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Author’s Note: Just a warning…This chapter is rather violent. Bellatrix… torture… Lucius… werewolves… the usual stuff.




A Turn for the Worst


Fleur Weasley was once again completely and utterly high on happiness. Andromeda had taken Mrs. Delacour away from the guests and had a seemingly civil conversation about why Fleur was allowed to marry into any family she wanted to. Mrs. Delacour had vanished and the bridesmaids had a sneaking suspicion that the insufferable woman was somewhere near the bar.

A large group consisting of the bridal party, the Tonks’, Lupin and Harry sat at one of recently conjured tables covered in a hot pink tablecloth. The bridesmaids had learnt to laugh at their ridiculous attire (except perhaps Kit) and the whole table was chatting loudly.

“Oh, ze fireworks were wonderful!” cried Fleur happily. "C’est génial!”

Fleur gathered up the twins in her arms and kissed them both on the cheek. The twin turned scarlet and started mumbling incomprehensible words to no one in particular.

“I thought you were going to play some ‘orrible trick but you were both so sweet!” continued Fleur.

“We had these heart-shaped fireworks but we didn’t want to over do it,” murmured Fred.

Fleur gave another cry of delight and kissed Fred on the cheek again. She aimed on at George but he ducked and gave a Kit an apologetic look. Kit only raised her eyebrows and smirked at him. Fleur continued her jubilant rant.

“Ginny and Andromeeda! You stop my muzzer just in time!”

“I figured Mrs. Tonks would be the right one to do it,” grinned Ginny.

Andromeda dropped her voice to a whisper and had the same mischievous look that Sirius had once had on his face. Harry found himself smiling.

“You should have seen what I did to mum and Bella on my wedding,” said Andromeda with a wink.

Ted burst out laughing. Tonks snorted and exchanged a glance with Lupin who was chuckling quietly. They had clearly heard the tale before.

“What did you do?” asked Kit curiously.

“Nothing…” said Andromeda innocently, “unless you count that incident involving a niffler and large amounts of cockroach clusters.”

Fred and George gave Andromeda a look of awe. A someone who managed to pull a prank on Bellatrix Lestrange on her wedding day was something to be admired. Sirius Black’s true cousin.

“Wicked,” they said in unison.

Still laughing, Tonks got to her feet, tripped and headed inside to get some butterbeer. As expected, Mrs. Delacour was slumped in the lounge room and was taking long drafts of something that was probably alcoholic. She hiccupped and headed outside, leaving Tonks alone. Before Tonks could reach the butterbeer, she caught sight of someone standing in the shadows. She grimaced. Always with the theatrics…

“Hello Snape,” said Tonks. “Umm… good to see you’ve recovered.”

Snape looked around warily before standing in the open. The last thing he needed was an Auror walking into the house at this moment. Tonks got the impression that he wanted to talk and gestured upstairs.

“Narcissa and Draco?” asked Snape sharply, when they were out of sight.

Tonks’ eyes widened in alarm at his words. How did he know?

“I am the one who recommended they stay at your house, Nymphadora,” said Snape. “I take it Minerva is unaware that they are hiding with your mother?”

Tonks had long since realised that Snape was going to call her Nymphadora for as long as she lived just to annoy the hell out of her. She had no intention of giving Snape the satisfaction and feigned deafness.

“I told McGonagall,” said Tonks impassively. “She’s the head of the Order…she needed to know.”

“The other members of the Order?”

Tonks shook her head.

“The less people informed the better,” she said.

Snape’s mouth twitched into a highly unpleasant smile.

“Is your… Lupin oblivious to this?”

Tonks scowled when Snape gave her his customary, condescending leer. Kit was starting to be a great deal more civil towards her and lately Tonks had been her usual cheerful self. Snape’s appearance was putting her renewed cheerfulness to the test. Snape was undisturbed by the glare she gave him.

“No, I told him as well!” glowered Tonks. Arsehole…I hope you can read my mind …greasy bastard.

“The Malfoys, Nymphadora?” asked Snape with a hint of impatience in his voice. “Are they well?”

Her expression softened slightly.

“Well…Draco can be an obnoxious little shit at times but I suppose he can be okay,” she said with a shrug.

“And Narcissa?” asked Snape quietly.

Tonks’ face fell and she looked down.

“She’s okay,” she mumbled.

Snape frowned at her. Tonks was avoiding Snape’s eyes.

“You were never exceptionally skilled at Occulmency, Nymphadora.”

Tonks jerked her head in agreement.

“She doesn’t talk to anyone...the last time I heard her utter more than a sentence was the night after she came home,” said Tonks softly. “She barely even looks at Mum…half the time it looks like she wants to sink into the wall and vanish.”

Tonks ran her hand through her now dark coloured hair.

“I…I don’t think she took her husbands’ betrayal very well,” she finished.

Snape’s face turned stony.

“How are they protected?” he asked through clenched teeth.

Tonks swallowed. She had the feeling Snape wasn’t very happy.

“There’s a protective circle drawn around the house. As long as they stay inside, not even You-Know-Who can get to them.”

“Are you certain?” asked Snape with a frown.

“I’m an Auror,” said Tonks coldly. “I think I know what I’m doing.”

“I have no doubt that you…think… you know what you’re doing.”

Tonks crossed her arms indignantly.

“I am merely worried that one of them will do something idiotic,” said Snape. “Draco is prone to being stir crazy.”

Tonks nodded. Though he had never tried to leave, her cousin hated being cooped up in her house. But Tonks had to give Malfoy credit where it was due…he was not a complete idiot.

“The spell lets me know if either one of them leaves the circle,” said Tonks, “and I think…after what happened to Dumbledore…Draco’s calmed down a bit.”

Tonks frowned at Snape.

“Is that the only reason you risked life and limb coming here?” she asked. “To check on my extended family?”

“I need to speak to Potter,” said Snape.

Tonks raised her eyebrows.

“And you think McGonagall will let you with one hundred feet of Harry without an armed escort?” asked Tonks.

“Well I’m not asking McGonagall, am I?” said Snape silkily. “I’m asking you.”

When Tonks did not respond, Snape’s impatience began to show through again.

“Nymphadora…it is a matter of some urgency.”

“And clearly something you failed to tell the Order,” said Tonks coldly. “You are not in a position to keep information from us Snape.”

Snape’s upper lip curled and his face turned pale with anger. Tonks held her ground and returned Snape’s glare without flinching.

I need to speak with Potter,” snarled Snape.

“Take it up with McGonagall,” said Tonks. “In fact, I think you should leave before someone finds out you’re here.”

Tonks turned on her heel, in what would have been an excellent impression of Snape if she didn’t stumble, and strode towards the steps.

Suddenly she stopped dead in her tracks.

“What is it?” asked Snape loudly.

Tonks slowly turned around to face Snape. Her face was pale and her eyes were wide with fear.

“They’ve left the circle,” she whispered.

Snape froze.

“What?”

Tonks trembled on the spot as the truth sunk in.

“A-Aunt Cissy and Draco,” she stammered. “One of them has left the protective circle I drew around the house.”

Snape drew his wand.

“Get Lupin,” said Snape sharply. “We’re leaving.”

*


A blood curdling scream reached Malfoy’s ears. Abandoning his Slytherin principals, he ran outside with his wand drawn. He instantly caught sight of Fenrir Greyback and his father. They were standing three yards from the front door. Lucius Malfoy was looking directly at him…and was holding a struggling blonde figure roughly by the arm. Malfoy tensed. Why did she leave?

Malfoy’s eyes rested on the thin, golden line drawn around the house. He took one step over the line and pointed his wand at his father.

“Let her…” Malfoy trailed off.

Lucius did release the blonde woman. As he did so, her hair turned black and her skin lost its pallor.

“You!” shouted Malfoy in horror.

In one swift motion, Bellatrix disarmed Draco.

“Draco, didn’t that mudblood Professor of yours teach you anything about the Polyjuice Potion?” said Bellatrix.

She summoning cords around her nephew’s ankles and wrist. He fell forward, struggling madly. Bellatrix turned to Lucius and grinned.

“You didn’t have to hit me so hard, Lucius,” she sneered, “though I must say the effect served its purpose.”

Lucius said nothing. His eyes were fixed on his struggling son and full of disdain and anger. Bellatrix turned to the house and called out at the top of her lungs.

“Come out Cissy!” she called wildly. “Come out and rescue Draco!”

Narcissa burst out of the front door, wand raised. She was clearly ill. Her face was like chalk, her hair was lank and there were shadows under her now lifeless blue eyes. Her robes hung loosely on her shoulders and it was clear that she had lost a lot of weight.

“Lucius, no!” she cried.

Lucius disarmed Narcissa before she could protest further. She shook violently as he pointed his wand at Draco.

“Lucius…” whispered Narcissa. “Please…He’s your son.”

Narcissa looked pleadingly into Luicus’ cold gray eyes, her own blue ones swimming with tears. Lucius stood with his wand pointed at Draco…but he did not utter a word. Narcissa breathed a sigh of relief as Lucius lowered his wand. Bellatrix glared at Lucius as he turned to face her.

“Lucius, I knew you would-” began Narcissa but Lucius cut her off.

“Bellatrix you do it,” said Lucius sharply. “I know how much you enjoy interrogating.”

Lucius!” cried Narcissa in horror.

Bellatrix’s grinned at Lucius as she drew her wand. It strayed towards her nephew but she seemed to change her mind. Her mad eyes widened as the tip of her wand met Narcissa’s throat.

“Crucio!” she cried.

Narcissa cried out in pain and crumbled as her sister’s curse stuck her. Malfoy shouted something rather nasty at his aunt that would have usually earned himself a scuff on the back of the head from Narcissa. Bellatrix ignored him, her wand still directed at Narcissa.

“Harry Potter…what is his weakness?” asked Bellatrix calmly.

Narcissa froze.

“I-I don’t know…B-Bella-”

A jet of red sparks soared out of Bellatrix’s wand a second time. Narcissa withered and twitched under his sister’s wand.

“Don’t lie, Cissy!” snarled Bellatrix. “Nymphadora, must have said something!”

“S-She didn’t…p-please…”

Bellatrix cursed her sister again. She was well past insane now. Her eyes were glassy and unfocused and her wand arm was shaking. Bellatrix didn’t even seem to realize what she was doing. Lucius’ hand twitched slightly as Narcissa pleaded with him.

“Don’t over exert yourself Bellatrix,” he said softly. “The Dark Lord needs you for the war and I doubt Saint Mungo’s can accommodate any more of your victims.”

Lucius’ words brought Bellatrix slowly back to reality. She giggled. It wasn’t a very girlish giggle. It made her seem more deranged than ever.

“When the Dark Lord takes over I will personally burn Saint Mungo’s to the ground,” she said, still giggling. “That way they won’t have any crazy people to worry about.”

Greyback laughed. Malfoy glared at his aunt in disgust.

“Wouldn’t count on that,” he spat.

Bellatrix’s mood changed rapidly. A jet of white light shot out of her wand and cut the side of Malfoy’s cheek.

“Watch your tongue Draco…or I’ll cut it out,” snarled Bellatrix.

Narcissa made a moan of protest and struggled to get to her feet.

“Ready to talk, Cissy?” asked Bellatrix with deceptive sweetness.

“N-No…I don’t…k-know…”

“Tsk, tsk …Why this sudden desire to protect Harry Potter of all people?” asked Bellatrix.

A mad grin formed on Bellatrix’s face and she cast a glance at Lucius.

“Don’t tell me…” she sneered. “You don’t want to disappoint your darling Severus?”

Narcissa’s eyes widened in fear and she caught Lucius eye. He had gone pale with anger.

“L-Lucius…it’s not true,” she whispered.

Bellatrix was now truly enjoying herself.

“So that’s how you convinced him to complete Draco’s task,” she continued, her eyes full of laughter. “I thought it odd that he agreed…and made the Unbreakable Vow in the bargain.”

Lucius looked away from Narcissa. He began to play with his wand between his fingers.

“And I wonder how you managed to convince Nymphadora that you were no longer loyal to the Dark Lord?” said Lucius, his voice dangerously quiet. “How did you do it Narcissa? Did you betray me?”

Her silence was all the answer he needed. With snarl on his face, Lucius pointed his wand at his wife.

“Crucio!”

Narcissa cried out more in shock than pain. Lucius was deaf to all pleas.

“Stop it!” screamed Draco. “Father, stop it!”

Lucius wrenched his wand away from Narcissa and the curse was taken off. She was barely conscious and her body was still twitching from the after effects of the curse. Bellatrix turned to her nephew, a smile playing on her lips.

“Well, speak up then Draco,” said Bellatrix.

“You have to let my mother go first,” said Malfoy quietly.

Bellatrix groaned.

Oh please…” said Bellatrix, clearly disgusted.

“You’ve picked a most inconvenient time to start acting like an idiotic Gryffindor,” snarled Lucius.

“She’s already been hit with more cruciatus curses than Alice Longbottom,” added Bellatrix.

Malfoy turned pale. No…

“You can save her!” he shouted.

Bellatrix laughed.

“Draco…dear nephew…we don’t want to save her,” she said. “You on the other hand…may live if you talk. Your choice.”

Malfoy gave Bellatrix a defiant look and said nothing. Bellatrix shook her head. Lucius did produce the most disappointing son…

“Foolish boy…” whispered Bellatrix, her mad eyes glinting. “We will get what we want.”

Bellatrix seized her nephew and forced his face upwards like a dementor. She stared into his eyes, forcing her way into his mind. Malfoy fought it but Bellatrix was stronger. When she had found what she was looking for she threw Malfoy down.

“What did you find?” asked Lucius impatiently.

Bellatrix frowned at Lucius.

“Who is Ginerva?” she asked.

Lucius froze. A look of triumph slowly formed on his face. Suddenly he was laughing as though he had heard a very funny joke.

“Arthur Weasley’s girl,” said Lucius through bursts of laughter. “This ought to prove fun. The Weasley’s are having a wedding as we speak.”

Bellatrix got the joke too and cackled and shrieked wildly.

“Aww…ickle baby Potter gwew up and got himself a girlfriend,” she mocked. “A blood twator too…”

“N-No…” croaked Malfoy, struggling to get up. “S-She doesn’t mean a thing to Potter. She’s just a-another girl to him.”

“Oh she’ll do for now,” sneered Bellatrix.

The sun was setting. Bellatrix cast a glance at Greyback. He cracked his neck audibly from side to side.

“Can you handle yourself?” she asked. “I’d love to stay and watch the fun… but Lucius and I have a wedding to attend.”

Greyback made a small growl in his throat and looked hungrily at Narcissa’s throat as though he wanted nothing more than to sink his yellow teeth into it.

“Go on Bella...Lucius…” said Greyback hungrily. “They’re as good as dead.”

Bellatrix smiled genuinely and gave Greyback a rare look of respect and understanding that made Malfoy sick.

“I leave my sister in your capable hands,” she sneered. “Goodnight Fenrir.”

Bellatrix turned on her heel and walked away.

“Coming Lucius?” called Bellatrix.

Lucius did not move. His eyes were fixed on Narcissa. Despite Bellatrix’s infuriated look, Lucius knelt beside her. Narcissa eyes met his again, filled with hope. He wasn’t going to leave us here…Severus was wrong…he loves me…he won’t leave Draco…

“Lucius…” whispered Narcissa faintly.

Lucius outstretched a hand and brushed a strand of blonde hair away from her face. His hand lingered there for a moment.

“Good bye Narcissa,” he said softly.

Lucius got to his feet abruptly and strode away. Narcissa made a small noise of despair as his footsteps became distant.

“Father!” cried Malfoy in horror.

Lucius continued to walk on. He reached Bellatrix’s side and, without so much as a second glance at his son and wife, he vanished with his sister-in-law.

“Father!” screamed Malfoy.

But Lucius was gone. Malfoy and Narcissa were now alone with Greyback. He seemed even more threatening as he flexed his dirty-nailed fingers in the half light of the golden sunset.

“Night doesn’t come fast enough anymore,” said Greyback huskily.

Malfoy released what Greybacks words meant a millisecond after he had spoken. He looked up at Greyback in fear and struggled in his bonds. Greyback licked his lips slowly and grinned.

“I can’t wait for it to be night anymore.”

“No!” shouted Malfoy. “Get away!”

Struggling even more wildly, Malfoy aimed kick at Greyback but his tied feet met only air. Greyback seized Malfoy but the scruff of his robes and threw him aside. Malfoy fell heavily, hit his head as he did so and lay still. A whimper left Narcissa lips as the werewolf put a hand on her throat and opened his mouth to bite.

Greyback was knocked back with the force of a sledgehammer by a jet of white-blue light. Standing in the distance was a black-haired witch and two wizards. For one wild moment, Greyback thought the woman was Bellatrix again but she was far too young and not nearly as intimidating. The men he instantly recognised. Remus Lupin was looking at Greyback with pure loathing. The other man was Severus Snape and he too was glaring at Greyback but his expression changed when his eyes fell on Narcissa’s prone form.

Greyback could smell the fear coming from Snape. It made him hungrier.

Another curse shot from the woman’s wand. The angry red sparks narrowly missed Greyback’s head. He finally recognised the woman. It was Bellatrix’s niece, Nymphadora Tonks.

“Get away from them!” snarled Tonks.

Greyback’s mouth formed a sneer that left his yellowed teeth slightly visible. It sent chills down Tonks’ spine. He wasn’t giving up…he was going to kill them. Snape looked at the setting sun. There was no way they could take on a full gown werewolf and hope to protect the Malfoys as well. He turned to Lupin.

“Have you taken your potion?” asked Snape quietly.

Lupin nodded, his eyes not leaving Greyback. A particularly vicious look formed on Snape’s face.

“Get him.”

The sun set.

Soon Lupin’s body… and Greyback’s… were shaking violently. Fur sprouted from their bodies and they fell onto all fours, withering on the ground as the curse took full affect. The werewolf Greyback was wilder and larger than Lupin. It was the leader of the pack; the alpha-male. Its skin stretch over its bones and its hair seemed to have been torn out in chunks. Its yellow eyes gleamed with hunger and bloodlust. He bared its sharp, blood-caked teeth.

When their transformations were complete, Lupin and Greyback threw back their heads and howled to the moon.

Then the battle started.

The circled each other, growling and snapping their jaws. Greyback was the first to strike. He slashed ferociously at Lupin’s muzzle. Lupin yelped in pain and bite Greyback on the back. With a howl, Greyback threw Lupin off and slashed at him…leaving blood on his fur.

“Remus!” screamed Tonks.

Lupin staggered and fell. Tonks started forward but Snape held her back and gave her a warning look. Lupin was more wolf than man now. As Greyback raised his razor sharp paw for the death blow, Lupin lunged at his neck. Greyback struggled feebly but Lupin clung on.

Greyback hit the ground dead.

*


Snape and Tonks rushed towards the Malfoys. Lupin was whining and nuzzling Narcissa’s face. Something was wrong… Tonks pulled her trembling cousin to his feet and pulled into a tight embrace. Malfoy was too disoriented to return it. Snape hoisted Narcissa gently off the ground. She gave a small moan of pain and clung tightly to Snape’s robes.

“D-Draco…” choked Narcissa.

Snape swallowed.

“He’s fine Narcissa,” he said. “Just hold still…”

Suddenly, Snape lifted up his hand away from Narcissa in horror. Her robes were damn with blood and his hands and robes were covered in Narcissa’s blood too. She her eyes rolled into the back of her head and she fell limply in Snape’s arms.

“Narcissa?” whispered Snape.

Narcissa did not respond. Snape quickly drew his wand. Tonks and Malfoy watched on helplessly as Snape frantically muttered spell after spell to no avail. Snape looked at Tonks and, for the first time she could remember, the Potions Master was betraying more than just a trace of fear. Snape had always hidden his fear with Occlumency and snide remarks but his Occulmency had seemingly deserted him and it was hardly the time for witticisms.

“These…these wounds are beyond my ability,” said Snape shakily. “We need Andromeda.”

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