After more than two weeks of planning and searching, Adam, Ginny and Hermione were following up one of their last remaining leads on the location of Malfoy Manor.
Over the last week, they had searched five ruins, all of which had been exactly what they appeared to be on the aerial photographs: ruins.
The current ruin they were investigating was one of only three remaining sites in Wiltshire. They were running out of options and Adam was already beginning to think about what they would do if all of these ruins proved to be dead ends.
“How far now?” Adam asked Hermione as the three of them trudged down the verge of a small road in the growing darkness of the evening.
“Not far,” Hermione answered, glancing down at the map she had drawn. “On the map in town, it showed the ruins in a field, just past a crossroads.”
“Crossroads?” Ginny queried. “We haven’t seen a crossroads.”
“We haven’t passed it yet,” Hermione answered. “Don’t worry, it shouldn’t be too far ahead now. When we passed that farmhouse about ten minutes ago, we should have been about half way there.”
Ginny harrumphed and quickened her pace, striding off in front of Adam and Hermione.
Sensing that Ginny wasn’t happy, Adam quickly stepped forward until he was walking at her side and clasped her hand.
“Are you okay?” Adam asked.
“Yeah,” Ginny sighed. “I …” she began. “Sorry, I’m just being silly.”
“No, no,” Adam said as they continued. “I want to know. Have I done something?”
“Yes,” Ginny began. “No…” then she growled under her breath. “I’ve been feeling a bit useless since we rescued Hermione. The two of you have been working on finding the manor and I just feel…”
“Oh, Ginny…” Adam began, “I’m sorry.”
“No!” Ginny exclaimed. “It’s not your fault. If anything, it’s my fault…”
“What do you mean?” Adam asked, then suddenly it occurred to him. He hadn’t worn the locket for several days. “The locket!” he exclaimed, lowering his voice so that Hermione wouldn’t hear. “I didn’t take my last turn…”
“You were so busy…” Ginny added.
“We all were,” Adam said. “I should have remembered. It’s not fair on you.”
“I should have given it to you,” Ginny responded, and then sighed. “Are we seriously arguing over this?”
Adam chuckled in response. “You’re right. Do you want me to wear it for a bit?”
Ginny hesitated. “I… I left it in the tent.”
“What?” Adam exclaimed.
“I thought it was better there; that way, if the person who’s wearing it gets caught, we don’t lose everything.”
Adam stared at Ginny in admiration. She really was amazing! He quickly put his arm around her and pulled her close. “That’s—” he said, “That’s brilliant. I…” he hesitated, “I never even thought about it.”
Ginny blushed. “I think it should be safe…” she began, still blushing furiously. “I hid it with my underwear. I didn’t think anyone would ever look there.”
“It’s still brilliant,” Adam said. “You’re brilliant.”
Ginny didn’t say anything in response to that, and the two of them continued walking.
“Harry, Ginny!” Hermione suddenly called out, sprinting forward so she was standing next to the couple. “You see that sign just ahead?” she asked, pointing to a nearby road sign that was half hidden by an overgrown hedge.
Feeling buoyed that they had nearly reached their destination, the three of them hastened towards it. They continued straight ahead at the crossroads and Adam knew that they should soon be able to see either ruins or, hopefully, Malfoy Manor.
“Hermione,” Ginny asked as they continued walking, “why do you always call Adam ‘Harry’?”
“That’s his name, isn’t it?” Hermione answered, sounding genuinely baffled.
“No, his name’s Adam,” Ginny retorted. “You called him Adam before you knew he was Harry.”
Hermione paused for a second. “I guess it’s because he looks like Harry right now.”
Adam, deciding that he needed to add his thoughts, but feeling slightly amused that the girls were discussing what his name was, said, “I… er… I think I’ve just got used to answering to either, but I feel…” he hesitated, “I think I feel more like Adam than Harry.”
“Don’t worry, I don’t mind being called Harry, and if you feel more comfortable calling me Harry then carry on, but…” Adam stopped to look around, “…shouldn’t we be coming up on the ruins soon? Is that a lane just ahead on the right?” he asked, pointing ahead to a gap in the hedge.
“A lane!?” Hermione exclaimed, looking down at the map. “There’s no lane on here!” Then she started peering about, taking in their surroundings. “But it looks like it’s at roughly the same place that the ruins are.”
The three of them were silent for a second.
“This could be it, then,” Adam said softly. “Wands out, and let’s keep to the hedges.”
The three of them drew their wands and started creeping down the sides of the lane. The hedges on either side of it were well trimmed, forcing them to climb through, so they couldn’t be seen if someone came down the lane. After sneaking along for about five hundred metres, they saw something large looming in front of them.
“It’s a wall! This is it!” Hermione hissed under her breath. “We did it!”
“Shhh,” Ginny whispered. “This was the easy bit.”
“If this is a wall, then the entrance must be on the other side of the hedge,” Adam whispered, trying to get a look at the entrance gate through the hedge. “I can’t see anything.”
“We probably shouldn’t go in that way anyway,” Ginny whispered to him. “Take the broom over the wall?”
Adam nodded at her and they trudged on a short way, so that they were out of earshot of any guards that might be at the gate.
“What’s the plan?” Hermione asked, once they had stopped.
“Ginny’ll fly under the Cloak and take me onto the top of the wall, and then come back for you,” Adam answered.
“Ready?” Ginny asked.
“Yeah,” Adam said, suddenly feeling the onset of nerves at what they were about to do. This was practically one of the Death Eaters’ headquarters and they were trying to break in!
“We can do this,” Ginny said, suddenly appearing in front of him. “We’ll be fine.” She gave a short, sharp laugh. “At least it’s dark now so they won’t see us.”
“I know,” Adam replied with a smile, putting his arms around Ginny’s neck. “I love you.”
Ginny drew herself into a hug with him and replied, “I love you, too.”
They both stood there for several seconds, completely absorbed in each other.
“Err…” Hermione said, looking uncomfortable. “Are we going?”
“Yes, yes,” Adam said hurriedly as he and Ginny broke apart. “Right, Hermione, you’ll stay here and Ginny will be back for you.”
Adam then proceeded to climb onto the broom, and Ginny — using the Cloak so they wouldn’t be seen — flew him up to the top of the wall. At the top, Adam leapt off the broom and lay flat on the wall so that he couldn’t be seen.
Adam then waited while Ginny flew Hermione over the top of the wall and down to the other side, before returning for him.
Once on the other side of the wall, Adam looked around the grounds. They were massive… huge even, at least as large as a Quidditch pitch.
As he took in his surroundings, he realised that he, Ginny and Hermione were standing at the very edge of what looked like a massive, pristine lawn, dotted with expensive looking statues and even a fountain. The lawn, as far as they could see in the darkness, seemed to fill the entirety of the manor grounds, apart from what looked like a drive running from the gate to the main entrance of the large house.
The house itself was a large, ornate building. It was four stories tall and had several towers. The outside of the house was richly decorated with what appeared to be gold adorning the numerous windows and doors, all of which, apart from a few on the ground floor, were currently dark.
“Look, a peacock!” Hermione exclaimed under her breath, pointing over the lawn at a large white bird.
“Oh, wow…” Adam whispered in admiration. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
How could anyone live in such luxury?
“We need to get across the lawn and try to find a door,” Ginny whispered to him, once she had stowed the broom safely away.
Adam nodded in response and whispered, “Follow me; Ginny, you come last.”
The three of them, crouching low to reduce the chance of being seen, began to creep across the grass. But before Adam had even taken five steps, an ear-splitting, wailing sound erupted all around them.
“An alarm!” Hermione shrieked.
“Stay still!” Adam hissed, feeling his heart beginning to pound faster as fear began to course through him. It couldn’t all go wrong! Not this soon. “They can’t know we’re here! Can they?”
However, within seconds of the of the alarm’s sounding, lights began to come on all through the house, the front door was thrown open and people began spilling out into the night.
Once a cloaked figured began striding purposefully out onto the lawn, Adam decided that it was now far too dangerous for them to be out in the open and he ordered, “Run for the wall, and stay together!”
The three of them sprinted across the lawn, trying desperately to get to it so that they could try and make some sort of escape. As soon as they started moving, Adam heard a shout from behind them, and stealing a glance over his shoulder, he saw a hail of red bolts of light sailing towards them.
“DOWN!” he shouted and threw himself to the ground.
The spells sailed past him, missing all three of them by some distance.
“GO!” Adam shouted again. “We need to get out of here!”
After a few more seconds of panicked running and dodging of spells, Adam, Ginny and Hermione finally reached the wall.
“I just need to unshrink the broom!” Ginny cried desperately. “Cover me!”
Adam immediately moved to take position in front of her, shielding her with his body, but the spells were coming faster and faster now; so fast, that Adam immediately realised he wouldn’t be able to shield Ginny against them. So, he leapt to one side, hoping that if he presented a tempting enough target, then they wouldn’t target her.
“Stupefy!” Adam cried, feeling a surge of relief when he saw that Ginny was still on her feet and fighting. “Stupefy! Stupefy!”
In response to his Stunners, spells continued to rain towards him, forcing Adam to dive out of the way, fire off another spell in return, and then dodge another spell.
There must be at least ten Death Eaters out there! Adam thought frantically as spells continue fly towards him, nearly driving him to the ground.
Hermione, too, was firing spells towards the Death Eaters.
“Hermione!” Adam screamed at her, when he had a moment to pay attention to what she was doing. “Don’t shield! Dodge! There’s too many!”
It was too late.
Hermione’s shield failed and a Stunner struck her in the chest, sending her to the ground, unconscious.
“GINNY!” Adam shouted. “Hermione’s down! Get her out of here!”
“I’m not leaving you!” Ginny cried as he jumped, dodged and shielded against spells.
“GET HER OUT OF HERE!” Adam roared. He didn’t have time to argue. He wasn’t going to let Ginny and Hermione get captured and possibly killed, all because of him. “Then come back for me if you can!”
“Cover me!” she shouted, apparently finally getting the message, as she began to run over towards Hermione.
Adam desperately fought off the spells that were coming towards him in a now unending torrent. Nearly a minute had passed since the first spells had been fired and he knew they Death Eaters must be close, but his night vision was hopelessly poor with the beams of light flashing around him.
“I’ve got her!” Ginny shouted, and Adam saw, out of the corner of his eye, that Ginny was now trying to bundle Hermione onto the back of the broom.
Then, almost in slow motion, Adam saw a Stunner fly past him, barely missing his elbow. He watched in horror as it flew towards Ginny.
“Ginny!” he shouted, but he didn’t have time to warn her and, before she even realised she was in danger, the Stunner struck her, sending Ginny, Hermione and the broom crashing to the ground in a heap.
Adam froze in complete horror at how wrong things had gone. They’d been so confident that they could do this, but they’d failed. They were going to be captured and probably killed, and then Voldemort would win.
He’d failed everyone.
“Drop your wand!” a voice shouted. “NOW!”
Adam hesitated for a second; by the sound of the voices, they were only feet away from him now; in fact, if he squinted, he could just about make out cloaked figures in the shadows. Lots of cloaked figures.
Then, from the shadows, a bright light shone into his face, temporarily blinding him and forcing him to close his eyes.
“Look! It’s Potter!” a voice shouted excitedly. “We got Potter!” There was a moment’s pause and then the voice ordered, “Drop your wand, or your two friends will get it!”
Adam, now giving in fully to despair, let his wand fall from his hand and, a few seconds later, the light went out, allowing Adam’s eyes to begin adjusting to the lack of light.
Before he’d managed to get his bearings, he felt someone roughly grab his arm and he allowed himself to be led towards the distant lights of the house.
As Adam was marched along, the Death Eaters were only too keen to point out that they were firmly in charge and Adam felt the tips of multiple wands poking into his body in different places.
The lights of the house were now growing larger and, as Adam realised he would soon be hustled into the house, he looked around to try and see what the Death Eaters had done with Hermione and Ginny.
“Face front!” someone spat and painfully jabbed the side of Adam’s face with their wand.
“Screw you!” Adam spat back. “Where are they?”
All he received in answer was a punch to the face, which sent him sprawling to the ground.
“Get up, Potter!” He was spat at again and roughly pulled to his feet.
Adam was pushed roughly along for the rest of the slog back to the house.
Once inside, Adam was led through a kitchen and then pushed into another room. Just as he stepped over the threshold, someone shoved him violently in the back and sent him sprawling onto the floor. Adam didn’t bother getting back to his feet, knowing that he would probably end up being pushed to the floor again if he did.
It seems, Adam thought bitterly, that Voldemort still wants me alive, but he doesn’t mind the Death Eaters roughing me up a bit first.
As he lay there, Adam looked around the room that he was in. It was a richly decorated in purple with crystal chandeliers, overstuffed chairs, a large ornate wooden sideboard and a marble fireplace.
It was probably posher than any room Adam had been in his entire life.
The rest of the Death Eaters had by now all filed into the room, and Adam counted a total of ten of them. With them, they brought Ginny’s and Hermione’s unconscious bodies. Then, to Adam’s absolute fury, they threw both of the girls down on the floor as if there were mere things. At the sight of his girlfriend and friend being treated so degradingly, Adam leapt to his feet, only to come face to face with a host of wands.
“Stand up and stay right where you are,” one of the Death Eaters snapped. “She’ll be here soon.”
Once he was on his feet, Adam was held once more at wand-point for what felt like an eternity. Eventually, there was movement and the large rug in the centre of the room moved. The rug was pulled aside and then, as if rising from a hole underneath the rug, Bellatrix Lestrange stepped into the room.
The woman’s eyes quickly took in the scene in front of her and, when her eyes rested upon Adam, a twisted little smile formed on her face. Then, suddenly, her expression changed to one of fury.
“Who is responsible for this?” she snarled.
One of the Death Eaters stepped forward. “I am, ma’am! I caught him, I have his wand.”
Lestrange stared at the man for a second, before pulling out her wand and screaming, “Crucio!”
The man dropped to the floor with an inhuman howl of pain. He continued screaming until, nearly a minute later, Lestrange lifted the curse and crossed the room towards him.
“You should be credited for capturing Potter, but you deserve to be punished for bringing in him in here!” Lestrange snapped at the still-writhing form before her.
Adam’s mind began whirring as he listened to Lestrange ranting. There was something in here they didn’t want him to know about! But, before he’d had a chance to process what he’d heard, Lestrange was in his face. She reached out and began running her hand over his face, making him shudder in disgust.
“Well, Potter,” she said sweetly, “we meet again!”
Adam didn’t reply and concentrated on blocking out the vile woman.
“You don’t need to speak, Potter. I just hope the Dark Lord lets me watch when he has his fun.” She sighed exaggeratedly. “I had thought of asking if I could have my own fun with you after he’d finished, I’ve always wanted a younger man, but I expect you’ll be rather dead once he’s done.”
Adam tried desperately not to react, but what Lestrange was suggesting made him feel physically sick.
Then, obviously deciding that she’d tormented him enough for now, Lestrange walked over towards Hermione and Ginny.
“Oh!” she exclaimed in phoney surprise, kneeling down next to the two girls. “You caught his friends, too. Maybe if the Dark Lord won’t let me have Potter, he’ll let me have fun with his girlfriend!”
“No!” Adam spat. “Leave her alone!”
“But you see, Potter!” Lestrange said, jumping back to her feet and crossing the room towards him. “You can’t do anything to stop me!”
Adam took a step forward in anger, only to feel Lestrange’s wand pointing at his forehead.
“The Dark Lord wants you alive, but that doesn’t mean I can’t hurt you… a lot,” Lestrange replied dangerously. “Now,” she said, signalling to two of the Death Eaters to take up positions on either side of Adam. “I’ll call the Dark Lord,” Lestrange announced. “Macnair, toss Potter and the other girl into the cellar. Avery, take the Weasley girl into the kitchen and tie her up,” A smile appeared on Lestrange’s lips and she looked Adam right in the eye. “I’ll need to amuse myself until the Dark Lord gets here.”
“NO!” Adam screamed, now terrified as to what Lestrange was going to do to Ginny. “Have your fun with me!” he pleaded. “Leave her alone!”
Lestrange only laughed in response, as Adam struggled against his captors. The more he struggled, the angrier they became, at last resorting to magically binding him with a series of ropes, pinning his legs together and his arms to his sides. Once bound, he was carried towards a door, down a narrow flight of steps and into a dark room where he was shoved roughly inside. Hermione’s body was tossed into the room after him and then the door was slammed shut.
When he was certain the Death Eaters were gone, Adam found himself filled with a new determination. I have to get out of here and save Ginny!
He struggled on the floor, trying desperately to free himself from the ropes, but it was no use and, even after several minutes of struggling, the ropes still hadn’t loosened at all.
“Hello…?” An uncertain voice spoke softly from the dark.
“Who’s that?” Adam asked hopefully. “Can you get me out of these ropes?”
“Who are you?” the voice asked again.
“I’m Harry… Harry Potter,” he replied.
“Oh, Harry!” the voice exclaimed, and he could now hear scrabbling from the other side of the room. “It’s me, Luna!”
“Luna!” Adam exclaimed. “What… How are you here?”
“Oh, Harry,” Luna said sadly, her voice sounding if she was getting closer to him. “I hoped you wouldn’t get caught… Did Ginny get away?”
“No,” Adam said. “She’s still upstairs. That’s why I need you to get me out of these ropes!”
“We have a nail that we use when we want to break stuff,” Luna commented.
Adam heard more scrabbling noises, then felt someone else’s hands on his wrists.
“That’s it!” Adam exclaimed. “Free my arms, then I can help free my feet!”
Luna’s face appeared just in front of Adam’s and she said, “These ropes are quite thick. I’ll need a few minutes.”
As Adam was about to reply, his scar burned worse than it ever had before, and for a few seconds he was looking down on a completely different scene.
He was standing in front of another man. This man was old, thin, but laughing scornfully.
“Kill me, then, Voldemort, I welcome death! But my death will not bring you what you seek. There is so much you do not understand…” the man spoke.
Then suddenly he felt something… a call… he had to conclude his business and return to Britain. Either his followers had captured Potter or… they would suffer.
A scream that echoed through the house shocked Adam out of his vision.
It was Ginny! Ginny was being tortured.
Adam fought with renewed desperation to free himself from the ropes. He had to save Ginny!
“Harry!” Luna exclaimed. “I’m not done!”
Adam didn’t listen and, in a burst of surprising strength, he suddenly felt the ropes around his wrists give way. Once the ropes were gone, Adam sat up and turned his attention to the ropes around his feet, quickly freeing them, too.
Now that he was free, Adam leapt to his feet and charged towards the door. It was locked and, at the sound of another despairing scream from Ginny, Adam pounded his fists on the door.
“STOP IT!!!” Adam bellowed. “GINNY!”
Adam’s shouts seemed to have no effect, and Ginny continued to scream. Adam wasn’t even sure if Lestrange was actually interrogating her, or if she was just engaged in one of her sick games.
“Harry!” Luna shouted from where she was kneeling next to Hermione. “It’s no use… the door, we’ve all tried already. It’s too thick to batter down and,” Adam hesitated as Luna concluded, “I’m not even sure if they can hear us upstairs.”
Adam stopped pounding on the door and began trying to get himself back under control. Luna is right, he thought. It’s no good wasting all my energy pounding uselessly on a door. I need to think of some other way to help Ginny.
“’We’?” Adam asked, suddenly realising that Luna had used “we” several time to talk about the people in the basement. “Who else is here?”
“Just Mr. Ollivander and me,” Luna said.
“Mr. Ollivander!” Adam exclaimed.
“He… he’s not been well,” Luna said, lowering her voice. “He sleeps lots. We need to get him out of here.”
Another heart-rending scream echoed from upstairs, causing Adam to close his eyes. “So,” Adam began bluntly, “are there any other ways out of here?”
“No,” Luna replied.
“Okay,” Adam said, trying to rack his brain for any other ideas. “Okay. Well… what about when they bring you food?”
“They don’t,” Luna replied. “A house-elf brings it. When you came was the first time they opened the door since I arrived… Oh!” Luna exclaimed, suddenly breaking off her explanation. “Hermione’s coming around!”
Adam immediately rushed to Hermione’s side.
“Hermione!” Adam said earnestly. “Are you okay?”
“Huh?” Hermione moaned dazedly. “What…?”
“Hermione,” Luna continued, “it’s Luna, can you hear me?”
“L…” Hermione said, now blinking furiously. “Luna…? Why can’t I see?”
Adam heaved a sigh of relief as Hermione became lucid. “It’s dark, Hermione,” he told her.
“H-Harry…?” she asked. “What happened?”
“They captured us,” Adam began softly, only to be interrupted by another harrowing cry from upstairs.
At Ginny’s cry of pain, Hermione bolted upright. Looking Adam directly in the eye, she gasped, “Is that Ginny?”
Adam nodded numbly in response.
“Oh… Adam!” Hermione gasped, and leapt forward and hugged him.
“Adam!” Luna exclaimed and Adam felt himself involuntarily groan.
He turned to Luna and saw that she was staring at him with her mouth half open.
“You’re Adam… not Harry,” she said at length. “Then… no! You’re Adam and Harry.”
Adam only shrugged in response. “Yeah… that’s about right.”
“I see it now!” Luna continued. “Your face… but, how?”
“Alright, alright,” Adam answered impatiently. “I’m not going to get into the whole story now.” He winced as Ginny screamed yet again. “What’s important is that we need to think of some way to get out of here. Does anyone have any ideas?”
No one answered and the small group fell into an uncomfortable silence.
Seeing no other options, Adam began scouring the room from top to bottom looking for something… anything that he could use to save Ginny from her pain. He found nothing. It was unbearable to know that there was simply nothing he could do to save Ginny.
Finally giving up, Adam sank to the floor and waited. After what felt like an eternity, but in reality couldn’t have been more than ten minutes, there was a pop, and Adam realised that a house-elf must have entered the dark room.
Suddenly light blossomed in the room, and Adam found himself staring right into the eyes of a house-elf… a very familiar house-elf. It was Dobby!
Seeing him, Dobby seemed to sag. He let the tray he was carrying fall to the floor and he wailed a cry of despair.
“Harry Potter, no!” the elf cried. “They’ve caught Harry Potter!”
“Dobby!” Adam exclaimed, quickly crossing the room towards the elf. “You have to help me!”
“Dobby can’t!” he wailed, sounding almost as if he was about to burst into tears. “He can’t disobey his masters.”
“You…” Adam began, suddenly realising that this was where Dobby lived. “You’re the Malfoy’s house-elf?”
Dobby nodded, and burst into tears, moaning. “Dobby cannot save Harry Potter…”
“Dobby…” Adam began, deciding to take a gentler tack. “You remember Ginny? They’re torturing her, I need to save her.”
Dobby gasped in response. “They’re torturing Harry Potter’s Wheezy?”
“Yes,” Adam said anxiously. “I need you to help me get out of here, or perhaps get me my wand?”
Dobby wailed again. “Harry Potter must understand,” he pleaded. “Dobby can’t. Dobby can’t! Dobby is bound…”
“Dobby!” Adam begged the elf. “Please!”
Dobby looked at Adam mournfully, before disappearing with another pop.
“DAMN IT!!” Adam screamed, and barely restrained himself from punching the metal door.
“Harry…” Hermione questioned. “What was that all about?”
“Dobby helped me out last year. I… I hoped he might be able to help us out of here.” Adam felt his shoulders slump. “But I guess he can’t…”
“Harry,” Hermione said, standing up and approaching him, “house-elves are bound to their masters… they can’t disobey them. If Dobby has been ordered to not assist us in any way…”
Hermione was interrupted by another pop, and a soft thump. Adam immediately spun around, searching for the source of the sound.
He heard a sharp, high-pitched cry of pain coming from somewhere in the room and Adam charged towards the source of the sound.
The source of the sound was Dobby. He was lying on the floor.
“Dobby!” Adam exclaimed. “What’s wrong?”
Dobby gasped and said in an incredibly weak voice, “Dobby brought your things…” he said weakly, “… for Harry Potter.”
“Thank you!” Adam cried with joy. “Thank you, but what’s wrong?”
“Dobby disobeyed…” he gasped, his eyes sliding closed. “A house-elf must pay the ultimate price for disobeying his master…”
“No! Dobby!” Adam cried. “If I’d known, I would never have asked. You can’t die… you can’t!”
At Adam’s cry, Dobby’s eyes flew open and he smiled. “Anything for… Harry…Potter…” he gasped.
“Dobby!” Adam cried, putting his hand on Dobby’s body. “Oh, Dobby.”
“It’s…” Hermione stammered, sounding completely appalled. “It’s monstrous! He’s dying just because he disobeyed his master!”
Then the air seemed to leave the elf’s body in a final rush and Dobby was still.
Adam knelt there next Dobby’s body for several minutes, before he felt someone put their hand on his shoulder.
“Harry…” Hermione’s said gently, having seemingly composed herself. “It’s horrible how house-elves are treated, that he should die just for helping us.”
Adam nodded numbly and, sighing deeply, he stood up and spoke determinedly to the others in the room. “Dobby died to help us to escape and free Ginny and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Fumbling around at his feet, he soon found the items that Dobby had dropped on the floor. There was the Invisibility Cloak and his, Ginny’s and Hermione’s wands.
“Luna,” Adam said, passing her Ginny’s wand. “You can use Ginny’s wand until we rescue her, but then she’ll need it. Do you know what happened to yours?”
Luna shook her head and replied, “They took it from me at school.”
“Okay,” Adam continued. “Let’s get Mr. Ollivander on his feet, and then we can get out of here.”
Adam, feeling immensely better now that he had his wand in his hand, crossed to the door and whispered, “Alohomora.” Much to his surprise, the door clicked open.
“Wow,” Adam said to no one in particular. “Didn’t think it would just open.”
He looked out of the doorway up the dark passage and heaved a sigh of relief. It was empty. It seemed that the Death Eaters were relying on the locked door and the lack of wands to keep them imprisoned.
He looked back into the room and saw the Hermione and Luna were busy helping Ollivander to his feet, where he stood shakily.
“Can we…” Adam began, numbly. “We need to take Dobby with us.”
“I can take him,” Hermione said, and Adam watched as she wrapped Dobby in one of the rags that Luna had been using as a bed and placed him in the pocket of her cardigan.
“How?!” Adam exclaimed.
“Undetectable-Extension charm,” Hermione replied. “It’s not very dignified but…”
“It’s a brilliant idea,” Adam replied softly.
“Okay,” Adam said, after checking that Ollivander, Hermione and Luna were all ready to go. “I’ll go first, under the Cloak, then Hermione right after me, followed by Luna with Mr. Ollivander. Okay?”
The two girls and Mr. Ollivander nodded in response.
“We need to free Ginny first,” Adam began. “Then,” he hesitated, “there’s something I need to look for, but then we’re getting out of here. Once out of the house, we’ll try to get out of the grounds and then Hermione and I will Apparate us away.”
“Oh, I can Apparate myself!” Luna exclaimed. “Daddy taught me.”
“Brilliant!” Adam began. “Well, if you can stick close to Mr. Ollivander then… So,” he paused, “are we ready?”
When the two nodded in response, Adam threw the Cloak over himself and advanced down the corridor and up a narrow flight of stairs.
Once he reached the top of the stairs, Adam paused at the door which led back into the large room they had been in earlier. He turned around and saw the Hermione was right behind him.
“Come in once I fire the first spell and Stun anything that moves.”
Then, once he was satisfied that Hermione understood, Adam paused, and then flung open the door.
He strode into the large drawing room with his wand in his hand. There were three Death Eaters in the room, who were rising from their seats in confusion.
“Stupefy!” Adam cried, Stunning the first one.
Then spells began to fly towards him, and Adam was forced to dive out of the way.
“Stupefy!” he cried again, missing his target this time.
“Stupefy!” a female voice cried out, and Adam saw Hermione standing in the doorway. Her spell flew through the air and struck one of the Death Eaters in the stomach, sending him crashing to the floor.
The remaining Death Eater, now realising he was outnumbered, began to run for the door.
“Stupefy!” Adam cried out, striking him in the back with another Stunning Spell.
Adam heaved a sigh of relief and turned to Hermione. “Good job,” he said, then, turning back towards the door to the cellar, he saw Luna and Ollivander emerge into the room.
“Are we clear?” Luna asked, but, just as she spoke Adam heard a noise from behind him.
He spun around, and came face to face with another Death Eater who had apparently come from the kitchen. He reacted without thinking and dived to one side, narrowly avoiding a spell and landing on the floor with a thud.
As Adam righted himself, the two girls started firing spells at the Death Eater, and, before Adam was even back up on his feet, the man had been knocked out cold.
“Thanks, guys,” Adam replied. “That was close. Is everyone okay?”
Both girls nodded.
“How’s Mr. Ollivander holding up?”
“I’m okay,” Mr. Ollivander replied weakly and Adam realised with surprise that it was first time he’d heard him speak. “If I could just rest for a moment…”
“You can. Stay here with Luna,” Adam replied. “Hermione, come with me and we’ll get Ginny.”
The two of them moved cautiously into the kitchen and Adam felt his heart constrict as he imaged the horrors that could have been inflicted on Ginny.
They entered the kitchen, and Adam stared in surprise. It was empty. The only evidence of what had happened was a smashed chair on the floor with frayed, torn ropes lying loosely around it.
As he took in the scene, Adam couldn’t help but grin. Apparently, Ginny had already escaped.
“She’s escaped!” Hermione whispered to him.
Adam nodded. “Yeah,” he said softly. “She’s brilliant,” he then paused, considering his next move. He needed to find the Horcrux, then escape. If Ginny had managed to free herself, then he wasn’t sure what he could do to help her right now. “Okay,” Adam instructed Hermione, pointing towards the door from the kitchen into the grounds. “Keep an eye out; make sure no one comes in. I’ll be back.”
With that, Adam charged back into the drawing room.
“Luna, Mr. Ollivander,” he said. “We’re going, head towards the kitchen. I’ll be right behind you.”
Once Luna and Mr. Ollivander were moving, Adam, retracing Lestrange’s steps from earlier, opened up the hidden hole in the floor and descended a steep and narrow set of steps.
At the bottom, he came face to face with yet another metal door.
So, deciding to take a brute force approach, Adam took a few steps backwards up the steps. Once positioned, he pointed his wand at the door and, allowing all his hatred for Voldemort to fill his mind, he cried, “Expulso!”
The spell left his wand and struck the centre of the door. The force of the spell caused the metal door to buckle and twist, even though the protections on it prevented it from actually exploding.
Despite the fact that his spell hadn’t done what he intended, it had still left enough room for him to see into the room beyond.
It’s here! Adam thought with joy. A single, and remarkably small, golden cup.
“Wingardium Leviosa!” Adam cried, reciting the first-year spell and levitating the cup towards him until he was able to clasp it through the door.
As soon as he fingers closed on it, Adam felt the familiar shudder he normally felt when touching the locket, but he put it out of his mind.
I have the Horcrux! he thought with triumph. Now all I need to do is find Ginny and get out of here.
Adam then shoved the Horcrux into his pocket and dashed up the stairs, through the drawing room, and into the kitchen.
As soon as he entered the room, he saw Hermione put her finger against her lips. She, Luna and Mr Ollivander were standing near the doorway looking out into the grounds.
“It seems too quiet,” Hermione said softly. “I can see cloaked figures moving around out there, but they seem to be just patrolling.”
“Any sign of Ginny?” Adam asked, trying to keep his voice down. They were so close now it wouldn’t do for him to give himself away to the Death Eaters in the grounds.
“No,” Hermione said.
Adam hesitated, completely at a loss of what to do. He tried to put himself in Ginny’s shoes. She’d just escaped and she probably didn’t have any idea where he was. What would she have done?
She’d have run for it, Adam realised. She’d been Stunned before he was captured, and hadn’t been revived until she’d been taken away by Bellatrix Lestrange. She probably thought he’d managed to get away.
But what if she stayed to look for him? Adam thought, doubt now creeping in his mind.
However, before he could actually make up his mind, the decision was made for him. A crazed scream came from the drawing room. A scream that sounded just like Lestrange.
“Run!” Adam shouted. “Just run!”
They pelted out into the grounds of Malfoy Manor. The four of them, Adam, Hermione, Luna and Ollivander, moved as quickly as they could across the lawn. As they ran, Ollivander began to struggle for breath, but Adam kept moving, guiding them roughly in the direction of the gates he had seen earlier. Without a broom, the gates would be their best chance of escape.
As soon as they were out of the house, the Death Eaters were on to them and the escapees cut down one, then two, and then three of the Death Eaters with Stunners.
“Keep running,” Adam gasped, pausing for a second to take in his surroundings, but, as he stopped, he felt the icy, bone-chilling cold that he had felt far too many times in his life for his own good.
“Dementors!” he screamed, now turning towards the gates. “RUN!”
They Stunned another Death Eater on their way to the gates and, then knocked out the two Death Eaters who seemed to be guarding it.
“Dementors are coming,” Adam shouted, frantically. “Hermione, get those gates open, now!”
Adam stood and watched as the cloaked figures almost casually drew closer to them across the grounds and, as Adam watched, he felt his hopes of escape being crushed.
There’re hundreds of them! he despaired.
“I can’t get the gates open!” Hermione screamed frantically. “I can’t get them open!”
“Revive a Death Eater,” Adam snapped back at her. “Threaten him, get him to open them!”
“But I…” Hermione wailed. “I don’t know if I can!”
“JUST DO IT!” Adam snapped at her. The Dementors were getting closer and closer now. “I’ll hold off the Dementors.”
“Expecto Patronum!” Adam cried.
Okay, Adam thought, trying to calm his racing heart, calm down, you can do this!
He conjured up images of himself and Ginny together over the years and he let himself bask in the love that he felt for her.
“Expecto Patronum!” he cried again.
This time Prongs leapt forward from his wand and charged towards the Dementors but then, with a surge of joy, he saw another silvery figure in amongst them.
It was another Patronus, but Adam couldn’t recognise what it was. It’s Ginny! he thought with excitement. There wasn’t anyone else nearby that could conjure a Patronus.
As Adam watched the Patronuses battle with the Dementors, he saw the person who had conjured the Patronus and heaved a sigh of relief. It was Ginny! Then his temporary joy at seeing his girlfriend vanished when he saw the peril she was in.
Ginny was on the far side of the Dementors. To escape, she would have to get through them. She was in trouble.
Suddenly their eyes met, and the two of them stared at each other for a split second. Realising that Ginny’s only way of escape now was through the Dementors, Adam waved frantically to her; if she could run through them, then he could protect her with his Patronus.
“Expecto Patronum!” Adam shouted again, once again summoning Prongs.
Ginny started running through the Dementors and Adam could just make out the two silvery shapes of their Patronuses flanking her. Then suddenly, Prongs vanished and Adam watched with horror as Ginny’s Patronus also flickered and failed.
“Expecto Patronum!” he screamed but nothing happened.
“Expecto Patronum!” he screamed again, his voice becoming horse and despair completely overtaking him. Once again, Prongs did not come to his aid.
“Expecto Patronum!” This time, two female voices from his side called out the spell and Adam sobbed in relief as he saw two Patronuses, in the form of Hermione’s otter and Luna’s hare, rush forward into the swarm of Dementors that were now closing on Ginny.
“Expecto Patronum!” Adam tried again, but once again, he failed to cast the spell and save Ginny.
Knowing he now had little choice, Adam began to run forward, desperate to do something, anything for Ginny, but before he had even got five places forward, a wall of indescribable horror and terror stopped him in his tracks, forcing him to his knees.
Adam watched as Hermione’s and Luna’s Patronuses also flickered out and, using every ounce of his willpower, Adam forced himself to his feet.
Then he saw Ginny fall to ground.
Adam continued to move towards her, forcing his body, which wanted nothing more than to curl into a ball and escape from the world around it, to move step by step as if he was walking into a wind so powerful it could knock him off his feet.
He continued walking, step by gruelling step, as a Dementor floated down towards Ginny, but he was too far away. He wasn’t going to get there in time. He watched helplessly, still forcing his body to keep moving as the Dementor lowered its mouth towards Ginny’s face.
The Dementor picked her up, and held her in the air but even then, Ginny was still kicking and struggling valiantly against the creature.
Then, with Adam completely and utterly unable to save her, he saw a tiny ball of green light leave Ginny’s mouth, and float into the Dementors gaping maw.
Her body went limp and Adam screamed an almost inhuman cry of pain and despair.
As he watched the Dementor cast Ginny’s body to the ground, Adam gave in fully to the pain and despair caused by the assembled Dementors and he collapsed to the ground.
The next thing he knew, someone was pulling him to his feet and shouting at him.
“Adam, we need to go!” Hermione screamed, as she began dragging him away from the Dementors. “Luna’s holding a Death Eater at wand point so he’ll keep the gate open, but we need to move!”
“NO!” Adam shouted, pulling away from Hermione. “I have to help Ginny!”
“Adam…” Hermione pleaded, and for the first time he noticed her face was streaked with blood, dirt and tears. “You saw… it Kissed her… she’s gone.”
Adam couldn’t believe that. He now wasn’t sure what he’d seem. Ginny couldn’t be dead. She just couldn’t be.
“NO!” he screamed, pushing Hermione away. “I HAVE TO SAVE HER! I CAN’T LEAVE HER!”
He set off across the garden towards Ginny, knowing that if he could just get to her, he would be able to do something.
“HARRY!” Hermione screamed. “STOP! PLEASE! You’ll only get yourself killed, too!”
Adam ignored her. He had to get to Ginny.
The next thing he knew, something hit him from behind and darkness claimed him.