Chapter 35 : Tangled and Dreaming of Better Ways
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"What is she looking for?" Geoffrey asked, too calmly, too nicely, too much of a charming smile on his face. Dubhán's grasp on her hand tightened as Geoffrey approached them. Emma, his Emma, his innocent Emma, did not realize what had just happened.
"A ring!" She said, her lip poking out as if to provide extra evidence to its importance. "It's my princess ring!"
"Ahh, well - why don't we give the living room one more look? Come tell me the last place you saw it. I am very good at finding things."
Dubhán was frozen. Frozen like with Maria. Frozen like with the prisoner. Frozen like with that man screaming. Frozen like with the blond boy. Frozen. Frozen. Frozen!
He could feel his wolf stirring as he fell backwards. Emma's hand gave a tug - about to leave him to go speak with Geoffrey - and he lashed out in his mind, clawing his way back into the forefront of his mind.
"Go find Dad, Emma," Dubhán said. He turned to stare at Geoffrey. Emma stood still beside him, perplexed and still too innocent as to understand. "Now. Go find Dad."
She frowned, the tiniest of lines wrinkling between her eyebrows.
"Devy-" It was a name she had started calling him recently, and he couldn't say he liked it at all, but he ignored it this time.
"Go to Dad." He gave her a hard look and she scampered off, as if he had hurt her.
Geoffrey was rolling on his heels.
"That was an interesting choice, little dark one."
"Then you should protect her better. That really shouldn't be in her head."
"She isn't going to be like me. I'm like me so she isn't like me. Don't you understand, traitor?" He growled, his hands clenched like fists at his side. Geoffrey stood very still, watching him carefully.
"You are already are better than him, you know," he said, very softly, looking at him with a perplexity that he had never seen Geoffrey wear before. "A man who values those things outside of himself has more reason to be stronger and fearless than a man who can only fear for himself."
"Words like that are what make you a traitor," Dubhán said, but there was no real bite to his words, just facts. He has said enough to Geoffrey to make him a traitor, too.
When he turned on his heel to leave Geoffrey, it was to find Emma in his father's arms, crying about him; mumbling words about how he did not like her and how he didn't like Harry either and how he thought they were both stupid. Sirius was giving him a disappointed look from behind the pair as he entered into the office. It took all of Dubhán's self-control to stay and not to fall backwards and allow the wolf to bear this experience.
"Devlin, what happened?" Harry asked, his green eyes rising to meet his own darker gaze. There was a twist to his lips, a look in his eyes, a sense of his pain at her pain, and Dubhán wondered what that was like to feel or if he ever had. It was so hard for him to judge if he felt the things others did; so difficult to match someone else's and his own together to see if they were the same.
Dubhán would have lied. He would have agreed that he thought they were both stupid if it would have been useful. His mind would have spun with the words and their meanings, and used them to his advantage.
He couldn't stop thinking of that feeling he had experienced when her hand was about to leave his own. How all the frozenness had melted upon something hot and fierce that had bloomed below.
That hadn't been Dubhán. Dubhán had learned to lie and deceive. There was nothing deceptive about what that had felt like. That had been Devlin, clawing his way back into his own head; knowing he would have to be there to protect her. Devlin, who did not know about death. Devlin, who had told Voldemort he was glad his mummy wasn't there, because he didn't want him to hurt his mummy. Devlin, who said what he meant and meant what he said - because he did not truly understand that any one of his words could lead to his death.
He hadn't felt like Devlin since before he had seen the first man die.
Devlin would have looked into this man's eyes and known there was nothing that should come out of his mouth but the truth.
"She heard something she shouldn't have. She doesn't understand. I didn't want her there. I sent her to you."
The muscles across Harry's face went lax and he wished the man would have the decency to hide his surprise that he was telling the truth.
Emma was still sniffling.
"I wasn't mad, Emma," he said, struggling with this point. "I don't think you're stupid you just don't know anything."
Emma reared from Harry's arms, the tears dried into red rings around her eyes, her eyes like a blue angry flame.
"I do know things!" She said, and her magic crackled through the air. Harry's hair stood on end. "I know lots of things! I know you have lots of friends you don't want to tell me or daddy or mummy about! I know someone was mean to you! I know you like Zee more than me! I know it's not fair Daddy lets you have a wand but not me! I know that man brought you back to Daddy and I know you hate him for it because you think everyone here is stupid. I even know you like Maria!"
"Well I know him too, you know. I've seen him." He frowned, perplexed.
"And he's a meanie! Josephine says he's a stuck up jerk," she looked shocked for a moment that such a word had been released past her tongue and immediately sent Harry an apologetic look. Harry was too busy looking confused, and he couldn't claim to know anything, either.
"I don't know who you are talking about, Emma," he finally said, shaking his head.
"Scorpius Malfoy! I'm talking about him! You know him. I know you do!"
How she had picked up on that but not known he hadn't meant Harry was stupid, he would never know. How she had lingered at the door long enough to see the paper - or seen it before him? - would remain a perplexing notion.
Harry's eyes widened.
"Yes, I knew him," he said, nodding. "I didn't know his name, though."
"You're so weird!" She said, her magic searing across the room with a lack of form or direction that he could barely remember having. His magic had always done what he wanted. Had always been under his control. "Everyone knows people's names except you!"
It was hurled like a curse.
He stared at her. Something feeble and trembling was blooming in his gut.
"I didn't know him," he said, "not like that."
"Then how?" She was still yelling, as if a fire had erupted inside of her and there was no possibility of putting it out. Sometimes she reminded him of that story Voldemort used to tell him at night, the one that was supposed to teach him never to be without his wand. Of the man and the lady and the baby and how they had forgotten their wands, but the lady had foolishly thrown herself again and again against him, even without it. To Voldemort the lady had been foolish to protect someone else when she had known it would be her downfall. Emma always reminded him of that lady's stubbornness and that always frightened him so, because he did not want her to die.
"His dad thought he was better than me. Stronger. And his dad bet that the boy could beat me with magic. And the man who kept me - he decided it would be fun to see. So I fought the boy."
Emma was frowning. Harry's hair had dropped into it's usual messiness and he brought a hand to touch it, as if to make sure it was all still there. His green eyes boring into him the whole time.
"Did you win?" Emma asked, her voice now calmer, although still just as potent.
Harry asked him about it when they were home, of course. He had known he would, even as he had wished fervently that he would decide it wasn't really important.
"It's just like I told Emma," he said, hoping to make the conversation short.
"I want the details," Harry said, and there was a firmness that made him think that his shift in that moment from Dubhán to Devlin hadn't been as invisible as he had hoped. The gaze made him feel like the boy all over again, and he sat himself at the kitchen table and nodded.
"I was nine," he began, staring at his own hands. "I had never seen a boy my own age - not since the muggleborn boy."
Harry nodded, and he continued.
"Draco said it-" he paused, trying to figure out how to start all of this. "I don't know the word - there is a word for it - the Death Eater's told me once. When you like doing something that no one else likes. Well, grandfather knew Malfoy and I didn't like each other, but he made Malfoy train me in dueling anyways. So he was that word."
He shook his head.
"No, you can be cruel without liking being cruel. Voldemort likesbeing cruel."
Harry nodded, and he tried to move forward.
"Sometimes, if he wasn't busy in a meeting, or he wasn't away from the camp, he would peek in on a lesson and watch me. Well he did, right after I had turned Malfoy's hair purple. Malfoy didn't like it. Voldemort saw seen, and he didn't like it. So he said it. Said I was a brat who would do well to 'acquire a better attitude' and said his son would beat me in a duel. I wanted to tell him..." he paused, running a hand over his face right before the word had left his mouth.
Harry chuckled, as if it had been clear.
"Yeah, better not say that. Sometimes I think your mum has spells up here to catch people cursing."
"Well anyways, Bella was standing next to him, and I knew she'd like it if I said that to him, so I didn't. I don't know which one of them I hate more. They're very...different. Voldemort said something about how Malfoy was 'suggesting' that his son was better than a descendant of Salazar Slytherin, and even though Malfoy tried to save himself, grandfather had that look..."
Harry tipped his head in question.
"The one he gets when he has just thought of something interesting to do."
Harry nodded and he had the sense that they had both been witness to that look before.
"He told Malfoy to bring the boy and that he would see who won. I couldn't believe he had been so...stupid."
"I'm not as powerful as grown ups," he said hesitantly, "but I'm fast."
He fiddled with the hem of his robes.
"So Malfoy brought him a couple days later. He clung to his father like a child. He looked like a unicorn, I thought. His hair as white as it's coat, his eyes like pools of it's blood. I was afraid for a moment - because if you hurt a unicorn you're cursed. That's what my books said. But he wasn't, of course. He tried to fix his hair and I laughed at him."
He looked at the table instead of at Harry. He shrugged.
"Details, Devlin," Harry said, that same firmness creeping into his voice. Dubhán wanted to lash out and scream that the details weren't any of this business, but Devlin felt the pressure and wanted to succumb. The conflicting desires were confounding him. The sharpness sighed in his head the sigh it always did when he 'was thinking too much.' Just tell the alpha - he's making us. Hide what you hid from the Red-Eyed man. Hide what the alpha would not like. Keep us safe by telling this stupid thing.
"Because, it was going to be covered in blood, soon. Why fix it, when you're going to be fighting? I told him that, too. When I was little Malfoy used to tell me that. Stop fixing your robes - if you touch them again I'll cut them off you. Stop messing with your hair - is it getting in your eyes? I'll shave every bit off your head. Don't touch the cut or you will give me enough time to make a bigger one! So I said it to the boy."
Harry got up from his seat. He though maybe he was going to hug him again, but instead he went to the pantry and pulled out a bag of 'crisps' (yet another thing he had not known about until he came here) and poured them into a bowl to share at the table. He was glad, because he didn't think he could stand being hugged right now.
"The boy asked where the 'mat' was, and then they had to explain to me how children dueled and grandfather made the boy stand with him while Malfoy taught me about the mat they conjured and how to greet, back up, and bow. Then they made me do it with the boy, and then Voldemort said 'duel' and we did."
"Did he end up with blood in his hair?"
"Yes, and his face."
He looked at the table again.
"A cut - just tiny. I did worse to him with my fist."
"How did that happen?"
"I guess he was an alright fight for a boy, but he was weaker than the Death Eater's and I was faster. He knew things I didn't but they were weak charms and curses that I knew the better of. I tried knocking him down, but he'd get up. When he blew sparks at me so I couldn't see, I blew smoke so that he couldn't breathe and I hoped he'd fall unconscious like I had the first time when I was seven, but he knew how to vanish it."
Harry's hands clenched.
"He knew how to float stuff, but I stopped him before my feet were an inch off the ground by making his shoes catch on fire - he took them off and threw them off the mat. He cut me, but it was tiny, and I cut his hair like Malfoy had said he'd do to me. I used his own spell against him - I made him float, high and higher, then I let go, and he fell. I did it again. But he kept getting up, and grandfather said he was bored."
He traced nonsense things onto the table top.
"So I went to him, and I told him 'you'd think you would have more intelligence than this' because that's what Malfoy had said to me. I wanted to hurt him so much. He looked like him - just like him. But I knew I didn't want to kill him. Knew I'd just fail if I tried and I didn't want to fail in front of grandfather or Malfoy."
Harry was crunching on a chip very slowly, and his magic seeped into the air, tense and hot. He shifted.
"I brought him close to me, like Malfoy had done when we first met. I said 'If you know what's good, you'll stay down after this. Otherwise, maybe I'll have to kill you.' Then I pulled back my fist and punched him in the nose. There was a crack and he screamed and struggled and I knew he'd get back up again. I did it again, and again, and again-"
He banged the table. Harry reached across the table and touched him, cradling his hand between his two larger. He clenched his enclosed hands until he could feel his nails like knives in his palms, searing with pain.
"And there was blood in his hair and on his face and on my hand. I could feel him go still in my hands, so I let go, and he fell backwards."
He fell silent.
"Then what, Devlin?"
"He liked the blood and I hadn't killed him. He told me he didn't approve of such muggle tactics, but I had done it on purpose and I told him so. I had wanted to hurt him like that. I wanted him to feel like a muggle. I wanted him to know I could do that to him, even without magic. I wanted Draco to see."
Draco dreamed of time turners while he slept in the filthy cell, glad that they had managed to recruit the Dementor's years ago and utilize them away from the prison. At that moment he was dreaming of turning the timeturner so that he was marching up to Potter's house again.
"The wards are disturbed at that window," he would whisper to his men, just like before. But unlike before, he would smirk, knowing that the brat had in fact been his own downfall. He had always enjoyed picking apart locks and wards, something that had driven Voldemort to test the edges of his patience.
His men would levitate themselves to the window, break the unwarded glass, and slip in. There would be the dog, now barking and clawing and biting at it's metal cage. The boy would startled awake at the sound. This time, Draco would not expect the scream or frown when the boy was perfectly silent. He would march to him like before and grab him. His arm across his throat, his legs dangling off the ground. His little fingers race to his throat, trying to claw access to a necklace. It is all Draco had needed to snap the thing and send it cascading to the floor - an emergency portkey. Potter would throw open the door and Draco would smirk, just like the first time.
"Give him here," Potter would demand, his wand out, his green eyes shining.
"Oh, I don't think so," he would reply, slow and casual, like they had when they were boys. As if they were fighting over Neville's Rememberall. Potter's eyes flash with recognition at his voice
"Draco," he would say, his voice suddenly soft and calm. He would try appeasing to him, speaking about how the boy was four, and Scorpius was four, and they would be going to Hogwart's together. Draco will admit, in the privacy of his dream, that he had almost stabbed the child somewhere recoverable and dropped him the ground - if only so that he could see his face and know immediately it was not his boy. But he does not feel that hesitation now and he thinks his words sound more vicious than they had the first time around.
"Actually, I think the Dark Lord might enjoy meeting the boy," he says savagely, ruffling the brat's hair roughly. His arm around the boys neck tightened. "Maybe I'll even tell him why he'd enjoy meeting the boy."
Because he had known. Even then, he had known. His mother had known the moment she had set eyes on Harry's supposed Mudblood girlfriend in the paper. She had tapped the paper and declared, "she's looks like a 'Max' girl. Just like Eline Max, except for her hair."
Draco, never willing to put things like that aside, had of course pursued the concept. The family had supposedly died in a brutal attack from Voldemort after refusing to stand by him. Tortured and murdered. But the youngest girls body had not been recovered. Of course, that meant little in the Wizarding World where any number of spells could vanish or completely destroy the materials a body was made of.
"Don't hurt him," Harry was saying in his dream, and he turned his thoughts back to the wiggling boy in his grasp again. "It's alright Devlin. It's going to be alright."
In reality he had slipped away with the boy, his wand at the boys head, his mens wands at the boys head. Potter had all but allowed them, because he had of course thought he would get the boy back. Or maybe he just couldn't bear to have the child killed in front of him.
"Daddy is going to come get you, alright? It's going to be alright."
But this time, it was just a dream, and Draco intended to do it differently.
His wand slipped across the boys throat. Warm blood oozed over his arm and down his front. Potter was about to kill him, when he was shaken awake.
"Get up," Gregory sneered over him in the filthy cell. "We have a job to do."
He shouldn't have been there. He could feel his heart pounding in his chest and even though he knew it was illogical, it felt as though his heart wanted him to be caught. He snuck past the doorframe and over to the bed. Downstairs he could hear Harry and Emma arguing jovially about which Quidditch player was better on whatever team it was they followed or didn't follow together - he honestly didn't pay attention. Alexandra had been reading in the kitchen - where the table was big enough to spread out all her translation work - but he knew she was going to be the hardest to predict because she wasn't down there making noise.
He got to the drawer. All he wanted was his wand holster. Harry had confiscated it as a reprimand when he had said something nasty to Emma after she'd brought up that he liked Maria. He truly didn't think Emma, or Harry, really understood what they were construing, because he didn't like that sort of thing and-
Stop thinking, the sharpness in his head said, almost lazily. It was always far more successful at being one-minded.
He dug in the drawer. He had seen Harry put it here.
Finally he felt the supple leather that was his holster, and dug it out. He took another look, curiosity getting the better. There were pendants in here - probably awards - and papers, and loose muggle and wizard money. And there - in a little open wooden box - was a wad of fabric that almost made his heart stop completely. It was blue and yellow striped with hippogrifs stomping along, leaving footprints and wingbeats in their wake. He reached down to touch it. What was beneath it made his fingers numb.
A picture of him. He was laying on his back, staring at the ceiling. His cheek was bruised and he knew, beyond what could be seen, that his arm was broken. He had been feverish that entire day, in and out of seizures that had felt like someone were killing him. The healers had been worried the healing potions would not work as well combined with his normal draughts.
Harry should not have had the picture. The Healer had taken it. He had liked the healer, and he knew he would die if Voldemort knew. He had died anyways, since he wasn't one of them. A blood traitor, used only because he was in the tents and Voldemort did not have a penchant for attracting or retaining healers. He had taken the picture from the man with a soft "don't be stupid" and tucked it under his pillow.
Then, of course, he had put it in Geoffrey's robe, because the-
It was Harry. He was leaning against the doorframe causally, as if he had been there for sometime. He wished his heart would stop pounding.
"I have alarms on my drawer," Harry said, gently. "What were you looking for?"
He shook his head fervently, backing up like he had the first day he had seen this man after all those years. It felt like it all over again. Had Geoffrey willingly given him up? Who had found the photo? Had Geoffrey just recently found it and thought he was asking for Geoffrey to help?
The world trembled around him, colors fading, and there was a roar of blood in his ears. Geoffrey had been right, of course; terror had always made him stronger rather than weaker. His magic danced beneath his skin, tingling in his fingertips. He wanted to run from the complexity and overwhelmingness of the situation, but Harry was blocking his only exit. He clenched his hands, curling his fingers into his palms and tried very, very hard to keep the magic inside. It fluttered across his skin, becoming more intense.
Harry was watching him, his expression drawing closed as he realized there was more to this than him sneaking his holster back. His mind was probably thinking of every little thing he kept in that drawer - and he could swear he saw the moment Harry realized that the photo was there too.
"Devlin..." There was a defeat, an uncertainty, a weariness, that came to join everything else that Harry always wore so clearly.
He wanted to yell. He wanted to feel his magic in the air; the comfort that only raw power could provide. He wanted Harry to disappear. He wanted to disappear. His magic shuttered and sputtered against the chains of the wards. Alexandra yelled downstairs, but the rush of blood in his ears meant he didn't hear.
"Devlin," Harry said and he understood because he could see the man's lips. "Devlin - it's alright. Let's talk. You're going to make the wards go off, Devlin."
His body trembled, his head quaked, his ribs shuttered around his heart. His magic was like wasps against his skin, stinging in it's intensity. His knuckles ached and pulsed and spasmed.
Alexandra was in the doorway now, and Harry and she were talking fervently. His magic pushed and tugged and lashed out against the chains around the house. His magic had only failed him once, under crucio. The mere recollection sent his magic into further panic.
Alexandra turned to him, speaking words he could not hear. Couldn't she see his world was crumbling around him? Couldn't she see that he had wanted to desperately to prevent this? He did not want this world to touch the other one. He did not want them to have something of his.
He didn't want to be here. He didn't want to see that realization on Potter's face. He didn't want Potter to know he had put that photo there. He didn't want Geoffrey to know. He didn't want to cry. He didn't want to tell Harry about the healer. He didn't want to-
"Devlin!" Harry was saying, desperately, rushing back into the room. Screaming at him. "It's alright. I already know! It's alright!"
His body trembled, his head quaked, his magic whirled. Harry already knew. He felt his self-will crumble around him.
The magic raced away from him, unfocused and uncontrolled, unable to do what he had needed. Harry stepped forward, and he wanted to scream at his foolishness. But then he lifted his wand, and there was a magic around his own magic, solid and steady, almost reassuring.
"It's alright, Devlin," Harry said.
His own magic was a dusky silver hue when it was intense enough to see, but Harry's was the clear blue of a sky. He stared at it, felt it against his own magic, reeling him in.
"You still want to go somewhere?" Harry asked, but he did not have the strength to answer. Harry approached him slowly, maneuvering through the fragments of his magic still hanging in the air. "Lets go for a walk," he whispered, grabbing hold of him.
He was whisked away, and at last his magic subsided as it felt himleaving as he wanted.
There were in the middle of some woods. Sticks and leaves crunched beneath their feet. The air smelled heavy and savory.
"Come on, this way," Harry said, tugging at his arm.
He moved his body; a heaviness and emptiness had replaced all the magic.
"Did he give it to you?"
"No," Harry said. "Geoffrey didn't."
"I found it in his pocket. Hermione has always drilled into my head that wizards don't keep unimportant scraps of paper and that even a gum wrapper should be tested."
"A muggle thing," Harry said, waving his hand. They stepped toward the edge of the woods and into a clearing. The grass was green and crunched beneath his feet. He stood very still.
"I've been here before," he said, softly. He looked around curiously. Harry stepped closer. There was a rush of sound across the field. His sharpness sprinted through the grass, his muscles propelling him faster and faster. Devlin fell to his knees and the sharpness lunged at him.
The eyes snapped open. The world came into focus, full of color. The boys thoughts pulsed in the back of the head, frenzied and fuzzy from being woken suddenly.
The wards around the house shuddered and pulsed and the boy, more able to feel the fluctuation in magic than him, reared fully awake with panic.
Him, the boy thought, the one word like a physical blow to their lungs. The boy felt for the connection to the necklace, and there was a moment of relief in his head as they felt it whole and undisturbed.
The door slammed open. The wand was already in his hand, although of course it never worked for just him. The boy was with him, and for a moment he wondered who was really in control right then. It was always a frightening though to have, because it signaled something truly terrible was happening.
"Get into Emma's room now. You're mum is taking you both."
It was the father. He did not drop his hold on the wand. He scrambled into the hall.
There was a masked man out there, young, lean and bitten. Alexandra, obviously heading toward them, had been caught by him. She had him at wand point, her other hand entangled in Emma's terrified grasp. When he saw him, he bared his teeth and grinned.
"Get over here, pup," he said, and he knew him immediately as Keen, a savage but sane werewolf. Wherever he was, his pack would be too.
"Harry?" It was the mother. She drew Emma close, and suddenly with a simple exchange of gazes, Emma and she were gone. Now it was just Harry and him, and the werewolf.
"Get over here!" The werewolf snarled.
Magic pushed and tugged and lashed out against the chains around the house, wards being torn, new wards being placed. Anti-Apperation wards began to weave themselves heavily through the air.
-Follow my lead,- the father said, his words slithering through the air. He did not immediately understand, but then the boy pulled and clawed, and brought himself forward.
Harry's hand shot towards him, magic strong and binding, and he was suddenly pulled behind him. At the same time, his wand shot forward; Keen was thrown down the stairs.
Harry shoved him toward the back hallway. There was no exit, but then Harry was lifting his wand, and the wall was crumbling.
"If I say 'come here', you run. Do you hear?" The words were whispered by his ear as Harry pulled him close and they jumped from the second floor. He thought maybe it was all Harry's practice tucking and rolling with the floo that actually helped in this instance. If Harry was quick to sprawl, he was quicker to spring to his feet.
Dubhán felt breathless and bruised and he wondered why Harry didn't use magic, but as soon as the thought had come, he dismissed it. Magic was traceable. They were trying to be as silent as possible.
"This way! Outside!" There was a Death Eater above them, sneering down from the opening Harry had caused. "Remember, don't hurt the boy!"
Harry held his hand in a vice-like-grip and pulled him along - into the yard, over the fence and into the woods beyond. It was just where Dubhán had himself wanted to escape into all that time ago, and that should have been his first clue.
They were waiting there.
"Your Grandfather misses you, little dark one" one of the masked figures said, stepping forward. "Don't be foolish. Step away from Potter and I'll whisk you away before we beat him to an inch of his death."
The figure stretched out his hand. There was a part of Dubhán that wanted desperately to break Harry's grasp on him and reach for that hand. He even knew there was a small possibility he wouldhave, if he hadn't first recognized that voice. Malfoy.
"I do not appreciate your tone," he said, using that voice Voldemort had always liked. Harry tried to tug him closer. "Ask me again. On your knees. Leave off all the unnecessary rubbish. I don't care what you do with Potter but you certainly won't deny me the right to watch."
His tone was flat, his face blank, his lips sneering.
Geoffrey had been right, of course; terror had always made him stronger rather than weaker. His magic danced beneath his skin, tingling in his fingertips. His mind raced, aligned fact and possible future - ready to be used as he pleased.
There was a crackle of laughter that he knew belonged to Bella.
"Our little dark one, giving orders! Look at Potter's face! Look at Potter's face!" She worked her way into the front of the crowd. "I bet Potter doesn't even know what the boy can do!"
"I am not your little dark one. I do not belong to any of you. I am only his!" He could feel his jaw, wide and aching, as he screamed the words at her. Intercepting her, distracting her.
His magic pulsed across his skin like a thousand wasps.
Bella crackled. Malfoy seethed. The wards pulsed with the arrival of Aurors, fighting their way in.
"Get him," Malfoy shouted, pointing at him.
"Come closer, I didn't hear you," he said, and Harry's head snapped in his direction, brow furrowing.
A mob of Death Eater's leapt into action. Harry's magic was a clean blue when it was intense enough to see. In his mind, he fell backwards and the werewolf lunged forward. He put the wand in the teeth and dropped to the ground. He sprinted through the crowd, small and slippery. Under legs, around feet, over spells. Stunners slipped off his fur as werewolf magic raced through his blood. He darted into the forest.
The field was alight with magic, the forest illuminated sparingly as a few werewolves in human form raced after his scent. He turned and sprinted back, simply hoping to lose them in the crowd.
Potter was fighting Malfoy. He ducked behind a bush, transformed, and used a charm to cover his scent (a slippery tactic one learned quickly when guarded by a werewolf like Geoffrey). His followers raced out into the field blindly.
He lifted his wand and pointed it through the bush. One breath to make sure he could. Another breathe to access the consequences. Another to make sure he was ready to submit to them should they come to pass.
Malfoy fell to the ground, withering in pain. Harry looked around, but the field was covered in the swirl of spells and the dance of duels.
It didn't last long, not because he didn't want Malfoy withering in pain, but because he had startled himself with the feeling of the magic. He sat back, astounded. He thought that if Voldemort had only asked him to point his wand at Malfoy, he would never have failed that particular test. Why, he even thought he could probably make him fall down and never get up. Almost.
He watched, inching here for there to vary his cover, until the battle was over. Harry stumbled through the forest, calling out his name with a desperation and terror.
"I'm here," he said, standing. Harry almost fell onto him, his arms wrapping around his body and holding him as if he thought he would suddenly disappear.
"Oh my God," Harry whispered in his ear. "Don't do that. Don't do that. I didn't tell you to run. That was my job to tell you. Oh my God. I thought I lost you."
"I stayed here," he said, the words muffling themselves into Harry's chest. Harry's breath shuttered and his body trembling. "I didn't really run."
I hope you liked this chapter - it was intially two chapters, but when I uploaded here I decided to treat you wonderful readers to a double dose! ;)
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