Chapter 14 : The Mission
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Chapter 14 (The Mission)
Draco peered through tree branches, studying the target of the mission: a quaint-looking cottage in the remote mountains of Scotland. The rough-hewn stone building puffed a steady stream of wood smoke, giving away the presence of its residents even in the dark of night. He fleetingly wished to turn, leave the little cottage to its happy life, and return to his home; however, he knew his duty, and he would fulfill it. From a few trees to his left, Draco could feel his father's hard gaze on him, appraising for any signs that the young man might abandon his role. His mantra, "For Mum and Hermione," beat a steadying rhythm in his mind. He would play his role, fulfill his duty, but only so he could return to them.
He hissed silently as the Dark Mark he had received following the battle at Hogwarts seared, the signal to attack. As one, the Death Eaters raised their wands, surrounding the unsuspecting cottage from the edge of the forest, and began chanting. Inky grey smoke seeped from their wands and glided forward, leeching onto the magical protections that had been raised around the area. Like an infection, the smoke eroded holes in the barrier until nothing was left, and the whole phenomenon faded into dust.
As the youngest and, quite frankly, fittest of the group, the young blonde had been chosen to seek out the mission's prize: the Resurrection Stone. The plan was for the others to draw the Order members out into combat so that he could slip inside and search the cottage.
The second signal blazed at his inner forearm, and he silently slid into formation, tight on his father's robetails. On cue, the hooded figures began firing spells, blasting holes in the sides of the house and sending sparks shooting through the windows. Figures in various states of undress poured from the cottage, their wands swiftly forming counter-spells and their own attacks. Adrenaline rushed through his body making his heart beat loudly in his ears and his fingers itch at his wand. Flashes and crashes assaulted his senses as the battle raged, and he moved closer to the door. Finally, he saw his opportunity and, with a rush of speed, was inside the Order's safe house. With a wave of his wand, he closed and locked the door, barring the fighting members from re-entering and thus interrupting his mission. The interior was dark and damp as no one had bothered to light a lamp in their rush to defend the building. Muttering "lumos," the young man peered around, searching for likely hiding places. A few pictures of smiling Order members decorated the walls of the main room which appeared to be used as the kitchen and dining room, evidenced by the pots and dishes left from the night's dinner. He could barely hear the sounds of the battle outside, but he knew that he was only guaranteed a few minutes. Roughly, he yanked opened the cupboards lining the outer walls and quickly rummaged through them. Finding nothing, he moved onto the adjacent living room, but that was sparse and included no cabinets or other likely hiding places. He jogged up the stairs and discovered several small bedrooms. Hurriedly, he tore the rooms apart, searching beneath mattresses, in drawers, and under beds, but to no avail. Frustrated he returned to the first floor.
By chance, his foot caught on the edge of the bottom step, sending him plummeting towards the wooden floorboards. His knees and ego bruised, the blonde made to stand up; however, something stirred in his brain, and instead, he turned to face the devilish stair. "Abscondito revelio," he whispered. Nothing happened. "Ars revelio," he tried again. This time a shimmering, pale blue, swirled design flickered across the step. "Found you," he thought triumphantly. Hoping to avoid negative side-effects of tampering with the stair, he cast one last spell, "Finite incantatem." Then he fitted his fingers beneath the ledge of the top of the stair and pulled. Once again, nothing seemed to happen. He repositioned himself and strained against the wood with all his strength, but it refused to budge. His nimble fingers felt for a nail or the slight sticky residue of a Permanent Sticking Charm but found nothing. Dejected, he folded himself back onto the ground. The Resurrection Stone was a piece of the Deathly Hallows from the children's stories - stories he had never believed to be true until the Dark Lord began seeking the precious Hallows a few months ago. Supposedly, it had the power to return the dead to the land of the living. Together with the Cloak of Invisibility and the Elder Wand, the Stone could make one Master of Death. "The three Hallows," he mused. Suddenly, an idea occurred to him. Reaching under the ledge of the step, he traced the sign of the Hallows - a circle within a triangle, both bisected by a straight line - with one pale finger. The wood shifted under his touch, and he lifted the top of the stair with ease this time. At first, he saw nothing in the make-shift treasure chest, but then he noticed that his eyes jumped over a section just left of the center. A disillusionment charm, he figured. Reaching in, his hand brushed against a small object. He removed it, still invisible to his eyes but feeling to be a pouch, and placed it in the pocket of his robes. His mission was complete. Re-covering the stair, he made to leave the cottage.
The moment he opened the door, Draco found himself face-to-face with two spitting mad Order members. Beyond their figures, he could see that the battle had slowed, only a handful of duels continued to light the night with the sparks from their spells and bodies lay crumpled across the ground.
One of the Order members, looking slightly ridiculous in his plaid pajama pants and Wigtown Wanderers t-shirt, taunted, "What do we have here? A spy, perhaps? Or a thief?" Draco gulped involuntarily at the second accusation. "Stupefy!"
Draco almost laughed, as he easily deflected the curse, but was cut short by an onslaught of more complicated curses from the witch on his other side. He hissed as he failed to deflect one spell which cut a deep gash in his left shoulder, forcing him to switch his wand into his right hand. Now at a disadvantage, he knew that he needed to end the duel quickly. He shot a Confundus Charm at the wizard in the funny pajamas, sending him toddling off to de-gnome the garden or something of the sort. In doing so though, his guard had slipped again, and he crumpled to the ground as a spell left three vertical gauges down each of his legs.
The witch loomed over him, and a memory clicked into place: fourth year, the Triwizard Tournament, and Mad-Eye Moody saying to Potter, "She's as much a fairy princess as I am." The gifted witch was Fleur Delacour. She clicked her tongue in disgust as he attempted to rise from the ground before turning her back on him. "Wrong move," he thought grimly. With a silent wave of his wand, the part-Veela was paralyzed.
Magicking bandages around his wounds, he stood with only a slight wobble. He turned to leave but then his mantra returned to his thoughts. Hermione. He knew she would want her friends to know that she was safe, so he gingerly walked over to the frozen witch and whispered in her ear, "Tell Potter and Weasley that she's okay."
Then Draco sprinted, as best as he could, across the clearing towards the rendezvous point, a particularly large and gnarled ancient oak tree, shooting hexes and protections spells along his way. Several others had already gathered by the time he reached the protection of the tree's wide trunk, and the few remaining fighters hurried towards them. He caught sight of his father's white-blonde hair and distinctive cane among the retreating crowd. The elder Malfoy was being pursued by three Order members but seemed to deflect their curses with ease. From his vantage point, Draco clearly saw a streak of white light slip past Lucius's defenses, on course to hit his back, right above his heart. Draco saw this and did nothing. He knew that he could have cast his own protection spell to shield his father but he chose not to. Instead, he watched his father fall to the ground, blood pouring from various deep wounds. He watched his father's face loose all color and his body seize up. He watched his father die. And he did nothing.
A/N: Bum bum buuuuuh. It's new! It's long! It's drama-filled! It feels good to be back writing, and I hope to keep it up! And yes, Draco is left-handed. He appeared as I was about to make him right-handed and told me in no uncertain terms that someone as special as he is could not be ordinary and therefore he is indeed left-handed. There I go again, letting my characters control me. Oh well.