Chapter 2 : The Fight for Diagon Alley
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Frightened screams and angry shouts greeted Lucia when she finally Apparated to the front door of Gringotts. Diagon Alley was complete chaos. Order members and hooded Death Eaters were dueling in pairs and triples not ten meters away from her Apparition point, and even larger groups were scattered throughout the shop-lined street spreading out before her. Bystanders, mostly young parents and their even younger children, were huddled inside barricaded shops and peered out from the windows with wide eyes.
The closest dueling pair to Lucia consisted of Remus Lupin and two Death Eaters. The werewolf was doing an amazingly good job of dodging multiple spells at once while still remaining on the offensive. But he stumbled after a while and was hit with Impedimenta from one side while the other Death Eater raised his wand for the kill—which was when Lucia stepped in, unseen, from behind.
“Stupefy!” The second Death Eater crumpled, giving Lupin sufficient time to recover and Stun the other Death Eater, who was now preparing to attack Lucia. He turned and acknowledged her help with a gentle smile and a nod.
“Do you know what the plan’s supposed to be?” Lucia shouted to him over the noise of the fighting.
Lupin shrugged. “Keep the Death Eaters from hurting anyone, Stun as many as you can for questioning, and report back to Headquarters once this is all over, I suppose,” he shouted back. “There never really was a plan to begin with, Lucia—” At that moment, he was interrupted by the arrival of another Death Eater, with whom he promptly began to duel.
Lucia sighed and ran towards the heart of Diagon Alley where most of the fighting was taking place. She could not help but wonder at the lack of organization the Order had after Dumbledore’s death. McGonagall was the de facto head of the Order now, but even she seemed to follow Harry’s lead when it came to the battle plans. Of course, she thought as she ducked a stray curse, not that Harry was completely ignorant of these matters. He probably had had more experience with Voldemort than they all could ever wish to have. But he was still only sixteen, after all—even younger than herself. Could the Order really afford to trust his youthful judgment now, of all times?
As Lucia ran, she passed other Order members she and her father knew well. Tonks was fighting furiously, casting spells left and right, her hair a fire-ruby red to match her attitude. Arthur Weasley was not ten yards away from Tonks, and he was busy dueling a Death Eater almost twice his breadth. Kingsley Shacklebolt was not fighting, but he was prowling the street for any more Death Eaters. He gave a quick nod to Lucia as she flew past him.
Younger, newer members were there, too. Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger were fighting side-by-side against another pair of Death Eaters. They worked well as a couple; their moves were fluidly coordinated together, although Hermione looked as though she had much to do to avoid tripping over Ron’s long arms and legs. Neville Longbottom was farther down the Alley, panting and red in the face as he dodged one curse after another from a very vindictive Death Eater. From the nearby doorway of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, Fred and George Weasley were firing imaginative curses and hexes at any Death Eater who came too close. Lucia had to laugh as one Death Eater limped off with chicken feathers sprouting out of his/her robes while another galloped away with a beautiful pair of branching antlers. She hoped the hexes were reversible—but with the Weasley twins, one could only hope.
And, of course, Harry Potter was there, fighting off by himself against a lanky Death Eater who taunted Harry in a familiar, oily voice. Harry was attempting to cast a curse at the Death Eater, but the spell was always blocked before it could reach the other wizard.
“Potter, will you never learn Occlumency properly?” the former-Professor Snape was jeering as Lucia came closer. “I can read every spell you’re about to cast right off your pathetic face—”
“Maybe it’s because I had such a traitorous, murderous bastard for a tutor,” Harry ground out. Pure hatred glittered in his normally gentle green eyes. He sent another curse at Snape, who waved it away lazily.
“Language, Potter,” Snape said. Lucia could have sworn he was sneering underneath his mask now. “It’s not my fault that I had to teach such a lazy, block-headed idiot who cannot appreciate the arts of subtlety. You’re just like your arrogant, pig-headed father—he couldn’t duel for the life of him, either—”
“Shut up!” Harry yelled, and he tried to throw curse after curse at Snape. “Stop—insulting—my father—you lying—greasy—traitorous COWARD!”
“I said you would regret the day you called me a coward, Potter,” Snape roared, incensed now. “Petrificus Totalus!”
Harry’s arms and legs snapped together as he was hit by the Full-Body Bind, and he fell over backwards with a loud thud. Lucia gasped as Snape pointed his wand straight at the helpless boy. Before she could think, she threw herself in front of Harry’s frozen body and landed on her knees before the Death Eater. “NOOO!”
Lucia and Snape stared at each other for long moments, Snape’s wand tip quivering and aimed at her throat. Both were breathing heavily. Lucia tried to read the dark eyes boring into her, but the combined effect of the mask and the hood made it almost impossible. Was it fear that made him hold back from murdering her right there and then, she wondered. Or could it be sympathy? She held her breath and waited for the Killing Curse to come, as she knew would be inevitable.
Two short screams, one from either end of the street, rang out and broke the tension hanging over them. Snape, visibly startled, jerked his wand up, away from Lucia—and Disapparated.
Lucia struggled to her feet, cursing inwardly for letting such a high-profile enemy escape. It would be well-nigh impossible to trace him down now. She turned behind her to the still-frozen Harry. “Finite Incantatem!”
Harry’s arms and legs came unstuck again, and Lucia helped him to his feet. There was an awkward silence for a long moment as they stared at each other, uncertain of what to say. “Thank you,” Harry finally mumbled, brushing himself off without looking at her. “You—you saved my life.”
Lucia blushed and dropped her gaze, staring at her shoes sheepishly. “I shouldn’t have let him get away—” she began before the screams repeated themselves, one from the direction she had come, the other farther on down the Alley.
Harry immediately began to sprint back in the direction of Gringotts. “Check out the other one—see you at Headquarters!” he yelled over his shoulder.
Lucia nodded and turned on her heels, running in the opposite direction. As she approached the junction of Diagon and Knockturn Alleys, she noticed her surroundings grow more and more desolate and deserted. Deserted, except for two shadowy figures, one large and one small, right in the entranceway of Knockturn Alley.
As she neared them, Lucia saw that it was a tall Death Eater laughing over a cowering, sandy-haired boy, not much older than ten or so. The boy had a pale, handsome face that was now drawn with terror as he stared, wild-eyed, at the large shadow looming over him. The boy’s clothes were muddy and sported round stains of some dark substance. It took Lucia more than a moment to realize, horrified, that the dark stains were actually dried blood.
“Please, sir,” the boy was pleading. He crawled forward and grabbed the hem of the older wizard’s robes. “Please don’t hurt me anymore—won’t you come help my uncle? I’m afraid he’s dying, sir, please help—”
“You foolish brat,” the Death Eater scoffed. “I already told you, why should I give a damn about your uncle? Stop pestering me, boy, let go of my robes—Crucio!”
The boy screamed and began to twitch uncontrollably when the Cruciatus Curse hit him; but he did not let go of his hold on the robes, much to the Death Eater’s chagrin. He cursed wildly as he struggled to free himself from the thrashing boy. Lucia used the man’s distraction as her cover while she took careful aim.
“Stupefy!” The spell struck the man in mid-oath, and he crumpled to the ground without another word. The boy stopped screaming as well; and he lay where he was, staring at the sky and panting hard, while Lucia walked over to him.
The boy’s frightened blue eyes staring up at her pulled at Lucia’s motherly instincts. No one should ever have the right to torture children, she thought angrily. He looked so delicate, so pale—and so familiar, somehow. She couldn’t place it exactly, but she thought this boy looked very much like someone else she knew. She felt a shiver run down her spine, but she pushed those thoughts out of her mind for the moment. “Don’t worry,” she said to the boy kindly, extending her hand to help him up. “I’m here to help you. Did you say your uncle—?”
At the mention of his uncle, the boy’s fear left his eyes. He jumped up faster than lightning, grabbed Lucia by her outstretched hand, and proceeded to half-pull, half-drag her into Knockturn Alley. Lucia barely managed to keep up as the boy ran a good half-mile straight down the darkened street, turned hard right into a small alleyway between two stores, and finally halted before a mass of bloody robes on the ground. A small puddle of dark red had stained the grass around the boy’s uncle, and a bloody hand still clutching a wand lay limply on the ground. The hood of his cloak had been pulled down hard over his face, hiding it from view. Lucia reached down and yanked the hood back to better examine her patient.
She suddenly froze in place, still bending over the now-recognizable young man before her, a disheveled head of platinum-blonde hair now greeting her eyes. No wonder the boy looked so damn familiar, she thought numbly while a wave of shock threatened to make her faint for the second time in her life.
She was staring down at a badly battered and unconscious Draco Malfoy.
A/N: Thanks to everyone who is reading this! Please leave a review...I need to know if I should continue posting this or not...
A CLUE: #9
Feather, that will do the trick or perhaps a poke in the center.
Sure to squirm on a barefooted concern if this happens to bother
a little. Mirth begins but there isn’t an end to this torture that
is being committed. Yet for a person like you, I’m sure you’ll
live through-- if you can get past this riddle.
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