find her. Something of his own past perhaps, or somewhat of how Draco must be feeling now. He pitied her really. Narcissa was a strong woman who gave everything up because Lucius demanded it of her. His mind whirled with unbidden wanderings as he carried her back to the cave. His thoughts would trail off, or end in nonsense. He felt nothing for Narcissa Malfoy, nothing but pity at what had to have been a senseless killing on Lucius’s part and he was sure that Bellatrix had planted some thought of her and him that led Lucius to do what he had done but he had no proof. Bitterly, he cursed himself and cleared his mind. He had to maintain his composure for just a bit longer and then it would all be over for him at least.

Snape neared the open mouth of the cave and then apparated to lowest chambers to lay Narcissa down on a table to hide her until the time would come for Draco to take her home. Angrily, her turned to leave her where he laid her down and immediately cleared his mind once again. Outside the Chamber, he straightened his cloak and adjusted his breathing and resolved his calmness before striding away in search of Draco. He had to keep him away from his father for just a little while longer. As Snape made his way toward the upper levels his right arm began to burn. Rolling up his sleeve the imprint of a Dragon began to appear of his forearm. The Great lord had summoned him to the Chamber.

Snape entered the Chamber and immediately bowed and then closed the door and sealed its entrance before bowing once again and then moved briskly towards the desk at the far end where he bowed once more and this time he knelt so that his right fist was firmly planted onto the ground and his head bowed low.

“Ah, Severus as prompt as usual I see. Is the boy readied?”

Grindelwald seemed as if he was being a bit cavalier in his behavior which might suggest a good mood but Snape remained as he was, a faithful servant and he answered him quickly.

“Yes, Great Master, the boy is ready but I fear we may have a slight problem.”

Grindelwald’s expression changed quickly but his tome remained even.


Snape dutifully explained the recent events involving Lucius’s appearance and his failure to answer his son’s questions concerning his mother and of Snape’s discovery only just this morning.

“And the boy’s mother? You brought her here?” Grindelwald asked.

“Yes Great Master, she is below in the lower chambers. ”Snape’s answer was directed to the floor as he dared not raise his head.

“And you have designs for this woman then?” Grindelwald pressed on.

“Yes Great Master.. The woman will be returned to her son for his disposal once he has been raised.” Again Snape addressed the floor.

Snape dared not look upward as Grindelwald kept silent waiting for Snape to continue on with his explanation and when it did not come he spoke again. “The boy is your protégé Severus and I charged you with his care. You seem to think that this is necessary then.” It was more a question than a statement and Snape sensing the need for an answer he spoke.

“Yes Great Master, the boy should see that which his father discards as useless. It will teach him patience when making such decisions for your greatness.”

Snape wanted to bite his lip for offering more than what was needed but Grindelwald misunderstood his meaning and said, “Yes, you are quite right Severus. I will honor the boy and allow him to punish his father when the convention arrives. Now rise and step forth.”

Snape did as he was commanded and stepped forward to the desk, his head till bowed. Grindelwald reached forward and took Snape’s right arm and pushed back his sleeve. Grindelwald made several flicks with his wand and then tapped Snape’s forearm with the tip of the wand and the Dragon disappeared.

“Step back Severus.”

Snape bowed and retreated to where he had been and knelt once again with his right fist pushed against the floor and his head bowed.

“The convention will meet in two days time here in the Chamber Severus. The Dread Lords will walk again, you are dismissed!”

Severus rose to his feet and bowed deeply and stepped backwards bowing his way to the door where he let himself out and then allowed himself to breathe deeply.

Just two more days and it shall be done with or without Potter.”

Chapter 37 Continued

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PostSubject: Re: Harry Potter and the Hunt   Fri 06 Mar 2009, 11:59 pm

The Hunt

Chapter 37 continued

Not a Care

He was concerned about Potter for the last four days. He knew that he had been near but had not sensed the use of any magic since the night of the heavy rain. Though Severus did not really know if it was Potter, deep down inside of him he did know. Harry had followed him and Draco all across the world, and had nearly caught them several times. It could have been no one other then Harry Potter that had camped out just down the mountain side. But now, his worry was how to prepare Draco to do as he had wished for, for so long now. Draco just might realize the power that was being offered him. Only hope would make Draco understand where Grindelwald came from and only hope would make him understand just what Grindelwald intended to do. Snape had used these years to understand What Grindelwald was about and he could not allow the Forbidding to be opened.

As he directed his feet towards his own chamber he wondered if he had taught Draco enough of the old magics and enough of the arcane and dark magics for the boy to realize, for him to understand just what this would mean if it were allowed to happen. Snape wondered if indeed he would have to end it all himself.

“It would spoil everything I’ve planned. Potter where are you?” He hissed with vehemence as he lengthened his steps and hurried to put distance between himself and Grindelwald’s chambers.

Snape reached for the knob of his door and stopped. Tilting his head he listened for the footsteps he had heard when he stopped and then he turned to face them. Draco had rounded the corner and stepped into the passageway just ahead of him and was coming nearer.

“Severus, a moment of your time please.”

It was not a request, and Snape pushed open his door and stepped aside gesturing to Draco to precede him. Draco stepped inside the small chamber and moved to the side to allow Snape to enter behind him. Draco had not been in here before and looked around him and sneered at the bareness and austerity of the room, but remained silent and kept his scorn to himself. Snape took the only chair that was in the chamber and turned it to face Draco before setting down in it to await whatever it was that Draco thought important enough to seek him out.

Flicking his wand Severus produced another chair similar to his and gestured for Draco to take the seat yet Draco remained standing and paced to and fro in the short few strides that remained in the small chamber. Finally Draco squared his shoulders.

“Do you know where my mother is? My father refuses to answer any question and only babbles about killing you. Why?”

Snape leaned back into his chair and steepled his fingers against his chin as he looked down his nose to the floor. “Draco, sit down.” It was an offer, a gesture of kindness yet it sounded every bit of a firm command.

Draco still stood until Snape extended a hand towards the chair and said “Sit, Draco.” Though the gesture was outwardly friendly, almost fatherly in kind, Snape’s voice was firmer than before and its tone suggested that there would be no more offers of kindness and the undertones suggested that there be no disobedience.

Draco looked about the chamber and its bareness once again before he took the offered chair and sat with his arms folded and a sulkiness replaced the features on his face. Snape steepled his fingers once again and resumed their tapping against his chin as he looked upon Draco setting there watching him and then finally he began to speak.

“Your mother is dead…”

Draco shot out of his chair but Snape’s wand was out in a flash.

“Sit down Draco. I am not finished.”

Snape’s voice took on that dangerous oily tone of command. It was the wand that Draco eyed as he retook his seat though every fiber within him strained to scream out, to lash out, to unleash the fury that had been boiling deep within him since the night before. He had thought that he had contained that feeling and had thought that he was prepared to hear the worst of it from his father.

Fighting desperately to keep his voice even and steady he asked “How?”

Snape watched him carefully for a full minute before he answered. “Draco I need to tell you something that after hearing it, it may explain what I think you may have already known.”

Snape’s voice took on that fatherly tone once again yet he needed to proceed carefully. He watched as Draco’s fists clenched and unclenched in time with his breathing and Snape knew that he was trying to control a most certain rage. Draco was now strong enough and quick enough that if he missed anything Draco could quite possibly kill him. He allowed the silence to grow for just a little bit longer before he began.

“Do you recall our lecture of Calling on the Dragon?” he watched carefully as Draco nodded, and mentally incanted Legillimense.

Draco’s thoughts were swirling as Snape searched for what Draco was thinking, He was not thinking straight and had not closed his mind.

“Good then, now listen carefully and you will understand and know where to direct your anger when I reveal how your mother was killed.”

Draco was now taking short and very rapid breaths and his fists had tightened so that the skin across his knuckles had turned white against the strain yet he appeared to be calming down. Snape looked to Draco’s thoughts again and though they were also slowing his mind still swirled in a mass of confusion, anger, and…, grief?

“There were two wizards of our time who practiced this magic and also a much rarer form of Calling on the Dragon. It is called the Dragon’s Breath. There is only one now, who remains alive that still practices this magic. The other, Albus Dumbledore, considered it to be of the most ancient of magics and the darkest.”

“That old fool?” Draco interrupted with a contemptuous scowl as he spit the words out.

Snape’s eye’s flared for the briefest of moments before continuing on. “It was this other Wizard which taught our master the ancient ways of the dark arts, and it was this wizard who twisted our master’s mind It was this wizard who placed the thoughts of immortality into our master’s head. However, Our master was not of this kind of wizard Draco. Immortality belongs only to a small group of wizards and even then, their lives are not infinite”

Snape’s voice was raising in volume and in forcefulness and as he spoke he began to lean towards Draco and with a resounding smack on the table with his hand, he nearly shouted “And it was this wizard, who caused your mother’s death by twisting your father and your aunts minds!” Spit flew from his mouth as he spoke the last few words.

Draco sat stunned for a few moments, his face reddened with the heat of both anger and fear. Angered because Snape had caused him to lean backwards and away from him as he loomed into his face and fear of what Snape might do. Snape sat back into his chair and his voice returned to normal as he finished speaking.

“And it is this wizard who is now your Great Master, and it is this wizard whom we await so that he may introduce you to the convention of the Dragoons.”

Snape looked to Draco’s thoughts and found them swirling again in a more orderly mass of confusion. He smiled to himself inside his cheeks but his mouth remained firm and unyeilding, he had planted the seed of doubt and confusion that he had wanted. He had told him everything and yet nothing. Draco’s mind was roiling trying to absorb what he had just heard and to sort out how this information affected him and his family, what it had to do with his mother, and with a maddening pace he tried to puzzle it through, to picture what Snape had just said but all he could focus on was that this man caused his mothers death.

Snape had hoped to unsettle Draco and he withheld the one answer Draco sought after the most. Yet he was able to turn Draco’s rage towards Grindelwald without mentioning his name. he still had two more days in which to prepare Draco and to let him learn that he was to kill his own father in the presence of the members of the convention. Standing up and walking around Draco he placed a reassuring hand on Draco’s shoulder and soothingly he said “We still have a few more days Draco. We can think of something that might save your father yet.”

Chapter 37 Completed

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PostSubject: Re: Harry Potter and the Hunt   Sat 07 Mar 2009, 12:03 am

The Hunt

Chapter 38

Afraid of The Dark

The fortress, as Draco now knew what these mountain side caves where called, was silent as he roamed aimlessly through its empty halls and passageways trying to sort out what Snape had told him earlier that morning. His mother was dead and he had known about it for how long? The question weighed on him. Reasons and justifications had come to mind for Snape not telling him and he clung to the fact that Severus might have wanted to spare his feelings on the subject after what he had witnessed of his father and perhaps that’s why his father was... He didn’t want to say it. It couldn’t be true. His father had always been strong. Azkaban could not have bent him like that. It had to have been the strain of learning of her death and that’s why he didn’t want to tell his only son. His mother dead, his father gone daft, and Severus said that the Dark Lord had bent his aunt’s mind and ruined her, his Master dead, and this rubbish about a new Great Master and some old twits trying to revive some old society was more than his mind could sift through. He had to be ready in just two days for..., for what he didn’t even begin to understand what Severus had been prattling about. Deep down he was scared. Scared out of his wits and yet he was expected to kill again and this time his own father.

Startled by what he was thinking, he stopped in his tracks with a sickened look of his face. He had not even realized what he was thinking about until that name popped into his head. Harry Potter. He had been wondering what Harry would be doing and what he would be thinking about if the roles were reversed. He hadn’t gone soft and surely he wasn’t addled in the brains, so why had he been thinking of what Potter would do? He did have to admit that Potter had gotten out of some pretty tight situations by himself when they were in Hogwarts together and he had not been scared like this nor had to face what he was looking at, or had he. And, Potter had already lost both of his parents. What would Potter do?

Draco Malfoy never did like Harry Potter. He had introduced himself to him once on the train to Hogwarts some ten years earlier and even offered Potter his hand. Offered to guide him and be his friend but Potter refused to take his hand and refused to accept his guidance, taking up with a blood traitor like Weasley and hanging on every word of that jumped up mud blood Hermione Granger, as if she knew everything in the world. But for some reason he found himself to be not quite unlike Potter right now, what with everything hanging on his shoulders and being expected to perform as if he had all the answers. “So what would Potter do then?” There was no one around him to answer his questions.

He found himself in a passageway with his wand tip lit not even realizing when he had done so, and held his wand aloft so that he could see where he was. The chamber was pitch black and he could see little so he extinguished his wand and with another flick he sent a blue ball of flame into the air and gasped. He had entered into the very bowels of the cave system and perhaps the largest chamber he had seen since arriving. Crystals gleamed in the light as he looked upon stalactites and stalagmites of varying heights and thickness. Formations known as Soda Straws, Pop Cycles, Fried Eggs, and a lake that was so placid it appeared as if it might have been iced over with a crystal clear sheet of ice or perhaps made of glass. A small path centered the chamber leading to the lakes edge; and he followed that path. Tiny sounds of water drops echoed in the stillness of the room. Had he not had other problems on his mind, he might have been awed by this sight but curiosity rose quickly. So, he entered further into the room, walking silently on the path before him.

By all appearances, no one had been in here for hundreds of years and maybe even longer if even ever, but the path was not made naturally so some one had to have been down there. The globe of light followed him as he strode downward going still deeper into the mountain. He reached a point where the path split three ways and stopped to consider which direction to take. Turning around to face the direction in which he had just came, he pointed his wand to the ground and softly spoke the incantation “Flagrate`.” A red X appeared on the path where he had just been and then he turned around and took the path that angled to the left towards the lake. In no more than a few paces he found himself standing at the lakes edge but the path seemed as if it led into the water. Taking a deep breath he gingerly placed the toe of his foot into the water but felt only firmness underneath so he looked down thinking that he had not stepped far enough forward and was astonished to see his foot firmly on top of the water. He took his foot back and squatted so that he could study what he had just seen.

His mind was clear now and he had placed what he was thinking in the back of his head as he studied the water. Finding a small pebble, Draco tossed it to where his foot had just been and not only watched it sink but, heard the plunk as it struck the flatness of the lake. Standing up, he stepped onto the water once again and felt the firmness of its surface and so he took another step forward and then a third and then a fourth step until he was about halfway across the lake or so he thought as he couldn’t see either side in the darkness. Marveling, Draco walked across the surface of the water until he reached the far side if the lake, It took nearly fifteen minutes to reach the opposite side and he found another pebble to toss into the water and heard the splash of it hitting the surface. He grinned and gave a slight nod of his head as if to acknowledge the magic he knew to be there and then turned to continue on.

The path ambled in its way but seemed to always lead in one general direction and he followed it for nearly half an hour until it stopped against a stone wall. Thinking for only a moment, Draco tapped the wall and said “Reveal your secret “ The walled seemed to shimmer and just as abruptly as the path ended the stone was replaced by an old rough hewn wooden door. Draco tried the handle but it was locked. He tapped the handle and incanted the unlocking spell “Alohamora.” He heard the lock click and the door opened of its own accord.

Draco pushed the door opened and noticed that it made no noise as he opened it just enough to peer inside but saw only blackness. His heart began to race and his breath quickened in time and pace with his pulse. Conjuring up another sphere of light, he sent it floating into the room. He saw nothing again. He looked around him as if someone might be watching and pushed to door opened further and stepped inside adding another globe of light to the one already inside. He found row upon row of shelves stacked high in the chamber. It was a vast library of sorts. He stepped into one of the stacks and removed a book from its shelf. It was heavier that it first appeared and he nearly let it fall to the floor as its weight caused him to grasp it with both hands. The book was large and leather bound. it looked as if it may have been there for a thousand years as it was covered in dust and the leather had cracked and hardened. He turned the book over, wiping the dust away with his hand and read the title “The Druid Histories. First Tome of the Second Age.” Replacing the Tome he stepped further into the stacks and pulled another book down and read its title after cleaning away the dust and read a similar title, “The Druid Histories. Fifty Third Tome of the Second Age.”

Draco returned to the main aisle to discover that both sides were filled with stacks of books as he ventured deeper into the Library. He had no clue how far he had gone when he reached a group of tables that were rather long and wide surrounded by chairs with lamps arranged in the centers of the tables every few feet apart. Taking a chance, he lit one of the lamps and when nothing happened he lit several more until there was sufficient light to discover that the ends of each of the stacks; held brackets that also had lamps of their own.

Sitting down at the nearest table, he noticed that at the far end of the tables stood what looked like a podium so he stood up and made his way towards it. A very large tome lay atop of the podium and he dusted off its cover to read ”Directory of Histories.” He tried to pick the book up and found to be too large and too heavy so he opened it to find that it was sorted by subject and then referenced which stack the tome was to found in and which history and in some cases a list of histories and their Ages in which information on a subject could be reviewed or studied. Idly, he glanced down the page he had turned to, and found a listing on the Goblin war or wars. It seemed as if there had been several throughout the various Ages of time, and then a thought struck him, he searched for Dragons Mist and found that the list covered nearly three whole pages of references in nearly every tome. Well it seemed as if it must have been every tome as there was at least a hundred or so listed. At least!

Draco had to stand as the muscles down his back had stiffened in the hours that he had spent leafing through the volumes that lay opened on the table before his seat. Stacks of tomes littered the table. He had discovered that the Dragoons were originally formed by the ancient society of Druids. A society that had honor bound themselves to battle and defeat the evil that plagued the age of faerie. They existed for one purpose and that purpose was to scourge evil from the lands. They were the ones that formed a prison known as the Forbidding. The head of their Order, at the beginning of the Second Age had discovered a means of immortality and began to delve into the dark arts until he was broken. Grindelwald had been sentenced to the Forbidding for dark crimes and as he was passed through and into the Forbidding he swore vengeance and his return. Draco had searched for more information about this, about Grindelwald, but there was none. The Dragoons were disbanded when they began to force payments for their protection against evil and several of their members had been sentenced and exiled into the Forbidding as well.

Leaning back over the table, Draco closed the tome he was reading. He sought for the volume that contained the information concerning the Forbidding and found it underneath half a dozen other tomes and reopened it to the page that he had marked.

Once sentenced into the Forbidding, one cannot be returned, however a balance must be maintained so it is possible that one may find a weakness and exploit that weakness. This can only be done when another is being placed into the Forbidding. The Avendesoro Tree maintains the living barrier that seals the Forbidding and if and only if the Tree of life can be sickened the barrier to the Forbidding will remain solid and sealed until the end of time. Care for the Avendesoro has been entrusted to the care of the Silvani…,

He closed the book again. He was missing something very important and he knew it. Snape had hinted at some of this but he made no sense of it. A curl in his lip formed as he snorted as he said “He might as well been speaking gibberish for all the sense he made.” But, Snape seldom if ever spoke gibberish. He was telling him something while trying not to say anything at all.

Glancing back down to the volumes of books, Draco stifled a yawn. He had been at this reading for a very long time, longer than he had realized and he was hungry too but something kept tugging at him, not wanting him to leave. He needed an escape.

“By the Gods! Escape!”

Draco turned back to the tomes and leafed through the last few books. “It can’t be!” he muttered to himself as he sought for the pages that he had just read, failing to place a marker in them. The words immortality, escape, and Grindelwald coursed through his mind as he scanned from one book to the next. Rushing to the Directory he scanned its lists looking for Grindelwald’s name. It wasn’t there, yet his name had been mentioned. A sudden thought came to him when he couldn’t find the name. He couldn’t have been stricken from the records, Draco was sure of it. Grindelwald had to be listed. He remembered the name from a chocolate frog card he had read once a very long time ago. Dumbledore defeated him the same year the Dark Lord left Hogwarts.

He had forgotten about his hunger as he searched the volumes and tried to cross reference events with the Directory.

“If he is this Great Master that Snape speaks of…, and I am to be prepared...,"

Draco’s eye’s gleamed with the possibilities that lay before him as his mind raced forward with what he could do with that power. Snape had been grooming him for these past three years. He sensed that much from what he had been learning but he thought it was to take over his families business. He was almost giddy with the thoughts of the power he would be receiving and the knowledge he would gain. Potter was first on his list as he was the one that destroyed his father, destroyed his family. He laid blame on no one but Potter, the boy who lived.

Elation slowly turned to frustration as Draco found himself sitting blankly in front of a dozen more tomes with no more information other than hints, bits, and pieces that he could not puzzle together. Pushing back another book roughly, he stood with disgust at his failure. He knew that he needed to leave but he was reluctant to go. With his feet dragging, Draco retraced his steps back down through the stacks to the entrance into the library and opened the heavy wooden door and stepped out of the Libray and back into the cave. He remembered to lock the door only after he fought down the urge to return back to the books and then retreated hastily back down the darkened path back to the lake.

Draco found the mark that he had left in the middle of the path and without hesitation he stepped out onto the water only to have his foot sink. Draco’s brevity and momentum carried him forward head first into the icy cold blackness of the underground lake. The path had carried him over the water when he had first arrived but now he sank deep into the waters and his sodden cloak only served to weigh him down even further. The water was not too deep where he had fallen in but being caught in mid stride he sank head first until he hit the smoothness of the bottom.

Chapter 38 Continued

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PostSubject: Re: Harry Potter and the Hunt   Sat 07 Mar 2009, 12:04 am

The Hunt

Chapter 38 continued

Afraid of The Dark

Stunned by the sudden drop and by the frigid coldness of the lake’s waters, Draco lost his direction when he sank and began to panic. Just managing to get his feet underneath himself and only after taking in several large swallows of water, Draco pushed hard from the bottom and broke the surface sputtering and confused. Terrified he looked about, searching for the lakes edge which was only just a few feet behind him but in the blackness of the cave in might as well been a hundred feet away. The weight of his cloak and his wet clothes constantly pulled at him and threatened to pull him back down again as he fought to keep his head above the water. The splashing echoed and reverberated off the walls and from the ceiling compounding his panic as the return echo did return only three fold louder and faster until his skull felt as if it were resonating in tempo with the echoes.

He had turned himself in circles and was slowly pulling himself further and further away from where safety lay silently in the dark. A tiny voice barely audible began to struggle with the resonance that was still building within his head. “wand…wand…wand…WAND!”

Something long and thin struck a flailing hand and he grasped at it. His eye’s were wide with fear trying desperately to absorb any light that they might find but there was none. As he tried to see what had hit his hand. hearing a plop right in front of his face, some semblance of composure made a small hole in the wall of panic and he felt for what had landed in the water just in front of his face. It was his wand. It took several attempts to light the tip of his wand as he stammered and sputtered trying to incant the single and simple word “Lumos.” When the light appeared, fear still raged deep inside of him but the panic began to slowly ebb away as he made out the dim outline of the lake’s shore.

Draco was not a good swimmer but his flailing managed to draw himself nearer the edge and he could just make out the red X that still lay in the middle of his path. Reaching the shore, he dragged himself up and out of the water and laid there breathing hard and near exhaustion. Why would the lake not let him pass? Why would it not allow him to return to its other side? What kind of trap was this?’ The questions flooded his mind and panic began to peek its head around once again as the questions flowed past without answers.

He knew that he should be doing something, his clothes were wet, he was freezing cold, and he laid there on the ground listening to the questions as they flooded his mind. He was shaking and his breathing was short and rapid. His breaths sounded as if he were snorting as he breathed through his nose, and in his hand he held tightly onto his wand. Draco was afraid. He had almost drowned and his mind had gone blank. No one was there to whisper advice in his ear, to goad him into thinking. He was on his own in total darkness save the small light of his wand and he did not know what to do, yet he knew he was supposed to be doing something, he should be doing something but his mind was blank. He was frozen in his fear.

Draco laid where he was, and his breathing turned into whimperings of disparity as hope drained from him. The crushing weight of the loss of his mother and of his father reduced to bent tirades of madness, added to his fear. Panic swept through him in waves allowing moments where thoughts and unbidden questions would hold him fast to where he lay. Aloneness in the darkness of the caves rooted him. Hours went by as he crumbled in on himself and at the near point of giving up a voice spoke to him out of the darkness.

“Draco, you are not alone. Be safe and be comforted. Your mother is near.”

He opened his eyes and a woman with red hair and green eyes stood before him. She had a kindly face. One that for some reason he felt he could trust in what she said. There was something familiar about her, something about her eyes that he recognized but he had never seen her before. She was smiling at him now and when she touched his face with her hand, a reassuring touch, one that a mother might give to a young child to comfort them, he felt warmed inside and his shivering seemed to slow.

“Your mother loves you very much Draco, and it is her love that brings her to you. I must go now, do not be afraid, you are safe until she arrives. Your mother is nearer now.”

The woman vanished and yet he did feel safer and warmer. His fear of the darkness and the near drowning had swept away the moment she touched his face. He remembered his wand and relit the tip before conjuring one of his glow globes and then used the wand to siphon the water from his clothes. He was thinking much more clearly now and his breathing had all but turned to normal when a silvery mist began to shimmer and then form before his very eyes. The image of a tall white blond and handsome woman was taking shape in the shimmer.


She hovered just above the ground and was smiling as she looked down upon him. “Yes, Draco. I am here my son. I felt your need from a terrible distance but something held me or I would have been here sooner.”

She knelt in front of him and reached out to embrace him but her hands went right through. Draco did not notice because he felt the embrace and he felt the warmth of her body as well as her hug.

“Mother I cannot escape from this place, I cannot escape from the madness, I do not know what it is that I am to do.” His voice was taking on the whining of a small child seeking the guidance of his mother.

“Draco, what bothers you my darling boy?”

The caresses from her hands bolstered his confidence as he unfolded everything that had happened to him since the night of Dumbledore’s death. The things that he had learned from Severus and the things that he had just discovered, and the events that had happened in just the last four days spilled from his mouth as if he needed to confess everything that he has seen, heard, and had done since he last saw her.

Narcissa remained quiet as she comforted her son. As Draco spoke, he began to see how events in his life had unfolded and he felt sickened by it but he continued on. When he finally finished speaking he saw with clarity how his path had been led as if he had always been on some leash. He saw how his Aunt Bellatrix was no longer the person he had always thought her to be; and how his father was now. He very nearly resembled just how Bellatrix had acted the last he had seen her. It was a madness that crept into them slowly at first until it had fully engulfed the one’s that he loved and at the center of it, stood Lord Voldemort. His mother never turned but then he remembered that his mother had always remained clear of the Dark Lord and only went to him when she was summoned. He could only remember just that one time when she had been summoned and he as well.

Anger built inside of him as he pictured exactly what Snape had been telling him earlier that morning. It had all made sense to him now but his path remained yet unclear and now he was to be made this new Great Lord’s Protégé. Immediately he pictured his future once again and saw bleakness in place of the glory he had pictured while he was in the Library. The evilness and the uncaring that had taken hold of his family had nearly snared him up too, but he had no idea of how to stop it from happening. His mother would tell him how and when he looked up she was no longer there. He called out into the surrounding darkness for her but she failed to reappear.

Grumbling to himself he stood on his feet and apparated but nothing happened. He was still where he stood near the edge of the dark lake. This time, he did not panic and tried it once again and still nothing happened. He remembered that he was hungry and flicked his wand but nothing happened. A snarl came to his mouth as he tested the water gently and found that his foot still sank beneath the waters edge. He was stuck where he was.

Draco sat back down in the middle of the pathway, the glow globe hovering just above his head illuminating only a small circle around him, and began to list what had happened to him. He began by listing only the highlights of it though beginning with that one night three years earlier and ending with him sitting here in the darkness. He did not know when his fear left him nor did he bother to question whether or not that lady with the red hair and green eyes or his mother had actually appeared before him but he did list them. Most of the list that he had created he immediately dismissed keeping only those things that had been said or done since early this morning, though he did bundle Snape’s teachings into one and placed that back onto the list. For some reason he knew that it was important and felt that somehow it pertained to what he was doing here in the caves and here in this Library, but that was another puzzle to work out as he contemplated what it was he should be doing now.

Curiosity over the two women appearing just as he was ready to fall into the precipice of panic and fear intrigued him. The strange woman had calmed him that was true enough, but he felt that he should know her, those eyes were so familiar to him. His mother had gotten him to talk out where he had been and what he had found, his mother had gotten him to start thinking again, rather than just sitting here whimpering and being a spineless, jellied, blithering idiot that was frozen in fear and panic. She had gotten his mind to start working again. Shaking his head he realized that his thoughts had drifted from the subject at hand, and that was how to get away from this cavern and this stupid lake.

Realizing that his thoughts were turning circles sitting in the middle of nowhere, he stood on his feet and retraced his steps back to the Library and unlocked the door once again and entered. His first thought was to go back to that directory to try to find a way out of here. There had to something mentioned in some book about this place. A frame of sorts fastened to the back of the door caught his eye as he turned to close the door behind him. He had not seen it earlier or if he had, he paid it no attention, after all, it was so covered in dust he could hardly see that it was there when looking straight at it.

Again, curiosity took hold and he brushed the dust away and was startled to find that it was not a picture but a framed piece of parchment that was so old the parchment looked as browned as the wooden door itself. He had to light the tip of his wand to get a better look at what was written when he uttered an oath that would certainly have gotten his mouth washed out if his mother had heard him. Written on the parchment in old English lettering were the words "Pu na feran aer Þon hwæt stede beon in gebod," He understood what that meant almost immediately after reading it. “You may not leave until all is placed in order.” He had left dozens of books on the tables that he had used before. A wave of irritation swept over him but he tucked it away and smiling ruefully, gathered himself up to return the books he had taken. Nearly and hour later or so it seemed as if an hour had past but really it was less than that, he had crossed referenced where each book belonged with the directory and returned them to the stacks where he had found them.

With a deep breath, Draco opened the door from the Library and this time remembering to lock it, he walked back to where his red X marked the path that would lead across the lake. He stood at the waters edge taking several calming breaths and then one deep breath and held it as he stepped out onto the water once again. Bracing himself for another plunge into the icy cold blackness of the cavern lake, Draco’s foot stepped onto solidness and he exhaled loudly. He still wasn’t certain of himself and repeated the deep breath, held it again and took another step and was again prepared for an icy splash that did not come. Draco kept this practice up until he could see the opposite shoreline only a few feet away from him. When he stepped onto firm ground Draco exhaled deeply in a sign of relief. He tried to apparate now that he was away from the other side, away from the Library and found that even here he still wasn’t able. He would have to walk out of here. Thankfully he had thought of marking his pathway and after several long minutes he found himself exiting the huge chamber. A thought came to him about sharing his discovery with Snape but squashed it thinking that if he could not think of something nor Snape for that matter then and only then would he share.

Chapter 38 Completed

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PostSubject: Re: Harry Potter and the Hunt   Sat 07 Mar 2009, 12:06 am

The Hunt

Chapter 39

Dobby's Gift

Bill flicked his wrist and a silvery shape flew from his wand tip and sped away straight as swift as an arrow while he called over his shoulder to the other Weasley’s. “I’ve sent word that we’ll be arriving shortly and to meet us atop the North tower.”

He had to shout loudly to be heard over the roar of the wind. No one said anything but kept their eye’s straight ahead. They had been flying non-stop in close formation for nearly twelve hours and were only another fifteen more minutes away from their destination when Bill sent his message ahead. Bill and the other Weasleys; Percy, the Twins, Ron, and Hermione were flying a rescue mission with their new Firebolt Three Thousands and with Harry safely tucked away in a caisson that hung by ropes just below their brooms.

At Bill’s signal, they began to slow down steadily. After ten more minutes, Bill called back to Ron though he could have done it himself but Ron did need the practice, to see if the Anti-flying jinx had been lifted yet. Ron nodded and withdrew his wand and performed several elaborate wand flicks. Hermione had to stifle a giggle as she watched Ron’s performance. It did look as if he might be conducting a symphony.

“The jinx is down!” Ron had to cup his mouth to be heard from where his position on the team was.

Bill only nodded that he had heard and signaled once again. This time the signal was for them to begin their descent. They performed a very wide circle as soon as Percy caught site of the Schools tallest tower. As they drew nearer, they all began to slow and tighten up their circling until they were very nearly directly over the top of the tower.

Hagrid appeared out of the shadows just as the Weasleys thought they may have to hover and wait. Waving his arms as if to direct them downward, Hagrid wore a huge grin on his face as he prepared to catch the caisson. Professor McGonagal had to tell him what had happened to Harry for him to understand what it was that he was supposed to do, which was to intercept the caisson from the Weasleys, and then to carry it with all the care he could manage and deliver it to the House Elf named Dobby, who would be waiting for him on the seventh floor. Minerva very nearly had to call for a calming draft for Hagrid before she would let him go from her office. She trusted no one else other than Hagrid to be as careful and as gentle as Hagrid would be. She did remember how gentle he was with Harry some nineteen years earlier when it was she and Albus Dumbledore who had waited for him to deliver young Harry to those wretched Dursleys.

The Weasley’s lowered themselves as if they were all flying just one broomstick and when Hagrid whispered up to them that he had Harry firmly in hand, they dropped their ropes and separated to land one at a time on the narrow tower. When Bill finally landed, Hagrid had already had Harry three quarters of the way down the tower with Ron and Hermione following closely behind him. They had to run down the first several flights of stairs just to catch up with him.

When they reached the seventh floor, Ron rushed on ahead and directed Hagrid to follow him through one of the hidden passageways that he and Harry had used numerous times when they were running late to their Astronomy classes. Ron stepped out into the corridor and held open the tapestry so as not to catch it on anything while Hagrid carried the caisson through, he heard Dobby’s voice,

“ Master Wheezy, the room is ready for us.”

Dobby snapped his fingers and Hagrid nearly yelled as the caisson rose from his arms and glided swiftly towards an opened doorway on its own and then turned and floated inside. As Hagrid turned to follow it inside Dobby held up his arms and squeaked apologetically.

“I am very sorry Master and Mistress Wheezy, Professor, but no one is allowed to enter.”

And with that, the door closed behind him leaving the three standing just outside the door just as the other four entered into the hallway.

Ron turned to lean against the wall with his arms folded across his chest. His face took on a sullen look as he stared down at the floor ready to wait for however long it might take. Hagrid had taken out a very large towel sized handkerchief and was wiping the corners of his eyes while Hermione leaned against Ron’s chest and slipped her hand in through his folded arms. They were all prepared to wait for however long it might take. Hermione’s face looked both sullen like Ron’s and yet she appeared as if she wanted to cry. No one would have said anything to her, even the others who had finally caught up appeared as if they were waiting for bad news.

The Twins muttered something about going home to let Molly know that they had made it back safe and sound and that Harry was already being helped by whomever it was that was using the Room of Requirement when Minerva strode towards them with her arms out wide as it to embrace the whole group.

“There is to be no waiting in the hallways, now all of you need to go home and get some rest. Madame Pomfrey assures me that Harry will be in the best of hands and his Elf will be by his side the whole time. She tells me that she has found a healer that practices this muggle medicine that Harry needs. Don't look at me like that Mr. Weasley I promise I will send word when you can come back and visit.”

Her voice was soft and full of concern as she spoke to them and it appeared as if she might have had to clear her own eyes before she had come down to speak with them. A bit more softly, almost motherly she pulled at Bill and Percy’s arms and at a near whisper she said, “Come now, there is nothing we can do right now. Come on now, all of you this way please”

Minerva had her arms around Bill and Percy’s shoulders leading them down the hallway with Hagrid just behind them while Ron and Hermione followed behind Hagrid holding onto each other and staring at their feet as they walked slowly. They stopped when they heard the door to the Room of Requirement open and saw Dobby poke his head out as they looked around to see who had opened the door. Dobby was beckoning to them.

“Mister and Missus Wheezy is to be honored. You is to be allowed inside to be with Master Harry.”

Their faces brightened only a little at this invitation but Ron wasn’t certain that he wanted to be present to watch an operation though his need to be near Harry to support him tugged even greater as he and Hermione hastened their steps to return to the room. Dobby opened the door wider as they stepped inside and Hermione gasped stopping in her tracks.

Ron’s mouth gaped opened with amazement while Hermione struggled to understand what it was she had been seeing. The Room of Requirement was not the hospital surgery room they had expected to see. Ron’s eyes took in the details of what he saw. He had been trained to see everything at just the glance yet what he saw escaped his vision. He and Hermione looked upon a forest with a small stream meandering through its midst. Birds were chirping and singing somewhere in the tree tops even in the darkness of the evening sky while lamps hanging from branches of the trees lit the pathway that wound its way deeper into the forest.

Hermione looked above the trees into the night’s sky and her eyes widened as she saw thousands of twinkling stars which added their light to an already full and bright moon. What amazed her most was that after a full minute she realized that those stars did not belong. Some had phased out long ago. She stilled remembered her old astronomy classes and had mapped the nights sky numerous times and she knew that these skies were thousands of years older than those that lit the nights sky outside of the castle. These were the skies of several thousand years before.

Ron’s eyes were fixed on their guide. He was very tall, well over six feet with long silver blond hair that was fixed into a tail by a silver wrought tie at the neck. A silver handled long sword was belted at his side while a strung bow rested across the guides back. Another glance at the guides head forced Ron to utter the words “Wicked.”

The guide’s ears came to a points at their tips. Hermione nudged him and whispered softly for his ears only.

“Ron, these are High Elves. They’re from a most ancient time Ron. Ron, are you listening?”

He nodded to her that he was and then looked down to Dobby who was beaming with pride as he walked beside the two. Hermione nudged Ron again and he leaned close to her.

“Ron, I think we’re about to see something that no one has ever seen before.”

Her face was now glowing with the anticipated excitement and Dobby nodded his head in both acknowledgment and approval that His Missus Wheezy had discovered a secret.

The path wound around a large oak tree and the angled downward into a small clearing ringed by lamp filled trees and in its center..., a white marble table stood and glistened in the flickering light of hundreds of lamps and atop the table; laid Harry. Flat on his stomach and wearing only his skin. Hermione instantly averted her eyes but not out of embarrassment. More of these fair folk sat in a circle and when they drew nearer the Weasleys were amazed to see the there were hundreds of these elves and mixed in with them were House Elves in near equal numbers all here, and all waiting and many with worried looks as they talked amongst themselves or looked longingly at Harry’s limp body atop the table. Hermione was astonished to see that some of their eyes were glistening with tears as her and Ron were led to a front row and shown a fallen log where they could sit.

Several murmurs rippled through the elves, as Ron and Hermione were led to the front.

“They are his closest,” and other similar comments were all spoken with awe or great respect.

Dobby left their side as a troupe of seven entered into the circle causing a rapid silence to settle upon the clearing, The one leading the group was carrying a bundled which was brought to Ron and Hermione and then offered to them. It was Harry’s clothes and his belongings.

“I am called Ellendore D’Avienda, and you are Master Harry Potters most trusted, so I entrust these belongings into your care.”

She smiled as both Ron and Hermione reached out together to receive the bundle Ellendore carried.

“Because you are his most trusted…We offer you our trust that you will not reveal what you see. It is a most deep secret of the Elven kind and one of you, were once of the Silvani long ago and so you have this right to attend as the blood, though thin as it is, still flows through your heart.”

Ellendore looked over her shoulder at Harry for a moment and then turned back to address them once again.

“We do this thing because his battle was once long ago our charge, and we failed in that charge, but still it is a charge that a people cannot easily forget nor deny. If by what we do this night, can end our battle…,”

her voice trailed off without finishing and she turned to take her place amongst the others that had circled the marble table.

Ron whispered into Hermione’s ear “Did you understand her?

She was speaking some foreign language. It sounded kinda musical almost Veela, but not like it. You know what I mean?”

Hermione looked at him in puzzlement before answering.

“Ron don’t be a fool. She was speaking plain English.”

And then she harrumphed softly but loud enough for Ron to know that she was suggesting that he was doing more looking than listening. She did that when Fleur spoke to him and he still wondered why. And then his attention was drawn back to Harry as a warm glow began to envelope him.

He and Hermione watched in silence as the glow around Harry intensified and dimmed in intervals while the seven Silvani that surrounded Harry, chanted in a language that was not only fair to listen to but also sounded almost as if they were singing while they chanted. Hermione would only nod her head as if she understood something and many times, leaned so far forward that Ron feared that she might just topple over her own knees. Sometimes she would grasp his arm so tightly that she cut off his blood circulation and other times she took his hand and rubbed the back of it as if to soothe a pain away which he didn’t have, but he wasn’t going to tell her to stop either.

He alternately rubbed her back when she leaned forward or, placed a comforting arm over her shoulders when she leaned back and even stroked her hair when tears filled her eyes. When Ellendore left the chant to tell them that Harry was beyond their healing; his spine had not only been severed it had also been completely separated, he held her tightly as her sobs shuddered through her body, and he fought to hold back his own tears. As Ellendore turned her back, a keening from the gathered elves sounded mournfully on top of the breeze that rustled the leaves in the trees.

Chapter 39 Continued

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PostSubject: Re: Harry Potter and the Hunt   Sat 07 Mar 2009, 12:07 am

The Hunt

Chapter 39 continued

Dobby's Gift

The keening of the Elves brought Dobby on the run. Away from the stream that he had drifted off to. He had gone off to be by himself so that the others would not see the pain and worry that he felt so strongly, and he knew tat it would have been written all across his face for all to see had he stayed behind with the others while the Circle chanted over Harry. He could hear the chant, soft and sometimes sonorous in the distance yet the burble of the stream soothed his worries and relaxed the knotted tendons of his small body. But most importantly to him, he could not be near the others should things not go right. He couldn’t accept anything less than Harry’s well being and he did not want anyone to see his shame should he…, Dobby ran as fast as his legs could take him, stretching each little leg swiftly out so as not to fall on his own face. He pulled up and stopped just in time to grab Ellendore’s arm and spin her around. Craning his neck to look upwards, his normally squeaky voice shrieked with terror as he asked, “What has happened to Dobby’s Master? What has happened?”

Ellendore removed his hand from her arm with some difficulty as his grip was far more than firm and took it into hers. Though tears shone on her face her voice was strong and steady as she spoke calmly.

“Dobby’s Master is alive and well yet, we were unable to repair his injury. There is a separation Dobby, one which we cannot fix. We have tried my friend…, we have tried.”

Her voice trailed off as she spoke. Abruptly, Dobby pulled away from her and walked a short distance away and sat down. His keening was soft yet his shoulders remained firm and straight. Ron watched him go as he unlimbered himself from holding Hermione. He wanted to have words with this Ellendore who was herself walking towards Dobby.


“Dobby Nooo!”

Ellendore shrieked as Dobby stood and bent to pick something up from the ground and then reach into the Avendesoro tree to pull on one of its leaves from a drooping branch.

“You must not, you mustn’t”

Dobby ignored her shrieks and turned to march towards Harry who remained laying on the marble table. When he reached Harry’s side, every member of the Circle had turned to see what it was Dobby had done. By the time Ellendore arrived at the table, it was very clear what he had done.

Dobby laid the leaf that he had plucked form the Tree of Life and the Guardian of the Forbidding, and laid it across Harry’s bare back and on it was a long bony finger he had cut from his own hand. He was uttering an incantation that rooted Ron in his steps.

Ron had remembered this incantation when Harry finally told him what had happened when he and Cedric Diggory had been whisked away to some graveyard during their fourth year. As he listened to Dobby, his feet led him to Harry’s side without his knowing.

“A leaf taken from the Tree of Life freely given, A finger taken form his servant, freely given…”

Ron was mesmerized as he watched his own hand reach out over Harry’s back and his other take a large dagger from Dobby. His hands were not shaking as he drew the dagger across his hand cutting it deeply and watching the palm fill with blood.

“Blood taken from a friend, and freely given.”

Ron finished the incantation and slowly turned his hand over and watched the blood spill onto the severed finger, the leaf, and onto Harry’s bare back.

Hermione heard it first. She was still sitting where Ron had left her watching wide eyed at what he and Dobby were doing and unable to stop the incantation. She knew what it was yet somehow, this time, it seemed decent and right. All things freely given, yet she winced at Dobby’s hand when she saw what it was that had shocked Ellendore so.

Phoenix song. She had heard it twice before during their sixth year at Hogwarts, once when Dumbledore died and the second time, during his funeral. She didn’t question why she heard it this time, she only began scanning the nights sky looking for its source, waiting for Fawkes to appear and then it donned on her, it wasn't Fawkes that was doing the singing, it was the Tree of Life, the Avendesoro, and it was leaning, and it was crooning the lament that Fawkes had sung, and it had a branch over Harry’s back.

Ron stared with his mouth agape while the members of the Circle stood and watched with awe. Harry’s spine began to glow except for a dark spot where the bone had obviously been broken and the leaf curled around Dobby’s severed finger, Ron’s blood pooled into the leaf as it began to curl around the finger, and it began to sink into Harry’s back.

Ron looked around for Hermione, but she had already stepped by his side just as the leaf, the finger, and Ron’s blood disappeared into Harry skin and then the darkness itself began to glow until the glowing was a long straight line from Harry’s neck to his bum. When the glowing disappeared, the members began to chant once again in their melodic voice, first one and then another until the whole Circle took up the chant once more and the glow that had once surrounded Harry shown brightly again. This time the chant did not waver but continued on without breaking. They chanted steadily into the late of the night.

Something else happened that night too. The tree of life began to straighten in on its own self and it did seem as if it stood taller as the Circle chanted. Dobby had sat himself underneath it leaning against its trunk and had laid his hand, which was still bleeding heavily, onto the ground and his blood was soaked up by the trees roots. No one had thought to see to his injury. When Hermione looked for him he sat leaning against the tree with his head slumped onto his chest. A small tendril of a branch held him from falling over.

Ron looked to where she was pointing and together they edged themselves over to Dobby to say a silent prayer for his courage and his sacrifice. When Ron reached for him, it seemed as if the tree bristled and hummed.

“He is our friend.”

Hermione spoke softly and she reached to caress Dobby’s face. A remembrance came to her, “Dobby would die for Mister Harry Potter.

“But, not today!” Hermione said fiercely.

“Ron he’s still alive. Help me Ron! Please!”

Ron jumped into action and drew his wand. Uttering a quick incantation he stopped the flow of blood from Dobby’s hand before tapping Dobby and saying “Enervate.

He looked at Hermione briefly before he said, “That should hold him until the Circle is finished with Harry and then we could ask if they could do something for Dobby too but if they can’t I’m sure Madame Pomfrey would be willing.”

Hermione had sat down and was now holding Dobby to her breast. The branch that was holding him up, had released its hold on him and went back up into the tree.

Ron scratched his head looking at her and then asked “Hermione, did I hear you talking to this tree a moment ago?”

Hermione looked at him and asked Ron, “Didn’t you hear what it said?”

Ron shook his head and muttered, “Blimey, I think she’s gone nutters,” And then turned to watch as the Circle continued their chant.

“Wake up Mr. and Mrs. Weasley.”

Ron opened an eye to see Ellendore shaking them gently. Hermione was still holding Dobby against her and he was still sleeping and very pale in the early morning light of the forest. In front of them, still stood the marble table with Harry who was now sitting on its edge and laughing with a few of the folk. They looked even fairer in the sunlight and their voices…, it was a strange language they spoke and to Ron it sounded musical. He could sit there forever and watch and listen to them if they would let him, but he had things to do. Rushing to meet with Harry he stopped short when he noticed that Harry was still only wearing his skin and he was talking in that strange language too.

“Ah-hmm,” Ron coughed politely to get Harry’s attention.

“I have your robes and things over here and ah, Hermione’s here too.”

Harry turned fifty shades of red because he had not noticed that there were women about and began to try to cover himself with his arms and hands when another elf came up to him with a long robe to cover himself with.

“I can walk again Ron, just not right this very moment but they say that if you help me to the hospital wing, I should be able to walk that far with some assistance. And in a day or two I’ll be perfect”.

Ron eyed him a little askance and then asked, “You can understand them too?”

Harry looked oddly at him before he replied “Perfectly mate, can’t you?”

Chapter 39 Completed

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PostSubject: Re: Harry Potter and the Hunt   Sun 15 Mar 2009, 10:32 pm

The Hunt

Chapter 40

The Day After

Harry woke early the next morning yawning widely. He wasn’t tired but the yawn added to his stretching just made things feel better. He guessed that maybe, just maybe he might have slept in just a little longer, but no, he wanted to get up and move his legs around. That was before he noticed every member of the Weasley family camped about his bed in the Hospital wing. Mrs. Weasley sat right next to his pillow and had her head propped against his mattress so she would know if he moved around too much. “Good morning Harry,” she said stifling a yawn of her own. It was too late Harry had wakened her with his stretching. Molly leaned over him and gave him a great hug and kissed his cheeks. “I shan’t say I haven’t been worried about you Harry.” Her lower lip began to quiver and her eyes glistened brightly with wetness. “Oh Harry I’ve been so worried about you. Where have you been? Why haven’t you come home?” Her hugs grew tighter with every word and she sobbed loudly the she buried her face into his neck as she held onto him as if she were afraid he would disappear.

When he thought he could breathe no longer because of Mrs. Weasley’s tight hug, Molly began to unfold herself away from him reluctantly. When she finally pulled herself away Harry realized that it had been Remus who was unwrapping her arms from him and he was saying to her “Molly let the boy have some air before you smother him to death.” He was ginning while saying it. “Yes, yes of course Remus. You’re quite right.” She was dabbing at the corner of her eye with a handkerchief while she spoke Remus was now smiling as he looked down upon Harry who was still laying in bed, and brushed some hair back away from Harry’s face. “You gave us quite a scare there Harry.” Remus remarked still touching Harry’s forehead. “Yes you did Harry and don’t you think for one minute that I’m going to let you get away with this.” Harry nearly laughed as he watched Mrs. Weasley’s face try to contort to some semblance of anger while at the same time her smile refused to leave her face.

Each of the Weasley members woke in time as the conversations grew louder with the exclamations of worry and wonder of what has happened over the last three years and where Harry had been, what he had seen, and what he had done. At last Harry felt as if he were back inside the flood once again as the questions inundated his mind to the point he fell silent. Fred and George patted him on his shoulders and Fred said to him, “It’s alright mate, you do what you must. Be out there and search for whatever or whoever you need but remember this…,” “Constant Vigilance! You must know, you’ve got to know! Constant vigilance!” George had burst in with a perfect rendition of Mad Eye Moody’s voice. Everyone looked amazed and slightly startled and some even looked around to see if Mad Eye had actually showed up. When George held out a small device that was in his hand Fred beamed proudly as he and George both in unison announced their latest invention, the Imitator. “You just take out your wand like thus,” George demonstrated, “Tap the Imitator twice; speak the name of whom you want to Imitate.” George tapped the Imitator twice and said “Professor Flitwick.” And immediately his voice began sounding exactly like Professor Flitwicks. They all burst into a roar of laughter which caused Madame Pomfrey to come scurrying down the aisle to quiet them or else she would have to limit Harry’s visitors. When Harry asked the others who else was in the Hospital wing they all fell silent and an opening between Tonks and Fleur opened up. Harry could see at the far end of the Hospital wind a bed with a curtain drawn around it for privacy. Hermione and Ron both nodded to Harry in a silent agreement that he should go and see for himself when he looked to them for an answer. Harry swung his legs over the edge of the bed and with some uncertainty he stepped onto his feet. Mrs. Weasley made to catch him just in case but it was Remus who held her arm back. Harry stood up and wavered momentarily on his feet and then took one studious step. His legs were shaking with weakness and both Fred and George stepped in and bracketed him but neither took an arm. They were there only if Harry needed their help. He looked gratefully at them and then took another step and then another. His legs still shook underneath him but his steps grew firmer. When they were half way down the aisle the twins stopped and allowed Harry to continue on his own. Ron and Hermione followed closely behind him and as they past the twins Fred uttered a quiet cheer. Hermione looked back at the others and all but Mrs. Weasley were beaming. Molly had clasped her hands to her breast and it looked as if she were holding her breath.

Harry reached the curtains and peered inside and sighed. “Dobby.” Stepping completely inside the curtain Harry went to his Elf’s side and took the hand that was not bandaged just as Hermione and Ron stepped in. Dobby was still asleep. “Madame Pomfrey gave him a potion to sleep and she supposes that he’ll be sleeping for a few days.” Hermione explained. Harry turned to her and asked, “What happened to him?” His voice was firm and it demanded an answer. “He lost a lot of blood Harry.” Hermione continued to explain. “Ron stopped the blood and cast the invigorating spell on him. Madame Pomfrey says that if he hadn’t done that Dobby would have died.” Ron looked embarrassed and muttered, “It wasn’t anything to talk about. I just did what needed done that’s all.” Harry had not moved his gaze from Dobby when he asked again, “What happened to him, why is his hand bandaged like that.” He pointed to Dobby’s hand with his nose. “Harry,” Hermione began to explain, “Those elves that healed you didn’t do it all on their own, they said that they couldn’t heal you because – oh Harry.., your spine had been separated and they couldn’t bridge that gap with their magic and so Dobby cut off his finger and gave it to you.., to replace what you lost.” Hermione’s voice broke as she spoke the last sentence. “Yeah mate, he did that incantation bit you told me about when you-know-who came back in our forth year. You remember that?” Ron asked. And the he added as he held his palm up “And I’m the one that gave the blood to finish it.” Harry looked at them with a blank face but his eyes glazed as he thought backward to that night in the Cemetery and only nodded. It wasn’t a nod of acceptance but a nod that he remembered what was said. “But why is he so weak then?” Harry’s voice went soft as he asked the question and Ron spoke up “Because mate, no one noticed where Dobby went to when the elves began to do their magic chant again until Hermione saw him sitting under this tree alone and, weird, there was this branch thing that was holding him up. He almost bled to death if we hadn’t got to him first.”

Harry gripped Dobby’s good hand even tighter but there was a smile on his face when he said softly for Dobby’s ears only but fiercely “Didn’t I tell you to never try to save my life again. Ahh, Dobby you are completely mad, positively nutters. Whatever would I do without you mate?” Dobby didn’t wake but his face softened and a smile turned on his lips.” “That is enough visiting for today. You can return tomorrow I think and Mr. Potter you need to return to your bed as well.” It was the shrill voice of Madame Pomfrey and her tone brooked no nonsense either as she stood holding the curtain open with one hand, and the other on her hip. Had Harry looked down at her feet he might have seen her tapping her foot with impatience at him being out of bed so soon.

Harry laid a hand onto Dobby’s shoulder and gave a squeeze of affection for his house elf and murmured his thanks. Both Ron and Hermione had already stepped back away from Dobby’s bed giving Harry room to turn around. His legs still felt a little rubbery but his back now stood straight and stiff but not from his injury. Harry grimaced as he turned around and Ron leapt to his side as if to catch him but Harry waved him away. It wasn’t pain that caused his grimace, it was another tally to add to his list of those that had given of themselves so that he would survive. He knew that Dobby would be perfectly fine after having his rest and maybe Madame Pomfrey’s skelegrow would work on the elf he didn’t know but he did make a mental note to ask if she would at least try it.

As he, Ron and Hermione walked back down the aisle back to his own bed the knot of well wishers that had come to visit him stood watching him anxiously and he was sure that the twins had just bet on if he would fall or not by the way they held some fingers up and then shook hands with each other and when Mrs. Weasley swatted their heads nearly laughed aloud and wished that he had bet Ron on what had just happened. Harry’s spirits were very high right then. As he neared his bed he asked Mrs. Weasley who had resumed clutching at her breast with worry over him if she knew when he would be able to go home. “Well Harry dear its still early yet and you do need your rest.” She replied, but when she saw his frown she quickly added that Madame Pomfrey wanted him to stay in the hospital wing at least until the afternoon and then she would run some tests on him and if everything went well he would be able to come to the Burrow for a few weeks until his legs regained their strength and to allow his surgery, she nearly spit those words out with disgust, to heal properly. Harry moaned as he climbed back into his bed.

Percy looked at his pocket watch and uttered an oath that Mrs. Weasley obviously disapproved of, and clapped Bill on the back saying that they needed to get back to work. Percy had needed to take a few extra days away from his desk and was glad that Rufus approved it. Fleur came up to kiss Harry’s cheek saying that she too needed to return back to work and then stepped back to allow the two men their chance to shake his hand and make their goodbye’s before leaving with them. It was a long walk to the gates and best made while in good company. Remus whispered in Tonks ear and she frowned but she too gave Harry a kiss on the cheek and left with Bill, Percy, and Fleur leaving only Mrs. Weasley and Remus and Ron and Hermione behind. Harry felt a little guilty because he had not even spoken to them and yet he was sure they had been there all night waiting for him to wake.

When they had left Mrs. Weasley promptly laid a hand on Harry as if to hold him down in bed. Her face looked strained and wisps of her brilliant red hair had fallen. Harry could see the worry in her eyes and the concern and her face and on Remus’s as well. He had been dreading this confrontation and he knew what she was about to say to him. His stomach twisted because he knew he would have to hurt the one woman who had been a mother to him ever since he met her on platform nine and three-quarters ten years ago. He wanted to stop her before she began but he didn’t have the heart. The twins had always said that you needed to divert her before she got her steam up yet Harry just couldn’t do it. It was his fault that Arthur had been killed and it was his fault that Ginny had been killed and if she wanted to berate him and then force him to stay at the Burrow so that nothing could ever happen to him, he was just going to lay there and listen to it and then break her heart by sneaking out as soon as he could.

“Harry,” She began, “Harry I won’t pretend to like what you’re going to do.” Harry’s eyes nearly popped, this was not what he had braced himself for. “I know you feel responsible for my Arthur and for Ginny but Arthur knew the risks and so did Ginny. You are not to be blamed for their deaths Harry dear, its not your fault, and you don’t have to continue on. You can stay right here and know one will think any less of you than they do right now.” Harry opened his mouth to say something but she stopped him. “Harry I have waited long enough to say this dear so please let me finish.” He closed his mouth and waited for her to begin. Ron had taken a hand into his and Hermione covered their hands with hers while Remus stood beside him looking down at him with a quiet smile on his face but he did not interrupt Molly. “I count you as my own son Harry and I have worried every night since you left us. Voldemort is gone dear thanks to you; you have done what was asked of you. Harry, there is no need for you to be searching out heaven knows where for Severus and Draco Malfoy. The Ministry will find them and they will take care of it, now I want you to come home and stay.” She paused for a long while to let what she had just said sink in while Ron added his own “Yeah, mate. I mean you can stop now and take up being an Auror like we always talked about.” Hermione said nothing but beamed at him as if that was all that needed said from her. He very nearly wanted to feel her forehead for fever, Hermione at a loss for words? Harry was thinking that he should be just a bit concerned for her.

Everyone looked shocked as their heads snapped up to look at Molly after she what she had just said to Harry including Harry himself. Stunned was more the setting for how they all felt and what they heard and Rom even fingered his ear thinking some ear wax might have effect his hearing. Remus obviously didn’t like what he had heard and Hermione, well she was nearly apoplectic and her eyes went as round as saucers with disbelief.. What Molly had said was “Harry, I know deep down that your hurt won’t be satisfied until everyone involved is captured so I’ve packed a pack with some fresh clothes and a travel cloak and I’ve also placed your cloak in there too. I’m sure Poppy will let you come home this afternoon and after you’ve eaten…., I’ll not stop you. You need to do what you must or you’ll never feel right with yourself and I’ll not have you in my house until that day comes.” Her voice did not even tremble while she spoke and the look of resolve that came over her said that she meant what she said. As everyone, still stunned, and still in shock stared open mouthed at her, Molly propped Harry’s pillows for him, then gathered her cloak, bent and kissed his fore head and turned her back on them and began walking down the aisle out of the hospital wing.

Chapter 40 Continued

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PostSubject: Re: Harry Potter and the Hunt   Sun 15 Mar 2009, 10:33 pm

The Hunt

Chapter 40 continued

The Day After

“Harry how could you?” Hermione was the first to find her voice and she rounded on Harry quickly. Her face held a look that brooked no nonsense and fully expected an answer most expeditiously too. Ron let out a low whistle before he added his own “Well Harry you’ve really done it this time. Mum’s never booted anybody out of the house. Not even Percy when he was a git.” Ron had fully pardoned Percy for having the idea of getting the Firebolt Three-Thousands. Harry’s mouth opened several times before he managed to blurt “But I haven’t done anything!” He looked from Remus who only kept silent to Ron who looked half amused and half worried, to Hermione whose arms were folded across her breast and was tapping he foot waiting for his answer and it had better be the right one first off. Harry closed his mouth and said nothing more until the silence in the room was deafening. “Look Ron, Hermione…, I need to speak to Remus alone please. I’ll see you later today then.” Hermione stamped her foot and let out a frustrated sound and grabbed Ron by the arm and led him off with out even a goodbye or an “I’ll see you later.” Harry knew he was definitely in hot water with her but she would have to wait. He looked up one more time to see Ron hurrying back towards his bed and it looked like Ron was mumbling something as he hurried along. When Ron reached Harry he had his wand out and the tip of it tapped Harry on the head. Harry felt a shiver when Ron’s wand hit him as it felt like a sheet of ice slid quickly down his body. “What was that for?” Harry asked half amused by Ron’s reaction and half annoyed by being popped in the head with his wand. “Blimey, sorry Harry didn’t mean to do that. Just came back to say how great it is to see you in one piece. But I told Hermione that I forgot to deliver a message to you from our little one.” Remus lifted an eyebrow towards Ron but said nothing and waited until Ron had retreated back down the aisle before taking a seat near Harry’s side.

“Remus, I know full well that Snape and Malfoy are hiding out up in some cave and I mean to either bring them back or…,” and he drifted off. There was no need for him to say what “or” meant. What I do need to know is how strong has Malfoy gotten. Do you know how to sense for strength?” Remus frowned but he nodded his head slowly. Your father and Sirius used feel for magic and the strength of the user when we were kids so they would know if it was safe or not to come and visit me when I had my monthly outing. I don’t know who learned it first but when we were older your father taught me. He said it may save my life one day or it may be a useless trick. Remus smiled at something when he spoke to Harry. Harry was sure that Remus was recalling the conversation and had James envisioned in that memory. They spent the next hour outlining Harry’s plan before Remus stood and said that he would be back later that evening and would see him at the Burrow. As Remus stood Madame Pomfrey was working her way down the aisle towards Harry. She had just left Dobby’s side and Harry frowned when he saw a bottle of a smoking potion on her tray. “No need to worry Mr. Potter its just a pepper up potion for you to drink. I think you’ve slept enough and I want you to do some walking for me so I can test the strength in your legs this afternoon.”

Remus made his goodbye’s as Madame Pomfrey sat her tray down nest to Harry’s bed and then began to pull the curtain around. “A little privacy so you can change into your clothes Mr. Potter. And when you’re finished changing I want you to drink the entire potion down like a good lad.” Harry asked why she had not given him an invigorating draft and her reply was almost conversational. “I would but you haven’t used your legs in nearly a week lad. A pepper-up will warm your insides and that’s what your muscles need so you shan’t be hurting later from knotted legs.” Harry nodded, it did make sense to him, though the potions she had made him drink in the past were a little sketchy in his opinion she had always known how to help him and luckily her pepper-up potion wasn’t really all that bad.

Harry took his potion and watched Remus leave the Hospital wing over the lip of the mug as he drank it down. As the door closed behind Remus’s back, Harry felt the fires within him begin to kindle anew, firing each of his muscles heating them up, preparing him to move around. The warmth that he felt reminded him of the icy chill that swept over him when Ron accidentally hit him with his wand. “What was he doing with his wand out?” Harry thought to himself. Harry shrugged his shoulders as if to answer his own question. After all he really didn’t know why Ron had tapped him with the wand. Over the years Harry had learned to be suspicious of things around him and he chalked that up to why he was still alive having stepped into some of the more disreputable inns and brew pubs to gain information. He shuddered after one particular incident flitted through his head. The memory of that incursion was still very fresh in his mind. But still Ron had never done that before not even when they were students here at Hogwarts. It was strange. The potion was beginning to seriously work on him and he wanted nothing more than to walk around briskly to try to cool himself down but Madame Pomfrey had not said he could leave just yet.

When Remus closed the door behind him Hermione asked anxiously “Did he suspect anything?” “I thought for sure he saw Ron incanting the charm, but no..., I don’t think he suspected anything.” Hermione stood listening with a smug look on her face before rounding once again on Ron to ask if he was absolutely sure he spoke the charm just as she had told him to. “Blimey Hermione, I can cast a charm or two now and then.” Ron tried to take the sting out of his irritation with her but he did hate it when she did that to him even now after being used to it for all these years. Remus had to ask the one question that had been burning on his mind before he had to leave. He would not be seeing them until all was done and in place. “Hermione are you certain of this? Are you sure this charm will work I mean?” “Yesss..., it’s very similar to the Proteus Charm. We will know when and where he is when he needs us. It’ll send a beacon if he’s in trouble.” Hermione sounded exasperated at having to explain this to them for what seemed to be the hundredth time since Harry was taken to the Hospital wing the night before. “Trust me, if Harry grips his wand to tightly or if it’s forcefully taken from him Ron will know immediately no matter where he is.” “Very well then Hermione, I do have faith in you but I just wanted to be sure of it. Now I really must go. Harry has asked me to return to where we found him have a look around and to explore some caves further up the mountain side. He’s certain that young Malfoy and Severus are there.”

Remus bade them goodbye and then left the two standing just outside of the Hospital wing watching as he left down the corridor. They were waiting for Molly to return from the Head Mistresses office and they didn’t have long to wait. Both Molly and Minerva rounded the hallway directly behind them. As Molly approached them she looked worried and addressed Ron. “Ronald dear, do you think I was too harsh on Harry?” Ron thought for a moment before he answered her. “Well yeah mum, but I think you had to be. I mean we all want this to be over don’t we? And besides, if you didn’t put it to him that way…, I know he’s close to being done with it but I’m not so sure Harry’s gonna want to come back.” “Does the boy still think that Albus, Arthur, and…,” Minerva couldn’t find it in herself to name Ginny so she trailed off for a moment before continuing to say “does he still feel it’s his fault?” The three Weasleys looked at each other and neither spoke but they all nodded as if saying the words aloud would mean that they did hold Harry responsible. Minerva looked at them each and separately before speaking again. “Well then, I have sent the necessary owls out explaining the plan and have already received replies affirming their commitments.” And then she turned to Molly and said more for Molly’s sake than the others, “I want each of you to know that you have my full support in this. It’s high time that boy has a moment to himself to be just who he is.” And to her astonishment Hermione tiptoed and kissed her on the cheek and thanked her, but it was really more for the sentiment than the help.

“Well you two, we have a lot to do and the Head Mistress has had enough of us under her feet so we really must go. Has Remus left yet? I wanted a word with him.” She sighed when Ron nodded to her that he had already gone and told her that he wouldn’t be back. Looking to Minerva it almost sounded like a sigh but she whispered “If that Nymphadora don’t nail his cloak to the floor he’ll never stay put long enough to marry the woman.” McGonagal giggled like a young girl before catching the amused looks of her ex-students and glared at them as if they were late for one of her classes which gave them a start and reddened their cheeks. Catching up their arms, Molly began walking briskly down the hall leaving Minerva McGonagal standing and watching their exit. If their plan worked as designed, Severus and Draco would be brought to justice within the next few days and Harry would know that everyone he knew had truly stood behind him and supported him.

As they were walking down the front lawn Ron suggested that they visit with Hagrid. When both of the women looked at him, Ron stood his ground. “Look, it isn’t right that we keep this from him. Hagrid’s like a, a, a, big brother or something to Harry and it isn’t right that we keep him out of the plans.” Ron nearly looked hurt by their expressions but Molly softened and took him by the shoulder forcing him to look at her. “Ronald dear,” she began. “I know how Hagrid feels about Harry and I know how Harry feels about Hagrid. But you know him. Hagrid will go charging right in if he thought anyone was to hurt Harry now wouldn’t he?” She waited for Ron to nod before adding more to what Ron really already knew for himself. “And you know from your own training and from what your own father has said before about being patient, and being sure of what you know..,.” Ron nodded again. “And for something like this to work itself out what would you be telling the young Auror that went with you on their first assignment?” “I’d be telling them to sit, watch, and wait until we knew exactly what we were up against and how many people there were and…,” Ron’s mumbles to himself drifted off into silence and Molly nodded to him knowing what her son didn’t finish. She had heard Arthur say these things often enough to know it by heart. And Ron did know exactly what Hagrid would do if he only knew where Snape and Malfoy were. He’d charge right in and Harry would have to spend another three more years in tracking them down again.

“Now if you want to stop by and let him know that Harry is alright and that you have passed your tests then you’ll be doing him a favor. Hermione you go with him I’m sure Hagrid will want to see you as well.” Molly shooed them off toward Hagrid’s hut and called after them not to be too long with him that they still had things to do before Harry was sent home.

Ron was worried for Hagrid’s sake. Hagrid didn’t take bad news very well and he knew in his heart that Hagrid did know about Harry. Hagrid just knew things without being told and the way he carried the caisson down to the room of requirement was as if Hagrid did know everything. Hagrid was so gentle with the box but how was he going to tell Hagrid if he did ask what they were going to do. He had never lied to Hagrid before, at least not that he could remember. Hermione walked arm in arm with Ron and she too carried on her own personal argument about what to tell him. Hermione decided that honesty was the best policy. Just tell him everything about Harry, what had happened to him, and what he has asked everyone not to do. Well Harry hadn’t said anything yet about no one helping him but he had said something like that in the past she was sure of it, so no, she would be lying to the man. When she looked at Ron she knew he must have been thinking the same thing. Ron’s face held a frown and his forehead was wrinkled the way it always did when he was studying on a really hard subject and if she knew her husband Hagrid was that subject.

Hagrid’s hut loomed ahead of them and a booming “Ello Hermione, Ron,” Brought their heads up quickly to see Hagrid standing out in his pumpkin patch waving at them. “Come ter see yer ‘ol Hagrid did yer?” His bright and cheery face brought smiles to their otherwise somber faces. When they drew near enough Hagrid laid a gentle hand on Hermione’s shoulder and nearly knocked Ron off his feet with a clap on the back for him. “So what brings yer down here? Come to tell me how Harry’s doing then?” Neither knew what to say to that as Hermione’s quick and simple plan had just melted away. “Lissen 'ere, I know 'bout Harry and all. I know he’s up ter the Hospital wing an all hurt summat bad. But I kin be goin’ up ter visit him what with the classes and being the head of Gryffindor an all. The kids’ll be talkin' and askin' all kinds of questions ya see. But he’s doin alright now? Hagrid looked anxiously at them. “Y, you knew?” Ron stammered out. “O’course I knew, but I promised Harry back when.., well yeah, not to say anything a while back when he came ter visit wit me 'fore he left in all. He said if’n he needed any help he’d send Hedwig ter me. I figure she might have come here an when she couldn’t find me, she went straight off ter yer place ter get help. Smart bird that Hedwig. Smart bird.” Hagrid sounded almost fond of her and quite rightly so after all, he did pick her out for him. Hagrid clapped them both on their backs nearly knocking them off their feet before announcing that he had a class to get ready for and asked them to stop by for another visit when they could and then gave them a little push to send them on their way.

They looked at each other as they walked towards the main gates measuring how much more stunned than the other was at Hagrid’s actions but a loud sniff and a honk caused them to turn just in time to see Hagrid wiping his eye’s with a large towel sized handkerchief before putting it away. “Oh Ron,” Hermione squeezed his arm tightly. “I feel so awful for Hagrid. He wants so much to be a part of what's going on and I know he wants to see Harry.” Ron patted her hand and assured her “less than a week my love. Less than a week and it’ll all be over then I’ll personally drag him down here to visit the poor man.”

Chapter 40 Completed

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PostSubject: Re: Harry Potter and the Hunt   Sun 15 Mar 2009, 10:37 pm

The Hunt

Chapter 41

A Past Awakening

Ron and Hermione arrived home to Grimmauld Place only to find Hermes, who was once Percy’s owl but was now the Weasley family owl perched on their dining room table with a sheaf of envelopes tied neatly to his right leg. As Ron untied the string holding the envelopes Hermione fetched a small bowl of water and a few owl treats for Hermes to snack on for payment of his delivery. Rin thumbed through the stack and as he read whom each of the envelopes were from his beginning frown slowly changes to incredulity. His eyebrows climbed further up into the top of his head as the names continued Neville Longbottom, Luna Lovegood, Cho Chang, Dean Thomas, Seamus Finnegan, Ernie McMillan, “Blimey!” Ron exclaimed turning to look at Hermione who was carrying a tray laden with tea and cakes while following her in a line were Hermes treats and his bowl of water floating along in the air. “What?” Hermione asked somewhat bewildered sitting down the tray she had been carrying and then directing Hermes water and treats to a clear space at the far end of the table. “They’re from the whole bloody D.A., every bloody one of them!” Ron continued in a near shout of excitement and disbelief, sifting through each one of the envelopes once again and mouthing off the names as he read them. “Not one bloody person is missing.” He said in a somewhat calmer tone of voice.

Hermione snatched up the nearest envelope and broke open the wax seal. It was form Ernie McMillan who had not only been a Prefect from the Hufflepuff House and in their year, but also a member of Dumbledore’s Army during their fifth year when Harry had organized an illegal club to not only practice Defense Against the Dark Arts skills and spells but to teach the members Defense Against the Dark Arts lessons. Madame Dolores Jane Umbridge Senior Under Secretary to the Minister of Magic had been their Professor then and refused to teach the students as per some Ministry decree all designed to make the students believe that Harry Potter had been lying about the return of the Dark Lord, Lord Voldemort and that all was safe and well in hand. Ernie’s note was simple and Hermione’s smile changed into a beaming radiance as she read it aloud to Ron.

Hermione and Ron,

Best wishes to each of you. I still have my Galleon and await the time and date. I assume the meeting is to be held at your home. I shall not fail Harry this time when the call is sounded.

Yours if in need,
Ernie McMillan

Ron opened an envelope that was from Seamus and read it out loud too.

Me mum and I support Harry and if he needs me help I’ll be there. Still carry the Galleon with me so If the meeting is to be at your home just use the Galleon and if not then send me an owl.


Together, they rifled through each and every envelope reading much the same message from everyone. No one had said no, not one person and they all still had their Galleons that Hermione had passed out to them in their fifth year.

A knock at the door interrupted their small celebration as Ron said off handedly “I’ll get the door if you’ll poor the tea dear.” Hermione waved him off as she waved a hand at the pot of tea which abruptly leapt into the air and began to tilt itself over one of the cups. Voices from the front grew louder as Ron led the visitors back into the kitchen. A rich and deep voice told Hermione that Kingsley Shacklebolt had arrived. He was Ron’s new boss having just been elevated to head of the Aurors not to long ago when Reginald Palka retired having only served for the last four years as the Head of the Auror Department. He was one of the very first Aurors and was only elevated after no longer being able to work in the field after a terrible run in with a handful of Death Eaters but his mind was still keen and sharp and he knew how to sort through information quickly and assign the right Aurors at the right time. Tipping his hat to Hermione and graciously accepting a cup of tea Kingsley sat down in a chair and sighed. “Lucius Malfoy has escaped from Azkaban and we fear that he’s in the same area as our young Mr. Potter.” Hermione and Ron looked at each other upon hearing the news. “Do we know how he escaped?” Ron asked.

Kingsley took a sip from his tea before answering and looked about the room. “You’ve done a lot of work here since the last time I was in here.” He wasn’t avoiding the question just trying to delay the inevitable “Much brighter and, more color I think.” Kingsley continued when no one took the bait. “Hermione, the tea is excellent, thank you.” Kingsley lifted his cup towards Hermione as if to salute her efforts in tea making when Ron cleared his throat and asked again how Malfoy had escaped from the wizards’ prison. Kingsley sat his cup down and faced Ron. He wasn’t the flighty sort of man Ron had seen his father work with in the past. Shacklebolt was a true Auror and had gone undercover in their sixth year to protect the Muggle Prime Minister after the man’s Under Secretary had been cursed by Death Eaters with the Imperius curse. “Ron, I know that you’ve just graduated and all, and with the right man at your side I know you would be the perfect aid in helping us capture Lucius and Bellatrix Lestrange. You’ve dealt with them before and you know what their capable of doing so I need to call you in.” Ron looked flummoxed. He had been given the time to help Remus with Harry and they were going to help Harry this one last time whether he wanted the help or not. It was time for Harry to stop and come home to the burrow or Grimmauld Place or wherever but it was time he finished running. “I’ll need you in the office this afternoon by three I think.” Kingsley took a last sip of his tea and then stood and bending towards Hermione in a bow and began to leave announcing that he would show himself out and not to worry.

Kingsley’s stopped and turned around to face Ron when Ron finally found his voice and blurted out “I can’t be there. I have to help Harry” Kingsley nodded that he heard and understood and then he answered back with a level but firm tone “This wasn’t a request Mr. Weasley. And, I have given you more that a week now out of respect for your father and our young Mr. Potter but now I need you to report to the office.” He stood calmly and his gaze measured the impact of his words on Ron but what happened next took him by surprise. Ron left his seat and strode over to stand face to face with Kingsley and squared his shoulders before holding out his hand which Kingsley took into his and then Ron spoke evenly and plainly, “Well then Mr. Shacklebolt it’s been a pleasure working for you even for such a short time. You’ll have my resignation on your desk when I get back with Harry Potter in tow. I trust you know where the door is then?” Kingsley’s head dropped and his hand went to rub his forehead as he shook his head side to side in disbelief. “You’re more like Arthur than you know, Ronald Weasley. Stand your ground son but I have to stand mine own as well. If you’re not in the office by three this afternoon I’ll know your position then.” As Hermione drew herself up to stand behind Ron Kingsley tipped his hat to her. “I’ll see myself out then.”
Hermione slipped her arms around Ron’s waist and hugged him while whispering in his ear that she supported his decision.

Kingsley Shacklebolt closed the door behind him and drew his cloak a bit closer as number twelve Grimmauld Place shrank in upon itself and disappeared from sight. He walked down the street towards a park located just down the block from the Weasley home chuckling to himself. He had secretly hoped Ron would have done what he did. It was a test of loyalty and bravery, and he passed solidly. When all was said, done and over he would make another visit to their home and offer Ron a position with the Department of the Aurors. He would of course have to clear that with the Minister and all but he was sure Rufus would agree with him. “Just like his father.” He said again and shook his head with a small laugh to no one around. Looking about and seeing no one Kingsley disappeared from sight apparating back to his office, he would have to jumble the roster a bit to cover this Lucius Malfoy affair and if the stories were correct he’d have to search for Bellatrix Lestrange first. It irritated him that he had not been told until the trail was nearly three days old but his team was one of the best and they would find him or her very soon.

Ron stumbled into the lounge and dropped into chair having unfastened Hermione’s hand from about his waist and asked “Did I just quit my job?” Hermione nodded. She was fit to burst but she held it back fiercely until Ron muttered “Blimey and I haven’t even started yet.” Hermione exploded turning red in her mirth. Ron stared at her watching as she doubled over holding herself tightly and positively howling with laughter. “You’ve gone mad haven’t you? Absolutely and positively nutters.” Nearly choking Hermione managed to say “T-the l-look on your face Ron, you were so stoic, so, so…,” Hermione doubled over again with renewed laughter before she could finish saying “And when and when you r-realized w-what you’ve d-done…” She had gone mad in Ron’s opinion. He would never in his life understand women he thought. One minute they’re right there by your side smart, intelligent, and then next their flaming mad, gone hysterical on you. Laugh at you today for one thing and then tomorrow they bite your nose off for the very same thing. “No wonder my dad was going bald.” He said that to himself as he raked a hand through his hair.

There was something about her though when she laughed. And as he sat there watching her giggle at him he began to smile and before long Ron was holding a stitch in his side as a tear dripped down off of his cheek. They needed that laugh together, alone with no one else around. Little Molly provided enough entertainment since she had come along but it had been a long time since he and Hermione shared that type of laughter with just the two of them. As Hermione stood wiping away her tears of mirth she settled into her normal self announcing that they needed to get ready if they were to put their own plans into motion. They were going to call upon every member of the old D.A., and storm whatever this place was where Snape and Draco Malfoy were hiding at and hopefully capture whoever else might be there as well. Harry was indeed strong, stronger than perhaps Albus Dumbledore himself, but a little help to put his past away for good was just what he was going to get. Ron didn’t quite know how much of what his mum had told Harry was part of the plan and knowing her as he did, his mum was most likely very serious in what she said about not coming back and that worried him some. But, Hermione was right they did need to get in motion and with any luck Remus would return to let them know what if anything they would be up against. It was a safe bet that Harry would ask Remus to go back a have a look around so their plan thus far had not faltered. Now if Madame Pomfrey could just keep Harry until later this evening.

Chapter 41 Continued

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PostSubject: Re: Harry Potter and the Hunt   Sun 15 Mar 2009, 10:37 pm

The Hunt

Chapter 41 continued

A Past Awakening

Madame Pomfrey did return within moments of Harry returning to his bed to see if her Pepper up potion had taken the proper effect on Harry she then told him that he could walk about the castle as long as he stayed away from the student areas. Harry took a few circuits around the Hospital Wing before he felt confident enough to wander out into the hallways. A flight of stairs beckoned to him almost immediately but he chose not to chance them until he was sure of his own legs. He could feel the burn in his muscles most especially down in his calves but after a few more stairways he decided to take the chance and took a set of stairs one step at a time holding onto a handrail all the way down. When he reached the bottom he flexed his legs a bit and then turned around to go back up the steps. Reaching the top, Harry performed a couple of squats, bending his back as he went down so he could touch the floor. He felt wonderful. He had been out and about for nearly and hour walking and resting and testing his strength. After all Madame Pomfrey did say that was what he lacked when he felt the first tremble of his legs. Poppy had warned him that was to be expected and when it did happen he was to return immediately for another rest and then she would let him out again. “Not too much exercise all at once Mr. Potter.” She had said. “When your legs start to tremble I want you to return back here and have a lay down for a bit and let those muscles rest up a bit and then you can go back out.” Harry murmured that he had understood her instructions. By the time he reached his bed he thought he would collapse right there on the floor. His legs felt as if he had been walking for weeks without stopping and as soon as he could get off of them would have been a week too late in his opinion.

Glancing out of her office Madame Pomfrey smiled to herself. Had she given him the invigoration draft as she had first intended Harry could have been home already completely well but she had been surrounded by the Head Mistress, Molly Weasley, and Remus Lupin not to mention Ronald and Hermione Weasley and ordered, yes that was what had happened. She had been ordered to pace out his release and if possible keep him until late in the evening or until she received an owl saying all was clear. The House Elf was another matter altogether. He had nearly bled to death had no one noticed him when they did. She had spent nearly the whole night with him watching over him but he was now most definitely out of danger and in a few more days he would be right as rain. She kept her watch on Harry as he climbed into bed and then gathered up her tray with a diluted mixture of Pepper-up and a sleeping draft. The Pepper-up would be to keep his insides warm and loose and the diluted sleeping draft was just enough to keep him drowsy for an hour or just a little less perhaps. She was to ensure that Harry be tired enough to want to spend at least the one night before taking off again. And if he looked that weakened now with the regimen she had planned for him there shan’t be any problems keeping him home for the night or she had no business being a healer.

Harry pulled down the covers to his bed and climbed into it after drinking Madame Pomfrey’s concoction. His legs felt wobbly and he was glad to be off of them after his long walk. Stifling a yawn, he pulled the covers back over himself and fell instantly asleep. The dream that kept him going, the one that fed his need to avenge Ginny and the Weasley family came to him instantly. It was the very same one that had been altered when he stumbled across that hidden meadow with its own lake. He stepped outside of the cabin and Ginny looked up at him smiling from where she sat on the front porch. She was dressed in a white gown this time and she was holding their baby and whispering to it while she looked at him. Off in the distance blurs raced through the sky over the Quidditch Pitch he had built years earlier. “Go ahead and get your broom Harry, the boys have been practicing all morning. They think they can beat you this time.” He grinned and then looked back out to the field once again and replied, “They think so?” Ginny started rocking again as she watched their four older boys zooming up and down the Pitch. “They’re pretty good now.” She said. “I’ll just bet they’ll give you a good run. They’ll all be starters in their first year when we send them off to Hogwarts.”

Her face was bright and worry free today as it had been everyday since they built their home here together and by themselves. Harry reached behind him and grabbed his broom and stepped off the porch into a burning agony and fell into darkness yet the burning inside of him continued. Everything was in blackness as his insides continued to burn. His screams went unheard until he couldn’t scream anymore. His throat had gone to dry to work anymore. A dim light appeared first as a small dot and then grew brighter and larger with each tortured breath and the burning inside of him lessened equally with the lights growth. He closed his eyes only for a moment and the opened them again. The pain was completely gone and he was no longer in Ginny’s Meadow but deep within some forest he had never seen before. He was still lying on the ground and his throat felt normal. It was as if he had just woken from a horrible dream. There was laughter on the air and singing in the not too far distance. The voices that floated on the air were gay and musical. It lightened his heart to hear the words. He stood up and brushed himself off and looked around trying to get his bearings. He had not clue where he was yet something was oddly familiar about this place. It was like a memory come to life that had been buried deep within his bones. His feet seemed to know where to go as he began to walk.

The singing voices gave way to various conversations as good wives spoke over garden fences or through kitchen windows and the men seemed busy within their daily lives repaired thatched roofs or hoeing small gardens. The ring of a hammer hitting an anvil sounded just down the roadway and everywhere he looked someone waved at him and shouted a good day. These people all lived in a forest that was untouched by their homes or the paths nor the road that he stood on as he turned a full circle. They were a hearty people, tall and fair to look upon. He knew who they were but couldn’t remember them. They were Elves, but none had had ever seen before. “Dain, you’ve arrived!” A man hailed at him but Harry looked behind him to see if there might have been another that the Elf may have been calling to. There was no other. “Dain, the Council has been waiting. There has been a breach in the Forbidding and one has escaped.” The Elf’s name was Javid. Harry wondered how he knew this. “Have the parties been sent out yet Javid? Has the Council yet learned how this breach occurred?” Javid shook his head and then clasped Harry’s forearm in greeting once they drew near enough to each other. “That is why the Council waits Dain. You are the Captain of the Guard for the Crystree. It could have only been one of the chosen or one of the Guard that poisoned the Tree.” Harry looked at him sideways as they walked together towards the Council Chamber. “I thought you just said the Council knows not how the breech occurred, Javid.” Javid kept walking as he answered Harry. “We are uncertain but the Tree dies as we speak. There is no mark on it yet its leaves fall. It must be a poison or a sickness unknown to us.

“Does the Council know which of the Demons that escaped?” Harry had no idea where or why these questions were coming but in his bones he knew they had been asked once before. “It was not a Demon, Dain. It was a Black Druid. The one called Grindelwald.” Harry found his steps lengthening and the strides growing quicker at the sound of that name. It had taken nearly a thousand men to arrest him and Harry remembered losing well over half of his army in the attempt. As the two men entered the Council Chambers and stepped down the steps that led to the bottom Harry past rows of benches until they reached the bottom. It was a circular building that had been built similar to a stadium with a round table at its bottom and eight chairs surrounded the table. The floor sat another three steps below that last aisle of benches and was surrounded by a railing. As Harry stepped through an opening in the railing and took the last three steps downward towards the floor, the burning and darkness enveloped him once again.

Harry awoke glistening in sweat. He had only been asleep for ten minutes. Madame Pomfrey was there in an instant with a tray and another Pepper-up potion for him to take. “Ready for another exercise then, Mr. Potter?” She asked more out of preamble than anything. Harry took the potion from her and drank it feeling its effects immediately. He did need to walk around this time and he needed to think. Grindelwald’s name should not, could not have been correct. What dream was this? He thought to himself and where did it come from. He knew it had nothing to do with him yet he knew somehow that he had been there before and his name was Dain. It made no sense to him but he did know that Grindelwald was somehow connected but how?

It was just after noon when Harry returned to his bed for the second time that day. He felt stronger but he wasn’t ready yet to badger Madame Pomfrey to leave. He needed to know for sure if he was going to be strong enough to do what must be done. If another day was needed he would take it but no longer than that. Harry stopped by Dobby’s bedside on the way back to his own and set on the edge. Dobby looked frail yet not as pale as he did this morning. Harry laid a hand on the Elf’s chest and felt an inner burning inside Dobby. Madame Pomfrey stopped by with a tray of potions for Harry to drink but waited. Harry heard her when she arrived and asked without turning to face her, “Is Dobby going to be okay?” Madame Pomfrey’s voice was softer and kinder than Harry had ever heard before in all of his visits to the Hospital Wing. “Yes, Mr. Potter Dobby will be just fine in a day or two. He needs a lot of rest for his body to replace the amount of blood he lost. Had Mr. Weasley not done what he did when he did it, the Elf would have died. You have that Elf’s utmost loyalty Mr. Potter. You know that when you used to visit me before Dobby here stood guard over you every night, every moment you were asleep mind you.” Harry sighed and pulled Dobby’s blanket up a little higher and tucked it underneath his chin and then squeezed Dobby’s arm and whispered “Get well my friend.”

Harry walked instep with Madame Pomfrey back to his own bed and after taking his potion he climbed back into bed. He knew that he must be very weak being so tired after each walk and with Madame Pomfrey giving him a Pepper-up potion to get him started each time he knew his legs must be extremely weak. Harry fell asleep with that last though on his mind as Poppy smiled and slipped the bottle of sleeping potion back into her apron pocket. “Just a little drop into the Pepper-up and he never know the difference.” Looking at her watch and then back to Harry she whispered “that one should last about twenty minutes.” With a smile laugh Poppy marched back up the aisle and back to her office.

Chapter 41 Completed

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PostSubject: Re: Harry Potter and the Hunt   Sun 15 Mar 2009, 10:40 pm

The Hunt

Chapter 42

The Darkness of Night

Draco slept fitfully, waking several times throughout the night with visions wafting through his mind. Images that were misshapen or barely visible as if seen through mists thicker than the fogs that would cover his family estate back in England. They were scenes of battles but from where they came from he didn’t know. Something in them tugged at a cord within, one that was wound so tightly to his being that when he awoke in the middle of the night unable to go back to sleep, he knew he should know why. These images, as real as they seemed, had never come to him before, not since he had visited the Druid Library. This much he had been able to reason out in the short time he had sat on the edge of his bed. Something beckoned to his very soul to return to the Library. Something down there had sparked something within him, something that he should know as if something in his own blood had just awakened. Parts of a puzzle began filling in and its picture was nearly discernable. Snape had been drawing this picture for him for weeks now without telling what it was.

His parents seemed less important to him now yet the loss of his mother should have done something he thought. Angered him perhaps? He did feel angered when he learned the truth of it. He wanted to kill his own father, had even talked about it, planned it, and the opportunity was to be given to him, but somehow it didn’t seem to matter anymore. His thoughts were being redirected, focused onto something greater, he could feel it in his bones that he should be doing something, should know something, yet what that something was, was just out of reach. The scenes from his nightmare…, no it wasn’t a nightmare he had been there! Hordes of misshapen creatures were flooding into…, They were his army! Suddenly that darkness seemed to press in on him from all sides and his breath quickened and he remembered.

He was only fifteen months old if that much and he awoke screaming. A wave of darkness, shapes, cruel and ugly, vicious misshapen beasts rode over him and those that were with him. He and his fellow wizards were to defend a pass when the horde overtook them and they were all killed. But no they weren’t wizards, they were a Druid army and before he was over run, there was a lone man dressed in black robes guiding and directing the horde as they bounded through. He pressed his head into his hands muttering to himself “It was only a child’s dream, a child’s nightmare, nothing more than that, nothing.” He had been terrified of pure darkness ever since that day.

His mind was racing now as he tried to sort it all out. It was important to what it was he had to do. Severus had been teaching him about the Druids but not in so many words, he kept alluding to a…, a…, a…, balance of nature! He snapped his fingers when he recalled something that Snape had said about an ancient art of “Calling on the Dragon.” It took from the user equally as it gave the user a power stronger than magic. It required a balance of nature and of man. It was meant to be used sparingly and wisely but there was one that allowed the dagon to taint him. It dominated the user and thus the user needed more power. The two would feed one another until either the user lost his or her own soul and the magic would grow dark requiring more until it took over and fed upon all that lived twisting it to its own blackness, its own evil.

Draco was on his feet dressing himself. He had to go back to the Library. Snape was warning him who this Great Lord was, he had to have been. He had to know what his connection to these Druids and this Great Lord was. What was in those books that called to his blood and why? Questions continued to come to him as he stole through the corridors and passageways of the caverns and he had no answers to them. The one question that burned through him and the one that he most desperately wanted answered was what was happening to him. He had not felt this way until he first entered the Library and he knew that the Library held those answers or so he felt.

As he hurried down the darkened passageways he began to form questions in his mind trying to organize a train of thought within these questions and the first of them was how one became a Druid ending with a deepening suspicion of was he himself becoming a Druid or was he already one. Another thought had come unbidden as he hurried down one of the more difficult to see passages. The day before when his father tried to kill Snape did he actually take command of the situation and did Severus actually obey him? The more he thought of that the more he knew that some power had come over him, some strength that he had not had before. He was scared and yet it was as if … he had changed. He knew he had changed when he had fallen into the lake down below. It was pitch dark and he had not even lit his wand. Some of the passages were very narrow and he hardly noticed them It was after that woman and his mother appeared, after he had gone back into the Library.

Draco reached the Library door and opened it without thinking and as he stepped inside he waved his hand without thought and lights sprang up in oil filled lanterns with mirrored backings to intensify their brightness. Marching straight towards the book of directories he had only one thought in mind and he searched for the record containing the information on “The great war of the Druids,” and found its location. He retrieved the heavy leather bound tome from its stack and returned to the reading table where he had sat before and began to read. Several hours later Draco closed the book with a scowl on his face. Without hesitation he stood up and went to a wall near the back of a dark corner and felt along the edge of the stack until his fingers found a small recess in the wood, slipping the tip of his finger into the recess he depressed a button and heard a click in the wall in front of him and pushed it opened to reveal another chamber with several stacks laden with tome upon tome and a directory setting upon a lectern positioned neatly in the middle of the smaller chamber.

Stepping inside the hidden chamber the wall closed smoothly behind him and lanterns lit the room with a greater intensity than the main room. Stepping up to the lectern he looked through its listings and found the information that he could not find the previous day. Nearly every volume contained the history of the Black Druids and the evils that they left behind. Grindelwald had risen to lead a select group of Druids whose investigations and studies delved so deeply into the arcane world that the magics that they were studying had taken them completely over and had twisted their very minds and souls. Grindelwald had created an army of soulless creatures that were bent and misshapen, dark in their nature, monsters in their own right to rage upon the lands until all had been consumed and he alone would stand to lead the world. The armies of the men, of the Elves, and of the faerie rose to meet the onslaught and were nearly turned until a Captain of the Elves known as Dain laid his own life down so that his guard could capture Grindelwald. What was left of the Druids and of the Silvani created a place they called the Forbidding and sealed it with the magic of the only known Avendesoro tree in existence.

The Forbidding was to be as a prison to protect mankind and the lands of faerie against true and pure evil, against monsters and creatures whose hearts and minds were bent, against those that would destroy life. It was to be a desolate place where nothing of kindness would dwell, nothing that would alleviate misery. It was to be the hell they would have created had they been allowed to roam the Earth. The Silvani had been given the honor to protect and nurture the Avendesoro as it lived in their lands and survived in the very gardens of their rulers. The gateway to the Forbidding was known only to the last living Druid of the age as their council had been broken and would only be called back by the Head of their Order in times of great need.

Draco did not skip as he read on through the rest of the night ensuring that he returned each tome to its rightful place on the shelves of the stacks. He had learned that there was only one Druid alive during each age as the time of faerie ended and the age of man took over and during each age there were always two that could be taken in as protégé and in the time of great rest and harmony the one could enter into a deep sleep lasting hundreds of years or until he or she was needed again. He had found an entry in one of the last tomes detailing the suspicion that Grindelwald had escaped the Forbidding and though there was no date recorded he thought that he might have recognized the thin and flowing script that the entry had been written in. Though the tome appeared to be old the writing, the ink looked as if it might have been less than sixty some odd years old. As he returned that tome to its resting place he himself found an arm chair and sat in it deep in thought. He was to be this new Druid but what was he to do? Was he to just arrest Grindelwald…and then what? This very night he was to appear before the second meeting of the Great Convention to be anointed as Grindelwald’s Second, his right arm and it was Snape that had vouched for him.

As he rested his chin on the palm of his hand Draco mouthed the word “Now what’s he on about I wonder?”

Draco sat there in the arm chair and closed his eyes. the lamps were still lit in the small chamber casting shadows that danced across the volumes of tomes set neatly into the stacks of bookshelves that neatly lined the walls. A weight of responsibility had befallen right on top of him as he suddenly realized what his place within the wizarding world was. All of these people, witches and wizards alike had descended from the ancient Druids of the age of faerie leaving only one to watch over all to maintain the balance between good and evil.

“And it was Potter who was to be groomed for this,” he snorted with a wry laugh. “And now it falls upon me!”

Chapter 42 Continued


Last edited by Vik on Sun 15 Mar 2009, 10:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Harry Potter and the Hunt   Sun 15 Mar 2009, 10:40 pm

The Hunt

Chapter 42 continued

The Darkness of Night

His whole life he had aspired to follow his father, to be a Death Eater, to segregate and purge those who were not pure of wizarding blood, to return their world back to a time when they were above the rest, sought out as wise amongst the wisest, all powerful,and now he was to be expected to protect that very concept and to accept the equality of all life muggle and wizard alike. He wasto become what he despised the most, a mud blood loving blood traitor.

“Well maybe not that fond and caring. Certainly not like that old Dumbledore was.” He mused. “Perhaps like Snape then. Always right, irregardless of the cost to others.” When he was alone, it helped to talk out loud to himself as his thoughts settled down he began to realize just what was meant of him.

Draco held a hand out towards the table and was startled to see a goblet setting there. Picking it up, it had been filled with a red wine. Suspicious of it just appearing he sniffed it first and then took a small sip and sampled it on his tongue. It was not bitter, rather sweet actually with a small hint of apple behind the grape and so he swallowed what was in his mouth and waited. He felt nothing other than that was just what he had wanted, a nice glass of wine. Taking another longer sip he rose and returned to the Tome he had just replaced and took it down and returned to the table where he was surprised once again to find a quill and an ink bottle. The ink bottle was gold as well and the quill was a feather from an Eagle with a silver stud for its tip. It was odd as his mind was blank and yet he dipped the quill into the ink and wrote the date just under the last entry and in the left hand corner, and began to write.

June, 2000

This being the Fourth age of man, Grindelwald has risen once again. Albus Dumbledore has passed and I, Draco Malfoy, have taken his place. Grindelwald has called for the great convention and I am to be present and to be made his second. I have been in seclusion for the last four years and can only guess that his protégé of old Tom Riddle, who called himself Lord Voldemort, has met his demise or has been captured. I have yet to divine a way to return Grindelwald to the Forbidding nor have I made myself known to the Silvani. However I shall endeavor to make that acquaintance as soon as possible. For now< I must learn as quickly as I can and devise a plan to suit our needs. I believe my predecessor has allied myself unknowingly with a tutor and as such I will endeavor to learn from him.

Draco Malfoy

Replacing the quill back into the inkwell Draco reviewed what he had just written. He felt no differently than before and had no inkling what had possessed him to write what he did. The words were not in his head, they just flowed though and onto the page. A sudden urge to blot out what he had written came over him but he instantly knew that would be wrong. Leaning back into the armchair he had to wonder just how he got to where he was.

Draco had been gone for hours and Snape was furious. He had searched throughout the caverns; having gone to each of Draco’s haunts and had even gone down to the cell where Lucius had flung himself towards him. Severus had to prepare Draco for the evening’s convention. His very life depended on Draco following certain protocols, certain procedures. In fact Draco’s life depended upon it more so than his. Draco’s arrogance and his haughtiness would not be abided by and the slightest mistake…What he needed was calm. Snape needed to calm himself and after four years leading that boy by his nose he was finding it increasingly difficult to do. Time was drawing to near and he had thought that he had made it very clear that he was not to just disappear. Perhaps a small lesson might be in store for him when he had found the boy.

A noise in an antechamber drew him up to a stop and he listened. No one was to be down in this area and so he drew himself into the shadows and waited. The sound of a boot stepping lightly came to his ears while he waited for the person wearing them to step nearer and into some light. Another step and Snape was looking at Remus Lupin who was moving cautiously across the chamber with his wand held at the ready.

Accio wand!

Remus’s wand flew out of his hand into the outstretched hand of Severus Snape.

“Well, well what have we here?”

The familiar drawl with its silkiness laden into each syllable resounded in Lupin’s head and he whirled to meet Snape as he stepped out of the shadows.

“I have been looking for you Severus for quite sometime now.” Remus gave the appearance of calmness. “Have you been expecting me then?”

The leer on Snape’s face could have meant anything at that moment as he raised his wand a bit higher. “So tell me Lupin, just what brings you here to this…, this neck of the woods shall we say?” His wand lifted just a bit higher as Remus took another step towards him.

“I could ask you the same for myself Severus, but I will answer yours shortly if I may ask but one of my own first?”

Snape inclined his head to the barest of nods.

“Shall I continue to trust you?”

Snape’s eyebrow raised only a fraction. It was not the question he had anticipated. “A bit cavalier of you don’t you think Remus, to track me down all this time just to ask me that?”

They both stared at one another for a long while before Remus broke the silence.

“Let me just assume that I can still trust you just for the moment. We know Grindelwald is here but Harry still believes that it is you that he seeks and you that he needs to capture to end his search. He knows that there is one stronger than Voldemort Severus. Harry doesn’t know that its Grindelwald, he believes it to be you. So I need to know…Can I still trust you?”

Remus had not given up on what Dumbledore had said about Severus and Dumbledore was seldom if ever wrong to his knowledge. Snape lowered his wand but not completely and stared into Lupin’s face before answering.

“Dumbledore was a fool to trust in me!” He hissed the words out as if he never wanted them to touch his lips and the silkiness of his voice had all but left, but he had not raised his wand any further than it was, which was now pointing directly at Lupin’s chest where it had once been pointing right at his head.

Lupin dropped his hands from where he had been holding them and faced Snape levelly, “How many will be here tonight?” Snape’s face took on a cold look that could have frozen the very rock that formed the chamber that they stood in and the look of hatred came over his face. Lupin was never a friend yet he was …,

“A hundred.” Snape answered with a snap as his hand clenched his wand tighter than before causing the knuckles in his hand to turn white and for a moment he held that wand as if he struggled within himself to use it.

Slowly he dropped his wand completely and asked with resignation and the words came out haltingly as he spoke “Are you still to be trusted?”

A slight smile crossed Lupin’s face as he stepped forward and took his wand from Snape’s fist.

“If the time comes I will be looking the other way but I cannot promise for the others…, and do not try to face Harry Severus. You will lose.” Reaching for his wand and taking it he returned his wand back to his cloak pocket and added, “It was Harry who brought Voldemort down and held him without his wand and without a sound. He’s stronger than Dumbledore was and much quicker.”

It was not a boast for Harry’s part it was simply the truth. Had Remus waited for another moment before turning his back to Severus he might have seen the merest of smiles pass Snape’s mouth and the nod that went with it. He had been tough on the boy and he did it to force him to learn whether he wanted to or not. Neither spoke another word as they both left from where they had met.

Chapter 42 Completed

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PostSubject: Re: Harry Potter and the Hunt   Sun 15 Mar 2009, 10:43 pm

The Hunt

Chapter 43

Changes in Plans

Ron sat grimly in his chair deep in thought as Hermione busied herself playing with their daughter. Missy Molly sat in Hermione’s lap and had been making faces trying to copy her Auntie Tonks and was absolutely positive that her face would change into the various looks that she would announce before she changed her appearance. Hermione, giggling more from the expressions Molly would make when the little girl would screw her face up than pretending that she saw what Molly would describe had been eyeing Ron since had had sat down. He was obviously debating a great decision. She had seen him this way only on a few occasions and those were better left unmentioned. Hermione had not realized the she had begun to ignore Molly until she had grabbed Hermione’s nose and pulled it back around and very plaintively said “Mummy you’re not watching me.”

Ron wanted this afternoon alone with just his family to surround him and yet he was as far away from them as he could be. He was worried about what he was asking his old school chums, his mates to do. Many of them had families of their own or businesses that needed working or managed. Luna Lovegood had become Editor of her father’s magazine but he was sure that she would most likely not be missed for a week or two and maybe not at all. She had been one of the only people who could be in the same room with you and yet not even be there. He knew what he needed to do but he was uncertain of what Hermione would say when he brought that subject up.

Ron didn’t know when he had made the decision and maybe it had already been made. No, he wasn’t going to debate that issue not now anyway. He knew what they were going to do, he knew what he was going to say in just a few more hours to twenty-seven people.

Finally he spoke aloud and to the fireplace. “Hermione, we’re going to give out the Felix Felicis. I don’t want anyone hurt when we go and we have no idea of what we may be up against.” From the corner of his eye he watched as she began to open her mouth but he held up his hand to stop her. “I want no arguments from you. Not now, and not later either. My mind is compl;etely made up. All I need to know is do we have enough vials to go around?”

Hermione frowned and put Molly down telling her to go find Hedwig to play with while she spoke to daddy. That was like telling Molly to go and eat as much candy as she could possibly find. Molly thought so too as she went streaking past Ron’s chair shouting as loud as she could “Hed-dig, I’m coming!”

Hermione looked at Ron long and hard before she answered him with a question of her own. “Ron, are you scared?”

He didn’t face her and only nodded. Still looking at the fireplace he added to his nod, “We don’t know anything. We don’t know if there are one or fifty or a hundred wizards there. If they’re all dark wizards or Death Eaters or what have you. I just don’t want there to be any mistakes. I know Harry don’t care about himself anymore but…, He’s my mate and I…, I…, I need to make sure that we come home.”

Hermione rose from her chair and crossed over to Ron’s and sat in his lap, wrapping her arms around his neck and kissed him smartly and thoroughly and then drew his head close to her. “I’ve already portioned out the potion dear. I had the same thoughts as you did.”

They sat like that for a long time, together in silence just staring at the fireplace as the logs burned evenly with a low flame which seemed to add to the somber moment between the two of them. In another room Molly was laughing at a series of hoots and then a very clear “How do you do that again?” followed by an “Ohh, that’s easy to do.” “One, two, three…, here I am” More giggles and hoots followed as Hermione and Ron held onto each other and watched the fire burn in the fireplace.

A knock at the door shattered the moment of tenderness that Ron and Hermione were sharing and the door opened before Hermione could climb off his lap. Molly Weasley stepped inside the living room in the process of taking off her cloak. “Kids we have just one small problem that I just thought of.”

Molly turned to face them and spoke. When neither of them answered her she continued speaking. “You cannot have the meeting here.” Hermione came to her senses almost immediately and smacked her hand against her forehead just the fraction of a second before Rom did. It had never occurred to them that the house was still protected by the Fidelius Charm and neither of them were the Secret Keeper. Even Harry himself could not give out the address. Albus Dumbledore had been the secret keeper and when he died, the secret died with him.

Both of the younger Weasleys began blushing with embarrassment they had given their address to every member of the DA and they would not know the address. “But the addresses were on the notes Mum.” Ron had said “I saw them there myself when we sent the owls.”

Molly nodded and said “As soon as they left outside this house the address disappeared from the parchment. That’s how it works dear.” Looking at the clock which sat on the mantle above the fireplace she said, “If we work quickly, we can get notices out to everyone to meet at the Burrow.”

Hermione looked at her and said, ”But Harry…” Molly had already thought that out, telling the kids that she had sent an owl to Hogwarts to tell Harry to come straight to his home and not to the Burrow. After what she had told him earlier this morning he would understand. The three of them left the coziness of the living room and the fireplace and entered the kitchen where they had set themselves about the long table and began writing the change of location. After a few short minutes with the three of them working together Ron had called Hedwig in to the kitchen to start the deliveries with a stack of envelopes attached to each of her legs. Molly had used the fireplace to go back home with another stack of envelopes to attach to Percy’s owl Hermes’ legs to finish delivering the last of the notes they had written.

Ron, his wife, and Missy Molly followed shortly after to prepare for the meeting which had originally been planned to be held at number twelve Grimmauld Place. Winky had taken her young charge to the second floor of the Burrow to keep Missy Molly from being underfoot while Molly herself sent a quick message by Patronus to Head Mistress McGonagal, that all had been taken care of.

Leaning back in her chair, Hermione began to laugh loudly and uncontrollably. Both Ron and his mother looked sideways at her as she convulsed and gasped for air and had clasped a hand to her side as a stitch began to form. As her laughter began to subside she was able to say the words, “Oh my,” between great gulps of air. The other two Weasleys were watching her with looks of puzzlement and trying to control the involuntary giggles that had been caused by watching Hermione. Finally, when Hermione had caught her breath enough to speak she blurted out “Oh my, we’re such fools.”

Wonderment crossed Molly’s face as she prompted, “Would you care to explain yourself dear?”

Hermione, who was now holding both her sides as if to stop the convulsing of her laughter simply said, “No one knew that we had moved into Harry’s place. They all think we still live here.” And she started her laughter once again “T-the on-only one’s who knew were-were Professor McGonagal and mem-members of the Or-Order.”

It was true, the last any of their friends knew, Ron and Hermione both still lived at the Burrow and none that they knew of had been any the wiser that they had moved in with Harry at his request. Only a very small handful of their friends had even been invited to their wedding which was held at the Burrow three years earlier. It had become second nature for the Weasley family to travel to London to visit with the younger pair and they had been too busy with school and such to even think about inviting anyone over even if there had been a way to bring someone to number twelve Grimmauld place other than whomever Albus Dumbledore had given the address.

Ron had managed an impish grin on his face which broadened to a wide grin as he pictured the looks of several of their friend’s faces as they read the second message that had just been sent. He nearly began laughing himself but managed a straight face as he pulled out his gold Galleon and flipped it to his wife. ”Well you had better send the call for the meeting then since everyone knows where we live.” He stressed the word “knows” as if he had argued this one point and had just proved himself right.

The conversation around the table had turned into the nights plan and what plan if any they would follow should the need to activate the DA arrive. Several times Molly had caused both Ron and Hermione’s eyebrows to climb high up their foreheads with astonishment in just how much their mother knew about tactics and battle planning. Molly had to tell them more than once that she was not always the mum of seven children and that when she had left Hogwarts, there were still small pockets of Death Eaters that had remained active. It wasn’t until she discovered that she was with Bill, that her and Arthur had made decisions about their respective careers. She would become a full time mum and Arthur would step down to a much lesser active position with the Ministry and it was his love of Muggles that made which office to pick an easy choice for him.

Ron had never heard this side of his parent’s lives and was awe struck at the thought of his parents being as actively involved in danger as Mad Eye Moody had once been. Coming out of a momentary lapse of thought Ron had just managed to hear his mum tell Hermione, “…, and that’s where we met Alastor Moody, you know him as Mad Eye of course. Though, he wasn’t as badly injured and such, and he still had both eye’s then.”
Molly continued to ramble on as Ron looked at his watch. The time for the meeting was rapidly drawing nearer.

Pushing himself away from the table abruptly and causing both women to stop and look up, Ron grabbed his cloak and as he donned the garment he spoke. “Hermione, you handle this meeting tonight. You know the plan as it is. I, I need to be with Harry right now. I need to talk with him about what happened. I may be late in coming home.”

Chapter 43 Continued

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PostSubject: Re: Harry Potter and the Hunt   Sun 15 Mar 2009, 10:44 pm

The Hunt

Chapter 43 continued

Changes in Plans

They lowered their eyes away from Ron not wanting to meet his. They knew what he wanted to know. He wanted to know why, and he wanted to know exactly how Ginny died. Ron just wanted to know. The atmosphere in the kitchen became a somber one as he buttoned up his cloak, checking to make sure he had his wand. No one spoke as he let himself out the back door of the Burrow and into the yard where he took three steps and disappeared. The two women remained silent for a while until the sounds of Fred and George could be heard outside the door of the Burrow, coming home for the rest of the day and to attend the meeting of the DA.

Ron appeared just outside the tavern owned by Madame Rosmerta in the small and the only all wizarding village of Hogsmeade, which lay not far from Hogwarts main entrance. Stepping inside the bar, Ron cast about for a small table in the rear of the tavern where he and Hermione with Harry, would sit during their many visits to the village. Seeing the table that they had once used quite frequently unoccupied, Ron made his way towards it when Rosmerta herself stepped in front of him.

Still as vivacious and as beautiful as ever, Rosmerta stood with her hands on her hips and eyed Ron up and down then said in a sultry voice, “Well it looks as if you grew into yourself then young Mr. Weasley. Will it be a butterbeer this afternoon or something a bit more?” she had added a little shake of her hips with the last bit of what she had said causing Ron to blush, and to remember how smitten he had been over her only a few years earlier.

“I think I’d like a bit of Fire Whiskey or maybe a Brandy if you have it.” Ron replied, as she moved slightly to the side to allow him to pass by her and take the table he had angled for.

Rosmerta had brought him a brandy herself and set the drink down onto his table and waited. Ron picked the drink up and tossed it down in one single gulp and handed the glass back to her asking for another. Sensing his mood Rosmerta asked “Your not going to get drunk on me now are you?”

Ron shook his head slowly and Rosmerta eyed him for a long moment then left the table only to return moments later with another brandy in hand. This time Ron took the drink and held it in his hands before taking a small sip of it. Placing the glass down on the table in front of him, Rosmerta was about to say something to him but the door opened up and Hagrid stepped inside.

Ron looked around as if trying to find a quick place to hide but it was too late. Hagrid had already seen him and had stepped aside from Madame Rosmerta and was coming directly towards him with a beaming smile on his face.

“Ello there Ron where’s Hermione? At home with yer little one I expect.” Came the booming voice of Hagrid’s.

Hagrid took the seat opposite of Ron’s and raised a huge hand in the air to get the Bartenders attention and then pointed to the table after making a little circle with his hand to indicate a drink for him and for Ron as well. Ron had not even emptied half of his already second drink.

“Here now Ron, yer not feelin’ sick are ya? Yer lookin’ a bit peaky, if yer ask me.” Hagrid had a look of concern on his face as he watched Ron setting in front of him with his head in his hands.

Ron said nothing but took another sip of his brandy just as the bartender brought Hagrid his huge bucket sized mug of ale and another brandy for Ron. As Hagrid took his mug in hand he eyed Ron carefully and then took a long swig of the ale and then said, “I’ll jes bet yer all worried ‘bout Harry aren’t ya.? Well don’ be, he’s a big enough man now to care for him self an all. And I know yer wanting ter help him in all. Blimey Ron, we all want ter help him out but there's times when there’s just summat a man’s gotta do on his own “

Ron sat in silence drinking his drinks while Hagrid rattled on about letting Harry go it alone and how Harry needed to do this on his own, and that on his own. Before long, Ron began to think that Hagrid was trying to convince more himself than he was trying to convince Ron that he shouldn’t be worrying over what Harry was doing, like he had been. But Hagrid was wrong. Near the mark, but altogether wrong. All Ron wanted to know was why? He knew what Harry was doing and why…, well he guessed he knew why Harry was out there alone and then it hit him like a ton of bricks. Why had Harry left him out of this…, he was his best mate, they had been through the thick of it together all those years before.

Ron hadn’t noticed that Hagrid had stopped talking and had been watching him as if studying him closely.

“Yer gonna go after him aren’t ya Ron? I mean when Harry gets well that is. Yer gonna go and follow him er summat like that.”

Ron nodded and stood up and patted Hagrid’s shoulder and said to him “I wished you could come along Hagrid. It’d be almost like old times. Hagrid laid a huge hand over Ron’s covering it completely and patted it.

“Yeah I’d like ter come along but I’ve got me classes ter teach and me House, yer know I’m Head of Gryffindor now, and the kids in all, well Professor McGonagal needs me here Ron and …, Harry need’s you more'n I expect, than he needs me ter look after him.” And with a bit firmer pat on Ron’s hand that nearly crushed the bones in his hand Hagrid added more firmly “You bring him back Ronald Weasley, all neat an tidy. Or I jes might do summat to that you might regret.” Hagrid’s huge mouth broke into a broad grin to ease the threat which made Ron smile.

Everything had been set and ready to go and all they needed was to let Harry out of his little prison in the Hospital wing. With luck, everything would be over in the next day or two. He had decided not to meet with Harry that afternoon though the wish still nagged and tugged but he would be at the house waiting for him when they decide to let Madame Pomfrey give him that invigorating draft and let him go.

She had told them that he was ready as soon as he woke up but they angled for more time to put their plans in motion. Harry was going to get all the help he could possibly need in just one night and there would be no arguments, as his help would not arrive until just the nick of time. Hermione had been absolutely sure of herself about that. Harry would have to be either in trouble or in danger for the charm to work. Fred and George were to take Colin Creevey to where Harry was going to have a picture taken of the place so everyone would know where to apparate to. And as soon as their Galleons gave signal they would apparate directly to the site. It was a simple plan and most of them knew the risks involved already and the others, well they were all good men and women and they would hold their own.

The plan flashed through Ron’s mind quickly as he met Hagrid’s smile with his own. It was simple and easily executed. He liked that word, executed. It was used quite often in his training to be an Auror. It had a ring to it, a finesse, and a finality. His and Hermione’s plan would be executed with perfection.

“Hagrid,” Ron began. “Would you like to go with us when we bring Harry back?”

Now he had done it. He had opened his mouth and placed his foot in it. Hermione was going to skin him alive and his mum would help just to make sure it was done right too. His mind began to run quickly now thinking up all the different reasons, and good one’s at that, why Hagrid should not be left out. After all, Hagrid had been there from day one watching over Harry until he could be given to the Dursleys. Well okay, it was just one day but it just wasn’t right to keep Hagrid away.

“Aww, well now.” Hagrid began to answer Ron’s question. “I’d like ter ya see, but I’ve me classes in all. There’s summat those thing I got ter take care of ya see, in the forest, in all. And there’s Gryffindor House that needs watchin’ after to ya know.”

Hagrid was scratching his head while he spoke in his deep rumble of a voice trying to think ways so not to let Ron down. He could see that Ron really wanted him to go with them. Probably to make sure that everything was done right now that he was a fully qualified wizard and the Head of Gryffindor House too. He could see why Ron would want him along but this was summat that Harry ought ta take care on his own. Summat Harry needed doin by his self ter make things right with himself. What puzzled him was why Ron and Hermione couldn’t see that. Hagrid too, was thinking as fast as he could but all he could think to say at last was, “An then there’s Professor McGonagal, an she’s done so much ter help me along an' all an even got me qualified as a wizard an' summat like that. Great woman Professor McGonagal, great woman.”

“Right so then,” Ron spoke at last when Hagrid trailed off. “You’ll be to busy and you think that Harry should do this by himself then?” Ron didn’t mean it to sound like a challenge and realized that it had sounded like that as soon as he said it.

“Well no Ron, I’d like to be there an' summat, but there’s just times Ron, when a wizard needs to go it alone so he kin do things he needs ter do, an' well, this here be one o’ them times Ron and yer shouldn’t be askin me ter step in. You’ll learn things like this when yer a bit older ya see.”

Hagrid leaned back and smiled broadly as if he had just given a facts of life lecture to one of his young charges and was rather satisfied on how he had done that. But, deep inside he wanted to trade places with Harry but Harry had made him promise to keep out of it those few years back when he came to him with a sealed piece of parchment to be given to Ron and Hermione should anything happen to him. He unknowingly patted his huge coat pocket where the parchment had been kept since ever since Harry had given it to him.

“Yeah, I see what you mean Hagrid. It all makes a bit of sense now, thanks. But we’re still going after him.” Ron had found his way out and Hagrid had given it to him.

“Yer wouldn’t be his best mate if’n yer jes left him be coming back all hurt like that. I shouldn’t said that, I shouldn’t a said that.”

Ron looked up at him and studied him closely and then said, “That’s alright Hagrid we all know you know Harry’s up in the Hospital wing.”

The two of them lifted their drinks together when a sudden thought struck Ron’s mind. “Hagrid would you do me a favor?" Ron didn’t wait for Hagrid to reply and continued on to ask his question. “Would you keep an eye on Harry just for the rest of the day and if he leaves here send me a message the secret way?” Ron had a suspicion that Harry just might try to leave directly from Hogwarts knowing that he was just that close to finishing what he set out to do three years earlier. Hagrid nodded that he would do that for him and then stood to leave.

They made their goodbyes and Ron returned to his seat. He knew Hagrid was trying to cover up but what he had said made some sense. Perhaps he wasn’t going to confront Harry just now. He could do that when it was all done and then box Harry’s ears the muggle way for leaving them out of a fight that was just as much theirs as it was his. Standing, he made his decision. He was going to the Burrow and spend some time with Missy Molly. He hadn’t seen her properly this past week and he did like to play with his daughter or at least watch her while she played.

Chapter 43 Completed

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PostSubject: Re: Harry Potter and the Hunt   Sun 15 Mar 2009, 10:47 pm

The Hunt

Chapter 44

Cat and Mouse

Ron sat in the Three Broomsticks a while longer sipping his drink and puzzling over why he had come here and why he had decided not to do as he intended. Hagrid did make a lot of sense and for all he knew Hagrid was right but his gut told him other wise. His head said to go home, play with Molly and enjoy what time he would have with her. She had already grown so much and he had barely blinked an eye.

“What was it, yesterday?” He had held her in his arms and smiled down to his wife who was looking back at him most radiantly and asked “What shall we name her?”

Shaking his head slightly to rid himself of the memory he reminded himself that he did need to speak with Harry and better sooner than later. Ron took another slow sip of his drink not noticing that it had somehow been replaced with a fresh one. The only thought that would come to him was that he was arguing with himself and quite successfully for both sides, which caused him to laugh at himself. Taking the final sip of his drink and leaving five Minutes of the table, Ron stood and donned his cloak. He had finally decided what to do.

The gates to Hogwarts stood closed as Ron hesitated with his hand on the latch. He had to see Harry but something that Hagrid had said was preventing him from pushing open the gate, to enter the grounds, to speak to him one last time before they were to let him go. He wasn’t sure if he should speak to Harry. Doubt clouded his mind more so than ever. He looked around him trying to remember how easy it was to speak his mind to Harry in the past. This time either decision was the right one. His stomach told him to march right up to the Hospital wing and ask “Harry, I want to know why you have to do this, why you have to go after Snape when Voldemort is gone?” His head was telling him something different. It was telling him to go straight home and let Harry finish this business, and let the plan unfold as it may.

Ron pushed the gate open and walked purposefully up to the great doors looking or rather glancing towards Hagrid’s hut just to see if his giant friend might be watching out for him. A thought entered into his head that caused another chuckle to arise. He didn’t remember the gates being this far from the main doors and while he strode up the lane and after looking towards Hagrid’s hut one more time, Ron slowed his walk to enjoy the scenery. He truly had not been here for a long time, well since he was last here just a few days ago, but then he didn’t have time to notice the small changes that had occurred. Ron reached the steps that led up to the great doors and mounted them two at a time. Reaching the top he stood and looked back down towards the lake one final time and then turning he grasped the handle of the doors and pulled them opened. He had made his mind up.

Turning to the left he headed up the great stairway that led from the great hall to the levels far up into the castle, careful of the shifting stairways, and then ducked into one of his and Harry’s secret passageways that took him to another flight of stairs that led directly to the seventh floor. Turning the corner around the hallway Ron pulled up short, Harry was walking back and forth just in front of the tapestry where the Room of Requirement ought to be. Harry hadn’t noticed. Ron stood there watching him from around the corner until Harry stopped and then opened a door and stepped inside.

Ron looked about him and seeing no one, followed Harry into the Room of Requirement. It was a Potions Laboratory this time and Harry was searching through a store of potions ingredients. Harry didn’t seem to notice Ron’s entrance and had his face screwed up in consternation when Ron coughed politely into his hand to get Harry’s attention. Nearly jumping out of his skin, Harry turned on Ron with his wand raised and at the ready. Golden ropes were already snaking themselves around Ron’s legs and arms binding him up tightly. An eyebrow rose on Ron’s forehead and in an instant, the other began to race the first to the top of his head. Ron had tried to talk but his mouth had been sealed shut with the lip locker curse.

Harry blushed with embarrassment and aloud he spoke the incantation “Finite Incantato.”

The ropes disappeared and Ron’s mouth suddenly sprung open barking out a hoarse “Harry its me.”

“S-sorry mate…, its becoming a habit. Didn’t mean to…,” He trailed off not knowing really what to say. Turning back to the cupboards, and resuming his search for ingredients, Harry began to speak. “Ron, don’t try to talk me out of this. I mean to see it finished to the end. Once I get Snape it’ll all be over and I’ll…, Ron I don’t think I’ll be coming back. Other than you lot I’ve nothing here.” His knuckles were turning white as he gripped a cabinet door controlling his anger. “Voldemort was a peon Ron. A puppet. But I know who the puppet master is and I mean to see him brought to Azkaban or worse if it turns out that way.” Harry refused to turn around. He didn’t feel he could meet Ron’s eye.

A long silence stood between the two, neither willing to be the first to speak, not knowing what there was to say if there was anything until Ron finally spoke. “Listen mate, Snape isn’t the one your after. We know who this other Dark Lord is and it isn’t Snape.”

Harry turned to look at Ron as if he had just said something that was most absurd. Speaking quickly Ron told Harry about Grindelwald and what Dumbledore had been saying. It was Harry’s turn now to have his eyebrows climb up to the top of his head.

Ron finished by shaking his head as if he himself could not believe what he had just said but Harry only nodded and said. “When I get Snape then I’ll go after him.” It was just a simple statement of fact made as if Harry had just accepted another assignment from a superior.

As Ron stood looking at Harry in disbelief, Harry had already turned back to his inspection of the ingredients stores and muttering approvals when he had found what it was that he was looking for. Ron only stood and watched still unable to think of anything to say that would sway Harry’s intentions.

A lump was forming in Ron’s throat as Harry’s cauldron began a gurgling noise. Ron was fighting an urge to shake Harry from top to bottom to get him to understand reason and when he opened his mouth he said, “So when are we leaving?”

The question came from no where and Ron was just as startled by its coming as was Harry and it sounded to Ron’s ears as if they had been a team since the beginning. A deafening silence filled the room as Harry stared at Ron who had dropped his gaze to his feet as if not wanting to look at Harry, not wanting to face the negative answer he knew Harry was going to give.

At long last Harry turned his back on Ron and resumed his work on his potion and then answered, “As soon as I find the ingredients to finish this invigoration draft.”

Run was dumbstruck. There was no fight, no argument, no one hundred reasons why he couldn’t and shouldn’t go, nothing.

“You’ll be needing some clothes other than the one’s you came here with” Ron muttered. Harry began pulling items from the shelves while he talked over his shoulder. “I have some things that your mum brought for me but I don’t think Madame Pomfrey will give them up just yet and I don’t have a cloak or anything else like that either”. “Harry, meet me at the Hogshead in an hour and I’ll have everything we’ll need. You do mean to take care of this tonight?” Ron asked. Harry only nodded and began to stir the cauldron that had been setting on a small work table.

Harry heard the door close behind him and then quickly filled three flasks with his invigoration draft and sipping a large ladle full of a fourth measure before leaving the room himself. He had to work quickly now. Just a few corridors and a few turns and he could duck behind a tapestry in to a secret passage way that would lead him to some seldom used stairs that would take him to the hallway that hid the secret passage that would lead him down to the ground floor. Entering into the entrance way of the Great Hall, Harry had to hide in the shadows as some students, second years by the way they were talking, passed by. Quietly, he stole out through the main doors and made his way to the Whomping Willow which held a secret tunnel to the Shrieking Shack that stood just outside of Hogsmeade. From there he could apparate to Madame Malkins in Diagon Alley and buy the cloaks and clothes that he would need as well as any other supplies that might come in handy.

The tunnel had been blocked but with some work Harry thought it could be passable and he set to work moving stones and small boulders away and scraping dirt to the side with his hands. Within minutes which seemed like hours to him his pajamas were filthy with the dirt, grime and sweat but he had made headway. All he needed was just a small space to wriggle through and that was how he worked.

* * * * * * * * * *

Ron stood outside of Honeydukes candy and sweets shop eyeing the Shrieking shack while keeping his other eye on the road that led from Hogsmeade to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He was waiting for Harry to meet up with him and at the same time he was waiting for Harry to try and run from him. He couldn’t blame Harry for wanting to do this alone, after all he had a family that needed him, responsibilities, he knew Harry’s arguments all to well by now. All of them good reasons and all of them frog spawn too. He still had not completely decided whether or not he was going to let Harry go it alone.

Tearing open another chocolate frog package with his teeth, Ron spat out a bit of the wrapper and then picked up the bundle that he had from his shopping and began walking towards the Shrieking Shack. If Fred or George had been there he was willing to bet a years worth of Galleons that Harry was going to show up any minute to apparate, Merlin only knew where, and without him to boot. Looking around to make sure that no one was watching him, Ron entered through the gate that guarded the entrance to the walk that led up to the shack. Nothing had changed in its appearance unless you counted the fact that the shack seemed to be a little more unstable and it looked as if it might have been leaning a bit to one side.

A fleeting thought made Ron stifle a laugh. He was thinking back to their third year at Hogwarts when he and Hermione met each other at the very gate. Draco Malfoy and his goons had snuck up on them and tried to pick a three on one fight with Ron. Harry had snuck up behind Malfoy while wearing his invisibility cloak and made out as if a ghost was throwing snowballs at them. The memory was well worth it.

Chapter 44 Continued

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PostSubject: Re: Harry Potter and the Hunt   Sun 15 Mar 2009, 10:48 pm

The Hunt

Chapter 44 continued

Cat and Mouse

Ron entered the shack and quickly looked around and noted that nothing had been disturbed. The dust was as thick as ever and there were no new foot prints that could be seen. It took only a few moments for him to orient himself and to remember where the tunnel opening let out into the shack and it was there that he decided to set his watch. And set he did and waited for Harry to appear. A few years earlier and you couldn’t pay Ron to sit inside the shack because it supposedly is the most haunted building in all of Great Britain but he knew differently. It had once been the hideout of Harry’s father and his friends, Remus Lupin, Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew, better known as the Hogwarts Marauders.

Remus Lupin was a werewolf and during the school year he would make his way once a month to the Shrieking Shack to wait out what James Potter called “his furry little problem.” The rest of the marauders, James, Sirius, and Peter became self taught and unregistered Animagus so that they could keep Remus company and to help him maintain his humanity when he was transformed into the werewolf. Remus’s howling on those nights is what helped give the shack its reputation.

Ron did not have long to wait when he finally heard soft scraping noises under the trap door. He had guessed rightly. Harry was not lonely trying to leave him but he had chosen Harry’s escape route correctly.

The trap door opened and Harry scrambled out from the hole in the floor covered in dust, dirt, cobwebs, and soaking wet from sweat. He heaved himself out onto the floor rolled over and fumbled for a vial of invigoration draft.

“What took you so long? I’ve been waiting here for ages.”

Harry choked on his invigoration draft and sputtered as he tried to speak. Harry’s sputters turned quickly into a fit of coughing as a bit of the draft found its way down his windpipe. Ron stepped forward and smacked him squarely between the shoulder blades. Dirt and dust billowed into clouds as Ron smacked Harry on the back a few more times for good measure causing Harry who was now hidden in that cloud to cough a bit more..

“Here mate, let me give you a hand up.”

Ron grasp Harry by the arms and lifted him to his feet and began to briskly brush him off, much as he had had to do with little Molly after a rousing sport with his mums garden gnomes. Molly always did like to play with them. He couldn’t remember ever liking to rid the garden of the pesky gnomes but never the less, his daughter did.

“Though I might have misunderstood where we were going to meet up when you didn’t show so I thought I’d wait around a bit longer.”

He had opened another vial of the invigoration draft which he had picked up form the floor and handed it to Harry.

“You look a bloody mess and could stand for a good washing up if you ask me, but last I remembered there’s no running water here.”

Harry remained silent. He was dumbfounded as to how Ron had seen through him so easily. It hadn’t been that way a few years ago he was sure of it. Actually Ron was a bit slow on the uptake the last he remembered. If Hermione had not been there to draw the complete picture for Ron…, well when did Ron get so smart?

He drank down the draft and immediately felt its affects. Grinning sheepishly all he could think of to say was, “Was I that obvious?”

“Pretty see through to me mate. The question was how and where you were going to come out from.” Ron lifted an eyebrow as he spoke and his look suggested that he would not have any more sneakiness or any tricks from Harry.

“Listen here mate, mum checks her clock everyday. And since your accident she has not left it from her sight unless she was going somewhere and as soon as she gets back she checks the clock. She sits up late at night more often than you know worrying about you and where you might be.”

“Ron, I have to do this.” Harry’s face turned grim and his voice sounded pained. “Voldemort killed my parents, killed Sirius, killed Ginny, he even killed your own father! When I caught him…, Ron mate, I swear it but he, he wasn’t the one calling the shots.I saw it myself Ron. I looked into his eyes, I used Legillamency on him and I saw it. He was taking orders from another, from Snape, and then Snape himself was the one who killed Professor Dumbledore. I swore to Professor Dumbledore that I would finish this, I swore to Ginny that I would avenge her, I owe it to Sirius, My mum, and my dad. I owe it to all of them to find Snape and finish it completely.”

“But, why Snape? I mean yeah, he killed Professor Dumbledore and he was the one that told V-V-Voldemort about the prophecy,, but why does it end with him? What makes you think that it ends with him?”

“Voldemort wanted Dumbledore out of the way.”

“Yeah, we all know that.” Ron interrupted.

“He wanted to kill Dumbledore himself don’t you see?”

“Harry, listen to your self. You’re suggesting that Voldemort and Snape switched?” Ron sounded disbelieving. He couldn’t believe it. “Even if all that was done when Dumbledore was killed, was done with Polyjuice, You still got him didn’t you.”

Harry shook his head and said, “Snape was stronger than Voldemort. When Voldemort disappeared after killing my parents Snape came to Hogwarts where he was safe making Professor Dumbledore believe that he was sorry for what he had done. But while he was there He grew stronger than ever and re-organized the Death Eaters. He took over as their Master don’t you see it Ron?

Ron shook his head. He couldn’t see how Harry had put all this together and he said as much. “No Harry I don’t see.”

Every time Voldemort showed up where was Snape?

Ron shrugged his shoulders.

“When I fought Voldemort in our fourth year, did you see Snape anywhere on the Quidditch field?” Harry held one finger up as if to begin tallying his points.

“Snape was roaming through the maze. He was one of the Judges. He …, he could have been anywhere Harry.”

“Karkarov argued with him on the night of the Yule Ball do you remember that?”

Ron nodded that he had.

“We find out that later Karkarov had been killed right?”

“Yeah, but we also know that he ran off to hide and the Death Eaters caught up to him too.” Ron argued.

“Do we know that for a fact?” Harry countered.

“No, no we don’t” Ron conceded.

“Our fifth year? Where was Snape while we were fighting for our lives in the Ministry?” Harry was now holding up a third finger.

“He couldn’t come to our aid and you know that. If he did that then all the Death Eaters would have known whose side he was working.” Ron now held a finger up to prove one of his points.

“True.” Harry admitted. And then he countered with a fourth finger held aloft. “Why did he take so long to pass down the message then. I’ll tell you why. Snape needed to make sure that his Death Eaters had time to get the Prophecy. He needed time to see me dead or captured. Do you think Voldemort would have appeared willingly at the Ministry knowing full well that Dumbledore would have been there? No, Snape sent the fool himself to retrieve what he himself could not get from the very beginning. Where was he when Voldemort showed up with Wormtail at my parent’s doorstep?” Harry was now shouting and his fingers went from showing six fingers to two closed fists and they were shaking violently.

“Listen, I’m coming with you whether you like it or not Harry. But first we’re going to go to my house where your going to get washed up, calm down, dressed, and whatever else we need to do before we leave. Now do you want to go willingly or do I need to take you side along like a child?” Ron’s voice took on a “I’ll brook no nonsense from you” tone of voice and the sudden change of tact brought Harry around.

They stood there together facing one another in a long moment of silence before Harry nodded.

“No one’s going to be there Harry, and we’ll be able to take our time getting ready and from the looks of it, a decent meal inside of you as well.”

“So you do mean to come with me then, huh?” Harry sounded resigned now.

His anger had come to its point and there was nothing there. It should have exploded, done something. He had carried it with him for so many years, let it fuel his resolve, gave him courage, and kept him alive a time or two. Ron brought it all back and it roiled within him and rose. What should have been an all out explosion, Ron laying on the floor unharmed of course, but not readily wanting to get up to follow, and he quite gone, ended into…, nothing. A loss of words, a loss for what to do. He had to get Snape…, and then what? Ginny’s Meadow?

Ron reached out a hand and took Harry by the arm. He winced at the bundle that was left on the floor of the shack, after all it was galleons spent and he was still unaccustomed to throwing good money away like that but Harry was more important to him than a few Galleons.

Chapter 44 Completed

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PostSubject: Re: Harry Potter and the Hunt   Sun 22 Mar 2009, 10:20 pm

The Hunt

Chapter 45


The shadows where lengthening when Harry and Ron disapparated in the park across the street from number twelve Grimmauld Place with Ron still clutching Harry’s arm. Harry tightened his stomach as it felt as if it had been drawn through a hose pipe. He still had not gotten used to apparating and preferred to ride his broom most everywhere he needed to go. In his opinion the three greatest inventions in the wizarding world were the broomstick, the invisibility cloak, and the disillusionment charm. There was of course several other items and charms he had rather liked but those three were at the very top of his short list.

“Well Harry there’s home.” Ron said.

As he spoke, the two muggle buildings on either side of number twelve Grimmauld Place were being budged over to either side as Harry’s house which had belonged to his God Father, Sirius Black, squeezed into view between them. It still looked shabby and drawn as it did when he first saw it the summer before he started his fifth year at Hogwarts. He was escorted there by several members of the Order of the Phoenix after he had gotten into some trouble with the Ministry of Magic for using magic in front of a muggle, his cousin Dudley Dursley, and quite rightly so as they were being attacked by two Dementors in the alley way behind their home on Privet Drive in Surrey.

Harry wrapped the cloak he had borrowed from Ron a little tighter about him as he and Ron began to cross the street in front of them. “I haven’t got my keys.” He said wryly and with a bit of a twist to his sheepish grin.

“Never fear mate, I’ve got a universal key with me.” And Ron produced his wand just as they stepped up onto the sidewalk right in front of the house. The two of them climbed the short few steps up to the door and Ron tapped the door knob and it swung open on oiled hinges.

Harry stood in amazement as he stepped into the house. It was no longer dark, drab and dreary. There was a feeling of openness about the home and it smelled wonderful. It looked wonderful. It had been repainted and the lighting was, well it looked like muggle lighting. Harry suppressed a laugh as he remembered Ron’s father Arthur Weasley when he said ecotricity. The home certainly looked as if the lights did run off of electricity. Harry began to walk carefully through the hallway as Ron stood and watched him quizzically and then realized why it seemed that Harry was tip toeing.

“No need to watch your step anymore, Harry. We got rid of that old painting of Sirius’s mum.”

“What happened to it? I mean, how did you ever get rid of it. Sirius said it wouldn’t come off the wall.”

“It took a bit of thinking and well, since it wouldn’t come off the wall, we er, took the wall off. And we built a new wall where the old one used to be.” Ron hastily added.

Harry just walked from room to room admiring the changes the Ron and Hermione had made to the home. It did look like a home now and he wished Sirius could be there to see it. He wished Ginny could be there to see it too. Harry started up the stairs still goggling at the changes when Ron called out after him.

“Your room is still where it used to be. Take your time getting ready. Hermione and Molly are at the burrow with mum and won’t be back till later tonight and we’ll both be gone by then.”

Ron watched from around the corner as Harry disappeared from sight and then spoke quietly to his wand and pointed it. A wispy image of a Jack Russell terrier emerged from the wand and jetted off out through a window on its way to the Burrow, There were changes to the plan and Hermione had to know that he was going to go on with Harry.

Ron was rummaging through the kitchen and already had some bread, meat, and cheese laid out on the table when Harry opened the door and stepped inside. He had remembered the kitchen being dark and drafty unless there was a fire burning in the fireplace but now it shone with a pale green paint on its walls with white trim. The floors had been sanded down and refinished with a yellowish tint to them. Harry thought it might have been pine wood that had been on the floors but he wasn’t sure about that. It did have that look though. The cabinets had been redone and the cabinet doors now had glass in them so you could see the contents of each of the cabinets and the stove looked as if it might be a new one. It still looked like the same stove that was here before but for some reason it just looked new.

Turning to look over the fireplace Harry did notice the mantel. It was most definitely a new mantel. Quite large in fact and it was laden with pictures of Ron and Hermione and of course Molly too. Harry even noticed a few pictures of himself mixed in with the family. Crossing over to the mantel, he picked up one picture of him with both Ron and Hermione it was,

“That was taken in our third year remember? Colin Creevey took that one.” Ron had come up beside Harry. “And over here is another one from our seventh year during a Hogsmeade weekend.” Ron reached up and took the picture down and handed it to Harry. That picture had a fourth person inside of it and she was planting a kiss on Harry’s cheek. It was a picture of The three of them and of Ginny.

“Do you mind if I keep this one?” Harry asked.

“No, take it. You hang on to that and I’ll see if…,” Ron’s voice trailed off as Harry quickly turned his head away and wiped his cheek.

When Harry turned back around Ron was looking at his feet idly toeing a knot in the wooden floor.

“Looks like you’ve made us some dinner hey?” Harry broke the awkwardness between them and was truly eyeing the table. He had not seriously eaten for days and had just realized how empty his stomach was. Well actually it told them quite loudly how empty it was which cause the two of them to start laughing as if they were still kids at school.

They sat down at the table and quietly began to eat what Ron had laid out before them. The awkwardness between them had returned. By the time Harry had bitten into his fourth sandwich Harry was telling Ron where he had been and how many times he had nearly caught up to Draco Malfoy and Snape.

“And there was this once, I turned a corner and was heading back to my inn when I saw them crossing the street. They were right there in front of me but traffic came by, you know muggle cars and such, so I had to wait a bit and then I was able to get across the street and they were gone.”

Harry stopped and took a big swig of his pumpkin juice and wiped the back of his hand across his mouth.

“So what were you doing in Japan then?” Ron had asked.

“Well it seems as if Malfoy has these businesses all over the world. Nearly everywhere I followed them to there was some business office where Malfoy had been working out of.”

“So what was Snape doing then?” Ron asked.

“That’s just it. I don’t have a clue why they were going from place to place. But everywhere they stopped for any length of time had one of Malfoy’s businesses there. But anyway, Japan. There is just no understanding what those chaps are saying. It all sounded like gibberish to me. Much easier to know what a Troll is saying or listening to Gobbledygook than with those chaps.”

“Weird.” Was all Ron could think to say.

“So How long did it take for you and Hermione to fix this place up?” Harry asked.

“Ah well, it seems like we still haven’t finished up yet but yeah, a year or so at least. Hermione’s parents gave us that mantel but too bad they can’t come over and see it though. We had to take all kinds of measurements and give it to them and then they had it made for us. Fred and George chipped in too and helped out a loads with the money and things…, and so did Bill and mum of course. Fred told us and he imitated Fred’s voice “monies no object lil’ bro, if you need it then have the proprietor bill us and if its muggle money you need well, then just have Bill do what needs done to get the muggles paid.” and then George said “Don’t worry about the money lil’ bro. This is mine and Fred’s wedding present to you.

Harry looked amused when Ron suddenly realized that he had been talking like this was his house and…, “Harry you don’t mind that Hermione and I changed everything do you?”

This was the moment Harry had been waiting for. Something to break the ice, an opening to say what he had been wanting to say every since he had come back down stairs. He pulled a piece of parchment out from an inside pocket and handed it to Ron. It was sealed and had been dated nearly three years earlier. Ron looked at the parchment for a long time.

He was afraid to ask what it might be and then he spoke “Harry, this isn’t your will or anything like that is it?”

“It’s the Deed to the house. Its yours and Hermione’s through and through. I meant it to be your wedding gift and well it was supposed to be given to you by Dobby if anything were to happen to me while I was away..”

“B-but H-Harry Sirius gave you this house. It’s yours not mine.” Ron stammered.

“You’re right it is mine and I just gave it to you.” Harry chuckled. “Listen Ron, I’m not coming back. When this is over, I’m not coming back. I found a place where I want to settle down. When I’m there I’m happy Ron, happier than I’ve ever been. The only thing that could make that place better is…, well you know what could make it better. All I ask is that the one room be reserved for visits.”

Chapter 45 Continued

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