Chapter 1 : Snatchers, Goblins and Dead People
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Dean waved his wand and the last of the earth flew into the hole. He leaned down and placed his hand on the earth that covered Ted’s grave.
“Bye Ted,” he said softly, and then looked over at the other, almost identical grave, “Bye Dirk.” He felt the tears burning the back of his eyes, but refused to let any fall. He would just have to learn to endure.
The graves weren’t half as grand or nice as they should have been, as the dead men deserved. Someday, if – no, when - Harry defeated You-Know-Who, Dean could come back and make the graves nicer, grander.
He looked over at Griphook, who was holding his friend’s body. Before he could speak, Griphook shook his head.
“We do not bury our dead as you do. Those goblins who worked at Gringotts are burned, and their ashes are placed in our last vault,” he said, standing up and gently putting Gornuk’s body down. He walked away without another word, and came back with an armful of firewood.
Together Dean and Griphook built up a base for a fire, and Dean lit it with his wand. Griphook picked up Gornuk’s body and gently placed it on the fire. Together they watched it burn.
When ashes began to form, Dean Transfigured a blade of grass into a jar and Griphook began shovelling the ashes inside. The two of them stayed like that for a while, one standing still and the other scooping ashes out of the fire.
Noises came out of the woods suddenly, several pairs of feet running over the ground. Whoever was running was very close. Dean’s head turned towards the noise, and he looked at Griphook, but the goblin was intent on his task. The jar was three quarters full.
When three men came out of the forest, Dean grabbed Griphook’s arm and tried to tug him across the glade, but he resisted, his long fingers scooping at twice the speed now, occasionally spilling some ash. Dean watched him desperately, but when it became clear he wasn’t going to come, he sent a jinx flying towards the man nearest to them. The purple light missed and went wide, hitting an old oak tree which promptly began wobbling as if it were made of jelly. Dean sent two more spells flying at him, and one of his curses found its mark, paralysing the big man.
He turned his head quickly to see Griphook screwing the lid of the jar on, and grabbed his arm. Griphook managed to put the jar down and then, off balance, allowed himself to be towed almost halfway across the clearing before regaining the use of his legs. As Dean began to think they might have a chance of escaping, Griphook was hit by a jinx and fell down motionless. He quickly performed the counter-jinx, but by then two other men had come out of the other side of the forest and surrounded the pair of them.
As they were bound, Dean watched as one man went over to the fire and kicked it, sending sparks flying everywhere. Then he used aguamenti on the various smouldering heaps and put the fire out completely. He wanted to smack himself. Of course the smoke from the fire would have attracted the attention of everyone. He’d been so stupid.
As they were dragged out of the clearing, Dean looked back at the graves. He was just in time to see the jar rolling away, the top nearly undone.
It was dark inside the tent, and cold, and damp, and miserable. Dean had only been here a couple of hours, and already he hated the place. It stank too, for what it was worth. Dean thought it probably wasn’t worth much.
“Griphook?” he asked. Griphook had been unresponsive so far. Dean’s guess was that he’d been knocked out. Well, that’s what he hoped. He was refusing to consider the alternative now. He was enduring.
An hour or so passed, in relative quiet. The Snatchers had gone out to eat. Dean wondered if they’d feed him. Where were they taking him?
The sound of stirring came from Griphook. “Hello?” he said.
“Yeah,” Dean said morosely. “They caught us.” Griphook only snorted at that and muttered something quietly in Gobbledegook. Dean didn’t think he wanted to know what he said.
“Griphook?” he asked quietly.
“Why are we alive? I mean, they killed Ted and Dirk and Gornuk, didn’t they? So why not us?” In truth, Dean was scared. Were those men going to torture them for information or something? Looking at them, he wouldn’t have been surprised if those were their intentions.
“I don’t think they wanted to kill Gornuk – he was a goblin, they would have wanted to take him back to Gringotts for a reward. They will want to do that for me, and they will probably take you to Hogwarts for a reward. You are still of Hogwarts age, yes?” Griphook asked. The facts sounded bald and horrible when he said it like that, but Dean couldn’t fault his logic.
When the Snatchers came back, they didn’t feed Dean. It wasn’t so bad now, but he knew the hunger would get worse later. They left the two of them alone mainly, but sometimes they threw the occasional punch or slap their way. Dean wouldn’t let himself cry out. Endure, he told himself. How long would they be kept here? Was this really only the first day?
He watched them, and to his horror he learned that the leader was called Greyback. Everyone had heard of Fenrir Greyback. Dean sent the night restlessly. He was unable to find a comfortable position to lie in, and the growling hunger in his belly just got worse and worse.
The next morning, when Dean woke up after a night of tossing and turning, the atmosphere in the dingy tent was somehow lighter. All five of the Snatchers were huddled around something, all of them sniggering.
Fenrir Greyback broke away from the group and stalked towards Dean and Griphook. Griphook flinched away ever so slightly, making Greyback grin. His teeth looked sharp. As he moved closer Dean could smell the reek coming off him, but refused to cringe away from him. If what Griphook had said was true, and it did make sense, then he wasn’t in very much danger. Was he?
“Read this,” Greyback told him. Dean could hear the rough amusement in his voice. What was going on? Greyback held up that day’s edition of the Daily Prophet at the very last page. Greyback dropped it on the ground. If he craned his neck and squinted, Dean could just read the article Greyback had pointed out to him.
Three Muggleborns, Two Goblins
The Ministry can announce to the Wizarding World the disappearance and probable deaths of three Muggleborns and two goblins. The five had been on the ru, attempting to escape Ministry justice. Those dead are thought to be Dirk Cresswell (formerly Head of the Goblin Liason Office), Ted Tonks, Dean Thomas, and Griphook and Gornuk the goblins. Their campsite was found late last night, with no bodies found yet.
By ridding ourselves of Muggleborns one by one, we continue to improve the Wizarding World and make it a place to live happily, without the poisonous effect they have on us.
Dean felt sick to his stomach. Was it really like this now? The writer seemed happy to announce their ‘deaths’. Dean cast his eye quickly over the rest of the page. All of the articles were in line with the one he’d read, announcing the deaths of Muggles, runaway witches and wizards, Muggleborns like himself. As Dean read through the articles quickly, he realised they all had the same conclusion. By ridding ourselves of Muggleborns one by one, we continue to improve the Wizarding World and make it a place to live happily, without the poisonous effect they have on us. Was the world really like that now? And people actually agreed with this? This attitude made it sound like Voldemort had taken over completely! Dean hoped that wasn’t the case – it didn’t bode well for his chances of survival. Or Griphook’s.
“Well?” Griphook asked impatiently. “What did he show you?”
“Um,” Dean said eloquently. “They – they published an article.”
“Newsflash – your newspaper has published an article.”
“No, I mean, it was an article about us,” Dean said, feeling numb. Was the world really like that now?
“And what did it say?” Griphook sighed.
“It said we were dead.”
“We are dead?” Griphook asked with blatant disbelief.
Dean shook his head, trying to concentrate on what was happening now. “No, it, um, talked about all of us. All five of us.”
“And according to the Daily Prophet all five of us are dead?”
Dean craned his neck and squinted to look at the article again. “It says the ‘disappearance and probable deaths’.”
“But look, this doesn’t make sense – you’d think the bit about them supposedly killing us would be the attention - grabber at the front, not the tiny insignificant article at the back.” Dean felt a tiny flare of hope. Maybe the world isn’t like the article says.
“No.” Well, Griphook certainly wasn’t one to soften his words. “Think about it. You are merely a Muggleborn,” he continued, ignoring Dean’s half - outraged, half - indignant look. “And I am merely a goblin. An article about us has nothing on an article about, say, the Hunt for Harry Potter, does it?”
Dean thought about it. He couldn’t fault Griphook’s logic. Plus there were so many killings and disappearances these days that he could hardly expect one article to be above the rest.
Well, the upside to this was that nobody he knew would bother reading the Daily Prophet cover to cover anyway, even when it actually published half – decent articles, so his ‘probable death’ might not reach the ears of his family and friends. He hoped not. His family would be devastated. But his mother and all four of his sisters were Muggles; unless someone contacted them after reading the article, they wouldn’t know. Dean relaxed a bit.
His thoughts moved back to his family. His Mum, lovely Holly, pert Chloe, spirited Jodie and tiny, vague Niamh. The thought of them brought him comfort. He could imagine Jo climbing the big tree in the back garden and trying to shake leaves down on Niamh, who hardly even noticed anyway, so poor Mum had to spend more time than ever taking the leaves out of Niamh’s hair so she didn’t clog up the drain when she showered. And Hollie would always try to get Jo in before the sun set, but Jo insisted on leading her on a dance through the backyard. Dean used to run after her, pretending to be winded so she had time to dance ahead, giggling like someone possessed, until he caught her and tickled her until she squealed ‘like a stuck pig’, Chloe always said.
Merlin he missed them, even Chloe, whose snarky comments and sarcastic comebacks had made her many enemies of the adults on the street.
He hoped that one day, when Harry defeated Voldemort, they could live in a world where they’d be safe.
My quote for the challenge was “You’d think the bit about them supposedly killing us would be the attention-grabber,” so I did add a bit but the original quote was left intact.
I’m still not fully satisfied with the ending, but as always, your thoughts and comments would be much appreciated – *hint hint* Please?
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