AN: In honour of the sixth Harry Potter film (which I really enjoyed, no matter what anyone says and no matter how many discrepancies it has compared to the book) and a few reviews of ‘continue this damn story’, I give you the next chapter of the story. And so, apologies for the delay are once again in order.
On a side note, I’d like to recommend listening to Heads Will Roll (by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) as you read the battle scene. :P
Let’s get this chapter started. –Sloane
Chapter Fifteen: Flight Plan
What was that she cried?
No use in stayin'
On this holocaust ride
Marvellous. Supremely marvellous. A thick, uncomfortable rope was coiled around my neck and the plank of wood Crabbe and Goyle so generously left below my feet (I say this with utmost sarcasm) wavered left to right. I had to balance myself just right or I’d be responsible for my doom.
If I had to blame someone, which I always do, I’d start pointing my finger at my father. Him and his stupid Veela gene. Everything was fine and dandy before I had to imprint on Hermione. I looked down to make sure she was left unharmed. Her head was bent forward and I could hear hushed sobs from her. I sighed. The sight was already painful in itself, but being the Veela freak I am, I could also feel the pain and guilt she was going through. I’m still a bit peeved at having to undergo all these just for her. But at the same time, I couldn’t see myself doing anything else but be at her beck and call. Oh the trivialities of love.
Okay. How to get out of this mess. I know I’ve been far more than arrogant about being skilled in wandless magic, but I really only knew the easy stuff. I didn’t exactly read up on how to escape abductors. Which, thinking about it, what with my wealth and all, I really should have.
“Malfoy,” a voice that sounded so much like Zabini whispered in my right ear. It came so unexpectedly, I was jolted in surprise, not helping my circumstances at all, with my plank tittering dangerously to the far left.
“What the hell, Zabini,” I muttered back as I struggled to keep my balance intact. “How’d you find me here?”
“Puce and I got hold of the last traces of your apparition and followed you here. It’s a good thing we did, too.”
“Yeah, down there… somewhere. Alright. So, how exactly do we get this rope off you?”
“Like I’d know.”
“Nice. You must really love having a rope round your neck, you ingrate.”
I rolled my eyes. “I’m glad I have a slim chance of surviving this whole ordeal, but how the hell would I know? I have no idea what sort of spell they did on this rope in the first place.”
Zabini tutted. “Hold on, I’m sure I brought that flick knife with me. I always bring it with me,” he said, mostly to himself, and started rummaging around his pockets. After several seconds, he held out a silver and black flick knife that shone brightly under the hot African sun.
“A flick knife? Really? Against a magicked rope?”
“Alice is not just any knife—“
“It has a name?”
“My dad purchased it for me years ago from goblins,” he continued, pretending I haven’t said a word. “It’s known to work against even the darkest of spells. Of course, I’ve never actually tried it out. But we’ll see, shall we?”
Silently, he began cutting against the rope, and surely enough, it fell freely unto the ground. And also as surely enough, without the rope centring me on the plank, I slipped and went down fast, freefalling into the ground. Browns and greens sped by so quickly, it took me a while to notice someone was gripping the back of my collar tightly and that I was already choking.
Seconds later, I was back on the ground, sputtering and telling off Zabini in the quietest possible way I could. “Admit it, you’re working for him now and want to see me dead.”
Zabini glared at me furiously as he stepped out of a Nimbus 2000. “How was I to know you have no sense of balance whatsoever? After all that I’ve gone through, tracing you all the way to Africa, almost suffering heatstroke, riding on a broom and going high up in the air and completely disregarding my fear of heights –“
“What fear of heights? You’re the one who thought it was cool to jump off my bedroom window when we were ten to, as you phrased it: ‘Be just like Peter Pan, the flying wizard’.”
“Flair for dramatics. Whatever. You should be grateful, you unappreciative son of –“
“Draco!” a voice so sweet tingled through the breeze and I forgot everything, except getting her out of here safely.
“Give me that,” I said, grabbing the flick knife from Zabini and rushing towards Hermione’s side and starting cutting off her bonds.
“You almost fell to your…” she trembled, looking at me with utmost concern in her eyes.
“I’m fine,” I tried my best to comfort her and cut off the rope as quickly as possible. Finally, she was free from them and she immediately wrapped me an embrace so tight, I felt air forced out of my lungs. “Come on, let’s go—“
“You’re not going anywh—“
“Petrificus totalus!” I heard Pucey’s voice yell from somewhere behind us and the older Crabbe and Goyle fell down on the ground with a soft thud.
“So what’s the plan now?” he asked, jogging up towards us, his wand on his left hand and his broomstick on the other.
“I have no idea,” I said, looking around and seeing both Older Crabbe and Goyle were lying on the ground looking very much cold and still. I grabbed Hermione’s hand and helped her stand next to me, still a bit nervous about our predicament.
“We can’t leave them here,” Zabini said, looking at the two thoughtfully. “Obviously they’d get back to the Dark Lord – who, as we speak, should now be in Hogwarts – he’ll kill us. Though the advantage to it is, they’d also be killed.”
Pucey smirked down at the two Petrified peons. “Imagine that, defeated by two seventeen year olds. And I mean me and Zabini, by the way.”
Yeah. Whatever. I snorted.
“If you’re expecting a thank you…” I began.
“Not at all. I know I won’t be getting one from you Malfoy. I just wanted to point out, we saved your butts. That’s all,” he said smugly.
“Maybe we should tie them with the ropes they used on us? That way, they’d be found once we’re back in Hogwarts,” Hermione suggested.
Pucey looked at her in shock. He probably forgot they saved a muggle butt. I glared at him hard enough for him to take notice and he raised his hands feebly in the air in response that meant he didn’t care.
“Right you are, Granger,” Zabini said, nonplussed, and grabbed the ropes that were lying on the ground and made his way to Older Crabbe and Goyle. Wordlessly, I followed suit and flipped Older Crabbe around so he faced forward on that ground and tightened a long piece of rope around his wrists whilst Zabini worked on Older Goyle’s ankles first.
“How do you know You-Know-Who is in Hogwarts?” Hermione asked as we were adjusting the ropes and making sure they were secure enough. Having broken the ropes, we weren’t sure if the charms were still in effect, so we had to make sure it was still as tight as possible.
“He made his presence felt,” Zabini said, trying to make light of the matter. But even with the playful tone of voice, I could tell he was dead serious about what was happening.
“Do tell,” I replied in the same lazy, light manner.
“He was calling for Potter as we were racing to follow you fly out. ‘Potter, come out, come out wherever you are. I have a bone to pick with you,’” Pucey tried to mimic the Dark Lord in a very low voice. “I have to say, he has an even scarier baritone than Snape. It was very deep and had just a slight bit of an Oxford accent.”
“How…? How were you able to hear him? Did he get into the castle?” asked Hermione, bemused.
Zabini shrugged. “Nah, he was still outside. No clue what he used. All we know is that it was heard all throughout Hogwarts. Maybe like one of those things Lee uses during Quidditch matches.”
We were just about done with the ropes, when Pucey sat on a giant root that sprouted from the ground and looked up at the bright blue sky. “So I was thinking,” he said slowly, “we could stay a few days here. I’m sure your lovely captives have set up camp and we can use that for the duration of our stay.”
“And avoid the ongoing war, you mean?” Hermione gave him a very pointed look. A look which he very pointedly ignored as well.
If it weren’t for Hermione and her thirst for having to go head to head with danger, I would have sided completely with Pucey. Honestly, we’re on the safe side as it is. What’s the point of going to a war zone with a 70 per cent chance of dying a most tragic death? But again, feeling the emotional connection, I knew Hermione was dying to get this strategising over with and wanted to head back to Hogwarts at the soonest possible second.
I sighed wearily and rubbed my forehead. Dismayed, I noticed my skin was still green after all that has ensued. I looked like the long scorned Elphaba, a witch with a mutated gene that caused her skin to be permanently green. I don’t know much about her except that she wasn’t exactly popular growing up. As far as I know, she still lived in the land of Oz with her nitwit boyfriend Fiyero. On the up side, at least it was Slytherin colours. I could go to war defending the next generation of wizards in my House colours.
“Malfoy, don’t tell me we’ll be staying here until the war’s over? What about our school mates?”
So it’s back to Malfoy now, is it? What will it take for her to just admit that she likes me? I was sorely tempted to stick out my (possibly) green tongue at her, throw a raspberry and tell her to go ahead if she wanted to. But dammit, my Veela senses were getting stronger and stronger and I no longer live for my Epicurean self, but for her and her happiness. No matter how unreasonable her demands were.
“Yes, yes, we’re going back to Hogwarts to get our arses horribly kicked,” I said irritably. “Don’t get too uptight, we’re just thinking of a way to get back there without being tracked by Lord Voldie.”
“Apparate in Scotland—“ she started but I frowned at her. Like it was that easy. There were several points in Hogwarts that could provide an entrance, but which were the safe and unguarded ones? She seemed to sense what was troubling me and didn’t say another word.
“You know, I saw several people, like Lupin for instance, get inside Hogwarts. How’d he get there?” Zabini asked.
Time stood still for a while as Zabini and I contemplated the decision. After a while, Hermione spoke up softly. “You don’t have to go. I can just borrow a broomstick and I’ll be on my way.”
I rolled my eyes at her. Such a martyr. “As if I’d allow that to happen,” I said. “No, if you die, I die. I might as well die with a big bang. Come on, let’s just wing it. If anyone asks, we’re on the Dark Lord’s side and we’ve taken Hermione as a sacrifice of some sort.”
She glared at me.
“You have other brilliant ideas tucked up your sleeve?” I retorted.
She simply harrumphed and looked away. Snickering, Zabini bent down to pick up his broom and tossed my broomstick at me.
“Where’d you get this?” I asked, surprised.
“Found it lying around under some sticks and branches of trees. I figured you’d need it for the next Quidditch match.”
I laughed without humour. I never realised how much of an optimist Zabini was.
Hours later, we found ourselves in the middle of absolute anarchy.
We managed to get inside Hogwarts through Hog’s Head as we saw a lot of people coming and going from above as we circulated Hogsmeade on our brooms. Tom the Barman was sceptical when we said we wanted to get involved in the fight and said most of the Slytherins have already fled the castle and wanted to know if we had taken any sort of medications for us to want to enter the ongoing warzone. Seeing the positively pissed off look on my face (I really wanted to throttle him at that point not so much because of the medications comment, but because of the implications that Slytherins were cowards. Which we are. But he had no right to think that.), he shrugged his shoulders and showed us the pathway to get to the Room of Requirement and into Hogwarts proper.
Running out to the hallways, we could hear screams and wailing sobs. I pushed Hermione back into the room.
“For once, can you please just listen to me and stay in this room until after the war?” I pleaded. Zabini and Pucey made gagging noises in the background that I pretended not to hear. “Let me take care of this. Not that Potter isn’t doing his bloody Calling.”
She looked at me like I was mad. “Harry,” she emphasised the use of his first name, “is one of my best friends and I’d rather not leave him to die like without at least helping. Now shove off.”
I could feel the anger bubbling in her, and so once again, I gave in to her idiotic demand. Tugging at my hair in frustration, I stalked out of the room with her following quickly behind.
We went down the stairs in a fit of hurry (blame Hermione) since most of the commotion was happening on the ground floor. On the plus side, it seems like while we were gone, the battle had gone on for well over what the Death Eaters could handle. I saw the numbers of the opposing side (that would be, ahem, Voldie’s side) were significantly less that our side. I presumed our chances of winning were a bit higher now and felt less anxious than I was before. Still, I held tightly on to Hermione’s hand, keeping her behind me and using my body as a makeshift shield for her. I could see blazes of light flying every which way as though they weren’t paying attention to where their spells were directed at and just sloppily fired away.
From behind me, I heard my betrothed’s voice yell out “Crucio!” and it made my heart leap in a most negative way. For one, she was in no way capable of the Cruciatus Curse because of her kind heart (or naïveté). For another, it was completely out of character for her to use an Unforgivable on…
Who did she curse?
From my peripheral vision, I saw a sallow skinned woman with dark messy hair making her way towards us.
And she was looking at Hermione in a most terrifying way that made me believe she would actually harm said betrothed of mine. It enraged me so bad that I felt my blood boil at just the way she stared at Hermione murderously. With all the hate I had in me and with surprising swiftness, I quickly pointed my wand at her and completed the curse Hermione failed to do.
It was powerful enough for her to scream in pain as she struggled to stand upright again. Using this distraction, I pushed Hermione into the safe arms of one Ronald Weasley who had ran toward us when he heard Aunt Bellatrix’s scream.
“Draco,” Aunt – I mean Bellatrix said, looking at me the exact way she looked at Hermione not moments ago and pointed her wand at me. “I knew your gene abnormalities has forced you towards the Mudblood, but really? Cursing your favourite auntie?”
“Can’t help it,” I shrugged and just as I was about to hit her with another curse, she yelled out “Crucio” loud and malevolently that I heard it even as I fell to the ground and lost all consciousness.
I gasped out loud as I saw Draco’s body fall limply onto the floor and dragged mercilessly across to the other side of the room until he was bludgeoned roughly against the staircase.
Tears started to form around my eyes I saw this unfold in front of me. Not even bothering to think, I yelled out the first curse that came to my mind. “Sectumsempra” I screamed and immediately felt defeated when I saw that it did not even go anywhere near her. Ron clutched my arm fiercely and led me behind a wall as a spark of red light shot out of Bellatrix’s wand aimed at me.
“Draco….” I said hoarsely, gasping for breath and trying to keep my sobs to a bare minimum, knowing crying would only make me even more useless. Once again, I tried to get back at Bellatrix, only to take note of Ginny battling her this time and Mrs Weasley pulling her out of the way to take care of Bellatrix.
I scanned the room for Draco and saw a tall man with white blond hair race towards the staircase. For a second, my heart pounded quickly, before I came to realise it was only Lucius Malfoy and that Draco still lay on the floor in a bloody mess.
Breaking free from Ron’s grasp, I ducked oncoming curses and raced to Draco’s side, clutching his cold hand and fervently whispering to him to wake up. Blood matted a side of his head and trickled down his neck and his right cheek and eye were bruised.
Suddenly, another blonde head appeared in front of me and clutched Draco’s other hand, her blue eyes teary and was as hysterical as I was.
“Will he be okay, Lucius?” Narcissa Malfoy asked, looking down at Draco, concern and worry clearly evident in her eyes and in the way she scrutinised his wounds.
“I don’t know,” Lucius murmured. “Granger,” he nodded curtly toward me. That was as much acknowledgement I got from him before he turned around and started firing shots at black cloaked Death Eaters.
“He’ll be fine,” Narcissa was saying, looking down at her son.
“I… I’m…” I was at a loss for words. I was responsible for this. He sided with Zabini and Pucey with wanting to stay in Africa as the battle raged on but I had to be stubborn and practically forced him to come with me. Not directly, but I knew he wouldn’t be able to leave me to my own defences. “I’m sorry,” I whispered.
Surprisingly, Narcissa’s hand, light and unsteady, went atop mine. I gazed at it in astonishment.
“It’s not your fault,” she said kindly.
“But I… I told him…I’d come here. With or without him. He wanted to stay. I shouldn’t have. I shouldn’t…”
She gave me a small smile. “It doesn’t matter. He’ll be fine. He will. Because you love him now. And he knows that. He felt that. Thank you for loving my son. It’s the most I can ask of you.”
I sobbed even harder and louder. She was speaking as if he was dead. He can’t be. He won’t be. I refuse for it to happen.
In the background, I can hear Voldemort and Harry speaking to each other. Talking about Elder Wands. For once, I didn’t even bother to know what it was he was saying. All I could do was focus on Draco and his unsteady heartbeat.
I leaned forward and tucked my head on top his chest and under his chin, whispering for him not to leave me. For once, I was very afraid of the possibility of a future without Draco Malfoy.
I learnt in Biology that the last of the senses to leave a dying person – not that Draco was one, no he was far from that – was the sense of hearing. I concluded that even subconscious, he’d still be able to hear me.
Leaning up once again, I touched my lips to his ear. “I love you,” I whispered.
His hand jerked a little in my hand before falling limply again. And he was no longer breathing.
AN: So sorry to everyone who have waited and asked if I have intentions of ever finishing this story. I DO. I promise to update again as soon as I possibly can. There are only two or three chapters left (maybe, I still haven’t worked it out) so you can be sure that I won’t leave this open-ended. I’ll update even quicker if you all leave really fabulous reviews. Haha.
And yes, that was a reference to Wicked (by Gregory Maguire), proper disclaimers must be assumed. :) Love you all. xx
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