We are on the run in now folks...
Firstly a special thanks to Jake for giving this chapter a really good beta reading, thank you! J
I have had the same `disclaimer' thing for ages but just to say that obviously I make no claim to the characters below, but am really happy to have had the chance to play with them. Thank you to all of you that have emailed and provided feedback it really has been great to hear from you!! Thank you!!
I am very open to constructive feedback and comment on the story so please, if you have time and would like to please, either comment or drop me an email on phill2818 at hotmail .co . uk
Harry Potter and the Unforeseen Hero
Chapter Twenty Three: The Spy
Harry rubbed his eyes clear of sleep and fumbled for his glasses as Draco reached for the wand that was spinning around and flashing light to indicate that it was time for them to rise.
The flashing from Draco's wand stopped as Harry slid his glasses up the bridge of his nose. He knew this morning would be difficult, Draco did not rise early easily, but much hinged on them moving quickly. He pulled himself up and out of the bed, taking the duvet with him and earning some choice words from Draco as he too pulled himself from his slumber.
They had agreed that it made most sense to be searching The Potter's old house at dawn. From their research they had understood the house to be highly unstable both magically and structurally so unlike previous missions, they had agreed that the ability to be able to see outweighed the need to be concealed by the depth of night. They were of course not even sure that the Horcrux was located at The Potter's but Hermione felt it most likely.
He reached for a thick white towel Kreacher had placed by the shower and pulled it around him. Draco slipped into the vacant spot in the shower. There was a knock at the bedroom door and Harry shouted a `come in'.
"Morning, Harry. The Polyjuice potion for Draco" Hermione said and placed a beaker of the thick mud like substance down on the bedside table.
"Cheers Hermione. Are you guys all ready to go?"
"Yes. Ron is just having some breakfast, I suggest you do the same or you will be hungry."
"Ok. We will be out in just a moment" Harry said.
"No problem, hurry up though, we need to leave very soon."
Harry and Draco quickly joined the other two and ate breakfast in silence. The little carriage clock on the mantelpiece chimed six.
"Time to go, have you got the cloak Harry? You two best drink up" Hermione chided.
"The Cloak is here, Hermione" Harry said as he pulled it from his lap.
Ron and Draco exchanged glances as they down the beakers of Polyjuice potion that rapidly converted them into two muggles that they had stolen hair from several days before. They had specifically hunted out muggles that had a similar shape so that they didn't have to worry about changing clothes mid-mission.
"Good, let's go" Hermione clipped.
Harry glanced at what he knew to be Draco and felt a pang of disappointment that the sleek long blond hair no longer looked back at him but very short dark hair. The group moved quickly to exit the tree stump and Hermione cast a disillusionment charm on herself before clasping hands with the others and apparating to the outskirts of the village.
They had timed their arrival perfectly, very few people occupied the streets and those that did had their heads down focused on getting to their destination as quickly as possible. The sun had not yet made its appearance but Harry could tell it would imminently as the sky lightened before his very eyes. He found it surprising that he had never been back to Godric's Hollow after his parent's death until now. Why had he not asked Dumbledore to take him? Why had he not asked the Dursleys where his parent's graves were? He soaked in the village from his invisible vantage point. It was not large and Harry suspected he could probably see from one end of the village to another if he tried hard enough. In the centre was a large obelisk, to his left a small village pub, to his right a church with a graveyard with houses behind and in front of him. With a stabbing of guilt and desire he realised that his parents would be buried in that graveyard and temporarily he was filled with a desire to run off and find his parents.
"Which way?" a gruff voice asked.
"Straight on" the slightly lighter tone of the muggle Draco was impersonating replied.
The group walked forwards towards the centre of the village and with some shock Harry realised that the obelisk had gone, replaced with a statue of two adults and a baby. It took him a few moments more to realise that it was his family and the baby was in fact him. He tore his eyes away from it chastising himself to stay focused on the reason for their being there. It was getting harder to remain focused on the sole job of locating the Horcrux. The group continued forwards away from the centre of the village and the houses began to thin and turn from terraced properties to semi detached and then detached as they moved further from the village centre.
The sun blasted into life filling the streets with light as they arrived at what could only be the spot. A tumbledown house with a well weathered white picket fence. Ivy and other weeds grew in amongst the house.
"This must be it, surely?" the gruff voice asked.
"Yes" the lighter voice replied, "We should not hang around here. Lets get moving but for god sake be careful it looks like the place could fall down at any moment."
The group moved forwards and Ron placed a hand on the gate, which fell immediately from its hinges at the slightest touch. Harry felt a wave rush over him as the gate parted company with the rest of the fence. He dismissed it quickly as Ron moved further forwards into the grounds of his old house.
He could not see where Hermione was but he could see Draco and Ron skirt carefully around the house.
"Where are you? We should cast the charm just in case" Draco said. They had discussed whilst making their preparations that the `magus defigo' charm may not work as the high concentration of dark magic created in the destruction of the house would taint the charm. They had however, agreed it was worth a shot.
Harry walked up close to the figure that he knew to be Draco and stuck out his hand from inside the invisibility cloak. Draco clasped it before saying `after three, two, one" and they both said "magus defigo" whilst holding their wands in the direction of the house. The familiar red mist that indicated dark magic spilled in billows from their wands and began to coat the house.
"This isn't working" Harry conceded and flicked his wand muttering `finite'.
Several things happened at once, a movement to the right of the house and a few small stones tumbled dislodged as a foot now rested in their place and a voice from behind him. An all too familiar voice.
"Looking for something Potter?" asked the greasy haired, hook nosed potions master he hated so much.
It seemed fruitless to pretend that he was not there. Snape would have already seen his disembodied arm held out to Draco in order to cast the magus defigo charm. He pulled the hood down revealing his face.
"As a matter of fact, yes" Harry replied as a shocked gasp from the figure, now behind him, escaped his lips.
"Potter! Severus, its Potter" the figure Harry recognised as Theodore Nott's father exclaimed.
"I am perfectly well aware of who it is thank you Nott" Snape replied.
"Kill him!" Nott replied, raising his own wand and pointing it in Harry's direction.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you Nott. We have our orders" Snape replied coolly.
"What does the Dark Lord care if he is dead or alive? Avada..." before he could complete the spell however, a red light thumped into his chest and Harry glanced round to see who had cast it before resting his eyes back on Snape, shocked to see that it was in fact his enemy that had cast the charm that had cause Nott to collapse backwards into the rubble.
"There is no time for childish games Potter. He has summoned others, perhaps even the Dark Lord. I have something for you."
"You what?" Harry asked shocked and stalling for time. Was this a trap?
"We don't have time for this Potter. I have something for you. It was left in my possession by Albus Dumbledore who bade me give it to you at the right time. I believe the right time is now."
"How do we know this isn't a trap?" the gruff voice of Ron asked.
"Weasley?" Snape asked curling his lip "The new look is an improvement. We do not have time to debate this. I have something for Potter and he has to choose to come and take it now or face thirty Death Eaters in about sixty seconds time."
"What is it?" Harry asked.
"It, Potter, is this" Snape replied, pulling a small phial from deep within his cloak before continuing "I don't know what the memory is of. It is spelled to open only for you. Now take it!"
"Harry, NO, it could be a portkey!" Ron all but shouted.
Before Harry could react the figure that he knew to be Draco had moved quickly forward in front of him and close to Snape. Before holding out his hand. Snape dropped the phial into his outstretched hand. To Harry's everlasting relief Draco did not vanish in front of them.
"It will do you no good Granger, only Harry may open the phial" Snape said to Draco.
A number of simultaneous pops could be heard indicating a person apparating into the location. It did not take long to realise who had appeared. Snape's wand was now back raised in Harry's direction as Draco edged back towards his boyfriend.
"Hold him, hold him, hold him" the maniacal voice of Bellatrix intoned before continuing "The Dark Lord comes for you Potter, you will soon be dead."
"You will never find what it is you seek Potter" Snape shouted with contempt.
Harry knew the stillness would not last and he was not surprised when curses began erupting from wands, stunners flying towards him and others that looked more sinister flying towards Ron and Draco. His hand was desperately trying to find Draco's as he deflected curses away. Harry glanced away from his foes to look for Draco's hand and in the instant that he turned back a shield charm appeared in front of him as he watched a streak of light fly into it and melt away.
"We have to get out of here" Hermione said, confirming that she had erected the shield charm that saved him from a stunner or worse.
"We can't apparate inside the grounds of the house" Draco shouted back as he dodged a bright green spell.
"Right, let's move!" Harry shouted and continued "Wand free hands, on me!"
The instruction was heeded and he felt the invisible hand of Hermione attach itself to his wand shoulder and Ron grab the top of this left arm. Draco's hand finally slipped into his own and he could feel the tingling of their magic rejoicing at the renewed closeness.
"Draco, shield charm, three, two, one."
"PROTEGO" they roared at the same time and a thick white stream of light leapt forth from his wand and formed the outer layer of a bubble that encased the group. Draco's own spell enveloped Harry's adding to it and reinforcing it.
"LETS MOVE" Harry called, and he walked slowly back towards the gate raising his wand holding the shield stable but as he did so his scar burned more than he could ever remember. He fell onto his knees and screamed clutching his head and in that instant the shield intensity dropped and jinx's penetrated the protective bubble.
"FOCUS Harry" Draco screamed and he forced himself back to his feet and concentrated with all his might on restabilising the shield. Harry was flanked by Hermione and Ron with his back covered by Draco. Hermione and Ron's jinx's slipped through the shield charm, often finding their mark as several Death Eaters tumbled from their unprotected spots. They were now meters away from the gate but it was patently clear that they would not fit through the small gate sized hole. As he was thinking this a flash of flight erupted from Hermione's wand that levelled the already unstable picket fence.
"Almost there!" Harry called as he stepped over the boundary line. Despite all the noise and uproar another pop reached his ears and glancing to his left he saw Voldemort. A wicked smile crossed the snake like countenance which quickly turned to a scream of rage as Harry twisted on the spot. Of course they had to drop the shield in order to apparate and it was with some shock that he materialised to the sounds of screams to his right. Blood dripped from a deep gash in Ron's arm but he was snapped away again as the burning in his head crescendo once again.
Harry was back in the tumbled down ruins of his house and they would all pay for yet another failure. Figures ran for cover as he cursed all those around him.
"Why Severus, WHY?" he was shouting and the hook nosed bat was at his feet screaming in agony.
"Harry, Harry, HARRRY" the urgent voice was shouting at him calling him back to reality. It was soft and sandy beneath him and he was staring up into the half muggle, half Draco calling his name.
"Harry, are you ok?" Draco whispered again. It was strange watching the form of your lover appear over what had been such an alien face. "Harry" he said again urging for a response.
"I'm ok Dray" Harry muttered as he rubbed his head hard to try and regain some feeling.
"Harry, what's going on?" asked the scared voice of Hermione.
"Voldemort, he is seriously angry, like you would not even believe. How's Ron? What time is it?" he asked suddenly remembering the blood on their reappearance.
"I'm all good mate, just a scratch, Hermione fixed me up and a little after eight" the ginger haired boy replied.
"Let's get back to the house" Hermione said quickly.
"No chance Hermione, we have to find a Pensieve. We can't wait to find out what is in this memory. It could be really important."
"Well we can't just rock up in Diagon Alley mate and pick one up, can we?" Ron said.
"Don't be stupid Ron, of course we can't. For one Diagon Alley is one of the most dangerous places for us to be but for two they are highly rare magical objects. Very few are in existence" Hermione said.
"Well we know there is one at the Manor" Draco offered.
"No Draco, all the Death Eaters will gather there I am sure of it" Harry replied.
"Well where else are we going to find one?" The blond asked, his features now returned to normal.
"Hogwarts" Harry said.
"You have to be shitting me" Ron said.
"We can't possibly" Hermione added at the same time.
"No, Harry that's just plain stupid" Draco said.
"What choice do we have?!?" Harry all but shouted, exasperated by his friends inability to grasp the simple premise that whatever the memory held it would be pivotal to their success.
"But Harry, we don't have a plan or anything!" Hermione continued looking scared.
"Do you think I don't know that?" Harry asked jumping to his feet and running his hand through his hair before continuing "We know that the school has a Pensieve. We also know that Snape is not there at the moment. It's our best chance, to act quickly, and find out what is in the memory."
"I am really not sure about this Harry. How are we even going to get into Hogwarts? We know that there is all sorts of security, it's not as if we can walk up to the front door and knock" Hermione said.
"Hermione, I agree alright. I totally get what you are saying. But what choice do we have? We can go back to the tree and make a plan but that does not change the fact that right here, right now represents our best chance of getting into the place and finding out what Dumbledore has left in the memory."
"So we apparate to Hogsmede and find a way in from there?" Ron asked.
"Exactly! We could break into Honeydukes. We know that there is a secret passage into the school from there" Harry invented wildly.
"There is a passage way into Honeydukes?" Draco asked looking up surprised.
"Yes, yes but now isn't the time to be discussing that" Harry chastised.
"Ok Harry. If you think this is the best plan I am with you" Ron said, moving towards the black haired boy in a show of support.
"Of course I am going where ever you are. That goes without saying" Draco confirmed and moved next to his boyfriend.
"I am really not sure about this Harry but it does not look like I have much of a choice" Hermione conceded.
"Good" Harry nodded in appreciation of the support. "Disillusionment charms all around I think" and he picked up his invisibility cloak that had fallen on the sandy beach during their arrival. He flicked it and the sand fell away from the silky cloak and he draped it back around his shoulders as Hermione tapped each person in turn and they disappeared from sight.
"Hold on" Draco said, holding out his arm and he felt three hands clasp onto his own and he twisted pulling them all inwards before the landed back on solid ground in the street of Hogsmede.
There was a difference to the last time they visited in the middle of the night. The streets had people on them and Harry had to thrust himself flat against a nearby wall to avoid detection. Wizards and Witches of all shapes and sizes walked the streets as the shops opened their doors to the public. There was a difference though. Nobody stopped to talk. Everyone had their faces pointing to the floor and the intense colours that usually assaulted Harry's eyes could not be found. Many shades of black or grey could be seen but the violent magentas or crisp blues could not be seen. People seemed to hurry too, moving from their origin to their destination as quickly as possible.
"Now what" Hermione hissed from the other side of the street. A nearby witch scurried away in the opposite direction to that of which she had originally been heading having overheard Hermione's hiss.
"All of you, over here" Harry said and lifted his cloak slightly so that they could see his feet and move to him. He felt several bumps as the three invisible figures jostled for position. "We need to get into the castle. I suggest we try Honeydukes first."
Harry walked, with what he assumed to be the others behind him, purposefully towards Honeydukes avoiding the passers by. Thankfully as they walked through the open door the sweet shop was next to empty, it clearly had not faired well over the past few months. Harry felt someone brush past him and he heard muffled footsteps creak on the steps down into the basement and he followed a moment later to see the trap door to the secret passageway had been lifted. As approached he heard Hermione speak.
"No chance Harry. That is a seriously powerful magical shield and even if we could break it, which I don't think we could, there must be trigger traps and alarms in place."
Harry glanced down at the luminescent blue shield that prevented access to the secret passageway.
"Shit" he muttered but this was drowned out by an all too familiar voice.
"A portion of peppermints please" The crisp voice of Professor Minerva McGonagall said.
"Three Sickle's" the shop assistant replied.
"Come on! That's our way in!" Harry whispered.
He walked as quickly but as quietly as possible up the steps and from the shop before pausing at the entrance to the shop to glance around and spotted the transfiguration teacher entering another shop before another invisible figure bumped into him.
"Who's that?" he whispered.
"It's me" Ron replied.
"Where are the others?"
"I'm here" Draco replied, before Hermione added "me too."
"Right we are going over to the middle of the square. We watch McGonagall like a hawk and when she makes her way back up to the school we follow."
It turned out that McGonagall was in no hurry to return to the school and when over an hour had passed and still the witch flicked from shop to shop collecting provisions, Harry could barely restrain himself from approaching the old witch to ask her what else she needed and he would get it for her. However, he needn't have worried just five minutes after the thought had crossed his mind the witch emerged from Tomes and Scrolls with a pile of books and began to head back towards the ancient castle.
"Come on" Harry muttered and he set off in pursuit of his former head of house.
Hermione began speaking as they cleared the village and McGonagall was still a distance in front "We should talk to her before we get any closer Harry."
"Talk to her? I was just going to follow her in" Harry said confused.
"Think about it Harry, she can help us. We know she will be on your side."
"Are you sure?" Harry asked again slightly unsure of this new turn of events.
"Yes Harry she was in the Order. We increase our chances of success with someone helping us."
"Ok. I will speak to her, you three cover me" Harry said and he took off at a gentle job to catch her up.
"Professor" Harry whispered as he came close enough for her to here his muttering. She dropped her books and reached for her wand and called out "Who's there?"
"Professor, it's me, Harry. Pick up the books and keep walking. Don't look left or right" the old witch did as she was told and resumed her walking before chancing a sideways glance.
"It was utter madness of you to come here Potter. Do you have any idea what will happen to you if you get caught?"
"I have a shrewd idea but trust me I am not unprepared."
"What ever do you mean?"
"I have support just in case."
"Support?" she questioned.
"Yes three wands are trained on our movements ready to react if required."
"I see. But don't you realise..."
"...Yeah I do, actually but there is something I need, something in the castle and it's really important I can use it and then I will be out of here."
"I don't think this wise, Potter."
"Professor, I'm acting on Dumbledore's orders!"
"Yes, now will you help me?"
"Very well, come on."
The witch sped up, pausing briefly at the gate to the school and performing a strange salute until the gates parted to allow them entry.
"We're in" Harry whispered to nobody but himself.