Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Moments in Love

Wicked Ways

by Gandalfs_Beard 0 reviews

Determined to seek his revenge and escape the castle, Draco takes his cruelty to the next level... Trigger Warning (non-explicit)

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Angst,Drama - Characters: Harry,Hermione - Warnings: [V] [R] - Published: 2017-10-01 - Updated: 2017-10-01 - 6327 words

The chamber was shrouded in darkness, except for the glaring light which was focused on the centre of the room. The two warlocks seated in the shadows - their faces expressionless - intently regarded the individual shackled to the stone chair directly under the beam of light. The Minister nodded at the Unspeakable assisting her in the interrogation.

Augustus Rookwood implicitly understood the unspoken order. He raised his wand and the red arc of the Cruciatus Curse struck the prisoner.

The prisoner’s screams echoed in the chamber and throughout the halls of the secret detention wing of the Department of Mysteries. As the scruffy hooligan clad in black leather and jeans writhed in agony, the Minister raised her hand and Rookwood let up, bringing the torture spell to an end.

“I’m tellin’ ya... I dunno nuffin’...” sobbed the illegally held detainee - one of Voldemort’s recruits known as Snatchers. “‘E never gives us any details!”

“The location...” The Minister’s voice was steely and deceptively calm, nothing at all like the tone she used in public settings. “Where is Voldemort hiding?”

“‘Ow the ‘ell should I know? I ain’t the Secret Keeper!” the Snatcher replied. “All I know is that ‘e’s got some bloke the name o’ Wormtail in charge, an’ a muggle bint locked up in the basement.”

Lucius Malfoy and Cassius Nott glanced at each other, eyes wide with surprise at the Snatcher’s stunning assertion.

Wormtail? ... Wormtail is the Dark Lord’s Second?” Lucius’s tone was skeptical. “Are you certain of this?”

“You heard him...” Minister Umbridge said commandingly when the confused Snatcher didn’t respond right away. “Answer the question!”

The Snatcher warily eyed the deadly looking blade - already stained with blood - in the Minister’s hand. He swallowed anxiously.

“It’s true... I swear it’s true! ‘Is name is Wormtail - an’ ‘e’s the one ‘oo carries out the Dark Lord’s orders... ‘e’s the one ‘oo tells us wot to do.”

“Who else is in Voldemort’s employ?” asked the Minister.

“I swear... I dunno! Please...” the Snatcher begged.

“Someone must have recruited you - give me a name!” The Minister’s icy tone froze the Snatcher’s blood, which was already dripping from several gashes on each of his arms. “I can use this knife again... or the Cruciatus Curse if you prefer...”

“Avery...” the Snatcher gasped. “The bloke ‘oo recruited me... ‘is name is Avery.”

“We already know about Avery,” the Minister said coldly. “I need more... give me some more names.”

“I never met anyone else besides Avery an’ Wormtail - you ‘ave to believe me!” The Snatcher trembled with fear as the Minister’s blade neared his forearm once more. “Alright - please... I ‘eard Wormtail an’ the Dark Lord mention a couple o’ blokes called Crabbe and Goyle... But that’s it - I dunno anyone else besides some o’ the other Snatchers.”

Minister Umbridge glanced at the two warlocks in the shadows. They both nodded.

“Again, that only confirms what we already know,” said the Minister, her eyes narrowing. “If that’s the best you can do... Tell me about MacNair - what’s his role in Voldemort’s organisation?”

“I swear I dunno... They never mentioned ‘im in fron’ of me!”

The Minister raised the knife again warningly.

“I swear... I swear... I dunno ‘oo MacNair is!” the Snatcher screamed. “Ya gotta believe me!”

Minister Umbridge hesitated, considering her options. She could continue the interrogation of course, but it was clear that the hooligan had little knowledge of Voldemort’s inner-circle or his plans. And torturing him just for the pleasure of it seemed a waste of time better spent. But there was a chance he might prove useful at some point.

“Very well! ... That’s enough for now. Consider yourself lucky,” said the Minister. “Rookwood, take this miscreant back to his cell and have someone see to his wounds.”

A cruel smirk curled the corners of Rookwood’s lips as he unshackled the prisoner and dragged him out of the Chamber. Rookwood was disappointed that the session hadn’t lasted as long as he would have liked, but he supposed he would get another crack at the Snatcher eventually.


Cassius Nott settled in the plush green armchair in front of the fire, more than pleased to rest his backside in the warmth, aching as he was after sitting on a cold metal bench for an hour. He glanced around Lucius Malfoy’s parlour, admiring the decor as he always did. Cassius’s manor wasn’t nearly as opulent as Lucius’s.

“Brandy?” asked Lucius dryly. “I’m sure you could use a stiff one after this evening’s entertainment.”

“Firewhiskey!” Cassius chuckled. “Quit joking around... You know what I like!”

Lucius smiled; he did know. Cassius was a hard drinker, and preferred something with a real punch.

“Of course!” said Lucius as he opened a bottle of Ogden’s Finest. “How about a double?”

“Yeah! Sounds about right,” Cassius replied. “So, what’s new with you?” he asked after downing the double shot in one swallow as Lucius poured him another. “Where’s the Missus?”

A scowl replaced the sardonic smile on Lucius’s features.

“Gone!” he muttered. “My treacherous bitch of a wife is gone. And apparently she’s not returning. I received a notice this morning that she is filing for divorce.”

“You’re joking!” gasped Cassius. “How can she do that? I thought you had a contract.”

“I did,” snarled Lucius. “However, the goblin solicitors she retained went over the contract with a fine toothcomb, and discovered a hidden clause buried in the fine print that could see her with half of my estate!

“Apparently my father wasn’t as careful as he should have been, and Cygnus Black was a crafty old bastard, always looking for an angle to increase the Black fortune. And the modern laws banning contract marriages are not retroactive... Which unfortunately works against my interests in this case, as the old contracts established prior to the ban are still enforced.”

“That’s a bloody shame!” Cassius commiserated.

“Indeed it is,” hissed a high, cold voice coming from the shadows. “...such a shame!”

Startled, both warlocks spun around, wands at the ready, to see a figure emerging from the darkness in the entrance of the parlour.

Lucius and Cassius both paled when they beheld the familiar features of someone from their past - someone best left there. The Dark Lord stood before them, shaking his head, bearing a look of disappointment upon his serpent-like countenance.

“How did you get in?” asked Lucius, trying to keep his tone even and nonchalant.

“Lucius, my slippery friend...” The Dark Lord’s sarcastic tone promised that the evening would not end well. “Surely you did not believe that your wards would be strong enough to keep me out of your quaint little home. They were child's-play for one such as myself... I, who have pushed the boundaries of magic beyond the limit of ordinary mortals such as yourselves.”

Lucius smiled wryly as his eyes narrowed, a twitch in his jaw the only sign of his consternation. Fortunately he had prepared for an eventuality such as this. Lucius glanced at Cassius, inwardly sighing; there was only an out for one, and if it came down to him or Cassius, his friend was expendable. Voldemort caught the look, and turned his attention to Cassius Nott.

“Ah yes! Nott, fancy finding you here...” The Dark Lord smiled dangerously, red eyes flashing, then returned to Lucius. “What a cozy little meeting. Such a gracious host, Lucius... are you not going to offer your Master a libation?”

Lucius peered at Voldemort, returning the sinister smile and lifting his chin as he set his resolve.

“I have no Master!” Lucius asserted.

“Yes,” the Dark Lord hissed, “...quite true! Now you are beholden to the Dark Witch. But your Mistress cannot save you from my wrath! You know what happens to those who betray me!”

Lucius was ready. As the Dark Lord slashed his wand, Lucius had already broken the seal on the emergency portkey in the pocket of his robes. Voldemort roared in fury as Lucius Malfoy vanished. Nott took his chance while Voldemort was distracted and shot a green bolt of lightning at him.

But the Dark Lord was not to be taken so easily; he slipped out of the path of the Killing Curse and was upon Nott in an instant. Voldemort set the parlour ablaze with a Fiendfyre Curse, and disapparated with Nott in his clutches.

Lucius reappeared just outside the border of his estate, just in time to see it go up in flames. He cursed when the pain in his arm caught his attention. Lucius was bleeding profusely from a deep gash that Voldemort had opened across his forearm, and he realised that he had dropped his wand in the parlour when the Dark Lord’s spell had grazed him.

Lucius cursed again when he peered at his wound, and knew that he was in no condition to apparate. His emergency portkey only had one charge, and he was without a broom. The only means of travel available to him were his feet.


Harry and Hermione strolled happily through the village of Hogsmeade, enjoying the unseasonably warm sunshine. They spotted Neville and Hannah Abbot conversing cheerily in Madam Puddifoot’s, then a short while later they came across Dean and Susan Bones in Honeydukes. Harry looked puzzled.

“What’s up with that Hermione? I thought Dean and Ginny were an item... and shouldn’t Neville be with Luna? They went to the Yule Ball together.”

Hermione giggled. “I don’t think Dean and Neville were actually Ginny’s and Luna’s boyfriends, Harry, though I think Dean and Neville both hoped they might be eventually... As it turns out, Hannah Abbot has always liked Neville - they’re always paired up in Herbology. And I saw Dean chatting up Susan Bones the other day.”

“Okay...” Harry thought about it for a moment. There still seemed to be something missing. “Yeah... but what about Luna and Ginny? How do they feel about it?”

“I’m not sure really,” Hermione shrugged. “I know they’ve been hanging out together an awful lot lately. Maybe that’s why Neville and Dean moved on.”

Sure enough, when Harry and Hermione entered the Three Broomsticks, they spied Luna and Ginny in one of the darker corners of the pub, sitting next to each other closely. They appeared to be whispering to one another in the shadows, but as Harry smiled and waved to them, catching their attention, Ginny and Luna pulled apart quickly, blushing and giggling.

Hermione grinned, finally catching on, but Harry still looked a bit bewildered. Dora, who had taken her usual seat at the bar, peered at the two third year girls and smirked a bit. Harry was still pondering the significance of the blushes on Luna’s and Ginny’s faces when one of the people he had invited to the Three Broomsticks entered the pub.

“Hi Harry, Hermione,” said Cedric as he pulled back a chair and took a seat. “So what’s this all about then?”

“Er... hang on for a bit Cedric,” Harry replied. “We’re waiting for Fleur and Viktor too, and maybe a couple of others... oh, there they are now.”

Fleur glanced at the bar as she sauntered in, shooting Dora a winning smile. Dora turned a bit pink, eyes widening, a soppy grin on her face. Right behind Fleur were Viktor and Lavender, followed by Parvati and Daphne.

Recovering from her flustered moment, Dora glanced around the pub, satisfied that there were currently no other patrons. She beckoned Rosmerta and murmured something in her ear. Rosmerta nodded and exited from behind the bar, closing and locking the front door; she hung up a sign indicating that the Three Broomsticks was closed for a private party.

Hermione waved Luna and Ginny over to join them as several tables were pulled together and Rosmerta brought over butterbeers for everyone. Cedric was a bit perplexed, wishing now that he had brought Cho along. There was a round of hellos and greetings as everyone took seats and settled in.

“Erm...” Harry began, glancing around the tables, then peering anxiously at Hermione.

“It’s alright Harry,” said Hermione. “Just take your time.”

“Er... alright!” Harry tried to start again.

“Well, mostly I thought that we - er... the Champions that is - should have a chat about the Third Task. But we’re all friends, and I... erm... Hermione and I -we reckoned the rest of you might as well join us too.

“As some of you already know by now, it seems that the Minister is probably going to make the Third Task almost impossible to beat. So... er... I thought perhaps we should all work together on this. I really don’t give a hang who wins, I just don’t want anyone to get killed just because the Minister’s out to get me. One of you can take the prize, I really don’t care...”

Cedric’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. “Are you serious Harry?”

“Dead serious,” Harry said grimly. “Look, we need to make a plan, and I thought we should practice working together - as a team - so we can all survive... We’ve got almost two and a half months to work on it... Dumbledore’s already talked to Madam Maxime and Karkaroff about it, and they’re both alright with it.”

Hermione glanced at Dora who nodded, and carried on where Harry left off, peering meaningfully at Ginny, Luna, Parvati, and Lavender.

“...And seeing as Daphne is already training with us anyway,” she said, “we figured the rest of you ought to as well. You’re are best friends, and Dora’s already okay’d it with Professor Moody and Dumbledore.”

“And that brings us to the other thing we thought you should all know,” said Harry. “Voldemort’s back...” Harry waited for all of the shocked expressions and gasps to abate before he continued. “...and that’s why I wanted you all to train with us...”

“What about the Twins and Ron?” asked Ginny, frowning slightly.

“And Neville and Dean,” Luna added. “Shouldn’t we tell everyone?”

“Well, that’s just it,” Hermione answered, “given who’s in charge at the Ministry, Dumbledore thinks that the Minister will just deny it and try to say that we’re making it all up to stir up trouble. Anyway, your Mum and Dad already know, Ginny...”

“...And so does your father, Luna,” Harry interjected. “They’re all part of the... er... well, they’re all in on it together with some of the professors too...”

“Anyway,” Hermione continued, “we can’t have too many of us training to fight at the moment, in case the school board gets wind of it...”

“...and sooner or later Voldemort’s going to show his hand anyway,” said Harry. “The Minister won’t be able to keep it under wraps then...”

“And that’s when we’ll be able to let everyone in on it! Dumbledore should be able to convince the school board then that all the students should learn how to defend themselves properly,” Hermione concluded.

“So how about it?” Harry peered at everyone hopefully. “You all up for it?”

“Of course we are!” Parvati said quickly, grinning. “Right Lavender?”

Lavender looked a bit anxious at the thought of fighting, but she nodded. Viktor gave her a comforting squeeze.

“Do not vorry, Lavender,” he said. “I vill help you. I am vell trained in ze fighting spells.”

Ginny and Luna both said “Yes please!” in unison, looking excited.


Something was very wrong!

Pansy Parkinson had thought that she would be happy when Daphne Greengrass left Slytherin, but Draco continued to pull away from her. He seemed more distant than ever. And Pansy had to admit, it seemed very suspicious that Draco and his friends had been confined to Slytherin House the very same day that Daphne had vacated the fourth year girls dormitory.

As much as Pansy was jealous that Daphne had caught Draco’s nearly obsessive attentions, Pansy couldn’t honestly say that she disliked Daphne. It hadn’t been her fault after all. Daphne had done her utmost to put Draco off; she had refused his offer to take her to the Yule Ball for Pansy’s sake. And it was obvious that Daphne had taken a serious dislike to Draco after the incident with the Unicorns.

Pansy woke up suddenly, wondering why Millicent’s bed was empty. Curious, Pansy crept out of the dormitory as quietly as a dormouse. Her eyes widened when she spotted Millicent leading Astoria from the Second Year dorm to the common room. Silently, Pansy followed, taking care not to be seen.

Pansy clasped her hand to her mouth to stifle a gasp when she spied Draco and Theo waiting for Millicent and Astoria in the common room. She heard Draco mutter something which sounded suspiciously like “imperio.” Then Draco, Nott, and Astoria disappeared under a silvery slip of fabric, vanishing altogether, and the door to Slytherin House opened and shut seemingly of its own accord.

She held her breath, heart pumping, and flattened herself against the wall in the shadows when Millicent passed by, apparently returning to the fourth year dorm. Millicent had a strangely glassy look in her eyes and Pansy suddenly realised what had happened. Pansy’s breath quickened in dismay as she wondered what she ought to do.

Reaching a decision, steeling herself, Pansy cautiously made her way to the common room and opened the door. She crept through the castle, keeping a careful watch for Filch and any of the Aurors securing the Triwizard Tournament. Finally she arrived at the corridor where she knew that Daphne now resided. Pansy was almost certain that Daphne’s room was to the right of the door at the end of the corridor.

Pansy knocked quietly. When nobody answered, she knocked a bit louder. Finally the door creaked open and Daphne stood there, her bleary eyes widening when she saw who it was.

“Pansy... What are you doing here? It’s late and I’m tired...”

“Sssh,” Pansy hissed, furtively looking around. “It’s Astoria...” she whispered. “I think Draco’s taking her somewhere. I saw her with Draco and Nott in the common room, and I think Draco imperiused her...”

Daphne gasped in horror - her heart leapt in her throat. Grasping Pansy’s hand, Daphne scurried to the Potters' door and began knocking loudly.

“What are you doing?” Pansy squeaked.

“Waking Harry Potter!” said Daphne. “He’ll know what to do.” Both Potters looked sleepy and puzzled when they answered the door in their dressing gowns.

“Harry, you’ve got to do something,” Daphne gasped, breathing rapidly, terror in her eyes. “Draco’s kidnapping Astoria, and we don’t have time to wake Dumbledore.”

The signs of slumber quickly vanished from the Potters’ eyes.

“Hermione, stay here a moment... I’ll be right back. I’m going to grab the map, my invisibility cloak and our wands...” said Harry.

“Of course Harry!” Hermione replied anxiously. In a trice Harry returned and the Potters strapped their wand holsters around their waists. They both peered at the map, gasping in surprise when they found Draco’s name.

“Daphne, you and Pansy stay here!” Harry insisted. “Wake Dor... er... Tonks! She’s in that door right there. She’ll get help. Tell her to go to the statue of the One-Eyed-Witch... There’s a secret passage behind it.”

Flinging Harry’s invisibility cloak over themselves, the Potters vanished. Harry and Hermione ran through the hallways until they reached the statue of the One-Eyed-Witch. Harry glanced at the map again.

“They’re still on Hogwarts grounds,” he said, looking perplexed. “They seem to have stopped in the tunnel... like they’re waiting for something.”

“I wonder how Malfoy knows about this tunnel...” Hermione murmured as the statue slid aside, revealing the passage out of the castle.


Draco chortled when he and Theo reached the waiting point. Everything had gone even better than Draco could have hoped for. His practice with the two most dangerous Unforgivables on rodents had been successful. As test subjects for the Imperius Curse, the Petrificus hex, and the Silencio charm, Crabbe and Goyle had been the perfect “volunteers.” And the map that Theo’s father had sent had been right on the money.

Millicent had brought Astoria sooner than expected, and they were at least forty minutes early before Gehlen was supposed to arrive from the Honeydukes entrance with the Portkey. That was plenty of time.

“Theo, keep an eye out,” said Draco gleefully, unable to contain his excitement. This was better than Christmas. “I’m going to inspect my new acquisition.”

“No problem Draco... I’ve got it!” Theo rolled his eyes and shook his head, smirking.

Astoria’s head began to clear. It was dark and musty wherever she was. Astoria wondered what had happened. The last thing she remembered was Millicent waking her. Millicent had told her that Daphne was waiting for her in the common room, but the only people Astoria had seen were Draco and Theo, then all had gone blank.

Her eyes widened in shock when she saw Draco looming over her, leering and grinning. She couldn’t move. Why couldn’t she move? She tried to scream, but nothing came out of her mouth. Terror gripped her when Draco began viciously tearing at her nightclothes.


Harry and Hermione sped down the dark passage, wands lit. Feeling panicky, Hermione’s heart raced as she puffed heavily trying to keep up with Harry. She picked up speed and was soon running next to Harry. There appeared to be some light up ahead and she could hear voices.

“Be careful Harry!” she gasped breathlessly, looking worried. “Maybe we should approach more stealthily.”

But Harry barreled on, barely hearing Hermione. All he could think about at that moment was stopping Draco from making off with Astoria. Harry had faced down a dragon; he’d fought off kappa assassins and merpeople. Whatever Malfoy had up his sleeve couldn’t possibly compare to that.

Ahead in the dimly lit part of the passage, Harry and Hermione could just make out three figures. Their eyes widened in shock. They were both appalled when they realised that two of the figures were Draco unbuckling his belt and roughly groping a half-naked girl on the stone floor of the passage.

A white-hot firestorm of fury blazed through Harry; all he could see was red.

Draco looked up with a start, eyes popping when he heard the echo of running footsteps rapidly approaching, and he went ashen when he recognised who was bearing down on him.

“POTTER!” Malfoy yelled with fright. Then his fear evaporated and his features hardened as his anger and bitter hate took over.

“Potter!” he snarled. “Glad you could make it to the party!”

Draco felt a surge of satisfaction. His opportunity to achieve what his father and the minister had failed to accomplish was finally at hand. He was more than ready to take on Potter and his pet Mudblood. Draco’s hand flew to his wand and Theo whirled around with the wand he had stolen from Astoria.

Theo fired off a tripping jinx that missed. He tried again, this time with a stunning spell which he had been practicing after Potter had taken Draco down so easily with it. Hermione returned his fire with a stunning spell of her own, but Theo darted out of the way just in time, sparks ricocheting from the tunnel walls.

Draco refused to bother with such paltry spells. He was going to finish this once and for all! He pointed his wand and began to bellow his curse.

“AVADA KEDAV...” But Draco was unable to complete his incantation.

Too enraged to speak, Harry had wordlessly whipped his wand twice.

Malfoy howled in agony as his wand hand parted from his wrist, a scarlet spray of blood spattering the stone walls of the secret passage. Screams emerged from Nott’s mouth as his fingers flew and landed nearby in another bloom of red. They both collapsed on the stone floor of the tunnel.

Hermione shrieked, shocked at the sight of all the blood. Harry yanked off his dressing gown and wrapped it around Astoria, lifting the trembling girl gently. Boiling tears of rage streamed down Harry’s fiery red cheeks. Astoria seemed so tiny and light in his shaking arms.

Harry stalked over to the whimpering Malfoy, who was holding his bloody stump with his other hand. Harry kicked him hard in the balls twice - wrenching more screams from Malfoy - and finally managed to break his own silence.

“You fucking little coward!” Harry shouted. “You sick piece of shite! ... I should have just ended you, you bastard!”

Hermione shivered, her own tears trickling down her cheeks. Loud apparition cracks echoed in the tunnel. Tonks had arrived with Dumbledore and Flitwick, Pomfrey, and Shacklebolt. Dumbledore ran over to Harry, whose arms held a small girl swathed in a robe which seemed many times too large for her.

Madam Pomfrey could see that Astoria was going into shock. Poppy’s face was etched with horror as she took the delicate girl from Harry’s arms. She glowered at Malfoy and Nott, and without a word, she nodded her head towards Dumbledore to indicate that he should deal with the rest of those in need. Then she disapparated with Astoria.

Dumbledore walked slowly to the boys who were sobbing on the floor of the passage next to their missing hands and digits, his gaze cold and icy. The Headmaster saw Astoria’s nightgown and torn underwear lying nearby. As the moaning criminals looked up at the Headmaster, his piercing blue eyes penetrated their own.

Albus Dumbledore was sickened by everything he saw, and he felt an urge to vomit. He looked back at Harry sadly, who was holding his weeping wife in his arms. Harry swallowed anxiously, suddenly afraid that he had gone too far.

“Well done Harry!” Albus said softly with a dangerous look in his eyes. “A most fitting reward for their crimes. I appreciate your restraint - not killing them... But I would have understood if you had done so. I shall do my utmost to see them both in Azkaban.”

Dumbledore’s face hardened and he turned to address Shacklebolt with an iron voice.

“Please see to it that the right Aurors deal with this filth. I have seen as much of them as I care to today. Dress their wounds, but be sure to immediately have veritaserum administered, and their memories examined in a pensieve before they are admitted to St Mungo’s. Please also have Mr Malfoy’s illegal wand examined.

“You will find all the spells which he has cast recently on Miss Greengrass. A close inspection will also find traces of Mr Malfoy’s hands on Miss Greengrass’s clothing and person. Take the evidence to Madam Bones immediately, before the Minister has a chance to interfere with the investigation.”


Fawkes ruffled his feathers and eyed the headmaster with a look of concern. Having returned to his office and resetting the anti-apparition charms, Albus Dumbledore rested his elbows on his desk, his hands covering his face. After some time had passed, he lifted his head, tears flowing freely into his whiskers.
Albus reached into the right-hand drawer of his desk and took out his little picture of Ariana. Touching the glass with his fingers, Albus wept some more. After a short while longer, he reached again into the drawer, and held the ring with the cracked black gemstone in his hand.

Finally, Albus wiped away his tears with a hanky. He unstoppered his bottle of firewhiskey and poured himself a large glass, then squeezed a slice of lemon into it, trying to pull himself together.


“Come on you two,” said Dora quietly after Shacklebolt sent for more Aurors. “You should get back to your quarters and try to get at least a few hours sleep.”
“I don’t know if I can now,” Harry muttered, still feeling highly agitated as he took another look at all of the blood.

“It’s alright Harry!” Hermione could read the guilt all over his face. “You didn’t do anything wrong... Malfoy was trying to kill us, and you saved Astoria from being kidnapped and raped...”

“But not soon enough...” Harry felt torn, ashamed that he’d come so close to killing Malfoy - he had wanted to so badly - and guilty for not arriving before Astoria had been violated as much as she already had.

Dora wasn’t quite sure what to say, but she had a go at it.

“Listen to Hermione, Harry... It would ‘ave been much worse for Astoria if you ‘adn’t got here when you did - and that disgusting little bastard got everything he deserved.”

Harry nodded dejectedly, trying to tell himself that Dora and Hermione were right. He and Hermione were silent as they followed Dora first to the hospital wing for some calming and sleeping draughts, and then back to their chambers.

Harry held onto Hermione as tightly as he could when they clambered back into bed. But even after the sleeping draughts took effect as they cuddled each other, it was still nearly five in the morning before they both finally drifted off.

It was noon when the Potters were woken by a knocking on their door. When they opened it, Dora was standing there still in her nightgown.

“Mornin’ Harry, Hermione... Dumbledore wants us all in his office.”

“Er... alright,” said Harry, swallowing nervously and glancing at Hermione, who looked equally anxious. “We’ll be ready in a bit.”

Despite his anxiety, Harry felt a bit better than he had during the night, and more assured that he had done the right thing. After they had all showered and dressed, Dora led Harry and Hermione to Dumbledore’s office. When they saw the two posh looking people with Dumbledore, the Potters had a very good idea who they were.

“Good morning Harry, Mrs Potter,” said Dumbledore, who looked like he hadn’t got any sleep at all. “This is Mr and Mrs Greengrass, Daphne’s and Astoria’s parents. They would like very much to meet you both.”

“Er... hi,” Harry began, not sure what else to say. Harry was taken aback when Mr Greengrass and Mrs Greengrass both embraced him without warning, and then Hermione, who was just as speechless.

“Mr Potter, my family will forever be indebted to you and your wife for your courageous acts in protecting both of our daughters.” Mr Greengrass fought back tears as he spoke. “If you and your wife hadn’t been there...”

Mr Greengrass’s attempts to hold back the dam failed as he choked up and lost his voice. His wife took him in her arms, tears welling in her own eyes.

Mrs Greengrass took over where Mr Greengrass had left off. “Astoria will be coming home with us after we return to St Mungo’s. Daphne is with her at the moment, but she will be returning to Hogwarts in a few days. We can’t thank you both enough...”

Mr Greengrass finally composed himself and addressed Dumbledore.

“And thank you Headmaster Dumbledore! ... I am given to understand that you had already placed Daphne in a protected wing of the castle next to the Potters. You will have our full support in the Wizengamot - we will do our utmost to see you returned as Chief Warlock...”


Albus Dumbledore sighed heavily as he watched the Potters and the Greengrasses departing from his office, wishing that he could have done more.
Severus had wanted to expel Crabbe and Goyle too, but there was no clear evidence that they had any knowledge of the kidnapping and attempted rape of Astoria Greengrass. They were only aware that Draco was bent on escaping from Hogwarts.

But Dumbledore had to admit, though it had been very trying, it had ultimately been gratifying to have spoken with the parents of the victim, and also of the primary attacker. Albus hadn’t expected to find new allies in his struggle with the new Minister and the Pureblood Supremacists in the Wizengamot.

And not just the Greengrasses.

Most surprising of all was Narcissa Malfoy’s pledge of support - not only against the current administration at the Ministry, but also against the Death Eaters who had not yet thrown in with Minister Umbridge. She had whispered of dark rumours and the hopes of those who remained loyal to Voldemort.

But Dumbledore couldn’t forget what he had witnessed after a pensieve viewing of the memories of all those involved in the horrific incident. Draco Malfoy and Theodore Nott had most certainly deserved the means by which young Harry Potter had prevented them from harming Astoria any further.

After seeing what those boys had done to Ariana - Astoria, he corrected himself - Harry could have been driven to kill them, but he hadn’t.

And something in Albus Dumbledore almost wished that Harry had... Something which Albus had tried to bury the day his sister Ariana had been killed - whether by his own wand or Gellert’s, he would never know... unless he was brave enough to use the ring hidden in his desk drawer.


A little cough from the doorway alerted DMLE Head, Madam Amelia Bones, to the presence of Minister Umbridge. The Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement looked up to see the Minister smiling at her insipidly. Amelia’s jaw tightened as hse adjusted her monocle. Dumbledore had warned her of this.

“May I be of assistance Minister?” she inquired coolly.

“I am curious to find out more about the Potter Incident,” Minister Umbridge responded with a voice dripping with honey.

“If you are referring to the Malfoy Affair, the full report is available,” Madam Bones said stiffly.

“Quite!” Minister Umbridge replied, “I’ve read it, but I do have some concerns that not all points of view have been adequately addressed.”

Madam Bones arched one eyebrow. “Oh? All the evidence is enclosed, and it is incontrovertible that the crimes of kidnapping, sexual assault, and the attempted rape of a minor were committed by Draco Malfoy - not to mention the attempted murder of Harry Potter and his wife - accompanied by Theodore Nott.”

Minister Umbridge emitted a girlish giggle, and Madam Bones’ blood ran cold.

“Come now, Amelia, boys will be boys. The alleged assaulter is but a child himself. Surely he thought it was just a bit of innocent fun.”

Madam Bones narrowed her eyes.

“Really, Dolores? You are aware, are you not, that Warlock Greengrass has pressed full charges, related to both the attack upon Astoria Greengrass last night, and the previous sexual assault of his other daughter, Daphne Greengrass.

“The veritaserum confession, the pensieve examination, the inspection of Mr Malfoy’s illegally purchased wand, Astoria Greengrass’s torn clothing, her physical injuries and emotional trauma - all constitute absolute proof of the converse. Due to the conclusive nature of the evidence, a trial is not warranted.”

Dolores’s smile vanished. She did know that, but had hoped that Madam Bones would see reason when presented politely by someone of higher authority.

“Surely Madam and Warlock Malfoy have something to say about all of this,” Dolores offered, in a chillier tone.

“Oh, Madam Malfoy did indeed, Dolores. Warlock Malfoy was unavailable, and nowhere to be found... But Madam Malfoy demanded that the Senior Malfoy - should he eventually show up - have no access to her son as long as Draco Malfoy resides in Azkaban. It is her hope that someday - after a very lengthy sentence - her son will recognise the error of his ways.”

Dolores was floored. She gaped at the Head of the DMLE in disbelief. That part wasn’t in the report. But it wouldn’t be of course, as such demands by the Madams and Warlocks of the Pureblood Houses were always kept off-record.

But Dolores was very worried. She hadn’t seen Lucius in several days herself, not since the session in the Department of Mysteries. If Madam Malfoy was the only parent available for consultation, she was well within her rights to make such a demand.

As she had nowhere else to go, Minister Umbridge tried another tack.

“And what of Mr Potter? Surely his own actions - the use of a dark curse to mutilate two children - warrant an investigation.”

“Indeed!” Amelia Bones responded, “Warlock Potter and his wife immediately volunteered their own testimony under veritaserum, and their own memories for examination by pensieve. And they offered their wands up for inspection.”

“Aurors Shacklebolt, Dawlish, and myself have determined that the spell employed was not subject to Unforgivable Statute - nor was it a curse - and that it was used entirely for defensive purposes. Again, the evidence is sustained as Absolute, and the DMLE will not be pursuing any actions in that regard. Is there anything else you wish to discuss, Dolores?”

Recognising defeat, Minister Dolores Umbridge regarded Madam Bones shrewdly.

“That will be all. Carry on,” Dolores concluded with a return to her girlish demeanor.

As she departed from Madam Bones’ office, Minister Umbridge’s features hardened. Ending the independence of the DMLE from the Office of the Minister had just become a top priority.
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