Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Second Fiddle

Surprise, Surprise

by Crucio_Crusade 13 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: Harry,Hermione,Neville,Voldemort - Warnings: [!] [V] [?] - Published: 2007-11-11 - Updated: 2007-11-12 - 6122 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 31: Surprise, Surprise

Meanwhile, back in Slytherin Keep, Voldemort was broodingly thinking of the escaped prisoners. He couldn’t understand how his glorious victories turned into one big miserable defeat. He lost Neville Longbottom, The-Boy-Who-Lived. He lost the twilight wolf, Harry Evans. He lost Amelia Bones, the former Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. He lost Goyle, even though he enjoyed losing him. And, to top it all, he might lose his fortress. His humiliation must be avenged.

His dark thought, however, was inadvertently interrupted by the arrival of his minions. The Death Eaters dutifully dropped down on their knees. Voldemort disinterestedly acknowledged their presence from his throne. “You called, my lord?” asked Yaxley in a soft, respectful voice.

Although still angry from his loses, he, nevertheless, gave his command devoid of emotion. “I want to know immediately the minute the Ministry mobilizes its auror forces. Alert our Ministry spies to keep a careful watch.”

“Yes, my lord,” Yaxley responded quickly.

“How is the building of my decoy fortress progressing?” Voldemort asked with more than a mild interest.

“Your servants are working as fast as they can, my lord,” Yaxley replied promptly.

“Tell them to work faster, if they do not want to feel my anger,” Voldemort warned with deadly calmness.

“Yes, my lord.” Yaxley knew better than to ask his master stupid questions. But, he wanted to know why they were wasting time building mock-up fortress, rather than move to a new hideout. Longbottom would surely tell the Ministry where they were. “My lord, would you like me to start relocating your prized possessions? Scrimgeour as well as the aurors must know by now where we are.” Yaxley waited with bated breath for the sting of the Cruciatus Curse. His presumption was a calculated prod for a reason. After a moment of silence, he hesitantly raised his head, and directly looked at his master’s face. When he saw his master evilly smiled at him, he immediately looked down expecting punishment. But instead…

Yaxley heard the raspy reply of the Dark Lord. “I am counting on Longbottom to tell the Ministry, and the Order of the Phoenix.” Yaxley could clearly hear a note of anticipation in his master’s voice. “I have prepared a little surprise for them.” Yaxley had expected as much. His master wouldn’t risk capture, if he wasn’t planning something. “You may leave.” Yaxley hastily left to do his master’s bidding.

“Lucius, have you found out the name of the Death Eater who betrayed me?” the Dark Lord asked grimly.

“I have, my lord,” Malfoy replied calmly.

“Who?” Voldemort asked through gritted teeth.

“A werewolf named Ferghus, my lord. He was ordered to lock the Evans boy impersonator. Instead, he helped the prisoners escape,” Malfoy reported with a hint of disgust in his voice.

Voldemort tightly clenched his fists in anger. It had started. If one werewolf easily shifted his loyalty, others would surely follow his example. He had already taken steps against the Evans boy. If it worked, this situation would be contained. “Look at me,Lucius.” Malfoy raised his head, and directly looked in his master’s eyes. “I want the traitor found.” Malfoy involuntarily shivered, even though the promise of pain in his master’s eyes wasn’t meant for him.

“As you command, my lord,” Malfoy uneasily replied. Voldemort indifferently waved his right hand in dismissal.

“Wormtail…” Peter nervously squeaked at his master’s call. “…bring me Ollivander.”

In a secluded, wooded part of Bushy Park, a loud crack announced the arrival of Ferghus with his hostage. Harry was disoriented for a moment. He wasn’t expecting the Death Eater to side-along apparate him. As soon as he was sure of solid ground beneath his feet, he swiftly whirled around. In one fluid move, he forcefully brushed Ferghus’ hand off his shoulder, and brought his borrowed wand to bear. The glowing tip was mere centimeters from the Death Eater’s nose.

“Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t curse you,” Harry declared coldly. Ferghus carefully raised both his hands shoulder high, as if to ward off the attack. Harry, noticing the wand in the Death Eater’s right hand, quickly snatched it.

“I have perfectly good reason why I brought you along with me. But, I can’t tell you right now.” At seeing Harry’s annoyed expression, Ferghus hastily continued. “I want you to meet my village’s elders. I’ll explain everything once you meet them. All I’m asking is your patience, and a chance to listen to what I have to say.”

“Just listen?” Harry asked warily.

“Yes, just listen,” Ferghus assured quickly. “And, if you don’t like what you hear, you can walk away. I won’t stop you.”

Harry thoughtfully regarded the Death Eater. “Why can’t you just tell me?” he asked, puzzled. “Why do I need to see your village elders?”

“They have to see you to believe what I’m going to tell them…and you.” Ferghus was growing frustrated from Harry’s distrust. He didn’t stun Harry earlier, because he needed his trust.

“What are you going to tell them about me?” Harry asked insistently, still hoping to get an answer.

“Just come with me,” Ferghus urged with some pleading. “I promise… I won’t stop you, if you wish to leave.”

Harry stepped back a few paces. He allowed the Death Eater to slowly lower his hands. For a few moments, he carefully considered Ferghus’ request. Truth be told, the mystery piqued his curiosity. And, if the Death Eater wanted him dead, he wouldn’t have gone to all this trouble.

“Okay… Lead on.” With his wand, Harry motioned Ferghus to walk ahead.

It didn’t take them long to reach Ferghus’ village. Harry interestedly looked around as they walked through the village center. The houses that lined the dirt path were made from logs with thatched roofs. People practically stopped and curiously stared at them, or more precisely at him. The children, however, ran away and hid behind their mothers’ skirts.

“Have all of you lived here long?” Harry asked curiously, still interestedly looking around.

“I am one of the fifth generations to be born here,” Ferghus answered proudly. At seeing the children in his village, he added, “And hopefully, more will be born here.”

“Hey! Ferghus! Picked up another stray again?” One middle-aged bloke called out loud, evidently amused.

“Nah… He followed me home. Didn’t have the heart to send him away,” Ferghus bantered back. Looking back at Harry, he noticed the young wizard didn’t have his wand pointed at him anymore. He secretly smiled in approval. He was glad Harry had enough sense to lower his wand. Otherwise, the young wolf animagus would have been attacked, before they even entered the village. Werewolves in his village didn’t respond kindly to any sign of threat. “Don’t mind him. He has an odd sense of humor.”

“I can say the same thing about you,” Harry softly muttered. He heard Ferghus quietly chuckled. Looking ahead, Harry noticed they were heading towards a small gray tent at the end of the dirt path.

“Here we are,” Ferghus declared with aplomb. He pulled the tent flap, and motioned Harry to enter.

“After you,” Harry said slyly. After following Ferghus inside, he was taken aback by the size of the room. It was as big as the first floor of his Aunt Petunia’s house. The interior of the tent had no other room, however. It was like one big sitting room. The floor was made of packed earth. There were three ornate wooden chairs positioned side by side, at the end of the room facing the entrance. On his left and right sides, long wooden benches formed a line, creating an impression of a barricade. Decorations of flowers and wood carvings softened the Spartan appearance of the room. He knew the dueling room at number twelve Grimmauld Place was magically expanded. But, it was never apparent to him like it was with this tent. “I’m going to learn this spell. It’s dead useful.”

Ferghus smiled, amused. “Wait here. I’ll call the elders. They probably know by now there’s a stranger in the village.” But, before he could leave, Harry quickly pointed his wand at him. “Look… I could have shouted for help out there, but I didn’t. That alone should tell you I mean you no harm.” Ferghus didn’t move. He waited patiently till Harry made up his mind. He got his answer, when Harry slowly lowered his wand. As the tent flaps closed behind him, he hoped he could convince the young lord wolf of his destiny.

“No! Absolutely not!” objected Professor McGonagall strongly. Her cheeks suffused with the heat of her denial. “This mission is not for children, Moody. What will Mrs. Longbottom and Professor Dumbledore say if something happens to him?”

Ever since Neville barged into the room, announcing he knew Voldemort’s hideout, Professor McGonagall, Minister Scrimgeour, and Mad Eye Moody were engaged in heated debate. Since Neville was the only one who had knowledge of Voldemort’s whereabouts, Scrimgeour and Mad Eye were in agreement he came along. Professor McGonagall, however, thought otherwise.

“McGonagall, there is no other way. If we are to attack You-Know-Who’s fortress, we need Longbottom,” Scrimgeour reasoned vehemently. “He’s the only one who can point us to the right direction.”

“He’s right, professor. We need Longbottom on this one,” Mad Eye repeated strongly.

“Please, professor, let me go with them,” Neville urged earnestly. “We may never have another chance like this.”

McGonagall’s demeanor hardened with displeasure. She was absolutely against the idea. They nearly lost Neville. And, here they were, willing to throw Neville into the fire again. There must be a better way. She was carefully considering other options, when another voice broke her train of thoughts.

“If Neville’s going, we’re going too,” Ron demanded honorably. “We can help. We know how to fight Death Eaters.”

“Yeah!” agreed Ginny loudly. The other students just nodded their heads in agreement. McGonagall looked at the determined faces of the students, and sighed in frustration. Didn’t anyone realize the danger involved in this mission?

James, who had so far stayed out of the argument, suddenly spoke. “Maybe not on an attack.” Everyone quizzically turned in his direction. “Shacklebolt and I, along with a select few, can go on a reconnaissance.” He looked steadily at McGonagall, gauging her reaction. “A group of five, maybe six, can accompany Neville, and have him point Voldemort’s location.” The minister as well as others visibly flinched, when the Dark Lord’s name was mentioned. “Ward breakers can, then, mark the site and portkey coordinates. Once our objective has been accomplished, Neville will be returned here at Hogwarts, safe and sound. Now, while the reconnaissance is underway, the aurors can make preparation for an assault at Voldemort’s fortress.” James meaningfully looked at the minister who flinched again. “They should be ready to portkey by the time we get back. With any luck, we should be able to coordinate all these with as little time as possible.” He looked at everyone waiting for any comment to his plan.

“It is a waste of time. Just as this debate is a waste of time,” Scrimgeour objected at once. “You-Know-Who is no fool. He knew he made a blunder, when Longbottom escaped. He will pack up everything, and abandon his fortress. I say we strike now, while there is still time.”

McGonagall couldn’t deny the logic in the minister’s argument. The more they delayed to attack, the more time they gave You-Know-Who to escape. “I will not allow Mr. Longbottom to endanger his life, even though he accepts the consequence of his action. Besides, if what you say is true, minister, if You-Know-Who had already abandoned his fortress, then, there is no need to pursue this course of action.”

Mad Eye could see McGonagall needed more convincing. “Professor, many lives have been lost to this war. We can end it…right now. Let us help Longbottom fulfill his destiny.”

At the mention of Neville’s destiny, everyone could see McGonagall was reconsidering her stand. With a stern look on her face, she said to Scrimgeour, “He can go…” She saw the minister smiled with triumph, and Neville smiled with gratitude. “…on a reconnaissance mission.” Scrimgeour’s smile fell. McGonagall inwardly smiled with satisfaction. She, then, turned to James. “I expect you to bring him home, once You-Know-Who’s fortress has been found.”

“You can count on me, professor,” James confidently assured the headmistress. He momentarily glanced at Scrimgeour. He could tell the minister didn’t like the decision. He couldn’t blame him. He was, after all, the Minister for Magic. And, a mere headmistress just overrode his decision. This couldn’t be good for the mission.

“What about us?” Ron objected mutinously.

Always the voice of reason, Hermione replied bossily, “We stay here, out of everyone’s way.”

Scrimgeour was back in his office at the Ministry. At the moment, he was busy reading and signing parchments brought to him by his junior assistant. He momentarily stopped, however, as soon as the three wizards he was expecting entered.

“Gentlemen, please, have a seat. I will be with you shortly. Weasley have those parchments sent out as soon as possible.” Percy hurriedly picked up the signed parchments and left, firmly closing the door behind him. The three wizards, seated in front of the Scrimgeour’s desk, waited patiently for him to speak. “Half an hour ago, Auror Moody along with five other aurors went on a reconnaissance mission.”

“What!” Robards, Head of Auror Office, exclaimed in surprise. He almost jumped out of his chair. “I didn’t give an order for any reconnaissance mission. Who authorized it?”

“Relax, Robards. I authorized it,” Scrimgeour explained dismissively.

The head auror scowled with annoyance. “I would appreciate it, minister, if you would inform me in advance. Not just tell me when they’re already on the field. I need to know where my men are at all times, in case they need help.”

“Time is of the essence, Robards,” Scrimgeour explained simply. “However, that’s not the reason I called you here.” The three wizards visibly grew more attentive. “We have a solid lead on the location of You-Know-Who.” A look of disbelief spread across the faces of the three wizards. “I have no time to explain. It’s a long story.” Scrimgeour looked pointedly at Robards. “What I want you to do is to send all your available aurors to the village of Greenwitch. Make sure you include ward and curse breakers.” He, then, turned to the two wizards sitting beside Robards. “Dawlish, Thicknesse, you will be my guards.” Scrimgeour stood up, and summoned his cloak. Robards, Dawlish, and Thicknesse stood up as well.

“Pardon me, minister. But, as Head of Auror Office, I cannot allow you to go to a potentially dangerous situation. Your place is here, in the Ministry, not out in the battlefield,” Robards argued convincingly.

Scrimgeour smiled smugly. “I was Head of Auror Office, long before I became a minister. I haven’t lost my dueling skills, just because I’m the minister.” He started walking towards the door, the three wizards following close behind. “Send those aurors to Greenwitch right away. I want to make sure I cut the serpent’s head, before he slithers away.”

“Do you realize what you have done!” a white-haired, wrinkly, old crone exclaimed vehemently. “You have brought down the Dark Lord’s wrath upon us! AND, FOR WHAT? FOR A MYTH?” The old crone pointed a shaking, bony finger at Harry. “I don’t even believe he is that myth! He doesn’t even smell like a werewolf!”

Harry uncomfortably felt like an animal in a zoo. Everywhere he looked. People were gawking, and pointing at him. When words broke out about the identity of the stranger in their midst, the tent was suddenly filled to full capacity. People of all ages had crammed themselves inside, just to see the so-called legendary twilight wolf.

“It’s true!” Ferghus insisted fervently. “I have seen it with my own eyes. He is a twilight wolf. I’ll bet my life on it.” But, the three elders remained unconvinced. The Death Eater might as well be talking to zombies from the interest the elders were showing.

“Your life?” the old man, sitting on the crone’s right side, asked with derision. “What about our lives? Have you ever thought of everyone in this village, when you betrayed the Dark Lord?”

“Yes, I have,” Ferghus replied with conviction. “It is the very of thought of everyone in this village, that I betrayed the Dark Lord. Don’t you see?” He pointed at Harry to emphasize his next words. “He is our salvation!”

“Salvation?” the old crone asked disbelievingly. She critically looked at Harry, and studied him for a moment. “He is our salvation? A mere boy? What can he do?”

Harry had heard enough. They had been arguing about him for some time now. But, no one had bothered to ask him what he thought about the whole idea. He understood their skepticism, when they were told of what he was. Hell, he didn’t believe it either. First, he was just a squib. Then, he was a wizard. And now, he’s a twilight wolf. What would he become next? A lord of something? Then, suddenly, he remembered Ferghus’ salutations to him earlier. But, he immediately rejected the thought. It was preposterous.

“For your information, I am sixteen years old. I am not a boy,” Harry interrupted without as much as a by your leave. He noticed everyone looked at him as if he lost his mind. But, he was past caring. “Secondly, I can do this.” With his arms akimbo, and his head regally held high, he performed a fast, rhythmic dance steps. He knew he looked silly, but he was dying to show his Lord of the Dance routine. The room was momentarily filled with scattered gasps and giggles.

“SILENCE!” the old man shouted irately. Harry stopped with open hands raised high above his head, and legs crossed with his right foot en pointe. There was another burst of gasps and giggles. The old man briefly glared at the people around the room. “This is no laughing matter!” Then, he glowered at Harry with annoyance. “And you, young pup, has not been given permission to speak...or to dance.” There was a hint of amusement in the old man’s eyes, when he said the last word.

“So, sue me,” Harry retorted unconcernedly. “Look, you don’t believe I’m this twilight wolf. That makes four of us…” He looked around him to make sure everyone’s listening. “…or thirty of us.” He noticed some of the listeners had disappointed expressions. He inwardly shook himself, and directed his attention back to the elders again. “The point is… I don’t believe him either. Now, I was told I’m a wolf animagus, but that’s it. I’m not this mythical twilight wolf, this bloke’s been talking about. If you want to know my opinion, I think he drank Firewhisky one time too many. I won’t be surprised, if he sees me as a pink elephant. So, if it’s all the same to you, I’m leaving.”

Slowly, Harry began to walk backwards. He also babbled, while he made his exit to the confusion of the elders and the crowd. “It’s nice meeting you all. I, for one, am glad we’ve come to an agreement. I’m not this twilight wolf. I’m telling you, what a relief that is. It’s all in his mind, really,” he said pointing at Ferghus while continuing his backward retreat. He felt amused at the Death Eaters stunned expression. “I hope you, honorable elders, will put an end to his ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous, fantasy?” He gave the Death Eater a mollifying shrugged, even though he didn’t feel sorry at all.

Ferghus, however, gave him a predatory smile in return. Harry abruptly stopped. He didn’t like the expression on the Death Eater’s face. With his head held high, Ferghus faced his elders again. The crowd transferred their attention to him. Ferghus gracefully pointed at Harry, and in a very clear voice, importantly announced, “He defeated the Dark Lord in a duel to the death!” Dead silence greeted his announcement. The crowd whipped their attention back to Harry. Then, slowly, murmurs of shock and disbeliefs increased in volume.

Harry was immediately at Ferghus’ side. “What are you doing?” he whispered in anger. “You said you will let me leave, if I don’t like what I hear. Well, guess what? I didn’t like it.” Harry tried to evoke a feeling of guilt from the Death Eater. “You also promised not to stop me. What happened to that promise?”

“I didn’t stop you,” Ferghus facetiously whispered back to him. “Do you see anyone holding you, preventing you from leaving?” The Death Eater exaggeratedly looked around him to prove his point.

Harry angrily frowned at Ferghus. “You know full well what you did.” Harry, then, turned his head towards the blocked exit. “These people will not let me leave now, until they find the truth. What good will that do you or anyone here? I don’t even know. And, if I did defeat him, I don’t remember.”

Ferghus somberly looked at him. “You did. Believe me, you defeated the Dark Lord.”

Harry remained unconvinced. His doubt showed on his face. “How?”

“Because you are a twilight wolf,” Ferghus replied earnestly. “You have powers no one has seen for over a thousand years. Why do you think the Dark Lord is interested with you?”

For a moment, Harry was at a loss for word. “I don’t know. Maybe…”

“Is it true young man?” the middle-aged wizard on the old crone’s left asked curiously, interrupting Harry and Ferghus’ private conversation. The change from a boy to a young man didn’t escape Harry’s notice. “Did you really defeat the Dark Lord in a duel?” He also noticed the calm manner in which the man spoke. Harry was curious how someone became an elder in that village. The man looked just a little older than Ferghus.

Harry sighed in annoyance. His full attention was once again directed at the village elders. “I don’t know. Why don’t you ask him?” He briefly tipped his head sideways at Ferghus who was alertly standing at his right side. “He seems to know.”

The middle-aged elder expectantly looked at the Death Eater. “It’s true,” Ferghus answered with great certainty.

“You witnessed this /duel/?” the old crone asked disbelievingly.

For a moment, there was an uncomfortable silence from Ferghus. “No.” The two old elder’s reactions to his answer were predictable. They were angry and suspicious. The middle-aged elder, however, had a calculating look on his face. “Weylin told me. He heard the story from someone who did. I believe him.” Ferghus noted the two older elders looked unconvinced. “It is the truth! This duel has been the talk of every Death Eater at the Dark Lord’s fortress for several days now!”

The old crone appeared to be considering Ferghus’ claim. “Weylin… Why does that name sound familiar?”

“Weylin is the son of Bowen, Mista,” the middle-aged elder supplied helpfully. The old crone remained clueless. With amusement evident in his face, the middle-aged elder added further descriptions. “Weylin is the one who claimed that dragons used to rule the Earth.” The old crone scowled sourly. “He also believes that muggles have the power to destroy the wizarding world, ten times over.”

From Harry’s muggle viewpoint, Weylin was right. But, from the reactions of everyone around him, Weylin seemed to be considered as a joke. He didn’t want to get involved with Ferghus’ plan, whatever that is. Still, he felt sorry for the bloke. Not believing the Death Eater was one thing. But, being made a fool in front of everyone was another. And, Harry regretted attempting to get the same result earlier.

“I see.” The old crone’s face was neutral, but her eyes were burning with anger. “I believe I heard enough.” She continued to regard Ferghus with her furious gaze. “You should be ashamed of yourself. You made a mockery of this council. You try to fool your own people with lies and myth.” She threw Harry a scornful look. And then, she determinedly stood up. The other two elders followed suit. “If you really care about your people, you will return to the Dark Lord, and beg his forgiveness.” With finality, she spoke to the crowd. “This council meeting is over!”

“Wait! I am not lying! I’m telling you the truth!” Ferghus desperately looked around him, hoping to gain some support from a few believers. But, no one spoke. “Snodgrass! You believe me, don’t you?” The man Ferghus called just turned his head as if he didn’t hear anything. “Beckley! Willard!…” Like Snodgrass, they just ignored Ferghus. Beginning with the elders, the crowd slowly piled out of the tent, until Harry and Ferghus were the only ones left.

With his head bowed and fists tightly clenched at his sides, Ferghus felt more angry than humiliated. He couldn’t bear to look at Harry. He was ashamed…ashamed of his people’s blindness and short-mindedness. “Hey, don’t take it so hard.” He heard Harry’s soft, consoling voice. “Like you, everyone is entitled to believe what they want. Who knows? They may one day accept what you claim is true.” Ferghus felt a little better hearing those words. There’s still hope the young wolf animagus was beginning to accept his heritage. “Not that I believe I’m this twilight wolf, mind you.” Harry’s last words put a damper on Ferghus rising spirit.

Ferghus slowly raised his head, a small smile playing on his lips. “Thank you. You’re a good man, my lord.”

“Stop right there!” There was an annoyed expression on Harry’s face. “I am not your lord. As far as I know, the Queen hasn’t given me that title. So, stop calling me your lord. My name is Harry Evans.” Harry extended his right hand. “You can call me Harry.”

“Ferghus Hywel,” the Death Eater replied, shaking Harry’s hand at the same time. “You can call me Ferghus.” He noticed Harry was trying to keep a straight face, as their handshake ended. “You find something amusing with my name?”

“I’m sorry. I couldn’t help it,” Harry apologized, trying to contain his mirth. “It’s just that the name of the former Duchess of York pops up in my head. Out of the blue, just like that.” Harry loudly snapped his fingers for emphasis. He noticed the Death Eater’s quizzical expression. “Her friends call her Fergie. But don’t worry. I won’t call you Fergie, Ferghus.” Harry tightly clamped his lips together to prevent himself from laughing out loud.

“You better not or else,” Ferghus warned threateningly. The tent flaps opened, and someone entered. The new arrival drew Harry and Ferghus’ attention.

The man was tall and broad shouldered. He has an unkempt brown hair and a five o’clock shadow on his square-jawed face. He was about the same age as Ferghus. Like most wizards, he’s wearing an outdated coat and trousers. Unlike most wizards, his clothes were threadbare.

“Harry! Thank Merlin I found you!” There was an evident relief in the stranger’s face and voice. “There’s trouble heading this way. You have to get out of here.”

“Have we met?” Harry was both surprise and confuse. He looked at Ferghus for enlightenment. But, Ferghus just shrugged his shoulders, also clueless.

“Not yet. Come on.” The stranger grabbed a hold of Harry’s right forearm, and pulled him towards the exit.

Harry resisted vehemently. “Now wait a bloody minute! I’m not going with you. I don’t even know you.”

“I’ll explain later,” the stranger said urgently. “They’ll be here any minute now.”

Harry brusquely pulled his arm free from the stranger’s tight grip. “Who will be here? And, who are you anyway? I haven’t met you before. Why should l come with you? How did you know my name?” Harry would have continued with his barrage of questions, if the stranger didn’t cut him off.

“Like I said, I’ll explain later. But for now, we have to go.” The stranger tentatively turned his body half-way around, expecting Harry to follow him. “Come on.”

But, Harry didn’t move. “I’m not going anywhere with you without an explanation.”

Ferghus quickly stood in front of Harry, blocking his view of the stranger. “And, you can’t make him. Not while I’m still around.”

Harry could feel tension building. If he didn’t do something, Ferghus and the stranger would come to blows. Harry stepped beside Ferghus, and lightly patted his shoulder to get his attention. “If you’re getting ready for a fight, you may want to use this.”

For a moment, Ferghus merely looked at him with confusion. And then, he looked down. There on Harry’s right hand was his wand. Harry was giving it back to him. He gratefully took the wand, and gave Harry a brief nod in thanks.

“Look, I didn’t come here to fight. I just want to keep Harry safe.” The stranger was looking at them sincerely.

“Why would you do that? Who are you anyway?” Ferghus demanded seriously, his wand ready at his side.

It was obvious to the stranger, Harry wasn’t going anywhere without an explanation. It was very typical of him. It was also obvious Harry’s adopted guardian wouldn’t let him go either, not without a fight. “Alright, you win. My name is Ambrose Huxley. I’m a Death Eater.” Huxley raised the left hand sleeve of his cloak. Sure enough, the mark of Voldemort was there. “Malfoy knows he’s here.” Huxley somewhat accusingly pointed at Ferghus. “He’s on his way to capture him, and take him to the Dark Lord. Malfoy won’t hesitate to capture you too, if he sees you with him.”

Harry looked with concern at Ferghus. “What are you going to do now?”

There was a thoughtful look on Ferghus’ face. “I don’t know.” He was silent for a moment, thinking. “Obviously, I can’t just leave and hide.”

“Why?” Harry asked, confuse.

“The Dark Lord will vent his wrath on the villagers.” Huxley quietly answered for Ferghus. “No one can stay hidden for long from the Dark Lord. Otherwise, the hunted’s family will suffer, in this case, his whole village.” Huxley gave Ferghus a look of sympathy.

Harry’s face hardened at the grim consequence of Ferghus’ defiance. “Well, what are we waiting for?” He looked determinedly at Ferghus. “Let’s go warn your people.” Without waiting for an answer, he headed immediately towards the exit.

“Harry, wait!” Ferghus anxiously called out loud. But, Harry just kept on walking.

Huxley smiled with bemusement at Harry’s retreating back. “Harry is still young. He hasn’t lost his impulsive behavior.” Huxley noticed his fellow Death Eater was looking at him with interest and suspicion. “It’s a long story. I’ll tell you later…if we survive.”

“I look forward to hearing it. It sounds very intriguing.” Instead of answering, Huxley chuckled and followed Harry outside with a suspicious Ferghus not far behind.

It was almost five o’clock in the afternoon, when Harry watched the last of the villagers disappeared to places unknown. It wasn’t easy convincing everyone to leave, despite the threat of You-Know-Who. After all, this village had been their home for a long, long time. And now, their entire lives were disrupted, because of a betrayal by one man. Ferghus was lucky his people didn’t kill him themselves. They just banished him from their tribe. Harry was declared persona non grata, so to speak. He’s not welcome to their village, if there was going to be another one.

“Well, that’s the last of them,” Harry said as soon as the elders disapparated. “Do you think your people will return here, when the danger has passed?” Harry looked around sadly at the empty village.

“No. The Dark Lord doesn’t believe in leaving enemy stronghold intact,” Huxley answered gravely. “Everything will be burned to the ground. All that will be left are ashes.”

Harry walked over to Ferghus with a somber expression. “Where are you going to hide?” Ferghus didn’t answer right away. He was lost in his own thought for a moment. Harry assumed he just didn’t want to risk being found. “Hey, you don’t have to tell me, if it’ll put you in jeopardy.”

Ferghus briefly shook his head. “I have a few places in mind.” There was a sad, nostalgic expression on his face. “Hard to believe I caused this. A few hours ago, this village was full of life. Now, look at it.” The place looked like a ghost village. Then, he looked at Harry with a set face. “But, I still believe you are our hope. And someday, my people will believe in you too.”

For a moment, Harry looked uncomfortable. “Uhmm… I think it’s time to go. I don’t want to be here, when the Death Eaters arrive.”

“I agree.” Harry didn’t noticed Huxley’s presence behind him until he spoke. “We definitely don’t want to be here.”

Ferghus nodded at Huxley in agreement. “So, where to Harry?”

“Pardon?” Harry asked in surprise.

“He’s asking where we are going,” Huxley explained helpfully. Like Ferghus, he was looking at him expectantly.

Harry frowned at Huxley in annoyance. “I know that. What I want to know is why is he asking me? Aren’t you two going somewhere else? It’s nothing personal, okay. I just don’t like the idea of two grown men following me around.” Huxley and Ferghus guardedly looked at each other. After a few suspicious moments, the two seemed to have silently reached an agreement.

“Nope. I can’t think of any place to go. I’m not from around here, if you must know.” Huxley, then, curiously turned to Ferghus. “You?”

“Well…” Ferghus apologetically looked at Harry. “I was planning to hide. But, I swore an allegiance to you, even though you don’t remember. You don’t want me to dishonor myself by going back on my word, do you?” Ferghus gave him a puppy look. It would have worked, if the face belonged to a child. But on a grown-up, it only made him look weird.

Harry rolled his eyes in exasperation. “Oh, brother…” It seemed to him that Ferghus conveniently forgot his sworn allegiance to Voldemort. He and Huxley wouldn’t have been marked, otherwise. “Do whatever you like. I’m tired. I’m hungry. I’m going home.” There was a soft pop. Huxley and Ferghus were left by themselves. Both had a look of surprise on their faces.

“I didn’t know he could apparate,” Ferghus said in wonder.

“Me neither,” Huxley replied secondly.

For a moment, they looked at the vacant spot where Harry disapparated, undecided.

“So, what now?” Ferghus quizzically looked at his fellow Death Eater. “He said he’s going home. Do you know where home is?” Ferghus critically regarded the other Death Eater. Huxley seemed to know a lot about Harry. And yet, Harry himself said he hadn’t met Huxley before now. It would be really interesting to hear Huxley’s story.

“As a matter of fact, I do.” Huxley equally regarded the other Death Eater, critically. “But, the question is, do you trust me enough to get you there?”
Sign up to rate and review this story