Chapter 6 : The Long Ride to Hogwarts Part II
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The Long Ride to Hogwarts
Saturday afternoon Draco woke to the sounds of pouring rain. He pulled back the hangings of his bed so that he could see out the window. Draco couldnít see the sun at all, the rain was coming down as if it would never have to rain again and a thick fog hung in the air. Draco thought it was certainly a good thing that the Quidditch Pitch was indoors or he would be dreading tonightís game even more.
He got up slowly, it was only two Oíclock and he knew he would need something to make the time pass or it would seem like forever before the game. He decided that he would take a long shower and then grab a quick bite of breakfast or whatever they were serving at this time of day. The shower was long and hot and when he finally finished he dress in a silk bathrobe.
The kitchen was deserted save one house elf. She bowed low to the ground when Draco entered, "How may I serve you Young Master Malfoy?" The front of her apron was covered in flour.
Draco thought for a moment, since his Mother was out he could have whatever he wanted. "I think Iíd like some breakfast in the dining room please. Scrambled eggs, bacon, juicy not crisp, buttered toast, and fresh squeezed orange juice." His voice wavered at first, but it still held a note of command in it. The house elf bowed once more and then set off around the kitchen fulfilling his order.
Draco left the kitchen and went to wait in the dining room. He sat at the head of the table and within 20 minutes his breakfast sat before him. He ate slowly and enjoyed the tastes. The house elves could cook quite well, and when Draco left he was full.
Draco walked casually back to his room, he had used up a little more than an hour of time, and now had two left. He closed his door and pulled off the robe he wore. He hung it up carefully, the silk tended to keep any creases that it acquire due to the hanger and it had to be done just right. He selected one of his favorite outfits, he only had one more day to wear all of his clothes before he was off to Hogwarts. After Sunday he would be stuck in wizard robes for another four months until Christmas break. How he missed his fancy muggle clothes during the school year.
He slumped down into his leather armchair and tried to think of something that he could do for the next hour and a half. Finally he figured he would pull out his new potions manual for class but it was so far down in his trunk that the only way to reach it was for him to unpack everything, and that would use up too much time. He slumped back into his chair and began to draw in his sketch pad. He didnít really know what he was drawing he just let his hand wander where it wanted to.
He stopped drawing at four thirty and put the pad back underneath his bed, he didnít even take the time to look at what heíd drawn. He pulled on his Quidditch Robes and gear and made sure that his broom was immaculate. He looked himself over in the mirror. His figure had improved over the summer. Playing chaser required so much more movement so much more of the time than seeker, he would be a little disappointed when he started the house league again.
He stepped into the bright green fire and instructed it as to his destination. He kept his broom tight to his body during the trip, on one occasion it had caught on the side and some of the straw had come out of place. Finally the pitch came into view. Draco slowly started to stop spinning and then came to a complete rest.
He stepped out onto the field, his legs felt like jelly and he finally became aware of all the tension heíd been trying to avoid. Harry and Ginny were already there, and Draco took a little bit of comfort in the fact that they looked as bad as he did. Neither one was talking very loudly, in fact it looked like they were talking at a funeral. Draco walked over to them very slowly, "I feel like this could be the worst day of my life Harry." He meant every word of it too.
Harry nodded in agreement, "Know how you feel Draco, I could hardly sleep last night." He had small black circles forming under his eyes, but they were alert now, and Draco knew he would wake up a little once the game started.
"Why donít we start warming up, itíll help us calm down a bit." Draco suggested, and everyone agreed.
They began with small circles around the field, flying up and down. Then they picked up the pace a bit as they flew faster. Harry put in a few rolls as he lead them around and around the pitch. The stadium filled up around them as time went by, but they seemed to take no notice of it.
At ten minutes to six they stopped, each one was awake now and fully ready for what was to come, but Draco couldnít shake the feeling in his stomach that something wasnít right. The other team had showed up now as well. Each was male and looked to be in top physical shape. They were tall, with broad shoulders and large arms. Their brooms were decent brooms, in fact they were the predecessor of the Nimbus 2001.
The stands were so full of people that Draco couldnít tell if he knew anyone or not. The referee came out and he explained the rules to everyone, "This is a two hour game with a break after the first hour. The team with the most points at the end of the allotted time will win the Intermediate English Junior Quidditch Cup. I want a clean game. May the best team win." The crowd roared as the referee finished and indicated that the teams could now mount their brooms. He stuck the whistle in between his teeth and looked from one player to the next, the quaffle poised in his hand. Finally the whistle rang out in the stadium and the quaffle was launched into the air. The six players rose with a vigor that they had yet to exert during the summer Quidditch league.
The Hoards took possession of the quaffle and weaved back and forth across the field. They were soon stripped of possession by Draco who used his hand to dislodge it from their tight grip. He grouped with Harry and Ginny in a tight triple stack formation and tried to move up the field. Their attempt was soon broken up by a spearhead counter formation that destroyed the three levels. The team tightened into a diamond formation that the Knights couldnít penetrate, and with that the Hoards took the lead ten to zero.
Harry took the quaffle and tried to run a flanking play. This was kind of the reverse of a V formation. Draco and Harry formed a protective outwards V while Ginny flew very close behind and was kept safe from the opposing team. It was with this play that the Knights scored their first goal making the game ten to ten.
The Hoards formed a double man, single rider play in which two of the players passed back and forth very rapidly over short distances while the third teammate set himself up down field in a position that he could receive a long pass and score easily. Draco gave this third player a lot of room, more than Harry or Ginny thought wise, but when the long pass was made Draco put on a burst of speed to intercept and was down field before anyone knew it. He made the score twenty to ten.
The Hoards tried to same reverse V that the Knights had used so successfully only minutes before but the Knights also knew the counter play. They used the triple stack to swoop in from above and below, the V formation was useless against this, the Hoards lost control of the ball and the Knights had another goal.
It was fast becoming apparent that the Hoards in the past had simply used their brute strength to over power their opposition. The quick plays and fancy skills of the Knights was wreaking havoc on all of the Hoards well thought bully tactics and thirty minutes later at the midway point they were losing to them 150 to 30.
The crowd cheered and applauded wildly as the referee signaled with his whistle that it was now an hour into the game and that they would take a ten minute intermission with the Knights winning by seventy points.
Draco and his teammates landed out of breath on the soft grass. Water was brought to them from an employee of the stadium and Draco quickly drank it down. He had never felt this tired in his entire life and he could not imagine now how chasers could play for hours on end without rest. "The games going well, if we keep this up weíll win for sure." He said finally in small bits at a time.
Harry was standing with his hands on his knees trying to catch his breath, the water sat untouched by his feet. He nodded once that he had heard Draco but said nothing in response.
Ginny leaned against the walls of the stadium, her whole back pressed against the wood. She sipped at her water slowly, she didnít want to cramp up for the second half of the game. "Can you imagine if we had had to play this team before Mr. Bagman gave us all that coaching?" She shook her head in amazement.
Draco found that he had to agree, if someone had seen their first game and then seen this game they probably would have thought that there had been some kind of mistake. Two teams with the same name, or a spell had been cast over the team to allow them to play better, or perhaps one had been cast earlier to hinder their skills.
Draco was just thinking about this when he noticed that Harry stood up quickly and stared in the direction of the entranceway. Draco followed his gaze and was shocked by what he saw. Striding across the pitch as if she owned the stadium, and without a care in the world, was his Mother. The referee tried to stop her, tried to tell her the game would be starting back up again in a few moments and that she couldnít be on the field. She kept walking as if he werenít even there. Draco also noticed that she was dressed quite differently. She wore a black traveling cloak and leather boots. Her face had a very displeased, angered look on it.
Finally she stopped in front of the trio, the referee had left her to go and get Mr. Bagman. "Draco, come with me." She turned and began to storm away but stopped when Draco didnít follow her. What was she talking about, he couldnít leave now, they were about to win the Junior Cup. "Draco, youíre coming with me, now." She hissed these words as his Father might have, and her eyes narrowed.
Draco held his ground, "Mother Iím in the middle of a Quidditch game, weíre going to win the Cup!" His voice was stern but Harry knew that it also contained a plea in it.
He watched as Narcissa became enraged. "Young Man, you will not argue with me. I donít care about a silly little Quidditch Junior Cup, now you will come with me now." Her eyes had fire in them and her voice rose an octave as she practically screamed these words.
Draco looked from his Motherís face to Harryís. One held only rage, the other had a look of disappointment. Finally Bagman arrived with the referee, "Madame Malfoy, is everything alright here, weíre just about to start the second half of the game? Should I find you a seat?" The respect in his voice was sickening to Draco, he only used it because of the money and power she had, no one ought to respect her, thought Draco.
She turned to face him, some of the anger left her face, "No, Mr. Bagman nothings wrong, thank you. Iím afraid though that Draco is going to have to leave the game a bit early, something terribly important has come up." Her voice had returned to itís normal tone and the words flowed smoothly, gracefully, charmingly from her lips.
Draco stared from face to face, a desperate look on his own. Finally he lowered his head and nodded. His Mother turned sharply and left the field, she knew Draco would now follow in a moment. He looked at Harryís pleading face once more. His eyes, so sad and so disappointed, but Draco knew in a second that it would build to rage. "Iím sorry." The words nearly caught in Dracoís throat and they came out a very forced whisper.
Harryís eyes did fill with anger now and he turned his back on Draco as he picked up his broom and followed his Mother off of the field. He could hear Bagman asking Harry and Ginny whether or not they wanted to continue. He heard their answer, that they werenít quitters, that they would play to the end now even if they lost by hundreds of points. He heard Bagman announcing the unusual news to the crowd and then he heard nothing as he stepped off the field and followed his Mother home via the floo network.
There were no lights on in the Manor when Draco arrived home, it was eerily quiet. Lightning illuminated the sitting room quickly before plunging it back into shadows. His Motherís steps echoed off the floor and resounded all through the room. She led him into the hall and towards his Fatherís study. The halls were just as dark as the sitting room and strangely clear of all servants and house elves. He noticed a long trail of water leading down the floor, as if someone had come in from the pouring rain. The steps seemed to be erratic and they didnít follow a straight line but rather weaved back and forth across the passageway.
The door to his Fatherís study was shut, but even so Draco could hear an unusual noise coming from behind it. Light spilled out from underneath the large oak door as his Mother knocked on it once and then passed her wand over it in a strange pattern. He heard a single lock click, but his Mother did not move to open the door. A moment later there was the sound of a second lock being unfastened and the door swung inward on itís hinges.
The scene that awaited Draco was somewhat horrifying. The fire roared in one corner and every available candle and lamp was lit. Things lay scattered all over the floor. A wet and dirty torn black traveling cloak like his Mother wore. A white mask cracked down the center and with small droplets of what Draco presumed to be blood. A dented and mangled shield that Draco remembered from when his Father was first packing at the beginning of the summer. It no longer held it shimmer and seemed useless now.
As Draco followed this small mess around the room his eyes came to rest on his Father. He sat propped up in a large armchair off to one side of the room. His shirt was ripped and soaked through with rain water. The Unicorn cloak that he wore was also destroyed but this was soaked crimson with not mere water but with someoneís blood, Draco knew not whether it was from his Father. As he watched his Father winced in pain and took a long drought from a bottle sitting on the table next to him. Propped against this table was the sword Draco knew to be the family sword, it was stained the same color as the Unicorn cloak but it still held a faint glow.
His Mother rushed inside the study and beckoned Draco to follow, she pushed the door shut after him and refastened the locks. Draco followed her slowly, unsure of what she would ask of him, he didnít know any medi-wizarding spells, they taught those in sixth year as a minor study.
His Father winced again in pain and Draco could tell he was having trouble controlling screams. "Narcissa hurry up, Iím dying here." His shouts were horrible, his pain came out in anger. Narcissa bent over her husband and examined the wounds each very carefully. Lucious controlled the urge to yell out as she poked and prodded each cut, bruise, and scrape.
"Lucious, youíre going to have to tell me exactly what happened, I wasnít in the area when you were attacked." His Mother spoke these words as if she were doing nothing more than asking directions and Draco was shocked. But his Father began to speak and Draco listened intently.
"We were just rounding up what we thought were the last of them when a new front opened up in front of us. Maybe fifty or more Giants rushed at us with full force, our soldiers were so sparsely distributed then that we sustained heavy casualties. And these Giants were different, their skins were thicker somehow that our killing curse was only mildly useful, it stunned them at best. It seems that these Bulgarian Giants are physically different from the rest of them. McNair was the one who first drew his sword and fell one close to him. Soon everyone had unsheathed their weapons and a hand to hand battle began. The Giants used clubs and broad swords fit to their proportions, we had trouble defending ourselves against them. I was struck several times and by one curse, which the cloak absorbed most of." He paused here and reflected before going on, "I donít know which curse it was, it was one not familiar to me. It killed Knot and brought down many others. They writhed and screamed in agony while their skins turned awful shades of green and began to bubble and hiss."
Draco heard a sharp intake of breath from his Mother at the recognition of this curse. His Father said no more now as his wife ran around the room collecting the things she needed and then returned. She had in one hand a very sharp ornamental knife, the hilt of which was shaped like the head of a Cobra with itís hood out. In her other hand was a small vial and a large python fang. She turned to Draco, "Draco hold out your arm, the potion your Father needs requires the blood of an heir."
Draco instinctively stepped back, scared of what was about to come. Quickly his Mother grabbed his arm tight and pulled him back towards her. "It will only hurt for a little while." Her voice was sharp, not soothing, and her grip tightened on his wrist.
He began to shake as he silently drew up the sleeve of his Quidditch robes and held out his arm palm up. His eyes were fearless but very distant and they screamed out an unheard plea. His Mother looked from his face to her husband, who was watching this scene intently, and then down at the arm that was outstretched before her. Without any hesitation she dragged the knife quickly across Dracoís arm just below the elbow. The blade was cold against his skin and he could feel it penetrating deep into his arm and with a burning sensation. His head flung back in agony but he was resolute that he would not cry out, he would not express the pain that he felt. The blood rushed down his arm wave after wave.
His Mother pressed the vial to his skin and let it fill once with his red essence. This she poured carefully into every cut that his Father had sustained. Draco watched as the wounds smoked slightly and stopped bleeding. They did not seal but they looked as if they were nothing but open scars. His Mother held the vial to Dracoís skin once more, filling the vial this time only half way. She used the same knife as she had to open Dracoís veins to cut the tip of the fang away, a golden liquid poured out of it. The new substance was as thick as blood and seemed to shimmer in the odd lighting. Draco drew back quickly as itís fumes entered his nostrils, it was a horrible and repulsive smell.
His Mother added this venom to the half filled vial of blood and then stirred it six times with the empty fang. She spoke two very odds words, the sound of which sounded oddly like a hiss instead of any syllables that had entered his ears before that day. Smoke rose suddenly from the vial and she offered it to her husband whoís condition seemed to be worsening rapidly as they stood there. He raised it to his lips and only paused for a moment before he drank the entire vial. When the last ounce had passed his lips, he dropped the vial suddenly and the glass shattered as it hit the floor. He lurched forward, his chest tightening and his arms drawing towards his body. He was then pressed backwards against the chair in pain and suffering, his arms and legs flung in all directions. Finally his head flung forward and hung on his throat. He breathed deep, long breaths and was still.
When he raised his head the face that met Dracoís eyes was not that of a dying man, indeed it wasnít the face that he had stared at moments ago. This was the face of the Father he knew from the beginning of summer. His face had a vane smile on it and his eyes were alight with fire and pleasure.
"How do you feel?" His Motherís words were spoken softly as if any violent or loud noises would shatter what they had just done.
Draco watched as his Father stood up, the cuts on his chest were now completely healed. He was about to respond when the room began to spin for Draco and he looked down to see that his arm was still bleeding quite freely onto the floor. He looked up at his Father and then the room went dark and Draco could feel himself falling, falling, falling.
The sounds of birds chirping came softly to Dracoís closed eyes. There was no sound of violent rain or thunder coming from outside. He could feel the sheets of his bed and the silk of his pajamas. He could also feel a searing pain in his arm. He sat up in his bed and pushed his back against the wall. He rolled up his sleeve and saw that his arm had been completely bandaged. He undid the bandage carefully, he didnít want to aggravate it in anyway. As the bandage fell away Draco could see a long jagged scar running across the flesh of his arm and the memories of the past night came back to him. How he had been forced to leave the Quidditch game early, how his Father had been hurt fighting, murdering the Giants, how his Mother had combined his blood with python venom to cure his Father of some sort of curse. How he had passed out from blood loss.
He looked out from his window, the sky was beginning to darken, he must have slept the whole day away in exhaustion. He swung his legs over the edge of the bed and tried to get up but as soon as his full weight was on his legs a sharp and burning pain ran up through his arm and to the rest of his body. He fell back down onto his bed to catch his breath. After a few minutes he made up his mind to try again, this time with the support of his leather arm chair.
He was about to push himself up when the door opened and a house elf came in. She carried a small wooden tray on which was set fresh bandages, a bottle of medication, and a hot bowl of soup. She came over to his bed without saying a word. She studied his arm carefully and then preceded to clean it. She first bathed it in a bowl of water from underneath his bed, which he hadnít known was there, and then she took a small tube of cream from her pocket and spread it over the length of his arm. As she put it on Draco could feel the pain begin to subside and he flexed it once or twice. After that the house elf wrapped it again in a bandage. Draco thanked her and took the bowl she offered and then with a bow she left.
Draco ate the soup at his desk slowly, the trip form his bed over hadnít been nearly as painful as the first time he stood up. The soup was very refreshing it gave him new strength it seemed and he felt that he could have walk the entire length of the Manor.
When he finished he took out a fresh pair of pajamas and laid them on his bed. He stripped off the old ones and went to take a shower. He made sure during the ordeal not to get his fresh bandage wet, it felt good on his arm and he would hate to have to take it off. He dried off and was just putting on his new pajamas when his door opened again. His Mother stood in the doorway, she stared at him for a second, "It seems your little teammates didnít need you after all, they won the game without you yesterday." She flung the Daily Prophet onto his bed, he hadnít noticed that his wasnít on his desk. "That cut is going to take more time to heal, youíre going to have to keep that nasty scar as well, no way around it. Take this and then go back to sleep, weíll wake you in the morning when itís time to go." She put a glass full of a dark liquid into his hands and then left.
Draco looked at the glass she had given him, he held it up to the light. It looked like a sleeping drought when he held it up, but when he smelled it he thought that maybe it was a strengthening potion. Whatever it was, Draco knew it wasnít going to harm him.
Draco sat down again on the edge of his bed. He tried to think if he had everything he needed and remembered one thing he hadnít packed yet. He opened up the bottom of his armoire and pulled out a new bottle of cognac and a silver flask with a dragon on it intertwined with a gothic letter D, for Draco. He had had it made special last summer. He put both of these into a smaller compartment of his trunk and then sat back down onto his bed.
He finished the potion his Mother had given him in one swallow and then lay back in bed. He read the article up the Intermediate Cup game as he waited for the effects of the potion to begin.
The Knights of Hogwarts Win the Junior Cup
In a dramatic game the Knights of Hogwarts beat the Hoard in the Intermediate English Junior Quidditch Cup game Saturday night. The Knights were led to victory by Harry Potter, who is famous for his defeat against the Dark Lord fourteen years ago. During the regular season play of the house competition at Hogwarts, Harry normally plays the Seeker position. As it turns out though he is quite skilled as a chaser as well.
The Knights led the Hoard after one hour of play 150-30. It was during the ten minute intermission that Draco Malfoy, the third player on the Knights after Virginia Weasley, was seen leaving the pitch and did not return to the game. There was no official comment on this, although Mr. Bagman informed the crowd before resuming regular play he did not specify the reason. Harry and Virginia kept playing, each playing as a keeper instead of chaser, and quite effectively blocking the single goal from most shots.
In the end the Knights triumphed 150-140 in this the first annual Summer Quidditch League.
It is rumored that both Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy have been offered tryout positions for the English National team which begins practice next summer.
In other news, Viktor Krum, playing in his native Bulgaria, beat the Russian National team in a surprise victoryÖÖÖÖ
Draco felt his eyelids grow heavy as he finished reading the article. The world slowly turned black once more and he drifted peacefully into a deep and dreamless sleep.
He could feel his body being shaken violently back and forth, someone was trying to tell him something as well. What was it, who were these people, what were they doing to him? He opened his eyes and sat straight up in bed. He looked around the room quickly to see what was wrong. His Mother was standing over him, her hands on her hips. The sun was shining through his window, "Itís time to get ready to go Draco, or weíre going to miss the train." She turned and left sharply not waiting for any answer.
Draco ran his hand through his messy hair and rubbed his face. He couldnít believe that he had slept so soundly and for so long without even knowing it. He felt completely refreshed. He showered quickly and brushed out his hair so that it looked as neat as it usually did. He dressed in his best muggle clothes, black Armani shoes, pressed pants, and a black silk shirt. He double checked his trunk again and then magicked it down the steps.
His Mother and Father were waiting for him in the dining room, he left his trunk outside the doorway. They had eaten without him already but he wasnít really that hungry anyway. He was nervous about going back to school, he hadnít been nervous about going to Hogwarts since his first year. He imagined it was because today he would see Crabbe and Goyle for the first time in months, and would have to face the rest of his housemates, and of course he would have to see Harry.
He sat down in his usual seat next to his Father and a servant quickly brought out a plate of breakfast for him. He did not make eye contact with either one of his parents even though they were staring at him. He ate in silence and when he had finished he turned his fork over and pushed the plate away from himself. "Iím ready." He said quietly to whomever cared.
His Father nodded, "Weíre all going to go with you to the station, although neither of us can go with you onto the platform." He paused and reflected on something, "Draco itís very important that you not discuss what happened two nights ago, people will begin to ask questions then." He smiled as his son nodded compliantly. "Good. When you come back for Christmas break weíll have a surprise for you, I think youíll like it." He wore a wicked grin now, and Draco really didnít care to find out what his Father considered a good surprise. "Well letís go then, wouldnít want you to miss the train." Lucious pushed his chair back and was followed out by his wife, son and chauffeur, who picked up Dracoís trunk and carried it out to the car.
The ride to the station was much like the ride home from it, except for the fact that the car didnít lurch quite so much as they werenít in any rush. No one spoke during the ride, Draco stared out the window watching the cars ride by.
Finally they pulled up to the front of the station, the chauffeur got out quickly to get Draco a trolley for his trunk. Draco was about to get out as well when his Father snatched at his arm, none of his strength had diminished with his wounds as his hands bit into Dracoís wrist. His eyes narrowed and his voice became very stern, "Remember what I said!" he released Draco roughly which sent him back a pace and out of the car. He stared into his Fatherís cold and warning eyes, he tried to give back the same uncaring glare, but in truth he was a little frightened now. He turned at the approach of the chauffeur with his trunk and left without another glance.
The station was crowded with people and Draco had to hurry to make sure that he caught the train. As he approached the barrier to platform nine and three quarters he looked over each shoulder and then passed straight through. The platform was filled with families saying goodbye to their children, some for a few months, others for the year. Draco thought that it would have been nice to have a family that cared enough to come and say goodbye, but he was glad his own parents had decided not too.
He went to the very rear of the train with his trunk and sat in the farthest compartment. He had not yet seen any of the people heíd dreaded, but as he was stowing his luggage the compartment door opened and a very large Crabbe and Goyle entered, cramping the once spacious room. It seemed that Durmstang may have had a rigid remedial academic program but their physical education was a little lacking. Draco stared at the two boys who hadnít moved from the doorway, vacant expressions on their faces, "Well sit down or get out!" They were used to his harsh words and the commanding manner in which he spoke to them, and they obeyed his words as if they had never left.
Draco sat down on the opposite bench and took out the potions book heíd bought in Diagon Alley. He was about to start to read a chapter that had quite intrigued him when something caught his eye outside the window. He looked to his left and watched the students on the platform. There, almost directly in front of him, was Harry and his Weasley friends. They were all talking and laughing, all except Harry. He seemed reserved as he said his goodbyes to the two Weasley parents and Percy. He turned around to board the train and his vision darted up to the window in which Draco was staring. Seeing Draco, his eyes narrowed and his face was flooded with the same anger that he had worn on Saturday night. Draco swallowed a growing lump in his throat and sat back in his chair, feeling worse than ever now and forgetting everything that had happened to him after heíd left the pitch. He lowered his head onto his chest, embarrassed again by what he had done.
He could hear his two friends starting to eat across from him, snorting and grunting as they stuffed their faces, laughing at things humorous to a first year. Draco ran his hand through his hair once more, this was going to be a long ride.
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