Chapter 3: The Betrayal

"What do you mean, we're not alone?" Elle asked, looking wildly around the room as though expecting an army to materialize from underneath the benches.

Harry rolled his eyes. "I mean, unless these walls are enchanted with sound effects, or unless a ghost with a terribly bad cold found his way in, I think there's another person stuck in here with us."

Elle looked somewhat disturbed by this notion. "But that's ridiculous, we would have seen..."

A jet of red light shot out from the shadows, and hit her square in the chest. She fell backwards, and Harry jumped out of the way as another jet of red light came right towards him. Ducking down, he knelt next to Elle, but a voice rang out suddenly from the obscured upper corner of the room.

"Don't move."

Harry froze, but chanced a peek at Elle. Her eyes were closed, and she was obviously unconscious. Without sparing a thought as to how this immobile, quieter Elle was much more preferable to the outspoken, feistier one, Harry tried to catch a glimpse of the person who had spoken, but couldn't make out anything.

"Who are you?" he demanded, his Auror skills kicking into overdrive. He withdrew his wand and pointed it steadily in the direction the voice had come from. "Lower your wand immediately! Show yourself!"

"Calm down, Potter. Too many orders at once may cause an enemy to become...confused."

And before Harry had time to register the voice, another jet of red light shot straight at him, and all became black.

Calla sighed as she watched Kevin and Michael, two boys who were practically her brothers, prance around like lunatics on the floor of Ron and Hermione's guest bedroom. On normal days, she would have gladly joined in with their games, but today she was content just to lie down on the bed, carelessly drawing pictures and wishing the boys would calm down already…or better yet, just shut up.

Kevin, the elder boy, pounced over to her and roared in her face. Apparently, him and his brother had just eaten an entire box of the "Actual Animal Crackers" they had bought from their Uncles' joke shop, and couldn't stop imitating the ferocious beasts of whose likeness they had consumed. It was very annoying.

"Whatcha doin?" Kevin asked, his freckled expression curious, ignoring the disgusted look on Calla’s face as he peered down at her paper.

"Nothing," Calla responded, holding her paper to her chest so that he couldn't see.

"Come on, we're best friends, you can show me!" he cried indignantly, but at that moment Ron and Hermione came into the room and both boys turned towards their parents.

"Mum, look at me!" Michael shouted as he shook his soft brown hair, crawling on the floor and snapping his jaws like a crocodile.

“Charming, Michael,” Hermione sighed. "Please don't tell me you actually gave him those," she asked in exasperation, turning to Ron.

"What? They're harmless," Ron answered, grinning innocently. "Very good, Michael. Just don't bite your brother."

"He can't bite me!" Kevin exclaimed, jumping away from Calla in a blaze of red hair and growling at Michael, who instantly forgot about his supposedly sharp teeth and resorted to sticking out his tongue.

"Boys!" Hermione said sharply, stepping between them to avoid a wrestling match.

"Hey, Calla, what are you up to?" Ron asked with a grin, walking over to his best friend's daughter. "You been keeping an eye on these two beasts for me? You know I always give you full permission to beat them up."

"Hey!" Kevin and Michael both shouted in unison from the floor. “She’s a girl!”

Calla laughed, and she addressed Ron. “I don’t think so. Their brains and faces are already damaged enough as it is, and I’d hate to make them worse.”

"Fair enough,” Ron grinned. “Cool drawing, though," he continued, looking over at the picture she had been mindlessly doodling. "I swear I don't know where you get this artistic talent...definitely not from your dad...what do you call this, anyway?"

Calla followed Ron's bewildered gaze to the paper. It was a picture of a man and woman with a harsh lightning bolt separating them. Black clouds covered the background and obscured the faces, and all the way in the very bottom corner was a miniscule replica of a girl with long, dark hair. Hers was the only face that could be seen, but there was a frown on it. Needless to say, it wasn't a very cheerful scene.

"Family," Calla said at last, looking at Ron with a straight face.

Hermione looked at the drawing, and sighed. "Ron, why don't you put these monsters to bed?" she suggested. "I'll help Calla get settled."

Ron nodded and stood up. The boys traipsed after him, still roaring and baring their teeth. Once the room was quiet, Hermione sat down on the edge of Calla's bed.

"Calla, I know things have been tough lately," she began kindly. "But your parents love know that, right?"

"I know," said Calla softly, trying not to sound bitter. "They just don't love each other."

Hermione hesitated. "Well...maybe not anymore. But they did once, and they will always love you. No matter what happens."

Calla nodded, trying hard not to cry. The truth was, this whole divorce thing bothered her a lot more than she would let on, but she hated appearing vulnerable and weak. She wanted to look tough, and maybe, if she kept pretending for a while, she really wouldn't care about her family splitting up.

Hermione saw her face, and seemed to understand, which Calla was grateful for. Calla loved Hermione, but she missed her mother, and especially her father. Back when they were still happy, they would always do things together...her dad could always manage to spark a playful argument with her mother, and her mother could always manage to make her dad laugh. But now...all they did was fight.

"Thanks Hermione," Calla said after awhile. "I think I'll go to bed now."

"Okay," Hermione said, standing up and tucking her hair behind her ears. "Is there I anything I can get for you?”

"I'm fine," Calla replied hurriedly. "But do you think it's okay if I send a quick letter to my mum? I just have a weird feeling that something's wrong."

Hermione nodded, but looked at her oddly. "Of course, I'll go get Pig. But I'm sure she's fine. You have nothing to worry about.”

Calla sighed. Then why did she have this uneasy feeling that wouldn't seem to go away?

The room was pitch black. Elle stirred, unaware as to what was going on, or where she was. Wondering vaguely what time it was, or even if it was still the same day, she opened her eyes and was met with nothing but blackness. Craning her neck, she tried to move, but found that she was tightly tied up with ropes. Sighing in exasperation, Elle closed her eyes again.

"Harry?" she called croakily.

"I'm here," he mumbled distinctly in reply from right behind her.

The two were tied up together, back to back, the ropes digging so tightly into their skins that angry red welts were surely to be left behind. With their arms pinned to their sides and their shoulders erect, Elle thought it was safe to say that they were in a far worse position now than they were when the night had started off.

"What happened?" Elle asked, opening her eyes again and straining to see through the thick veil of darkness.

"We got stunned," Harry muttered dryly. Elle rolled her eyes, though Harry couldn't see her.

"I'm aware of that, genius," she replied hotly. "But who did it? And why? And where are we now?"

"I don't know who did it," Harry told her, exasperated. "But I think we're still in the courtroom. Listen, can you try moving just a little? Your back is way too bony, and it's kind of uncomfortable."

Elle gave an undetectable glare. "No, for your information, I cannot move an inch. Besides, I'm the one who should be complaining. Could your back get any thicker? I swear your shoulders are going to crush my spine."

Harry groaned. "This is all your fault," he grumbled.

"All my fault?" Elle asked, enraged. "I'm not the one who sat around like an idiot while I tried my hardest to get us out of here."

"Yeah, well I'm not the one who got us stuck in the first place!" Harry shot back. "Any moron should have known not to slam the door..."

"Well, if you hadn't lied to me, maybe we wouldn't even have to be here in the first place!"

"If you had just trusted me, I wouldn't have had to lie to you!"

"Oh, don't start that again..."

"Shut up!"

The two bickering adults fell into silence, but both pairs of eyes darted around the blackened room, each trying to detect a small note that could tell them where they were or who was holding them captive. Elle thought the voice sounded vaguely familiar, but due to her disoriented state she couldn't quite place it. Wondering if it was safe to say anything, she opened her mouth, but was saved the risk of asking panicked questions by Harry beating her to the punch.

"Who are you?"

To both their surprise, this latest response was more straightforward than the previous, cryptic bullying. Also, his voice was a lot more sharper, more distinct, and, of course, disturbingly familiar...

"Well, well, Potter, I'm surprised you haven't recognized my voice by now. Surely eleven years hasn't erased me from your memory completely? And even if it has...I know for a fact that your wife knows who I am, seeing as how she so dutifully described our latest meeting to you in excellent detail."

Harry and Elle were both rendered speechless as the presence of Draco Malfoy emerged from the shadows. Well aware of the change in atmosphere, Malfoy produced a wand from inside his robes and lit it, showering light on his captives’ pale faces.

"Oh, I'm sorry," he continued, a little smirk snaking its way across his thin, pale lips. "I meant ex wife."

He turned to Elle. "Fantastic flashback by the way, I really enjoyed it. Excellent recount. It's so nice to see how things stay private around here."

Elle frowned. "Draco?"

Harry frowned. "Malfoy?"

"Correct!" Draco Malfoy stated calmly, looking at both of them with a superior gaze. "And to think, you were just talking about me. Miraculous coincidence, is it not?"

Elle looked at him as though he had lost his mind. "God Draco, talk about dramatic. You couldn't have made your presence known earlier? What's with the creepy psycho killer routine?"

Harry sighed. Elle might be relieved, but Harry was in no mood to handle this lightly. Tonight was rapidly becoming the very worst night of his entire life, and Malfoy was the last person he wanted to see at the moment. He had no idea what he was doing here, or how much he had heard, but right now Harry wanted him gone. He scanned the floor, looking for his wand, which he had managed to misplace once again.

"Malfoy, I don't know what the hell you're playing at, but you need to get rid of these ropes now!" Harry yelled. "I mean it!" he added, when Malfoy made no sign of wanting to help them.

"Temper, temper," Malfoy pretended to scold. "What could be causing this sudden rise of anger? Could it be the fact that your moronic actions over the last eleven years have caused you to lose your wife and daughter? Or is it the fact that you've just learned how your dearly beloved chooses to help me instead of trusting her former husband?"

Harry's blood boiled with fury. "What are you doing here?" he shouted. "What do you want from us?"

"Draco," Elle said slowly, taking a deep breath. "Just get rid of these ropes. We can talk later, after we've found a way out of this courtroom..."

"Not everyone likes to talk as much as you do, Miss Levine," Malfoy said, his voice heavy with sarcasm. "Except, of course, for young Calla. I hear she is quite the chatterbox."

Harry narrowed his eyes. Something was very wrong.

"What has Calla got to do with anything?" he spat.

Malfoy raised his eyebrows. "Well what do you know, he remembers her name. From what your ex-wife tells me, you never even see your daughter anymore. Why should you care?"

Harry looked at Elle. "What in the name of Merlin have you been telling him?" he raged at her.

"Nothing!" Elle insisted. "I was telling the truth. All I did was help him with that one favor, and even if I did happen to complain about my troubles with you afterwards, then that's not his fault! Besides, YOU'RE the one who's been keeping things from me..."

"For a good reason! And what reason do you have for getting involved with him? Look at what's happened, he's gone and betrayed your trust, and is now probably waiting to kill us and deliver our bodies to some deranged, retired Death Eater!"

Elle forced an uncomfortable laugh. "No way. Even HE'S not that cruel and unimaginative. Right?" she asked, looking at Malfoy.

Malfoy looked thoughtful. "Amazingly, Potter's actually right. I have betrayed you. And I am, with help, going to kill you. Both of you. Tonight."

There was a shocked silence, until Elle scoffed and hoisted herself up with her elbows.

"Right," she said, amused. "Good one. Now come on Draco, these ropes are starting to hurt."

Malfoy looked at her in disbelief. "My God, you really are stupid aren't you? Even when treachery and murder are staring you right in the face, you still cling to the delusion that everything is all fun and games." He turned to Harry. "No wonder you became attached to your work."

Elle fell silent and glanced down, hurt and humiliated. Harry tried to stare at her, but it was impossible without twisting his neck. Instead, he swiveled to gaze at Malfoy.

"Listen Malfoy, I know we're not the best of friends, but what exactly is going on? Can we just be rational for a second and get some things cleared up? Why have you come back, why did you request Elle's help in hiding a dead body, and why now do you want to kill us? What happened to being our ally, and a part of the Order of the Phoenix?" Harry questioned seriously.

"Malfoy," Elle whispered, her face now white. "Where's Calla?"

Malfoy smirked but addressed Harry first. "I will humbly answer all your questions, my bespectacled rival," he replied grimly. “But, about Calla...I don't think you have to worry about her. Your precious child, in exchange for a reprieve of her own death, will be given the chance to assist me in my plans. If I am successful, her life shall be spared and she will spend the remainder of it under my Mistress' charge and care. She's off to a great start, as it was she who told me you two would be here this evening after I sent an owl to your flat last week. It was late, so she took the liberty of answering it without bothering you two."

Elle groaned. "You've been planning this all along, haven't you? Was it you who took my sunglasses?"

"Levitated them right off your head, as I did with Potter's wand right out of his pocket," Malfoy nodded. "It wasn't difficult...divorce appears to be enormously distracting. Besides, I am well aware that material possessions mean a great deal to you," he continued, looking at Elle.

"Not as much as my own daughter," Elle said dryly, but with a definite edge to her voice. "I don't care what you're planning to do with us, but you leave Calla out of it! She doesn't deserve this. And she would never help you anyway!"

"Yeah," Harry added. "Calla may be young, but she's not dumb enough to have anything to do with you. Unlike some people," he said, glaring at Elle significantly.

Elle swallowed, and tried to shake the blonde hair that was hanging limply in front of her face.

"Wanting to help a former friend does not make me dumb," she stated flatly. "And besides, even if Calla did feel the need to follow my example, she would never partake in something that involved the murdering of her own parents."

"Oh, I wouldn't be so sure of that if I were you," Malfoy said in defense. "Children take the separation of their parents very hard these days, and I'm sure Calla has been looking for a way to retaliate. I think that with just a little persuading, she will be very accommodating indeed."

"Wait a second..." said Harry, his heart racing. "Who exactly is your 'mistress'?"

Malfoy beamed. "I was hoping you would ask that.” He turned around, and raised his wand in the direction of the obscured benches. “Bellatrix?"

It was at that moment that Elle screamed, because Bellatrix Lestrange emerged from the shadows, looking very (Harry noted bitterly)…alive.

Sneering, she pulled off an old Invisibility Cloak, holding a dagger in one hand and a wand in the other, and wearing an awful smirk that suggested only the deepest traces of bloodthirsty revenge.

“You’ve done well, Draco,” Bellatrix said softly, her heavyset black eyes boring into Harry’s face. “I am glad to see you’ve had no trouble capturing them.”

“Nah,” Draco shrugged. “I thought I’d have a hard time of it when you told me to drive them apart from each other …but surprisingly, turning them against each other was the easiest bit of all.”

Bellatrix smiled. “Who knew? After all these years, my Master still stands correct,” she said, and her words burned black and mutinous. “Love really is worthless.”

Harry swallowed hard. He didn’t know about Elle, but hearing those words, on top of everything else that had happened this evening, stung him the most.

Wordlessly, he tried to convey a message to Elle, but he knew it was too late. They really were trapped now, and even if he could communicate with her, Harry felt that Elle would no longer be truly willing to understand anything he had to say. They were tied together in hatred, devoid of the only weapon that would unite them in defeating Bellatrix and Malfoy, and there was absolutely no way out.

Calla awoke from her nightmare with a start. Shivering, she clutched the covers around her and stared at the dark, shadowy walls of the unfamiliar bedroom. She hated having nightmares...they seemed to happen to her all the time, and they always seemed so jarringly real.

She had dreamt about her parents. Which wasn't really unusual, seeing as how their conflicts had basically become her whole life lately. But this time, things were different...her mother had sounded scared, her father had sounded angry, and there was another voice that she had just recently grown accustomed to hearing, although he always seemed to be in hushed conversation with her mum. And in the dream, they appeared to still be in the Ministry of Magic courtroom...although how could that be? They had left that place hours ago, hadn't they? But then...why had her letter never been answered? The last time she checked before she went to sleep, Pig hadn't returned.

Calla threw back the covers and stood up. Something was not right. Silently, she tiptoed over the moonlit carpet and out into the hall. The whole house was silent- Ron and Hermione must have gone to bed, as well as Kevin and Michael. For a second Calla considered checking the time, but it was impossible...she didn't have a watch, and Ron and Hermione's clock didn't exactly tell time. Instead, there were four hands with each member of the family's names on it, and right now they were all pointing to "home." Calla wished she had a clock like that...then she would be able to know exactly where her parents were.

Swallowing hard and bracing herself for what she was about to do, Calla went back to her bedroom and retrieved the knapsack that contained her father's old invisibility cloak. Then, she quietly stole back into the hallway and, as she passed their room, briefly considered waking Kevin and asking him to come with her. However, she ignored the temptation and entered the living room, approaching the broad and regal fireplace. But before she could get her hands on the jar of glittering Floo Powder that stood on the mantelpiece, she rummaged around in some drawers for a quill and a piece of parchment and left a note, knowing full well that if Hermione and Ron woke up to find her missing, they would freak out.

Dear Hermione and Ron,
Don't worry, I'm fine. I've gone to check on my mum, because I got worried when Pig never came back. If you find this before I return, then know that I'm sorry for not waking you, but I didn't want to bother anyone.

See you soon,
Calla Potter

Calla stared at her signature for a moment, before changing her mind and crossing out her last name, leaving it signed simply "Calla." She didn't know why, but for some reason the name didn't feel to belong to her tonight. It was what connected her to her family, after all...but what family did she have left to be a part of?

Without any further ado, she threw the cloak over her nightgown and lit a fire using a handy little spell that Hermione had shown her for producing flames. Then, she tossed away some powder, whispered her destination, and in the next instant, had vanished.


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