Chapter 7 : 6- The Game Begins
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As Harry made his way towards the stadium entrance he saw Dawlish, Albert and the Minister for Magic, Kingsley Shacklebolt, his bright purple robes flowing in the summer breeze and his dark, bald head gleaming in the bright sun. Alongside them, with slightly shorter robes compared to Kingsley and neatly cut, bright ginger hair, was the weedy looking Senior Undersecretary and Harry’s brother-in-law, Percy Weasley; all of whom seemed to be waiting for him.
“I still don’t understand, Kaman, why you three are my security.” Kingsley asked to Albert as Harry finally reached them. “It all seems a little much, don’t you think?”
“Hetlim’s idea.” Albert replied with a sigh. “He demanded we had at least three Chief ranking Aurors as your security. But, hey-ho, no point complaining about spilt fire-whiskey when there’s a fresh bottle of it in the Minister’s box; shall we?” And Albert led the way towards the Ministers box.
As they made their way up the carpeted stairs, they heard the announcement for all campers to take their place in the stands and by the time they reached the purple velvet lined Ministers’ box, Harry was surprised at how quickly the stadium was filling up. Harry took his position next to Kingsley with Albert and Dawlish next to each other at the other end of the box. After nearly forty-five minutes the stadium was packed with thousands of Wizards and Witches from all over the world, all of whom were waiting for the match to begin.
Nearly an hour later, what looked like fireworks burst from different sides of the pitch but when the jets of orange light reached the top of the stadium, they exploded with the sound of canon fire and the players of the Chudley Cannons each appeared from the centre of the sparks. They flew into the centre of the stadium where they collided with each other but instead of there being a thud and falling Quidditch players, they exploded with another loud canon like explosion and a cloud of orange smoke and fire.
With roars of screams and applauds, the seven players of the Chudley Canons dived out from of the flames and went to their side of the pitch, the bright orange members of the audience chanting their team on.
But before the flames could go out, seven dark green blurs zoomed through them and the Holy Head Harpies nose-dived towards the ground and back up again. When they reached about half way up the stadium, what looked like green mist began to stream from their brooms and after completing a variety of complex barrel-roles, summersaults and other choreographed manoeuvres, the huge crowd watched as the female team posed in front of a giant, green mist-made Harpy. The smoky green beast screeched loudly at the opposing team and encouraged what seemed to be mostly female fans to applaud and cheer.
“Ladies and gentlemen!” Said the commentator with the help of a magically enhanced voice. “Welcome to the Two Thousand and Seven British and Irish Quidditch League Final between the Chudley Cannons,” There was a loud cry of applause from the Chudley Cannon supporters. “And the Holy Head Harpies!” Again there was a thunderous applause which included Harry who was given a look by Albert who seemed amused by Harry’s reaction to his wife’s team.
“Playing for the Chudley Cannons,” Continued the commentator. “The Chasers; Eric Daywin, Roger Davies and Randolph Burrow. The Beaters; Rodney Alemen and Darren Chan. Their Keeper, Reginald Yenix and their Captain and Seeker, Christopher Carton.” After each name was announced there was either a cheer from the fans or boos from their opposition.
“Playing for the Holy Head Harpies, the Chasers; Harriet Denwood, Tanya Herald and Ginny Potter. The Beaters; Kara Hunting, and Captain, Louise Alder. Their Keeper, Alice Trotman and their Seeker, Lucinda Lavender.” As the Holy Head Harpies supporters showed their apperception for their team, the two captains flew to the centre of the pitch and shook hands.
As soon as the captains returned to their positions, the Quidditch ref released the Quaffle, the Bludgers and the tiny golden Snitch. “And they’re off!” Yelled the commentator as the fourteen players leapt into action. “And it’s Denwood with the Quaffle. Denwood passes to Herald. Dodges a Bludger by Alemen. She’s going for the goal and – what a save by Yenix!”
Harry joined in with the applaud and noticed Albert, Percy and even Kingsley breathe a sigh of relief at the Chaser’s failure. Dawlish, Harry noticed, seemed too busy focusing on the audience below to pay attention to the match, most likely keeping an eye out for signs of trouble amongst the rabble.
“And it’s Daywin with the Quaffle. Daywin passes to- oh and what an intercept by Potter. And it’s Potter with the Quaffle. She dodges Burrow. Dodges a Bludger by Chan. She’s going for the shot and... It’s in! Ginny Potter scores the first goal of the match and it’s Ten-Nil to the Holy Head Harpies!” And Harry felt elated at his wife’s achievement and watched as she flew around the stadium, punching the air in celebration as the stadium was filled with deafening chants of “Potter! Potter! Potter!”
Harry continued to watch the incredible match in front of him and could just imagine Teddy’s reaction to the match, who would be listening to the match via the Wireless back at Harry’s house.
“It’s Davies with the Quaflle.” The Announcer commentated after nearly an hour of play. “Davies passes to Daywin and – Ouch! And a nicely aimed Bludger by Alder and it’s Denwood with the Quaflle. She dodges Davies. She dodges Burrow. She’s going for the team’s ninth goal and...” But Harry never heard whether Harriet Denwood made the shoot or not as he was distracted by a vibrating, whistling sound from the Mokeskin pouch that hung round his neck. His Sneakoscope.
Harry turned around to try and find the source of the disturbance. But before he could react to what he saw, Dawlish had drawn his wand and had pointed it at Albert.
“Avada Kedavra!” Harry heard the rough voice say and a jet of bright green light shot from Dawlish’s wand and hit Albert, who had turned at the draw of Dawlish’s wand, squarely in the chest.
“NO!” Harry shouted, but before either Harry or Dawlish could do anything else, Kingsley had jumped between them and shouted “Stupify!” The spell hit Dawlish full in the face and he crashed to the floor with a thud.
Screams that clearly had nothing to do with the match emitted from of the crowd directly below the Ministers box and when Harry looked down from the box’s balcony, he saw a crowd of distressed people all backing away from one hooded man who had his wand pointing directly at Harry.
Harry instinctively threw himself to one side, dodging the jet of green light the man had sent at him. But before Harry could retaliate to the man’s attack, his heart sank as the entire stadium trembled violently and a giant, fiery explosion erupted from the south side of the stadium. Shouts of anguish and fear had now replaced those of excitement and joy as smoke and fire spun into the air from the smouldering hole where a large number of Quidditch spectators once sat.
Harry had no time to think, he jumped over the balcony and into the audience’s stand forcing the hooded man to turn and run. Harry chased after him hearing the commentator announce “Will everyone please exit the stadium immediately!”
Harry forced his way through the scared crowd, dodging and deflecting hexes and curses sent by the man he was chasing but too afraid to retaliate for fear of hitting one of those around him. Harry pursued him towards one of the main exits which, thanks to the sight of a man firing curses everywhere heading towards it, was surprisingly clear.
Harry heard the man cry “Descendo” and the exit doors began to fall.
“Finite!” A deep, commanding voice cried out and Harry turned to see both Kingsley and Percy tailing him, their wands drawn.
Harry had to duck his head to miss the door where it had stopped falling and made it into the long corridor just in time to see the man turn the corner out of sight. But before Harry could continue the chase, Kingsley and Percy appeared through the door behind him.
“Kingsley, you shouldn’t be here-”
But Harry was interrupted by “Ours was a dud. We need to go now!” And the unmistakable crash and bangs of duelling followed the warning. Harry ran full pelt round the corner, towards the noise and arrived just in time to see the man’s hood fall, revealing his stubbly square face, as he wrapped his muscular arm around a disarmed Emily’s throat.
Naomi and two others, whom Harry knew to be Rowan and Ashley, were lying motionless on the floor.
“It’s all over, Potter!” The man shouted.
“Relash-” Harry started, pointing his wand. But it was too late. The man had Disapparated, along with Emily.
Percy stood there, aghast at what had just happened. “I thought you couldn’t Disapparate here.” He said as Kingsley and Harry ran towards the fallen. Harry went straight towards Naomi.
“Naomi.” He said, checking her pulse. And Harry felt a pang of relief as he felt a weak pulse from her neck. “She’s alive.” He said before noticing the blood oozing rapidly from her head. “Percy, help me.” Harry asked as Kingsley turned to the pair of them.
“Well that’s better then what happened to these two. They’re both dead.”
The sound of the evacuating Qudditch audience echoed throughout the stadium and Harry looked at Kingsley and said “I'm going back out, look after Naomi.” Kingsley nodded his approval and Harry left Naomi with Percy and Kingsley and ran off towards the grounds.
As he made his way outside, Harry watched as the Law Enforcers attempted to control and calm down the terrified crowd. The Aurors, he suspected, would be at the explosion site or else fighting more of these- but who were they? Death Eaters, Harry thought as he ran towards the destroyed part of the arena. He ran past as Law Enforcers, a hand full of Aurors, among whom included Susan Bones and Terry Boot, and what looked like dozens of volunteers helping a field full injured people. Ginny and Luna were among the volunteers along with many other of the Quidditch players. He had to carry on though, to find out what had happened to the other Aurors.
Just by the outside of the wreckage, which looked no better than the inside of the arena, he saw a group of about five Aurors surrounding what looked like an unconscious body with dark red hair. For one horrible second he thought of Ron, but was calmed by the sight of him at the head of the injured man.
“Harry!” Ron said as he saw him, sweat and soot smothering his face. “What happened, there are reports of a Killing Curse. Who was..?” Ron’s question faded and Harry felt a lead weight land on his chest as he realized just what had happened in the short time period.
“Albert. He was cursed by Dawlish. Then I gave chase to a man who tried to kill me, he ended up killing two Law Enforcers, knocked Naomi unconscious and...” Harry had to really think about what had happened next and how he was going to break it to Ron.
“And what?” Ron asked, the rest of the Aurors listening intently.
“He kidnapped Emily. I'm sorry, Ron.” The other Aurors stared at each other in shock and if Ron hadn’t of looked horrified before, he was now and he scathed angrily at the figure on the floor.
“This,” He said through gritted teeth. “Is the bastard who did that.” He indicated towards the smouldering wreckage. “I saw him running towards one of his mates, but when I intercepted him, his backup took off. But not before setting the Dark Mark off first though. Still, I was able to get this git.” Harry looked up sharply, expecting to see the skull staring back at him with a snake slithering from the mouth.
“Don’t worry, Harry.” Phillipa said. “I got rid of it as soon as we started rescuing people from the rubble. But at least we now know we’re dealing with Death Eaters; or Death Eater sympathisers at any rate.”
At that moment, Susan Bones came running up towards them, her long brown hair and robes covered in dirt and blood and said, slightly out of breath “The Healers have arrived, and not too soon I dare say.”
“How many are confirmed dead?” Phillipa asked coolly.
“Forty. And a hundred plus injured including the Supreme Mugwump. Is there anyone else in there?” Susan asked, almost fearing the answer.
“Anthony’s gone back in to check.” Ron said still not taking his eyes of the man responsible for the deaths. “Gawain’s with him, I told them to send word if there was.” And Susan ran back to assist the Healers, along with some of the other Aurors that were with them that Phillipa had told to go with her, when a short, young looking Wizard approached them and Harry recognized him to be one of the Law Enforcers.
“Derek says he’s found something you need to see and to bring at least another Auror with you.” The young man said to Harry, mechanically.
“Okay. Ron, you coming?” Harry asked and Ron finally tore his gaze away from the unconscious man.
“Huh, uh yeah. Phillipa, would you mind...?” He asked indicating the man.
Phillipa nodded, pointed her wand at him and said clearly “Pertrificus Totalus. Mobilicorpus.” And the man both froze and levitated a few inches off the ground but, as he did so, something spherical and apparently heavy, from the sound it made as it landed on the floor, fell from his robes.
“Hang on.” Ron said upon seeing the object. He picked it up. “Anyone know what this is?” He gave the fist-sized orb to Harry to examine. While its outer shell appeared blue at first glance, as Harry peered deeper into the centre of it he noticed a multiple number of colours swirling hypnotically within.
“Doesn’t look familiar. We’ll have it examined back at the Ministry.” Harry pocketed it and resumed to follow the young Law Enforcer, leaving Phillipa to take the Death Eater back to the Ministry.
The young man Harry and Ron were following remained quiet throughout their walk and seemed, somehow, distracted. “Hey,” Harry said quietly. “Rowan and Ashley. Did you know them?” The man nodded sadly and Harry put a hand on his shoulder. “I’m sorry.” The man nodded and showed his acknowledgment of Harry’s sympathy. Ron then saw it fit to change the subject.
“What I don't get is how they were able to Disapparate. I mean, that bloke I got to wasn’t able to but his mate was still within the range of the enchantments yet was still able to scarper as soon as he saw his partner was in trouble.” Ron gave a small snort of laughter. “Really shows how much they look out for each other.”
And then a thought came to Harry so suddenly that he stopped. The man he was chasing had shouted out to a fellow that “Theirs was a dud” and that it was “Time to go.” But who? And even if it had just been a, quite frankly, stupid attempt at throwing the Aurors off how many people were there, now that he thought about it there was no way that one man could have killed two Law Enforcers, injured Naomi and disarmed Emily in that short a time-frame. Unless the accomplice had Disaparated before Harry had arrived, but he could not recall the loud popping sound of Disapparition among the sounds of duelling.
A horrible thought approached Harry on this. What if there had been another there but Harry hadn’t realized it at the time. What if that person was undercover and either- Harry’s heart gave a sickening thud at the thought- needed to return with the others or- his heart gave an even more of a sickening beat at this thought- had been injured by one of the Enforcers during the fight. Harry broke into a run, ignoring the shocked remarks of Ron and the Law Enforcer, towards the place where he had left Naomi with the Minister for Magic.
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