Chapter Five
Protect Them With Your Life

Draco left the apartment by floo at nine the next morning, to have time to both floo and walk from Hogsmeade to Hogwarts. Harry had managed to tell him that Dumbledore expected him at Hogwarts at ten, but that was all he’d been able to say before Draco began ignoring him again.

Draco hadn’t slept on the bed in the Master Bedroom during the night. In the smaller room that was connected both with the living room and the bedroom, there was a bed for guests. The blonde had slept there all night. Harry felt a bit bad; that bed didn’t look half as comfortable as the one in the large bedroom. Draco hadn’t complained though. In fact, he hadn’t said a word to Harry all morning. He’d made coffee, and eaten half a piece of toast – making Harry worry even more about how little the blonde was eating – and then he’d left.

Harry wondered if it was expected of them to Apparate to Hogsmeade rather than use floo. He assumed that was the case. It couldn’t be helped, however, for neither Harry nor Draco had learnt how to Apparate yet. Instead, Harry had heard Draco say, “The Three Broomsticks,” before he stepped into the flames. The Three Broomsticks was one of the pubs in Hogsmeade, a very popular one at that, and if they floo-ed there, then they could pretend that they’d really Apparated, and they would walk to Hogwarts.

Harry moved around the apartment, continuing to memorize where everything was. The guest room where Draco had been sleeping was laid between the living room and a bathroom. The bathroom had a Jacuzzi big enough for two people, and everything in the room was white. There were two sinks with a large mirror in front of them. There were three light switches, so you could get different types of light in the room – soft, romantic or stronger spotlights, or cold blue ones which Harry didn’t like one bit.

It looked like Draco was the one in charge when they decorated the guest room, for it’s walls were a soft, light green and the table by the window was made of silvery metal. The bed also had a metal ground, unlike the one in the big bedroom that was made of wood.

There were pictures in this room as well. One picture in particular caught Harry’s eye, and he picked it up. It was one of Draco and his father, both waving at the person behind the camera. Draco couldn’t have been more than four, and Lucius held his small hand in his and helped him wave. Little Draco was giggling.

Then there was the thing that really caught Harry’s attention – a bookcase. It was filled with ancient-looking books and writings. Harry picked one that looked interesting – “Potions of the World”. He flipped through it to find the Healing Potions that he wore on his belt.

“Althidia Potion is one of the strongest life-giving potions in the world. It is used by Healers across the planet in extreme cases. It is given to the victim when the person’s heart beats the last time; if given before this time, or at any other time in life, the Potion will drive the taker crazy. If taken too late, the person will already be dead, and the life will already have been lost.”

Harry’s hand went down to the vial he knew held the last few drops of Althidia Potion. He read on.

“The Althidia Potion can be given in two different ways. The first, and most common, is to have the victim drink the potion. Three drops of the Potion is all that is necessary. The victim has a one in twenty chance of survival, which isn’t good odds – but it’s better than nothing.

“The other, much less used way is ‘The Life of Althidia’. The Healer soaks his or her hands in the Potion, and then places one hand on the victim’s forehead and the other one by the heart. If done at the right time (at the last heartbeat), the victim’s survival is guaranteed.

“Then why is this not the way everyone uses? Very easy. For this way to work, the Healer needs to love the victim more than he loves himself, and the victim needs to trust the Healer explicitly. If a random Healer met a random victim and tried to heal this way, it would have no effect – other than to drive the Healer crazy and kill the victim off.

“‘The Life of Althidia’ hasn’t been used in the last century. The last Healer to try it did so on his wife – but it turned out that one of them didn’t trust the other, and the wife died while the Healer got a spot reserved at St. Mungo’s.”

Harry stared at the text. It was certainly no simple potions he was using. He read through the text quickly, finding very little more that interested him. It was mostly the stories about the Healers who’d tried the Life of Althidia and failed. One section caught Harry’s attention, however.

“The world’s supply of Althidia Potion is made by one Potions Master, and one only. The Althidia Potion’s secret is passed down from one Potions Master to another, on the older one’s deathbed. It is a huge honour, and a sign that the Potions Master in question is the greatest one in the world. Neither the ingredients nor the way to brew it have never been written down.”

Harry stared at the book. Snape had said that he was working on the potion – that meant that he, Professor Severus Snape, was the one who knew the secret of the Althidia Potion. Which, in turn, meant that Snape was the greatest Potions Master alive in the world at the moment.

What a strange, strange world.

Harry’s eye fell on the clock on the wall, and he saw that it was closing in on eleven. If he were to be on time for the meeting at Hogwarts, he’d better be leaving.

Half an hour later, Harry was strolling down the road that led from Hogsmeade to Hogwarts. It was raining, but Harry had put an anti-soaking spell on himself and his clothes, so he wasn’t bothered in the least. He sung quietly as he made his way down the road. His mind was filled with thoughts – most of them had to do with either the young blonde Slytherin that he was currently playing house with, or with the greasy-haired Potions Master named Severus Snape. At least with the latter, there was no problem involved. There, it was just trying to grasp the fact that the Potions Professor that Harry had had and hated for six years was the greatest one alive in the world. Oh yes, and that the same Potions Master was now acting nicely towards Harry.

When it came to Draco… Well, everything about Draco was a problem at the moment, and Harry couldn’t find a solution to any of them.

Then there was the ever-present problem of how to get home again, but Harry refused to think about that one right now. It only depressed him to know how little progress they’d made towards the goal of getting to go home.

The great castle that was Hogwarts loomed before him, and before long, he’d reached the entrance. He walked down the hallways towards Dumbledore’s office, and saw students walking about. It was odd to be at Hogwarts but not be a student, he thought.

He gave the statue by the Headmaster’s office the password, and it let him through.

Dumbledore’s office was crowded. The Headmaster himself sat by his desk, smiling to himself. Fawkes, Dumbledore’s phoenix, sat on the desk, watching the chaos in the room as well.

Harry saw Ron, sitting in one of the chairs. He was talking to his older twin brothers, Fred and George. The infamous Weasley twins had the same red hair as Ron, and they were identical down to the last freckle. They hadn’t changed much from ‘home’. Ron however, was now taller than the two, unlike in the time Harry was used to. Of course, the Ron of this time seemed to be taller than just about everyone.

Harry saw two people he recognized but couldn’t place. He thought they might have belonged to Hufflepuff in his own time, and were a year younger than he was. They were speaking to each other quietly.

In the back corner stood Severus Snape. He looked at the crowded room with a look of disgust on his face, and Harry wondered if the Professor would rather be down in the Dungeons making some complicated potion. He watched him a few more seconds, and knew that Snape would rather be making a potion in his quiet Dungeons.

In a chair opposite Ron and the twins sat Draco, staring out the window with an empty look in his eyes. Harry’s heart went out to him, despite how the blonde had acted the last days. Harry could see through the mask of indifference and see pain, clearly written on Draco’s face. Harry realized that Dumbledore must have shown him the pictures of the family in Draco’s vision. It must have made him re-live it once again.

“Ah, Harry, there you are,” said Dumbledore, and suddenly the room fell silent. Ron, Fred and George smiled at him, as did the two Hufflepuff girls. Draco continued to ignore him, and Snape didn’t show any emotion at all.

“Good,” the Headmaster continued, “Then we can begin.”

With the wave of his wand, he conjured up chairs for everyone to sit in. Harry sat between Fred and Draco, and on Draco’s other side sat Snape.

Dumbledore began speaking again, and everyone’s attention turned to him. He sent pictures out, showing four happy, normal-looking Muggles.

“This is the Hanawalt family,” the Headmaster said. “The person of interest here appears to be the father of the family, Carl. He owns a gun shop in London, and is one of England’s best shooters. The other people on the pictures are his family. Anna is his wife, she works as a teacher. Their daughter Riley is three, and spends her days at a day-care centre. Their son Brian has just started school.”

“What would Voldemort and the Death Eaters want with these people? They’re just random Muggles,” Fred said, voicing the confusion the rest of the room felt.

“We don’t know yet,” answered Dumbledore. “But since they took his family hostage in Draco’s vision, and they seemed to have been killed before his eyes, there has to be something they want that only he can give them.”

“I don’t think that he’s the only one who can give it to them, Professor,” said Harry. “Since they killed him off in the end of Draco’s vision, I believe that he was merely the most accessible one.”

Dumbledore watched him curiously. “Too true, Mr Potter. Too true.”

“If I had to guess,” George said, “I think that the Death Eaters are after something that has to do with his gun shop. You said he was one of England’s best shooters? That has got to mean something.”

“Is Voldemort going to start using guns?” Ron asked. “Why? He has magic. We can just deflect the bullets.”

“Voldemort is always looking for new ways to torture people,” George answered with a slight shudder.

“Could we get to meet this man?” one of the Hufflepuff girls asked. “If we could speak to him, there’s a possibility we could understand more of what it is You-Know-Who is after.”

“Linda,” growled Snape, “We call Voldemort by his name in the Order.”

The Hufflepuff girl nodded nervously. “Yes, Professor Snape,” she said, studying a spot on the floor.

“Back to the situation at hand,” said Dumbledore. “We need someone to contact this man, and interview him a bit, without seeming too interested. Anyone up for it? Preferably someone with some Muggle knowledge.”

Harry shrugged. “I can do it.”

“Good!” the Headmaster said cheerfully. “Then we need a few wards to be set around the Hanawalt’s house, as well as around the gun shop. The wards need to be strong – if the Death Eaters want this family, they’re going to have to fight for it.”

Fred and George nodded. “We’ll do it. Should we link it to you or to ourselves?”

Dumbledore looked thoughtful for a moment. “Do some that are linked to you and some that are linked to me. Link one to Harry and Draco as well; if the Death Eaters get inside the house and hurt the Muggles, we’ll need their Healing abilities.”

As he spoke, he shot a look at Draco. Harry saw the worry in his eyes as the older wizard watched the young blonde. Draco looked sickly; his face was pale as always, there were dark circles beneath his eyes, and his eyes in themselves looked… dead.

“What about when they’re not at home?” Linda’s friend asked. “I mean, they all work and go to school, like you said.”

Dumbledore nodded. “Yes. We need three people to keep track of the family, and we need them to do it at all times. I don’t think it will be long before the attack happens, so you won’t be following them for very long, but it will still need people with eyes in the backs of their heads.”

Fred and George grinned. “That’s a perfect description of my brother,” they both said and pointed at each other. Dumbledore, Harry, Ron and the Hufflepuff girls laughed.

“I’ll do the last one,” said Linda’s friend.

“Good, good,” Dumbledore said. “Then we’ll put you, Rhonda, on the little girl Riley, George, you will be watching Brian and Fred, will you please take Mrs Hanawalt. Meanwhile Harry, you have to keep Carl safe.”

Harry and the four others nodded. The Headmaster continued. “Ron, I trust you and Hermione to keep the Ministry out of our hair?”

Ron grinned. “They will have enough to do about other things,” he replied.

“And Professor Snape, I believe you have a few vials for all of us?”

At last, Snape took a few strides forward. Harry now noticed the small bag he’d been carrying, and watched as the Potions Master took out a bunch of small vials.

“For Harry,” he said, “Some new Althidia Potion.” Harry took the vial, thanked him and fastened the little flask to his belt.

“Some anti-sickness potion for you to give young Mrs Weasley,” Snape continued and gave a vial to Ron, then proceeded around the room and gave out the last vials of potion, of different varieties.

Then Dumbledore carried on by telling everyone the details – the Hanawalt’s address, where they worked, where the children went to school.

“Good then,” said Dumbledore. “You’re all set. So, off you go.”

“And remember,” Snape said coldly. “Once mistake and the result will most likely be the death of an innocent.”

“Now, now, Severus, they all know that. I trust that they will do their best.”

The room’s occupants all nodded, and stood up. The meeting was over, and now they all had things to do.

“Harry, will you please stay for a moment?” Dumbledore asked, just as he was on his way out.

Harry turned and walked back into the room, where Draco was still sitting in his chair, looking out of the large window at the raindrops that kept falling and falling.

Professor Snape stood before Draco, trying to get the boy’s attention. The blonde just ignored him. Ignoring Hogwart’s resident Potions Master was never a good idea, however. Snape looked like he was getting angrier. Dumbledore stood and put a hand on Snape’s shoulder, and the Professor seemed to calm down somewhat.

“Yes, yes,” he muttered.

Then he began searching his robes for something. He found what he was looking for – another vial with a blue liquid content – and gave the small flask to the blonde.

“Drink it,” the Potions Master ordered.

Draco, finally turning away from the window, eyed him warily. “What is it?”

“Just drink it, boy. Drink it before you fall down on the Headmaster’s floor unconscious. You will do no one any good that way.”

The Slytherin seemed to decide that it was better to drink the vial’s content – even if it happened to be poison – than to be on the receiving end of Snape’s wrath. He opened the flask and emptied the content into his mouth. Still watching Snape with a wary look on his face, he swallowed.

“Now will you tell me what it is?” Draco asked.

“It’s just an energy drink,” Snape replied. “You look like you haven’t eaten in a while, and as I said, if you fainted right now, you will do no one any good.” He turned to Harry. “Now, Potter, would you please take your boyfriend home?”

Harry looked at Draco, who looked so small behind Snape’s tall figure. “I will.”

Snape pulled Draco out of the chair, none to gently. “Go home, rest and cheer yourself up, boy,” he said, “For if worse comes to worse, your Healing abilities will certainly be needed.”

Draco nodded. He looked slightly more awake now, and Harry knew that the potion was doing what it was supposed to.

“Do you mind if we floo from here?” Harry asked. “I don’t fancy walking all the way to Hogsmeade to Apparate.”

“’Course not,” said the Headmaster. “I was actually surprised when Draco said he’d Apparated. So much easier to just Floo from here.”

Finally, they said their goodbyes, and Draco stepped into the fire. The blonde still avoided looking at Harry, and Dumbledore watched them with a bit of concern. When Draco had gone, the Headmaster put his hand on Harry’s shoulder.

“He’s unhappy,” the old wizard said.

“I know,” said Harry. “But I don’t know what to do about it. He won’t listen to me.”

“You’ll find a way. After all you two have been through, I’d be very surprised if you didn’t.”

Harry smiled at Professor Dumbledore, and then threw the floo powder into the fire. “The Nest,” he said clearly, and stepped into the flames. The Headmaster’s office blurred until all he could see was a spectre of colours, and then he jumped out as he saw his apartment’s living room fly by.

He landed a bit more gracefully this time; he was only on his knees. Draco had already moved out of the room and was nowhere in sight.

Harry sighed and got up. He had things to do.

Two hours later, Harry sat at a café, dressed in Muggle clothes and reading a Muggle newspaper. He still had his belt on, however. It had begun to feel like a security blanket of sorts – it held his wand, the knife and the vials. Now, however, they were hidden beneath a jacket and a sweatshirt. In front of him, he had a cup of tea and a half eaten scone.

On the opposite side of the street was Carl’s gun shop. It was a small place, but it fit well with the rest of the shops around it – there was a Muggle tattoo parlour, a bar that had yet to open, and a clothes shop selling the oddest clothes Harry had ever seen. He wondered how any Muggle could walk around in such clothes – they were hardly staying together. And the shoes! How could any person at all walk around in shoes that had a four-inch heel?

Carl himself was an attractive man with reddish brown hair, tan skin, and well-muscled body. He was about Harry’s height. His nose was slightly hooked, Harry had seen in one of the pictures. Perhaps broken in a fight? In any case, he looked like a person who could take care of himself, Harry thought.

The shop opened at nine in the morning. According to Dumbledore’s spies, he’d arrived one hour earlier both today and the day before, to train. In the basement, beneath the shop, were firing ranges for him to practice his skills. On the wall in the shop hung medals from sniper-competitions, and several diplomas from the military.

Harry wondered again what Voldemort wanted with Muggle guns, of all things. Wizards had too many counter-spells for dangerous objects moving towards them, for the bullets to be very effective. However, if the Dark Lord wanted to put fear in the Muggle population, then guns would probably be a good way to go about it. A Muggle was defenceless against bullets; they had nothing to put up against it, except the so-called ‘bulletproof vests’. Harry doubted that they were completely bulletproof, though. And besides, the everyday Muggle would not be walking around in one anyway.

So, it was a good way to kill the Muggles off. But could something be done to the bullets, or the guns themselves, to make them dangerous for wizards as well? Harry would probably have to talk to someone about that possibility. Hermione, perhaps? She’d know where to look for the answers, at least. Yes, that was what he was going to do.

Customers came and left the shop. Harry saw Mr Hanawalt show the customers the different sorts of handguns and their respective bullets, and they seemed to be discussing what gun would fit what lifestyle. Order forms were filled out, and hands shook.

Harry drank the last of his tea and walked over the street.

The doorbell chimed as he entered, and Mr Hanawalt looked up from behind the counter.

“Can I help you with anything?” he asked. He sounded very British, and smiled at Harry.

“I’m thinking of buying a gun,” Harry said.

“Do you have a license?”

Harry shook his head. “No.”

“Well, then,” said Mr Hanawalt. “I will need you to get one before I let you buy a gun.”

Harry nodded, “What do I have to do?”

Mr Hanawalt began explaining to him about the different classes he taught, and the things he needed to be allowed to carry a gun. He gave a brief explanation of the laws, and then he was signed up for a class, starting the following week.

“Can I look at a few of the guns now, even though I’m not going to buy one at the moment?”

“Sure,” said Mr Hanawalt. “Do you know what kind of gun it is you’re looking for?”

Harry shook his head ‘no’. “I want something small, that fits a belt this wide,” he said and held up his hands to show the width of his belt. Knowing how to handle a gun may not be such a bad idea, he thought. If he had one, he could try out spells on it and perhaps figure out what Voldemort wanted with the weapons.

“Well,” Mr Hanawalt said and began picking guns from the glass monitors. He proceeded to explain the different guns and their respective pros and cons. Harry finally found one that both he and Mr Hanawalt thought would fit him. It was called Beretta Compact 9000, and felt light in his hand. It felt well balanced, just like his wand, and was almost seven inches long. The gun didn’t seem as natural in his hand as the wand did though, and Harry was a bit nervous about holding something that could kill so easily. Then he realized that his wand could kill just as easily, and he relaxed somewhat. He was never scared when he held his wand in his hand, why should he be scared when he held a gun?

When they were done, Harry thanked Mr Hanawalt, and turned to leave.

He had just time to register the dark figures before he heard,


The world became black.

Read? Review here!


1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23

© 2002-2013 | Design & production by Cosmic Creativ Consulting