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Chapter Five

Chapter Five

 Draco's Going to be Furious, you know

It was past ten o'clock, and Diana, Harry, Draco, and Hermione were all still sitting in Harry's cramped cubicle, surrounding by blinking push pins and wizarding wanted posters blinking eerily down at them. The large hand reading Diagon Alley was now pointed at "cleanup" on the clock. Diana was sitting next to Draco, her arm compressed in a strong squeeze from Draco's right hand, though Draco's eyes were fixed on Harry, who was trying to explain the organization of the Auror's division to him.

"Nine orders of Aurors, Potter? Do you think you're a bunch of bloody angels? And what's with the white?"

Harry rolled his eyes. "Yes, Malfoy. Nine orders. Three groups. Crimson, Jade, and Azure."

Draco burst out laughing. "Come on, Potter, that is quite possibly the dumbest thing I have EVER heard. Crimson? Jade? Azure? What, are you a law enforcement agency or a fashion magazine?"

Harry scowled. "It works for us, Draco."

Hermione and Diana had long since decided to stay out of the argument, and were now looking on with slight amusement as Harry stood up in frustration and tugged open an overflowing desk drawer. From a file at the back, he extracted a long sheet of parchment, glowing in red, green, and blue. "Here." he shoved the paper into Draco's hand. "The organizational structure."

Draco glanced over it, then gave it back to Harry. "Honestly, I don't care. I was just trying to make you angry, Potter."

Harry sharply arched an eyebrow and yanked the parchment back. "Fine."

Draco looked at Diana and grinned. "What are you? Scarlet? Emerald? Cerulean?" She poked him hard.

"I'm crimson, you moron." she paused. "Or at least, I was."

"Yes, well..." Harry paused. "Di, I've been meaning to talk to you about that..."

Just then the doors burst open, and Percy Weasley strode in, adjusting his cloak and hat as he did so. "Harry, good. I was hoping you'd be here." He paused, stopping at the edge of the cubicle when he spotted Draco. "You're here, too? Well, then, that simplifies things."

"Simplifies what?" Harry said quickly, standing up and saluting. "Minister, what is it?"

"This whole--" Percy waved his hand "--bombing thing-- seems to be only the beginning. There've been some developments."

Five pairs of eyes turned to glance at the clock, but all seemed normal.

"At Azkaban," Percy clarified. Draco was on his feet in an instant. "It seems," began Percy, "that we've had an escape."

"Who?" Diana said quickly, glancing anxiously at Draco.

"It seems he escaped and replaced himself with a muggle under the influence of both polyjuice potion and the imperious curse," said Percy slowly, taking off his hat and turning it slowly in his hands. "The dead muggle was found early this afternoon, and there's no trace of the prisoner."

"Who was it?" Hermione whispered, eyes growing wide.

"Lucius Malfoy."

An hour later, Draco slammed into his mansion, hands shaking and feeling quite helpless. His father had escaped. He was free, and no one had a damn idea of where he could be. He looked around quickly, then dismissed the possibility that Lucius could be lurking around the manor. He had put up extensive wards guarding against anyone who would do him harm, and together with Harry, Diana had put up even more when she moved in.

Speaking of Diana... He sighed, running a shaking hand through his hair as he wandered aimlessly around the entry way, bordering on a nervous pace. She had insisted on staying at the ministry for at least a while more, claiming she had to help settle things. He was worried about her traveling home alone, though; he, at least, knew who Lucius would really be aiming for this time.

He paused beside a vase of glittering blue tulips. They were an almost unnatural dark blue color, curved upwards into the perfect bud, each one handpicked and charmed to last forever by Diana. He lifted one gently out of the vase, examining it, feeling a twist of despair at the thought of what Lucius would do to him, to Diana-- to all of the people he had grown close to-- if he could get his hands on them. Unable to think of this anymore, Draco let out a frustrated yell and slammed his arm into the vase, knocking it to the floor with a shatter. "Dammit!" He yelled, stomping his foot on the ground and throwing the tulip in his hand down with the rest of the scattered flower. He turned to march out, and paused. a small service door had opened at the base of the staircase, and a house elf was peeking out, apparently in preparation to clean the mess once he had left. It cringed as it realized he had spotted it, and started to sink out of view.

"Leave the vase," Draco said quietly, feeling once again sorry for the years of mistreatment he had given them. "Do you think you could get some dinner together? Something simple, don't..." he paused, sighing. "Don't go to too much trouble. And let me know when Diana gets home."

It nodded and slid a bit more out of the doorway. "Sir," it began in a high-pitched squeaky voice, and Draco recognized it, now that it was in the light, as the house elf named Dosley. "We was wondering, sir, if you have the date set for the engagement party, sir. We is very happy that you is getting married, sir, and we wanted to have time to--"

He cut off the elf with a wave of his hand, smiling slightly and feeling rather flattered. "Two weeks from Friday, Dosley. I'll have Diana talk to you about what she wants served." He paused, glancing at the dirty pillowcase encasing the elf's body, and felt a wave of guilt. "And maybe we can get you proper uniforms..."

The elf's eyes widened. "No clothes, sir. The master cannot be suggesting that he give us clothes?" It looked rather panic stricken.

"No, no," Draco corrected quickly, feeling rather stupid and confused at the same time. "Just...new pillowcases. Would you like that?"

The elf nodded quickly, smiling. "The master is too kind."

Draco sighed, feeling helpless once again as the elf disappeared, then looked around the entranceway. He was standing between a two grand staircases that led up to the second floor gallery, and directly in front of him was a double doorway that led to the massive atrium and the rest of the house beyond. After a moment's hesitation, he started through the doors and towards the library.

***

Diana was trying to calm the fears of a massive group of people who had gathered in the atrium of the ministry when Harry found her. She was surrounded by crying, hysterical people, and the added stress of her fiancée's father escaping didn't seem to be helping; in fact, she looked close to a breakdown herself. "Diana." Harry grabbed her arm and tugged her slightly away from the mass of witches and wizards desperate for information about their loved ones. "Diana, you aren't helping anyone if you're just as upset as they are."

She turned to look at him, rather wide-eyed. "Harry, look at them! They just want information."

"The junior Aurors can help them," he said firmly. "Come on, I need to talk to you, and then you need to go home. You look exhausted.

She hesitated, considering this, then nodded in consent. "All right, lets go." She allowed him to lead her back to his cubicle, and sat down on the edge of a chair. "What did you want to talk about?"

"Diana..." he signed, sliding his glasses off and rubbing the bridge of his nose with two fingers. "Diana... We need you to come off reserve."

There was a pause, in which Diana looked at him for a moment, silent and waiting for him to speak again.

"We're getting more and more reports of death eater movements every day, and with this new information.. Well, we need you back."

"Harry, I'm getting married in three months--"

"Please, Diana. I've talked to Percy, I've talked to the Wizengamot, I've talked to Dumbledore, and even before today, they all agreed that we need you back. Please, we need you."

"You can do it by yourself." she gave him a frustrated look. "What help am I?"

"Diana, I need you." he frowned. "Can't you see that I can't keep a handle on things by myself? I don't trust anyone else to do this."

Diana sat still for a long moment, staring around at Harry's cluttered cubicle, then looked down at her hands, frowning deeply, then looked back up at Harry. "All right. But only because you asked so nicely." She forced a smile. "I'll come back."

"Thank you."

"Draco's going to be furious, you know."

"I think you can handle him, Diana."

"Yes, but can you?" She sighed and stood up. "Look, I'll be in tomorrow morning. I'm going home."

***

They were gathered in what seemed to be an underground room, sitting in a circle of old wooden chairs surrounding a fire. Lucius looked around at the hooded figures and smiled, triumphant. "Its good to be back," he hissed softly.

There was a nod of assent, and the figures all looked at him, as if waiting for him to continue. "I have heard a nasty, disgusting rumor that my son is marrying Potter's cousin. Is this true?"

There was a rustle of cloaks, and one of the figures removed a hood, bowing her head. Bella LeStrange frowned, eyes downcast. "Yes, your lordship. He is engaged to her."

Lucius scowled, then spat into the fire. "That marriage will not happen." He looked around contemptuously at the other figures in the room. "And you did nothing to stop this?"

"Sir, he has broken off all ties with his past. He refuses to acknowledge his family ties."

"Then we will teach him a lesson." From out of his cloak, he drew an old book, opening it to a page. "The bloodline potion. Dangerous, deadly, and, above all, untraceable because it isn't present in the victim's body." He allowed himself a smile. "In other words, perfect."

Bella frowned. "But, your lordship, we must get a sample of blood first."

Lucius smiled, then reached into another pocket. When he opened his hand, a few strands of white hair clung to his palm. "Yes. We must." he handed the hairs to Bella. "Make a polyjuice potion." He looked around at the gathered hoard of Voldemort's old followers. "In thirty days, our plan goes into action."

***

Diana knew something was wrong when she spotted the shattered vase and crushed tulips on the floor of the foyer. Glancing around, she slid her robe off, setting it on a dark oak table, and drew her wand out. Slowly, she edged into the atrium, looking around. Nothing seemed amiss in here. She paused, holding her breath for a moment. From a distance came the sound of muffled yells. She took off running to her left, following the sounds, which brought her to the doors of the library. She pushed the doors open and stepped into the massive room.

As always, the first thing she noticed was the mural on the ceiling. Bright blood red was the dominant color in this painting, which seemed to document the Malfoy family's bloody rise to success. Draco had actually tried to paint over it, but, gruesome as it was, Diana had insisted that it was historical, and, in a compromise, used a charm to make silver halos glow around the heads of the victims that were being tortured, murdered, and raped in the scene. The second thing she noticed was that the yelling was much higher in here, and she could now make out words.

In a high-pitched, slightly slurred voice, Draco Malfoy was screaming obscenities at the painting above. "You dirty bastards!" he yelled, trying desperately not to cry. "I don't deserve this! You should all be bloody dead, but you're still here! you're still here haunting me, you assholes!" He hurled a half-empty fifth of rum at the ceiling, but before it hit gravity dragged it back down again, where it shattered on the marble floor.

Diana hurried forwards and grabbed his arms before he could do any more damage to the ancient library. "Draco," she said quietly, "Draco calm down. Its me."

He turned and looked at her for a moment, eyes confusedly struggling to focus on her. "Di..." he breathed, looking pathetic. She smiled weakly and tugged him into a hug. He buried his face into the crook of her neck for a moment, squeezing his eyes shut and for the first time that evening noticing how drunk he was. "Dammit," he whined.

"Shh." She pulled away slightly, taking his hand. "Come on, lets get you some food and a sobering potion." he nodded weakly and allowed her to lead him, stumbling, into the family dining room on the other side of the house. The house elves had indeed set out a simple dinner, though there was more food than an entire household full of people could ever eat in a week.

Diana set Draco down and set about filling his plate with fruit, cheese, chicken and herb pastries, and several large pieces of fudge. They ate in silence, Diana only speaking once to ask the house elves to please fetch a sobering potion from the medical stores, and after drinking this, Draco felt his head clearing considerably.

"Feeling better?" Diana asked softly. Draco nodded. There was a moment of tense silence. "Well, then, I suppose I should tell you," she said, "I've been reactivated."

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