Chapter 12 : Out of the Blue
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Thank you so much to Nevillesoulmate for yet another wonderful image.
"And, what if I do know? I am sworn to protect him. I made the Unbreakable Vow, remember? I seem to recall you acted as Bonder!" challenged Snape, throwing Bellatrix a look of pure, undiluted hatred.
"Then you must die like a man, Severus, you must die. You can't disobey his orders!"
"Have you just no shame? He wants the boy to kill his own mother!"
"Well, if Draco had done as he was told to begin with...He must have known that something like this was bound to happen," she commented indifferently.
Snape glared at Bellatrix and said, "You think you are very clever, don't you? So loyal, so detached. What makes you think you are not next on his list?"
"The fact that I am able to kill people who are not disarmed, Severus."
He sneered at this comment. "Yes, like useless Muggles. The Dark Lord wasn't impressed, you know, that's why he has given us this impossible task. Same as he did with Draco, as a punishment." He pronounced punishment slowly and intentionally.
"And why, may I ask," said Bella, affecting a babyish tone of voice, "is it impossible?"
"Well, you think about it. Why hasn't the Dark Lord been able to track him down himself? Draco is a Death Eater, after all," he said, as if he was stating the most obvious thing in the world.
"I guess he is protected by Dumbledore's lot. But, don't worry, Severus, even without your invaluable skills as a spy...I have other spies myself. Spies you haven't even thought about!" she added smirking.
"Go to hell, Bella. You won't find him so easily and I will not help you. You can turn me in if you wish, he won't believe you anyway," Snape concluded defiantly.
Bellatrix glared at him malevolently as she warned him, "I'm watching you...If you tell my sister about this..."
"You'll do what exactly?"
"You have always had a soft spot for our Cissy, have you not?" Bella mocked, getting more and more enraged all the time. Snape was holding her gaze with great intensity, challenging her.
"Cruc…" she began to shout but was stopped by Severus on her tracks, who disarmed her by casting expelliarmus non-verbally.
"You weren't quick enough, Bella. I could see this coming from a mile!" snarled Snape sick of the little game.
Hermione hadn't slept well. She had tried to dismiss Ginny's nightmare but something was niggling inside her mind. The potion, what was Ginny doing dreaming about the potion? Well, she supposed she had been a bit taken aback by learning all of the sudden about the Horcruxes but still...
"We better tell Harry, Ginny, just to see what he thinks," suggested Hermione and went back to sleep.
Ginny came to the conclusion she could not sleep any more and decided to go to the kitchen and cook an early breakfast. She was a bit surprised to find Remus and Tonks there already, drinking a cup of coffee. Not even Mrs. Weasley was up yet! They both glanced at Ginny in what she thought was a peculiar way. Maybe they had heard her screaming.
An hour or so later, Harry got out of bed. Ron was still fast asleep, as expected. He kept on looking at the sock, mesmerised. Something didn't make sense. It couldn't be the Horcrux. This locket was smooth, had no engravings, still... something didn't fit because his instincts were telling him that they were on the right track.
Hermione's attempt to go back to sleep hadn't been too successful either. Just before Harry got up, she did so herself. They needed to talk to Harry at some point to ask his opinion but, in the meantime she decided her best bet was to go to the garden on her own and relax in the way she knew best.
"Hello, Hermione," said Harry to his friend, who was now sitting on the grass reading a DADA book. Even if she had been waiting for him in a way, she looked at him a little startled. She must have been pretty engrossed in the book or her own thoughts, as she hadn't noticed him coming through the living room door.
"Hiya, Harry," she replied distractedly.
"You look a bit, I dunno worried. Are you ok?" asked Harry, a little concerned.
Hermione placed a blade of grass in the book to mark her place as she turned her head up to look at him. "Yes, I'm fine. Ginny had a nightmare last night though. It really frightened me. I've never seen her like that. Your scar hasn't been hurting or anything, has it?"
"Well, no," Harry shook his head not making the connection, still thinking about the locket. "Should it have hurt? It only ever did when Voldermort was near or feeling a strong emotion. Not when we went to the cave." But then he remembered that hadn't been the real Horcrux, so maybe Hermione was onto something here, maybe it would hurt if he came near a Horcrux. "Hermione, what was this nightmare of Ginny's?" he asked, realising he had almost not taken it in when she had first spoken, such had become his Horcrux obsession.
"Well, she was shouting something to do with the potion in the cave, the potion that Dumbledore drank. She said Voldemort knew she was drinking it and that we had the potion! Most bizarre!"
"Umm, we better go and see her. See if she can tell us any more details. I agree this is odd, although, it could just be because we told her all about it only recently, that could have set off the dream. I don't really know ..." conceded Harry, walking inside towards the kitchen.
Remus and Tonks had gone off about their business, Tonks to work and Lupin to sort out some Order's paperwork. Ginny was still at the table. She heard footsteps and proceeded towards Harry very fast, looking as if about to explode.
Harry looked at Hermione perplexed. "Ginny. What's the...?"
Ginny didn't give him a chance to finish the sentence and instead slapped him very hard on the face.
"WHAT THE HELL?" Harry shouted in shock.
"You know very well what you have been saying. You FILTHY LIAR! All you wanted to do was just show off, to prove that the Chosen One is really macho, to boast about your virility. I tell you what, if Tom finishes you off, I wouldn't say I'll blame him!" shouted Ginny.
"Ginny, YOU DON'T MEAN THAT!" Hermione yelled at her.
Harry caressed his stinging cheek, Ginny's handprint glowing in a brilliant shade of red as he gave her an intense stare. "Could you please, explain what on Merlin's beard is going on?"
"Calm down, Ginny. Whatever it is, calm down," Hermione tried to soothe her. "I don't understand this either."
"This is between Harry and I!" she replied, looking so frightful that Hermione thought it better to leave them to it and went upstairs to wake up Ron.
The fiery red head's eyes were shooting sparks as she screamed at him. "Why have you been telling people you've been shagging me?"
"What? Ginny, are you out of your mind?" he frowned. Harry truly didn't get the gist.
"Why has Tonks just given me a lecture on contraceptive charms?" Ginny shouted at Harry, her hands on her hips as she waited impatiently for an answer.
Harry looked genuinely bewildered as he sputtered "T-t-tonks? I haven't even spoken to Tonks! Could she have just been sort of giving you a motherly talk, about the birds and the bees, I mean... Tonks?" Then an idea struck Harry as he remembered the events of the previous night. "It was Lupin!, Ginny!"
"Lupin! So, you told Lupin as well? This is just bloody brilliant!" she shouted, loudly enough to wake up the whole house.
"What on earth is going on in here?" commanded Mrs. Weasley, coming down from her bedroom, looking nearly as incensed as her daughter. "Tell Lupin what?"
The youngest Weasley whirled around to face her mother as she pointed her finger at Harry. "That he's slept with me!"
At this point, Molly's face went from red, to white, to purple. She looked at Harry as if she had just found her entire family gutted and he had been the perpetrator. "You've done what to my daughter?" The expression in Molly's face really terrified Harry. She felt utterly betrayed and that came across crystal clear.
"We've done nothing, Mrs. Weasley, I swear, swear on my parents' memories. We haven't done it, all right?" Harry was now nearly crying in anger and frustration.
"So, why have you been telling people that we have?" challenged Ginny, not any calmer than she was before.
Harry bit his lower lip quite hard. "Ginny, you got to believe me!" he was now pleading. "I haven't said such a thing, why would I do that?"
"It's my fault," interrupted Lupin, who had been drawn into the kitchen by the noise and the commotion.
"Yes!" Harry was shooting a murderous look at him "It is your fault and you better get me out of this mess and you better do it quick!"
Remus looked downwards sheepishly, regreting the discord he had unintentionally caused. He hadn't meant for it to blow this far out of proportion when he had mentioned where he had found Harry the night before. Looking at the Weasley matriarch he began apologizing. "Sorry, Molly. It's only that I found Harry in the middle of the night with no glasses outside of Ginny's bedroom, I put two and two together! I just got a bit concerned. Well, she is not even sixteen yet."
"Only for a few days!" protested Ginny, dropping herself deeper into it.
"Don't you be getting ideas into your head, young lady!" Molly howled.
"But, Remus," interrupted Harry. "I told you nothing was up. Why could you just not believe me, why did you have to go blabbing to Tonks? Yeah, next thing I need is to get myself into Azkaban for statutory rape when I am supposed to be saving the wizarding world! Nice plan, Remus, very smart move! Also," he continued, "Ginny shares the room with Hermione, you surely couldn't have thought..."
In all truth, Lupin had overseen this detail and blushed at Harry's comment. "Ok, Harry, I believe you now. Let's declare the matter settled, if that's all right."
"I'll be watching you, young man!" said Molly, still not completely persuaded.
Ginny walked off in a huff towards the garden. Harry followed her. "Look what you've done now! She won't let us out of her sight, I bet you anything!" Ginny whispered to Harry, still sounding very annoyed.
"What do you mean by "I" have done? I couldn't tell Remus why I was there, could I? Ginny, please, try to be reasonable once in a while!” said Harry, getting rather tired of this. "Anyway, Ginny, I believe you had a nightmare..." Harry changed the topic.
"Well, yes, but I don't remember much about it, to be honest. Also, I would have thought that Hermione would have allowed me to tell you for myself!" she snarled.
Harry sighed as he looked at the still incensed girl. "Ginny, is anybody safe with you today? You seem to be in a mood for murder, let it drop!"
"Yeah, the nightmare," she continued, "well, I'm not too sure, Harry, but I think I was drinking the potion that, that, well, that Dumbledore drank in the cave."
"And then, what happened?" Harry asked her softly but with a sense of anticipation. "Did you see what it was?"
She shook her head, sending her red locks flying around her face. "Nope. It was green, just as you told me. I think Voldemort knew that I had it."
"That you had what, the Horcrux or the potion, Ginny? Hermione thought that you said he knew you, or we, had the potion, which doesn't really make much sense..."
"Sorry, Harry, that's all I remember," she replied, a little bit frustrated.
"No, worries, Ginny, no worries," he said , as he reached out his hand tentatively to touch her shoulder. When she didn't shrug him off, Harry sighed in relief as he embraced her in his arms, glad that the moment had passed and that they could, once again, move on.
"The war is over!" said Harry, coming into the bedroom he shared with Ron. "Can we join you now? Ginny will be here in a minute. Your Mum has just called her with some excuse or other," Harry explained. Ron and Hermione were sitting on Ron's bed but they seem to be at odds, as if they too have been arguing over something. "Come on, not you two as well!" exclaimed Harry. Ron stared right into his eyes with a look of mistrust. Harry stared back. "I've told everyone, we haven't done anything, IS THAT CLEAR?" Harry was now bursting with frustration.
"I've been telling him, Harry. He knows full well why you came to see us! He's just being stupid!" said Hermione, glancing at Harry and more or less saying: I give up!
Ron gave him another suspicious look but remained silent.
"And, in any case, I don't go asking you what you do with my best friend, do I?" remarked Harry, with a smirk on his face and a twinkle in his eyes as he saw both of his best mates blushing.
"That's different!" protested Ron.
"I'm not too sure how that works," said Harry, with a little bravado.
"All of you, just leave it, please. Mum was bad enough!" demanded Ginny, who was coming up the stairs.
Harry waited until Ginny was in the room and the door was closed before he began speaking again. "Now, what are we to do with all the conundrums on our hands? I just personally don’t see how we are going to figure all this out ... without Dumbledore!” He couldn’t help himself, he was really struggling to be, if not happy, at least normal, preferably happy, but he just could not get himself to pronounce the late Headmaster’s name without a feeling of loss, of sadness ... taking over his mind.
“On the subject of Muggle driving lessons,” said Hermione enthusiastically, trying to change the subject.
Harry latched onto the new topic grateful for Hermione and her diversions. “Yeah, that should be fun!”
“I think Ron should take some too,” Hermione added.
“Well, I just don’t have the galleons, do I?” Ron commented, rather glumly.
Harry shot a cutting look at him but didn’t dare say, I’ll pay for it, for fear of offending.
“Fred and George would lend it to you. You could always help them out in the shop or something to re-pay them,” suggested Ginny.
“Not a bad idea,” agreed Hermione.
“Why would I want Muggle driving lessons for?” dismissed Ron grumpily. “It’s not like I can even manage to pass my Apparition test!”
“Now, Ron, don’t feel sorry for yourself. You’ll do fine. But I would start practising Appparition if I were you, your test it’s coming up soon, in fact, really soon!” advised Hermione. “And, in answer to your question, if we are going to go out looking for, well, you know, it may be better to use Muggle transportation, it would raise less suspicion, just like the credit card idea,” she added.
“Yeah, but that’s not a fast way of travelling particularly, is it?” retorted Ron. “And, well, as for exciting, only to the likes of Dad!”
“That is a point, Ron. If you can keep a secret I am planning something like that for him for his birthday, maybe a one day event at a rally place or something. It’s only fair that I give something back to a family who has treated me like one of their own,” said Harry from his heart.
Ron gave him a funny look again that he interpreted as: As long as you don’t shag my sister.
Harry cleared his throat uncomfortably as he averted his eyes from the two Weasley siblings. Suddenly, Ron's Chudley Canon's posters were very interesting. “And anyway,” proceeded Harry, “about the credit card business, this is after all my mission. If you are coming into it too, it should be at my expense, sort of like company expenses. And don't say anything, the matter is closed!”
“No, Harry,” said Hermione “you can’t pay for everything, it’s just not fair!”
“Look at it this way, whose neck are we trying to save here after all? It’s me he is after! And you’re prepared to risk your lives to help me, well...”. He almost regretted having said that, in front of Hermione, but then he thought, what the hell, she needed to give herself the chance to grief, she was human after all. “So, Hermione?” Harry tried to change the subject nonetheless. “Are we actually going to buy a car, then?” he seemed quite excited at the prospect.
“Yeah,” said Ron, “get yourself something really flash and let your Uncle Vernon take a look, he’ll die of envy!”
Harry and Ginny giggled. Hermione, however, had a rather serious expression in her face.
Hermione pushed some of her bushy brown hair behind her right ear and looked down at her lap as she began to quietly speak, “Well, I was just thinking, we could always use my mum’s...” But she was unable to finish her sentence because her throat had become tight and thick tears were now running down her cheeks.
“Hermione!” said Ron softly, not really knowing how to handle this. He wanted to do something to help make her feel better but Harry, having had more experience in the matter, jumped in.
“It’s ok,” said Harry taking control. He patted her on the back and gave her a cuddle. “Let it happen, that’s what Molly said to me, let the tears come. We were actually very worried about you, you know? We thought you were being well... too strong, too normal after what’s happened to you.” He paused. “Look, it was different with me, I was one. I didn’t know, I couldn’t understand and they say you can’t miss what you haven’t had, and yet, I miss my parents, Hermione, and remember? I was quite insufferable after Sirius... We understand, we are your friends, just be yourself, you don’t have to be the strong one all the time, ok?”
“Thanks, Harry,” she replied, almost choking in her own tears but still battling to regain composure. “They taste salty, though, tears,” she said trying once more to make light of it.
The morning of the previous day, Draco awoke suddenly and covered in sweat. Something was amiss, something must be amiss. Not that he had ever believed in prophetic dreams particularly, but now, he could sense something. It hadn’t been a dream, he could not actually remember any specific dream; it was just a feeling of unease, of unrest that he couldn’t shake off. That letter from Snape had meant something, of course it had meant something. It was funny how things had turned out. He was forced to rely on the person who he had thought wanted to steal his glory. He was protecting him, no doubt about that, but he couldn’t help but wonder how well he was going on about it. Despite the Potions Master's instructions, he coudn't just sit there and wait, he had to act somehow.
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