Draco now had to think on his feet. It was almost a certainty that the Dark Lord, or even the Ministry, would have expected him to return to Malfoy Manor at some point. Although only Snape and the Order knew for sure that he had defected from the Death Eaters, the fact that he had been in hiding left little room for doubt. Also, despite his previous thoughts, he admitted to himself that he was taking a gamble by assuming that his family’s servants remained loyal to him. Had the house-elves belonged to him personally, matters would have been simpler. For one thing, he would have been able to summon them himself from where he was; yet, most of them were his father’s. Also, he was completely unaware as to whether his mother’s will had been dealt with or not; thus he couldn’t really tell if he had inherited the few she had owned.
His main advantage was that he knew the mansion and all its secret passages better than anyone who might have set up a trap. Moreover, he still had in his possession Harry’s Invisibility Cloak. Yet, Apparating straight to either the grounds or to one of the main rooms didn’t seem a good idea. If someone was guarding them, they would be able to hear the characteristic popping noise. He decided to make the quarters hidden under the trapdoor in the main drawing room his initial destination. This was, incidentally, the place where his father used to conceal artefacts forbidden by the Ministry.
In a way, he preferred it this way. He was only too aware of the impact that seeing the grandeur of his ancestral home was likely have on him. He certainly didn’t need any further reminders of what he had left behind, of what perhaps would never be his again.
Not so long before, he would have laughed at the thought of putting himself at risk to help Potter; yet, as he had reasoned earlier, they now needed each other. His motives were further fuelled by a desire for revenge. The Dark Lord had killed the most innocent person in his family, someone who had stood by her husband but hadn’t taken part; someone who had acted only to protect her own son. That was enough for him. If Potter was the one destined to bring down the Dark Lord, so be it. He was no longer prepared to stand in his way.
Ginny was sitting tight at The Three Broomsticks, inwardly debating what to do for the best. As things stood, she had no means of getting into Hogwarts. Hagrid might very well have gone to The Hogshead instead, she thought, until she realised that he too was an Order member and was also bound to be at Grimmauld Place. She could try to walk to the school grounds and wait outside his cabin for his return or remain at the pub a while longer.
Just before she had taken off on her broom, a message from Hermione had arrived explaining that she had spoken with Malfoy, who was apparently dealing with the matter. She still worried about whether Harry had been wise to trust him and was becoming increasingly agitated. She was now desperate for news but decided that there was very little that she could do for the moment. Instinctively, she held her enchanted bracelet. She could sense how Harry was also getting very impatient but, somehow, she knew that his spirits were raised, strange as this seemed.
Then another thought entered her head. She knew that the twins had used, for years, secret passages that connected Hogsmead with the school. Now, where were these entrances? In fact, the idea of paying the Hog's Head a quick visit started to appeal. She had found out at Dumbledore’s funeral that Aberforth was his brother. Whilst she wasn’t completely comfortable with the idea of revealing what had happened to a complete stranger who was also a little odd, he might be in a position to help.
The Order meeting had been a tense one. The main points in the agenda had been Umbridge’s regime and Percy’s possible leanings. By absolute majority, a very puffy-eyed Mrs Weasley had been made to swear under oath that she would inform them forthwith if Percy contacted her.
Bill, on his part, had explained the reason for his resignation from Gringotts, to everyone’s dismay. The rumours concerning concentration camps were now hardly the subject of speculation, especially since Shacklebolt himself believed them to be real. Mad Eye had further aggravated everybody by ranting about how, after all the fuss Potter had made for himself and his friends to be accepted as members, both him and Hermione had failed to attend.
Arthur had voiced openly his lack of desire to continue to serve this new administration but felt that he could be more use by remaining inside. Alastor contributed that the matter was now academic since he was likely to be closely monitored and it was completely improbable that he would be given information of any value at all. To this, Mr Wesley replied that by continuing to work at the Ministry, he could try to keep an eye on his son.
All in all, a full-blown coup appeared their only option. Yet, a plan had to be thoughtfully formulated and that would surely take time. It was agreed that they would brief the absent members and they convened to meet again in a fortnight.
Molly, as usual, had laid out a buffet style dinner for all the attendees. Hagrid, who was normally very fond of Mrs Wesley’s home cooking, tried to make his excuses.
“Why are you in such a hurry, Hagrid?” Molly asked suspiciously.
“Erm…, got ter get back, tha’’s all,” he replied blushing.
“What kind of monster are you breeding this time?” Ron joked.
Hagrid muttered something unintelligible. It became clear both to Ron and his mother that he was purposely avoiding giving a straight answer. Mrs Weasley however could be quite persuasive and she made it clear that she wouldn’t let him leave without having a bite first.
Hermione had still to hear further from either Ginny or Draco. It was getting pretty late and she feared that if they were away for much longer, their absence would be noticed. Before Harry, Draco and herself had left for Muggle London, she had stated that she would spend the night back at her dad’s. Harry, on his part, had managed to secure a property and had decided that he too would stay in Kent, so that they could start dealing with the transaction as quickly as possible. An owl had been sent to Grimmauld Place to that effect. Only Ginny and Malfoy were likely to be missed and it was conceivable that people, for the moment, would think that they were just a little late. In any case, she didn’t think she should hang around in the main living areas for Mrs Weasley to find her and start asking questions. She really didn’t think it was wise to involve the Order in this just yet.
However, she had been waiting already for over half an hour. Unable to relax, she decided to go out to the landing to try to find out if the meeting was over. The fact that she could hear voices coming from the kitchen indicated that it was; whether this was a good sign or a bad one was another matter.
At that point, Ron proceeded up the stairs and onto the girls’ room hoping to find Ginny there. Hermione was just outside the door. She made a silencing gesture with her finger and dragged him into her room.
“Weren’t you supposed to be at your dad’s?” enquired Ron a bit surprised. “And is Ginny not back yet?”
“Ron, something has gone wrong. Listen, Harry seems to be trapped in the Room of Requirement.”
Ron blinked in disbelief. “At Hogwarts? What’s he doing at Hogwarts?”
“Look, we are going to need to act.” Hermione didn’t want to waste time but didn’t know where to begin. “Do you remember how he was intent on retrieving Snape’s potion book, to see if the Wolfsbane potion was annotated there?” she started.
“Yeah, but…” Ron was now shaking his head. “I thought he’d gone to Muggle London to buy a flat.”
“Well that part of the day went fine. After he secured the deal, he met up with Malfoy about some business or other that neither of them would disclose. Later, he was supposed to meet Ginny for a drink in Diagon Alley, but apparently he decided to take a detour via Hogwarts first.”
“So, Malfoy came with you guys in the end? It wasn’t beneath him to go by Muggle car, then?” he mocked.
“Look, we haven’t got time to waste. Is Hagrid still here?” Hermione asked in an urgent hushed voice.
“Yeah, I think so. My mum insisted he ate something. He seemed to be in a hurry, though. What do you want Hagrid for?”
“He’s a Hogwarts teacher, Ron, he has access to the castle. Look, you go and get him. I’ll explain it all to you later. Tell him discreetly to come here upstairs. The Order think I’m in Kent, so you go and get him, please!”
Ron did as he was told despite feeling puzzled. He waited for his mother to be deep in conversation with other members before approaching Hagrid. He managed to silence him by making a gesture alone but the noise that the half-giant’s boots made on the rickety floorboards was hardly easy to disguise. Despite this, no one seemed to notice.
Once in Hermione’s room, she told them at once that Ginny had sensed, via the enchanted bracelet, that Harry was stuck in the Room of Requirement.
Hagrid took his hands to his head and exclaimed, “Oh, it’s all me faul.”
The two teenagers looked at him and at one another extremely disconcerted.
“Hagrid, what do you mean it’s your fault,” Hermione questioned, her eyes wide opened.
“Erm… I ’ad ter close the entrance, yeh see. I never knew tha’ Harry was in there. I just meant ter trap Sybill, that’s all.”
That made less and less sense by the minute. “To trap Sybill Trelawney? Why?” asked Ron looking as if he had been confounded.
“Umm, she’s in danger at Hogwarts. I know she goes in that room ter hide her bottles from time ter time. I’d tried ter get ‘er to leave the school but she won’t ‘ear o’ it,” he continued. “I was just ‘bout to hurry up and ger ‘er out an’ brin’ her ‘ere, yeh see.”
“Why do you think she is in danger, though? And, for crying out loud, Hagrid, how were you going to get her out? You’re not supposed to use magic! And what’s the urgency anyway? Could you not have got her when you got back or before you left?” Hermione’s mind was now working overtime and was asking questions as the speed of her thoughts.
“Well, I got a tip, yeh see. I was told ter do it as soon as possible an' I couldn’t tell when she’d go in there. A’right, a‘right, Hermione; I did a little magic but only inside the castle. The Ministry’ll never know, though,” he said in an apologetic tone. “I thought tha’ if she was there on ‘er own with ‘er bottles, she may have a bit ter drink an’ it’d be easy fer me ter take ‘er away from there.”
Hermione now threw Hagrid a look very worthy of McGonagall and said, “Is there any reason why you haven’t shared this tip of yours with the Order?”
He looked at her rather sheepishly. “Erm, well… the magic I suppose.”
Hermione shook her head and threw a knowing look at him.
“So, Harry and Trelawney are stuck there together?” Ron asked, almost chuckling at the absurdity of it all. “And, where is Malfoy now, then?”
“He’s gone to fetch a house-elf, to Malfoy Manor. Long story. We need to contact him and tell him to come back. He could be in serious danger!” Hermione added in a panicky tone of voice.
“A house-elf? Hermione, what are you on about? He’s willing to risk his neck so that he can have a servant? Ron asked incredulous.
“Well, of course not,” she replied in a slightly irritated tone. “Harry told Ginny to contact him if something went wrong.“
Ron now frowned utterly disconcerted. Why would Harry do that?
“Ron, don’t ask me why, this is all I know. Also, if you remember house-elves can Apparate in and out of places wizards cannot. And now, Hagrid, this tip. What’s that all about?” Hermione was now worrying. After all, Sybill had made the prophecy involving Harry and Voldemort. It all started to sound like too much of a coincidence.
“Erm… I can’t tell yeh that. I promised…”
Oh, well, she though: First things first; we’ll have to quiz him later.
“And where is Ginny?” Ron pressed on.
“She seemed determined to do something. My guess is that she is gone to Hogwarts too.” .
Hermione now thought of something else. Ginny was underage still and had obviously tried to get herself over there somehow. The last thing they needed was for the Ministry to discover this. She had to find Shacklebolt and see if there was anything at all that he could do to cover this up.
“Ok, Hagrid, you better side-Apparate with Ron over to the grounds now. Since it was you who put up the enchantment, surely you will be able to lift it.”
Hagrid nodded but his expression clearly showed lack of confidence, which was hardly reassuring.
“There are things that I have to do here. Also, if Ginny is not outside your hut, you better look for her in Hogsmeade, probably at The Three Broomsticks. Ron, please go and look into Harry’s things for the map. You never know when you may need it,” she concluded.
It was obvious that they were in for a long night. The prospect of her returning to her father’s was now non-existent. I better give him a call, she thought.
In order to do that, she Apparated outside of the building, as mobile phones did not function inside of Grimmauld Place. She searched into her handbag for her phone. Of course, she remembered, she had lent it to Harry, when Malfoy had borrowed his. She would just have to go to the boys’ room and get Hedwig to deliver a message to her father. However, this mobile business in itself could bring about further complications. She now fervently prayed that Draco hadn’t been captured; amongst other things, he was in possession of Harry’s phone with all its stored information.
As instructed, Ron went and searched through Harry’s belongings. They hadn’t used the Marauders’ Map for some time and he didn’t really have any idea as to where exactly it could be. Suddenly, he had a thought; the Accio charm ought do the trick. Ron was relieved to find that it did work.
“I solemnly declare that I’m up to no good,” he pronounced swiftly. Neither his sister nor Trelawney’s or Harry’s dots appeared. He didn’t expect the Divination teacher’s and Harry’s to be there, since they were supposed to be in the Room of Requirement. On the other hand, the absence of Ginny’s indicated to him that she could well be in Hogsmeade. He then decided that the village should be their first port of call.
Ginny found The Hog's Head completely deserted. Aberforth didn’t appear to be behind the bar either. She couldn’t but notice a rather pungent smells of goats, which almost put her off ordering a drink, in the event that anyone showed up to serve customers. Was the landlord out? she wondered. Yet, the pub door had been opened. She doubted very much that Aberforth could be that far away.
She had this gut feeling that that building was somehow connected with Hogwarts and felt rather tempted to wonder around in search for a possible secret passage but that was a bit too risky, especially since she didn’t have a clue where to begin. Before she had the time to give this a second thought, Mr Dumbledore appeared. At a close distance it was rather striking to see just how much he resembled his late brother.
“What do you want, Miss?” he asked in an abrupt tone.
Ginny glanced almost shyly at his bright blue eyes and said at once, “ You know who I am, don’t you?”
Aberforth blinked. “Yes, Miss, you’re one of the Weasley kids, aren’t you? The one who is dating Harry Potter.”
“You know about that?” she said frowning with surprise.
“Well, one gets to hear gossip if one owns a pub, young lady.”
“You are Albus’ brother, are you not?”
“And what about it?” Aberforth spat out defensively.
“Well, I’m trying to help Harry and I may need your help.” She waited for his reaction not feeling very hopeful. The chap certainly didn't appear particularly co-operative. “Harry knew your brother well, you know,” she tentatively added.
“Ha, my brother! Nice piece of work he was at times!” he retorted as he took a large gulp of what would appear to be firewhiskey. “And what’s this to do with my brother? I knew it was unlikely that you have just come here for a drink,” the landlord said sulkily.
Ginny lowered her eyes for a moment and then replied assertively, “No, Aberforth, I haven’t. I believe Harry is stuck at Hogwarts. I need to get him out!”
“The kid must be following some grand plan of my brother’s, no doubt.”
“Well, yes, yes really.”
Ginny was now feeling really concerned. This guy wasn’t going to help, was he? He appeared far too engrossed in perpetuating some kind of family grievance. Nonetheless, she just couldn’t give up. She looked directly into his blue eyes, which were almost identical to their former Headmaster’s. He returned the penetrating gaze in a way that gave away that he knew she was desperately pleading.
“Alright, alright. There must be something I can do for you, missy but be careful. These are troubled times we’re living in and well, that loverboy of yours, well… we all know the rumours, don’t we, now? he warned her beginning to agree.
“What rumours, Mr Dumbledore?”
“Well about the prophecy and him being the chosen one.”
“Oh, that…” Ginny said not wanting to really disclose much.
“So, is it true then? Does he believe that himself?”
“I couldn’t really say,” Ginny shrugged.
“Look, I know my brother told the kid that, but he wasn’t infallible and Potter, evidently, has got ideas into his young and foolish head and now he is trapped!” Aberforth complained.
“Harry is not a fool!” she stated defensively.
“Anyhow, Miss. Do you want to get into Hogwarts or do you not?” he pressed on.
“Well, of course.”
“Then, I better show you how, don’t I?”
“Thank you. Thank you so much, Mr Dumbledore.”
“I don’t even know why I’m doing this. Getting myself into trouble for what is surely a lost cause,” he mumbled.
“I said thank you. I mean it, alright?” Ginny replied hoping he wasn’t about to change his mind.
He didn’t reply but proceeded up the narrow stairs, which appeared visible just behind the bar and made a silent motion for the girl to follow him. The carpet had clearly seen better days and the odour there was even more prominent. They arrived at a poorly lit and sparsely furnished sitting room. Ginny then noticed a large painting, the only one in the room. It was that of a young blonde girl who looked sweet and spaced out at the same time.
Aberforth noticed that Ginny was looking at the picture and gave out an almost inaudible chuckle. Immediately after, the girl in the painting disappeared into what looked like some kind of tunnel. Ginny blinked. This was something strange. Normally people in paintings would move to the sides, but inside tunnels?
Aberforth moved forward to the wall where the picture stood hanged. Seconds after, the girl came back into the frame, larger and clearer than she had seemed before. Ginny observed expectantly. The strange girl made a motion for Ginny to follow her.
“Go on, girl,” Aberforth prompted. “What on Merlin’s beard are you waiting for?”
She smiled at the old man, thanking him. A door, which appeared to have come from the paining, flung open and she stepped inside, into the frame itself. As she did this, the former Headmaster’s brother winked.
The tunnel felt extraordinarily real. She could feel the dust of the earthen floor under her shoes. She could, furthermore, see stone stairs in the distance. She walked the path briskly. She very much hoped that this wasn’t some kind of trap. Maybe she should have thought of owling the twins to find out about the entrances to Hogwarts they were familiar with, yet something in her heart was telling her that this would lead to the school. It better did!
It took her about ten minutes but she got there in the end. Another door could be seen. She pushed it without hesitation and sighted with delight. That was definitely the Room of Requirement.
She looked around and, as she did, she saw Harry running towards her with a big grin on his face. She giggled involuntarily at the sight of him, dressed in her mother’s clothes but now back in his own body.
They embraced really tightly and started kissing as if they would never have the opportunity to do so again. He held her body against his own and blushed, as he realised that she had clearly felt just how much he desired her. But that was not the time or the place, he thought. She smiled at him with complicity and tussled his hair as he enthusiastically lifted her off the ground.
“How did you get in here?” he asked looking truly in awe.
“Long story. I found out about an exit I don’t think even my brothers are aware of.”
“You know, you are so damn brilliant!” he exclaimed.
For a minute, she looked around. That room contained so many familiar memories although it looked entirely different to what it had done when they used it for the DA meetings. She then noticed Trelawney, apparently sleeping, with her back against the wall.
Harry followed her gaze. “Oh, she’s completely out of it, drunk as a Lord!”
“What, what’s she doing here though and why are you trapped?”
Harry rolled his eyes and replied, “Good question. Well, I think she was here retrieving some sherry bottles but then something went wrong and we just couldn’t get out.”
“I know,” Ginny assented. “I knew you were trapped.”
“How did you find that out?” Harry enquired.
“I sensed it with the bracelet. Malfoy and Hermione are on the case too, by the way. I found your idea of contacting him very odd, but followed your instructions and got in touch with him.”
“Oh, thanks. Now, do the guys in the Order know?” Harry asked panicking slightly.
“Well, they didn’t when I left Grimmauld Place but that was quite a while back. I bet they do by now,” she said a little sourly.
“Do you think they could be on their way?” Harry asked.
“I don’t know.”
“I was just wondering whether it would be best to try this exit now or to wait for them to come, so that they don’t arrive here and panic because I’m gone. Also,” he muttered almost to himself, “I think it’s all a little odd. The door is most definitely sealed but no-one has come to attack either of us. Yet, I get this feeling that Sybill should come with us too. Okay, sorry to bombard you, Ginny, but where is this exit and how did you find it? I’m just worried that this could be the actual trap. Someone could have figured out that one of our lot was bound to discover it.”
She related to him exactly what had happened.
“Aberforth Dumbledore…” Harry sighed apparently deep in thought. “Okay, you’re the psychic one,” he said teasing. “Do you reckon we owe to trust him?”
“I’m not sure, Harry. He wasn’t very co-operative at first. He ranted a bit about his brother’s great schemes and whatnot but, I don’t know, he has been in the Order in the past, hasn’t he?
“Shall we risk it, you reckon? I doubt very much that he is in with the Death Eaters. We can Apparate from Hogsmead and, if the Order know, we can put their minds at rest once we are back in London, what do you think?”
“Okay, Harry, let’s go for it then, but what about Trelawney?” Ginny timidly asked.
“We’ll take her with us,” Harry said resolved.
Ginny raised an eyebrow thinking about the state the woman was in. “Harry, how? Shall we use Aguamenti and wake her up?”
Harry smiled and winked at Ginny. Moments later their Divination Professor screamed as she realised that she was soaking wet.
Harry and Ginny were finding it hard to contain their laughter.
“Professor,” Harry started, “I think we might have found a way of getting out of here. You must come with us!” he commanded.
Sybill looked still disorientated and her steps didn’t seem completely steady either. Ginny started marching back to the spot she first encountered upon entering the room. She sighted with relief when she found that the window was there still. Harry locked Trelawney’s arm into his and followed her.
Meanwhile, Ron had Apparated to Hogsmead taking Hagrid with him. Since the map showed no sign of any of them still, it would appear that Ginny was likely to be still in the village. They walked into The Three Broomsticks.
“Ah, Hagrid, young lad, good to see you,” greeted Alan Abbot not quite remembering Ron’s name. “The usual?”
“Thanks but not today,” Ron cut in. “We were wondering if my sister might be here.
“Ah, the young Weasley girl? Yes, she was here for a while. As a matter of fact, she was looking for you Hagrid. I don’t know, she finally went but she didn’t say where to,” the landlord explained.
“Oh, well, we better go an’ fetch her,” Hagrid concluded.
“I can’t think where else she could be,” Ron told Hagrid once outside the pub. “She must have found one of the secret entrances to Hogwarts. Now, I know the odd one but there are several she could have tried,” he reasoned. “Now, Hagrid, do you promise to keep a secret?”
“O’ course, Ron, anything!”
“Ok, Harry has a special map that gives the location of anyone in the castle, apart from the Room of Requirement.
Hagrid smiled, “Go fer it then.”
Again, none or the three people they were looking for showed up. Ron then concluded that Ginny must also have got into the Room of Requirement somehow. Hagrid had keys to the castle and, in his capacity as teacher, he could bring Ron with him.
By the time they walked back to the school, Ginny and Harry, who had been practically dragging Trelawney along, arrived to the sitting room in the Hog’s Head. Aberforth had expected the girl to return and had waited for them. As much as he complained about business being terrible, on this occasion he was grateful for not having had custom since earlier in the day. He had bolted the front door, just in case anyone decided to come in for a late drink.
“Potter! Professor Trelawney! Merlin’s beard, boy, have you taken to dressing in drag?”
Harry and Ginny almost rolled on the floor laughing.
“Oh, long story,” Harry said blushing once again. “By the way, thanks so much for helping us, Mr Dumbledore, I’ll explain it all to you in a moment. Now, would it be possible for you to give a bed to Professor Trelawney for the night? She’s a little ill, as you might have guessed.
Aberforth frowned and looked at the party.
“I can pay you for the favour,” Harry said tentatively as he searched into Molly’s robes pockets for some coins.
“Potter, that won’t be necessary. Alright, she can stay for the night on condition that you lot give me some indication as to what on Earth is going on,” Aberforth tried to bargain.
Harry wasn’t happy about disclosing too much but he went as far as stating that he thought someone had sealed the room and for a reason. He continued to say that he believed Sybill might have been in danger, because of the rumours about the prophecy.
Aberforth snorted. “So, the prophecy, in your eyes, young man is real?”
“Who could say!” Harry replied. But the castle really isn’t safe, without… well… your brother, sir.”
“Whatever, Potter, now, you two are wasting time. Just get the hell out of here, will you? Before something bad happens. I’ll play host to Miss Trelawney until she sobers up and then I’ll contact you.”
Harry and Aberforth shook hands.
There was an uncomfortable silence but also an understanding. “Very well, Gin,” Harry prompted, “get to move!”
Ron and Hagrid, aware of Hermione’s tip regarding house-elves had gone straight into the kitchens. Surely enough, Dobby was hard at work there, despite the fact of the few wizards in residence at the castle.
Ron approached him first. “Dobby,” he said in a whisper, “I need you to do us a favour, for Harry, Harry Potter.”
“Anytime, Ron Weasley, sir” the elf replied.
The fact that the elf remembered his whole name was something that Ron found rather touching.
“Okay, you know the Room of Requirement, don’t you?”
The elf nodded.
“I need you to go in there and Apparate out with Harry and Sybill Trelawney to Grimmauld Place. If you can’t, come back here to the kitchens. If you are successful, come back after you have done it anyway. I need to get back there too and, as I’m a wizard, not an elf, I can't,” Ron instructed.
Hermione was now truly going spare. No sign from any of them! What was she to do! It was almost midnight! She just wanted to cry and pray but that was not the best answer. She had to act, but how? They had all gone in separate directions. What was going on? Had she unwittingly sent Ron and Hagrid straight to their downfall? Why wasn’t Malfoy back? Whilst she understood that Ron and Hagrid might still be trying to figure things out, Malfoy’s absence certainly indicated that something had gone very wrong for him. The guy was a jerk and she didn’t care about him much. Still, he had been willing to risk his life to help Harry, or had that just been an act? She was more inclined to believe the Malfoy boy than not and she thought that the whole situation was getting ridiculous. She could try to send him an owl but if he had been indeed captured, this could make matters worse. She had to come clean now. She had to tell the Order.
As she was thinking this, she heard some commotion from the floor below. She was ready to seek help.
Meanwhile, Harry and Ginny Apparated back to Grimmauld Place. They decided to Apparate to the boys' bedroom rather than to the main living areas, since Harry didn't think it was a good idea to turn up dressed in Molly's clothes. Finally, he changed and they walked down to the living room.
“Harry, Ginny! You had us all so worried! cried Mrs Weasley hugging her daughter and then Harry.
“I know you’re young and you want to have a good time, but Harry, you could have sent an owl, at the very least, and Ginny, go to your room, young lady!” she continued.
“Mum, it’s nothing like you think.”
“Get out of my sight, you two, before I murder you both! The worry!” she exclaimed looking very emotional.
“Molly, I think there is something the Order has to know,” Harry said trying to sound calm.
At that precised moment, Hermione came downstairs. Molly gave her an intense gaze, even if she had been very soft with the girl since her mother died.
“Mrs Weasley, I need to say something to the Order too. Let’s reconvene,” she said assertively.
Kingsley Shaklebolt, who had just finished eating, looked straight into Molly’s eyes and said: “Yes, Miss Granger, Potter, everyone, we need to reconvene!”
Molly was out of her mind by then but went into the kitchen and conjured some soft drinks. The Assembly met again.
As Harry was trying to explain part of what had happened, Ron and Hagrid, both looking fairly tired and dishevelled, arrived just outside the meeting room.
Draco Malfoy was now unable to move because of some very powerful binding charm that he didn’t know how to counteract.
He really couldn’t believe what had happened. He had successfully Apparated to the cellar room and since, assumedly undetected, gone into the kitchens in search for a loyal house elf. He found Maisy there. The kitchen was large and had a professional feeling about it. Although it only served a family of three for most of the time, it was able to cater for rather large parties. Draco approached Maisy slowly and, for the first time in his life, kindly. Maisy was only too happy to serve her new master, or so it would appear. However, as soon they reached the floor downstairs, a couple of goons restrained Draco by a mixture of Muggle and wizarding efforts.
He found himself now, in Dolores Umbridge office gagged and tied up and wanting to die!
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