Chapter 31 : Chapter 31 Rescues and Running Part II
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"Tokyo, you’re safe. Approach target."
"Roger that," the man muttered softly, slowly raising himself up from behind the metal pylons. His eyes darted around the Muggle construction site that surrounded him, before he quickly pulled on a black beanie, tucking his blonde hair out of sight. Jeremiah Quentin gripped his wand tightly as he darted forward, his strong legs quickly taking himself towards his destination. His black clothing rendered him almost invisible in the darkness as he stealthily moved forwards, stopping briefly to check his position.
"Tokyo, halt. You’re in range. Begin operation."
"Roger that," he muttered again as he crouched down behind a Muggle bin. He pulled back the long sleeve of his shirt, removing one of the many spare ‘decoy detonators’ from where he had strapped them to his body. He held it tightly as he took out his wand, tapping the black disk. He turned it over, taking note of the number that had been painted onto the bottom. He spoke softly as he pressed the small disk onto the side of the Muggle garbage bin, his charm holding it in place.
"This is Tokyo, decoy number 4 in place, copy."
"Copy that Tokyo, number 4. Keep moving."
Jeremiah looked towards his right, spotting his next destination. This type of operation was nothing new to him, he was one of the most highly recognized Aurors in the department, so it was no shock when Kingsley asked him to assist in this rescue operation. It was Kingsley who was whispering in his ear, supervising the operation from the top of a Muggle building not to far away. The newest version of the ‘wizarding ear and mouthpiece’ sat snugly in his ear, allowing Kingsley to freely communicate with himself and the other Aurors who were involved.
Through the earpiece, he heard Kingsley softly relaying orders to other members of the rescue team, telling them when it was safe to move, acting as their eyes in the darkness. Jeremiah moved quickly, running quickly across the deserted, wide Muggle street until he reached the pavement opposite him. He again crouched down, pulling back his sleeve as he repeated the same process with another detonator, this time sticking it on the rusty Muggle bench he hid behind.
"Wellington, this is Tokyo. Decoy 5 in place. Copy."
"Decoy 5. Copy," came the voice of Kingsley.
He looked up as he saw a distant figure slunk low, crouching next to a set of large iron gates. Jeremiah raised his hand, extending it outwards to his side, holding it in position as he said softly-
"Canberra. Is that you? Over"
The distant figure remained motionless for a moment, before mimicking his arm movement. Jeremiah saw an arm extend outwards as another voice spoke into his ear.
"This is Canberra, over."
Jeremiah pulled his arm back in as he adjusted himself comfortably.
"This is Tokyo. Two detonators planted. What’s your position? Over."
"Three detonators planted, I have a visual on the destination."
"This is Wellington. Are we good to go?"
"This is Tokyo, good to go."
"This is Canberra, good to go."
"This is Delhi, good to go," a third voice echoed through his ears, as the third Auror, who was still hidden, spoke.
"Stand by raiders. Wait for my orders."
Jeremiah fell silent as he waited for more orders. He looked around, doing his best to take in what surroundings he could. There wasn’t much to see really. Mainly boarded up buildings overlooking the street that was rarely used by Muggles. ‘What a nice place to live,’ he thought grimly to himself, having no idea that this was where many children had grown up, not knowing that he was mere yards away from the birthplace of he-who-must-not-be-named. ‘An orphanage’ Kingsley had told him. "An abandoned orphanage from years ago."
"This is Wellington. I count 6 undesirables. Two on the ground floor, one on the first floor, and three on the second floor. The Big Apple is on the first floor, guarded by one."
"Copy that," the three whispered, almost in unison.
"This is Wellington again, OK raiders moving in. Stay discreet, don’t give away your position until I give the order."
Jeremiah stood up, looking around properly before crouching slightly. He set off at a run, quickly approaching the large iron gates that towered over him. He watched as the Auror he currently knew as Canberra, slipped through the open gate before he followed her. His black boots crunched on the leaves that had blown across the almost overgrown courtyard as he and the other Auror approached the front steps, the tall building looming over them.
"Silencio," Canberra muttered, pointing her wand at the heavy front doors, before she silently pushed them open. Jeremiah followed her up the stairs and into a musty smelling entrance hall, the black and white tiles seemed to gleam beneath the decades of dust.
"This is Delhi, I’ve entered second floor window, awaiting orders."
"Copy," said Kingsley. "Canberra, keep watch on the ground floor, Tokyo, approach the stairs, turn left."
"Copy," he whispered as he crept towards the rickety staircase, thankful that his boots made no sounds. He pointed his outstretched wand at the staircase, silencing it before he began ascending. He could feel his steady heartbeat as adrenaline began flowing through his body. ‘This is it,’ he thought to himself. He reached the top of the staircase. Looking right and left, he checked each corridor. He turned left.
"Tokyo, continue along the corridor, The Big Apple is being held in the sixth room on your right. There is one undesirable with him. Copy?"
"Copy," he replied, his voice so soft he was amazed that the mouthpiece was able to pick up his words.
He held his wand aloft, stepping forward through the corridor, his eyes falling on doorway number six easily. Light shone through the open door halfway down the corridor, lighting his way easily. He pressed himself against the opposite wall as he slowly approached the door. He could see straight into the room from the open door, his eyes falling on the form of a tall, cloaked figure. He watched it for a moment, before the figure stepped out of his line of sight, revealing what he wanted to see most of all.
"Wellington," he spoke softly. "This is Tokyo, I have a visual on The Big Apple."
"What’s his status?"
"Doesn’t look his best, but it looks like he could walk out of here.”
"Hold your position."
"This is Tokyo, Wellington this seems way too easy."
"Half of everything is luck," came the voice of Canberra.
"Just hold your position."
He stayed still, not taking his eyes off the victim he was supposed to be rescuing. Harry Potter was bound tightly to a chair, his head slumped forwards from exhaustion. He seemed to be saying something, his bruised face illuminated clearly in the light. He seemed disorientated.
"This is Wellington, Tokyo are you ready to go live?"
"Ready," he confirmed.
There was a pause before Kingsley continued. "Going live, on my count of three. One."
Jeremiah gripped his wand tightly, holding it steadily in front of himself.
The two other Aurors prepared themselves mentally, gripping their wands tightly also.
Jeremiah stepped out of the shadows to stand in the doorway, pointing his wand fearlessly at the cloaked figure.
The figure fell to the ground, unprepared for his abrupt ambush. He ignored the figure and turned straight to Potter, whose pale and bruised face showed nothing but shock and surprise.
“Who are you?” he muttered, too exhausted to manage much else.
“Jeremiah Quentin,” he replied, looking Potter in the eyes as he used his wand to untie his hands. “I’m an Auror, I’m getting you out of here.”
Potter mumbled something incoherent as Jeremiah’s wand untied the other ropes. He could hear the heavy breathing of the other Aurors through his earpiece, as he muttered into it.
“Wellington, this is Tokyo. I have him, we’re ready to move.”
There was a pause before Kingsley answered.
“This is Wellington. Delhi what’s your status?”
“This is Delhi, ready to move.”
“Delhi, proceed to the first floor. Find Tokyo and The Big Apple and provide them with cover.”
Jeremiah looked back up into the face of Harry Potter, his eyes momentarily falling upon his famous scar.
“Alright Potter, we have to move. I’m going to help you up, but you have to lean on me. Don’t try to walk too much.”
Jeremiah didn’t wait for an answer, he gently took one of his arms, bringing it gently around his shoulder as he lifted the boy from the chair. He was light for his age, but this was not unexpected to Jeremiah as he placed his arm firmly around the boy’s middle. He steadied himself as an Auror he recognized entered the room, his wand held aloft in front of him, his dark clothing much the same as his own.
“Wellington, this is Delhi,” the man spoke softly. “We’re ready to move.”
“Ok raiders, the coast is clear. You’re free to move, but don’t let your guard down.”
“Copy that,” came the voice of all three Aurors, as they began moving. Jeremiah walked slowly, letting Delhi fully protect them as he carefully supported Potter. He looked back down at him as they ascended the stairs, his feet were momentarily brushing the floor and he looked as though he was about to pass out.
He looked back up again as they crossed the tiled entrance and saw Canberra ahead of them, guarding their way also. The four crossed the overgrown courtyard and passed through the iron gates. Delhi reached into his pocket for his Portkey, as time seemed to freeze.
Several loud cracks reverberated around the empty Muggle street as Kingsley’s frantic voice came through their earpiece.
“Raiders, code blue! Code blue!”
Jeremiah’s wand flew from his hand before he could block the spell, he watched helplessly as the wands of Canberra and Delhi flew towards the Death Eater who cast the spell. Suddenly an unknown force pushed them all to the ground, and Jeremiah could feel the uneven breathing from the boy next to him. He looked up as a tall figure rushed towards them, grabbing the boy and dragging him away as Jeremiah tried desperately to stop them. Potter yelled in pain, thrashing about for release.
“Well, well, well,” a hooded figure drawled. “What do we have here? A rescue?”
They looked around silently as more cloaked figures stepped forward, closing in on them. There seemed to be no way out. Kingsley’s voice spoke softly in their ear.
“Raiders, follow all instructions, I’ll get you out of here.”
Jeremiah looked back up at Potter, he had gone almost completely limp as the Death Eater holding him pointed his wand to his throat. Jeremiah remembered his training, he remembered that his sole responsibility was the safety of the hostage. Nothing should ever compromise Potter’s safety.
“We’ll come quietly, if you spare his life,” Jeremiah said, trying to buy Kingsley some time. The Death Eaters laughed as a few of them stepped forward, their wands raised towards them. It was this moment that Kingsley acted.
‘BANG’, the bench Jeremiah had hidden behind previously exploded, the decoy detonators activating. ‘BANG’, The garbage bin exploded, rubbish flew through the air, littering the deserted street. ‘BANG, BANG, BANG’ a fire hydrant exploded spectacularly, water was sent whooshing at great pressure into the air, raining down on the street in heavy torrents.
The Aurors seized their chance. Leaping up they fumbled in their pockets, pulling out their emergency Portkey. Jeremiah pulled an old comb out of his pocket, before throwing himself at Potter, yelling as he did so.
With relief, he felt the great tug behind his navel as he and Potter were transported back to the Ministry. They landed in the Atrium with a great thud, the air was forced from his lungs. Jeremiah sat up from his less than gracious position, his eyes falling on a shocked janitor. Ignoring the janitor, his heart sank as he saw Potter a few feet away from him.
“Potter!” he said loudly, turning the boy over. Jeremiah’s mouth dropped open when he saw the boy. He was gasping and writhing in great discomfort as his features began rapidly changing. The jet-black hair shortened and turned blonde, his face and body quickly changed back to its original state. The Polyjuice potion was wearing off.
“Tokyo! Are you alright?” Canberra, whom he now recognized as Andrea Hadden, appeared at his side as another loud thud announced the arrival of Delhi. “Merlin! What happened?”
Jeremiah sighed softly, reaching out his hands to comfort the blonde haired boy who lay before him. He couldn’t be more than twelve years old.
“It’s not him,” he replied bitterly.
Harry Potter was pushed roughly down to his knees, the tight ropes that held his hands behind his back were severed. He brought his hands around to his front, wiggling his fingers slightly. Out of the corner of his eyes, he could see the floor length robes of the many Death Eaters. He had considered counting them as he came in, but he knew there had to be at least twenty, standing in a semi-circle around him, while Voldemort sat comfortably in his chair.
"How has your day been, Harry?" Voldemort asked casually, as though it were the most obvious question in the world.
"A bit dull, really," Harry replied.
"Well, I suppose it’s not too late to change that. Let’s add some excitement, shall
Harry continued to stare at the ground, not seeing Voldemort wave his wand.
Another piece of parchment and a quill appeared in front of him, telling him immediately what Voldemort wanted him to do. And he was prepared for it.
"You know what happens next," Voldemort said calmly.
Harry looked at the parchment for a moment, then reached out and took the quill in his hand. A flash of lightning shone through the cracks in the boarded up windows, a distant roll of thunder came after it. The quill scratched along the paper as Harry wrote the words, ‘Lion-hearted minds.’
He dropped the quill onto the parchment and pushed it away, not looking up as a Death Eater flicked his wand, sending the parchment and quill soaring towards herself.
"Lion-hearted minds," came the voice of Bellatrix Lestrange, speaking not to Harry, but to her master.
Voldemort cocked his head slightly, looking at Harry with a smirk.
"Lion-hearted minds?" he said.
"It’s a Gryffindor thing," Harry said, prepared for someone to question this absurd sounding statement. ‘That’s the hitch with anagrams,’ he thought to himself. ‘They don’t make much sense.’
"Where did Dumbledore go during his absences from Hogwarts?" Voldemort asked, not missing a beat.
"Merlin," Harry muttered in reply. "I was sort of hoping, that you’d given up on that. Considering I made it pretty clear, I’m not telling you."
"You will tell me. Whether you tell me now, tomorrow, or next week. It doesn’t matter to me."
"I won’t," he replied fiercely.
"You will," Voldemort replied calmly.
"This is just going to go on, and on!" Harry said sarcastically. "You say yes, I say no. Yes, no, yes, no, yes, no, it’s just going to keep going in circles until you finally kill me, isn’t it?"
"Are you saying you’d like me to just kill you?" Voldemort asked, not bothered by Harry’s sarcastic outburst.
"I must admit," he replied, looking up at Voldemort. "It would be a lot quicker.’
"Let’s get started then, Crucio!"
The expected pain shot through his body instantly, sending him to the floor. He clenched his teeth together, in his desperate attempts to hold back his screams. Unable to bear it, he screamed as though it were his last moment alive, just as the pain relinquished.
He laid flat on his back, his breathing erratic as he tried to draw breath, as he tried to stop shaking. Harry pushed himself up, leaning on his hands as his breaths shook. He could hear some of the Death Eaters, laughing at his pain. He ignored them. He looked up, immediately tensing his body as he saw Voldemort flick his wand again.
Harry gasped loudly, pain shooting across his already wounded back, leaving him with another shallow cut. It began to bleed, the blood again staining his tattered shirt as the groan, that he held at the back of his throat, left him.
"You know, Harry," Voldemort began as he rose from his chair. "It’s the simplest curse, that can give a person more pain than they can endure."
Harry could see him approaching him, his black shoes making soft sounds of the stone floor.
"But it’s not just the curse that hurts. It’s knowing what’s coming, that hurts the most."
Harry let out a second gasp of pain, louder this time as he clenched his fingers into a fist. Thunder rolled loudly overhead, momentarily masking his gasp.
"Tell me about the prophecy," Voldemort said again, abandoning the subject of Dumbledore for a moment.
"Tell me about the prophecy," Voldemort repeated, raising his voice.
Voldemort flicked his wand, watching expressionlessly as his victim groaned again. He asked again.
"No," Harry forced out through clenched teeth.
"Tell me, now," Voldemort said loudly, feeling himself lose his patience, feeling himself growing frustrated.
"No!" Harry said, equally loud.
"Tell me!" Voldemort flicked his wand mercilessly, satisfaction in his victim’s pain flowing through him, as the boy gasped and tensed his muscles. Harry groaned again, the pain in his back becoming unbearable. Thunder rolled again as he drew in a deep shuddering breath, while he felt himself loosing control.
"Stuff you!" he yelled, looking at Voldemort. "Get it through your head, I’m not telling you anything!"
A wave seemed to pass over the Death Eaters as they waited with abated breath, wondering how their master would react to such an insult.
"And nothing you do, can make me," Harry continued.
"Nothing?" Voldemort said with a smirk. "Nothing at all."
"No," Harry relied, not caring what Voldemort did to him. He was not breaking the promise he made to himself. Voldemort turned, walking slowly away from him, speaking with a cold voice-
"Hold out your arm."
"No," Harry said, not even bothering to consider this command.
Voldemort looked towards a few of his Death Eaters, giving them an unsaid command. Two of the cloaked figures stepped forward, their cloaks billowing around them as they walked towards him. He looked up into the face of Bellatrix Lestrange, as she grabbed his arm, pulling it painfully behind his back while she pressed her wand to his neck. He struggled against her hold, hating her as the other Death Eater seized a fistful of his hair, yanking his head backwards.
"You know Harry, whether you like it or not, you are going to tell me everything."
"No, I’m not."
"Hold out your arm."
He shook his head defiantly, the person holding his hair gripped it tighter, grabbing his left arm in their hand, thrusting it out in front of him as he tried to resist. They were stronger, overpowering him easily. Voldemort turned, walking slowly back towards Harry, twirling his wand like a baton with his long fingers. Harry’s scar began to burn as he came closer.
"Harry," he said casually. "I was thinking of sending a postcard, to your godfather. But then I realized that a photo, would be much more personal."
Harry stared up at him, refusing to ask what he meant, refusing to rise to the bait.
"Dolohov, make sure you get a picture of this," Voldemort continued. Confusion spread through Harry’s mind, ‘Why would he want a picture?’ Harry looked up into Voldemort’s face, the two enemies staring each other in the eyes.
Voldemort closed the gap between them, Bellatrix twisting Harry’s arm behind his back even more painfully. Voldemort bent down a little, pressing the tip of his wand into Harry’s inner forearm, his scar burning painfully.
"Last chance Potter. Tell me about the prophecy."
"Why? What are you going to do to me, huh?"
"I will make you wish, that you’d never been born," Voldemort said lowly, only the people closest would be able to hear him.
"Sometimes, I think it’s too late for that," Harry answered, his voice equally low.
Without saying a word, Voldemort increased the pressure of his wand upon Harry’s arm, increasing his discomfort.
"I’ll be merciful. Last chance."
"No," Harry replied defiantly, not caring what he did next.
A gleam seemed to appear in Voldemort’s red eyes, as he spoke again to Dolohov.
"Yes, my Lord."
Harry continued looking into Voldemort’s eyes, his heart pounding with terror and anticipation. He tensed his body as Voldemort drew breath.
Harry yelled in agony, the skin on his arm erupting in pain as Voldemort pressed his wand to it even harder. There was a flash of light as Dolohov captured the moment, Harry struggling frantically against the tight hold on him. He screamed in agony through his clenched teeth, thrashing around as the Death Eaters around him cheered.
Suddenly, Voldemort withdrew his wand, stepping back with a satisfied smile. The Death Eaters holding him relinquished their grip. Bellatrix removed her wand from his neck, before kicking him hard in the face. Harry was pushed sideways from the force of her kick, leaning on his shaking arms as his face throbbed. His eyes darted to his arm, holding in a cry of horror as he saw it. The Dark Mark had been branded onto his skin, his arm red and throbbing.
"Draco," Voldemort said loudly. "Take him upstairs."
Harry looked up in shock, watching as another cloaked figure stepped forward, drawing his wand. Malfoy seized him roughly around his upper arm, dragging him to his feet as he pointed his wand at him threateningly. Harry swayed slightly on his feet as he turned to face Voldemort, who was again sitting in his chair. He scoffed loudly, smiling as he looked at him.
"You’re really frustrated now, aren’t you" he asked scornfully as he was dragged away. "If you just resorted to giving me the Dark Mark, you mustn’t know what else to do!"
Voldemort did not reply. Harry gave him a wide smirk as he let Malfoy drag him upstairs without protest. He chanced another look at his arm, at the skull and snake that had been branded into his skin. It burned as they ascended the circular staircase.
"You should just co-operate," Malfoy muttered in an undertone to Harry, once they were out of earshot. "It’ll make things easier on yourself."
"Make things easier on him, you mean," Harry replied as a sudden, yet stupid plan emerged in his mind. He looked down again, noting Malfoy’s wand, which hung uselessly at his side, realizing that his hands had not yet been tied behind his back. He looked back up as they reached the second floor, the door to ‘his room’ was mere feet away.
Draco raised his wand at the door, unlocking it when Harry seized his chance. He twisted sharply out of Draco’s grip, slapping his hand tightly onto his mouth and nose, his other free hand wrestling the wand from his. The hood fell back, revealing Malfoy’s scared face as he clawed at Harry, as a knee slammed into Malfoy’s stomach, knocking the wind out of him.
"Stupefy," Harry said as discreetly as he could.
Draco slumped uselessly to the floor, unconscious. Harry stared at his lifeless form, his mind comprehending what had just happened. He blinked, staring down at the blurry figure on the floor his body began moving, undirected by him. He reached down and seized the lifeless hands, dragging his body through the open door. His injured and malnourished body yelled in pain as he dragged. Malfoy’s body was heavier than he had expected.
He dropped Malfoy’s hands with a sigh of relief, falling to his knees as he wrestled the black robes off Malfoy’s body. He didn’t know what he was doing. He seemed to be watching from another perspective as he threw the robes over himself, pulling the hood forward and stepping out of the room. He flinched, lightning cracked loudly overhead as he shut the door.
Harry turned on his heel and headed back to the staircase, not bothering to look for the wand he had dropped. His heart raced as he walked back down the stairs, trying to be as calm as possible. His hands trembled and his breath shook as he reached the ground floor, seeing the circle of Death Eaters standing where they were before, listening to Voldemort as he spoke. He turned the opposite way, walking directly to the grand doors, flanked by dusty, yet beautiful stained-glass windows.
He opened the door quickly, then shut it behind him, his eyes slowly adjusting to the dark night. He hoped desperately that they thought he were Draco, that they would not follow him. Yet he could not stop himself. Harry set off a top speed, his bare feet tripping over the front steps as he dashed down them. The pain in his body seemed to vanish as he reached the bottom of the steps. He dashed blindly across the sloping lawn, weeds threatening to snag his feet at any moment.
"Draco!" somebody called. "Draco, get back here!"
He didn’t turn around, he continued running despite the persistent calls of Narcissa Malfoy.
There was a loud bang, something caught around his ankles as Narcissa’s ‘trip-jinx’ send him falling to the ground. He threw his arms forward as he landed painfully on his side, winded. He quickly forced himself back to his feet, turning his head as he looked towards the grand house he had been running from, light shining brightly from its open doors. He had run farther than he expected, and he watched in horror as Narcissa recognized him, dashing back inside the ivy covered house, to warn the others.
Thunder crashed overhead with a flash of lightning. He turned again and continued running as it began raining, every movement now sending terrible jolts of pain through his body. He threw off the robes, freeing up his body even more.
Rain pelted down, quickly soaking him to the bone as he desperately looked for a place to hide. His heart pounded as he ran. Objects appeared suddenly before him, unable to be seen properly in the darkness.
Loud yells echoed through the air around him as Death Eaters spilled out of the house, searching frantically in the dark for their prisoner. Harry’s heart sank as he realized he had nowhere to hide. Suddenly, as though in answer to his sinking heart, an old, abandoned cottage seemed to materialize in front of him, causing him to stop dead in his tracks.
He looked around frantically as the light from many wands illuminated the angry faces that were looking for him. Without thinking, he dove straight into the overgrown garden bed, which sat against the house, cutting himself numerous times on the unkempt rose bushes as he buried himself in further. He sat deathly still, his breaths shallow with terror as Death Eaters searched in vain for him. His scar began to burn painfully, a flash of anger that was not his, went through him like a knife, telling him of Voldemort’s fury.
A/N ok well i'm quite worried about the first part of this chapter, it didn't turn out the way i hoped, although my beta reader assured me it was fine. let me know what you think, but constructive criticism only please....also, aside from the bleeding obvious what would you like to read about in this story? i have some ideas in mind for a sequel, but i just don't know what to write about really! lol anyway thank you to all those great readers who review, and all those great readers who just keep on reading...oh and the validators! you guys rock! ;)
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