Chapter 4 : The Demon Within
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Humph. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.
Draco Malfoy was at the bottom of a cliff, his face dripping with perspiration. He knew it won’t be easy, but he had to get this done, one way or the other. Yesterday, he vowed he would unleash the power he felt brimming just below the surface, the same power he used against Dumbledore when they dueled. Making sure he had no easy way out, he decided to force himself to do it. Bright and early that fateful morning, he set out with only one thing in his possession: a rope. His wand he left behind. Using the rope to scale down the impossible cliff face, he set foot on the desolate bank of the cold Atlantic, then, after an hour of deep contemplation, he burnt the rope using his summoning power.
The only way out, was to fly back to the top.
After nearly two days of trying, he just couldn’t make it happen. What was the matter with him? He definitely flew a few months back, he could remember the incredible rush, it was the most exciting thing he had ever felt in his life. Now, after two days without food or water, he was really beginning to get worried. He just couldn’t do it.
“Fuck you Draco, you better do this, or you are a dead man.”
He got off of his ass, and swore under his breath. Craning his neck, he focused on his goal: the top of the cliff looming high above. He was dehydrated, and with every failed attempt, he felt his strength fading. Was he going to die here? A slow, and agonizing death? He snorted in derision.
“At least this would be the most original suicide ever.” He looked about him, the crashing of the waves on the craggy rocks further out, the desolate cliff face that stretched for what seemed like an eternity. One more time….
He closed his eyes, and concentrated. Flames spouted from his fingertips, slowly engulfing both forearms. A heartbeat later, a ring of fire circled around his feet- creating yet another ‘o’ pattern to accompany the dozens of his other failed attempts. He was getting frustrated. What he really needed was motivation. For some strange reason, his dire circumstances were not enough. It dawned on him that whether he lived or died was not as important to him anymore. He dug deep, thinking what really was his inspiration, and what was the meaning of his existence. He was already rich, his parents were avenged, and Voldemort was no more. What was it he desired more than anything else? And then it clicked:
His destiny was to be the strongest. And right now, that title did not belong to him. His thoughts raced back to the beginning of the summer, and the last time he saw Potter:
“Do not challenge the Phoenix wizard Albus Dumbledore. Prepare for the eternal sleep.”
At that precise moment, Draco had never felt that sort of fear before. That voice…it still ran chills down his spine any time he heard it. What in the world had happened to the golden boy? With a newfound source of motivation, he froze the memory of Harry wielding the Sword of Gryffindor high above him, just on the brink of sending him to hell. Even if it took him years, he would never allow himself to be in such a position again.
And with that vow, he felt a high voice creep into the back of his mind:
….very well, young Malfoy, I will lend you some of my strength… for a price…
Draco lost all concentration. That voice- Was he going insane?! He opened his eyes, and nearly had a heart attack. There was nothing below his feet! Looking down, he could not believe his eyes.The ground was so far below him, the huge boulders in the sea looked more like crumbs off of a half eaten cookie. The intense wind buffeted against him, and in a split second he realized he was either suffering from dementia and lack of water, or he really was miles high above ground.
...do not disappoint me, young Malfoy, after all…I did give you some help. This is what you wanted, am I not correct?
“SHUT UP!” Draco screamed at the voice, his hands flailing as he fell to his doom.
…ha ha ha..
“You’re going to die. Do something!” Draco commanded himself. Adrenaline pumped through him, if he didn’t learn how to fly now, he was going to splat like a ripe tomato. With a full-bodied scream, he summoned all of the power at his disposal, desperately letting it loose with an intense burst of magic.
A week before the reopening of the school term Hermione was on her way to the Ministry of Magic along with most of their other friends going into year seven. They had all agreed to meet at Diagon Alley at Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes, then all of them would hitch a ride with the Knight Bus to do their first Apparation lesson. The bus was filled with seventeen year old and over wizards, most of them laughing and bubbling with excitement. Only two boys were not as excited, one had a slightly depressed expression on his freckled covered face, the other had a look of deep contemplation. Hermione could have guessed what Ron’s problem was, but for Harry, she couldn’t really tell. Something was perpetually bothering him.
“Ron, what’s wrong?” she asked, trying to find a way to subtly ask Harry what was bothering him without being too direct.
Harry glanced up at him, but did not respond. He folded his arms, and stared at a spot just between his knees. Hermione is doing it again…
“You can tell me,” she coaxed. Hermione felt sort of bad bringing this up, but she wanted Harry to open up to her some more. If she could get Ron talking, maybe Harry would too…
“She graduated, and got the scholarship she wanted.” Ron sighed- Cho was no longer at Hogwarts. Hermione did not see how this getting a scholarship was bad news, so she prodded on.
“I only got to be with her for like- a year. And now she’s already moving on. “ He glanced at Harry. Harry did not even seem much interested in what they were saying. That was fine with him, anyway. Ever since the train attack, he just couldn’t see eye to eye with him anymore. Certain references to their past seem to fly completely over his head, and the conversation was usually strained, at best.
“Oh...” Hermione said, touching Ron’s hand. ”You’ll work things out, surely...”
Ron thought about that for a second. It’s not the distance that he was worried about. Cho was gorgeous, talented, and a key part of the English under twenty-one Quidditch team. All the guys at Lionheart would be all over her. He glanced again at the back of Harry’s head, You better look out for her… Ron would never say it out loud, but he hoped that Harry would tell him if Cho was going to leave him, or had an eye on another guy. His trust in girls had forever changed when Hermione and Harry got together behind his back. Even though he had gotten over it, it still irked him a bit that he himself was not with Hermione.
“Yeah, I guess,” said Ron. He leaned back against the back of the bus, his legs stretched out on the bed they were sitting on. Hermione was on his right, and Harry was quietly brooding on the left, idly twirling his wand between his fingers. Ron elbowed him in his side. “Why the long face?”
Hermione waited with baited breath, for some reason Harry responded to Ron better. Was it because he thought she worried about him too much? Or was it because he didn’t want her to know? Harry continued twirling his wand between his fingers, not even turning to look at them as he answered:
“Remember the Quidditch finals?”
“Yeah, how can we forget? That went down in the history books as the first ever cancellation of a finals…it’s a bit stupid, really-“
“How so?” said Harry.
“Come on, the bloke who booby trapped the place isn’t going to be so thick as to try it again, I mean- the security would obviously be looking out for him-“
“Booby traps, you say?” Harry said in an even tone. He snickered at the both of them. That’s what they thought?
“Yeah. I mean, the show must go on, right? Are we going to let these terror- wits tell us when we can and can’t play Quidditch? Out of their bloody mind are they? The ministry should have rescheduled the game!” Ron added.
“Ron, it’s ‘terrorists’- and I think its better to be safe than sorry. Until they catch whoever did it, it’s best not to have such a big event to give them an opportunity to strike again. Right Harry?”
“Yeah, it would be a good idea to catch him first.”
“But on the other hand, that was the Quidditch finals! It was so close- we had nearly won! Now it was all for nothing…” Ron argued, watching the wand a bit more intently now. Harry did not bother to remind him that Ireland was kicking their asses. Ron broke off from the conversation, looking at the wand dancing almost with a life of it’s own around Harry’s fingers. Strange- it’s moving differently now…Both of them looked at Harry, who was staring outside at the muggle cars zipping past them. He sighed, then ran both hands through his hair. It took a moment for both of them to realize he wasn’t holding it anymore, and it was spinning on it’s own accord. Hermione’s eyes widened a bit. Wandless magic?
“How-?” Ron sputtered, his finger pointing at Harry’s wand.
“How?” said Harry. “That’s what I have to figure out.” Hermione looked at him. What was he talking about?
“Mate…look...you’re-“ Ron said, a bit befuddled at the wand doing somersaults then rotating in an orbital manner. Harry rambled on, oblivious to his friends staring at his wand.
“Dumbledore just loves to pull a stunt like this huh? We know who he is, and believe me, that wasn’t a booby trap-“ Harry grumbled, and the wand fell lifelessly to the bed.
“Was that the Solidus thing again? But usually you’re all charged up and stuff…” Ron asked in bewilderment. Harry looked at them- wait- they were talking on two completely different levels.
“What are you talking about?” Harry asked. He followed Ron’s gaze to the wand on the bed, and realized that they had never seen him do wandless magic before. He smiled, that’s why Drill Sergeant Jacobsen had him lifting huge blocks of ice while doing pushups for nearly two months straight. It was supposed to be punishment after they thought that he had skipped classes for a whole week, when in fact he was recuperating form using the Reducto Ultima spell to destroy the gates of Azkaban. Controlling a wand was nothing.
“No Ron, that’s not the ‘Solidus thing’. Can’t you tell the difference? Harry, you know how to do wandless magic?” Hermione asked. Harry looked across to her in bewilderment.
“Of course. I told you that in the letter didn’t I?” he asked quizzically.
“Nooo...what letter?” she asked. She did not get a single letter from him since he joined Lionheart.
“ I sent you a letter about it, didn’t I?” Now that he thought about it, he really couldn’t remember if he sent one or not. Strange….
“If you did, I never got it. But aside from that, what else can you do without your wand?”
“Um… a few spells...you know, nothing important.”
That jolted something in Ron’s memory. Didn’t Fred and George let slip that Harry could channel absorbed magic without his wand? Something about blasting the Aurors through the walls of Hogwarts…
“SO THAT’S HOW YOU DID IT!! THE BIG HOLE AND THE AURORS AND STUFF! CRIKEY! YOU GOT TO SHOW ME!!” Ron screamed. Harry was glad on the change of subject. He really didn’t have the slightest clue how Malfoy would react to him when he told him about Lionheart. He totally forgot that wandless magic was a myth to most wizards. Well he was a S.T.A.R. division trainee at the Auror Academy, so he got a few perks, and some hidden techniques as well.
“Oh, okay- you know the cool spell Dumbledore does to summon the food? I could do a scaled down version of that. Ron, what you brought for lunch?” Harry asked.
“Um, Shepherd pie, and macaroni salad…uh…and some apple juice?” he offered tentatively. Ron gulped in apprehension. If Harry screwed up with his lunch …
Harry closed his eyes for a second, then after a few moments of concentration, waved his hand palm down over the bed he was sitting on. The food appeared before their eyes, warmed and ready to eat on a plate.
“Wow…wicked!” Ron said. Damn, he was feeling hungry already. “Got to show me that one, mate.”
Hermione was watching the demonstration carefully, using her Occlumens in combination with her Divine summoning power to gauge the level of Harry’s magic quota in doing that spell. She had her suspicions, but now she was sure of it. That 'bit of concentration' and asking Ron about his lunch was quite unnecessary. She had seen when Harry stole a glance at Ron's knapsack, therefore knew the distance he would have to make it manifest on the bed. It didn't matter if it were spaghetti and meatballs or a bag of gold, all that was required was distance, and an idea of the physical dimensions. Harry wasn’t even using one tenth of his magic ability to do that spell. He definitely was holding back on them, and it saddened her to know that he still felt the need to keep secrets. Her temper rose almost immediately. She had enough of the sneaking around.
“Harry. I think it’s about time you really trusted us,” demanded Hermione. Ron was just about to put a forkful of his lunch into his mouth when he froze halfway, looking at her if she had completely lost it.
“Wha?” Ron said in confusion. Hermione was glaring at Harry. Ron’s mouth was gaping at her, utterly clueless. Hermione knew that there was something really serious going on, and just to prove a point, she picked up the plate and hauled it down the aisle with all of her strength. Ron barely had chance to move before it was sent flying through the air. OH NO!! His precious lunch! Just as he was about to scream, “Watch out!” to Stan Shunpike, the plate froze. Ron looked at the other students around, no one even realized there was pieces of food hanging suspended in the air, the plate inches from the conductor’s head. As far as he knew, no one used a spell to stop it.
“What are you trying to prove, Hermione?” came a cool and even voice from Ron’s left. Harry didn’t even flinch, but his palm was tilted at an angle in the general vicinity of the plate. Ron couldn’t believe it! Hermione really did lose her mind this time!
“Harry, you’ve been so distant lately. What’s wrong with you? I remember when we were a team, and we all shared our thoughts and feelings with each other! Nowadays you go off into your own little world, and I have to BEG to even have a conversation with you! You never write, you come and go as you please, and you keep holding all these secrets from us! This-“ she pointed at the floating food, “is a prime example. I know that this is child’s play to you. It’s not even that important, yet you keep it a secret. Answer me this, could you stop this bus without using your wand?”
Harry glared at her. “Yes.”
Ron’s jaw dropped again. “Mate, you could do that? I mean, without the charm and stuff?”
“I’ve stopped using that now.”
“Why?” Ron asked. “It was the coolest thing!”
“Well, so what? It’s not like you’re going to kill someone-“ Ron tried to shut his mouth, but it was too late. As soon as he said it he regretted even mentioning it. Harry looked away, his expression clouded. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it that way…”
Harry could feel unshed tears trying to break free. What hurt was that Ron even had to take back those words. It’s not like you’re going to kill someone... Whoever said the truth hurts- definitely knew what he was talking about. Closing his eyes, he remembered his solemn vow, a promise he made to himself at Sirius’ one year memorial:
“I.. have done things that I wish to forget. But I can’t forget. So I will bury this sword as a symbol that from now on, my strength will be my own, and from the love of those around me.”
How could he expect these people to love him if they couldn’t trust him? Hermione was right. He should be completely open with them.
“Hermione...I…you’re right. Absolutely right. I have been hiding things from you guys. Something has been bothering me lately. The Order of the Phoenix have given me a dangerous first mission- I have been ordered to recruit Draco Malfoy into Lionheart, and make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid. Like destroy it, for instance,” he added as an afterthought.
“Holy shit,” said Ron. “Destroy it?” Ron blanched. “Got to be a really powerful wizard to do that…I mean, Lionheart is like five times bigger than Hogwarts, isn’t it? Oh, and by the way, who is Draco?”
“He was the one who set the stadium on fire, wasn’t he?” Hermione asked softly. Ron’s head swung across to her.
“Wait, what you’re saying he’s the guy who controls the fire? Didn’t he also attack Dumbledore at the train? But he should be a piece of cake- you got him good that time.”
“Yeah…” Harry sighed. He nearly killed him, in fact.
“So why the long face? This shouldn’t be too hard…”
“If I don’t succeed, or Draco doesn’t want to co-operate…I think the order may want me to…nullify him.”
Ron and Hermione went silent.
“It’s not easy you know, this Order business, the prophecy, the sword- All of that. I –ah…Sometimes, I get these urges…and hear things, like voices…” Harry was abruptly cut off when Ron raised his palm.
“Whoa- easy there mate. Don’t need to set the cuckoo clock just yet. Stop fooling around, you’re scaring the shit out of me.” Harry glared at his best friend for a second, then put on an easy smile. He cursed himself -he couldn’t believe he almost let that slip!
“Ha! Got you there didn’t I?” Harry laughed. Ron joined in, and both of them pointed at each other in a “You got me!” gesture. Hermione did not even crack into a smile. She could see straight through that forced smile of his. Her eyes narrowed at the both of them. That was it. That was the sort of honest-to-God response she wanted to hear from him. Harry had to confide in her, and tell her his problems. The only time she ever got Harry to truly be open with her was after Neville died. He had stayed silent for nearly three days before she attempted to use the Leglimens spell on him. He had totally broken down, and told her what he felt inside. Just now, he was about to let his emotions out, but Ron had stopped him before he got a chance to finish. Harry had to let someone in, before it was too late.
“Oy! We’re here! The Ministry of Magic! It’ll be sixty knuts- the lot o’ ye! Come on come on, get a move on -can’t wait for bloody Christmas!” Stan Shunpike ordered.
“Let’s go. We’re here.” Said Harry, any trace of humour gone. Hermione followed meekly behind, hoping that she would be able to have a private word with him.
In an abandoned suburb house in Little Whinging, two men were captivated by the projection on the wall.
“So…what do we do know?” Macnair asked. Rodulphus Lestrange was looking at the recording of the Battle of King’s Crown. They had broken into the Minister of Magic’s office and created a duplicate copy, and were now analyzing the enemy. Macnair wasn’t too thrilled to be looking at this. In fact, he had to sit down by the time he heard Snape’s final scream to stop the involuntary shaking in his legs.
That boy was not human.
“Well it seems we are blessed to be alive and well today, “ Lestrange said evenly. He flexed his wand arm, remembering distinctively when Potter broke it. That was the last thing he had remembered of that night. “This must be a sign.”
A sign? A sign to quit our regular day job and disappear, I hope. Macnair could only hope Lestrange had come to his senses. He kept his mouth shut, watching on screen as the Lord Voldemort burned before his very eyes.
“A sign?” Macnair asked.
“But of course. This is our calling. This would be the ultimate challenge! We have survived to do what must be done!” Rodulphus was getting more enthusiastic by the second. Macnair hated it when he saw a man dangle on the threads of insanity. What else to expect from a man who claimed that Azkaban was his favourite vacation spot?
“Yes! We must do unto others, what they have done unto us. Well, do unto him that is,” he added, pointing at Harry. “If we cannot kill him, we must kill everyone else around him. Don’t you think that's only fair? Hmm? Eye for an eye?”
Macnair definitely did not think that, but he nodded dutifully all the same. If Potter found out who ochestrated it, he’ll hunt as down for sure. But for time being, he would accept Lestrange’s ridiculous notion. He was very powerful wizard. There was a thin line between insanity and genius, and he was the first person Macnair knew that kept hopping back and forth over that line. Even though Bella was a crazy bitch, at least she was predictable. Her husband was a completely different kettle of fish.
“AHA! But first! We’ll need a guinea pig. Someone who could do our work for us, and keep those nasty eyes away from our direction!” Rodulphus clapped his hands once in glee, and ushered Macnair in front of a crystal ball. Macnair turned to look at him directly. Guinea pig? Was he reading his mind, or did Rodulphus actually have a plan, a feasible plan? Maybe...just maybe..
“Here will be our subject! Our main chess piece! Our knight in shining armour! BEHOLD!” Lestrange announced, pointing at the crystal ball. Macnair frowned, what was this? A joke? Maybe he should stop second-guessing his comrade’s insanity. He definitely had lost his mind. This was a muggle!
“A muggle boy?” Macnair asked, looking at the beefy teenager strolling into the boxing gym.
“Ah…but just not any muggle, my dear friend,” Lestrange said softly, putting an arm around his shoulder. “ This is an opponent who Potter cannot kill. This is his only last blood relative…. a diamond in the rough, so to say.” Macnair stared at the young man. He was pretty tough looking, but other than that, there was nothing extraordinary about him. Lestrange smiled evilly. “Believe me, he is our trump card….”
“Draco! You got a letter!” Kenna Malfoy shouted cheerfully up the stairs. At that moment, she was baking cookies for the both of them. Draco was in such a good mood ever since he came back from his little trip. She couldn’t believe the vast improvement!
“Throw it away,” came his arrogant voice from the master bedroom. Kenna smiled, for him, that was being such a sweetheart compared to before. He really neded that little holiday!
“~But guess who-its-frooomm~?” she sang back to him, teasing him to ask for the name. A few moments later her older brother strolled down the stairs, wrapped in a ridiculously expensive sleeping robe. He took the rolled up parchment from her fingers. Wait- whose snow white owl was she petting so adoringly? Couldn’t be…
Opening the parchment he began to read the unfamiliar writing:
The only way you’re going to find out what really happened to you is to be at the Lionheart Order of Sorcery on the first day of the new term. Walk with a quill, because you are going to have to sign up. You hear me? Oh and one more thing, you’ve yet to beat me at Quidditch. Here’s your lucky chance, you Loser! Hardy-har-har.
With hugs and kisses!
Draco laughed at Potter’s comeback letter. Shit, he even put the same ‘with hugs and kisses’ ending. He needed that laugh; it was something he had not done in a long time. He re-read it as he walked up to his room. Interesting. An Auror eh? This could be the start of a very interesting year….
Authors Note: remember to drop a line! I hope you are liking the reposting- I'm telling you, losing all of these fics and re-doing the formatting is time consuming- but for you guys, I hadda show the love! Respect!
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