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Old December 21st, 2012, 4:11 am
jmunay10  Male.gif jmunay10 is offline
First Year
 
Join Date: 01st September 2012
Posts: 59
Re: Harry Potter and the Hellfire Potion

Chapter 32 ~ The Kiss

At eleven thirty that evening, Harry pulled his Invisibility cloak out of his trunk, and made for the kitchen. They had agreed that they should Apparate to Little Hangleton at midnight, when they hoped Bellatrix and her cronies would be sleeping. Hermione would keep watch on the Map, and alert Lupin at once if they weren’t back after one hour.

“Will that be enough time?” Ron had asked.

“It doesn’t matter,” replied Harry, “If we can’t find out what we need to after an hour, we should get out of there – I’m not risking anyone’s life for her.”

As he made his way down the long corridor that led to the kitchen, Harry discovered Neville standing uncomfortably outside the kitchen door, looking extremely guilty.

“What’s wrong?”

Neville shushed him, hopping about as though he needed the toilet. “Sssh!” he whispered, “I was about to go in there,” he jerked a thumb at the kitchen door, “but I heard Ron and Hermione talking. I-I wasn’t eavesdropping – I just didn’t know what to do.”

“Well why don’t you just go in?” asked Harry, perplexed.

Neville turned a funny shade of magenta, “Er, they’re having a private chat…”

Realisation dawned on Harry, “Ooh!” He thought he understood what was going on, and was about to lead Neville away when Ginny popped into his head; she would never forgive him for not supplying her with details of Hermione and Ron’s excruciatingly slow burning romance, but would he be able to stomach it? Smiling to himself at the thought of Ginny’s delight at the pair getting together, Harry eased closer to the door, peering through the narrow crack. After a moment’s hesitation, Neville shrugged and joined him.

“These two have got to get together someday!” he hissed softly to Harry.

“We’ll only look for a second,” whispered Harry, primly.

Neville nodded emphatically. “Of course.”

Inside the kitchen, Hermione and Ron were standing very close together.

“I’m worried,” Hermione was saying, in such a soft voice that Harry and Neville had to strain to hear.

Ron placed both hands on her shoulders and stared deep into her eyes. “I know, but we’ll be fine – you heard Harry – we’ll be back within an hour.”

“But she’s so dangerous – I don’t know what I’d do if something happened to one of you,” she looked up at Ron, her eyes shiny with tears. He shifted a little closer to her, moving his hands from her shoulders to her face.

“Hermione,” he whispered, voice husky, “I promise we’ll come back in one piece.”

Hermione continued to look unsure, her lower lip trembling.

“Have I ever lied to you before?” he asked, smiling slightly. She gave a small, watery laugh, inching even closer to him, tilting her face upwards, “I don’t think so…”

“Hermione…” he began, seemingly lost as to how to proceed.

“Ronald Weasley,” she said in a low voice, “if you don’t kiss me now I will use the Bat Bogey Hex on you.”

“I, er, but you don’t know the Bat Bogey hex,” he mumbled stupidly.

Hermione sighed, still staring intently up at him, “You are such an idiot,” and rose onto her tiptoes, kissing him gently on the mouth. After a second’s hesitation, Ron wrapped his arms tightly around her, kissing her back with all his might.

Out in the hallway, Harry and Neville were doing a silent victory dance, punching jubilant fists into the air.

“Harry Potter sir! What is you doing?” Dobby had appeared with their travelling cloaks, unbeknownst to the dancing duo. The sudden appearance of this loud voice caused Harry to jump with surprise, and Neville, who had been doing a sort of one-legged jig, tumbled over onto Harry, who fell through the kitchen door and onto the floor, Neville on top of him, Dobby hopping agitatedly, trying to help them up, succeeding only in tripping himself over, cloaks everywhere. Hermione and Ron jumped apart suddenly, shocked and highly embarrassed.

“Harry!” Hermione cried in a scandalised voice, “What on earth – were you spying on us?”

“No, not exactly! We were just about to come in when Dobby, er tripped and knocked me and Neville over – right?” He looked beseechingly at Neville and Dobby.

They nodded fervently, untangling their limbs and getting to their feet. An awkward silence hung in the air as they dusted themselves off, finally broken by Neville.

“Shall we get going then?” he asked, looking at Harry then Ron.

“Yeah,” said Harry, desperate to get away from Hermione’s angry glare.

Ron plucked his cloak from the heap on the floor, handing Harry and Neville theirs. Hermione’s stern expression dissolved, and she hurried to hug Harry and Neville goodbye.

“Don’t worry,” said Harry, patting her reassuringly on the arm, “we’ll be back before you know it.”

She nodded, biting her lower lip. She gathered some small bottles from the counter and handed two to each of them. “These might come in handy,” she said quietly.

“Thanks,” said Harry, pocketing his. Looking at Neville and Ron, he said, “Let’s go.”

Neville followed him out the kitchen. Ron lingered to give Hermione one last hug. “Good luck,” she whispered.

Ron said, “See you in a while,” and followed the others outside, leaving Hermione and Dobby to stare anxiously after them.
With a soft pop, three figures appeared at the top of the winding lane that led to the Gaunt house. Silence hung heavy in the air, broken only by the occasional hoot of an owl and Neville’s nervous breathing.

Harry pulled the Invisibility cloak out of his pocket and shook it out.

“We’ll approach the house under this,” he whispered, “but it won’t cover our feet.” Pulling out his wand, he tapped first Ron, then Neville over the head, performing a Disillusionment charm, before turning his wand on himself and doing the same. They nodded and huddled together, as he swung the cloak around them. As Harry had predicted, the cloak barely covered their shins. Ron was just over six foot tall now, while Harry and Neville were only a few inches shorter. Stealthily, they approached the house, taking care not to step on any twigs that lay underfoot.

“What’s the plan?” whispered Ron.

“We need to check the house for weak points – find out how we can get in, if we can,” Harry replied, under his breath, “If we make it inside, we need to find out how they plan to bring Voldemort back.”

“What if we can’t get in?” hissed Neville softly.

Ron said, “Then we find out what we can and get the hell out of there.”

Harry nodded. “Stop,” he breathed, “we’re here.” The ruined house sat before them, windows dark, though Harry couldn’t tell whether that was because the lights were out or because the glass was covered in filth.

Ron gulped loudly. Neville took a shaky breath, visibly steeling himself for what lay ahead. Harry was about to move closer, when Neville grabbed his elbow.

“Wait,” he murmured, reaching down to pick up a small bit of gravel. Straightening up, he said, “we should check that they haven’t put up a protective shield,” and threw the tiny stone at the house. It hit a pane of glass quietly, and fell to the floor. “Coast’s clear,” he muttered, and as one, the three of them inched closer to the house.

Ron, noticing a worn pathway down the side of the dwelling, nudged Harry and breathed, “This way.” Harry and Neville whispered their agreement, and made their way quietly down the path, being careful to stay close. There was a tiny window that looked into the kitchen. Harry motioned to Ron and Neville to get down, while he peered in. If possible, this window was even grubbier than those at the front of the house. Very carefully, Harry raised his wand and muttered scourgify! The glass cleared suddenly, allowing him plain view into the house and right through to the living room. A horrified gasp rose in his throat. At the far end of the room, he could see Bellatrix Lestrange talking to someone just out of sight. Sick hatred flooded through him, quickly replaced by frustration; he couldn’t hear a word she was saying. He crouched down besides Ron and Neville. It was very weird to be able to talk to them but not see them, so well blended with the ground due the Disillusionment charm.

“Bellatrix is in there,” he hissed softly, “she’s awake and talking to someone, but I can’t hear her!”

He sensed rather than saw Ron’s excitement. “Here Harry,” he whispered quickly, placing something stringy in his hand.

“Excellent idea!” Harry exclaimed quietly. Ron had handed him an Extendable Ear. Standing up again, still covered by the cloak, Harry fed the little flesh coloured string through a tiny crack in the window sill and ducked back down, holding the other the end out so they could all hear. Suddenly, Bellatrix’s voice came through loud and clear, as though she was crouching under the cloak with them.

“… And see that you send more wine, you oaf. The last supply hardly lasted a week, and now we have guests we’ll need even more.”

“Yes, Bellatrix,” came a whiny reply.

At the sound of this second voice, the hair on the back of Harry’s neck stood up with shock: Wormtail! He would know that snivelling voice anywhere. It took all the strength he had not to burst in there and start firing hexes.

“Have anymore Death Eaters been located?” she was asking now. Harry could hear the arrogant sneer in her voice. The three of them listened in hard – this could be valuable information.

“I believe Amycus and Yaxley are still at large, Bella,” came Wormtail’s oily reply. “They are next on my list to seek out.”

“Ah, yes… I bet dear Amycus would like to get his hands on young Potty,” Bellatrix mused injecting venom into the last two syllables, “Didn’t he kill his sister?”

“I believe it was a fluke,” said Wormtail bitterly. “As I recall, he was aiming for me at the time.” He was referring to the battle that had taken place moments before Harry had Apparated to the Ministry, and killed Voldemort. Wormtail had deflected Harry’s curse with his silver hand and it had killed Alecto instead, though Harry was still hazy on the details of that fateful night.

“No matter,” said Bellatrix, “a vengeful Death Eater is even more useful to me, though I think it advisable for Amycus to go after Potter’s little girlfriend…” she sighed contentedly, savouring the thought, “yes, I think he deserves a little revenge, don’t you?”

Harry’s blood ran cold at the mention of Ginny. Someone, he didn’t know whether it was Neville or Ron, gripped his arm tightly.

“But, first things first,” Bellatrix was saying now, “as much as I look forward to Potter’s death, we must concentrate on the Dark Lord’s return. Come Wormtail, it is time you were leaving.”
They heard the rustle of a cloak and footsteps. Jumping up quickly, Harry reversed his cleaning spell on the window, returning it to its filthy state, then pulled Neville and Ron up.

“Let’s go!” he hissed, and pulling the cloak off, he stuffed it into his pocket in one swift movement. Ron and Neville’s outlines were becoming clearer; the Disillusionment charm must be wearing off. He waited until first Neville then Ron had Disapparated, before following them with a soft pop, and not a moment too soon. Wormtail had just exited the house, and had stopped outside the door, looking around for the source of the noise. Lingering a moment longer, he shook his head, deciding it was just his imagination, and made his way towards the clearing…
They reappeared in the middle of Grimmauld Place. Harry’s heart was hammering inside his chest, Lestrange’s words still echoing inside his head. Nobody spoke as they watched number twelve appear in front of them. Following Harry, they trudged through the front door.

“You’re back!” came a shriek from the end of the hallway. Hermione hurtled towards them, hugging all three of them at the same time, Dobby at her heels, fat tears of relief leaking from his eyes. “Are you all right? We were watching the Map – we saw Peter Pettigrew moving towards you! I was so worried!”

“We’re fine,” said Ron quietly, not quite meeting her eye, as Harry led them to the kitchen.

“What’s wrong?” she asked fearfully.

“Let’s go and sit down,” said Neville. Hermione looked at Harry, who still hadn’t spoken.

But Hermione persisted, “Did she see you? Did Pettigrew?”

Dobby took their cloaks and they sat at the kitchen table. “Shall Dobby get you a nice drink, sirs? Miss?”

“No, Dobby – no drinks until I know what happened!” cried Hermione, eyes flashing angrily.

“Sit down, Hermione,” said Neville quietly. She sank into the chair that Dobby pulled out for her, staring from Neville to Ron to Harry intently.

When it became clear that neither Harry nor Ron were about to volunteer any information, Neville took a deep breath and haltingly, repeated what they had heard. Hermione’s hands flew to her face in horror and Dobby wept openly.

“But-but Lestrange didn’t actually say they were going after Ginny, did she? She was just making a sick joke…” she trailed off lamely.

“It doesn’t matter if she was joking or not,” Harry spoke up, “they know Ginny’s my girlfriend, they know that going after her is the best way to get to me.”

“Well they can’t have her!” she replied shrilly.

“Too bloody right,” said Ron, his voice hoarse.

“But don’t you see?” asked Harry, rising out of his chair and pacing up and down the kitchen, “If they know about Ginny, then they have information on us – all of us. How can we be sure Ginny, or any of our families are safe?”

“You’re forgetting that we have information too, Harry,” said Hermione, also standing and waving her wand, conjuring a blackboard on an easel. “We need to look at all the information we have; what were those Death Eater names again?”

Between them, Harry, Ron and Neville repeated all that they had heard again, as Hermione recorded it on the blackboard:


Bellatrix Lestrange
|
Peter Pettigrew – Lucius Malfoy – Draco Malfoy
|
Crabbe – Goyle


“These are the immediate threat,” said Hermione, pointing to the names with her wand.

Harry was struck with sudden inspiration. He took the chalk from Hermione’s hand and began writing other names:


Amycus & Yaxley


“If we can find these two before Pettigrew – we can have them in Azkaban before Lestrange and her cronies know what’s happened.”

“Exactly, Harry!” exclaimed Hermione, “A good defence is what we need. Right now we know where this lot are,” she pointed again to her list, “and we can keep an eye on them via the Map. If what you heard was correct, Lestrange and Pettigrew have no more idea about the whereabouts of Amycus and Yaxley than we do – plus we aren’t in hiding – we can search for them openly, and maybe even get the Auror’s to help…”

“But what about our families?” asked Neville nervously, “we need a way to protect them – not just Ginny, but my Gran, and your parents and brothers.” He looked at Hermione and Ron as he spoke.

“Well… how do you feel about a big Christmas?” asked Ron, an idea dawning.

“What d’you mean?” Harry frowned.

“Why don’t we get everyone over here for Christmas? We’ve still got four spare bedrooms – the twins could sleep in the attic, and this place is magically protected, isn’t it? No-one would know they were here unless you told them,” he looked pointedly at Harry.

“You know,” said Harry slowly, “that’s not a bad idea! What do you think, Dobby? Can you handle a few extra guests?”

“Oh yes, Harry Potter, sir! Dobby is ready and waiting! It is Dobby’s honour to serve the noble house of Potter!”

And the four of them sat up until the early hours of the morning, plotting and planning their next move…


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