Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Blood's Sacrifice

Understanding and A Map

by ShadeDancer 0 reviews

Chapters 11 and 12

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Action/Adventure - Characters: Blaise Zabini, Harry - Warnings: [!!] [?] - Published: 2006-02-19 - Updated: 2006-02-20 - 3309 words

Changes have been made to previous chapters in this story!

Disclaimer: Alas, Harry Potter, I do not own.

Potion's class on Thursday turned out to be interesting as Draco finally showed back up and Ron was forced to help him prepare his ingredients by Professor Snape. Of course Draco insulted Ron's preparations and set himself about making sure the class turned out to be hell for everyone who had to hear his whiney little voice. Eventually though, Draco tired of his sport and turned to his next favorite victim. Draco was always trying to goad Harry into saying or doing something because Harry was one of the few people who would not rise to Draco's bait; Blaise was the other, but her pureblood status kept Draco from focusing on her as much as he focused on Harry.

"And what about you, Potter?" Draco's nasal voice was pitched low, "They've spotted Black nearby. Thinking of trying to catch him single-handedly, or will you stay huddled behind your bodyguards?"

Harry raised an eyebrow while still focusing on his potion, "I don't see what business of yours it is what I think."

Draco was undeterred, "Maybe you'd rather not risk your neck, but if it was me I'd want revenge."

"And what do you know of revenge," Blaise's mouth formed a small smirk, "spineless, childish pranks and running to your daddy so he can take care of everything for you?"

Draco fumed, but Harry spoke before the Malfoy heir could say anything caustic and bring too much attention towards their conversation.

"It's a good thing I'm not you then," Harry carefully added the last ingredient before lowering the fire so his potion would simmer, "because it sounds like you would go off half-cocked like a heroic Gryffindor and get yourself killed. A Slytherin on the other hand would wait and bide his time, but Black is of no interest to me, so none of that really matters."

"Don't you know then?" Draco, successfully diverted from the insult Blaise had played on him, was gleeful at the thought of having some secretive bit of knowledge.

"Oh, I know about Black's betrayal," Harry was just as calm as always even though he longed to punch Draco, "but I don't see any reason to let it concern me. The past is the past and I have no reason to complain about the present."

Draco began to sputter and scramble for a comeback, but Snape interrupted whatever he had been going to say by announcing that they would be testing their shrinking potions and no one wanted to miss Trevor the Toad being the first victim; Neville was such a screw-up when it came to potions.

~~ ~~ ~*~

"Can I prank him?" Blaise demanded as they left class a bit later, "or perhaps just straight up hex him. That little bastard, he was hoping to goad you into doing something foolish. I'll strangle him with my bare hands."

Harry couldn't help but grin, things were starting to feel more back to normal as Blaise's indignation rose in his favor, "don't worry about it Blaise, we'll get him back, but right now we need to head to lunch. I'm starving! We're also supposed to meet up with the twins and plan a prank, maybe we'll make it on Draco. I also want to talk to Professor Lupin some more, Vasile and Nara still aren't sure about him, but he interests me."

Blaise nodded, eagerness showing in her eyes, "we have to get him to teach us that spell he used on the dementors, I have a feeling it will come in handy. I'd ask Vasile or Nara, but I think they're having trouble with the spell themselves and won't admit to it."

The two friends continued to banter as they walked towards lunch, Vasile and Nara sharing relieved looks as they trailed along behind just out of earshot. They had noticed that while Harry and Blaise had seemed as close as ever, that there had been a little distance between them, yet neither of the two had really acknowledged it and had been content to act as if everything had been fine. Now though, it looked as if everything was fine and the two were back to their old selves. Hopefully it was just one of those awkward, growing up things that happen occasionally because Vasile didn't think Blaise or Harry would be alright if a rift truly did grow between them; they had always been together and it would be like the end of the world if their friendship would ever break.

~~ ~~ ~*~

"Oi! Harry, Blaise," the twins caught up to them in the hallway as they left lunch early to make for an abandoned classroom, but they quickly backpedaled as Vasile moved into their line of sight with a glare, "uh, we'll catch you later."

Vasile waited until they were out of sight before he began to laugh. Harry and Blaise glared at him.

"We were going to plan a prank with them," Blaise was almost pouting.

"Yeah," Harry chimed in, "you really need to cut those two some slack already. You've put them through enough penance for squirting you with the water-gun. If they had been real assailants with real weapons you would have been on them before they could have even thought to pull anything, but it was just the twins and they always skulk around the house."

"But that's the problem," Vasile finally vented what had been bothering him, "I got used to their presence and we already know betrayal is possible. What if it hadn't been a water-gun, but a real one? I would have failed you and your father."

Nara moved to Vasile's side and actually put an arm around him, silently giving him support as he stood with his head bowed.

"Are you worried about betrayal?" Harry asked sharply, "Is there any indication that someone might be betraying us, or that any of our guests over the summer meant us harm? If there is, then you need to tell my dad; if there isn't, then you need to get over being pranked. It's not the first time you've ever been pranked, and it won't be the last."

"It was the first time with a water-gun though," Vasile seemed to be glad to finally get this off his chest, "it could have just as easily been a real gun. I'm not suspicious of anyone; I guess I'm just on edge. Before now I've always kept a fine line between the magical world and the mafia one, but now those two worlds are combining and there is danger in both. Too few of the Clan are magical, if a wizard was to attack without warning we would lose men just because their disbelief in magic. Nara has the same worries."

Harry nodded his understanding and moved to lay a hand on Vasile's arm, "we know, and Trevor is working on it. He's gathering together what he calls his 'Old Crowd'. Dad is also planning on revealing the existence of magic to the Clan soon, I think it'll be easier for them to accept than we believe; dad realizes that it can't be put off much longer and we can feel that something is coming. The Darkov Clan has always adapted to any situation, has never fallen, and we aren't about to lose now."

"Harry's right," Blaise added her own support from where she stood beside Nara, "and dad and Manuel are going to need you to be doubt-free when they do mix our two worlds. You, Nara, Bill, Harry, dad, and I are the only magically inclined people within the Clan right now and it will be up to the six of us to make sure that we're prepared for whatever comes."

"That means more training," Nara warned the two, "more offensively inclined training instead of the year-by-year schooling Trevor is putting you two through to make sure your education is well-rounded."

Blaise grinned, "we know, and if it cuts down on the history we have to learn, we're all for it."

"It'll also cut into your pranking time," Vasile added in better spirits.

"You wish," Harry retorted, "those pranks serve and important purpose in our training. Playing pranks insures creative thinking and is in itself a lesson in stealth maneuvers. Pranks require planning, not only of the prank itself, but covering your tracks so that you don't get caught. Setting up a prank, especially in off-limit areas, requires sneaking around without getting caught. Pranks are an essential part of training."

Vasile and Nara rolled their eyes in tandem, causing Harry and Blaise to snicker and earning them odd looks from their two bodyguards.

"Well," Nara stated as a faint rumbling was heard through the halls of Hogwarts, "now that we've gotten that out of our systems and wasted away the last few minutes of lunch, you two have a transfiguration class to get to and a review test to take."

Harry and Blaise groaned, but dutifully headed for the stairs and Professor McGonagall's classroom. They had been warned that they would be having a test reviewing what they had learned in the past two years in class and were confident that they would pass it easily after Trevor's lessons, but that didn't make them any more eager to take the test.

"Has Penny talked to you anymore since you told her?" Blaise asked out of blue as they left class, Vasile and Nara had fallen behind enough to give them a semblance of privacy while they talked.

"Yeah," Harry smiled slightly, glad that things felt right between him and Blaise again, "she's more understanding than I thought. I'm just glad that she hasn't realized that dad invited her to the Manor as a hostage to keep her father in line, I do truly count her as a friend and think she'll be useful to have around."

Blaise nodded, remembering Manuel's reaction when he had discovered that Mr. Clearwater had let Harry's attacker into his own party in order to take care of the Darkov Prince. Harry had already been asked about having Penny over and Manuel had agreed in order to put pressure upon Mr. Clearwater and force his compliance; Mr. Clearwater hadn't dared refuse allowing Penny to come for the visit once Manuel had personally extended the invitation. Harry and Blaise had wondered briefly why Manuel didn't just kill Mr. Clearwater, but then had realized that it was because he didn't want to risk losing Mrs. Clearwater's connections in the wizarding world; if he had killed Mr. Clearwater, Mrs. Clearwater would have had to die as well or they would have risked her causing trouble with the very connections they desired to exploit. It had been hard for both Harry and herself to act normal around Penny even though they knew that one wrong step by her father would seal the girls fate.

"How about Percy? I know you've been sounding him out this summer for your dad. I would have asked earlier, but there never seemed to be a time to get you alone this summer and then school started-" Harry shrugged as he trailed off, knowing he didn't need to explain further.

Blaise blew a strand of hair out of her face in frustration, "he needs to loosen up and stop being a pompous know-it-all. There's a fire in him, a hidden determination to be someone, but other than that I haven't really had much a chance to talk to him without others being around. The Weasley's had way too many kids and half of them annoy the hell out of me."

"I know," Harry chuckled, "Bill and the twins are the only ones that don't annoy me, though I'm not sure I would trust the twins with any type of weapons. If Percy would loosen up he would have possibilities, especially if he succeeds and gets a position in the Ministry or as a Law-wizard. Charlie is just too nice, too open, while Ron and Ginny are just annoying pains in the ass. They are the most pettish and immature of the Weasley children and the ones I wish we never had to invite over. It's so hard to remain polite to their faces when I just want to tell them to go screw themselves. If it wouldn't seem odd not to invite them when we invite the others, they wouldn't ever set foot on our property again."

"I'll second that," Blaise replied fervently, before falling into humor "they're like an invasion, only if it was a true invasion we could just kill them and be rid of the problem."

Harry snorted and shook his head as he joked back, "not that easy, there would still be the bodies to dispose of and Bill wouldn't be too happy with us if he found out. Besides, we can't kill people merely because they annoy us, that would mean lowering ourselves to the level of the other Mafia clans."

Blaise rolled her eyes, "of course, I forgot, the almighty Darkov clan is too sophisticated for such things."

Harry couldn't help it, he burst out laughing, "sophisticated my ass, dad just doesn't want to deal with the paperwork unless it's actually necessary. Besides, you can't scare a corpse."

"You're hopeless," Blaise was laughing as well by the time Nara and Vasile drew even with them to find out what was so funny.

"So are you Blaise," Harry grinned at Vasile and Nara, but didn't tell them a thing, "so are you."

~~ ~~ ~*~

The letter summoning Nara and Vasile home came one morning during breakfast right before Halloween causing the Wolf and Dagger to depart immediately-at least two of the lesser Mafia clans had banded together to rise up against he Darkov's. It appeared that Mr. Clearwater hadn't liked being put under pressure that summer and had decided to do something about it while he thought his daughter was safe at Hogwarts with Dumbledore and out of Manuel Darkov's reach; his limited knowledge of the Darkov clan had been enough to entice at least the two clans to work together and form a plan that might actually have a chance to see success.

The combined clans had attacked the Darkov Manor directly and instigated what might turn into a full-scale Mafia war. Manuel wasn't going to take any chances to the contrary and was calling home the best of his Guards and specialized warriors, the Darkov Clan would prevail and that meant the rival clans had to be destroyed utterly so that none of the other lesser clans decided that banding together might give them a chance. That Manuel was calling Vasile and Nara away from Harry and Blaise's side told both children that at the very least Manuel suspected a trap in the attack and that things were possibly worse than what the letter had hinted, but they had been ordered to stay at the relative safety of Hogwarts under Severus' protection until Vasile and Nara could return.

It made both Harry and Blaise feel helpless and they unhappily realized that they would probably feel like this often over the next few years until they graduated from Hogwarts, waiting for the news that those they cared about were safe. It also made them realize how much they had actually been kept out of the action when they had been at home, the times they had actually faced real and deadly battle having been when there hadn't been time for them to get to a safe vantage point or when they had been attacked off the grounds. These realizations drove Harry and Blaise to their practice room within the castle the moment classes were over for the day where they worked on honing their skills, determined to drive away the helpless feelings assailing them.

~~ ~~ ~*~

"I can't believe it," both Harry and Blaise were fuming, but Blaise was being a bit more vocal about it at the moment, "I can't believe we're being banned from Hogsmead because Vasile and Nara aren't here. He can't do this! Our permission slips are signed. That meddling old man doesn't have the right!"

Harry punched a suit of armor, physically venting his frustration and actually halting Blaise's tirade as she stared at him in a mixture of shock and amusement. They had both been eager to go to Hogsmead that day to get out of the suffocating confines of the castle and forget everything that was going on so that they could just enjoy themselves. They also needed to pick up a few things necessary for a prank idea they had been tinkering with.

"I feel better," Harry grinned at Blaise before his eyes darkened in fury again, "and you're right, he can't stop us from going to Hogsmead. We'll go anyhow, even if we have to sneak out."

A sound had Harry lunging around the corner just in time to startle the twins into falling flat on their arses.

"Hiya, Harry," the two grinned unrepentantly, "we couldn't help but overhear..."

"Eavesdrop," Blaise and Harry corrected together.

"...and we'd like to offer our services and a gift."

Harry and Blaise exchanged glances, wariness hidden deep within their eyes before they looked back at the twins and the tattered parchment they held out in their hands.

Harry raised an eyebrow, "are you going to make me ask?"

The twins grins grew even wider, "this, dear Harry, is the secret of our success. We humbly present to you the Marauders map."

Harry felt his muscles tense slightly in recognition of the name, but refused to react otherwise.

"We are presenting this to you," the twins continued, "it is a map of the castle, complete with secret passages and the position of anyone within the castle at any time. It tears at us to hand this over to you, but we know you'll put it to good use and we've already memorized every usable passage on it."

The twins handed over the blank parchment to Harry and Blaise and Harry studied it for a good long moment before turning back to the twins, "how do you activate it?"

Fred took out his wand and tapped the parchment, "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good!"

Ink spidered out from the center of the parchment, flowing and linking to form the rooms and corridors that made up the castle, moving dots marking the inhabitants.

"To clear it, merely state 'mischief managed' and it will go blank," George informed them, "We recommend this passage to get out of the castle, it'll take you out to Honeydukes cellar. The map will show you what to do. Now you had best get going, it seems Filch is back to prowling the halls."

"And what about you?" Harry's voice halted the twins as they headed towards the front doors to leave for Hogsmeade, "Filch will think you've been up to something since you haven't left yet, so you might as well show us this tunnel personally."

The twins exchanged glances before turning around and Fred looped his arms with Blaise while George did the same with Harry to escort them down the hall, "right you are. We don't want him thinking we had anything to do with the dungbombs hidden inside the suits of armor outside his office, now do we?"

Harry repressed a chuckle at the thought of Filch's reaction even as his mind was turning over what the twins had told them about the map. This was just the sort of clue he needed to crack the secret of the journal, he would definitely work on it tonight after they returned from Hogsmeade, but right now he wasn't going to worry about it; it was so much easier to ignore the existence of the journal now that it wasn't such an incomprehensible mystery.
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