Chapter 4 : Court In The Act
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The arrest of Lucius had sent Draco on a lifetime hike towards authority, and after finally making the summit, his vanity made him climb on up without footings, he makes his own, and now he falls, oh how he falls.
“Do you have any idea who I am?” Draco spat, desperation stalked his voice. Luna nodded calmly then spoke, her words laced in a subtle patronising under tone.
“You’re that nasty chap who lost his job, after being very very rude, to a government official.”
Draco’s knees lost there integrity, he fell. His three over priced lawyers aided by a chair did their up most to catch him. Reason still had catching up to do, Malfoy looked like he was having a hard time coming to terms with what he had said.
A drone of aghast whispers began to build, as they removed my shackles. As each chain hits the ground, Draco’s face fell further - he knew.
It was all over.
I got up and looked to catch Luna’s eyes, but she’d bolted, deadlines. Hermione accosted me before I could follow Luna’s lead, and reminded me how I owed her. I told her I was set for cash and she laughed out loud, and then went on to tell me how a drink in the Old Moon should just about cover the tab.
Slowly the room drained of people; I excused myself and headed to the men’s room. After taking a leak in the end stall, I washed my hands. The near stall opened up and Draco stepped out, my hands moved with autonomic dexterity as I instinctively reached for wands, not there. I hadn’t claimed my possessions yet; when you rely on something so much - you don’t notice you got it; the reverse is true till you need it. I could see Draco gripped his.
“This isn’t over, Potter, both you and Weasley will suffer for this,” his voice was saturated with malice.
“Don’t you think she’s suffered enough, at the hands of you and yours!” I snapped at him.
“What are you going on…”
I cut in, “You’re all over, Malfoy, and you have done it to yourself. Only Hermione gets to twist the blade, and she deserves to.” Draco was stunned; his vexed eyes fell upon me searching. “Walpurgis killed Ron!” I strained to keep the waver from my voice.
Did they? Or was it me, they flew the curse, but I had put him in front of them.
No time for that now, if he senses anything but resolve from me I might die in a washroom.
“What’s the ginger freak’s end got to do with anything, Potter?” My hand became a fist all of its own will.
“Your Dad runs Walpurgis Family,” the confusion in his eyes gave way to outrage.
“That’s ridiculous; you should be careful what you claim. You could never back that up.”
“No I can’t, but I don’t need to; I have been working these streets long enough to know what fits around here, Malfoy. You, as Head Auror, its joke - your lucky Hermione is about to take you apart.”
“And how’s that, Potter,” his voice bore the scar, of what was to come; as his mind focused on what had been, he had known defeat and he knew he was to know it again.
“You don’t have what it takes, the Walpurgis’ own you, they made you, they hold your strings, when they tug - you dance; as their latest willing little bitch!”
As my rage grew, Draco shrunk.
“The little shindig I interrupted was there coming back party, and before you knew it you would be on your knees, turning, on the Walpurgis’ shaft,” Malfoy jolted at my words, and fumbled onto the toilet.
“Shut up, Potter, you don’t know anything, I am going to finish you.” I bent down close, he winced away.
“No! You’re still missing the point, Malfoy, you don’t have the smarts, you don’t have the skills, you certainly don’t have the nerve, and no matter how much help you buy in, there is a weak link.” The last words delivered I jabbed an out stretched finger into his chest and mouthed the word, “You.” I get up and turn to leave, “It’s your vanity, your pride, your need for glory, but you are wrong about what glory is, for that I pity you.”
He pushed himself up onto his feet.
“Don’t you turn your back on me,” an apparition in my solar-plexus, the spectre of Malfoy’s boot prompted me to turn. A wand faced me, the sentience in my fist took initiative, and knuckles came to rest in Draco’s flattening windpipe. Malfoy collapsed like a marionette with severed strings. His wand hand grabbed the porcelain, stopping his face from going down the bowl. As I lifted my foot, Draco made short rasping breaths, as he tried forcing air down his swelling throat, my boot squeezes down on his hand, there was a loud crack, and a feminine screech before he gave up the wand, it sounds a satisfying plop as it dropped past the rim, “Goodbye, Draco.”
I found Hermione at the front desk filling in the return my of property forms, a smug smirk carved into her face. As we left the Ministry I felt a customary wave of silent melancholy; we walked as two, where three should have trodden. The Ministry walls always tortured me with what ifs and should haves, but Hermione being there made it worst, this time I had no right to the pain, she had made peace, and I could not, for that I felt shame.
The morning air was warm but it did nothing to the lift the chill inside.
“You know, Harry, we just got away with murder.”
“I had to kill him,” I retorted sharply.
“Harry, I was kidding,” her voice was soothing.
“Sorry, Hermione, I just,” I struggled to find an excuse for talking to her like that.
“Harry, its ok the thought of being taken to Azkaban would put me on edge.” She was right, but that did not change any thing, I simply owed her too much to ever be angry with her.
Remus had closed the Old Moon, but it had filled with familiar faces who had laid in wait to greet me with a loud, sickeningly merry cheer, as I crossed the threshold of the Lupin establishment. My lips were caught off guard with a discrete crooked smile, but my head sank to hide it when I saw the perpetrators of the exultation; I had gouged friend or family from all in the room.
Hermione reposted my sinking head with a stout elbow to my ribs, “Harry, no tortured soul while you’re buying me a drink.” A small laugh escaped my mouth with my spent breath, and came to rest in an unsettled smirk.
“I’ll try my best,” I vowed to her solemnly; her warm eyes caressed me with thanks. As I began to read into her words and travel inward to my guilt.
I forced myself to let go if just for now just for Hermione.
I sat with Hermione making small talk as waves of people visited our table, two hours fell from the clock before Hermione had to leave for her kids. The company and the fire whiskey had softened my mood and I did not dwell with any of my demons, even when Ginny seated herself next to me at the bar.
My eyes feasted on her slim figure wrapped in high hemmed low cut black crushed velvet, her perfume clouded my mind then constructed scenarios of her clad in even less, the twins moved in behind her at a distance and occupied themselves with a torrent of sexually suggestive gestures, her eyes read mine with an uncanny probing, her hand fell to her leg and she pulled tight the fabric displaying the out line of her wand that laid concealed in its garter holster. The twins fell over themselves as they quickly took their drinks and left for the dingy recesses of the bar.
“What’s the rumour mill grinding out on the Head Auror slot?”
“Shacklebolt is staying on,” it came as no surprise, “he is going to want to see you, Harry.” Nor did that.
“He’ll get to me, and I owe him the low down,” I drank until my glass ran dry.
“He sent me an owl earlier.”
“Job offer?” she nodded and glint of something latent accrued in her eyes.
“Not ready for a career move just yet, Harry,” she ran two fingers around the rim of her martini glass then tasted them. “I’m a free lance girl, Harry,” as she spoke she lent forward in a mock intoxicated motion. My groin tightened, “I like to be able to do what, or who I want.” She placed a hand on my leg and began to slide her finger tips up toward my torso.
“Gin…” I searched for words but they where all lost in a drone of primal urgency, forming a maelstrom that drew all feeling down into my loins.
“Shhh,” softly crept from her lips, the mischief had left her eyes, but the something else lurked in her intense sepia gaze. First our lips touched, and then fused. An invisible convulsion of pleasure consumed my body and the world faded out around me leaving me cleansed, the mesh of cold voids that imprisoned me melted, I wanted to weep - and in that moment I was reborn.
You can live an eternity in a moment, but all moments come to an end.
This was no exception. My body became ridged, Ginny broke off and fixed me a pitying look, and behind it I could see her frustration.
Some moments can last an eternity, even when they have past.
I could sense death at my feet, and this time it did not matter if I looked - it was not really there. One tear, maybe the first tear slide down the dry skin of my face, a searing line of heat that quickly cooled to ice, leaving a trail of salt up to my up to the eyes that sold me out.
A muted glow brought faint light into Ginny’s face and she kissed my head as her mother might kiss me when we were children. “See, Harry, you will get better,” she moved away from me with grace and speed, and then left the Old Moon.
I felt numb something in me had changed, what it was I’m still not sure of. The hurt was stunned, not gone I could feel it beneath the anaesthetised vale of the fire whiskey. There was a swift interval of awkward silence which was soon superseded with the uninterested bar room din.
My eyes skimmed over the patrons and come to rest on Luna; she sat on her own staring - an unapologetic stare - right at me. I wondered how much she had seen, her drink took my focus three quarters empty, and seemingly flat.
She’s been there some time, a cold pang penetrates my chest, her shameless stare continues - her expression remains blank. She looked like she was sieving over the chased kiss that I stole with Ginny, I knew better and sneered at my own vanity. Her clinical detachment that I had hidden in time and time again, clashed with my inebriated reasoning. I slipped quietly out the back door.
The cold air hits me, and like a sobriety switch toggling on, my senses sharpened, I breathed hard tasting the cities sulphur hint, as my mind slaves to still the swimming in my head. I made my way across our London, through the alleys that forged the maze of cold grey, until I stood before the brickwork of a five floor building that was home to my office and the small back room where I slept most of my nights. The orange of the bricks were muted with over fifty years of city grime - faded further by the wash of sodium light that always hung here when the sun went down.
My gaze wandered up the masonry to the dirty black windows of my rooms, and through the murky glass I could make out a subdued glow.
A wand tip light.
House calls weren’t Kingsly’s style, which got me thinking that the Malfoys decided not to waste any time. This would not be the first time the Walpurgis dispatched someone to dispatch me, and I had no intention of this try succeeding.
I found myself looking up rungs of the old fire escape that crept up the wall toward my office like monolithic Iron ivy.
My fist latched around a spoke, it felt greasy with the days drizzle, another, then another.
Feelings of anxious anticipation accompany me, I became of aware of the yew resting in my coat, whispering that soon she’d speak on my behalf, and keep the staff of St Mungos on their toes for a few hours.
I reached the platform level with my rooms, and pressed my back against wall by the old door that I kept locked from the inside, it had been forced I had taken precautions out of the Moody handbook that made magic entry impossible.
Slipping my hands into my coat, my fingers reacquainted themselves with the Sisters. I crossed the threshold, in that instant adrenalin surged and permeated my whole body, and it put its mark on time, creation stilled as I stalked forward.
The wand tip light blinked out of existence.
As fast as I could draw my wands - was not fast enough. Two slight sinuous arms struck mine, forcing the wands back down in to their sheaths. I pulled tight every muscle I could will, in time for a leather clad foot to crash hard into my chest; I let the inertia carry me back, and out of the tattered door. I came to an abrupt stop when my spine slammed in to the metal rail of the balcony, signalled to all in earshot by a brittle crunching sounding from my ribs.
I won the battle with the air from my lungs, and breathed out the white pain that conquered my lumber region. My strained eyes focused on a figure garbed in black, wearing a hood that with exception of eyes covered the whole face. The figure burst in to a charge with blinding speed, I began to feint to the left and drew my wands.
Pain erupted in my head as my attacker ignored my feint, and punched with ironclad lighting. My ribs returned to there spot on the rails, my wands returned home. The semblance of fear strode into my mind, but it was beaten out by pain and endocrinal fury raging in my blood.
Movement, Quickly into a block, but a knee slammed into my mid section. The son of a bitch was fast, my hands drop to my sides as I sink down. A boot raised up for a stomp showing me what I needed, before it was driven down, I made my move.
Mustering all the speed I could I flung my leg up snapping at the knee to plant a toe where the legs meet. A pained soft whimper and lack of substance led me to believe my attacker was a she. Confirmed when I sent my knuckles into the feminine padding on her chest. She back peddled back into building, I launched up onto my feet.
This time my hands grasped holly and yew.
I delivered a volley of red bolts, her lithe body twisting as she vaulted through the curses with greatest of ease.
She landed wand out, I cursed through both hands but she deflected away my hands with wand, and fist. Then finished off training the tip of her wand on me, I threw my self backward wrapping my legs around the rail, A green blast skimmed over my torso painting a chard line across my shirt. Lowering my wands down, white rays cut through the floor plating, the assassin tumbled down to the next level, and crashed into a heap.
I jumped down wands ready, out of the crumpled heap arced a leg, it planted its kick right into my face. My hat flies off and I could feel the warm wet, working it way down my face. A dull ache hung off my cheek bone, as I scrambled to my feet.
A vain of silver fire glided toward my blooded brow, I dodged the sundering wand with an inch to spare.
The catwalk wasn’t so spry.
Silver mist sliced through steel work, and the platform gave a shudder, my assailant instantly adjusted her footing. The bitch was using my spells, and she knew what she was doing.
Again my wands spoke, streams of rouge homed in, and like a reflex her hand twitched, with cruel efficiency my curses were severed staggering me onto cold metal. Once more the catwalk shook, she returned the favour with rapid spread of hexes, up came my shield, the curses hit, and I start to fall as the platform gives way.
Then I got acquainted with the deck plating, I failed to keep my wind, and then my wands drop, two stories up and all out of luck when she drops down with out a sound. The tip of her falls inline, ready to deliver her Coup de Grâce.
White light flares and I closed my eyes.
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