|SIYE Time:22:41 on 22nd June 2018|
Love Enough for Both
By Manwe Valarian
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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: 126038; Chapter Total: 2720
Awards: View Trophy Room
Amelia, Millicent, and Susan arrive in at another of the Potter's estates. The Order decides to do something out of character.
Thank you Leif for taking time out of your busy schedule to Beta this chapter.
Amelia Bones landed hard on a smooth tile floor. The Portkey flight was longer than any she had ever experienced. She was finally able to turn to see Susan and Millicent lying on the tile floor beside her. She was almost angry that Susan hadn’t listened to her and escaped to leave her to fight Voldemort. She was so angry at that loathsome creature for attacking her family on Christmas, and yet, Susan’s actions had saved her life.
“Thank you, Susan,” Amelia said barely above a whisper. Her niece didn’t say anything, as she just leapt into Amelia’s arms and cried. Millicent was pale as parchment. She stared at Amelia with a blank vacant stare. Four pops announced someone Apparating into the room with them. Amelia didn’t know who was there, so she pulled Susan behind her and raised her wand towards the sound of the Apparition. There were four House Elves standing there, and they were fully clothed. They must be at Potter Manor even though she didn’t recognize the room.
“I am a friend of Harry and Ginny Potter,” she said kindly to them, as she lowered her wand. They stood there and stared at her.
The eldest one waved his hand. “Now we can understand each other,” said the eldest Elf with a definite French accent. “I am Phillipe. Do you want me to contact the Potters?”
“Yes, aren’t they here at their manor?”
“Oh no Madame, they have been in England for some time. It may take a few minutes for me to contact them. If Madams and Mademoiselle wait here, we will get you some wine and desserts while you wait for the Lord and Lady Potter.”
The Elf turned to the others and gave them some orders in French. One of them disappeared while the other two stood there and watched her. The senior Elf disappeared. Amelia assumed that he had left to get Harry and Ginny.
“Are we are in France?” asked Millicent. “How are we going to explain this to the French Ministry, Amelia? Did you know Susan had an international Portkey?”
Amelia tried to remember what Harry had said about the Portkeys. She started to remember him saying that the people would be transported out of the country, and he would be able to get them back into England without incident.
“Yes, now that I think about it. He said we would travel out of England so we can’t be tracked.”
“Who said that, Auntie? Where did you get this necklace? Where are we?” cried an emotional Susan.
“It was my necklace, and Harry Potter made it into the Portkey. I believe we are in his house in France.”
A pop snapped Amelia out of her thoughts. The one House Elf had returned with a tray loaded with French delicacies, a flask of wine, and three glasses. It was then that Amelia had realized that they were still sitting on the floor. She stood up and pulled her niece and sister-in-law up to their feet. One of the Elves that had remained in the room with them, created a table and six chairs.
Amelia gave Millicent a sideways glance. She could see the surprise on the face of her sister-in-law when the House Elves sat down at the table. Amelia sat down at the table. She indicated that the other two should also sit down. They seemed to be hesitant to sit with the House Elves. One of the House Elves pushed the tray with the pastries across the table towards Susan. The teenager’s eyes bulged as she stared at the plate filed with delicious pastries, cookies, and pies.
“Sit down and have an éclair,” Amelia said to her niece.
Susan glanced at her and then at her Mum. She sat down and grabbed a chocolate cream filled éclair off the platter. Millicent sat beside her daughter and grabbed some fruit-filled crepes off the platter. They started eating without hesitation. Amelia smiled at the House elves. She hoped they understood that she was happy with the choices of food on the platter.
As she ate, she stared around the room. It was filled with hospital beds. There were cabinets, every other bed, that were filled with medicinal supplies. As she ate, she tried to count the beds. She lost count as Susan tried to pour herself glass of wine.
“No, Susan, you are not permitted to drink that,” Millicent scolded her daughter. She took the carafe away from her daughter, and turned on one of the Elves. “Don’t you something other than wine to drink. This is far too strong for a young girl.”
“I am thirteen, Mum!” yelled Susan.
“My point exactly, you are too young to be drinking wine.”
“Auntie, please let me have some wine,” pleaded Susan.
Amelia was only partially listening to the argument. One of the Elves had created an empty carafe and filled it with tap water. The tap water was what caught Amelia’s attention it was bubbling, like champagne. The Elf passed his hand over the carafe cooling the contents, and a layer of condensation formed on the outside of the glass container.
“Auntie,” pleaded Susan again.
“Susan be a dear and listen to your Mum,” Amelia told her niece. She was too engulfed in trying to figure out what exactly was in the carafe.
“What is in that carafe?” Millicent asked the House Elf.
“It is water.”
“I’ve never seen water bubble like that before,” replied Millicent.
“The waters below this manor have special qualities. They are supposed to be able to heal the sick and elderly. However, they cannot stop death,” said the House Elf imperiously.
“Is that why this was made into an infirmary?” asked Amelia.
“The Most Noble Potter family built this manor for when the darkness comes,” said the House Elf.
Amelia looked at Millicent. Her complexion had gone pale again. They both looked at Susan who was finishing a glass of the water. She was happy the young girl was oblivious to what the House Elf had told them. It was obvious that the Potter family had been preparing for war for generations. Minerva had Owled her and said the Potters built the British Manor based on prophecies. It was a written note, but she could imagine the tight-lipped expression that Minerva would have displayed at the thoughts of someone believing in prophecies.
Susan finished one cream filled éclair and had taken a bite out of another when the door at the end of the infirmary opened to reveal Harry and Ginny Potter. They both had grave expressions on their faces as they quickly walked towards them. Harry seemed to be a bit pale and in pain. Ginny clung to him like a mother would hold their child whom they are comforting.
“Is everyone all right?” Harry asked.
Susan was so engrossed in eating the éclair that she hadn’t noticed the Potters arriving until Harry spoke. She let out a little squeak and her face became bright red, as she tried to avoid being seen by the Potters.
“We are all fine,” said Amelia. “Susan used the Portkey you made to bring all of us here.”
“Auntie Amelia wanted to stay to fight all of them,” Susan shouted out almost bragging.
“Susan, let the adults talk,” her mother admonished her.
“Did you make sure your Auntie was safe by grabbing on to her?” Ginny leaned down to ask, Susan. The young girl stared at Mrs. Potter and just nodded the affirmative. “That was very brave of you.”
Ginny straightened up after talking to Susan. She glanced at Harry, and she held tighter onto his hand. Amelia could almost see a silent conversation going on between the two of them. Harry seemed to break off the conversation a second later.
“I guess it is time to return to Britain,” he announced to everyone.
“Are we taking another Portkey back?” asked Millicent.
“No we have a better way to return everyone,” said Harry smiling. “Follow me.”
They all followed Harry out of the infirmary into the main house. The house looked different than the manor in England. The ceilings weren’t as high, but the windows were much wider offering a better view of the surroundings. Amelia could see small clusters of lights in the distance through the windows, and also a glorious view of the starry sky.
“Is this manor located high in the Alps?” she asked the Potters.
“Yes, it is,” replied Harry. He didn’t offer any more information about the manor. It really wasn’t necessary, because it was obvious to Amelia that this location would be for treating the wounded. It wouldn’t surprise her to find the meticulous planning that went into making the British manor impregnable was put into making this a place able to handle the damage to wizards and witches that a war with Voldemort would produce.
They walked down three flights of stairs to the lowest level of the manor. They had passed through the area of the House Elves, and the storage area for food and other supplies, and finally came to this plain area where the walls were hewn out of solid stone. The only thing in the room was a steel door. It looked like a vault door of some type. Harry grabbed the handle and pulled the door open revealing a cubicle room with steel walls.
“We all need to get inside,” said Ginny pleasantly as she tried to assure everyone that it was safe.
Amelia hesitated for a second. Millicent backed up a few steps to get away from the vault. Susan though followed Harry inside of the steel vault.
“Please, let me assure you that it is quite safe,” pleaded Harry. They were running out of time. He knew that Moody, Albus, and the rest of the Order will be nervous about Amelia’s condition after being attacked by Voldemort.
Amelia looked at her sister-in-law. She was petrified of closed in places. “Millicent, it is safe. Harry assured us it will be just fine.”
“How long do I need to be inside of that thing?” Millicent asked in a panic.
“The trip only takes a few seconds. It is faster than a Portkey,” said Harry.
“You don’t spin around, either,” said Ginny.
Amelia held out her hand to Millicent. “Hold my hand. We will be fine.”
Millicent stared with a panicked look on her face. “You said a few seconds.”
“Yes, it only takes a few seconds,” reassured Harry.
“All right, then I am holding my breath.” Millicent took a deep breath and stepped into the vault.
Amelia had a hard time not laughing at her. Her cheeks were puffed out like a squirrel gathering food for the winter. She quickly stepped into the vault and tried not to look at Millicent. Harry closed the door and said, “Potter Manor, Britain.”
There was a slight vibration and the vault seemed to shift slightly. Harry reached for the door and opened it. Millicent exhaled noisily and Amelia squeaked at the sight outside of the door. They were in another room; possibly another manor in another country.
“I think it would be best if you all stayed here at our British manor now. We will send someone to your homes to get your personal items, but…,” Harry hesitated saying they were now prime targets.
“He will come after us again,” said Susan. “Will there be enough room for us here? Will we all need to share a bed?”
“There will be plenty of room and you will all get your own separate bed, dear,” said Ginny. She stroked Susan’s hair in an attempt to comfort her. It was such a mature motherly thing for the young girl to do. “I must ask you and your Mum a couple of questions. While you are here at Potter Manor do you agree to treat everyone with respect, including House Elves? When you leave will you keep the manor a secret and not tell anyone where it is or what you have seen here?”
Millicent looked at Amelia. She nodded that it was all right to agree to the request. They both agreed to the terms that Ginny had asked of them. Amelia guessed that they also felt that strange sensation of a weight being lifted off their shoulders as they both looked around after agreeing.
They started up the stairs to the upper levels. Again the floor above the transportation vault was filled with supplies, the next level was for the House Elves, but when they reached the next level it wasn’t the main floor. They were in a smaller stairwell that was circular with stairs spiraling up two more floors above them. Harry pushed on a section of the wall. It gave way revealing a hidden door. Stepping through the door, Amelia immediately knew where she was. It was the small room between the foyer and the grand ball room. The design of the manor became even more incredible. There was a secret escape hidden by the fireplaces and stairs. It appeared the Potters had thought of everything. Harry turned and went towards the foyer.
Amelia could hear voices as soon as she stepped out of the stairwell. She knew there would be most of the Order there to see her and to get her testimony. The first person they saw when they stepped into the foyer was Albus Dumbledore.
“I am glad you are all in good health,” he said. It was half a statement and half a question.
“Yes, Albus we are doing well. I suppose you want to hear what happened?”
“Amelia, if you don’t mind I will talk with you niece and her Mother, while you talk to Alastor in the den.”
“Susan, just tell the Headmaster what you saw and did. You can tell him how you saved my life,” she said with a wink.
Amelia left her niece and strode to the den. She would rather talk to anyone except Alastor right now. He can be so out of control at times. She stepped into the den and saw Alastor standing and staring at the large map on the wall. He didn’t even take his real eye off it when he spoke.
“I apologize for not seeing that forming,” he said with sincerity. “I saw them all gather together, but I didn’t react quickly enough. By the time I had figured it out, they all dispersed. Yaxley went to the Ministry. I imagine he went to track the Portkey.”
“Is he still there?”
“Yeah, I can’t imagine he is too anxious to go back and tell his master that he doesn’t have a clue where you went.”
“Anything else, you noticed,” she asked the old Auror.
“Yeah, Snape was there too.”
Amelia looked at him. Alastor turned to look at her. They didn’t say anything, because there wasn’t anything to say. Each day, it becomes more and more evident that Snape can’t be trusted to reveal information.
“I think it is bloody high time we attack them. We know where they go. We can track the majority of them enough to know who is where and when they are there. I say let’s take the fight to them.”
Amelia never heard Alastor so passionate before. “Did you ask Albus about this plan?”
“He wants to wait and discuss it with the Potters. I say attack. I am bloody tired of watching this map. Bloody Hell, I could probably tell right where Voldemort is by who is where. Let’s start taking down his reinforcements.”
“Let’s discuss this with the Potters,” she said to him. “We must have a plan. As far as I can see, they have a plan. If it wasn’t for their Portkey, the Bones family would all be dead. Let’s hear what they think of your plan.”
[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
Harry stared at Albus Dumbledore, Alastor Moody, and the rest of the people in the Headmaster’s office. He and Ginny had taken Albus and Bill down to their vault again today so they could continue their research. They returned to the office here to find Moody impatiently waiting for them.
Harry didn’t want to deal with Moody today. Yesterday, he and Ginny were getting ready to leave the Burrow to return to the manor when he had one of his splitting headaches. He knew immediately what was wrong. Voldemort was angry. Something had happened to anger him and Harry was feeling it. Of anything in his life that worried Harry, this connection to Voldemort was the worst.
“We need to attack them,” Moody shouted. “We can’t wait for Voldemort and the Death Eaters to pick us off one person at a time.”
“What are we to do when we attack them, Alastor?” asked Albus. “We can’t turn them into the Ministry. They will be free within a day or two.”
“We do what we did the night they broke out of Azkaban. We take their wands.”
“Albus,” said Remus. “What Alastor is suggesting might benefit us. We could attack them as a diversion while we search for the artifacts. I have a feeling that some of them might be hidden in the inner circle member’s homes.”
Alastor looked at Remus then at Albus. “What is he talking about?”
“We are looking for artifacts that Voldemort are using to gain his power,” said Sirius. “It would help if we can get someone to create a diversion so we can search some of Voldemort’s followers’ homes.”
Moody stared at all of them for several seconds, before saying anything. “What are your plans?”
Sirius smiled at the old Auror. “We need to talk about that.”
“All right,” grunted Moody. “First off, whose home are we targeting?”
Remus looked at Harry and smiled. “Rookwood!”
“I don’t have a trace on him,” said Moody. “I guess we figure how we can create a diversion to allow you six to search Rookwood’s manor.”
“Headmaster, do you think our idea will work?” Ginny asked Albus.
“I think it will, but I am afraid that Severus will be punished severely,” said Albus.
Remus and Sirius laughed at the comment. It bothered Harry that they seemed to be so callous towards Snape after all these years. Ginny could feel something about Snape that made her trust him but only slightly. He wasn’t completely evil; just a man who didn’t know how to love or be loved. Harry wasn’t sure if Snape would still be helpful to their cause, but he was their only spy close to Voldemort.
“Severus told me he was punished for not revealing the Order’s Portkeys,” Albus said. “We will need to be more careful when we activate the Portkeys.”
“That could create a problem,” said Remus. “I was hoping that everyone could have a Portkey to take us out of sticky situations. We should realize that any attacks we carry out could result in members getting hurt or killed. We should have a way of getting these people to help.”
The room went silent for several minutes, until Ginny spoke. “A Portkey can be created to take only one person to a location. Have Gabriel make Portkeys to take people to the Burrow. We can set it up as an aid station.”
“Why not use Hogwarts. Have everyone come to the infirmary,” replied Moody.
“We do not want to use Hogwarts unless it is a last resort,” said Albus. “The moment the Ministry finds out the Order has used Hogwarts as its base, they will push to have me evicted as the Headmaster. The Potter vote can only be used to break a tie. The Weasley family has always been known as Blood traitors, and the Burrow has already been attacked several times. I think using the Burrow as an aid station would be the best plan.”
“I agree,” Harry said. “Do you think telling Snape our plans will work?”
Albus smiled and leaned back in his chair. “Yes, if we tell Severus which place we are going to attack, Voldemort will probably think it’s a ruse, and place his forces elsewhere.”
Moody stared at Albus, Harry, and then Remus. “Do you really believe it will be that easy? What if he doesn’t believe you?”
“Then we will be able to tell using the map,” said Remus.
Moody gripped his cane and stared at everyone in the room. He started to chuckle and then smile. “It may work. I want to attack on New Year’s Eve.”
[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
“Yaxley, have you discovered where Madam Bones went to, when she escaped?” asked Voldemort. He was staring at the kneeling Death Eater.
“No, Master,” said Yaxley. His voiced shook with fear. “The Portkey didn’t land in England. We can only guess that it took them out of the Britain. I tried checking with International Cooperation Office, but they don’t have any record of anyone obtaining an international Portkey or asking for admittance to Britain from a foreign country. Madam Bones was at work today. She has two Aurors protecting her at all times.”
“How did she get back into the country?” he hissed.
“I do not know, Master,” said Yaxley. “The only way she could have returned without the Ministry’s knowledge is if she returned using Muggle methods.”
“You are excused Yaxley. Do not think I am pleased with you, because I didn’t punish you. I need you to try to get someone into Madam Bones office to watch her. I need to know when she is the most vulnerable at the Ministry. I want to know what her schedule is every day before she knows it.”
“Alecto and Amycus come forward,” ordered Voldemort. “You two will find where Madam Bones goes when she leaves the Ministry.”
“Yes, Master,” wheezed out the lumpy Death Eater siblings.
“You may all leave me…,” Voldemort started to say, but Severus interrupted him.
“Master,” said Snape, who stepped forward and kneeled. “I have something to tell you.”
“What is it Severus?” he hissed at his spy.
“The Order is planning on attacking us,” Severus said while staring at Voldemort.
Voldemort leaned forward and stared at Severus’s eyes. He wanted to see in his mind the exact same thing he is saying. “Speak, tell us of the attack.”
The room was getting noisy as people were grumbling at Snape’s revelation. Voldemort was getting ready to make an example of a few of them so they would all be quiet, but he needed to concentrate on Severus’s memories
“I walked in on a planning meeting in the Headmasters office. I wasn’t invited to the meeting, but I protested being left out of the meeting. Some don’t seem to trust me, but the Headmaster seems to still trust me. He told me they are planning on attacking Rookwood’s manor on New Year’s Eve.
“I didn’t trust that they were being truthful with me, so I checked with a portrait. The former Slytherin Headmaster, Phineas Nigellus Black’s portrait was tossed out of the Black family home several years ago. I found it and put it in the Head of House office. When I left the meeting, I asked the portrait who they were planning on attacking. He told me that they were planning on attacking the Lestrange manor.”
“I’ll kill them,” shouted Bellatrix. “They will be the lucky ones to have a quick death.”
Voldemort was happy this was possibly the best news he had heard in some time. They could eliminate some of the leadership of Order. He may be able to finally put an end to Potter. He was able to see everything that Severus had described to them in his mind.
“Tell me Severus, what have you learned about Harry Potter and his soul bond?”
[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
Harry stood and stared at the map of England in his manor’s den. It looked as if most of the Death Eaters were at the Lestrange’s manor. The plan seemed to be working perfectly. He could sense some of Voldemort’s emotions leaking into his thoughts, and he was happy. Harry reached out to grasp Ginny’s hand. As soon as he touched her hand, Voldemort’s feelings were banished from his mind.
Two people entered the room. They looked more like two walking ice cycles. Their robes were frozen and water dripped off them as they walked across the room to Alastor Moody. It was Caradoc Dearborn and Sturgis Podmore. They had been sent to confirm the guards’ locations at the Rookwood manor.
“Its bloody miserable out there,” exclaimed Podmore. He shivered as he stood there talking.
“It might be snowing here, but in the southwestern area of England it is putting down freezing rain,” said Dearborn. “We were able to check for guards at Rookwood’s estate. The only ones we saw were the ones we see on the map.”
“Brilliant, all right, we all know the plan,” shouted Alastor. “We start at Rookwood’s manor. Those assigned to Stun the guards, do so when the town clock strikes the fourth time while striking the tenth hour. When the Death Eaters realize we are at Rookwood’s manor, they will start attacking us there. If we start losing ground, Apparate out of there, and make sure you don’t leave anyone behind.”
“How do you know they will come?” asked Caradoc Dearborn.
“We will release one of the guards they have around Rookwood’s home,” replied Alastor with a sneer. “Everyone needs to realize that Voldemort may show up. Don’t be a hero, don’t take him on alone. We want to fight another day. If you get hurt, activate the Portkey that Gabriel gave you; you will be transported to the Burrow where Poppy will attend to you. Finally, if you take down a Death Eater, take their wand. It will weaken them later. That is all we can do with the state of the Ministry. One final word, there will be an Anti-Apparation ward set around Rookwood’s manor. Don’t try to Apparate within its zone”
Harry filed out of the den with everyone else. There were over fifty of them going on this raid. Only a few of them knew what the exact purpose of this mission was, and none of them were talking. They stepped outside of the warmth of the manor. The winter storm whipped the snow around them. The North Sea was angry. Its waves sent a frozen mist high in the air and it fell on them like sleet.
The snow was falling thick and coating them with a thin layer of white in the few minutes they took to find a spot to Apparate. Their tracks were getting covered by the white blanket of snow almost immediately.
They waited outside of the manor building until everyone going on the raid was outside and ready. Harry looked at his watch. It was five minutes to nine in the evening. The winter storm buffeted the Order members waiting to Apparate away. If they all Apparate to the area around Rookwood’s, they don’t want to draw attention to themselves. If they wait until the town clock strikes nine, the sound of the bells will hide the noise of them Apparating into the area.
At exactly nine o’clock, everyone Apparated away to the outskirts of Liverpool. Harry and Ginny appeared in an overgrown field. Soon Remus, Bill, and Sirius were standing beside them. They were on the outskirts of the town, and it seemed that everyone had arrived safely. The town clock stopped chiming the time. Harry waited and worried that someone would appear after the clock had stopped chiming, but he couldn’t hear any pops indicating a late arrival. The first step went off without a hitch. He didn’t want to get too hopeful. There were so many things that still go very wrong.
They slowly moved in place over the next hour. The sleet rolled off his dragon hide cloak. He wondered how everyone else was faring in these conditions. The guards were moving around at random times. Alastor had noticed that while watching the map, so there were five Order members assigned to each guard. They were to spread out so at least one of them would have a clear shot at the guard.
Harry was surprised at the location of Rookwood’s home. It was in the middle of a Muggle housing development. The houses surrounding the grounds of Rookwood’s estate reminded him of Little Whinging but newer. He suppressed a smile at the thought of Rookwood escaping Azkaban and finding Muggles had surrounded his home with their repetitive housing. The house could hardly be called a manor house or the grounds be called an estate. It looked like a large two story house. It was old and in need of a new coat of paint. The grounds were overgrown with small trees and shrubs. The Muggles probably think it is an abandoned house.
The time passed as Harry entertained various thoughts about where a person like Rookwood would hide an item of extreme importance from his master. The town clock struck the first ring of ten o’clock. When it struck the fourth time the area around the house lit up with spell fire. They were all Stunners. Harry waited until the clock finished striking the hour to step out from his cover.
“All right Potter, you have one hour,” said Moody.
Harry nodded to Alastor. He took Ginny’s hand and they moved towards the house. Sirius and Remus fell in behind them. Bill immediately started casting the spells to create the Anti-Apparation Charm. Just before they reached the front door, Ginny stopped walking.
“There is someone inside,” she whispered.
Harry stopped walking. He didn’t want to distract her, so he remained quiet. Ginny stared at the house. Her eyes were moving across the front of it as though inspecting each inch of the façade.
“There on the second floor,” she said pointing to the right.
“Remus and I will take care of this threat. You two need to start searching.”
Sirius cast a spell to open the door and he and Remus stepped through the door first. Harry waited for a few seconds before stepping inside.
“Stay back a few steps, Gin. I can’t sense them if you are too close.”
Harry stepped inside the front door. The house looked inside exactly as it did on the outside. It looked as if no one had attended to the maintenance of the home for some time. There wasn’t any dust lying about, so someone had been cleaning it. He tried to stop looking at the house like he was his Aunt Petunia. He had a mission to complete. He needed to sense if there was a Horcrux located in here.
He took a deep breath and tried to clear his mind. Reaching out to sense the presence of Dark Magic, he could sense the presence of Dark Magic, but nothing that felt like one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes. He walked forward while trying to keep his mind clear to locate a Horcrux.
He heard some voices behind him. Turning around, he saw Sirius and Remus talking to Albus Dumbledore and Bill. They had entered while Harry was busy concentrating. Refocusing his magic he tried one more time to sense if there was a Horcrux in the house. He walked to the other end of the house. He turned left and opened doors to the rooms off the main hall. First, he opened the one on the right, and then the one on the left. He moved back towards Ginny and the rest of them without sensing a Horcrux.
“Any luck?” asked Sirius.
“No, who was upstairs?”
“I am guessing Mum Rookwood. Remus cast a Sleeping Charm on her. She won’t be waking for several hours.”
Harry sighed and ran his hand through his hair. “I will go downstairs to take a look around.”
The lower floor was an unfinished basement. It only took Harry about ten minutes to search the downstairs. He even walked slower in case the Horcrux was buried in the dirt floor. He led the way to the upstairs. He opened each door and stepped inside of the room. Each time, he couldn’t sense the proper dark presence. He felt several dark objects, but none were powerful enough to be a Horcrux.
He looked down at his watch it was fifty-five past nine. They had five minutes to get outside of the Anti-Apparation wards.
“Let’s go,” he sighed. “This was a waste of time.”
“No, Harry it wasn’t. We can now cross this location off our list,” said Remus. “I didn’t think Voldemort would have allowed Rookwood to keep one of objects in a house like this. He seems to want something or someplace with prestige.”
Remus had stopped walking. He had a look on his face like he had just thought of something important.
“What?” shouted Sirius. “Tell us later, after we are safe. We need to get outside of the wards in two minutes.”
“All right, let’s get moving,” Remus nearly shouted.
They had just stepped through the wards when Alastor had Rennervated one of the guards. Harry watched behind the cover of some shrubs as the guard tried to cast a couple of spells at Moody and several other Order members, before Apparating away. Almost immediately he felt a rush of anger course through him. It was from Voldemort. Ginny was several feet away from him. So when he saw a flash of scared Death Eaters rushing outside of the Lestrange manor to Apparate away, he wasn’t surprised. He moved closer to Ginny and took her hand.
“Are you all right?” she whispered.
“I am now. They are coming,” he said nonchalantly.
The first Death Eater Apparated a second later. He had been aiming to an area inside of the wards that Bill had set up. Harry never saw anything like the ward Bill had created. As the people would appear, they would Splinch. Soon there were at least fifteen Death Eaters crying out in pain as many were not in one piece. One of the Death Eaters was Bellatrix Lestrange. She was casting spells at Order members as she tried to fix herself as she lay on the ground with her one leg three feet to her left and the other four feet to the right.
“We need to go to Lestranges’,” whispered Bill.
They started to move away from the scene around the Rookwood house. Many more Death Eaters were appearing outside of the Wards. These new ones were being besieged by the Order members. Harry kept looking back to see if he could sense Voldemort’s presence, but Ginny had a firm grip on his hand, so he couldn’t sense anything. They all gathered together before Apparating to the Lestrange’s manor.
Harry thought this place looked more like an actual manor. It was a large three story stone building with emerald green woodwork and double front door. There wasn’t a fence or any barrier around the manor, so he could easily see in the light reflecting of the snow from the windows that there were no guards. It looked almost too easy.
“Let’s get crackin, Harry,” said Sirius. “We may not have much time to look.”
They all stepped towards the manor at the same time.
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Voldemort strode through the woods that surrounded Rookwood’s home. He was angry at what he saw happening. It was obvious that this was a trap. The memories that he viewed in Snape’s mind were genuine. Dumbledore had deceived him. He had out Slytherin’ed the Heir of Slytherin. He cannot allow this to go unpunished.
He watched as his followers were being beaten by these Muggle lovers. They will need more training; yes, much more training. Even Bellatrix was fighting a losing battle with five Order members. She was the lone bright spot. So many others were already down. The only thing that was saving his Death Eaters was the Order members were far too noble to use Killing Curses on people. If they would kill all the ones that they had incapacitated, he would need to suspend his plans until he could recruit new Death Eaters.
He slowly stared at all the Order members. They appeared to be using some Charm to hide their identity. It was making it difficult to find Potter and his wench. He was also looking for Dumbledore, but so far he wasn’t able to locate him. It was evident that he underestimated the strength of the Order. He will need to wait before he strikes. He needs to get stronger and wait for the exact right moment. This new Order won’t crumble from fear, Dumbledore had learned from the past.
All his plans were crumbling in front of him, the only way he would be able to salvage this night if he could find Potter or Dumbledore and kill them. It was his only recourse now. He walked closer to the fighting hoping to catch a glimpse of his prey. He had to block the occasional stray spell. One of his Death Eaters came close to hitting him with an errant Killing Curse. The Order members started to disappear. A few had suffered from Spell damage, while others just seemed to have tired of the fighting.
It didn’t make any sense to him. Why would they set up such an elaborate plan and execute it so well to only fight a little while and leave their enemy alive and healthy. Rookwood ran inside of his home several others followed him.
He waited to see if Potter or Dumbledore were inside the home. As he waited, Rabastan Lestrange approached him.
“May I return home?” he asked with a bow. “I think we left it abandoned.”
Voldemort opened his mouth to reply, but a realization struck him. This was all a ruse to get in the Lestrange house!
He Apparated to the outer edges of Lestranges’ property. He could see movement inside of the three story building.
“So there you are,” he whispered with a smile. Finally, he would be able to vent his built up anger. Potter or Dumbledore will die tonight. It will be a happy New Year for him after all. Gripping his wand, he strode forth to find someone to kill.
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Harry moved quickly through the rooms of Lestranges’ manor. The Horcrux wasn’t here he couldn’t feel its unique dark power. They pulsed with a pulse of hatred and darkness. He felt nothing like that in this building. There many different types of dark magic in this building, but they all had different signatures.
“Harry, we need to leave,” said Ginny from the doorway of the room.
He stared at her for several seconds before nodding his head in resignation. He was frustrated and angry that this night had gone so poorly. “We should have found something. We did all this for nothing,” he shouted at her.
Ginny’s face turned stony as she walked towards him. Harry was waiting to be slapped or get told off for his attitude. She walked up to him and pulled him into a hug. It seemed to melt all his anger and anxiety away.
“We can check this and Rookwood’s home off our list of possible hiding places. Let’s go home,” she whispered in his ear.
All of Harry’s anger melted away as soon as she touched him. He was frustrated by the lack of progress, but it was still progress. He kissed the top of his wife’s head. “I love you.”
“You better, you big prat,” she said with a smile. She pulled on his hand. They walked out of the room and down the stairs. Albus, Remus, Sirius, and Bill were waiting for them in the foyer.
They were half the way down the stairs when Harry had a cold chill wash over him. It was feeling of wanting to kill someone. At the same time his senses told him someone was casting a Killing Curse outside of the entrance. With a flick of his wand he slammed the door shut and put up a Shield. The door exploded casting debris into the shield.
Harry ran down the stairs dragging Ginny behind him. They reached the bottom of the stairs at the same time that Voldemort stepped through the blasted out door. Time seemed to stop as Harry stared at his nemesis and he at him.
Voldemort had his wand pointing in a different direction. He started turning it to point it at Harry.
Harry and Ginny reacted as one. They had their wands raised and cast a Blasting Charm. Their spells hit Voldemort in the chest at the same time. There was a loud explosion and Voldemort was thrown backwards out the door.
Dumbledore transfigured the doorway into a solid stone wall. Harry ran to them. They all grabbed onto each other and Apparated away to safety.
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Headquarters was mayhem. People were shouting and celebrating. It was one hour until the New Year, but the people were acting like the clock had just struck midnight.
“I say that was a successful operation,” said Moody. He was holding a glass of amber liquid, and smiling a twisted smile on his scarred face. “Only about ten people needed medical attention, and they were all for minor injuries. Only one had anything close to serious, He got hit with a blood boiling curse. If he hadn’t had that bloody Portkey, he wouldn’t have made it. Poppy has him all fixed up and resting quietly right now.”
“That is good,” said Albus. “Are you sure a celebration like this is wise?”
“That was one of the few times we came out on top in a battle with Death Eaters.” Moody stopped and stared at Harry and Ginny. “We have something good going for us now that is why I feel like celebrating. Come on Albus it will soon be a New Year and a new beginning.”
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Voldemort picked himself off the ground. His body shuddered with pain as he moved. If he hadn’t cast a shield to deflect the force of the spells, he may have lost this body. He didn’t want to think about reforming his body again. It was obvious he couldn’t defeat them with sheer force of magic.
Gritting his teeth to control the pain he was feeling, he faced his followers as they returned. Many of them looked as bad as he felt. This had to be the most humiliating experience of his life. Harry and Ginny Potter were much stronger than he realized. Albus Dumbledore had changed his tactics and caught him off guard. It was obvious that he wasn’t ready to take over Britain. He needed more time. He needed a better plan to destroy Dumbledore and the Order of the Phoenix. He needed a better plan to kill Harry and Ginny Potter.
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