Chapter 10 : The Night Starts Here
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The scary part, the aftershock, the moment it takes to fall apart
The time we have, the task at hand, the love it takes to destroy a man
“The Night Starts Here”—Stars
“So…what now?” Ron asked.
“We make the best of our stay here.” Hermione replied.
Together, they walked up the creaking stairs and to the old, cobweb infested drawing room.
“It’s getting late.” Harry said, observing the little thin piece of outside sky that could be seen between the wall and the curtain.
“Can we all sleep here?” Hermione asked sheepishly. “I really don’t want another encounter like the one downstairs.”
“Didn’t you say there was nothing else here?” Ron inquired.
“There are no humans here apart from us.” Hermione corrected. “But there could very well still be more surprises waiting for us…”
“Let’s just stay here.” breathed Harry heavily.
Harry walked around and noticed the only comfortable space to sleep on were to couches, one of them would have to sleep on the floor.
“I’ll do the floor.” Ron sighed.
“No, Ron I can take the floor its fine.” Harry argued.
“I’ll take the floor.” Ron repeated firmly.
Before Harry could give in, he felt a sharp pain in his scar.
“What’s wrong?” Hermione asked concernedly.
“Nothing.” Harry said trying to sound convincing.
“That was a rhetorical question,” Hermione retorted. “What did you see?”
“Was he attacking the Burrow?” Ron asked worriedly.
“I didn’t see anything and no Ron your family is okay.” Harry said annoyingly. “I’m hoping you packed toothbrushes in that bag of wonders of yours?”
Hermione silently retrieved three toothbrushes from a tiny compartment in her bag.
“Thank you.” said Harry stiffly as he grabbed his. “I’ll be back.”
Hermione watched as Harry retreated to the bathroom, knowing he was lying to her.
“He’s lying.” She muttered.
“I agree.” Ron nodded. “So, now can we send word to the others that we’re safe?”
“I reckon so.” Hermione said.
“How are we going to do that? Hedwig’s been missing for a while.” Ron reminded.
“I think I have a more discrete way.” said Hermione pulling out a book from her bag.
Ron walked around and his attention was caught by a radio underneath the side table next to the couch. It was a wireless wizarding radio, not unlike one he had seen in his father’s shed.
“Hey!” he exclaimed. “Look at this!”
Hermione looked up from her book and walked over to Ron.
“This is a wireless wizarding radio.” Ron explained. “My dad has one, actually showed me how to work it. They’re not really popular because they can be unreliable sometimes.”
Ron worked with the front knob of the radio, which only emitted a high pitched static noise from it.
“Yeah, well turn it off.” Hermione winced. “It doesn’t seem to be working.”
“Hang on.” said Ron frowning as he heard a human voice amongst the static. “I think I got something.”
“It comes as no shock that I am announcing this, we few who have been really aware of our surroundings knew it was a long time coming.” said a grave voice. “The ministry has completely fallen under the reign of he-who-must-not-be-named. Minister of Magic Rufus Scrigmour was found dead late in the afternoon.”
Ron and Hermione exchanged worried looks as Harry joined them.
“Along with this news, I must warn people to be vigilant. Death Eaters have been going all around and are attacking known wizarding families whose allegiance is not to them. Fight hard, but fight smart and if Mr. Harry Potter is hearing us now, know that we are on your side. This is the last message I will be able to send out for a long time, if it all. Good night, and let’s put on a fight.”
A few seconds later, the static retuned to its high frequency.
“They’re attacking families?” Ron repeated shakily.
“Ron, don’t worry I’m sure---”
But whatever Hermione was sure of, they did know, for a silvery patronus came through the window and swirled until it formed into a weasel.
“Family safe, do not reply, we are being watched.”
And with that, the patronus vanished.
“They’re safe.” Ron repeated still in disbelief. “What the hell is going on out there?!”
“We’ll find out tomorrow.” Hermione reassured.
“Right…I’ll be back.” said Harry, trying his hardest to fight the pain on his scar that had resurfaced again.
Harry rushed to the bathroom and locked himself inside. He had only just made it as he felt an overwhelming surge of pain that left him blinded. He could tell Voldemort was angry, he was livid. Somehow, he found himself not in the Black’s bathroom but in what he could tell was Hermione’s house. He was looking down at Dolohov and Rowe who were both quaking in fear.
“You mean to tell me, that you let a filthy mudblood outsmart me?” Harry felt his mouth say.
“We were sure they would be here.” said Dolohov nervously.
“Well they aren’t are they? And there is no trace of them.” said Voldemort icily. “You two just cost me some very valuable information, and you will pay for it.”
Harry felt his hand rise and lock all the doors as he easily took both Rowe’s and Dolohov’s wands from their limp hands.
“If you cost me a valuable muggle, you’ll die an insignificant one.” He uttered before he conjured up flames and apparated away.
Harry panted as he came back to reality, he was back in the Black bathroom, drenched in sweat and shaking. He was having visions again, and he knew it was a bad sign.
“Harry?” He heard Hermione ask from the outside.
“I need to use the bathroom.” She said sheepishly.
Harry tried his hardest to muster up strength and got up to wash his face in the sink. The last thing he wanted was for Hermione to badger him and tell him stuff he already knew.
“Sorry.” Harry apologized as he resurfaced from the bathroom.
“It’s okay.” Hermione assured him.
Harry gave Hermione a look which must have come across as a pitying look. She had no idea that Voldemort had burned down her house. He didn’t know how he’d ever have the heart to tell her, but he knew he had to eventually.
“What?” Hermione asked curiously.
“Nothing.” Harry said shaking his head. “I’m going to bed.”
Harry walked to one of the couches. Hermione had already taken out the sleeping bags for the tree of them. Ron was already settling down to sleep.
“You all right mate?” he asked once Harry lay on the couch underneath a sleeping bag.
“Yeah.” Harry muttered.
Harry watched distractedly as Ron settled into his sleeping bag on the floor, in the middle between the two couches. He hated that he had regained the ability to see through Voldemort’s eyes, especially when he had destroyed the house of one of his closest friends. Hermione had done well in protecting her parents in the way she did. It was obvious to him now, that Hermione knew exactly what they were up against. At least more than he thought he did. If she hadn’t sent her parents away, they would’ve died. Harry didn’t know what hurt more, the fact that Voldemort were still using his loved ones as pawns or the fact that Hermione knew the dangers she was getting herself into by coming along with him.
“Harry?” Hermione’s voice said out of the blue.
“Oh, sorry I was—“
“Yeah I know lost in thought.” Hermione finished for him. “I was just saying goodnight.”
“Oh, right.” Harry smiled.
They were both startled by a loud snore signaling that Ron had already fallen asleep.
“Nothing can ever get between him and a good night’s sleep can it?” Hermione mused, looking down at Ron.
“I wish that would be the case for me.” Harry said enviously.
“Yeah…well goodnight Harry.” Hermione smiled.
The night moved on slowly, at least it did for Harry who was having a hard time sleeping. Despite what had taken place earlier, he was not in the least bit tired. Instead he was wide-awake and finding himself counting the ceiling tiles for the umpteenth time. He rolled over to look at his friends. Ron was fast asleep, with his mouth wide open. Harry was jealous that he could sleep so soundly. Then, he looked over to Hermione and was startled to see her wide-awake too. Even with his poor vision, he could see that she looked troubled and he listened hard for the tell-tale sounds of crying.
“Hermione, are you okay?” Harry whispered.
Harry saw her immediately shut her eyes and turned around, her back facing him. He frowned in disappointment. The question had been rhertorical, for he knew she was not okay. She had witnessed death eaters conjure up the dark mark above her house. Of course she realized how right she was in sending her parents out of the country. She was the smartest witch of her age; she wasn’t called that for no reason. Her parents could’ve been and perhaps could still be in danger and Harry could not fathom what that had to feel like. Seeing he was not going to get a response from her, at least not yet, he got up and quietly made his way up the stairs.
Eventually, he stumbled across what had to be Sirius’s room because no other self-respecting Black would hang muggle posters on their walls or adorn them with Gryffindor paraphernalia. He looked around and took in all the past that was stored within the room. Sirius had not changed it while he had been in hiding in Grimmauld place. It stood as a shrine to his godfather and his rebellious nature. There was a picture of the marauders on the mantel piece in the room and Harry felt a pang of emotions as he saw the four boys. Two were now dead; one was living in a shadow of the past and the struggled that came along with being a werewolf. Another one was living as the puppet of Voldemort, a traitor that lived in fear that one day his master would finally dispose of him. The picture reminded Harry of his own friends. Would they be as misfortunate as the marauders had been? Would they all still be standing at the end of it all? The questions were too much to bear. He could not allow himself to think like this so early in the game.
The war had been officially waged. There was no denying it now. Tonight, it marked the beginning of it all. It was too late to back out now. Harry to do whatever it took to finally bring Voldemort down. There were no more practices left, no more advice from Dumbledore. It was time to face what he had been training for since the age of eleven. It would be naïve of him not to see it in that way. He had been born for a purpose and the time had finally come to fulfill it. What hurt him was the way he had unknowingly gotten other people involved. Ron was supposed to be with his family. As was Hermione. Instead, they had both deserted them all in the hopes of aiding their friend in something he may not be capable of handling. Harry knew he had a large support group. Yet, it still didn’t stop him from feeling mediocre. He still did not see the fairness in being given such a daunting task. He was just seventeen. He’s supposed to be having the time of his life with friends, not preparing for some horrible war that promised nothing but despair and death.
Anger rattled him as he kicked one of the supports of the bed. The anger was so intense, that he felt numb to the physical pain he had caused by kicking. He furiously wiped a few stray tears away as he sat on the dusty bed. Finally he was feeling the welcoming sensation of exhaustion. Without a second thought, he lied back on the bed and shut his eyes for a chance of a brief escape from what had become hell.
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