Chapter 22 : A Dursley Discovery
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A Dursley Discovery
There was complete silence, as everyone digested their predicament. Harry stared at the door for a while, then swore quietly. “Brilliant,” he muttered. “Just bloody brilliant.” He turned to Hermione. “What do we do now?”
“We come up with a plan,” she said matter-of-factly. She took a look at him and said, “One that does not involve breaking out and dueling with the butler and Boykotte.”
He snorted. She knew him too well. “Well, then what do you suggest? We're going to have to deal with them eventually.”
“It is not likely that you could take it up with Boykotte and survive, Harry,” Hannah said quietly, gazing into space.. “And Balm isn't easily done over either.”
“The least we can do is get out,” said Harry. He stood and approached the door. “I'm sure that if I can get in, I can get out.”
“I doubt it,” his sister said. “That door was merely locked before, whereas now, it is sealed. It is also imbued with magic that will bolster it at need. But by all mean, brother, have at it.”
Harry pursed his lips, studying the door. Hannah undoubtedly knew more about this cell than he did, yet he was unwilling to believe he was helpless in this situation. Stepping forward, he struck out with his mind. There was a dull thud, but the door didn't budge. He struck out again, and the door still remained unmoved.
“Rotten door,” he muttered, then raised his hands. Glancing back, he said, “Watch yourselves,” then let loose a flood of fire. The torrent poured onto the door, and it groaned in protest. He heard Hannah gasp behind him, but didn't turn. He let more out, causing the flames to swirl around the wood. The wood blackened slightly, but didn't break or weaken. With a growl, Harry focused, forcing the stone around the door to shake and fracture, but the door and its frame remained unharmed for the most part. He drew his wand.
“Confringo! Expulso! Flipendo! Reducto!” he yelled, hurling spell after spell against the door. Bright flashes of light illuminated the room, lighting up his friends' faces with a ghostly luminance. The wooden door shook slightly, then stilled.
“It will not work, Harry,” said Hannah softly. “Although I am pleased to see you have mastered your powers. I have not had any practice.”
He whirled to her, startled. Of course, he thought. We share blood. She would be a descendant of Gryffindor. “That's too bad,” he said, frowning at her. “We could have worked together to get out. And then...
“And then do what, Harry?” asked Hermione sharply. “Were you going to ask her to help you fight Malcom?”
“Maybe,” he said defiantly, looking into her eyes. “What other option do we have? If he is as powerful as she says, I'll need all the help I can get.”
“You don't have to fight him, Harry,” Hermione spoke in a softer tone. “We could just escape. It shouldn't be that hard. After all, you control the elements, unlike him.”
“I want to know,” Harry said. “I want to know the reasoning behind him. I want to know why he kidnapped my sister. I want to know everything!”
“You don't need to!” said Hermione sharply. “Just leave it be, and we can go! We don't need to have a lengthy discussion with him! It could cost us our lives!”
“Then you go!” shouted Harry. “You go, and I'll talk to him! He can't hurt me, at least! As long as you're out of harm's way, then I can do this as I like!”
“Don't you understand?” she yelled, her eyes desperate. “If there's one thing I fear more that the world ending, it's you dying! You think I want to leave you to your death? If I go, you go with!”
“No,” stated Harry adamantly. “I'm sorry, but I can't go. Not without knowing the truth. I went all my life thinking I had no family in this world, and now I find out I do. I want to find out why that family was taken from me, and never given back.”
“A noble sentiment, Harry,” said Hannah softly. “But does it truly matter? Would you die and lose me again? Forever?”
“I won't die,” said Harry looking at his sister. “But he might.”
“I'm with you, Harry,” said Narcissa. “You're the strongest one among us. If we are without you, we lose our greatest weapon.”
Harry looked to Hannah, who watched intently. For some reason, an almost bemused smile graced her lips.“Will you come?” he asked. “You were hurt most, I bet.”
Her strange smile vanished as she faced him. “I dare not not challenge him,” she answered. “He always was stronger than me. If I defy him now, it may prove fatal.”
“So you'll stay down here,” Harry murmured, nodding. He understood her caution. She bowed her head, and he patted her on the shoulder in an effort to comfort her.
“I think I'll stay with Hannah,” said Hermione. “If Balm tries to capture her, to gain leverage against you, I can defend her.”
“Good idea, Mione,” reponded Harry, smiling. “And now that we have that all settled, we have to figure out how to get out of here.”
“Argh,” Hermione groaned, “just do a Patronus and get Ron, won't you?”
“Oh, right,” Harry muttered sheepishly. He drew his wand. “Expecto Patronum,” he said, focusing hard on the message. A bright stag erupted from the wand, cantered around Harry in a circle, then turned away. “Wherever he is,” he added, watching the stag gallop in midair and fade out, “I just hope it finds him.”
“don't worry,” said Hermione uncertainly, “I'm sure it will get to him.” She looked around at the dank dungeon. “And it had better be soon.”
Harry slowly sat beside Hermione. He was weary, tired of playing games, tired of fighting, tired of everything he was going through. He wished it would all stop, that this was a dream, that he would wake up and find himself in bed, back at home. He wished he had his normal life back, before this fiasco had come into action.
A groaning sounded, and Harry looked at his stomach. He didn't feel hungry at all...The it sounded again, and he looked up at the wall. “Er, Hannah,” he muttered uneasily, “this cell is safe right? It wouldn't collpase on us?”
“That is an outside influence, I'm sure of it,” his sister said faintly. “Although exactly what it is, I can't say...”
“Shhh,” Hermione shushed them, listening closely. “It's coming closer!”
And indeed it was. Harry could her it distinctly drawing closer, slowly but surely. Then, it stopped. Listening so intently, Harry made out very quiet footsteps padding across the floor. But wait, that wasn't right. He frowned. He could swear that the steps were elevated, almost as if the creature were walking on the ceiling...
“What is that?” asked Hannah. “I don't know of any animal or spirit around here that can get in!”
“I know what it is,” said Hermione suddenly, her eyes widening. She turned to Harry, her face both relieved and frightened “It's-”
Hannah flung hand over her mouth. “Don't speak,” she hissed fiercely, her eyes staring at the door. “Whatever it is, it cannot know we are here.” The steps continued, coming closer and closer. Hermione ripped Hanna's hand from her mouth.
“Oh, come off it,” she snapped irritably. “It's only-” The other girl clapped both hands over hermione's lips, sealing her voice inside. Hermione gave a muffled squeak of indignation, and the steps stopped abruptly. They slowly drew nearer the door, and Harry's breath quickened.
There was silence, as they waited with baited breath. Then...
“Harry?” called Ron's voice. “You in there, mate?”
“Yeah,” yelled Harry. “The others are too! Get us out! We have to hurry!”
“Just hold on a second,” said Ron. “Let me have a go at this door. Stay back from it.”
BOOM! The door shook. Boom! It shook again.
“He's strong,” whispered Hermione. Her eyes took in the quaking door, and she gasped as it buckled beneath another blow. BOOM! CRASH! The door smached to the floor, skidding away from the now-clear doorway. Ron stood there, panting.
“C'mon,” he said. “Let's get going. We have no time to waste.”
Harry sprang to his feet and rushed out. He turned to Hannah, and noticed she was still in her cage. “Free her,” said Harry. He ran down the passage to Dominion. Not wasting time on paltry spells, Harry barked, “Expulso!” and the cage door shattered.
“Stay down here,” commanded Harry, “but be ready to come when I call you.”
Dominion nodded. “As you wish, Harry Potter.”
Harry turned and ran back to his friends, who were waiting. “Let's go find us a head of house,” said Harry and they followed Harry's previous path up to the main house. They entered the front hall, when Harry remembered.
“My aunt and cousin!” he said sharply. “I can't leave them in harm's way! We have to get them out!”
“Your aunt and uncle and cousin are here?” asked Ron in surprise, looking at Harry. The latter shook his head.
“My uncle died in a dragon attack,” he explained. “My aunt and cousin came here, looking for safety. I don't think they found it after all.”
“We'd better fetch them. Do you know what room they are in?” inquired Ron.
“My guess is ground floor, otherwise my aunt would have asked that wine be brought to her,” Harry replied. “Let's go.”
They searched the first floor, finding a pantry, a large closet, and a bathroom, as well as couple of bedrooms. The third bedroom they found had a closed door. Trying the knob, Harry found it was locked.
“Who's there?” demanded Petunia's voice, and Harry sighed silently in relief. She sounded frightened, but okay.
“It's me,” answered Harry. Hopefully, she would be cooperative, considering he was the only one here who could really help her.
“What do you want?” she asked curtly. “Surely you're the one that had us locked in in the first place?”
“Me?” said Harry in surprise. “Why would I do that?
“Because you hate me,” she said. “You've always hated me, as I hated you. It's only natural. Why she us normal people and your kind get along?”
“Because we can,” responded Harry patiently. “And it wasn't me who locked you in. I'm going to let you out, because you have to leave. Or at least get out of the house.”
“What's wrong, Harry?” asked Dudley's voice. “What is going on?”
“These are bad people, Dud,” said Harry. “They kidnapped my sister, and have been holding us all prisoner.”
“What sister?” demanded Petunia, her voice shocked. “You have no sister.”
“Yes I do,” Harry replied patiently. “Her name is Hannah, and I'm going to save her. And I'm going to have a talk with the master of this mansion. But first, you have to leave. I don't want you injured.”
There was silence. Then dudley said, “Open the door, Harry.”
Harry smiled. Dudley was working with him. Surely Petunia wouldn't be too far behind her Diddykins. “Alohomora,” he said. Nothing happened. “Not this door, too,” he muttered. Just then, Ron cried, “Harry, get back!” and yanked Harry from the door.
There was a sound of rushing feet, then an explosion. Bits of wood pelted Harry as he stood blinking, Ron still clutching his arm. Dudley stood before them, decorated with shreds of broken door. Harry could feel a fading energy rolling off the big man. It was like a tingly sort of power...
“Dudley,” murmured Harry in awe. “How did you do that?”
“I-I dunno,” stammered Dudley, staring at the splinters embedded in his shirt. “I felt something rise up inside me, and I just let it out. I do it a lot in boxing. They never really thought it was odd though. They call it my 'Power Punch'.” He said this last rather proudly.
Harry looked at Petunia, who was now standing a little ways back from the blasted doorway and was gazing at it in horror. “You're a Squib,” said Harry. “You're a squib and you said nothing!”
“It was none of your business,” she said haughtily. “And I'll thank you not to spout it around.” But Harry wasn't done yet. He turned to Dudley again.
“And you,” he said, “you must be a wizard!”Dudley gaped at him in horror.
“I-I-I...” he stuttered. “I can't be! I can't do anything weird like you've always done!”
Harry eyed him critically. “I felt it in you,” he said finally. “You have it in you. You're magical.”
Dudley shook his head in denial. “No,” he said hoarsely. “No. I can't be. I just can't be!”
“Anough of your rubbish accusations!” snarled Petunia, glaring at Harry. “He isn't magical, and that is that!”
“So you say,” Harry said, glaring right back.
“Well, well, it appears you have managed to break out,” said a voice that made Harry freeze. He finally looked around, to see Balm approaching, a mild smile on his face.
“And here is the missing carrot-top we discussed earlier,” the butler added, spotting Ron. He studied him, then clapped his hands. “No matter. It is just as well; my master had sent me to collect you, and I heard the ruckus. Impressive strength there, young man. I should have expected it.” Balm eyed Dudley appraisingly.
“Why does Boykotte want us?” demanded Harry. Balm glanced at him. “Why, to speak with you, of course. I'll take you to him now.”
“Why does he want to speak with us?” asked Ron. “What did we do?”
“Oh,” replied the butler, raising a brow, “he merely wishes to discuss what you may or may not have been told down in the dungeon. That's all. I assure you, you are in no danger.”
Ron snorted, earning him a reproving look from Balm. “Again, he wishes you no harm.” He looked at Harry, examining him closely.
“Unless,” he added quietly, “you wish him harm.”
Harry said nothing, merely staring back. If Boykotte thinks he can beat me, thought Harry, then he had better be a god. And with that, he gestured for Balm to lead them onward.
in the next chapter... “My friends are suspicious...and so am I,” replied Harry. He noticed the mirror flickering again, and he realized that if he scanned the glass from his peripheral vision, he could make out a faint visage studying him. Who or what...?
His musings were interrupted as Boykotte spoke without turning around. “What has she told you?” he asked quietly, facing the fire, his posture stiff.
“Er...pardon?” asked Ron, who jerked back as Malcom whipped his head to the side. His eyes were narrowed and fierce, the eyes of a hawk, calculating, preparing to strike.
There, now we have the chapters right! Sorry about that. Please leave reviews, and thanks for reading! Now, on to the next!
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