Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Second Fiddle

Snake Pit pt. 2

by Crucio_Crusade 3 reviews

Harry Potter is aware of the wizarding world. The only problem is he grew up apart from it. When he explored the magical world, he found dangers, wonders, and friendship.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Drama,Humor - Characters: Dumbledore,Harry,Hermione,Neville,Ron,Voldemort - Warnings: [!] [V] [?] - Published: 2007-08-20 - Updated: 2007-08-20 - 5920 words

Disclaimer: This fan fiction was based on the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling. I do not claim ownership on any character created by J.K. Rowling, and no money is collected from this story. This is one way I show appreciation to J.K. Rowling’s works. Other names or places on this story are fictional. Any similarity to actual name is purely coincidental.

Chapter 27: Snake Pit pt. 2

At the far end of the corridor, a group of Death Eaters appeared. Harry counted four of them. Ferghus stood to one side to let them pass. Harry and Tonks followed suit. As the Death Eaters unsuspectingly passed by, Harry saw an unconscious woman, floating between them. “Madam Bones,” He heard Tonks gasped in surprise. He didn’t think they heard her though. They were talking loudly.

“What do you think our master will do now?”

“I don’t know. But, whatever it is, it’s going to be big.”

“It will be glorious, you mean. Purebloods will reign supreme.”

“Let’s hurry up, and lock this mudblood lover. I want to see what our master will do to Longbottom.”

The Death Eaters agreed with cheers. Harry, on the other hand, was surprised. Neville Longbottom was captured? “Pardon me!” Harry called their attention. The Death Eaters stopped, and slowly turned around.

“Damn!” Tonks muttered softly. Sensing impending confrontation, she unobtrusively withdrew her borrowed wand, and hid it behind her back. She sidled behind Harry’s left shoulder, and frantically whispered, “Harry, are you mad?” Harry ignored her. The Death Eater in the lead took off his cowl, and sauntered back to them.

Ferghus also moved closer to him on the right. “Don’t talk,” he whispered angrily. “Let me handle this.” But, before he could even step forward, Harry spoke again.

“Did I hear you say Longbottom?” Harry asked in a slightly inquisitive tone of voice. He mentally gave himself a pat on the back. He nearly lost his self-control and blindly attacked, when he saw the leader’s face. It was Marcus Flint.

Flint arrogantly stood before them, and sneered. He briefly looked back at his fellow Death Eaters, before pompously answering. “That’s right. Longbottom is in the main hall right now with our master.”

“Is that so?” Harry retorted sarcastically. He dearly loved to pummel the arrogant git’s face to a pulp. “Is our master teaching him a lesson in humility? Oh, I know. He’s probably regaling him with his glorious victory.” Tonks snorted a little too loud.

Flint angrily glared. These Death Eaters were openly mocking the Dark Lord. He tried to see their shadowed faces. “Take off your cowls! What are your names Death Eaters?” Harry slowly lowered the hood of his cloak. Flint momentarily studied his face, puzzled. He recognized the face, but couldn’t remember where he saw him. And then, realization dawned on him. “You!”

“Yes, me,” Harry answered in cold fury.

Flint fearfully drew back, his mouth wide open in shock. The Dark Lord would not like this, he thought. As if remembering who he was and his duties, he began to shout, while hastily drawing his wand. “PRISONER HAS…” But, before he could complete his warning, he felt a hard blow to his throat. He stumbled backward, clutching his throat. His wand fell on the floor, forgotten. He couldn’t breathe. And, the pain was making it worse. “/Hack/… H e l p… /Hack/… /Hack/… m e…” he cried chokingly.

In spite of their shock, the other Death Eaters with Flint hastily reached for their wands. They couldn’t believe another of their own struck a junior elite of the Dark Lord. The Death Eater guiding the floating body of Madam Bones swiftly pointed his wand at Harry, Tonks, and Ferghus. Madam Bones promptly dropped to the cold stone floor. “Don’t move! Throw away…” he began shouting order. But, it was too late. Tonks and Ferghus’ wands were already aimed at them.



Tonks and Ferghus brought down two of Flint’s men. But, the Death Eater, who was shouting his orders, managed to dodge, and returned a curse of his own.

“Avada Kedavra!”

Flint received another hard blow, just below the center of his ribcage. He doubled over as pain shot through his being. It was nothing compared to a Cruciatus Curse, but it was pain nonetheless. The choking sensation intensified. He was practically gasping for breath. Beads of perspiration formed on his face. He felt hot and light-headed. His vision was beginning to blur. In his mind, he was furiously shouting at his fellow Death Eaters to avenge him…to kill the bloody fools.

With the last ounce of his strength, Flint willfully raised his head to sneer at the face of the stupid squib. Then, suddenly, a hand roughly grabbed him by the hair. He grimaced in pain as he was forced to look up. He groggily stared at the burning rage in the squib’s eyes. Smirking with arrogance even through suffocating pain, he hoarsely said, “There is no escape from the Dark Lord.”

He felt disappointed, when he saw Evans face twisted in fury. He was hoping for a fearful reaction. Pain exploded in his head as a fist smashed hard against the left side of his face. Flint faintly heard a cracking sound as he slowly lost consciousness. He hoped the fool squib broke his hand. After all, the Flints were renowned for their tough faces.

“There is always the first time, you bloody git.” Harry was breathing hard as he angrily glared at the unconscious Flint. He had hit him so hard, that the Death Eater’s jaw was dislocated. Once they got out of Voldemort’s dungeon, he would bring this murderer to the Ministry Aurors. Justice for his Uncle Max would be served. Harry was so involved in his own objective that he forgot there was still a magical fight going on.

“Harry! Look out!” He was instantly on the alert, when he heard the warning shout. But, before he could even scope out the danger, he felt someone tackled him. They fell down hard on the floor.

“Avada Kedavra!”

Harry unconsciously held his breath, when he heard the shout of a Killing Curse close by. For a moment, he thought the enemy Death Eaters moved closer to finish him off. When nothing happened, he quickly looked to his left and right. There was no sign of movement, or shouts of curses. The dungeon corridor was eerily silent again. A hemline of a black cloak blocked his sight on the right side. He warily raised his head, and met the odd stare of Ferghus.

“You can get up now. The fight is over,” Ferghus said tensely. Then, he turned around, and cautiously checked the fallen Death Eaters.

Harry was about to stand, when felt a dead weight on his back. He glanced at Ferghus direction, and saw him bent over Madam Bones. He decided not to bother him. “Ride is over, Tonks,” he said jokingly. “This is your stop.” He smilingly waited for her answer. “Tonks? Are you alright, Tonks?” Hearing no answer, he pushed himself up, and slightly shifted his body. Tonks slid to the floor on his left side. Harry sat on his knees, and gently shook the pink-haired auror. “Tonks, this is no time to sleep on the job.” When she didn’t open her eyes, Harry grew anxious. Then, suddenly, he remembered a similar scene. “No,” he breathed in fear. He gently raised Tonks in a sitting position, and hugged her firmly. “No… No… No… Not again. You can’t die. You just can’t,” he muttered in a rough voice, his eyes slowly moistening with tears of sorrow, his heart beating heavily with regret. The feeling of guilt for the death of his Uncle Max welled up in his heart once more. If only he hadn’t acted recklessly… If only he…

Harry didn’t notice Ferghus’ approach. The ex-Death Eater somberly stood behind him, and watched him firmly hugged the auror. “Harry, she’s…” Ferghus softly began.

“No! She’s not dead! /She’s not dead./” Harry muttered his last words to himself, hoping it was true. Frantically, he lightly covered the pink-haired auror’s nose. “Please, don’t die Tonks. Don’t die,” he pleaded miserably. He felt a light touch of breath on his palm, and then, another. His whole body sagged in relief. “/She’s alive./” He turned his head slightly to his left, and joyfully said to Ferghus, “She’s alive!”

Ferghus lips twitched in a teasing smile. “I was going to say she’s not dead.” He knew, because he saw the Death Eater’s curse missed Harry and the auror.

“I will be if this git won’t stop squeezing me to death,” Tonks suddenly spoke in a muffled voice.

Harry quickly released her, and helped her to her feet. For a moment, he joyfully watched Tonks straightened her cloak. Unable to restrain himself, he crushingly hugged her again. “I’m glad you’re alright, Tonks.”

Tonks returned the hug. “So am I, Harry. So am I.” She pulled herself free from Harry’s overexcited embrace, and reassuringly smiled at him at arms’ length. Out of the blue, she soundly cuffed him in the head. “What were you thinking?” There was an angry glint in her eyes. “You could have been killed. We could have been killed.”

Harry was caught by surprise by Tonks’ sudden mood swing. Although still happy at seeing the auror alive, he, nevertheless, felt guilty. He contritely lowered his head. “I’m sorry. I didn’t think…”

“That’s right! You didn’t think.” Gone was the happy-go-lucky Tonks. In her place stood a pissed off auror. “Don’t you ever do anything so stupid as to attack without consulting me first. Do you understand?” She saw Harry slowly nodded his head without any complaint.

“Oh, come on, lighten up. He’s still a pup. What do you expect? And, thanks to him, we managed to save Madam Bones over there.” It didn’t escape Tonks’ notice that Ferghus chose Harry’s side. It was a blatant show of support for the young wizard.

“You’re not helping by encouraging him,” Tonks said acidly. She momentarily frowned at the ex-Death Eater who met her eyes unflinchingly. She turned her attention back to Harry. “Look, I’m sorry I was hard on you. I’m only concern for your well being. Promise me you’ll think things through, before you act on them?” She saw Harry meekly nodded his head. Tonks smiled conciliatorily. “Come on. Help me carry Madam Bones.”

“No,” Harry refused flatly. There was a harsh expression on his previously guilty face. “You can easily move her by yourself. I have to take this arsehole with us.”

“Harry, you can’t. We don’t need an extra baggage to drag around this place,” Tonks said rationally, hoping Harry would see reason.

“Watch me,” Harry answered stubbornly. He uncaringly hefted Flint’s insensate body over his shoulder.

Ferghus drew closer to Harry. “/Arglwydd Blaidd/…” he softly spoke so as not to be overheard by the pink-haired auror. The ex-Death Eater saw Harry regarded him confusedly. He could understand Harry’s obvious bafflement at his salutation. “She’s right. This piece of shite will only slow you down.” He could see the determined look on Harry’s face. The young wizard had already made up his mind. Ferghus put as much conviction to his voice as he said his next words. “I don’t know what Flint has done to earn your wrath. But, I urge you to leave him. I will personally deal with him. You have my word, /Arglwydd Blaidd/.”

Harry, frowning at Ferghus, unceremoniously dropped Flint to the floor. “You think he’ll just be a hindrance?” he asked turning to Tonks. The pink-haired auror determinedly nodded her head. “Fine. Transfigure him into a pebble then. He’ll be much easier to carry around.” He saw Tonks fidget a little. “What’s wrong now? Don’t tell me you can’t do it. I just saw you transfigured a Death Eater earlier.”

“He’s dead. It didn’t matter how he turned out. I barely passed human transfiguration, when I was at Hogwarts,” Tonks answered, annoyed.

“What about you?” Harry asked the ex-Death Eater.

Ferghus shrugged in an apologetic manner. “Don’t have much use for it.” Truth be told, he just didn’t want to waste his magic on someone like Flint. If Harry asked to dispose of him though, then, that’s another matter.

“Fine. I’ll do it myself.” Harry withdrew his wand from his cloak pocket.

Tonks grabbed his right wrist, when he pointed his wand at the unconscious Flint. “Harry, you can’t. You haven’t learned human transfiguration yet. You might disfigure him, or worse, kill him.”

“So?” Harry asked disinterestedly. “Even if I disfigure him, St. Mungo’s can set him right again. And, if I killed him…” Harry nonchalantly shrugged his shoulders. “…so what?”

“It’s not you, Harry.” Tonks’ eyes had softened as she pleaded to his better nature. “You are not heartless, much less a murderer.”

“We have to go. Some other Death Eaters may pass this way,” Ferghus said with urgency in his voice.

Harry was torn between his need for justice and survival, until finally. “Fine. I’ll leave him.” He disappointedly lowered his wand. Then, he turned to face Ferghus. “But, I’ll hold you to your words.” He felt a little satisfaction, when the ex-Death Eater nodded his agreement.

“You made the right decision, Harry.” Tonks gave him a grateful smile. “Okay, you two help me levitate all these Death Eaters inside that dungeon cell.”

Back at the main hall, Voldemort basked at the cheers of his overjoyed Death Eaters. He allowed himself to genuinely smile magnanimously. Who wouldn’t? After several years of disembodied existence and foiled plots, finally, everything was going according to his plan. With Dumbledore out of the way and Longbottom in his hands, no one could stop him now.

Voldemort lazily observed Neville from his throne dais. It looked like The Chosen One was bravely standing in middle of the hall, with wand at a ready. The brave front didn’t fool him one bit. He believed it was just an act. He believed Neville was actually terrified. His eyes glinted with malevolence. As much as he wanted to deny it, he felt giddy with anticipation at all the tortures he would subject The-Boy-Who-Lived.

“What is this place? Where am I?” Neville demandingly asked.

“As I have said earlier…” Voldemort annoyingly smirked. “…This is my humble abode. You are at Slytherin’s Keep, a fortress, which stands just off the coast of Greenwich, overlooking the English Channel. And, you are my guest…my permanent guest.”

Neville fearfully swallowed. /Permanent guest/… He knew those words would be an aft description of his situation, unless he escaped. How he would accomplish it? He didn’t know yet. Nervously looking around him, he knew escape would be next to impossible. He was surrounded by Voldemort and his Death Eaters. When Voldemort revealed the name and location of his fortress, he very well knew the dark tosser was taunting him. The Ministry, Professor Dumbledore, and Order members had been diligently looking for Voldemort’s lair. But, it was futile. They believed the Dark Lord’s stronghold was under a Fidelius Charm, among other things. By giving him this information, the vile git was actually telling him that there was no escape.

“Professor Dumbledore will find me,” Neville said confidently, even though he couldn’t quite brush aside his feeling of dread.

Voldemort laughed out loud. “I doubt it. Your precious mentor has a problem of his own. I do believe he is sleeping on the job. Otherwise, you would not be here.” He didn’t see the need to tell Neville about Dumbledore’s fate. He decided he would reveal that information when he was personally torturing The-Boy-Who-Lived.

Neville could clearly see the smug look on Voldemort’s face. He had a feeling the dark tosser was insinuating something. Did it have something to do with Professor Dumbledore? His scar had exploded in pain earlier. He felt Voldemort was extremely pleased with himself. Willfully pushing his feeling of dread aside, he hoped Dumbledore and the Order members were all safe.

“Professor Dumbledore will never abandon me. And, whatever you’re planning, he will stop you,” Neville replied with all his Gryffindor courage rising to the fore.

Voldemort laughed out loud again. “Oh, Longbottom. You are so naïve. Haven’t you realized it yet? Dumbledore is only using you. He cannot kill me, so he is using you to do his evil deeds. He made up some fake prophecy about you and me, so you will be pliable in his hands. And, you do his bidding without question…just…like…a dog.” The Dark Lord gave Neville a malicious smile. He could see the young Longbottom’s burning eyes glaring hatefully at him. He felt pleased with himself. Gryffindors. They were so easy to rile up. “How stupid are you, really? Do you honestly believe you can defeat me with your paltry magic skills and knowledge? Without that scar and the power I inadvertently gave you, you are nothing. You are no more powerful than any squib.”

Voldemort smirked inwardly. He hadn’t had so much fun in a long time. He could see Neville was gripping his wand so tightly, his knuckles had turned white. “And, to prove to you how pathetic you really are, I will have one of my Death Eaters duel you. Don’t worry. You will not be killed. But, when you do die, rests assure it will be by my hands.” Again, Voldemort gave Neville an evil smile. He had been obsessed with killing The-Boy-Who-Lived for so long, he had a mind to kill him right at that moment. But, he willfully restrained himself. The death of Neville Longbottom was going to be a momentous event that it must be savored fully.

Voldemort indifferently retreated to his throne, and regally sat down. “So, do you prefer any particular opponent?” His question was answered with a glare full of hate. “No? Very well. Lucius!” A masked Death Eater broke from the rank, and kneeled before the Dark Lord with his head bowed. “I give you the honor of testing The Chosen One’s dueling skill. I don’t want him killed or grievously injured. Do you understand?” The implied threat was unmistakable.

“I will not kill or permanently harm him, my lord,” the Death Eater replied calmly.

Neville, in the meantime, was wondering at the dueling skill of the kneeling Death Eater. Voldemort called him Lucius. Was he actually Lucius Malfoy, and not someone with the same name? If it was Lucius Malfoy, then, the Ministry forgot to inform the wizarding public of any Azkaban breakout. It was very typical of them.

Voldemort lazily turned his attention back to Neville. “Longbottom, I hope you improve since the last time we duel. I was disappointed to say the least.” Voldemort theatrically shook his head. “You ran with your tail between your legs. But, not this time. Look around you. There is no way to run.” The malicious smile was back on his lips. “Lucius, you may begin.”

Neville already had his dueling strategy planned out by the time the Death Eater stood up and faced him. Trying to stay calm, he felt a twinge of fear, nonetheless, when he finally saw the face of his opponent. It was Lucius Malfoy. And, he didn’t look please to see him. In fact, Malfoy was looking at him as if he was something to be squashed underfoot. Neville nervously gulped.

“Longbottom, you look well.” Malfoy’s greeting sounded so cold, that Neville thought he was already being hexed.

Neville took a tight grip on his fear. He tried to appear at ease, when he replied. “Thank you, I do try to stay fit. I can’t say the same thing about you though.” Malfoy looked terrible. He lost a lot of weight. His once glossy hair looked dull and unkempt. “How was your stay in Azkaban?” he asked pleasantly.

Malfoy’s lips visibly thinned. “Imperio!”

Neville barely dodged out of the way. He hadn’t expected a sudden attack from Malfoy. He was hoping to trade insults with the Death Eater to anger him and break his concentration. He succeeded on the anger part. Malfoy was more than angry now. He was practically livid as he shouted one dark curse after another. Unfortunately, Malfoy focused all his anger at Neville. Judging by the power of each dark curse, Neville believed Malfoy had completely forgot Voldemort’s order.

Another curse, another dodge and roll brought Neville closer to one of the hall pillars. He took the opportunity to hide behind it to avoid another curse. He didn’t dare attempt to magically shield himself. For one thing, he didn’t know most of the curses Malfoy hurled at him. And second, he wasn’t sure he could cast a shield powerful enough to repel all the dark curses.

“Hiding, Longbottom? Afraid to duel your better? Do you see now how insignificant you are compared to my master?” There was no mistaking the taunting mockery in Malfoy’s voice. “Come out Longbottom! Be a man and face me!” He was answered with silence. “And here I am thinking you are just another foolish Gryffindor. Perhaps, the Sorting Hat made a mistake. Perhaps, you were meant to be a Hufflepuff.”

The intended insult struck a chord. Because of his devotion to his Gran, the Sorting Hat wanted to put him in Hufflepuff. He firmly argued against his placement. He was sure Hufflepuff was a great House. But, in his mind, a Hufflepuff would not fit the image of a hero of the wizarding world.

Neville resolutely stepped out. His face held a cold demeanor. “Malfoy, you talk too much.” He stood roughly three meters away from Malfoy. “That’s what happened when you spend too much time with Voldemort.” He saw Malfoy frowned with anger when he mentioned the Dark Lord’s name. “Why don’t we cut the chit-chat, and get on with the duel.”

“Brave words from a Hufflepuff,” Malfoy said snidely. He smirked with satisfaction, when he saw Neville’s face turned red. “I’m sorry. Did I call you a Hufflepuff? My mistake. I meant to say… Squib.”

“Who me? You must have me confused with your son,” Neville retorted cheekily. Without warning, he quickly pointed his wand at the Death Eater. “Stupefy!” Malfoy was thrown backward and landed unconscious. “Sleeping, Malfoy? Do you see now what a big loser you are? I guess your mouth is bigger than your brain.” When Neville looked around him, he noticed all the Death Eaters were awfully quiet. They weren’t probably expecting Malfoy to lose.

Suddenly, the main hall exploded with shouts of protests and jeers. It was just a few moments ago that every Death Eater were laughing at Neville and cheering for Malfoy. But now, the table had turned. And, Malfoy’s fellow Death Eaters didn’t like the outcome of the duel. Some even pointed their wands at Neville.

“That right twit cheated!”

“Let’s hang him!”

“Bloody Longbottom can’t fight fair!”

“Mudblood lover!”


The uproar slowly died down. Everyone in the main hall confusedly searched for the source of the claps. Neville was surprised to see Voldemort giving him a standing ovation, although unenthusiastically. There was a condescending smile on his snake-like face. Neville uncertainly lowered his wand, and relaxed his dueling stance.

“Well done, young Longbottom.” Voldemort stepped off the throne dais, walked past the sleeping Malfoy, and stood a couple of meters away from Neville. “It was a very Slytherin attack. I did not consider you would resort to such a tactic.” He momentarily addressed his Death Eaters. “All of you… learn from Longbottom’s example. Never give your enemy a warning…”


Neville was caught off-guard. He valiantly fought off the pain, and tried to cast a curse of his own. But, it was no use. The pain was excruciating. He slowly dropped to the floor, screaming bloody murder. Surprisingly, even writhing in pain, he never let go of his wand. He should have known Voldemort would do something underhanded. He dropped his guard. He presented his enemy with a tempting target. Just when he felt he was going to pass out, the excruciating pain disappeared. He couldn’t gulp air fast enough to catch his breath, or dispel the pain.

“…And always, always expect treachery.” Voldemort finished without breaking a sweat. The Dark Lord coldly regarded the twitching body of Neville. “Goyle…” A masked Death Eater broke from the rank, and kneeled not too far from Voldemort. “Take Longbottom to the dungeon. Guard him until I get there. Do I take it you know where to put him?”

“Yes my lord,” Goyle answered promptly.

“You may leave.” Before Goyle left, he pried the wand from Neville’s hand, and respectfully presented it to his master. Voldemort indifferently studied the wand for a moment, before slipping it to his pocket. “Crabbe…” Another masked Death Eater stepped out of the rank, and kneeled before the Dark Lord. “I want to know if the Potter boy is awake. Go.” Voldemort calmly walked over to his throne, and regally sat down. He watched Longbottom laboriously walked out of the main hall, surrounded by over a dozen Death Eaters. Instead of helping Longbottom, the Death Eaters roughly shoved him forward, when he faltered.

Harry, Tonks, and Ferghus, their newly found Death Eater ally, continued their trip to the Apparition Point. Harry couldn’t help smiling at his suggestion. At first, Tonks just wanted to leave the Death Eaters locked up, bound, and silenced. But, the chance of them being accidentally found, before they could escape, was just too great. So, he suggested sticking them to the ceiling to boot.

Tonks carefully stirred Madam Bones as she and Harry followed Ferghus through the winding corridors. She felt sorry for Madam Bones. The former Head of Magical Law Enforcement looked really awful. “I don’t know Harry. Aren’t you a bit too cautious?”

Harry assumed she was referring to the Death Eaters. “So, who’s calling the kettle black now?” He smiled teasingly. “Constant Vigilance, remember? The chance of any guard inspecting the ceiling of a dungeon cell is next to none.” His eyes dropped to the unconscious Madam Bones. “Besides, it’s less than they truly deserve.”

“Yeah, I know. But…” Whatever Tonks was going to say was cut off, when Ferghus swiftly signaled for silence.

“We’re here,” Ferghus whispered tensely. He, then, prompted them to hide behind one of the big pillars that supported the overhead beams of the corridor entrance.

They had reached a big square chamber. Torches attached to the walls lit the whole area. From what Harry could see, there were two more entrances. They were also lined with big pillars. “Where are we?”

“We’re at the Apparition Point,” Ferghus softly answered still keeping a wary look out. “See those alcoves on the other side of the chamber. We need to get there.”

Harry carefully looked around the chamber. As far as he could see, it’s empty. “I don’t see anyone. What are we waiting for? Let’s go then.”

“It’s not that easy Harry.” Tonks was warily scanning the empty chamber. “There may be traps. And, we have to find Neville first, before we escape.”

“Trap is the least of our problem,” Ferghus said gravely. “Those alcoves can only be used by Death Eaters.” He avoided mentioning the Boy-Who-Lived. There was no point getting her hopes up.

Tonks grimaced inwardly. She knew it was too good to be true. She, then, heard Harry asked, “What do you mean by Death Eaters only?”

Ferghus unhesitatingly pulled up the sleeve of his cloak, and showed Harry the Dark Mark on his left forearm. “Only someone with this mark can apparate out of here.”

“A tattoo? That’s all we need to get out of here?” Harry was confused. He turned to Tonks. “Can’t you copy his tattoo, and put it on our arms?”

Tonks lips twitched in a semblance of a smile. “No, Harry. Only You-Know-Who can do that.” She saw Harry’s face remained blank. “You-Know-Who marks his followers as a binding fealty to him. The Dark Mark is permanent. The only way to sever ties with him is through death.” She cast a pitying look at Ferghus. The Death Eater’s back might be turned on them as he continuously kept watch of the chamber. But, she knew he was listening. “Besides, we can’t leave yet. We have to save Neville.” She lightly tapped Ferghus’ back. “Can you take us to the main hall, where Neville is?”

Ferghus slightly turned his head to address Tonks. “Forget Neville Longbottom. There is no way we can rescue him from the Dark Lord.” He returned to surveying the chamber again. “We should concentrate on getting out of here. Everyone may be at the main hall, enjoying whatever show the Dark Lord is putting on for his own amusement. Any guard passing by will be far in between. I can side-along apparate each of you.”

“No. We will not leave until we save him,” Tonks insisted angrily. “He is important to the wizarding world.”

“He is not important to me,” Ferghus answered blandly. “I’m already saving the person who matters to me and my people.”

“You and your people again,” Tonks said, a bit annoyed. “You didn’t tell me who your people are.”

“Like I said before, it doesn’t concern you.” There was a tone of finality in Ferghus’ voice.

Harry was beginning to feel uncomfortable again. The ex-Death Eater kept talking about him as if he’s some kind of hero. “Look, can you, at least, tell us a way to save Longbottom without committing suicide?” Harry ignored Tonks’ censuring look.

Tonks watched Ferghus from behind. She wondered if the Death Eater would help them save Neville. “Follow me.” She heard him say. She saw Ferghus briskly crossed the chamber, and entered another corridor entrance. She and Harry quickly followed. She barely kept Madam Bones from hitting the walls at the fast pace they were walking. After a few turns, she saw Ferghus opened a cell door. “In here, quickly.”

“Why are we going in there?” Harry asked, confused.

Tonks eyes narrowed in suspicion. She immediately confronted the Death Eater. “This is a trap, isn’t it? You led us into a trap.”

Ferghus sighed exasperatedly. “Haven’t I proven to you yet, that I’m on your side? Go in. I’ll explain everything to you inside.” Tonks didn’t move. Harry, taking his cue from the pink-haired auror, didn’t move either. “Very well.” Hastily taking a quick look up and down the corridor, Ferghus tensely explained himself. “I’m going to the main hall. Since I can’t take you with me, you’ll have to stay out of sight, until I come back for you.”

“Why can’t you take us with you?” Tonks asked suspiciously. “And, why hide here?”

“If you must know, the corridor leading to the main hall has areas that only Death Eaters can pass. You will just set off an alarm. I particularly chose this corridor because it’s rumored among Death Eaters, that the Dark Lord has a special room prepared for Longbottom and Dumbledore around here somewhere.” There was now an impatient look on Ferghus’ face. “We’re wasting time. I’ll come back as soon as I find out where Longbottom will be locked.”

“I think it’s too late for that.” Harry had closed his eyes. There was a look of concentration on his face. He slightly tilted his head as if listening to something. “From the number of footsteps, I say several people are heading our way.”

“Quick, get inside,” Ferghus said urgently.

This time, Tonks and Harry entered without complaint. They pressed their backs on the walls on either side of the door. Tonks occasionally peered through the small barred window, hoping they would remain undetected. Not long after, a procession of black-cloaked Death Eaters passed by their hiding place. Neville was in the middle of the group. From what little Tonks glimpsed of him, he looked dreadful.

As soon as Harry confirmed they’re at some distance away, Tonks immediately sprung into action. “We have to follow them.” She had partially opened the door, when Harry lightly pushed it closed again.

Harry was a little ticked off at the pink-haired auror. It looked to him like it was okay for Tonks to act rashly, but not him. “Now you’re acting stupid. We can’t just follow them without some sort of a plan. If we’re discovered, it’s the end of your rescue mission.”

For a moment, there was a glint of anger in Tonks eyes, before it vanished. “Yeah, you’re right. I’m sorry. I lost my head there for a minute. So, what do you suggest?” She first questioningly looked at Harry, and then, at Ferghus.

“I can follow them at a discreet distance,” Ferghus tentatively suggested. “They won’t suspect me even if they challenge me. I can always say I’m patrolling the corridor.”

“That’s right,” Tonks agreed excitedly. “And, If Harry and I disillusioned ourselves, we can follow you. You create a little distraction wherever they’re holding Neville. And, we can take them by surprise. It’s brilliant.”

“Uhm…There’s one problem with that plan.” Both Tonks and Ferghus looked at Harry, puzzled. “There are about…what? …twelve of them?” He questioningly looked Tonks for confirmation. She uncertainly nodded. “…And, there are only three of us. Surprise or not, they’re going to serve our arses on a silver platter.”

Tonks face fell. Harry had a point. She didn’t think of that. She and Ferghus could probably duel two Death Eaters, three at best. She thoughtfully considered Harry. She knew he could handle one on one duel, but against two or three opponents. She wasn’t sure. And, she didn’t know the level of the Death Eaters’ dueling skills. Considering they were guarding Neville, they would probably be formidable. Feeling a little depress, she tried to think of another course of action. When she happened to glance at Harry again, she noticed his faraway look and a devilish smile on his lips.

“You have something to share with us, Harry?” she asked hopefully.

“Well, it may not work.” Harry saw Tonks’ face turned sour. “Okay, okay… But, it will require a little bit of acting on your part to pull this off,” he said mischievously.

Tonks pulled a face. “For your information, I have been called a Drama Queen several times in my Hogwarts days.”

“Good… Because you’ll need it.” Harry beamed widely, his green eyes twinkling with mischief. “Now, here’s what we’ll do…”


Arglwydd Blaidd – Welsh; it roughly means Lord Wolf.
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