The Floo connection to St. Mungo's gets a lot of traffic from Ottery St. Catchpole. Neville and Luna don't panic, but do manage to put two and two together. The word gets out, decisions are made...
Don't panic! Yet
Two Death Eaters were holding Fleur, who was struggling wildly and another big Death Eater was bending over Molly Weasley, who lay on the brick terrace, cringing away from him, as he threw back his hood revealing his face.
"FENRIR!" Bill gasped and instantly Disapparated, only to reappear directly behind the werewolf, jumping onto his back and wrestling him to the ground. Molly screamed and rolled out of the way as the two men fought, knocking over the table and scattering the chairs.
Ron, Hermione and Ginny didn't hesitate, but took aim with their slingshots, pelting the two Death Eaters holding Fleur, so that they started yelping and looking around, not understanding what was hitting them or where their attackers were.
Fleur took advantage of their confusion and freed herself from their grasp, grabbed her wand and helped Molly to her feet. She tried to aim at the huge man attacking Bill but the two Death Eaters who had held her pulled their wands out, so she and Molly had to defend themselves.
"I'm going to help." Ron pulled his own wand and Disapparated.
"Ron!" Hermione yelped, and then looking toward the Burrow, saw Ron emerge from the kitchen, behind the Death Eaters who were dueling with Fleur and his mom.
Realizing they were caught in a crossfire, the Death Eaters glanced at each other and Disapparated. Looking around cautiously, Ron advanced, and then ran forward to where Fenrir and Bill were rolling on the ground. He shot a stunning spell that hit the werewolf, but it seemed to have little or no effect.
Fenrir looked over his shoulder at Ron, as Molly and Fleur also came toward him, wands out. He roared in rage, turned and viciously slashed Bill; once, twice, three times, with his long yellow fingernails, slicing Bill's face and neck, and then he bent and bit him on the neck. Bill yelled out in pain and with a mighty effort, shoved the werewolf away. Molly, Ron and Fleur shot multiple spells at Fenrir and finally blasted him off of Bill. Fenrir rolled over and Disapparated.
Molly and Fleur ran to Bill as Ron spun around, wand at the ready, keeping guard. Ginny and Hermione came tearing across the yard and joined him, their wands out.
"We have to get Bill to St. Mungo's!" Molly looked up, terror in her eyes.
"Bill! Bill!" Fleur was bent over him, her face close to his, trying to keep him conscious.
Hermione knelt on the other side of Bill and putting her hand on Fleur's shoulder, she shook her gently.
"Fleur! Help me! Let's get Bill onto a stretcher! We have to get him to St. Mungo's!"
Her voice seemed to get through to the distraught girl.
"Oui, oui, oh, mon ami, mon cheri." She clung to his hand as she stood. Hermione conjured Bill onto a stretcher.
"Should we Apparate?" Molly looked down at her wounded son. "I don't think I can concentrate properly."
"Use the Floo, Mum," Ginny suggested as she put her arm around her Mother's shoulder.
"Yes, yes, that's probably best."
Hermione maneuvered the stretcher through the door, into the kitchen and over to the fireplace. It just fit, with Molly on one side and Fleur on the other. Hermione then reached over and took the pot of Floo powder out of its holder at the side of the fireplace.
"Wait!" Ginny wet a clean tea towel and laid it over Bill's face and neck. "It'll keep the soot and cinders out of his wounds."
"You three follow us."
"Be careful, and come quickly!"
"Yes, we'll be right behind you, Mrs. Weasley," Hermione reassured her.
Molly and Fleur both took handfuls of Floo powder, grabbed hold of the stretcher and throwing down the powder, called out together, "St. Mungo's!"
Ron came in the kitchen door.
"I think they're gone."
"But for how long?" Ginny replied in a small voice.
"Let's not take any chances; we'll get our stuff and get out of here," Hermione suggested.
"Where should we go, to St. Mungo's or the Ministry to find Dad?" Ron wondered aloud.
Just then they heard a noise outside. Wands out, they spun to face the door.
"/What in the.../?" they heard Arthur Weasley exclaim. "/MOLLY/?"
Going to the door they saw him, wand out, surveying the wreckage of the picnic lunch and the blood splattered on the bricks.
Ginny ran to him and threw her arms around him.
"Ginny!" Looking up, he saw Ron and Hermione, wands out, standing in the door. "Ron, what happened?"
"Death Eaters attacked, Dad. Fleur and Mum have taken Bill to St Mungo's. Fenrir got Bill pretty good."
"/Fenrir/?" Arthur went pale and sat down heavily on a chair.
"Who /is /Fenrir?" Hermione asked.
Ginny opened her mouth and then closed it, tears in her eyes, shaking her head. Ron put his arm around Hermione's shoulder, but just pressed his lips together, scowling.
"Hermione," said Arthur, quietly, taking a deep breath and looking up at her, tears in his eyes, also. "Fenrir Greyback is a werewolf..."
Hermione clamped a hand over her mouth.
"He's a servant of ...Voldemort. It was Fenrir who bit Remus when he was a child."
"But he wasn't transformed. Will that still mean..."
"I don't know. We'd better get to St Mungo's and see what's happening."
"Mum expects us to follow her, but we're going to get our backpacks, like Anna told us, Dad."
"Fine. I'll wait here. Hurry, please." Arthur stood and gazed around, looking slightly lost.
The three teens turned and ran into the house, pounding up the stairs. They stopped on the landing, to catch their breath and decide what to take with them.
"Do you think we'll come back here tonight or anytime soon?" Ginny asked.
"We might be staying in London for a bit, depending on how badly Bill's hurt," Ron reasoned.
"Maybe we should take all of our school stuff, just in case; they might come and burn down the Burrow, like they did to Malfoy Manor," Hermione said, trying to think ahead. "Just to be safe, I mean."
"Ok, but let's make it fast." Ron turned and headed up the stairs to his room.
Ginny and Hermione threw clothes and books into their trunks, slammed the lids shut and Hermione shrank them down to the size of biscuit tins, which they shoved into their bags.
They sprinted to the top of the Burrow to Ron's room, just in time to see him slam his trunk closed. Hermione did the same spell and he watched as she threw his mini trunk into his backpack.
"Here, 'mione, do this, too." He grabbed and held up his broomstick, which he then dropped into a pencil box for safe keeping, stored in a side pocket. "Well done! Ok, let's get downstairs."
"Wait! I have to alert everyone."
Pulling out her coin, Hermione tapped it twice with her wand. Ron and Ginny immediately felt theirs vibrate and heard a tone. Pulling their coins out, they nodded.
"Works just as Anna planned." Ron looked up and smiled ruefully.
"Hope it won't panic anyone." Ginny tapped her coin and put it back in her pocket.
"We'd better try to get the word out as soon as we can." Hermione put her wand away and picked up her knapsack.
"Maybe we should go to Headquarters," Ginny suggested.
"After St Mungo's," said Ron, picking up his bag.
Clattering down the stairs, they found Mr. Weasley standing in the door, leaning on the jam, shoulders shaking.
"Oh, Dad." Ginny ran to him and put her arms around him. He hugged her tight, and then straightened up, wiped his eyes with his sleeve and turned to the others.
"All ready then?"
"Yes, Dad." "Yes, Mr. Weasley." "Ready, Dad."
"Good. Let's go, then"
Leading the way to the fireplace, he soon had them heading to St Mungo's.
"What was that noise?" Luna looked up from her lunch.
"Noise?" Neville popped another chip into his mouth. "What noise?"
"A hum...there it is again!"
"I don't...oh, wait, I hear.../Blimey/!"
Neville grabbed his backpack and unzipped a side pocket. His coin was glowing and the humming had progressed to buzzing. It stopped when he tapped it with his wand.
"Wonder what's happened?" Luna took another bite of her sandwich.
"Don't have a clue. Hey...where's your coin?"
"Home. I didn't bring my bag. I was just popping into Dad's office to drop off his lunch; didn't think I'd be more than a minute or two." Luna shrugged. "Sorry."
"Anna will skin you alive, Luna!" scolded Neville. "She said 'keep them with you at all times'."
"She also said 'don't panic', Neville. Since nobody is running through the Leaky Cauldron /screaming, I doubt seriously that /whatever is going on is happening here in /Diagon Alley/. Finish your lunch," she responded reasonably, taking a drink from her mug of cider.
"Ok," replied Neville, slightly taken aback. "But then we're going to your house, straightaway, and get your bag. We can go over to Ron and Ginny's, too, and see if they've heard anything; Ron's dad working at the Ministry and all."
Neville picked up the last bit of his sandwich and popped it into his mouth.
"Fine with me. Did you leave room for dessert?"
"Just kidding." She smiled and wiped her mouth with her napkin. "Let's go."
"Oh, right. Yes, let's go."
"What we need to do is calculate how many containers we need, in what size, for the right dosage and go from there," Gwen said, between mouthfuls of salad.
"I agree about not using glass. Vials and stoppers are alright, but noisy and undoing silencing and anti-leaking charms takes time," Anna added.
"Then what kind of containers should we use?" Narcissa asked.
"I was thinking of small plastic medicine bottles; they're lightweight, won't break or leak and can we can use either screw on lids or pop-tops," Gwen explained.
"Medical supplies company?" Anna arched her eyebrow in question.
"Yes; I've got a few favors I can call in with some company reps I know. /But/, I'll have to travel to York, or Leeds, depending on whom I can track down. It's a bit risky, but what other options are there?"
"I think it would be..." Anna halted in mid-sentence, than felt in her pocket, pulling out the alarm coin. It was humming and glowing.
"Oh, oh...something's happened."
"No, he's safe at Hogwarts, Cissa. This is a D.A. alarm. I better ask Christopher to check with Albus. See if he's heard anything."
Getting up from the table, Anna headed for the front hall, followed by Gwen and Cissa.
The portrait was empty, as she had expected. Whistling shrilly, she waited and a few moments later, barking was heard. Christopher's two labs, Beau and Chester, bounded into the frame, wagging their tails and shaking with doggy excitement.
"Hello, you two good old things. Where's Christopher? Can you fetch him for me? Good lads!"
The dogs barked and took off out of the frame at a run. Narcissa lowered herself onto one of the chairs and Gwen sat down on the bottom step of the staircase. Anna paced.
Draco and Harry were walking back from the Quidditch pitch after a couple of hours of flying around, practicing maneuvers and just generally goofing off while enjoying the weather. But rain clouds were streaming over the mountains and they were a bit late for lunch as it was, so they picked up their pace and made it to the entrance hall just as the first big drops started to fall.
Heading for the Great Hall, Harry suddenly stopped. Draco had taken a few steps before he realized Harry was standing still and turned around, perplexed.
"What is it?"
Harry was digging in his pants pocket. Pulling out a coin, he stared at it and then looked up at Draco.
"This isn't good."
"Why? What is that?"
"Alarm coin; something's happened. Come on."
"Hello, ladies. What can I do for you on this drizzly afternoon?" Christopher Jones smiled at them.
"My alarm coin went off, Christopher," Anna informed him. "Something has happened and I would like you to check with Albus, please, dear. Maybe he's gotten word or could try to find out what's going on."
"Right! I'll go straightaway." He turned and walked out of the frame.
Going into the Great Hall, Harry and Draco found Professor McGonagall and Madame Pomfrey seated at the table, relaxing, having just finished their lunches.
"You two are running a bit late today. Lost track of the time, I'm assuming?" She smiled at them.
"Yes, we did a bit," Draco answered her, and then looked at Harry.
"Professor, where's the Headmaster." He held out his coin and Minerva gasped. Poppy looked puzzled.
"In his study, Potter. Is that one of the alarm coins Anna told me about?"
"Yes." Turning, he headed for the door, followed by Draco. "I'll let you know what's happening as soon as I can."
She nodded and turned to explain all about the coins to Poppy.
Stepping out of the Floo Station at St. Mungo's, Mr. Weasley and the kids were surprised to find Remus Lupin waiting for them. They all headed down the hall towards the emergency ward.
"Remus! How?" Arthur asked.
"Anna's alert coins; she sent me one. I took a chance someone was being brought here and I was, unfortunately, correct. But, they won't let me in; I'm not a relative."
"Where is Bill?"
"In the emergency exam room; Molly and Fleur are there. Molly said the kids would be following her, so I waited. Oh! Here she comes now."
Mr. Weasley looked up and stopped, just in time to put out his arms as Molly threw herself into her husband's embrace and burst into tears.
"Molly." Arthur Weasley held his sobbing wife and allowed her to get it out all out before he fumbled for his handkerchief and bent to wipe her eyes. She gave him a weak smile.
"He saved my life, Arthur. Fenrir was going to kill me," she whispered.
"What happened? I haven't even had time to get the whole story."
He turned to look at Ron, who stood there with an arm around each of the girls.
"We were in the orchard, Dad, with Bill, showing him how we did our target practice, when we heard a scream," Ron started, after taking a deep breath.
"It was Fleur, Dad," continued Ginny. "Two Death Eaters were holding her and she was kicking and screaming and struggling."
"Mrs. Weasley was on the ground and this huge man was standing over her," Hermione added.
"Bill Apparated right behind him and jumped on him and they were rolling around on the ground fighting," Ron said, shaking his head. "Bill had recognized him, Dad; it was Fenrir."
"Hermione and I were firing off shots at the two Death Eaters holding Fleur and they let go of her," Ginny continued.
Molly took a breath and told her side of the story. "Fleur got me up off of the ground; I was frozen, watching Bill fighting him. Then we had to fight the two Death Eaters; we couldn't help Bill," she sobbed. Mr. Weasley tightened his arm around her shoulder, pulling her close.
Hermione jumped in. "Ron Apparated into the house and came out behind the two Death Eaters, so they Disapparated. Then Ron hit Fenrir with a spell, then Mrs. Weasley and Fleur and Ron all threw spells together and knocked him off of Bill and he Disapparated, too," she finished in a rush.
Ginny looked up at her Father, tears in her eyes. "We got Bill into the house and Mum and Fleur brought him to St. Mungo's, then you came home for lunch and ..." she trailed off.
"It all happened so fast, Arthur. Fleur and I were just finishing setting the table, standing there talking when they just appeared, grabbed Fleur and I was knocked to the ground. I rolled over and he was bending over me. He said..." Molly stopped and took a deep breath. "He said he'd come to finish off the last of the Prewetts. Would I put up a fight like my brothers? He hoped so, as he'd enjoy it more that way." She sobbed but then bravely continued.
"Then Bill was there, jumped on him and I scrambled to get out of the way. I found my wand and Fleur helped me up. The other two Death Eaters fled when Ron came out of the house and then Ron tried to stun Fenrir. He was attacking Bill," she gasped, "but it just made him madder and he bit Bill, then we did manage to knock him off of Bill and Fenrir Disapparated." Molly shivered and Arthur hugged her close.
"Are you three alright?" Remus asked the teenagers.
"Yeah, we're ok." "Fine, Professor." "I'm alright, but we need to get the word out to the D.A."
"Don't worry, we'll do that as soon as possible, but first I need to have a word with Artemus Pye."
"Why?" Arthur looked around at Remus, when he mentioned one of the Healers who had been in charge of his own care two years earlier, when he'd been attacked by Nagini in the Ministry of Magic.
"Artemus and Gwen have been working on a serum - potion - to get my lycanthropy totally under control - no transformations - but they also think, if given quickly enough after an attack, it could stop the victim from becoming infected; they wouldn't become a werewolf."
"Remus, that's wonderful news!" Arthur clapped a hand on Remus' shoulder and gave it a squeeze.
"Do you think it would be beneficial to Bill?" Molly asked in a small, hopeful voice.
"That's what I want to speak to Artemus about; probably wouldn't hurt, could help keep him from being infected. I'll come find you two, after I locate him and we'll discuss it with Bill's Healer, too."
"Thank you, Remus." Molly gave him a hug and kiss and Arthur shook his hand.
Remus turned to the kids.
"You three stay here, this shouldn't take long and when everything is sorted out we'll go to Headquarters or Anna's house and get the word out to the D.A. Ok?"
"Right." "Yes, ok." "Thanks, Professor."
Lupin smiled at them and started off down the hall in search of Artemus Pye.
"Mom, can we see Bill?" Ginny asked tentatively.
"Molly? Are they allowed in?" Arthur turned to look at his wife.
"I think, Arthur, you should come in first. You three will have to wait; they only allow two or three people in the emergency room. When or if he's moved elsewhere, we'll see. Why don't you just sit and wait while we find out what's going to happen next."
"Ah, man, I HATE waiting." Ron stomped over and threw himself down on a nearby sofa, looking sullen.
"Ok, Mum, we'll wait to hear from you, as patiently as we can." Ginny shot her brother a look.
"Yes, we'll just have to, won't we, like it or not," Hermione added, sitting down next to Ron and poking him in the leg.
"Fine. Come, Arthur, let's see what's going on." Molly turned and started down the hallway toward the emergency ward.
"Right, dear, be with you in a minute." Turning, he faced the three teenagers. "I know Molly will thank you three, later, when she calms down a bit, but," he said quietly, putting an arm around Ginny. "I'll say my thanks right now, for your bravery and for not panicking and for saving your Mother's life, Ron, and that of your brother's," he added, looking directly at his youngest son, then at Hermione and then at his daughter.
"That's alright, Dad. I just did it. I don't honestly remember thinking about it; I just reacted. She said we'd know what to do when something happened and she was spot on, our Anna," Ron told him.
"And I don't think the Death Eaters ever saw me or Hermione, Dad. They only saw Ron," Ginny added.
"Well, that means they don't know about your 'secret weapons" then, doesn't it?" Arthur smiled.
"Hey, I guess they don't," Ron agreed. "I came out of the house with my wand out."
"'So, we're still one up on them." Hermione smiled.
"Good, we might need that advantage, later." Arthur gave Ginny's shoulder a squeeze and then left to go to the emergency ward to check on his eldest son.
Ring, ring! Ring, ring!
"Hey, Dean. What's up?"
"Our coins went off. Didn't you notice?"
"Sorry, mate, I've been out mowing the yard. Mine's in my bedroom. Hold on."
After a minute Seamus came back on the line.
"Don't know yet, but I expect Hermione will ring any minute and let us know. She's in charge of the phone tree, so..." Dean shrugged.
"Well, if she's trying to ring you and you're yakking with me, how's she going to get through with the message, mate?" Seamus laughed.
"Oh, yeah, well, she'll keep trying; stubborn, our Hermione. Anyway, we still on for tomorrow?"
"Yeah, sure, why not? Even if something is happening, we'll be on the road and that much harder to find, right?" Seamus reasoned.
"Right. I'll see you tomorrow at the Blue Plate Special at 1 PM. If I hear anything before that, I'll call you, though, just to pass it on."
"Ok, mate, works for me," said Seamus. "See you tomorrow."
Just after Mr. Weasley walked away, Tonks came skidding around a corner and ran up to them.
"What's happened?" she gasped, trying to catch her breath.
"Death Eater attack at the Burrow; Bill was bitten by Fenrir," Ginny spoke up, going to the pretty young Auror and getting a hug. "How did you know?"
Tonks pulled out her coin and they all grinned and nodded, then Tonks' smile faded and she asked the inevitable question.
"But Fenrir wasn't transformed, was he?"
"Transformed? No. Vicious? Yes," Hermione answered.
"How badly was he hurt, then?"
"We're waiting to hear," Ginny told her. "We can't all go in, too many people, so we're stuck out here."
"Yeah, tell us about it," Ron groused, earning him another poke, "Ow!" from Hermione, who then stood up.
"Tonks, could you take me to Anna's. I have to make some phone calls to pass on to the D.A. what's happening. Start spreading the word so they won't get too worried."
"I suppose. Is Remus there?"
"No," said Ginny, pointing down the hall. "Here he comes with Healer Pye."
The two Wizards were talking fast and walking faster, as they approached the group.
"Oh, good, you're here, Tonks!" Remus stopped. "You go ahead, Artemus, I'll catch up."
Healer Pye nodded and continued toward the emergency ward.
"Tonks, I'm going in with Artemus and talk with Bill's Healer. And Molly and Arthur, too."
"And Fleur, don't forget," Hermione added. "You'll have to go through her to get to Bill."
Remus looked at her and smiled. "Right; point taken." Turning back to Tonks, he continued, "Can you stay with this lot?"
"Thanks." Giving her a kiss on the cheek.
"But, we were thinking of popping out for a bit to send out messages to the D.A., if that's ok?"
"Fine, then come back here. We should have word on Bill's condition soon." Remus turned and hurried off.
"Ron, do you want to come with us?" Hermione asked, thinking to get Ron's mind off of Bill for a while. "Ginny?"
"No." They both answered.
"Thanks, anyway." Ginny gave Hermione a hug.
"Rather stay here, if it's all the same, 'mione." Ron gave her a weak smile.
"I'll...we'll be as fast as we can, then, ok?"
"Right." Ron slumped down further into the sofa.
"Don't rush; we'll still be here, I get the feeling," Ginny replied, sitting down next to her brother.
Nodding, Hermione and Tonks headed toward the main lobby.
Less than ten minutes after leaving the /Leaky Cauldron/, Neville and Luna were walking up the lane that led to the Burrow, having stopped at Luna's house to get her backpack. Neville slowed his pace, brows furrowed.
"Something's wrong." He pulled out his wand. "It's too quiet."
"Maybe they're inside."
"On a hot day like today?" He shook his head. "I've got a bad feeling about this."
Advancing slowly, they circled the house, heading for the kitchen door, wands out, alert for any sound or movement. When they rounded the corner and saw the scattered chairs, upturned table with the spilled food, plates and cutlery, and the rapidly drying splatters and blotches of blood, they stopped dead in their tracks.
They looked at each other, eyes wide. Pointing, Neville started toward the open door, Luna following, turning around, and keeping watch over the yard and edge of the orchard.
"/Hello/?" Neville called out. Total silence, except for the ticking of a clock.
"Where could they be?" Luna joined him in the door. "This is really bad, Neville."
"I know, but they're at St. Mungo's, I'll wager. With all of that blood, it looks as if someone was seriously hurt. Wait here, I have to check something."
He went up the stairs and looked in Ginny's bedroom and then Ron's. He heard Luna calling to him, so he pounded down the stairs.
"Neville!" Luna called again.
"Yes!" He jumped down the last few steps. "What?"
"Come here and look at what I found." Luna pointed...to the Weasley family clock. Charlie, Percy, Fred and George were 'at Work', and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Ron and Ginny were at 'St. Mungo's', but Bill's clock hand pointed to 'Mortally Wounded'.
"I knew it! But...Bill?" Neville shook his head. "At least they have him at St. Mungo's."
"What were you looking for upstairs?"
"Their stuff; all of Ginny, Hermione and Ron's things: all their clothes, school books and other things are gone...trunks, too. Something really serious happened, not just Bill being hurt somehow. And we're going to find out what the bloody hell's going on!"
Grabbing Luna's hand, Neville pulled her over to the fireplace and grabbed a big handful of Floo powder. He put his arm around Luna's waist and she reached around Neville with her arms and held on tight as he threw down the powder.
Harry and Draco stopped at the door to Dumbledore's office; they could hear voices. Harry knocked.
"Come in, Harry."
Pushing open the door, Harry and Draco came in to find the Headmaster seated at his desk, with Severus Snape standing next to the portrait of Christopher Jones, who turned toward the two boys and waved.
"Thought you two would be here before too long," Christopher greeted them.
"Hello, Christopher," they said at the same time, then looked at each other and shook their heads.
"So, what's happened?" Harry got right to the point.
"Ah, well, we are trying to find out, ourselves," Professor Dumbledore answered. "I'm having Dilys Derwent check at St. Mungo's for me, in case there were injuries. We should know in a few minutes."
"This seems oddly familiar," Harry muttered.
Dumbledore smiled at him.
"Why are you here, Christopher?" Draco asked, walking over toward the portrait. "Right place at the right time or is Anna trying to get information, too."
"Very astute, Draco, and yes, Anna is making inquiries, also. She and Gwen are waiting to hear back from me as soon as I get word."
Neville and Luna spotted Ginny and Ron seated in the emergency ward waiting area. Ginny jumped up and ran into Luna's outstretched arms. Ron stood and Neville walked up and gave him a hug.
"What's happened?" "How did you know to come here?" "How's Bill?" "Why are you in London?"
Everyone was talking at once. Ron held up his hands and they all stopped.
"Ok. First, Death Eaters attacked at our house. It was Fenrir Greyback and two others," Ron explained. "Bill fought with Fenrir and was hurt pretty badly."
"He wasn't...infected, was he?" Luna whispered.
Ron shook his head and then shrugged. "No, well we don't think so, but we're not sure yet; it isn't the full moon until next week."
"How did you find out? Hermione just left to send word to everyone," Ginny asked.
"I was in /Diagon Alley/, shopping," Neville replied. "Luna saw me and we were sitting in the /Leaky Cauldron /having some lunch. My coin went off, but Luna didn't have hers with her."
"I'd just popped into Dad's office for a minute, so I didn't bring it." Luna scratched her ear, looking slightly apologetic.
"So, anyway, we thought we'd go to her house and get her bag and then walk over to the Burrow to see if you lot had knew what was going on."
"Too right, we knew." Ron shook his head.
"We noticed. Scared us; it was too quiet at your place," Luna added. "The mess and blood on your patio just wasn't a good sign, either, come to that."
"I checked your bedrooms," Neville continued. "Saw your stuff was gone, then Luna noticed your family clock, which told us you were here, so..."
"Good deducting, that." Ginny gave Neville's arm a squeeze.
"So," Neville asked, "how is Bill?"
"We've not been told yet," Ginny jumped in, seeing the scowl on Ron's face. "Someone's bound to come out and tell us any time, now."
"Where's Hermione, did you say?" Luna questioned, looking at Ron.
"Gone with Tonks to send word to the D.A. as to what's happened. Don't want to panic anyone."
"Too late there, mate, we did all the panicking at the Burrow when we saw what was left of, I assume, your lunch."
"Oh, right...which reminds me, I'm hungry."
"How about if Luna and I go up to the tearoom and get you something to eat and bring it down. That way, if anybody comes out to talk to you, you won't miss them," Neville suggested.
"Great. Thanks, Neville." Ron smiled at his friend and then started digging in his pockets.
"No, Ron, it's on me." Neville reached out and put his hand on Ron's arm.
"You sure? I got a bit of money on me."
"Won't hear of it; save it to buy flowers for Bill's bedside table." Neville grinned as he took Luna's hand and they headed for the stairs
"Did you two get any lunch?" the Headmaster asked. "I believe you were absent in the Great Hall?"
"We got caught up with our Quidditch practice; lost track of time," Harry admitted.
"Would you like some sandwiches, perhaps?"
"Not right now, for me, thanks. Draco?" Harry looked over at the other boy.
"We can go down to the kitchen later, Professor, thanks all the same," Draco added.
Dilys Derwent re-entered her portrait and sat down to catch her breath.
"What news, Dilys?"
"It was Bill Weasley that was injured." She puffed and fanned herself. "I caught Miss Granger and Nymphadora Tonks hurrying through the lobby and they told me that two Death Eaters and Fenrir Greyback had attacked Molly Weasley and Fleur Delacour, but that Bill battled with the werewolf and she, that is Miss Granger, along with Ronald Weasley and Ginevra Weasley surprised the other two, so they let go of Miss Delacour, and that young Mister Weasley scared those two Death Eaters into Disapparating by coming up behind them. Then the three of them; Molly, Ronald and Miss Delacour, I mean, blasted the werewolf off of Bill Weasley, but, unfortunately, not before he was severely wounded and, I'm sorry to have to say, bitten by that horrible creature."
Stunned silence greeted that rapid, condensed but succinct version of the battle at the Burrow.
"Thank you, Dilys," said the Headmaster. Turning to Christopher, he raised an eyebrow. "Do you think that will be enough to tell Anna right now?"
"I'll give her Dilys' version, but you know she'll want details. I'll assure her that we'll keep her updated." Christopher nodded and started to leave his portrait frame. "At least we know who and where and that everyone is safe, if not sound. I'm sure Remus will check in with you also, Albus. I'll be back." He waved and walked out of the frame.
Draco looked over at Harry, shaking his head.
"Looks like all that training you lot in the D.A. worked so hard on paid off, huh, Potter."
"It does, doesn't it?" Harry nodded. "Fenrir... isn't he..?"
"Yes, the werewolf who attacked Lupin, when he was a child," Severus spoke for the first time. "He's one of Voldemort's favorite weapons, beside your dear Aunt Bella, that is, Mr. Malfoy."
"I just bet," said Draco, nodding agreement. "A lovely pair of lunatics to unleash, when he's in a 'mood', huh."
"Lunatic being the operative word, there, Draco." Harry smiled and then turned to the Headmaster. "Do you think Bill will...?"
"I'm not sure, Harry, but maybe that new serum that Gwen and Remus told me about is ready to be tested."
"What serum?" Draco looked from one to the other.
"It seems that Dr. Gwen Jones has found a 'virus', I believe it's called, in Lupin's blood, that may be the cause of his transformations. She believes she can formulate a serum - Muggle potion- that would stop someone from being infected when bitten, so that they would not become a werewolf. It's might also be used by those already infected; preventing transformation at the full moon. In other words, have their condition under control," Severus explained.
"Merlin's beard! Really? That's fantastic! Who would have thought a Muggle would come up with that?"
"Watch it, Draco! That's a good friend of mine you're talking about." Harry punched Draco in the arm, grinning. "I'll tell Remus on you! She's his girlfriend and he'd not take kindly to that kind of slander."
"Oops. Sorry, no offense meant." Draco rubbed his arm. "Ow, that smarts."
"Consider yourself lucky, Mister Malfoy. Although, I believe Gwen Jones is perfectly capable of taking care of herself, Potter. She can handle Anastasia, so that should be proof enough," Severus ventured.
"Indeed," laughed Albus. "Well, until we hear more definitive news, I suggest you two go get some lunch and try not to worry. Miss Granger is sure to send word before too long, don't you think?"
"Undoubtedly," Harry agreed, nodding.
"Right," replied Draco.
"Off you go, then." Dumbledore shooed them to the door, with a flick of his hand. "I'll let you know if I receive any news."
The boys nodded and headed down the spiral stairs.
Severus turned to Dumbledore, his eyebrows knit together.
"The attacks are getting rather specific, aren't they?"
"Yes, I think we'd better be ready for others, but I doubt he'll do anything more until after school starts. I believe he wants as many targets as possible in one place; at Hogwarts. He might also be gauging our reactions and responses, to see how we're communicating with one another, and how quickly. Good strategy on Tom's part, so let's not make too much of a fuss, as hard as it is to hold back when those in the Order are attacked. I'll let Anna know what's happening as I hear, and we can discuss our responses."
Severus nodded his agreement and understanding. Then he took a deep breathe.
"I'll probably be summoned soon."
"It's getting very dangerous, Severus. I don't think he trusts you much anymore, so be very careful and get out if it looks as if you're in real danger. I'd rather have you here, wounded, than there, dead."
Severus turned and left.
Christopher walked back into his frame.
"He's in that much danger, Albus?
"I'm afraid so, Christopher. As good as he is at hiding his true thoughts, he might just fall victim to one of Tom's rages and could suffer, greatly. I'm more than a little concerned...." Albus heaved a sigh. "However, Severus has made it clear he will go to him when called, if it helps our side in any way."
"Does Anna realize how much danger he's truly in?"
"Yes, she's well aware. But I think their love is sustaining them both, at this point. That and concentrating on everything and everybody else involved; thinking of everyone else's safety, but not, necessarily, their own."
"Indeed. Well, the ladies are all awaiting news and send their love and well wishes to the Weasleys."
"I'll pass that along, Christopher."