Chapter 23 : Mercy
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Frantic and unsure what to do, she looked about wildly until she saw Parker coming toward her.
His eyes were wild with passion and perhaps a twinge of fright. “There you are!” he shouted with a heavy exhale as he came to a halt in front of her. “Where have you been?!”
“Looking for you!” she blurted quickly, matching his frenetic tone and weaving her lie. “I saw them coming through the window in the foyer. Parker, what’s happening?”
“I don’t know, but we’re about to find out,” he said in a collected tone then. He stood up straighter and looked about. He then spotted a Death eater, and he called to him. “Travers! Get over here. Get Clancy safely to her room.”
Travers stopped mid-run, looked to Parker, nodded, and approached them, grabbing hold of Clancy’s arm.
Clancy looked back and forth between Parker and Travers. She didn’t like the idea of going with Travers or being sent to her room, but in truth, she didn’t want to be near the fighting that was surely about to take place and she didn’t want to risk Parker finding out she had anything to do with Dominique’s escape—whenever he realized she was gone.
Parker turned to her and spoke to her in a vehement tone. “Go with him and stay in your room. Don’t open the door for anyone but me. I’ll come for you.”
“Okay,” she said in a whisper, and she raised herself onto her tiptoes to press a kiss to his lips. She realized then that she was truly frightened for him and she wished he remain unharmed.
He kissed her back with a deep yet swift passion, and when he pulled away, he pushed her into Travers’ arms and toward the stairs. “Go!”
Parker watched her go. She and Travers ran swiftly up the stairs and disappeared into the wing of the house that held their bedrooms. When she disappeared, Parker sucked in a deep breath and looked around the foyer at the other Death Eaters, awaiting his orders.
“All right, everyone. I don’t know how they found us, but I can bet you they’ve come for the damn Weasley we’ve got upstairs. But we’re not going to let them have her. Remember all our preparation for this, and let’s make each other proud. “Our location here has clearly been compromised, so let’s blow this place to hell. And whoever kills the most Aurors gets to kill the Weasley girl. But leave Potter to me.”
When Dominique had passed through the apparition barrier, she knew where she would go first. Throughout her month of captivity, she had dreamed of where she would go and what she would do if she were to ever escape. She had envisioned various scenarios, and all of them began with the one person she most wished to see.
So as soon as she could apparate, she thought of her home with Teddy and felt that familiar pull in her stomach. She appeared on the porch of their home, and she took in the sight of it with a sigh of relief. She had missed her home, and truthfully, she had wondered if she would ever see if it again. She hadn’t known if she would ever walk through that threshold again, if she would ever sleep in her bed again, or if she would get to live her life with Teddy.
She fought back tears as her happiness overwhelmed her, and she gathered her composure. When she did, she bounded forward and threw the door open to her home. She burst inside and called out, her voice cracking from demanding such volume after months of speaking only whispers to herself. “Teddy! Teddy!!”
There was a loud clatter from another room. A crash, loud rustling, and then thundering footsteps. In the next moment, Teddy came flying into the room, his eyes wide.
“Dominique?!” he shouted upon hearing her.
“Teddy!” she beamed. She begged for the tears in her eyes to go away. She hated that she was crying in this moment, for her tears clouded her vision and all she wanted was to look upon him. “It’s me. I’m here.”
“Oh my god. Dominique,” moaned Teddy, and he ran forward.
He opened up his arms as he ran to her, and Dominique threw herself into them. She wrapped her legs around his waist and her arms around his neck. She buried her face into his neck, where she let her tears escape her and dampen his neck. Teddy held her tightly, rocking her back and forth.
His voice trembled as he spoke. “I can’t believe you’re here. I–I can’t…I…I missed you so much.”
“I know,” she said sweetly, pulling her head away from his neck so she could look him in the eye as he held her. “I missed you, too. I didn’t know if I would ever see you again.”
“Are you okay?! Did they hurt you?!” Teddy suddenly demanded to know. He set her down so he could cup her face in his hands and better analyze her features to appraise any injuries.
“I’m fine, I’m fine,” she said quickly. “A little malnourished but otherwise unharmed. H–He didn’t hurt me; I don’t know why he didn’t.”
“Harry’s team caught Namken’s mother just before you were taken. Namken gave Harry and James a choice—you or Albus. Albus died even though they didn’t make their choice. He couldn’t hurt you even if he wanted to. You were Namken’s only leverage to get his mother back. He knew that, if he hurt you, he would never see his mother again,” Teddy explained. He stroked her cheeks with his thumbs and kissed her forehead. “God, I’m just so happy to see you.”
Dominique wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him down for a deep and loving kiss. They melted into each other as they kissed, savoring the feel, taste, and warmth of the other. Dominique balled his shirt in her fist as she pulled away, and she found herself blurting out, “Let’s get married.”
Teddy blinked curiously. “We are getting married, love. We’re engaged.”
“No, I know that,” Dominique said, shaking her head at them. “I mean, let’s get married. Now. Soon. I don’t want to wait until December like we planned. I don’t care about the big, fancy wedding anymore. I spent a month wondering every day if I would ever see you again, and I don’t want to spend another minute apart. I want to get married now.”
Teddy smiled the purest and truest smile he had ever managed. “I don’t want to wait any longer either. Let’s get married.”
Teddy kissed her again, drinking her in and savoring every moment, thought, and feeling with her.
But then he abruptly pulled away, remembering something he should have remembered much sooner. “Wait. Where are the others? Where’s Harry? Did they get Parker?”
“I…” began Dominique, thinking back to what she saw when Clancy led her to the forest. “I don’t know what happened. It wasn’t Harry or the Aurors who got me out. Teddy, it was Clancy. Clancy let me go…She helped me escape, and as soon as I left, the Aurors showed up…”
“You mean it wasn’t Harry and the Aurors who got you out?” asked Teddy, growing concerned.
“No. They were about to raid the house when I escaped…”
“We have to tell Ron and Hermione. They’re walking in blind and starting a fight for no reason…”
The Aurors rushed at the manor with a quick determination, their feet thundering against the grass as they ran. Pansy had led all Aurors successfully through the barrier, and when they had begun to swarm the manor, she sank to her knees and clung hopelessly onto herself, knowing she had let down her son, whom she still believed was held captive by the Aurors at the Ministry. She still hoped, though, that the Death Eaters inside had their enchanted coins to signal the arrival of the Aurors. If they did, perhaps the lives inside still had a chance.
Kingsley led the charge as they ran, and the other Aurors formed a V around Harry to protect him. Harry would be the one to retrieve Dominique, and as such, they would have to ensure that Harry made it to wherever she was being held captive within the manor. As they closed in on the manor, they all raised their wands in unison, preparing to fight their way in.
But then suddenly multiple deep and echoing booms sounded from within the manor, and in the next second, a blast from within sent the front of the manor exploding toward the Aurors. The windows shattered outward, sending shards of glass flying in all directions. The door flew open and off its hinges; the wood broke into a thousand splinters and rained down on them like prickling rain. The stone from the front wall was obliterated, and chunks of stone were propelled toward them with full force, sending dust through the air.
Harry stopped mid-run in surprise as the entire front wall of the manor was obliterated. He began to crouch down and shield himself from the blast when a piece of stone struck his cheek and split the skin open. He yelped as he dropped down to the ground, covering his head with his arms.
The other Aurors around him were struck with debris as well, whether it was stone, wooden shards, or blades of glass. Debris showered them in every which way, cutting and starching every inch of skin they managed to find. As Harry lay on the ground, waiting for it to be over, he felt a shard of glass embed itself into his hand. The wood cut at his skin, and a large piece of stone landed on one of his legs. He groaned, his voice muffled into the grass as he protected himself.
When it was finally over, Harry kicked the debris off of him, groaning, and he rose to look at the others.
“Everyone all right?” he asked, plucking the glass from his hand and snatching his wand from where he had dropped it upon falling to the ground.
Moans and groans emerged from beneath the rubble as the Aurors sounded off.
Harry raised his wand, quick to act and ignoring the blood rolling freely from the cut in his cheek and in his hands and the searing pain in his leg. “Wingardium Leviosa,” he said and lifted the rubble from atop the Aurors.
The rubble moved with his movements, rising into the air and to the empty clearing where Harry dropped it, Pansy still off in the distance on her knees, watching the scene in still shock. Harry then looked to the Aurors and began to help pull them to their feet. They each had various injuries from the debris, but none seemed mortally wounded thus far. The grass they now stood upon was stained red with their blood as Harry moved through the pile of bodies.
He pulled Kingsley to his feet next, who had a deep gash above his brow, but after wiping his blood from his vision, Kingsley nodded, thanked him, and began to help the others to their feet as well.
Harry moved to the next Auror, who was awfully still amongst those who had at least been turning slightly to assess their injuries and rise to their feet. But this man, a young Auror named Owen, was uncomfortably still.
Harry bent down and grasped his shoulder. When he noticed a large and bloodied dent in Owen’s skull, Harry then feared the worst. “Owen…?” He shook his shoulder again, biting his lip in worry. “Owen?”
He pressed two fingers against Owen’s neck to feel for his pulse. When he felt none, he rocked back on his heels and rose to his feet in sullen understanding.
He turned around to see all other Aurors rising to their and preparing to fight again. Harry sucked in a deep breath and turned to look at the manor that had now lost an entire wall.
There, standing within the foyer of the manor, now visible from the effects of the blast, were the escaped Death Eaters with Parker Namken standing in front of them. They each had their wands raised and had clearly been watching the debris take them all down, for a look of deep satisfaction was evident on Parker’s face.
Harry stood straighter, and for a moment, air refused to enter his lungs. He felt himself stop breathing as he looked upon the man who had murdered his son. A deep and undying hatred fueled him, but Harry forced himself to think this through. The Death Eaters blowing out the front of the manor and standing at the ready threw a wrench into their plan; they hadn’t planned for that. So this changed things. They had hoped for an ambush, to catch them off-guard, to do their damage and collect Dominique, to be in and out in a matter of minutes. But that clearly wouldn’t be the case anymore.
Parker raised his wand, pointed directly at Harry, and he cocked his head to the side in cool greeting. “We thought we’d save you the trouble of knocking.”
“Where is she, Parker?” asked Harry, sucking a deep breath and pulling his brother together with hate.
“How’d you find us, Potter?” Parker asked coyly, ignoring Harry’s question all together.
“We had some help,” stated Harry plainly. “We each have someone the other wants. So let’s just make a fair exchange. An eye for an eye.”
Parker then seemed to notice that one person had remained behind at the edge of the clearing. Parker looked past Harry and the Aurors to the woman a hundred feet away. He squinted to better see her, and then his face dropped in dawning realization. He knew who the woman was. His mother. And suddenly it all made sense. They had used her to find the manor and get through the barrier.
Parker felt his fury grow, and he took a menacing step forward. “Give my mother back to me!”
“Give Dominique back to us,” demanded Harry.
Parker panted, grimacing with hatred and gripping his wand tightly in his grasp. All rational thought had clearly left him; there would be no bargaining or negotiating by the expression on his face. He left the foyer, walking forward in a determined fashion, his expression softening as he looked upon his mother who had yet to realize he stood there. “Mum!” he shouted.
Knowing the sound of her son’s voice by heart, at the edge of the clearing, Pansy looked up, frightened and confused. When she spotted Parker, she clambered to her and quickly and uneasily began to stumble toward them.
Understanding that there would be no negotiating and this could very well be his only chance to catch Parker off-guard, Harry raised his wand and made his move. “Stupefy!”
Parker was just quick enough. He jumped back, looking to Harry as the red blast shot out of the tip of his wand. Parker gave his wand a flick, deflecting the spell and sending it ricocheting off in another direction. It struck an Auror, who was thrown back and landed again on the ground unconscious.
That was when all hell broke loose. Everyone reacted to the chain of events; the Death Eaters retaliated to Harry attacking Parker, and the other Aurors joined the fight to protect the unconscious Auror.
Parker fought back, despite his urge to run to his mother’s side. He fired a blast at Harry with a menacing yell.
Harry raised his wand and deflected it. “Protego!” he shouted.
The blast went flying toward the manor and into the foyer, where it struck the chandelier. It fell to the floor and shattered, sending shards of glass and metal in all directions.
Harry ducked down, shielding himself from any further debris injury. When he stood again, he looked around to see the other Aurors and Death Eaters engaging in their duels, and Parker was running across the clearing to Pansy; the shattering of the chandelier had been enough to incapacitate Harry and give Parker the opportunity to escape him.
“Mum!” Parker cried out, running for her.
Harry took off at a sprint after Parker, ducking out of the way from a Death Eater’s red blast as he did so. He raised his wand at Parker again, the both of them running way from the fray of Death Eaters and Aurors and across the clearing to Pansy. “Petrificus Totalus!”
Parker whipped his wand over his shoulder again and deflected the jinx. He shouted in retaliation, still running at full speed away from Harry on his tail. “Reducto!”
Parker’s blast struck the ground just below Harry’s feet. The ground erupted, sending grass and dirt flying. Harry stumbled to the ground as his foot landed in the now gaping hole in the ground. He rolled over himself, burning his skin on the grass from the fall.
Pansy still looked beyond confused at the scene unfolding before her, but she seemed to register then that this man running toward her was her son, even if she had previously believed her son to be in Ministry confinement. She clearly didn’t understand, but she didn’t have time to ask.
“Mum!” Parker cried out again. “Run! Get somewhere safe!”
Pansy clearly didn’t want to leave her son after being apart from him for so long and previously thinking he was captured by the Ministry and being tortured, but she also seemed to understand that she couldn’t do anything to help. She didn’t have her wand with her; it had been confiscated by the Ministry. She was of no use to them and she was only putting herself in harm’s way by staying.
She looked around desperately and then cried to Parker, still trying to close the distance between them and reach her. “I can’t! I can’t apparate within the barrier!”
“Shit,” swore Parker under his breath as he remembered. He stopped his run and turned back toward the manor. He gave his wand a large flourish and shouted. “Finite Incantatem!”
The blast left his wand and engulfed the manor whole, washing over it as it removed any and all protection charms and the anti-apparation barrier. Parker looked back to where Pansy stood just in time to see her disapparate. She disappeared from view with a loud crack, and Parker sighed in relief.
Harry stumbled back to his feet just as Pansy disappeared, and he roared in frustration. “No! Dammit!”
Parker turned to Harry with a sneer. “Looks like you’ve lost your only leverage, Potter. Thanks for returning my mother to me.”
“Give me my niece!!” Harry demanded with a cruel shout, his voice cracking as he did so. He was surprised by his own volume and the hatred that filled his voice. He had truly never hated a man more.
Distracted by his own hatred, Harry didn’t have time to deflect Parker’s next curse. Parker flicked his wand and knocked Harry off his feet. Harry landed with a groan some distance away, rubbing his back in pain and trying to pull himself to his feet.
Parker lunged forward, grimacing and snarling at Harry. “What did I tell you?! This is not a negotiation; this is revenge. This is my justice. This is me taking back what you fuckers owe to my father. This is me in charge! No negotiating! Just me and those whom I have condemned to die!”
As Parker reached Harry, still scrambling on the ground, he reached into his pocket and pulled out something long, sharp, and gleaming. Harry realized it was a blade, and he tried faster to crawl to his feet, but it was to no avail. With the knife in his hand, Parker gave Harry’s jaw a swift kick to slow him further before he straddled Harry, standing over him with his ruthless expression.
Parker dropped to his knees over him, pressing his weight into Harry’s chest to keep him down. Harry dropped his wand from his grasp and raised this hands to fight Parker off of him. With his free hand, Parker grasped one of Harry’s wrists and twisted violently until he heard a snap.
Harry cried out in pain, knowing his wrist had broken, but he knew he couldn’t stop fighting him. Not for a single moment. If he gave Parker the advantage for even a moment, then he would send that dagger plunging through Harry’s chest.
Parker raised the knife in his hand to gather momentum, and then he sent it propelling downward.
With his uninjured hand, Harry caught Parker’s wrists and held firmly. He looked down to see the tip of the blade just barely press against the center of his chest. Harry sucked in to widen the gap between his body and the knife as he continued to fight Parker, feeling the blade poke against his chest when his body would give violent jolts in their fight against each other.
Harry continued to kick, trying to throw Parker off of his body, but he was surprised by Parker’s strength. Parker was nineteen—a young man in his prime who was broad and muscular from years as a beater. Harry was a forty-year-old man whose strength grew weaker every day with age, and Harry was much smaller in frame. He could feel himself losing this battle against Parker as he overpowered him.
Harry was able to give a swift kick, and he sent Parker rolling off of him. Parker landed on his back, the knife falling from his grasp and into the grass next to him. Harry scrambled up from next to him and crawled atop Parker. He straddled him and picked up the knife with his uninjured hand. He raised it above his head and sent it crashing down, trying to cut into Parker, but with both of his hands, Parker caught Harry’s wrist and fought against him, twisting the knife in their grasp.
Parker was all too powerful to remain under Harry. He all too easily kicked him off and flipped them around. In a matter of moments, Harry was on his back again with Parker straddling him as they both fought for possession of the knife.
Grunting and moaning, they each tried to pry the other’s fingers from the hilt of the blade, and they twisted and turned the tip of the knife, each trying to direct it toward the other to strike their desired target. Parker finally snapped Harry’s broken wrist further, and Harry had to release the hilt with his injured hand. With only one hand on the blade, Parker easily gained possession and he curled his wrist so the blade was pressed against Harry’s throat.
There, Parker leaned down to Harry and smiled as he realized he had won. “It’s funny how plans work out, isn’t it? I was going do in more of your family before I went for you. I was going to save you for last—second only to James. But now that I’ve got you here, I guess I can move you up the list.”
“You—killed—my—son,” coughed Harry, still fighting Parker as he pressed the cool edge of the blade against his throat. He could feel the metal, cold against his skin, and it moved and dug into his flesh with each inhale. He could begin to feel blood roll from the slit in his throat.
“I did him a favor!” snarled Parker, pressing the edge harder against Harry’s throat. “He’s better off dead and you know it! My father broke him—broke him beyond repair. What I did for him was a mercy. And now you can join him.”
Harry wouldn’t have it.
He didn’t know what came over him then, but he mustered all his strength and forced it into one violent kick to Parker. Parker had the reaction Harry wanted; he lost his breath and his grip on the knife from Harry’s swift kick to his gut. Harry pushed him off and scrambled to his feet and for the knife. He snatched it up just as Parker gathered his composure, and Harry drove the knife through one of Parker’s thighs.
Harry wished he could have gone for the kill, but he knew that Parker was stronger than him, and if he didn’t get away from him while he had the chance, Harry would only end up beneath Parker once more and he would most likely lose their battle. So he had to settle with only subduing Parker in order to give himself enough time to get away from him.
Parker howled, clinging onto his leg. It gave Harry the escape he needed. Harry climbed to his feet and set off at a sprint back toward the manor, holding onto his broken wrist as he ran.
The sight before him was one of defeat; he knew that much as he looked upon the Death Eaters harming the Aurors. A few Aurors had been successful in incapacitating Death Eaters, but others struggled to maintain their duels.
Harry didn’t know what to do next. He didn’t know what they could do. They had somehow lost the element of surprise from the very beginning. Parker and the Death Eaters had been prepared for them. Everything had turned into chaos from the start, and Harry didn’t see how they could win this. They would only lose more if they remained. They wouldn’t even be able to make it inside the manor.
Their best option was to abandon the cause, reevaluate and re-strategize, and try again later.
“Everybody, go! Go! Get out!” Harry yelled as he ran toward them.
The Aurors looked up at Harry’s shouts, and they obeyed their orders, taking the first opportunity at safety they could find. The Aurors who were in mid-duel disapparated on the spot, disappearing with a crack. The others who had incapacitated Death Eaters ran to the ones they had subdued and grabbed onto them to take them on side-along apparation before disapparating. People vanished one after the other until the only ones who remained were the still fighting Death Eaters, the few dead Aurors, and Kingsley who stood waiting for Harry as he ran.
Harry continued to trip over himself, running to Kingsley, waving his hand at him. “Kingsley, go!”
“Harry!” Kingsley shouted, looking to Harry wildly and beginning to move toward him. “Harry, move!”
“Go!” Harry shouted, unsure of what was happening or why Kingsley looked so frantic.
Kingsley looked to Harry desperately and ran toward him. Harry looked over his shoulder and then realized why Kingsley seemed so hopeless, so desperate.
Despite the stab wound in his leg, Parker had risen to his feet and was running toward Harry with a look meant to kill. He had pried the knife from his leg and held it in his grasp. Parker raised the knife, and he cocked his arm back as far as he could, and he hurtled the knife at Harry.
Before Harry could react, before he could look away, duck, or run in another direction, Harry felt a violent force strike him. His body was thrown to the side, and he landed in a heap on the ground. Confused and bewildered, he looked up just as the knife struck Kingsley in the chest.
Everything made sense then. Kingsley had seen Parker running at Harry with a look of determination and with every intention of killing Harry. And Kingsley had forced Harry out of the way.
Harry cried out as Kingsley gasped and collapsed to the ground. “No! Kingsley!”
Harry crawled over to Kingsley to help him, but he didn’t have the time to help him—not with Parker still running toward them.
Parker raised his wand, the words on the tip of his tongue. “Avada—
Frantic, Harry reached for Kingsley, limp on the ground, and they disapparated.
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