Chapter 4 : Obstacles
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It was the day of Bill and Fleur's wedding, and Harry had found himself outside, going on a short walk around the garden Bill and Fleur had chosen for their wedding. He had only wanted a few moments to himself before the other guests started arriving.
Harry knew, however, that he would be deprived of that few moments at least momentarily by a certain young, redhead dressed in pale gold. Ginny was advancing toward him determinedly as if she was planning on not only walking right through him, but also through the shrub he was standing beside as well.
And she was breathtaking. Pale gold suited her red hair, which had been turned into curls for the occasion, and her makeup was barely visible but still made her already large eyes look even more noticeable and her decidedly succulent lips more pronounced. To him, she was easily prettier than Fleur's younger sister that was running around somewhere, helping the bride finish getting ready. By tradition, though, no woman at a wedding could be considered prettier than the bride. Still, in Harry's mind Ginny was more than a close second there.
It was too bad that the only way he could keep her safe was to keep her as far away from him as possible.
"What? Is my hair messed up again or something?" he asked tiredly, knowing that whatever topic she wanted to discuss was probably more important than the fact that his hair refused to lie straight.
"Your hair?" Ginny asked, momentarily surprised. "Well, it's not that. Harry, we need to talk and it has nothing to do with your hair."
"What then?" he asked, mentally preparing himself for the worst. He knew just enough about girls to translate "We need to talk" to what they really meant, which was "You need to see things my way." After that, however, he was pretty much lost.
"Our breakup…" she started to say.
"We talked about that already," Harry interrupted, protesting. "We talked about that, and we agreed not to see each other. I'm sorry Ginny, but that's the way this has to be."
Ginny sighed, looking like a young woman who was being patient and wanting everyone to know it. "Yes Harry, we did, but there was one thing that we didn't address. You-Know-Who isn't going to live forever, and sooner or later the war will be over and it won't be dangerous anymore. What then?" she asked, though Harry knew without a doubt that she already had an answer to that question, or she wouldn't be asking it.
"Well…um Ginny, I hadn't thought about it really," he said truthfully. He hadn't thought about it, he had been concentrating too hard on the little detail of how-to-kill-Voldemort.
"What would you like?" Ginny asked, her head tilted casually as if she was merely asking if he had collected a certain magic frog wizard card yet.
He knew that the question was anything but casual. "Well…well, I think that I'd want to start seeing you again, but Ginny I can't ask you to wait for me. It might be years before…."
This time, she interrupted him. "Well, that settles it then," she said happily.
"Settles it?" he asked, confusion growing on his face. He didn't remember saying anything in that last sentence that sounded like a commitment of any sort.
"Uh huh," Ginny said, grinning like a well-fed predator. "Whether you like it or not Mr. Harry Potter, I will be waiting for you."
"But Ginny," he started to protest again.
"But nothing Harry. You admitted that you still want to see me after this is all over and done with…." She made the war that threatened to destroy the entire wizarding world like a minor obstacle that he would easily resolve somehow. "…And I want to start seeing you again as soon as possible. You want to be noble, and I accept that, but that acceptance comes with a price. You have to accept that I will be waiting for you."
Harry knew that he didn't have a choice, and there was nothing she could have said that would have motivated him any more to want to get this war over with.
"All right," he said quietly. Whatever had he done to deserve to have this angel waiting for him?
Ginny smiled up at him, probably quite satisfied with how the conversation had gone. "All right then. Now Harry, sit down here on this bench," she ordered, pointing to a bench about four feet behind them.
"What…oh. I thought you weren't going to do anything with my hair," he mumbled as she whipped out a comb and a jar of some kind of styling gel out from nowhere.
"I never said that. Now sit down so I can work on that cowlick of yours," the redhead replied.
A man watched the proceedings from beneath a barrowed invisibility cloak. It seemed odd to him to him that all of Voldemort's followers only had one between them. Even under the cloak he was still disguised as one of the caterers.
Pity that Moody and that bloody eye of his made this necessary. He hated the red uniform the caterers wore. Never mind that, he hated red period. Hopefully, though, no one would ever see him wearing it. He would transform the hideous color back to his usual black before he removed the invisibility cloak.
The garden was decorated for a wedding, of course. His eyes skimmed over flower arrangements and such, looking for his quarry. And there he was…seated, protesting ineffectually while a redheaded girl appeared to be trying to get his hair to lay flat.
Well, everyone had impossible tasks to perform.
Ignoring the pair and taking only enough notice of the few putting finishing touches on the decorations enough so no one would get close enough to try to walk through him or hear his movements, the man proceeded towards the tables for the guest seating during the reception.
As he got closer to the tables he saw cards with writing on them at every place setting. Oh, he couldn't be this lucky. When he got there, he saw that the cards were indeed seating assignments. He started scanning them for the names they held.
This made his job much easier.
Young Mr. Malfoy had returned to headquarters a few nights after his 'death' to once again report partial success. He was being sheltered by Order in their old headquarters, but he was certain that they would be taking full security precautions during any meetings, and it wasn't even for certain if they were going to hold more meetings there or not. No one else lived there, so it was impossible for him to find any information from people that were not there.
So the Dark Lord had decided to remedy this situation.
The man found the three names he had been looking for. Even better, Alastor Moody was seated at the same table. He would be sure to catch it.
After making sure that no one was in his immediate vicinity, the man poured small amounts of poison into three of the empty goblets at that table. The poison spluttered for a moment, then became invisible as it adhered to the bottom of the goblet. This poison was undetectable in an empty goblet, detectable by only the faintest of odors that only the highly trained could detect once mixed with any beverage, and decidedly deadly within seconds when ingested even in the smallest amounts--but it wasn't meant to kill anybody.
The aim in this entire poisoning business was for the poison to be caught, and the Order to decide that the 'golden trio' would be safer living in the Order's headquarters--with the Malfoys. Draco would find it much more possible to do his job then, though possibly it would still be very time consuming.
As the only Death Eater that knew that Draco Malfoy lived, the Dark Lord had given him this assignment. Given that he could no longer enter Order headquarters himself, he didn't mind doing it. This would serve his own aims, the aims of one Severus Snape, very well indeed.
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