Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Shadow Play

Grimmauld Place

by Thor_Nairda 0 reviews

Harry arrives at Grimmauld Place

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, Horror - Characters: Blaise Zabini, Harry - Warnings: [R] [V] - Published: 2006-11-27 - Updated: 2006-11-27 - 10532 words

Blaise heard the Death Eaters before she saw them - her bedroom being on the second floor of her house, she only heard the sur Chapter 5: Grimmauld Place

Blaise heard the arrival of the Death Eaters before she saw them - her bedroom being on the second floor of her parents' house, she only heard the surprised screams of her mother and father as they were quickly incapacitated by the surprise attack. She went to her bedroom door and opened it, immediately seeing a figure robed in black and wearing a mask running up the stairs to collect her. She screamed as she realised what was happening, and slammed the door shut and frantically thought of what she could do to escape. Screams from downstairs were drowned out by the blood pounding in her eardrums, and she barely thought of the window before she jumped through as the door was blown in by a curse. The death eater raised his wand, but it was too late - CRASH!

She shattered the window as she went through, and fell to the grass of her garden outside, her legs throbbing with pain. Her thigh had been lacerated when she had jumped, and she landed awkwardly, and was lucky her ankle was only sprained and not broken. Now moving with a limp, she hobbled as fast as she could to the cover of the small wood that lay behind her house. She was scared, panic rushed around her brain like an out of control freight train, and she cursed herself for leaving her wand behind in her room. '/If only I had joined that club last year', /she thought through the haze of panic and pain, '/then I'd be able to have done something to help my parents!' /There was only one way she could help them now - all she could think of was getting to someone who could summon the aurors. She made it to within ten metres of the tree line before she was hit in the back by a leg locker curse. She fell to the ground, bleeding badly, as the Death Eater stalked over lazily from the house and loomed over her.

"Time for a little fun, pet," he said maliciously, grabbing her twisted ankle and dragging her back to the house. She screamed and tried to grab on to something with her hands, clawing at the very earth beneath her, but nothing could stop the inevitable. She was thrown into a wall as soon as the door was closed, and she now had blood flowing from her lip as well. There were ten of them, more than enough for the unsuspecting Zabini's. Blaise looked over to where her parents lay, and she realised her mother was naked. She didn't want to think why, but she knew - these men were evil in every sense.

Neither moved a muscle, and Blaise finally began renewed sobbing - they were dead. The pain in her leg was nothing compared to the pain in her heart, and she prayed for some fortune to fall upon her - a knife or her wand, something to fight with before she faced the same fate as her parents - as her mother. It didn't come as the death eater ripped her blouse off, laughing, and then cast the cruciatus curse on her and she screamed again, although now she screamed in pure, white hot pain, as the curse was left on for what felt like hours. She was then roughly grabbed and thrown down onto her back, each wrist stepped on and pinned by a death eater while another began to move towards her, the rest watching with glee. She tried to shut her legs, but the leg locker curse was still on and she whimpered as the death eater drew nearer. They were laughing, she noticed - anticipation had made them all excited - excited, but careless - the doors were not covered and the windows weren't being watched it was a tiny part of her mind that recognised this as hope - aurors entering now would have the best chance of taking the death eaters out.

The rest of her mind was less detached; she came close to begging for mercy - anything but this, even the cruciatus would be more preferable to her than what was to come. Then something happened - something she had never seen or imagined before, that cut through her panic stricken brain as peculiar - a strange thought to have when ten death eaters were about to rape you. Then what she prayed for became a reality. As soon as it began, she felt a source of safety, coming from somewhere else, somewhere unreachable, and somehow, she knew the death eater was about to be the victim of something very, /very /unpleasant.

The death eater about to rape her stopped dead, looking at the main light in the room. It was slowly dimming, being choked out by the darkness, and for the first time since they had arrived, the death eaters looked around themselves uneasily. A shadow flitted across the far wall, where the death eaters holding Blaise down could see it, and they cried out to the others, who turned to see nothing. Blaise, however, had followed the shadow with her eyes, and saw, through her tears, a spectre rise from the floor behind the approaching death eater in the confusion, and then melt back again seamlessly. Robed in black as the death eaters were, this was still vastly different - blacker than their robes, darker than the night. Blaise cried out in surprise when the death eater made a gurgling sound and dropped to the floor with a knife in his back. The other death eaters noticed him drop as well, but had been searching the walls for the shadow and it was evident that they had not seen the spectre rise from the floor, or melt back again.

They also didn't see when it popped out again and smashed the back of the head of the death eater closest to the wall with something heavy. It melted back again and all they saw was the body crumple to the floor. Fear and panic now turned on the death eaters, and they had their wands pointing at all the walls at once, hearing whispers and noises to frighten them further. Even though the words couldn't be made out, Blaise could tell there was no love behind the voices. And all the time, the darkness enveloped the room.

"Let's get out of here!" one of the death eaters said, and drew his wand and raised it, making Blaise close her teary eyes in anticipation. The feet left her wrists, but there was no chance to dodge the killing curse now. "Avada - " She felt a hand grasp her arm, and something, impossible as she was on the floor, behind her - pulling her into the floor, as if it were a penetrable barrier to somewhere else - it felt like being pulled through water or oil. She opened her eyes in surprise and saw the room from all four walls at once, just as the death eater said "Kedavra!", and the green jet of light hit where she had been not a moment before, making a patch of green fires on the carpet that lasted only a few seconds.

The death eater stared at where she had been for a few moments as the whisperings continued, then cursed and tried to apparate, only to find that none of them could apparate out. The door would not open, either, as one of the death eaters learned when he tried to yank it and even blow it down with spells. Blaise felt the spectre moving to shut the door as they tried to reach it, and she went with it, still feeling a hand holding her arm gently. She felt nothing else in the physical sense, though - just the hand on her arm.

The windows were no longer letting light from the street lamp through, and the light bulb in the ceiling shattered, raining glass down onto the death eaters and smothering them in complete darkness. She saw them fire a myriad of curses to try and find a way out, but the room was pitch black, and they kept hitting each other - a few were firing the killing curse. She knew it was dark in the room, but she could see perfectly from whatever state she was in, watching the carnage with justified anger and hate. The flashes of green showed the death eaters only shadows that belonged to their comrades, but in the state of panic they were in, they sent spells directly to these shadows, and at the source of the spells flying at them.

There was one lone death eater standing now, still firing curses at random, and suddenly, the light came back from the window in full force - more bright than just a streetlight could muster. The death eater raised his arm to shield his eyes from the momentary blindness, during which the feeling of changing states came over Blaise again, and she found herself on the floor next to her parents, a silhouette in the bright light moving towards the death eater and ripping the wand from his hand, breaking it in two and throwing it away. It then punched the death eater in the face, grabbed his arm and broke it at the elbow, brought him to his knees with a twist of the broken limb, to which the Death Eater emitted a very loud scream.

"Who," the death eater gasped in pain, looking up and seeing his enemy for the first time. A plain black mask was worn over the face and the figure was dressed all in black, with long black hair tied in a ponytail to below its shoulder blades. Blaise saw it as well.

And she felt scared. What would this... person do to her after it was done with the death eater?

"WHO ARE YOU?!" the Death Eater finally managed to scream, staring wild eyed at the dark figure that stood above him. He was knocked unconscious by a stunning spell at point blank range, and then the spectre turned to Blaise, who suddenly became aware of the fact that she was half naked and immobilised. She started to move away, crawling with her arms but it caught up with her before she could get further and her back hit the wall behind her. The figure reached for a wand and pointed at her legs. He whispered a spell and the gash healed, leaving only a shiny mark, before the wand glowed again.

"Finite Incantatum," the figure said softly, and she had the use of her legs back again. She curled into a ball and the figure took off its hooded jumper and Blaise closed her eyes in fear. /This is it, /she thought, but then felt gentle arms cover her with the jumper over her exposed upper half. It crouched next to her for a moment and she saw shiny eyes behind the mask - eyes that held no malice, no hate and nothing but what she could describe as pure honesty. "The ministry will be here very soon," he - for it was a masculine voice - said softly, and soothingly. She thought she had heard it somewhere before, but this was like silk - comforting and gentle. "You're safe now... Goodbye." She wanted to thank him, wanted to cry and have him hold her and make the demons already plaguing her go away. She felt safe as his arms touched hers, and she felt as if she knew him in some distant way.

She was just about to throw herself at his shoulder when he simply disappeared - no pop that signified the disapparation, or movement on his part - he just simply vanished. Blaise hugged the jumper tighter around herself and let the tears fall.

Mad Eye Moody found her like that, leading a team of aurors ten minutes later. He assigned Tonks to help the girl, as it didn't appear to be a position a man should respectfully be in. Five of the death eaters were dead, two stunned and the others that showed signs of physical assault were unconscious - one certainly wouldn't survive, due to the mediwizards being 'unavoidably detained'. Tonks quickly covered the girl in the hooded jumper and helped her up to her feet, sat her down outside and had a medi-witch tend to her legs, which had various scratches left but the gash was almost fully healed.

"Did they...?" Sturgis asked Tonks before she could report to Moody. He indicated at her previous state of undress, and Tonks understood, shaking her head. "They didn't get a chance to do more than rip her clothes and get an eyeful," she said disgustedly. Moody awkwardly limped towards the girl sitting on the wall with the medi-witch, and tried to smile without frightening her.

"You did well in there," he said roughly, and she looked up in surprise. "Ten versus one, and you managed to get all of them." She shook her head vigorously, and told him of the spectre.

"It... /he /saved me. I was... I was useless... I didn't even have my wand..." she looked down at the ground and tears began to fall again, while Moody indicated for Tonks to look after her, he limped back to the party.

"This girl needs protection," Mundungus said fiercely - feelings of righteousness in him were something that didn't happen very often, but this was not an often occurrence, he hoped. "When the death eaters learn she escaped, they'll want her dead to show that no one escapes them alive. We need to take her to Headquarters." Moody nodded in agreement and sighed, taking out his wand and heading to the fireplace in the house. He called for Dumbledore and poked his head through the green flames after throwing some floo powder into them. He told Dumbledore they had a survivor, and that she needed protection from the Order, to which Dumbledore agreed. Blaise knew nothing of this, of course - she was now an orphan, her only family having lived in the house with her being her parents - no brothers, no sisters or aunts or uncles. She was now completely and utterly alone; and with that thought, she blacked out.

Blaise felt warm and groggy, but not bad. Memories of the night came back to her slowly, like the memories of a nightmare slept the night before. She shivered despite the warmth of the bed and stretched out, still not opening her eyes. When she did, she gave a start and looked around wildly. /Where's my room? /she thought groggily. Then she remembered that the memories of the attack were, in fact, real. She began to cry.

The room she was in had a very old looking décor, and the bed was a king sized one with clean sheets and comfortable duvets. Blaise huddled her legs against her chest for a long while, crying onto her knees and getting the covers soaked before the door opened. In walked a plump, red headed woman with a kind face and a tray with food on it in her hands.

"Ah, you're awake," she said gently. "I was wondering when you would be. If you don't like what's on the tray, just tell me what you want and I'll rustle it up for you." She laid the tray on the bedside table and sat on a chair next to it.

"Who are you? Where am I?" Blaise asked quickly, fighting the tears back again. The woman patted her hand in a comforting way before answering.

"My name is Molly Weasley, my son Ron is in your year at Hogwarts," she said, and, in some memory from the distant past, she remembered... '/Ron Weasley... tall, red hair../.' "You're safe here, more safe than even Gringotts, dear." Molly stood and headed for the door. "I have to tell them you've woken up, I'll just be a minute," and she was gone through the only door in the room. Blaise looked at the food and saw it was roast beef with all the trimmings - something she liked a lot. She could only muster to pick at the Yorkshire pudding feebly, however, not eating three bites before the door opened again and Molly Weasley walked through again, accompanied by two men she had not expected to see - Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape.

"Professors'!" she exclaimed in surprise. Dumbledore took the seat next to the bed while Snape stood at the foot, arms crossed and a glum expression on his face. The headmaster looked older than ever, frailer and more tired the man she knew.

"Good evening, Miss Zabini," the headmaster said, sitting back and conjuring a pot of tea and some tea cups. He poured cups for himself, Blaise, Snape and Mrs. Weasley before continuing. "I know how you must feel right now, but I am here to inform you of some of the things that you need to know. Firstly, here you are safe. As safe as I can make you, which I would like to think is enough for anybody. We usually have several aurors in the building, all very capable and fully trained, so don't be afraid of a recurrence of the attack on your home. The Weasley's and Hermione Granger are also here, if you wish for company of your own age." Dumbledore took a sip of his tea and then looked up at Blaise. "As for where you are, I'm sure you have probably heard of the Order of Phoenix, or at least heard rumours of it. You are in the Order's headquarters, and from here we fight off Voldemort using intelligence gathered by our spies in his midst. Most of the people in this building are Order members, excepting those too young to be involved, like Miss Granger, Mr and Miss Weasley."

Blaise nodded, dumbfounded. She had heard that there was an Order of Phoenix - some elite force that fought the death eaters in the first war with Voldemort, but she had never thought to see living members of it. She reckoned that Dumbledore was the leader of the Order, and wondered why she had never thought of it before. Dumbledore took another sip of his tea and sighed.

"The reason you are here is because we fear that the Death Eaters may try to take revenge for their comrades that were arrested at your house." He didn't say anything about those that were killed, she realised. Surely he knew? Then she realised - he didn't mention anything about death so as not to upset her. She sipped at her own tea and then waited for him to continue. "I know you may not want to, but when Hogwarts reopens, I do not think it would be a very prudent idea for you to stay in Slytherin house. There are many people there whose family members are themselves, death eaters, and the students may turn on you. I would like you to join a different house for the remaining two years of your education. But it is your choice, and I will not force you to do so. Will you change houses?" Blaise looked at Snape, who gave the barest hint of a nod, and she agreed. Dumbledore handed her the sorting hat and she put it on quickly. Maybe she would find herself in Ravenclaw, like her parents before her.

"Ah, I thought I might see you again," /came the sorting hat's voice. "I did tell you Slytherin was no good for you, but you chose it. Now let's see, where should I put you this time? Hmm... You have your parent's intellect, but Ravenclaw would not suit you as well as Gryffindor, and you are no Hufflepuff! Yes, you belong in GRYFFINDOR/!"

Dumbledore solemnly removed the hat and Blaise looked up at Snape, who looked extremely surprised, if not a little disappointed. Blaise looked back fiercely, though - she would have made her parents proud in Gryffindor - they had never understood why she /chose /Slytherin, but they understood that it was her choice to make. Her parents had always let her be independent when she wanted to be.

Blaise sat through the rest of what Dumbledore said, listening as well as she could in her current state of mind but not paying too much attention. She caught that he wished her well and that he would talk to the Weasley children to help her fit in to Gryffindor when the new term began, and then he swept out of the room, with Snape in tow and Molly Weasley giving her a comforting look before she, too, left. Blaise noticed a pile of clothes at the foot of her bed - left by Mrs. Weasley, she supposed. On top was the hooded jumper her saviour had given her.

Blaise knew she was not a prisoner to her room, and when she thought everyone was asleep, she crept out and took a good look around the house. It /was /big, with lots of rooms and moving pictures to show that it was a wizard or witches house, but all the people in the pictures were rather... well, evil looking. She passed them by with a shudder, but kept going. She heard some quiet arguing which sounded like Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger behind one of the doors, and she passed as quietly as she could. She found a hippogriff sleeping in one room, and she left as quickly as possible, without waking it as she recognised the beast - it was the same one that had attacked Malfoy in his third year. She continued to search the house for the rest of the night, forcing herself not to think about her parents.

Meanwhile, Harry Potter sat in the darkened kitchen of Number 4, Privet Drive waiting for his escort. He didn't think it would go down well if he decided to just appear at the doorstep, so he waited for the Order members to arrive and then he would leave the house of his uncle and aunt, who were upstairs, snoring happily away in blissful sleep. He had written them a small note that said exactly what they wanted to hear - that he wouldn't be coming back for Christmas or Easter and would not bother them during the year, but only to occupy himself while he waited for his departure.

He sensed the apparating wizards more than saw or heard, and he instinctively became a shadow in response. He wanted to be sure it was them.

Mad-Eye Moody removed his invisibility cloak and was followed by Tonks, Mundungus Fletcher, Remus Lupin and Arthur Weasley. A smaller party than last time, but Harry didn't mind. Harry became human once more just behind Moody and tapped him on the shoulder. The ancient auror spun round as if he was in his prime and had a wand at Harry's throat in the space of time that Tonks had blinked.

"Constant Vigilance, Professor Moody," Harry said with a grim smirk. Moody lowered his wand cautiously.

"Potter?" he said, and Harry nodded. He turned on the kitchen light so they could see him and then showed his free hands. "That was a good move, Potter - I didn't see you approach." Tonks looked ready to laugh, but held it in - just.

"I've acquired some new... talents over the summer, Professor. I would have left already if you hadn't arranged to pick me up."

"Stop calling me professor," Moody growled. "Alastor or Mad-Eye will do fine, lad. What portrait hangs on the wall inside the headquarters?"

/ /Orion said, and Harry agreed. He picked her up and carried her sleeping form up to her own room, and tucked her into her bed. He also left his hoody with her, which she hugged to herself as if it were some comforting teddy bear.

Harry was glad to see that Dumbledore had, at the request of Tonks and Remus, added a gym of sorts in one of the less used rooms. It was magically enlarged and contained weights, mats for sit ups and so on, running machines and everything else you could need in a gym. Harry grabbed a towel and did some weight training, dressing in some old clothes to do so.

Blaise awoke in her own bed, clutching something to her heart - Harry's hoody. She wondered how she had got there, and guessed he had carried her. She sighed and tried not to cry as she remembered her parents. She got up, unconsciously putting the hoody on as if it were her own, and she went downstairs in search of something to do.

The house was huge, and she tried exploring the rest of it that she hadn't seen yet, part of which she found people in. Ginny was in what passed for the living room, but Blaise wasn't really in the mood to stick around. She sought out the very back of the house, where she suspected there to be some quiet rooms. She found Hermione reading in the Black Library, which held four walls of bookshelves about various subjects, including illegal charms and spells, the dark arts and more mundane books such as household spells and history books, most of which were inclined to sneer at the Muggle world.

Blaise grabbed a book at random and began reading. Hermione didn't stay long - she practically ran out when she noticed she had been there for several hours, and muttered something about having to do the cooking. Blaise settled into a large armchair where she began a long sit in with her book. It was titled The Many Ways to Counter the Dark Arts.

Harry sat at the table with the others and ate in silence, listening to the conversation around him. Hermione had done the cooking for the teenagers, and it was really very good, Harry admitted. He had noticed that Blaise was not there, and figured she was sleeping until Hermione mentioned she had seen the other girl in the library, and was going to tell her that her dinner was getting cold.

She came back ten minutes later and sat down again.

"Blaise said she wasn't hungry," Hermione said to the others. "She said she would grab a sandwich later. I'm sort of worried, she didn't eat much this morning, either." Ron snorted with sad laughter at Hermione and shook his head.

"You do realise what she's just been through, don't you? Of course she's not hungry, she's got too much on her mind. What she /needs /is something to take her mind off of it..." he fell silent and sighed, went back to eating, and Hermione looked thoughtful for a moment.

"You know, Ron, it may be statistically impossible, but I think you're right. She does need something to take her mind off of it - or some/one/." Ron paled and coughed, thumping his chest to help the food go down. "Maybe you should talk to her? You seem to know something we don't..." she smiled but stopped when Ron winced and looked at Harry. "Oh, Harry - I'm sorry! That was so thoughtless of me, I'm really, /really /sorry!" Harry nodded and went back to eating silently. Ginny was watching him from the corner of her eye, looking for some of the same symptoms they saw in Blaise.

"You seem much better, Harry," she said quietly when she didn't see much in the way of sorrow - he was quiet, a little withdrawn, but looked better than he had at the end of his fifth year

"Yeah, I guess I am," he said, and finished eating. "I've had some help, though. Firstly I vented a whole lot of aggression getting over the fact that I'm a killer, and then I decided I'd do it part time, as it were." The others looked both confused and alarmed at this, but he shrugged. They heard Mundungus curse as he came through the front door and awake the portrait Mrs. Black.

"INFIDELS!" she screamed. "DIRTY FOUL, MUGGLE LOVING FILTH! HALF BREEDS AND MUDBLOODS! COMMONERS AND THIEVES IN THE HOUSE OF MY FOREFATHERS!" Harry stood and walked out to help Mundungus shut the portrait, which shrank when she saw him. "TORTURER OF MY SOUL! LEAVE ME BE! AHHH!" He yanked the curtains shut and Mundungus breathed a sigh of relief. Harry remembered that he wanted to see Mundungus about something Orion had told him of the past, and now was the perfect time to do so.

"'Ey Harry," he said. "Doesn't seem to like you much, huh?" he chuckled and Harry nodded, looked around and pulled Mundungus into the empty living room. The older man looked confused but Harry indicated he be quiet while he locked the door and cast a silencing charm. "What's going on, Harry? Anyone'd think you were gonna murder me," he chuckled uneasily.

"Not really, Mundungus - I need a favour, and I don't want it performed through... proper channels. I need you to ask a few of your contacts in the black markets to look out for certain things. Can you do this without Dumbledore knowing? I will pay expenses, but the items I need are... well, I would rather no one knew I was looking for them." Mundungus looked at Harry eagerly.

"I 'ave a few mates in that trade, yeah," he said slowly. "What is it you're looking for, eh? I'm sure I can sort sumthin out..." Harry nodded and pulled out a quill and parchment from his pocket. He had been planning this.

/Orion asked.

"They won't be large, and they'll most likely be made of jade or amethyst. Should be small enough to carry around. They don't have any other similarities besides that symbol. And remember, I don't want Dumbledore to know until I tell him. These artefacts... they aren't dangerous, but don't go round asking what they do. Most likely no one will know, but they will bump the price up if you're looking at it as more than just a paper weight." Mundungus chuckled.

"I know my own line of work, Harry mate!" he said with a hearty laugh. "I'll get word to some of me mates tonight, they'll be combing the black markets and second hand shops for these things before lunch time tomorrow." Harry nodded and thanked the older man before heading towards the library. He had some books to pick up, and he wanted to check on Blaise.

/ /Orion said, chuckling. /Harry nodded, smiling, and reached into his pocket and tossed one hundred galleons to Mundungus.

"Split that with your friend," Harry said. "And the same price for each one you find. Tell him to keep his eyes open, ok?" Mundungus nodded and pocketed the money with a grin. Harry carefully rewrapped the figurine and slipped it into his pocket before going to join his friends. They looked at him quizzically as he came back and sat down without a word.

"What was that about," Ron said finally. Harry looked up innocently.

"Asked him for a favour, he was delivering," Harry replied. Hermione goggled at him and looked ready to explode, but she spoke levelly when she regained her composure.

"Harry, you're not getting into anything illegal are you?" Blaise looked surprised at this change of subject until Ginny whispered what Mundungus actually /did /for the order.

"Nope, nothing illegal," Harry said innocently. "Anyway, I'm headed for the gym. Coming Ron?" Ron nodded and Harry placed the figurine upstairs in his trunk before locking it and heading back down to the gym.

They trained hard and worked up quite a sweat before resting. Harry made it a daily routine to head for the gym and work out before anything else. He read by night and slept very little, and learned everything he could from the library - healing charms, duelling spells, even some dark arts that seemed useful. Several curses to take out many opponents at once were memorised but not practised, and also some very useful but more conservative spells were added to his repertoire. After the early success of Mundungus, not another word was heard about the artefacts Harry wanted for the rest of the week.

Then he left Harry a note on his pillow to meet at midnight in the library. Harry went eagerly, and took some more gold out of Gringotts for it. He waited up in the library and at midnight exactly, the door opened and Mundungus came in with a bag in his hand, grinning like an idiot.

"Alright," he said, putting the bag on the table. "I've had half the thieves and black marketers I know combing places like Diagon alley for stuff matching your description, and a few have come back with good news - two bought them on the spot. Whatever these things do, they aint bein' sold for much." He reached into the bag and brought out two items - an orb made of amethyst and what looked like a pendant made of both jade and amethyst, the different stones making up different halves of the broken square.

/ /Orion said, awed, and Harry felt him intensely scrutinising the items on the table. /Harry smiled and ran his fingers over the smooth surface of the orb and looked at the pendant.

"This is excellent, Mundungus. You said there was a third?" Mundungus nodded, and brought out a piece of parchment with the description of the third item on it.

"One of my contacts found this one with the orb (which was sold as a paperweight). The same shop, but a much higher price. It's a knife with a jade hilt, the butt of which has the symbol on it. It's being sold for a hundred galleons in Knockturn Alley. He didn't want to buy it in case it was worthless, and I said I'd tell 'my customer' about it. Didn't tell him your name. If you want me to buy it, he's waitin' across from the store with the gold if you want it" Harry collected the other items into the bag.

"I'll put these in my trunk and then you and I will meet your contact," he said. "I will be completely cloaked - he won't see my face. I will buy the item if it is right and pay off your contact." Mundungus nodded and stood to leave.

"You gonna do that neat shadow thing again?" Harry grinned and nodded, retrieved his cloak and put the orb and pendant away in his trunk before following Mundungus outside dressed in a black cloak that shadowed his face so he resembled a Dementor. Harry then transported them to Knockturn alley. He was somewhat surprised to find the shops still open, but Mundungus explained that this was the best time to sell illegal items.

Harry followed Mundungus to the shop and his contact, who was a nervous looking man dressed plainly. Mundungus met him with a conservative handshake - one that wouldn't say they were old friends, but they knew each other. Mundungus called him Jib, and Jib looked at Harry suspiciously, trying not to shudder at the same time.

"Who's this?" he demanded, and Harry fixed him with a steely glare that shut the man up.

"I'm the one Mundungus has been working for," Harry said in a slightly rasping voice. "You found the Orb and another item with the symbol, yes?" The man nodded, and looked at Mundungus reproachfully.

"Don't worry, Jib," Mundungus said, slapping his old friend on the back. "This will work out for you very well." Jib nodded, but still looked ready to bolt at the first sign of a wand. "Show us the dagger." Jib nodded and led them into the shop, where the shop keeper was finishing serving another cloaked customer, who brushed passed the three men silently on his way out.

"Can I help you, Gentlemen?" the shopkeeper asked nervously, looking at Harry and not seeing any face. None answered, Jib pointed at the glass case holding a variety of weapons from knives to swords. They weren't illegal, but they weren't the sort of items you sold next to shops containing items that would appeal to teenagers in the good way. These were collector's items.

Harry bent down and looked over the items, all the while the shopkeeper nervously noticing that he had not been answered. Harry's eyes found the knife, and saw the symbol on the butt of the hilt, just as Mundungus had said. He stood and pointed at the dagger. "I'll take it," he said.

"Y-yes sir!" the shopkeeper stuttered, and he reached under the case and brought it to the counter. "It is r-rather expensive, however - one hundred galleons - b-but I do," he was cut off from telling them he could take a credit charge by Harry putting a bag of one hundred galleons on the table. The man gawked and ran to put it in its sheath and wrap it. "Will there be anything else, sir?" Harry shook his cloaked head.

"That will be all," he said in the same raspy voice. The shopkeeper nodded and handed the knife to him gently, as if hoping he wouldn't use it to get his money back - which he was. Harry slid it into his robes and the three men left the store silently.

Outside, Jib looked ready to bolt. Harry reached into his robes and pulled out another bag and handed it to the nervous man. "Fifty galleons for each of the items you found," Harry said, handing him the money. Jib gawked as well - all he had done was spend five on the orb and contact an old friend. He left without further ado, almost bowing at Harry. Mundungus laughed as they left Knockturn alley. Harry handed him the last bag of gold in his pocket and handed it to Mundungus. "Same amount for you, Dung," he said, coughing to get his voice back to normal. "Want a lift back to headquarters?" Mundungus shook his head.

"Nah, thought I'd spend some hard... well, /easily /earned cash. I'll see you tomorrow, I'm on guard duty at HQ. See you, mate." Harry nodded and, checking the cost was clear, transported himself as shadow to Grimmauld place and entered number 12 stealthily as shadow, shifted up to his room and hid the dagger in his trunk before crawling into bed.

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