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Chapter 16 : Three, Two, One.
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“Malfoy come on out you can’t help Arabella from Azkaban.”
I gave one last look and spotted something, a small black book with blue fluffy edges and a small plastic padlock on it. It was under the mattress, pressed against the bed slats. I wiggled my way over and prised it out of the clutches of the wood.
The padlock seemed more for decoration, and it had been well used. I wiggled free of the bed and stood, hearing footsteps I ran over to Hermione who was standing guard at the door. “Hide this.” I hissed. “Hide it they won’t search you.” She grabbed it and in a flash had it up her t-shirt, tucking it into her jeans and pulling on her jacket to cover the slightly strange bulge in her side. I opened the door and waited as Scar-face came round the corner.
His eyes landed on me and didn’t move, he ground his jaw and his black eyes staring holes straight through my head. I pointed over to Arabella’s bed and he moved slowly, taking his eyes off me and scouring the room. Curly was next, he walked past me and didn’t look at all. I watched the pair of them prowl around the bed like two dogs closing in on a sickly rabbit.
Hermione stayed silent, moving out of the line of sight so they wouldn’t look to closely and see any potential hint of what was hidden in her clothing.
Potter had been waiting outside the door, he slowly placed a hand on my shoulder. I made no reaction until he slowly moved his hand away. We stayed silent, watching the two aurors scour over her draws and sheets. Footsteps started on stone but I was pleased that they weren’t looking quite a thoroughly as me.
McGonagall marched up the steps. An army of professor’s behind her. “Ah Mister Malfoy.” Her eyes bore into mine and I knew what she meant.
“I came with Potter and Hermione to come and talk to Arabella, normally we meet outside but as it’s getting close to winter I came up here when Tom Sacker came running down and said she’d gone missing.” She nodded. Accepting my story without much question. I slowly twisted the ring on my finger from nerves and anger, very slowly turning to Potter.
“I sent a Patronus to Cy and Blaise, can you go let them in.” he nodded and left. Curly stood, turning his eyes to rest on me, his were softer than Scar Face’s but they made my skin crawl more. He just looked at me, not moving or saying anything. It was seriously starting to bug me.
He spoke. “Big older cousin eh?” I nodded. His voice was soft with a sharp edge. “Now son, want to tell me what you found?” I raised an eyebrow.
“Nothing, I figured being aurors you’d be able to find it better than me, and be able to act on what you find.” We locked eyes, no expression as everyone looked on.
“Really? I don’t want to have to search you son.”
“You think I want you to? I’m afraid you’re not my cup of tea.” His eyes didn’t even flicker at my insult.
“We’re better at this than you are son.” I raised an eyebrow again.
“I’m sure Kit Nightingale would agree.” I felt the slap before I saw it. My cheek burned and his finger caught my eye. My head had twisted towards Hermione from the force. She had her hand on her wand but shook her head at me ever so slightly. I winked with my good eye, took a second to let the sting go and let the numbness take over before I looked back at Curly, who was being scorned by McGonagall.
“Don’t you dare lay a hand on one of my students.” McGonagall tried to move between us but there wasn’t enough room. “Mister Malfoy it’s time you left.”
“I agree Professor.” Curly moved back to his spot next to the bed. I glared at him one last time before moving down the stairs and past Potter whose eyes widened at the redness of my cheek. I reached the common room as Blaise and Cyrus dropped out of the entrance. I turned to Hermione with my hand out.
“Malfoy we can help.” She handed me the book. I turned and walked out the door. My face stinging but my pride hurt more. Blaise and Cy fell in step with me.
“He got her.” They nodded. I pointed my wand at the book as we walked. “Forgive me Bella.” I flicked the lock off and opened it. The smell of old tears floated up from the pages as they turned, making my stomach clench.
Rudolphus you hurt her you die.
I turned to the last page.
Oh dear merlin help me He sent another letter, I can’t get away from him. Draco can’t help Draco’s looking and he’s got Harry and his friends to watch over me, I can tell. Harmio Hermione and Ginny are always asking how I am. If I stay what will happen to Draco? If I leave I hurt him. I don’t know what to do. What can I do?
It was signed with a tear stain and dated yesterday. My fingers curled into the cover. “We find him.”
“Not till the holidays.” Cy growled. “He knows you’re watching Arabella, he knows you’ll come after him if he keeps her alive. The holidays in a week and a half, until then we narrow down our search. Soon as term’s over we can go after her. Do it before then and you’ll gain unwanted attention.”
“I’m not waiting. I’m going tonight with or without you guys.”
“Draco don’t be stupid.” Blaise said.
“It’s stupid if I sit here and let a psychopath kill my little cousin.” I stormed ahead. “I’ve already let her down all year like hell am I going to let her die.” I stormed ahead clutching Arabella’s diary to my chest. I could tell that Blaise and Cy were laying off to see if I cooled down but I didn’t have it in me to yell at them about it.
Everyone else had already gone to bed as Blaise planted himself in front of me. “Draco you’re too emotional. At least stay here tonight and think things over.” I shoved him away.
“At least put some thought behind what you’re doing.” I ignored them both. I stopped at a corner and looked around. I’d been so intent on Arabella I’d got myself lost.
I felt them grab me. I fought back trying to punch them but Blaise dragged me backwards up the metal steps. I recognised them as the astronomy tower as he slammed me into the wall on the top floor. “Will you stop and think for two minutes?” I struggled but the man was made of stone.
“I failed her Blaise. Rudolphus, Finch-Fletchley, Parkinson they all got away.” I breathed, feeling my blood slowing but the anger was the only thing stopping the pain. “Now they’ve got her. I can’t sit around waiting. I have to put it right.” I shook my head as Blaise fingers dug into my arms. “I have to save her Blaise. She’s too young.” I tried to fight him but he was too strong. He had pinned me so my eyes were level with his and my feet half a foot off the floor. I could feel myself calming down but I didn’t want to.
“Draco.” His voice was softer. Cyrus was standing not far away, watching the stairs for teachers and listening in. “You haven’t failed her. Rudolphus is an experienced nutter. So what Fletchley and Parkinson got away. Storming around in a high temper you’ll make mistakes and give them what they want. You and Arabella dead.”
“What can I do then? I’m not waiting.” I tried to growl it at him but all the blood in my body was rushing to my feet.
“Don’t think of it as waiting, think of it as” He paused. “planning.”
“I’m NOT a Gryffindor.” I tried to free myself again but he wasn’t having it. I felt and sounded like a child being scorned by his father. “For two weeks she’ll be scared and alone.”
Cyrus muttered, “Technically a week and a half.”
“Shut up.” Blaise growled at him. “Let’s put it another way. At least wait two days, then see if you still want to go running all over the place screaming ‘hey I’m over here come kill me.’”
“Al’right, you going to be this close to me for two days?” He smirked.
“No, personally I don’t enjoy being this close to you.” I could feel his breath on my face, mint.
“Incoming.” Cyrus moved to cover us from the side and Blaise let me drop to the floor but still kept me pinned. Which was a good thing as I couldn’t stand.
Hermione came round the corner. She paused as she attempted to figure out what she walked in on. “What is it Granger.” I watched her expression change from one of curiosity to defence.
“Heard hissing.” She squared her shoulders. “I wanted to speak to Draco.”
“Well sister, if you haven’t noticed we’re kinda busy.” I opened my mouth to argue but Blaise slammed a knee in my stomach. “Anything you’ve thought of to say has already been said so run back off to the other Kitty’s and leave the big boys to play.”
“Excuse me?” She stepped forward.
Oh dear I know that face.
“I said, run along and let the big boys play, shouldn’t be hard for Potter’s pretty side-kick.”
She lifted her wand, yelling an incantation that sent both me and Blaise flying. His fingers digging into my arms as we both slammed into the wall. I had to bite my tongue to stop me from shouting. “Pretty side-kick? Pretty side-kick! What have you ever done to help anyone?”
Blaise dragged himself up from the floor. “Oh please. So Bellatrix carved a word in your arm and now you’re a hero? You didn’t help anyone you were just the brains.” She let out a gasp of rage and tried to curse him again. He finally dropped me to the floor and side-stepped her. Lifting his own wand and replying with the tongue-tying jinx.
“Brains? So what did you contribute to the fall of Voldemort?” They were hurling curses at each other like a tennis match, I covered my head with my arms as chunks of wall and bright flashes flew over my head. Cyrus had thrown himself on the ground and helped me over to hide under the large window.
“Yeah every student had help from Dumbledore to go running all over the country. Who was it that snuck food to students being starved in cupboards? Who was it who cured all the cursed and tortured kid’s that Pomfrey couldn’t get to?” He forced Hermione back. She had skills but Blaise’s anger and strength gave him pure force. “Everybody loves you for being Potter’s friend. Everybody loves you because you are muggle born.” We kept our heads down and crawled around them as she side-stepped towards the window to avoid facing him full on.
“How is no one else hearing this?” I muttered, wondering whether or not I’d die trying to break them up.
“That would be me. I’ve jinxed the area so it won’t raise the alarm.” He was frowning. “We need to split them up but they have to stop moving first.” I pointed my wand and put a protective charm on the pair of them, it would stop damage but only for a few spells. “Dam it, if we get involved we get killed.” We ducked as a swarm of kamikaze birds shot past. I watched them exploded to dust. “Maybe it’ll be good for them, get the hate out of their systems.” Cyrus rolled his eyes.
“Stop being such a bloody chicken.” We reached the top of the stairs. “Right, you take out Blaise and I’ll take out Hermione.” I nodded.
I charged, ducked another swarm of birds and barrelled into Blaise. He yowled as we slammed into the metal floor grates. My face pressed against the floor I spotted Birdy and Rhianna cowering on the floor below, watching the fight. “Enough Blaise, this has to stop.” I could hear struggling and turned to see as Blaise subdued.
Cyrus had tripped and fallen past Hermione, grabbing her leg and pulling her down on top of him. She screamed, misunderstanding what he was attempting to do and slammed her foot into his face. Leaving him bloodied and confused. She tried to stand, staggered, lifting her wand as she looked around to regain her bearings. Cyrus lifted his own and hit her with the disarming spell, blinded by blood it hit her in the chest. We watched as the force sent her head first over the edge of the window into nothing.
“NO!” I yanked myself free, grabbed my wand and threw myself after her.
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