|SIYE Time:4:53 on 14th August 2018|
Love Enough for Both
By Manwe Valarian
- Text Size +
Category: Alternate Universe
Warnings: Death, Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations
Story is Complete
Summary: Harry heard a goblin speaking and he came out of temporary stupor. He was surrounded by witches and wizards all staring at him. The most shocking thing was he had his arms around someone. Who was she and how did they get here?
Hitcount: Story Total: 129000; Chapter Total: 3982
Awards: View Trophy Room
The Order of Phoenix is expanding and is doing things differently than before.
I would like to send out a special thanks to Leif for Betaing my writing. It can't be easy.
Harry sat looking around the room at the rest of the Order members. There were some that he didn’t recognize, but most he knew from the wedding. They were all waiting for Albus Dumbledore to appear so they could start the meeting. No one spoke and everyone seemed nervous. He could only assume it was from the news that Voldemort had been resurrected, but it may also have been from the room.
The Weasley family and Bradenburgs had spent August cleaning the Black family home, but it was still dark and gloomy. The dining room with peeling dark grey wallpaper seemed to absorb all the light from the various candles lit in the room. The dark wooden table and chairs only added to the gloomy atmosphere.
The last time Harry had been here it was the communication room with the map of England with objects representing traced Death Eaters moving around it. There had been several owls sitting over by the far wall. They had moved everything up to a third floor bedroom when they cleaned the room.
Madam Bones shifted in her chair, causing everyone to briefly stare at her. The Head of Magical Law enforcement stared back at everyone and they all turned their eyes away. No one spoke but they were all anxious to get the meeting started. Harry might have been the only one that didn’t want the meeting to start. He didn’t want to explain what had happened at Little Hangleton. He was also afraid that Molly would let it slip that Ginny was pregnant.
Ginny and he arrived a few minutes ago to an already overfilled room. He hadn’t spoken to anyone. Everyone seemed to acknowledge his presence with a silent nod of their head.
Several people checked their watches. Albus Dumbledore wasn’t even late. He would probably be along in a few minutes. Harry and Ginny had left him at Hogwart’s main gate when they Apparated here.
“The place looks much cleaner, since the last time last time I was here,” Ginny said to her Mum, breaking the tension from the silence.
“Thank you, it still needs a lot of improvement,” Molly said. “It will come along. Gabriel and Constance have been very busy working around this house.”
A man and woman who seemed to be hiding in the corner of the room across the table looked at Ginny and smiled. Harry could only assume they were the Bradenburgs. There were a couple of people sitting beside them that Harry had never seen before, but he didn’t want to go around asking questions. They were two rather unremarkable wizards both of medium height and weight. The one had mousy brown hair and the other brown streaked with grey. They wore the same style of robes, which he hadn’t seen before. He could only assume they were Ministry employees. The four seemed to be comfortable around each other so he could only assume they knew each other.
There were six other people sitting behind Harry against the wall that he hadn’t seen before either. He was starting to worry about security here. Should he and Ginny have remained hidden away at Hogwarts? He felt surrounded by strangers. The only people he knew were sitting at the table, except Hagrid, who was taking up a section of wall by himself, and the man sitting beside Madam Bones. He was portly and wore robes similar to Tonks and Kingsley’s. He had to be an Auror.
Ginny laid her hand gently on his forearm. “Relax, we are safe here,” she whispered to him.
He nodded at her. The wait was getting to him. Looking at his watch, he saw that it had been only five minutes since they arrived. The sound of footsteps on the stairs made him look up and instinctively reach for his wand.
Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape stepped into the filled dining room. The Headmaster smiled warmly, while Snape scowled at them. Everyone seemed to sit up a little straighter at the Headmaster’s appearance.
“Good evening everyone,” Albus Dumbledore said brightly. “Let us get this meeting started. As you may have heard, Voldemort has returned. He is presently gathering followers to continue his agenda of blood purity and control of the magical world. It appears that it will be up to us to stop him. Many of his followers have found influential places within the Ministry. We may not be able to depend on them for help.
“I realize that our task might seem impossible without the support of the Ministry. I believe there are enough people who are good at heart that will come to our side if they truly see what type of a monster Voldemort is. If we get enough people on our side, we should be able to clean the darkness out of the Ministry.
“We also have an advantage this time as opposed to the last time Voldemort tried to overthrow the magical society.” Dumbledore glanced at Harry. He could feel everyone’s eyes on him. “We have a head start on who the Death Eaters are and what they are doing. Severus, you may give your report.”
Albus Dumbledore walked away from the table and stood off to the side, while Severus Snape stalked up to the table. He stood there in the gloomy room with his sallow hooked nose appearing out the sheets of greasy hair. Where Dumbledore’s appearance exuded confidence and good feelings in the room, Snape’s appearance did just the opposite.
“The Dark Lord is at the present time hiding waiting for his followers to complete tasks that he assigned them. Until those tasks are complete, I don’t believe he will make his presence known to the magical society.”
“What are these tasks?” asked Madam Bones.
“I do not know what anyone else has been assigned. He kept the tasks secret. Only he and the person they were assigned to know the exact task.”
“What about yours?” The man beside Madam Bones asked.
“I am delaying completing it as long as possible. I will not be able to delay it very long without the Dark Lord becoming suspicious.”
“How long, before the Dark Lord makes his move to overtake the country?” asked Arthur Weasley.
“I am not sure. I have stated that he is waiting on his followers to complete their tasks. He could decide tomorrow to call together his forces and attack, or he could wait for a year.”
“What are they looking for?” asked Alastor Moody; his voice was a threatening growl. He had been quiet until that point of the meeting.
“I said I do not know the tasks assigned his other followers. I have nothing else to share with you. As you all know my position, I will leave so you can continue your meeting.” He turned and nodded to the Headmaster before walking out the door and down the steps.
No one spoke until they heard Snape leave the house and the door close.
“Professor Dumbledore,” said one of the men beside the Brandenburgs it was the one with mousy brown hair. “I would like to request that he doesn’t come to meetings anymore. If he must be here, can I be excused until he leaves? I don’t want him seeing me.”
“He already saw ya, Reg,” said the other man in the same dark blue robes.
“Severus Snape is trustworthy,” stated Albus Dumbledore.
“I am not a fighting man, sir. I just work in the maintenance department of the Ministry. I have a wife and children to care for. I know you have taken care of Gabe and his family, but you can’t take all of us in.”
“Actually I was planning on addressing something about that very issue later in the meeting. It has been mentioned so I feel I should address it now. Mr. Brandenburg will be making Portkeys for all the Order members. They are to be used in only the direst of situations. They will also be strong enough to carry up to ten other people with you. You will be transported to a safe location with provisions. It won’t be here. We will bring you back to England, as soon as possible, to continue on with the fight.”
“Albus, you said ‘back to England’. Where are we being transported to and if we set up these international Portkeys won’t the Ministry find out?” asked Madam Bones.
Dumbledore’s eyes twinkled with mischief. “We won’t be asking for approval and our Ministry won’t find out.”
“How will we get back into our country, without being discovered?” Madam Bones asked.
“There are ways,” said Harry. “You will be hidden in the same locations as I have been for the past two years. You will be safe and I will be able to bring you back into the country to help out again. Be very careful with these Portkeys, you don’t want to bring your attackers with you.”
Everyone seemed to become calm after Harry spoke. They still seemed a little unsure of the situation, but no one was openly objecting.
Gabriel Brandenburg stood up and spoke. “If I may ask a favor of everyone, please bring in an object that I can make into a Portkey. It will need to be something that you can have on you at all times, but not easily tripped. When you decide on the object, stop by here and I will create the Portkey.”
Gabe sat back down.
“Madam Bones, would you please speak about the conditions at the Ministry,” asked Albus Dumbledore.
Madam Bones sat up straighter in her chair. “The Ministry is compromised. Not everyone is a follower of Voldemort, but many are sympathetic of his cause. The Minister is really just a pawn of Lucius Malfoy and we know of at least one Death Eater in the Auror department.
“The good news is that there several of us willing to fight against them in any way possible. Reg Cattermole and Gregory Bright are members of the maintenance department. They have been keeping an eye on with whom the known Death Eaters are associating. We already have several more names of possible followers or recruits. I approached these men, because of conversations that I have had with them in the past. They can move through the Ministry barely noticed by anyone and observe things without drawing suspicion. Albus, I would like to request that these two men are not asked to go on any missions they are not fighters but information gathers.”
“I promise not to send them on any missions, but they may want to brush up on their defensive spells. One day we may all be put in a position where we must fight.”
Harry looked from Albus Dumbledore to the two maintenance workers. Gregory Bright seemed to take the news in stride. Reg paled as he stared at the Headmaster. Dumbledore noticed this too.
“Mr. Cattermole, if you do not wish to be put in this position, then you may be excused. I will only ask to have your memory Obliviated before leaving us.”
“No — no, I — I can’t leave,” he stuttered. “My wife, she is Muggle born. She and my entire family will be targets. I need to do something, but I have always been rubbish at defensive spells.”
“What you need is some training,” shouted Alastor Moody. “I think that anyone who isn’t an Auror should have to be retrained at Defense. We have plenty of room here to set up a training area. I would be willing to teach you.”
“I think that would be wise for anyone who wants to brush up on dueling and defense,” stated Dumbledore. “We can start setting up a training schedule in about a week or two.”
“A week or two,” snapped a shocked Moody. “I was thinking about starting tomorrow every day for four hours.”
A general rumbling erupted from everyone in the room at Moody’s idea.
“I am sorry, Alastor,” said Dumbledore with smile. “We would attract too much attention if everyone would disappear for four hours at a time. We need to work as covertly as possible. Voldemort knows we have reorganized. He doesn’t know anything else about us. If we spend too much time together, his followers will be able to find out who all is involved with us.”
“As long as no one puts a trace on us, we should be able to elude them,” laughed Alastor.
“We will look at people getting retrained in defense at the next meeting Alastor.” The old Auror looked dejected at having his training regimen shot down. “Do you have the list of known Death Eaters to give everyone?”
“Yeah, I do.” He pulled a single roll of parchment out of his robe pocket and laid it on the table. Tapping his wand to it several times, duplicate copies were created. Waving his wand again he sent them floating to many of the people sitting around the outside of the room. “I will warn all of you. Those parchments are enchanted. They will disintegrate when they leave this house. So memorize them before leaving.”
“If you do not know who the people are on the list, do not worry,” stated Albus. “If you see the ones you know doing anything suspicious make a note of it. If they seem to be actively making new friends and associates, tell us about it. Not every name you give us will be a Death Eater recruit, but we need to find as many as possible.”
Reg raised his hand. “What about someone who these people seem to hate?”
“What are you getting at?” asked Madam Bones.
“Macnair, I have heard him telling people that he can’t wait to set things straight in his department starting with Gracie Woods, who is Muggle born.”
“I’d be more interested in who he was telling this to,” stated Madam Bones.
Reg looked down at the list embarrassed. “Sorry, I don’t know their names.”
Albus spoke again. “You are our eyes and ears out there if you see something suspicious, don’t put yourself in danger there are ways to extract your memories and view them. It would be more useful to us to do this than see a list of names.”
“Would it hurt?” asked a witch from behind Harry. Harry looked at her and tried to recognize her. She looked familiar, but he couldn’t place her face.
“No, Arianna, it doesn’t hurt,” replied Albus gently. “If that is all, then all of you ‘eyes and ears of the Order’ may leave.”
Harry sat there and watched as most of the people sitting around the walls of room stood up and started to leave. What Harry thought was part of Hagrids hairy jacket moved and a short shabby dressed man stood up. He walked up to the Headmaster.
“If it is all the same to you Headmaster, I will give you a list of people I see.”
“Are you afraid of that we might see what you are doing, Mundungus?” asked Madam Bones sharply.
“Hey, my work is very important,” the shabby man replied. “Isn’t it Headmaster?”
“Yes, Mundungus what you do is important.”
“Yeah, when we want to know what’s going on in the sewers of the world,” growled Alastor.
The shabby man quickly left the room staring at Moody the entire way.
“Run, you bloody sewer rat, run,” shouted Moody at him.
“Alastor, we need Mundungus to give us information of what is happening in Knockturn Ally,” sighed Dumbledore. “What information have we gleaned from the traces we have on the known Death Eaters?”
“Headmaster,” said Gabriel Brandenburg. “Before we start into that part, could I get the coordinates from Mr. Potter so we can go see about our daughter?”
Harry sat up and removed the piece of parchment from his robes and stood to hand it to Gabe. The man took the parchment from him, but his brows furrowed when he looked at it.
“I don’t see anything but names on here,” he said.
“The coordinates are written beside the names of where we want the people to go.”
“I don’t see any coordinates either, Mr. Potter.” said his wife.
Harry grabbed the parchment from him and stared at it. There right beside the list of names were the latitude and longitude for each of his estates.
“Harry,” said Bill. “You and Ginny may be the only people who can see those coordinates.”
“Do you have a Fidelius Charm on the houses?” asked Madam Bones.
“No, it isn’t a Fidelius. It is something slightly more complicated and its secret is passed down through a blood connection,” stated Bill. “If we are going to use your estates for our safe houses, you and Ginny will need to create the Portkeys.”
Harry looked at Gabe and smiled. “Sorry, I guess you will have to teach me how to do this.” Gabe gave Harry a strange look. It was almost like he was shocked at Harry’s lack of knowledge or something like that.
“Not a problem. I am here all the time. Just pop by sometime and I will try to teach you. Portkeys can be very tricky, especially if you are using coordinates. Well, good night all,” Gabe said with a hint of a bow, before he and his wife left the room.
Harry ran his hand through his hair in frustration. He was wrong again. He should have known that only he and Ginny would be able to make the Portkeys. They estates were only accessible by the two of them.
“I am sure you will master making a Portkey in a day or two of work,” said Remus.
“Sorry, I thought if I gave them to someone they would be able to see them,” he apologized to everyone.
“Potter, you need to learn a very important lesson about magic,” stated Alastor Moody leaning forward in his chair and staring at Harry with both his magical and normal eye. “Nobody knows everything about magic. Not Albus, not Voldemort, and most certainly someone as young as you. So don’t apologize for not knowing something, all right.”
“Yeah, I understand,” said Harry. He looked around the room and saw sympathetic eyes staring at him. For the first time that night he relaxed, he was so sure this entire meeting would be about him being Portkeyed away and how Lucius was able to take his blood to resurrect Voldemort.
“Good, I want to get back to our traces on the Death Eaters. They are either recruiting like mad or they are searching for something. They have been going to various villages, towns, and cities over the past two days. Most are moving late at night. I don’t know what they are looking for, because they never seem to stay for long. I have even taken a page out of Albus’ book and read the Muggle newspapers from these villages this morning and haven’t seen any news of strange attacks or peculiar activities.”
“You said you were reading Muggle newspapers. Were these villages all Muggle?” asked Sirius.
“Not all of them, but most were. Like I said they seemed to stay around for a few hours then leave. It wasn’t like they were watching anything, because they would stay longer. They didn’t attack anyone either. They haven’t been back to the same places except the larger cities. Do you have clue what they are doing?”
“No not a clue, but it has only been a couple of days,” said Sirius. “Once we get more names, we might be able to see a definite pattern.”
Harry looked at Albus Dumbledore. He seemed to be thinking about something, because his mind seemed to be a million miles away.
“A knut for your thoughts Albus,” said Madam Bones.
“I think I know who they are looking for. I figured Voldemort would do two things before he continued his campaign. Amelia, have the eyes and ears in the Ministry try to pay extra attention to anyone trying to get close to the Department of Mysteries.”
“Why is that Albus?” she asked him.
Harry stared at the Headmaster. He was thinking that Tom was going after the prophecy. He didn’t know what the other thing was that he was going after. It appeared that the Headmaster was keeping secrets, but if concerned Horcruxes, he supposed it could be acceptable. Albus turned and looked at Harry.
“Are you concerned that he will try to get the prophecy?” he asked Dumbledore.
“He still doesn’t know the entire prophecy. I assumed he would want to hear it in its entirety.”
Madam Bones stood up. “I don’t like to mess with things like that so I will just pass along the message to keep a watchful eye for any strange activity. I shall see all of you later.” Madam Bones left the room.
“I suppose that concludes this meeting,” said Albus, and everyone started to stand up.
“Wait, I want to propose a crazy idea,” said Sirius causing everyone to hesitate in their chairs. “Starting tomorrow night, I want to start tracking these Death Eaters and their activity up close. When you see them go to a location, Alastor, send me a Patronus telling me where they are.”
“Sirius, that is really dangerous,” said Ginny.
“Yeah, it is, but it might give us some answers,” he replied with a roguish smile. “Besides, I will be very careful.”
“I’ll do it too,” said Proudfoot. “It will sure beat sitting in this place staring at the map all damn day long.”
“It is dangerous, but it might move things forward,” agreed Albus. “I want both of you to have an emergency Portkey to some safe location in England from where you can then Apparate here or to Hogwarts. Sirius, why don’t you come here tomorrow night and have Gabriel create a Portkey, before going on your assignment.”
“Sounds like a plan,” barked Sirius.
Everyone stood up this time. Molly Weasley seemed to Apparate to Ginny’s side. She was hugging her daughter then she was holding Ginny’s face in her hands staring in her eyes. Harry couldn’t tell what she was saying with the noise from the chatter in the room.
Molly released Ginny and grabbed Harry and wrapped him in a bone crushing hug. She did the same thing with his face. “I don’t want you to take unnecessary risks. You two have been through enough. There are other people to fight this war. I want you to promise me that you don’t do anything crazy, Harry.” She said while gripping his face with both of her hands.
“I promise,” he said. He was halfway between being annoyed at the treatment and laughing about it.
“Good, you see that you do young man,” she said before quickly moving away.
Harry watched as she attacked Bill the same way. He felt a hand on his shoulder he looked up into Arthur Weasley’s kind face. “You’ll need to understand that she just doesn’t want anything to happen to anyone she loves, Harry. I know we had a rough patch at first, but she does care for you like family.”
“Thanks, that’s good to know.”
“Well, I guess we should be getting back to the Burrow. Stop by and visit sometime soon. Just make sure Molly can cook for you,” Arthur said with a smile.
[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
Harry was staring at the cauldron, as it boiled slowly and steadily. Everything looked just like the Potion was supposed to look when finished, but he wasn’t content. When he checked it for being poisonous, it tested positive every time. He needed to do more research on this Potion and its reagents. Pointing his wand at the cauldron he banished the Potion and cleaned out the Cauldron. He looked at Ginny sitting on the other side of the lab calmly reading a book on making Portkeys and other forms of Magical transportation. He cleaned up the table and put the reagents back into the stores, just before Snape walked in.
“The full moon isn’t for another two weeks, isn’t it a little early to be making Wolfsbane.”
“I am working on another Potion,” Harry replied without looking at the Potion Master.
“What are you working on this time? You have already brewed everything necessary for your NEWT’s.”
“I am working on something a little more advanced. It didn’t work out, so I will need to do some more research. I need to talk to you about something.” Harry turned to face him. “You left last night’s meeting before it was over.”
“I didn’t get the impression that anyone wanted me there.”
Harry smiled at his comment. People didn’t want him there. “We are giving all the Order members Portkeys to use in dire situations. You will need to get an item that you can keep with you at all times to be turned into a Portkey. Use it only as a last resort. It will take you to a secure location where you will be protected.”
“Did it ever occur to you that if the Death Eaters discover I have this Portkey, they make me take several of them to this location?” drawled Snape. He stared at Harry like he had just asked a stupid question in class.
“Yes, I have thought of that possibility. When you use the Portkey, do not fight. Drop your wand when you reach the destination.”
“Drop my wand?” questioned Snape.
“That is all I am going to say about the Portkey.” Harry stood there staring at Snape. The Potion Master stared back at Harry with a calculating stare. Harry even felt what might be described as an attempt to perform Leglimency. His mental wards easily repelled Snape’s feeble attempt. Snape seemed to flinch and even step back away from him. It was obvious that he never expected Harry to be able to use Occlumency.
“I have something else to ask of you, Professor.”
“And what is that?”
“I would like you to tell me about my mother.” Severus Snape’s eyes widened and he sneered at Harry.
“Why would I do that?”
“Because you knew her when she was young, I have so many questions about her. I am really curious about her relationship with Aunt Petunia. Up until I received my Hogwarts letter, I was told that Mum was a lazy drunk who died in a car crash. When I received the letter, Petunia referred to her as a freak…,”
“A freak?” snapped Snape. “That foul bitter girl called your mother lazy and a freak. Tooney was the freak, not your mother.”
“What were they like when they were young?”
Snape glared at Harry, and then at Ginny as she walked up to Harry’s side. He looked back at Harry with a leer of pure revulsion. “The memories of my youth are mine, Potter. Yes, your mother was my friend before we came here and for most of our years at Hogwarts. If you want me to spend hours with you reminiscing about those times, you will be disappointed. I don’t intend to share those memories with anyone. I will tell you one thing about your mother.”
Snape hesitated. He seemed to be uncomfortable standing there staring at both Harry and Ginny. “Your mother was the most beautiful and wonderful person I have ever met, and your Aunt was nothing but a harpy. Now get out of my lab.”
Harry nodded at the Potion Master. It was obvious that making him remember his youth was painful for him, or it could have been regret. It didn’t matter. Harry would probably never learn what his Mum was like before she came to Hogwarts.
He and Ginny walked shoulder to shoulder up the stairs leading to the upper floors of Hogwarts. He was disappointed with Snape’s reaction. He didn’t want to delve deeply into Snape’s feelings for his Mum. He just wanted to know what type of things his Mum did. What games she played. Was she happy as a child? What was Petunia like, and did she have any reason to hate her sister other than being magical?
“Harry,” said Ginny softly, as they walked. The only other sound was the soft brushing of their leather shoes on the worn stone floors. “He may not want to discuss what your Mum was like, but he told you so much more about her. He said that she was the most wonderful and beautiful person he ever met. We know what he thought of your Mum. Isn’t that something?”
Ginny stopped walking and pulled on Harry’s hand. “I grew up with my Mum and I don’t know the type of things she did growing up. I know you want to know more to better understand her. Maybe you have to be content knowing that she was the type of a person that everyone loved and adored, except your Aunt.”
He smiled at her and brushed his hand across her cheek. He was so lucky to have her there to calm and make him see things more completely. “I am so lucky to have you.” He leaned in and kissed her.
Ginny smiled at him with a crooked smile. “Yeah, you are.”
[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
Sirius and Francis Proudfoot appeared with a pop about half a mile from the last sighting of two Death Eaters. Yaxley and Gregory Goyle were seen near this small nondescript village. Sirius didn’t even know the name of it, and he didn’t care. He was only interested in locating any possible Death Eaters in the village and putting a trace on them. This was their second mission to put traces on Death Eaters and if everything went well for them, there would be a few more that could be traced.
Last night they had followed Macnair and Crabbe. There had been three others with them; two wizards and one witch. Three Confundus Charms and three tracking spells later, they had three others that they could trace. That was only the first night, but it was hard not to be optimistic about their possible progress.
It was nearly midnight. Many Death Eaters seemed to wait until eleven thirty to go out on their missions.
There was a slight mist appearing over the grass that separated them from the village. Even at this distance, the three-quarter moon cast enough light to illuminate the five wizards moving through the shadows of the old village streets. The buildings were built close together, showing they were from a time period before there were cars. The thick thatched roofs with their extra-large eaves cast shadows on the walls of the buildings, creating perfect hiding places for those who didn’t want to be seen.
“I’ll go first,” Sirius said to Proudfoot. “Meet me there on this side of that outbuilding.” Sirius was pointing at a building on the same side of the village as they were. It would be easy for Proudfoot to move to the outbuilding without being seen.
Sirius had left his dragon hide cape and boots back at Hogwarts. Their resistance to magic made it awkward to change into his Animagus form and back. It had taken him fifteen minutes to inform Proudfoot of his plan to track the Death Eaters as Padfoot the night before. It took another twenty to calm him down before he could leave the bloke alone. Tonight he seemed to be taking it in stride.
“See you soon. Smell you sooner,” Sirius joked, as he changed into a large black dog.
The air came alive with scents that he hadn’t noticed in his human form. So many were delicious smells, while others were not so pleasant to him. he wondered if dogs separated scents between pleasant and unpleasant, or if they just separated things into food, enemy, and courtship. A particularly strong scent floated to him as he moved across the open field. It was a female in season. He would have to be cautious of other male dogs. He was large enough to defeat many of them, but it would draw attention to him.
He was able to pick up the scent of wizards. There were five distinct scents. They all smelled of old polished leather. He was able to recognize Sleekeazy’s leather cleaner in the air. He followed the first scent that he was able to separate from the others. It only took him about thirty seconds to locate the witch. She was several houses in front of him. She seemed to be waving her wand and casting some type of detection spell.
Padfoot left her and moved almost silently to his right. He was able to see the next wizard at the same time he smelled him. He again was trying to detect something. It took only about two minutes to locate the others. They were all moving through the small village rather methodically. He noticed that they seemed to be signaling each other, as if they had found what they were looking for.
He padded away, often looking back to be sure he wasn’t noticed. The Death Eaters seemed more interested in surrounding a house than noticing him.
He moved around the outbuilding to see Proudfoot leaning against the wall panting from the exertion of getting there from the woods. Sirius transformed back to his old self.
“They have found something,” he whispered to his partner.
“Should we send for backup?” Proudfoot asked.
Sirius almost laughed at him. They had no backup. They were on their own. “No, we go in now. Use a Confundus quickly followed by Sleeping Hexes. They don’t make a sound and they don’t create a bright light. Only use a Stunner if we get noticed. After they are out, Obliviate them and find out what they were after.”
They cast Disillusionment Charms on themselves before moving from behind the building. Sirius was back to his human form so he could quickly cast spells. They moved silently but slowly through the village street. The distant sound of dogs howling and barking covered up any sounds of their footsteps. They made a wide arc around the Death Eaters. He was surprised they hadn’t tried to get inside.
He stood there and stared at the formation of the Death Eaters. They had surrounded the house, but there was a method to what they had done. There was a Death Eater watching every side of the house and two at its front door. They were staring so intently at the building that Sirius doubted they would even notice him and Proudfoot approaching without the Disillusionment.
Canceling his charm, Sirius fired a Confundus charm quickly followed by a Sleeping Hex on the nearest Death Eater. She slumped down on the street asleep. He looked over and saw Proudfoot had done the same. They moved quickly around the building, putting everyone to sleep in seconds.
Sirius and Proudfoot stood there staring at each other, shocked at the ease with which they had dispatched the five Death Eaters. Proudfoot waved his wand in front of him. The detection spell indicated that there were Anti-Apparition Spells in place.
“They must be after a sorcerer,” Sirius whispered. “Let me sniff around a bit.”
Proudfoot nodded his agreement and stood guard as Sirius changed into Padfoot. Walking slowly towards the front door of the house, he was able to pick up a faint scent. It was something he had smelled a long time ago. It wasn’t a single scent, but the combination of two or three. He sniffed at the threshold of the door while picking his ears up, listening for movement inside.
The memory of the scents came back to him in a rush. He had never smelled them as a dog, but as a student at Hogwarts. He was able to separate them now. He was almost positive who was in the house. He changed back to his human form and went to speak to Proudfoot.
“I know who they are looking for,” he whispered. “It’s Professor Slughorn.”
“How do you know that?”
“I can smell candied pineapple and oak-matured mead, along with scent of that awful French perfume he likes so much. I will go in and collect him. Can you Obliviate and put the Trace on these ones out here by yourself?”
“Sure, they all seem rather out of it. It would be safer though if we just Stunned them before you go inside. If one would wake up with my back turned to him, I would be in a rather sticky situation.”
“All right, let’s get moving,” hissed Sirius. Proudfoot definitely wasn’t a Gryffindor, but he did have a point.
It only took about a minute to Stun all five Death Eaters. Sirius made quick work of the door lock and soon he was standing in the middle of a well-furnished sitting room. It was definitely Muggle in appearance. It had electric lights, but no telly. Sirius moved to the next room and dining room, but the scent became weaker. He often retained much of his canine senses for several minutes after changing back to his human form. He smiled at the memory of James with the bumps on his head where his antlers never completely went away for thirty minutes.
Sirius moved to another room on the other side of the sitting room. The scent of pineapple, mead, and perfume became weaker. He walked back into the sitting room and looked around. He smiled at Professor Slughorn’s mistake. There in the sitting room with all matching furniture was a chintz overstuffed chair. Sirius hadn’t paid it much attention at first, but now it was pretty obvious that it didn’t belong.
“Hello Professor,” said Sirius cordially. He sat down in a chair opposite of the chintz chair. “The Death Eaters outside will be waking up in a few minutes. It would be best if you are not here. They will not remember meeting me and my associate. They will come inside here to capture you. At least that is what they were going to do.”
The chair morphed back into Professor Slughorn. He had gained weight since he taught Potions during Sirius’ time at Hogwarts. Considering the rich food he liked, it wasn’t any shock to see him this large. If he had flippers instead of arms and legs he could have passed for a walrus with his girth and his large bristly moustache.
“What will you do with me?” the Professor asked.
“Take you to the Headmaster, and let him figure out what to do with you.”
“How is Albus doing these days?”
Sirius smiled at the question. “He is doing well. Why don’t you ask him when you see him? Or, would you prefer to meet up with Voldemort?”
“Don’t say his name,” snapped Professor Slughorn. “I will go with you. Let me get my supplies.”
Sirius rolled his eyes at the Professor’s obsession with objects, particularly candied pineapple.
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