Chapter 2 : Petunia’s Fear
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Dudley paused in front of Harry’s door wondering if he should knock or just leave him be. He didn’t know if Harry had asked Mr. Weasley his question or if he had just said he would. It was his curiosity that kept him waiting in front of the door instead of heading down for breakfast.
When Harry had first come home, he had tried to not be in the same room as him until the notes written on parchment had been left on the kitchen table. His parents had refused to touch them and his mum even cleaned around them. He hadn’t touched them at first, but then he wondered why Harry was leaving them there and had picked one up to read it. The note itself was difficult to read in the odd-looking connected writing that he always had trouble reading, but he worked his way through the note. Then the next note and soon he understood why he left them out. He wanted them to know what was being planned.
Yet out of all the notes that he had read, there hadn’t been one sentence on what would happen to the Dursleys and that scared him. If what those people had said was true, then that creep would be really angry at them for keeping Harry safe for all these years. That was why he had finally asked Harry, but the protection things were about to end on Harry’s birthday and he still hadn’t heard back.
He took a deep breath and knocked.
Dudley chewed his lip as he considered. Perhaps Harry was still asleep since he usually didn’t come down until after Dudley had eaten his breakfast. His forehead wrinkled as he continued thinking. Didn’t Harry usually have nightmares? He was nearly positive that he hadn’t heard Harry cry out, which was unusual now that he thought about it. His head hurting, he knocked on the door again just a little bit louder.
Barely breathing, he put his hand on the door knob and twisted it, pushing open the door and stared in complete disbelief. Harry wasn’t there and the room was empty! He saw the neatly made bed, his old books and toys stacked neatly on the shelves and the desk top was clear with the chair tucked into the knee hole. The dresser was against the far wall and didn’t have the usual things of that stuff displayed on it. He didn’t know about the closet as the door was firmly shut. Harry’s owl wasn’t there to look at him disapprovingly and its cage was missing. There was no trunk and certainly nothing else of Harry’s in the room.
He rubbed his forehead as he tried to stop the pain as he peeked into Aunt Marge’s room, very unwillingly, but the room was also empty. Harry wasn’t there playing a joke on him. He began to get a very bad feeling in the pit of his stomach. Where was Harry?
His mother was at the stove cooking breakfast and turned to face him when he entered the kitchen. “Harry’s gone.” He said, still having difficulty believing it.
She looked at him in shock. “What do you mean he’s gone?”
He shook his head as he tried to think of the answer he wanted. “I guess he left sometime during the night because all his things are gone.” When his mother hurriedly left the kitchen, he groaned at not having breakfast.
Mrs. Dursley opened the door to Harry’s room and saw it was exactly as Dudley had described. Harry wasn’t there, not even a stray sock was left on the floor, though she privately admitted to herself that she hadn’t really looked in the room since finding that horrible mouse. She closed her eyes briefly at that memory, shuddering.
She sank onto the bed, putting her head in her hands. There were too many conflicting emotions. They didn’t need to deal with his freaky behavior anymore, yet even as she was about to forget about him, a small tendril of concern blossomed. What if it something had gone wrong? He hadn’t said anything but good-bye yesterday, but had he left with the people trying to protect them or not? Could the creep who had killed her sister have gotten to him somehow?
The doorbell interrupted her thoughts. Panic seized her when she realized that it was somehow those people wanting to see Harry. How would she explain his disappearance?
The doorbell sounded again. She tentatively looked through the peek hole to see one of her sister’s friends. At least, she thought she remembered him. She opened the door slowly to discover that he was waiting on the front step very patiently.
“Mrs. Dursley, you might not remember me, but my name is Remus Lupin and I’m here to speak with Harry.” He explained cordially.
She craned her neck around him to see who else was with him before looking at him with pale eyes. “He isn’t here,” she replied firmly. “It looks like he left during the night.”
“What do you mean that he isn’t here?” he frowned at her.
“He took everything of his with him!” Mrs. Dursley stepped back, holding her hands up as if to keep him away from her. “I swear!”
“May I see for myself?” he asked politely as he watched her lower her arms slowly. “I promise that I won’t stay long.”
She nodded once warily. “You know which room is his?”
“That would be the first bedroom up the stairs?” he asked with a small smile.
She stared at him with shock. “How did you…”
“Harry told us.” He answered quickly, choosing not to mention the false competition that the Dursleys had been sent to a couple years back. He waited until she stepped back to let him inside then made his way cautiously to Harry’s room. The door was still open and it was easy to see that it was empty. He sniffed and sighed. There was nothing.
“This is where Vernon’s sister usually stays,” she pointed to another room with an open door.
He walked into the room and looked around, wincing slightly at the decorations. Again he sniffed and sighed when he smelled nothing. “Thank you, I would appreciate it if you would keep this quiet. If you wish, I can let myself out.” He watched her nod slightly before hurrying away then he went back to Harry’s room to wait until the Dursleys had been taken to the safe house by Hestia Jones and Dedalus Diggle.
“Lupin,” a voice came from the mirror he was holding.
“Hestia?” he whispered, mindful of the open window.
“They’re safe.” She whispered.
“Good.” Lupin replied before putting the mirror back in his pocket. He waved his wand to gather any forgotten items before disappearing.
Lupin appeared with barely a whisper of a crack before hurrying to the door of the Burrow. He knew that everyone inside was waiting anxiously for news on the Dursleys for different reasons. He knocked on the door.
“Who’s there?” Arthur asked from behind the closed door.
“It’s Lupin,” he replied.
“What did we guard?” Arthur asked with his voice sounding more than a little muffled.
Lupin sighed, “The Prophecy.” He tried to open the door but it stayed closed.
“You have to ask my question!” Arthur insisted.
Lupin looked upwards for patience as he shook his head. “Who rescued you?”
“Harry Potter!” Arthur answered before finally opening the door and stepping back.
Lupin entered quickly, knowing that if the Death Eaters had followed him, there was an opening in the protection spells if they knew where to look. He noticed that most of the Weasleys had gathered along with Harry and Hermione. Most of the children were trying to keep from laughing while Harry looked exasperated.
“You have news on the Dursleys?” Molly asked, glancing worriedly at Harry.
Lupin nodded. “I take it someone collected Harry’s belongings overnight?” He looked at the twins who were staring innocently back at him. “Even if that wasn’t part of the plan, it helped. I double-checked to make sure nothing was left behind.”
“Then it went well?” Charlie asked.
“Petunia played her part well.” Lupin agreed. “The Death Eaters should believe that Harry is missing in action, as it were. Vernon and Dudley should be learning about the situation right now.”
“Hestia and Dedalus were able to get them out?” Arthur was concerned.
“They were.” Lupin answered. “I stayed in Harry’s room until Hestia mirrored me. Then I cast a charm to make certain nothing of Harry’s was left behind. Then I came straight here.” He turned to Harry. “Your relatives are safely hidden.”
Harry nodded, taking a deep breath as he followed the next part of the plan. “Number Four Privet Drive is no longer my home.” He felt funny as he spoke the formal words. The others around him looked nearly as discomfited.
The adults nodded grimly to each other, knowing that at this moment the Death Eaters would be searching the house for any clues.
Draco stood hidden under an Invisibility Cloak by one of the trees, watching the house. He was bored and didn’t see why anyone should have to watch the house given that there were protections on it until Potter’s seventeenth birthday. Out of idle curiosity, he had examined the spell for himself and couldn’t help but be amazed at the deviousness displayed by the former Headmaster because he hadn’t expected to see several protection spells and charms interwoven together.
He wasn’t paying attention when the spell broke and he held his breath in pain as it washed away from the house. Cautiously, he looked around to see if members from Professor Dumbledore’s group would step forward. When none did, he muttered a spell and was shocked to learn that only three people were by the house. What had happened? Where had they gone? Carefully, he pulled the cloak away from him and dropped it where he stood. He pulled out his wand and made his way to the front door which opened easily.
“Draco, what are you doing?” Theodore Nott demanded as he joined him. “He really lived here?” He ignored Nott as he continued to look around, opening doors and peering inside each room. “What are you doing?” Nott demanded again.
This time, Draco turned to him. “I’m looking for Potter and his relatives. Why don’t you go see if you can’t find Mulciber?” He watched as Nott paled before running out the back door. He turned back to his search. They had to be here because there was no way that he was going to tell the Dark Lord that Potter turned up missing while he was watching the house. Yet there was no sign of either Potter or his Muggle relatives in the house. Only one of the rooms was completely empty. He waved his wand and the room glowed for a moment.
“Where are they?”
Draco turned to see Nott and Mulciber standing in the doorway of Potter’s room. “They aren’t here. Go downstairs and see if you can’t find out why?” He watched with a sneer as they hurried to do his bidding and knew that they would leave no paper left unturned. He turned back to the room he was standing in. There was no denying that the house was empty and he wasn’t looking forward to telling the Dark Lord that fact without offering a suggestion as to why.
He tapped his wand against his leg as he considered what he’d seen since taking up his position today. The only change from the routine had been that visit from that professor. The Muggle had said something before he had entered the house, but a child’s screech of dismay had startled him and he had missed what had been said. No one had left through the front door, not even the professor.
It was evident that he had missed something very important, but what had it been? He knew now why the protection spell was gone. Potter no longer lived here, but where was he and when did he leave? Where and when did the Muggles disappear?
“Draco?” Mulciber was standing in the doorway, looking apprehensive.
“What?” Draco demanded impatiently then frowned at Mulciber. “You were closer to the front door than I was. What did that Muggle tell that professor?”
Mulciber looked at him with shock. “I think it was something about Potter missing.”
Draco closed his eyes for patience. “Precisely at what time were you going to report that piece of information?”
“That’s important?” Mulciber looked slightly confused.
Draco sighed. “Of course it’s important. Anything having to do with Potter is important!” He paused. “Who was on duty yesterday?”
“I think it was Theo’s father, Selwyn and Crabbe’s father.” Mulciber frowned as he replied.
“Are you certain?” Draco asked harshly.
Mulciber nodded. “I’m nearly positive.”
“Then I know what we’re going to do.” Draco said. “Go get Nott. There’s nothing here for us to find.” When Mulciber had rejoined him with Nott in tow, Draco stated silkily, “You will follow my lead.” They nodded, looking terrified at having to deliver the news to the Dark Lord.
They followed Draco into the Malfoy manor, looking pale and frightened. Draco hadn’t shared his thoughts with them before disappearing. Draco stopped in front of the doors leading to the room where the Dark Lord waited. He knocked three times and waited until the doors opened before heading inside and bowing. Nott and Mulciber hurried to do the same.
“What news do you have for me?” Voldemort stared at them with his red eyes. “It is not the end of your shift at the Potter house, is it?”
“No, my lord,” Draco said simply. “I have distressing news.”
Voldemort looked stunned. “Stand tall, young Malfoy. What is this distressing news?”
Draco stood while his companions remained kneeling on the ground. He forced himself to look at Voldemort as he stated his news. “Potter is gone.”
Voldemort’s eyes narrowed as the gathered Death Eaters began muttering to themselves and each other until Voldemort raised his hand for silence. “Tell me, young Malfoy, how you learned this.”
“While we were watching, the protection spells broke. I entered the house after making certain that those other people weren’t there.” Draco paused when Voldemort nodded. “We then searched the house to find everything was gone.”
“Gone?” Voldemort asked in a puzzled tone.
“Not the Muggles’ stuff,” Draco corrected himself. “All of Potter’s things were gone.”
“Interesting,” Voldemort contemplated the news. “There is more?”
Draco nodded. “There was only one change today. That professor stopped by and the Muggle said something that I couldn’t hear from my position. Mulciber was closer and heard it.”
Voldemort turned to Mulciber. “What did you hear?”
“That Potter was missing.” Mulciber said in a near whisper.
Voldemort frowned before turning back to Draco. “You disappoint me, young Malfoy.”
Draco held his hands stretched out. “May I beg your patience for one more explanation?”
Voldemort remained silent for several minutes before finally nodding. “Tell me your explanation.”
Draco swallowed nervously. “From what I understand, Potter did not leave the house today. He left at some point earlier, most likely yesterday as I had seen him the day before in the back yard. We were unknowingly watching only the Muggles today.”
Voldemort leaned back in his chair as he considered this piece of news. “Very well, I would suggest that next time you make certain that those you are watching are present before wasting your time. Go.”
Draco walked proudly from the room followed quickly by Nott and Mulciber.
The remaining Death Eaters fell silent, wondering what would happen next. “I find that I must change my plans.” He looked at each one. “We must find Potter for any of my plans to work.” Very quickly, every one of the Death Eaters hurried forward, promising to find Harry Potter.
A/N: As always, I hope you have enjoyed this next chapter. Please let me know what you thought about this chapter, especially if you have constructive criticism! I am always looking for ways to improve my writing! Thank you very much!
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