Next chapter coming up...
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 will also admit that this is my first story so please let me know what you think. 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 Eight: Memoria Contego
"That was absolutely fantastic. Thank you again for your hospitality, its very kind" Cuffe had said as he settled himself following lunch that Kreacher had prepared. It turned out to be harder then Draco had foreseen to extract Pansy from her film viewing experience. She had been in the middle of the 1993 hit `Jurassic Park' and was loathed to leave the dinosaurs behind. However upon explanation from Draco that the film could indeed be paused and restarted in the same place Pansy had scolded him "Why didn't you tell me before? I have been dying for the bathroom for the last hour!" Forty five minutes later however she was well entrenched back in front of the `Television' enjoying the feast of moving action as the three boys made themselves comfortable ready to begin again.
"Where did I get up to last time I forgot?" Harry asked the room at large
"We had just gotten back to The Burrow after dad had taken blondie here to St Mungos" Draco scowled at Ron. He did not like pet names least of all `blondie' though he had tolerated Harry's shortening of his first name to `Dray', though that itself had taken sometime.
"Right well yeah we arrived back in The Burrow and once things had settled down I found myself in the middle of a battle of wills with a certain best friend of mine........................................................"
"Harry can we have a word?" Hermione asked as the rest of the group dispersed around The Burrow
"Of course; do you know what the time is?"
"It's just coming up to seven. Shall we go outside?" The three trudged out into the garden still wearing the clothes that they had hastily pulled on a few hours earlier.
"There is something really strange going on Harry. Lucius Malfoy is reported dead on the Wizarding Wireless last night and then a few hours later Draco turns up and narrowly avoids the same fate. That isn't even mentioning Narcissa Malfoy who was last reported as admitted into St Mungo's with an undiagnosed condition. It isn't right; I think whatever is going on is important"
Harry rubbed his face with the palms of his hands trying to stimulate some meaningful response into his lethargic brain. He was suffering with a lack of sleep, remnants of a fierce headache and the come down from a major adrenalin rush from his rescue of Draco Malfoy. "I agree it doesn't make any sense. I always thought that the Malfoy's were Voldemort's biggest supporters"
"I always thought so too but clearly something has changed and we need to find out what it is. I really think this is important" she said earnestly
"What do you suggest? This is the Ferret we are talking about here" Ron put in, riling Harry in the process
"Look Ron I know its Malfoy and I know he is a knob and no, I haven't forgotten what a dick head he has been for the past six years but didn't you see him a few hours ago? The guy has had ten tons of shit kicked out of him. We need to put our differences aside for a moment and remember that he is actually a human being"
Ron snorted loudly "Not much of one!"
"Granted! However, you didn't see what I did last night. The guy was broken, he was begging for Voldemort to kill him. That changes things just a little bit. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, right?"
"Whatever Harry, as far as I am concerned he is still the same greasy wanker he always was. Voldemort just didn't quite do a good enough job on this occasion"
If it had been a cartoon sketch Hermione felt sure she would have been watching steam escaping through Harry's ears and hoping to prevent an outbreak she stepped in before Harry could retort "Ok that's enough. This isn't getting us anywhere at ALL. We will have to agree to disagree at the moment. Frankly I think you are both right. Malfoy is a greasy wanker and I can't forgive him so easily for six years of being called a mudblood but as I said a moment ago something has clearly changed and Harry has also seen something to make him believe we can't just ignore this. We need to agree to disagree on what we think of him but work out a way we can find out what's going on"
"Fine. The guy is still a wanker but if you think we should find out what is going on why don't we just ask him? Not everything we do has to be cloak and dagger. Harry did save his life after all"
"Well how do we make that happen? The Ministry will be queuing up to speak with him and he is in St Mungos, we don't even know if he made it through"
"Nah, Dad would be back by now if he had crocked it so I think we can assume he is still ticking"
"Lupin. I will speak with Lupin and see what he has to say. Give me a moment and I will go and get my phone" Harry sped off at top speed, thundering up the stairs, grabbing the cellular devise and thundered back to where Ron and Hermione were waiting.
"Remus Lupin" the phone made the familiar dialling noise and after just a few seconds connected
"Harry. Are you ok? I have just heard what happened"
"Hey Remus, I'm fine. I wasn't the one that was tortured half to death. Not so sure Malfoy is doing as well as me though"
"Tell me precisely what happened" Harry recounted, not for the first time that day, the events of the past few hours. "now I am back at The Burrow" he finished
"I see. This is very significant it's a major move on the other side's part. The Malfoy's have always been close to Voldemort and whilst we knew Lucius had fallen from grace considerably following the incident in The Ministry we couldn't have anticipated this"
"Lupin, I really don't know how to say this or explain this so I am just going to come out and say it. We need to speak with Draco before he is interviewed by The Ministry. It is really important"
"You have no chance Harry" Lupin dismissed the requested instantaneously "I have just spoken with Kingsley and he has reported that the Minister for Magic himself is interested in conducting the first meeting with Malfoy"
"Remus, do you trust me?"
"What? Of course I do Harry, why ever do you ask?"
"I need you to call a meeting of the Order at The Burrow this morning. We have to come up with a plan to get us in before anything else. You have my word Remus that I wouldn't ask if it wasn't of the gravest importance" The phone remained silent at the other end "Remus?"
"I'm here Harry. Ok I will get people to gather at The Burrow in one hour"
"No problem, I hope you know what you are doing though"
"Yeah me too"
"See you shortly"
"I asked Remus to call the Order together, I think it's the only chance we have of seeing him before anyone else. Apparently Kingsley was saying The Minister himself wants a chance at the first meeting!"
"Thank you Harry. I know it's not much to go on but I just have a feeling" Hermione said
"No worries Hermione, I learned a long time ago to trust my gut instincts and for that matter yours and Ron's gut too! I am going to shower and change before people arrive. See you in half an hour in the kitchen?"
"Sure Harry, no problem" he began to walk away and turned back to face his friends when Ron called his name "Happy Birthday mate. You can't even have a normal seventeenth birthday" and he cracked a grin.
"Ron, you have known me six years when has anything I ever do EVER normal?" and laughing he walked into the house to shower.
Fifty minutes later he was sat around the kitchen table. He had never formally attended an Order meeting before at least not one that didn't involve extendable ears, still it was a day of first's.
He glanced round the table at the assembled crowd. A good attendance for such short notice; Dedalus Diggle, Hestia Jones, Remus Lupin, Alastor Moody, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Tonks and a wide variety of Weasley's. The Burrow's kitchen was at breaking point as people leant against every surface. Lupin cleared his throat "Thank you all for coming at such short notice. We have something to discuss and it couldn't wait. Harry?" Mrs Weasley looked disapprovingly in Harry's direction. She had not been at all happy when she had become aware that Harry would not only be attending an Order meeting but that he had been the primary instigator of the session.
"Erm, thanks Remus. I know you all but I guess I need to brush up on my public speaking skills or something it's a little nerve wracking speaking to you all in one go" This elicited a number of friendly smiles and Tonks changed her hair colour in an attempt to lighten the mood.
"I asked Remus to call this meeting because there is something that we, that is Hermione, Ron and I want to talk to you about. Can I just say up front that I am sorry this conversation had to happen this way, we had planned on talking to people personally before advising the group" he looked pointedly at Mrs Weasley and nodded his head in her direction.
"There is no easy way to say this so I am just going to say it. Before the incident at the Tower a few months ago Dumbledore and I had been meeting regularly. The subject of these meetings is and will remain confidential. Suffice it to say he was providing me with certain information and a job that needs to be completed. The job is for everyone's benefit and will lead to Voldemort's downfall" a titter of muttered whisperers erupted through out the room but Harry ploughed on remorselessly "Dumbledore and I were not in Hogwarts when the Dark Mark was painted in the sky above the school we were out attempting to progress this mission" further muttering ensued.
"I can't tell you anything further about the nature of this job but please believe me when I tell you it is of the upmost importance and for that reason I won't be returning to Hogwarts next year. The completion of this job is worth more than my life or any one of ours" to say that Mrs Weasley looked stony face was an understatement her complexion was ashen. He nodded at Ron who looked at him and swallowed deeply before Hermione clucked her tongue and cut in.
"I don't know if you will be pleased to know this or not but Dumbledore gave Harry permission to confide the nature of the job to two other people. They would be Ron and I. We are not going back to school either"
"Now just wait one moment! You three can't just unilaterally decide what's best for you. You have only just come into your majority! Arthur and I, not to mention Mr and Mrs Granger will have something to say about this"
For the first time Ron spoke "Mum" he said and walked over to her, towering above her now "I love you, you're the best. I know Harry feels the same way too" and he embraced her with a firm hug. "I know you only want to look after us and have our best interests at heart but we are doing this. We will never be safe with this madman on the loose and we know what is required AND" he jumped in before his mother could interrupt "Dumbledore has made us promise not to tell anyone. So either we do it or nobody does. This is not going to be easy but it sure would make it a lot easier if you could understand that this just has to be the way it is"
Mrs Weasley wrapped her arms tightly around Ron's slender frame and hugged him in return whilst the rest of the Order looked on in some bemusement.
"I had to tell you this up front so that you would understand the nature of my request"
"What request boy?" Moody gruffly cut in
"I need to speak with Draco Malfoy. I can't tell you why and I can't offer you assurances but please trust in us that we know what we are doing and that this is important" a long silence hung in the air
Lupin looked in Kingsley's direction "The last words Albus Dumbledore spoke to the pair of us?"
"Harry is the best hope we have. Trust him" Kingsley replied without pausing. The pause hung heavy in the room again before Kingsley continued "Ok Harry. I don't know how we are going to make this happen but make it happen we shall"
Mrs Weasley remained quiet and thoughtful while the rest of the Order considered possibilities. Lupin had slipped outside to check in with Mr Weasley who had reported that Draco remained unconscious but was now stable.
"The easiest way is for Kingsley to speak with The Minister and encourage him to see that following protocol in such a high profile case would be highly desirable. Protocol dictates that in matters such as this the authority lies with the Head of the Auror office to question the subject. Harry can enter with Kingsley under his invisibility cloak and do what he need do. Kingsley can cast a privacy spell and wait for Harry to finish the two can then work out a suitable cover story" Molly Weasley concluded and bowed her head in `defeat'
"Yes Molly! That would definitely work" Kingsley's deep voice confirmed
"Are we agreed?" Lupin asked the room at large and a number of "Agreed" answered him.
"Kingsley I think you have an appointment with the Minister. Let us know how you get on?" Kingsley swept from the room in a good Snape like impression and the pop of his disapparation could faintly be heard.
"If you will excuse me" Mrs Weasley had said and exited the room with all eyes following her. Ron glanced in Harry's direction and followed his mother out of the room. Harry couldn't help but feel guilty; he knew Mrs Weasley was struggling to come to terms that her boy would no longer be on the side lines of this conflict, he was being called up to the front and would be in harms way. But then what had really changed? From the age of eleven when his friend had sacrificed his rook for the greater good he had always been on the front line. Harry could only assume that the difference was choice. His mother had not chosen to allow Ron to go down into that basement but now, she had chosen to accept his words rather than fight them.
Several hours later Kingsley had reported that Rufus Scrimgeour had eventually agreed that everything should be performed "absolutely by the book" and had issued orders to all Aurors to protect the boy Malfoy but not to speak to him should he wake. Arthur Weasley would act in a guardianship role until someone more appropriate could be found. The wait then began in earnest, though the advantage of Draco's continued comatose state was that the remaining Order members stayed for an impromptu birthday lunch.
Harry was shocked and surprised to find that some of the Order members had even brought presents. Lupin had procured a rare protective amulet to shield the wearer from minor to moderate jinx's and hex's, McGonagall had provided an array of Chocolate Frogs and passed on a gift from Hagrid as he had not been able to attend the meeting; a mokeskin pouch. Mr and Mrs Weasley had however, surpassed themselves with a watch that had belonged to her brother Fabian.
As Harry sat in The Burrow that evening slowly devouring his haul of Chocolate Frogs Mrs Weasley came in "Time to go Harry. He woke up around forty-five minutes ago. Go and grab your invisibility cloak"
Energised back into action Harry ran upstairs to his trunk and pulled out his invisibility cloak, Mrs Weasley was waiting for him by the kitchen fireplace "Put your cloak on and ask for the Leaky Caldron. Kingsley is there waiting for you. When you arrive tap his right arm twice and then follow him to St Mungo's. Keep your wand out and stay alert"
"Yes Mrs Weasley. Always alert" he grinned at her as he pulled the cloak over and disappeared from sight.
"Leaky Caldron, London!" stepping quickly out of the fire and walking briskly towards Kingsley he tapped the dominating Auror on the arm twice and followed him from the pub in Charing Cross Road around to St Mungos Hospital.
Kingsley walked quickly through the magical barrier at Purge and Dowse Ltd, the magical barrier between the busy streets of London, as Harry stepped through he followed Kingsley who had hot footed it to the elevator and hit the button for the forth floor.
The disembodied head called sweetly "Forth Floor – Spell Damage". Harry followed closely behind the head Auror who navigated his way carefully across the room and marched towards a door that was flanked with Aurors. One respectfully opened the door and Kingsley paused to say `hello' thus allowing Harry to slip in beyond him. Harry heard Kingsley finish his brief conversation with the Auror `under absolutely any circumstance what so ever am I to be disturbed. The hospital may burn down or the Minister for Magic may arrive and request my urgent presence but nobody is to open that door. Is that clear?'
"Perfectly clear Sir" and the door shut with a click. Kingsley pulled the small blind down to cover the door window.
"Hello Draco. How are you feeling?" he asked
"Shit" the blond replied
"Well I'm afraid someone wants to talk to you and its imperative that you listen to what he has to say. Your cooperation with him will directly influence your fate. If it were me I would bare that in mind"
Draco looked towards the door, seemingly expecting the Head of the Auror office but unprepared for some other visitor "Who are you bringing in?"
"They are already here" Kingsley replied and smiled as Harry pulled off his invisibility cloak
"You!" The startled blond almost shouted and then fell into a deep coughing fit
"You're best not to over stretch yourself Mr Malfoy" Kingsley advised the blond sagely
"Kingsley do you mind if I...?" Harry looked at the Auror apologetically as he waved his wand
"Be my guest I will be here reading my book" and he indicated the title "Dark Wizards a Profile Through the Ages"
"Enjoy" Harry smiled and muttered "Secretum"
The blond was getting his coughing under control and Harry pulled up a seat and waited until it had finally died down. "Hello Malfoy"
"What the fuck do you want Potter?"
"Well that's not a very nice way to speak to the person that saved your life is it?" Harry, Ron and Hermione had discussed at length the approach Harry should take and had agreed it would be best to impart the knowledge of Draco's saviour early on in the conversation.
"You, you rescued me?" Draco's voice had reduced to a quiet mutter
"That's right and I don't mind telling you that you have really fucked my birthday up good and proper"
"Yeah that's right, my Birthday. I turned seventeen today and so far you have dominated the entire day"
"Why have I?"
"Something to do with being chained to a tower at Hogwarts, close to death...any of this ringing a bell?"
"No" the blond replied flatly
"What's the last thing you remember?"
"Nothing I care to tell you about Potter"
"So do you remember anything before or after being brought before Voldemort looking like you had ten tons of shit kicked out of you?" Harry looked innocently as Draco flinched at the sound of the name
"How the fuck do you know about that?"
"Connection to the Dark Lord Malfoy. Find it helps to keep tabs on what's going on and for generally saving people's lives. Even people I don't much care to save" The trio had also agreed that Harry would likely have more success if he did not provide pity or much in the way of sympathy, though Ron had been much keener than the other two to stress this point.
"Why are you here Potter to gloat?"
"No not at all Malfoy if I wanted to gloat I would be doing it already"
"So.What.Do.You.Want" Draco spelled out
"I want to know what happened, what changed between the Malfoy's and Voldemort"
Draco laughed a cold humourless laugh that would not have sounded strange if it had emanated from Voldemort's mouth itself "Tell me Potter why I would even think about telling you that?"
"I'm the only hope you have"
Draco snorted out loud again showing his displeasure at the remark.
"No really Malfoy. I had to pull some serious strings to be sat here in front of you. The Minister wanted to question you in person and I have no doubt with Veritaserum. He plied you with a single drop of that and you would be singing like a cannery, yet here I am trying to be civil and simply asking. Though I dare say Kingsley has a bottle of the stuff if that would make it easier?"
"I don't see how you questioning me as opposed to the Minister doing it really makes you my saviour Potter, least of all because you arrived under an invisibility cloak which leads me to deduce that this isn't exactly a sanctioned visit"
Harry face dropped for a moment "I knew it Potter; they are always braking the rules for you aren't they?"
"Let me ask you one question and if you have an answer for this question I give you my word that I will leave and not ask anything further of you"
"You are going to ask it anyway so why choice do I have?"
"Have you given any thought as to the situation you are in and what you are going to do now? Lets be honest it's a loose, loose situation at the moment isn't it? You walk free and get picked off by a Death Eater or you get transferred to Azkaban and you get killed there"
Draco didn't respond but looked appraisingly at Harry.
"Technical Potter that's three questions"
"Well answer any one of the three and if you have a half decent answer and you ask me to leave I will go"
"No I haven't thought about it, no I don't know what I am going to do now and yes I am a dead man walking. Is that what you wanted to hear?"
"I can't say I wanted to hear it but I am not surprised to hear it"
"So now what Potter? If you are my only hope shouldn't you at least be giving me hope?!" Malfoy fixed him with an accusatory stare.
"If you tell me what I want to know I can ensure you are kept in solitary confinement in Azkaban"
"Oh great deal Potter, spend the rest of my life alone in a place like Azkaban or die? Great deal Potter I can't wait to tell you all my secrets, which do you, want to hear first!?"
"A little bit of fucking gratitude and humility never hurt anyone Malfoy" Harry spat back getting pissed off for the first time in the conversation.
"Anyway Potter the information I have is worth way more than you are offering"
"Well give me something to fucking well work with Malfoy, yeah?"
"Have you ever heard of a charm called `Memoria Contego'?" Harry looked at the blond quizzically not expecting this sudden change of direction.
"No" he replied stiffly
"It is a clever and powerful charm. Would you like to know what it does?"
"I don't know Malfoy do I?"
"I would think so"
"Fine! Yes please Malfoy I would like to know what this charm does!"
"It's a highly advanced piece of magic that allows an individual to secure particular memories and prevent them from forcible extraction. It includes Veritaserum"
"Not impossible Potter, difficult. A single person can never secure more than one memory at a time, such is the power required of the charm. But trust me when I say I have information protected by this charm that you want"
"Well we are at a bit of an impasse aren't we Malfoy? You don't want to reveal your information because once you do you are worthless to me and I don't want to offer you anything that wont cost me a lot to achieve because you are more than likely lying to me in order to save your own hide"
"What did you just say?"
"Oh you heard me Potter. I see no reason to repeat myself"
"What of them?" Harry asked in what he hoped would be a casual tone
"I know you will be looking for them and guess what Potter I know where one is"
"No, I can lie, of course I can I'm a Malfoy; I can lie so well you wouldn't know the truth from the bullshit. But on this one occasion Potter look at me, look into my eyes I give you my oath as a Wizard I speak the truth"