Finishing up the cliffhangers from last chapter
Acknowledgments - IP82 and Sirus009 continue to contribute to this humble effort in so many ways. Also, without the brilliant beta skills of FairyQilan, you would be condemned to seeing how many times I can spell the word apparition wrong.
Chapter 12 - Of Wicked Witches and Unforgivables
Sturgis darted in and out of the rocks, being a hamster in the dead of night was very good cover. Hamsters are not particularly fast creatures, but he was making good progress. Azkaban had definitely seen better days. Most of the high security wing has already been leveled. He saw some trolls and a dragon waiting to start in on the ward he had just left. He wasn't sure what to do? Getting back to the Order of the Phoenix would be a good start. They would be able to shelter him. He saw some brooms racing overhead.
'Best to stay in my animagus form for now.'
He just kept moving amongst the rocks. He saw two women moving out. He decided to move closer. Both of them looked like Bellatrix Lestrange. One of them was pointing her wand at the other.
"Well my dear Nymphadora, now that I have you at my command what shall I do with you? You did like the taste of my master, did you not? How about we have some fun of our own? Would you like that my little slave? Put your wand down and strip. I'll find something to transfigure into a whip and then we will have a good old time."
'Holy shit! That's Tonks!'
Sturgis moved closer. He tried not to watch as Tonks dropped her tattered robes. She had a backup wand in an ankle holster, which was the only thing she had on at the moment. She removed the holster and set it on her clothes. From his hamster perspective it looked huge. He had two options. The first was to grab Tonk's wand and hope that she didn't have an anti-theft charm on it. The second was a more direct approach. In his human form, he easily outweighed Bellatrix Lestrange by forty or fifty kilo. She is probably the most dangerous female in all of Britain, but like most purebloods Sturgis suspected that she would be ill prepared for hand to hand combat. In a duel Sturgis was sure Lestrange would annihilate him.
Bellatrix returned with a piece of driftwood that she transfigured into a cat-o-nine tails. The hamster waited for her to put her wand back in robes. As much as he hated it, Sturgis realized he would have his best chance if he let Bellatrix whip Tonks once or twice and come up behind her as she strikes. He hid behind a small rock and watched the cackling bitch pass by. Bellatrix was giggling and dancing like a child in a candy store. She commanded Tonks place her hands on a large rock and spread her legs like some criminal on those muggle shows. Bella gleefully brought the whip down on her niece's back.
"Scream you bitch! You know you love it, you whore! I beat you back in the ministry and I will beat you now!"
Sturgis crept up behind her and triggered his transformation. His left hand grabbed her right wrist and spun her around. He saw the glazed over look in her eyes turn to wide-eyed shock as he smashed his fist into her jaw with a resounding crack. She dropped immediately. He grabbed her wand from her limp form and cast a finite incanteum on the screaming auror. After five seconds the screaming stopped and she started crying.
"Tonks. We have to get out of here."
Tonks could hear him, but she didn't care as the fog lifted from her mind. Mentally, she retreated back into her preteen days. She remembered all the times when her dad would take her to the workshop on the edge of the property that he had wired for electricity. They would sit on a couch and her father would put a video in the VCR and eat a bucket of popcorn soaked in butter. Her favorite video of all time was the Wizard of Oz. Her shape changing abilities were already surfacing and by the end of the movie she would look like an eight-year-old Judy Garland.
Even to this day when her birthday came around, she would find time in her busy schedule to get over to her parents and watch videos with her dad. Last year, she joked with her mum and dad that she had her merry group of followers. She of course was Dorothy. There was some disagreement whether Kingsley was the Tin Man or Mad Eye (by virtue of his leg); with the other being the scarecrow and Remus was her cowardly lion. She didn't tell them about her uncle's animage abilities, but she hinted that she even had her little black doggie.
Now, with the exception of Remus, they were all gone. She sobbed for a minute and spun around her face twisted into a mask of hatred that even the woman she resembled would be proud of. She grabbed her wand and threw her robes on. She cast a body bind on her aunt followed by an Enervate.
"I'm sorry, Auntie. I wasn't able to greet you properly. Now I can though. So how have you been? I haven't seen you since you killed Sirius. Did that even bother you? Did you lose any sleep over it, you insane bitch? Do you even care? Did your master reward you?"
Tonks stopped her rant as she regarded the cold eyes of her aunt. The body bind prevented any movement or talking from the death eater other than her eyes. Even if she were capable of speech, it was unlikely that Bellatrix had any remorse for her actions. Bellatrix was busy pooling her magic to try and burst free of the body bind. As with most spells, if a wizard or witch can concentrate and focus their magic they can attempt to overcome whatever charm, hex, jinx or curse that they are currently bewitched with. Tonks sensed this and cast a quick Incarcerous spell to further bind her in a conjuration that could not be broken in such a manner. She followed it with a cone of silence as Bellatrix overcame the body bind. The spell prevented sounds from exiting the cone, thus ensuring their privacy.
"Now, now dear Auntie, I can't have you calling for help. Can I?"
"What do you plan to do little girl? My lord will make you beg for death. Perhaps you will beg for something else?" Bellatrix watched the younger version of her face twist in anger and turn various shades of color. It was perversely amusing to study your own face in anger.
"Aw, did I make you mad? Are you upset at your wittle aunty?" Bella mocked in her baby voice.
Tonks was so angry that she was having trouble holding her wand. She barely noticed Sturgis whispering to her that they need to leave. If Moody or Kingsley were here, they would tell her to stun Bellatrix Lestrange and bring her in for questioning to see how much information could be gathered from her. Her position as one of the Dark Lord's inner circle meant she had a great deal of knowledge. She thought about how Bellatrix would be taken into custody and placed in a prison, probably this one when it was rebuilt and how that monster she serves would free her again. As these thoughts warred in her mind, her wand gestured to the rock she had braced herself on as she took her lashes. It rose slowly and with considerable effort on Tonks's part. The boulder easily weighing a ton drifted into the air centimeter by precious centimeter until it hovered roughly a meter in the air. Sweat poured down her brow from the strain as the rock drifted above the captured death eater. The shadow of the boulder passed over Bellatrix's face as she ceased her taunting of her niece.
"What are you doing Nymphadora?"
"You were sentenced to this island until you die. I am just part of the process. You killed Sirius. You have harmed so many others. You are a wicked witch. Do you know what happens to wicked witches?"
"No!" Bellatrix Lestrange shrieked as Tonks released her spell bringing the rock roughly the size of an office desk down on her head and chest. Tonks took a deep breath as she watched her aunt's legs spasm for a second. She felt Sturgis Podmore's hand on her shoulder and turned to look at him in the light of a half moon. She sobbed into his arms for a moment. He consoled her as best he could for a moment. After a moment, she looked up at him.
"Ding Dong! The Wicked Witch is dead." Her voice was barely above a whisper.
"Tonks! We need a way off this rock now. Someone is bound to come looking for her any minute now." He whispered.
She sniffed loudly and wiped her tears away. "You're right." He was scared for her when she walked to the edge. He thought the currently overemotional young woman might actually jump, but instead she waved her wand over the side and summoned a broom from the rocks below. She looked at it in appreciation.
"Well looks like I got the Death Eater's new broom instead of Karen's. I guess I will just have to keep it. Climb on Sturgis."
"We can go faster if you carry me in your robes. No rips in your pockets are there?" He said as she checked before shaking her head. Tossing Bella's wand back to her, he transformed back into his hamster self and was deposited in her inner pocket. She kicked off and sped into the night heading for the coast. Sturgis heard her mutter something he couldn't quite place as she looked back at the shrinking island.
"I think I'll miss you most of all." She whispered her thoughts on Moody and Shacklebolt.
--- (Scene Break Auror Headquarters) ---
The tired voice of Amos Diggory emanated from the wireless set, "At approximately ten o'clock last night, forces belonging to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named attacked the prison at Azkaban. A large battle was fought and casualties were sustained on both sides. We do not have precise details at the moment, but will release them after proper verification pending notification of the families. During this time of concern, rest assured that your government is taking all necessary steps to ensure your safety. Our hopes and prayers go out to the families and friends of the prison workers. In the next edition of the papers there will be an up to date list and pictures of all prisoners that were detained on the island. Please keep a watchful eye and report any sightings of escapees to the authorities at once."
In the first light of the morning, Rufus Scrimgeour felt his age as he continued to assess the loss of life. He had just gotten off the floo with Diggory having helped the distraught man prepare a statement to the papers and the Wizarding Wireless Network. The most recent census of Wizarding Britain estimated the population to be just under twenty thousand. For the lives of probably over fifty wizards and witches to end on a single night, could only be described as a mind numbing tragedy. Compounding this fact was the sobering news that most of the fallen were the protectors of the population. The masses would feel more at risk than ever.
'The papers were going to have a field day with this. Between this and the Wizengamot being unable to appoint a minister, we are teetering on the brink of anarchy! That's just what the Dark Lord wants. If we fall apart there will be no resistance. Something must be done and soon.'
He sat back down at his desk, mechanically processing the latest reports and dispatching his forces. From his comfortable chair, he began to attack the problem at hand. His dayshift commander, Ada Dawson came in with the latest battle damage assessments and casualty lists from Saint Mungo's.
"Director, I have two three person teams on brooms with Omnioculars headed to the prison. Team one will make a pass at one kilometer above the prison and immediately return. The second team will check for any active resistance from either the Death Eaters or dementors on the perimeter with orders to fall back from engagement. The cursebreakers have disconnected Azkaban from access to our wards and they estimated that Azkaban's wards collapsed at one o'clock this morning. The best guess at this point is that the muggles will notice it within seventy-two hours. The cursebreakers say it will take a minimum of twenty-four hours to properly conceal the island again assuming a standard team of eight. Adding a second team will cut time down to sixteen hours. From the coast, the dementor attacks ceased rather abruptly. The last was reported around three this morning. There have been no further sightings. I have been in contact with the ministry's oblivation squads and they are already en route to the affected areas. I have two four person squads escorting them. If it is acceptable, I will going to double the patrols in Diagon Alley as a show of force."
"Yes Ada. That will be fine. The public needs to see Aurors out and about. They may wear the black armbands over their robes." He said knowing what his people would be requesting. If not now, they would be requesting it soon. "Ada, we've had a rough couple of weeks. I want you to take over as acting Head of Aurors. You are going to have to juggle personnel. Most of our losses were backshift personnel. The trainee program is only running at sixty percent capacity. We may see an influx of applicants. Do your best to find some quality amongst the rubbish. When the Wizengamot meets later today, we will need to make alternative arrangements for prisoners. That is if they can get it together and appoint a minister. Don't get too comfortable with your acting position. I may toss my name in for minister. If that happens expect a bump to acting DMLE."
His subordinate took it in stride. She had suspected Rufus's political aspirations for quite some time now. Ada Dawson was an above average field agent, but she was a logistical genius. For the past five years, she had kept the dayshift running like a well-oiled machine. Her abilities were about to be put to the ultimate test.
"It's going to require a lot of overtime. We'll probably need to combine second and third shift and go on twelve-hour shifts for the near future. For what it is worth, we could convert Warehouse Eleven into a temporary prison for Death Eaters and drop it under the Fidelius charm. It would require much less manpower."
"I like the idea. There will probably be some objection to that Ada. Secret prisons won't sit well with the public for very long. The idea will meet with some resistance. We may actually be able to cut our manpower needs further by hiring private contractors to manage the prison."
They continued discussing possible options as one of the dayshift floo kiddies brought a breakfast plate in for them. Auror Dawson finished her breakfast quickly and left to manage the floor operations at Auror Headquarters. He sighed as a runner brought in a report from the ministry that someone had let an inferi loose inside the ministry building. One wizard was killed and a witch was badly injured, before the creature had been destroyed. He learned with dismay that the inferi was Fudge's former assistant Percy Weasley. A shame, really the boy had seemed competent enough and had already mastered the inner workings of the ministry. He had hoped to use him at the very least in his transitional team.
From outside he heard the voice of Aaron Jennings, his administrative assistant. "I am sorry Madame, but the Director is not seeing anyone unless it is directly related to the current crisis."
"This is a matter of extreme importance, young man." A female voice insisted.
Rufus opted to come out of his office. There he saw Mafalda Hopkirk, the head of the Improper Use of Magic office arguing with Jennings. The frumpy looking old woman had a wild look in her eyes and several sheets of parchment in her hands. He never particularly liked the woman, but her office significantly cut down on the amount of false alarms and kept the underage wizards and witches in line. He also knew she was on shaky ground after one of her workers had been caught supplying information to the Death Eaters.
"Relax Aaron. I am sure Madame Hopkirk is aware of yesterday's events and that she would not bother me without due cause. Please come in, I can only spare a few minutes."
"Of course director. Thank you for seeing me." She said closing the door behind them.
"And what can I do for the director of the Improper Use of Magic Office today?"
"I have these records from last night. They are most troubling. It concerns Harry Potter and Susan Bones."
"I was under the impression that both were emancipated yesterday. They should no longer be your concern."
"Yes, that is true. Normally the tracking and detection charms disappear on their seventeenth birthday. In the event of emancipation, they need to come to the office and have the charms removed. They did not and we were still recording them."
"Your point is?" He was interested, but his surly nature was starting to show.
"Perhaps it is best that you just look at them." She handed him the parchment.
He scanned the record of Amelia's niece first. There were several patronus spells and the tracking charm showed that they were in the areas of the dementor attacks. He applauded her bravery. If she were anything like her aunt, the girl would be a powerful witch, remarkable that she was doing a patronus at all for someone her age. The parchment for Potter listed a ridiculous number of spells almost like he had gone 'magic happy' like many teenagers do when they can first do magic. Unfortunately, the list looked nothing like what one would expect for a wizards coming out party.
'Some minor concealment glamours, patronus, several medical spells hmmm. Looks like the boy was giving first aid. Reset a broken bone. A couple of repairing spells. And what is this?'
Scrimgeour's eyes stopped on the next two entries. 'Unknown Spell Magnitude Level Five.' He raised a bushy eyebrow in disbelief. The magical detection equipment in that office was some of the most comprehensive in the entire world. The device knew more spells that any twenty wizards. For it to encounter a spell that it did not know was significant, but not unheard of. That said, for the unknown spell to be magnitude five was frightening. The last unknown level five event was recorded during the final battle between Dumbledore and Grindelwald. No one save Dumbledore knew what transpired, but it was widely speculated that Grindelwald was attempting either a dimensional rift or a demonic summoning with no prior preparation. Whatever it was, it had been unsuccessful but it still registered as a massive event. When the Dark Lord and Dumbledore dueled in the ministry recently, it was recorded as a level five event due to the sheer magical power of the individuals involved. The close proximity caused the device to be saturated and unusable for two straight days. Both of those wizards were among the two hundred or so wizards and witches in the world capable of producing a level five event by themselves. Less than ten resided in Britain alone! Yet a boy, who had only completed five years of training, produced two within a fifteen minute period.
When he spoke his voice faltered. "Are you certain the device is functioning correctly? This isn't some mistake?"
"No, it has been working correctly since the saturation. It was even confirmed by the general detection equipment. Director, I am not only concerned about that, but look at the rest of the spells."
He continued on after the two level five spells. From there it looked like Mr. Potter had gotten into a fight. He saw a wide variety of combat spells. He stopped at the last three spells - Avada Kedavra and two Crucios. Harry Potter cast three unforgivable curses! Rufus Scrimgeour stared at the parchment in front of him for a long minute before making up his mind.
"Thank you for bringing this to my attention, Madame Hopkirk. Officially, this conversation never happened. Obliviate your night shift if you feel it is necessary. I will investigate this personally."
"I understand completely, Director. This never happened."
He escorted her back out into the central area. It was filling with the rest of the day shift coming out of Dawson's briefing. He saw the young dispatcher, who had impressed him last night working with the dayshift dispatcher completing the reports that would normally be done by the missing Tompkins. He walked over to them trailed by his assistant.
"Young lady, what is your name again?" He asked.
"It's Lavender Brown, sir."
"I need you to do two things for me, Miss Brown. The first is I will need you to take over the dispatcher desk for the backshift. I do not believe Mr. Tompkins will be returning. What is your current grade?"
"Intern Auror Floo Dispatcher grade two, sir."
"Get rid of the intern title and consider yourself promoted to Grade Three. Jennings will draw up the necessary paperwork. You will report back here at three to meet with Auror Dawson, who is acting head of Aurors. She will let you know who the new backshift watch commander is. The second thing is we need to find that cousin of yours. I need to find her and Harry Potter."
--- (Scene Break) ---
The vampire in front of him was fast, unbelievably fast. Had his wand not already been in his hand, Harry would have been doomed. As it was, Harry barely managed to cast a banishing spell, catching the creature in mid-leap. The vampire got within a foot of him before the power of the spell washed over him. Harry's spell propelled his opponent backward into the ticket window smashing the glass.
Harry faced the remaining three vampires, who were now looking up from their meals. One blurred and transformed into a wolf; charging Harry. He sent a laceration curse at the gray she-wolf and followed it with a bone crusher. The wolf howled in pain and thrashed on the ground, her front legs bent awkwardly as she tried to move forward. Harry spun, but the third vampire was upon him. It's shadow blocking the light from the cinema's marquee. Harry ducked the slashing hand with claw-like fingers. The vampire's second blow was a closed fist that smashed into his shoulder and drove him backward with an unnatural strength. His shoulder was on fire. It felt as if the vampire had augmented his inhuman strength with a wandless banishment spell. Harry bounced twice across the sidewalk and rolled onto the pavement. A loud crack signaled incoming apparation and Bill Weasley arrived into the midst of the battle.
Bill immediately found himself struggling with the fourth vampire. He cast a bright light spell directly in its face temporarily blinding the vampire. It slashed wildly with its clawed hand opening up the left side of Bill's face and cutting into his chest below his right shoulder. Bill yelped in agony and sank to the ground. He stabbed his wand up into the face of the dazed vampire and cast his most powerful severing charm, decapitating the monster and sending a geyser of blood into the air. Bill hissed in pain as the blood of the dead creature contaminated his open wounds and made them burn with a hellish fire.
Bill's screams shook Harry out of his confusion. The vampire that struck Harry turned toward Bill, momentarily forgetting Harry. Without any hesitation Harry thrust his wand out and said the one incantation that immediately came to mind. There were two vampires left, but he and Bill were both injured.
"Avada Kedavra!" Harry watched the green light smash into the vampire and drop it like a lifeless doll. He staggered to his feet with his left arm dangling uselessly, no doubt dislocated. Wincing in pain from the grinding of bones he felt from his collarbone. He chanced a glance at the she-wolf. The laceration curse had struck true and left the wolf's head connected by only a few tendons, reminding Harry of his house ghost Sir Nicolas. He knelt by Bill and summoned water to flush the festering wounds. Bill's scrams subsided, but he passed out from the pain. Harry tried a pair of wound closure spells that failed abysmally.
Harry trained his wand on the last remaining vampire, which was regarding him from a crouched position on the ticket counter. A loud crack announced the arrival of Susan and Emmeline Vance. They two witches looked in shock at the number of bodies and the gory scene that greeted them at the front of the theatre.
Never taking his eyes off the vampire Harry said, "Emmeline, as soon as you are able to, apparate Bill to St. Mungo's. He is cut up pretty bad and vampire blood got into the open wounds. I flushed them out, but the wounds won't close. He needs professional assistance quickly."
Emmeline ran over and knelt by Bill with a look of anguish on her face. She took several deep breaths to try and compose herself before she wrapped arms around him.
"Harry, you and Susan go back to where we apparated into this town. I will come and get you as soon as I get Billy to the healers." She disappeared with a very loud crack. Her concentration clearly not at it's best.
Susan stood there looking at the soulless muggles and dead vampires with her wand clenched in her hands. She noticed Harry was still holding his wand on someone. She moved to his side and aimed her wand at the person regarding him from the shattered window.
"Why are you here, vampire?" Harry demanded.
"None of your business boy. Take your little friend and leave. I'll even let you go." Coedus spat.
"Brave words considering what I did to your two friends. You saw what I just did, so you know I won't hesitate to kill you."
"It is impressive to see the killing curse from one so young. What in Merlin's name are they teaching at Hogwarts these days?" The vampire said casually. They both ignored Susan's gasp of surprise.
'Harry used the killing curse?'
Harry enunciated his next sentence spitting out each word. "Quit stalling and answer my fucking question."
"As I said, it is no business of yours." Coedus barely finished the sentence when he felt Harry's response.
"Crucio!" Harry felt the power course out his wand. For the first time, he was knowingly using this spell. His actions against Bellatrix in the atrium could be attributed to his overwhelming grief. The killing curse he just used, well it was necessary to save Bill and it was performed in the one instance that was allowed by law. This was different. He was torturing someone or something. Raw anger did not fuel his spell. Harry had to know what these vampires were doing here. He compensated with raw power.
It had been many decades since Coedus had felt the agony of that curse. His natural resistance weakened the effect of the torture curse, but the boy was very powerful and the pain caused him to spasm and fall from the counter forward onto the sidewalk. He landed with a thud and continued to twitch. Harry held the curse on the vampire for ten full seconds before releasing it.
"I find it odd that a group of vampires would be out and about in the same area as a dementor attack on the night Voldemort is trying to free his Death Eaters from Azkaban. I don't believe in coincidences. Now are you going to answer my damn question?"
Coedus glared back at his assailant. He was shocked both that the boy would dare invoke the Dark Lord's name and by the raw power behind the banisher and the torture curse. He recalled his duels with the young Albus Dumbledore.
"Fine, have it your way. Crucio!" Harry shouted making Coedus's screams split the night air for a second time. He held the curse for about twenty seconds before releasing it. Unconsciously, Susan took several steps away from Harry.
"I am growing weary of this vampire. My next spell is the killing curse. I need to be leaving and if you are not going to tell me what I wish to know, then you are no use to me. Why are you here?"
"We were here at the Dark Lord's invitation, for a demonstration of his power. He wishes clans to serve in his armies."
Harry pondered the answer for a moment. "Where do your clans stand on this?"
"They are not yet convinced of his dominion. Yet there is the delightful idea of seeing the streets of this country run red with blood."
With a wave of his wand, Harry cast an Incarcerous spell, binding Coedus in ropes. A second spell levitated the vampire into the air. He looked at Susan and saw the unreadable look on her face.
"Let's go back to the apparation point. The muggle authorities will be here any minute and I still have questions to ask this man."
Susan nodded numbly as she wondered if Harry was going dark. She had just witnessed him use two unforgivable curses and it sounded like he had used a third. Where was the boy that was sleeping in her lap only ten minutes ago? She climbed onto her broom and kept her wand trained on the trussed vampire. It was also pointed in the general direction of Harry Potter. They flew at a slow pace. It was a test of her loyalty. Part of her wanted to break away and fly away into the darkness, but looking at Harry's useless left arm and seeing his obvious pain helped firm her resolve. It took two minutes to get back to the apparation point. Harry floated his captive up against a rock, released his ropes and cast a sticking charm pinning him to the rock. He was certain the vampire could free himself, but it would cause him considerable pain. From the look on the vampire's face, he knew it as well.
"What is your name?" Harry asked.
"Why does a wizard care what a vampire is called?"
"Because it gets old calling you 'vampire' or saying 'hey you'."
"My name is Coedus of the Darkfang Clan. Who might you be?"
"Harry Potter and this is Susan Bones."
"So you are the child, who ended the Dark Lord's first reign."
"I intend to stop the second one, just the same." Harry said with a determined voice.
"So brash. So very certain of yourself. Reminds me of myself back when my flesh was warm."
"I was an auror once. One of the best and now I am simply Coedus."
"Were the others from your clan?"
"No, they each represented on of the other three major European clans. The female was a Czech. The one you killed was from the Ukraine and the other was from France. My adopted clan is based in Italy, but I was originally an Englishman."
"Coedus, I assume you are going to report your findings back to your clan. How do you think the other clans will react to the loss of their representatives?"
"They will be most displeased. Our safety was assured. The Dark Lord will lose some credibility with the clans. They may hold him to the original agreement, which promised our service after England falls. I cannot speak for certain. The French vampires are the most likely to align with him. Many of them are refugees from when we were driven from the British Isles. So, how is it that someone as young as you can successfully cast the Unforgiveables?"
"I seem to have a knack for being on their receiving end."
"Here I thought Wulf was letting his school slip."
"Albus Wulfric Percival Brian Dumbledore. He used to hate his full name. I called him Wulf."
"You know him?"
"A very long time ago, we were classmates. He even showed some pity after my transformation, when most turned their backs on me." Harry felt a pang of sympathy for Coedus. He knew all to well the pain of having people turn their backs on him.
"What is your last name?"
"Coedus is my vampire name. We have no last names. When I was among the living, my name was Darius Octavius Longbottom."
Harry and Susan looked at each other open mouthed. "Really! One of my classmates is Neville Longbottom. He just lost the rest of his family. He might want to know that you are still alive - well not really alive, around."
"The Longbottoms are gone? When? How?" Coedus felt a strange sensation. When his wife, parents, aunts and uncles turned on him, he spent many days hidden in a cave fantasizing about killing every last Longbottom. Now, they are all gone save one.
"Voldemort had them killed last week. Neville was the only one to escape. I am sorry you had to find out from me."
"You are a strange one Harry Potter. Minutes ago you were using an unforgivable curse on me and yet here you are apologizing to me for the death of the line that renounced me after my transformation."
"You are talking about people who are dead and gone. Neville Longbottom would never turn his back on family or friends. I am proud to call him my friend."
Coedus watched the wizard's anger flash across his face as he defended his friend. He felt strangely comforted that the Longbottom name still meant something. He suppressed these ancient feelings. Coedus would not feel anything for any magical people.
"I seriously doubt he would acknowledge a vampire as family."
"Then you don't know the first thing about him! His parents are still alive, but they may as well be dead. They are in the long term spell damage ward at St. Mungo's, for the last fifteen years. He visits them all the time. Too much exposure to the same curse I was using on you - more victims of Voldemort's followers. The same people you would be fighting for."
Those dormant emotions flared again. Coedus remembered what it was like to be Darius Longbottom. He remembered the pride in his family line. Stuck to that rock, he had an epiphany. No matter what name he called himself; he was still a Longbottom. The family motto - 'Family First, Family Last and Family Always' that he had mocked for all these years burned in his mind like the sun in the midday sky.
"Two nights." He said after a moment.
"What?" Harry asked.
"We are to meet the Death Eaters in two nights to tell them what our recommendations to our clans would be. It would be a good place for an ambush. Would it not?"
"Yes, I do believe it would a good spot for an ambush. Where is this meeting going to be held?"
Coedus told him the details of the rendezvous in two nights. They sat in silence and regarded each other. Susan finally found her voice.
"Harry, you used Unforgiveables! Why in Circe's name would you do that? It's criminal! They'll throw you in Azkaban!"
Harry turned to answer her, but Coedus responded instead. He rolled up his sleeve displaying the tattoo on his forearm DCV0016. "Actually, what he did is perfectly legal under British Wizarding Law. Vampires are vermin to be hunted and exterminated. Your laws do not even consider us sentient beings. Obviously, you knew that. Didn't you Harry?"
--- (Scene Break - Flashback to Fifth Year Defense Against the Dark Arts) ---
Harry's mind flashed back to his Defense Against the Dark Arts class last year. One of the few subjects that Dolores Umbridge was actually passionate about was werewolves and vampires. It often made Harry wonder what dirty secrets lurked in her past.
"The vampire is a wretched abomination. It can be identified by the fangs and pale complexion. Its diet consists of blood. Animal blood can suffice, but human blood is preferred. Mr. Weasley, what would you do if you encountered one?"
Everyone in the class, except 'The Toad' already knew Ron's answer. Even the Slytherins had a hard time not smirking. It was the same answer he had given since Quirrell asked him how to '"d-d-d-d-deal with a hinkypunk"'.
"I would cut its head off." Ron Weasley said not missing a beat. You could hear Hermione's exasperated sigh.
"Excellent answer Mr. Weasley! Decapitation is a proven method against such a foul monster." She did not know that this was his answer for everything. "They cannot abide direct sunlight for very long. It will not kill them as popularly believed, but it will severely weaken them. The stake through the heart will kill one pretty much as it will kill you or me. They are somewhat resistant to magic, so do not expect your spells to have the same affect on them."
She paused smiling wistfully at something before continuing. "Fortunately, your government has enacted several measures to protect you from such vile creatures. First, it is illegal to be an unregistered vampire in England. All vampires must register their presence with the ministry. They will receive a tattoo on their right forearm. It will start with the following three letters followed by four numbers. The letters are DCV, which stand for Dark Creature Vampire. A similar scheme is in place for werewolves replacing the V for a W. Furthermore, by the Dark Creatures Act of 1903 requires that they where a visible 'golden V' on their clothes at all times. Similar motions were made for Werewolves, but unfortunately, this measure failed because that particular brand of monster is only contagious a few days out of the month. These measures have been so successful that there as of today, there are only nine registered vampires in all of England."
"But what about unregistered vampires?" Dean Thomas asked.
Umbridge looked a bit perturbed, whether it was that Thomas asked a question or that a vampire would dare to defy the government. "The same Dark Creatures Act of 1903 grants the wizards and witches of Britain the right to exterminate these monsters using whatever means necessary."
"Even the unforgiveables?" Pansy Parkinson asked.
"Dear child, those curses shouldn't be used on human beings. Vampires, however, are no longer considered human beings. You would be doing the world a favor by destroying such a creature. It's more of a crime to use those curses on a simple farm animal, but you are correct the unforgiveables may be used on an unregistered vampire without any consequences. Well at least there would be no consequences for the witch or wizard. Now for homework, you will write two foot of parchment on the Dark Creatures Act of 1903 and its beneficial effects on society." Dolores Umbridge ignored the fact that this wasn't a History of Magic class. She also ignored the fact that she was speaking to fifteen-year-olds like they were five-year-olds as she wished that so many other creatures could be appended to that act.
--- (End Flashback) ---
"Yes. Last year's defense teacher made us practically memorize the Dark Creatures Act of 1903. She just wished she could add werewolves, centaurs, goblins, trolls and giants to the list. I guess she didn't go into that much detail for your class." Harry said watching the pieces fit together in Susan's mind. She relaxed slightly.
"But why use them Harry? Even if it is allowed?"
"I used the killing curse to save Bill's life. I'd do it again even if it hadn't been a vampire. The others I used, because I may have to use them again someday on him or his Death Eaters. Tonight is a big battle in what is going to be a long war. I am not going to beat him with cheering charms or tickling jinxes."
Susan sighed. Her earlier anger at Harry swiftly becoming a distant memory. "You are right, Harry. I know it; it's just that from the time I was first able to hold a wand it's been drilled into me that those curses are 'Unforgivable'. I watched that curse end both my Mum and Aunt's life. How can you not expect me to react poorly seeing you use them?"
"I understand Susan. We'll talk about this and other things later."
Susan nodded and tried to lighten the mood. "You mean to tell me you actually learned something from Umbitch."
"Wonders never cease." Harry answered. "Now. What would you like us to do with you Coedus? I can arrange a meeting with Dumbledore if you like. He'll do it just to get back in my good graces."
"You and he are not on very good terms, I take it?"
"At the moment, no. In fact he has much to answer for, the next time I see him, but knowing him he will grant you sanctuary. Susan's family home was damaged by Voldemort. I don't think anyone would look for you there and repairs are not supposed to happen for another week. I can make a portkey for you. Is that okay with you Susan?"
"I guess Harry. We can't exactly take him back with us. No one would look for him there. She picked up a rock. She then touched her wand to her family ring and then to the rock. The rock suddenly had the bones family crest carved into the surface of the rock. She tossed it to the vampire. "If anyone official comes by, you bear my crest and have my permission to be there."
"Thank you, miss. You're a bit young to be head of a family. I see you wear two family rings Harry. Are you really the head of two families?"
"Yes. Susan is the head of her family for the same reason Neville is alone in this world and I head both the Potter and Black families. Toss that to me and I will make it a portkey. As soon as I see Dumbledore, I will send what is left of him to you after I am done with him. Do not leave the property unless you fear for your life. If you have to run come back to this spot in three days time and we'll have someone to meet you. I will let Neville know of your existence. He's been my dorm mate for five years. I think he will be happy and will want to meet you. A house elf will stop by tomorrow evening to see if you require anything. The activation for the portkey is Bones Manor."
Harry cast the portkey charm and then cancelled out his sticking charm allowing Coedus to stand again. He tossed the portkey to him and watched Coedus disappear.
Harry stood up and looked at Susan. She seemed reluctant to meet his gaze. "Susan, do you know if you're Aunt or your Mum had a way of checking in with the portraits in your house?"
"Yes. Auntie had a painting in her office of Uncle Edgar. You want me to have the pictures spy on him?"
"The list of people I trust right now starts with you and doesn't have many other names on it. If I tip off the Order or the Ministry to this meeting in two days, I want to make sure that Riddle is getting doublecrossed, not us!"
"Oh." There was a minute of awkwardness between the two of them. Susan finally broke the silence. "How's your arm?"
"I think my collarbone is broken and my shoulder is dislocated. Once we get back to my house, I will floo Madame Pomfrey. Besides, it's been a long time since I have had to have bones mended. She probably misses me over the summer breaks."
"Harry, I want to apologize. I shouldn't be pushing you right now. The last thing you need right now is a pushy girl in your life right now. I'd be no different then Ginny. Please forgive me."
"It's okay. We're both going to mess up, quite a bit I'd guess. I suspect I will be the one doing the majority of the messing up. All I can ask is that you be patient with me. I just hope in a month you're not regretting this."
"I won't. I promise. Hey you know something? That was our first fight. We seem to be past it now and you know what that means?"
"No. My fight with Cho was the end of that relationship. What comes next?"
"Making up, Harry."
Emmeline Vance returned after another twenty minutes to find the two 'making up'. Susan had cast a pain reducing charm on his damaged shoulder and was very enthusiastic with her apologies. Emmeline smiled and cleared her throat rather loudly. The pair separated, both looking a bit embarrassed.
"They said he will have some nasty scarring, but he'll be fine. You did the right thing flushing the wounds. They are going to keep him overnight. We should get back to headquarters. You both look like you could use some rest."
"Harry's got a dislocated shoulder and a broken collarbone. We should get him looked at."
"Oh, I was going to use my portkey, but that might aggravate his injuries. Here Susan, take the portkey. I will apparate Harry there in a minute after I catch my breath."
Susan disappeared. Emmeline smiled at Harry. "Early in a relationship, nothing works like a good snogging session. Later, you will need a more sophisticated approach, but you're doing fine so far. Come on let's get you back and fixed up."
Author's notes - I will post the summary on DLP. For now, I ask why is it always Harry or Neville who gets to kill Bellatrix? Also, I thought it would be ironic for Harry to have actually learned something useful from Umbridge. --Jim