Chapter 1 : Prologue
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Hermione sighed, turned over in bed and pulled the covers over her head. The bangs and crashes from down the stairs diminished slightly, however they still intruded. Growling she rolled over again intending to pull her pillows on top of her head, to fully block the noises, instead she felt herself falling and crashed to the floor. The noises from down stairs stopped immediately, shock telling in the deafening silence. Hermione smiled sleepily to herself and reached up with one hand pulling her pillows to the floor with her, within seconds she was asleep again.
Down the stairs two brilliant red heads were turned to each other in shock. No one was supposed to be home yet as the rest of the family were scheduled to be on holiday for another two weeks. When they had arrived early that morning a quick scan of the building had revealed no heart beats and no danger. The twins' faces turned grim and in unison they pointed their wands towards the stairs. Hearts beating at a maximum the jokers of the Weasely family turned very serious. They advanced without words, soft whispering steps avoiding creaking stairs with care born of experience. At the top they glanced at each other and proceeded in opposite directions, wands pointed ahead of them shield spells ready formed; needing just a trigger word; on the end of their tongues. Bodies held loose ready to duck and roll if need be their whispering steps showed their systematic passage down the twisting halls. Pausing by every door they thoroughly checked each room, as the progressed they were far enough apart to realise that they couldn’t go to each others aid nor expect any back up, used to working together this made the two young wizards nervous and more than ever on their guard.
Oblivious to the approach Hermione turned in her sleep, snuggled deeply beneath the covers only the very top of her head showing.
Fred reached the end of the corridor he had been following and reached a steady hand to the doorknob. His body positioned behind the frame, he slowly and silently turned the handle, willing the door to open without noise. Perspiration glistened on his forehead as the door swayed quietly open showing nothing but the pitch black of the room it led to. He took a steadying breath, pulling his hand back out of range as he did so. Fred repositioned himself, his eyes gradually adapting to the dark he could see, staying low he slipped into the room, pressing against the wall in a bid to make a small a target as possible. Wand pointed ahead of him but with his hand held close to his body he slowly worked his way around the room, taking slow, tiny sidesteps allowing his eyes to blur at the edges taking in the whole room, determinately not focusing on one object. He had learnt the hard way that to do so was to leave yourself open to attack. He reached the far wall and allowed himself to breath a little more freely, however didn’t relax his guard. His eyes now adjusted as well as human eyes could to the darkness he was submerged in, the nothingness no longer suffocating him, his wide gaze took in a small bench and a crumpled pile next to it. He glowered at his mistake. This had been hidden behind the door, if it had been dangerous he would have been dead. Dropping to a crouch he continued to sidestep round the room, careful not to become so focused on the huddle before him that he forget the rest of the room. His heart rate dropped and breathing slowed as he slipped into well-worn patterns of movement, his body remembering even when his mind was running through different scenarios, different reasoning, and different outcomes. He paused several feet from the pile lying on the floor, just out of grabbing range if he would take someone by surprise. Deciding he could risk some faint light, Fred allowed the trigger word to slip past his lips feeling the defensive structure he had created slip over him, as this settled he waved his hand and a gently glowing orb of light floated just above it.
Hermione froze, tiny sounds filtering through her sleeping state. Training kicked in and she had her wand in hand full awake in seconds, slitting her eyes she feigned sleep and rolled on her side. The soft glow of light reassured her, but only minutely, those of evil constitution thought it a waste of time to learn that spell but it wasn’t unheard of. The bleed of colours in the room slowly formed into images. There was a person crouched defensively out of arms reach, his wand loosely held in a steady hand, a flicker of pearlescance moving occasionally over his body. Hermione was not deceived by his relaxed hand or submissive defensive position. This was a man on edge, fully alert and experienced in these situations. She focused on his face, knowing a glimpse of his eyes would tell her of his intentions. They stared out of his face, a blank grey barely reaveling his pupils, no emotions showing and looking neither left or right. She searched her mind for a suitable swear word, and came up blank, as she did so snaps of information fused together in her overworked brain. She drew in a sharp breath as realisation slammed into her. “Fred?” She croaked in disbelief her voice hoarse from lack of use and dehydration. She swallowed feeling her bruised throat protest at the movement, “Fred Weasely? I was told you were dead.”