Chapter 4 : Chapter 4
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"So what's our plan?" Scorpius asked, looking from Aidan to James.
"What do you mean?" James replied, frowning in Scorpius' direction.
"What I mean is this," Scorpius began. "Are we going to hide in here and wait for the Death Eaters to kill us or are we going to do something about them being here?"
Aidan smiled, seeing the frustrated expression on James' face. "Of course we're going to do something!" James hissed, liking Scorpius less and less with each passing moment.
The sixth year Slytherin boy stood silently, waiting to hear exactly what James and Aidan had in mind. When James did not continue, Aidan began speaking.
"We were thinking of getting out of the castle through one of the secret passages, and from there flying to the Ministry."
Scorpius nodded slowly, mulling over their plan in his head. James only knew what Albus had told him about Scorpius, and considering Albus didn't like him, everything he knew about Scorpius was in some way negative. He had learned from other students in the Slytherin's year that he was brilliant, though a bit arrogant at times.
"I suppose it would work, but I think we want to alert the Ministry quickly," Scorpius replied, after a rather long pause. James nodded as the Slytherin continued. "Perhaps we could apparate there?"
Aidan grinned. "We thought of that. The only problem is that James can't apparate well, and I'm not good enough to attempt side-along apparition. Plus, you don't have your license."
"Doesn't matter," said Scorpius. "We only need one person to alert the Ministry, right?"
Aidan nodded, though James shook his head. "No," he said, directing his attention at Aidan. "Remember what that Auror said? Deverill? She said that they had agents on the inside at the Ministry. What if you met with one of them? No, we need a way to talk to someone we know we can trust."
"Your father, I presume?" asked Scorpius, smirking.
James thought Scorpius was being obnoxious; of course they would contact his father! He was likely the most trustworthy person in the Ministry at a time like this. After all, he had been the one to defeat Voldemort. He had been the one, after the Dark Lord's defeat, to help the Aurors catch those remaining Death Eaters. Who did Scorpius figure they should try talking with? His own father?
"I suppose you have a better suggestion," said James.
"No, not at all," replied Scorpius, his smirk remaining on his face. "Now, how shall we contact your father? By owl?"
Aidan sighed, shaking his head. "We tried that already."
Scorpius held back a chuckle as he tried again. "How about talking through fire?"
Aidan bit his lip, quickly judging whether or not this method would work. James was a bit disappointed with himself; how had he not thought of that? Maybe because in order to get to a fire, they would need to get to one of the common rooms or a professor's office.
"That's an excellent idea, Scorpius," Aidan responded, his eyes locked on James, almost demanding him to say the same. James said nothing, and so Aidan continued. "There's only one problem; actually getting to a fire."
Scorpius shook his head, disagreeing with Aidan. "The Defense Against the Dark Arts professor's office is on this floor. We can use that one."
"Yes, we could," Aidan said, "but we don't know how much time we'll actually need with the fire. In a professor's office, any Death Eater can walk right on in and kill us."
Scorpius nodded slowly. "What is it you suggest, then?"
"A common room."
He frowned, adjusting the Slytherin badge he wore upon his chest. "A common room? Which one? Certainly not mine; we'd have to walk past Death Eaters. Besides, neither of you look like Ravenclaws or Hufflepuffs, so the only option left there is your common room."
"Exactly," Aidan said. The conversation was now between Aidan and Scorpius; James had not said a word for a good amount of time and the other two had begun to ignore him. Nonetheless, he was listening intently as Aidan continued.
"It's exactly what we need. None of the Death Eaters can get into the common room, considering none of the Slytherins who are helping them know the password."
Scorpius was doubtful, though his expression did not show it. "Why wouldn't they just tear right through it?"
"What do you mean?" Aidan asked, not sure what he meant.
"It's just a portrait, right? Why would they bother with passwords? They'll just tear the thing down if they need to."
James shrugged and walked to the door, opening it wide. "And you complain about my lack of optimism."
"A patrol on the second floor encountered a small group of students."
"They got away."
"This is why we haven't won a war yet. Children can outwit us."
"Apparently, they defeated Yaxley in a duel."
"And the others?"
"They lost the students, sir."
"Get me Yaxley. I want to talk with him."
"Increase the number of patrols. I want these students caught. We'll have to make an example of them for the rest of their friends."
The hallway outside the abandoned classroom was empty. The castle was quiet, a fact that unnerved James. Only minutes ago they had been dueling Yaxley and running for their lives. Now, they were standing silently in an empty corridor, three students against a good forty Death Eaters.
They moved quickly, Aidan at the front, Scorpius right behind him and James following only a few feet behind. He was thinking about Scorpius; the boy's motives, his agenda, why he was actually helping them. He was a Slytherin. Wasn't he supposed to be friends with the Death Eaters? His father had been a Death Eater, his grandfather had been a Death Eater, and James could only assume the worst of Scorpius.
Much like the corridor, the Grand Staircase was eerily empty. They proceeded quickly up the stairs, going from the third floor to the sixth in hardly any time at all. It was on the stairs going up to the seventh floor that they ran into trouble.
At the top of the stairs stood three figures, all of whom James recognized. All three of them were Slytherin students who had taken the Dark Mark not so long ago. Alastair Baddock, Ivan Goyle and Arion Montague blocked the staircase, their wands out and pointed at their unexpected guests. Alastair spoke first.
"You three going to hide in the Gryffindor Common Room? Did the Death Eaters scare you?" he asked, a sneer playing across his face as he looked to Arion and Ivan for support. Arion smiled while Ivan laughed a bit too hard. Alastair silenced him with a look and turned back to the other three, focusing on Scorpius.
"You helping the Gryffinwhores, now? Or do you have your eye on that Weasley girl, and you're hoping Potter here will put in a good word after you've helped beat the bad guys? That it?" Alastair grinned, showing off his startlingly white teeth.
Scorpius shrugged, his hand resting on his wand. "You never were very creative with your insults, Alastair."
Alastair's grin faded slightly as Scorpius merely brushed off his insults. He responded quickly, saying, "Well, I've been told I'm terribly creative with a wand."
"Did one of these two tell you that?" asked Scorpius, causing James and Aidan to chuckle. "They aren't in a position to be judging anyone's talent." Scorpius was about to continue, but Arion interrupted.
"Why you... you're a coward, just like your father! Not man enough to-"
"Don't talk about my father," Scorpius said, his wand now out and ready. James and Aidan both had their wands out already, aimed at Arion and Ivan respectively.
Alastair didn't bother replying. Instead he aimed his wand at Scorpius and shouted, "Reducto!"
Scorpius dodged the spell, countering with the blasting curse. He cried, "Confringo!", the spell just missing Alastair's left ear and hitting the wall behind him, causing it to explode in a shower of stone.
Quickly, James began dueling with Arion and Aidan fought Ivan. James mentally judged their odds; Ivan was an idiot, so much so that the duel was essentially two versus three. Arion Montague was decent with a wand, though James knew he was better. As for Alastair and Scorpius, James wasn't sure. He was in the same year as Alastair and he knew what the Slytherin could do; he had no idea of what Scorpius was capable of.
However, he was quickly learning. Scorpius was fast, dodging virtually every spell Alastair sent his way and blocking everything else. He sent spell after spell back at Alastair, constantly mixing it up; jinx, curse, hex, curse, jinx, and so on.
James' own duel was going fairly well. James had managed to turn Arion's left leg to stone, in a similar fashion as he had done to Yaxley. Growing cocky, he casually said, "Reducto!"
Arion blocked and, with renewed vigor, cried, "Silencio!"
James was hit with the curse before he had a chance to block it. As a result, he began to panic; he didn't know wordless magic. He pointed his wand at Arion and made a rather nasty slashing motion, which did nothing. Again he tried, while Arion smiled widely and reveled in his success. James began slashing at the air with his wand, hoping it would do something.
James cast a quick glance in Aidan's direction and saw that his friend had managed to hit Ivan Goyle with a Confundus Charm. The Slytherin was obviously quite affected by the charm, and stumbled around for a moment before he dropped his wand and leaned on the handrail of the stairs for support. Seconds later, he had tipped over the railing and fallen seven stories.
Arion, stunned by the sudden occurence, was quickly taken down by a stupefying charm from Aidan. While James and Aidan had been otherwise occupied with their Slytherin opponents, Scorpius had managed to gain the upper hand, and with a quick stupefying spell, knocked Alastair Baddock unconscious.
"We should hurry," said Scorpius, ignoring the screams coming from Ivan Goyle at the bottom of the staircase. "Death Eaters are going to be swarming onto our location any minute."
Both James and Aidan nodded, and after Aidan had undone the silencing spell, they ran up to the Gryffindor Common Room. After quickly giving the Fat Lady the password, the three of them went inside the common room.
James couldn't help but resent the fact that Scorpius was inside their common room, looking around and grinning to himself. Why had they allowed him inside? He could have stood guard outside and been much more efficient. He frowned at the younger Slytherin boy, who was now sitting on a comfortable looking red couch near the fireplace, and took a seat a few feet in front of the fire.
Aidan stood at James' side, his wand sticking out of his pocket. "How do we do this?" he asked, his expression blank. James looked up at his fellow Gryffindor's face and shrugged, suddenly realizing neither of them knew what they were doing. They both turned to Scorpius, and James found that Albus was right; the boy was unbearable. Scorpius' smile seemed to grow larger with every step as he walked up to the fireplace, now aware that he was the only one who knew how to talk through a fire. For a moment he stood silently, staring into the fire, before he asked, "Do either of you have any floo powder?"
James blinked, surprised by the question. "We can't use the floo to get out of here, Malfoy. There are new wards and protective spells placed on the fireplaces that-"
"I'm aware that you can't floo in or out of the school, Potter, but that's not what I'm talking about," interrupted Scorpius. "Talking through a fireplace involves the use of floo powder. If neither of you have any, we're in trouble."
A frustrated sigh passed through James' lips, telling Scorpius that the eldest Potter had no floo powder at school. Aidan, however, smiled brightly. James saw this and asked, "What? You have floo powder?"
"Yes," Aidan said, his smile widening.
"Why the bloody hell do you have floo powder here at school?" asked James, reacting in the exact opposite way Aidan had predicted he would. James continued, "Nevermind that, Aidan. Just go get it."
Aidan, grinning from ear to ear, left Scorpius and James at the fireplace and ran up the stone staircase to his dormitory. James waited, rather annoyed that he had to do so alongside Scorpius Malfoy, and when Aidan came rushing down the stairs carrying a small jar, he jumped up from his seat on the floor. Aidan looked at Scorpius and said, "I think I know what to do now."
Scorpius shrugged; he walked back over to the couch and sat down, watching the two Gryffindors sit in front of the fireplace. Aidan took the lid off the jar, setting it to the side carefully and gently; when James gave him a look, he mumbled, "It's was my grandmother's jar."
Aidan took a pinch of the powder from the jar and tossed it into the fire. He opened his mouth to speak James' address and, after about thirty seconds, he looked at James, shamefaced. "Sorry, mate. I've forgotten your address."
James rolled his eyes and muttered his address, quietly enough so that Scorpius couldn't hear and loudly enough so that Aidan could. Without waiting, he stuck his head into the fire and waited.
Within seconds he found he was looking into his father's study back home. His father had his back to the fireplace; Harry Potter was working silently at his desk. It seemed that he had left early today; more than likely on his wife's behalf. Ginny had been seriously ill for the past few weeks, and Harry had started leaving work early in order to take care of her. James hesitated for a moment before he spoke.
Harry jumped in his seat, surprised by the voice. He moved to draw his wand, though seemed to think for a moment and turn around. He looked into the fireplace and spotted James' head, at which point he frowned and kept his hand on his wand. He glanced back at the door to his study; it was shut. He redirected his gaze back to the fireplace and replied, "James? Is that you?"
Harry's hand left his wand; the initial surprise was wearing off, and a smile was slowly beginning to appear on his face. He sighed and muttered, "You surprised me."
"I have that effect on people. Dad, there's something seriously important I need to tell you."
Harry's smile disappeared. "Are you failing Transfiguration again?"
"Did one of your professors catch you copying Aidan again? That isn't serious enough to contact me, James."
"No, dad, it isn't that. You have to believe me, alright?"
"Of course, James. Why wouldn't I?"
"Do you know of any Death Eaters that escaped from Azkaban recently?"
Harry blinked, once again surprised by his son. "How would you know about that?"
"They're here, dad. They're here in Hogwarts."
Harry's expression remained neutral, and James couldn't tell if his father believed him or not. "This is a serious affair, James."
"Of course it is-"
"And you know that I can't take the entire Auror department and charge Hogwarts based on my son's word alone."
He believed him. James let out a sigh of relief and replied, "Aidan's here."
Harry nodded. "Aidan?"
Aidan stuck his head into the fire next to James; he immediately spotted Harry standing in his study, staring directly at him. "Hello, Mr. Potter."
"Hello, Aidan. Is this true?"
"Yes, sir. They've rounded up everyone in the Great Hall. Professors and students alike."
Harry bit his lip, looking off to the side. "What about Lily? Albus?"
James would have shrugged, though he realized his father would be unable to see the gesture. "No idea, dad. I didn't see either of them in the Great Hall, though."
"We did see Rose Weasley, though," added Aidan.
Harry bit into his lip harder, an act that told James he was worried. "Alright. Anyone else there?"
Harry nodded as James spoke the name. "Well, that's enough for me. I'm coming, James. With or without the Auror Department."
James nodded before he asked, "How's mum?"
Harry stood silently for a moment before he spoke. "She's looking better every day, James."
Suddenly they heard a shout from Scorpius, and they both pulled their heads from the fire. He had his wand out, pointed at the portrait hole. When they asked him what was the matter, he said, "They're outside."
Harry's head suddenly appeared in the fire, much to the surprise of the three students. He looked surprised by the fact they had their wands out, first assuming it was a disagreement amongst them, and then watched as the portrait hole burst open; Death Eaters poured in, spells flying.
James managed to knock the couch over for cover, allowing him and Scorpius a small amount of time to protect themselves. Aidan had immediately been hit with a stunning spell and was lying unconscious nearby. Spells whipped by overhead, and before either boy could mutter a spell, the couch exploded into flames and spells hit them both square in the chest.
The last thing Harry saw was his son, along with Aidan and Scorpius, being carried off by the Death Eaters out of the Gryffindor Common Room. He swore violently, which brought one of the Death Eater's attention to the fire. The Death Eater sneered; his wand out, pointed at the fire, he quickly extinguished it. Harry pulled his head from the fire, holding back tears. He had to get to the Ministry. Now.
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