Dementors. A Death Eater's mask. Voldemort.
Wormtail. Draco Malfoy laughing. Aragog. Basilisk. Dementors. Draco
Malfoy in a Dementor's Robe. Sirius. Dementors. Buckbeak. Mum. Dad.
Sirius. Dumbledore. Dementors. Draco laughing.
with a start, not quite remembering where he was. The pictures
continued to flash through his mind, even after waking. As the room
slowly came into focus, the mass of red hair next to him rolled away
from him. The memory of the wedding, and the honeymoon, quickly brought
a broad smile to his face. And just as quickly, his dreams, and his
discussions of the night before, brought him back to the moment as a
frown creased his brow.
Somehow, Draco Malfoy had information
about Harry and Ginny's nuptials that he couldn't possibly have unless
he had been there. Harry had not been told which details those were,
but the source of the news was extremely reliable. He hadn't had the
heart to tell Ginny, but fearing for their safety, he had told her
before they fell asleep. Her reaction was not at all surprising.
"Harry Potter," she had said, "don't you even think
about trying to deal with this on your own. Draco Malfoy will NOT ruin
our happiness at least not if I have anything to say about it."
It was a very 'Ginny' response, but was it possible that the news had affected her dreams the same way they had his?
rolled out of bed, quickly dressed, and carried his shoes out of the
room. He stumbled up the two flights of stairs to Ron's room, and
softly knocked on the door. When there was no response, he shook his
head in frustration and opened the door. Shaking Ron gently, Harry
tried to wake him as quickly but as quietly as possible.
have to get outside and check the grounds. It's only been a few weeks
since the wedding, and the weather's been fairly mild here, hasn't it?
If anyone was snooping around we should still be able to find some
evidence. Maybe it'll give us a clue to how Malfoy knows so much."
"Now? Harry it's it's "
"It's the perfect time before anyone else is up. We can be back before your mum gets up to make breakfast."
"All right, all right."
his grumbling, Harry was surprised at how quickly Ron got dressed. The
two padded down the stairs, and put their shoes on. As they stepped out
the door, the sun started to rise on the horizon. Even though it was
midsummer, the brisk chill of the morning air was refreshing. The
reception tent was still up, and Harry and Ron stood in the center of
the tent and looked around. The tent was perched on a rise just a short
walk from the Burrow. From their vantage point, the boys could look
around and see almost all of the property even the farthest reaches.
his search for the Horcruxes, Harry had been able to sense and see
magical auras. As he glanced around, he could see the protective
enchantments their aura was bright and strong. And with all the
different spells cast to ward the property, it was difficult for Harry
to see any weaknesses. He closed his eyes, and laid his wand flat in
his wand hand. "Locatus Dificiens." The spell for finding
weaknesses was still new to him, he hoped it worked. Harry opened his
eyes as he felt his wand spinning in circles on his palm. Ron stared
* * *
In his London flat, Draco Malfoy sat in silence. He sat in darkness.
memory of watching his parents die was so vivid. He hadn't slept much
in over a year. He looked it too: his eyes were sunken; his once shiny,
silky blond hair was now greasy and scraggly.
He was also
angry. Angry that Skeeter woman cornered him the way she did. Now
everyone knew that, somehow, security at the Potter wedding had been
breached, and his little spying locale would be found out. He'd have to
find some other way to get news of Potter and his blood-traitor of a
wife. With an ironic laugh Draco recalled the wedding, and how no one
not even that werewolf and his lover who were sent to protect the
Burrow detected his presence.
Draco remembered running
from Voldemort, and hiding in the tunnels under Hogwarts. He
seethed with anger and fear. But no one knew he was there.
The only other people who knew about these tunnels were the Weasleys
and Potter, and they were nowhere near the school. He had to find
a way to learn more about what they were doing. He roamed into
the Restricted Section of the library, and pored over volumes that held
information on spells and enchantments he had never even dreamed
of. It was here that he had found the Animagus Transformation
spell. And his Animagus form was easy to choose as well. The memory of
that crazy Professor Moody turning him into a ferret was something he'd
rather forget, but it helped to fuel his hatred for Potter. After all,
if it weren't for Potter, he'd never have been turned into a ferret in
the first place.
* * *
Harry's wand did not stop
spinning. It did not even slow down. So, Harry thought, either the
spell didn't work, or there had been no breach in the protective
charms. OK, that was one possibility down. Wards were fine.
Ron shook his head. "Well, I guess that didn't work. What now?"
Harry replied, "we track. We walk around the grounds to find anything
that looks odd or out of place. You go that way. I'll go this way."
Ron nodded and started to walk off, eyes on the ground.
wasn't quite sure what he was looking for, but certain he'd know it
when he saw it. At the moment, there wasn't much to see, just lots of
grass, and where there was bare ground, footprints from the party
remained. Wizard footwear didn't really differ from Muggle footwear too
much. Harry chuckled. His Muggle roots and his wizard life converged on
As he walked along, there were more and more spots
of bare ground. Harry looked up and realized that he was coming closer
to the edge of the property. Something was nagging at the back of his
mind. With difficulty, he pulled his mind away from the nagging, and
focused on the ground and environment around him. As he continued
along, he suddenly realized what was nagging him. The prints in the
dirt had changed! He wasn't quite sure what made the prints he was
"Ron! Ron, over here!"
Ron came running from the other side of the yard. "What is it? Have you found something?"
"Well, I'm not really sure. Perhaps you could tell me. Do these tracks look familiar?"
looked at the tracks, and tried to remember if he'd seen them before.
"Blimey, Harry! I've never seen tracks like that before. Wait you
don't think "
"I don't know what I think."
startled from his thoughts by movement from the house. He looked
up and saw someone approaching. "Ron! Harry!" she called. "Hello?"
"Hermione! What are you doing here?"
wanted to welcome Harry and Ginny back, and in case you don't remember,
Ron, you invited me over today. Don't you remember we were going to
walk through the peach grove to pick fresh fruit?"
"Oh, right then. Well, there's been a change of plans."
Harry interrupted, "Malfoy is after me. And somehow, he managed to spy
on my wedding, and knew we were out of the country. Didn't you read the
latest Skeeter article?"
Hermione nodded. "I had been hoping that it was just rumour. So what are you looking for out here?"
evidence of a security breach the night of the wedding. Only thing I've
found so far is an unusual track. Here, in the dirt. Do you recognize
Hermione examined the track. "No, I don't. But maybe we
can preserve the print and bring it back to the house. Someone else
might recognize it, or we can look it up."
"Hermione, it's not a person, you can't cast a full-body bind on it!"
honestly! 'Petrificus' means to turn to stone. Look!" She reached down,
wrapped her hand around the print and quickly lifted it out of the dirt
in one piece, fully intact.
Ron looked at Hermione in complete awe. She never ceased to amaze him. But it made him wonder what she saw in him.
"Thanks, Hermione!" Harry exclaimed.
A rumble came from Ron's stomach, and the three friends laughed. "I guess it's time for breakfast. Maybe Mum's awake now."
they walked down the hill in silence, each of them pondered their own
thoughts about how Malfoy could possibly have managed to spy so
discreetly when security was so high. Lost in thought, they each
stumbled through the door.
* * *
The wonderful smells
that greeted them, of eggs and bacon and muffins, were so welcoming. As
Harry stepped through the door, his wife stepped in front of him,
wrapped her arms around him, and kissed him squarely on the mouth.
Harry was only slightly embarrassed, but having his wife's arms around
him made him feel much better.
Hermione placed the stone print on the table. "Does this look familiar to anyone?"
gathered around to look. Charlie walked around the table, examining the
print from every angle. A realization finally hit him. "This is no
magical creature." He ran from the room and up the stairs.
moment later, he returned with a large volume which he opened onto the
table and started flipping through the pages. Harry observed everyone
watching Charlie with interest, and he could see the wheels spinning in
Hermione's head. He stood with his arm resting lightly on Ginny's
shoulders, but he felt tense nonetheless.
"There it is!"
Charlie pointed to a page that showed the very same footprint. It was
amazing. It was as if the writer of the book had taken a picture of
Hermione's petrified print. "Now, let's see what this little book can
tell us about FERRETS!"
Hermione turned to Arthur. "Mr. Weasley, can you find out if there are any newly registered Animagi?"
Stunned, Ron looked at her. "You don't think "
"I DO think. The charms wouldn't block out an animal. And it would be just like him."
"Well, Hermione," replied Arthur, "let me see what I can find out."
shook his head in wonder. Ferrets were not found in the wild anywhere
near the Burrow. With a chuckle, he thought how very shrewd it was of
Malfoy to learn the Animagus Transformation. It was the only
"Come," said Molly to the crowded kitchen. "Let's
eat. Breakfast is getting cold, and it's not going to get any warmer
with you lot just standing around."
computer frustrations, both mine and Ladybug's, here is a fine chapter
3. I appreciate Ladybug's help more than ever, and look forward
to working on Chapter 4. Chapter 5 is on its way, and hopefully
you won't have to wait too long for any more beyond that. Thanks
for reading, and please don't forget to review!