Hey all!

To confirm - I make no claim (obviously) to the characters below, but am really happy to have had the chance to play with them and make something that is, I hope, enjoyable to read.

I do want to say a massive thank you to the fabulous LadyKatie who has been 'with me' on this from the start. I really have valued your input and feedback on this as it has developed.

I will also admit that this is my first story so please be kind if you choose to review. 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 Six: More Interviews

 

 

The three lads trudged back into their meeting room, full of an excellent steak lunch.  Remains of what appeared to be a cheese and pickle sandwich adorned a near by plate.

"I hope you had a nice lunch?" The journalist enquired.

"Yeah better than yours I would say" Ron commented nodding in the direction of the plate and continuing "Why didn't you come and eat in the great hall?"

"Ah one doesn't like to intrude" 

"Tisnt a problem" Ron offered shrugging "might as well come down with us next time if you like?"

"That's very kind, thank you"

"No worries"

"I hope you don't mind but before you carry on with your tale I wanted to ask a question"

"What's that?"

"I am sure that in due course I will hear about hard times, strife amongst other things and I wanted to know what your support was.  I mean clearly you had each other, and your various relationships changed at least from what I understand, but what propped you up?"

"Well Harry had his music player, Hermione had her books, Draco his superiority complex and me...well I dunno about me?"

"Idiocy complex?" Draco offered in response to the friendly jibe that had just been sent his way.  Ron responded in kind with a two-fingered salute in Draco's direction.

"You will have to forgive them, every now and again they go back to fifth year and forget that they are supposed to be friends" Harry apologised to the reporter.  "In all seriousness Ron probably had most of that right.  I would sink into a muggle contraption called a ‘Discman', it plays music and I will tell you about that later.  Hermione always had several books going on and Draco well he did have a superiority complex" Harry looked at the blond that was glaring in his direction.  "I'm sorry love, but you did!  As for Ron, he had an obsession that kept him going"

"Oh?" asked Cuffe

"Food; what was for dinner?  What was the quality of the meal and could he have more.  Joking apart those distractions gave us each a small escape"

"Thank you for telling me.  It's interesting to hear because it makes the activity that much more real to people.  We often hear ‘the headlines' but often it's the small details that make the difference"

"No worries.  Did you want to ask anything else?"

"Not at the moment.  The way this morning went, I don't really want to change much!  Please continue?"

"Ok, no problem.  So yeah that was my summer in Surrey over.  I was taken literally from that spot to Ron's home at The Burrow.................................."

"Harry dear!  We were so worried, are you ok?"

"Hi Mrs Weasley!  Yeah I'm fine.  It's not me anyways, it's everyone else!"

"What happened mate?  First mum or I hear about this is a feletone call from Tonks!"

"Telephone I think you mean mate?"  Harry responded smiling at his best friend

"Yeah, yeah whatever!  What happened?"

"I was out, sitting in the park eating a sandwich and I almost took a hex to the back of the head"

Ron's mouth dropped open, "In full view of the muggles?"

"Yup, I expect the Ministry will be working over time tonight"

"Then what happened?"

"I got lucky, again.  I ducked... moved away and called Remus.  They have Dolohov in Azkaban now I think"

"Wow!  Nothing like that ever happens round here" Ron expressed

"Thankfully!" Molly Weasley put in before continuing, "Lupin said he would go and explain to the muggles then bring your things over in a few hours Harry.  I expect the Ministry will also wish to speak with you too at some point.  But as for right now why don't you and Ron go flying.  Its a few hours until dinner"

Harry and Ron spent several happy hours flying around The Burrow and the field to the rear of the ramshackle house that afternoon.  Not long after they first mounted their brooms Ginny Weasley who had a prestigious knack for Quidditch joined them.  Thirty minutes later George and Fred Weasley had also returned from their shop at Diagon Alley under the express instruction of Mrs Weasley. 

"It's ok to work there" she had informed them when Fred repeated the lecture in his best Mrs Weasley impression "But I won't have you staying there.  You are to be home before dark every night and you are not to travel alone.  If you do not follow these simple instructions I forbid you to leave this house"

The boys had grudgingly agreed that all in all, life was simpler if they kept their mother on side.  So, as it was summer, they opened the store at 9am and closed at 5pm to ensure that they were home long before darkness.

Upon their arrival the group split into teams of two Fred & Harry vs. George and Ginny with Ron keeping the single goal that both teams would shoot at.  The games would be time limited to thirty minutes before changing teams.  

Just before dinner they finished the third game with George and Harry narrowly loosing by ten points to Ginny and Fred.  Harry was taking solace in the fact that he didn't usually play as a chaser and that he had won the two previous games.  All in all everybody felt pretty good, as no one person had won all three games.  Though Ginny was still having a heated discussion with Ron because he had "let Harry score" in the closing moments of a toughly fought third game.  

Mrs Weasley had come up trumps once again with a fantastic Shepherds Pie.

As the plates were cleared away Harry asked "Is Hermione coming?" realising that it was unusual to find himself at The Burrow before the frizzy haired girl.  He noted with wry amusement that the tops of Ron's ears had turned scarlet when he mentioned her name.

"End of the week I think dear" Mrs Weasley responded kindly.

So they were set.  Harry had agreed with Ron that they couldn't possibly do any planning for their imminent departure to search for Horcrux's until Hermione had joined them on Friday.  This left them two whole days and a part of Friday to relax; after all Ron reasoned "Everyone needs a holiday mate.  You have had to spend the past few weeks with the muggles and then ended up in an underage duel!  Go on relax"

As Harry sat on the familiar camp bed he was reminded that it was his Birthday the day after Hermione's arrival.  Seventeen.  Did he really feel seventeen?  Perhaps not.  But he was thankful that the day was finally drawing closer.  He would finally have the ability to perform magic without the fear of retribution from the Ministry.  He had been reading whilst in ‘captivity' of a particular branch of magic that had really appealed to him; Wandless Magic.  Harry was not conceited, he knew he wasn't the most powerful Warlock ever to grace the planet but he felt that his power was possibly a shade above other Wizards and he was desperate to for the opportunity to put into practice some of the techniques he had read about in a school library book into practice. 

Wandless magic was not unheard of in the wizarding world but neither was it all that common either.  Certain wizards, he had learned whilst reading the book, had developed the ability to perform wandless magic but found the frustration of not being able to exert as much control or spell strength as they would if using a wand to be a hindrance and so had given it up.  But not Harry, he was keen to try his strength and make his own decision. 

"Harry" Ron's voice startled him out of his thoughts

"Yes mate?"

"Why do you think the Ministry hasn't spoken to you about your under age magic?"

He had forgotten or not made the connection in his mind that yes it was his Birthday in just a few days but actually he was not seventeen yet and his little wand fight with Dolohov constituted a breach in the International Statute of Secrecy. 

"Erm, I dunno! "

So it was that Ron broached the question again that Friday afternoon to Hermione, curiosity and perhaps a little jealousy that had he performed the slightest amount of magic before his birthday not only would he have found himself in front of the Ministry but possibly disinherited following the fall out of his mothers wrath.  

"Honestly Ronald, don't you think that putting Harry on trial for defending himself from a Death Eater might cause a little bit of an uproar?"  Hermione rolled her eyes in the affectionate and somewhat endearing way that she so often did and Harry cracked a smirk onto his face. 

"Yeah Ron, saviour of the Wizarding world here" Hermione rolled her eyes once more in the way that only she could.

After another sumptuous meal Harry settled himself into one of the comfy seats close to the lounge fire.  It felt to Harry a little like Christmas Eve in the Gryffindor common room that Friday evening in The Burrow's cramped lounge.  The promise of his seventeenth birthday was hanging just a few tantalising hours around the corner.  He had never been massively interested in presents but the prospect of cake and a small party was another thing all together.  He was really looking forward to seeing Lupin again; hopefully they would have more of an opportunity to chat this time! 

"Harry" Hermione's voice called to him from the entrance to the lounge "can we have a word?" and she raised her eyebrow in an, ‘obey don't argue' kind of way. 

"Yeah sure" and excused himself from the rest of the group.  He could feel Mrs Weasley's beady eye on his back as she traced his movement from the room.  When they reached the relative quiet of The Burrows kitchen he acknowledged Ron who was sitting at the table with a nod and "What's up?"

"We were just upstairs" and she flushed a shade of pink automatically and Harry glanced away not wanting to make either of his friends more uncomfortable than they already were.  How long had this been going on he wondered?  Of course Ron and Hermione had been close.  It was an open secret that there was a mutual attraction between the two but he had not known that their relationship had progressed at all.  On the one hand he was pleased, he had been encouraging Ron to do the decent thing and just ask her out.  Before the incident at the end of the school year Harry had encouraged Ron to just ‘fucking ask her out already' when he had arrived in their dorm looking sullen.  However, on the other hand he was nervous that it would affect their various relationships. 

Burying these thoughts and looking directly at Ron, Harry asked mischievously "Do I want to know this?"  The tips of his ears also turned pink and Hermione coughed

"No nothing like that. We were just listening to the wireless"

"On your own, upstairs?  Are you sure you ‘listening' was all that was going on?"

"Look Harry" Hermione took on her best clipped ‘lecture' tone "the point is we were listening to the radio and the news came on.  Lucius Malfoy was murdered this evening, in Azkaban.  We just thought you would want to know"

"How?"

"They don't know yet.  He was found dead in his cell.  They are supposed to be making a formal statement tomorrow morning"

"The bastard would go and die just before my birthday" Harry said bitterly

"Well I don't think he wanted to" Ron perked up

"Well no of course he didn't want to Ron.  The point is Harry it got me thinking; we need to work out what our plan is for dealing with the Horcrux's is.  There is so much to organise, where to look, where to stay, how to eat and before any of that we have to tell Mrs Weasley that we aren't going back to Hogwarts"

Ron let out an involuntary shudder and Harry quite agreed.  That was one conversation that he did not want to have.  "We could divide and concur?  Ron and I will plan whilst you tell Mrs Weasley?"  Harry offered optimistically

"Typical.  I knew you would try and palm this job off on me.  But let me tell you Harry James Potter" I am absolutely not doing this on my own"

"Not even as a birthday present?" Harry pushed hopefully and Hermione's expression softened but she added resolutely "No, not even as a birthday present Harry.  We will just have to tell her together" 

"Fine, fine, together then!  But not tomorrow" It was funny really, the thought of confronting Mrs Weasley about their decision not to conclude their seventh year scared Harry.  She was the closest thing to a mother he had had and she had a fiery temper.  The look of disappointment when they advised her of their plans was not something he was relishing.  

"No, not tomorrow, but soon" Hermione confirmed

"Do you know where we should start to look?"  Ron put in

"Not really.  Like I said before school ended Dumbledore didn't leave me much to go on.  I think we need to sit down and gather all the facts we know and form our plan.  I also don't think we can stay here too long.  We need freedom to move around in order to search and I don't think it's a great idea to be in one place.  Mainly because there are so many people coming and going.  We need somewhere we can lay low and hunt"

They continued to talk for several hours more; putting into place tentative plans for dealing with Mrs Weasley and pulling together a list of items they would need whilst hunting for the Horcrux's.  The plotting continued long into the evening until Mrs Weasley chivvied them to bed a little after midnight.

"Happy birthday dear" she added pressing a kiss to the top of his head

"Oh yeah!!  Thanks Mrs W"

Ron thumped him on the arm and Hermione gave him a hug and bade them both goodnight as she went off to bed. 

Washing, cleaning his teeth and finally climbing into his camp bed Harry lay there staring up at the ceiling listening to Ron's deepening breaths that morphed into a snore.  ‘Ah the sound of the familiar' Harry mused and threw off the temptation to throw a pillow at his best friend.   It was his birthday after all!

Eventually sleep washed over the raven-haired boy calling him into a deep slumber.   He was dreaming.  Not the usual dreams of grim goings on or flashbacks of Cedric's death, no this was all together more satisfying.  He was sitting in a park or maybe a field and around him was an array of foods.  A picnic it seemed.  As he took in his surroundings he noticed a young boy, maybe four or five, playing just in front of the picnic spread.  The child was throwing a Fanged Frisbee to a figure that was just down an incline and that Harry couldn't see. 

The youth had the whitest of blond hair and as he turned to call to Harry familiar piercing green eyes locked on his.  Their stare intensified and Harry felt the mood change; he had been comfortable, relaxed and at his ease.  The gaze that now fixed him made him feel on edge, apprehensive and nervous.  As he continued to stare he felt his body suck forward towards the child until he was inches from the boy.  Trying with all his might he attempted to look away but he was held captive as the eyes morphed from emerald green to red and the shape altered in front of him to cat like slits until he was pulled the remaining few inches ‘through' the eyes. 

His surroundings had changed and dramatically.  The backdrop was no longer flowing fields of green but in front of him was a solid foreboding structure and it was dark.  Glancing around he realised that he was no longer alone shadowy, masked figures stood either side of him.

"Place him at my feet" the snake like rasp emitted from his mouth and a thunk coupled with a muffled grunt emanated from the heavy item that had just been thrown in front of him. 

"Do you know why you are here?" the hiss emanated from his mouth and a hand rose into his line of sight and a wand flicked a spell in the direction of the thing at his feet.

The white haired face of Draco Malfoy came into view as a hood was vanished from his face.  His face was almost unrecognisable.  Bruised and battered he looked up at Harry.  The blonds' eyes looked beseechingly at Harry begging for death.

"Oh no Draco, it won't be that easy.  You and your whole family have failed me.  You are nothing more than a liability to me; a risk that I am not prepared to take.  But don't think that that will grant you clemency and a quick end.  Oh no" The corners of his mouth flickered upwards as he began speaking again "Take his shirt and trousers.  Ensure he cannot escape.  Bind him tight"

Two death eaters moved forwards, their faces covered by masks.  One flicked their wand towards the stone wall in front and a solid iron hoop appeared that was firmly attached to the wall.  The other meanwhile had, as ordered, removed the boy's shirt and trousers.  Leaving him almost naked.  The first, flicking his wand again, manacled the boy's arms above his head to the iron loop.  Imperceptibly the boy shuddered.

"Yessss, it is rather cold tonight isn't it Draco?  I thought you would appreciate the irony of dying in the same location that you failed your mission in?"

The blond looked beseechingly into the slitted pupils and his mouth moved slowly open and in a cracked voice he said "Mercy my lord.  Mercy?  Kill me now"

"Oh no Draco.  You have failed but others must learn from your mistakes must they not?"

"Crucio!" the blond's body writhed under the spell and his screams where Harry's screams and his pain was Harry's pain.  Clapping a hand to his forehead he sat bolt upright slamming his head at full force into Ron's arm who had jumped from his bed at the sound of screaming to his friend's side.

"Harry!" Ron repeated holding his friends shoulders

"What on earth is going on?" asked a bewildered Mr Weasley who was standing in the doorway.

"I don't know" Ron replied and then turned back to Harry "Are you ok?  What's going on?"

"Dream" Harry offered pulling himself together and pushing the burning pain to the back of his mind.

"Harry!" Ron repeated "What's going on?!?" as his friend moved quickly from the camp bed to where his trousers were located over the back of Ron's desk chair.

"Got to get to Hogwarts" he said simply

"But Harry, it's the middle of the night" Mrs Weasley said joining her husband in the door frame

"Can't wait.  Got to go now or he will die"

"Harry!  Slow down" she urged him gently

"No! I have to get to Hogwarts, right now!  Or he will die.  I don't want anyone to die no matter what I think of them.  Now are you going to help me or not?"

Molly Weasley glanced at her husband who nodded "Ok Harry, we go to Hogwarts.  Wait one moment and I will use the feletone to call Minerva so that she can open the wards".  He disappeared from view as Harry pulled a jumper over his head and pulled his wand from his pocket.  Ron meanwhile had scampered from Harry's side and pulled on clothes and Mrs Weasley had disappeared to rouse the rest of the family.

Five minutes later Harry stood at the grate, travelling cloak buttoned around his neck as Hermione muttered "Incendio" a crackling fire sprung up in the grate and Harry reached for the floo powder as Mr Weasley came running into the room. 

"Ok wards are down on the Headmistress's office" Harry didn't need to be told twice and threw the powder into the fire.

"Headmistress McGonagall's office, Hogwarts" he said and stepped through

"Potter!  What on earth is going on?!"  McGonagall asked, as Ron appeared close on Harry's heals.

"Malfoy.  Tower.  Lets go".

Taking off in a run he slipped from the Headmistresses office past the gargoyle and found his path blocked by the tall gates baring access to the outside.  McGonagall and the group of Weasley's caught up.

"Open it.  Quickly" Harry ordered

"Patefacio" the Professor muttered and the doors creaked open.

Having already witnessed Harry accelerate out of the office a moment ago the group was ready and were not disappointed when Harry turned on his heal and ran the moment the door's were sufficiently wide.  He ran past the herbology green houses and back towards the outskirts of the castle.  The scene that greeted him as he rounded the corner was familiar.  The blond was chained, shivering violently and barely conscious.  Running up to him Harry pulled off his cloak and wrapped it around the blond as Hermione called "Relashio" and the blond fell face first into Harry's chest.

McGonagall stood hand clapped to her mouth in shock as Harry pulled the blond up.  "Is Pomfrey here?"

"No.  She is away for the holiday"

"Right, how do we get to St Mungos?"

"Pass him here Harry I will apparate" Arthur Weasley offered.  Harry frowned, it was not as if there was much love loss between Draco and himself but at the same time he felt accountable for the boy's safety.  He had witnessed first hand Voldemort's wrath and insanity, taken out on the Malfoy family. 

"Come on mate, its only Malfoy and we all know you can't apparate directly from here to London".  Ron's comments far from persuading Harry on the appropriate course of action only served to anger him.  Yes it was Malfoy but Ron had not seen the state he had succumbed to.

"Come on Harry, you have almost certainly saved his life.  Don't kill him now by delaying" Hermione, ever the voice of reason, snapped him out of deliberative state.   After passing the prone blond out of his arms and into Mr Weasley's arms Harry slumped back and only then did he take in his surroundings and a mixture of pain and happiness flew through him.  The Weasley group and Hermione all stood supportively around him whilst Arthur Weasley was seen jogging off with McGonagall to the edge of the school's wards so he could disapparate.  The pain of being back in the same place where such a short time earlier the lifeless body of Albus Dumbledore had laid was too much and he sucked in great lungful's of breath to keep from breaking down.

Nobody said anything as Mrs Weasley wrapped Harry up into a bone-crushing embrace and as she released him after one final squeeze the silver weasel Patronus solidified in front of them

"In intensive care, no visitors; will send more news soon" and it disappeared as quickly as it had arrived.  McGonagall came huffing back in the group's direction having show Arthur through the wards a moment ago.

"Will you come back to the castle?  It's starting to get light"

"Thank you Minerva, we won't stay, if it's ok we will floo back to The Burrow.  I am sure if Arthur sends news it will be to there"

"Of course, please do come with me" and she ushered the shell-shocked group back to her office and watched as they each in turn called ‘The Burrow' and stepped through her fireplace and disappeared from sight. 

............................................."excuse me for interrupting" Cuffe broken in before Harry could continue with his story.

"Yes?" He asked quizzically but smiled to show that he wasn't frustrated with the interruption.

"I was wondering, Mr Potter has done a fantastic job explaining how you got to this point but I wonder Mr Malfoy if you could offer us your view point leading up to this situation?"

Draco cleared his throat "Of course.  There isn't much to tell but I will give you a quick precis.  I am sure Harry you have heard what had occurred at the top of the tower a month or so before this event?"

"Perhaps you might just refresh my memory, for completeness?"

He was a wily old bugger Draco thought to himself, a reason why he had been so successful in journalism for so long.  Even if you know the answer, ask the question again for hope of another angle.

"I had been selected by the Dark Lord for a mission.  The mission was to kill Albus Dumbledore.  As I believe is public knowledge I couldn't do it.  I was lowering my wand when Severus Snape arrived at the top of the tower and killed him.  Afterwards we fled back to Malfoy Manor"

"I see" the journalist prompted slightly crestfallen not to receive anything more than he already knew on the topic.

"Well........................................."

"You foolish child; why did you not act?  The Dark Lord will be most displeased when he finds out" Bellatrix began, walking briskly towards the blond

"I....I was about to" Draco stammered becoming defensive "I was interrupted!"

Bellatrix moved even further forward, hovering over the blond ominously "Don't. Lie. To. Me"

"I...I'm not lying.  I wasn't even given a chance"

The door opened with a dramatic slam "What is going on? Bellatrix?"

Bowing deeply she replied "My Lord"

"We were just discussing the evening's events"

"To what conclusion did you derive?"

"My Lord, no conclusion was reached"

With a flick of his wand and quicker than Draco could have reacted even if he were able to defend against Voldemort's assault he muttered "Legilimens"

The evening's events were brought to the forefront of his mind as Voldemort inspected the events that had preceded Bellatrix's interrogation.  Pausing for a moment Voldemort before speaking caressed his wand "You may leave Draco"

Not waiting for a further invitation Draco dipped his head in acknowledgement and practically ran from the room.  As soon as the door was shut behind him he ran from the scene up to his bedroom, slamming the door behind him he fell back onto the door behind him, sucking in deep breaths.

"What has happened Draco?" came the familiar, soft voice of his mother and looking up saw the prim, austere witch sitting in a chair, clearly anticipating his return. 

"Mother!" he exclaimed in shock "It's all a mess, I couldn't do it" though saying the truth out loud pained him his mother would know what to do. 

"Quickly, tell me everything" Draco rattled off the events of the evening

"We must act quickly.  We are no longer safe, with your father gone and your humanity, we are in great danger"

"Why?" the immature question fell from his mouth

"The Dark Lord confided certain objects and information to your father and well he isn't here, one of the objects was compromised and on top of that, the mishap this evening.  It makes the situation rather precarious"

"What did he confide to father?"

"I do not know Draco.  Give me a few hours to consider the best thing to do.  It would be prudent to keep anything you cannot bare to leave behind on your person, just in case"

"Of course"

"I am to see your father in a week, I will speak with him.  Keep to your room unless summoned, I will send a house elf with food"..............................................................................

"So there you have the first part of the tale as to how I got myself into the position that Harry found me in.  But Mr Cuffe, unless I am mistaken our time is up?  I think I will leave you hanging to hear the conclusion of this chapter of our tale"

The reporter looked devastated "Mr Malfoy, please don't tell me you are going to make me wait two weeks to discover what happened?"

"Well next weekend is our weekend at home, I don't think we want to loose that" Draco replied.  The look on the man's face was of palpable disappointment.

"Well look at it on the plus side..."

"Oh?"

"At least you know I survived!"

The three boys stood and grinned at each other as the frustrated reporter began gathering his notes "Thank you gentlemen for your time.  I look forward to seeing you soon"